Title: Playing Pirates
Pairings: implied Baralai/Gippal
Spoilers: not really
Notes: Written for Trick or Treat 2007, for heyheyrenay's prompt "Baralai, Gippal, Pirates." Airship 'verse. It would have been posted there, but I broke the comment limit by 400 characters. Rather than prune, I shall inflict it upon you all...
Gippal sat on the edge of the deck, legs dangling over the side, and Baralai cringed. "How do you manage that?" He carefully made his way over the deck, stopping a healthy distance from the edge.
Gippal twisted his head to look over his shoulder. "A lifetime of practice. It's not that different from sitting on the edge of a boat."
"Except for the lack of a railing, and the fact that you'll plummet to your death if you misjudge, rather than just getting a little wet." Baralai sat, crossing his legs. "Maybe you feel safe, but frankly it's scaring me to death. Humor me."
With a chuckle, Gippal scooted backwards on his ass, clearing the edge in a few seconds, then swiveled to face Baralai. "Better?"
Baralai nodded, then turned his attention to the scenery as the mountains spread out below them. In theory, they were supposed to be scouting the area for ruins from the age of ancient Zanarkand -- Nooj had found some intriguing mentions of island and mountain settlements in the course of his research -- but Baralai found himself distracted by the brilliance of the snow-covered peaks and the glittering of the distant ocean.
"Wow, check that out." Gippal sat up straighter and pointed to the east. Baralai followed his gesture to a river of ice, frozen in motion as it tumbled down the side of a cliff.
"Indeed." Baralai leaned back again. "These mountains are so beautiful."
"Yeah, I was thinking that, too." Gippal sat back with a loud breath, almost a sigh. "I've also been thinking that I don't really want to go back."
Baralai looked down at his hands, crossed in his lap. Gippal had hit on his deepest secret wish, but he didn't dare admit it. "I have responsibilities. So do you, and Nooj. Even Paine--"
Gippal shrugged. "So what? They can get by without us. They did it before. Okay, maybe they almost blew the place up last time, but we know how to fix that now: Yuna'll just sing at everyone and make it all better."
Despite himself, Baralai chuckled. "And what would we do with ourselves?"
"Whatever we wanted." Gippal spread his hands to encompass the possibilities. "We could keep hunting ruins, or searching for spheres, or we could go beyond charted waters and see what's on the other side of the world. We could be pirates!"
"Pirates?" Baralai raised an eyebrow.
"Yeah, you know. Like, you know that gang of rogue Al Bhed about ten years back, before Sin returned the last time? They stole a couple of salvage ships and sailed around, wandering the shipping lanes, beating the legit ships to underwater wrecks, and snagging money and parts from Yevonite ships."
"I remember that." Baralai frowned. "Didn't they cause all sorts of trouble around Bevelle?"
"Yup. Isn't it great?" Baralai snorted, and Gippal laughed. "Oh, c'mon. Yevon deserved a few black eyes and you know it." He leaned back on his hands again and looked into the sky. "Those days, I always wished I was old enough to be one of them."
Baralai chuckled softly. "Pirates. Why am I not surprised that you'd have such a romantic view of lawbreakers?"
"Aw, c'mon." Gippal flashed Baralai another grin. "Doesn't it sound fun? No responsibilities, going wherever we want, no one to answer to except our captain? Even you have to admit the appeal."
Baralai slowly shook his head. "Very well, we're pirates. Now, from whom do we pirate? Need I remind you that there are only two other airships in Spira?"
"Oh, well, there are plenty of other sources." Gippal tapped his fingers against the deck. "Salvage ships, various bands of sphere hunters. Remember how Paine described the look on that priest's face when she snatched that sphere from Kilika? Imagine seeing that every day."
"Hmph." Baralai cocked his head to the side, studied Gippal's face closely. "You can't possibly serious about this. Attacking your own people's salvage ships? Tweaking the nose of all Spira? That's no way to follow up your fine words about unity."
Gippal splayed his arms outwards and dropped to the deck, laying flat on his back. He said nothing for several minutes, and Baralai looked back out over the mountain scenery. Finally Gippal let out a sigh, and shot Baralai a mock glare. "You're no fun."
"Sorry." Baralai smiled. "It's just who I am. Is this a surprise to you?"
After a beat, Gippal took Baralai's outstretched hand and laced his fingers through with a squeeze. "Nah." He turned his head to the side and met Baralai's eyes, still smiling. "Won't stop me from fantasizing about Baralai the Pirate King, though."
Baralai squeezed back with a chuckle. "Dream away. I like that about you."
"Good." And they sat together in silence, feeling the breeze, watching the world go by.