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By the time they reached Sarnic later that afternoon, Jared looked like a miserable mess. His clothes and pack were reasonably filthy, and still bore a trace of dampness from the lake submersion- not to mention the torn pant leg that fluttered pathetically as he walked. He bore a thin sheen of sweat and a scattering of dirt on his face that he had neglected to wipe off.


It was no wonder he was getting so many curious looks, even with the human woman tucked out of sight in his jacket again.


He stepped onto a moving walkway that went under a glass overhang. Thunder rolled gently overhead, snapping several gazes up at the grey sky fearfully. Instead of going along at the meandering speed of the walkway, Jared picked up pace and paved his own way through the crowd of people. They had less time than he anticipated.


Leaves trickled down from behemoth, moss-ridden trees planted in key points throughout the glass and metal buildings. The buildings welcomed the trees, proving customized gaps and spaces for the twisting branches to grow right through their foundations. The trees seemed to breathe for the city, giving it life in an otherwise quick and quiet community.


Jared's first priority was to blend in, so he hastened towards the first clothing store he laid eyes on. He made a mental note to apologize to Elise for walking so fast. She was bumping into his chest more times than he wanted to count. Still, he was certain she would be understanding when he explained himself later on.


"Welcome... Guest." The AI greeter at the front of the store stared at Jared a moment longer, unable to really see him, but unable to complete the extent of its programming. Every other customer that walked through that door was greeted by their designated name, the one that their mandatory wristband communicator was registered to. But since Jared had tampered with his coding, his wristband no longer bore his name.


He shook the chills the digital eyes gave him and went about his business in a hurry, gathering up two pairs of practical pants and few clean shirts to get him through the next couple days. Jared brought up all his selections to the front counter. A round, motion sensing security camera swiveled smoothly to keep track of him. There were only a few other customers in the store (most probably en route to seek shelter from the storm), with the store owner somewhere out of sight. He waved each of his purchases over a lighted black circle embedded in the counter. The plastic protector over the sensor bore a bit of wear and tear from careless customers scraping rings or cuffs against it as they checked out. The AI projection of a youthful man with rosy cheeks and an annoyingly cheerful smile watched his progress, announcing each item and its price as he went.


"Will that complete your purchase today at Riza?" The AI voice chirped.


"Yes." Jared huffed impatiently.


"Please wave your wrist over the main sensor now."


Jared did so. There was a lengthy pause. An error beep sounded out.


"Sorry, I didn't get that. Please wave your wrist over the main sensor." The projection insisted.


Jared outstretched his arm one more time. His heart pounded nervously as he prayed for his modifications to be accepted.


Another lengthy pause drew out, before the little light turned green, announcing that the credit request had gone through successfully.


"Thank you shopping at Riza." The AI congratulated. "Can I help you with anything else today?"


Jared bagged his purchases in one of the black plastic bags stacked on the counter, before stepping forward again. "I'd like to speak to a representative."


"One moment please."


The projection diminished and footsteps approached. A portly man with silver streaked brown hair marched up to the counter. His nostrils flared as he gave Jared's filthy appearance a brief, judgmental glance.


"Hi. I need to have some clothed custom made." Jared quickly started in, before his appearance could do any more of the talking for him.


"Measurements?" The man grunted.


Jared smiled sheepishly. "I uh... I don't exactly have the measurements per se. It's a bit of a special order..." He slid a hand into his jacket pocket, groping for the spacesuit. He pulled out the miniature leathery suit and laid it out on the counter. Jared swallowed and steeled his nerves, trying not to dwell on the fact that within in pocket was a tiny woman sitting in what was essentially her underwear. Even if they had discussed temporarily handing over her suit before entering the city, it still couldn't wipe the mental image entirely from his mind.

Elise couldn't help blushing fire as she sat tucked away in Jared's pocket. It had been a little cumbersome getting out of her suit in the cramped space, but it was the only way to ensure she got something that might fit. Even so, she felt very exposed in spite of her concealed position.


She had actually winced to see the state of herself when she had peeled the suit away. On her shoulders were the familiar bruises from her ship's seat straps, thankfully on the mend already. But her right side and thigh had some dark bruises from when she'd fallen into the vase, out of Warren's unforgiving grasp. A fainter bruise on her other side marked where she'd hit the water on the lake.


Without the minor padding her suit offered, every time she bumped against Jared made her flinch slightly as her sore limbs were disturbed. But, it was a better position than his shoulder with so many curious giant eyes around. Elise took a deep breath, especially when he picked up the pace. Hopefully she'd soon have something to wear and cover up the sensitive skin.


Jared didn't take very long to finish finding some things for himself. But, every second he spent browsing had Elise on edge. What if some other customer saw the telltale shape of a person in his pocket? Would they point her out? The thought of being brought out in the open with almost nothing on made her blushing return in full force.


She was knocked out of her thoughts when Jared's hand slipped into view. Elise held up her suit for his searching fingers before they came too close. As her suit disappeared, pulled away in Jared's grasp, Elise was glad that he hadn't looked in to find it. No matter what her rational mind said, she felt like it would be way too easy to catch a glimpse of her. She had goosebumps just thinking about how embarrassed she'd be if Jared saw her like this.


The man gingerly picked up the tiny body suit, looking it over critically. He quirked an eyebrow slightly and glanced at the grubby customer with a flat look. Really? This guy is a doll freak?  But, there were weirder hobbies for certain. At the very least he planned to replace his filthy, ragged clothes with the Riza brand.


"This is doable. What do you want?"

Jared briefly considered asking for an identical jumpsuit, considering that was what she had arrived in. But then again, he didn't want anyone looking any further into that alien jumpsuit than doll-sized measurements.


"A dress." Jared answered.


The owner rolled his eyes. "What kind of dress?" He asked, motioning the vast array of women's designs on display, taking up a hefty 60% of the entire store.


Jared faltered. "Oh! Uhmm... That one will do fine." He said, nodding towards the nearest dress without really taking a good look at it.


The owner made a mental note of the dress he indicated, a pale brown shift with a scoop neck collar and thin leather belt. His eyebrow was still quirked at the oddness of the strange request; coming in with a special order but no thought to what type of dress? Very odd indeed.


"This will take about thirty minutes. Would you like me to call you when it's ready?" The owner asked, folding up the jumpsuit carefully.


Jared shook his head. "No, I'll wait for it."


"As you wish." The owner muttered, turning away and exiting the way he came. Jared glanced anxiously outside at the darkening sky. If it can just wait half an hour…


He was left standing there awkwardly with a bag of clothes in his hand. He was tempted to use the free time to change in the fitting room, but the mandatory, anti-shoplifting body scan installed in front of the dressing rooms deterred him. He wandered over to a little bench in the back of the men's section, setting his bag down beside him. The wait felt longer due to nerves, even though he had plenty to occupy his thoughts. He'd never been so paranoid as he was today.


He could feel Elise shift her weight ever so slightly every now and then, no doubt trying her very hardest to remain undetected. It made him feel guilty, keeping her confined in his pocket. Sure it was for her own good, but it didn't keep him from comparing himself to Warren, forcing Elise into a glass prison. This one was just made of cloth.


In an attempt to comfort her, Jared gave the pocket a little pat when no one was around. Some soft part of her body was briefly squeezed against him and his heart skipped a beat. He blushed and muttered both a curse and an apology, for he knew she had undoubtedly heard his heart's guilty reaction.

After the other man left, Elise felt a little less on edge. She felt Jared sit down, and settled in to wait. Soon enough she'd have something new to wear, which sounded pleasant, despite not having any idea what had just been picked out for her. She wondered idly what kind of dress Jared had pointed out.


Elise felt her heart jump into her throat when some pressure from outside the pocket closed in on her. She knew it was just Jared, but as she fell against him she felt the heat in her face spike. His heart pounded in her ears, but his hushed words brought a smile to her face. She had to cover her mouth with a hand to keep from laughing giddily.


Elise patted his chest with a hand to indicate that the apology was accepted, hoping he felt the gesture. It was ... endearing that he'd gotten so flustered. More than anything, it proved that he knew what was polite. She leaned her head lightly against Jared's giant chest, wondering what he was thinking as they waited for the custom job to get done.


Elise perked up slightly when she heard the gruff voice of the store representative. "Got your order here," she heard him say.

Jared leapt to his feet, only too eager to be on his way. He encountered the same glitch with his wristband when he went to pay. This time, it took three times to get it to work.


"You better get that fixed, young man." The owner scolded, sounding personally offended by the error.


"Yeah, I'll get right on that." Jared responded under his breath, snatching up the tiny black bag. He checked its contents (one dress and one spacesuit), then set out once again, stepping out into the flurry of a budding rainstorm.


Only a few paces under the shadow of a monolithic tree, a yellow light played upon his face. He turned to see small yellow alarm lights flashing on the corner of every street. The sight wasn't unfamiliar, and it did not induce panic. The remaining people on the streets made their way swiftly to their destinations as swiftly as possible; if they couldn't get where they were going in time, they ducked into a cafe or lounge instead. Soon the streets were nearly vacated, and Jared was jogging for the hotel he had passed on his way to the store. Thunder rippled ominously as he yanked open the heavy glass door and slipped inside. Only three raindrops had sprinkled down upon his back as he ran. The acidic scorch marks left behind were barely noticeable amongst the scaly texture of his jacket.


As the sky opened up into a sizzling drone, Jared ambled up to the front desk. "Room for one, please."


~~~~~


"I never want to do that again." Jared groused loudly, relieved at being able to speak freely behind the sealed hotel room door. He was hoping Elise's naivety to this planet's culture was still intact; maybe she wouldn't notice what a simple room his paycheck allowed.


The bags were dropped to the bed and his hands were on the zipper of his jacket the first chance he got. "I'm going to just leave my jacket on the bed with your dress, if that's alright with you. I'll change in the bathroom, and then we can finally talk face to face again."


He took off his jacket slowly, pulling each arm out of the sleeve with care not to jostle its occupant. He laid it out on the untouched bed, then fished out the little dress from the shopping bag. A leather string was tied around the waist of the dress, giving it a more complete and fitted look. His eyes drifted to the lump in his jacket, drawn like a magnet. Then he picked out a clean shirt and pants and strode to the small bathroom adjacent to the main bedroom, shutting the door behind him.


He took a good long look at his reflection, startling himself by his own image. Maybe he really was crazy. He sure did look a little crazy: short hair sticking up in three different directions, dirt streaked on his cheek, a day's worth of stubble accumulated. Sighing wearily, Jared held his hands under the faucet and splashed cool, clean water onto his face.

Elise gripped the fabric of Jared's pocket when he started moving faster. She curled into herself slightly as she swayed back and forth more than usual, and wondered if he was being pursued. She sighed with relief when she heard him request a place to stay, glad for the upcoming opportunity to be out of the pocket and be clothed again.


Elise waited until she heard the click of the bathroom door closing before shifting. She crawled out of the pocket carefully, trying to keep the heavy fabric from falling over her face and dragging her boots along with her. She timidly peeked out at the room once she reached the edge, making sure she was really alone.


The dress lay next to the jacket, positively dwarfed by comparison. Elise walked over to it, appraising it for a few seconds. She couldn't help the soft smile that played at her lips as she picked it up, running her fingers over the fabric appreciatively. She threw it over her head in a hurry, just in case Jared came back.


She didn't have a mirror to assess her appearance, but as she carefully tied the leather string at her waist and adjusted the fall of the skirt, she liked how it looked. Though the fabric was still a little thicker than she'd been used to, it was quite light and comfortable. It will even go well with my boots, she thought to herself, unable to hold the girly consideration at bay.


Once she was fully dressed, Elise pulled her hair back to secure it into a knot, doing her best despite not having a hair tie. She shook her head to make sure the tail was even, hoping she looked okay though she had no mirror to check. She carefully turned where she stood on the springy surface of the bed, eyeing the door to the bathroom.


She hoped that, when he emerged, Jared would like her new look.

Jared ran water through his fingers, taming his hair and washing his face before changing into clean clothes. He left his boots by the shower/bathtub combo and changed into the new clothes. With a clean shirt on his back, he felt a little calmer already. To give Elise extra time to change, he went ahead and rinsed out the nasty residue left inside his pack, and also set that aside to dry.


"Elise?" He called out, cracking the door open. He gave pause, listening for any protests or sounds of scurrying out of sight. When he heard no protests, he opened the door further. His eyes found her small form standing in the middle of the bed. He blinked in surprise. She was looking less like an astronaut and more like a model.


"I wasn't sure how well that thing would fit, but wow." Jared said, a soft smile growing wider as he took a careful seat in front of her. "You look wonderful."


He bit his lip as he pulled out the space suit sitting at the bottom of the bag. "I'll uh, set this aside for you." He explained softly. He folded it up and set it on the nightstand for later. With the bed mostly clear, they were finally alone again.

Elise blushed and put her fingers in front of her mouth to hide the grin that came to her face. "Th-thank you," she stammered. Elise had, on several occasions, dressed up for various events and meetings she'd needed to attend. Indeed, among her clothes on her ship was a formal dress for an evening gathering of the officials involved with the hearing. But, no one had looked at her the way Jared just had. It filled her stomach with butterflies to hear such a genuine compliment from him.


She didn't want to let a silence draw out between them, though she was nervous to return his compliment. But, now that he was a little refreshed and wearing brand new clothes, Jared looked good too. "You're looking sharp yourself," Elise answered with a smile, trying not to sound coy. But, she realized, dressed as she was, that was a difficult task.


Elise's heart skipped a beat or two when she thought about the fact that, if she were to splash some water on her face and maybe put on a little makeup, she'd be dressed for a date. I'm acting like no one's ever called me pretty before, she thought as she clasped her hands in front of her, nervously fidgeting her thumbs. She felt like there were a hundred things she could say, and nothing came to mind. That wasn't something Elise, diplomat third-class of the Allied Planets government, was used to.

A crooked smile spanned his lips as he looked down at himself: a light blue shirt and black, almost denim-material pants sure were a far cry from his simple uniform.


"Thanks."


After that, an awkward pause drew out as they both searched for meaningful words. He hadn't expected her to be quiet. He had readied himself to hear a rant about how brutal it was to be cramped in somebody's pocket, or maybe for her to be in a state near tears again. But the silence turned out to be far more uncomfortable.


"You're okay, aren't you? I didn't rough you up too bad on the way inside?" Jared reached down, curling his index finger under her chin, tilting her head side to side under the light, lightly scouring her for bruises. Though there was a playfulness about the action, he was by no means rough-handed with her.

Elise's eyes widened slightly in response to the gentle touch of Jared's large finger under her chin. The fact that he could turn her head like that without wrenching her neck back was amazing. Jared had rarely been anything but cautious with her, and the few exceptions had been necessary to get them both to safety. Even then he had never made a move that outright hurt her.


"I'm okay," she answered. She smiled sheepishly and added, "Though when you started running earlier I thought you'd been caught." She chuckled faintly, in part from embarrassment at her mistake, and in part from relief that she was wrong. If a bit of a rough ride kept them both away from Secretary Ambron and her thug of an assistant, Elise would endure all the running she needed to.


Elise raised her hands and gently placed them on the huge digit in front of her. She delicately traced his fingerprints with her own comparatively tiny fingers before tilting her head to the side so that her cheek rested on his finger tip. "I don't think you've got it in you to rough me up," she said with a soft smile. "You've been nothing but kind and gentle and, after a landing like the one I had, it's been a welcome feeling."

"No, t-that.. I was just trying to get out of the rain." Jared said, practically stumbling over the words. He just couldn't think straight with her cheek in his hand-- or on his fingertip, as it were. Her skin was just as soft as it looked. His gaze became unwavering, letting his hand fall into her guidance without argument as she called him kind and gentle. Jared shook his head, a soft smile playing about the corners of his mouth.

#FirstClass problems by Obsess-Confess
#FirstClass problems
hahaha i'm such a dork for making this. But it makes me so happy XD

shoutout to :iconkimstaticchild: who shared her wittiness to help me with the caption!
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A match was struck in a seperate section of the caves closed off with a curtain. With the last of the candles lit, Penelope tugged her hair back into tight ponytail, polished her glasses quickly then turned to face the man tied up against the chair. There was a gag in his mouth and once removed, she grabbed a stool and pulled it over, perching upon it.

"I've got a few questions for you. I'd like to be reasonable with you and I don't want to force knowledge out of you but I will do whatever I have to."

She clasped her hands in her lap, gentle blue eyes staring peerlessly into the prisoner.


"First of all, I'd like to know exactly who sent you. I want to know why you're trying to impede this revolution."

"Is that what you call it?" Even in such a compromising position, the Scandinavian managed to sneer. He seemed to think it was funny that they seemed themselves a revolution. 

The man seemed both intimidating and unimpressive at the same time. He wasn't particularly tall or muscled. His posture was as relaxed as one could be when bound to to a course wooden chair, but his eyes still burned with that same hatred.


"You're an angry person, hateful even. I can see that and it's really unfortunate."

Pen remained calm, a wisp of light in the dark depths of the caverns in which they dwelled

"Want to tell me your name? Why you'd want to stop us?"

"Who I am matters very little." It seemed as if he hardly needed to blink. His icy eyes glinted in the lamplight as he studied her. "You are a child. Naive. We've tolerated your group's fumbling misadventures long enough. It's time for the grown-ups to do business."



His reaction brought a friendly laugh to the cleric and she raised a brow

"How many kids do you think are pregnant? I may be young but I am some one with a clear head. What I see from the government is fear of a force they feel they can't control. Certainly giants are damn huge but from what I've seen, they're exactly the same as we are. Just...bigger."

Pen rose slowly and reached out a dainty yet weathered hand, one of a hard worker and placed it on the man's shoulder

"Tell me your name."

His eyes narrowed, but seeing as there was no consequence..


"Victor LeMont." He looked down at her swollen midsection, revolted. "Don't tell me one of them had impregnated you." 


Though her smile remained, a low charge of electricity shot from her hand and buzzed through the man's body.

"Yes, actually. My fiancé did."

She leaned in and whispered close to his ear

"Probably better in bed then you are, Vic."


She pulled away a moment, the electrical flow ceasing for the moment.

"Tell me why you shot the man that was carrying me. Who hired you to do all this."

She knew already but she wanted to check

"And tell me what you shot him with."


A cry of acute, unexpected pain rang out against the cavern walls. LeMont panted, slumping against the thick ropes. 

"Join him in hell." He raised his head and spat at her.

Penelope lifted her hand and slapped him roughly across the face, the sound wet and painful sounding. She grasped his jaw firmly, leaning in

"Tell me what I want to know."

After a quick chant, a ball of flame danced upon her finger tip. She brought it close, a very real threat. 

"Or you'll be the one who's burning."

He held his ground valiantly, demonstrating his many years of discipline and rigorous training. The flame came close enough for the whites of his eyes to feel the searing heat, feel its power to incinerate raw flesh...


"Farthing!" LeMont squeezed his eyes shut and buried his face in his shoulder, shielding what he could from the fire. "The old woman's paying my bill. It should be obvious why your precious messenger boy is being targeted." His voice was strained.

"That's not good enough."

There was a terrifyingly level tone to her voice, a dangerous look in her eyes.

"Tell me what was in that dart as well. And tell me what my grandmother and the rest of the people hiring you are planning."

The flame in her hand expanded briefly and she remained unaffected.

He looked uneasily into her eyes. 

"You won't kill me. You can't." His confidence was slowly creeping back, calling her bluff.

The flame drew close to his cheek and her own eyes looked like blue fire, an angry will'o'wisp burning with validation. 

"I'm sure there's more of you out there.

Pen's tone bore a terrible seriousness. The candle flickered violently upon the tabletop.

"Others, I'm sure, that would be more than willing to talk with some persuasion."

He leaned as far away from her as physically possible, but being bound to a chair severely impeded that ability. Beads of sweat dotted his forehead. He gritted his teeth, staring back into her eyes with a black fire of his own. But his survival instincts overpowered his pride and allegience.


He was, after all, only human. 


"Okay, stop!" He screeched. "The dosage I'm using is a dud, he'll be fine unless he got at least two more of those in his system. It'll flush out in a day or so." 

His words nearly ran into each other. He was clearly disgusted with himself for spilling the information.

"Your grandmother, Miss Farthing, is the foremost benefactor of Sector 2 of the National Enforcer's Union. She's paving the way for a utopian society; complete segregation." There was a fervor in his eyes akin to religious fanaticism. He truly believed he was doing the right thing. 

"That would seperate families and ruin lives. My grandmother is a monster and so are you for believing that to be the right thing."

The fire in her hand extinguished and she flexed and relaxed her fingers a moment before moving to leave. Then, as if she'd forgotten something, she turned around and socked him as hard as she possibly could in the jaw, hoping to knock out some of his teeth.


"You can shut the hell up about stuff you don't understand, Vic. There's no such thing as a utopian society when people have to suffer for it."

She spat. Then, she grabbed the gag and shoved it in his mouth, making sure it made him uncomfortable to breathe.


Penelope shook her hand off as if relieving it of dirt, extinguished the candle and left him alone, all the information she needed at present well in hand.

A pair of white latex gloves were slipped onto slender, almost equally pale hands, snapped into place at the wrists. Ambron swept her white hair out of her face with a flick of the head, stepping through a metal detector with her head held high. An artificial intelligence officer at the door welcomed her by name, harking the steel door sliding open for her. Beyond the door was two stories of activity: men and women in slim-fitted sanitary jumpsuits bustled this way and that, each with a job to perform. Ambron marched right over to a station on the right. The workstation was well-lit, with a plethora of assistants taking notes on their transparent tablets. They parted ways when they saw her coming, letting her into the inner circle of scientists.


Elise's ship lay dissected on a table, the various parts sectioned off and labeled. Two scientists wearing magnifying goggles were practically sitting on top of each other as they adjusted a wire they had tapped into her ship's computer, watching a screen as the readings updated.


"Any progress?" She asked. The two scientists, for all purposes, were deaf to anything but their work. An assistant hurried to answer her, stepping up beside her.


"We've managed to tap into the ship's computer system. Not an easy feat, you know, considering how thin of wire we had to find to hack the-"


"Get to the point. Do you know where she is?" Ambron interrupted calmly.


"Yes! Sort of. There's a particular system that we believe regulates environmental quality in her space-suit. We've been working on reversing the signal to relay her location."

The ship had been a real pain to get into, being so tiny. Every piece they had sectioned out had felt so delicate, and even the practiced hands of the experts had nearly broken some of the delicate instruments. At least, the ones that hadn't already been destroyed when the thing hit the ground. It was a marvel that the minuscule computer was still working at all.


One of the scientists narrowed his eyes as the readings continued to come up on the screen. The tiny alien's spacesuit had maintained a regular schedule of updating the ship with her status. But the most recent reading seemed to be ... incomplete. The signal was getting weaker.


He didn't need to tell his partner to hurry up with the trace program. If they could position the ridiculously fine wire just right, they could get immediate feedback when the signal came in, giving the alien's exact location. There was a triumphant gleam in the scientist's eyes as the wire finally slid into place. The screen indicated full coupling with the computer's monitoring systems. Now all they needed to do was wait for the next ping, and they had her.


The scientists' eyes were fixed on the screen when the time came and went. No signal came in. After several seconds, one of them glanced worriedly at the wires, wondering if they had jammed the signal. "What did you do?" he hissed under his breath. Suddenly the Secretary's presence behind him was like a heavy weight, bearing down on his shoulders.


"What happened?" Ambron's normally-cool voice was dangerously frigid.


Krivnex. The scientist didn't turn to look at her. He kept his eyes on the screen, almost pleading for it to yield results. "I-I'm not sure, Secretary. The signal is late this time. There may be-" he was cut off when a message came up, clearly an error thrown from the tiny computer's primitive programming: Signal lost. Please reconfigure BioSuit. Error Log: Memloc 0xfa00bc99; ASSERT condition: unknown fatal error.


"Well?" Ambron asked, her tone thinly veiling her impatience.


With hesitant motions, the scientist with white-blonde hair lifted the magnifying goggles from his head and turned to face her. The other continued to stare at the screen searchingly, pleading for it to change its mind and resume its programming.


"Something.. Something happened. We've lost the signal." he answered.


Ambron's eyebrows shot up. "How did this happen?"


"We don't know. It cut off on her end. It's possible the suit itself was destroyed." He tacked on the last part reluctantly, understanding that with the death of the suit would most likely mean its occupant was a goner as well.


Ambron was not fazed by this information, stepping forward to pick up a minuscule helmet between a finger and thumb, turning it in her grasp, letting the reflective surface hit the blinding lights. "I won't act on possibilities, Mister Carner. I have reason to believe she has an accomplice in this. Until we recover a body, we act on the assumption she is still alive."


She set the helmet back down delicately and turned to face the other. "We'll have to resort to other means of tracking her down. Make no mistake, this fugitive is a danger to life as we know it. Finding her is now your number one priority."


"Yes, Secretary." The group gave a respectful nod before setting back to their work, acting extra busy in her presence.


~~~~~~~~~~


Elise tilted her head, thinking about it. Space travel was so commonplace in her line of work, that it was hard for her to think about what to say about it. What was all just another day on the job to her was unknown territory to Jared. "Well, there's almost no gravity, so if you're traveling without artificial gravity, it's weightless. You float around the cabin of your ship if you don't strap down." She smiled as she remembered her first experience with 0Gs. "It's kind of fun, once you get over how weird it feels."


She angled herself and indicated the collar of her suit to him. There was a ring of rigid material where her helmet was supposed to seal on. "Sealed suits like this are standard for spacefaring. It's designed to make sure the pressure and lack of air don't affect me. Though..." she pinched some of the material in her fingers, feeling the deadened wiring underneath. "Mine is pretty broken now." She shrugged, though part of her did worry about how she'd safely get off the planet without it.


Jared laughed out loud in pure disbelief. "So... You're flying... while you're flying." he shook his head. "You're making me dizzy just thinking about it."


He stole a longer look down at her, catching the way she fingered the sleeve of her suit with a mournful expression. He bit his lip. If he hadn't cut across the lake, they might have already reached Sarnic, and her suit wouldn't be destroyed.


"I'll ask around, see if we can get you a change of clothes that even remotely fits you." he replied after a moment.

Elise looked up, brought out of her thoughts by his offer. "Oh," she said with a smile making its way onto her face. "That would be great, if it's not too much trouble," she mused, shifting where she sat so she could look up at him without straining her neck as much. She propped herself up with her hands, willing the sun to warm her up in the meantime.


She watched the landscape roll by, admiring the way the wind played with the blue grass. "Is this land used for anything?" she asked curiously. It certainly didn't seem like there was much being done with all of the space outside the cities. Elise wondered at the contrast with back home, where it seemed like every non-urban inch of the planet was being used for something, be it farming, mining, or even livestock grazing.


"It seems so peaceful," she commented, more quietly than before. Indeed, the farther behind them the lake became, the more serene everything felt. She was almost able to forget why she was there, and ignore her status as an outlaw.

"It used to be Risa farms out here, till the bugs moved in and drove them out of business." Jared answered. "This blue grass is a menace. It'd grow right over your house, if you let it."


He looked around the landscape with a new appreciation. He tried to picture his world through her eyes. Everything must have been so much larger... So alien to her. Her small stature certainly didn't limit the size of her courage.


"Argh, I'm going to have to switch hands. My arm is killing me." Jared groaned, tilting her out of his right hand and into his left hand instead. He was about to assume the same position, then paused in his stride. He looked over himself and back down at her with an apprehensive look.


"Would you... Uh... Do you think you could ride on my shoulder? Would that work?" He asked, trying to figure out the approximate room for her.

Elise's eyebrows went up when she heard that the blue grass, so lovely to her, was actually more of a weed. She suddenly found herself sliding onto Jared's other hand. She adjusted herself after landing in his palm, and then his suggestion made her pause. She looked up at his shoulder thoughtfully, appraising it. At the very least it looked like she'd have something to hold on to for balance.


"I can give it a try," she answered. Any worries she might have about him taking off running were calmed by the knowledge that he would probably secure her first. "Can't have you tiring out your arms."


When his hand rose to position next to his shoulder, Elise almost had doubts again. She'd be traveling at near eye level to him, which was pretty high up in the air. But, she took a steeling breath before hoisting herself up, glad that he at least kept his hand near for support while she situated herself.


Elise thought she might be able to do it without holding on. But, once she sat upright, with her legs dangling over his collarbone, she chickened out and clamped a hand on the collar of his jacket. It felt strange to see the world from this angle. A breathy laugh escaped her, sounding a little giddy with the height.


"So this is what the world looks like from way up here," she remarked, inching herself a little closer to his neck.

He couldn't help the smile that crossed his face. It was just so strange to be considered a giant in someone else's eyes. Jared wasn't scrawny by any means, but he never stuck out in a crowd, either. He doubted he would ever get used to this.


Jared went to turn his head to see her, only to find they almost brushed noses at this new proximity. He quickly looked straight again, avoiding the awkward incident before it could even happen. Still, he had gotten a long enough glimpse of her position to see she was holding onto his collar at least. He was grateful she had the common sense to hang on; it took some of the pressure off of him. He didn't like having her more exposed... But at the same time, having a conversation with her proved to be much easier. He wasn't talking over her head, and he could hear her without straining his ears.


"It must seem a lot more impressive from your angle. It's a shame we had to cancel the tour of the city." Jared said contemplatively. He veered right and started up a long, winding dirt trail leading up the side of the mountain, long forgotten by lonesome travelers.

Elise sighed wistfully. Seeing more of the city would have been amazing. Thinking back, she wondered if her suggestion had made Warren more suspicious of her than he already was. She hadn't paid the big man much attention when she thought he was simply there to assist her and not watch her until she confessed. "It is a shame," she agreed. "But this isn't so bad either," she added, patting Jared's shoulder with her free hand. If she kept her eyes ahead, she could almost pretend that she was walking alongside him rather than sitting on his shoulder.


As the path he took sloped upwards, Elise could feel the way Jared angled his body to compensate. It was probably not even noticeable to him; Elise certainly never thought about things like that when she walked on an incline. But, at her size, every move Jared made looked strong and powerful. She was once again very grateful to have found someone so trustworthy on this planet of giants. Especially after seeing how poorly they were capable of treating someone like her.


The sway of Jared's steps reminded her of a porch swing in a breeze. Elise adjusted her position to cross her legs at the ankle again, relaxing. She could still feel the soreness all over her body, especially the bruises forming on her sides and legs from the various falls she had taken in the last 24 hours. "I could really use a hot spring right about now," she mused quietly.

"You and me both." Jared groused. "Unfortunately, that is one thing we don't have a quick fix for."


Despite having known her for less than a day, Jared knew he was in too deep to get out now. Even if he made a sucky one man rescue team. He didn't exactly have her grace and tact in his demeanor, which had led to an undoubtedly rough reception by the tiny traveler. A small stab of guilt tugged at his heartstrings, unable to shake the mental image of how easily her little bones could snap. Jared reached up and gave her casual, comforting rub, pressing her slightly more into his neck with each stroke.


"Hang in there. Before you know it, this will all just be a bad dream for you."

Elise smiled softly, still amazed at how gentle such giant hands could be. As she was edged closer to his neck, she could feel his pulse, a steady rhythm continually going next to her. "It's certainly been one of the most eventful trips I've ever been on," she answered, glad he couldn't see her blush at their new proximity. "When I had to land, I didn't think I would find any life here. But here you are," she mused with a brief chuckle. So far things were so much more interesting than the hearing she was due to attend.


After a brief debate with herself, Elise gripped his collar with her free hand so that she could sort of reach the back of his neck. She tentatively reached over, careful not to upset her own balance, and rubbed his neck to return the favor, using as much pressure as she dared. Perhaps it was just size, but she noticed how incredibly tense he seemed to be. "I see what your plan was, pushing me closer," she teased, laughing. Then, "Can you even feel me here?"

"Hey, I wasn't looking for a free massage." He laughed. The smile lingered, his pulse heightening.


"Yeah, I can." His answer was quiet, almost reverent in its volume. Though choppy rock cliffs and a blue grass-weeded path occupied his vision, all Jared could think about was the tiny person on his shoulder. "I mean, it's not like you weigh... Anything, really. But I can feel every move you make."


He swallowed as her intricate, dash sized fingers spread over the sensitive skin on the back of his neck. The sound of his steps seemed that much louder in the silence that followed. In all his life, he'd never been touched so gently by something so delicate itself.

Elise massaged his neck for a few more moments, until her arm grew tired from the angle. It was a remarkable thought, that her limbs, feeling so heavy to her, were weightless to Jared. She couldn't tell if she'd actually done any good for his tension, considering how small of an area she could actually reach. But ... it was something she could do on her own. After everything, she wanted to be able to help in some small way.


"I'm surprised it didn't just tickle," she mused. She peered at her own hand, noting how tiny it was compared to ... well, everything here.


Elise felt a blush forming on her cheeks as her actions caught up to her. She looked around them with a soft smile on her face. Her training kept telling her that she was being unprofessional, becoming so friendly with a local, but Elise managed to keep brushing those thoughts aside. "I'm really glad you came back," she said quietly, realizing that she hadn't said it yet since her rescue. "What made you decide to visit me?" she asked curiously, knowing that he couldn't have known about her predicament until he showed up.

Go any lighter, and it really will tickle, Jared remarked internally. He kept this reply to himself, not wanting to demean her any further than her experience already had. He didn't know her past, but in his eyes she was innocent. Elise certainly didn't deserve being trapped in a vase, jostled around his jacket pocket like loose change, or nearly drowned by a monster bigger than a space station to her.


Jared sidled along a narrower path with his back brushing the cliff to keep his balance. Coming onto the wider path again, he cupped a hand around Elise like a shield as he climbed up a large step of stone. A bird that resembled a small pterodactyl sang out a call far over their heads, soaring on an unseen breeze.


"You asked me to." Jared answered after a heavy pause. "You asked for a tour of the city. I was done with work... I figured 'why not?' Thought it might be a nice little diversion." He sighed heavily, haunted by the image of her pale, stricken face; the sound of those teeny hands slapping the glass that imprisoned her. "I... I had no idea what they were up to. I've never heard of such a harsh policy when it comes to intergalactic travelers."


Then again, he never much paid attention to such matters until an alien literally crashed in his backyard.

Elise paid some attention to their surroundings as Jared walked, sometimes gripping his collar with both hands when the path became uneven. Her eyes found the bird far above, wondering how large it actually was. She could probably fly around on it, she thought to herself.


"It's not the first government I've encountered that was wary of, ah, visitors," Elise answered. But, those societies had all been well below the level of technological advancement displayed here. In all other cases, it made sense; here, they only weren't spacefaring by choice. "I just wish I had been better prepared. If I'd known there were people here, I may have been more composed when speaking to the secretary." And maybe I wouldn't have been dropped in a vase, she thought wearily.


Which did make Elise wonder. Why didn't her ship's computer indicate that the planet was inhabited? If Ambron had actually been in contact with the Allied Planets government, then Elise should have at least known what she was getting into when she landed. If she managed to contact the ambassador, Elise would definitely have some questions for the man. "I feel very lucky you met me first," she added with a smile.

A pleasant flush bloomed in his cheeks in response to her kind words. "Heh, well... we're not out of this mess just yet." He answered softly.


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Obsess-Confess
Little Miss Maggie
Artist | Student | Varied
United States
:iconrequestsopen: :icontradesopen:
Finally uploaded a pic of myself!
I'm a college student, majoring in character animation. My dream is to work at Pixar Animation Studios.
I love to draw people. The human body is a master piece in and of itself. I don't have a lot of my serious art on this account, but that might change.
I gravitate towards romantic subjects, or very emotional things. I like feeling something when I create. In a weird way, the mood of the piece possesses me while I make it.
I love art, writing, and discovering new ideas. I'm always up for a GT roleplay, or doing sketch trades.
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:iconsweetintent:
SweetIntent Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2015  New member
Much Thankies for the watch! I'll up the bid and watch you back! :)
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:iconobsess-confess:
Obsess-Confess Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2015  Student General Artist
Thank you :) you've got a wide range of styles! It's impressive. 
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:iconsweetintent:
SweetIntent Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2015  New member
thank you very much! :)
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:iconlizzylot:
Lizzylot Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
Sorry, it took me so long to reply, but it made me so happy to see that you faved two of my drawings. YEAH, THANK YOU! :D :D :D
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:iconobsess-confess:
Obsess-Confess Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2015  Student General Artist
You're very welcome. Thanks for making them!
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:iconkyroslover:
kyroslover Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Hello
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:icontheogroen:
theogroen Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2015  Professional Photographer
thanks a lot Maggie for your fav´s and your watch - that makes me happy...
here for you a little selfmade flower
Thank you by theogroen
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:iconobsess-confess:
Obsess-Confess Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2015  Student General Artist
Aw thank you. 
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:iconledylemon:
Ledylemon Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2015
Llama Emoji-02 (Blush) [V1] thanks<3
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hoshirozu Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the favs!~
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