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Excuses and Gratitude

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"Fran?" Penelo's voice calls her to the front of the Strahl.

"Yes."

"Could you show me how to fix this?" Penelo points to a navigation screen that looks like it's frozen up, and to Fran's sensitive and trained ears, a navigation system that sounds frozen. She walks over at a fast clip and moves to the keyboards.

"What have you done so far?"

Fran leans over the controls, close enough that she can hear Penelo's breathing deepen slightly in reaction.

The hume girl leans in, "I was trying to program the planned altitude changes for our next flight. Then it got really slow and jammed up, so I input the commands again. I'm just not sure what to do now..."

Are all young humes as silly as Vaan? It appears so.

"There," Fran says, biting her lip, as she reaches around the console restarts the navigation program. It's a simple fix, one that even a novice would think of. "it should be ready to go."

"Thank you." Penelo whispers softly enough that even with her excellent ears, Fran has to turn to catch the words. Or perhaps, it's the sudden quickening of Penelo's accompanying heartbeat that she looks to capture.

"Was there something else?"

A hand--young, trembling--touches Fran's bare elbow, as Penelo stretches up on her toes. The motion is graceful enough to pass as a dance. Hume lips touch her Viera ones for just one pleasant second. Penelo pulls back, and Fran watches as Penelo's eyes scan for a reaction.

Fran gives her one, a slow, silent, lingering kiss that lasts barely longer than the one that provoked it.

"I guess not...just...thank you," Penelo stammers. Her face goes red, the way many Hume faces do when their owners are overcome with emotion. She then turns quickly back to the navigation system and makes the final adjustments easily. Penelo may be silly, but she's no navigational novice.

Fran lets herself show a smile, as she puts the pieces together. "We do not require excuses. A kiss is its own reason."