Cid, Shera, and a moment in time. Drabbly.
"You ever waltzed, Shera?"
His question comes out of the blue and leaves poor Shera quite flabbergasted, searching for a quick answer that won't lead to either a derisive joke at her expense or half an hour of heated debate between them. They're sitting on Cid's back porch watching the last faint colour of the sunset fade over the Nibel Mountains, a host of dying oranges and corals against the looming purple shadow of the mountain range, and she would prefer nothing more than to enjoy her tea and the peaceful silence the gloaming has brought with it. But Cid asked her a question, and the scientist knows better than to try and duck out of answering.
"I-I'm afraid not, Captain. I've never been one for dancing - too gangly and too klutzy for it," she finally replies after a moment's pause, adjusting her glasses with long, thin fingers. The towheaded pilot regards her there from across the porch, errant wisps of hair hanging down over her eyes like a horse's forelock, and although he will never say so he thinks her more beautiful than any other woman on the Planet at this moment.
"Well, what's that old adage they use? There's a first time to do shit? ... Somethin' like that, anyway." He drops the burned-out cigarette he's been absentmindedly twirling between his own fingers to the floor and grinds it underneath a steel-toed boot as he stands, working it into the weather-stained boards of the porch until it's not much more than an ashy black blotch. The same hand that previously held the cancer stick is proffered to Shera, who stares at it like she's never seen such a thing before in her life before looking up at the Captain's face with a curiously-raised eyebrow.
"...Do you wanna learn or don't you?? C'mon woman, I'm not going to goddamned bite, you know."
If she didn't know any better Shera would swear the Captain was blushing, but it's rather hard to tell in the half-light so she simply says nothing at all and takes his hand, letting the shadowy figure with the shining eyes and thatch of pale hair pull her down the steps and onto the wide expanse of grass they call a back yard. The last vestiges of daylight are almost gone, but there's still enough of an afterglow to see by; at this hour the world seems to be a hundred different shades of blue and grey, twilight illumination that ostensibly comes from the unlit cobalt dome above - still too early for starlight, but far too late for the sun - or the earth below or perhaps somewhere in-between. There's not a cloud in sight for a hundred miles, endless clear sky from their porch to the Nibel Range two hundred miles distant across the plains. It's the kind of weather that makes one glad to be alive, walking hand-in-hand with their beloved and waiting on the stars.
Cid catches the beloved thought even as he's thinking it and once again is immensely glad for the cover of dusk. A little stiffly, and with some awkwardness, he arranges Shera's arms and his own until they're locked closer than they've ever been before. He can feel her tiny, birdlike ribs and the heart thudding wildly beneath them; it's not at all an uncomfortable feeling. They begin to dance.
It's as ungraceful and halting a waltz as one would expect. Shera tramples on Cid's feet and makes him grateful for the invention of steel-toed caps, and Cid himself stumbles and curses and very nearly brings the two of them toppling to the ground in a tangled heap of limbs. The more these things happen though the more the couple loosens up, until both dance partners are laughing and giggling so hard at each other's ineptitude they soon forget to be stiff and formal and hideously awkward. Quite by accident this new relaxation translates into ease of movement, and before either realizes it the dance becomes smooth and flowing and miraculously easy to manage. They twirl like cinders on the wind, Shera gliding under Cid's arm and out the other side and back again in a complicated set of manoeuvres she wouldn't have believed she could pull off until five minutes before. The engineer laughs like a child for the joy of it all; Cid has never seen Shera this giddy before and it brings him a great deal of happiness to hear her giggle and see her eyes shining behind the wire rims of her glasses. He laughs as well, and Shera falls in love with him all over again at the sound.
She loves everything at this moment: the sky above and the dew-drenched earth cool beneath her bare feet, the chill night air with its smells of cut grass and far-away barbecues, whatever clever son of a bitch first thought up the dance moves that became the first waltz, and Cid, especially Cid. He makes a wrong step and they finally go tumbling down on the green, both laughing so hard anyone passing by might think they're mad; after a few moments of getting absolutely soaked through by dewdrops Shera offers her partner a hand and they're off again, the first stars of the evening coming out at last to join them in their reverie.
Tomorrow and the day after will almost certainly bring fights between the two, harsh words from Cid and tears from meek Shera and bitter things said that will never quite be forgotten. They'll burn up with fury and scream curses at each other that the neighbours clear across town can hear, consumed with anger until both are exhausted and used up to nothing more than cinders. Then they'll fall into one another's arms and one another's beds and things will be alright again, for awhile. Whether this can last indefinitely is anyone's guess, least of all theirs.
But for tonight they're cinders on the wind, and nothing can stop them as they twirl.
I was listening to the Dirty Three's 'Cinders' from album of the same name as I wrote this, and, well, there you go. Hope you enjoyed it.