Thrill Rides

rylie_icon.png zan_icon.png

Where: The Desert

When: September 12, 2012; Late Morning

What: A spontaneous trip to the desert allows for some flying.

Sometimes when ideas strike it's impossible to shake them off or put them aside. Especially those ones that wake you up in the dark hours of the morning, when it's too late to go back to sleep but too early to get out of bed. Early or not, it had given Zan the chance to rouse out of his sleeping bag and have a hot breakfast ready for Rylie when she'd awakened while he mulled and worried over the idea that chased away his sleep. When breakfast had been finished and things cleaned up, the idea was proposed.

Let's go to the desert.

What could possibly be out there might not be too clear at first. More than breakfast had been prepared, he'd also dug out the notes she'd kept of his ability, the various footage they'd shot together queued up to play on his laptop. All waiting for her in the passenger seat to look over at her leisure while he drove out to the middle of nowhere.

It's a long drive, further than they'd gone in the past. His worrying is buried while they travel, and he's very open with answers to any questions she might have. Smiles and stories come easily enough. Desert stretches out behind them while ahead spires of rock rise out of the ground. It's toward those reaching fingers he drives, turning off the highway and onto smaller, even less used roads.

Seeing as it's a long ride, Rylie spends much of it looking over the footage and her own notes. It's a little odd, seeing herself on film or hearing her own voice in the background, but she manages to get through it all.

"This must be what it's like when you get so wasted one night and wake up the next morning wondering what you did last night." When she closes the laptop and glances out the window, there's one looming question she can't get away from.

"Where are we going, anyway?"

"It'll come back to you," Zan says. It's not the first time he's responded with that line or something similar, but he's as patient as ever. He looks over at her for a second or two, then turns his attention back to the road. It's gradually transforming from paved to dirt and his speed slows accordingly. "Away from people. Or cameras that might see us."

A beat later he follows his answer with an embarrassed grin. "Out here is where you taught me to fly," he further explains, clarifying. "Most people don't know about us with abilities. So we try not to let them know." Of course, some still find out, one of those clips was his youtube claim to fame. "I thought taking you flying might help you remember. And if not, it's still fun."

"We're going flying, me and you." Rylie repeats rather than questioning. Her usual self knows a lot more about advanced than she does now, but whatever may be different, her curiosity is the same. "How dangerous is it?"

She looks back from the window over to him, her head tilting some. "You seem very sure. That I'll remember. You shouldn't… I mean, it's a crap shoot. I don't want you do get too… disappointed."

"No more dangerous than walking down the Strip," Zan answers. He glances over to her and offers a slight grin and a shrug. "It's a lot like riding a roller coaster to be honest. And I had a great teacher to help me learn a lot of the finer points." A smile follows those words, but he looks to the road again and begins easing onto the shoulder and coming to a stop.

"Rylie," he begins quietly, once the car is parked and turned off. He looks up at her, hesitating slightly while he considers his answer. "Your memory might come back like swiss cheese, or not come back at all. Or you might wake up one day and remember everything. I'm just relieved and happy that you're home finally. That's enough, regardless of what happens to what you remember or don't. That doesn't mean I'm going to stop trying right now, it's too early to tell what will help and what won't. But I'm not going to abandon you to figure it out alone."

"And I appreciate that. I do. I just— I guess I worry about us trying too hard and getting nothing back. I don't know." Rylie smiles over at him, even if it's a little bittersweet. "I'm just glad to be out of there. Those agents, whoever they are. I don't know if it was worse than thinking I was from a different time, but it definitely wasn't better."

"Being in the agents' custody definitely sucked." Something Zan firmly agrees on. "They meant well, but…" He shakes his head and for a moment, he looks at the steering wheel. "When we first got back, part of me wanted to take you back to the past. It's what you remembered and seeing you upset and lost and confused… I felt selfish wanting you to stay here. I would've let you go if you asked, done anything to return you to that life, so you would be happy again. But this is where you belong. That other life was a facade, it was someone else's memories in your body."

"Did they?" Rylie poses the question on the agent's intentions, but it seems to be rhetorical, since she goes right on. "Eventually, those other memories would have gone away, anyway. And I would have been back there with vague memories of a time that hadn't happened yet. I think that would have been a bit worse. Good at first, but worse in the long run. So don't feel too selfish." She follows with a crooked smile before she reaches over to put a hand on his leg.

"True, but at the time we didn't know that." Her touch draws Zan's gaze back to her, and he covers her hand with his. "I know, I'm kind of pushing right now, with trying to get you back to normal. I'm sorry. It's just… Having lost you once, and now you're back. I'm just… relieved and… I don't know. Worried about all of this, and us. Staying optimistic that you'll get things back kind of helps. But just tell me to back off or slow down, I'll follow your lead."

"I'll tell you if I'm about to clock you one for being too pushy," Rylie says, but with a smirk that lets him know she's not entirely serious. "I just don't want you to get upset if these things don't work. The doctor says— well, he says a lot of things. I have a pamphlet about meditative memory exercises and everything."

"I already told you that rebuilding was an option," Zan points out. "So I won't be disappointed if nothing works. Not much anyway. And I'm not going to leave you over it or anything." He pauses briefly, a grin quirking through his sober expression. "I knew you had a violent streak," he murmurs, teasing.

He gives her hand a squeeze. Then, while he unbuckles his seat belt, he leans a little further over to kiss her cheek. "Do you want to go flying or just look around a bit," he asks as he straightens and opens his door. Apparently he's trying to rein himself in a little as well. Climbing out, a few steps have him around the passenger side to open her door and offer a hand up.

Rylie smiles at the reassurance, nodding as well, with maybe just a hint of worry there. Just a hint! But she doesn't press it further. "Just a little one," she says, as far as her violent streak. Her smile widens at the kiss, and she unbuckles her seatbelt, too, while he circles the car.

"I think I'm curious enough about this flying thing to give it a test run first. The desert'll still be here after." And she doesn't seem to plan on letting go of his hand just yet, even when she is out of the car.

"Awesome." Zan even sounds enthused. It's been a while since there has been any kind of flying done in the desert. He looks at her, lacing his fingers with hers while leading her a little ways away from the car. "I'll try not to make it too scary. It'll be more like… The Canyon Blaster than the Manhattan Express."

After a few yards he stops walking and looks around at their surroundings. Rocks of all sizes litter the ground, and massive formations reach up stories overhead to plateaus of varying degrees. Must be as good a place as any to start, but before he takes off he turns to pick her up much as he must have many times before. He doesn't hesitate, but there's a little touch of shyness to his actions as he wraps an arm around her shoulders and one behind her knees, lifting her off the ground.

"And I'll try not to scream too much," Rylie says, only half joking there. But whatever she was expecting, when he moves to scoop her up, she looks a little surprised. Perhaps it hadn't occurred to her to wonder just how he was going to do this flying around. But she wraps her arms around his neck. For safety mostly, but there's a bit of a blush on her cheeks, too.

"Sorry," Zan offers, color to match creeping down his ears and up into his cheeks. "It's how… I should have asked first…" He lets out a breath which might be a weak laugh at himself. "It's just we've been dating, exclusively. And I'm hoping we still are. Just not sure what page you're on since you've been gone."

It's without warning, but slow enough that talking can continue to happen, they begin gaining altitude. Zan watches her more than where he's going, the upward rise is gentle enough and above is only open sky at the moment. His arms tighten around her some, reflexive security mostly.

"No no, it's fine. It's great," Rylie says, a smile spreading over her face. "We— I mean, it isn't like there's going to be anyone else," she says, her answer more a joke, complete with a chuckle. "I just don't quite remember… where we are. If you follow me."

It's a difficult discussion to have in general, but more so because Rylie is watching the world fall away from them, and seems to not quite be able to stop watching just yet.

Upward Zan flies, keeping a sure hold of Rylie. And the world below falls away. The car shrinks as they gain air above the plateaus, and eventually disappears when one mountainous shape blocks it out. They climb higher, rising another twenty feet above the nearby mountains.

"I know what you mean," he answers when he stops climbing. He's looking down as well, admiring the landscape for a moment. He falls quiet after that, obviously thinking but also allowing her time to acclimate to the height and enjoy the experience before he gets down to the actual flying.

"Wow." Rylie whispers the word as she looks down below them, then out at their view. She holds on tighter, too, but there's no small amount of appreciation in her expression. "You get to do this whenever you want?" She lets out a bit of a sigh. Impressed.

Apparently he's off the hook for defining just where their relationship is, for now. She's a bit busy being awestruck and cared to death.

Her reaction and expression brings a faint smile, and Zan tilts his head toward her a little. "Not really whenever I want," he admits. "I'm technically not supposed to fly in the city. But I have anyway, and last time I got caught. I really do try to behave myself." Sometimes. "Usually we come out here to fly around."

He twists around while maintaining a slow speed, but puts himself and her more parallel to the ground. Just a different point of view. Once evened out, he kicks up the speed a little. It's still no faster than jogging, and he continues to hold her close. No falling allowed.

"Well, alright, within reason, you can." Rylie hangs on when he changes their position, and she looks back to him with a crooked smile. "Still, I'm jealous." But not in a negative way, seeing as there's a grin on her face. She watches the landscape slink by, but it's just a moment before she looks back to him with a bit of a sad smile. "I'm not getting anything. I mean, nothing from before."

"Your ability is pretty neat too," Zan points out. "It's not showy, but you can make some awesome things happen through others." He smiles at her, though it softens when her own turns sad. "It's alright," he murmurs, "we're just starting out. Remember, I said it's like a roller coaster."

He doesn't wait for a reply, and since they're already high up he starts a decline. It's faster now, not breathtakingly and slower than the amusement rides he'd mentioned before. But the ground closes up fast enough that it may well be a thrill ride, and at the last minute he pulls upward and barrel rolls twice between two rocky risers. There's no lack of control or confidence in his abilities, no slipping of his grip on her, and an awareness of her that has prepared to pull the exercise up short if it seems like it's going sour.

"Support staff," Rylie says, but of course, she hasn't actually used her ability. It's all theoretical. And moot, once he starts them downwards. She seems to like it during the descent, some laughter coming from her. But there's a tense moment when the rolling starts, and she buries her face against his neck.

But it's only long enough for her to get used to it, and to clue in that he's not going to drop her. When she turns to look out at the rocks and sky and desert as it tumbles by, a smile comes out again, and she even lets go to spread her arms out. Her eyes close, too. Savoring, maybe.

Though he doesn't say anything, Zan's head lowers to rest beside hers, his cheek nearly touching her own. When he notes her relaxing, the speed increases, subtly at first but soon the change can be felt even with eyes closed. He becomes a little more daring, weaving between close boulders and passing through a crevasse. When it opens up again he rolls upward and starts toward the sky.

He arches slowly as they climb, seeming at first to be going into a wide loop. She can feel it then, the momentum changes, propulsion continues to carry them a short distance before gravity takes over and they're falling. A controlled free fall, though it may not seem like it at first, and he's got himself angled to be a buffer. Just in case. But for the moment, they are falling.

Rylie manages pretty well, right up until they start to fall. She scrambles to hang onto him again, eyes open and watching the ground getting closer and forgetting to breathe as he grip on him tightens. There's certainly panic, but the screaming hasn't kicked in yet. Maybe she's just too shocked to scream.

The ground draws closer and closer, and together they narrowly miss an outcropping of striated rock. Zan still hasn't released her and doesn't seem likely to, and small comfort that he keeps himself between her and the ground. Mostly. Concentration works its way into his expression, as well as worry, and his gaze angles to watch her. There's hope, too, that something will spark and soon.

It's hard to say if anything's coming to her, mostly because when it starts getting too close for her comfort, Rylie buries her face against his chest and just tries to remember to breathe. She's tense, though, and not doing too well at keeping herself calm. But since there's not much she can do about it, it's one of those times she just has to hang on for the ride.

There's still a comfortable distance when Zan pulls out of the fall, several feet of clearance between him and the ground instead of several inches. The upward return isn't so great as before, he levels out shortly and, like a thrill ride coming to an end, he slows. Eventually they descend again, his feet finding the ground before he gently sets her onto her own feet. He doesn't release her right away, his arms continue to hold her against his chest for as long as she allows it, still just as protective as before and also offering comfort and silent apology.

Rylie clings onto him when they make it to the ground, taking a moment or two before she looks up at him. "You… you don't do that every time, do you?" she asks a little breathlessly, but not without a touch of a smile curving one corner of her lips. "I might have to call you an adrenaline junkie."

Though he shakes his head, Zan does look a little ashamed. "Not every time, and that was the first time with you along. I'm sorry, it was pretty stupid of me to do." He leans back slightly and brushes a lock of hair back from her face. "I was in control the whole time, but I am sorry. I shouldn't have done that."

"I'm not mad," Rylie says, even if she's still shaky, "just a little heads up, next time." She even manages a smile. "I trust you. Don't ask me why, because I couldn't answer if you did, but I do. In my gut." Which is probably a good sign, all things considered.

Zan gives a weak laugh as he nods. "Yeah. I'll warn you before I try anything crazy again." He smiles, just a little, taking some comfort in her trust. He wraps his arms around her again and hugs her. His head tilts a little to rest his cheek against the top of her head while he holds her for the moment.

Rylie returns the hug, just until she's gotten her sea legs, so to speak. Leaning back, her hands stay on his arms, and she smirks over at him. "So, besides trying to give me a heart attack, you plan anything else out here? Or are we winging it?" Her hands slide down to find his hands, her gaze falling on the ground between them for a long moment.

"Just winging it," Zan answers while he watches her. His hands tighten around hers in a gentle squeeze. "There's food packed in the trunk…" The idea trails off, along with his words, the longer he watches her. That little worry line between his eyebrows returns faintly, and his head tilts a little to one side, trying to catch her gaze. "…You okay?"

"Let's head toward the car, then. Ah… is it far?" Rylie looks up, though, at his question, and she smiles softly. "Yeah, I'm okay. I just— " Her brow furrows, too, and she looks up at him. "Just having weird deja-vu all over the desert. But I can't quite…" She looks away again, over the stretch around them as if it might tell her what she's missing. "It's like having it on the tip o your tongue, but you can't quite find the word you're looking for."

"Shouldn't be too far." Zan takes her by the hand, and starts for the car at a leisurely pace. He watches her still, giving just enough attention to the way ahead to keep from running into anything or tripping. "We spent a lot of time out here," he suggests. "Maybe that has something to do with it? First time I took you flying with me, we parked up on a ledge and watched the sun come up."

"We did?" Rylie looks over at him, her smile returning gently. "That sounds amazing." She steps a little closer to him, her free hand crossing to rest on his arm. "And tonight, can we stay out to see the stars for a bit? It's hard to see anything up there in the city. All that neon."

Zan smiles and nods. "It was. Spectacular view, the best company." He grins for a moment, then her question has it softening into a smile. "Yeah, that sounds like a great idea. I think some of our camping stuff might still be in the trunk too." Blankets that hadn't made it back to the linen closet, most likely.

"Perfect," Rylie leans her head against his shoulder as they walk, apparently content to stroll along in silence for a while. At least she isn't looking troubled just now.

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