|Is It Love?
Author: Dark Chobit PM
[BalthierFran] Postgame. As more people join Balthier and Fran on the Strahl, more problems arise. Balthier has to figure out where his heart really lies as those close to him fall to a mysterious disease, and he has to work with a rival on top of it.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Adventure - Chapters: 6 - Words: 10,276 - Reviews: 60 - Favs: 15 - Follows: 27 - Updated: 05-06-07 - Published: 01-13-07 - id: 3340065
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Is It Love?
By: Dark Chobit//Fenris
After he had glanced a few times, Fran looked over at the blonde man, her brow furrowing ever so slightly to match her near-annoyance. "What?" she inquired, wanting to know why he kept looking at her. Her voice seemed to startle him as it cut through the silence like a knife.
Balthier quickly regained his composure and looked back out at the clouds as the Strahl passed through a few. "You've been quiet lately," he commented. "Is something wrong?"
After a pregnant pause, Fran spoke again. "You should go back if you want to see her," she said. Balthier knew she was referring to the princess who was to be Queen very shortly, as her coronation was about to take place, although he did not know why she mentioned her.
He turned over her words in his mind, as well as his thoughts of Ashe. While he wanted to go see her, he knew that being tied down to the ground in such a relationship wouldn't suit him in the least, and a Queen couldn't just take to the skies whenever the mood came to her. She was beautiful in his eyes, and he had heard the clear concern in her voice when she tried to get him to get out of the Bahamut, but he was wise enough to know when the leading man would have to choose freedom over love.
Fran's ear twitched a little as she waited for his response, and it drew him quickly from his thoughts. "She'll be a bit busy, I'm sure," he said. "Being the Queen and all. Besides, there's treasure to hunt, and she's not the type for that anymore."
The Viera woman nodded slightly, though her stomach growled and interrupted the quiet and the tension that Balthier hadn't even realized had been filling the room. He couldn't help but give a sort of lopsided grin to her, though she frowned when he did. "Hungry?" he asked teasingly, steering the Strahl towards Bhujerba, deciding they could afford to dock for lunch, although he was also hoping that some fresh air might relax Fran a little.
They landed not more than a half an hour later and Balthier exited with Fran, leading her over to the local tavern. She sat down and ordered her food, and then Balthier ordered his, although the awkward silence returned when the waiter left, and it made Balthier even more uncomfortable. He drank a bit of his ice-cold tea to fight off the effects of the hot, muggy summer air that was filling the room, noticing almost with amusement that while he was fanning himself a little, Fran seemed unaffected by the heat. He frowned when she tensed slightly; he knew no one else would notice, as Fran kept her emotions in control, but he caught the brief flash of surprise and anger that swept across her usually stoic face. He followed her gaze and arched an eyebrow, almost amused at the sight.
A girl entered the bar, though she wasn't a Hume girl, but a Viera girl, and one that Fran would recognize very well. She sat down at the bar and asked for some water, oblivious to Fran's growing glare and frown. The woman stood and strode over to the younger Viera, who only then looked in her direction and seemed to pale slightly.
"Mjrn!" Fran exclaimed. Balthier rose as well, noting that Fran must be quite upset to raise her voice at all, and even then, it wasn't very loud. He knew better than to try to defend Mjrn in this situation, as it was Fran's issue to deal with, and it wasn't his business. "What are you doing here?" Fran asked the girl in an ostensibly calmer voice.
Mjrn slid off the stool and grabbed the water she had asked for. She seemed to regret this decision, as Fran was slightly taller than her and now had the advantage of being able to glare down at the girl.
"I couldn't stand to be there anymore," Mjrn replied, her voice coming out weak and betraying her nervousness. "Some Humes came through, adventurers," she said. "They told me more about the changes in Ivalice… I wanted to go with them and see it for myself."
Fran pursed her lips at this response, but both she and Balthier looked towards the door as a few men came in, whom they recognized as bounty hunters. The sky pirates exchanged a glance and wordlessly agreed on a plan, as starting a fight in a bar wasn't the best thing for them then. Fran grabbed their food and put it into a bag, leaving gil on the table for it while Balthier put a guiding arm around Mjrn's shoulders, leading her outside into the city streets. After the older Viera had joined them, they started back towards the Aerodome, but one of the bounty hunters called out.
"You, there!" he exclaimed. "Do you think you can just sneak past us?" he asked. He was a large Seeq, and sported a rather large axe in his hand.
Fran gave Balthier a look and he knew they couldn't afford to fight with Mjrn there, as there was too much risk for her to be hurt. He glanced at the Seeq and gave an arrogant sort of smirk. "Oh? I wouldn't dream of it," he said as he brandished his gun, stepping between the Seeq and the two Viera. "Fran, I'll meet you back at the ship," he said over his shoulder to her.
Her crimson eyes narrowed slightly, but she took Mjrn as she headed towards the Aerodome. When Balthier was sure the two were a safe distance away, his face lost its playfulness. "Now, you were saying?" he asked.
The Seeq ignored the comment and charged him, axe above his head, and his momentum made it a narrow escape for the blonde man as he dodged the blow. Balthier was a bit surprised with his speed, but shot the axe out of his hand. He scoffed a bit as he heard the local police running towards them, and he headed for the Aerodome. "It was nice to battle with you," he said, before running to the Strahl. He climbed into the cockpit, joining Fran, who had Mjrn seated behind her.
"We'll have to get going, fast," he said, and Fran nodded, understanding the urgency. They pulled out of the Aerodome and took to the skies right as the police reached their docking station, and Balthier let out a sigh of relief.
However, there was still the problem of that unhappy silence, and this time, the tension was twice as thick as before, and he knew that his partner was angry, but he also didn't want to interfere in family business when it wasn't his place.
"This is a nice ship," Mjrn said quietly, as she could feel the tension as clearly as though it was the Mist.
Balthier set up a few controls so the ship would maintain a certain flight while he stood, frowning a bit when the younger Viera started to cough harshly.
Fran rose, her lips pursed. "I'll speak with you later about leaving the Wood," she said in a tone that left no room for arguing. "For now, I'll show you a room that you can stay in. That cough doesn't sound good, I want you to rest," she said as she tugged her sister to the one spare bedroom in the Strahl. Her own room was next to it, and Balthier's next to that. Her door was closed, as it always was, but Balthier's was open to reveal a somewhat plain room filled with a few sentimental treasures or ones that weren't rare enough yet to fetch an extremely high price.
Balthier waited for Fran to come back to the cockpit, where he was waiting with his hands on his hips. "Are you going to scold her?" he asked. "Can you blame her for wanting to leave the Wood to see the world? It's the same as yourself."
She seemed to become tenser than before and Balthier regretted his words. "I don't need your lecturing now, Balthier," she said, and her harshness surprised him. He wondered if he had offended her in some way. He doubted that he had, as he and Fran had come to the most intimate understanding of each other that any two people could have. They had a sort of unspoken connection and could tell the other's emotions when strangers saw only a stoic mask.
"What are you planning on doing about Mjrn?" Balthier asked instead. He felt out of place, like something was wrong, but he couldn't figure out what that something was.
Fran sat down in one of the chairs and sighed, holding her head in one hand as she looked at him. "I can't take her back to the Wood," she said in a rather defeated tone. "It's much too late for that, even Jote wouldn't accept her. But, that's not what's concerning me the most at the moment," she said.
Balthier gave her an inquisitive look as he sat down in the other chair, his elbows on his knees as his eyes locked on her. "What is concerning you, then?" he asked.
"That cough," Fran said. He found himself looking briefly at her lips when they curved into a frown, though he caught himself and brought his gaze back to her eyes, thankful that she didn't seem to have noticed. "I asked and she said it started just recently, after she was with the Humes. We Viera rarely get sick, so I'd like to keep an eye on her for a while."
The pirate nodded and leaned forward to pat her knee. "Well, we'll keep an eye on her, I'm sure it's nothing," he said, wanting to be reassuring. Some degree of relief met him when Fran offered the trace of a smile. "Where to next?" he asked.
"Let's head for Rabanastre," Fran said. "We can look for rumors of any hunts or treasures there." She barely managed to keep her face blank when she thought she saw excitement briefly pass over his face before he stood and went back to the pilot's seat to steer the Strahl towards Rabanastre.
Why did I have to go and suggest Rabanastre, of all places?