Author's notes: okay people, heres a Basch/Fran and don't pretend you don't wanna read and review it!! please, for my sanity, review this! All i want is at least 2 reviews and i'll post the next chapter!! thanks!!
Basch and the Bunny.
A fair while ago, the party had disbanded, following their own paths and keeping ties only with those they'd had them with before. Penelo and Vaan had remained in Rabanastre, though living in much more substantial dwellings, through the kindness of Lady Ashe. Basch had remained in contact with the pair for a while, though when he assumed control of the army, only Ashe continued to hear from him.
Naturally, Balthier returned to the luxuries of sky pirate life; plundering and flying the Strahl, though the number of young women frequenting the airship had substantially diminished and he often spoke of visiting Ashe. Having nowhere else to go, and no path she'd rather take, Fran continued her partnership with Balthier, so they remained known as 'The sky pirate and his Viera partner'. She would have preferred 'The sky pirate and her Hume partner', though she assumed that was too much to ask.
Nevertheless, she was contented and had only thought of Eruyt village once, after a dream she had had, concerning her sister Jote in the Feywood. Other than that one occurrence, Fran considered herself to have no ties.
"Fran? Fran, you're not even listening, are you?" Balthier questioned, raising an eyebrow as he leaned back in his chair.
"Sorry," she replied, pressing her eyes shut to clear her swirling head, before focusing her bright eyes on him.
"What is on your mind that it could be more important than what I was telling you?"
"It's quite insignificant."
"Go on," Balthier prompted.
"I was merely concerned about the welfare of Penelo, Vaan and the rest of our old party members," she explained. "It's been a long time."
"Ah, I myself had been wondering the same thing last night." An intrigued expression passed over his face that always did when an idea struck him. "Why not pay our old comrades a visit right now?"
"What a marvellous idea!" Fran smiled as she slid from hr soft chair and slinked over to the door, ducking to allow her tall ears through. Balthier followed wordlessly, easing into his pilot's seat, though Fran would consider herself to be the most knowledgeable about the working of the ship.
"Why not spend some time with Ashe, when we visit?" She suggested.
"Are you trying to have rid of me?" Balthier asked with a sweetly innocent voice.
"Of course not, I only suggest that you admit your true feelings, instead of hiding."
"And how do you know these feelings are directed towards Ashe and not you?" Balthier shot her a charming smile, leaning so close, she could also memorise every tiny detail of his face.
"Because I know things that you do not." Fran replied with a satisfied smile as he drew away from her wearing an amused grin.
"Shall we visit Penelo and Vaan first?" She asked. "They should be easier to gain access to."
"Indeed, Ashe appears to be under lock and key. Anyone would think there has just been a war waged." Balthier smirked.
They set a course for Rabanastre, the Strahl's thrusters bursting into life. They arrived within minutes, landing in the Aerodrome and paying the small fortune required to leave an airship.
Balthier set off at a stroll out of the Aerodrome towards the Sandsea tavern. Fran followed at a leisurely pace, her heels clicking, and her long white hair rippling like the foam from a wave.
They drew many gazes from the residents of Rabanastre. A lone Viera could frequently find herself the centre of attention, but a Viera accompanying a wanted sky pirate appeared to be awe-inspiring to these people. Balthier always found it incredibly amusing, often milking it for all it's worth. He would talk so he was clearly audible or make affectionate gestures and commandeer the balcony of the Sandsea so that he could make his presence known.
"Excuse me, excuse me!" Cried a young man with dusty blonde hair. He floundered over to them eagerly with a broad smile on his youthful face.
Balthier paused and folded his arms, commanding the attention of the people in their vicinity. Fran merely looked on as the blonde man blurted out what he was so excited to tell them.
"I want to thank you both!"
"Why is that?" Asked the sky pirate with mild surprise.
"If I had never seen you both together, I never thought I could find love with a Viera," the young man explained, gesturing to an elegant Viera who sat watching them from the fountain.
"Happy to be of service," Balthier grinned, bowing his head and continuing once the man had left. "If I had ten gil for every time someone implied that…"
"Then you would be rich enough to even consider giving up being a sky pirate." Fran suggested.
"And miss all the fun?" He retorted with a sly grin, "ah, as I thought our young friends are here."
Fran followed his gaze to where Vaan and Penelo stood, valiantly standing up to a pair of guards as they tried to speak to Larsa.
"Apologies, bhadra," said a soldier, "but Lord Larsa may not speak to the peasants."
"I will speak to whom I please," Larsa corrected, sliding through his minders. Fran could not help but admire him; Larsa was very wise and commanded a suprising for someone of his age and build.
Penelo, quickly forgetting her 'place', embraced Larsa in a friendly hug before spotting Balthier and Fran approaching.
"Oh, isn't this wonderful?" Cried Penelo, "its like a reunion!"
She hurried over to Balthier, throwing her arms around his neck to hug him too. The sky pirate squeezed her warmly, lifting the petite girl off and spinning her round. Penelo let go as he set her down, and staggered over to Fran. She leant down a little so that the girl could give her a slightly awkward hug.
"Its so great to see you all again!" Penelo grinned with enthusiasm, clasping her hands together.
"And just in time to hear Larsa's news," Vaan smiled in his childish way, heading into the Sandsea for a drink.
Fran and Balthier exchanged a curious glance. Neither had expected excitement so soon after their return.
The small company seated themselves in the vacated chairs that littered the Sandsea balcony, whist Larsa remained standing.
Though it was a year since Fran had last seen him, she was sure he hadn't grown much and his voice had still retained that childlike quality. His face, however wore a serious expression that told Fran she'd need to pack her medicines and weapons when she returned to the Strahl.
"There is a little political disruption and I have been called for," Larsa explained, "a friend had told me that they are in disarray, so I have decided to go. Ashe has also chosen to go, therefore I will be her escort. She has asked specifically for you six to accompany us."
"Correct me if I'm wrong," Balthier smirked, "but there are only four of us here."
"Yeah, but Basch will go, won't he?" Penelo pointed out. "Basch always goes."
They looked at Larsa expectantly, waiting for him to reveal the final member of the party.
"The sixth would be i." Came a silky voice that Fran recognised in an instant. She whipped her head round to see the short skirt, long sleeved top that was similar to her own, short white hair and snowy ears of her younger sister.
"Mjrn!" She gasped. "Why are you here? I told you to remain in Eruyt village and forget that you ever saw me."
"How can I forget when the village is so dull? All I have to think upon are my memories."
"Trust me when I say you don't want this life." Fran said, trying to make her sister understand. Once a Viera leaves the wood, there is no turning back. Originally, Fran had left to understand the outside world more thoroughly, to explore, and even chance at finding love in the land of Humes. Where had it gotten her? Certainly, she enjoyed the life of a sky pirate, but she hadn't found love and didn't want her romantic sister to waste her time trying as she had.
"This is all I have dreamed of for years," Mjrn persisted. "Please don't take it away, sister."
"Why did Ashe want her?" Fran asked, turning her inquisitive eyes onto Larsa.
"Because she was willing to help." Larsa replied simply, "Who am I to say who is worthy and who isn't?"
Fran sighed, resting her head on her hand wearily. She ignored the amused look that Balthier gave her. Mjrn settled herself at the table, avidly gazing at Larsa. Fran disapproved of the way Balthier stared at her sister like a hawk watching it's prey. She sent him a stern glance that jerked the sky pirate into listening to Larsa instead.
"We must set off tomorrow and go to Bur-Omisace. Gather your provisions and meet at the entrance to the Giza Plains from Rabanastre."
"Why can't we just teleport?" Asked Vaan.
"We will teleport to the Golmore Jungle, but the crystal at Bur-Omisace was destroyed, so it is out of use."
Balthier got to his feet, drawing attention to himself as he so liked to.
"Well, we had better get ready then." He smiled.
The following day, Fran and Balthier met with the others by the amber crystal near the entrance to the Giza Plains. Queen Ashe waited there, the morning sun glittering on her golden helm. Her skirt, which fell across one leg and was tied at the hip was a pink colour. She also wore knee high boots and a loose overcoat above her embroided top. The queen's trusty sword and shield were at her side as well. To Ashe's right stood Basch, looking unusual in his knight's armour. Vaan, Penelo and Mjrn remained in their usual attire, the two Humes carrying swords whilst Mjrn held a traditional Loxley bow.
Fran herself had a Sagittarius strapped to her back and a Francisca at her side. She decided it would be sensible to be equipped for any type f battle. Balthier's weapon of choice was his gun, as usual, as he refused to be seen without it.
Their eyes traveled over to the late arrival of Larsa, who seemed exhilarated to be embarking on a new adventure. Fran could hardly say the same, as every day, life as a sky pirate posed a new challenge.
"Is everyone ready?" Larsa asked, briefly scanning the party. He produced from a small pouch, a number of glistening teleport stones for them to travel to Golmore Jungle.
"Who will go first?" He asked.
"I will," Answered Basch after a pause. " I will ensure the path is safe."
"I will follow him!" Mjrn volunteered, her voice ringing with excitement.
"Are you sure?" Balthier grinned, "we don't want you getting into any more scrapes, do we?"
"I will make sure it is safe," Basch repeated with more emphasis. Clearly his sense of humour was not on a par with Balthier's.
Fran was cautious of the trusting look that Mjrn was giving the sky pirate. Her younger sister, if she were to fall for a Hume, would be better off falling for one such as Basch. He at least would be more likely to settle down, unlike Balthier who could never stay attached for very long. She had seen something similar happen to Mjrn before, and she refused to let it happen again.
Basch took a smooth stone from Larsa's small hand and clutched it firmly in his own. He gazed intently at the glimmering teleport crystal before fading into a flicker of green light.
Before Mjrn could volunteer herself, Fran took a stone. She held it in her palm, staring at the teleport crystal before fading into a flicker of green light. The light danced before her as she concentrated on Golmore Jungle. A tingling sensation coursed through her body as a sense of weightlessness filled her. It only lasted a brief second, then the cool fog of the jungle embraced her. Fran's eyes flickered open as she saw the heavy boughs of the jungle. Basch stood a short distance away, watching her.
"Its safe," he said. "There were no fiends here to deal with."
"I wonder where they all are." Fran mused. It wasn't like Golmore Jungle to be so quiet and peaceful.
"Perhaps we are just lucky." Basch replied in a very unconvincing tone.
"Woah!" Exclaimed an excitable Penelo, "I'll never get used to that!"
The others began to materialize, the flashing lights interesting Fran until they began to hurt her eyes. Larsa produced a map from his pocket.
"We should head this way," he said, pinting. "The easiest route is through the Paramina Rift."
"If you don't count the fiends." Penelo pointed out quietly.
"There are enough of us here to deal with such a situation," Ashe reminded her, speaking for the first time since they had reunited.
"Nevertheless, we must stay wary." Balthier advised.
"Is the famous sky pirate afraid?" Ashe asked wryly with a flicker of a smile.
"Of course not, I merely fear for the Lady's safety." He grinned, outstretching his hand.
"Fear not, I can take care of myself." She replied, striding past him to lead her party towards their destination. Vaan and Penelo chuckled at the sky pirate before he cast them a rueful glance. They quickly hopped off to talk to Larsa and Basch.
Fran shook her head in amusement at Balthier's curious expression. "Do you fret that you are losing your charm?" She asked as she walked alongside him.
"Of course not Fran, I love a challenge." He replied with a cunning grin.
"Well then, you should prepare yourself for a whirlwind of excitement," Fran said with a smirk forming on her lips.
There was a hurried clicking sound as Mjrn darted forward to join her sister. "I've never Been to Mt. Bur-Omisace before." She marvelled.
"There are many places you haven't seen," Fran pointed out, "but you have plenty of time yet to see them."
Mjrn looked hopeful. "I knew i would see you again. I've been so eager to meet these Humes that you have given up the wood for. I wish i could convince Jote, I don't want to have to choose between you. Tell me, have you found love here?"
Fran gazed into her sister's eyes as she confessed, "I did at one point, but it was only a passing fancy."
"For whom? Balthier?"
"Balthier is my closest friend, but nothing more." Fran smiled. She didn't have to be a Viera to see that Mjrn was curious of Balthier's availibility, so she added, "I believe he has feelings for Ashe, anyway."
Mjrn looked disappointed. A low rumble caught Fran's attention. She knew her sister had felt it too. The others seemed oblivious to the fact that something in the air had changed. There was a presence. Ashe glanced over her shoulder, raising a hand to signal that the party should halt.
"What is it?" She asked.
"There is some being here." Fran murmoured, her sharp eyes scanning the mountains but detecting no threat. Mjrn straightened up, relaxing at the lack of an attack. Fran however, was not so easily appeased.
A painful screech emitted from a nearby cliff as a skull knight dropped from an unseen crag. It loomed closer, swinging a immense halberd.
"We can take that." Vaan scoffed.
Several more dropped from the same cliff, attracting the attention of two fighting bullcrocs. Both fiends eyed the party with devourous eyes, edging closer/
Fran drew her bow, nocking an arrow to it whilst the others equipped their weaponry. A skull kight lunged towards Penelo, it's halberd missing her head by a hair's breadth as she squealed and ducked at the last moment. Fran shot an arrow directly into it's skull. The skeleton disappated as little more than dust, allowing them to move onto the next.
Fran gladly saw that Mjrn had withdrawn from the fight, situating herself near a boulder where she could fire without fear of attack. Larsa, Penelo and Vaan attacked an approaching bullcroc, their swords ringing as they clattered against it's thick hide.
Lathier made intermittent shots with his gun whilst maintaining a continuous stream of cures to make sure the youngest three didn't fall from their strangely tough foe. Meanwhile, Basch and Ashe were making light work of the second bullcroc, whose fierce attacks did little more than tickle thier armour. Fran threw her bow over her shoulder, unhooking the golden axe from her belt. A blazing arrow whipped past her ear, singing some fur and emedding itself in a skeleton's skull. The remaining ashes were soon cast to the wind.
Penelo and Vaan cheered as the three of them defeaed the first bullcroc. This only enraged the second and it rammed it's large snout into Basch's chest, lifting the heavily armoured knight off his feet and flinging him into Fran.
Before she could even react, she was kncked off her feet and crashed into a boulder, scraping her shoulder against it's jagged surface. Basch stumbled to his feet, clutching his stomach for a fraction of a second before holding a hand out to help Fran up.
"Sorry." He said as she got to her feet.
Another rumble, louder than before gave way to a harsh grating sound as the last remaining skull knight cast a spell. Immense boulders tore through the earth, colliding with those that fell from the quaking mountain. Fran gasped as a wall began to form, separating her and Basch from the rest of the party. She lunged forwards to try and get through, but Basch caught her arm, stopping her before she got herself crushed. She fresh wall groaned, spitting dust and rocks at them.
"Fran?!" Mjrn cried.
"Fran, Basch, are you alright?" Called Ashe. " Are you hurt?"
She glanced at Basch who suffered a few cuts and bruises and clutched a hankerchief to his forearm as it bled profusely. He gave her a dismissive nod.
"We're fine!" She called back, "but the path is completely blocked off. We'll find an alternate route."
"Catch!" Cried Penelo.
A small bundle came flying ver the wall, which Fran caught swiftly. She unravelled it to find a couple of X-potions and a few remedies.
"Be careful Fran, don't do anything I wouldn't do." Balthier called as the sound of their departing footsteps reached her ears. She snorted. There wasn't anything Balthier wouldn't do as far as she could tell. In that case, she was free to act as she pleased.
Author's notes: Like it so far?? The next chapter will have much more Basch/Fran, but i just wanted to set the scene in this one. Anyways, please please review!!