Title: The Shack
Author: finalfantasys-child AKA Chibi Reina AKA Dara the Morbid Gaara
Pairing: Balthier x Ashe
Summary: After getting separated from the party and running from a flock of angry chocobos, the sky pirate and the princess find themselves spending the night at a vacant shack.
Disclaimer: The day I own Final Fantasy XII is the day I marry Larsa.
A/N Ahhhh… I'm only at the part where you have to go to Miriam to get the Nethlicite sword, so forgive me if there's anything incorrect about the fic. Oooh, and sorry if I seem to make Ashe and Balthier act OOC.
"It's pouring out there…" Ashe spoke, looking out the semi-dusty window. Balthier sighed in response, removing his sopping wet vest as he plopped himself down onto the ground. The princess turned and saw him, now removing his long sleeved shirt, and she quickly turned back around again.
"What's the matter, Princess?" the blond man asked, his grin could be heard in his voice. "Seen something you've never seen before?"
"O-of course not! I'm just giving you your privacy, that's all." Ashe felt her face heat up and she crossed her arms.
"Privacy? I don't need any privacy, it's not like I'm actually getting naked, my dear." Balthier smirked. The woman continued looking out the window, feeling a shiver go up her spine as he had said this. She bit her lip. "Ah, Milady… you might catch a cold in those wet clothes…"
"If you're implying something, Sky Pirate, I'm not listening." Ashe suddenly let out a sneeze.
"See, there's your cold." Balthier stood up. The princess turned to glare at him, only to be met with nicely toned chest and abs. She breathed in and stared at his face.
"Well, I wouldn't have gotten this cold if you hadn't decided to chase that black chocobos for some feathers…"
"Nobody asked you to follow me, Princess." The blond man put a hand on his hip, enjoying the young woman's nervousness. "We would have gotten back with everyone if you hadn't woken up every single chocobo in the area. I mean really, I thought you were better than that, screaming just because you thought you stepped on some droppings…"
"Well, your little question before we jumped off that cliff wasn't exactly great, either." Ashe huffed.
"Hey!" Balthier frowned. "would you rather fall to your death or get pecked do death by a few dozen angry chocobos?" The woman ignored the stupid question and sat down, sneezing again.
"It's freezing." She mumbled. Her acquaintance threw his hands up in annoyance.
"Of course!" he groaned. "Your clothes are soaked and it's nightfall. Of course you'd be freezing!" Ashe finally gave in. Balthier grinned in triumph and turned away to give her privacy. Something across the room caught his eye and he crawled over to it and picked it up.
"Well, we won't be worrying about keeping warm now." He spoke. "I found a blanket."
Ashe had already removed her foot gear and her outer clothing, leaving on only her underwear. She hung them on a rack to dry and sat down with her knees brought up to her chest and arms around her legs.
"Is there another one?" she asked. Balthier unfolded the blanket, making sure there wasn't another one, and looked around some more.
"I'm afraid not, Milady."
And with this said, the woman's heart fell.
Balthier tossed her the blanket.
"Well then, there you go." He simply said. Ashe caught the blanket and looked at him in confusion.
"I don't really need it; I've suffered through some illnesses already."
"No 'buts,' now, Deary." Balthier shook his head. "It wouldn't do if our little princess got really sick now, would it?"
Ashe sighed. "But it wouldn't do if you got sick, either." She held on tightly to the blanket.
"No, just go ahead and keep it, I insist." That was that. Ashe obeyed and wrapped the blanket around her; the sky pirate sat cross-legged and shut his eyes.
As the night went on, the rain got lighter, but as this happened, the air grew colder. Ashe pretended not to see her companion shiver and sigh uncomfortably. She bit her lip and stood up. The woman sat down next to Balthier and put one part of the blanket around his shoulder.
The man's eyes quickly opened, and he turned his head to Ashe.
"I'm sorry," she quickly apologized. Balthier shook his head.
"No, it's okay."
They sat like that in silence, few feet away from skin contact, with a large blanket wrapped around the both of them.
"Wonder how the others are doing…" Ashe said, breaking the silence.
Balthier chuckled a bit. "Well, knowing Fran, she'd- ooh…" he stopped himself from finishing the sentence. The woman furrowed her eyebrows.
"She'd what? Tell me."
"I already said. It's nothing." The man shook his head. Ashe stood on her knees, using her part of the blanket to cover herself.
"Tell me, or…"
"Or what, Princess?" Balthier raised an eyebrow.
"Or I'll tell everyone that you had taken advantage of me tonight."
"Please. Only Vaan and his little friend would believe that."
"That's what you think." Ashe said, a fierce look of some strange determination on her face. Balthier rolled his eyes, and moved his elbow out, accidentally hitting Ashe softly on the side.
She squeaked quite loudly.
"Oh!" The blonde man grinned mischievously. "is the pretty princess ticklish?"
"No, of course not." Ashe blushed, wrapping her arms around herself. Balthier turned a bit, and poked her on the side once more. She squeaked again, and jumped away.
Thus, pulling the blanket away, and pulling the man along with it.
Balthier fell forward and landed right on top of the princess, his arms stopping himself from crushing her. It was very, very silent- both feeling very awkward and only centimeters away from skin contact.
"You really want to know what Fran would probably be doing right at this very moment, Milady?" Balthier asked, in barely a whisper. Ashe nodded, trying to calm her fast beating heart.
Balthier leaned in closer.
"She'd probably…" Closer… "…tell the others…" Even closer… "…about…" She could feel his warm breath on her face. "…my infatuation with…" The man stopped, smirked, and suddenly got up with a laugh.
And Ashe felt cheated from letting him tease her like this.
"We should be getting some sleep." Balthier rubbed his nose in a Vaan-ish sort of way.
"Hey! Don't change the subject!" Ashe sat up. "with who?"
"Hm?" the man asked, with a raised eyebrow.
"Don't play dumb now, Pirate." She said. "who do you like?"
"Well, now you sound like a gossiping middle-aged wife." Balthier stared at her for a long time, before adding, "you do know I can see your under garments now, right?"
Ashe groaned in annoyance and snatched the blanket up, covering herself with it. The man just laughed.
"You really wish to know?"
"You really REALLY wish to know?"
Balthier walked over to the woman and leaned in close to her ear.
"I do quite fancy that one woman Viera… what was her name again? Ah yes, Mjrn…" he held back a laugh when he saw the look on Ashe's face. "I'm just joking, Princess."
"Tell me who… I'm not going to beg."
"Ah, well that takes the fun out of everything." Balthier let out a huff. "anyhow, Milady, no offence, but you are quite dense."
"Am not." The princess stood up.
"Yes, you are." The sky pirate sat back down and then said in a fatherly sort of way, "It's time for bed."
"You can't tell me what to do."
"Ah, but since you have no power over me whatsoever, you can't tell me what to tell you, either."
Ashe frowned, but knew she was defeated. She sat down, hogging the blanket all to herself. "Well then, let's see if I share my blanket with you ever again." And Balthier just shrugged, as if it didn't really matter.
The rain stopped, the air got a bit warmer, and the sun came up. The two only got a few hours of sleep before the door to the shack was thrown open, followed by the calling of their own names. Ashe opened her eyes and was welcomed by the sight of the relieved party. Balthier was already standing with his shirt and vest on.
"Lady Ashe!" Larsa spoke up, rushing over to her. "as you can see, we've finally found you two."
"Ah, let her be, for now," Balthier said. "she needs to get dressed so we may go. Fran, make sure she gets her clothes on correctly, she might still be half-asleep."
It made the princess quite angry at the fact that the man was talking about her as if she weren't there.
Ashe stood as the party left, leaving her and Fran behind. The young woman had already slipped on all her clothes and was working on her foot gear when the Viera spoke up.
"You are troubled with his secret, yes?"
"What?" Ashe looked up, dumbfounded.
"You are wishing to know who it is Balthier is infatuated with, am I wrong?" Fran tilted her head slightly to the side.
"No, you… you're right…" the princess finished with her shoes and stood.
"I don't know about you, but it really should be quite obvious, even for a Hume."
Ashe thought for a bit, "Don't tell me it's… Penelo…?"
"My, you really are quite dense." Fran shook her head disappointingly.
"Well then, I'm sorry."
"Listen, Milady," the Viera looked Ashe in the eyes. "what I'm about to tell you is something I'm sure Balthier was going to tell you later, but I'm sensing from you that before then, you'd most likely destroy him from leading you on before he'd get a chance to even say."
There was a long silence.
"…What?" the princess blinked. Fran remained patient with her.
"The one he's infatuated with is you."
"What's taking them so long?" Vaan asked, chucking a rock at nothing whatsoever. "it shouldn't take the princess that long to get dressed, would it?"
"Well, Fran is with her, so she'll be okay," Penelo sat down with her arms wrapped around her legs.
"Yes, Fran is with…" Balthier stopped, realizing what he had done. "Oh, shoot."
"What?" the group stared at him.
"Nothing, nothing." The man mentally beat himself down with a stick. Only afterwards did Ashe and Fran walk out of the shack.
They both seemed to be acting normal, which calmed Balthier down a little bit.
The group started off on their journey, and Balthier stayed behind to ask Fran a question.
"Did you tell her?" he asked. The Viera looked at him with her usual expression.
"Tell her what?"
"About… about… you know!" he felt restless.
"No, of course not." Fran replied. "who do you think I am?"
"Ah, I forget," Balthier sighed in relief. "you're not that kind of person." He grinned, feeling as though there were nothing in the world to ruin his mood now.
Ashe just walked up ahead, with a bright smile on her face. She laced her hands behind her back, almost humming a tune. Larsa, Vaan, and Penelo looked at each other with blank expressions, and Basch was just too busy looking around to realize anything.
"Of course I'm not," spoke Fran, hiding a smirk. "I'd never let out any secret so important as that."
And Balthier remained clueless.
A/N I hate the ending. lol, I typed this up around last month, and left it at Fran's last saying, and I couldn't remember if I ended it there or was braindead. Har har. But alas, I decided to end it there. Please review and tell me what you think!