Author's Note: This is actually the third version of this basic scenario that I've written, since I kept not being able to decide what to do with it. Then, ironically (the irony should be inherently obvious as of paragraph three), I was attempting to take a nap earlier today and my brain decided it felt like composing, so here we have the product of my mind running off on its own with a thought that never quite fell into place before.

Disclaimer: Much as I really wish I could say I was the first person to think of Balthier, Fran, or any other concepts in FFXII, I wasn't and I don't claim to be.


Many things can change in two years. That length of time in the past, he was Ffamran, a boy of sixteen, son of Doctor Cidolfus Bunansa, little more than a notably intelligent student scrambling for attention from his suddenly distant father. The future was dim from the eyes of that child. Nothing but the drab promise of Archadian high society and the unsatisfying prospects of a career as a scientist or a judge, assuaged only by vague, joking fantasies of how he would run off and find some other niche in life that suited him far better. Sky pirating, perhaps. The dreams of a boy who sought to rile his father. Who knew that they would so soon come true.

And now here he was, Balthier, eighteen, in a corridor of an airship he could label his own, lost in idle, silent thought. Much had changed in two years. Ffamran was a boy; Balthier was a man, and yet still marked with the same characteristic mischievousness that made him no less a child. Ffamran had lived in a world of rules and etiquette, bound by society to a life of endless boredom and trifles. Balthier had broken those ties and entered a world where he was in command, free to do what he pleased, to decide his own etiquette and set his own schedule, if still as any other mortal lacking the ability to regulate serendipity.

It was thus that he found himself at present dressed in his night clothes, the only ones he would ever allow to become wrinkled, strolling aimlessly about the airship in a fit of restlessness while the rest of his crew lay fast asleep, having no remedy but the comforts of idle thought. He finally came to rest leaning against the frame of a door than hung slightly ajar, allowing him to peer inside to the sleeping form of his Viera companion, who was sprawled across her bed at such odd angles that the man could not help but smile. It was such a refreshing departure from the precision and grace that pervaded her conscious demeanor. He wondered briefly at the fact that it had been the same fickle force of luck that had brought her to be a member of his crew as that which kept him awake at this unseemly hour. With that in mind, he dared not complain about the chance insomnia of a single night.

She, perhaps even moreso than the freedom and adventure themselves, was what made this choice of life worthwhile. In fact, he could likely attribute to her the fact that he was not quickly left to spend his years wasting away in a dungeon. Perhaps his own quick thinking and gift with words would have allowed him escape from a number of close calls, perhaps not. In any event, he owed a debt of gratitude to the woman asleep in the room before him. He had met her not long after his escape from the shackles of society and she quickly became his partner in crime. He had thought that was what she would remain, and nothing more, but that too was to change.

He was unsure when he had begun to think of her as more than a simply a partner. Admittedly, he had always found her beautiful. How could he not? From the moment he laid eyes on her he had thought that no more faultless being had ever crossed his vision. It was not for lack of attraction, but for her intrinsically distant manner that he so belatedly considered the possibility of romance. As for her feelings, he was equally uncertain as to when his generally flirtatious manner around other women had begun to instill in the Viera the slightest twinge of jealousy. All he knew was that fortune had one day seen fit to bring their lips together and from that moment on, he had thought of himself as hers.

He knew not whether the feeling was truly reciprocated on the part of the lovely Viera. Their relationship, if it could be called such, had lasted not long enough to consist of more than a few stolen kisses in moments of privacy. It was debatable whether the shift in the pair's partnership, which Balthier supposed to be nearly imperceptible to anyone other than himself and Fran, had yet to even cross the awareness of the Moogle members of the ship's crew. The sleepless sky pirate smiled to himself. It had been a very slight shift in outward appearance, but a highly perceptible one from the perspective of the man's heart. A head over heels one, to quote a cliché.

He could not help but consider the day their relationship would be more tangible, the day he would be allowed a level of closeness so far unthinkable, when he would savor the feeling of her skin against his and know that she was his as much as he was hers. But that transition was one whose time to come had not yet arrived. For now, he was content to simply gaze at the perfect curves of her sleeping form hidden beneath the sheets of her bed and wish upon her the restful night that seemed to thus far have been denied to him.

"Sleep well, my beloved,"he spoke in the faintest of whispers. With happy visions of the woman of his dreams and his reality floating in his head, he turned from the doorway and walked off down the corridor. Perhaps now, he thought, he would finally be able to sleep.