Part of him knew he really shouldn't. Really, honestly, truly. There was some part of him that pointed out this was a bad idea and he should just leave things be, but hell, when was the last time that had stopped him? Well, never really. But it still surprised him a bit when he hesitated for that moment.

For several minutes he scribbled words on a page of her journal. Some words came easily, others were more difficult for him to find and seek, but regardless, he wrote.

In the middle of the paragraph he was currently working on, Balthier suddenly shook his head as he ripped the paper out and crumpled it up in his left hand. There was no real explaination why he could not find the right words, after all, he had never had that problem before. So instead he decided to do what he had done to Penelo and Fran several times before. He quickly scratched on rather sloppy line at the bottom of Ashe's last entry and took off, dropping the balled up piece of paper on the balcony.

Several hours later, Ashe returned to the balcony for her ritual journal entry on the day's events. She had started to write the entries here with the Bahamut in view. It was a comfort and a reminder, though now she was not about to break the ritual. She settled herself down and flipped open to her journal. It was then she saw the addition to her last journal entry and nearly died.

"And of course, I love Balthier so much and sky pirates are the sexiest things ever."

"That's the best you could come up with?" She asked the shadows, hoping he might answer. "You did much better for Penelo's; I'm a bit disappointed…" But as she looked about the balcony, there was no tall, handsome sky pirate hero. Instead, there was only a piece of crumpled paper identical to the paper from her journal wedged between to posts of the balcony, threatening to fall below at any moment. Gently she picked it up and smoothed it out, and could only smile as she read.

Yes, princess, you and I ran together for quite some time, and at the beginning, I wanted nothing more then to leave you to your own accord. Then, of course, your faithful captain came to me, though I knew not then what the rescue mission would entail. Just another rescue mission, I had assured myself and Fran. No more politics since I ran from my past.

And in my fleeing, I ran right into you.

Fran saw it for a very long time coming, I'm sure.

I let it go when you insulted me since I was "playing pirate" as Fran would say. I took pride in being known as a pirate. It validated that Ffamran had been left in Archades with the Judge armor. Of course, I now realize that I had only run from my past, not left it behind.

I had an epiphany much the same as yours, I believe. While I awaited your arrival in Archades, I took a moment to walk by the Bunasa House estate, generally only now occupied by the maintainers hired. There was a moment as I glanced upon my mother's old gardesn that I realized Ffamran was still well with me. His mannerisms… his dress, his way of battle. My actions and beliefs were unfitting of a sky pirate, though I am sure that is also why Fran accompanied me for so long. But I digress. So I held your ring and realized that you and I were running in circles, trying to decide what to hold onto and what to cut. And my mind wandered through my options. If I were to stop running, then I could either return to the Judge armor or continue running with you into what I had feared.

Yes, all that running, and I had gotten nowhere. But even that is not an entirely true statement. I suppose I got to a place and time where I could face what I had run from.

Yes, it seems I had only one choice, or at least that's what it looked like. Perhaps there were other options, but I have no regrets. Would be quite unfitting for the leading man after all.

But I must comment on this tale the children now seem to be fond of. It is only natural for children to idolize their hero, of course. And I must inquire about this love between the pirate and princess and its origins.

Upon the awkward ending, Ashe moved to her journal and picked up the quill once more. Elegantly she wrote only one sentence before resting the quill across the open book and returning inside.

"Please Balthier, do go on; I may not be running with you any longer, but here I stay and continue to listen…"