8. Weeks

A week after their first meeting, Vaan finally remembered Balthier's name.

Until then he'd simply called him whatever came to his mind first. "Thief" and "hey, you" ranked at the top, while "tight-pants" also occasionally made an appearance. To the other man's credit, the only response he ever gave to those was an amused smile, though Vaan could swear that the sky pirate actually turned around a few times when referred to by his trousers.

On the other hand, Balthier learned Vaan's name within the day. The boy was their guide around the depths of Rabanastre, and was called out to often by all manners of people as they passed. That, and an early life of memorizing the names of all the important people whom he would have to report to when he inevitably became a judge, made it almost impossible for Balthier to remain ignorant. He never called him by such beyond their first meeting, however. Acknowledging a name was a sign of respect, and Vaan's antics rarely earned him any.

Therefore it came as a memorable day for both of them when Balthier's name finally passed Vaan's lips unprompted. It came out somewhat garbled because the boy was concurrently sprinting away from a huge, snarling desert wolf, but there was no mistaking it - even between the yelps of terror.

"Balthier, do something!"

And Balthier, who thought he was getting dangerously used to being referred to as 'tight-pants', grinned as he swiveled and shot the beast between the eyes.

"You're welcome, Vaan."