Disclaimer: If I owned Final Fantasy XII, I think Fran would probably speak a bit more.

Zephyr here. Three guesses what my latest obsession has been? I actually haven't finished the game yet, but I've played the sequel and I know that everyone survives, but some of the images that I've been seeing are driving me crazy. Especially the one of Balthier carrying Fran through fire...I really need to stop watching amvs...at any rate, this is based on what I call Balthier. He kinda gets two nicknames in this oneshot, but I use both of them. I bet I confuse my floor-mates because I'll randomly start yelling at him at two in the morning for dying every ten seconds, but there you have it. Since this is my first oneshot (and fanfiction) for FFXII, I apologise if everyone's OOC. Fran was the hardest to keep in character. Let the deadly tale begin!

"I've got it!"

Vaan slammed his hands down on the table, causing the pieces of the puzzle that Penelo was working on to fly into the air before falling back to the table again, knocking many of them to fall onto the floor. Fran raised an eyebrow from where she sat polishing her bow in the corner of the kitchen and Balthier looked up from the book that he was reading. Penelo scrambled about as she tried to pick up the puzzle pieces, but Fran and Balthier looked like they were hesitant to hear what Vaan had to say.

"Um, got what, Vaan?" Penelo questioned when she had finished gathering the fallen puzzle pieces.

"My nickname for Balthier." Vaan replied, a wicked grin spread across his face.

"A nickname for who now?" Penelo frowned in confusion.

"And why must I have a nickname, Vaan?" Balthier marked his place in his book with a finger.

"Because I just thought of it." Vaan nodded.

"That is not much of an answer." Fran said before she went back to polishing her bow.

"You expected a straight answer out of him?" Balthier frowned in the direction of the Viera.

"Do we want to know what it is?" Penelo wondered. "Or is this something that will scar us for life?"

"It should be fine." Vaan responded.

"This does not inspire confidence." Fran shook her head.

"It can't be much worse than what he used to call Migelo." Penelo said.

"You aren't meant to tell anyone about that, Penelo." Vaan said as he leaned back in his chair.

"I'm not sure I want to know about this." Balthier said.

"Oh, it's not that bad." Vaan assured the elder sky pirate.

"Is it now?" Balthier raised an eyebrow. "What is it, then?"

"Little whore boy." Vaan nodded.

There was silence in the kitchen of the Strahl. After a few seconds, Penelo burst out laughing while Fran simply sat blinking in a confused manner in the corner. Balthier, however, had closed his book and was contemplating on whether or not to chuck it at Vaan's head.

"What the-?" Fran couldn't seem to form a complete sentence. "How did-?"

"That actually makes sense." Penelo managed to say in between fits of laughter.

It seemed that Balthier had made his decision. He threw the book at Vaan, hitting the sky pirate in the middle of his forehead.

"What the hell, Balthier?" Vaan swore angrily.

"I might ask you the same question." Balthier crossed his arms in front of his chest. "Little whore boy? Really, Vaan?"

"There's a reason for it!" Vaan exclaimed.

"Oh, there is?" Balthier asked. "Well, that makes all right, then."

"Really?" Vaan couldn't tell if the other sky pirate was being serious or sarcastic.

"Of course not." Apparently it had been sarcasm. "So what's your reasoning behind it?"

"It's like Penelo said." Vaan replied.

"I'm sure this will be interesting." Fran said, leaning her bow gently against the wall.

"Yes, do tell, Vaan." Balthier said. "Why ought I to be called little whore boy?"

"Because you're always flirting with every girl that you see." Vaan started.

"I didn't start flirting with Penelo when we first met." Balthier stood and crossed the room to retrieve his book and returned to his seat, not without first whacking Vaan in the back of the head.

"You do know how you are with Fran, right?" Penelo raised an eyebrow.

"Fran and I are partners." Balthier said.

"That doesn't explain why I catch you starting at her ass." Vaan said.

Fran shot a glare in Balthier's direction, to which Balthier responded by saying, "You know I could always act upon impulse."

"I would rather you didn't." Fran shook her head.

"If that's your only reason…" Balthier started to say.

"It's the things you say, too." Vaan said.

"What does that have to do with anything?" Balthier frowned.

"Well, when you start saying that my arguments with Vaan are just foreplay for the bedroom, we start to wonder about some things." Penelo said as she twisted a strand of her hair around her finger.

"Oh, it's blatantly obvious." Balthier dismissed the idea with a wave of his hand. "That doesn't count."

"And don't forget your comment about knowing how Fran doesn't like being tied up." Penelo pointed out.

"How would you know that, Balthier?" Vaan asked.

"One night Fran and I engaged in some things that children should not know about." Balthier said simply.

"Which time?" Fran asked the elder sky pirate.

Vaan and Penelo looked back and forth from Fran to Balthier. Clearly something had happened between the two of them that they didn't want Penelo and Vaan to know about.

"Care to explain?" Penelo raised an eyebrow in confusion.

"And it's not like we don't know what you two were doing." Vaan added. "You don't have to treat us like we're kids."

"Well, you frequently act like one…" Balthier said casually.

"That's not the point!" Vaan protested, further proving Balthier's point. "Why didn't you guys tell us?"

"It is not important." Fran said with a shrug.

"Of course it is!" Vaan exclaimed. "It explains why we can never find you two."

"We aren't off doing things every time you're looking for us, you know." Balthier said in a bored voice.

"But you could be!" Vaan proclaimed.

"Let's change the subject, Vaan." Penelo said, sensing that this conversation would not end well.

"And do you want to explain why you like guys, too?" Vaan asked, his eyes on Balthier.

Fran and Penelo both turned from Vaan to Balthier, who found himself staring at the wall in front of him in a confused manner.

"Did I just hear what I think I heard?" Penelo looked at Fran, hoping that the Viera would offer some sort of answer.

"This is news to me, as well." Fran shook her head. She looked in the direction of her partner and said, "Balthier?"

"And how did you happen to find this out?" Balthier asked the younger sky pirate.

"Where do you want me to start?" Vaan sighed as he grabbed a nearby starfruit on the table. "I did catch you staring at Basch's ass more than once."

"Hmm…" Balthier reached over and grabbed a starfruit from the pile on the table.

"And there was the time where you started blushing after your encounter with him after that fight." Vaan continued.

"Wait, that's possible?" Penelo frowned.

"Why did you not mention this to me?" Fran asked Balthier.

"I didn't think it was important." Balthier shrugged.

"How is this not important?" Fran's dark eyes were on the elder sky pirate.

"And let's not forget the fact that you wear rainbow on a regular basis." Vaan gestured towards the rings on the elder sky pirate's left hand.

"And your point is what?" Balthier questioned.

"Well, I don't see Basch running around wearing rainbow all the time." Vaan said.

"I still cannot believe that you didn't tell me." Fran shook her head.

"I don't really see it as being that big of a deal." Balthier shrugged, the starfruit all but forgotten. "It doesn't apply to our work, so to speak, so I don't think that-"

"But it would have been nice to know." Fran interrupted. "This is the sort of thing that partners tell each other."

"There are things that you keep from me, I'm sure." Balthier said.

"Not like this." Fran said.

"We'll discuss this later." Balthier said as he turned back to Vaan and Penelo. "We need to sort this out first."

"Or we could always call you rainbow whore boy." Penelo said with a smile.

"Ooh, I like it." Vaan grinned deviously.

"What makes you think that I'll like that any better?" Balthier raised an eyebrow.

"Who says that you have to like it?" Vaan questioned.

"Well, one would assume that-" Balthier started to say.

"Your opinions don't matter." Vaan interrupted.

Balthier exchanged a glance with Fran before he said, "Is that so?"

"It's decided then." Vaan nodded. "Balthier will now be known as rainbow whore boy."

"I don't know why I even bother with them." Balthier said as he stood and made to walk out of the kitchen. He paused in the doorway and turned back to face his partner. "Coming, Fran?"
"Where are you going?" Fran frowned, ignoring Penelo and Vaan, who were talking amongst themselves.

"Away from here?" Balthier phrased his response like a question. "I thought that you wanted to continue our previous discussion."
"Yes, I would." Fran nodded as she stood and followed Balthier out of the kitchen.

After a few minutes, Vaan and Penelo looked around and found themselves alone in the kitchen of the airship. Vaan frowned and said, "Where did they go?"
"Probably off to his room." Penelo responded with a shrug.

"Now I'm going to get bad images from that." Vaan squeezed his eyes shut and was clearly trying to block out those mental images.

"I never said anything like that!" Penelo exclaimed.

"Come on, Penelo." Vaan grabbed Penelo and attempted to pull her out of the kitchen. "We'd better make sure that the whore boy doesn't live up to his name."

"Why does it matter?" Penelo questioned. "Whatever Balthier does in his spare time is his business."

"I don't want to think about Fran and Balthier having sex when I need them for something." Vaan said. "Besides, it's almost dinner and it's Balthier's night to make food."

"I thought it was mine." Penelo said as Vaan dragged her down the hall.

"It is, but Balthier lost a game of poker and the deal was that he'd make dinner tonight if he lost." Vaan explained. "We didn't want to have to suffer through your cooking again."

"Thanks for the vote of confidence, Vaan." Penelo glared at the younger sky pirate.

"Any time. Now, let's go get them." Vaan said. "I'd like my mind to remain as free from bad mental images of Balthier and Fran as possible."

My friend and I had a long conversation about who Balthier would end up being with. I think we decided Altair from Assassin's Creed because that's the name of Balthier's first gun. I'm thinking of writing a follow-up to this where Balthier is explaining things to Fran, but I'm not sure if I will. Any opinions on the matter? That's it for now. I hope it was a good read. Reviews equal love!