Disclaimer: Don't you think that Vaan would be a little less whiny if I owned FFXII?

Zephyr here! Three updates in a day. Holy crap, I feel like this is a first. So this is my favourite FFXII oneshot that I've written so far. I came up with this idea while I was walking back to my dorm after anime club one night in the rain. This takes place before Fran and Balthier meet Vaan and company, just to make that clear. Without further ado, let the deadly tale begin!

Balthier awoke to the sound of rain pounding on the metal of the Strahl. A quick glance out of the window told the sky pirate that it was indeed raining and quite hard, at that. Rain was pelting the citizens of Rabanastre as they darted through the Giza Plains and back to the city gates. Balthier had to laugh at the citizens. They were aware of the drastic weather changes in the Giza Plains and should have been prepared for the oncoming rainstorm.

After getting dressed, he walked out to the kitchen for his morning cup of tea. He expected to see Fran sitting at the table reading the newspaper like she usually did and was quite surprised to learn that she was not there. Perhaps she had gone on a morning hunting trip and had decided to leave him behind. It wouldn't be the first time it had happened.

After about twenty minutes, Balthier was starting to get worried. He knew that Fran could fend for herself in a fight. He didn't have to worry about that. He was slightly concerned about where she was when the rain hit. There were some spots on the Giza Plains that had a tendency to flood when the rainy season hit and he was hoping that she was not in any of those places.

After finishing his tea, Balthier placed the mug in the sink and headed to the deck of the Strahl to see if he could find his Viera partner. He had expected to find her somewhere on the Giza Plains, not on soaking wet on the deck.

"Fran!" Balthier exclaimed in surprise.

Fran's eyes found Balthier and she offered him a slight smile, as if this was a proper explanation as to why she was sitting on the deck of the airship during a torrential downpour.

"Yes, Balthier?" she asked.

"How long have you been up here?" Balthier asked, not moving an inch from the cover of the doorway.

"You were still asleep when I left." Fran said as she turned her attention back to the rain.

"And why are you out here?" Balthier questioned.

"It reminds me of the Wood." Fran responded.

Balthier was silent for a few seconds before he said, "Is that a bad thing?"
"Not necessarily." Fran shook her head. "It smells good out here."

"Rain has a smell?" Balthier queried as he joined Fran on the deck.

"You've never noticed it?" Fran asked.

"No, I can't say that I have." Balthier shook his head. "I never got much of a chance to notice the rain when I was living in Archadia."

"Your father never told you about it?" Fran frowned.

"My father and I sort of grew apart over the years." Balthier said in a tone that told Fran that he'd rather not discuss that subject.

"My sisters and I spend a lot of time talking about the rain." Fran explained to a confused Balthier. "Jote felt that it smelt one way and Mjirn thought that it was another way."

"Well, how do you think it smells?" Balthier asked as he scooted a bit closer to the Viera so that she wouldn't get too cold.

"I'm not sure." Fran said. "I cannot think of a way to describe it."

"What does it smell like?" Balthier asked. "Does it smell like something else?"

"Fresh." Fran said simply.

"Fran, my dear, fresh isn't exactly a smell." Balthier told her.

"Like a sort of crisp scent." Fran went on. "You know how fresh starfruit look when they're still covered with dew?"

"Yes." Balthier nodded, not entirely sure where she was going with the conversation.

"If that had a smell, that's what rain would smell like." Fran nodded confidently.

"I hate to tell you, Fran, but I still don't smell anything." Balthier said before he took a deep breath in an attempt to smell the rain. "Nope. Nothing."

"Are you really smelling or are you just trying to pass it off like you are?" Fran asked, eyeing the sky pirate suspiciously.

"I've long since learned that I cannot lie to you." Balthier said as he wrapped an arm around Fran's waist.

"Perhaps it is because I spent so many years in the Wood." Fran mused.

"And because I spent so many with my father and airships." Balthier offered.

"I hope you learn what the rain smells like some day." Fran said. "It is very soothing. For me, at least."

"I would think the sound would be enough." Balthier said. "That's soothing enough for me."

"No, I need to be able to smell the rain before I am entirely calm." Fran shook her head.

"Well, you shouldn't spend so much time out here in the rain." Balthier said as he stood up. "You're like to catch a cold."

"I'll be fine." Fran said, but she stood anyway so that Balthier wouldn't worry about her.

"You can at least watch the rain while we're inside." Balthier said as he walked back into the Strahl.

"Watching it is only half of the fun." Fran said.

"That's what you think." Balthier said as he shook his head furiously, sending water everywhere.

"You are not a dog, Balthier." Fran said with a disapproving glance as she started to make herself a cup of tea.

"That's what my father always told me when I was a child and did that every time I got out of a swimming pool." Balthier grinned deviously.

"I should not be surprised about this." Fran shook her head.

"No, you really shouldn't be." Balthier said.

"So do we have any plans to go anywhere anytime soon?" Fran asked as she grabbed her cup of water from the fridge and added a tea bag to it.

"Not with this rain." Balthier shook his head. "I might have to move the airship so she doesn't sink into mud, but she can't fly anywhere anytime soon with the thunder and lightning."

"That is a fair point." Fran nodded.

"I should go change out of these wet clothes." Balthier said. "And I just put them on, too."

"That sounds like a personal problem." Fran said with a smile.

"You're the one who wanted me to sit out in the rain with you." Balthier said. "If we both grow ill from this, I'm blaming you."

"That sounds fair enough." Fran nodded as she stabbed the tea bag in the mug with a spoon.

"So is it safe to change clothes now?" Balthier asked, the brown eyes meeting the red. "Or will you want to go outside in the rain anytime soon?"

"I think I will be fine for a while." Fran replied.

"I'll hold you to it, then." Balthier said as he left the kitchen for his bedroom.

Fran's eyes traveled to the window above the sink and she watched the raindrops hit the glass before sliding down to form trails of water. She knew her explanation of the smell of rain was a bit confusing for Balthier, but she could tell that he at least made an attempt. He would understand what the rain smelt like someday.

I hope it was good. I feel like I'm getting better at writing as Balthier and Fran's becoming a little easier, too. Fran's view of the rain match my own, so that made it a bit easier. I have a few more FFXII ideas I want to write before break is over, so here's to hoping that they get written. Thanks for reading. Reviews equal love!