A/N: Sigh. I'm no longer on break. Which means I'll probably still get no sleep and procrastinate on chapters. Damn me. I didn't have school on Monday and was hoping to get some conversations in on how others breaks were, but my friends spoke only nine words to me. 'Hey. Hey. Boring.' and 'Can you throw this away.' I have such lovely friends.

Anywho, fair warning this chapter is short. I cut out a bit because it sounded too statistical. Well, I hope you like it and please review on your way out! Thank you again!


Vaan noticed that all next day, Balthier made sure he stayed a good distance away from both him and Basch. The three men had volunteered before the incident to help search for rare game in the Tchita Uplands, and they weren't in a position to break their promise now. They were searching for Grimalkin, a rare and rather large coeurl that was supposedly roamed the Uazcuff Hills. The entire trip passed quietly and uncomfortably.

Basch knew something was wrong, but he hadn't seen the pirate like Vaan had the night before.

Balthier, lost in his own thoughts, fretted to himself. The pirate knew that this game would be far too easy for them. However, pessimism crept into his mind. Could he be killed, too? He was a goddamn walking corpse, so could it even happen again? Or would he feel everything as the beast ate him alive? Or-

"Hey, everything alright?" Vaan's voice broke Balthier's spiral of negative thought and he jumped, surprised at how Vaan got to his side without his noticing. The older pirate's gloom was really getting the better of him. Nothing would happen; they were all too skilled for that.

"Never better," Balthier lied, not meeting Vaan's eyes. He could still faintly hear the boy's heartbeat, but not as loud as last night, thankfully. Vaan didn't buy his words.

"Your face doesn't say that," Vaan grumbled, disliking Balthier's distrust. "You can tell me what's wrong. I had to drag your all the way back to your room after you passed out and it was horrible cause you smelled like puke, so I know you're lying!" Damn, he forgot he passed out. Balthier hadn't expected Vaan to be the one who carried him back; he thought Fran did it. But given his state in last night, anything could have happened without his realizing it. Basch still walked behind them, not interfering with their conversation, but still quite curious as to what they were saying.

"I'm just having difficulties getting used to...this," Balthier admitted, looking at his own hand in disgust. His hand, bonier now that before in life, had a horrible greyish pigment, dark veins standing out under the skin. Fran had assured him that his face, though the same grey color, was not riddled so. Still, he refused to look in a mirror.

"What about the whole food thing?"

"Food doesn't seem to agree with the undead," Balthier sighed, wishing he could taste the sweetness and feel the burn of Bhjerban madhu slithering down his throat, or the taste of a well-cooked roast on his tongue. He couldn't remember the taste of food, only the words to describe it.

"You don't get hungry at all? That's so weird," Vaan commented, his gluttonous attitude making the idea of not being hungry inconceivable.

"Only to a pig like you. Has there ever been a time in your life when you haven't been hungry?" the sky pirate joked, the words having to be forced out of him. The entire conversation, the orphan boy had walked closer and closer to him unknowingly. His aroma had begun to creep again into his nostrils. The scent of galbana lilies, sweat, and desert sand. The scent maddened him—he felt his hand twitch, and his body took a sudden step closer.

"Balthier! Vaan!" Basch's yell brought the pirate back from his intoxicated state, now realizing what was wrong. Three Coeurl stalked only a few yards in front of them; their alien like heads turned to stare. The one in the center, triple the size of the other two, stood out clearly as the three men's game. The smaller two stayed in their spots, casting spells as the Grimalkin raced forward, ready to sink its fangs and claws into its victims.

A wyrmfire bullet burst forth from Antares, imbedding burning hot shot into its leg and giving the company enough time to regain some distance and take back their advantage. Vaan and Basch drew their blades, ready to fight, when one of the coeurls released a thundara spell, sending volts of electricity into the group. Vaan and Basch recovered quickly, and were ready to fight back.

Neither noticed Balthier doubled over in crippling pain.


A/N: I've been rewatching a playing some old stuff. I've just watched Titanic and not the one in theaters, but my own old copy on Vhs, and I've been playing Final Fantasy X which I haven't played in forever.

That was totally irrelevant to anything, but why not say it.

Want to thank everyone for your reviews and for sticking with the story. Another chapter'll be here withing the week.

Don't forget to leave me a review and thank you all! *hugs*