Disclaimer: Yeah, I now own all of Final Fantasy. Why else would I be writing fanfiction about it?

I'm back! Life's been a real bitch and a half lately, so I haven't had a chance to write much of anything. Luckily for you guys, though, I've managed to get something done. My best friend wanted me to write this for him over the summer, but I finally got it done a few minutes ago. Had a fun time writing it, even if it was a bit of a challenge for me. BalFran is my OTP, so this was quite different. But anyway, let the deadly tale begin!

"Vaan! Vaan, where are you?"

Vaan could hear Penelo's voice as he walked back to the Strahl. He had been out on a hunt with Balthier, Fran, and Basch and while it had been a successful hunt, Vaan had been getting annoying with Balthier's complaining.

"We're over here, Penelo." Vaan shouted back. "All of us are here."

"I sense a bit of disappointment there, Vaan." Balthier glanced at the boy.

"Gee, do you?" Vaan rolled his eyes.

"Your complaining has become tiresome." Fran supplied for Vaan.

"Complaining?" Balthier turned to face the Viera. "Whatever do you mean?"

"During the whole skirmish, you kept complaining that the mark wasn't big enough." Basch explained as they walked inside the Strahl.

"I just found it to be too small to be considered a proper hunt." Balthier shrugged.

"It was a cockatrice." Fran was being sarcastic in her own way. "Were you expecting something the size of a Talon?"

"I'm unsure of why we were hunting one in the first place." Balthier noted.

While Fran and Balthier bantered back and forth, Vaan moved away and found Ashe and Penelo in the kitchen.

"What were you yelling about, Penelo?" Vaan asked as he sat down at the kitchen table.

"It just looked like it was going to rain again." Penelo said. "I didn't want you to get rained out."

"A little rain won't hurt." Vaan shrugged.

"Which is exactly what I told her." Ashe said.

"I advise that Balthier is left alone." Fran said as she walked into the room.

"And why's that?" Vaan arched an eyebrow.

"He becomes distressed when it is rainy and he must go on a hunt." Fran explained, leaning against the wall.

"And it's raining, so he's going to be cranky." Penelo assumed.

"Precisely." Fran nodded once. "He is going to work on some of the repairs to the ship."

"Whatever works." Vaan shrugged.

"As long as he calms down enough for dinner." Penelo said.

"What have you prepared?" Fran asked.

"Basch got some Giza rabbits the other day, so I'm trying a new recipe with starfruit." Penelo replied.

"Oh, lovely." Vaan tried hard not to make a face.

"It should be ready soon, so we should probably go find Balthier." Penelo said.

"I shall go." Fran said. "Better that I face his wrath."

"Good luck." Ashe said. "I'll go find Basch."

"Rabbit with starfruit?" Vaan asked as Ashe and Fran left the room. "Seriously?"

"I wanted to try something new." Penelo shrugged.

"But your new recipes normally aren't the best." Vaan said while grabbing plates from the cupboard.

"I can't get better without practice, Vaan." Penelo pointed out.

"Okay, but don't expect me to be overly enthusiastic about it." Vaan said.

"You never are." Penelo said as she sent a glare in Vaan's direction.

"Hopefully Fran has an easy time calming down Balthier." Vaan sighed.

"That bad?" Penelo asked.

"Oh yeah." Vaan nodded.

"Well, Fran can help." Penelo said. "She has that connection with Balthier that no one else has."

"They have a certain way of working, yeah." Vaan agreed. "But hey, if she can manage to get him to stop complaining so much without involving us, that's fine by me."

"I agree." Penelo nodded.

"There's a bit of a problem." Fran said as she swiftly walked into the room.

"Uh-oh." Penelo sounded uneasy. "What's wrong?"

"I cannot locate Balthier." Fran said simply.

"You've been gone for what, five seconds?" Vaan removed some glasses from the cabinets. "How many places can you have checked?"

"I walk faster than most humes can manage." Fran responded, ruby eyes turning to Vaan.

"But why wouldn't he be in the engine room?" Penelo mused. "That's where the repairs need to be done."

"Thus explaining my confusion." Fran was clearly growing impatient.

"Has anyone found Basch?" Ashe asked as she walked into the room.

"He's missing too?" Vaan narrowed his eyes.

"Who else is missing?" Ashe questioned.

"Well, who else isn't here right now?" Vaan stated.

After a quick look around the, Ashe understood.

"So Balthier is missing, as well?"

"Did Basch say if he was going somewhere, Fran?" Vaan asked.

"Why should I concern myself with his whereabouts?" the Viera asked.

"Well, you were with him earlier." Vaan explained. "I didn't know if he mentioned anything."

"He did not say a word." Fran shook her head.

"Maybe they went off somewhere." Penelo suggested.

"Not possible." Fran said.

"Why not?" Vaan cocked his head to the side.

"Balthier hates being out on the rain." Ashe reminded him. "If he was complaining about hunting in the rain, why would he willingly go back out in it?"

"Yeah, there's no way he'd do that." Penelo nodded.

"Really, though, I wonder where they could be." Ashe crossed her arms in front of her chest.

"Fran, you checked Balthier's bedroom, right?" Penelo glanced toward the Viera.

"Of course." Fran nodded. "I did not find him there."

"So let's check the rest of the ship again." Penelo said as she pulled the dinner from the oven. "We can't find them if we don't look."

"I agree." Fran said with a nod.

"I'll stay here and finish dinner." Penelo said.

"Yeah, you take the easy job." Vaan rolled his eyes.

"Well, someone has to finish this!" Penelo exclaimed before she scowled at Vaan. "It's not like Ashe and Fran know what to do with it."

"Where is Fran, anyway?" Ashe wondered as she looked around the room.

Fran had left the kitchen once the decision to search for Balthier and Basch had been made. There was no reason why Balthier would be outside in the torrential downpour, but she had the feeling that he would be out there. It didn't make any sense to her, but she figured that she might as well check it out regardless.

After all, it wouldn't hurt to look.

Opening the door, Fran stepped out of the ship and into the storm, squinting through the rain for a sign of the men. Her Viera eyes were more powerful than the eyes of a hume, but it was still difficult to see. She thought that she would be able to see the gold of Balthier's vest or the red of Basch's jacket, but it was hard to see the trees in front of her.

She stood in place for a moment, ruby eyes narrowed as she scanned the horizon for a sign of the two men. Upon finding nothing, Fran started to move away from the Strahl. Perhaps she could find them somewhere away from the ship. It didn't make much sense for Balthier to be out in the rain when he so detested it, but she knew Balthier better than anyone. She knew how he would randomly get the idea to do something and once he set his mind to something, there was no convincing him to do otherwise.

"Balthier, where have you gone?" Fran said to herself as she walked back to the airship.

As she was walking up the steps, she paused, ears twitching slightly. What were the noises that she heard underneath the ship? Frowning, Fran turned around and walked back down the steps, pausing at the bottom to listen again. This time she heard voices, though she could not determine whom the voices belonged to.

"Balthier?" Fran called out hesitantly. "Basch?"

When she had no answer, she began to walk under the ship itself, the heels of her shoes sinking into the ground. It was difficult to see through the darkness, so she had to rely on her ears so she could follow where the noises were coming from.

"Balthier, if this is your idea of a joke, I do not find it amusing." Fran called out.

"Fran?" A voice sounded from the darkness. "Fran, is that you?"

"Balthier?" Fran recognized the voice of her partner. "What are you doing?"

"I'm repairing the ship." The Viera knew Balthier well enough to know that he was lying to her.

"The repairs needed do not require you to leave the Strahl." Fran told him.

As she said this, her eyes caught a glimpse of two darkened figures. She frowned in confusion. She could understand one shadow, but there was no reason for there to be two.

"Balthier, who is with you?" Fran asked as she approached the figures.

"No one is with me, my dear." Balthier said a little too quickly to be entirely believable.

"I see a shadow next to yours." She told him.

At that moment, Fran reached the two shadows. She immediately recognized Balthier's shadow, but it took her a moment to determine the other figure. After a few seconds, she could make out the shadow of facial structures, noticed the features of the clothes, and it was then that she realized who was there.

"Basch, that is you, is it not?" Fran felt confident in her assumption.

"Yes?" Basch's voice sounded confused.

"Why are down here?" Fran inquired.

"He was helping me with the repairs." Balthier tried to explain.

"The repairs to not require you to leave the ship." Fran gave Balthier another glance. "And you are not wearing your vest or shirt."

"It is hot under here?" Balthier phrased his response like a question.

"The temperature drops thirty degrees during the rainy season at night. It is thirty-seven degrees." Fran pointed out. "It is cold."

"I disagree." Balthier shook his head. "I think it is quite warm."

"But none of that explains…" Fran started to say, but she stopped as she came to an understanding. "Basch, why exactly are you here?"

"I was helping Balthier." Basch responded.

"We've already established that there is no work to be done outside of the ship." Fran retorted. After a few seconds, she asked, "You are not participating in actions that Vaan and Penelo normally do?"

"What exactly do Penelo and Vaan do, my dear?" Balthier queried.

"You know full well what actions that I am referring." Fran stated. "Their rather amorous activities."

Basch glanced towards Balthier for a few seconds before he turned back to Fran.

"How long have you known?"

"So I am correct in assuming that you are in a relationship?" Fran arched an eyebrow.

"Quite obviously, yes." Balthier nodded. "Why else would I be out here in this accursed rain?"

"Do you not approve of this?" Basch asked the Viera.

"It does not matter to me. So long as this does not affect our mission, I couldn't care less." Fran responded. "You might want to inform Ashe, however."

"Why is that?" Balthier asked as he began to pull his shirt back on.

"Basch is one of her closest friends." Fran explained. "This is something that she should know about."

"Should I have told you about this?" Balthier asked, focusing his attention on Fran.

"I would have liked to know, but there is nothing to be done now." Fran responded.

"What is your purpose for coming down here, if we're finished with that line of conversation?" Basch asked.

"We are, I suppose." Fran nodded once.

"Well, what is it?" Balthier asked.

"Penelo wishes to inform you that dinner is ready." Fran told them.

"Oh lovely." Balthier grimaced as he and Basch stood up.

"She has improved since she has been practicing." Basch said.

"I wish she wouldn't try out new recipes. Best to stick with the old ones." Balthier said.

"Then you would complain about having the same thing time and time again." Fran told her partner.

"I suppose." Balthier shrugged as the three made their way out from under the Strahl.

"That went better than I expected."

Basch turned around and saw Balthier walking into the living area of the ship. The man had a tired look in his eyes, but Basch suspected that this was because of the earlier hunting trip.

The normally crowded airship was quiet, something that rarely occurred. The rest of the ship's inhabitants were out scavenging for some berries and other plants since the day's earlier downpour had ceased temporarily. Basch and Balthier had elected to stay behind, however, as the latter needed to finish the repairs on the ship.

Now that the repairs were done, however, Balthier found that he became quite bored and had decided to go to Basch for some company.

"The ship's repairs, I assume?" Basch asked as Balthier sat down next to him on the small couch.

"Well, yes." Balthier shrugged. "Nono had told me that the repairs seemed hopeless, so I was surprised to be able to fix them so easily."

"I see." Basch nodded.

"But I was referring to our earlier encounter with Fran." Balthier told him.

"Under the airship?" Basch frowned in confusion.

Balthier nodded and said, "I expected her to be more aggressive about the whole ordeal."

"Why do you say that?" Basch frowned.

"She has always been rather strange with the idea of me being in a relationship." Balthier explained. "I was unsure of how she would handle this."

"But it seems that she took it in a positive light." Basch said.

"That she did." Balthier nodded in agreement.

"Should we inform Vaan and Penelo of this relationship?" Basch asked. "We don't want them to find out in an awkward sort of way."

"Yes, I suppose we should mention this." Balthier said with a sigh. "It wouldn't do to have them find out from anyone besides us."

"Ashe has already been informed, so that's been taken care of." Basch responded, slipping his arm around the smaller man's waist.

"How did she handle it?" Balthier asked curiously.

"She took it rather well." Basch answered.

"That's good to hear." Balthier nodded.

"I suppose we can tell them when they come back from scavenging." Basch told Balthier. "Do you know when that might be?"

"I have no idea." Balthier shook his head. "It's been a while since they left, so they will probably be returning soon."

"Let's hope that they found something edible." Basch said.

"I agree." Balthier nodded. "I am growing rather tired of Penelo's poor cooking."

"Perhaps you should make dinner sometime." Basch suggested, his lips forming a smile.

"Fran has banned me from the kitchen." Balthier shook his head. "The last time I made dinner, she and I were ill for days."

"I guess it's best that you stay away, then." Basch said, sounding a little surprised.

"So what shall we do until they return?" Balthier asked.

"We could simply relax." Basch leaned forward and gave Balthier a quick kiss.

"Well, I'd certainly enjoy time to relax." Balthier agreed, leaning against Basch.

"What's this?" Basch looked down at Balthier. "Are you trying to be affectionate, Balthier?"

"I was awake all night because I couldn't find the munitions for Altair." Balthier said with a yawn. "Give me a break."

"You were trying to find munitions for your gun?" Basch arched an eyebrow.

"I needed to clean it." Balthier clarified.

"So you kept Fran up all night because you wanted to clean your gun?" Basch asked.

"Oh, Fran never woke up." Balthier said dismissively. "She could sleep through the Archadian fleet storming through the ship."

"Somehow I'm not surprised." Basch smiled. "It makes me wish Ashe was that way."

"I wish I could go take a nap." Balthier said with a yawn.

"Perhaps you should." Basch suggested.

"Would you like to join me?" Balthier asked.

"This is rare." Basch was surprised. "You're being more intimate than usual, Balthier."

"I have a chance to have the ship void of all other people besides you." Balthier explained. "I'd like to take advantage of that while I can."

"Well, I am not going to complain about it." Basch responded as both men stood and walked towards Balthier's bedroom.

"I did not think that you would." Balthier said, following Basch into the bedroom and closing the door behind him. "We'll need to listen for signs of Vaan's incessant chatter." He began removing pieces of his armor, starting first with his vest. "That will give us time to think of a diversion."

When Balthier turned around, he was quite surprised to see Basch already in bed, looking rather expectantly at Balthier.

"Getting a bit eager, are we?" Balthier asked as his lips formed a smirk.

"This chance does not present itself often." Basch explained. "I would like to take advantage of this while I can."

"You'll hear no complaining from me." Balthier removed his vest from his armor and climbed into bed, lying down next to Basch.

"Were you going to try to get some sleep?" Basch inquired as he wrapped his arm around the smaller man.

"I would rather stay awake to enjoy this moment." Balthier said, though he failed to stifle a yawn.

"Perhaps you should sleep." Basch leaned down and gave Balthier a quick kiss. "We've had a rather exhaustive day."

"I'll sleep when I'm dead." Balthier shook his head.

"Interesting concept." Basch noted in amusement.

"But it's true." Balthier said.

"I still believe that you should rest." Basch's eyes were on the smaller man.

"Theoretically, I am resting simply by lying here with you." Balthier explained. "I am not participating in any extraneous activities."

"This is true." Basch nodded slowly.

"Besides, why would I want to be asleep when I could be awake and lying next to you?" Balthier pointed out.

"It's rather nice to get some time to ourselves." Basch agreed.

"Without thinking that someone will walk in at any time." Balthier added.

The two men fell silent, the only sound coming from the engine of the airship. Balthier hadn't spoken in so long that Basch had to wonder if the man had fallen asleep.

He looked over and saw that Balthier had indeed fallen asleep. The golden eyes were closed and Balthier had an expression of peace and slight vulnerability that he never showed, not even in front of Fran, in whom he trusted his entire life.

Basch debated about waking the sky pirate. It wouldn't do Balthier any good to sleep so much that he would be unable to sleep at night. Still, there was something peaceful about the smaller man as he slept. On the other hand, Basch knew that Balthier would likely be upset that he had fallen asleep.

He decided that it would be a good idea to wake the sky pirate. He gently poked Balthier in the side, trying to make sure that he woke up. After a few seconds, the younger man's eyes flickered open and he found himself staring at Basch.

"I fell asleep, didn't I?" Balthier asked.

"You did." Basch nodded once.

"I did not want to fall asleep." Balthier managed to say through a yawn.

"I debated about waking you up." Basch went on. "You need to get some rest."

"As I have told you before, I will rest when I die." Balthier said in response.

"Yes, I know." Basch said.

Balthier opened his mouth to say something, but at that moment, the door opened and Vaan walked in.

"Balthier, Fran needs you to-"

He stopped mid-step and almost fell face-first to the floor. Once he regained his footing, Vaan returned his attention to the two men in the bed. His eyes moved from Basch to Balthier and back to Basch again. He didn't say anything, just stared at the two men in surprise.

"Fran needs what, Vaan?" Balthier asked with biting nonchalance.

"Forget about Fran!" Vaan squeaked, which was probably not intentional on his part. "What the hell is this?"

"Basch glanced at Balthier and said, "I guess we'll have to tell him now."

"Tell me what?" Vaan demanded.

"Basch and I are in a relationship." Balthier said rather bluntly.

"Why?" Vaan wanted to know.

"For the same reasons why you and Penelo are in one?" Basch phrased his response in a question.

"How long has this been going on?" Vaan asked.

"Long enough." Balthier answered.

"What's taking so long?"

Three pairs of eyes focused on the Viera who was now standing in the doorway. She glanced from Vaan to Balthier and Basch and instantly understood what was going on.

"I take it that he knows now." Fran assumed.

"Obviously." Balthier stated with biting sarcasm.

"You knew about this, Fran?" Vaan turned his attention to the Viera.

"Not until recently, but I have had my suspicions for a time." Fran responded.

"So did everyone know but me?" Vaan asked.

"Not Penelo." Basch said.

"I guess I should tell her, then." Vaan said.

"I feel that we have exhausted this line of conversation." Balthier said with a sigh before he turned to Fran and asked, "What is that you needed, by dear?"

"I was going to tell you that I needed you to take a look at a bill that Ashe and Penelo discovered." Fran said.

"I could take care of this at any point." Balthier said." Why are you telling me this now?"

"Ashe was planning on taking on the hunt tomorrow morning." Fran responded.

"And she cannot wait until then?" Balthier rolled his eyes in annoyance. "I should not be surprised by this."

"I will tell her that you are on the way." Fran said before she turned to Vaan and said, "Come along, Vaan."

"I'm going, I'm going." Vaan said, sounding very much like a child.

The two departed from the room, leaving only Balthier and Basch remaining. The smaller man ran his hand through his hair and sighed in annoyance.

"Why does she always insist on going on hunts during the rainy season?" Balthier muttered under his breath.

"Not everyone detests the rain as you do, Balthier." Basch pointed out.

"But couldn't she at least wait until the dry season?" Balthier complained. "The rain could change how we have to carry out the hunt."

"Perhaps the mark does not change due to the weather." Basch suggested while Balthier got out of bed and began to redress.

"Ashe isn't normally so lucky to find the hunts of that nature." Balthier explained.

"Perhaps she has finally learned." Basch suggested.

"Maybe that's true." Balthier said, pulling on a pair of trousers.

"Best of luck with her." Basch told Balthier as the smaller man walked towards the door.

Balthier said nothing in response, only giving Basch an off-hand wave before exiting the room, leaving the older man completely alone. Basch knew that Balthier always tried to upload his particular image. He didn't know if Balthier could tell that he changed when he was away from everyone else. His demeanor changed drastically when he was around Basch. He wasn't as formal or as serious as he normally was. Basch only wished that the others could see this side of Balthier, too.

That's it for me for now. I've finished a Hetalia story that's being edited and I have to type up my first Supernatural oneshot, but I'm hoping those will be up before the week is out. I hope you enjoyed this one. Thanks for reading!