07 January 2008 @ 07:45 pm
Quirks Pt. II  
Title: Quirks
Author: [livejournal.com profile] aoife_hime
Fandom: Final Fantasy XII
Characters: Basch, with cameos by Balthier, Fran, and Penelo
Rating: Somewhere in that vague range between PG-13 and R (definite nudity but nothing explicit)
Length: 1500 words
Summary: Everybody has their odd habits. Balthier's just happens to be a little stranger than most. This chronicles each party member's discovery of said 'quirk'.
Notes: See here for story notes.

Quirks

II. Basch

He had lived in a state of almost complete solitary confinement for two years. Two very long, very lonesome years. But Basch fon Rosenburg had become adept at keeping his own company and try as the Empire did to break him during that time, they only were able to wear him down a bit around the edges.

Well, maybe more than ‘a bit’, but he didn’t have to admit that to anyone.

The problem with living by one’s self for such an extended period of time, Basch mused one night after dinner as he helped young Penelo clean up in the Strahl’s galley, was that (besides the incurrent high possibility of madness, of course) one got used to living alone after a time. So when one found oneself suddenly living and traveling in close quarters with not one, not two, but five other people, it took a bit of adjusting. But Basch thought he was handling the transition as well as could be expected, what with the added pressure of protecting and restoring the only living member of the Dalmascan royal family to her rightful place on the throne thrown in the mix. He hadn’t snapped even once, not even when Vaan childishly insisted on hiding his new axe right after he’d acquired it in a delayed fit of petulant vengeance for his brother’s fate or when that damn sky pirate Balthier made not-so-subtly concealed snide remarks about the quality of his cooking.

“Thanks for helping me clean up, Basch,” Penelo said then, tearing him from his brief reverie. He turned and smiled softly in her direction, giving her a nod. At times like this, he didn’t exactly know what to say without sounding like an old, bumbling fool. It was only natural that, after two years of only having an old skeleton with which to converse while cooped up in his Archadian prison cell (the cage had been reserved for “special occasions” as one of his guards had once informed him quite derisively), his speaking skills had atrophied more than a little. Basch had just turned back to drying off the last of the dishes when he heard Penelo grumble unintelligibly – and uncharacteristically, for that matter – under her breath.

“Is there something the matter?”

“I could have sworn I put the last of the melons in this cabinet, but they’re not there anymore,” Penelo replied, confusion crinkling her expression. “I know we didn’t finish them at dinner…”

“Perhaps Balthier or Fran moved them to an alternative storage location for safer keeping,” suggested the knight errant rationally, peaking inside the cabinet in question and indeed finding it empty of the striped, green melons that had been there earlier. Seeing that his words did little to remove the look of confusion from the young woman’s face, Basch felt moved to further ease her worries. That was the only explanation he could offer for what he said next. “If it would ease your mind, I will go find one of our captains and inquire as to the location of the missing fruits.” At this, Penelo’s face visibly brightened and a girlish squeal escaped her lips. Basch worried for a second that, in her what he considered irrationally overwhelming fit of joyful enthusiasm, she might attempt to hug him; he truly wasn’t certain what he was supposed to do should that situation arise. Thankfully, however, she just saw him off down the hall with a wide smile and dish towel in hand. Basch breathed a sigh of relief and made a silent vow to work on becoming less socially awkward as the weeks wore on.

As he wandered down the main hallway of the Strahl, Basch silently hoped he would only have to deal with one sky pirate that night, and preferably not the one who always seemed to have a smart comment for every situation and an eye that wandered far too much for his own good. However, luck didn’t seem to be with the knight that evening, as he found out upon encountering the stoic viera pirate walking towards the cockpit that she had no idea what had happened to the remaining supply of melons. Fran suggested he ask Balthier as to the whereabouts of the melons and that he would most likely find said sky pirate in the cockpit before turning on her heel and walking purposefully in the direction from which she’d originally come. Basch spared Fran a moment and a raised eyebrow before continuing towards the cockpit.

Basch’s thoughts returned to Fran’s unusual actions as his hand stilled on the handle to the cockpit door. Did she possibly know something he didn’t? That was a safe bet, he scoffed. Though he’d only known her a short time, Basch figured the viera knew a great many more things than he, and with a shrug he went ahead, turned the two-way lock (why was the cockpit locked in the first place?), and opened the door.

It became immediately obvious what the sky pirate Fran knew that the knight errant Basch did not and also why the door had been locked in the first place, for ahead of him sat Balthier, shamelessly draped across his usual chair with half a melon in his hand and nothing but an open shirt hanging loosely from his shoulders.

Basch was willing to bet all the clothes on his back plus his new sword that Fran had known just what Balthier was up to when she’d talked to Basch in the hallway.

“Is there a reason you saw fit to barge into my cockpit unannounced, my good knight?” Balthier asked, taking a bite out of a melon half. The moonlight that filtered through the cockpit’s windows illuminated the subsequent trail of juice dripping down the sky pirate’s chin, but he made no move to wipe it away, nor did he move to cover up for his present company. And Basch, a man who had grown inordinately accustomed to privacy during his time spent in prison, felt the tips of his ears heat up as the mood between them grew more and more awkward.

“I see you are responsible for the displaced melons. Penelo will be pleased to know they have not simply vanished into thin air,” Basch said, measuring his words so they would not all flow out in an uncomfortable rush. It wasn’t that he’d never been in a room with other naked men – he was a soldier, for the love of the gods, and had spent more than his fair share of time living and showering in army barracks – but never before had he shared a space with someone so shameless and self-assured. It made him, who was naturally a modest hume, more than a little uncomfortable, and as such he had to strongly resist the urge to shift uncomfortably from foot to foot before making a rapid exit from the room.

Basch backed slowly towards the door, his eyes flickering from the numerous control panels, to the window, to Balthier’s growing smirk – anywhere but… there. “Do you make a habit of this activity?” he asked the sky pirate as his fingers found the door handle.

Balthier’s smirk was replaced momentarily by a thoughtful expression. “When the inclination comes upon me, so yes I suppose you would call this a habit of mine.”

“I shall be certain to keep a closer watch on any fruit bought in the future, then,” Basch resolved, feeling the latch give and the door swing open behind him. As he nearly tripped over himself exiting, Basch saw Balthier’s insufferable grin return. He was doing this on purpose just to get a reaction, Basch realized, and in his embarrassed irritation he shouted before he slammed the door closed, “for the sake of the gods, man, put on some proper clothes!”

For a man forced to spend two years of his life in seclusion, Basch thought he handled that situation fairly well. Balthier still had an unbroken neck, after all. He mentally patted himself on the back for being able to take such an absurd eccentricity in stride before his mind turned to other matters. Firstly, he was going to have to think twice before sitting in any of the cockpit’s seats from now on. Secondly, he was going to have to keep a sharper eye on any fruit he should happen to purchase in the future in order to keep it away from the sticky fingers of a certain sky pirate. And thirdly, and undoubtedly most importantly, there was no way that he would be letting the princess find out about this sky pirate’s habit of eating his fruit without wearing any clothing in the same manner as he just had. He had sworn to protect her and, even if it was from the filthy and perverted habits of sky pirates, Basch was determined to uphold his vows.

Before he set about doing just that, however, he had a few things he wanted to say to a certain viera.
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Current Music: "Fell In Love Without You" - Motion City Soundtrack
 
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[identity profile] mythweaver.livejournal.com on January 8th, 2008 04:45 am (UTC)
heheheheheheheehehehehe ^_^

having to think carefully about sitting in the cockpit chairs INDEED
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[identity profile] aoife-hime.livejournal.com on January 8th, 2008 04:48 am (UTC)
♥ Basch. Just, ♥. He turned out so adorably awkward!
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[identity profile] mythweaver.livejournal.com on January 8th, 2008 04:53 am (UTC)
You know...playing through the game a third? time, I'm finding myself loving Basch more and more. And contrary to a lot of what's written, Basch and Balthier are strange brother's at arms...every time Vaan says something stupid, it's Basch and Balthier that share "the look", plus, they pretty much hit it off right from the start, not so much in friendship but in mutual understanding. Plus...I think Basch is the ruddy, rustic kind of hot and OH MY GOSH WHEN HE CUTS HIS HAIR HE IS SEXY.

When Miranda finally gets to the end, she'll have to show you the video...or we can find it on Youtube ^_^
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[identity profile] aoife-hime.livejournal.com on January 8th, 2008 04:57 am (UTC)
Mmmm... FFXII's version of the band of ridiculously gorgeous brothers...

^^;; I Youtube'd that weeks ago... and promptly went on a huge angsty-shippy kick, playing "Kiss Me Goodbye" over and over on my iPod. But it would be wonderful to see it on a big television or something instead of my computer.
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[identity profile] mythweaver.livejournal.com on January 8th, 2008 05:04 am (UTC)
YES!

haha

When I first beat the game I was pretty much on a "OHMYGOSHTHAT'SHOT" phase for a while...I don't know HOW I got through a YEAR without that song...it practically burned a hole into my brain...and come to think of it...it has 66 play counts ^_^
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