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Cracked Masks

Title: Cracked Masks
Author: iceprincessd
Rating: G
Prompt: a child (#10 people)
Characters/Pairing: Basch (claim), Noah
Warnings: spoilers for end of game
Summary: All he ever wanted was to be himself.
Author's Note: I don’t know how much in order each of these are going to be, but I’m going with “life post-game” for Basch. I haven’t played RW, so I’m taking the easy way out and ignoring any events that occur in that game for this entire series.



Growing up, Basch and Noah had been hard to tell apart. When their mother had fussed and badgered the boys into getting haircuts – the short, cropped styles were better suited for summers in Landis – Basch had resisted. He liked the fact that with his longer hair, he could be differentiated from his twin.

Then winter came along and with it, Noah let his hair grow out, blurring the line between siblings yet again.

As a child, Basch had broken his arm. He and Noah had been horsing around like usual, playing with bits of fallen tree branches as if they were swords, pretending to be great knights defending their country from the Archadian Empire. It had been an accident; Noah had swung both of his branches – he always did prefer to pretend he wielded dual swords – and while Basch had been able to block one blow with his single branch, he hadn’t been able to escape the second. There was an awful crack and then Basch went down to the ground, holding his arm with a hand while his mouth opened up in a silent scream of pain. Their mother had blistered their behinds, though the punishment had been undermined by the way she made sure Basch was comfortable with his new wrappings holding his arm tight and how she had comforted Noah, who had been far more panicked than Basch had, as if it had been his arm that had a bone sticking out of it instead. With the bindings in place to ensure his arm healed properly, Basch had been happy to once again be told apart from his brother.

Or else he had been. That was before Noah, in an attempt to cheer him up, decided to wear similar bindings. When it came time for Basch’s to come off, both boys had one arm that was skinnier than the other.

At fourteen, Basch had a horrible crush on a girl that worked in the sundries shop near his town. He wouldn’t say anything to her, but he would blush when she stared at him or when she helped him out. One day, he got the courage to speak to her, but was dismayed when she called him by his brother’s name instead. He walked away, never correcting her.

At thirty-four, he watched helplessly as his brother took his identity and used it to kill the king he had so loyally served for years. Even as he shouted out a warning, one of his captors struck him, causing searing pain to spread from his forehead to his temple. He watched through the blood dripping in his eye as Noah – now Gabranth, as he was calling himself, though Basch wondered how their late mother would view the use of her maiden name – stabbed the young Reks, who believed that it was Basch doing the injury instead.

It was two years later while shearing his long hair and shaving down his overgrown beard in a storeroom of Lowtown that Basch saw in a broken shard of mirror the ragged looking scar that ran down the side of his face. He had smiled grimly, knowing that there was no way that anyone would confuse brothers ever again.

At thirty-six, the sleek armor of a Judge Magister weighing heavy on his shoulders, Basch stared at his reflection. The mirror in his quarters was ornately carved, but the man staring back wasn’t. He looked tired and weary, his newly cut hair showing off angles in his face, leaving nothing hidden. After years of making a name for himself in Dalmasca, now he was playing Noah’s part, putting on his brother’s clothes and taking on his life. There were so many things he had yet to learn, but he was determined to make the illusion complete.

He stared down at the jar of ointment in his hands. The palace’s healer had promised that with regular application, the scar on his face would fade over time, disappearing almost to nothingness.

He turned away from the mirror and picked up the helmet sitting at a nearby table. Placing it over his head, Basch – now Gabranth - bit down the bitter resentment he felt towards his twin.

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