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Pirate Queen in Training

Title: Pirate Queen in Training
Pairing: Balthier/Ashe
Rating: G
Summary: Ashe might have stolen his heart years ago, but their daughter had him wrapped around her little finger.
Notes: Oneshot contains fluff, fluff and more fluff. So much you can stuff pillows. Inspired after reading everyone's Daddy!Balthier stories and letting the plot bunnies have full control of the keyboard.

“Elsie? Be a dear and hand me the calibrated socket, will you?”

The little girl at Balthier’s feet stared wide-eyed at the assortment of tools scattered on the engine room’s floor. Biting her lip, she looked to Nono for help. The moogle nudged an odd shaped tool towards her with his foot. “This one?”

Balthier blindly reached out with a free hand, keeping his upper body completely under a piece of machinery he was currently tinkering with. His fingers found the tool Elsie offered him and his arm disappeared once more into the hulk of metal and belts. “Exactly what I was looking for. Darling, there’s a reason you’re my favorite grease monkey.”

Elsie gave Nono a thumbs up and a beaming smile that showed the space she had recently lost one of her front teeth. “I’m a good helper, aren’t I?”

Balthier pushed back with his heels and rolled out from under the engine. “The best.” Sitting up, he glanced at the pocket watch he had attached to the front of Elsie’s overalls earlier. “Though I’m afraid to say that we’re going to have to continue work at a later date.”

She groaned. “But I want to stay with you!”

He pulled out a handkerchief. “And there’s nothing in the world that would make me happier, but you have lessons to attend, young lady.” He used the tip of his tongue to wet the edge of the material and wiped at the smear of grease that had found its way on the bridge of her nose. “Your mother would kill me if I returned you to the palace in such a state.”

She squirmed and made a face. “But all the afternoon lessons are boring! Who needs to know about manners and how to sit straight?”

“Future pirate queens need to.” He stood up and took her hand, leading her out of the Strahl and into the aerodrome. “How else are they going to know how to politely hold their hostages for the highest ransom?”

She wrapped her arms around his head as he hefted her up onto his shoulders. “I guess. Pirate queens can’t slump in their seats, can they?”

“Absolutely not. Ruins the image completely.” They made their way towards the bazaar, Balthier purposely going the long way to wring out all the time he could get with Elsie before she had to go back to the protective arms of her governess. After lessons, bathing, and dinner, she’d be free again for only a short while until it was time for her to go to bed. He had actually been the one to set the firm bedtime schedule, thinking back to all the nights that he had been allowed to tuck himself in at all hours of the night, only to wind up waking the next morning groggy and irritable.

Elsie’s small hands held onto the collar of his shirt. Her slight weight shifted on his shoulders as she leaned down to bestow a kiss to his cheek, missing and getting his sideburn and part of his ear instead. For a man that had once prided himself on charming women, candy scented sloppy kisses had quickly turned into his favorite kind to receive in the span of six short years.

She arched her eyebrow, or at least attempted to. “Are you sure I have to go to lessons?” Where she had gained her mother’s fair hair and eyes, Elsie had inherited her father’s smirk. She’s going to be a horror to deny anything to when she gets older, Balthier thought. Wait, she already is.


She sighed heavily, knowing the use of her proper first name and the tone he said it in left no room for further arguments. “I know.” She sighed dramatically again and dipped her face down, her chin lightly digging into the crown of his head.

He chuckled and tightened his grip on her ankles. “I’ll make a deal with you. You don’t give Dame Gertrune any trouble today and we’ll climb up to the observatory tonight to watch the stars.”

She gasped and he had to wince as she grabbed a hold of his hair just a little too tightly. “Really?”

“I give you my word, Princess.” He had intended on doing so anyway, but using pre-bedtime stargazing as a bargaining chip to get her to behave for her lioness of a governess worked to his advantage. For all her bluster though, Balthier knew she loved the little girl as if she were one of her own grandchildren. Yet still, the woman always made him feel guilty when she playfully accused him of undermining all her hard work and raising Elsie to be a hellion.

What could he say? Ashe might have stolen his heart years ago, but their daughter had him wrapped around her little finger.

He slung her off his shoulders and gave her cheek a messy kiss of his own that had her giggling before setting her on the ground. She gave him a tiny wave goodbye, her back straight as a metal rod as she walked back inside and one of her hands tucked firmly into Dame Gertrune’s.

“She has oil on the back of her pants.” Ashe came up behind him and slid an arm around his waist. “And now you have an Elsie-sized stain on your shoulders.”

He lifted a hand and felt the top of his shoulders. “Damn,” he swore when his fingers blackened. “That’s the third shirt we’ve ruined this week.”

Ashe laughed. “And what’s this talk I hear of her becoming the next pirate queen?”

He held his hands up in front of him defensively. “I had no hand in it; she’s been spending far too much time with Penelo and Vaan when they visit.” Well, maybe he might have encouraged her ideas a tiny bit, but he hadn’t been the one to put them in her head in the first place.

It didn’t look like she was buying it though. “Sure you didn’t. Just like you weren’t the one to take her to the Strahl and proclaim ‘Someday, all this will be yours’ when she was only a week old.”

“You don’t mind though.”

“Of course I don’t. I want her to be able to have a choice in life. I want all of our children to be able to live the lives they want.” She looked at him pointedly. It took him all of two seconds to digest what she said before he opened his mouth, only to shut it again.

“Are you sure?”

She nodded. “This afternoon.” She stared up at him. “Say something.”

He cupped her face in his hands, unintentionally streaking her cheek with grease in the process. “I’m going to have to buy another ship,” he whispered, his lips grazing hers. “Can’t go promising the Strahl to every one of Elsie’s siblings, now can I?”

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