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Red Tape

Fandom: Final Fantasy XII
Title: Red Tape
Author/Artist: iceprincessd
Theme(s): #17 Garden Vista; Elysium El Dorado; Carnival
Pairing/Characters: Balthier/Ashe
Rating: G
Disclaimer/claimer: Balthier and Ashe don’t belong to me. Property of Square.
Summary: That’s what he got for giving the Strahl to her.

“It doesn’t exist.”

“And who says it doesn’t?”

Ashe looked up from the requisition paper the Admiral of her royal fleet had put down on the desk in front of her. “Historians. Did you ever pay attention in school?”

Balthier grinned. “I was a gifted child. The subjects taught at the Academy were boring.” He paced behind her, his eyes fixed on the blue, blue sky overhead. “Just think, an entire city of gold. The royal treasury would greatly benefit.”

“There is a reason they called it the mythical city of El Dorado. Note the emphasis on the word mythical.”

He waved his hand dismissively. “That’s just because no one ever reached it.”

“It was a lie; a wild goose chase cooked up by Landian leaders to buy their people time to escape the Empire. Pick up a book to see, or better yet, ask Basch.”

“Details, Princess.” Ashe didn’t bother to correct him on her title; if ten years of corrections hadn’t made him change his ways, she doubted anything would.

“I’m sorry, but there isn’t any way I’m going to authorize an expedition into Imperial lands on something so flimsy.”

He turned in time to see her stamp ‘Denied’ on his requisition.

“Fine. I’ll just take the Strahl and…”

“You’d steal your Queen’s flagship?” Since he was behind her, he couldn’t see her wide smile.

His tone was one of frustration. “She’s my ship.”

“You should have thought of that before volunteering its use then.” She put her quill back in its holder with precise movements, thoroughly enjoying making Balthier squirm. “Though I guess I could overlook that fact. Previous ownership does count for something.”

“Right. Then I’ll be seeing you in a week or two. I may even donate some of the riches I find.”

“Piracy is a serious offense, should you get caught,” she warned on a sigh. “And seeing as you’re acting on your own, I won’t be able to help you out.”

Balthier put his hands on her shoulders. Bending down, he placed a kiss on her bare neck before nipping at her earlobe. “Would you like to come with me?”

It was tempting, a week or more alone with him without worrying about her kingdom. “I still say it doesn’t exist.”

He smirked and held out his hand. “Then you can tell me that you told me so and I’ll spend the entire trip making it up to you.”

She took his hand. Her advisors could run things while she was away.

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