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And Not a Drop to Drink

Fandom: Final Fantasy XII
Title: And Not a Drop to Drink
Author/Artist: iceprincessd
Theme(s): #11 mission impossible; limitation
Pairing/Characters: Balthier/Ashe
Rating: PG
Disclaimer/claimer: Balthier and Ashe do not belong to me. Property of Square Enix.
Summary: “The alarms nearly tripped three times trying to get to them.”

“And around that time was when a purple and orange polka-dotted flying moose attacked the starboard side.” Balthier said, crossing his arms.

“That’s nice.”

He rolled his eyes and leaned over Ashe, his shadow falling over her documents. “Nice? If you’d been paying attention for the past ten minutes, you would have caught on that I had finished my official report and made the very last sentence up.”

Ashe signed and pushed her papers away. “You’re right. I’m sorry.”

“Well, don’t ask me to tell you again. You’re just going to have to read my report in the morning.” He circled the desk and stood behind her. “You’ve been working too hard.”

“Tell that to the blasted drought we’re going through. Balthier, our water supplies are drying up. No water means no irrigation for crops, which means no feed for livestock. The markets are suffering because no one wants to buy goods from our merchants at higher prices to make up the deficit.”

“And conservation?”

“Has already gone into aggressive effect. It’s not like we can pipe water from Nalbina either, they’re in even worse shape than we are.” She rested her head on her desk with a muted thump. “It’s only a matter of time before civil unrest begins. Water spells would work if there was any water around to manipulate. What I wouldn’t give for a few months of rain.” She hissed when Balthier’s hands found a knot near her shoulder.

“You are too tense,” he declared. “You need to relax.”

“Now who isn’t paying attention?” Her words might have been sarcastic, but it didn’t stop her from leaning into his massage.

“No, I heard everything you said. And I may have a solution to all your problems.” He bent down and kissed the corner of her mouth. “I’m quite talented that way.”

“As much as I appreciate you in the bedroom,” Ashe started, sitting up straighter, “I can’t really see how your expertise is going to help with the water shortage.”

He made an offended noise and perched his hip on the edge of the desk. “You wound me, Princess. I happen to have many other talents besides having a pretty face.” He reached into his vest and pulled out a slightly flattened rolled up piece of parchment. “The ability to suss out information has always been a specialty of mine. If you had been paying attention when I was telling you all the highly boring details of my trip to Archades, you would have caught onto the fact that I stopped in at the Engineering archives.”

Ashe unrolled the paper, revealing detailed plans that she didn’t have a clue as to what they were for. “These are complicated.”

“I’ll say. The alarms nearly tripped three times trying to get to them.”

Her eyes widened. “You stole these?”

“Borrowed, technically. Relax, Basch knows they’re missing. It’s his job to deal with the details and such after all.”

She groaned and put her fingers over her eyes as if to stem a headache. “And what, may I ask, did you borrow?”

“Oh, nothing much. Just the plans on building a water purification system so you can bring in ocean water via airships outfitted with special tanks and turn it useable.”

She dropped her hands and stood up. “You are brilliant.”

“I won’t argue that. And is my resourcefulness to be rewarded?”

She slid her hands over his chest until her fingers reached the collar of his shirt. “Quite handsomely.” She mirrored his smile with one of her own before covering his lips with hers.

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