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Fandom: Final Fantasy XII
Title: Caught
Author/Artist: iceprincessd
Theme(s): #21 the devil’s advocate
Pairing/Characters: Balthier/Ashe, Fran, Basch
Rating: PG
Disclaimer/claimer: Balthier and Ashe do not belong to me. Property of Square Enix.
Summary: “He seduced her!”

The sharp feminine gasp followed by Balthier’s startled curse and a door being closed with a bang was enough for Fran to deduce that her partner and Ashe had finally been discovered by someone.

And about time too, she thought. I was getting tired of covering up for them. The sound of angry footsteps made her hurry to sit in her usual seat and wipe the “Balthier is in Trouble” smirk off her face.

“Everything all right?” she asked, throwing a glance over her shoulder. Basch sat heavily into a seat behind her, but then immediately shot back up to pace the small area in the cockpit.

“That rat,” he spat through clenched teeth.

“I assume by rat you don’t mean Vaan.”

“No, I do not.”

“So what has Balthier done?” It was more of a struggle to keep her voice even and her face neutral than she had expected, especially when Basch’s ears reddened.

“There were…” he tried to search through his outrage for words. “Clothes and…hands and…Ashe.” He balled his own hands into fists. “I’m going to kill him.”

“Out of curiosity, did you happen to knock?”

“I didn’t think I had to knock on the storage door!” Ah. Fran was going to have to have a talk with her partner. She was by no means a prude, but she disliked the idea of romantic liaisons happening on or near items she might personally use later on. “You don’t seem too surprised.”

She looked up. “Should I be?”

“He seduced her!”

“Oh? And she told you that?”

He sputtered. “No, but that is the obvious conclusion!”

“And it never crossed your mind that Ashe is a grown woman capable of acting on her own? That perhaps their arrangement is mutual?”

Her calm tone of voice had him sitting down again in a seat, his hands sliding down his face. “I’ve seen her in diapers. It tends to make me a bit overprotective.”

“It is time for you to come to terms with the fact that both are now adults.” She turned to face him. “He is not so bad. He tries to hide it, but he is a decent person. She could have done worse.”

He leaned back so his head hit the headrest with a thud. “I still don’t like it.” Fran’s ears twitched when she heard the tentative footsteps at the entrance. They were too light to be Balthier’s, so she guessed they belonged to the princes.

“I do not think you have a say in this matter. Just don’t kill him; I’ve worked for years to get him to where he is now. I’d hate to have to start training someone to take his place.” She passed by Ashe and put a supportive hand on her shoulder. Ashe took a deep breath and walked inside.

Fran went further into the ship and found Balthier sitting on his bunk looking woebegone with his head hanging almost down to his knees.

“Really, the food storage of all places?” she asked, leaning against the doorframe.

“He’s going to kill me,” Balthier moaned, not looking up. “He’s going to use my own gun to shoot me. Either that or just hack me to bits.”

She rolled her eyes. “Perhaps you’ll be lucky and he’ll only maim you.”

Balthier groaned and flung himself backwards to stare at the ceiling. Fran walked away.

Ten minutes later, Vaan and Penelo did a double take as they came back from selling a couple of pieces of older gear. They could have sworn they had both seen the usually quiet and reserved viera just outside the aerodrome holding her sides and trying not to fall over from laughing so hard.

Vaan looked at Penelo. Penelo looked back at Vaan. Both of them didn’t say a word as they boarded the ship.

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