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Maybe I'm Paranoid

Title: Maybe I’m Paranoid
Rating: G
Summary: He had a sneaking suspicion someone was following him.
Note: Pre-game. Basch is around eighteen or nineteen here. Also, as far as I know, Ivalice doesn’t have zippers, hence the lace faux pas reference. *wink* For night_is_fallen, because Bashful!Basch was just too cute to pass up.

The back of Basch’s neck prickled uncomfortably. He had the sneaking suspicion that someone was following him, and had been doing so for quite some time. The first feeling of uneasiness had occurred in the Southern Plaza, where he had been joking around with a guard he knew near the fountain. Summertime in Rabanastre was blistering hot like usual, and he was grateful that he was able to dress in lighter clothing on his day of leave. The heavy armor that reflected the sun’s rays back towards him was left on its stand in his rooms. The breeze ruffled his hair and flowed through the thin linen shirt he wore, the first couple of buttons undone on account of the heat.

Winding his way through the bazaar, he stopped at a stall and pretended to be interested in the tapestry cloth the merchant was selling. He stood still and listened, his ears filtering through the usual din of bargain-seekers haggling with storefront owners to see if he could pinpoint anything out of the ordinary. A barely noticeable turn of his foot had him standing in profile, his eyes raking over a stand of goods to find a girl of around eight looking up at him. She was trying to be stealthy, half-hiding behind a cart selling food on skewers. He smiled at her, puzzled when her face turned bright red and she darted off in the opposite direction.

In the North End, he could have sworn that the Viera who stood near the entrance to a building had stared. He was more interested in the odd insignia next to the door though and nodded politely as he passed.

He had heard news of a traveling music troupe coming through the night before. Stopping into the Sandsea, he spent an enjoyable hour or so listening. They were very good; the woman who sang the majority of their love ballads had a beautiful voice. He sat back and listened as she launched into another song, this one about a girl pining for a handsome boy. Unless his eyes deceived him, she had stared right at him. He dismissed it almost as soon as the thought entered his head; it was a trick that many performers probably learned, making a large crowd suddenly dwindle down to a more intimate level for any one of their listeners. He applauded with the rest of the tavern when they were through and added his own piece of gil when the guitarist’s hat was passed around.

Basch finally made his way down to the protective shop. He didn’t need anything, seeing that he owned his own armor, but it didn’t stop him from looking. The proprietor’s daughter was reason enough for him. His eyes flicked over to where she stood with another customer before moving back to the case full of armor, the bronze shining brightly in the lantern light.

A high pitched giggle to his left drew his attention. Two girls around his age were standing together near a display of silk shirts, one red-faced and trying to hush the other, who had her hand clapped over her mouth to stifle her laugh. He had an uncomfortable realization that they were looking at him, which made him wonder if there was something wrong. He eyed the girls before wandering towards the back of the shop, wondering what was making one of them nervously giggle and the other sigh dramatically. Thoughts of trousers and improper lacing ran through his mind, making the tips of his ears burn.

“Can I help you?” Basch swallowed hard, trying to come up with an excuse for being there. He was a soldier for goodness sake; he’d fought battles and faced fiends. Talking to a girl – a very pretty one, he couldn’t help but remind himself – shouldn’t be so difficult.

He inwardly slapped himself in the forehead when he stammered off a request for a shield he didn’t need, his fingers brushing her palm as he paid her. “Could you help me with something?” he asked, hooking his money pouch back into his belt.

“What is it?”

His eyes slid over to the girls who were now openly staring at him. They caught him watching them and turned away quickly. “Is there something wrong with the way I look? I’ve been getting really odd stares today.” He instantly regretted asking, because the girl – Gwen, his brain supplied – slowly looked him in the eye, her cheeks pink. He watched as she bit her lip, then shook her head.

“I don’t see anything wrong,” she replied, rocking back on her heels. “I don’t think you have to worry about how you look, Basch.”

He was so surprised that she knew his name that he could only mumble his thanks before leaving the shop, his new shield in hand. The prickling sensation was back and he looked over his shoulder in time to see Gwen looking at him with a wistful expression on her face. Caught, she busied herself with organizing a pile of caps, the pink on her cheeks darkening. Her eyes flicked back to him though and she gave him a shy smile.

Basch smiled back, happy for the first time that day that he had caught someone staring at him.


Feb. 22nd, 2008 05:49 am (UTC)
Adorable Basch is adorable. <3 I love reading about him pre-martyrdom. And I have this weird thing where I actually adore reading about canon characters and OCs, providing the OCs don't suck. Would you kill me if I said I'd like to read more of this Gwen and Basch, despite doubting it will come to fruition? ♥ Ruvly.
Feb. 23rd, 2008 01:22 am (UTC)
Adorable!Basch is fun to write.

More Gwen/Basch? She kinda showed up within five minutes of my first play-through of the game when I was still "I don't know who you are, Mister Scruffy Blond Knight, but I think I love you and I've decided that you need a girlfriend, if you don't already have one."

So yeah, there's a couple more ideas bouncing around in my head for them. I've been halfway contemplating doing a table over at lover100 for a few months now, but that's a really daunting challenge.
Feb. 25th, 2008 09:12 pm (UTC)
You could always pick up something smaller, like 30_fantasies or 13drabbles. There's tons out there.

Either way, if you do continue, you're sure to have me reading!

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