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Balthier slept deeply, half-curled on his side, limbs splayed with one arm thrown across Basch's chest; Basch liked to think of it as an unconscious possessiveness, though his logical mind was certain it was merely a byproduct of Balthier's inevitable sprawl. Balthier's breathing was steady, even, and Balthier matched his to it as he dwelt in the world between waking and dreams.

It was more intimate, somehow, than aught they'd done before - ironic, really, given that it was not far gone that they had been as physically close as two people could be. It was part of Balthier's truth, stripped of his cleverness, the wry twist of his mouth that inevitably signaled a deception of some kind, the distracting expressiveness of his hands as they painted his words upon the air. The man Balthier had once been - the boy, really, before the corruption of his father - came through then, and Basch ached to know him, to find him within the man who now slept beside him, his breathing steady, even, against Balthier's shoulder.