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Just Friends

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"Fran's hot, isn't she?"

Basch stiffened. Usually he managed to crawl into the bunk before Vaan and Penelo finished their hallway gossip session.

"Aye, she is, Vaan." Sometimes agreement was easiest.

"Yeah." The boy slouched in, peeling off armor and tossing it. "Saw you lookin' at her."

"She's a good fighter." The soldier stacked his armor and sword neatly alongside the bunk. "But pirates are not known for sharing."

"You really like him, don't you, Princess?"

"Balthier is a thief." Ashe scowled. "His presence comes at a price."

"Not always." Penelo sighed. "He gave me his handkerchief. I thought maybe—"

Fran's sharp cry echoed through the Strahl, punctuated by sharp thumps.

"Any questions?" Ashe said.

Penelo reddened. "Oh."

"You could have asked me to remove it, Fran."

"What, and soil your cuffs?" She kicked the cracked piston aside and reached for its replacement.

"I have a manly reputation to uphold, you know."

"So I hear."

Balthier folded his arms. "You and your ears. So, which of us are they lusting after?"


"Excellent." He lifted the discarded part, stumbling under the weight. "We'll split them fifty-fifty. What are partners for?"

"Agreed." Her ears twitched. "You babysit Vaan and the princess."