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[personal profile] pendency posting in [community profile] ff_fortnightly
Title: End of the World (1)
Fandom: FFXII
Characters: Balthier, Fran
Rating: PG
Prompt: #6 - Failure (Recycle Round), chained: 100 words, 200 words.
Summary: Post-game AU where Mist stops working as expected. See Timeline.


Today is Balthier's forty fifth birthday. He wakes alone.

He goes to Fran's blankets. He wears richly tailored pyjamas, if faded. His knee pokes through a frayed patch as he bends to touch Fran's pillow, which still shows the curve from her head.

Mist rises at his touch. Puzzled, he says her name.

Balthier wanders their apartment. His puzzled expression does not fade. The furnishing sparse, there are several vases filled with ferns, and Balthier's passing makes them shiver.

'I feel like more of a ghost than you do. It's the ghosts who linger. Ah, well, on with it, eh?'


He wakes alone.

Outside the bathroom, Balthier falls, gasping. He pulls a handkerchief from his pyjama sleeve, and mops his brow. His free hand claws at his stomach.

He showers.

After his shower, he stands naked at the basin, and unfolds a cutthroat razor taken from behind the mirror. He looks at the blade, then his reflection. He puts the blade against the glass, listening to the ratatat as his hand shakes. He folds the cutthroat away without shaving.

In his bedroom, he starts dressing, and stops. He shakes his head. He towels himself dry, then tries dressing again. His clothes are cut from the same pattern as those worn fifteen years ago.

'What better getup to suit a skypirate without a sky, than a style as outdated as the profession? Ha. What do you think Cid would've felt about that, eh? Take the Mist's retaliation as personally as Ffamran's failure? Can you see it, the good Doctor, challenging nature itself as a postscript to his daring deconstruction of deity!'

Balthier laughs. The bathroom comes alive with echoes. Naked and wet, Balthier holds a cutthroat against a month-thick beard.

Gleeful, he calls, 'Fran, did you hear me laugh at nothing—?'

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