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Just a little Balthier/Vaan drabble that got into my brain and wouldn't leave me alone until I wrote it out. I'm better now XD.
The intense heat of the Nalbina Dungeons made the inside of Vaan’s nose ache. Even he, a ‘desert rat’, who’d lived in Rabanastre his entire life found the heat almost unbearable. Perhaps the knowledge that he was stuck (at least for a while) in this dreaded place with nothing to drink save for the minuscule amount in Balthier’s water skin and the brackish swill in the communal ‘drinking fountain’ made the heat seem worse. Or maybe the Empire had come up with a way to trap the heat in the sun-baked stone. Either way, it made sweat form on Vaan’s brow. Great, fat drops of sweat rolled down into the blond’s eyes and he wiped them away irritably. The blond approached the small square drinking fountain and peered in. The water was murky, brown, and a thin layer of sludgy green… something was floating along the top. It looked like some or all of the prisoners had used the fountain as a loo. A vaguely sulfurous stink rose from the water and Vaan backed away slightly, his nose wrinkled.
“Water… water…” A nearby bangaa croaked, collapsing against the edge of the pool and poking his long tongue into the water.
Vaan’s stomach rolled and he took another step back. He felt something brush against his ankle and just barely managed not to jump out of his skin. He looked down to see a horribly emaciated man gaping up at him with red-rimmed eyes.
“Marlene.” He gasped. “Marlene, my love! Is that you!? Have you come to rescue me?”
“No I… I’m not Marlene.” Vaan stammered, quite unsure of how to deal with this.
“Oh…” The man’s face drooped into a wholly downcast expression.
“I… I’m sorry.” The blond said lamely before trotting off.
Fearful that the man might follow him Vaan looked back over his shoulder, but the poor soul was still sitting on the ground looking dismayed. Vaan slowed down a bit and it was this action that kept him from falling on his butt when he ran headlong into something solid. Instead he rebounded and stumbled backwards a few steps.
“Oh ho.” A voice rasped.
Vaan stared up at the biggest bangaa he’d ever seen. The lizard-like prisoner was as emaciated as the rest and looked like he had a bad case of scale rot, but there was strength rippling under those weakening muscles. Vaan could just see it. The teen took a small step back. “I’m sorry” wanted to desperately escape his throat, but the words seemed to be stuck.
“Fresh meat…” The bangaa stroked Vaan’s cheek with one of his sand-papery fingers, leaving a few scales behind. “And so pretty…”
Quite suddenly it clicked in Vaan’s mind as to why he hadn’t seen any women in the dungeons. Unfortunately they wouldn’t last very long down here. The blond’s throat and tongue dried right up and he swallowed hard. He looked around wildly. Most of the prisoners were looking their way, but they either wore an expression of indifference or malicious interest. No one was going to help him. They’d just go on watching with indifference or malevolent interest as this giant of a bangaa raped him.
“Akhilesh will take very good care of you, poppet.” The bangaa leered, moving in on Vaan.
“I don’t think so.” A cool, smooth voice interrupted.
Vaan’s head whipped around and Balthier emerged from behind the nearest pillar with a contemptuous look on his face.
“Back off hume, the boy is mine.” Akhilesh snarled.
“You seem to be under the delusion that he was yours to claim. However, he was already mine before we were thrown down here.”
Vaan was still rooted to the spot. He didn’t even move when one of Balthier’s hands squeezed his shoulder. He did utter a small squeak however as Balthier turned the teen to face him and planted a kiss on his lips, brushing his tongue softly over the blond’s lower lip.
Akhilesh laughed dryly, “He doesn’t seem to be impressed by your chivalry, hume. Now bugger off.”
“He’s just shy.” Balthier smirked, brushing the bangaa scales off Vaan’s cheek. “Aren’t you, pet?”
“Very.” Vaan replied automatically. His whole face was slowly turning red.
The last of the bangaa’s patience wore out and one giant hand reached out to close around Vaan’s neck, squeezing hard. Balthier’s cool demeanor was lost as well and he tackled Akhilesh hard, driving his shoulder into the bangaa’s solar plexus.
“Hooo!!” All the air in the bangaa’s lungs whooshed out and he let go of Vaan. The blond stumbled away, coughing and massaging his throat.
Balthier and Akhilesh fell to the hard, hot sand. The bangaa drove his fist into Balthier’s stomach and it was the sky pirate’s turn to be winded. The prisoners came alive all at once like wind-up toys and they screamed encouragement. Many shouts of “Akhilesh!” and “hume!” vibrated off the walls. Akhilesh punched Balthier in the side of the head and tiny stars winked before the brunet’s eyes. He rolled away from the bangaa and crouched on the ground, shaking his head, trying to right himself quickly. At the same moment Vaan ran up and kicked out at the bangaa as hard as he could. His foot connected solidly with Akhilesh’s back and the bangaa screamed in pain. The stars finally faded in time for Balthier to see Akhilesh writhing on the ground while Vaan kicked him repeatedly. The prisoners' shouts were dying down and Balthier looked over to see two Imperials jogging their way.
“Come on, Vaan.” Balthier stood and took hold of the blond’s arm. “They’ll put you in the stocks if they catch you fighting.”
Vaan willingly let the man pull him along. They hid in an alcove adjacent to the ‘corpse room’. The Imperials didn’t really care all that much about prisoners beating each other up, just about keeping the calm, so they only did a half-assed sweep of the dungeon before hauling Akhilesh off.
“I leave you alone for five minutes and you almost become a mutant bangaa’s courtesan.” Balthier smirked.
The teen looked over at Balthier. The entire right side of the man’s face was bruised and blood was running from a small cut on his temple.
The sky pirate was caught off guard as the blond hooked his fingers into his vest and pulled him into a kiss. However he soon got a hold of himself and sent his tongue forward to meet Vaan’s, snagging his arms around the blond’s waist as he did so. An impatient female sigh made Vaan leap away from Balthier as if the pirate was on fire. Fran was standing at the mouth of the alcove looking both amused and disgusted.
“You humes are worse than Giza rabbits. You do it every where and any where. No matter if you’re up to your arse in trouble or not.”
“Found us a way out have you, Fran?” Balthier asked cheerily as if he didn’t just get caught snogging a near stranger.
“Yes.” The viera glanced over at Vaan, who was staring at the wall and very red in the face. “The mist flows well through this place. It is obviously going somewhere. If we follow it, we should find a way out. It will be dangerous of course, but I’m certain we can handle it.”
“Right then. Shall we?”
Fran nodded and turned on her heel, marching off briskly. Before Balthier could follow her Vaan reached out and clasped onto the man’s shirt sleeve.
“…Thank-you.” The blond said quietly before following after Fran.
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