[fic] Dance With the Devil

Title: Dance with the Devil
Author: joudama
Fandom: FF12
Rating: PG
Warnings: Kind of pre-UST, I guess. I dunno.
Word count: 754
Summary: What Fran sees, in the pale moon light.
A/N: This was originally a prompt I came up with for kinkfest, only the stupid thing bunnied me instead. GAH. Mainly because I had a suspicion most people would take my prompt and do it from Balthier's side, and him seeing Fran's darker skin as something exotic. So I did this from her side, inverting the idea that white skin is "normal" and any other color is what's different, and doing it from the POV of someone who sees dark skin as normal and thinks those humes are just too pale. I'm really curious to see if anyone picks up the prompt, and if my suspicions are correct. ...Anyway. ^^; This is pregame.

--

It is a full moon, this night.

The air is crisp, a tang of cold of the coming winter something that can almost be tasted in the sharp autumn air, and he is staring out at nothing, watching the clouds go by, lost perhaps in his own thoughts.

My thoughts should be of the ship, of piloting our course, but the course has been entered and the Strahl is more than capable of getting us to our destination in such a clear sky, whether I guide her or not. And so I let her, watching him as much as he watches the skies that pass.

Humes are funny things, flames that flare and then burn out. They live life with such passion, as if they know they will not be here long. Even Balthier, for all he seems so cool on the surface; he is as much flame as the others, burning brightly with the force of his life.

And flame, flame is a dangerous thing for us of the Forest.

In the moonlight, he seems to glow. Pale things, humes, and Balthier seems all the paler for the moonlight. It seems unreal, sometimes, how pale they are, like wisps. Bruises and marks appear so easily on their skin. It seems to make their fragility more immediate, more palpable. At his temples and wrists, places where the skin is thinnest, one can see the latticework of veins running under the surface, and it gives such a terrible fragility to them. I do not bruise so easily as he, but when I do, it is hard to see. And yet when he bruises, it is an ugly thing, sickly colors spreading under the skin, uglier as it heals to mottled yellows and purples, and I do not like to see it.

Although I wonder, sometimes, if I do not like to see it because it is an ugly thing, or if it is because I do not like the idea of him being so obviously hurt. In the Forest, signs of injury can be deadly, and his pale skin shows these signs so easily, almost exaggeratedly so. Perhaps for the humes this is a good thing, a signal to one's group that one is injured so they can band together to give protection. But it is in my mind, still, a dangerous thing. It is weakness and weakness can mean death.

But he is not bruised now, and the moonlight falls on him and lights him, making him into something that seems almost unnatural. The fingers resting on his legs seem to all but glow in this light, and the curve of his neck is pale and fragile, exposed because he rests his head against his hand as he stares out. He would break so easily, it seems, and the thought is discomforting.

I suppose it is because he, like all humes from his homeland, keeps himself so covered, but sometimes it is oddly difficult to truly realize that he is in actuality that pale; that it is his natural coloration and not an accident of birth like some of my kind, colorless and blue-eyed, born unable to bear the touch of the sun; that under his layers and trappings his skin is all that odd shade--paler, perhaps, since the sun rarely touches it. It just...somehow does not seem real.

I find myself thinking things I should not, about this hume. I should not worry so, should not...should not wonder so.

I hear the sigh I make more than I feel it, and focus myself back on piloting the ship, on the levers and controls that I understand.

"Is there something the matter?" Balthier asks, turning towards me, away from whatever had held his thoughts before. "You seem a tad ill at ease." I glance over at his voice, and under the moonlight, indeed, he gleams, like mist...like Mist perhaps, for the way it affects me, and flame, I know, is a dangerous thing, for all that it draws and one would wish to reach out to touch, and that is why I simply shake my head.

"Winter comes soon," I finally say. "The dying of the year has perhaps given me odd thoughts."

"It does for us all," he says, and his lips quirk upwards into a sudden smile, not the one that reveals nothing of his thoughts, but an honest one that he gave to few. His eyes meet mine, and I know, in the moonlight, that I have already touched the flame.
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Comments

... *grabby hands*
...That icon is WIN. Balthier is indeed just that awesome, chibi!Balthier even more so. :D
And he knows it too, smug little bastard.
*flails and grabby hands*

YES! And more yes.
lol, everyone's making grabby hands at this fic. I guess this means I did an OK job with Fran. :D
Ooooh! Fantastic! I really love the tone of the piece. *hearts at*
Thank you! This is my first time writing FF12, so I'm glad to know it worked. ^^