Categories > Games > Final Fantasy XII

Reasons Why

by sumthinlikhuman 0 reviews

And climb high to the highest rung to shake fists at the sky. While others have excuses, I have my reasons why. pregame SLASH.

Category: Final Fantasy XII - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Drama, Romance - Warnings: [!!] [X] - Published: 2007-03-22 - Updated: 2007-03-22 - 4996 words - Complete

I grasp
for the reflection
silver in the water.
You are the moon.

I wake
when all is still and dark,
and my eyes remain open.
You are slumber.

I thirst
when the wells are empty,
but my purse is slack.
You are the finest wine.

I set
my pen to paper, but
I cannot write a word.
You are the poem.

--"You Are Where I Am Not" by Wenry fon Scher


"You are with the Marquis' household?"

The voice behind his right shoulder startled him enough to make him jump, and he wondered just how had approached him so swiftly and without warning. He was larger than Halim--not heavy, just well-built, in a strong-lined sort of way that spoke of years spent filling in adolescence--and dressed in bright blue and creamy yellow, clothes cut almost scantily close and low in places, perfectly indecent even for the Bhujerban summer.

Any introductions were halted as the prince pressed upon Halim an overstuffed piece of luggage and looked around, muttering to himself. The prince asked, "Might you know if there is an escort?" His voice was deep and powerful, and Halim could feel it already grating on his nerves as the anger rose in him.

The bag was heavy in his hand for a moment, before the implications of the words sank in. Halim cleared his throat as he set the bag down and crossed his arms over his chest when the prince turned back to him. He shook his head, smiled politely, and said, "I'm not a houseboy, your Royal Highness. I'm the Marquis' son."

The prince stared at him, trailed his gaze over Halim (still dressed in his pale-colored house clothes, with his hair mussed from being woken late) before offering a sympathetic smile laced with disbelief. He patted Halim's shoulder in what would have been a consoling manner had he not been barely smothering his laughter in that close-lipped smile. Halim opened his mouth in protest, brushing off the hand on his shoulder with a hasty snarl, "I'm not some--!" But he made himself remember that this was not just some noble's child, out ranked by him at birth, and not just another student of the Bhujerban tutors. He swallowed the offensive words that bubbled to his tongue.

Halim straightened his shoulders with stiff pride, saying, "The Marquis has retired to the Manse, your Royal Highness. I am to escort you," and gestured expansively to the aerodrome entrance. "After you, /sir/."


After months of avoiding Raminas' footsteps in the halls, still seething with anger, it seemed foolish to be cornered in the library of all places. But there he was, reading, and then there was Raminas.

"Lord Halim, may I speak with you?"

After a moment, he met the older boy's eyes. Raminas was silent for a moment, staring down at Halim, who finally scoffed, stood and made his way toward the library doors.

"My apologies." Halim's fingers went slack on the door handle. He peered over his shoulder at the prince, who looked out of his element with apology. His eyes slid away from the prince's face to some spot between their feet. The prince's deep voice rumbled up again: "I did not mean to cause offense, when I arrived."

"Of course."

"I should not have assumed." He approached across the parquet flooring, toward that middle spot. Halim shifted his gaze away completely.

"It was an ... understandable mistake," Halim replied. He heard the prince move closer, his house slippers slapping quietly on the floor. His fingers grasped firmly to the knob. "I have things to attend to, your Royal Highness. If you'll excuse me?"

Raminas grabbed Halim's sleeve, and when Halim looked back at him, he saw that Raminas could not meet his eyes either. "I would like to start over. To remove our false start, and begin again, under friendly terms."

"That--" Their eyes met. Raminas was smiling, almost uncertainly, and Halim swallowed the words that came to his lips. The silence overtook them for a moment. Raminas' knuckles were warm through the fabric of Halim's shirt, and when he could no longer keep Raminas' gaze, he looked to his hand instead, the words still lost from him.

Raminas released him, the boyish smile still on his lips when Halim looked up, his eyes still bright. Very slowly, an answering smile broke over Halim's on lips.

"We will see, your Royal Highness."


"Halim, may I speak with you a moment?"

It took him a moment to pull himself away from perusing Raminas' most recent letter. His father wore the serious expression of burdened knowledge, and so Halim followed him closely. The pleasant euphoria he'd wrought from the letter dissipated.

Long minutes later, on a balcony that overlooked the streets beneath them, the Marquis said to Halim, "You will be seventeen soon," to which there was nothing for Halim to say. So the silence stretched between them once more, and Halim began to wonder and worry.

When the Marquis spoke again, it was with the same terse bluntness. "Yet you do not spend much time with the young women of the court."

"In the case you haven't noticed, father, many of the courtiers have little in common with me."

"And I had little in common with your mother when I was your age, Halim. But this did not stop me from pursuing her interests." The Marquis looked down at Halim, touching his shoulder and plucking at the stitching on his sleeve. "I wish the best for you, my son. But do you not think it wise for you to at the least look for a suitable woman whom you would wish to spend your life with?"

Halim rolled his eyes. "I am fine without."

His Lord father shook his head, sighing, and dropped his hand from Halim's shoulder.

"And when I am gone? When Bhujerba is yours and you are Marquis? Then will you say you are fine without companion or heir? And what of when you are into old age, Halim? Would you end the Ondore line with yourself?"

"I am not yet seventeen, father. I have years ahead of me to think of marriage and children." To the Marquis' scowl, Halim shook his head and braced his arms against the balustrade. "I mean no disrespect, father. But these things are ahead of me, and I--"

"You will be Marquis one day, Halim. And as the Marquis, you must not be so selfish. You must look ever future-ward, and understand that you are the keystone to the Mark." There was no sense arguing further, and so Halim swallowed his words and nodded stiffly.

"Will that be all, sir?"

"For the time being." Halim turned, chin ducked to his chest as he tried to squash his frustrations. From behind him, the Marquis asked, "What calls you back to your rooms so quickly?"

"A letter," Halim replied. "From Raminas."

"Do you think it so wise to associate this closely with the prince?"

"He is my friend."

"Is that all?" The Marquis shook his head, but didn't turn to look at Halim, who was wide-eyed and stunned, and said, "Don't give me that look, Halim. I was young once. You mustn't put such heart in childish infatuations."

"I'm /not/--!"

The Marquis continued over him, "Least of all with someone in his position. Do you think he disrespects his father with thoughts of allaying his lusts with /you/? He'll be thinking of his own betrothed now, or soon enough."


They were laughing when it began, speaking of something Halim couldn't remember after the heat of the moment. Raminas had been sprawled in the seat behind the King's writing desk, one light-shod foot thrown up casually on top; Halim was draped on the chaise pushed to the eastern wall, head leaned far back and tumbler barely held in his fingers.

At some point in their laughter, Halim moved, sauntering with uncertain steps, and Raminas caught him as he tumbled against the edge of the desk, grumbling over Halim's half-drunken state and making vague noises of escorting Halim to his room in the guest suite. Halim could only chuff with indignation and straighten himself as best he could against Raminas' chest and shoulders.

With the light still glimmering in the streets and the moon half-full in the clear night, Raminas was pewter and gold. Halim smiled at him, idiotic, and did nothing more than lean in slowly and touch their lips together. It was not lightning and firecrackers, as he'd heard from older men--his father even--but it was not unpleasant.

He laughed at his foolishness even as he stayed there, pressed over Raminas' chest. When he finally pulled back, his words were stuttering laughter and apologies with broken Bhujerban mixed among them.

Raminas' hand was callused on the tips of his fingers, and farther down to his palms, rasping against Halim's neck as he ducked in for a stolen kiss. Halim was left gaping as Raminas retreated, his lips liquor-dark and hands far too gentle. Raminas did not seem half as surprised by the sudden serious nature of the situation. His hand slid down Halim's neck, and he came once more for a drunken kiss.

No lightning, no sparks, but there was a vague warmth infusing the whole of his body, and his arms fit so nicely around Raminas' neck as Raminas' free hand slid up Halim's thigh.

The desk was suddenly under his back, and their kiss broke for Halim's gasping breath and heavy swearing voice. Raminas was laughing, snatching kisses and muttering apologies; his hand left Halim's neck for the back of his head, to cradle and caress where his scalp had hit the hard-wood desk as the other traced distracting nonsense patterns over Halim's hip, moving inward.

As sloppy lips moved down, it was with only half a mind that Halim gasped, "What are we doing?"

"It isn't obvious?" Infectious laughter lay upon Raminas' breath, and they spent uncountable moments laughing as their lips brushed, noses bumped, fingers skated over their clothing and brushed warm skin beneath. Halim's hands shook when he laid them on Raminas' face, fingers tracing over the ridge of the elder's cheekbones, his ears, down the line of his jaw--stronger than he remembered from their first meeting years earlier, netted with coarse hairs that rasped his chin.

He was aware, quite suddenly, of the heat between them--that he was sprawled over the King's writing desk with the prince of Dalmasca draped over him--of the not-so-subtle cant of Raminas' hips against him, with obvious arousal and light noises to accompany it. For a moment, it almost seemed to matter. Then, Raminas kissed him again, this time right over the round of his throat, and Halim realized that nothing really mattered, as long as Raminas didn't /stop/.

"Not here," Raminas muttered suddenly, pulling at Halim and Halim's clothes at the same time, looking around half-desperate, more than half-drunk, with Halim rising slowly from his sprawl. He repeated himself, idiotic, and Halim could only laugh like a fool and pull Raminas toward the chaise he'd commandeered earlier.

It was far more comfortable there, anyway.


The rain came harder and more quickly, and they both laughed and whooped like children as they ran for the eave closest to them. Through the alley, they could watch the merchants hurrying out of Lhusu Square, and those few souls that had been in the streets disappeared with them. Halim leaned against the white wall, breathing deep and smiling. Raminas stood just on the dry side of the rain curtain falling from the roof.

"It doesn't rain like this in Rabanastre," he said without looking at Halim. His voice was almost loud over the pounding rain. He rubbed his wet arms, and Halim could see some of the tension washing out of his shoulders.

"It's heavier here," Halim supplied. He watched rainwater trailing down Raminas' neck from his hair; his hands parting the curtain before him.

Raminas laughed, spreading his arms wide and letting the heavy rain soak through his clothing to his skin. He smiled through the rain at Halim, holding out a hand toward him. They touched, and Halim was not surprised by how quick his own white shirt became tacky and translucent against his skin.

With the streets of Bhujerba bare and the shutters closed to the weather, it was no trouble at all to pull each other into alcoves, exchanging kisses for the sheer thrill of sharing them. A moment in a dark alley left Raminas panting and feral, and Halim grinning. Halim suffered near tumbles into fountains and over steep parapets that ended with laughter ringing in his ears and arms tight and warm around his waist.

Was this what it was always like when you fell for someone? The heady, insane thought that he'd do /anything/, if only the other would ask? They were too old for infatuation, in their twenties now.

They wandered to the square, laughing and jostling each other with gentle elbows and light shoves and sat in the rain, looking down at the eroding earth yards below the parapets of the walkways, and the black-green ocean miles below that.

"We should go hunting in the Giza Plains during the rains," Raminas proclaimed. Halim looked over at him, cocking a brow, swinging his legs back and forth as he leaned toward Raminas to meet his intent expression.

The hand on the small of his back kept Halim from tipping off the parapet to the chipped ground below. Raminas' lips were slick with rain water, his nose chill where it brushed against Halim's cheek in his fervor. Halim was smiling and pulling Raminas to him, the feel of Raminas familiar. They broke to smile at each other, the rain wetting their hair and tracing thin rivulets down their faces.

Raminas shivered, and Halim laughed as he leaned his forehead against his lover's. "We should be getting back."


"How old are you now, Halim?"

Raminas was older than Halim remembered, the lines around his eyes and mouth reminding him that they were not the teens they had been on their meeting. He lolled in the bed, sheets wrapped around his hips, and stared upside-down at Raminas' profile as he stood staring out the window. The warm air from the window wafted pleasantly through the room, carrying the noise of the street and ruffling Raminas' hair and the sleep-pants he had tugged over his hips.

"I'll be twenty-nine in the spring. Have you forgotten your own age?" Halim toyed with the stitching on the edge of the sheet, rearranging himself on his back.

"The years get away from me at times." Raminas shook his head as he spoke. Halim found himself smiling slightly, pleased that Raminas had found the time and inclination to travel, though the somber edge to his tone unnerved Halim. He rolled back onto his stomach and rested his chin in his palms.

Raminas caught his smile and replied with one of his own, though he chuckled and asked, "What is it?"

"I was only thinking," Halim murmured. He shook his head, tried not to think of disappointed words from his father, and disapproving eyes in the Dalmascan court. Raminas' smile was still the same, edged with boyish charm and bringing unbound light to his eyes--at least, it was the same for a moment. The clouds shifted in the sky, and Halim saw the strain there, the stately iron in his eyes. How long had the smiles been like that, and he too blind or unwilling to see it?

"We've discussed this, I believe. You're not to do such things around me; I'm weak-willed." Halim forced a grin in clear praise of such an attribute. Raminas shook his head with a chuckle and strode from the window back to Halim's bed. "And why all this thought? You were not this way the last I saw of you."

The last Raminas had seen of Halim had been too formal, too closed. Raminas had been icy, sharp-edged; not the man Halim had grown to know. Where had that boy gone? With a sigh, Halim clasped their fingers together and tugged Raminas onto the bed with him.

Raminas sat on the edge of the bed, sober once more. Halim's mouth turned down at the edges. What had become of that easy camaraderie they had shared? He let his hand slide off Raminas' before saying in a quiet voice, "I was thinking of us," which was only half a truth, he knew, but the words would not come after that, as they often would not.

"... I'm sorry?" Raminas murmured. Halim met his eyes with as much bravado and charisma as he possessed in such situations. After a moment, Raminas sighed, leaned over his knees and rubbed his brow. "Halim, must we--?"

"You cannot keep avoiding the subject. Is honesty, with yourself at the least, not the safest course?"

"I am honest about what we do, Halim," Raminas hissed. He wouldn't look at him, even when Halim touched his chin and tried to make him turn and meet his gaze. "The people who need know of this do--you and I. Why must we speak of it?"

The words stung for a moment, and Halim curled his fingers into the sheets that protected his modesty. He sat up quickly, words half ready on his tongue that he knew he would not--/could/ not--speak; what good would they do now (or would they ever have done any good)? When he raised his gaze, Raminas was watching him, eyes guarded, lips a tight line of displeasure.

"I simply do not wish to speak of these things when I have other obligations that call for my attention," Raminas uttered, meeting Halim's gaze evenly. Halim nodded, looking away from Raminas. It was stupid to feel so hurt over a few simple words.

"These things ...?" There were no things left.

The breeze rippled the curtains at the window. A kiss brushed over his lips and silenced any complaints before they could even form on his tongue.


"You wake." The voice was distant at first. Echoing and almost watery. His nose was filled with the smell of herbs and pressures and the sharp tang of magick.

Everything felt shifted. He couldn't feel his leg, or much of anything for that matter, which was a welcome relief. His tongue was thick, his mouth dry, his eyes too large; at the same time, it was like he could feel the very air on his arms.

It took several moments of him blinking sluggishly for his vision to clear, and he found himself watching a young Healer step away from his bed and Raminas lean in with worry written on his face.

Disbelief swelled for a moment. He'd had dreams of Raminas, smiling and laughing, while in the bush of the fallen sovereignties of northern Valendia. His hand rose, shaking, to grasp at Raminas' shirt, and caught skin-warmed linen.

"You're real," he croaked. He started up, despite sudden protest from the Healer. "You're /real/!"

"Yes. Yes, Halim. Rest now." Raminas' hands were warm, on Halim's shoulders without him noticing. The heat seeped through Halim's thin cotton shirt as he sank back against the pillows. His leg gave a dull throb of protest. Quiet words were exchanged over his daze, and he heard the door to whatever room he was in open and shut. He smiled at Raminas and grasped for him again.

"You're here," he whispered, fisting the fine fabric of Raminas' shirt and pulling him close as he sat up again. He inhaled the clean scent. How long had it been? His fogged mind couldn't count the time that had passed since he'd seen Raminas last, just that it had been too long.

Raminas' voice came to him slowly through the daze: "We were worried. When news came of your father's untimeliness--and then no one could find hide nor hair of you--Halim, you're a fool sometimes." He pulled Halim off, pushing him back into the pillows. Halim smiled at him, grabbing his wrists and holding him still. "I cannot stay long."

"How long? I haven't seen you in--in /forever/."

Raminas managed to get Halim's grip off. Halim was smiling, eyes shut and head lolled back against the headboard as he hummed in drugged pleasure; he barely heard the edge in the older man's words: "Not long."

He opened his eyes, the dull cast of everything dissolving with the increased pain in his leg. He laughed at Raminas' serious expression, throat dry and the sound harsh and unpleasant. Raminas' wrist was warm in his fingers when he grabbed him again, pulling him in with a smile.

He flinched when Raminas shook him off and moved away from the bed. His mouth was half open in protest, when Raminas snarled, "You cannot do these things, Halim!"

"Have I not earned some time alone with my lover?" Raminas sighed and shook his head in exasperation, pacing off a few steps. Halim sat up, smothered a yelp of pain as his leg shifted under the sheets and he could feel it. "What?" he demanded to Raminas' back. "Why can't I have a little peace back in my life?"

"What life is this around me, Halim? We have nothing." He whirled back, face rewritten with anger. "You disappeared, Halim. And I /moved on/."

The silence was deafening then, a throbbing pain worse than his leg. "What?"

"You knew this would happen," Raminas snapped, shaking his head and waving a hand inarticulately. "You couldn't have thought anything would come of--of all /that/."

Halim grasped for words, struggled through the fog in his mind and body. 'Tis a dream, he told himself, shaking his head, lifting a hand to his head. Everything started to ache, and the pain was cutting the world into clean and clear relief.

Raminas was still going, oblivious. "And I've been wed; six months now. 'Tis an /aged marriage/, Halim!" His sudden shouting was painful as well, but more from the anguish on the very edge of his words than the volume or the words themselves. "And I am thirty-two this summer! I cannot--."

"I'm ... happy for you." But his hands curled in the sheets until they were white-knuckled, and his breathing was sharp. It was from the pain, no doubt. He shook his head, and turned kind eyes on Raminas. "She'll make you an honest man, Raminas."

The anger left Raminas' face in a flash, to be followed by a surprisingly gratifying bereavement. His voice was quiet: "Halim ..."

"I'd like you to leave now."


The room was warm, bathed in the glowing light of the setting sun. Halim, with his ear pressed to Raminas' chest, could hear his deep, even breaths and the slowing pound of his heart. His fingers traced tiredly over the tanned skin spread beneath them as Raminas' fingers threaded mindlessly through the short hairs at the nape of Halim's neck.

In the morning, it would have to stop. This is the last time. But he said that every time, didn't he? Raminas made a soft grumble of a sound, deep in his chest--it reminded Halim briefly of the fighting bull chocobos, that sound--and shifted under Halim's slighter weight. He turned his face up toward his lover, chin resting on Raminas' shoulder, but Raminas sighed contentedly and kept his eyes closed.

In the growing dark of the room, Halim watched the line of Raminas' jaw. His fingers lifted, scraping over the ashy-blond beard on his lover's face, up along his jaw to bury in his shortened hair. Raminas lifted his head, opened his eyes, and smiled as Halim rose to press their lips firmly together. He was still in the kiss for a moment before the hand on Halim's neck tightened, thumb venturing to stroke over Halim's pulse as Halim tilted his head slightly and sucked a deep moan from Raminas.

Night fell all in a rush. Halim slunk back from the kiss, trailing fluttering lips down from Raminas' mouth until he was in his original position against Raminas' chest.

There was a rumbling chuckle against Halim's ear. "And what did I do to deserve that?"

He wanted, so badly, to say Do not go back to her, but the words were utterly useless. He buried his face against the warmth of Raminas' chest. The fingers on his nape stilled.


Do not go back.

"Halim, what--?" He shook his head against Raminas' chest, found one of his hands in the dark and gripped until his own knuckles ached. Slowly, Raminas broke the hold, to rotate his hand and entwine their fingers. In the dark, against Halim's ear, he sighed, and his fingers resumed their idle wandering.


Halim watched Raminas' daughter in the garden from the veranda. She whirled, giggling with her dress trailing behind her. Two knights watched her and her mother, cradling her toddler-brother, as Raminas stood beside him at the balustrade that kept them from the bright green of the lawn.

"Little Ashelia will be four soon. Can you believe that?" said Raminas.

Halim could, though he would not voice that he knew too well of the years that were rushing away from them. Raminas' face was young with pride but lined with growing age.

In the garden, Raminas' daughter stalked a colorful butterfly on the leaves of an apple tree's lowest boughs. Her mother laughed as the butterfly evaded the youngster's attempts at catching it; in her lap, the little boy cooed and watched birds flutter from tree to tree with huge blue eyes.

"She'll grow up to look like her mother," Raminas stated, bland but affectionate. He laughed, resting his elbows on the balustrade. "Perhaps for the best, though it will be a feat to fend off suitors when she comes of age." It was the danger in naming a daughter the heir, Halim supposed, but he did not observe on the idea.

The Queen placed her son in the grass, and he raised himself to his feet and tottered toward his sister. The Princess ran to him and collected him around the chest, just below his arms. He squawked with indignation and began to wail until the Queen came to sit beside her children and instruct the Princess, no doubt for the countless time, how to properly handle her brother.

"Already she reads quite well. I was thinking of sending her to a tutor in Bhujerba." There was meaning hidden in those words, but Halim could not bring himself to acknowledge it. He shrugged one shoulder and became infatuated with a butterfly that had come to rest on the balustrade beside Raminas' right elbow.

Laughter from the lawn. The butterfly took off once more, and Halim found himself watching Raminas' family in the garden. His daughter was squealing as her mother tickled her with a broad smile, and her young brother prodded her sides with confused, wide eyes.

"If anything should happen, Halim," Raminas said, quiet and somber, "To Tirzah or I--"

"Papa!" the Princess squealed. "Papa! Unc'e Ondo'e!" She tore away from her mother, and rushed to the veranda. Tirzah laughed, half-heartedly grabbing for Ashelia's ankles. Raminas' face broke into grin that brightened his entire face.

Halim laughed quietly. He wondered why it hurt so much to be happy. "Of course."

Ashelia hid behind their legs, babbling of monsters and grinning like a fiend. Halim scooped her into his arms and found himself smiling at Raminas' beaming pride.


"Sons and daughters of Dalmasca," Halim began. He looked over the expectant crowd clustered in the cool half-drizzle. "I beg you lay down your arms. Raise songs of prayer in their stead." They wore the same face: defeated and mourning. Many of the men and women in the front of the crowd were ash-faced and red-eyed. "Prayer for His Majesty King Raminas, ever merciful. A man devoted wholly to peace." Staring out at them, at those grieving faces, the words left him. Who was he to deliver these words? There were men out there that had lost brothers and cousins in this war. He'd lost--he'd lost a friend, truthfully, but nothing that he hadn't already lost decades earlier.

People applauded softly at his words. There were only a few. Everyone else was still and silent.

He picked up his thread of thought as quickly as he had lost it: "Prayer, too, for the Princess Ashe, who, wrought with grief at her kingdom's defeat, has taken her own life."

Then the wailing began. It started in the entourage, a woman on the back of dais who let out a keening noise that sent shivers down Halim's back. Others, in the crowd, followed the example of the courtier. The anguish pulled at his stomach.

He allowed it, for but a short time. When he tapped his cane authoritatively, others in the crowd and on the dais hushed the mourners. "Know also that Captain Basch fon Ronsenburg, for incitement of sedition and the assassination of His Royal Majesty King Raminas," his voice caught slightly on Raminas' name, but he no longer cared, "has been found guilty of High Treason and put to his death."

There was a different wail that went up then, anger and discontent in the masses. Halim had expected it, had been expecting it since the news was given to the people of Dalmasca. Somehow, it still surprised him.

His words echoed hollowly then: "They who at this late hour choose still the sword are cut of the same cloth as the Captain," he warned. "Traitors who would lead Dalmasca to her ruin."

Halim was not sure if it was humidity or dread that made the hair on the back of his neck stand on end. He stepped from the podium without another word, and wished the damn Judge watching the entourage would remove his eyes for one moment, only /one moment/.
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