zenfallon asked: Ashe/Balthier for shipping meme.
when or if I started shipping it: First playthrough of FFXII, when they had that conversation on the Phon Coast and he reveals his true identity to her. I instantly loved the dynamic they started developing, and have considered it my FFXII OTP ever since.
my thoughts: The princess and the pirate is practically a cliche, but I don’t care — it just works so, so well.
What makes me happy about them: This is going to sound so corny, but I feel like they complete each other. He is her open door, and she is his place to land. Each has fought the demons of their past, and though they’ve chosen different ways of dealing with them, they can each respect the other.
What makes me sad about them: They have such different needs in life: Ashe with her responsibilities, and Balthier with his need to not have responsibilities. Making that work long term would be incredibly difficult.
Things done in art/fic that annoys me: Conveniently forgetting those differences, or overcoming them too easily. I especially hate any fanwork that has Ashe blithely giving up her throne, because I find it so out of character.
Things I look for in art/fic: Resolve those issues in a way that makes sense for both their characters, or even don’t resolve them — acknowledge them and deal with the tension they cause.
Who I’d be comfortable them ending up with, if not each other: I love, love, love Ashe/Al-Cid — actually I ship Al-Cid/Ashe/Balthier in every combination, including as a threesome, almost as hard as I do Ashe/Balthier alone. I also like Ashe with Basch, Rasler, Fran, and Vossler. Besides Al-Cid/Balthier, I ship Balthier with Vaan, Penelo, and the three of them together.
My happily ever after for them: “Reconcilable Differences” is my favorite future for them — Ashe married to Al-Cid but with the understanding that she will maintain a relationship with Balthier as well, and the three of them eventually fall into a happy stable triad. (Readers of my Alistair/Aeducan stories may sense a theme.) Another outcome that I like almost as well is Ashe not-naming Balthier as her unofficial consort.
What is their favorite non-sexual activity? Mark hunting. She’ll make arrangements to be away for a day or so, he pops by on the Strahl, and they’ll spend the time going after marks and just being away together.