stardustproxy: Clap. Clap. Slap. (Tidus)
Title: Partners
For: [livejournal.com profile] heaven_monument
Medium: FanFiction
Request(s): Vaan and Penelo. Reliance on one another.
Fandom(s): FFXII (OGC)
Characters/Pairings: Vaan/Penelo
Rating/Warnings: PG
Feedback: It would be nice. ^_^
Spoilers: Takes place vaguely sometime after the game proper, so vague end-game spoilers.
Word Count: 1436
Summary: Dignity is overrated, especially when it comes to Vaan.

Notes: Originally written for [livejournal.com profile] ff_exchange for [livejournal.com profile] heaven_monument.

Special thanks to [livejournal.com profile] solitaryjane for the amazing help as beta, and to [livejournal.com profile] kenkai_chan for letting me whine about it excessively when I was stuck on a few scenes. I couldn't have done this without the help both of you provided.



“Who was the one who saved you from that monster, huh, Penelo?” Vaan looks smug, even though he currently looks like a mess, courtesy of the Malboro he so gallantly tried to save Penelo from just minutes ago.

“I was handling it just fine, Vaan.” Penelo tries to glare at her best friend, but he looks entirely too pathetic. He took the Bad Breath attack head on, and is presently covered in some kind of sticky goopy mess. Penelo had gotten rid of the worst of it with a quick Esuna, but it seemed like she’d done hardly anything at all.

“But it was coming right at you!” Vaan looks quite serious, even as he rummages through Penelo’s bag for a potion. “I had to help you.”

“By acting as my own personal knight in shining armor?” she replies dryly. “We can see how well that worked out.” Penelo reaches in the bag for a potion herself after Vaan continues to have no luck finding one on his own.

“I thought you said stuff like that was romantic,” mutters Vaan. He accepts the potion from her gratefully, chugging it down in a single gulp.

“We know knights. And they all have serious issues. Remember Basch? Knight with a huge guilt complex? Does that ring any bells?”

“Not funny,” grumbles Vaan. “Of course I know Basch.”

Penelo smiles a little at her best friend. He really does look pathetic, and he was only trying to help. She leans down next to him to give him a hug. “It’s all right. But you really didn’t have to help, you know.”

Vaan grumps. “No. I’m fine. And you’re fine too, and that’s what’s important.”

“I’d prefer it if you were okay too,” she says, releasing him from the hug. She brushes off some of Malboro goo from her shirt. “I’m suddenly in need of a bath,” she mutters, mostly to herself. “You more so,” she says, a little more loudly. “Still, I can handle some of this stuff on my own sometimes.”

“But you were hurt!” Vaan cries back. “Doesn’t that mean anything?”

“But who cast the final blow on the monster, huh?” Penelo offers him a hand. “You jump in to try and help me, but wind up getting hit with a face full of Bad Breath and it’s no fun watching you get hurt, either.”

“Well, at least it hit me instead of you,” says Vaan. He accepts her hand and pulls himself to his feet.

“It wouldn’t have cast it if you hadn’t aggravated it.”

“Well, I did save you from the Bomb yesterday.” Vaan is clearly attempting to salvage whatever pieces of his pride that he can.

“Ah, but who had to salve your burns because we were out of handkerchiefs?” Penelo teases. At this point, it’s clear that Vaan isn’t going to quit just yet, so the best thing to do is roll with his often haphazard train of thought.

“It was worth the pain,” Vaan boasts. “It was just a little burn, anyway.”

“But it was still pretty reckless of you.”

“You were the one that provoked the Cactaur last week!” Vaan points out.

“I didn’t provoke anything. You did. And if you’ll also recall, who spent the rest of the afternoon removing needles from rather sensitive areas on you, Vaan?” Penelo smiles smugly.

“I thought we agreed that we wouldn’t talk about that one anymore,” mumbles Vaan as he turns his face away from her.

“Maybe you did, but I didn’t.” Penelo gently takes Vaan’s arm. “Besides, you brought it up first.”

His only response is a sheepish grin.

Penelo reaches down to take his hand, giving it a gentle squeeze. “That was one of your more noble attempts, I suppose,” she replies, trying to soften the bruise to his ego.

“You suppose?” Vaan’s tone is full of disbelief. “I think I deserve a little more credit than that.”

“Well, if you hadn’t provoked the thing by throwing a rock at its head, then maybe I would.” Penelo smiles. “That was one of your more stupid moments as well, come to think of it.”

“But it was trying to hurt you!” Vaan whines.

“But I can do things on my own sometimes, you know,” Penelo reminds him gently. “And sometimes, the two of us work together to take stuff down. You always say I’m your partner, so let me help, too. We were able to beat the werewolves outside of Rabanastre that way!”

“I know you can.” Vaan stops walking suddenly, almost causing Penelo to trip at the loss of momentum, as she’s still holding onto his hand. “I can’t believe the two of us beat that werewolf! It was all thanks to my skill.”

“If skill means amazingly dumb luck,” corrects Penelo. “You beat it by tripping over it.”

“I did that on purpose! I planned for my dagger to land in the right spot like that,” Vaan says.

Penelo doesn’t hold back her snort of disbelief. “Uh-huh. I was there, remember? You can’t exaggerate your way out of this one.”

“I did too!”

“You did not.”

“Did too.”

“Oh, enough of this!” Penelo quickly casts Silence on her best friend. “Didn’t.”

Vaan is surprisingly quicker than Penelo expects, for without missing a beat, he’s managed to steal an Echo Herb from her bag and wolf it down. “So did too.”

Penelo gives Vaan her best glare while carefully pulling the supplies well out of the reach of his arm. “They were fun times though, yeah?” she says softly after a moment.

“Well, sometimes they hurt.” Vaan pauses his footsteps before deciding to flop down on the grassy field.

“Why do you think I finally decided I needed that white magick license?” Penelo’s tone is light and teasing as she relaxes on the grass next to Vaan.

“But who was the one that bought you your Cure spell?” Vaan points out.

“You bought it for me because I was mad at you for forgetting my sixteenth birthday. It was a present two weeks late.”

“Hey, I tried.” Vaan leans on Penelo slightly. “At least I got you something you wanted. You bought me a shirt for my last birthday. A shirt, Penelo.” He sounds vaguely indignant at the memory of it.

“It was a nice shirt.” Penelo frowns. “I thought you liked it. You said that you liked it, Vaan.”

“And since when have I worn it?” Vaan reaches forward to poke Penelo in the side lightly. “I use the last present you got me that was actually decent.”

“I maintain the dimmest hope that you’ll wear the shirt for a special occasion.” Penelo grins when an idea comes to her. “You are going to wear a shirt for Ashe’s coronation, right? Maybe that’ll be the day.”

“Something tells me you’re going to make me do it if I want to or not.” Vaan nudges Penelo with his shoulder. “Hey, is that another Marlboro over there? Wanna go after it? We could use the loot.”

Penelo shakes her head no. “Bad Breath, Vaan. Bad Breath. And we have um, three remedies left. Didn't Balthier say a good sky pirate knew when to run away? I think this is one of those times.” But she’s moving to stand up, knowing that he’s going to want to fight it anyway. And she’ll go along with it because they are partners.

Vaan topples over into the ground when Penelo stands suddenly. She fights back the urge to laugh and offers her hand to Vaan. “Come on.”

Vaan eyes the Marlboro in the distance almost longingly. “Are you sure we can’t take it on?”

“Is this some kind of insane attempt at restoring your honor after you didn’t get to beat the last one we fought?” Penelo rests one hand on her hip, waiting for a reply.

“No?” Vaan does not look convincing in the slightest.

Penelo sighs. “All right, all right. Let’s go beat it up and go before its friends show up. Together, all right?”

Vaan nods. “Okay, together. You’re my partner after all.”

Penelo nods back as Vaan excitedly reaches for his weapon. Under her breath, so Vaan can’t hear, she quietly whispers, “You and I can do anything when we stick together.”

“You say something, Penelo?” Vaan shoots her a concerned look.

“Just thinking that you were going to have your way and I knew we’d be fighting it together anyway.” Penelo reaches over to take Vaan’s hand, holding it gently in her own. “Come on, partner. Let’s go beat some Marlboro. Maybe this time your dignity will remain intact.”

“Hey!”
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