Author: Touch of Gray PM
Vaan never says goodbye. [maybe one shot, maybe VaanPenelo]Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama - Words: 1,323 - Reviews: 8 - Favs: 13 - Follows: 2 - Published: 02-20-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3405819
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
He's kept out of the room and Reks is let in. Because Father asked to see Reks.
And he gets it. Understands. Obviously, Father wants to tell Reks something important (it's probably about him, but he doesn't want to think about it because that means - ) and doesn't want Vaan in there while he's doing it. And Reks told him point-blank that he shouldn't go in there anyway, because Vaan doesn't think it's right to lie to the old man while he's on his deathbed (no one says it out loud, but they all know it's true) and would tell his dad exactly how they carried Mom out this morning.
Exactly how they took her away, explaining sanitation as reason for the pyre. Exactly how the little light under her door - the one he, Reks, and Penelo, when she was around, all watched nightly - went out. Exactly how she died.
And Reks doesn't think Father needs to know. Reks says that he'll find out in the afterlife, and that will be enough.
Vaan thinks it's cruel, but there's no point in voicing this.
The light goes out before Reks returns, and Vaan never says goodbye.
It's drafty and cold in the waterway, with the rats. Mother always thought it was so disgusting how he'd play here and wouldn't hesitate to give him a sound tongue-lashing every time she had to chase him through the water for dinner.
Doesn't matter now.
Penelo's mother says the same thing, and usually, he listens, because Penelo's mother only takes care of him out of the goodness of her heart, and really ought to just chuck him out on the streets. But Penelo would throw a fit, and besides, she claims not to mind the company. Reks hates it, though, and spends all his time running around the city doing odd jobs, squirreling the money away, trying to find a way to get both of them independence.
But anyway, he's shivering and rebellious today, and he doesn't care if he comes home reeking of sewer and splattered with rat blood and dripping wet and freezing. Partly because it's not home, and partly because he officially became an orphan a year ago today, which means he can get away with being all angsty and annoying. People will forgive a poor orphan for anything. Penelo says that he shouldn't take advantage of people like that, but if it gets him out of trouble with the law, then why not?
He's just in a bad mood, anyway, and throws rocks at the rats, making them scatter. He'd never admit it, not in a million years, but he's scared of rats. Hates them. It's something in the way they move, all jerky and sneaky. It just sets him on-edge, makes his skin crawl.
Penelo wouldn't think he was a wimp for it, though that's probably only because she's as scared of them as he is, only a little louder about it. But she can get away with that, being a pretty blonde dancer-girl, the same way he gets away with trespassing everywhere because of being an orphan.
If he's honest with himself - which he usually isn't - he's here to escape. It's suffocating, being around everyone, talking about how great his father was, or how beautiful his mother had been. And it stings - a lot - when someone tells him he looks just like his dad. It's not that he didn't like his father, or look up to him, it's just...
Reks was Father's pride and joy; he didn't have much time for Vaan. And it's an insult to his dad's memory to pretend otherwise.
When Reks joins the army, Vaan makes him take all the saved money. At first, Reks refuses, but then Vaan drags him up to the shops and shows him how much better a weapon and shield he could buy with the money, explaining that Reks staying alive is much more important than Vaan not living off Penelo. So, he gives in, but only when Vaan swears to get a job and, at least someday, stop mooching off of Penelo.
He kind of crosses his fingers, because he doesn't think he'll ever stop the mooching, but getting a job sounds cool. So long as it's not boring, like all the stock-boy jobs Reks had to do.
But that's all anyone seems willing to give him, a fifteen-year-old boy with a strong arm and next to no useful skills (picking pockets and climbing walls barehanded aren't useful, they say, which just goes to show that they've never had to escape through the Mhuthru Bazaar like all the bats of hell are following). So for a while, while Reks is still around, he sucks it up and does the work.
But he's not good at it, and even though he tries - really, he does, because disappointing Reks is way worse than getting caught red-handed - he ends up quitting, just so they don't fire him. Migelo takes him on, just because Penelo runs errands for him all the time, and he thinks she dropped him a good word. And running errands for Migelo is better than stocking Yugri's Magicks, because Migelo doesn't really expect him to be expedient, so he can take his time hanging around the city.
When Reks leaves, they all throw him a party at Kytes's house, and Vaan suddenly gets hit with this weird foreboding, and decides to go to bed early. He forgets to say goodbye at first, and by the time he remembers, Reks is already on the boat. All he can do is wave.
They don't send home the body. And somehow, that hurts worse than the knowledge that he's dead.
He doesn't even realize it until much later, but he takes his brother's place. Before long, people are comparing him to Reks, only more flighty and daring. And he comes up with this elaborate plan, where he's gonna be a sky pirate and no one's ever gonna tell him what to do or what king to bow down to. And Penelo always rolls her eyes a little, but makes him promise to take her along when he does.
He tells her that she'll be his partner-in-crime. She tells him that she'll be his voice-of-reason. He doesn't deny it, because, after all, that's what she always is.
But there's a tiny, itty-bitty part of him that thinks he should leave her behind, because Reks made him promise to stop mooching off of her someday, and as long as she's around, he's gonna rely on her. But every time he thinks that, he feels guilty, because she's done so much for him and deserves so much more than to be left in Rabanastre with Migelo and Kytes. And besides, he'd probably fall apart without Penelo there, because she's all that's left of his childhood, and it makes him kinda sad to realize that.
He doesn't tell her goodbye when he's captured and carted off to Nalbina.
(A/N: I wrote a whole crapload more to this - seriously, like, another 600 words more - but I lost where it was going. It definitely got more Vaan/Penelo-y, and I went more into some things, but I got to where I didn't even know how to end it. So if you don't think this is enough... well, there might be an addition later. And why can I not get endings right? Review!)