Unexpected Love

Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy XII or its characters it belongs to Square-enix.

Publishing Date: 12-17-06

Genre(s): Drama/Romance

Pairings: Balthier/Ashe and Vaan/Penelo

Rating: T for some graphic images

Universe: In-Game

Location: Ozmone Plains ( takes place during the events in Final Fantasy XII)

Summary: Love can sneak up on anyone without their knowing and for Balthier it was the last thing he wanted. What can a Sky Pirate do when the person he loves is someone who is unattainable? Read to find out more.

I have edited the chapter and changed a few things to make it sound better. I want to thank Shikhee, aria28, and Ashe Bunansa for reviewing this chapter and giving me pointers. This is my first fanfiction and I want to make it better. I plan to continue this story soon but right now I have alot of assignments to do so bear with me.

Chapter 1 Stolen Kiss

"Come on let us make haste, we must reach Garif as soon as possible." Ashe announced impatience etched into her features. Her pale blonde hair blew gently in front of her face shadowing her blue eyes from the group.

"You will murder all us at this pace, Princess! We must rest too you know." Balthier replied sighing while stretching out his arms in the air to get some feeling back into his tired aching arms.

"I already told you that I will pay you for your assistance when we get my kingdom back and I will get it back soon so we should not waste anymore time." Ashe angrily answered as she walked off in the direction of the Ozmone Plain leaving only a dirt cloud behind. A few seconds later Basch went after her looking tired but not saying a word about it.

"Well we have no choice but to follow her." Vaan said shrugging his shoulders to beat back the stiffness and started off after Ashe along with Penelo skipping happily at his side.

"He's right we have no choice. You did give the Princess your word and she in return gave you the ring that pained her to give away." Fran's soothing voice came from behind Balthier, making Balthier cringed at the reminder that he did indeed have his loot.

"Yeah you are right, let us carry on then." Balthier said still feeling exhausted. Fran went off head of him while he still stood standing in the same spot feeling the need to look over his loot.

Balthier reached into his pocket to take the ring out that the Princess gave him and bought it up to his eyes to examine it closely. Glittering in the sun like a sunstone, it gave out the prospect of uncertainty. 'This ring just appeared out of nowhere on Princess Ashe's finger as she grasp the Dawn Shard. I remember her looking at it closely and almost weeping, the ring is very valuable to her and yet she gave it to me when I asked for it without much of a word of protest. I knew it was a valuable item to her and that is why I asked for it but I do intend to give it back when she has given me something more valuable. Which would be the gold of the palace but somehow I want more than gold from Princess Ashe, I want…' Balthier shook his head violently to rid the thought of wanting something that was not gold, feeling foolish for wanting something that was not gold he placed the ring back into his pocket and patted his pocket to make certain it was secured and began to run to catch up to his comrades.

Balthier caught up to Ashe and saw many fiends up head of them. "Don't you think we should find another route that is not packed with so many fiends?" He asked Ashe.

"We have no time to waste by looking for another route." Ashe answered irritation laced in her voice and she held up her sword as if in warning to the fiends up head that she was not someone to fool around with.

"That is true but we could get killed too." Balthier said but only got a look of disapproval from Ashe.

Ashe took off at a run with her sword held up to fight the fiends that blocked the road ahead. The other team members followed Ashe's example and ran forward with their own weapons while Balthier stood watching them in disbelief. 'How can she just rush head on to fight so many fiends? Does she have a death wish? But I must admit I admire her courage.'

Balthier went after them taking out his precious gun from his strap on his back and started to shoot his gun at the gigantic werewolf that lunged towards a fiercely determined Ashe who was ready for the attack. The werewolf parry Balthier's attack and stroked out at Ashe, Ashe fell to the ground but got up and swung her sword at the werewolf that evaded her attack and hit her arm instead. Balthier rushed towards Ashe and pushed her away from the werewolf but the werewolf still targeted Ashe and continued to attack her. Vaan and Penelo were busy taking care of three big birds that surrounded them. Fran and Basch were surrounded by two werewolves and a giant bird. Balthier could see no escape since he and Ashe had backed up but felt a cold hard wall behind them and the werewolf was blocking their one escape route. Balthier turned to look at the Princess and saw that she was badly wounded and she had ran out of her magic and potions. Quickly calculating the time it would take to heal her fully he realized it would take to long so he grabbed Ashe's arm and pulled her towards him and then he turned around so that the werewolf was behind him and Ashe's back was touching the rock wall. The werewolf hit Balthier in the back and Balthier let out a cry of pain.

Ashe's eyes widen and said, "What do you think you're doing?"

"I am protecting you." Balthier replied through gritted teeth. He turned around and shot at the werewolf with his left hand while his right arm held Ashe around the waist.

"I don't need your protection. I can defeat him so let me go this instant." Ashe replied turning a bit red at being held so close to him.

"Ungrateful woman. I will not let you go until I defeat him." Balthier replied hotly annoyed at her. His grip on Ashe tighten as she struggled to get free but then stop as she realized it was useless.

"At this rate you might get yourself killed if I do not help you." Ashe said as the werewolf hit Balthier on the arm.

"I can manage quite well, you just focus on recovering your MP." Balthier said as he shot the werewolf on the head.

The werewolf made another attempt to attack Balthier but Balthier moved away in time and shot him again and the werewolf fell back and died.

"See I told you I could beat him." Balthier said.

"Tech, he could've been defeated faster if you had allowed me to help you out and …" Ashe started to say but fainted in his arm making it harder to hold onto her.

Balthier rapidly dropped his gun to hold her right so she would not fall on the floor. He put his left arm under her legs to pick her up and bend down slightly to retrieve his gun from the floor and placed his gun on his back with the strap he had on.

He carried her towards his comrades once they had finished their battles.

"What is wrong with her Majesty?" Basch asked briskly, concern showing on his sweaty face.

"Just exhausted from the battle and a few minor wounds that are of no grave concern." Balthier answered.

"We should find a village close by to rest." Penelo suggested her hair a bit messy from the battle she had fought in.

Fran shook her head causing her ears to bounce as she said, "No there is no village nearby and anyways the Princess will be very upset if we headed back."

"She's right. The Princess will have all of our heads if we went back." Balthier agreed as his head pointed to Ashe in his arms. Ashe's face was pale and anxiety was etched into her lovely face, her hair gently covered her cheeks to hide the fact that they were flushed from exhaustion.

"Then we have no choice but to set up camp here then. Good thing I bought a tent and some medical supplies." Vaan said as he pulled out a tent and a medical box out of a bag he had been carrying around his arm.

"Where did you get that?" Penelo asked curiously.

"From Miguelo. He said that if we ever grew tired from traveling on foot we should use a tent to recover our strength." Vaan replied as he got to work setting up the tent.

Balthier stood by the place where the rest of the group was working on the tent. He stole a glance at Ashe in his arms to see her growing more paler by the minute.

"I do not mean to rush you guys but the Princess is getting worse. Pass me a potion Vaan." Balthier hastily asked.

He sat down on the ground since he grew tired of standing. Vaan tossed a small potion to Balthier who caught it with his left hand. He opened the small bottle by tugging on the stopper with his mouth and he then tentatively placed the bottle on Ashe's lips. She had a difficult time swallowing the potion so he gingerly lifted her up to a sitting position to allow her to swallow. She swallowed the potion but did not awaken, he slowly laid her back down and saw she got more color in her face. Ashe still had her wounds that were sustained from the battle making it apparent that the potion was not enough to heal her. Balthier made a note to heal her when his MP returns which will be soon.

"The tent is ready now." Penelo squeaked happily and danced around Vaan who raised his hand to wipe sweat from his brow and smiled smugly.

Balthier went inside the spacious tent and put Ashe down careful on the tent's floor that was cushioned with soft pillows. Ashe stirred slightly and then laid still seeming to have fallen into a peaceful sleep. The rest of the team staggered inside the tent apparently they were ready to fall down from exhaustion.

"I'm starving!" Vaan shouted as he plumped down on the cushioned bottom of the tent, his stomach growled testifying to confirm his claim.

Penelo sat beside Vaan and hit him upside the head, "Keep it down Vaan, Ashe is sleeping or Basch will let you have it."

"Ouch not so hard Penelo. Anyways Basch won't do anything to me." Vaan replied reaching for a green apple in his knack sack.

"You missed a person Pen, I will string Vaan on the nearest tree if he does not keep it down." Balthier threatened with a wicked smile gracing his lips as he sat down by Ashe.

"And he does not jest, he has actually strung someone up before." Fran interjected, smiling at the look of shock on Vaan's and Penelo's faces when she had finished her sentence.

"Do not frighten the children least they start crying." Basch said with a faint smile on his lips which is hardly ever seen.

"I won't start crying, I am not a crybaby." Vaan stated displease at the idea of being thought as a child.

"But you act like one." Penelo responded back with a laugh covered up by her hands.

"Shut it Penelo." Vaan replied angrily crossing his arms over his chest in a pout making Penelo laugh harder.

They took the food out that they had purchased at the village and started to eat. Balthier felt his MP return to its fullness and healed Ashe right away and himself. Ashe's wounds disappeared completely this time but she did not awake yet. The others healed each other of their wounds and then settled around the tent to find a comfortable spot to sleep on.

"Now I am sleepily." Vaan said stifling a yawn back with his hand.

"See you are just like a baby." Penelo said tugging on his hair playfully. Vaan only glared at her, he was too tired to say anything back.

"Let us rest then for we have a long journey up head tomorrow." Basch said choosing a place by the flap of the tent.

Penelo passed out medium size blankets to all and then settled down next to Vaan. Fran picked a spotted at the back of the tent. Balthier laid down close to Ashe but put a good arm's length away from her so that Basch would not chop his head off for being too close to the Princess. Balthier glanced at Ashe to make sure she was still sleeping peaceful and when he did he saw she was and his eyes closed. He was so tired and it was all because she drove him around fighting fiends left to right. She was a major pain but he had to admit he liked her, of course he could never admit it because she probably did not have any feelings for him and Basch would kill him if he laid a finger on her.

Balthier heard a cry and opened his eyes to see nothing but darkness around him, it was still night and the moon was hidden by a cloud making it hard to see where the cry came from. Balthier turned his head to try to make out the sound that woke him but he did not hear it again but instead felt arms wrapped themselves around him. The moon came out from behind the cloud and he was able to see who it was that hugged him so tightly. Balthier glanced down to see it was the Princess who was close to him and hugging him tightly. He felt Ashe's soft warm body cuddled closer to his and he instantly felt a wave of desire flood over him, it had been a long time since he had a woman hold him this way. He called out her name but she did not hear him.

"Rasler, why? I miss you so much." Ashe whispered into his chest.

Balthier felt his chest tighten and he furiously thought of who this Rasler was. 'How can it be that some man could leave the Princess heartbroken?' Before Balthier could think on about who Rasler was the Princess pulled his head down towards her and kissed him on the lips with a desperate need and hunger that awoke something inside him that was a feeling of pain and joy entwined together. He pressed his lips on hers matching her need. Balthier wrapped his arms around Ashe possessively letting his hands caress her back making a circle in his exploration. He then slid them up onto her shoulders where he felt her soft creamy skin that made him spiral out of control with the simple touching of the bare skin that felt like heaven. Somewhere in the back of his head he knew it was wrong to kiss her but he no longer cared about the consequences and he pushed all thoughts of an angry Basch who was surely going to kill him for this. But at least he is tasting heaven, he can die a happy man. Never with any other woman did he experience such a kiss as this one, he had made it his duty to bring any woman that he met down to his feet quivering with desire for him now it was his turn to be quivering with desire for this woman who didn't even know that she was kissing him and tormenting him with forbidden desire for her. Balthier could keep kissing the Princess for the rest of his life but she broke away from him without waking up and placed her head back on his chest and he felt tears straining his shirt.

Balthier placed his head down on her hair to take in her scent of perfume that was of roses he Ashe's lovely voice broken into his dazzle manner when she whispered into his chest, "I love you, Rasler." For a moment he had been foolishly expecting her to say she loved him but that would never be. Balthier released Ashe from his arms but she still had her arms wrapped around him and he grab her arms gently and tugged them apart and then set her back from him. He turned on his side to face away from her just in case she tried to kiss him again. He feared he might not be able to stop his self from taking advantage of her if it happened again. Never in his life did he have anything stolen from him much less a kiss which he always used to steal from women and now the Princess managed to steal his kiss. He had a hard time falling asleep again and when he finally did he dreamt about her and some guy, he did not recognize, happy and they completely ignored him while they walked away from him.