Title: What Hurts the Most

Pairing: Basch/Penelo

Disclaimer: Don't own Final Fantasy XII, and what hurts the most belongs to Cascada.

Summary: Penelo laments on how she'll never see Basch again.

Word count: 489

Author's Note: My first attempt at Basch/Penelo. This was inspired by the song What Hurts the most, from Cascada. I suggest you listen to it, or read the lyrics.

Technically, the first time I saw Basch, we were on the Dreadnought Leviathan. Between being reunited with Vaan and the growing panic I hardly had time to notice him. The first time I truly saw Basch, was on the edge of the Ogir-Yensa. I had purposely avoided him up until then. I never believed the rumors that Basch had killed the King, but I still felt a bit uneasy or maybe I was just intimidated. Vaan and I hurried ahead to the edge of the sand sea while everyone else finished preparing for the long trek ahead. Vaan immediately went to examine the sandy waters. That was when I caught sight of Basch, a little bit farther up the bank. His eyes were scanning the vast expanse of the Ogir-Yensa. From where I was standing I could see a perfect profile of his face. I took in every detail of his face, and burned it to memory. Before I knew it, my feet were taking me over to him, and he turned to regard me. Yes, that was the first time. Before then, there had been one distraction after another. From then till the end of our journey, I saw a lot of Basch. Basch liked to take rearguard and as the healer of the group, I would fall behind and walk beside him. The memories shared with him were always the happier ones. At the time, I didn't think much of our time spent together, but now that I look back… I wish I had cherished it more.

The last time I saw Basch, was in the Rabanastre aerodrome. He looked more like Gabranth than Basch, though. I stood awkwardly off to the side as he said goodbye to Ashe. I looked up as he came over to me, and it was painfully obvious that this was going to be the last time I – or anyone else - saw Basch fon Ronsenburg. If we met again, his face wouldn't be his own. Words were racing through my mind; I had so much to say, and no time to say them. I wanted to tell him that I'd miss him, I wanted to talk to him about everything, anything. As long as I could still see him. I clasped his hand tightly and tried to fight off the tears with a smile. "Goodbye Basch," Was all that I said. My hand fell limply to my side, as I watched him lift Gabranth's helm over his head. Yes, that was the last time. His clock billowed behind him as he walked to where Larsa was waiting for him, to board an airship set for Archades. Guilt started to build with each step he took.

Now, I don't see Basch at all anymore. I believe what hurts the most, was that we were so close… and I just let him walk away, when I have so much more left to say.