A/N: I do not own Final Fantasy XII.
Secrecy of a Sky Pirate and an Orphan
One thing Penelo enjoyed most about hers and Balthier's relationship was this: its secrecy, it's fragility at the notion of someone discovering their secret love affair, the constant threat of being caught. Growing up most of your life an orphan, working around the clock, Penelo never had the opportunity to get a boyfriend or go out on dates.
Sure, she experimented with Vaan for a few weeks until the unthinkable happened: Penelo finally convinced Vaan to plan a romantic night alone. So after the preparations were made, Vaan took her to the place of solitude he chose. The Rabanstre sewer. Without another word, Penelo turned around and walk away from that disastrous date and neither she nor Vaan mentioned it again from there on.
And so, Penelo gave up on the prospects of falling in love and getting married. What did she have to offer? She obviously wasn't rich, had no family, no education (well at least not much). As her confidence dwindled to nothing, so did her life. Everyday was the exact same routine as the day before: get up, head over to Migelo's, do meaningless chores that he only assigns because he feels sorry for the orphans, then head back to the shelter (usually Migelo's) to sleep and repeat the cycle the next day. Not only was her life lacking romance but also excitement.
Until she saw him.
While the boy she loved like a brother and who was her rock during those depressing times was being taken away with a group of strangers to the dungeon, she darted toward him only to have her path intercepted by the sky pirate whose name she would learn later to be Balthier. He asked a simple favor: hold onto his handkerchief and to promptly return soon after. Her heart fluttered as he stood tall before her, his devilish good looks, his suave attitude, and his breath taking grin. She vowed to meet him again no matter what.
Through a series of complicated plans and kidnapping, Penelo was soon granted her wish to not only see Balthier again, but to stay with him. For once, in a very long time, Penelo was blissfully happy.
The long journey through the skies usually left Balthier alone at the Strahl's controls for days in a row. During these times, while the others slept, Penelo would wander into the cock pit and keep Balthier company, something that, at first, annoyed him, but after time he grew fond of their late night chats, and very fond of the little desert girl he shared them with.
No one knew, not even the couple that a beautiful and loving relationship had already begun to bud and bloom into a creation that far surpassed either's expectations.
They fell in love.
But why were they keeping it a secret? Because, until their quest was finished with the others, they still had reputations to uphold. Besides, if their other companions found out to soon, that would be a fine mess of never ending comments and probably serious governmental trouble.
The strength of Vaan and Balthier's rivalry to be great sky pirates would deem Vaan the loser if he knew (he'd take Penelo choosing Balthier to such an extent of offense nothing would sooth his soul afterwards).
Ashe, who fancied herself the jewel of Balthier's eye, would throw herself into a frenzy at the thought of one person not admiring her for she is too use to the spotlight surrounding her beauty.
Basch, still loyal to the country who wrongfully accused him on a heinous crime, would throw Balthier in jail for sleeping, regardless of her being so close to the age of eighteen, with an underage girl.
And Fran, well, that was a can of worms better left sealed.
So, their love life remained a secret from their fellow treasure seekers and companions, which bothered neither of them. Sometimes it's nice to have an innocent secret all your own, to feel the surge of adrenaline whenever the two of you were together and heard footsteps coming from down the hall, approaching your room. The chills Penelo feels when Balthier shines that mischievous smile her way, knowing he only wants her and no one else. And above all, having Balthier hold her late at night, when it was Fran's turn to drive, whispering "I love you" repeatedly into her ear with that thick accent, kissing each other, taking each other…
Wanting only each other.
If this is what love is, Penelo could get use to being a devious sky pirate's girl, no matter the amount of trouble he lands himself in, no matter how many times he gets thrown in jail and she comes to bail him out, no matter how long their lives as vagabonds lasted.
Things that irked some to no end had no effect on Penelo because she loved that crazy sky pirate with every fiber of her being. When you love, you can tolerate any wicked schemes the one you love pulls.
Most would suspect that Penelo could do an endless amount better than Baltheir, would state that you can never trust a thief, that you never really know what he's doing when he leaves her to hunt a mark of treasure, or that he could use his womanizing charms on any hussy that flints by, and maybe they were right.
But as most great poets and philosophers expressed is that love is wild and unpredictable, never knowing when it could crumble in your palms. However, should their relationship last only a little time, Penelo would be okay the next morning for the memories she created with Balthier, all happy, will remain in her heart forever.
And that was worth smiling over: the unpredictable future and the secrecy of true love.