Progressing Through A Journey (Of Love)

Chapter 1

Author's Note: This is my first romance story of LarsaXPenelo so I hope you enjoy. This story starts off during the game's storyline but my story will eventually progress to a post-game storyline.

Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy XII or the characters in it.

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It was a glorious afternoon the first time Larsa met her. He had managed to escape the dreadful Lhusu Mines, infested with fiends and the sadistic Bangaas he had unfortunately encountered, and walked into the sunny streets of Bhujerba.

From afar, he noticed Judge Ghis arguing with a young woman. When he approached them, his eyes locked onto the young woman's. At that precise moment, he felt his heart melt.

She was beautiful. Although he only quickly glanced at her before addressing the current situation, he managed to briefly admire her brilliant features. Her eyes were spectacular. Her magnificent blue irises were filled with emotion, and they glistened in the spectacular sunlight. Her luscious lips pouted in an aggravated manner due to her current situation. And her hair. Her flaxen hair glowed as the sun poured onto it. She looked like a delicate little angel.

She must be Penelo. Larsa thought to himself. No wonder Vaan was so worried about her.

Larsa's thoughts were immediately interrupted when Judge Ghis began informing him of the current situation. Larsa turned to face him reluctantly. "We do not want such undesirables wandering about. We are obligated to punish such lowlifes for not abiding the law."

Anger surged through Larsa the moment he heard the fool judge addressing her as an undesirable. There was nothing more desirable in Ivalice than her. Acting on impulse, Larsa glared up at the judge and said, "I, too, am guilty if it is a crime to venture alone. Worry not, Ghis, I will no longer wander alone in these streets, and neither will she."

He swiftly turned to face Penelo then, and gently took hold of her hand. When they were a reasonable distance from Ghis and the rest of the party, Larsa gazed into her beautiful eyes again, smiled, and said, "Thank you, Penelo."

Baffled by the surprising outturn of events, Penelo only managed to nod and return the smile. "O-of course!" She stuttered. This is mind-boggling, she thought to herself. How was this young boy able to stop a judge from persecuting me? And how does he know my name?

As if reading her mind, Larsa chuckled and told her the truth. "Forgive me for my ill manners, Lady Penelo. My name is Larsa. You must be wondering how I know yours. The simple truth is that I had accompanied your friend, Vaan, in the Lhusu Mines. He was searching for you."

"Vaan is in Bhujerba!?" Penelo joyfully exclaimed. "But where is he now? You were alone when you came out of the Lhusu Mines…"

"Fear not, Penelo. Vaan and the rest of his party are safe. They followed me out of the mines but needed to avoid the presence of that hostile Judge Ghis." Larsa's eyes drifted to the ground in disgust. "I must apologize for his rude behavior. It was most unbefitting of a judge."

"But…why were you able to approach him?"

"I will gladly discuss more with you once we reach the Marquis's estate. It would not be so wise to divulge these matters on such busy streets; where so many eavesdroppers are lurking about. We are nearly there."

"Um, th-thank you for saving me, Larsa." Penelo flashed a brilliant smile at him.

Larsa felt himself melt again the moment he gazed up at her exquisite smile. He felt his heart pounding hard against his chest and a blush colored his cheeks. He'd never seen such a beautiful woman before. He found himself gently tightening his grasp on her calloused, yet soft, hand. "No need to thank me, Penelo. I am doing this as a friend. I would be glad to help you whenever you needed it."

"And I'd love to help you whenever you needed it, Larsa."

Larsa stammered a sincere "thank you" and focused on the ground. Her presence was so warm and comforting. She was even more beautiful up close. He couldn't stop admiring her. She had such a graceful walk and, despite the concealing jumper she wore, a voluptuous body. He blushed furiously as he thought this.

As soon as they approached the Marquis's estate, Larsa had Penelo comfortably seated on a sofa as he sat at a desk doing tedious paperwork. In a short while, he finished the paperwork and set down his pen. "I am troubled." He said.

"Why?" Penelo asked.

"Ghis overstepped his bounds. It was unsettling to me the way he treated you outside the Lhusu Mines. I shall speak to the consul about this."

"What? How could you possibly arrange a meeting with the consul?"

Larsa sighed before answering. He was wary of her response to his answer. "The consul, Vayne, is my brother."

Penelo instantly gasped in shock and horror. "You're…his brother?"

Larsa immediately got up from his seat and wandered over to where she sat. "Yes. That is the reason I was able to save you from Judge Ghis."

Penelo drifted her eyes to the ground. She had been friendly to the enemy of her homeland- to the son whose father had destroyed her childhood. She refused to look at him. "You're part of the empire."

"Yes. Does this trouble you?"

Penelo locked onto his gaze, her eyes filled with fright. "You're the enemy of Dalmasca…of my homeland. We lost so much to the war your father started. My family, my friends…they're gone because of it…"

Larsa stared at her with shock and compassion etched onto his face. "So…you fear the empire?"

Penelo simply nodded.

Frightened by the chance of Penelo estranging herself from him due to his status, Larsa dropped down to his knees in front of her with pleading eyes. "Please, listen to me, Penelo. Although you may not feel comfortable around my brother and…perhaps me, I will never harm you. Rather, I will keep you from harm. It is my duty to House Solidor."

Penelo stared at him with unconvinced eyes. "But how…how can I trust you?"

Larsa grasped her hand and gently pressed his lips to it before saying, "Because I give you my word, Penelo. You will not be harmed as long as I am by your side. I swear it."

Penelo's eyes met his. As she gazed at his beautiful electric blue eyes, she felt their warmth emanating onto her. Any doubt she had of his sincerity melted away as they continued looking into each other's eyes. She knew Vaan would have a problem with her if he ever discovered who Larsa truly was. But, as she studied his eyes intently, she knew he was trustworthy. She knew every word he spoke was sincere. And because of this, she smiled another brilliant smile and placed her other hand on top of their entangled ones.

"I'm sorry I doubted you before, Larsa. I know you mean every word you say. I do trust you."

And, with the words he wanted to hear her say spoken, he smiled with her. "Thank you, Penelo."

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Author's Note: So, all in all, I hope this first chapter is intriguing. Please review! I appreciate all of them!