Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy XII or any of the games that fall under the Ivalice Alliance nor the characters, settings and all out together awesomeness found within. Well, technically I bought a copy of everything but the PSP game but that is probably not the point of this is it?

Acknowledgment: This story was inspired by juxtaposing two stories through reading one day. The first by Vixen2004 entitled 'To Fight Beside You' and the "Picture Perfect" series by Spikey44. While none of the content in this has anything to do with those stories (on a conscious level anyway), the formatting is reminiscent of them both and I felt it only proper to cite the sources.

Note: While this is my first foray into the Final Fantasy XII fandom (though not FF entirely), I cannot claim to be a proper story. It is more or less a collection of thoughts about each character taken from the perspectives of the other characters in the story. I think that all the characters were so elegantly designed that they deserve this sort of attention. I am also kind of hoping that doing this will get the desire to write a full fledged story out of my system long enough to carry on with my other WIPs.

Each of the main party will get a turn along with Larsa (and maybe a few others should the inspiration come). The sections are put in order of each characters interaction with said character. Not really on first meeting but first real conversation and what not. (Not that it really matters)

The irony in this of course is that Migelo will not be included in any of the above. Unless otherwise (exuberantly) requested.

I hope you enjoy the below. If you do, please feel free to leave a review. If you don't, feel free to leave a review as well as I always try to learn from the mistakes others perceive in my doings.


It is a strong man that can smile when they would cry, laugh when they would scream their anguish and live for the joy of life in the face of crippling despair.

-v-

Penelo knew that Vaan was not a stupid as everyone thought he was. Even if that wasn't saying much.

Nor was he as foolish. Naïve and rash, his mindset was that of a young boy with his eyes to the most impossible future and thoughts of dreams of what could be. He made stupid comments and acted so often without thought but he was never a fool.

She had known him so long, long enough to know what the others took for granted. They saw him as an uneducated orphan, a beggar on the streets turned thief in the wake of a horrible war that tore his family apart. Even after he began to step out of the frozen time he wrapped himself in after Reks died, they saw him simply. A young man who had lost much but sough to make right what had happened.

They did not see that he had been much more before his family had been torn away from him bit by bit, before he had been forced to play nursemaid to a swarm of young, newly made orphans or bow his head to a merchant who looked after him as a favor to her. They did not stop to think that if his brother had been with Basch on the night of the King's assassination and been sent on such an important mission so quickly after becoming a soldier, that there must have been some sway.

Peasants and beggars were not promoted so quickly, only families of rank.

They only took for granted his clumsy fighting skills and survival instinct not thinking that, without a teacher, he was entirely self taught and quick to learn from example. They were all fighting after all and what time is there to consider a willing aid?

So even though she teased him (as someone who has known him most of his life had the right to do), the smile on her face as they made jokes at his expense was not because she believed him stupid. It was because it amazed her how much he hid.

-v—

Balthier saw something of himself in the young Vaan.

Something about his absolute determination and unwillingness to cave to the easier path caught his interest. Far from the simple foolish act of a youth, the boy held onto things far past the point of reason yet able to make the mature step and accept an unlikely partnership with those who had threatened him when faced with greater peril. Foolish and idealistic, he was strong of will all the same.

When all that idealism faltered in the face of all too realistic truth, the fact that the boy thief was running also running from ugly truths struck home with the weary sky pirate. It was then that he began to see the potential of a real pirate in the boy. For what better qualities in a pirate that he who fights when he must and run when he can, all with the treasure in mind?

Yet, as more and more the young man began to escape the cage of idealistic youth and into proper maturity, the pirate began to see something more alike himself in the boy. Too many times Vaan would speak just the right words, ask just the right questions and do just the right thing. Too many times did the rash and headstrong youth make right a situation or bring to light a fatal flaw.

Perhaps, like himself, he was not as simple as he seemed.

-v—

Fran thought Vaan held great potential, even if he was at times a bit crude.

She was far older than the humes that surrounded her, as he had once pointed out. In that age she was far more able to see truths that youth blinds one to. Rather than seeing him as one younger, and thus less experienced, than she, she could look at him as one used to appraising a piece of treasure.

She saw that even though he was often thoughtless and at times crass, he was also quick to apologize. Through such things is maturity born. She saw that even though he might be the first to make a mistake, he was usually the first to see the benefits that could come from it. Through such things, wisdom grows.

She saw that even though he screamed revenge and anger for his lost family, he was able to listen to words of reason and trust in those who sought it. Through such things is nobility shone. She saw that though he might often be faced with challenges that offered him harm and possible death, the welfare of those he cared for came before all. Through such things loyalty shines.

He was young, the hume boy, younger than most in the world he found himself thrust into and more naïve. He was quick to rush into things and the first to enjoy the beauty and joy the world and circumstances allowed. Through such things one truly lives.

She saw potential for greatness indeed.

-v—

In Vaan, Basch found solace and hope.

Somewhere on their long and tiring journey, the boy became a symbol to the old soldier. He was no longer just an orphan boy but instead Rabanastre; he was Dalmasca itself. Surviving plague and war, he held his head up high and silently screamed that nothing they had done to him would be enough to steal who he was. He was Dalmascan, the son of a proud land that had survived long years in a harsh climate. He would survive more and he would fight until he won or died trying.

He was Dalmascan and wanted revenge and recompense for the ills and the loss that an indifferent empire had forced upon him. He was Dalmascan, tired and battered and able to accept that war would not bring peace, revenge would not bring solace, only acceptance and compromise could give promise of either.

Basch looked at the orphan who had raged at the loss of a brother, the loss of the only family he had left. He watched that orphan of Dalmasca take up the very sword that might have murdered that brother and use it to attack the man who had hurt them all. He watched him forgo revenge against the man who had done the robbed him of his family, rising above all the pain and suffering to look forward to a new and peaceful future.

In the young boy, Basch saw Rabanastre, he saw Dalmasca, a small country caught in the middle of bigger things yet able to rise up and give hope of better things to come.

-v—

Larsa thought Vaan strange.

Having been too oft discounted as a negligible presence in the world of Arcadian politics due to his 'tender years', Larsa strived never to discount anyone, however unlikely. So when he saw this blonde youth standing beside a man who echoed the features and voice of the head of the Draklor Laboratories and another who was all but a mirror image of the rarely seen features of Judge Magister Gabranth, Larsa did not hesitate to offer him respect for all his slip of the tongue.

What was more, when it became obvious that his concern was more for the companion lost to him than any secrets that they might be keeping, his esteem grew in depth and he quickly found himself liking the obviously Dalmascan born boy. It was an emotion that did nothing but grow as they travelled from Jahara to Mt. Bur-Omisace. There was a sort of joy that hung around the tanned and taunt shoulders of the young fighter. Despite the gravity of their situation and the ever present threat of war, he always managed to find humor in their companions, found something to be savored in the world he passed through.

But for all of this, never once could Larsa find a reason for his presence. He was no lost nobility or fallen knight, he was no great personage or seasoned sky pirate. He simply was. In the end, Larsa found him strange, a willing fighter to a cause not truly his own. Too young for bitterness and too worn and weary to see it as only a game, above all of them, he simply was.

And that was more than fine.

-v—

More than anyone, Vaan made Ashe feel the title of queen.

Which was strange, truly, as he was the least likely to treat her as one in any circumstance. If she were honest, she would say that his treatment of her reflected more that of a boy curious to the new girl in town and whether or not she was worth pursuit (a question she never saw answered, really.) He was the first to label himself her friend and the first to interrupt her when she was speaking. He was also the first to make her feel the fool by asking questions of such great simplicity in the face of her complex plans.

He was foolish and childish and was distracted by the littlest things. He openly poked fun at her with their companions and seemed ever ready to say something to take her down a notch in her own esteem. He was the first to make her feel exasperation in the day and almost always the first to make a mistake whenever the chance presented itself.

He was, also, always the first out the door and the first to lead the way while she trailed behind. He was the first to look at her with those clear, straight forward eyes and give her silent acceptance of whatever course she should choose. He was the first to remind her that she wasn't alone, to offer her companionship when she was lost.

He was the first to open up to her in a way that was completely foreign to her. Everyone around her had always kept their secrets. Even Rasler had preferred to kept things unsaid but understood. Those she travelled with were not different, excepting him. Balthier seemed to exist for secrets and Fran was Viera, mysticism incarnate; Basch treated her as a princess to be protected and Penelo a queen to be respected.

He treated her simply as Ashe, a girl who was just as hurt and alone as he was.

But it was in that very contrary and contradictory nature of it all that she felt most like a queen who had her role to play. It was each of those quiet expositions on his life that she was quietly reminded about the war that she needed to end. It was in each time that he stepped forward before her that she felt as if he had placed himself as her protector. It was in each time that he cheerfully washed away her fears in her own strength that she was reminded that they were all relying on it. It was in his silent acceptance of her command and his loud insistence that it was his fight too that she was well reminded that he and Penelo truly were just the ordinary citizens of her country fighting beside a leader they believed in.

In the end, Ashe had no proper idea what to think of the supposedly common citizen of her country that had fought with her until the very end. Every idea contradicted the other until she was almost glad to call the relationship between them by the two titles they claimed in the end.

He was a Sky Pirate and she was his Queen.

-v-

Reddas thought Vaan a fine Sky Pirate in the making.

The boy saw what he wanted and went for it. He didn't bother with excess details or thoughts but perused his ends with the brashness of youth and the sort joie de vie usually reserved for the dying. He wans't a fool either or particularly dimwitted despite what his companions seemed to think of him.

Pity that Reddas had a feeling he wouldn't be around to see if he was right.

-v—

Vayne never thought of Vaan.

The blonde boy was nothing to him but a loyal dog growling at him fiercely from the heels of his master. The boy was completely beyond noticing and as such well below his thoughts.

Until that loyal dog took up his own dog's sword and ran him through.


Next up is Penelo.

I am going to make no promise of a regular update schedule for this meandering bit of nonsense so I apologize to anyone who does like it enough to wish to read more. My most genuine hope is to get all the above out before the end of the month but, as anyone who has read any of my other stuff, sometimes my desires fall flat in the face of reality.

Til next time.