A/N: What the hell! I'm gone for a few days (I was moving and had no internet, well still don't, I'm using a library computer) and Final Fantasy XIII jumped ahead even more! This shall not be tolerated. So anyway, this is a Vaan/Penelo story. Hope you like it and please please review.


Penelo stood nervously by the fountain and hidden by the crowd. She fiddled with the unPenelo like red dress she wore, that billowed down close to her ankles. Her blond hair had been tied into a single braid. She could hear the music start from the other side of the mass of people, sounds of tambourines and flutes and harps.

Today was her first performance, at least the first as a part of a group. Money had been short as of late, and even working all of her various jobs wasn't bringing in enough money to support all the orphans of Lowtown. Luck had come when a dancing troupe had come to the city, in need of another person to fill the role of one of their women. Penelo had danced before, but this act was far bigger than before.

"Hey, Penelo. Aren't you doing that dance thing today?" Penelo turned to see Vaan, casually eating an apple that was probably stolen and holding a bag over his shoulder. How could he possibly act that way, all lax while she was about to throw up from nerves.

"I'm about to. It's starts any minute, so could you please leave?" Penelo grumbled, trying to remember the steps she was supposed to remember. Vaan easily sense her uneasiness. Quickly rummaged through his bag before tossing it down near the edge of the fountain.

"Don't worry Pen. I'll leave," Vaan grinned. Penelo felt her cheeks turn a shade of red as he brought her close into a comforting hug. "You'll be fine, just do your best."

His words made her relax some and she wrapped her arms around his broad shoulders. She winced slightly as something poked and pulled at the side of her and Vaan released her.

"Good luck charm." Vaan said with a kind smile, now pointing to the side of Penelo's head. The music which had started low was beginning to grow louder, signalling the start of the dance. The crowd's claps turned to eager roars.

"Well, I guess I got to go then? Don't want to make you nervous," Vaan said with a giggle, Penelo's face hot with a blush. The boy gave her a light squeeze of her arm and grabbed his bag, running and disappearing into the crowd. Penelo smiled, fingers reaching up to the side of her head, feeling something smooth and layered. She looked into the waters of the fountain to see a bright red flower placed behind her right ear. All the nervousness and fear seemed to wash away and when her signal to push through the crowd into the square came, she held her head high with confidence.

Vaan watched hidden behind the many people as Penelo stepped into the square along with three other young women, taking their first choreographed steps, their dresses blowing gently in the wind. To Vaan, the three were nothing compared to his Penelo.


A/N: Very short and Vaan seemed outta character to me, though I'm not sure. I'm sure he'd do something like that for Penelo. Okay so the red flower isn't a galbana lily, its some sort of like chrysanthemum.