Lightning woke to the sound of uneven breath, and she slowly opened her eyes, taking in the sight before her.
Fang's head rested against the wall of rock, her eyes half-lidded.
Lightning blinked away the sleep, and she leaned over a bit to examine her companion. "What's wrong?"
Fang only exhaled, and Lightning soon noticed that her lips were dry, and somewhat cracked. Fang tried to lean forward, her arms shivering slightly.
Lightning placed the back of her palm against Fang's forehead, and she frowned. "You're not well..." She looked down to see that several lines of wrinkles were beginning to form over Fang's hands. Lightning's eyes widened. "Dehydration?"
Fang kept still, but she glanced over at the ocean.
Lightning nodded after a moment. "Let's get you back." She moved down from Fang's lap, positioning an arm under her shoulder to raise them both up.
Fang's tail dragged behind them in the sand, and she soon wrapped her arms around Lightning's shoulders, resting against her back. Lightning grunted beneath the extra weight, but she hauled Fang down to the shore, finally resting against the sand. She watched as Fang slid back into the water, drifting beneath the surface for a moment, before she smiled up at her.
Lightning nodded with a tiny laugh. "Good." She looked down at her stomach, noting the lack of swelling upon her injuries. "Do you think-" Lightning paused, the words caught in her throat. "Never mind..." She sighed. "It's not like you can tell me."
Fang let out a long breath, and she watched as the air bubbled out from her lips. She inhaled, leaning back beneath the surface.
Lightning sat in silence for a moment, before she glanced down at Fang. "Do you think I'll ever get back home?" She trailed her fingers through the sand, swirling them in circular patterns. "I'm starting to doubt it, myself..." Lightning slowly looked up at the horizon. "I don't think that anyone even knows about this place."
Fang kept still, but she examined Lightning's every move from beneath the waves.
"We're extremely far away from any other landmass, if our charts were correct..." Lightning narrowed her eyes. "What was our captain thinking?!" She hissed under her breath. "He wanted a shortcut... There's no other reason to risk sailing into unknown waters."
After a moment, Fang rose up to the shore, and she placed her hands upon the sand. Her tail curled up behind her, rising above the water.
Lightning looked her over. "Are you sure that you should be getting out again?" She glanced down at Fang's hands. "It seems like you need to be-" Lightning's breath caught as Fang leaned forward to nip at her bottom lip, gentle, yet firm enough to pull her into a kiss.
Fang reached up to tangle her hands in Lightning's hair, inching forward to rest beside her on the sand.
Lightning leaned into the kiss, her own hands wandering around Fang's waist, slowly traveling around where greenish-blue scales met her skin.
Fang inhaled, drawing the breath from Lightning's lungs, only to replace it with foam. Lightning shivered at the alien warmth that quickly enveloped her, along with the strange substance that soon lined her throat, dripping down into her lungs.
With a smirk, Fang leaned backwards to drop them both into the ocean. She pushed against the sand with her tail, pushing them further into the sea.
Lightning pulled away from the kiss to gasp when water filled her nose, but her eyes widened when her nasal cavity expanded, effortlessly taking in the liquid and processing it without pain.
Fang smiled, and she took hold of Lightning's hands, gently tugging her forward.
Lightning continued to focus on breathing, her lungs heavy with seawater. She closed her eyes, moving her tongue around in the foam that coated her mouth. Lightning felt something brush against her lips, and she slowly opened her eyes.
Fang stared back at her, her own eyes half-lidded and dark. She leaned forward to rest her forehead against Lightning's, snaking her arms around her shoulders.
Lightning shivered, but she mustered up her courage to take Fang's mouth with her own, pressing her tongue in between her lips.
Fang froze for a split second, before she responded in turn, threading her fingers into Lightning's hair to pull her closer.
Lightning let out a silent whimper, the air bubbling out from her nose as Fang took control of the kiss, soon pressing them back against the seafloor while sand clouded out into the water.
Fang ran her tongue over Lightning's teeth, smirking when Lightning copied the gesture, all while being careful to avoid the points of her canines. Fang relaxed into the embrace, her arms resting on either side of Lightning's head, fingers still intertwined with pink hair, before she pulled back from the kiss to breathe.
Lightning gazed up from the sand, and she watched as each lock of Fang's hair drifted in the water, illuminated by the sun, far above. She closed her eyes halfway, letting out a soft sigh when Fang kissed at the tip of her nose.
A shadow moved off in the distance, and Lightning's eyes widened.
Fang leaned back to examine her expression, before following Lightning's gaze, and her own eyes widened as well. Lightning pushed up from the sand, reaching out for the surface, her muffled, gurgling call echoing out into the sea. Fang grabbed her by the shoulders, but Lightning thrashed, her fingers outstretched, before she finally stilled.
Fang had pressed her face into Lightning's back, shivering against her skin. When Lightning turned around, Fang attempted to hide her expression, so she closed her eyes, covering her face.
Lightning glanced between Fang and the surface, gazing up at the distant, wooden belly of a ship.
Fang slowly moved her hands away from her face, and she lowered her fingers to Lightning's stomach, tracing the injuries that lay upon her skin. She raised her other hand, pointing up at the ship.
Lightning examined the vessel, and her heart sank when a bundle of gigantic nets were lowered into the sea. She watched as the ship drifted along the surface, circling the reefs that lay off in the distance.
Four months, three weeks, four days.
My injuries have finally closed up, but I'm still... Restless, somehow. It's as if something is wrong and needs to be fixed, but I can't figure out how to reach it, much less what it is... It's probably just the madness again.
Do those who have gone insane become aware of it? I feel that they must, at least on some level... I'm clearly aware and accepting of the insane notion that a mythical creature is coexisting with my island.
'My island?' I wasn't really thinking when I wrote that... But it seems fitting, as I am alone.
Alone, alone, alone... Nope, there's no friendly parties here, none but me and my mirage.
Serah, I hope that you never lose your mind.
Lightning rolled up the bark, and she attempted to steady her breathing, but the air felt heavy in her lungs. She coughed for a while, standing up from the ground to place the letter beside the others, before walking down to the shore. Lightning's feet padded softly against the sand, a gentle breeze carrying her along. She looked up at the beachfront, her gaze settling on the rocky shore.
A lithe figure sat perched upon the stone, a spear held aloft in her hand. Her eyes were narrowed in concentration, droplets of water trickling down her skin.
Lightning swallowed, dragging her gaze to the spearhead, poised above a school of fish. "Fang."
Fang kept still, but her gaze flickered over to look at Lightning.
Lightning tried to smile, but her breath was short, and she knelt down upon the sand. "Something's wrong." She clutched at her stomach, waves of unease rippling throughout her body. "I feel sick..."
Fang lowered her spear to balance it between the rocks, before she slipped into the water, resurfacing only to flop down upon the sand beside Lightning. She reached over to tuck back a lock of pink hair, her brow creased with worry. Lightning bit back a cry as a sharp sensation wracked her form, and she closed her eyes, gritting her teeth. She forced her eyes back open, standing up to walk over to the shore. Fang followed after her, and she dove back into the ocean.
Lightning gazed down at the water, mesmerized by the ebb and flow of the waves, her eyes wide. "What's wrong with me?" She shook her head, attempting to tear her gaze away from the sea, but her eyes were locked on the gentle swell of the water, and Lightning extended her hand beneath the surface.
Fang looked over up Lightning's arm, and her eyes widened as well.
Lightning inhaled, the breath sharp between her lips. Her skin reacted to the water immediately, and warmth rushed out into her fingertips, stopping only where her arm met the sea.
Fang slowly raised her own arm, her fingers intertwining with Lightning's, before she gently twisted their joint hands to one side.
"That can't-" Lightning leaned down to examine the strange, translucent membrane that ran along her forearm. "That can't be real..."
Fang moved her other hand to touch the side of Lightning's arm, her fingers gliding along the pinkish webbing.
Lightning pulled her arm back from the water, shivering as she examined it above the surface, but the membrane remained. "What is that?" She pulled at the material, but a bit of pain twinged through her arm when she yanked it a bit too hard.
Fang reached up to poke at Lightning's arm, her brow drawn in confusion. She gently ran the webbing between her fingers, examining the pattern in which it had grown.
Lightning stood up after a moment, and she shook her head. "I need to go lay down again..." She looked over at Fang. "You're not-" Lightning couldn't find the will to finish her sentence, and she glanced down at her arm, silent for a moment. "This isn't real."
Fang watched with a frown as Lightning trudged up the shore, but she made no move to follow her, instead disappearing beneath the waves.
It's been a while since I've written to you, and I'm truly sorry for it.
I've gone completely insane.
I haven't gone down to the shore since last I wrote. I haven't seen Fang, either; I assume that she's found something else to occupy her time.
I haven't seen any other ships. My firestarters lay at the bottom of the sea, and I have no intention of making more.
I miss you.
Lightning exhaled, and she tossed the letter aside, glaring down at the webbing that ran along both of her arms. She stood after a moment to walk down to the shore, her knife in hand. Lightning soon made her way along the rocks, holding the blade beside her skin for a long moment, before she shivered, shaking her head.
"No." Lightning almost startled when the word passed through her lips, and she hugged herself, biting down on her tongue when the tears threatened to escape her eyes.
She stood up after a while to walk back to her shelter, her feet dragging upon the sand.
Ten months, two weeks, three days.
I can scarcely breathe.
Serah, do you remember back when we were young, and you fell beneath the waves? I dove in after you... I had never been so scared in my life, and I've never achieved that level of fear since then.
Do you remember how it feels to drown?
I have an abundance of air... This should not be.
Lightning walked down the beachfront, a small, limp creature clutched in her hand. She looked over at the sea, her gaze low, staring out at the horizon.
The fire flickered in the low light, and Lightning sat down beside it, unrolling a sheet of bark upon her lap. She cut a shallow slit in the creature's fur, gripping a spare feather between her fingers, before pressing the quill against the page.
One year, if my count is correct.
Lightning looked down at her feet, shivering at the sight that awaited her. Shaking her head, she began to write once more.
A strong breeze swept over the sand, the moon rising high into the night sky. A flock of sleepy gulls called out, the sound echoing over the cliffs.
Lightning stood to place the roll of bark beside the others, before reaching into her pocket. The knife soon lay in her hand, and Lightning unfolded it without haste, gazing down at the inscription. Letting out a long, hoarse sigh, she placed the knife beside the letters.
The shore awaited her without incident, the ocean lapping gently against the sand. Lightning lowered one of her feet into the waves, before she took another step, and another. She let out a ragged breath as the water reached her neck, and she stared up at the sky, illuminated by stars. Lightning closed her eyes, a layer of foam pouring out into her mouth.
The wind rolled over the shore, carrying a sharpened reed along with it, which bounced along the sand, finally dropping into the ocean with a splash. A ray of moonlight illuminated an overhang, as well as a knife, which glinted alongside a cache of letters, just waiting to be discovered.
Lightning drifted away, her mind wandering the depths. She floated into the abyss with her eyes squeezed shut, until something brushed against her feet.
Lightning opened her eyes, and Fang stared back at her, deep green irises searching an endless blue. Lightning blinked, leaning forward to rest her forehead against Fang's, simultaneously wrapping her arms around her shoulders. Fang smiled, and she reached up to hold Lightning's cheeks, caressing her face.
Lightning's eyes widened, her mouth opening with a muffled gasp.
Fang leaned over to nibble at her bottom lip, snaking her tongue into Lightning's mouth.
Lightning accepted the gesture, but she glanced around at the ocean, searching for the source of the voice. Where did that...?
Fang kissed her nose. Here.
Lightning froze, and she let out a shuddering breath, the air bubbling out from her lips. What..? What is this?
Fang nuzzled into her neck. You understand, now...
Lightning kept still. You can talk?
Fang pulled back to look into her eyes.Talk?
Lightning nodded. Communicate.
Fang tilted her head to the side. You were different, before... You couldn't understand, not like you do now. She closed her eyes. You couldn't connect.
Lightning raised an eyebrow. Connect?
Fang exhaled, resting against Lightning's shoulder.We're doing it, right now...
Lightning stilled her thoughts for a moment, before she focused, channeling her mind.
Fang smiled. Yeah.
Lightning closed her eyes as well. It's... Telepathy?
Fang kept still. I don't know what that is.
Lightning began to think of each time she had attempted to speak with Fang, only to receive silence in return.
Fang opened her eyes.That's what that sound meant? She smirked.After my teeth... And here I thought you were just making noise.
Lightning shook her head. No, it's called talking... I just wanted a name to call you by. She opened her eyes as well. Humans use it to communicate.
Fang's thoughts were silent for a moment, before she shivered. Humans?
Lightning nodded. Like me.
Like the others... Fang frowned. They drowned with the whale.
Lightning narrowed her eyes. Whale?
Fang attempted to copy a nodding gesture.The other whale killed it; you were the only one to survive.
Lightning nearly laughed, but all that came out was a mouthful of air, the corners of her eyes crinkled in mirth. You thought our ship was a whale?
What..? Fang frowned, and she looked away with a hint of a blush. What's a ship?
Lightning sobered after a moment, her breath slow.A ship... It's a large boat, and it can carry humans over water.
Fang glanced down at Lightning's legs. I can see why you'd need that...
Lightning nodded. So... She looked into Fang's eyes. Why couldn't we do this before?
Fang slowly reached out to hold Lightning's arm, pulling it between them.I think you're changing. She pointed at the fluttering membrane that traveled from Lightning's wrist to her elbow.
Lightning's stomach twisted, her eyes wide.
Fang kissed at the soft, translucent ridge. Pink, like your hair.
Lightning took a deep breath, and she shivered. How far is it going to go?
Fang exhaled, running the webbing between her fingers.I don't know.
Lightning frowned, and she gazed up at the surface, the moon rising high above them. I'm sorry for not visiting sooner... I've been feeling sick because of it.
Fang pulled her close, nuzzling into Lightning's hair. I'm sorry...
Lightning shook her head. Don't be. She tensed as a wave of nausea rolled through her stomach, her legs falling limp beneath her.
Fang's eyes widened. Hey... You...
Lightning could sense that Fang was struggling to find a term to call her by, and she tried to smile. Lightning.
Fang's thoughts drifted to a memory of a storm, focusing on a bolt of electricity that struck the churning waves, far above. And you call me Fang, right?
Lightning nodded, her eyes drifting shut. Do you have a different name?
Fang kept still.Name..? I don't think so.
Lightning opened her mouth as a breath escaped her lips. Something's... Her thoughts fell silent.
Fang tensed, tightening her grip of Lightning's shoulders. Hey, stay awake! She gently shook the limp form, her eyes wide as Lightning's legs began to move of their own volition, the ragged fabric of her pants revealing an odd change of coloring upon her skin.
The water lapped at the mouth of the cave, shadows enveloping the underwater cavern. Fang lay back upon the sand, gazing around at the stone; she could see a clear image of the cave, even in the pitch darkness.
The form beside her stirred, and Fang sat up to look at her companion, leaning down to run hand over her shoulder.
Lightning opened her mouth to speak, but no sound could escape from her lips. She shuddered after a moment, and her eyes flew open, before her gaze honed in on where her feet once resided.
Rain pattered upon the cobblestone, a peal of thunder echoing in the distance.
"Serah, this is no weather to be-"
"I'll be alright." Serah turned to look at Snow, a tiny smile on her lips. "I just... I need to do this."
Snow stood in the doorway, his brow furrowed. "Well... Be careful, okay?"
Serah nodded, clutching a box to her chest. "I will."
Snow finally smiled, and he waved as she walked off, before turning around to walk inside.
Serah carefully stepped between the puddles that littered the street, and she soon pulled the hood of her coat up and over her head. She held the box closer to herself, tugging her jacket over the wood to shelter it from the drizzling rain.
All was silent while she walked up to the docks, before a gruff voice called out to her. "Do you need any help, ma'am?"
Serah looked up at the sound, before shaking her head at the sailor. "I'm fine, but thank you."
The man turned back to face the docks. "Fine storm is brewing..."
Serah gave him a tiny nod, and she walked up to the railing beside him. "There won't be any ships going out in it, will there?"
The sailor shook his head. "Not unless they lose their minds."
Serah glanced down at the box in her arms. "Of course." She nodded at the man, before she turned to walk down the pier.
The sailor let out a deep sigh. "Stay sharp, ma'am."
Serah froze. "What..?"
The sailor held his gaze on the horizon. "The docks get slippery in the rain. Stay sharp."
Serah kept still for a while, before she nodded once more.
Making her way down a flight of stairs, Serah soon walked out upon the rocky shore. She carefully stepped along the stones, before sitting down to rest beside the churning waves.
Serah looked down at the box beside her chest, and she reached up to slowly opened the latch, retrieving a folded knife from within. She quickly closed the box to protect the paper within from the rain, but Serah flipped open the knife, gazing down at the inscription.
A flicker of movement caught her gaze, and Serah looked up from the blade, but she could see nothing amiss among the rolling sea.
Serah stood after a while, turning back to walk up to the docks, all while the edge of a salmon-pink tail narrowly escaped her line of sight, disappearing into the ocean.