Disclaimer: I don't own Final Fantasy XII.

Summary: She had left the wood and she can no longer hear its green words. But it doesn't hurt as much as it used to. ( Fran )


Balthier gave her an inquiring look. "I thought you swore never to return…?" Fran just shook her head, her long, gray hair swishing back and forth as she did.

"Our options are few," she said slowly. There was a pause as she stood, collecting her thoughts. And then, "This is as much for you as it is for me."

Balthier didn't respond, but he frowned with concern. "Oh?"

Fran turned toward him with a playful tone edged with the appearance of danger. "You are ill at ease. The nethicite troubles you?" He raised an eyebrow at her statement.

She still looked at him with strong eyes. "You've let your eyes betray your heart," she stated.

Balthier didn't respond at once, but then he let out a sigh. "Right."


Fran could no longer hear the voices of the Wood.

She was troubled by this every time the fact came and hit her dead in the face. But she admitted that she was not as troubled as she was before when she had first found out fifty years ago. She still struggled inside to remember her past, but she frowned every time she tried. She can't.

She remembered when she had first stood up to her sister, Jote.


"The Viera may begin as part of the wood, but it's not the only end we may choose."


Jote's eyes flashed with a fearful fate, but it was gone as quickly as it came with disappointment. Her sister shook her head. "Fran," she had told her. "You cannot leave. The Wood does not forgive lightly to those who seek shelter elsewhere and not under her boughs."

Fran eyes were filled with defiance of the young. "Dear sister," she began, "Why must the Wood stay still when the world outside is moving?" She glanced up at her, trying to find something in her eyes. "Do you not feel the will to move with them as well?"

Jote opened her mouth to say something rash, but closed it as well as her eyes in thought. At last she answered, "Would you leave behind Mjrn?" Fran did not answer but she had pried away her gaze and, instead, looked down in deep thought. A moment of silence passed.

"I would," she answered slowly. "I would… and then return once more, to let her see the place outside without having to leave." She paused. "I believe Mjrn too wishes to leave. You cannot restrain both of us, Jote."

Jote shook her head again. "She has been influenced by you," she accused. "Would you leave the Wood; who has kept you from harm since you were born? Would you leave her sanctuary – her paradise?"

Fran smiled a bit. "Even paradise can be a poison, sister." Jote narrowed her eyes at her words.

"Once you leave…" she told her. "… You will no longer hear the green word that she speaks to us."

Fran paused. She thought. "I know," she said finally. "I know."

"Viera who abandon the Wood are Viera no longer," Jote continued. "Even if you do come back, you will not be seen as the Viera you are now. You will not be seen, nor will you be heard." She looked at her. "This is what you wish?"

Fran thought again, and then nodded. "Yes," she replied. "This is what I wish."

And then she walked away.


But when she thinks of the world around her compared to the Wood, she cannot say that she regrets leaving. But she cannot say that she does not regret leaving as well. But she thinks that it's better off this way. It's better off than being stuck in paradise. Because she gets to see things and hear things that were not the green words of the Wood.

She gets to fly in the skies.
She gets to meet a Hume and befriend him.
She gets to be able to wander free.

She had given up so much too, but she cannot say that it was all for nothing.

When she had first left, she had feared that the Wood hated her. Even now she still fears that, but she still walks forward. Freedom is what she had wanted, and even she had gained that in the end.

She smiles as she thinks of this.

She was one of the Humes now. She is a part of them. She had become a part of them ever since she had left the sanctuary and paradise of the Wood. She had become part of them ever since the ties of her past were severed and she had vowed to never return.

Fran knows that she can no longer hear the Wood. She knows she can no longer hear its green words.

But it doesn't hurt as much as it used to.


A/N. Third story completed. Three is always a lucky number. And... Well... Fran deserved something.

3/26/07 Edited, thanks to thermopylae. Wow. Embarrassing now that I read it. Took awhile for me to get to it after receiving your comment. XD