Title: Anything But

Author: Aerith Queen of Cetra

Chapters: 1/1

Summary: "Reks! Reks! Aren't those stars pretty!" He nodded towards his little brother, not having the heart to tell him that those weren't stars.

Genre: Angst

Beta'd: Nu-uh!

Warnings: Mainly, angst, lies, death, illusions, depression…um… Whatever!

Disclaimer: I hold no copyright over the Final Fantasy series……HEY WHO PUT THIS BIBLE UNDER MY HAND???? OwO;

Author's Comments: Aww! I loved Reks during his brief ten minutes on-screen! Reeeeeks! Come back! Anyway, just a little thought in my head this ficcie! Enjoy! ;.;

Anything But

The innocent and the beautiful, have no enemy but time

- William Butler Yeats -

He wasn't sure exactly when it had started, but his furthest back memory was…

"Vaan! Vaan! Stop running!"

The tiny boy who was speeding off down the streets of Rabanastre stopped dead in his tracks and turned back towards his brother.

An out of breath Reks ran on to the direction of the small blond who was laughing and waving frantically at him.

Stopping in front of the over-energetic boy, Reks caught his breath and gave him a stern look, "Vaan, when I tell you to stop running, you'd better stop running!"

At the angry voice, the boy then began to shrink away and he buried the lower half of his face in the huge white sleeves of the shirt that once belonged to his now long deceased father.

The sight of the huge watery eyes peeking over the top of those puffy white sleeves caused Reks' annoyance to melt away and he reached out and ruffled Vaan's sun kissed blond hair fondly.

"Sorry Vaan, but if something were to happen to you, I'd never be able to forgive myself. So please, don't worry me by running off again…okay?"

Vaan sniffed and nodded, murmuring a small "okay" before grabbing Reks' hands, squeezing them tightly and pulling him on down the street.

Reks sighed and smiled, choosing not to show his disapproval by allowing the compromise to happen between the two brothers, and instead focusing on trying not to bump into anyone in the way.

"Hurry up Reks! The parade has already started! I really want to see the Royals!" Vaan squealed loudly as they pushed through the crowds all the way to the barrier that blocked the citizens of Rabanastre from the parade grounds.

Several floats zoomed by them, and wildly dressed performers danced and juggled across the streets before them, stopping occasionally in front of the two brothers to show them, and only them, a special trick and Vaan's eyes sparkled at the sights. Reks simply continued to stare at the young boy and kept him pulled close to his chest, holding onto Vaan tightly with a content smile as he watched the pure mirth on Vaan's young face.

"Wow! Reks! Reks! There's the King!" Over the screams of the crowd, Reks could make that out clearly and he stared up at the most extravagant of the floats, at the old man and the young girl who stood upon it.

The King waved at the crowd with a kind smile on his face whilst his young daughter, the small princess Ashe held on to her father's leg, biting her thumb and staring timidly at the screaming people everywhere around her.

Noticing the stare that Vaan gave to the girl, Reks informed his brother thoughtfully, "Vaan, that's princess Ashe, she's the King's daughter."

"She's pretty…" A naïve blush curled around Vaan's cheeks and the elder male laughed at him. Spurned on by what he thought was his brother's support, the youngest of the two grinned up at Reks, "And you know what? When I grow up, I'm gonna marry her!"

The laughter stopped abruptly and turned straight to a shocked choking noise, but that look upon Vaan's face caused Reks to force a grin, "Of course Vaan! You can marry her, and then you can live in the palace and help rule over all of Dalmasca!"

Vaan cheered at that and turned his attention back to Ashe, not noticing the shake of Reks' head.

Reks just didn't have the heart to tell Vaan the truth and destroy his dreams…

Another time was when…

A slightly older Reks leapt up into the air and slammed his sword down upon the Wolf that dared to attack him and his little brother as they made their way across the Dalmasca Estersand and back towards Rabanastre.

The Wolf fell on the ground in a heap and Reks promptly made his way over towards Vaan who was running around after a nervous looking Cactoid with a wooden sword.

"Get back here and fight!" Vaan shrieked at the poor creature as it wound its way in circles around the many jutting rocks around the top of the sandy desert land.

The panicked Cactoid finally managed to escape the vexed Vaan, who ended up throwing down his wooden sword in frustration and plopping himself down onto the ground.

A chuckling Reks made his way over to the sulking Vaan and ruffled the younger boy's slightly longer hair, earning him a sad pout in return.

Reks sat down beside the blond and wrapped a comforting arm around him. Vaan allowed himself to be pulled into the kind hug and he rested his head atop his older brother's broad shoulder, staring hatefully at the victorious Cactoid that flew away into the distance.

"Don't worry Vaan, I'm sure you'll get him next time…"

"Yeah…" Came the depressed reply.

Reks frowned and staring around him at the now monster free area, his eyes caught glints of scarlet across the golden sands.

"Hey Vaan, look over here." Reks pointed out to his brother as he made his way over to a certain patch of red.

The curious blond made his way over and grinned when he looked down at the findings, "Galbana Lilies! Lots of them!"

"Yep, how about we take some back, maybe for… Penelo?" Vaan blushed at the name and began plucking the flowers, whispering out a "maybe."

Once Vaan was finally satisfied with his lopsided bouquet of flowers, the two brothers set out towards Rabanastre until one single flower in the midst of the puddles of red drew Vaan's attention and he rushed over to it, the ever protective Reks following close behind.

"Wow! Reks Reks! That's another type of Galbana Lily? Isn't it, isn't it?" Reks stared at the flower long and hard. It was a darker red than the Lilies and Reks knew it was, what the people of Rabanastre had simply dubbed, a "Desert Rose". Very rare. Very valuable.

Seeing the proud expression upon Vaan's face, Reks sighed and said a plain, "Yes it is."

Vaan laughed and beamed before walking on, "Well, I've already got enough Galbana Lilies so we can go on now."

Reks stood in front of the flower, reaching out a hand to pluck it but only to have the cry of his name cut him off.

"Hey Vaan! What have I said about you running off on me!!" The elder male swished around and after the younger boy, abandoning the extraordinary flower.

Reks just didn't have the heart to tell Vaan the truth and destroy his confidence …

And then there was…that…time… the last time…

A fifteen-year-old Vaan walked along the streets of Rabanastre, now a little older and a little wiser, his brother strolling along casually beside him in the cold night.

Several people, mainly Bangaa and Humes, strolled past them, presumably coming from the Sandsea judging by their happy moods and swaying steps.

"You're… joining the army aren't you…" Vaan stated more than asked as they continued their walk.

Reks nodded numbly and Vaan choked out a response. "I don't want you to go…"

Reks simply recited his prepared speech. "They need as many people as they can to fight this war against Archades. And I want to fight to protect Dalmasca, and protect Rabanastre…"

He turned to his miserable looking brother and locked eyes with him, "Vaan… I want to protect you too, my brother. I don't want anything to happen to you."

"Reks, I don't want anything to happen to you. If you fight in this war you'll be killed!"

Reks gave a comical smirk and cocked his head, "What? You have no faith in your big brother? I'm shocked Vaan!"

Vaan narrowed his eyes and crossed his arms over his chest, "Shut up you idiot, I'm serious."

Sighing, Reks placed a hand on Vaan's shoulder and squeezed it reassuringly. "I'll be fine alright. And…you know something else? Once I get back, we can finally move out of Rabanastre. You, me, Penelo, Kytes… all of us! We'll get out of Dalmasca and go on a huge adventure! What do you say to that?"

"Adventure…?" Vaan mulled over the idea and suddenly found his inner child stirring. He smiled at Reks. "Alright! But only if you promise to come back!"

Vaan held out his little finger towards his brother and Reks couldn't stop his laughter as he linked his own little finger with his brother's, exclaiming those sacred words that had long ago become a part of the "Pinky Promise" ritual.

The two brothers laughed at one another and walked on, staring at the night sky in wonder as they wrapped their arm's around each other's shoulders in delight.

Suddenly, Vaan's steps halted and he marvelled at he sky in amazement, his expression reminding Reks vaguely of the one's Vaan used to hold at the annual parades for the Royals.

"Reks! Reks! Aren't those stars pretty!"

Reks stared up at those 'stars' in expectancy and his eyes widened. Over his own laughter, Vaan didn't hear Reks' silence. Nor did Vaan feel the other male's shaking as those 'stars' slid closer and closer towards Rabanastre.

Vaan turned towards Reks and the older one just nodded in agreement towards his little brother.

Reks just didn't have the heart to tell Vaan the truth… and destroy their promise…

Two years later, within the oblivion of Mount Bur-Omisace, an older Vaan and the princess Ashe sat alongside each other on the edge of the large stone bridges, speaking nonsense things and gazing into the distance.

When silence finally fell over them, Vaan stared into the far off skies and smiled, "Hey Ashe, don't you think those stars over there are beautiful?"

A confused look skimmed across the Royal beauty's face and she stared at the lights in the distance. Creasing her brow at the painful statement, Ashe turned to Vaan, "Vaan, those aren't-"

Vaan's smile wavered ever so slightly and his eyes became glossy. "No… they are… Reks said so…"

The shock, once apparent on her face, shifted to an expression of melancholy and she pulled her armoured knees to her chest, still staring at the lights.

"Yeah… so did Rasler…"

And that was it…

Yep, so…there's the fic! A bit pointless but I hope you enjoyed! I kinda wanted to show the development of the years between the two brothers and their own personalities! So I hope people got that!

Well, please review and let me know what you think!