"A place unknown, called home."
A/N: Of course, any characters, places, names, ect.., are not legally mine, but of the owners and creators of Star Ocean, and Star Ocean EX. Enjoy.
How could she deny him?
He wanted to go home…
The place where he originally belonged…
She couldn't say no. Couldn't complain, couldn't yell… She shouldn't cry.
…But she was.
Rena Lanford wasn't very good at controlling her emotions, and worst of all, she sucked at hiding them. The elf-like girl knew that they saw her fear and disappointment in her eyes. She knew they saw her shaking, and knew they would eventually watch her weep. It's not like she expected Claude to come back to Arlia with her… but…
Upon hearing his father, Ronixis J. Kenni, excitement over swept him. That's probably why got Rena upset.
The Earth Federation was calling him… finally.
"Oh, man, I cannot believe this!" The blonde human gripped the communicator tightly. "Hello? Dad, I mean, Commander?"
A buzz flew off and on the speaker, "C-n … hear… me?"
"Y-Yeah! I read you, where are you!?"
They were coming for him… Rena knew it.
Rena stood erect and forced her tears back when Claude turned to her. "Hear that? Rena, I'm going home!" She lifted a small smile from her very disappointed mood, and laughed to congratulate him. Of course not everyone was fooled.
Celine shook her head, sighing. "Oh Claude, are you really such a fool?"
It took Claude a moment before he glanced back at Rena, who still fought her tears.
"What?" He asked, confused.
"You really don't know?!" Celine stomped her heels. The treasure hunter and a Heraldic enchantress couldn't only have the patience of a jaguar. He was pushing it.
"Huh?" He looked again at Rena, then back to Celine, and shrugged.
"Oh my gawd, I knew it… men are insensitive jerks!" Celine had had enough of this, and pulled Ashton by his collar. "We're leaving! Goodbye Blondie!"
"Hey! If we're insensitive j-jerks, why are you taking me?" Ashton protested. "Let me go!"
"Quiet Ashton, I just need to get away from all this dumb air Claude's breathing." Celine waved her hand goodbye to the two.
Rena wanted to wave… She was unsure if she'd ever see those two again (Including "Gyoro" and "Ururun") … not to mention Precis and Leon went back to their hometowns. In fact, if Claude left, that's what she'd be doing. Her legendary warrior of light had fulfilled his duty by defeating the 10 Wise Men… and saving Planet Expel. That's all she needed from him right?
"Rena?" Claude finally caught her attention, and Rena blushed profusely, knowing she had been spacing out.
"S-sorry, what is it Claude?"
"Are you okay? I mean, about me leaving?" Claude held a bit of uncertainty in his eyes. It'd most likely be the only time Rena would be able to convince him to stay. Yet, that would be a whole different story on how she'd mustard up the courage to do so. Instead, she stayed quiet.
"I'm fine." It felt like hollow words at escaped her mouth, and even she was shocked to know that she could say such a thing. It wasn't fine, she wasn't fine. Rena was angry, upset, and sad that Claude would leave her. Abandon her, when she thought, he might like her. Why would he do such a thing? Why leave her now? Rena cursed in her head, saying things that people couldn't expect her to say. She was so… angry! She just wanted him to leave now, just get it over with!
"Claude, just go…" Rena decided not to look at him for the entirety of his staying. "Go… home."
"Is that so?" Claude held a voice of disappointment, which made Rena second guess herself.
Before she could speak again, she heard footsteps walk closer to her. They were at a slow pace, almost as if they were dancing. At first she thought it was someone else in the forest, but then Claude put his hands on her shoulders. She refused it, but looked up at him anyway.
"You suck at lying." He held her in his gaze, his blue eyes evaluating her every emotion. "If you want me to stay, say so…" When her eyes lowered, in cowardice, he gripped her midnight teal hair in his fingers, raising her head once again. "What should I do, Rena?"
"Listen… I really would love for you to stay, but… this planet is not for you. Our people are still rattled by the Sorcery Globe. I'm sorry, it's just better this way." She pulled his hand away from her. "D-don't worry about me, Claude…"
"Don't worry… So that's it?"
Rena nodded. "You'll be happy now, won't you?"
Anger aside, it's true. That's all Rena had ever wanted for Claude. She wanted him to be happy. She'd do anything for him, and if it wasn't for love, it was for his friendship. Rena would just be as happy as a baby bunny knowing he was as well.
Bunnies need mates, don't they?
Ew… not a good thing to think about at this moment. Rena shook her thoughts.
"Yeah, I guess I will." Claude patted her shoulder once more, before turning to leave.
"Good luck… Claude…"
"Thanks… Goodbye, Rena."
"G-good…bye…" Rena couldn't complete her words; she was already starting to choke up. No good, Rena was horrible at holding things in. As soon as he was in the distance she felt the warm streams of tears ripped her cheeks. It felt like her heart was being pulled at all ends.
"Rena?" The stern voice echoed through the darkness. Rena turned, frightened a bit, but recognizing the voice.
What was Dias Flac doing here?
"I decided to stop by Arlia… You're on your way home, I suppose?" He asked, glimpsing a wet cheek. "You're… okay, Rena?"
Rena knew it was impossible to hide things from Dias. "Y-yeah. I'm heading home… Where are you going?"
"Well… I still have some things to do, first talk to Mayor Regis, then visit Allen…Hey..." His monotone voice picked up, "Where's Claude?"
"Uhm… He's…gone. He left a while ago."
"Where to…?" Dias was beginning to become impatient.
"Home… as in 'his home planet...'" With a smug smirk, Dias picked up his sword, pulling it to lay on his shoulder armor. "…insolent bastard"
"Yes?" Rena frowned at him, and he decided to play along. "I apologize."
Rena was heart warmed while walking with Dias. For once, Dias was at a slow pace, something she could keep up with. Usually, he was all around the place, doing things, and killing monsters. He kept so many secrets, but his air today was identifiable to her. He was angry, or just cunningly amused, that Claude had left. She could understand why. He and Claude never got on the same level. Sure, he had the patience to teach Claude a thing or two, but when it came down to it, he kept the best moves to himself, to beat the living hell out of Claude. It was a sort of game, and she was certain that Dias was sad it was over.
That's kind of crude, don't you think?
Things only got better for Rena, as her mom greeted her at the entrance to the village. With open arms, she tightly squeezed her adopted daughter, as if they hadn't seen each other in years.
"M-mother… You're hurting me!" Rena gasped, and her mother let go quickly.
"Sorry dear. Oh, look how you've grown!" Rena's mother rubbed her cheeks, pulling him to accompany her stomach pain. "You're so beautiful… Come inside, let's go… -Oh." Her mother noticed Dias leaning on the churches closed door.
"Dias! Welcome back! You're coming as well, we'll serve you dinner! Come, come!" Dias smiled politely, something Rena only saw him do to her mother, and followed along.
"This is too much food, Mom!"
Rena gulped at the table filled with rolls of different sizes, three types of beans, with salads, meats, and starches. She had created another feast for an army. And Rena knew her soldier wasn't here. Only Claude could finish off food like her mother cooked.
"Oh… really..?" Her mother looked a bit disappointed and tapped her lips. "Is Claude stopping by as well?"
Dias put his hands near his face, and Rena knew he was smiling. How could he be such a jerk? He knew she was still…
"No. He's not, Mother." Rena looked at her mother through innocent eyes, and she got the hint. Her mother put back a few plates and sat to eat with them.
Too bad dinner wasn't as it normally would be…
"Mmmhm…" Dias licked his thumb, turning the chicken skewer.
Rena was dumbfounded. She never imagined Dias just staying in the same place. It wasn't possible. He wanted to stop adventuring? Why?
"Where are you going to live?" Rena asked.
"Where else, Rena, here in Arlia…"
He caught her off guard again, and her mother had to help her shut her gapping mouth. "Rena, isn't this nice? Dias is home again!"
"Until you get on your feet, you're welcome to stay with us, Dias dear."
"Are you certain? I don't want to bother you…" He smiled already knowing the answer.
"No, no, it's fine. I've been getting kind of lonely anyway." Her mother winked at Dias. "As well as Rena... She'll enjoy your company."
Rena felt a chill down her spine. They were getting along too well, and now, he'll be living with her and her mother? Dias was never the one to let loose, and Rena could tell there was something else on his mind. Something well hidden and she wanted to know what it was.
"Yes, Rena?" Dias made her catch her breath.
"Hmm?" Rena shook her head, she was spaced out again.
"You were staring at me."
"N-no… sorry… I was out of it. I'm glad you will be staying with us." Rena smiled.
…Even though you're plotting something… She thought.
Dias stood up, taking his plate to the sink, and washing it quickly. He turned and nodded gracefully to her mother. "I'll be back soon; I need to talk to Regis."
"Alright, we'll be here." Rena's mother smiled, and as soon as the front door shut, she peered evilly at Rena.
"This is your chance! Rena, how lucky you are… Dias is the most handsomest boy I have ever seen!" Her mother laughed. She started to hum a wedding melody.
Oh, how Rena frowned. How could her mother say that, after just learning Claude had left? Did she forget she thought Claude was just as handsome? Was it every man that walked in that her mother would nudge her on to? She knew her mother only sought for Rena's best interest, but jeez… give a woman time to mourn!
Any more of this, and Rena would had wished she died from the beginning instead of meeting Claude C. Kenni. Without a word, she wished her mother goodnight and grumbled upstairs walking towards her bedroom. She had to stop at the guest room, to make sure it was clean, and it was…
… The last time it was used... was with Claude. He slept here, and now… so would Dias. For a while Rena sat on the guest bed thinking maybe she was betraying Claude. She slapped that out of her mind with 'You're not his girlfriend', or 'He left you.'
But without a doubt, this had to have been the place where she confessed her love to him. It may have been absentminded, and only towards "the warrior of light", but it was to him… it was to Claude. Now… it seemed like it was all just a dream.
All of them… were not here anymore. It's not like she couldn't go out to Linga, to see Precis, or the capital or Lacour to visit Leon, but without Claude, it seemed pointless. What about Opera… was she still with Ernest? Rena couldn't help but laugh. They were in love, yet they were unyielding to each other, trying their best to overcome those obstacles. Well, Opera at least. Couldn't Rena and Claude do that? Couldn't they overcome the fact that he was on another planet by now?
Rena sighed, knowing her chance for that was long gone.
She hadn't noticed it, but she was lying on the bed now, and wrapping herself in the leftover scent of Claude. It was a foolish attempt at bringing him back, and it only proved to make her sleepy.
It was a light slumber at first, but there was a wave of warmth that whipped at her forehead, and her eyes couldn't even try to open. Then only a fresh darkness that was much needed filled her mind.
End Of Chapter I.
Chapter 2 Preview: "A misguided goal."
Rena couldn't hold back from herself. The long bridge of fog that covered her mind only revealed one thing: That if she was ever to get over her blonde hero, she'd need a new route.
Dias wasn't too sure what he was doing. Allowing himself to get frustrated over her mistake, but once his hand landed over her cheek, he knew where his anger had risen from.
Did he really like her?
Author: Thanks for reading! Comments are obliged.
Rei: Kyoko… this has gone too far!
Kyoko: Ehh? (Amused)
Rei: YOU DRESSED ME UP LIKE BOWMAN!?
Kyoko: I've got a thing for docs. : D
-------------------------------------------------------------------- ::GAME SHOW ::
Claude or Cloud...?
Cloud Strife: I hate you… how if you say your name 5 times fast… it sounds like mine…
Claude: Not my fault dude, you're the one with the sword. Betchya don't even know how to use that thing.
::SCENE DELETED FOR MASSIVE VIOLENCE AND GORE::
Rei: KYOKO, BAD!