Phew! Another LightningxSnow fanfiction. I've had this written for almost a week and a half. I'm sorry! But, doesn't the anticipation make it all the more sweeter?
Okay, maybe not. Well, at least its here right? RIGHT?! So…on with the story then?
I don't own Final Fantasy XIII as it already belongs to Square Enix. If I did own it, I would make the game come out a lot quicker. Can I get a woop woop!? :D
The Benefits of Silence
Chapter 1: The Market Crusade
Many people do things they come to later regret; allowing Snow to accompany me to a simple market seemed to be my latest mistake.
There are some things worse than being cursed.
....and by now, I'm sick of hearing his voice.
"I mean, why do the fal'Cie insist on givin' us freaky tattoos, anyway?"
"Are they trying to make life more difficult for us?"
"Snow," I repeated, hoping he'd catch a hint of irritation in my tone.
"You'd think they'd try to make us less conspicuous, you know, so that it would be easier to do our duty, but nooooo!"
Or perhaps I'm not so lucky.
He looked at me blankly, processing what I said, then turned away, scowling and muttering; I rolled my eyes and continued walking through the bustling array of vendors, Snow close behind. He paused suddenly, stopping to inspect a colorful vase that caught his eye.
"Put it down, Snow," I said without looking at him.
He sighed, turning to me with a look of complete exasperation.
"You are such a hard-ass! Can't you just lighten up for once?" he asked.
Unbelievable. I couldn't help but glare at the man.
"Lighten up? I just want to get in and get out, but you insist on slowing me down. I swear, its like I'm with a child."
"Listen," Snow said, smirking in his usual fashion, "we haven't been in a town for weeks now, and I just think it's nice to be in civilization again; wouldn't you agree?"
I stared at him, and his smile faltered. Assuming that this answered his question, I pressed on through the crowd; finally, I reached to the stall I was looking for.
"Hello!" the creepy vendor exclaimed. "Might I interest the pretty lady with this fine elixir?" This man was a scrawny thing with tan skin and about eight teeth. I was not in the mood for his crap.
"Snow!" I called; I saw the blond man look up from a stall selling children's toys. Typical.
He ambled over and asked, "What's up, Light?"
"How many potions do we have?"
"I dunno. Six, maybe?"
I looked at the toothless vendor and said, "I need fourty four potions."
"Is that all? Wouldn't you be more interested in-" I glared at the man, and he immediately started counting out our potions.
I turned to Snow, who was looking at me curiously.
"What?" I asked in an irrated tone.
"Why do we need exactly fourty four potions?"
"I like to keep our rations in multiples of five."
This answer proved to be unsatisfactory, and was met with yet another question.
"Why?" Snow asked, raising a brow.
Saturated with irritation, I snapped at the blonde.
"I don't know! Why do you care?" His constant perusal was fast becoming out of place and frustrating; why he felt the need to scrutinize my every move was beyond me. Coudn't he just accept it and move on? I liked to buy my supplies in a certain way and that's how it was gonna stay.
He raised his hands in the air, trying to declare innocence. "I was just curious. That's all."
The vendor finally gave me the potions; I handed them to Snow while I paid the merchant. "Are you sure I can't interest you in -," the man started to say, but I was already walking away.
Soon after, we came to a stall of weapons; this was my kind of stall. As I browsed, I noticed Snow pick up a sword. He turned to me and, imitating the creepy vendor, asked "Can I interest you in purchasing this fine sword, m'lady? It's sure to kill many things. Do you want to know why?"
I stared at him, waiting for the punch line.
"Because…it is sharp."
I couldn't contain my laughter. He had to be one of the stupidest men I had ever met.
Setting down the sword, Snow smiled. "Ah! So you can laugh! Sazh always said that you could, but I never truly believed him. I'm duely impressed, soldier."
I rolled my eyes; just because I wasn't so overt didn't mean I couldn't laugh every once in a while. He smiled as we rejoined the thick crowd.
A few minutes later, I sensed that Snow had fallen behind once more; turning around, I found him playing with an expensive-looking bowl. Another example proving that I couldn't let him out of my sight for two seconds!
Nearing wit's end, I headed towards the stall prepared to berate him accordingly when a group of weighty children knocked into me, setting off a domino effect which saw me collide into Snow. Needless to say, the bowl didn't pull through, falling out of his hands and onto the floor, shattering into thousands of pieces.
I was in Snow's arms at this point, and I did not appreciate the close proximity. I looked up at him angrily. "You idiot!" I shouted, hitting him in the chest. Snow looked down at me, silent and dumbfounded.
A heavy, balding and ill-smelling man stormed out from his hut, scowling at Snow and I in our awkward embrace. Quickly, I shoved Snow away. The rotund vendor gazed down at the shattered remains of his extravagant dish. Fuming, he slowly lifted his head to look at us again. Suddenly, like the dish in shards on the ground, he cracked.
"You fools! That was a 100,000 gil antique bowl!"
I turned to glare at Snow, who smiled sheepishly at me.
"You morons are gonna have to pay for every last cent of that!"
Did this imbecilic bastard not realize that I could slice him in two with my gunblade? Before I could do so, Snow put his arm in front of me and stepped forward.
"Now, it was just a small accident that involved the destruction of your mighty fine bowl," Snow said with a grin, "don't you think you could let us off the hook just this once?" At this sad attempt, I wondered if Snow ever truly listened to what came out of his mouth.
The irate man wouldn't have any of that, however. "Not for 100,000 gil I won't. That wasn't just a bowl, it was a piece of history! I'll have the whole Cocoon Army after you!"
As if that was anything to worry about.
Snow tensed slightly, then calmly continued. "Well, now. There's really no need to – RUN, LIGHTNING!"
Let's back up for a minute, shall we?
Campsite 5:32 PM
I was resting on a fallen tree, polishing my gunblade when I heard the telltale jingling of a quickly approaching Vanille; looking up, she gazed down at me with arms crossed. I glanced at Hope standing beside her, then back at Vanille. Sazh was sitting across the campfire, shaking his head in an exhausted fashion. It would seem to be an incursion on my relaxation.
"We need supplies," Vanille stated. I stared at her, uncertain as to why she was telling me this. There was nothing I could do about it. I'd rather get lost in the endless abyss of Sazh's afro than risk anyone going into town. It was too dangerous. Vanille knew this, so why was she bothering me?
"Seriously, Lightning," Hope said, chiming in, "we've been rationing our potions for weeks now. The situation has become dire."
Something about this seemed deliberate, and it wasn't because they wanted to waste more potions.
"And food too!" exclaimed Snow. I glared at him. Where the hell did he come from?
"Come one, Light!" He added, "Think of it as an investment towards our future. It'll help us live at least one more day, and if we do die, at least we'll die happily with full stomachs."
"Not if I burn you alive. Then it won't matter if you have a full stomach or not; you'll be too distracted by the pain."
Snow stared at me. "This is true," he said after consideration.
Vanille was adamant yet; ignoring Snow, she continued to press me on the matter.
"Not only do we need food, but we really need more potions and things! Let us go into town just this once, pleeease Lightning?"
I looked at her in disbelief. "You forget that you do this every week. You'll just want more food in a couple of days, anyway. Just eat fiend meat," I said, intending to put an end to this inane begging.
Vanille and Hope both grimanced at the thought of eating more fiend meat. No, it wasn't particularly appetizing, but, none the less, it satisfied our hunger.
Finally, Sazh stood up, intent on giving his thoughts as well.
"I have to agree, Lightning. We desperately need potions, and our armor is falling apart; since you'll be going into town anyway, might as well get some food while you're there."
I stared furiously at the afro-haired man. "What makes you so certain that I'll be going into town? Do you realize how risky it is to go straight into the lifeblood of Cocoon society right now? In case you've forgotten, we're l'Cie; we're wanted, and I'll be damned if I have to put myself at risk for whining, uppit- Mmph!"
I aprubtly found myself silenced by Snow's hand over my mouth; I wasn't about to tolerate that for a minute. His hands were filthy at the least; I might be a soldier, but I was definitely one for cleanliness. I most certainly did not appreciate this man breaching my space with a touch of his unwashed hands. Shoving him away in disgust, I wiped my mouth.
Stepping away, I turned to Snow, who looked back innocently with a teasing grin. They had won, and he knew it.
Irritated and defeated, I grabbed my gunblade and our pouch of gil; giving the group of them a brief stare, I annouced I'd return later, and left.
Sazh and Vanille glanced at each other. "Pick up some supplies before you come back," Vanille called, "and that includes food!"
A few minutes later, I heard footsteps close behind me. Assuming it was a fiend, I whipped out my gunblade, spun on my heel and thrust my weapon at the throat of whatever dared to follow me. There, however, I saw Snow with a wide grin plastered across his face; I should have known. What kind of creep just skulks around in the forest?
"Hi!" he said merrily. Unpeturbed by my cold glare, he continued. "I figured that I should probably come with you should fiends attack."
I looked at him with a raised eyebrow. "I was a lieutenant in the Cocoon Army, Snow. I'm pretty sure I can handle a couple fiends."
"Even so, I'll be able to help."
"Tch, don't flatter yourself."
Snow grinned widely showing, and I inexplicably felt myself smile a tiny bit; that soon disappeared. This was nothing to be smiling about. "Fine, you can join me. Just stay out of my way."
He chuckled. "I wouldn't have left anyway."
Which brings us back to where we left off.
Snow grabbed my hand and dragged me through the rows of vendors; I could hear the obese, perspiring man screaming profanities behind us. I yanked my hand from Snow's and overtook him. I was always the leader; Snow rolled his eyes, but otherwise ignored it.
As we reached the forest skirting the marketplace, the sounds of clattering armor and raised voices arose behind us. Upon a short glance, I found that we were now inconvenienced by a small platoon of Sanctum soldiers.
"Shit," Snow said between his teeth.
There was no point in trying to outrun them, not with Snow in my company. Scanning our surroundings for possible cover, I noticed a small ditch with a large bush residing in it. Stopping, I yanked Snow by the collar, and threw him into the foliage, jumping in after him. I clambered underneath the bush, and Snow, catching on to the plan, followed suit.
The bush was big, but so was Snow. It was a tight squeeze to say the least; I wasn't happy about my personal space being invaded by Snow, again.
"Make one peep, and I'll let Sazh's chocobo masticate you," I commanded in an angry whisper. Snow looked at me, hushed.
I know, I was amazed, too. It takes a lot to keep Snow quiet; either he was actually worried or he just had the greatest respect for my authority. I personally like to think both.
I felt Snow tense as we heard heavy footsteps and voices grow louder as they further approached us; one soldier paid special attention to our hiding spot. Though his feet were all that were visible, I knew that he was searching for us.
Suddenly, our bush started to tremble; Snow and I both looked up as the butt of a gun suddenly pierced the bush, stopping right between our faces. I squinted my eyes in concentration, ready to attack if need be; Snow clenched his monsterous hands. The gun eventually disappeared from sight, and started poking around a bit more before the soldier was finally satisfied, and returned to his troop.
As the soldier walked away, both Snow and I relaxed our terse muscles. He gave me a weak smile, and I smiled back at him.
That was, of course, before I remembered that we wouldn't be in this mess had he not dropped that damn bowl. Hell, we wouldn't be in this mess if he hadn't come at all!
He saw my change in expression, and quickly offered condolence. "Hey, I didn't think the Cocoon Army would actually come for us, you know?"
I rolled my eyes angrily, and quickly crawled from the bush, Snow not far behind.
"Oh, come on, Light. Don't tell me you're angry."
"What are you talking about? I'm never angry. I've neverbeen upset in my entire life!"
"Oh please. That's the biggest lie I've ever heard."
A sharp one, Snow. I remained silent, and continued to march towards our camp.
"Lightning, come on."
My silence continued.
My reasoning was this: if I don't say anything back, then surely he'll have no choice but to be silent. Perhaps I should have let him talk back there, so that the Cocoon Army could've been the ones to deal with him.
"Lightning!" Snow shouted as he grabbed my arm and swung me around. Before I was able to counter this ever growing disregard for my space, Snow said the two most sensible words he had uttered yet.
Astonished, I stood speechless as he continued.
"I'm sorry I broke the bowl," Snow professed, his eyes to the ground in shame, "and I'm sorry the Cocoon Army came after us. It really was an accident."
As I looked at him, my heart began to throb with guilt. This behemoth man now looked more like a scolded child. Which, if you think about it, is exactly what he was.
"I know," I replied.
He looked up at me and I continued. "Just start being more conscientious; keep this up and we won't make it to the Pulse fal'Cie. Understand?"
He nodded solemnly, and let go of my arm. "Good; now, let's keep moving. We don't want the others worrying about us."
We walked side-by-side for a good half mile in silence; eventually, he glanced at me and smiled.
"So, my theory has proven true."
I know he wanted me to take the bait, but I wasn't falling for it. I didn't care what his stupid theory was about; I was not going to bite.
"What theory?" I heard myself ask. When did I lose basic self control?
"You're not as cold-hearted as you seem."
I felt myself blush as he said this. I don't know the last time I blushed, but I didn't appreciate it then, and don't now; it bothered me greatly. Who did this fool think he was?
"Psh, what do you know?" I asked coldly. Snow shrugged, unaffected by my harsh tone, and we returned to our silence.
Just as I saw the dim light of our campfire up ahead, Snow turned to me.
"You know," he began, "this is also kind of your fault. You bumped into me back there, so really you should be taking part of the blame."
I turned to give him my signature glare, and he quickly ammended his statement. "But I totally don't think that. It could happen to anyone, of course."
I rolled my eyes and gave a small grin. The rest of the journey we walked in silence. It gave me time to be alone with my thoughts.
I do prefer to be alone, but in that moment, I was rather content to have Snow there beside me.
CH. 1 END
Alright! Chapter 1 is done! I quite like this one. I like is so much that there will be ANOTHER CHAPTER! And, probably a few more after that one. :D I'm happy with this story. I had fun reading it over and over again, so I hope you will too. Big round of applause to Raeith for editing! Thank you so much for editing! God knows I needed it. Please review! It makes me happy when skies are grey. Thanks so much for reading! Until next time…