Hope had always found dusk to be a sad time – but now, more than ever.
The sky was a fiery sight, a endless ocean of red and orange hues that faded slowly to blue off in the distance of the ever elusive horizon. It was a sight that he knew she would want to see... but that very thought alone brought pain to his troubled thoughts.
In the distance, Cocoon rose up from the ground, it's crystal supports and shattered peaks reflecting the sky's fervour. The very sight was a unwelcome reminder; it stirred memories of his childhood, memories of his mother, memories of what they had to do there... and memories of her.
Everything came back to her in the end – even though they had completed their focus, saved the world – just the very fact that he was alive and breathing was enough.
But why? He still didn't understand it himself. In those first moments after Cocoon had been halted in it's descent, and those who had been lost re-appeared... when Sahz had been reunited with his son... Snow with Serah... he'd waited for her.
Vanille never came.
What she'd done, what she'd died trying to do; she saved them all. She'd saved both Cocoon and Pulse... her and Fang. But, was that really the answer? Was there really no other way? Someone so sweet and so selfless, but at the same time so dark... did she deserve to die?
No, she wasn't dead. She was crystallized, suspended forever in that state. Vanille was alive in every sun-bathed edge, every scintillating shard. She was alive in the sharp edges and swirling designs of Cocoon's pillar. The very wind, the grass, the clouds... they spoke of her.
But he never heard her. He would never hear her voice again.