Authors Note: I thoroughly enjoyed Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers, so I wanted to make an 'after the end' fan fiction. No doubt this will become something I want to update but never get the chance to, oops. And I realize that this is a really short chapter, my apologies.
Not really a warning, but if you don't like male x male pairings, then you may not want to read this later on.
The Crystal Bearers belongs to Square Enix. Plot and OCs are all I own here.

"So much for 'legit info', Belle," Keiss sighed. "It's been a year. As much as I know you'd hate to, you need to accept reality."

And indeed it had been a year. The two sat atop the tall, erect mast of the ship in the Selkie Guild. Everything had been recovered since the military had ransacked the place months earlier when arresting them all. No one had ever fully recovered from the shock of seeing half their members turn to a red crystal before their eyes, at least not yet, but the guild was filled with the chipper sounds of talking and laughter echoed off the walls of the cove. Life was once more regulated for them all.

"He's out there! I know he is!" Belle stood. "You know, just because we haven't found him doesn't really mean anything. For all we know, he could be on the verge of death as we speak. Even if you've given up on your friend, I'm not giving up on Layle!" for the first time in a long time, the brunette Selkie sounded upset. Stomping her foot aggressively stomped her foot on the mast, she added, "Because I know he's out there!"

Enraged, the female Selkie jumped dangerously from atop the mast, only to land gracefully at the bottom. Belle had no will, nor the desire to say any more to the young guild leader at the moment, so she starting running off the second her first foot hit the wooded ground. How dare Keiss! Layle had been his best friend, hadn't he? It raised the question if Keiss even cared or not- he had been the one that gave up earliest.

Damn bastard.

The female Selkie was running fast, as fast as she could to Costa Faguita. The Selkie Train could take her to the capital of the Lilty Kingdom, where she could talk to Altea, or to Bridge Town where she could talk to Cid. If the guild had no new information, those two would be the only ones left who may know anything. And if they didn't, she would continue to search. As much as she failed to admit it- but was finally acknowledging it- Layle had been her friend, and she wasn't going to give up searching.

Her shoes slapped the wet terrain of the cave leading to the Hush-Hush Pond, hitting her legs and dirtying her attire slightly. Not that it mattered; attire could be cleaned. Whenever she stepped on an awkward angle, she righted herself before pain caught in her system or before she fell. Whether it was determination to find Layle, or to prove Keiss that he was wrong (or both), there was fierce determination within her that had newly budded.

Stupid Keiss...

Even if you've given up, I'm not giving up on Layle!

Even now that the sun had set, Keiss was still thinking about what Belle had said to him an hour ago. And in reality, the words stung a little, which was so unlike him. Very little ever hurt the male Selkie. A year ago, when Layle first disappeared after the battle with Jigran, he had accepted that he was most likely dead, no questions asked. Did he even feel anything then? Had he felt anything since then?

A little twinge at first, and some regret. That was it. His insides sunk at that realization; he had blocked from feeling sad for his best friend. What kind of monster was he? Jigran was bad, but he was coming close to that sadly low level, if he wasn't already there. In a few ways, he was worse than Jigran- at least the late Lilty had some feeling. Often, Keiss couldn't even feel for himself.

Those thoughts made it all crash down on him. Since he hd been partners with Layle- no, before even that- most emotions had been kept locked away. Discarded, named as useless. But now, the Selkie man could see that had been the wrong choice- it was hitting him hard. A knife in his gut, a gun to his head, tons of steel beams raining down on him... He could feel it all at once, emotionally dissecting him. He needed to get inside, to be alone, now. Otherwise the gild wold see a side of him they never had before, a weak side, and that was not good.

Using careful footing, he stood to his feet, and slid down the mast carefully. His toes hit the bottom carefully, and he let himself, go, walking around the small fence built around the base of it. Other men and women waved to him as he walked past, but he tried to keep his head down as he acknowledged them. The only one he dared look into the eye to was the only pregnant woman here, and he entered the ship itself.

"Hello, Keiss," since she had found out she was pregnant, Juira had been made chipper than her usual, snotty self. Perhaps it was due to the hormones, or the fact that she was the first female to become pregnant since the catastrophe a year ago. It could also be well due to the fact that she was bearing the child of one of the most admired men here at the guild. All were all well and done questions, but no one really knew the answer.

"Good evening, Juira," Keiss answered, trying to keep his voice as flat and calm as it usually was, but had no idea if he was succeeding or not. But the way the woman kept her peace and gleeful smile was enough to tell him that he was, and glanced down at the hand delicately residing on the three-month bump of her stomach. The rest of it was coated with strings of tribal, fertility beads to ensure that the pregnancy went well. What with Selkies being fairly sexual a lot (the outfits alone said that) but a low pregnancy and birth rate, as the small amount of Selkie children implied, newborns and possible newborns were cherished greatly.

"Is something wrong, Keiss?" she spoke after a lon silence, her face twisting into one of suspicion and mild anger.

"No, I just have something on my mind. Keep the baby healthy," he smiled slightly with the corners of his mouth, silently wishing her every hope that the child would be born healthy and fully. Without living her another moment's chance to reply, he moved on down the steps of the ship in long strides.

A group of chatty females strutted by him, giggling, headed in the opposite direction. You've given up! No... Had he really given up? He wouldn't, couldn't anymore- the pain was too much to bear. Maybe Layle was alive somewhere. While Keiss was too upset to do anything himself right now, he was the guild leader, and that itself worked wonders. So he stopped walking.

"Hey girls," he suddenly spoke in as normal as a tone he could get, turning around. "Information on Layle, the possibly late Clavat crystal bearer. Five thousand gil and forward, spread the word along," with those words, he continued to walk to his headed destination, satisfied by the choruses of 'Sure!'

Without further interruptions, Keiss strode to his room in the very core of the ship, the room that used to be Vaigali's. And upon the soft, lovely bed, he did the only thing he could right now- he cried.