BEFORE YOU READ: THIS STORY HAS MAJOR ENDING AND PLOT SPOILERS.
Also, please be patient with me. The characters may seem a bit OOC with some of the touchy-feely romance, but this is story is going in a different order. I'm giving you the conclusion and then showing you how things built up to this point.
I DO plan on adding more chapters. PLEASE READ AND REVIEW!
"You wanna talk?" Lebreau offered, serving up Lightning's fifth drink that night. The strawberry blonde offered little in response, but it was enough for the bartender to get the picture. Light picked up the shot glass and stared into the liquid. She could see a distorted reflection of her own face in it as the alcohol rippled. She felt sick, and not from the alcohol.
A rotting feeling in the pit of her stomach had refused to leave the moment she watched Fang and Vanille's triumph in saving Cocoon. The moment she awakened from her brief crystal stasis, she saw the end result, and she knew where the two women had gone.
Cocoon was safe. Serah was alive. The Fal'Cie were erradicated. Dajh and Sazh had been reunited. Serah and Snow were getting married. Everything was exactly as she had been too scared to hope for when they were still l'Cie. Of course, their vision of everybody being happy together had been false hope.
Fang and Vanille wouldn't be there to see Serah and Snow get married. They wouldn't be able to celebrate Dajh's seventh birthday. They wouldn't get to see the festival thrown in their honor.
Worst of all; Lightning would never get the opportunity to smack Fang for making another dumb decision.
There had to have been another way. Another way to save Cocoon that wouldn't have put the two Pulsians in an eternal sleep. There had to be a way to make their vision come true.
Lightning could feel her chest and her abdomen tighten, and a lump formed in her throat. She wouldn't cry. No matter how much alcohol was in her system--she wouldn't succumb to her emotions. Crying wouldn't fix anything. She just needed time.
"You sure you don't want to talk?" Lebreau offered again. This time Lightning stood, keeping her gaze downward at her shot glass. She quickly downed the poison, slammed the glass on the counter and turned to leave--but she was countered by another force. A tall man in a green jacket and an afro.
"S-Sazh," Lightning blurted in surprise.
"Snow told me you'd be here," the older man said, putting a hand on his friend's shoulder, "Let me take you home."
"This isn't the way to my house," Lightning said as Sazh drove the cruiser into a less familiar part of town. "I know," Sazh admitted, "We need to talk."
Lightning slumped against the side of the car, staring boredly out the window, trying to seem disinterested. "About what, exactly?"
"You know what I'm talkin' about, Farron," Sazh said firmly.
"No, Sazh, I'm not sure I do," Lightning retorted. She didn't want to tread on that topic now, or ever. As far as she was concerned, how she dealt with the loss of her comrades was her business.
"Listen to me, Lightning," Sazh started, his voice growing a bit softer, "Whether you believe me or not, your sister, your brother-in-law, Hope and I love you--"
"You don't know love," Lightning mumbled, not intending for Sazh to actually hear her. In response, he slammed on the brakes, causing Lightning to fly forward and nearly bash her forehead into the dash. "Watch it, Katzroy!" Light yelled.
"There's the Lightning I know," Sazh said, smirking, "And don't go spouting crap you don't know anything about, Farron," he warned.
Lightning returned to staring boredly out the window, avoiding eye contact, "Just because you have a kid...-"
"I had a wife too, you know," Sazh interrupted, "What makes you think you know anything about love, Claire?"
Lightning broke her gaze from the window and glared at Sazh, "Don't call me that."
Sazh rolled his eyes, "Claire, Lightning, whatever your name is; What makes you so sure you know what love is?"
Lightning's glare faltered and she looked down, uncertain of herself. She looked back out the window as she tried to formulate a decent, but nonintrusive response. "I'm not even sure I do know," she said.
Sazh's brow furrowed, "What do you mean?"
Lightning closed her eyes and leaned her head against the window, "I don't know."
"So this was your home?" Hope asked Vanille. The orange-haired Pulsian's frown disapated a little as she nodded. A sad smile appeared on her face as she parted wordlessly from the crowd. Worried, Hope was about to turn and follow her when Fang put a hand on his shoulder. He looked back, and Fang shook her head, "Give her some time," the older Pulsian told him. He simply nodded and walked closer to Snow and Sazh.
While the rest of the group continued to explore, Fang stopped to observe her surroundings and take everything in. Lightning tentatively approached her and stood next to her, gazing out into the sea. Fang looked at her curiously.
"Do you... want some time alone?" Lightning asked, trying to hide the sadness in her voice.
Fang could tell this was her way of showing sympathy, and couldn't help but smirk. She looked down at the ground, watching a small pile of fine crystal dust get swept up in the breeze. "Maybe for a bit."
Though a part of Lightning felt anchored to the spot next to Fang, she obliged and followed the boys towards the old school house.
"We'll find a good place to sleep," Snow called back to Fang. She didn't respond, instead, she continued to stare out into the sea, lost in her memories.
Not far from the school house where the group had set up camp for the night, was a set of steps leading down to the water. It was here that Fang sat, knees hugged to her chest, chin resting on her arms.
On the outside, Fang was brash, tough, cunning, and bright--she had the type of aloof attitude that normally would just piss Lightning off. It wasn't until Lightning caught sight of what made them so similar that she began to understand the woman's actions. Neither of them would show emotion willingly, and both of them would go through any lengths to protect those who were truly dear to them.
Unable to sleep, Lightning made her way out of the school house, spotting Fang near the water. It wasn't until Lightning was almost directly behind her that Fang realized she wasn't alone. And it wasn't until Lightning heard the crack in Fang's voice that she realized she was about to see the woman at her most vulnerable.
"Wh-what are you doing up?" Fang asked, resisting the urge to sniffle--though the cracking and pained tone made things all to obvious.
It seemed obvious, so Lightning took a spot next to Fang without a word. "Where's Vanille?"
"With Bhakti, looking over old recordings, I'd assume," she said, this time not bothering to hide a sharp sniffle.
After a short but awkward silence, Lightning finally asked, "How much do you remember of this place?"
Fang looked down at the water, then up at Cocoon. "A lot more than I was letting on."
Lightning was surprised, but didn't want to deter Fang from openning up, so she sat quietly.
After a short pause, she continued, "Vanille was lying to me--to us, rather." She sighed before going on, "I... was Ragnarok." She looked over at the other to gauge her reaction. When there wasn't one, she continued, "She didn't want me to feel bad, apparently. Said I was working too hard trying to take care of her."
Lightning stiffened slightly, "She's lucky to have someone like you to look out for her," she smiled sadly, "if only Serah had been so lucky."
Fang glanced over at Light and smiled a bit, "She is lucky."
Lightning smirked this time, "Yeah. Some big sister I am."
Fang frowned and bumped her shoulder into Lightning's, "Hey. Don't sell yourself short, kiddo."
Lightning smiled despite herself, "I'm not a kid."
"Whatever you say," Fang joked. Lightning shook her head, smiling just slightly--which Fang immediately took notice of. "You're smiling," she teased.
This caused the strawberry blonde to smile more, despite herself, "Be quiet."
Fang looked back out at the water, grinning to herself. After about a minute of quiet, Fang murmured, "I like it when you smile, Lightning."
If there was one thing Oerba Yun Fang had a talent for, it was catching Light off guard. She looked at the Pulsian in surprise. In response, Fang leaned in and planted a soft kiss on her lips.
She pulled away, much to Lightning's dismay. Her sad expression returned and she faced the water again. Lightning's heart raced and she couldn't pull her gaze away from the other woman. "Fang--I..." Lightning began, she wanted to complete that sentence. Since she had seen her sister and Snow together, sharing those intimate moments, exchanging sweet nothings, holding each other, Lightning desperately wanted to have a small part of that to herself. She wanted somebody to hold her, to tell her everything would be fine. She wanted someone to greet her at her door, instead of walking into her cold apartment every night, alone.
But something told her that now was not the time.
Fang's sullen expression made it seem as if she didn't hear Lightning, or perhaps that she didn't want to hear Lightning. It was this simple assumption that caused the soldier's stomach to knot.
Two short words.
Those two words were enough to cause everything in Lightning's mind to unravel. She held herself up with her hands on either side of her, gripping the step she was sitting on.
"Me too," she said, her tone felt reassuring to Light's ears, but her nerves got the best of her. She was tongue tied with a million thoughts clogging her brain, a million words being left unspoken.
Fang's hand reached for Lightning's and rested on it for a moment while the two sat quietly until she broke the connection and stood. She reached her hand down and Lightning took it, pulling herself to her feet. Fang's fingers laced with Lightnings and drew her closer for another kiss. Lightning hesitated for a moment, unsure if this is what Fang truly wanted, or if she simply needed an outlet for her emotion. She came to the conclusion that if that were the case, she would choose to be there for her, regardless. Their lips met once again, but for much longer this time. They lingered for a moment before parting just slightly, and this time it was Lightning who bridged the gap between them.
The twisting of emotion, between Fang's anguish over the loss of her people, and Lightning's fear of... everything. Of death, of losing Fang, of losing Serah, of crystal statsis, of never returning home... And then the white hot intensity of the connection between them.
Fang broke the kiss this time and looked into Lightning's eyes, searching. Trying to find that emotional connection in her eyes. At that moment, Light wore her emotion on her sleeve. Before she knew it, she had blurted the words she had never been willing to admit to herself.
Fang's expression softened and she whispered, "I am too."
They pulled apart and looked into each other's eyes once more, and Fang let her arm's drop, keeping one hand in Lightning's to lead her. "Come with me," she urged as she began going up the stairs.
Fang led the other to a humble abode, opposite of the schoolhouse. She whispered, "We can have more privacy here," before opening the door and finding Vanille laying on the floor next to a small robot, who was replaying a message.
The voices sounded a bit younger, a bit more innocent, but they were unmistakably the two Pulsian girls.
"Say it again!" Vanille's voice ordered.
Fang could be heard sighing in the background and muttering something inaudible.
"Fang! Say it so Bhakti can hear you!" Vanille urged, footsteps could be heard getting louder as they matched a second pair.
"I love you, Vanille! Happy now?" Fang said, exasperated, but still sounding sincere.
Vanille giggled, "Yes!"
What could be heard sounded like Vanille hugging Fang, who chuckled.
Lightning's hand dropped out of Fang's after the recording. Fang looked back at her, the answer was clear in her face as she tried to find an explaination in her head. Lightning just looked at Fang, smiling sorrowfully, she couldn't let Fang see her vulnerable again. Not now.
"Goodnight, Fang," she whispered before turning to leave.
The Pulsian hesitated, looking at the sleeping Vanille, and the woman she wanted. The answer was clear. Before Lightning could close the door, Fang pushed her way through, grabbing the soldier's hand to prevent her from leaving. She shut the door as to not let their words wake Vanille.
"Lightning," Fang said firmly, but she wouldn't look back at her.
"I can't do this, Fang. I can't," Lightning protested, trying to pull her hand away.
"I'm not letting go of you," Fang struggled as she tightly held onto her hand.
"Why are you doing this?" Lightning implored, her voice cracking. She didn't fight Fang's grip this time, but she wouldn't turn to look at her.
they only agree to hold
"Because I promised I would never let you go," Fang stated.
and they don't wanna be without
"Don't do this," Lightning begged, "Not to Vanille."
"You mean not to you."
"I'm not letting you go."
and they will not let me go,
they will not let me go
Thank you so much for reading. If you couldn't tell, the lyrics towards the end are the lyrics from "My Hands," by Leona Lewis, from the ending of FFXIII. If you haven't heard the whole thing, please look it up on YouTube.
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Thanks again for reading, new chapters will be on their way,