Heya Guys! New Chapter Time~! ^-^
Thanks for reading and leaving all those wonderful reviews.
Some of you gave brilliant ideas, most of which i'm am currently considering. Thank you so much! :D
Special Thanks to LightningStrikesXIII, my beta-reader! Thanks~! XD
Well then, on with the chappie~!
Disclaimer can be found in chap 1.
Serah fidgeted with her hands as Lebreau watched her quietly from the chair by the window. She knew why the girl was here. 'Well, it doesn't take a genius to figure it out. Not with her staring at me with such disappointment on her face.' Serah sighed and mentally prepared herself to get chewed out. '…I deserve it anyways...'
Much to her surprise, Lebreau simply sighed and asked how she was feeling. Upon hearing that Serah was feeling much better, the NORA member nodded curtly and remained silent, eyes on the wedding ring that now dangled from her necklace.
Vanille popped her head into the room and let out a grin, before skipping cheerfully into the room. But even the normally cheerful girl grew sombre under the uncomfortable tension that was filling the room. Silence reigned for a few more suffocating minutes before Lebreau looked at Serah's eyes and sighed again.
Serah shifted slightly when the dark haired bartender abruptly stood up and walked over to her, towering over her petite form. Out of the corner of her eyes, she vaguely registered Vanille's tense expression and the way she looked ready for a fight. 'Now that can't be good…' her mind mused as she stared at Lebreau. The woman looked really intimidating from the angle Serah was in, though her eyes held no hint of anger. Only disappointment was evident in the grey swirls, making Serah feel guiltier.
Lebreau stood there, staring down at Serah. The pink-haired girl looked expectant and slightly scared, probably thinking that the NORA member was going to hit her. '…as tempting as it is to knock some sense into her…Lightning probably wouldn't approve. Still, a good knock on the head ought to wake the silly girl up.' But hitting Serah was out of the question since Lightning would murder her the moment she got back. 'Well, not physically anyway. Nobody said I couldn't do the slapping with words.'
A hard expression came over the usually smiling bartender and Vanille felt herself tense even more. She quickly tried to put herself in between the other two girls but was gently pushed aside by Lebreau, who said lowly but reassuringly, "I won't touch her. I promise you. You can relax. There are just some things I need to ask." The dark-haired woman met her eyes, truth shining in them. Vanille was hesitant for a moment but then slowly nodded her head in understanding, taking a few steps back to give the girls some space.
Lebreau turned back to Serah and asked her seriously, "Why did you do it?"
The strawberry blonde sighed sadly. "…I don't know…" she replied weakly.
"Bullshit!" Her interrogator growled. Serah startled at that. Lebreau looked positively terrifying as she snarled out, "That's complete utter bullshit Serah! And you know it!"
The said girl flinched back, shame painting her features. Serah really didn't have an answer. She had thought about it for so long but still, no answer came to her mind. To her, she was just angry. So angry that she didn't think of the consequences and decided to just do it.
"…I was angry…that's all…I was just angry…" Serah murmured softly. "…she told me she didn't want me to get married…after all the help she had given…after she approved of it…I was just so angry…so angry that i…"
"That you decided that going ahead with the wedding and leaving your own sister out of it was a good idea?"
Lebreau's words were like a slap to the face. The incredulous tone the words were said in only made it worse. Serah lowered her head in shame.
"…not only that, you also lied to the rest of us, forcing all of us to be your accomplices in this goddamn mess! What on earth were you thinking?" If possible, Serah's head sank lower. Even Vanille flinched at those words.
Lebreau took one look at Serah's guilty expression and shook her head in exasperation. "You weren't thinking at all, were you?" Serah's pained expression confirmed her answer. The bartender rested her hands on her hips and let out a heavy sigh.
"…did she ever tell you why she disapproved of the wedding in the end?" Serah's eyebrows furrowed at this point and she mumbled something like, "…she still hates Snow…" to which Vanille raised eyebrows at.
"That can't be true…" The redhead voiced out, "I mean, yes, she doesn't like Snow…but I don't think she hates him either… she said once that she knew she could trust him to protect you…and Light never says things like that unless she means them…you know that…" Vanille's soft voice was confident but it only served to make Serah feel even guiltier and also slightly confused.
"…did she maybe ask you anything? Like anything weird? Or perhaps something that seemed strange at that point of time?"
Lebreau's question triggered a small memory in Serah's mind and the young girl gasped as she remembered.
"…oh my god… she did ask something strange… she asked what I was going to do once I was married."
Lebreau's eyes narrowed and feeling strangely fearful of Serah's reply, she asked hesitantly, "…and…what exactly…did you answer her?"
Serah blinked and recited perfectly as she had remembered, "Get a house, a job and build a family together."
Lebreau felt her eyes widen as she heard those words. She couldn't help but stare at the strawberry blonde before her, who was looking at her with an innocent look on her face. Vanille gaped and stared at Serah with an incredulous expression.
"What?" Serah looked at both of them, confused by the reactions she had received.
Lebreau gave her a disbelieving look that made her nervous before murmuring a low "…oh Fal'Cies above…" in an exasperated tone. Vanille just placed a hand on her forehead and closed her eyes in resignation.
Serah watched the two girls in growing frustration and confusion. "…what is it? What's wrong?"
Lebreau looked at her with a strangely pleading look on her face and implored, "…please…tell me you're joking…" Serah just blinked at her and slowly but surely shook her head, causing Lebreau to throw her hands up in exasperation and groan out "I give up!" in the weakest tone she could muster.
Vanille opened her eyes and gave Serah an odd look before saying firmly"…Serah…you can't…you can't just…"make a family"…" despite knowing what Serah's reaction would be like.
Serah's eyes flashed dangerously. "…and why not?" Her tone was icy and Vanille flinched back, astounded by the sudden similarities to a certain Soldier that Serah had displayed. Lebreau looked stunned too but quickly recovered, replying in her best "duh" tone, "…you're eighteen, Serah."
Serah glared and protested, "My age doesn't matter…besides, I'm of age now and I can decide what I want for myself so-"
"So you think just because "you're of age"means you can do whatever you want? Is that it? Serah, have you gone completely insane?" Lebreau had cut off her protest and continued, "A family isn't something you can just joke about. Do you even realise how much work "making a family" is going to take?"
Serah glared even harder at this, "I know what it means and I know what needs to be done. I'll get a job. And so will Snow."
Lebreau gave a patronising bark of laughter at the girl's proclamation and retorted, "…"get a job"…and exactly what were you planning on working as?"
Serah gave a proud smile, "A History teacher."
Lebreau gave her a look and asked, "So you were planning to at least complete your studies then?"
Serah shook her head causing Vanille to gasp out an astonished "Serah!" while Lebreau shook her head in defeat, having expected that answer.
Lebreau gave Serah a look filled with pity. "You silly, silly girl. Which school would be willing to hire you as their teacher? You don't even have the required qualifications for what you're aiming for and here you are, thinking of quitting school? The very thing Lightning worked day and night to get you into? That crazy soldier sister of yours took multiple missions at one time just so you could buy all the necessary books to study in order to get that scholarship that you're so proud of. So what makes you worth hiring if you don't even have your scholarship then, hm?"
Serah opened her mouth to retort but suddenly found herself unable to. Lebreau was right. She hadn't realised how childish and fairy tale-like her plans were. She had simply thought she and Snow would just have to go out looking for a job and they would have gotten hired immediately. But that wasn't possible, was it? Not for someone like her, with no qualifications and a school drop-out too. It would be even worse for Snow since the man had been unemployed for so long. Surely that meant he was having a hard time finding a job even now, let alone the future.
Lebreau watched in pity as Serah slowly closed her mouth, mulling over what she had just discovered. She sighed heavily and said, "Now you see? You aren't ready for family-making just yet, Serah."
Serah forced herself to retort despite herself, trying her hardest to cling on the last shred of hope she had of her once perfect plans. "That doesn't mean anything! I can still finish my studies first before looking for a job! I'm sure I can find a job the-"
Lebreau gave up all pretence of patience and cut her off harshly, "Enough. Just stop. You aren't ready. That much is clear. So give it up Serah." Seeing that the younger girl was still stubbornly holding on to the last of her broken dreams, Lebreau decided to shatter it once and for all.
"Your plans were nothing but childish dreams, fairy-tales, based on nothing but the thought that things will go according to how you want it. There is no such thing."
Lebreau sighed heavily and asked, "Do you know why Lightning didn't want you to get married now?"
Serah looked at the floor, refusing to acknowledge the question. But Lebreau answered it for her anyway.
"Because she knew how stupid your plans were and she tried to stop you from making that mistake. Lightning was worried that you wouldn't be prepared for your independent life outside of the world she created for you."
Serah looked confused at that, prompting Lebreau to explain.
"In order to make sure that you would have a happy life with no worries at all, your sister sacrificed what was left of her already fragile world, making your safety and happiness her world instead. And you shattered that world of hers by doing what you did with the wedding."
Tears flowed down the strawberry blonde's cheeks but she made no attempt to stop them, just silently crying and listening as Lebreau carried on.
"Vanille is right, Serah. You're not ready to create a family. But the reason isn't just because you don't have a job or that you're eighteen. It's because you don't understand what it means to make a family. It means more than just having a job and a house to raise them in. It needs time and dedication and understanding. Your family's safety and happiness becomes your world, Serah. Nothing else matters more. Do you think you really think that you're capable of that just yet? You, who caused her own sister so much pain by being so stupid, and made her run away from the only thing she could have called a family? Think it about it Serah…Can you?"
Vanille gathered the now sobbing girl into her arms, watching in pity as Serah shook her head in shame. She rubbed circles and whispered a soft "its ok" into the young girl's ear, heart wrenching at the soft cries.
Lebreau nodded sadly in agreement, "Yeah…I thought that too…" as she watched the girl cry her heart out.
Vanille exchanged pitying looks with the bartender as she held a pitifully crying Serah to her chest. But the redhead said nothing, knowing the girl in her arms was still trying to gather her thoughts about what she had just learnt about her own silly plans and her loving sister.
Serah hugged Vanille tightly, her chest constricting with pain and guilt. Lebreau had been right. She hadn't thought of Lightning as her world at all. If she had, the fake wedding would never have happened. Lightning would still be here next to her, giving her that small rare smile, the one only reserved for her loved ones.
Serah had never really appreciated what her own sister had sacrificed in order to keep her safe and happy. She had even resented the fact that Lightning was never really home to spend time with her since she was always at work. Thinking about it made her so ashamed at her own selfishness. She didn't think about how tired Lightning must have felt, working as hard as she did.
Only now did she see how much she took her sister for granted. Lightning never asked anything of her except for her to be happy. '…I…never even thought of the possibility that she had been worried about me…about my future….it's no wonder she was so upset when I stupidly said I wanted to quit school to be with Snow…how could I be so stupid? I never should have lashed out at you, Claire…'
Serah drew in a few deep breaths, trying hard to calm herself down. She was grateful that Vanille was still holding her, rubbing smoothing circles on her back and cooing calming words into the shell of her ear. She drew herself closer to the red-haired girl, feeling Vanille's arm tighten around her waist. The action was comforting, warming her heart slowly. It made her feel stronger, like she would always have Vanille to lean on when things got too much to handle on her own. The thought was enough to calm her mind, allowing herself to think clearly.
Serah was now able to understand her sister just a bit better. Lightning had never been good with words, even when she was younger. In fact, she was so quiet that a young Serah had decided to make more noise just to make up for her sister's lack of speech. A rueful smile crossed her lips. How she missed those times when they were still innocent. When Lightning had been Claire. Just Claire, Serah's sister.
She slowly removed her hold on Vanille, feeling strong enough to think back on all the times she and her sister had failed to communicate with each other over the years. Serah smiled sadly when she realised how much she missed Lightning's voice, no matter how emotionless it sounded. It was Lightning's voice, her sister's voice. '…what I wouldn't give just to hear that voice calling my name again…'
Serah knew her guilt alone wasn't enough to make her sister return. But she was determined to try her hardest to convince Lightning to be her sister again. She's given all her time, dedication, understanding and love to Lightning. She'd do her best to make Lightning her world again, just like when they were younger.
'Even if I have to wait 10 years or more to get you to forgive me…I'll do it….I love you, Claire…and I'm so, so sorry…Claire…please come back to me…please…I'll wait for you…I promise.'
Serah made that promise to herself, eyes shining brightly in determination. Beside her, Vanille and Lebreau watched with pride and happiness, offering whatever support they could.
Fang trudged along happily, following the small path leading to Hope's house. Her hands occasionally found their way to her sari, tracing the precious cargo held there. Lightning had finally agreed! It was a great improvement. 'Maybe getting her to come back home wouldn't be too tough after all. But then again, Light's a stubborn one…' Fang frowned slightly before shrugging and increasing her pace. '…ah well, we can cross that bridge when we get to it…'
A happy song hummed and carried along the wind as Fang continued onward, a giant grin on her face.
Well, what did you guys think? Leave me a review and tell me! ^-^
As usual, all ideas are welcome so leave a review on it or just PM me if you have one!
Til next time~! :D