Hey all. The author formerly known as kittyphang here. I decided to change my name because I'm going to start fresh, and try to focus on writing for established characters rather than OC. Thanks for checking out my story and if you liked it, let me know what you think. :)
Disclaimer: Final Fantasy XIII is not mine, it belongs to Square Enix.
He never saw them coming.
All he could focus on was the man hanging off the ledge of the building in front of him, staring back with a completely shocked expression.
Hope reached into his back pocket and pulled out Lightning's pocketknife, tapping the release switch as the blade unfolded with a satisfying metallic click. He walked forward slowly, grasping the blade in his right hand tightly.
This was the moment he had been longing for. Finally, Snow Villiers would understand his pain. At last, the man who was responsible for the death of Nora Estheim would get his comeuppance.
All his talk about being a 'hero'. What nonsense. Hope practically spat just thinking about hearing the word come out of the man's mouth again. Snow was no hero. He was a coward who ran from his problems rather than face them.
Hope finally got the words out he had been wanting to say for days. As he said them, Snow's expression changed to one of clarity, but Hope didn't care. It was too late. He sank to his knees and raised the blade above his head.
He never saw the Sanctum warship hovering a few hundred yards away from them. The cluster missiles flew at him faster than he could blink, and everything went black.
Hope shuddered as he prepared for unimaginable pain, his eyes were squeezed shut and his teeth bared. But the pain never came. There was nothing but silence. Even the calm breeze that had been brushing against his face moments before was gone.
Hope opened his eyes and gasped.
No longer was he on the rooftop of a Palumpolum highrise. He didn't seem to be in Palumpolum at all, actually. He was on some sort of balcony that looked to belong to someone's luxurious apartment.
Hope slowly stood up from his knees and looked around with wide eyes and bated breath. Beyond the railing that surrounded the balcony was a bustling metropolis, lit up by the orange fiery glow of an inbound sunset. Not far to the right of the multiple tall silver buildings was an ocean that sparkled in the sunlight, reflecting an extremely bright flare that caused Hope to reach his hand up and shade his eyes.
Hope shook his head and walked forward, putting his hands on the railing and staring out into this unknown city. How he got here and why he wasn't dead was anyone's guess. Suddenly, some approaching footsteps sounded from behind and Hope spun around to see the visitor. Standing in the doorway was someone Hope instantly recognized.
"M-M-Mom?!" Hope said, his voice breaking as he loudly cried out. His mother Nora was standing in the doorway smiling with her arms crossed.
Hope ran forward and grabbed his mother into a tight hug. It really was her, he couldn't believe he was actually seeing and hugging her. Nora smiled and returned the hug warmly.
"Hello Son," she said, resting her head upon his and lightly patting him on the back as they embraced.
Hope broke away and grabbed her hands with his, staring up at her with a look of complete shock and confusion.
"H-how...? How are you here? Where am I?" he asked very quickly, almost stumbling on all of his words. "Am I dead or something?"
He feared he was going to be completely indiscernible in his stupor but Nora had grown accustomed to her son's tendency to blend words together when he was dumbfounded. She looked at her son, still smiling.
"This is just a dream, Hope. You aren't dead," she said, reassuring him and lightly squeezing his hands.
Hope gasped slightly and looked around before meeting her eyes again.
"How can...? This doesn't make sense.. I can feel your touch, we're talking.." he muttered, his voice still shaking.
Nora shook her head lightly.
"I can't explain it and you shouldn't try either, honey," she said with a smirk.
Hope instantly felt tears forming in his eyes upon hearing her call him by that affectionate nickname. He grinned and chuckled at her response.
"Yeah, I guess so," he admitted.
Nora began to walk toward the railing, releasing Hope's hand from her right, but maintaining grip with her left. Hope followed her to the the edge of the balcony and they both leaned on it simultaneously, looking out to the beautiful skyline in silence for several seconds.
"What is this place?" Hope asked her.
"This place is your brain's idea of a perfect paradise. You always did like the sunsets over Eden when we visited," she said, reminiscing with a smile on her face.
Hope looked confused.
"So.. this is like, heaven?" he asked, looking to her.
Nora couldn't help but slightly chuckle. She reached her hand over and tussled his hair.
"I told you, you aren't dead!" she said in a playful tone.
"...But you are," he said, his tone instantly dropping.
Hope sighed and looked down.
"If I'm not dead then..why are we here?" he asked.
Nora didn't seem to have an immediate answer for that question. She did a sweeping glance at the city in front of them and then turned to look at her son. She placed her hands on his shoulders, looking him directly in the face as he raised his glance back up to her face.
"Because you need to let go."
Hope tilted his head slightly and looked confused.
"What?" he simply asked.
"Your anger. Your grief. You can't go on like this, Hope," she said, suddenly looking more serious as she tried to get through to him. Hope didn't know what to say, and Nora continued.
"What happened is not your fault. It wasn't anybody's fault."
Hope blinked slightly and clenched his fist.
"That's not true, mom! It was Snow's fault. He made you fight, and you died because of it... Because of HIM!" he said, trying hard not to yell but his voice elevated regardless. Nora simply shook her head.
"Snow didn't make me fight, honey. That was my choice. I didn't volunteer because he made me. I volunteered to fight for us... for you."
Hope let out an audible gasp as the tears started to crawl out of his eyes.
"Mom..." was all he could muster.
Nora pulled Hope close and embraced him again. His tears were falling down his face and landing on her shirt, leaving dark spots where they fell. They said nothing for several minutes as they stood there. The only sounds to be heard were Hope's sobbing and the distant ocean waves. Nora gently ran her fingers through his hair trying to calm him down.
"I'll try," Hope's voice was slightly muffled by her shirt as he spoke. Nora released her embrace to allow him to speak clearly as she looked at him.
"I'll try to let it go," he finished.
Nora nodded with approval.
Suddenly a rather noticeable rumbling began, causing the ground to lightly shake. Hope looked around nervously, was this an earthquake?
"Well, it's time for me to go, sweetheart," she said with a smile, grabbing his hands and holding them softly. Hope's eyes widened.
"What?! Mom, you can't go already!"
Nora exhaled with a slightly sad look blending in with her everlasting smile.
"I'm sorry son, it's time," she said softly. She released his hands and reached into her pocket, pulling out a neatly folded piece of paper and placing it in Hope's hands.
Nora began walking toward the sliding glass doorway from whence she came. Halfway there, she suddenly stopped and turned around, facing Hope, who had fallen to his knees again as emotion overwhelmed him.
"He saved you, you know," she said.
Nora said nothing else and turned around again, reaching the glass door and sliding it open. She stepped inside and turned around one more time. Hope wanted to object but he couldn't seem to speak. He simply stared at her.
"Aren't you going to read that?" she asked with a slight smirk.
Hope blinked a few times and looked to his hands at the piece of paper she had given him. He slowly unfolded it and saw it was a letter written by her.
Come with me, I'll be your wings and take your hand in mine.
I'll take you high. So far away, into the clouds.
Don't be scared, just trust in me. I'll never let you go, and we can fly.
You and I.
I'll be your angel.
Hope began sobbing again as he finished reading, his tears slid off his cheek onto the paper, staining it with small droplets. He looked up to the doorway but Nora was gone.
"I love you, son."
Her voice rang through his head as everything suddenly went dark again.
Hope slowly opened his eyes and realized he was on someone's back, being carried.
Snow greeted him with a simple but friendly "Hey."
Well that's it. I hope you guys enjoyed it. I always thought it would be interesting to have some sort of scene where Hope finds some closure for his grief. In the game, I always felt like his transition in personality was a bit abrupt, so I thought I'd try my best to fill in some holes with my own idea of what Hope may have dreamed about during his unconscious state.
The poem that Nora leaves Hope is actually the lyrics from a song with the same name as this story, "Your Angel". The song is a personal favorite of mine and I always wanted to use the lyrics (which I find quite beautiful) in some sort of writing.
Thanks for reading! :)
Revised: April 8 - Fixed some weird phrasing and added a line or two.