Title: Moments
Author: Traxits
Rating: T for blood in ficlet ten.
Word Count: 2158 total, over 10 ficlets.
Pairing(s): Multiple. Short description before each ficlet.
Summary: A collection of ten ficlets, each inspired by a song. Themes vary from love to personal growth, from loss to longing, fear to contentment. A wide range of moments that could have happened in the game.

Song-Fic Meme:
1.] Pick a character, pairing, or fandom you like.
2.] Turn on your music player and put it on random/shuffle.
3.] Write a drabble related to each song that plays. You only have the time frame of the song to finish the drabble; you start when the song starts, and stop when it's over. No lingering afterwards!
4.] Do ten of these, then post them.

[[ ... Song 1: When a Man Loves a Woman, by Brian Adams ... ]] [[ 233 words ]]
Prince of Krosse and Celine.

It was the way she stood, her gaze cast down and to the side, not looking at anyone, her hand on her arm, gripping herself to stay grounded, to keep her attention steady. It was that expression, that moment that he knew; he knew he loved her then, that he would give her anything within his power. Her hair fell just in front of her eyes, and Rosalie stood beside him, forgotten in favor of this woman, this slender figure, skin bared and inked in patterns that no one else understood.

He stepped closer to her, caught the edge of her hat and pushed it back, opening her face to him, revealing the vulnerable features that held a fear that he felt rolling in his own stomach. They weren't supposed to be together, and yet, he knew that it was right, it was the only way. He would marry this woman, this sorceress, society be damned. His hand slid along her waist, pulled her close. He could smell her- his eyes closed. His lips brushed against her forehead. He would wait for her, if she demanded it, if she asked him.

He tilted her face up. The Prince of Krosse would do anything that this woman asked. His lips touched hers, and he felt her open to him. She would do anything for him too; he knew it without having to ask.

[[ ... Song 2: Fly Away (Single Version), by Lenny Kravitz ... ]] [[ 202 words ]]
Claude Kenni, thinking on his position in the Federation.

He was the son of the commander. He was not a person of his own right, but instead, he was lost in the shadow of a giant. Claude knew this. He was aware that no matter what he did, it would never be on his own merit. His entire life, he would be the son, the heir to a mantle that wasn't his to wear. He sighed, and he scuffed the tip of his boot in the dirt of the cold planet.

There was nothing on this planet, nothing but the energy signature that they couldn't figure out, nothing that deserved the extra attention. He shoved his hands into his pockets, looking up toward the building. There were a few things, he amended, although nothing that would solve his problem. A wry smile on his face, he studied the panel. He'd never get out from under his father, never be able to stand on his own. He leaned forward, reached out a hand to touch a panel.

He just wanted to be his own person. He wanted to be Claude. To stand without the support of his father's name; was that so much to ask? His hand trembled. It would never happen.

[[ ... Song 3: Why Not Me, by the Judds ... ]] [[ 189 words ]]
Precis, shortly after joining the group, thinking on Claude and Rena.

Her hands tightened around the straps on her pack, and she frowned at the pair of them leading the way. Claude's laughter floated back to her, and she gripped the straps a little more tightly. He was looking in all the wrong places; how could he not see that? How could he not tell how Rena mooned over Dias; how she was even more fond of Ashton's dragons than she was of Claude? He was her Hero only when it was convenient.

But not to her. Not to Precis. She could see him, even if Rena couldn't. She knew how special he was, how elegant, how impressive. She saw the tenderness in his eyes, the gentle way he helped Rena across the rocks and water and anything else he was concerned that she might trip over. Precis sighed as she scrabbled after them, Ashton arguing with Celine behind her. Claude was looking in all of the wrong places; he couldn't see anything. Especially nothing that was right in front of him.

She sighed, her hands loosening their death grip. It was inevitable. He would eventually see; he would understand.

[[ ... Song 4: My Own Prison, by Creed ... ]] [[ 271 words ]]
Dias, entering the Marze forest after the bandits with Rena.

Dias stood on the edge of the woods, his hand tight around the hilt of his sword. Rena was bouncing beside him, and he sighed faintly. He shouldn't have allowed her to accompany him. Not into the forest, not after the bandits. Most importantly, not when Claude would have need of her healing magic. His eyes cut over to her, studied her briefly before he walked ahead. She hadn't changed; not much, at least.

If he closed his eyes, he could pretend that any moment, she would start laughing at Rena, that she would whisper and tease and maybe even reach out to pull his hair. Cecille would have been greatly amused at how long he had let it grow. She would have braided it, not even caring if he wanted her to or not. How many times had he pushed her away? Told her no, told her that he was too old to play with her any more?

His hand tightened around the blade, and he was grateful when the bandits came rushing at him, giving him something to focus on, something to attack. He needed it, almost as much as he needed to know that Rena was safe, that Arlia hadn't changed, no matter what happened. It was the only thing that kept him sane, that made him go through the motions. One day, he would be strong enough, and he would be able to protect anyone he wanted.

He felt her hand on his arm, feather light, and he looked into her small face, his breath catching for just a heartbeat. He would be able to protect her.

[[ ... Song 5: Gunslinger, by Avenged Sevenfold ... ]] [[ 200 words ]]
Opera, thinking on Ernest.

The others had been gone for a while. She was sitting in the dirt, her hands resting on the hologram device. She'd played it so many times that it had finally stopped working. She didn't have to play it; she knew what he looked like. She knew every inch of him, every single plane of his face, every stubborn hair that fell in front of his eyes.

Opera drew her knees up to her chest, her gun sitting in the dust beside her. Her eyes were glazed over, red-rimmed from crying. No matter the bravado and confidence she showed the others, she was terrified. She might never see him, might never feel his arms around her, might never feel his head resting against her chest as he rested for just a few minutes before returning to his work, to his passion.

She wouldn't have him any other way; that was the truth. She loved him. She just wanted to be with him more. She wanted him to think of her more often, to remember her, even the heat of the moment.

She smiled faintly as she traced a few words in the dirt. "Ernest," she whispered, "I'm on my way."

[[ ... Song 6: Fear of Dying, Jack Off Jill ... ]] [[ 168 words ]]
Leon, hiding his fears in front of the crowd.

His hands were shaking. Leon swallowed, closed his eyes, and took a deep breath. No one could see him this way, no one could know. By the time his eyes opened, the trembling was gone. He plastered a smile over his face, knowing that no one would look closely enough to see how sincere it was, particularly if he pointed enthusiastically enough at the weapon itself. The Lacuer Hope.

His mouth was dry. He wiped his palms on his jacket, and he shook himself. Then he stepped out, commanding everyone's attention. His lab coat trailed on the ground behind him, but as he bounced across the king's audience chamber, no one seemed to remember his age. Not after he began talking, not after he cut down the first idiot foolish enough to naysay him. He knew what he was talking about, no matter how young he was.

They would do well to remember that. He was glad he didn't throw up until he was out of the room.

[[ ... Song 7: Forgotten Sorrow (English), by Ryo Kunihiko ... ]] [[ 208 words ]]
Leon, coming to terms with the deaths of those on the ship to Ell.

The sand was unbearably hot against his feet, but the water was frigid as it washed over him. Leon was sitting in the surf, hugging his knees to his chest, tears in his eyes but refusing to fall from his eyes. He couldn't see for the blurry veil, but no matter how tight his chest got, it seemed like nothing was happening.

He was choking and couldn't breathe, and yet, nothing was wrong with him. He had escaped, unscathed. The ship had crashed and everyone was dead, except for him. He coughed, a strangled sound somewhere between a hack and a laugh, and he found himself shaking again. What was he supposed to do? He blinked furiously, trying to keep himself together and failing miserably. The tears rolled down his face, fat globs of water salty as the sea. He sobbed, his cat ears flat against his skull, his face buried in his knees.

The water rushed around him, and he shivered, barely able to think. He could hear someone, and arms circled around him, but he wasn't strong enough. He couldn't look, couldn't bear to know who it was. No matter who had survived, it wouldn't be enough. He was never going to be the same again.

[[ ... Song 8: Somewhere I Belong, by Linkin Park ... ]] [[ 210 words ]]
Rena, meeting Claude in the Sacred Forest.

Arlia wasn't right for her. It never had been. No matter that it was her home, that it was where she had lived her entire life; Arlia wasn't hers. She shivered, walking in the forest, her fingertips dragging along the rough bark of the trees. Everything was in bloom, vivid greens because of the rain the previous night. A small smile curved her lips, and she tilted her head back, looking at what little sky she could see through the trees.

Even if Arlia wasn't home, the forest might as well have been. She could stay there, escape there. No one else dared venture as far as she did. Her hand fell back to her side, and she blew out a breath she'd been holding. It was her own little slice of safety, her private haven. Her arms spread open, welcoming the sounds and scents of the woods, opening herself up to them all.

Then her tranquility was shattered, a scream, a beast, a sword of light so bright that it blinded her. And when it faded, she found that it took her breath with her. He stood over her, offering her a hand. She swallowed, an as she took it, she knew that somehow, her life had just changed.

[[ ... Song 9: One Is the Lonliest Number, by Three Dog Night ... ]] [[ 244 words ]]
Ashton, learning to cope with his dragons after Claude and Rena leave. Assumes he was not recruited after being met.

They were the worst thing that could have happened to him. How was Ashton supposed to go about his normal life with not one, but two dragons attached to his back, fighting over his head, arguing with him, snapping at people who got too close, eating off of his plate; the list was endless. They did nothing but find new ways to make his life miserable. He swallowed a mouthful of the ale in front of him, sighing as the mug hit the bartop again. He waggled his fingers, and the barkeep poured him another and slid it down to him.

On the other hand- he offered Ururun a piece of bread without thinking about it- for the first time he could remember, he had at least someone who cared. He had two in fact. Anohter drink, and then Gyroro rubbed against his cheek and he sighed slightly, before he drank the rest of the ale. Money was slapped onto the counter, and Ururun snagged one last bite from the plate in front of him before he shoved away and headed up to the room he'd secured.

Since Claude and the others had left, Ashton was completely alone again, except for these two. He locked the door behind him and fell face-first onto the bed, not even bothering to undress. Two dragon heads rubbed against him, and he couldn't stop the faintest smile from crossing his face. Perhaps they weren't quite the worst thing.

[[ ... Song 10: Sword and Shield, by Sister Hazel ... ]] [[ 233 words ]]
Claude, watching Ashton and Dias fight the horde of monsters as they wait for the Lacuer Hope to arrive.

The monsters were pressing in from all sides; there was no way out. There never had been. It was chaos, all flashing blades and screams and blood. And somehow, both of them were perfectly at home amid the carnage, each moving in a seemingly effortless pattern that cut down wave after wave of enemy ahead of them. Ashton, a swirling figure of twos, two dragons breathing fire and ice, two daggers slicing open monsters and holding his position fought with his back to Dias, the perfect example of the single strike, using only one lethal attack again and again.

They were defending one another, cutting off monsters from advancing, refusing to yield even an inch of ground to the onslaught. Long after most of the others had fallen back for healing, fallen back to catch their breath, both of them were still going, the sweat dripping off of them, blades wet with black blood. Claude swallowed as he sank to his knees, propping himself up on the sword he had. It was drying, and he could feel Rena's healing magic washing over him, slowly removing his weariness, slowly restoring him to his peak fighting condition.

He couldn't stop now; they all had their jobs to do. He looked at Rena, offered her the faintest smile, and rushed out to join them. They were the sword; they were the shield. They couldn't fall here.