Hello, everyone! I'm back again, with another XIII oneshot (well, it's actually a drabble if you consider stories under 1,000 words a drabble, but that's kind of beside the point, and I'm rambling again…). :) Speaking of which, thank you so much, for all of those wonderful reviews and favorite/alert adds for A Bird's Eye View – you guys are great! :D I'll try to reply to everyone's reviews as soon as I can; I've been falling behind with that lately, but I'll try harder to fix that. :) I'm sorry that this is kind of short; I'm still focusing on my Blue Dragon stories, so it's hard to get out longer stuff for FFXIII. But I do have some stuff planned (at least two chapter stories, possibly three, and at least two more oneshots that are again from Chocobo's perspective); it just might take me a while to finish it. *sweatdrops* Anyway, I'll stop going on and on, and just let you read this! XD

Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy XIII. There's something else that's supposed to go here, I know there is… Hang on, it'll come to me…

"Mom..."

A soft sigh in the night. "Not by a long shot..."


Hope wasn't quite sure what woke him up.

It just happened, and he found himself on the ground of the Whitewood, curled up against Light's back. That definitely brought on some embarrassment. It had happened the night before, actually, where he'd somehow found a way in his sleep to crawl off of his bedroll and onto hers, then cling to her side; Lightning had been awake when he woke that time, though, and had seemed oddly amused (and he was getting to know her well, he thought, if he could tell her carefully masked emotions and detect the cracks that sometimes let them show).

Now, this time, Lightning was not awake.

She dreamed fitfully - almost thrashing, but not quite. It made Hope confused, but mostly worried - Lightning always (not counting this time) slept lightly, and never moved in her sleep, seeming eager to wake up every time she did. As if she never actually slept, but only closed her eyes and let her body shut down out of necessity, just waiting until she could wake up and be rid of the sleeping state that hindered her progress, as if it held her back from moving forward.

What could she be dreaming about, that would disturb her like this?

Hope was afraid for her.

Suddenly, Lightning reached out, both hands searching... searching for something...

He felt her hands on his shoulder - and suddenly, she was clutching him to her. Hope blinked wide, surprised eyes.

His breath hitched as he heard her voice - soft, sleep-slurred, and choked with emotion. "Serah..."

Hope flinched with sympathy; Lightning's pain was a mirror of his own. Her little sister, and my mother. He sighed sadly, relaxing against her as she hugged him closer, one hand going to his hair.

He wanted to comfort her, but how could he? He understood her pain, but what could take that away?

"I'm not Serah, Light. I can't bring her back. But... I'll give you what comfort I can, if you'll have it."

The words sounded weak, pitiful to his ears, and he regretted saying them, even if she wasn't awake to hear it.


"On your feet, Hope. Time to move out."

Lightning stood, securing the clips of her holster, turning to go.

Hope staggered upwards; he'd only gotten up a few minutes ago, and his mind and body were still struggling to catch up to each other. "Light!"

She looked at him over her shoulder, corner of her mouth twitching. Fondness, Hope identified the emotion in his head, feeling warmed. "What's up?"

"I..." He glanced down for a moment, before lifting his gaze again, crossing the distance to her, and meeting her eyes with his own directly. "I promise you, we will avenge your sister. Both of us. I'll do whatever it takes to make sure it happens." Whatever it takes, he repeated in his head, knowing what the Sanctum could do to him, and to her - but for once, for that moment, he felt no fear whatsoever. For a second, he felt proud of himself, because he finally wasn't afraid.

He noticed now that Lightning's lips had parted, and her eyes had gone very soft. For a while, she just stood there.

Then she took him by the shoulder and tucked him against her side; she held him close to her, securely, and didn't say a word.

She didn't need to; Hope felt as safe and at home as he had since the last time he was in Palumpolum.

And it's done! :D I love the relationship between Lightning and Hope; I can't really see it in a romantic sense aside from Hope having a crush on Lightning – but, regardless, Hope is adorable around Lightning (and Vanille). XD (Hm... Maybe I should try something with Hope and Vanille sometime...) Anyway, before I ramble again… Please review and let me know what you think! :) Not much else to say, really, so… Thanks for reading! :D