Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy, nor any part of the series. Everything in this story that is not mine does not belong to me.
Author's Note: Hi there! This is another crossover fic that I made.
EDIT: Though I initially decided to place this under Final Fantasy XIII category, for the reason that the main theme of the story is from the game Final Fantasy XIII itself, I figured that it doesn't fully belong there... because the other major characters are from other Final Fantasies... you'll know soon enough. =)
And, I would like to thank my friend MonMonCandie for helping me out with the dreadful process of coming up with a summary. Thank you so much! =3 Read her stories, I tell you!
"Remember, Hope is a good thing,
maybe the best of things,
and no good thing ever dies."
A heavy downpour of rain accompanied by angry strikes of thunder were disturbing the city of Palumpolum.
Every household kept their windows sealed shut and their doors securely locked, letting no one else into their comfortable and warm homes. Even when numerous people were outdoors, helplessly looking for shelter or any shade of some sort that would temporarily protect them from the rain, at least until it mellowed down. But most of these shades were fully occupied, not welcoming anymore who desperately needed one. Cars were slowly disappearing one by one, and taxis, stopped accepting passengers as they too wished to quickly avoid the rain that might grow into a storm. Trains on the other hand had stopped running because it was already quite late in the night. And whether the people needed the train or not was none of the train people's concern, for as long as they close at the designated time.
A lone person on the streets would truly be unfortunate, left with only two choices to reach home; walk or run under the rain.
And that was a normal rainy night in Palumpolum city... a city where indifference seems to be a normal thing, and selfishness was almost forgivable. In this city, to be able to survive, you should remember to depend on one person and one person only; yourself.
Along the almost empty streets of the city were two cloaked figures, running at the opposite direction from the flow of the rest of the people. The taller one would stop once in a while, extending an arm to protectively to halt the other, when a car passed by or when a disturbance was needed to be avoided. Sometimes, they stop to check the signs, seeing to it that they were going at the right way. The other one didn't have free hands and was cradling something or someone safely in the arms, shielding it carefully from the harsh weather.
Finally, they stopped. The taller one turned to the other and pointed a decently tall tree with enough leaves to shelter them from the rain. The shorter one nodded and together, they ran beneath it.
The moment they reached the tree, the taller figure remained standing and turned to look at their surroundings, making sure they were not too obvious amidst the dark night. While the other sat down and pulled whatever was cradled protectively closer.
The taller one pulled the hood down, revealing a fierce-looking young woman, who could be often mistaken as someone from the outskirts of the wilderness. Her hair was black and wavy, letting only a few strands of locks to fall over her forehead. She had the most piercing brown eyes, with her brows arched downwards, almost furrowed. Her complexion was fair, making her only slightly distinguishable from her black cloak.
She turned to the shorter one to check if her companion was alright. She then clasped her hands, rubbed them together and lifted them closer to her mouth before blowing her warm breath between them. It was, after all, a cold night.
"How's the little blob doing?" she asked.
The other one, pulled the hood down as well, showing herself to be a girl, younger than the one standing. She was identifiable through her curly, pinkish-red hair, tied in pigtails. Her friendly eyes were of green color, and her skin was paler. She was alot more noticeable, and if someone was to walk by the tree they chose to stay under, the passerby would look at her first, probably not even noticing that she had someone with her.
She wore a beam as she looked up to the black-haired one. "He's doing fine." she assured. "A bit cold though..."
"Hmm..." the taller one said.
"Maybe a little warmth would do." the younger one cheerfully said as an orange gleam of light suddenly appeared around her arms, dimming up her young face and providing comforting warmth around the baby.
"Vanille!" the other one called panickly, while the other looked up abruptly. "Be careful! Someone might see you!"
Vanille merely smiled at her and turned back to the baby in her arms. "I know, I know. Sorceress are not allowed in this city. Relax Fang, it's not too obvious. I can tell. Besides, I can hardly see any people around here that might see us."
Fang's eyes narrowed as she watched Vanille provided the baby some comfort while she hummed a lullaby. The warm light emitting from the two made her shiver even more, as she was reminded of the cold climate they caught themselves into. Of course, even if they were clothed with thick cloaks, the droplets of the rain still seeped unto their bare skin, and did not prove to be a good protection against the weather.
She looked around, once again, to make sure they were free from any eyes of the city's residents. Then, she sighed and finally casted a fire spell of her own and produced a harmless small ball of fire between her palms. She sat down and heartily took in a breath as her face relaxed. Finally she felt warmth.
"Hey Fang," Vanille called after she cut off from her lullaby. "Do you have an idea where we are now?"
"We're near the boundary of Palumpolum. We cross over that boundary, and we'll be in Archadia."
"So Archadia's close now, huh." Vanille said, with a sad tone in her voice. "It will be over soon."
Fang turned to her partner. "Yeah..." she nodded.
"Do we still have time? the Queen's labor might already be over." Vanille said despondently.
"Nah, we have plenty of time. The Queen is still far from delivering her little prince, we'll make it in time. We just have to switch the babies, that's our next problem. We do that with no troubles, copy the hair color of the baby Prince with this one and our mission is accomplished."
"But, you do know what it means, right?" Vanille turned to Fang her brows creased upwards. "You do know that if we hand him over to the king, he'll be made a prince. And he will be groomed for power! And... and..."
Fang sighed loudly. "I know, Vanille. I know..."
There was a pause. Fang knew exactly the full purpose of their mission, a mission everyone of their kind was bound to do. Fulfilling it would grant them freedom. But defiance and failures would earn them a dreadful price; a price nobody wanted to suffer.
Fang turned to Vanille and scooted closer to her. "May I see him?"
Vanille lifted the baby in her arms and carried him closer to Fang. The older one gently pulled the cloth from Vanille's cloak that covered the baby, revealing a healthy looking baby, wrapped in white cloth, with a noticeable silver hair, especially made to adopt the hair color of the latest member of the Archadian royalties. His eyes were closed, so were his palms that ached to grasp anything. Fang reached her index finger out to him, which he gently grabbed with his tiny fingers. Fang smiled at him.
"Such an adorable little guy." she said.
Vanille nodded. "He is."
Fang played with him a little longer until she turned her own finger. The baby turned his wrist in response and that was when Fang and Vanille saw it. On the baby's wrist was a black tattoo-like mark with several straight lines and arrows. Both of them knew only so well what it was, all sorceress do. It was the mark of their master, the Orphan.
"So, he really was made by the Orphan." Vanille whispered sadly.
"Yeah. It's his mark to remind him that he was created to do chores for the brat." Fang said, rather sarcastically.
"But, maybe there's still hope! Maybe he will not choose to do what he is supposed to do! Maybe he won't be what the Orphan said he will be!" said Vanille.
Fang shook her head. "The Orphan said it is written. It is his destiny. Nobody knows how this kid will do it, but the Orphan. And if the Orphan said it's going to happen, then I better bet my life that it will happen. That's probably why we're here, to make things happen. Or else... well, you already know what will happen if we don't."
"I know, but..." Vanille turned back to the baby and covered him again with her cloak's cloth. "But, wouldn't you exchange your freedom for the world? For everyone else? You would, right?"
"Of course I would!" Fang replied, almost yelling. "But I can't, and we both know we can't!"
She huffed, as Vanille watched her sympathetically from her side. Finally, Fang rested her back against the tree trunk defeatedly. "I just wish... that I can do something about this. We never wanted this. I don't want us to be responsible for what will happen. But what can I do? We're practically chained on this, and we never really have a choice!"
"Hello?" a boy's awkward voice called.
Fang and Vanille froze as they both turned to the source of the voice at the same time. They could barely make out who it was, but they could tell, from the little fire they had as their source of light that it was a little boy, who was obviously and horribly soaked from the rain.
The boy glanced at their fire then turned his eyes back to them.
"What are you up to now?" Another voice yelled from his back, whose voice sounded much like his. "Hurry up! I want to go home!"
"Hold on, will you? I gotta help them, they seem cold." He called back at his companion before smiling at the two. Then, much to the sorceress' amazement, he began to remove what seemed to be his jacket from himself.
"Here, take my jacket. This is the only one I have but, I'm sure Matron back at the orphanage will make me a new one." He reached the jacket to the two. "Here. Go on and take it." He offered encouragingly.
Fang and Vanille only stared at the small piece of clothing he was so generously giving them. They then took a closer look on him, realizing that he was such a young boy, probably around seven years old. His face looked hard, contrasting his gentle expression. His eyes were blue, and his hair was flat, messy, and blonde.
The boy was still holding out his jacket, waiting for the two to get it. But after another moment passed and nothing happened, he rubbed the back of his neck shyly with his free hand. Then, he spoke again. "I'm Snow by the way. And that's my brother Seifer." He swung his tumb to the person behind him, who was also equally soaked. His brother, they could tell, looked exactly like him, only shorter and thinner. Even the clothes they wore were almost the same. Though Seifer looked more snobbish and impatient, and he had his back facing them the whole time, waiting for his brother Snow to finish whatever he bothered doing.
"Well then," Vanille hopped happily from her spot, as Fang watched her confusingly. "I'm Vanille, and this is Fang. But we don't need your jacket. However..." She turned and gazed again on the baby. "he does."
The boy Snow lowered his jacket to his side as he tried to take a peek of the baby. Vanille looked back at him. "He needs a nice home too. And nice people to take care of him."
"So..." Snow hesitantly stepped closer to Vanille. "what can I do-"
"Here!" Vanille handed the baby to the boy. Snow instinctively took the baby, surprised.
Fang began to stand up. "Vanille, what are you do-"
"Hold him for a while, okay? I need to fix something inside my coat. Something's been itching me since we got here, but I never got to scratch it because my hands were ful- Hey! The moon is frozen!"
"Where?" Snow, with the baby in his arms, turned around to see the frozen moon Vanille was pointing at. But dark clouds and blackness were all he could see.
"What is it?" Seifer, who heard his brother's yelp, finally turned to Snow.
"The girl said the moon was frozen!" Snow replied.
"Really? Where? I don't see no frozen moon!" Seifer said.
"Hey!" Snow turned to Vanille. "There is no frozen moo-"
They were gone.
Snow looked at their spot. And looked again.
But there was no Vanille, nor Fang.
"Where did they go?" Snow asked no one.
"Snow, you idiot! I want to go home NOW." Seifer said viciously. He really wanted to go home so badly, and his patience was running short.
"Okay..." Snow replied before checking the spot one last time where Fang and Vanille disappeared. He turned to Seifer. "But, what about this baby?"
"Ah, let's bring it to Matron and she'll know what to do."
"The baby's a he, not an it."
"C'mon, let's go now!"
Seifer began to ran forward, and Snow soon followed. Then, he remembered something. He looked at the baby he was carrying as he slowly lifted up his jacket. Carefully, he wrapped the infant with it, covered him in his arms and fought against the rain as he ran towards the orphanage.
The orphanage was nothing too grandeur, much like all other orphanages in the rest of the world. However, the one where Snow and Seifer belong to was a bit simpler, much smaller and more isolated from the rest of the city of Palumpolum. It was located closer to the forest side of the city, peacefully resting there as it provided a cosiderable space for the children to play and do whatever they had and wanted to do. Despite its simplicity, the orphanage is the most welcoming place in the city, with its soft light emitting from its small windows, full of still awake children.
Snow and Seifer, who finally reached their home, ran to the door and almost barged into it rashly. Finally, they were safe from the rain.
"We're home!" Seifer and Snow called in unison.
"Matron!" a little girl with short, light brown hair with ends waved at all directions, yelled while pointing at the two. "Snow and Seifer are here!"
"Really?" a female voice called from another room. A woman with gentle features and long black hair appeared from the door wearing an stained apron, and a worried look on her face that soon turned into relief. "Oh, thank goodness, you two..." She exhaled. She ran to the two boys. "Where have you been? Look at you. You're soaking wet!"
"Well, Snow here had to visit one of those tunnels again." Seifer replied. "And we got lost and didn't know where to go. We even thought we had to spend the night over there, but luckily I was smarter than him and found our way out..."
But Matron was not listening anymore. Her eyes were fixed at the baby in Snow's arms. "Selphie," she called at the little girl. "would you be a dear and get three towels from the linen room?"
"Okay!" replied the girl, and soon, she ran to the stairs.
"Give him to me." Matron told Snow gently as she reached for the baby in the boy's jacket, whom Snow willingly gave her. The baby made a chain of muffled sobs, which they knew would turn into cries. But before it happened, Matron hushed him mildly as she slowly swayed the baby in her arms.
Shortly after, Selphie finally arrived with three towels in her hands. She handed the two to Seifer and Snow, and handed the other one to Matron. Matron gently took off Snow's jacket from the baby and replaced it with the thick, soft towel.
"You two, go take a shower before you catch colds." The Matron told the brothers.
"But, what about him?" Snow asked, referring to the baby.
Matron looked at him, smiling. "Don't worry sweetie. I've taken care alot of babies, I got him."
Snow finally nodded as he and his brother ran towards the bathroom.
Matron, then proceeded to her own bathroom, filled a basin with warm water, while the baby was still in her arms. She unwrapped the baby from the towel and gently placed him on the basin.
Matron giggled at the sight of the little infant, naked and soaked in the water. "Aren't you such a beauty?"
Shortly after that, she saw something black on the baby's wrist. She squinted and took a closer look at it.
"Hmm..." she hummed. "What could this be?"
Gently, she rubbed it, trying to take it off the baby's skin. But to now avail. Was it a birthmark? But she was sure no such birthmarks were so detailed like a tattoo. Maybe he belonged to another clan who marked their babies with tattoos? She heard some who did initiations with their babies right after they were born, but never did they engrave complicated tattoos on their wrists.
Finally, she chose to ignore it. Maybe it would grow out of him when he gets older. Hopefully it would disappear because, who would take him in? The silver hair was not a problem, of course. Though silver hair in Palumpolum was a bit rare, she knew a lot of silver heads in her life. But the tattoo bothered her, and it would bother a lot of childless parents as well. Especially in the city of Palumpolum where normal should be normal and strangeness was not tolerated.
"You poor thing..." She whispered as she rubbed some gentle soap on the baby's body that turned into lather. "It's okay. We'll take care of you here."
After the warm showers and changing clothes were done, Matron cradled the now fresh baby in her arms as she sat on the couch, while Snow watched her feed the baby with bottled milk. Seifer, as usual, was sitting beside Snow.
"So, Snow," Matron started. "How did you boys find him?"
"Well, we were running back here when I saw these two girls." He said. "They were under a tree, and they were wet too. They looked cold so I was trying to give them my jacket, but they gave me that baby. They said he needed a nice family and a nice home."
"I'm sure he has a nice home now, but I'm not sure about the family part." replied Matron.
"He looks like a cute guy, who wouldn't want to adopt him?" Seifer asked.
Matron sighed. "I don't know..." she said. "This baby has a tattoo on his wrist, and they might not take him in because of it."
"Wow, really?" Snow exclaimed.
"Lemme see!" Seifer demanded.
"Easy, easy boys." Matron said gently. "I'll show you tomorrow when he wakes up. But keep your voices down for tonight, okay? He's trying to sleep."
Then there was a pause. And that was because the boys were just too quick to loyally obey Matron's orders, and Matron was still pondering on what would happen to the baby. Sure, she was willing to take him in under her wing, but having a complete family was still different, and was still alot better than staying forever in the orphanage. After all, she was getting old, too old for a baby. And she didn't know for how long would she be able to take care of him.
Finally, Snow broke the silence. "So, what are you gonna name him?"
Matron turned to him with a questioning expression. "Well, I was thinking..."
"Masamune." Seifer suggested. "You know, like that long silver sword in fairy tales. Suits his hair well."
"Nah, that doesn't sound like a baby." Snow retorted. "And you'd make him look like a bad guy."
"No I don't, and I think it's a cool name." Seifer shot back.
"I was thinking, Whitey could be good too." Snow said.
"Wow, very creative Snow. You made him sound like a dog." Seifer sarcatically replied.
Snow glared at him.
"Well," Matron said a bit louder, cutting the boys from their fight. "I was thinking, a good name could be Hope."
Seifer acted disgusted, while Snow nodded in awe.
"Why Hope?" Seifer asked.
"Because he has silver hair, almost white." she said. "It told me that he is pure, and is off for a fresh start." she brushed the thick, silver locks of the infant. Then, she glanced at the tattoo on his wrist, which made him different from the rest of people she met. And she believed, deeply in her being, that a slight difference in the world could tap the existing system, and make a even bigger difference... for everyone.
"It's like, he's ready, for this world..." she added.
Snow smiled at her. "Okay then." he said. He stood up and walked to Matron's side. He sat at the armrest of the couch and gazed at the baby. "Hi there Hope. I promise I'll take care of you, no matter what."
Seifer rolled his eyes and stood up, following Snow. He too looked at the baby, and slowly, his face softened as well. He looked up at Snow, who was still gazing at the baby, and looked back at Hope. "Ah, okay, okay. I'll take care of you too."
Fang and Vanille were overseeing the orphanage from a high hill under their black cloaks. How they got there, only another sorceress would know. They watched as the two boys ran into the orphanage, and how the shadows moved from there. A woman, whom they took as the supervisor of the place, took the baby in her arms, bathed him, fed him, and cradled him to sleep. The two sorceress were relieved to see that the boy was finally in good hands.
"Gotta admit, you got lucky on this one, Vanille." Fang commented, nodding at the orphanage.
"Not really." Vanille said. "At least I don't consider it sheer luck. I already knew that Snow has a good heart. And when he told me he came from an orphanage, it just made it even better."
"Heh." Fang scoffed. "Smart girl, you are."
Vanille giggled. "Just made a good choice for the baby, that's all."
"Hmm..." Fang hummed. "What's gonna happen to us now? We'll most likely suffer the consequence for what we just did." she relaxly added.
"I think," Vanille said, lifting her index finger to her lips as she tilted her head to a side. "that if it really is destiny, then it is bound to happen, then we're practically out of trouble because it will be his fate and he can't do anything about it!"
Fang shook her head. "But we'll still be punished, for defying the orders of the Orphan. It's our job to make sure the boy will do what he's meant to do!" she folded her arms against her chest.
"And that's our choice, to defy the orders." Vanille replied, turning to Fang. "And as far as choices are concerned, we simply did ours, because that's what we believed in. And that's what we wanted for the world." she looked back at the orphanage. "This is as much as we could do. The rest is up to him."
"I guess so." Fang replied, finally relaxing. "I hope he just makes the right choices himself, and make it all worth it for both of us."
"I hope so too." Vanille nodded, looking at the orphanage longingly where the little Hope was sleeping. "And I won't lose that hope in him."
A/N: Thank you for reading! =D