All Hope is Gone

Black leather gloves trapped two large hands securely in their hold; long, pale fabric flowed effortlessly over a muscled body; a knit cap fit snugly on top of shaggy blonde hair. A goofy smile lit up his whole face, his short facial hair moving with his jaw muscles. Lightning scoffed as he grinned and went on about being a hero, saving Cocoon all because of Serah's wishes. In her mind, the ex-soldier wanted to sock the man. He thought he knew everything Serah thought, everything she believed in. Yet he hadn't known her for as long as Lightning had. Because of this fact, the two fighters never got along very well.

Snow chuckled lightly at Lightning's scrunched face. His smile never faded, was never wiped off his face. The only time Lightning had seen him being absolutely was when Serah turned to crystal on that one fateful day. Even though she wouldn't admit it to anyone but her own conscience, Lightning was a little jealous that Serah cared so deeply about Snow. To her, Snow mattered more to Serah than she ever had; this pissed her off beyond belief. Snow didn't matter to Lightning, especially since their only connection was now in a peaceful rest, waiting for the promised eternal life granted by finishing her Focus. At least, Lightning wanted to believe Snow didn't mean a thing to her.

The gang, consisting of six l'Cie, were at a loss. None of them knew what to do now. After all the battles and harsh wounds, they didn't have anything left to do. Hope stood still, not really looking at anything, lost in his own thoughts of the future. Vanille sat curled in Fang's lap as she began snoring away after the long journey to the Fifth Ark, Fang stroking her pink hair lazily. Snow leaned against one of the many walls, for once not talking. Sazh was sitting cross-legged in a corner, talking to Chocobo Chick softly. Lighting, however, was pacing the short distance between the tall cement walls, thinking of their next move. She wanted to complete her Focus with a desperate need, but didn't want to betray everything her sister stood for before her crystallization. Nothing came to her mind through her short, exact movements. Finally, she gave up and slumped against the wall, her back supporting her as she slid down the hard wall. The closer she got to the ground, the more her cloak lifted. A small sliver of pale skin was visible if one was looking close enough. Fortunately, Snow just so happened to look in her direction at that moment. His face lit up with a dusting of light pink. He quickly turned his head away from the rest of the group, trying to mask his embarrassment.

Coughing awkwardly, Snow stood up straight, getting everyone's attention. "Alright guys, what are we going to do now?" Blank stares met his eyes one by one, Vanille cracking open only one eye to see what all the commotion was about. "We still need to save Cocoon! We have to do something soon!"

Lightning stood, straightening out her clothes. "Just what do you plan on us doing? We already tried fighting the Sanctum—you see where that got us." Blue-green eyes rolled to the side, her gaze focusing intensely on a dirty spot on the floor. "Maybe we should listen to Dysley. Completing out Focus is the only way to stay alive." Simultaneous gasps reached her ears, making them perk up.

Hope was the first to respond to her sudden change of heart. "You mean we should give up on what we've been working for this whole time?" His voice was getting louder at each word. This was the person who made him realize that all they'd needed was a little bit of hope. She was just giving up on that dream? "Think about Serah! Would she have wanted this? Would she?" He was quickly losing his temper.

In the corner, Sazh was motioning for Hope to stop with his rant while Lightning still had her own temper in check. Snow was still avoiding everyone else's looks of interests at his ex-fiancé's name. Vanille was now wide awake, having heard all the shouting. Next to her, Fang was about to step into the 'creative discussion' when Lightning snapped, "You think I don't know that?" Taking a deep, calming breath, she continued, "Right now, I'm thinking about myself. I need to stay alive—that's my first priority."

Sliver hair swept across his bruised and scarred face as he sauntered toward Lightning's lithe frame. "What about me?" His eyes held onto hers, eye contact being the only way to get his true meaning across. "You were the one who helped me have hope. Where is that Lightning? Does everything you've told me mean nothing?" At the time, Hope's voice had been level, but threatened to crack due to overwhelming anger coursing through his veins.

Lightning was having an internal argument on whether she should respond to his obvious anger at her harsh words. Sighing, she figured it wasn't worth the trouble. "I'll be in that direction if anyone needs me," she said, not a hair above a whisper. Her finger pointed in the general direction to the right of the group. Soon, she was walking away from the people she'd begrudgingly grown so used to, and even close to. Those people were the first she'd ever felt the urge to share anything with, which scared her to death. Tears threatened to fall from her usually hard eyes, but she willed the water droplets back into her throat.

Once out of hearing range, Lighting plopped on the bumpy ground, all grace whisked away from her body. With her legs bent, she laid her head in her crossed arms and simply was. Conflicting thoughts tried to consume her brain, but she pushed them into the very back of her subconscious. All she wanted to do was escape—escape from what has become the living hell known as life. As if being a l'Cie, the very creatures she once loathed, wasn't enough torture, she was on a strict clock just ticking away. The worst part of it all was that she couldn't go it alone; she knew that deep down, she was heavily dependent on her team, and even those who didn't usually fight with her. She needed them just as much as they needed her. This reliance made her want to jump off a cliff just to get away from it all, yet she couldn't abandon them and Serah's dying wish to protect Cocoon.

What Hope had said about her not caring about him struck a cord in her heart. The harsh, but rational, words made her chest tighten painfully. She fully realized she did care for Hope, so much that he was like a little brother to her. Even though she wasn't the nicest commando or the best role model, he stuck by her side through it all. Causing him to think that she didn't care for him—it made her feel guilty. Lightning had felt guilt only once before;

"So you're telling me you're a l'Cie and he still proposed to you?" Lightning's harsh tone caused Serah to wince in Snow's reassuring grasp. "Who would marry a l'Cie?"

Snow looked at Lightning, anger apparent in his intense stare. "She's your sister, Lightning. I want to marry her more than anything in the world. I love Serah, more than you could understand. I want to spend the rest of my life with her."

Blue eyes met those of the much taller man before her. "I don't believe either of you. Even if you are getting married, Snow is an idiot for wanting to marry a l'Cie." Just as she was about to leave, she added, "Remember, it's my job to take care of you… l'Cie."

Serah could no longer hold back the extreme waterworks. Hot tears left streaking trails down her now blotchy cheeks. She brought her hands to her face, trying to hide them. She knew Lightning would think her weak for crying because of what someone said, so she fled the room, now fully sobbing.

Snow gave Lightning a warning look and threatened, "You lay a hand on her and I'll deal with you myself," before running after Serah desperately.

By the time Lightning found out that the two were indeed telling the truth, it was too late for apologies. The guilt that had overtaken her whole being was too much to handle for the longest time. So, she set out to protect Cocoon and respecting the wishes of her little sister. Whatever had made her think the way she had, like she only cared about herself and her health, now angered and saddened her. If she was capable of thinking like that, maybe she deserved to become a Cie'th.

"Hey now, don't cry," a deep, but soft, voice called to her. Without looking up, she knew whoever it was talking to her was crouched very close to her. She hadn't really noticed the tears cascading down her cheeks with all of her melancholy thoughts and memories. Rough, calloused fingers grabbed a hold of her chin, gently lifting her face to come eye to eye with Snow's caring face. With his gloved hand, he wiped away her tears and smiled sadly at her. There was no need for words in that moment; the two simply looked at each other for a few moments.

Needing some kind of support, Lightning suddenly threw herself into his chest, sobbing into his shirt. His several necklaces clanked together as they brushed across the top of her pale purple hair. Hands began stroking the long locks as she continued letting out all she had kept bottled up inside her. Arms wrapped around his torso, Lightning felt a sense of security she'd never felt before. She liked the feeling of having someone there for you in the worst of times. Snow whispered comforting words into her ear, his hot breath tickling the sensitive flesh. The sensation made her want to laugh, even though she was still crying uncontrollably.

After many moments, Lightning pulled herself away from Snow's warm body. Her breathing was still erratic as she tried to fill her lungs with the much needed oxygen. She refused to meet the gaze of the blonde man, afraid of what he might say to embarrass her.

Instead she received an honest-to-God, caring inquiry. "What's got you so worked up?" Lightning explained how she felt do horrible about making Hope say what he did; how she was guilty for not believing Serah; how she wasn't sure of anything anymore. Snow sighed, leaning against the wall across from Lightning's resting place. "The past is the past, right? So let's just forget about it and move on to bigger and better things." In retrospect, Snow focused his gaze in the general direction of where the others were. "Hope was just stressed. We all are. I think we should stay here for a while and rest. I sure as hell could use a nap." His light tone eased the tension in the air.

"I suppose," she said quietly. "But what about after that? We have nothing left to fight for."

Jumping to his feet, Snow extended his hand to pull Lightning off her feet. "Let's not worry about that—" Just as he yanked on her arm to help her up, Lightning lost her balance and tumbled into Snow's toned chest. Her face was buried in the comforting warmth of this hard chest. Without thinking it through, she inhaled the manly scent that was her sister's ex-fiancé.

Pulling away slightly, with Snow's hands still on her hips from the tipsy moment she just had, her eyes locked with those already gazing at her with hidden emotion swimming through them. Their faces were levitating toward each other; the force was much like that of two magnets forever attracted to each other.

Their lips meshed together, fitting against each other's perfectly. Snow relished in the soft, warm lips of Lightning, just as she enjoyed the feel of his chapped mouth against hers. She smiled in spite of herself. When Snow licked her bottom lip, asking for entrance, Lightning opened her mouth the slightest bit, only to feel something warm and slimy slip and slide over every crevice of her mouth. Snow's tongue swirled around hers, begging for her to join in on the tango. The muscle obliged, the two twisting in perfect rhythm.

Panting harshly, the two pulled their faces apart, just far enough for them to gaze in the other's bottomless eyes. Realizing what they'd just done, Lightning abruptly unwrapped her arms from around his neck, instead crossing them stubbornly over her chest. Snow could only stare, shell-shocked as the full effect of the kiss dawned on him. Serah would be disappointed in the both of them; Lightning for stealing her love, Snow for cheating on her, with her own sister of all people. Light pink dusted the girl's cheeks as she turned away from Snow and began walking back to the group, ready to apologize for what she'd said.

"Light!" Snow panted as he jogged after Lightning. "Wait up!"

Yet Lightning did not oblige. She kept going, this time at a much faster pace. Just as she was about to reach the others in the group, Snow grabbed hole of her arm, yanking her back harshly. She refused to make eye contact with him, tried to hide the steadily rising blush from coming to her cheeks. "What was that all about, Lightning?"

At his accusing words, Lightning's head shot up. She stared at him in shock. "You kissed me." The words were few, simple, but that was all Snow needed; it wasn't denial nor anger, but a simple stating of a fact. Snow didn't respond, not for a while. So Lightning continued, "It didn't mean anything."

Her words struck a cord in his heart—and not in a good way, not at all. "Is that all I am to you?" he questioned angrily. "Nothing?" Snow was having a difficult time keeping his voice calm. Blue eyes stared longingly at the small form in front of him; the purple haired girl looked like a lost, confused puppy. How he wanted to soothe away all the bad emotions and replace them with the best of memories. Alas, he could do no such thing if the girl though of him less than dirt. Tentatively, he reached a hand out to touch her shoulder in a reassuring manner. "You can open up to me. Bottling up isn't good for you."

The lithe form scoffed before continuing in the direction they came from not long ago. Arms crossed over her chest in a stubborn, childish manner. This almost made Snow laugh—almost. This wasn't a time to laugh, he chided himself. Instead of allowing the chuckle he so wanted to release to slip through his lips, he followed behind Lightning solemnly. He found his arms cross over his own chest, but out of habit and not feelings.

Once she rounded the corner, Lightning found herself being mauled by a very emotional little boy with slivery hair. Said boy was clinging to Lightning as if she were his mother, crying into her chest with heavy sobs. Lightning looked at the others (except Snow, of course) awkwardly before putting her arms around the young boy. She shushed him lightly, hoping the others would quickly forget about her outburst earlier.

Hope was eventually clamed down enough for the group of misfits to rest for a few hours. Lightning offered to take the first watch shift, but Snow insisted she get some r 'n r for a couple hours. The others, mostly Hope, agreed with the blonde man completely. Stubbornly, Lightning refused for a while; but, she eventually let Snow take the first night watch shift. She explained to the others that she would be sleeping down the hallway, away from the rest of the group.

Lightning turned through a few turns and twists, hoping that Snow wouldn't be able to find her through the maze of the Fifth Ark. Once at a formidable sleeping spot, the soldier unbuckled the belt around her waist, the heavy white cloth of her cape pooling around her ankles. The large piece of fabric made an excellent pillow during her travels. After she'd set up her makeshift bed, Lightning sighed in relief. Finally, she was able to wallow in the deadly silence that surrounded her; no annoying giggling from an orange-haired teenager, no crude remarks from a pushy woman, no whines from a hormonal fourteen year old boy—together, the lack of these things made Lightning think briefly about the word "paradise."

Alas, her moments in peace were few. "Hey, Lightning, you awake?" Though his voice wasn't above the quietest of whispers, these few words rang out painfully through Lightning's head, nearly making her wince. She rolled on her side so that she was facing Snow, her eyes barely cracked open. "Good," he started, "'cuz I needed to talk to you… About earlier…"

A small 'hmph' noise came from Lightning. She sat against the wall behind her, arms crossed over her chest and her lip sticking out in a small pout. "You're supposed to be watching the others," was her stern, cold reply.

"They'll be fine," Snow responded with an equally stoic voice. "It's you I'm worried about." This made Lightning scoff; since when did the hero care about her so much? "The… kiss… earlier, do you think it was a mistake?" Hope was evident in his voice—hope that she would say no.

"Yes." Her lack of premeditation scared even her. She responded almost too quickly. "You still have Serah to look for, and I don't want to ruin anything between any of us. The last thing I want is the last of my family hating me because of one stupid choice." Laying down once again, she heard Snow sigh in defeat.

Shuffling noises bounced off the walls as Snow shuffled closer to the lithe body on the ground. Before he could control his actions, he'd put a hand on her bare arm, moving it up and down soothingly. In the back of his mind, he remembered that Serah would melt into his touch when she was over-stressed. "What if… What if we never get Serah back? I—we—would have to move on. Maybe it really is time to start thinking about ourselves." He sighed, then shifted closer to Lightning, his shins pushing slightly on her lower back. "I'm thinking about myself when I say that I love you, Lightning. More than a sister, more than a friend, more than a captain."

This shocked Lightning. Her throat constricted her breathing passages, her face alight with a soft blush not able to be held back by even the strongest of wills. Chest tightening painfully, she dully took note of the fluttering butterflies threatening to burst out of her stomach. For the moment, she pushed all of these gushy, school-girl-in-love symptoms to the back of her consciousness. "I don't love you, Snow." Still she didn't move any parts of her body, even as Snow recoiled from her body as if burned. "Just go take your watch."

But Snow was already on his feet, boots scuffing along the dirty cement floors of the Fifth Ark. With a final look back at the woman he once thought to be the worst older sister in the world, Snow said, "Serah would want you to be happy."

Something in his voice told Lightning he thought he knew more about Serah than she did, the l'Cie's own flesh and blood. She stood up in a blur of fury, her gunblade already drawn and pushed firmly against Snow's bobbing Adam's apple. "You have no idea what Serah wants." Snow's blue eyes never lost contact with Lightning's emotionless orbs. Eventually, she put her gunblade in its holster, not facing Snow.

"I do." At the soldier's confused look, he went on, "I know what Serah would want. She'd want you to be happy, no matter what. She'd want me to move on if we never found her—as long as everyone was happy, with or without her. I'll never stop loving Serah, I know I can't. But Lightning Farron, I love you more than I ever loved Serah." The conviction evident in his voice was enough to bring the normally cold, emotionless shell of Lightning burst into a million pieces.

Doing her best to choke back the tears in her voice, Lightning stepped closer to Snow. "I love you too, Snow." Her gloved hand reached out to touch the stubble on Snow's boyish face. "But for now, I can't do anything about these feelings. We have to save Cocoon—that's was Serah would want first and foremost."

"I love you, Lightning."

Thoughts of killing herself brutally and painfully flashed through her brain over and over again as Hope said these words. (1) Twice in two days: Lightning was getting one confession after another. Honestly, she wouldn't be surprised is Sazh told her about how much he wants her, how much he wants her to be the mother of his future children.

"I don't feel the same about you, Hope, I'm sorry." By the time she'd said this, Snow had crept up behind her and was about to say something. His face fell as he realized that Hope could be competition for him. "Maybe if you were older. But for now let's just focus on the mission at hand."

Hope drooped his head in shame and embarrassment as he walked away from a pissed Lightning and a disappointed Snow.

"Aren't you popular with the dudes?" Snow asked jokingly. Trying to cover up his sadness, he said, "Fang and Vanille found some clockwork androids ahead, said we should take them out before they get the chance to take us out." He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively, "Or before I can take you out." Snow winked, one of his bright blue eyes disappearing under a veil of soft peach skin.

"I'll hold you up to that offer, cowboy."

Authoress' Note: YAY! I know I just posted like a week ago, but I've been trying to expand my writing from just Naruto and Death Note. So, here's my first Final Fantasy (XIII) one shot. I KNOW there will be tons more where this came from! I also know that so many people will hate me because of the pairing. I, myself, am most definitely a HopexLightning fan. I oppose SnowxLightning, since Snow is like pining after the dead chick Serah (I've read that she does come back at the end of the game, but I'm only in chapter 11 in the game, not to 13 yet… don't yell at me!) and all. (1) That love for Hope and Lightning is why I put that little bit in there—Plus, I needed something to end the story a little bit better than I had intended.

This is like the longest one shot I've written in, well, EVER, and it didn't even have a lemon! I am sooo proud of myself for writing a story this long. And to think, it only took me like, a week… When usually they only take a few hours or so

So, what did you think of my first (and very bad attempt) at writing an FFXIII fanfic?

Reviews? :3

Ja ne! :D