My new project, chronicling a tumultuous affair between one of my favourite pairings, and how a man becomes a L'cie.
Hope you enjoy =]
None of the characters used belong to me. All rights belong to respective owners.
"I am Cid Raines, Brigadier General of the fleet..."
He held out a long, robe-clad arm towards her, in a gesture that seemed more like a cack-handed attempt to grab her than a conventional handshake. Nevertheless she took his hand in hers, and bowed her head, saying nothing.
Lightning Farron's eyes were shadowed and pink rimmed, her uniform creased and unkempt, and her hair long and frayed at the ends. Cid took the time to look at her, and decided at once that she was far too thin, and too young, to be a soldier. She was evidently fatigued, and her back was slightly arched inadvertently. From his perspective, she looked something like an overgrown mouse.
"I have been told that you missed the induction to the new airship model T-91A. The model you are familiar with, that is, the T-900, is now out of commission. Although the running of the airships is left strictly to the Airfleet personnel, this new model will be used to transport you from base to base, provide emergency assault backup, and be a medical refuge for you in any potential warzone..."
"Hence, that is why Lieutenant Amodar has arranged for me to give you the induction personally. I agree that it is not fair that you should be behind your comrades simply because of your...situation."
At those words, she finally looked up, and her eyes, clear as still waters, met his.
"I wasn't aware I had a 'situation'..."
She pulled herself up to her full height swiftly, and Cid was quite taken aback. Her eyes seemed to show a sudden onset of fury, and yet great restraint.
He couldn't help but smile to himself. He had misjudged her. Already he could see that she lived up to her reputation.
"Call it what you will. If you'd like to follow me..."
Throughout the course of the next hour, Lightning Farron seemed to reanimate. In fact, Cid was quite bewildered at how she walked, boldly and with large strides, from place to place, leaving no door unopened and no control panel uninspected. She was almost, too professional. He had attempted to discuss with her the decline of funding into the Airfleet, and tried to compliment her by listing some of her achievements of which he had heard. Not even a smile from Ms. Farron.
But then, he understood.
Some people who suffer a great loss in their personal lives, devote themselves to their work, to rid their mind of it.
He knew. He'd done it himself.
Cid spent the whole tutorial painfully aware of the fact that every word he said made little or no impact on her at all. She explored the whole ship in her bubble, teaching herself. She did not need him to give her lectures; she learned faster alone.
The final part of the tour was to visit Cid's own quarters. He had something of an 'office' above the observation deck, which housed many manuals, spell books and the necessary paperwork to ensure the smooth running of the fleet. Huge metal bookcases lined two of the walls, employing a magnetic device to hold the books in place during flight, which Ms. Farron was less than fascinated about.
Leather cushioned chairs were placed either side of his shining metal desk, and he gestured for Lightning to take a seat. He could feel the sun hitting his back from the great pane of glass behind him. It cast a shadow across his face, but hers was illuminated. Her skin and hair appeared the same colour, her eyes glowing like two sapphires in a gold ring. For the first time since he met her, merely a few hours earlier, she looked human.
"I take you've understood everything I've told you today."
"Good. Then all that needs to be done is for me to complete some forms to verify the fact, and then for you to return them to the Lieutenant."
He stood, grabbing a book to rest his parchment on and turning towards the sun, pen in hand, so he could see what he was doing. With languid movements of his pen, he began to scrawl the necessary credentials. Behind him, he could hear the young girl wandering around the room, trying to remove books, and letting her hands glance over the papers on his desk. He didn't see much point in telling her to stop. She would not have listened in any case.
After covering the page in glistening ink, he scrawled his mark at the bottom, and began to turn around.
"Now all that needs to be done is for you to sig-"
Lightning Farron was stood by the bookcase on the left hand wall, holding an old, brown book in her hand. On it, he could see a fragment of a familiar mark; a black arrow peeping up from behind her hand. Cid's heart jumped into his mouth.
In a flash, he was across the room, and had hold of the young girl's arm, knocking the book straight out of her hands.
"What the hell...?"
She shook herself free and took a step back, staring at him in fear and confusion. If he wasn't her superior, she would've hit him, and hard.
"That's not for you to mess around with, Ms. Farron."
He was beginning to sound timid, suddenly feeling an overwhelming sense of guilt for being so aggressive.
"I-I must apologise," he stammered, "But those books contain valuable evidence towards war crimes cases, and they must not be tampered with."
He lied terribly.
She looked down at the book, and the papers that had fallen out of it.
"So valuable, you just throw them on the floor, huh?"
Cid thought it best not to answer her. He picked up the book and its contents, this time placing it in the top drawer of his desk, which he proceeded to lock with a small, bronze key. Lightning could see that he was suddenly very anxious.
On the desk he laid out the induction form, which he had also dropped, and held out the pen for the young girl to sign. For a long moment she stared at him, distrusting. Though she would not let on, his sudden change in temperament had alarmed her. His eyes had suddenly gone very dark, matching the charcoal colour of his cropped hair; for that one moment he had seemed almost sinister. Even now she could see in his face that his mind was elsewhere.
She took the pen, her fingers gently touching his as she did so. She could've sworn that he flinched.
Making her mark, she placed the pen back in its holder on the desk, folded up the parchment and put it in her pocket. Cid was hunched over, and looking away from her.
"Will that be all?"
She straightened and turned to leave.
"Yes..." he said, contemplatively.
Lightning took one last glance at Cid before walking across the room and placing her hand on the door handle.
Cid stood and walked around to the front of his desk. Lightning turned to face him, expecting some form of lecture.
"I- ..." Cid began hesitantly.
Lightning's eyes were questioning.
"I was sorry to hear about your mother..."
As soon as he uttered the words, he regretted it. Something told him that Lightning Farron wasn't the sort of person who appreciated sympathy. All the while she stared at him, saying nothing.
"I had heard good things about her. To lose her so suddenly, I understand it must be a great pain..."
Lightning looked down, away from Cid's gaze.
"It is..." she whispered.
He took a step closer to her.
"How old are you, Ms. Farron?"
"I'm just sixteen."
"And now head of the household?"
She nodded solemnly, thinking of Serah. She was her guardian now. It was infinitely difficult for her to be solely responsible for the care of a teenage girl. Luckily for her, Serah had never been much of a problem child.
"I went through much the same thing ...
He trailed off, turning to look out of the window.
"The agony of it...sometimes, you begin to wish that you...never care for someone so much ever again. My father..."
He turned back to her, eyes suddenly warm again.
"You won't feel that way forever."
Her eyes met his.
"So I'm told..." he added.
She nodded, marvelling again at Cid's change of tone.
"Thank you, General Raines"
"Please call me Cid, Ms. Farron."
"Please call me Light, Cid."
Nodding, he went to press the release for the door.
She pulled the door open.
"I can find my way out okay, don't worry."
"Down three set of stairs, and follow the yellow arrows, in case you forget..."
For a long moment, she stared at him.
And with that she turned on her heels and left.
The rest of the afternoon passed without Cid doing anything of any merit. It was a humid summer's day and despite all his previous protests to his superiors, he still had to wear his silver robes, which were heavy and clung to his skin in an uncomfortable way. Every so often, he would fantasise about diving naked off a cliff face into a lazuli sea, as he paced the corridors of his new airship. However, these dreams were frequently interrupted by the fear that he would turn a corner, and find Lightning Farron ripping wires out of a wall panel. She'd had quite the effect on him. Frightened him, in fact, and he had frightened her in return.
Returning to his office and laying his arms on his desk, he found himself wishing her well. The way she had behaved...reminded him so much of himself. He felt an immense sympathy.
If we ever meet again, he wondered, I must try not to show it.
The sun was setting and the crew had long since returned home. Alone, he felt it safe to remove his long cloak. He stood up and pulled it free.
Something hit the metal floor.
Turning around, Cid saw a small, bronze key lying by the window. A horrible feeling arose in his stomach.
He picked it up, and moved it between each of his fingers, glancing from the key to the desk and back again, the setting sun shining off it, effervescent and gold.
You do not need to know.
You have built a good life for yourself.
You will ruin everything.
He knew it to be true.
Opening one of the glass panels, he pushed it wide, and with one last glance at his desk, he threw the key as far as he could across the aerodrome. He watched it curve and fall, glinting briefly before disappearing.
Feeling an overwhelming sense of relief, he closed the panel and threw his cloak over his forearm. Sighing to himself, he made sure everything was in order before locking his office door, departing the T-91A and bidding adieu to the guards at the aerodrome door.
Cid Raines had not seen the man in the shadow.
He had not seen him bend down and pocket his bronze key.
He did not know that everywhere he went, and whatever he did, he was being watched.
He would not know it for years to come.
Thanks for reading