"Death to those goddamn fal'Cie,
And the world will turn into hell,
So they summon l'Cie, to kill the enemy,
And because of that Cocoon fell."
"Yeeaah!" slurred Lenora, clinking her glass of champagne against Fang's. "Like we give a fuck anyway."
"Haaahaaa!" laughed Fang, clutching her side. "That was… awesome…"
Everyone just stared at the two of them for a few moments, before going back to what they were doing and ignoring them pointedly. Lightning sighed in exasperation, noting that Spencer was keeping a careful eye on them. He had allowed Lenora to be unleashed upon the alcohol, given that it was a special occasion and all.
Lightning had felt a swell of pride as she had seen her sister approaching, wearing a simple white dress that Vanille had helped her choose. Fang had not been allowed to go on that particular venture, as Vanille claimed that she had no fashion sense at all. Lightning herself was forced into a dress of her own- a blue one that hugged her curves nicely. She couldn't say that she was completely against wearing it after trying it on.
Serah and Snow had exchanged vows at last; Serah's name was now Serah Villiers. Lightning had joked about it with her brother-in-law, stating that she thought that Serah should keep her name before explaining that she was kidding when Snow looked ready to cry.
Currently, they were at the reception- a small party, nothing too big. Team Nora was present, along with the six former l'Cie, Lenora, Spencer, and Cid Raines, whom Serah had dubbed, "Lightning's boyfriend". Lenora simply called him 'asshole'.
Hence the reason why Lenora and Fang were propped up against a tree, giggling insanely. The party was being held on the shores of the lake where Oerba was situated. Rebuilding had commenced with burgeoned enthusiasm, and the city was quickly wrapping its way around the lake. Many newcomers, unsettled by the fact that the only thing that the landscape offered was desolation and crystal dust, had begun planting- an operation that Vanille was participating in vigorously. As though sensing the return of living beings, grass began to peak up out of the layer of fine powder.
"I knew I should've put Dajh to bed," groaned Sazh, when Lenora began singing another verse of her rendition of, 'Glory to the fal'Cie'. The boy seemed to be oblivious to her though, and had not repeated a single word that came out of the younger Raines' foul mouth. Lightning speculated that Dajh was intelligent enough to know that Lenora wasn't someone he would want to emulate.
She folded her arms and relaxed slightly in her chair, while beside her Serah beamed. Her sister was practically glowing with joy, and her husband was no different. He couldn't seem to stop smiling (not that that was anything new), and was often teasing Hope about his relationship with Vanille.
Lightning could hardly believe that it had almost been two months.
Two months since Cocoon crushed New Bodhum. Already, the people of Cocoon were faring better than they had in that city. From what she heard, Paddra was doing well. Most of the citizens elected to keep its original name out of respect rather than change it to something else. It was the same with Oerba; while some had considered renaming it, many recognized it as Fang and Vanille's old home, and didn't want to insult the two.
Oerba was one of the smaller new residences. Many who formerly lived in Bodhum had traveled here, with a sizeable amount of members of the Guardian Corps that carefully guarded the group that migrated there. Lightning hadn't been promoted again; even though Amodar had wanted to, she had been adamant in staying in her position as Colonel. They mostly stayed in contact with the military in the other cities; she was told that one of them was in the process of constructing new airships.
Raines had taken the helm of the Guardian Corps, despite the shock of many in the Cavalry. True to what Eden said, Rygdea no longer thought of Cid as an old friend; instead, he only saw him as a superior who had never been close to anyone. There were suspicions and rumors flying around about how he was alive, but people were gradually beginning to trust him again, which was something that Lightning was relieved to see.
As for what the fal'Cie had meant by the loss of her parents… it was true that Lightning felt a bit hollow when she came out of her crystal stasis, but that could have been anything. She had moved on from the deaths of her parents long ago, so it didn't really affect her.
Raines later explained that Eden revived him shortly before Lightning, Lenora, and Spencer became l'Cie. He stated that it was something about Eden doing a favor for the goddess, Etro. Vanille had pondered that, stating that all she knew was that Etro was the being responsible for the dead. He had also revealed that it had been Eden, not him, who was responsible for the attacks by the monsters and Cie'th. Lightning hadn't realized just how much the fal'Cie had done.
She was interrupted in her musings by a light tap on the shoulder. Twisting in her seat, she met Raines' eyes.
"Care to dance?" he asked smoothly.
She raised an eyebrow at the unusual request. "There's no music."
He turned to stare pointedly at Lenora and Fang, still singing raucously.
"That's not"- she began, only to be cut off.
"I was merely making a joke," said Raines lightly, smirking. His tone turned wry. "It is possible, believe it or not."
"Oh my god!" shrieked Fang, now severely drunk. "Raines made a joke! Watch out, he's going to turn into Ragnarok!"
"Nah, you're dreamin'- hic- that's not possible…" said Lenora, looking a bit cross-eyed.
Lightning snorted, amused by the antics of the two. Raines tilted his head to a space a bit further towards the waterfront. "Shall we?"
"Why not?" she replied, shrugging.
Lightning was grateful that Serah allowed her to wear her flats instead of heels; she could wield a gunblade and snap a man's neck, but she couldn't walk in those damned things. The two of them slow danced in silence for several minutes, not really choosing to say anything to one another. She found that they preferred silent companionship over being conversational. Perhaps it was because both of them enjoyed the quiet, or perhaps it was because neither of them felt the need to speak. She could spend her time getting lost in the gray depths of his eyes instead.
The moon was shining brightly above them, something which Raines was new to, though the rest of them had had time to get used to it. He had been forced to wait until the day Cocoon collapsed in Eden, and as such had received a slight shock upon viewing the moon for the first time one night later.
Voices behind them became raised, and Lightning glanced over her shoulder to see most of the guests cheering while Serah and Snow performed a much more lively dance for the rest. She smiled slightly at the sight of seeing her sister so at ease, and made eye contact with her. Both sisters communicated silently for a moment before their respective partners moved them away.
"You're happy for her?"
"Of course I am. Snow will keep her safe. I trust him to do that much, idiot though he is."
More shouts from behind her; Team Nora was currently pressuring Hope to ask Vanille to dance. The redhead, however, beat him to it, dragging him out into the space that had been created and whirling him around. Lightning stifled a laugh at the sight.
"Perhaps we should rejoin them?" suggested Cid.
Lightning pretended to think about it for a moment, then said, "Nah."
A few minutes later, Fang passed out, leaving the task of carrying her back to the apartment complex they all stayed at to Rygdea. He had not, at least, forgotten his friendship with the former l'Cie; if anything, he and Fang seemed to be developing a thing for one another. Lightning wasn't entirely sure if that was what it was, though Serah claimed that they were flirting whenever they spoke to one another.
Lenora managed to stay conscious for far longer than Fang. Just before passing out, she did something that caused many to gape- Lightning and Cid included.
"Speeeenceeerrr," she slurred loudly, causing many to look in her direction. "I luvs you…"
Simultaneously, everyone turned to stare in Spencer's direction, awaiting his response. Lenora promptly collapsed.
He only sighed. "She's going to kill me tomorrow," he stated aloud, before helping her home. Lebreau decided to assist him in carrying her, saying something that Lightning couldn't make out, but that made most of the guests laugh.
Lightning arched an eyebrow at him.
"I'll tell you later."
I guess… things have gotten better now. We're all doing much better. It's safe to say that everyone's finally happy.
There are a lot of things I'm grateful for. I guess, if I had to pick… I would say it's that you made the nightmares go away. I can finally sleep peacefully. That doesn't even come close to getting through the list of what you've done for me.
Still, even if it was just for that… I could never thank you enough.
Author's note: Well... that's it. It's over. I actually finished!
I want to thank all of my incredible reviewers, who were my inspiration for keeping this story going. No, there will not be a sequel. I think I resolved mostly everything in this. However, there is something I'd like to ask. I'm considering writing another Final Fantasy XIII fanfic, but I can't seem to decide what to write. I have two choices, and I would be ecstatic if people could let me know what they want in their reviews.
1. Title: Charade. While in the Fifth Ark, the others are forced to leave Lightning behind, stranding her in Eden. In order to survive, she takes up another new name and disguise. However, things become complicated when she is picked to become the heiress of a prominent weapons manufacturing company, throwing her into the intrigue of Eden high society. Still Cid/Light, tries to show what I think Sanctum politics would have been like.
2. Title: The Tenth Pirate Lord. A Pirates of the Caribbean/Final Fantasy XIII crossover. Follows Curse of the Black Pearl. Jack Sparrow arrives in Port Royal with an unusual companion: Fang Yun, a woman with attitude and an unknown past. Meanwhile, Lightning Farron, captain of the Pulse l'Cie, is pulled into the mess when Barbossa takes her sister, Serah, hostage. Possibly a Fang/Jack pairing, just because I think that would be hilarious.
I don't know which one to pick... a little help, please? If I don't get any feedback, I won't write either one!
Again, thanks for everyone's support with They Walk Alone. See y'all later!