A/N – In the wake of my FFXIII fics and kink fics, I decided I wasn't done with Snow and Lightning yet. I love this pairing so much that I couldn't just stop... but I also wanted to write a theme challenge. So this is what I've come up with; a Snow and Lightning tale that will span over all 100 themes. Overly ambitious? Perhaps. I will update when I have the time in between other stuff I do and since I am planning for short updates, they'll be a nice change of pace.

That being said... I hope you enjoy


Introduction

Serah Farron had been trying to get a hold of her older sister for nearly a month. It wasn't unusual for Claire to not return her calls; in fact, it was what she had come to expect from her sibling. Over the last couple years Claire had been increasingly withdrawn, and while it concerned her, she kept telling herself that her sister was an adult and Serah should know better than to pry. Still, she couldn't help but be anxious about what was going on in that pink-haired head of hers.

Setting the paint roller down in the tray, she climbed a rickety stepladder to tear away a strip of blue tape that had been protecting the moulding around the room. Slowly, carefully, she pulled it back, balling up the used up stuff with her free hand. Tossing the crude blue sphere onto the plastic covered floor, she descended the ladder and gave the same treatment to the baseboards at her feet.

Claire had been on her mind all day and it was apparent, even to herself, that her attention span suffered for it.

Concern wasn't the only thing she felt when she thought about Claire. Of course it wasn't. She loved her sister dearly and owed her a debt that she was afraid she could never repay, but lately there was a great deal of guilt too. Surely Claire couldn't have been happy away from her only family, could she? It had been her choice to stay on Cocoon within the ranks of the newly formed Corps, but her decision had never sat right with Serah. They'd never really talked about her sister's reasons for staying behind, and once again, Serah knew better than to try and force the issue. So she didn't.

Then there was Snow.

She heaved a sigh.

Claire still didn't get a long with her soon-to-be husband; tension was still as thick as ever when they were in the same room, which thankfully wasn't very often. Claire had never given him much of a chance, and Serah didn't think that was very fair of her. They'd left Cocoon for Pulse soon after the fall of the Sanctum. Claire was predictably upset when she told her sister they were planet hopping; maybe she felt Snow was taking her away and that's what made her so upset, or perhaps her opinion of him hadn't really changed after their forced close-quarters journey together.

In any case, Snow, as the head of NORA had made a business decision to begin work on Pulse, but in order to do that, they had to set roots there. Sadly, their departure from Cocoon only wound the strings of tension that much tighter within her lone sisterly relationship. It was so frustrating. Everything seemed so logical and simple yet made things so complicated with Claire.

To Snow and Serah's credit, however, they'd been together for years – the longest relationship for each of them – and things were still going strong. They had spats and disagreements about this and that which were resolved easily due to Snow's easy-going, eager to please attitude, but along the way, they had their fair share of surprises and unexpected events...

Though in spite of the stability Snow had provided to her on Pulse, once again, Serah was terrified. In fact, she might have been more terrified about this recent piece of news than she was back when she had to break the news about her l'Cie brand.

There was no way to know what Claire might say about this.

Wiping her brow with the back of her forearm, she surveyed the room. She was no professional, but the paint job wasn't half bad if she was any judge. A delicate yellow – reminded her of sunshine and daisy centres – was the colour choice for this room. A smile tugged at her lips when she thought about all the things that would happen in this space. She would see to it that it would be perfect. A cute border of cheery flowers and baby animals, happy curtains fluttering in the country breeze, a rocking chair and over in the corner would be...

Serah's smile twisted into a frown.

Eyeing her phone laying on a small push cart, the petite woman wondered if Claire had called in the last couple hours while she'd been working in the house. Serah already knew the answer, but still dreaded to look.

Snow had found a lovely plot of land outside of one of the many newly forming cities on Pulse. Never one for the hustle and bustle of city life, Snow jumped on the opportunity. Serah couldn't disagree. After all, the country would be a nice place to live, inexpensive, wide open spaces, fresh air... A perfect place to raise the family that Snow so dearly wanted.

Yes, they would be happy here...

Nearly jumping out of her skin as strong arms snaked around her waist, she shrieked in surprise. But out here it could only be one person who had touched her.

Sweeping her up into his arms all too easily, Snow cuddled her against his chest as she giggled and wiggled.

"Snow! You scared me half to death!"

A warm chuckle rumbled through his chest and she stopped squirming, choosing instead to press her ear against him to listen to the beating of his heart. It was always so steady and strong, and sometimes while they lay together in bed late at night, often when sleep wouldn't come for her, that predictable rhythm lulled her into dreams.

Not just that, but it gave her courage to listen to it knowing how many times that heart; the centre of his courage, had kept the people they cared about safe. He wasn't just a hero, he was her hero. He always would be.

Setting her gently back down on her feet, he placed an affectionate kiss on her forehead, a single calloused finger tracing down the side of her cheek. When he finally tore his eyes from his beloved's face, he glanced around the room.

"Whoa...You were right. That is a pretty colour."

When they had bought the paint, he was skeptical; thought it might be too bright and distracting, but now that it was on the wall, it looked appropriate.

"Isn't it?" Serah said knowingly, perhaps a bit self-satisfied. "How is everything going outside?"

"Good!" he grinned proudly. "I've finished laying the boards for the deck. Tomorrow the guys will be in to help out and then..."

As Snow's voice droned in her ear, Serah's eyes drifted back to the compact handset sitting untouched on the cart. Maybe she'd call Claire again. It couldn't hurt. She'd leave another message, to accompany the one she left this morning; say the same old thing she always said...

Another heavy sigh.

Why did Claire always have to make things so hard? Moreover, why did she have to be so afraid of her big sister; of what she'd say, of the disapproving looks, the quiet, awkward tension between the three of them... all of it was exhausting.

"...Serah."

A warm touch on her face brought her eyes back around.

"Hmmm?"

"Has Lightning answered yet?"

Diverting her eyes, she shook her head. "I'm starting to get worried about her, Snow."

Wrapping his arms around her again, he nuzzled his nose into her scented hair. "I'm sure she's fine." His lips on the top of her head were comforting. "Let's call it a day. I'll make supper tonight, and you just relax. Sound good?"

Serah forced a smile, pulling out of his embrace. "Sure. Let me call her again though."

"Do you want me to take you?"

"Naw, I'm okay. I won't be long, so you better have dinner well on the way when I get back... or else." she teased, grabbing the piece of plastic from the cart on the way out the door.

Living out in the middle of nowhere was charming and relaxing, but it had its downsides. Having to travel a half hour into town for supplies and groceries was slightly inconvenient, but worse was the fact that they didn't have any communication towers in the area yet, so their phone never had a signal at the house. They were assured that the necessary steps were being taken so that coverage would be provided, but to supply all of Pulse would take time. Serah just hoped it wouldn't take forever. Luckily, there was a hill nearby to the house that Serah managed to get some weak service on.

For the past month she called only occasionally, but everyday this week she'd parked on top of that hill everyday and placed a call to her sister. And for the past week all her calls had gone unanswered and unreciprocated.

One more time...

She dialed, and it rang. ... and rang. The automated service picked up, instructing her to leave a message after the tone.

She did.

As always.

"Hey, Claire. It's me again. I wanted to talk to you... Snow and I are having a get together next weekend and I'd like for you to be there."

We have some news... she added in her head, thinking better of actually saying it out loud.

"Don't forget that I don't get service at the house, but you can still leave a message."

Serah hesitated for a long second.

"I'm worried about you, Sis. Please call me. I love you."

Another pause before she flipped the phone closed and tossed it on the passenger's seat. It felt too heavy to hold, and her arms too weak under its burden. Absently scratching the slightly reddened but otherwise perfectly restored skin where her l'Cie brand used to be, she started back down the road to their peaceful home.