Claire Farron woke up, feeling dazed.

Sleepily, she opened her eyelids, and blinked a few times, with a yawn following suit. Sunlight bathed her face tenderly with a comforting warmth as she lay curled in her comfy bed, a warm blanket covering her body. Her bedroom felt warm and nice, with the orang hue of sunlight gracefully coloring the yellow-painted walls.

Claire didn't want to get out of bed, she was perfectly comfortable in her little cozy retreat. She took a lock of her hair, and started to play around with it, twisting and braiding her hair lazily. It may not seem like it, but she had always liked her hair, she loved it's natural pale pink hue, how soft and silky it is and how it made her stand out from the crowd.

Smiling to herself, she turned around and looked at the sleeping figure of her baby sister, Serah. She was sleeping soundly, with a big moogle doll in her arms. Serah had the same pink hair too. Claire loves her baby sister very much but she couldn't help but to be a bit jealous of how Serah looks a bit more girly than she does. Also how she always gets praise and constant acclaim even for achieving little things when Claire had to try harder to prove herself.

Pouting a bit, Claire wanted to drift off to Slumberland again until she heard a soft knock. Claire looked curiously at the door and got off her bed. She was careful not to make noises as she made her way to the white wooden door. She unlocked the door slowly.

A familiar figure opened the door from the other side and Claire smiled at the sight of the figure. 'He' took Claire into his arms and kissed her hair. She loved being hugged by 'him' as 'he' always felt warm and fuzzy, 'his' stubble tickling her forehead as 'he' kissed it. 'He' always smelled like something, but she couldn't quite put her finger on it. 'He' somehow smelled like warm Sunday mornings.

'He' looked over at Serah who was still sleeping and placed a finger on 'his' lips while looking at Claire. Claire imitated 'him' and nodded her head.

'He' walked slowly and sat softly on Serah's bed with Claire following suit. 'He' then placed a hand on Serah's head and stroked it lovingly as Serah opened her bright blue eyes slowly, eyelashes batting softly as she rubbed her eyes. Claire simply looked at them as 'he' kissed Serah's forehead as Serah said something while sitting up to hug 'him' with a cheerful smile.

Claire walked nearer to them and 'he' lifted her to sit with 'him' and Serah. 'He' then proceeded to hug the two of them tightly as they both struggled to keep on breathing. 'He' loved them very much, Claire knew.

Soon, the door opened again revealing another familiar figure. 'She' smiled brightly and sat on the bed, 'her' arms swung open while Claire and Serah both embraced 'her'. 'She' was beautiful, and smelled like wild roses, 'her' and Claire's favorite bloom.

The little group talked and laughed, greatly enjoying each other's company. For some reason unknown to her, Claire could barely hear a thing. She knew she was talking to them and laughing along with them but she couldn't make out what they were talking about, even what she was talking about, just noises and faint laughter.

Claire knew she was happy though. Then she held her sister's hand, smiling at her. Serah beamed back.

Then, a black shadow came and consumed everything in the room, all the happiness was blown away and the 'man' slowly faded into the darkness, Claire shouted for 'him' to come back and ran towards him as 'he' reached out his hand. She caught it for a fleeting moment. She felt 'his' hands touching hers in that fleeting moment.

Then it disappears.

She then found herself sitting in a kitchen. She was eating dinner on a cheap-looking blue table, the walls surrounding her were painted grey and it was stained. She looked downwards and saw that the tiles on the floor was showing the proof of it's abandoned state too. She sighed, hoping to get enough money one day to live in a pretty house. Just like the one she lived in when she was younger. She looked at her younger sister and watched her finish her food.

Serah then walked up to the sink and turned on the tap water as Claire walked behind her and offered to wash the dishes for her. Serah smiled and nodded, walking out of the kitchen. Claire washed the dishes until they were pristine and proceeded to leave the kitchen and into the living room. Serah was watching television while laying lazily on the couch, flipping through channels. Claire turned on the lights that lit up the gloomy interior of their small house.

She crossed her arms and glanced at the wall clock. 8.23PM.

She then decided to get some school homework done. If she wanted to provide a better life for herself, Serah and 'her' she would have to work harder. Claire walked upstairs and sub-conciously glanced towards 'her' room, to make sure she was alright. 'She' was ill, and through the small gap the door was opened, Claire saw her coughing up while she was walking from what Claire presumed to be from the bathroom. 'She' was always trying her best, fighting her illness everyday. The doctor told them that her health is steadily improving, much to Claire's happiness.

If it weren't for the illness 'she' would've been strong enough to work in a better place. Though her health is slowly improving, Claire knows that 'she' is still in a bad shape. Claire went nearer to the door, silent as the wind, and got a clearer look into the room.

'She' coughed especially hard and fell to her knees. Claire immediately burst open the door to catch 'her' before 'she' falls. She called out to Serah while 'she' smiled at her, assuring her that 'she's' fine. 'She' put a hand on Claire's face and steadily got up on her own, refusing to let Claire aid her. Serah came in with a worried expression and 'she' smiled at her while coming closer to hug 'her' girls.

Claire knew Serah was crying silently, she let out a few tears herself. She wanted to be like 'her'. A soldier. 'She' was always so strong in the midst of hardship, never wanting anyone to sympathize her and always standing her ground. 'She' was the strongest person Claire had ever known and admired her so.

Above all else, 'she' loved her and Serah. Everything 'she' did, 'she' did for her girls. Claire knew 'she' loved them, she feels it all the time even 'she' does not say the word. Claire hugged 'her' tighter with one arm as she held back the tears that was flowing down her cheek. A first step into becoming a stronger person, Claire thought, was to stop crying and actually make a change.

The other hand held Serah's hand. Assuring her that the life they lead, no matter how hard, is filled with love, as long they had 'her' as their pillar of strength.

The shadow came once again. Claire's eyes widened as she hugged 'her' tighter, refusing to let go. 'She' was pulled away from Claire by a force that was too strong for Claire to fight. But she didn't give up. The shadows can't take 'her' away from Claire. She fought with every ounce of her strength, finally collapsing on her knees as the icy cold shadows engulfed her. She tried to fight back and get to 'her' nevertheless. Claire twisted and turned screaming and struggling while reaching out as far as she can for 'her'.

But 'she' never reached back.

Lightning's eyes shot open. She sat up and clutched her face with her hands. Something wet touched her fingers and she wiped it off her face furiously, slamming her hand on her bed.

"A dream." she muttered to herself as she crashed back into her bed.

But it felt more like a memory. The memories she was forced to deal with. The memories she had pushed away deep inside her. Nobody but Serah knew of Lightning's past, and she preferred it that way. A woman's heart is wide ocean filled with secrets. Life taught her that nothing lasts, that everything is just a fleeting flash, stunning, beautiful and exciting. But in a split second, it all fades away.

Just like lightning itself.