The nurses then required that Serah be allowed to rest, and after Lightning reluctantly allowed her niece to be taken away to the nursery she went back to the lobby. She sat down heavily on the couch where Hope had been before. She placed the back of her head against the wall and sighed as she wiped the remains of the tears from her cheeks.
"How did it feel?"
She saw that Hope had returned from the delivery room and sat down next to her.
"How did what feel?"
"You know, finally saying you're sorry? That had to be a big lift off your shoulders, right?"
Though she'd never admit it, Lightning had to agree with the kid. He was right. "I'm not telling."
Hope didn't mind, "that's alright." He knew he was right.
Lightning leaned forward, patting the boy on the back, "Thanks, you know, for helping me out."
Hope shook his head as he took in a deep breath, "Don't mention it. I'm just glad it all worked out."
Again, though she had trouble with showing it, Lightning completely agreed.
Four weeks later…
Snow had two big boxes stacked in his arms, blocking his vision and relying on Hope to steer him clear of obstacles. The boy was doing a good job in a way, as there hadn't been an accident.
Snow had only one complaint though, "Light's got some heavy stuff, what is it that she insisted on keeping anyway?"
Hope shrugged his shoulders, "Hell if I know, she just said take what boxes were there. That seemed pretty straight forward, so I didn't ask what was in the boxes."
It was the second day of moving, and Snow was happy to know that Lightning decided to take only a few boxes worth of her things to his house. Soon after reconciling with Serah and Snow, Lightning decided that she wanted to move in with them, so that she wasn't far away when they needed her. Hope had smiled when he heard that bit of news, as did the new family, and felt like lending a hand.
From down the hall, sitting in a rocking chair in the living room, was new mother Serah feeding her daughter Akari a bottle of milk. Though she had been able to leave the hospital Serah still felt weak at times and was thus asked to not help with any physical work. Luckily, Lightning was there to give her a hand with the baby while the guys did all the heavy lifting.
'Speaking of Lightning,' Hope thought as he heard the front door open and close, signaling the arrival of Serah's older sister.
"Sorry that took so long, the market was pretty busy for being a Sunday," she explained, taking off her coat and hanging it on a coat rack. She went into the kitchen to put the groceries away, and tapped Hope on the top of the head so hard he nearly dropped a box with a fragile label on it that he was carrying.
"It's alright sis," Serah said before taking in a light sigh. The poor girl had been up a bit during the night to feed her daughter. Apparently the baby wasn't a heavy sleeper. Lightning admitted that it was her fault, since no one had expected her to come to her sister's house at three A.M. She had gladly stayed up to put Akari back to sleep as an apology that night.
Because of that, Serah was sleepy and wanted to take a nap.
Lightning took notice of her sister's tired complexion, "Hey little mother, go and lay down, I'll take care of her for you."
Serah smiled at the thought, but knew what would happen if she tried to interrupt Akari when she was eating, "You know how she is…"
"Yeah well, if I was pigging out and someone took my plate from under me I'd be pissed too, but this is a mommy emergency, and you need some rest," Lightning said as she offered her arms to Serah.
Serah slowly took the bottle from Akari and sure enough the baby did not like that, as she started to kick her little feet in a fit as best she could. She immediately stopped when Lightning sat down with her in the chair.
Hope had seen the attention Lightning gave Akari on a daily basis ever since she was born, and he more often than not joked about how she would spoil the kid before she was even a month old. Lightning told him to shut it, each time with a smile on her face. She knew that just might happen.
Snow came out of what was now Lightning's new room, "Okay sis, all the boxes are in your room."
Lightning looked up, "Thanks Snow."
Turning to Hope, the big man motioned towards the kitchen, "Thanks for the help Hope. Let's have something to snack on as a sign of victory."
Hope nodded once, "Sure, I'm game."
Snow smiled and started for the kitchen, but Hope remained in place, his eyes returned to Lightning. As he watched her sitting there feeding her niece he couldn't help but remember what she was like before.
'Hard to believe she was once a rebel who ran from her life and in one event she was turned around and became…a better person,' Hope thought.
It felt like it was only years ago that he had bumped into this strange girl on his way home from school, caused an accident, and the next thing he knew she had wedged herself into his life and almost took it over. He didn't know why at the time, but eventually he figured it out and in the end, it all turned out well. She had wanted happiness after her life went south, and for awhile she found it with him, but she couldn't outrun her troubles, and they caught up with her and she had to deal with them. Thank the Maker she did, and she came out smelling like roses.
"What are you thinking twerp?"
Hope snapped out of his thought with Lightning's usual teasing, "Nothing big."
She set the bottle on the table next to the rocking chair, placing little Akari up to her shoulder and patting her on the back, "Well, then you better get to the kitchen before Snow eats your snack. That guy has a mean appetite."
From the kitchen Snow hollered, "It isn't mean! I just use too much energy!"
Hope looked at Lightning and when she returned his gaze, both of them started to snicker.
Then Hope remembered something important. "Oh yeah! I forgot about this before. I'll be right back." The boy left for the kitchen while Lightning finally got Akari to let out a burp that surprised even her. She giggled as Hope came back into the room holding a bottle in his hand. He lent it out to her and she took it with her free arm.
On the small white bottle it read 'Bodhum Chocolate Milk'.
Lightning smirked; her eyes going right back to the boy who stood triumphantly before her. Instantly memories of that day came into her mind. So did the memories of the mess that covered her that day as well.
"I know it's a like a long time ago, but I do recall you saying I owed you one, so there you go."
If she had not been holding a baby Lightning would have started after Hope and give him a playful beating, but she lost this round. Instead she just smiled, "You little shit."
A/N: So, that's it huh…the story is finally over. Can't say I didn't enjoy doing this, the only disappointment for me in this whole thing was that there was never a real storyline. I blame the pressure of keeping others happy when the story should have been consistent. To those who were disappointed I apologize, but as this was the first story I have done to receive such attention I guess I buckled under the pressure. Well, like Abraham Lincoln, learn from your mistakes and hope to never repeat them. Anyway, I'll be looking into what to do next. Thanks to all those who stuck around through the last two years and stayed with the story all the way! Hope you guys keep on reading, it helps a great deal! See you later!