All things Final Fantasy are owned by Square Enix and I own nothing of them.
Somehow I feel I own an apology to anyone waiting for me to finish Unnatural Progression. I am sorry but you know how you some of those days, well I've been having some of those months. Works not going well for me and with the economy like it is it's stressful time.
Long story short Stress=Writers Block. Absolutely hellish writers block.
This fic is first time I could get something down in weeks. Turns out dusting off the old PS2 and throwing in FFXII was the jump start I needed.
Bound by Love and Karma.
Go to Her. She needs you. No matter what it take you must go to Her.
Hope woke up with a start. It was that same voice, that same familiar voice specking to him every night. The voice of a young man Hope never heard before but that he somehow 'knew'. Shaking his head to clear his thought Hope got up from his bed roll and walked out into the cool night air.
It was a year after the fall of Cocoon and Hope was living with Lightning, Serah and Snow it a small settlement of Bodhum survives. The beach was dotted with both portable and makeshift housing. Already you could see the start of a city.
Hope walked out to the shore of the beach and took a deep breath of sea air.
"You know I don't see much point in my staying up all night on guard duty if your not going to sleep."
Hope smiled and forgot his troubles for a moment. He was probably the only one who heard the faint joking undercurrent of the chiding tone. He turned around to face Lightning who was standing behind him with her arms folded.
"Are you all right Hope?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. I just needed so air."
The look on Lightning's face softened to one of worry. "No your not. This is the fifth time this week you steeped out for some air? Something's keeping you from sleeping."
Hope smiled and wived a finger at Lightning. "Shouldn't you be worrying about the monsters outside the village instead of the restless youth breaking curfew."
If teasing Lightning was Hope's way of trying to make her go away it didn't work. "Talk to me Hope. We're close enough that we can talk or am I not real family to you?"
Hope turned away feeling ashamed. "That's low putting me on the spot like this?"
"I can't help it if your being willful and stubborn."
"Light, I'm hearing voice in my head at night. It's a man's voice I don't remember hearing him but somehow a part of me knows him."
"What's he saying to you?"
"It's like it's calling to me to leave. It's telling me to go to her."
Hope blushed as if he was smitten. "Yeah. I don't know who she or even what her name is but I feel his love of her as if it was my own. Funny right?"
Lightning was not amused. Her friend was being haunted by some otherworldly voice and swooning over a some nonexistent girl. It didn't help that Lightning's jealously, a feeling she told herself was just her over-protectiveness of Hope, flared up. "Come on Hope. I'll make you some tea and tuck you back into bed. We can talk more about this in the morning."
Hope was about to take Lightning up on that when he saw something down the breach. A young man out of place in this world but Hope knew, just knew that it was his voice he'd been hearing. "Light that's him! The guy who's voice I keep hearing."
Lightning looked where Hope was pointing but saw nothing. "There's no one there Hope."
Hope however could see him clearly. His white armor with ornate gold, his short pale blond hair and gray steely eyes. He also had a blue halo of light around him as if he wasn't really here. The man held out hand and Hope knew he had to follow and he took off running.
"Hope wait!" Lightning ran after him.
Suddenly a bright ball of white light exploded just off shore. Lightning had to cover her eyes to keep from being blinded. When her vision cleared she saw something amazing. An eight foot tall wolf with white fur and sliver armor standing on top of the water as if it was land. It wasn't a Fal'cie but it had the same majestic bearing they had. It walked slowly to shore were Hope was waiting for it, the boy was seemingly transfixed by the beast.
"Come and let my power be as a treaty between us." the wolf nodded his head as if beckoning Hope to follow it back into the sea.
Hope took a step into the water and his foot stood on top of the water as if was solid ground.
Lightning ran after Hope into the surf but unlike him she waded into the water like normal. "Hope! Come back! Please!" Lightning cried out as she traded water as best as she could. Her armor and gunblade were dragging her down and she couldn't keep up with Hope as he strolled along the top of the water.
In a desperate last effort Lightning managed to raies up out of the water and grab Hope's hand. It was odd him standing still on top of water while she was treading the water under his feet. "Damn it Hope say something!"
"Don't follow me..." was all Hope said. His words were like ice and Lightning almost let go out of numb shock.
Hope seemed to snap out of whatever trance he was in as he turned to face Lightning. "Don't follow me because you can't. Fenrir only came here for me." He looked form Lightning over the the wolf.
"I don't understand."
"I don't either but I'm not afraid. I have you the thank for that Light. You showed me how to be brave but I feel like I'm needed somewhere else."
Lightning grabbed Hope's wrist tighter. "Don't go Hope, your needed here too."
"We both no that not true Light. Everyone one here depends on you. Snow and Serah depend on each other. You all make me feel so loved here but I'm alone. I have no family left or any ties to this place."
Hope was about to push Lightning away when she said something that stopped him. "I depend on you Hope. I need, no, I want you to stay. Your not the only one how hates being left behind."
Hope knelt down and cupped Lightning's face in his hands. You could see that he was fighting back some tears. "You know I was going to walk out and be all cool about this till you said that. You really don't fight fair do you Light?" Hope leaned forward and surprised Lightning with a kiss.
As Hope kissed Lightning he then took off his teal bandana and tied it around her wrist. "You never make anything easy for me Light, even saying good-bye."
Hope then let go of Lightning and let the waves carry her back to shore. Lightning tried her best to fight her way back to where Hope was but it was useless.
Hope turned back to the Fenrir . "Let's go."
The wolf nodded and both it and Hope were wrapped up in a ball of white light and disappeared.
Everyone in town had seen the light and rushed out to see what was going on. Snow and Serah stood by the waters edge as they saw Hope get swallowed up in a ball of light. Several moments later Lightning came crawling up form the surf.
"Sis!" both Serah and Snow said as the ran to her.
Lightning pushed Snow away as he tried to help her up. "Lightning what happened? Where's Hope?"
"I don't understand, where has Hope gone!" Snow asked again.
"I don't know. That thing took him and... … … I failed. Once again I couldn't protect anyone."
Serah knelt down next to her sister and hugged her. "Don't say that Claire. You never let me down even after all that happened to me. I know you and your not going to give up. We'll find out where he went and then will get him back. You'll save Hope like you saved me, right."
Lightning heard was Serah was saying but it didn't matter. Right now the only sure fact was that Hope was gone. She looked down and saw Hope's bandana still tired tightly around her wrist.
Hope woke up to the taste of sand in his mouth. He was laying face down in a sand dune and it wasn't a beach sand but a desert. Hope got to his feet and bushed himself off. Where ever he was he was sure that this was not Gran Pules. The clear blue sky was void of all clouds and sun beat down on him mercilessly. Most notable of all was the lack of the crystallized ball of Cocoon that dominated any Pules sky.
Looking around Hope saw that the sand was stable were he was but there where large pools of it that seemed to suck everything down. He would have to avoid those parts. With out any map or even an idea of were to go Hope follow the first safe path he found and let his feet make the decision for him. However he was completely unprepared for desert travel and the hot sun. After a while Hope passed out from the heat.
A few hours later Hope heard voices, real voices talking.
"What do you think we should do about him?" a gruff voice asked.
"What do you me what? We just couldn't leave him there to die." a softer and more feminine voice responded.
Hope sat up and found himself in a tent with two people. Both of their face's bodies were hidden under desert cloaks.
"Good he's awake." the shorter and more feminine one said.
"Wonderful, now we have to take even more responsibility for it." the larger one said sarcastically.
"Shush you! What's your name Hume?" the shorter one handed Hope a canteen of water.
There was something very recognizable about these two. It was more then their friendly banter but something about these two reminded him of Vanille and Fang. That feeling of familiarity put Hope at ease.
Hope drank his fill from the canteen and handed it back. "Thank you, Vanille."
"Vanille? Is that your name?"
"What, no sorry. it's you just reminded me of a good friend named Vanille. My name's Hope."
The larger one laughed deep a throaty. "Your name is Hope? That's not much of an improvement over Vanille if you ask me."
The shorter one bowed apologetically to Hope. "Sorry but I'm not this Vanille person. My name is Caelina. My agreeable friend here is Shaja."
Caelina pulled off her cloak and much to Hope's surprise two large furry ears flopped out for the hood. Caelina was some kind of bunny girl. Light rose colored hair and dark tan skin. She wore the red tunic of a red mage and had on knee high black boots.
Unable to resist Hope reached out to touch one of her long ears. A little pull and yelp of pain from Caelina confirmed that they were indeed real. "Ouch! What gives? It's like you never seen a Viera before."
"I haven't." Hope said honestly.
Shaja laughed. "Then don't let this shock you to much." Under Shaja's cloak was a lizard person. Sky blue scales for skin and waring dark blue Dragoon armor. Now even give all the strange things Hope had seen this took him a while to process.
"A talking lizard."
Shaja rose up as if ready to attack. "What did you just call me Hume!"
Caelina quickly put herself between Hope and her friend. "I'm sure Hope didn't mean anything by it. If he doesn't know what a Viera is then it's reasonable that he's never seen a Bangaa."
Shaja took settled down but only slightly. "Listen boy I'll only say this once. I'm a Bangaa and we do not like being called Lizards. I would watch what you say from now on ."
Hope apologized. "Yes I'll be more aware of that. Thank you Mr Shaja."
Caelina sighed and rubbed her forehead. "Oh no..."
Shaja eye twitched in renewed annoyances. "I'M A WOMAN! Can't you tell by my shapely hips, the sexy curve of my back hump and the eloquent shape of my snout! They are all clear signs of a refined and graceful Bangaa woman!"
"Calm down Shaja. Most non-Bangaa can't tell the differences between male and female Bangaa on sight alone. I wouldn't know myself if you hadn't told me."
Shaja snorted in discontent. "I can't stand that the only way a Hume male can judge a woman is by the size of those milk glands hanging ridiculous off a woman's chest." Shaja pointed a clawed finger at Caelina's breast. "How can you even stand being so unbalanced with those things flopping all over the place!"
Caelina blushed and covered herself defensively. "Leave me out of this!"
Their fight was cut short by Hope's laughter. "Goddess you two just remind me so much of my friends. Vanille who was always so cheerful and like to be the peacemaker of our little group and Fang ever pragmatic and blunt." seeing those two like that Hope got the feeling that they would be fast friends.
Shaja sat down in front of Hope and fix him with an appraising gaze. "So what's your story then Hope."
"It's a long story."
"It's a long night."
Hope nodded and started to speak. "I guess I should start by telling you about my home..."
So I really don't know what to say about this. The fan chariters Caelina and Shaja are stand-ins for Vanille and Fang. Ideally I would have made Caelina a moogle as that would fit Vanille carefree personalty much better then a Viera. Viera are so cold for such cute bunny girls.
Also I would have like to make Shaja as Mithra but their not in XII so she's a Bangaa. It works out as I think a Bangaa is a good fit for Fang, she was already so masculine.
As I diehard Hope/Light fan this was fun to write. Hope's leaving almost felt like he was dumping Lightning. Which is fine as that's kind of the plot here.
I don't know how I'm going to swing it but I am aiming for a Ashe/Hope hookup here.
I hope you enjoyed it and please review.