Summary: What if Fang had told Lightning she intended to turn into Ragnarok if it meant saving Cocoon? What would they say during their last moments together?
A/N: My first Flight! Honestly, these two are a force of nature. Their personalities are such that any moment of them together is an excellent one.
Anyways, in the game, I was a little miffed that Fang and Vanille didn't even hint at all about turning into Ragnarok and leaving their friends. Don't get me wrong! What they did was beyond admirable, and understandably such a scene would've been a spoiler and given away the ending. But I like to think that one of them confided to at least another of their friends what an immense task they were going to try and accomplish-and why they had to do it. After all, it's not like Fang or Vanille to leave without saying goodbye.
Disclaimer: SE is the genius behind Final Fantasy, I am merely borrowing a fraction of it.
This is Not Goodbye
Four of the six l'Cie collapsed onto the grass-covered slope, a slope so green that it could've only existed on Gran Pulse. Long shadows were casted by the six companions from the late afternoon sun. Exhausted and tired, they knew that tomorrow was going to be an even longer day.
"So we're really going back to Cocoon, huh?" Hope asked, a slight tremor in his voice. He tried to sound confident, he really did.
"A hero's got to do what a hero's got to do," Snow winked.
"The plan doesn't sound like it'll have too many rest stops," Sazh said, wincing as he stretched his exhausted muscles and laid on his back.
"No, it won't. I think you all should rest here. Fang and I'll scout around." Lightning's eyes went around her friends. They were some troopers for having gone this far.
"Thanks for volunteerin' me, Light."
"You're the only one who still hasn't sat down yet."
"I was just makin' sure I wasn't going to sit on a chocobo." Fang jokingly defended, but she went with Lightning anyways. Fang could almost physically feel the exhaustion radiating from the others.
"Thanks guys!" Vanille tried to muster a cheerful tone, but had to stifle a yawn. "I would go, but, gotta take care of everyone here. You know. Responsibilities!"
"Don't exert yourself too much." Fang teased.
"Let's go, Fang, before it gets too dark."
"Yes, sir, Sunshine!" Fang mockingly saluted, then narrowly avoid Lightning's undercut swing and forged ahead, down the slope.
Fang kept alert, "Doesn't look too dangerous. Reckon we might find some dinner?"
Fang nodded, used to the soldier's lack of verbosity. They walked in silence some more, Fang's thoughts straying to what they would have to do tomorrow. "Hey, Light?"
"Just so I got things straight. We're goin' to fly to Cocoon, overthrow the government, march into Orphan's Cradle, and topple Orphan as well? After that Cocoon will be as good as saved?"
"That's our plan so far."
Fang laughed, "Well, sounds easy enough."
They hiked some more and happened upon the edge of a lake in which they began strolling around its perimeter, hoping something large would swim up and be their next meal.
"But, Barthandelus said that if Orphan is destroyed, a force unlike anythin' we'll see will be unleashed." Fang was still not understanding how exactly this plan will save Cocoon.
"At least Cacoon will be rid of the parasite that is Orphan. Imagine a world where no one need be branded a l'Cie" Lightning reasoned.
"Yeah, that would be nice, except for the fact that there might not be a world in the first place."
Lightning stopped her search and turned around, "What do you mean?"
"I mean that if we destroy Orphan, what will hold Cocoon together? Would Orphan release a force so powerful that it'll destroy Cocoon?"
"We'll have to see. I don't know if you know, but destroying Orphan has never been done." Lightning sighed. "We should just take it one step at a time. A well-formed plan hasn't always brought me the best of luck. Usually no plans at all work best."
"Right, 'since when do heroes ever need a plan?'" Fang smirked, quoting Snow.
Lightning just shook her head as Fang laughed, knowing she was getting under the soldier's skin.
Seeing nothing in the lake, the two adept fighters began heading towards the dense trees in the distance, adamant that they will bring the group back at least some form of food, even if not entirely edible.
Fang was still deep in thought, "Let's say Cocoon does lose its ground, or explodes, or whatever it is that will harm it. What if one of us turns into Ragnarok, not to destroy, but to protect Cocoon?"
"I won't let that happen to any of us."
"But if two of us wants to."
Lightning turned, "Who says I want to be Ragnarok?"
Fang rolled her eyes, "Not everythin' is about you, Sunshine." Lightning bristled. Fang laughed. "Vanille and I haven't talked about it, but I'm sure she feels the same way. We'll both turn into Ragnarok if it means savin' Cocoon."
"But Cocoon isn't even your home, why would you do that?"
Fang was thoughtful for a moment then asked, "If you knew the right thing to do, even if it was the harder choice, would you do it?"
Lightning didn't answer, but her eyes held the truth-her response to such a burdensome question. They all carried a burden-the price of being branded a l'Cie.
Both were quiet for a moment, the starkness of their reality still weighing on them. The responsibilities of saving the world lay heavy on their mind.
"You ever wonder if we weren't made a l'Cie, Light? If we didn't have to stroll around from planet to planet findin' a way to save our enemies and friends?" Fang closed her eyes, a small smile lighting her face, "It would be so calm and normal. We could actually laugh, have fun, grow old…without a care in world. I might've even had a cute chocobo pet, or gone on a proper date…"
Lightning had never actually thought about it. She didn't usually make it a habit to dwell on the hypotheticals. But, with Fang's questions, she now began to wonder. Yes, life would be easier. Sereh wouldn't be in crystal form now, with Lightning's disbelieving and angry last words on her mind. They could've lived in a simple house-maybe even Snow would be living with them- just work and each other occupying their lives, happy memories with a few friends, fun times doing memorable activities.
But…if she wasn't a l'Cie, she would have never met and bonded with her five friends. She would have never known the beauty and wildness of the world that was Gran Pulse. She would have never pushed herself and found just how much she could accomplish.
She would have never met Fang.
Fang who had changed her, who was her equal in so many ways, who was the same as her and yet so different. Her experience on trust, respect, friendship, and love were now forever changed.
"I wouldn't have it any other way." Lightning said, "It's been difficult, that cannot be denied. But, these moments as a l'Cie has shown me more than I ever would have known. Besides," Lightning arched her eyebrow, "we get trusty, powerful battle companions," she was referring to Odin and Bahamut.
"I must admit, I do love riding that dragon, and you look great on that horse."
A small blush appeared on Lightning's cheeks.
"Also," Fang smirked suggestively, "how many people can say they've lived 521 years and look this good?"
Lightning gave a small smile and shook her head, "Your hair looks like it's been through 521 years of mess."
Fang gave a hearty laugh, enjoying this side of Lightning that was rarely shown to others. "Don't get me started on appearances! I mean, what heroine only has half a cape?" Fang was courageously gloating and had to avoid another right-handed swing from the soldier.
They had walked deep into the woods now, the variety of vegetation and trees were not quite as densely spaced as a typical forest, but the light was still dimmed by the vast overgrowth above.
Fang continued, now entirely serious, "We're headin' to Orphan's cradle tomorrow. Sazh is right, there may not be many rest stops." Fang paused, then willed herself to go on, "I just want to say-"
"Don't." Lightning could barely breathe. "Don't say it, Fang."
That warrior had no right, no damn right, to leave this soldier behind.
Memories flashed unbidden through Lightning's mind.
The cocky warrior was smirking. "Yellin' doesn't fix it." She was pointing at the cell-phone like device. "It's called interference. You can chitchat when we get there."
Lightning glared at the tall woman. Who was she?
The brunette continued, "And see if you can't cool that head of yours."
That brash warrior dared tell Lightning what to do! "Who are you?" the soldier demanded.
"I've got a few screws loose, same as you."
Lightning had the strong urge to hit the woman. "What! I-"
"I'm a l'Cie. Only difference is I'm from Gran Pulse. If not for this brand you and I share, we'd be enemies." Did the tall Pulsian just wink at her?
Lightning would've disliked the woman immediately. Except, that she couldn't. As they continued to talk, something in the warrior's easy going nature, her openness about her past, and her jest for life made Fang seem trusting. And yet, as laid back as the warrior was, her confidence, skill, and arrogance met Lightning's own strong personality head on, effectively tempering Lightning's quickness to anger.
A connection was formed.
"Feel any better now that you hit me?" Fang asked with a wince.
Lightning had not meant to slap her, maybe. Even if she did, the matter concerned her sister. She had every right to!
And then Lightning felt that familiar pain every time she thought of Serah-the sharp sensation of guilt and sorrow –an emotional sword that stabbed her heart. The soldier sighed and said reluctantly, "It didn't change anything."
The tall brunette twitched and rubbed the sore spot. "Tell that to my jaw."
Lightning had to hand it to the warrior, Fang was still jesting even after her ego and cheek had been bruised. Maybe Lightning did need to calm her temper…
"I wish I had a plan. With nothing to fight for, I might as well be dead." Lightning didn't know what made her say that. All she knew was that this warrior was making her too expressive.
"What about your sister? You've got plenty to fight for! Don't you want to see Serah, after she wakes up?" Fang asked.
Of course Lightning did. What kind of question was that? She had just never thought about it before. Lightning remembered the way Fang talked about Vanille, protective and caring-Fang was devoted to that kid.
Lightning sighed and closed her eyes, remembering that, at a time when Serah needed her most, doubt and anger was Lightning's only response. She had failed them both miserably.
And that was it. That was the thing that kept Lightning going through the entire journey. She needed to see Serah again. Sure, she wanted to see the bright smile that always greeted her, to feel the comforting hugs that stayed her inner turmoil, to just LOOK at Serah for another moment.
But above all that, she needed to see Serah one more time-to tell her that she was sorry.
Yes, she definitely had someone worth living for.
Lightning didn't know how to express all that had gone through her mind. Fang had been an integral part of her through this grave journey. The warrior was the rock on which the soldier could rely on-her foundation when things became too shaky. Fang had changed her for the better.
Could Lightning prevent her two friends from being Ragnarok? She had sworn to fight against her Focus, made a pledge to topple Orphan, vowed to see Serah again, and in short accomplish things that had never been done before.
So why couldn't she assure Fang that Ragnarok was not needed? A quiet voice in the back of her head told her the answer. Ragnarok was the only way to keep the promise of making the impossible possible. Ragnarok was needed.
Fang had been watching Lightning, reading her subtle movements, understanding what was not being said, "Don't worry, Light. I know."
"No, wait. Please. I've been meaning to say this for a while." Lightning took a shaky breathe, looking off into the distance, her keen blue eyes meeting the blue of the sky.
"If you and Vanille want to be Ragnarok, no one, not even I, could stop you two. But, we've been through a lot together and you've always helped me through it all." Lightning swallowed, "You've been a lot to me. I'm not going down without a fight."
"I never said I was either, Light."
Lightning nodded, holding back something much bigger than she wanted to know.
Lightning turned, she couldn't bring herself to look into those fiery, green eyes. "Yes Fang?"
"You've been a lot to me too. More than I've shown." Fang whispered, "More than I've let myself say."
Their eyes met. Torrents of emotions, of unsaid words, of feelings long felt were being expressed. And yet, neither one could say goodbye.
The two skilled fighters brought plenty back for dinner. The six friends enjoyed one another's company in the festivities. An undercurrent of darker emotions was dared not expressed by anyone. Why ruin a good night? The group had much to celebrate.
At long last they had a definite goal, if possibly a final destination. They were going to topple an oppressive government and save Cocoon! They were going to fight and defeat their Focus- never having to worry or carry the burden of being a l'Cie again.
Fang was set on everyone having drinks filled with the leaves of herbs that seemed to have strong disinhibiting properties. Hope made a lengthy toast and everyone drank merrily. Snow seemed to have too much. Lightning not enough. Vanille served everyone seconds and, in Snow's case, fourths of the lovely meal she prepared. Sazh made jokes all night, some that were funny, others not quite as much. Everyone laughed merrily either way.
Lightning, leader and bearer of responsibilities, had to end the night fairly early-for they would have a long day tomorrow. Reluctantly they bade one another a good night, and the snores of four exhausted travelers soon filled the air.
Fang and Lightning lay awake, even though today had been an especially long one and fatigue seemed to pierce through their core leaving a dull ache in their bones.
Fang tossed and turned until she was staring across the camp at the back of Lightning's head. That soldier. She had saved Fang from her own despair and, in the process, tamed her dragon, Bahamut. She had fought alongside her, their skills so similar and yet so complementary that they acted as one in the battlefield.
Lightning, strong and stubborn, had helped her save Vanille from the Airfleet's pride, the Palamecia, without question, after only briefly meeting Fang. The pink-haired soldier was the only person Fang knew who would try to take on an entire airship with just three people.
Fang remembered how, just the other day, she and Lightning had smoothly jumped out of a falling aircraft, with an ease only those two could exude at that velocity, and together summoned her dragon to save Hope and Vanille.
Lightning had done an excellent job of leading their group with grace and strength, holding the group together through the toughest emotional and physical moments. Her fighting skills alone saved them all countless times. How could Fang even think of leaving such a woman?
But Fang knew why. Deep down, she knew that being Ragnarok would bring Dajh back to Sazh, would bring Serah back to Snow-and to Lightning. If it meant bringing happiness back to Lightning, then yes, Ragnarok was her path. They would save millions of families.
Two people for the humanity of millions. It wasn't fair, but it was right.
Lightning turned in her restlessness as well. Both of their eyes met, a sea of blue and green was all they saw, hazy from the smoke of the dying embers that drifted between them. In those emerald eyes, Lightning saw that Fang had made up her mind. Her eyebrows furrowed slightly but she nodded. The corner of Fang's lips twitched in response, a ghost of both a smile and a frown. It was not the best of farewells, but the two couldn't offer any more. At long last rest finally took them and they fell asleep staring into each other's eyes.
Hope ran down the gentle, grass-covered hill. Serah was in Snow's arms. Dajh was atop his father's shoulders. Hope stopped. But where was Fang? Where was his good friend Vanille?
He recalled Vanille's contagious laughter, her overly jaunty smile, and her spritely walk-a walk that was almost a dance.
"They're gone aren't they?" Hope whispered, swallowing the lump in his throat.
"Hey…" He felt a strong arm comfortingly grip his shoulder and knew it was Lightning.
Hope tried to smile, thinking of Vanille's enthusiastic optimism and unwavering cheerfulness, "Then again, we've changed our fate before."
Lightning tried to sound confident, remembering Fang's fierce willfulness and reckless determination, "Yes. We have."
And then a petite figure was running towards Lightning. Long legs, thin arms, and a smile Lightning knew so well, because that was the same smile she saw in her mind every moment of her journey.
Serah crashed into Lightning, barely moving the soldier. "I've missed you!"
Lightning's throat was tight, "Serah, I'm sorry."
"It's okay." The voice was soft, genuine. There was no malice, only affection.
Lightning thanked Fang and Vanille for this moment. But now that the pain of guilt and sorrow had gone, a new pain had formed.
This was the pain born of lost love.
Well, hopefully I've conveyed the emotional aspect of what it took to be able to turn into Ragnarok, knowing the consequences. I meant to have more diaglogue between Fang and Lightning, but these two are not the most conversational folks. Let me know what y'all think please!