Sky stroked Vanille's bare back, enjoying the soft purr that rumbled her small body. She brushed back her hair, revealing that heavenly, angelic face she'd wake to the rest of her life.

Sky watched her for a while, smiling faintly with Vanille's sleepy mumbling. She kissed her lover's forehead and, after a time, stood from the bed, being careful not to disrupt the blankets too much.

Vanille's warm scent blanketed the room, making Sky inexplicably happy and cozy to share it with her. Sky crossed to the door, deciding on their breakfast this morning. Vanille would like that. Sky's heart glowed.

Vanille had to be pregnant this time. She must be.

Her missing fallow would tell soon enough. Sky could hardly wait for it.

Whipping up some eggs on the stove, Sky threw in some bits of meat, pepper, and seasoned vegetables to flavor it up. Stupid Cocoon food all tasted like clay. She reached for the salt and started dumping it, then paused. Fang was still away. Hawke was there instead. Spirits forbid, she should wear clothes with that sex junkie around. Sky grunted, dissatisfied by the notion of having to clothe in her own house.

"You must be the roommate."

Sky whirled, darting eyes zipping to the stranger, a blonde chick in her panties who appeared suddenly, much too close. Her eyes scanned Sky impressively, lingering on the tribal tattoo that curved down the middle of her back. "Nice tat."

Sky couldn't believe she hadn't smelt her before. Cocoon so close, sharing in her home. Sky didn't know how to interact with it. "Hawke's girl," She turned back to her food and quickly spilled the pan's contents to a plate.

"Are you equipped too?"

Sky gave her the most incredulous look. "You can't tell?"

"Ooh, you are." The girl noted, eyes drawn to the half-turned spot. Sky dumped the pan to sink rather harshly to start back to her room, but the girl had filled that space with her body. "Hawke tells me you're quite the animal." She reached back deftly and unclasped her bra. "Good thing I like being dominated."

Screw nakedness. "Hawke!" Sky barked, cornered between the counter and wall. "Your stripper's creaming!"

"I amm, aren't I?" Her hands were on Sky's shoulders then, body pressing. Sky held up the plates she and Vanille were supposed to eat. "Cream me, Yunn."

"Hawke!"

The front door opened where Fang paused in entry, eying the unknown blonde glued to Sky's body. It struck her instantly dumb.

"Get it off!" Sky snarled, trying to preserve two plates, trying not to touch her.

Fang jumped the counter and gently gripped her, pulling her back effortlessly to around the counter. "Hawke's over there," Fang patted encouragingly.

"Three of you?" The girl's scent poured strong.

"Hawke…"

"Monica!" Hawke rushed from the bedroom, "Baby, who let you out?"

Monica attached to her like a full frontal Siamese. "Hawke," Monica's mouth similarly stuck to her. "I love youu. I love your dick."

"I need a shower," Sky shuddered, crossing back to her room.

"You smell great!" The door slammed to Hawke's compliment. She gave Fang an incredulous eye over Monica's slender shoulder. "She didn't even bone!"

Fang just shook her head. "Hurry it up. We're taking you out today."

Hawke brushed away her panties like feathers. "Not a problemm."

Monica squeaked.

XXX

You have the weirdest places here. Vanille texted, strolling through the shopping center with her three friends.

Where are you at? Serah scrawled back from the midst of lecture.

Someone mentioned it's called a Maw in passing.

You're going shopping without me? Ohh, I want to be there! (PS: It's Mall)

Vanille could practically hear her groan. We'll pick you up from University when your class is out.

Prof's back. I'll see you in a couple hours, Vanille.

Vanille smiled and pocketed her phone, looking up to her strolling companions again. "Where do you guys wanna go?"

"I'm hungry," Sky complained, hand over her stomach, which did not favor the readjustment back to Cocoon cuisine.

"I brought some power bars," Vanille reached into the suspicious satchel she hung over her shoulder that morning. "They say they're carb-filled energy bars, staves hunger for hours."

"I want something from Gran Pulse," Sky grumbled.

"I want one!" Hawke gladly took one from Vanille, and Fang next. Sky's stomach growled at her. Vanille smilingly handed her one too.

"Thanks," Sky mumbled, moving an arm around Vanille.

Vanille caught sight of a display and watched it longingly as they passed. "We should look at clothes…"

"Y," Hawke chuckled, "That's a funny name to term a place with! Yyy. 'Where you going, Hawke?' 'Spending my time at the Y! 'Cuz you know, Y-not!" Hawke very nearly giggled.

"They can't even spell on their store-titles," Sky scoffed, "Idiots."

"It's a fitness center." Fang explained.

"Fitness! I'm fit! Let's go there!" Hawke took off for the entrance.

"Noo," Vanille groaned, "You don't go to a Mall to work out!" Fang started after too.

"Work out?" Sky inquired, snagging her interest too. "Like fitness tests?"

Vanille huffed and followed suit.

When they found Hawke again, she pulled down a weighted bar that'd been set to the bottommost weight. "I think it's broken," Hawke explained, "Look!" She pulled the bar up and down effortlessly, very quick, then held it down. "See?"

Fang meandered over and touched the bar's top with a few fingers. Hawke let go, but the bar stayed down. "Huh." Fang moved her fingers away and the bar jumped up, smacking the weights to the ground noisily.

"Let's try this one!" Hawke jumped for the next.

A male fitness coach nearby frowned and sat where Hawke had been. Muscles taut, he strained. The bar wouldn't budge.

"This one's broken too!" Hawke complained, kicking up the leg lift like a toy.

"Hawke!" Vanille meeped, seeing the heavy weights attached floating up and down dangerously to Hawke's scary kicks. "Don't do that!" Vanille rushed to the girl's side until she'd stopped kicking them and they held suspended in the air behind her. "They're not broken, they're just not Yun-adjusted. They're… me-size weights, like for the other clans!"

"Oh," Hawke sheepishly lowered it slower. "Oops. It's set to that for their warriors?"

"That's as strong as their warriors get."

"That's sad." The weights touched down gently. "Whoa!" Hawke pointed, something else catching her eye, "Look at that!"

"What?" Fang paused too, trying to determine what Hawke found fascinating this time while Vanille attempted to lower the Yun's hand.

The thing in question, a person, caught Hawke's obnoxious point and smiled. Hawke beckoned and it came.

"Girls," the stranger greeted, fullest attention set on Hawke who'd summoned. "Has heaven rebelled? 'Cuz I'd let you be my angels."

Fang blinked.

"Vanille, is it hitting on us?"

"Would you look at these arms?" Hawke gaped, touching it. "They're so thick!"

"Pure muscle, honey." The guy flexed for her, causing the muscle to bulge for Hawke impressively.

"It's so… big,"

"Like me," he winked.

Hawke understood that one, "Ooh, how many inches!"

"Wanna find out?"

"Yes! That's why I'm asking! Because it's polite to ask here first, right Van?" Hawke looked to her for approval.

"Hawke, that's not a girl."

Hawke's eyebrows furrowed, deeply muddled.

"It's a boy, dumbass."

"I'm confused."

"A man," Fang offered the more common term.

"Ohhhh!" Hawke turned back to him, "That's why you're so oddly shaped!" The guy's brow furrowed too.

Vanille nudged her. "Hawwk."

"Oh! Was that rude?" Hawke apologized politely. "I'm sorry! I've never seen one of your shape before."

The guy's eyebrows lifted. "Never seen a man before? You're Pulse chicks?"

"Gran Pulse," Fang corrected, growling.

"Phew. They're right. You guys are gorgeous."

Hawke tilted her head. "You don't look very hairy."

The man lifted the edge of his shirt, exposing a thin, dark line of hair into the lip of his jeans. "Ewww," Hawke shied away, "Whiskers on your belly, put them away! Away!"

The man chuckled, dropping the hem of his shirt again. "What tribes are you all from?"

"We're Yun," Hawke straightened proudly.

"And I'm a Dia." Vanille added.

"The actual Yuns, proudest warriors of Gran Pulse?" He stood clearly impressed, "What're you all doing here? Besides that famous Fang, I didn't think Yuns crossed worlds much."

"We don't!" Hawke claimed proudly, pointing again. "We're with Fang now."

The statement almost stupefied him, who's sudden attentions grew to Fang too. "You're— Yun Fang? Shit, my sister loves you. She'd hate to miss this."

"Eh," Fang rubbed at the back of her neck.

"Congratulations on the kid," he gave her arm a light tap, then hesitated, "Hey, I know you probably get this too much and don't wanna be bothered, but could you autograph something to her? She'd really love it. I'm sure there's some poster of you here in the mall you could sign."

Fang blinked. "Really?"

"I'm sure there is," he confirmed, "I'll even pay you for it, if you want."

"Uhh…"

"Let's follow him!" Vanille volunteered, "I wanna see you on a poster, Fang!"

"I'll be as quick as you need me to be." The guy smiled, friendlier, and waved them on behind him. "Name's Rick."

The girls followed him out.

XXX

"I like this," Vanille contented, gazing around the exterior near her seat where they sat outside in the breeze. "It's so nice with us all here, together."

"Such a strange place," Hawke leafed through the menu. "What's a veg-tarr-ion?"

"Vegetarian," Serah chuckled, "It's someone who chooses not to eat meat."

"No meat?" Hawke's expression crumpled at the thought. "Whyyy?"

Serah giggled again, "It's a lifestyle choice."

"Another one!" Hawke lamented. "Willing torture to the self, I say!"

"Six inch sub," Sky mused from behind her own menu. "Are they trying to feed a kitten?"

Serah bit her lip to keep from smiling, vastly enjoying her time out with her friends. "And you didn't have to work today, Fang?"

"Nah," Fang shook her head, "I'm all contract. I work when I want."

"That sounds so nice."

A waitress stopped nearby their table and set out drinks. "Legs!" Hawke piped, jumping enough to drop her menu. Her eyes lifted from said appendages to a tall, attractive raven head. "I mean, hello!" The girl set a glass down in front of her. "You have beautiful legs. They startled me."

"And you have beautiful fingers," The woman removed Hawke's hand from her side where they'd startled, "They should tip me instead of touch."

Hawke's smile came easy, good-naturedly. "What if they wanna do both?"

SMACK

Hawke rubbed her stinging cheek, bewildered as she stalked away. "What'd I say?"

"She thinks you meant that she's a… strumpet."

"A strumpet?"

"You know," Serah encouraged, "Someone you pay to… " she motioned, waving with her hands, but Hawke didn't get it.

"Fuck." Sky filled in.

"Why would I pay her to— ohh! No, I wouldn't charge her! This body's for free!"

Serah shook her head to Fang's chuckle.

The waiter who returned was different, mainly, a man. "Hey!" Hawke announced when she saw him. "Whiskers!" The furry-faced man held pen to paper pad, "Can you tell the last woman that was here something for me?"

The man cleared his throat. "She'd rather not talk."

"That's okay! I'll just leave a message. Tell her that I in no way meant she's a strumpet and I'm sorry for touching her, those legs just startled me." The man's eyes widened, "Tell her I'd be a fool to knowingly insult a body so smooth and lithe, it rivals the stream of Cicily, and that I hope her golden glow continues to emanate, lighting the path of all those she'll ever touch, and that I'm privileged to have basked in even a tiny part of her effervescent grace."

"Uhh… " the waiter scribbled furiously, mentally noting to take these words home to his wife. "Can you repeat that last part about effervescence?"

"Here we go again," Sky groaned.

"You mean that?" The waitresses voice came again, near the corner where she'd been watching Tony go deal with them.

"Of course! You're beautiful and— " Hawke had little time to finish for the girl's mouth covering hers, a hand frisking up through the back of her hair.

"I get off at five,"

"Then I shall wait all day!"

"It's four." Sky spat.

"Then I shall wait an hour!" Hawke revised, "Whatever my lady needs."

The girl blushed, so charmed by this stranger.

Serah kept her head away, stinging to remember when she had looked at Hawke like that only a few days ago in Gran Pulse.

"Sit with us," Hawke insisted, snatching up another chair.

"My boss— "

"You're serving our table," Hawke hushed, "I just have… special needs."

Sky snorted.

Vanille touched her shoulder. "Serah?"

"It's bright," Serah coughed once, heart tingling in despair.

Had Hawke gotten over her so quick? She knew things were different in Pulse, but…

Tony took their order next, serving on express when the appetizers came quick. Serah poked at her food, but ignoring Hawke's flirtations with the lady were proving harder and harder. She caught her eye once, by accident, bringing a befuddled concern to Hawke's. It made her feel a little better that it wasn't on purpose, but Hawke's next flirt brought back a wellspring of pain in her chest. Serah blinked again, but couldn't get rid of it.

"I'll be right back."

Hawke's worried out followed her again then. "Where you going!"

"Bathroom," Serah mumbled, barely able to contain her sniffle. She distanced herself as quick as she could, almost tripping when she pushed into the thankfully empty bathroom. Serah bit her lip hard and grabbed at the tissues.

She willed herself, struggling against the rush of her emotions that flooded her heart like a honing swarm of angry bees. Claire had been right; she was too emotional for this. Hawke's playful spirit didn't match her reservations about sex and matrimony, and now she was here, alone and hurting. Serah wanted a hug. She'd been so foolish…

The door pressed open from the way and Serah steeled herself as best she could for whatever stranger.

It turned out to be Hawke, which hurt all the more.

"Serah," Hawke rushed around the corner at the first scent of salt in the air. Serah felt her arms around her waist first. "Serah, you're crying!"

"I'm sorry," Serah sniffed, heart so shattered inside, "I'm really sorry. Hawke, you don't have to— "

"Shh," Hawke quieted, wrapping the smaller one in a hug. "You're sad… because of Emily?"

"It's stupid," Serah tossed off, "I just… "

"Please tell me," Hawke asked. "I don't like you hurting."

Serah took a few deep breaths to breathe. Hawke rubbed a hand over her belly, Serah's back already pressed to her. "I… " Serah tried starting again, "I know it must be silly to you. We broke up after barely having seen each other and all, but I… " she breathed in deep again, gradually calmed in Hawke's arms. "I really felt for you and started liking you a lot. More than I've felt for anybody else. Jealousy is even worse in Gran Pulse, but it hurt." Serah squeezed her eyes shut. "And I couldn't help it. It hurt a lot to see you flirt, so happy and soon after we…" Serah swallowed another gulp. "I'm sorry."

"Do you want me to get rid of her?" Hawke asked, surprisingly so very gentle.

"Noo," Serah groaned, "I don't want to be petty. But yes, so much. God. That freakin' bitch."

"Soo, maybe." Hawke determined.

"No," Serah shook her head, "Don't. I'd feel even worse."

Hawke held her quietly for a moment, then announced. "I'm confused."

"I know," Serah rested her head against her shoulder. "I'm not making any sense."

"Don't worry," Hawke assured, "Divorces are supposed to be confusing, right? Lots of emotion."

"Yeah…"

"And a couple isn't usually friends afterwards, right? So we're already an exception."

"That's right," Serah murmured, halfway comforted that Hawke considered them a couple at one point too.

"And I like you as my friend. You're fun and cool and sweet." Serah turned in Hawke's arms and wrapped her arms around the Yun in turn, snuggling against her.

"I don't want to hamper your fun. I know you aren't trying to be mean."

"Never," Hawke eased, rubbing her back now.

"Just… " Serah winced.

"I won't hook up while you're with me."

"That means a lot to me." Serah squeezed her. "Thank you."

XXX