Disclaimer: I don't get any form of monetary compensation from writing fanfiction, it's just for fun.

A/N: FREAKING LOVE THIS PAIRING. But anyways, awkward Hope is awkward in his teenage years. This is my first FFXIII thing, so… yeah. I pretty much stick to VII, haha.

Six Inch Gap

Although the Fifth Ark was a decent find and a good place for the l'Cie to learn to fight and hone their skills, it was beyond boring. Fighting both monsters and machines all day long steadily became more and more dull and insipid. Vanille, in order to stave off the looming ennui, created several 'games' to keep things interesting. Most of her games involved the divulging of secrets by all parties.

Just when they thought of Vanille had finally run out of questions to ask, she turned to Hope after perkily doing away with a pile of chemical ooze that had taken form and risen to attack them. "Umm… Hope! What's one thing you wish for?"

"To get out of this whole situation without destroying Cocoon, becoming a crystal, or turning into a Cieth?"

Fang rolled her eyes, spinning her staff and skewering one of the revolting toxic slugs that kept jumping onto them. Sazh had one stuck on his leg and was howling and trying to shake it off or shoot it. "Boring," Fang announced, "tell us something we don't know."

"Um… I want to be taller than Lightning," he muttered almost inaudibly, turning around and flicking his boomerang at the Noticulate stuck to Sazh.

"Quite a goal for someone so short," Lightning said. She was teasing hope, but by the worried look on his face, he couldn't tell.

"It's only six inches!"

"Seven," Lightning corrected, ignoring Vanille, who was now battering Snow and Sazh with questions instead. "Six would make you as tall as me. Seven would make you taller."

"I think the real question is why being taller than Lightning is your goal in life," Snow added, having finally asked Vanille.

Hope winced. He'd been trying to avoid the question.

Sazh provided a momentary distraction when he shook one of the Noticulates off of himself and it landed on Hope. Lightning smoothly took care of it, and Hope cringed when Snow reiterated his question. "Uh…" Hope nervously fumbled with his boomerang, turning the weapon around in his hands. Lightning was looking curious now too. "…Mostly so that I can hug you…and be taller. And not awkward…" he muttered.

"Oh…" Lightning said, glancing away from Hope to hide her grin. "Maybe someday."