Disclaimer: I don't own FFXIII. Duh.

A/N: I was really pleased that everyone liked my last FFXII fanfic! So I decided to write a new one for you all! This came from some dumb idea my brother and I came up with when I was playing the game earlier today.


Pulse was an entirely foreign environment for four of the six l'Cie, and with it came monsters, flora, and fauna that they had never seen in their lives. It was a heavy weight on all of them, especially Hope, who was particularly susceptible to a lot the diseases that none of their immune systems were used to. After only one day on Pulse, Hope had been badly poisoned, and he had been sick on and off the entire time they were there.

He wasn't the only one, though.

Sazh caught something particularly nasty a few days in, which had him hacking his lungs out for at least a week. So far, Lightning had remained above it all, healthy despite the new situation she'd been thrust into, probably because of her training as a Guardian, but Snow was no exception.

Snow, however, tried to keep going even though he was sick. He wouldn't let Fang or Vanille touch him, try to give him medicine, or feel his forehead to check his temperature. He was stubborn as all get-out, like always. Lightning tried once to convince him to stop and rest for a while, but he was determined to get to Oerba as soon as he could.

"You're an idiot, Snow," was all she said before shaking her head and walking off.

It was about half a week since Snow first got sick, and the group had gone through a hard day of fighting. Lightning was cleaning off her weapon, grimacing at the carnage that was stuck to it, encrusted in a thick, unyielding film. That never happened when you were fighting robots, and even the beasts on Cocoon didn't seem to have such viscous, sticky blood.

Hope was sitting next to her, looking like he was about to flop over onto her shoulder and fall asleep. His eyelids kept sliding shut and his head kept drooping, but he would snap himself awake every few minutes and continue watching Lightning clean her sword. Lightning had gotten used to Hope watching intently as she did just about everything, even though it used to make her skin crawl.

Vanille and Fang were chatting by the fireside, Sazh adding a sarcastic comment every so often. Snow was standing off to the side behind them, staring at the crystal tear from Serah. He had a habit of looking at it whenever he got time, reminding himself of the goal he had, the goal to become a hero and save Cocoon, by whatever means possible.

"He looks bad," Lightning muttered under her breath, so quietly that only she and Hope could hear.

Hope shook his head rapidly, trying to rouse himself. His cheek had been resting against Lightning's shoulder, and he was almost asleep when she spoke. "Huh?" he said, rubbing his right eye.

"Snow," Lightning said, still keeping her attention focused on her blade. Hope glanced at the man, wondering how Lightning knew he looked bad if she seemed so set on staring at her sword instead of her future brother-in-law.

Snow did look bad, the firelight making the bags under his eyes look darker and the rest of his face look paler. He turned the crystal through awkward, stiff fingers, and kept his other arm clutched around his torso as though he was freezing cold, even though it was warm that night. He looked even more tired than Hope, and dangerously unsteady on his feet. Every so often, he would sway a little, and Hope was afraid he would fall over completely.

"If he falls," Hope whispered, leaning in towards Lightning and smirking, "I'm not catching him."

Lightning elbowed him, but grinned as well. "Don't say that," she said.

The idea of Hope, who was just over five feet tall and probably less than 100 pounds trying to catch Snow, who was a foot and then some taller, was ludicrous in and of itself, and nearly made Lightning burst out laughing.

"What are you two chuckling about?" Sazh asked, glancing across the fire at the pair.

"Nothing," Lightning said dismissively, her expression hardening instantaneously. Hope took a while longer to remove the grin from his face, but eventually stopped giggling. "Snow," she snapped, glancing at the blonde for seemingly the first time that night.

"What?" he asked.

"Sit down before you fall over."