Etro's Keepers: A Day in the Life
A/N: I present to you the sequel to Etro's Keepers, Etro's Keepers: A Day in the Life! The formatting of this drabble series is based on DezoPenguin's fanfiction called "Taking Wing" (which can be found here: www[insertperiod]fanfiction[insertperiod]net/s/702 5144/1/Taking_Wing). I have been granted permission to copy this structure. If you haven't read DP's story, I encourage you to do so. It's just wonderful. XD Now with that out of the way, onto the story!
A huge thank you goes out to denebtenoh for drawing up the cover for this piece. To see the original image, go here: denebtenoh[insertperiod]deviantart[insertperiod]co m/#/art/Battle-Partners-v-2-333304576?hf=1
Thanks to all who read, favorited, followed and reviewed the prequel to this. I hope the sequel is just as good or better. :)
Warning: For those of you who haven't played the FFXIII-2 DLC Heads or Tails and don't like spoilers, this would be a good chapter to skip!
*** ~ Etro: Goddess, Mother, and Fashion Designer? ~ ***
(featuring the former l'Cies family chibis)
The sun slowly peered over the horizon, washing the land in a brilliant orange glow. Blue eyes watched the scene serenely, a certain pink haired soldier very much enjoying the quiet which accompanied the early morning. As was her routine, Lightning sat at her dinner table, drinking a mug of freshly brewed coffee. Her plate, previously holding scrambled Wyvern eggs, Gorgonopsid bacon strips and two slices of toast, was already in the sink. Chibi Odin sat next to his battle partner, on the table, eating his cereal at an impressive yet polite rate. Unlike the sergeant, Chibi Odin didn't understand the fascination humans had with hot food first thing in the morning. He preferred his cold cereal and always started off his day with that.
A horrified scream from downstairs.
Lightning set down her mug on the table and sighed. "Here we go," she said. Chibi Odin also sighed, mimicking her sentiment.
Just over a year ago, it wasn't uncommon for at least one scream to sound first thing in the morning. To Lightning's horror, and embarrassment, she was often the source of such a scream back then. Chibi Odin's obsession with cuddling her at night was shocking to the soldier, but as time went on, Lightning quickly adapted to sharing her house with another, and such things became a thing of the past.
Another shriek from downstairs.
Lightning sighed again.
This was all Etro's doing. There was no way it couldn't be. Waking up this morning, only to find her numerous GC uniforms replaced with silver suits of armor with gold highlights and a trail of white features down the left side, Lightning knew for a fact Etro was up to no good. And if her assumptions and gut feeling weren't enough, just Chibi Odin's reaction alone (that being a rather cute and comical face palm) would have been all the support she needed for her suspicions. Lightning crossed her legs, her right on top her left, the metal of her boots making a clinking sound when they touched.
Since the chibis entered their lives, it had been one thing after another. The Goddess was nothing like the descriptions written of her in the datalogues. She was the total opposite in fact. That led Lightning to wonder about the vague few records on the deity. Was there truly very little written about Etro? Or had most of them been deleted on purpose to cover up the Goddess'... eccentric side? That thought aside, the moment Lightning heard the dual screams from downstairs, she knew her day was going to be anything but ordinary. The Valkyrie-like armor she currently wore was probably the biggest hint regarding that.
The sound of stomping on the metal stairs leading up to her level snapped Lightning out of her thoughts. She had just enough time to give Chibi Odin a quick glance, the chibi doing the same, before the door to her house was violently ripped open and Serah stumbled in.
"Claire!" the breathless, red faced youngest Farron exclaimed.
Lightning raised an eyebrow. "Good morning, Serah," she said, giving her flustered sister a once over.
Serah's pink locks were frazzled, her cheeks flush, and wait a minute... Was that a new outfit? Lightning hummed to herself. Serah actually looked pretty good in the half naked outfit she had on, one made of pink, white and gold. It showed a lot more skin than Serah was usually comfortable with (Serah was really a modest girl), but rather than make her skanky looking, Serah looked rather... dare Lightning think it... sexy. Maker! Fang was beginning to rub off on her. Lightning really had to stop hanging out with the Pulsian so much.
"Claire, I-" Serah froze, her mouth open. "W-what...?" Oh mother of the Maker, what the hell was going on!
It took a few seconds for Serah's mind to process what her eyes were obviously showing it. She had been so caught up in the events leading up to this moment that she hadn't immediately paid attention to the nagging feeling at the back of her mind, one which screamed that something was not quite right. Not quite right with her sister that is. Something about Lightning being too shiny and sitting stiffer than usual. Then her eyes focused on Lightning's current attire and the youngest Farron couldn't but gawk.
"Claire!" Serah exclaimed, her eyes wide and her jaw slack.
"Yes, Serah?" Lightning answered calmly.
"What are you wearing!"
Etro had done something to her sister. Serah was utterly convinced of that as she sat opposite of Lightning at the dinner table, wringing her hands. Bewitched. Bedazzled. Be- whatever! Something was totally wrong with the eldest Farron! Lightning was too quiet, too calm, sitting at the table with them as the rest of the family congregated in her house. She was acting like nothing was out of the ordinary, but something was indeed improper, and none of them knew why. By now, the sun was higher in the sky, and all of the family had gathered in Lightning's house to discuss this most recent... incident. With the exception of Fang, Vanille and Sazh, everyone else seemed to have been... well... pranked, wardrobe-wise.
Setting Serah's and Lightning's new looks aside, between Hope and Snow, the silver haired teen probably had it the worst out of them all. Somehow, overnight, he gained a foot in height. Long gone were his boyish looks, now in their place a mature and calm looking Estheim (though if you were to ask him, Hope would tell you he was far from calm right now). Hope now sported a yellow and white long sleeve jacket, light grey pants and black boots. Around his neck was a blue necktie and on his hands were black leather gloves with metal knuckles. Apparently there was also an intricate belt pouch thing which came with the outfit, but Hope left it at home for the moment.
Unlike Hope, and Serah and Lightning for that matter, Snow seemed to have been the luckiest of them all. His wardrobe change consisted only of a plain red shirt in place of his blue shirt and vest with his white trenchcoat now a dark grey colour, looking more worn around the edges. Everything else was the same, except for Snow's now missing scarf and bandana. Serah liked him better this way though. Snow's slightly longer, spikey blonde hair was rather... charming...
"Nice outfit ya got there, Light," Fang said with a grin. "Where'd ya get it?"
Lightning rolled her eyes, having expected this kind of reaction from Fang. But she refused to take the bait. "I think you know very well where this came from."
Fang chuckled. She sat to Lightning's left, along with Vanille. "That I do," the lancer replied. "But the question is, why are ya wearin' it?"
Lightning shrugged, nonchalantly taking another sip from her mug. Blue eyes glanced at the chibis playing on her bed. How could she explain this to the rest of them? How could she tell them that she willingly made a deal with Etro in return for allowing Serah to take care of her own Eidolon? Fang would have a field day with that admission alone.
It was like making a deal with Chaos itself, Lightning knew. It was probably the biggest mistake she could have ever made. Thankfully, the Goddess had enough sense in her not to force Lightning to do something which would forever scar the soldier for the rest of her life. If cosplaying for a day ensured Serah's happiness, Lightning would readily do it over and over again. She would make that sacrifice as many times as she needed to, like the many sacrifices she had done over the years after the loss of their parents. Not that this was really a sacrifice per se.
Admittedly, this suit of armor was... unique. It allowed for easy movement, decent protection, and best of all, Lightning didn't have to worry about cleaning and maintaining the damn thing. Etro had that all covered. This would be the easiest favor she had ever had to do. Though why the Goddess chose to modify the others' outfits too, the soldier didn't know. Etro was probably getting overzealous again. That woman...
"Maybe I just wanted a change of pace," Lightning eventually said in response to Fang's question.
Snow jumped next to his fiance, at the ferocity of which she slammed her fists against the table. Poor Hope nearly jumped a foot in the air next to him too, also in surprise.
"Alright!" Serah exclaimed, jumping to her feet to peer at Lightning critically. "Who are you and where is my sister?"
Lightning's eyebrows went up in surprise, the soldier having clearly not expected that reaction from her sister. Though Snow wasn't sure why that was. Lightning was acting really weird today, something which concerned him just as much as the others (with the exception of Fang and Vanille, maybe). The soldier should have been demanding Etro's communicator from Fang right now, screaming threats at the Goddess for even hiding her cape. Snow had come to learn very quickly (as did Sazh) of Lightning's obsessive compulsive behaviour when it came to her accessories.
"Maybe Light owes the Goddess a favor?" Vanille piped in before Lightning could reply.
Lightning's eyes narrowed a fraction as she looked at the redhead. Either Vanille was a prophet or that wild guess was extremely lucky. Lightning leaned towards the latter.
"Are you kidding me?" Sazh said incredulously. "Lightning owing Etro a favor?" Sazh looked at Lightning. "No offense soldier girl, but you don't seem like the type to owe anyone a favor, especially the Goddess."
"None taken." Lightning's lips twitched upwards slightly. Thank the Maker for Sazh and his logic.
Vanille hummed, tapping her chin with her index figure. She stared at the ceiling, deep in thought. "Then maybe Etro's fulfilling her inner Fashion Designer?"
"You never know," Vanille said with a giggle.
Lightning wanted to face palm. Etro? A fashion designer? Maker help them all if that happened. Out of the corner of her eye, Lightning saw Chibi Odin face palm on her behalf. Fang burst out laughing.
"Fulfilling her inner fashion designer?" Hope repeated, his voice nearly cracking. He looked ready to faint. "How is this doing that?" he asked, waving at himself. "And why are you, Fang and Sazh unaffected?"
"Maybe she forgot?" Snow offered, though his answer didn't sound very confident.
"Or maybe she's still thinking up a new look for us," Vanille said a little too excitedly. "I bet she's making really neat outfits for us right now. I can't wait!"
"Be careful what you wish for," Lightning said in warning. But her words came too late.
There was a flash of light, leaving the soldier's vision nothing but white for a few seconds. When her sight cleared, Lightning's eyes widened and her heart dropped. For a moment, everyone held their breaths in silent horror, staring at the Pulsian pair. Then the duo blinked and everyone breathed in relief.
"Oh my word..." Sazh said, quickly putting his back on the Oerbans, turning his face away.
Without explanation, Lightning relinquished her chair at the dining table and joined the chibis on her bed. As much as she hated playing babysitter to them, now was not a good time for Chibi Bahamut nor Chibi Hecatoncheir to look at their battle partners. Luckily, the chibis were so delighted that Lightning came to play with them that they paid no attention to the rest of the adults behind her.
"What's wrong ol' man?" Fang said, oblivious to her current appearance. She raised an eyebrow at the gunner.
Vanille seemed equally oblivious as she turned to a very flushed Hope. "Hope? What's wrong? Why are you so red?"
Snow opened his mouth to reply but Serah slapped a hand over his mouth and his eyes, her own cheeks a bit red. The youngest Farron envied her sister right now, Lightning having abandoned the rest of them to sort out this mess.
"Um Vanille..." Serah said hesitantly. "You might want to look in a mirror. Or rather, look at Fang and you'll get an idea of why we're all... yeah..." Serah quickly averted her eyes.
"Huh?" Vanille did exactly what Serah said and looked at her partner. Fang did the same thing.
"Fang!" Vanille squeaked, quickly looking down at herself before covering herself up with her arms. "Why are you naked!"
Fang and Vanille were currently clothes-less. In place of their regular attire was body paint, one which covered them head to toe (including their hair). The paint itself was a silvery blue, mimicking the type of crystal they became when they first crystallized to save Cocoon years ago.
Fang threw her head back and hollered. "Why am I naked?" The older Pulsian didn't seem the least bit fazed. "Speak for yerself." Another laugh. "Lookin' good there, Vanille." A wink.
Despite her crystal blue appearance, a noticeable blush flamed on Vanille's cheeks. "Fang! Stop laughing and find something to cover yourself up with! We don't want the chibis seeing us like this!"
Now it made sense why Lightning suddenly got up from the table to check on their mini battle partners.
"Why should I?" Fang retorted. She crossed her legs. "It's probably nothin' they haven't seen already. An' I'll have ya know, it wasn't uncommon for Yuns ta wear nothin' back in the day. Especially if they were out huntin'. Clothes made a lot of noise an' often got caught on stuff. It was so much easier ta run around wearin' nothin' at all wit' only yer weapon in hand."
"That was before, Fang!" Vanille chastised. By now, Sazh had gotten his wits about him and lent Vanille his coat. Fang on the other hand, waved off Snow's attempt to do the same.
"And I'm not a Yun!" Vanille half said, half shouted. She was clearly embarrassed by the whole thing.
Stupid, stupid Etro.
Sazh sighed. First Lightning and now Fang and Vanille. Maybe he should just leave one of his coats with each of the girls in case something like this happened again. At least Serah wouldn't have to worry about that. Snow would cover her up in an instant.
Lightning looked back over her shoulder and gave Vanille a 'I told you so' look. Serah merely rolled her eyes at that.
"I'm getting too old for this," Sazh muttered, shaking his head. Couldn't they have just one day, ONE DAY, where nothing went... weird?
Fang laughed again, having heard Sazh's words. "Careful ol' man," she said. "Yer next in line in case ya haven't realized." The Pulsian grinned. "I wonder what dear ol' Etro would dress ya up as."
"Oh hell no!" Sazh exclaimed, waving his hands dismissively. "If Etro thinks she's going to change this old man's clothes, she has another thing coming!"
Fang snorted. "Ya make it sound like ya can actually stop her or somethin.' I bet she could even change that chocobo chick in yer hair if she really wanted ta."
To everyone's surprise (though nothing rarely surprised Lightning anymore), not a moment after Fang said those words, the chocobo chick from Sazh's hair sprung up into the air and everyone was blinded by another flash of light.
"Holy Chocobolina!" exclaimed a new voice.
Everyone blinked rapidly to clear their vision, only to find a woman they had never seen before standing with them. The woman was dressed in a very revealing yellow and red chocobo outfit, complete with wings and a hat.
"You were right Fang!" the woman said in amazement to the Pulsian. "How did you know?"
Hope's jaw dropped. "Feeve was a girl?"
Before anyone could say anything or do anything further, Sazh bolted out of Lightning's house screaming about crazy Goddesses and how they weren't going to get him.
A/N: Yes, it's true. The true identity of Chocolina in FFXIII-2 is Sazh's chocobo chick. Was I ever surprised to find that out. Wow. You can find more information about that here: finalfantasy[insertperiod]wikia[insertperiod]com/w iki/Chocolina
And the name Feeve, for the chocobo chick, came from my Tainted Fal'Cie fanfiction. In that story, Feeve was male. XD
Once again, this was a nod at FFXIII-2. In case there was some confusion, all the characters are wearing the outfits they had from game two. As Fang and Vanille were still technically crystal at that time, that's why they had crystal outfits, so to speak. I think out of all of them, Sazh was the only one who didn't get a new outfit.
And finally, just to clarify, the events for this chapter take place after the end of Etro's Keepers, after Etro left the chibis in our heroes' care for the second time. This may not be the case for future chapters.
As always, my disclaimer is below.
Disclaimer: The characters and the worlds I write in do not belong to me. The stories that I write are intended for entertainment purposes. I do not make any money from them.