Artificial


An unearthly chirp repeated like a broken record player in the unnaturally clean room. Surrounded partially by glass walls that were covered by cheap, white curtains that hadn't been washed in years, the small and pristine cell sat thirdly in a row down a similarly sanitized hallway. A stench so pungent and acrid hovered constantly in the building, but mostly in that small, little suffocating room.

A small potted plant lay untouched in the corner of the room on a stool next to the wide window peering out into the world. Though a thin and grimy sheet-curtain covered the window, a faint haze of light filtered through the grungy fabric and settled onto the plastic leaves of the décor. It was ugly. Ugly as ugly gets. Its stupid green and tainted yellow stems posed lifelessly in the chipped ceramic pot, while the two purple bulbs, horrible excuses for flowers, popped out of the dull green leaves like serpents.

God, that plant was hideous.

Though she gave it a pinch of praise: it was bearable from afar. Very far. Whether this was praise or sarcasm or just plain rubbish, she didn't care. She didn't care at all. She didn't give a shit as her sister lay motionless, as lifeless as that god-awful plant, in the sterilized sheets of the hospital bed. Lightning stood gripping the bars at the end of the bed with her head hung, trying her very hardest to keep her gaze as far, far away from the shrub as possible.

Serah…I'm so sorry…

The sound of the sliding glass door hissed quietly in the room, the ambience of the rest of the hospital filtering through for the split moment the door was open until it closed again.

She was about to scream; about to yell, "What are you doing here?", or "Get the hell out of our lives!"…but she didn't.

A larger form entered the room, recognizable by the amount of sound emitted by the person's footsteps. Bulky and brash, noisy and unbelievably senseless, Lightning knew exactly who it was.

A hand appeared next to hers on the bar causing her blood to boil uncontrollably. She gritted her teeth like a feral dog as she gripped the bar even harder.

Silence ticked past like the clicking of a typewriter, but nothing was being written. The sheets remained blank.

"I'm right here, baby. Your hero's here." The giant whispered longingly to the seemingly lifeless form.

The light in the woman's blue eyes became violent. A maelstrom of sick and powerful emotions; wrong and tantalizing memories bubbling up within the crystal irises. "Stop it," She snarled. Her voice dangerously low.

Unflinching to her remark, the tall man walked calmly over to the bedside and bent down onto a knee. He then reached for the small, broken girl with his large hand, a look of attempting warmth shrouding his cool eyes.

"Everything will be okay. We'll fix this." He crooned with a feeble smile.

Lightning jerked her gaze up from the end of the bed where the wrinkles gathered in the sheets like frozen waves. Frozen like her sister.

"Fix what?" she inquired darkly, her body still stiff and rigid with a hidden sense of dread.

Snow turned to face his soon to be sister in law. He opened his mouth to speak, but no words were spoken. He was silent. The broken trouble was written into every crease and fold in his tired, unshaven face. The older Farron was able to read it, but with hindering trouble.

Her hand gripped the bar tightly.

"Nothing happened." She croaked. The wall between her mind and her tongue was crumbling as her emotions began to take over and catapult her feelings in the form of undiluted phrases.

The man's brow furrowed and his lip twitched. The air between the two dominant leads began to rise in temperature and heat the room like the humidity of a morning before the storm rolls in.

Snow pulled his hand away from the pale individual, never actually having the opportunity to hold its hand in his own. "How can you just pretend like nothing happened?" he asked with a disappointed and angry tone, his voice remaining calm, however, as if not to wake a sleeping babe.

"Nothing happened." She repeated.

"How can you say that?"

Her sister's fiancé stood rashly and clutched his fists tightly, the light in his eyes, too, violent and raging. Now his voice held its place high in tone and volume, but still controlled.

Lightning was ablaze with emotions and the passion that stirred in her chest and heart and soul in the cage of ribs of her body shot out like a bullet of crimson.

"Don't you dare even go there, acting big like it actually meant something to you." She hissed with her teeth showing.

"Oh, so it meant absolutely nothing to you?"

"No."

"'No, it did' or 'No, it didn't'?"

"Drop it, Snow. It didn't mean anything!"

The woman turned away as the feelings rattling the innards of her shaking body threatened to creep onto the visible plate of her platter-face. She crossed her arms, holding in the bursting sensations in attempt to stiffen the chatter of her bones.

Now they stood. Stark and desolate, empty and confused. Snow's eyes refused to leave Lightning's backside while her attention remained fixed on the artificial plant dumbly seated in the midst of their quarrel. The beep of the life-giving machine beeped through the silence, the only reminder to the two that they weren't alone.

Snow looked down at the floor, at his shoes that were dirty from walked through the rain and running through the mud. "Well, it meant something to me—"

Ripping her arms away from the embrace of her torso, she raised them up to her face and buried her now weak face into her hands.

"Why won't you just let it go?" she cried out without blue tears in the cold and dead air.

"Because you didn't let it go that night."

She stilled. Like a beast finding its point of no return; it's feral high. In a flash of rosy pink and streak of ice blue, the woman whipped around and lunged. Speed bled into the floor and walls as a sickening thud resonated in the white, sterilized cell with its three prison mates. Snow, against the wall with a face of distorted pain and fear, was pinned to its hard surface by the merciless talons of Lightning Farron, who gripped the collar of his shirt with both hands. Her face less than a foot from his. The bed holding their beloved right next to them,

Her breath was frigid against his chin. The blonde stubble froze on the spot as she exhaled her first words with the stare of a tiger.

"Let me get something straight. You are marrying my sister."

Her voice was calm, but fierce like God giving the warning to man. Simple and laid out, but the hardest to resist in absolute submission. Snow pressed forward slightly, hoping to give himself some room to correct.

"What about that ni—" Hitting the wall again, even harder, the blonde was thrust back savagely.

Lightning rose to her tiptoes as she roared in the male's face, spit threatening to fly from her jaws and fangs. Her fingers curled around his cotton collar menacingly, but they trembled ever so slightly.

"God dammit, Snow! I was drunk and upset. I was drunk and I was with you, and that was everything I shouldn't have been," Her shouts were violent and shrill, and they soon became frantic. "You ruined everything for me, and I won't let you ruin everything for my sister."

"How the hell did I ruin it? You're just as much to blame!"

Her eyes widened and her irises shook. She had given him the warning flash, and he had ignored it. Now the thunder crackled. A red, pulsing mark appeared on the man's left cheek. It stung like a snake's strike, like a woman's bite.

Silence. Before a rumble.

"Snow. I hate you." A salty tear rolled down her cheek. "You're stupid, lazy, inconsiderate, and you don't ever stop and think. You're a liar, a pompous ringleader without the slightest bit of responsibility—a fucking dumbass with a knack for getting into trouble. You're all talk, and so full of fucking shit.

"What the hell was I thinking? Why did this happen? Why weren't you good enough for my sister? Why the hell would I ever fucking care about fucking you?"

Lightning stopped mid-word as rough lips covered her own. Hands urgently groped for her fragile hips and her own fingers loosening their grip on the fabric she once clutched desperately. Their bodies pressed closer as if close wasn't enough and distance caused pain. They both were caught in a whirlwind of wrong as the just-spoken words and plays lapped and sucked lustfully in each person's head. What the letters, the sounds, the syllables; the moans, the gasps, the tears actually meant—neither knew.

The beeping of the machine continued through the hankering hum of the two beside it. Wires clear and black snaked to the white, stiff sheets that fell and rose so gently and softly by minute and day. And through the tubes and sheets and beeps lie the breaking point. The socket of patience that was now empty, only to be filled with another's fill.

The room remained quiet. The shouting had stopped. And for the first time since the accident, the two weren't entirely sure whether they wanted their Serah to wake up or remain in her eternal slumber.

fin


Inspired by recent events in my life.

I am not a shipper of Snow and Lightning, but I figured that in a modern take of Final Fantasy XIII an estranged kind of relationship would grow between the two. They both yearn for someone they love, but since that person cannot love back, they simply rid themselves of the longing through each other. It's a sick romance, but it hurts, too.

xLuxuria De'Voire