Note: This involves characters from Whispers of the Gods and Ordinary Heroes. Technically speaking, the characters from Whispers of the Gods are from the past (i.e., from before the events of Chapter 1, but after the events of Chapter 8). This chapter is a direct sequel to Chapter 4 of this story (i.e., Chapter 4 of Final Fantasy XIII Omake Theatre).
X X X
All Mixed Up (Part 2)
Fang winced as the doorbell rang and a familiar voice filled the air.
"Open the door, mommy!" Diana cried. "We're home!"
Under normal circumstances, Fang would have been more than happy to have her daughters around. She loved them to bits, never mind how strange they could be – and she was hardly one to talk. But these were not normal circumstances.
It had taken her the better part of an hour to convince the goddess that had replaced Lightning to change into some more normal clothes. And then she'd made the mistake of trying to cook breakfast. The goddess had regarded the kitchen with the sort wary caution normally reserved for a mortal enemy and had promptly reduced the toaster to a puddle of molten slag after it had startled her. The microwave had met a similar fate before Fang finally managed to hustle Lightning out of the kitchen and into the dining room.
"Who is at the door?" Lightning asked. Fang was glad that the goddess had reined in the aura that had surrounded her earlier. Now she could actually look at Lightning without feeling the urge to drop onto her knees in awe. Even so, there was still something inhuman about the goddess, something that lingered in the unearthly perfection of her features and the unnatural gleam of her eyes. There was absolutely no way the kids wouldn't notice.
"Our daughters," Fang replied. "Well, not ours, but my and my Lightning's daughters."
"Yes." Lightning's expression was unreadable, but the air was suddenly thick and almost heavy. Already, Fang had come to realise that this was something the goddess did whenever she was deep in thought. "Tell me, how did that come to be? In my world, two women cannot have children."
"It's complicated." Fang stood and headed toward the door. "Look, I have to let them in, otherwise they'll know something is wrong. Try not to be so…"
"So what?" Lightning's voice snapped out like a whip and Fang fought the urge to flinch. Damn this Lightning was scary, and there was no way that the rumble from outside was a coincidence considering that there wasn't a cloud in the sky.
"Like that." Fang sighed. "It's just… they're children, so try not to get upset if they do anything weird."
"Weird?" Lightning frowned. "What sort of children have you raised?"
"They're kind of strange." Fang chuckled. "Well, that makes it sound bad, but they're good kids – only a little bit strange some of the time." Her eyes narrowed. "And I don't care if you are a goddess or whatever, but if you hurt them, I'll make you sorry."
"I see." The goddess's gaze softened a fraction. "You may rest assured, no harm will come to them. My sword is meant only for the wicked. Innocent children have no need to fear me. As for strange…" She scowled. "I have a great deal of experience with that. The Fang of my world is… vexing, as our some of the other gods."
Fang was sorely tempted to ask Lightning what she meant by that, but decided it could wait till another time. "Good. Now, I'm going to answer the door. Stay calm."
The second Fang got the door open Diana hit her with a flying tackle. The little girl didn't mind spending the night at her cousin's house, but home was even better. All her stuff was there. And there was also the small matter of breakfast, which she could smell from the front door. Slithering onto Fang's back, she urged the woman to make a beeline for the food. Behind them, Averia, Claire and Serah followed at a more sedate pace.
"I don't know where she gets all that energy," Serah murmured with a yawn. "They were up all night watching movies, and I know we didn't feed her any sugar." She gave Fang a grin. "Although I'm guessing you and Lightning were up last night as well, right?"
Fang put on her best smile. "Yeah, you could say that. Hey, do you think that –" she stopped as Diana leapt off her back and ran into the dining room. She was probably going to go throw herself at Lightning like she always did… wait. "Diana!"
All too aware of all the horrible things that could go wrong, Fang ran after her daughter. She arrived just in time to see Diana take a leap at Lightning. The goddess's eyes widened and for a split second, Fang could barely breath. Lightning had said she didn't harm children, but she'd also melted the toaster and the microwave for startling her, and having a little girl flying through the air with arms outstretched and yelling at the top of her lungs had to be startling. But in the end, the goddess simply got to her feet and let Diana crash into her.
"Ouch!" Diana winced as she practically bounced off Lightning. The girl huffed and shook one fist at the goddess. "Mom! You're supposed to catch me, not let me run into you! And you're all tough, like you're made of stone or something."
Breathing a sigh of relief as Diana continued to rail at the horrible injustice of her treatment, Fang sank into one of the chairs at the dining table. Thank the Maker. But she wasn't out of the woods yet. She wasn't sure how people treated gods in Lightning's world, but she had a feeling that getting lectures from children wasn't part of the their everyday life.
She was about to ask Diana to stop when she noticed the strangest look on Lightning's face. Rather than looking angry, there was only a sort of puzzled wonder on the goddess's face, as though she couldn't quite understand what she was looking at. Indeed, her gaze was fixed on Diana, and slowly, gently, she picked the girl up to hold her at eye level.
"You are Diana?"
Diana giggled. "Stop being silly, mom. Of course, I am!" She somehow managed to squirm out of Lightning grasp and clambered onto the goddess's back.
"You have my eyes." Lightning turned her head to one side and came nose-to-nose with Diana. The girl grinned and rubbed her cheek against Lightning's. "But you have Fang's hair."
"I know." Diana pouted as Lightning plucked her off her back and once again held her at arm's length. "But I wish I had your hair too, mom. Pink hair is so cool."
"Is it?" Lightning tilted her head to one side. "What do you mean by cool?" But then she froze as Serah and the others entered the dining room.
"Lightning?" Fang whispered.
There is a Serah in my world. The voice in Fang's head was undoubtedly the goddess's. But she is still a child. This… this Serah is not, and that child – the one with the blue eyes – she must be her daughter. There was something akin to awe in Lightning's voice, which Fang couldn't understand. Didn't gods have children in Lightning's world?
Serah glanced from Fang to Lightning. "Diana, why don't you go into the living room and watch some cartoons? They're on at this time, aren't they?"
Diana nodded and scurried off, dragging Averia and Claire after her. As they left, Fang caught the worried expression on Averia's face as she looked at Lightning. She must have noticed something was wrong.
Once the girls were gone, Serah rounded on Lightning, a knife appearing in her hand from out of nowhere. No, Fang thought, not out of nowhere. The pink haired woman must have concealed it in the sleeve of her blouse somehow. Trust Lightning to teach her sister something like that.
"Who are you?" Serah growled. She glared at first Fang and then Lightning. "And don't bother lying to me. I know my sister, and you aren't her."
"Serah, put the knife down –"
"Don't tell me to put the knife down, Fang!" Serah's voice came out in a hiss. "I want to know what is happening right now."
Lightning looked at Fang and then vanished in a blur of movement. An instant later, she had her hand wrapped around Serah's knife and without taking her eyes off the pink haired woman she crushed the weapon between her fingers. "You are right. I am not your sister." She tugged the knife out of Serah's hand and dropped the mangled piece of metal onto the floor. "Fang, explain it to her."
So Fang did, and by the time she was finished, Serah had slumped into one of the other chairs, her face buried in her hands.
"How are we going to get her back?" Serah whispered, on the verge of tears. "And what if something happens to her? She's alone in that other world, Fang. And the girls… Maker, what are we going to tell them?"
"Tell them nothing," Lightning said. "And your Lightning will not be alone. The Fang of my world is… a friend, and she will see to her safety. And once the High Mother and High Father find out what has happened, they will take steps to return things to their natural order."
"Your Fang…" Serah whispered. "Is she also a goddess?"
"Yes, she is the Fang of the Heavens and a goddess of the wind." Lightning's jaw tightened. "She is also extremely irksome and lacking in the decorum one would associate with her rank as one of the High Mother's most exalted children."
To Fang's amazement, Serah began to laugh.
The pink haired woman scrubbed at her cheeks. "It's just… did you hear what she said, Fang? She's so like Lightning it's scary." She looked back at the goddess. "Do you ever hit your Fang?"
The goddess's lips twitched. "I do. It does not seem to discourage her. If anything, it does the opposite." She scowled. "Even my home offers little respite from her attempts to improve my mood and it does not help in the least that she has subverted my Serah to her cause." She growled. "In my world, you are a but a child amongst the gods, a gift from the High Mother to ease the burden of my duty." Her eyes softened. "And I could ask for no finer gift."
Serah smiled. "I'm glad you and your Serah get along. In this world, Lightning and I went through a few rough patches before we fixed everything up." She dragged in a deep breath. "So what do we do now?"
"What can we do?" Fang asked. She shuddered. "I could always ask Vanille if she knows anything that could help, but at this point, I'm not sure if that would make things better or worse."
"We wait." Lightning closed her eyes and Fang and Serah shivered as a small measure of the goddess's power filled the room. "My powers feel strange here, but I have been gathering them as best I can. Come nightfall, I shall call out to the High Mother again, but with more force this time. If we are fortunate, she will hear me and know where to direct her aid."
"I guess." Fang leaned back in her chair. She hated being helpless like this. If only there was something she could fight or kill to get Lightning back, things would be much simpler.
"Would it be all right if I spoke to the children?" Lightning asked, voice little more than a whisper.
Fang sat up. "Lightning?"
"You seem… so happy with them, and they love you and your Lightning so much." Lightning's gaze grew distant. "You have fought for your happiness and now you enjoy a life of peace with your family at your side. But my duty has no end."
"Lightning…" Fang clenched her fists. "That's… I mean…"
"I do not begrudge the High Mother the duty she has set upon me. Through my efforts, the world is kept safe, and peace and order are maintained amongst the gods. And she has also seen fit to reward me with a sister – one who will never doubt me or abandon me despite all the blood that I must shed. Yet I am curious about this world and the life that you and your Lightning live. The Fang of my world once asked me what I would be without my duty and I could not answer her. Perhaps my time here will provide me with that answer."
Fang swallowed thickly. She hadn't given the goddess's life a great deal of consideration – she'd been too worried about her Lightning. Yet now that she thought about it, it sounded horrible. "I guess that would be okay." She grinned. "Come on, I bet you don't have television where you're from, and there's no time like the present to learn about Gary the Gorgonopsid."
X X X
Fang looked down at the distinctly mortal Lightning in front of her. They were on their way to Cocoon to speak to the High Mother, but there were a few things she needed to get straightened out before they arrived.
"So in your world, you and I are wed?" Fang asked. Lightning was maintaining a death grip on one of Bahamut's scales as the dragon soared through the sky.
"Yes." Lightning scowled and Fang bit back a smile. It seemed even a mortal Lightning could scowl quite ferociously. "Are you sure that this High Mother of yours can help me?"
Fang nodded. "The High Mother's power is immense. If she cannot help you return to your world, then I doubt that anyone can." Lightning's grip on Bahamut's scales slipped and she darted forward to catch the mortal before she could fall off. "Here, let me hold you."
Lightning stiffened for a moment and then relaxed. "Fine."
How amusing, Fang thought. This Lightning had a scowl very much like hers. "Tell me, Lightning, how did you and your Fang come to be wed?"
"It's a long story." Lightning scowl faded.
"We have a lot of time."
"Fine." Lightning sighed. "It all started like this…"
Listening to Lightning talk, Fang fought the urge to laugh. What a wonderfully bizarre relationship the mortal Lightning and Fang had! And the children… just the thought of the other goddess trying to deal with the mortal Lightning and Fang's children brought a smile to her face.
Ahead of them, Cocoon loomed large in the sky and Fang tugged Lightning closer. "Stay with me, and do not say anything unless you have to. The goddess that you have replaced is feared and revered amongst the other gods. If they realise that she is gone, panic will break out and our enemies will act." She paused. "Try to glare too. That should help."
Lightning frowned and then glared.
Fang's lips curled. "Yes, that should do."
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As always, I neither own Final Fantasy, nor am I making any money off of this.
I've been meaning to come back to this one for a while now, since it's been rattling around in my brain for quite some time. I had considered setting this after the events in Lightning's past detailed in Chapter 12 of Whispers of the Gods, but decided against it since it would probably end up way too angst ridden (can you imagine what Lightning would think seeing a living Serah again? Shudder…). That said, this is supposed to be a fun piece (though there were some serious moments at the end). Ah, poor goddess Lightning… she's going to learn about the horror that is Gary the Gorgonopsid and what it means to watch several hours of children's cartoons. As if she didn't have enough emotional problems…
Also, you can find links to my blog and deviant art in my profile, along with links to eBook versions of Ordinary Heroes. I would also like to mention redkid11 who has a comic of Chapter 12 of Whispers of the Gods up on her deviant art. Head on over and take a look (there is a link to her deviant art profile in my profile). Finally, I would also like to mention denebtenoh who has a picture of Lightning from Of Gods and Demons up on her deviant (link in my profile).
As always, I appreciate feedback. Reviews and comments are welcome.