Disclaimer: I don't own Final Fantasy, or any of the characters used in this fic. They all belong to Square Enix and their respective designers. I only own any of my original characters that I choose to include, as well as any of my own original plot ideas.

Hope He's Right

A/N: Alternate events in Lake Bresha.

"I'll get you out, Serah," she hears him say. "I won't let them keep you trapped in there. I promise."

She turns, furious, tired of hearing him say the same damn thing over and over again. The others are silent. Perhaps they don't know what, if anything, they're supposed to say. But she's not like them. She can't see the sun in every situation, worry about everything that could go wrong and should. She has to look forward, anticipate every attack, and take their opposition down.

Lightning doesn't have the pleasure of fretting over petty things.

"That's enough!" she bellows as Snow stands. "Enough of your damned promises!"

He looks at her, they all look at her, with surprise. She knows he doesn't understand, can't accept, that, once a l'Cie has become crystal, they're as good as dead.

Serah can't hear them, can't feel their love or mourning, can't know that the world goes on unchanged as if she were never a part of it. With a completed Focus, she is lost to them.

"Why do you keep saying that?"

Lightning glowers as she strikes him, and shouts, "Why do you?! Why do you keep on like she's alive; like she'll come and jump into your arms?! She's gone, and the fal'Cie will notgive her back!"

Snow is a fool, and he must know it. The way he looks up at her, he's sure to see the truth in Lightning's own eyes.

"I choose to believe," he says, "that we can take her back. That's why."

His answer takes Lightning by surprise, and she steps back, almost in recoil. A silence falls, and the only sound to be heard is the tinkling of crystal shards as they snap off and drop onto the hardened lake bottom.

She turns away, scoffing as he picks up digging again.

"Then just keep digging, fool," she whispers, the sound of her footsteps echoing through the expanse.

But a part of her hopes he's right.