A/N: Yes, I wrote another Final Fantasy fanfic, and no, it's not a FLight fic, it's Lanille! I actually wanted to make this story a oneshot, but when I was in the middle of writing this chapter the ideas of a longer fanfic just spread out in front of me, so I decided I could give it a try and write a longer one. Anyways, I'm curious to see how you guys like the first chapter. Have fun reading it =)
Warning: Female/Female (Lightning/Vanille … for now)! Don't like it? … guys, it's simple, just don't read it ;)
Disclaimer: I do not own the game, Final Fantasy XIII, or the characters used in this story! They all belong to Square Enix.
a Final Fantasy XIII Fanfiction. (slightly) OOC, (slightly) AU, Lanille
Blinded by Light
I'm sitting in a cave. Right in front of me lies a girl. A young woman, probably not much younger than I am, her hair a red color, and she's still wearing them in two pigtails. I think she's asleep. But she's mumbling something I can't make out. Maybe she's having a nightmare.
I lean my head back against the hard wall of the cave. If I only had some wood, then I could make a fire. It's freezing in here. I see the girl shivering. I sigh, looking up and down her body. She has bruises all over her and I had to bandage her arm because she had a deep wound there.
How we landed here? I sigh … that's a long story …
"Sergeant Farron?" I hear a deep, male voice calling out my name. I turn to see Lieutenant Amodar approaching me, so I salute. "Lieutenant."
"On the horizon we can already make out a village called Oerba. We will attack tomorrow morning, before sunrise. Tell your troops to gather for tonight." he orders, pointing out the location, and I simply reply with a: "Sir." my gaze already fixed on where he showed me.
"It seems like it's only a small village." he adds and I look at the Lieutenant again. "Shouldn't take long to destroy it. It's said to be overrun by Cie'th, wild monsters, and even l'Cie."
I only nod once in acknowledgement. The number of Pulse-Gates on Cocoon started to increase. Wild monster from this strange, foreign, and yet quite beautiful planet were roaming on Cocoon. The Sanctum's orders are simple and strict about preventing those monsters from coming. Travel to Pulse and kill as many as possible, since it seems rather impossible to close the gates. The army was sent here first, but then also PSICOM and us, the Guardian Corps. We usually were only responsible for the safety on Cocoon, defending the citizens … but now we're the ones attacking.
I personally never was too fond of this war, or of the idea of attacking another planet, but orders are orders. And losing my job was, and still is, no option.
I say: "Maybe we should be a little more careful when there are l'Cie as well. We don't know their powers."
I take my binoculars from my bag, which is strapped to my left thigh, and observe the village. I hear the lieutenant telling me: "I don't think they're a threat. We outnumber them."
I suddenly see a body running across my vision, which looks like the one of a girl. I put the binoculars away and say: "Sir, I think I just saw a person running in the village."
The lieutenant chuckles at that statement, and replies: "I highly doubt that, sergeant. Did you see the monsters? A person wouldn't survive a minute."
I look through the binoculars again, searching the village for the girl again, but I can't spot her. I don't know why, but I have a really bad feeling about attacking this village. I never had a feeling like this before attacking. Something inside of me tells me not to do it, especially now that I saw this person. I know she was there!
"Sir, maybe we could investigate a little closer this one time. What if innocents get killed?" I suggest. The lieutenant looks at me a little surprised. It's not very much like me to consider an attack. I'm sure he's thinking that right now as well.
"We will attack in the morning, sergeant." he simply states. I ball my hand into a fist. For once I wish I had a higher rank. I don't like this feeling in my guts! I wish I could convey my feelings better, but on the other hand I know he's right. I must try again: "But, sir- "
"That is an order, Farron." he interrupts me. I simply salute and nod. I should watch what I'm doing and saying, otherwise I'll be sent back home, jobless. Feelings have little place in a war and in the military, that's the reason I joined the Guardian Corps in the first place. I usually never had a problem with keeping my feelings in place, so why should they take the overhand now?
The Lieutenant just smiles at me shortly, then tells me: "You should get some rest, sergeant. Tomorrow is another tough day. You're dismissed."
I do as he tells me and also now gather my troops to set up a camp for the night.
Tired from the day I plop down in my sleeping bag, crossing my arms behind my head. Although, as much as I try to fall asleep, my thoughts always drift back to the girl I saw in the village. I sigh. Maybe I'm just making things up. I really just should get some sleep …
I'm clutching my gunblade tightly while I'm running through the dark, towards the village. I just couldn't sleep last night. I was tossing and turning but the girl didn't get out of my head. So I gathered my stuff and snuck out of the camp. If the lieutenant finds out about my absence I will have a lot of explaining to do, but if I don't check this village and see for myself that nobody's here, I might not attack tomorrow, and I might lose my job, and again, that's no option.
The attack tomorrow? We would shoot missiles to literally turn the place into rubble. And everything that's still running we usually kill them ourselves. Luckily we never found a human body before … but who knows about this village.
The reason why we're attacking Pulse villages … well, we realized that most of the gates back to Cocoon are close to the villages. And the villages we've seen so far were infested with monsters, creatures, Cie'th … and these monsters come to Cocoon through those gates. It's as simple as that.
As I finally reach my destination I can't see a lot of movement going on in the village. The monsters seem to be asleep as well. I rush over to a house, pressing my back against the wall. I slowly move to the edge and scan the area from one end to the other. It's a little open space. No human being. Monsters all over the place. I let out a breath I didn't know I was holding, in relief. I probably am tired from the long day today, making things up.
Okay, I better head back. Or should I take a look into the houses? Damn … this would take too long. I must be satisfied with the fact that I didn't see a person out here, I must control my emotions again …
I breathe in and out slowly once … now … I'll head back. I start to sneak away when I suddenly hear a quiet whimper. And that whimper was one of a human … from a girl! My ears never failed me before. I knew someone was here! I hear the whimper again and it was coming right out of the window, which is only a few feet above me, of the house I'm pressed up against.
I jump up, getting a hold on the window ledge and I push myself up, taking out my gunblade and leaving it in its gun form, automatically pointing inside the window.
The first thing I spot is a girl, her eyes shut tightly and it looks like she's in a lot of pain. I can see little cuts and scratches all over her body. Her clothes, even though she doesn't seem to be wearing much, are ripped in several places. She has red hair, wearing them in pigtails, and her bangs are hanging messily into her face.
I then spot the source of her pain. It's a wolf-like creature, which has its fangs bored into the flesh of her upper left arm, and I see a lot of blood streaming out of the wound. I have to act quickly and precisely. If I wait any longer the thing will bite her arm off, but if I shoot it now it might not let go and die like this.
I decide to do the only logical thing that comes to my mind, and shout: "Hey!" to get its attention. To my dismay it only looks at me but doesn't let go of her arm. I frown and aim at its hind leg, shooting it there, and as soon as it lets out a shriek of pain, opening its mouth in the process and finally letting the girl go, I shoot it right between the eyes. The creature falls limply to the floor. The shot was lethal.
I carefully scan the room for more monsters, but so far it seems empty, so I hurry over to the girl, kneeling down beside her and touching her shoulder lightly. "Can you hear me?" I ask her.
Her eyes fly open at the sound of my voice. A meadow green meets my icy blue. I don't remember ever seeing eyes like hers before. She opens her mouth to say something but is interrupted by a loud 'thud' on the door. Crap, the noise must've woken the other monsters. I say: "We don't have much time." and I start lifting her onto my back. She's not very heavy, to my luck.
I stand up, tying my cape around us to secure her and then look around the room. The only exits are the door, which is blocked by monsters and whatever is out there, and the window I came through. My choice is simple and I jump onto the window ledge again, and look down outside. It's not too high up, but with another person on my back the landing might be a little rougher.
"Are you alright?" I ask and I hear a quiet and weak voice replying: "Yes … " I take a short breath and then carefully jump down, trying to land as softly as possible. At the impact with the ground she moans quietly in pain, but then tells me: "Still alright … " before I even ask her. It's the first time I can make out that she has a different accent, but I quickly concentrate on my surroundings again.
I start running back into the direction I came from but I am quickly caught off by monsters. I draw my gunblade and flick it into the sword form, but also still keep running. Unfortunately I am soon fighting my way through until I spot an open space. This is my chance to escape! I start running again … faster than I ever ran before …
The monsters quickly lose track of me and I'm running alone in the open. I look around, searching for the camp but I can't find it. I hear howling and growling behind me and I start running again. I don't even know if it's a good idea to look for the camp with all those monsters chasing me.
After a long while of running across a wide open area I spot a cave and decide to go there, hoping that no bigger monster is waiting inside. I have the feeling that on Pulse everything is possible.
As I stand in front of the cave I stop shortly to peek inside and listen for any suspicious noises. Good, nothing so far. I decide to walk into it. I scan the area carefully again, but there really is nothing. It's not even a deep cave, so hopefully for tonight it's a good hideout. I then lay the girl down again.
I think she passed out on the way here as she became heavier and heavier every minute. I examine her again, only to find the deep wound on her upper left arm again, which is still bleeding. She must've lost quite a lot of blood on the way here, no wonder she passed out. She also has a very unhealthy pale face … no, her whole body is really pale, actually.
I take a bandage out of my bag, which is tied around my left thigh again, and fix up the wound. After I finished I look towards the exit. I can't hear the monsters, only the quiet of the night. And on Pulse it's very quiet at night. The only thing I can do now is wait for the sun to rise. I might see quite well in the dark, but still not very far. I sigh … I'm in trouble …
My head is still leaned back against the hard and cold rock wall of the cave, and I'm looking at the ceiling. It's daytime already, but I haven't left the cave yet. I want the girl to wake up when I'm still here. I don't want her to flee or anything. Plus, I'm in big trouble already, so it really doesn't matter when I return to the camp.
I also haven't heard an explosion of missiles. I wonder if they're waiting for me to attack or if I'm simply too far away to hear it. I hardly doubt that, though.
I suddenly see the girl stirring again. Is she having another dream?
Then her eyes open slowly. At first she's just staring at the ceiling, just like I did before, but then she quickly sits up and looks around, a little in panic. Her right hand then finds her upper left arm, where the wound, and now the bandage is, and she eyes it carefully.
"Careful." I say in a quiet and calm voice so I don't spook her. Her perfect, green eyes find mine, her look is confused. "D-did … you do this?" she asks me. Her voice is still weak, and she sounds insecure. "I cleaned it and bandaged it, if that's what you mean."
She only nods and examines the white cloth around her arm again, before saying a quiet: "Thanks … " I realize, especially now that the cave is lit by the sunlight, her natural skin color is back. She still is pale, but not like last night.
I watch her as she looks down herself, searching out all the bruises. I don't know why I'm curious about it, really I could care less, but before I can control my voice I ask: "What's your name?" I almost say it in an angry tone. Angry about myself for not being able to contain myself from asking. But I feel like I'm dying to know it.
"Vanille." she tells me, still looking at her bruises, but then looks up at me. "Oerba Dia Vanille. And yours?"
She sounds so cheerful, even though she's probably still in a lot of pain, she even smiles a little. I tell her: "Lightning Farron."
She then looks out of the cave shortly. I wonder what's going on in her head … not that I'd ever ask. As she looks back at me she asks: "Why did you save me? How did you know I was there?"
"I … " but I drift off. Why did I save her? Well, that's easy. I didn't want innocent people to get killed. But should I really tell her that I'm from the Guardian Corps? I decide to answer as neutrally as possible: "I saw you running around the village yesterday. And I thought you might need a hand with all those monsters."
She only nods in acknowledgement, the small smile still evident on her face. Silence is now filling the cave. I don't mind the silence. I usually like it … not talking. But there are things I should know, which are relevant for me, as a soldier, so I decide to ask, and break the silence: "Are there others in the village?"
To this she only shakes her head no. Now I can't help but wonder: "And what were you doing there, all alone?"
She drops hear head and doesn't hesitate to reply: "I was looking for others, for survivors, like me." She lifts her head up to look at the bandage again, and then continues: "Not even two weeks ago we were overrun by the monsters. My friend took me with her and we fled alone. Only us two. That's why I came back, I wanted to find others of my village."
I cross my arms. So they were overrun by monsters. "Why were you overrun in first place?" I ask. Isn't it their own fault if they live on a planet like this? I mean, on the other hand, they should know how to defend themselves, they obviously did so far.
She shrugs. "We heard from other villages that the vipers from Cocoon started attacking Gran Pulse. That made the wildlife search out new places to stay … so they found us."
I suddenly feel extremely guilty. So, like I already thought, she's from Pulse … and we, the 'vipers' from Cocoon, we just raided their home planet. I never knew why I hated this mission, to attack Pulse, but now I do. We went on this mission without further investigation and probably destroyed families, maybe even whole villages or cities … I feel anger crawling up in me. I'm angry at the Sanctum … angry at PSICOM and the GC … and at myself, for just following orders blindly.
"You're from Cocoon as well, are you?" her voice fills the quiet cave, echoing on the walls. I only nod as a reply. Her voice sounds hurt and a lot more vulnerable at the next question, as she already knows the answer: "And you're one of them … the ones who are attacking, right?"
Again I nod but also sigh. Her gaze drops to the floor and she's slumping a little. She looks defeated. She looks miserable. I feel sorry for her and I'm getting more and more angry at myself.
"Then where are the other soldiers?" she asks, her voice cracking a little, but she also sounds angry. This is my chance to tell her that I don't mean her any harm. I should take it. I should talk, for a change. And I do: "I snuck out of the camp last night because, like I already told you, I spotted you yesterday. I never wanted anyone to get killed … in fact, I never wanted to go on this mission."
With an angry glare she throws back: "Then why did you come here in first place?!" She even raised her voice a little.
I drop my head in defeat. I'm being mentally beaten up by a girl, I can hardly believe it … but she has a point, I couldn't even argue, even if I wanted to. So I reply, honestly: "I don't know … because if I hadn't accepted this quest I would've been fired … but … if I hadn't been there yesterday you would've been killed … so … "
She still looks at me, tensely, but then her features relax a little and she sighs. "That's true … " she admits.
There's an awkward silence now hanging in the cave. I sigh. I hate awkward silences, they make me nervous. I stand up. I better get back to the camp. I have a lot of explaining to do. I just don't know what to tell my troops. Or what I should tell the lieutenant. They probably won't believe a thing. I sigh and start brushing the dust off of my clothes and then heading towards the exit of the cave.
"Where are you going?" the girl, named Vanille, asks me, her voice is sad again. I turn around to face her. She's still sitting in the middle of the cave, legs pulled against her body with her arms wrapped around them, her chin resting on her knees and she has a very sad expression on her face. The sight makes me feel really sorry for her. Since when do I ever feel sorry about anyone?
"Back to the camp, I guess." I tell her, crossing my arms. Where else should I go? Her look turns a little angry again and she asks: "And you're gonna continue attacking our land like before?"
Again she punches me in the face, mentally of course. I clench my hands tightly into a fist. People don't just win arguments against me like that! I snap back: "What else should I do?!"
She lifts her head from her knees and responds: "You could try to stop them." her voice sounding small.
I raise one eyebrow at her. She really thinks it's that easy, does she? Tch, innocent, little child. I contain the anger I'm holding and tell her, calmly: "I don't think that I, alone, without any evidence, can make them change their minds." I clench my teeth. Only thinking about trying to talk to Lieutenant Amodar yesterday makes me angry. I continue: "I asked the lieutenant to investigate your village a little further, to see if people are there, but he didn't even think about it and told me to attack this morning!" My voice turned angrier at the end of the sentence. Why am I rambling now? I take a deep breath again to control my emotions.
The girl looks at me a little in disbelief. Her green eyes searching mine for any evidence that what I just said is true.
"You … " she starts in a quiet voice. "You save me at the risk of losing your job? Even though it seems like your job means a lot to you … I don't know what to say … " She places her head back onto her knees.
I sigh. Why does she make me feel so guilty? Why does she make me feel like my job is not so important to me? Maybe because this is not the job that I wanted? I then state without thinking: "Better to save a life and lose my job than keeping my job but having to live with the fact of killing an innocent person if I could've prevented it."
Did … I really just say that out loud? That my job is not so important to me? Thinking about it is one thing … but saying it out loud … I … must contain my thoughts again. I should just shut up! Must be the lack of sleep last night …
"Plus, my job usually was to protect the citizens of Cocoon … not attacking another … well … planet." Shut up, Lightning, just stop rambling! This is not you! You haven't been training hard in the past years to just start blurting out your whole life to a complete stranger, to a Pulsian!
I realize that her head shot up at the word 'protecting'. I looks like a light bulb went up in her head or something. I narrow my eyes a little. Looks like she's up to something.
"Didn't you say you needed evidence to make the soldiers believe you?" she asks, her eyes seem to be lighting up and, I don't know why, it makes her look dazzling. I just nod and focus on her words again: "And you hate this mission?" Again, I simply nod.
She now almost jumps up, suggesting: "Why don't you bring me to the camp? I'm your evidence and I can also talk to them! Plus, you can protect me on the way there!"
I sigh again, I thought about that myself, of course. Yesterday, when I was running around in the dark. I tell her: "I doubt that they will believe one girl." I don't have a lot of faith in the Sanctum. Maybe Amodar will believe me, but he didn't start this war.
Vanille suddenly rushes over to me, putting her hands on my still crossed forearms, and says: "I have another idea! We could try to find my friend together. Maybe she found some others of the village. And the more we are, the better we can convince them, right?"
"I … " I am at loss of words. She's making me decide between saving and protecting people I don't know – but which is my actually profession – or going back only with her to try to convince the Sanctum – probably with no success – or going back alone, knowing that I will destroy homes and families as I move on.
She's still looking at me expectantly. Should I let my brain or my heart win? I suddenly spot the bandage on Vanille's upper left arm again, and thoughts of my sister are now in my head. Serah … what would she do in a situation like this? She's always been better at making decisions. I was always just following orders, she actually questioned them.
I sigh and say the only thing my sister would've said: "Alright … let's find your friend … "
My heart won.
A/N: Yay, chapter one done =) I was surprised myself that it turned out to be this long when I first wrote it (on paper, yes!).
I guess Lightning's (a little) OOC in this chapter. Is it good? Is it bad? You guys judge and tell me, please =) I mean, who knows what the ever-so-cold soldier, Lightning, is like when she actually meets someone she likes?
I don't mind reviews, I don't mind being criticized (hey, I want to improve ^^) so write away, leave your thoughts!