A/N: Here it is, the second chapter. I'm doing pretty well at keeping it light so far. Nothing really dark or depressing. Thanks to all the silent readers, because I looked at my traffic stats and just about had a heart attack! Special thanks to LM22102, diellemabelle, and a lovely anonymous guest for reviewing and/or following the story. I own nothing but my storyline. Please enjoy.
"Interesting day huh?" Serah commented lightly. She was sitting in the front room of Yeul's home with Noel and Mog.
"You said it, Kupo!"
Noel was silent, seemingly examining his hands. Serah tilted her head, studying him curiously. "Noel, what's up?"
"She was smiling. Every time I looked at her, she was smiling," he replied quietly.
"Isn't that a good thing?"
"Of course it is. I just… I haven't seen her really smile since… It's been a long time."
Serah nodded in understanding, feeling a slight twinge in her chest. She was living an amazing adventure, but a part of her couldn't help wishing things could just be how they were supposed to. She wanted Snow back, and Lightning as well. She wanted to get married, surrounded by all her friends.
"I'll go see if she needs help with anything," the pinkette mentioned, walking to the kitchen. Noel didn't answer, so she took his silence as agreement.
Upon entering the kitchen, Serah was met with a flurry of activity. Yeul was cooking, running back and forth between drawers and cabinets and stoves. Serah took a deep breath before stopping the younger girl by placing a hand on her shoulder. "Need help?"
"Sure, you can cut the vegetables," the seeress said in relief, finally slowing down. The traveler nodded, following Yeul's instructions on what to do. The girl had obviously been taking care of herself for a while. Despite how much she had been darting around before, she knew what she was doing. Not much later, the meal was ready. It was a fairly simple soup. Of course, seeing as the girl lived alone, it wasn't necessarily surprising that she would serve something simple. The two poured some soup into bowls and carried them out of the kitchen to the front room. Noel seemed to be having a very spirited debate with Mog.
"I'm just saying, wouldn't it be easier for all Flan to move around if they could fly or something? I mean, being all sludgy makes them move pretty slow and-,"
"Sorry to interrupt your… interesting conversation, but food is ready," Serah cut in, smiling lightly.
Noel looked at her, ready to respond with a witty retort but stopping himself when he noticed Yeul's raised eyebrow and amused expression. There was a moment of silence as the two young women set the food down on a small table in front of the chairs.
"Looks yummy, Kupo!" Mog sang out cheerily.
"It'd better be; we worked hard on this!" the pinkette replied.
They all picked up their bowls and utensils, beginning the meal. Serah mulled over the flavor; it was interesting. It was unique, that was for sure. There wasn't much flavor to it, but the simplicity in itself was enjoyable. For some reason, it just didn't seem to fit in with everything else she'd experienced so far. She glanced at Noel, watching for his reaction. To her surprise, he was mostly just looking at it, studying it even. He'd take a sip, and then he'd stop and stare for a moment as though he couldn't quite comprehend something. Serah opened her mouth to ask him what he was thinking about, but the seeress spoke first.
"Is it… okay?" Yeul asked him quietly.
"Yeah. Yeah, it's great. It just… kinda tastes a little familiar," he replied, sounding a little unsure of his answer. "I like it though."
The younger girl smiled, seeming relieved at his answer. "That's good," she murmured, turning back to her own food. Serah decided not to comment, instead finishing her soup and mulling over her thoughts on her own. Everyone in the room finished eating in contented silence. The pink-haired traveler put her bowl back down on the table before leaning back into her chair.
"So what's it like living here?" she asked Yeul lightly.
"It's… nice. This place is pretty quiet and calm. It's soothing."
"Where did you live before here? Or were you born in a village near here?" the pinkette continued.
Yeul laughed a little strangely. "I actually don't remember. Weird, right? I woke up one day and couldn't remember anything about where I was born, or where I grew up. I was already living here, and Caius was there to fill me in on where I was."
"That is unusual," Noel commented, looking at her curiously. "You don't know anything about when or where you grew up?"
"No, not really." The seeress shifted uncomfortably in her seat. Serah noticed her discomfort and decided to change the subject.
"Well, this is a beautiful place regardless. What do you usually do on a normal day?"
Yeul smiled at her gratefully, thankful for the change. "Depends on the day. Sometimes I spend time by the river, sometimes I explore a little. The only thing I make sure to do every day is watch the sun rise and set. It's a bit of a habit."
"Really? How long have you been doing it?" Noel asked curiously.
"Every day, even when I couldn't remember anything, I knew it was just something I needed to do," Yeul answered quietly.
Noel seemed to be studying the seeress, as though he was trying to solve a difficult equation. She, on the other hand, was studying her hands. Serah glanced back and forth between the two of them with a raised eyebrow. Finally the pinkette stood, picking up all the bowls as she did. Yeul looked up at her in surprise, ready to get up and help.
"No need to help, it's getting late. You should rest a little before your sun rises," Serah said offhandedly.
"But-," Yeul began, stopping short at a glare from Serah.
"No buts, you should get some rest. You're what, sixteen? Seventeen?"
"Seventeen actually, but-,"
"I said no buts, get some rest," Serah said sternly, using her teacher voice.
The seeress nodded, resisting the urge to say 'Yes ma'am,' as she prepared to leave. "There's an extra bedroom and the couch is really comfortable," Yeul murmured before excusing herself politely from the room.
Noel watched her leave, uncertainty still in his eyes. "Did you have to be so harsh?" he asked his travelling companion.
Serah shrugged, carrying the bowls to the kitchen. "You were making her uncomfortable. I doubt she's used to being analyzed Noel."
"I wasn't analy-… Okay, maybe I was staring a little, but there's something… different about her this time. It's like… like she's more familiar."
The pinkette began cleaning the kitchen up a little, listening to Noel as he tried to explain his thoughts. She couldn't figure out if he was overthinking the entire situation, or if she should be thinking the same way. Eventually she just shook her head. "How about you help me clean up in here and we can figure this out later?" she offered.
Noel just sighed heavily, getting to work. It was a fairly quick job, and the two decided to finish their conversation in the morning. Noel claimed the couch as his sleeping space, and Serah happily took the other bed. It had been a long day to say the least. Both of them were finally starting to relax when the screams started. Noel jumped up with lightning speed and rushed to the source of the noise, almost knocking Serah down on the way there. She looked at him with worried eyes as they opened the door the Yeul's bedroom.
The seeress seemed to be in pain, her hands clenched the sheets so tightly that her knuckles were white. Her shrieks were piercing as she thrashed in her sleep. Serah stood by the door, frozen in place. She couldn't figure out which course of action to take. Noel on the other hand, moved quickly to Yeul's side, grabbing her shoulders and trying to contain her violent movements. He shook her, trying to wake her up. One of her hands latched onto his arm, the nails drawing blood as they dug into his skin.
"Yeul! Wake up!" he shouted, shaking her. "Come on! Wake up!"
Slowly, Yeul's eyes opened and her grip on Noel's arm loosened. Her eyes were filled with tears and he pulled her close to him without thinking. She wrapped her arms around his waist, burying her face in his chest.
"It was just a dream, just a dream," she whispered, poorly attempting to hold back a sob.
"It's alright, I'm here. I'm right here," he murmured to her softly.
Yeul broke down, holding onto him as though her life depended on it. Noel couldn't really do anything but hold her until she wore herself out. Serah left the room silently, realizing she wouldn't be of much help. As she walked back to the other bedroom she couldn't help the thoughts that entered her mind. This Yeul was different from any they'd met before. She was so much more emotional, and seemingly acted with more… freedom. Why was she so unique? Granted, each Yeul was a little different, but this was almost a complete change in character. As she went to lie down, suddenly that was all she could think about. The thoughts clouded her mind even as she went to sleep.
In the other room, Yeul was settling down slowly. She was still holding onto Noel as though he was her lifeline. He couldn't find it in him to tell her to let go, or even let go himself. Her breathing returned to normal, and her grip loosened, but she still didn't let go.
"Are you… Alright?" Noel asked uncertainly.
"I think so," she replied tiredly.
"Will you be alright? If I leave I mean?"
"I don't know. Could you just… stay a little longer?" she asked quietly, almost nervously.
"I guess…" he replied, pulling back from their embrace. She tried to offer a weak smile, failing miserably. With certain reluctance, Yeul laid back down on the bed, attempting to get comfortable. She grabbed Noel's hand gently, pulling him down to her. A little more confident, Noel laid beside her, wrapping an arm around her securely.
"I'm right here if you need me again," he said quietly, smoothing her hair with one hand.
"Thank you," she whispered, feeling herself fall into a deep sleep. Noel fell asleep moments later, telling himself that he'd get up before her.
A/N: Okay, so it's not really super amazing, but it does help set up the rest of the story. There are some things essential to what will happen later that needed to be put in. I swear the strangeness of Yeul's character will be explained. It's not completely just because I randomly felt like making her that way. This will probably be the chapter that took me the longest to write. Most of what's left is written in notebooks. Please shoot me a review, they really do help.