Final Fantasy XIII-2: Searching For Serah

Noel woke with a startling jolt from his nightmare.

It had been the third time he had had the same dream.

It was right after they had stopped Caius and had restored the timeline. They gently floated down onto Sazh's Jet Bahamut, smiling at one another. "Hey…Noel," Serah began, turning to her male companion with a sweet smile upon her face. "I just wanted to say thank you…and…" suddenly, her voice split and her gaze became wild.

"No, please," Noel says, outstretching his arms desperately for Serah. She begins to follow back, his voice pleading with her soul. "No, not yet—please!" He pulled her back into his embrace, cradling her body as the warmth began to escape it. Tears leak from his gaze as he holds her, watching her eyes grow dim as her spirit leaves her body. "SERAAAAAAH!"

Noel buried his face into his hands and shivered. It had been several months since Serah had died and he was still haunted by his memory of losing her—and Mog. The world was plunged into a world trapped with no time—or so it seemed—now that the Goddess Etro was dead. He had moved to Bhunivelze, the new Cocoon. Despite his new life, his past continued to burden him. Lightning had disappeared once again, Hope had buried himself in work to hide his grief, and Snow was nowhere to be found.

He sat up in bed and wiped the sweat from his forehead. He took deep, shaky breathes, attempting to calm down. Eventually, he was able to sit in silence, staring into the blackness that encased his room.

"Serah," he whispered, "I'm sorry…I couldn't protect you."

There was a warm light that flickered in the corner of the brunette's eye. He snapped his head to the left to see a ghostly figure standing in the doorway. The body glowed a warm, misty white and its face was veiled in light. It glided forward and sat down on Noel's bed. Instead of being terrified, he felt at peace with this strange presence that had appeared. "Noel," the ghost said. Its voice was familiar. Gentle and sweet.

"S-Serah?" he whispered, shifting towards the figure to get a better look.

It nodded once. "Yes, Noel. It's me." Her body's glow began to fade into pale skin and pink hair. Serah smiled. "It's good to see you again."

Noel lunged at Serah, wrapping his arms around her and holding the pretty pink-haired girl tightly in his embrace. "Y-You died…it's all my fault," he sobbed, burying his face in her neck.

Serah gently stroked his hair. "It's not your fault, Noel. I knew my fate…and I gladly accepted it."

"I…I want you back," he cried, squeezing her even tighter.

"Noel…the future I saw…was a good one. Despite the goddess's death and all that has happened…there is a bright future in store for our world." She stated, bringing his face up to look at her.

"Please, come back, I…I don't want this future if you're not in it." Noel whispered; a desperate look in his eyes.

The pinkette let out a gentle laugh, shaking her head, "Noel, I need your help." she announced, taking his face into her hands and studying his expression. "I need you to find me—I'm trapped between times."

"What?" Noel said in astonishment, "What do you mean 'trapped between times'?" he questioned, arching his brow.

"When I died, my soul didn't go to the other side of life or death. I'm trapped in Valhalla, in a sense." She stated, letting her hands fall to her lap, "That's how I'm communicating with you."

Noel's head spun with confusion, "Then…can I bring you back?" he asked, his voice hopeful.

"It's…possible," she began, looking off to the side, "In Valhalla there is neither life nor death…but, that's not the important part," she declared, turning her misty gaze back to Noel. "Lightning, she's alive. She's going to save the world." Her voice came out into a hushed whisper and her image flickered slightly.

"She's alive?!" Noel echoed, brown eyes growing wide, "How—"

"I need you to find her. That way…maybe…she can bring me back. The world doesn't have to end yet—I have seen a brighter future, Noel. You and Lightning will help rebuild this new world."

"Where do I start?" he asked, his voice becoming determined. He wanted to bring Serah back—at any cost. He didn't care about the New World or finding Lightning. He just wanted his Serah back.

"Go back to Gran Pulse if you can. Ask Sazh for help. I believe Lightning is still inside of Etro's Gate." Her voice was becoming fainter as her finger began to fade. "I have the key to save this world, Noel. Find me and perhaps we can fix this world—end Valhalla and create life and death again."

Noel nodded, bringing Serah into his arms again. "Serah, I'll find you. I promise. And this time, I'll protect you—I'll never let anything bad happen to you again."

Serah's grip on him lessened and she let out a faint sigh, "Thank you, Noel. I'll see you…in the future," she murmured as her body faded into nothing.

Noel stared in astonishment at where Serah had been. He stood, throwing on his clothes and pulling his Dual Swords onto his back. "Okay, time to go find Sazh." He murmured as he headed out the door of his tiny apartment. And so, Noel's journey began. His journey to find Serah.