i was actually really disappointed with the little amount of background we were given on Noel? i always thought he would have some serious issues being the last human being and living with two people who dont think like normal humans do. personally i always imagined him with a bit of an inferiority complex (cause no matter what yeul would choose caius) and the need to recieve affection cause caius isnt exactly a very affectionate individual and caius was probably the closest thing to a father figure he had. also i didn't get how serah got a lotus-eater fantasy world while noel just lived out his last moments? i thought he'd have one too. Also if this seems a bit oedipal its probably because it is.

His first memory is Grandma's hands pressed around his, trembling, shaking, failing.

"Your parents aren't coming back," she had said. The words rang empty as Noel struggled to feel loss for people he barely knew. He's never called them mother or father. He's never had them praise him for a kill and scrub away the blood on his gloves. He's never had them whisper I love you or it's going to be alright in his ears.

He's never had anything but the cold steel blade in his hands and the scars on his arms, scars gained from countless fights and countless cuts, bleeding as he bandaged them himself.

"If you don't learn now," Caius had said, "who will take care of you later?"

"You," he'd wanted to say. Caius should've been immortal, he should've been eternal. He should've stayed by Noel's side until the last day came and until the very world collapsed and simply ceased to be. He simply should've been.

But he was as fluid as the chaos he came from, something foreign- with blood that leaked blue in the black light and eyes that felt like broken crystal shards of Cocoon. Broken, terrible, yet beautiful. Oh, so beautiful.

Like Yeul with her moss-green hair, the sea to his skies. Little Yeul with her limp and her soft voice and cruel, cold eyes, everything that screamed 'protect me' and 'fear me.' With her words like mazes and mind like sand, slipping through his fingers again.

And again.

And again.

and again and again

and againandagainandagainandagia nandagain

And Serah's just not right, she just a bit too tall and a bit too old, but her eyes still shine and her breath catches just like Yeul's would, and he is reminded.

He's too late again- Serah speaks of Snow with a glimmer in her voice and loneliness in her eyes, speaks with with such utter adoration that he knows he'll never catch up. But he still matches his paces to longer ones, still grasps his split blade, still stands and watches as she speaks of someone who he could never be.

"He's so honorable! He's so strong! He'd do everything to save me," Yeul and Serah would say, and he'd be left behind yet again. There's no solace in the past and there's no peace in his future, so he'd stay with the only other person who'd been left and left others.

"I knew she cared about Serah first and foremost," Hope would say. "After all, I'm not her sibling."

"Was it hard? Leaving?"

"Surprisingly, no. After Lightning disappeared, my father just didn't seem like...well, he didn't seem like my family anymore. That hurt more than leaving did. "

Family. Family. What was having family like? Was comfort now worth more pain later?

Some days, he'd fall and refuse to get up, digging his hands into the coarse sand and begging somebody, anybody, to come back to him.

The blade is sharp. His skin is soft. It would only take a moment.

"Well?" Caius would ask, Caius of the truth and neutrality and the divine to their mortality, would beg. "Will you kill me now?"

"No," he wants to say, but the possibility lingers like the ghost of an old friend. An eternity with Yeul. An eternity with her. An eternity without him.

A hand extended, and he takes it. He'll always take it, because no matter how long he tells it to himself, Caius is still the only one he has left. Caius was his teacher, his mentor, the person he ran to when his knees were scraped and his pride was wounded.

Even as the blade is driven through his stomach, the only thing he can think of is Yeul and Caius and Serah and Snow and Hope and how they all have each other, but what does he have other than empty blue skies and dull grey sand?

The sands are as gray as the sky, but Yeul's envy-green hair still stands out. Her voice is cold but her eyes are kind.

"We've been waiting for you," she adds, and he doesn't have to ask why.

Caius's hair glows a soft red in the black light, and he stoops to match Noel's lips.