Snowball Fights are Fun (Except When We're Involved), or A Tale of Two Houses
Listen closely, for I have a story to tell. In the land of New Bodhum, there once lived a fair and lovely young maiden. Vanille they called her, Vanille the Vivacious, for her love of life and cheerfulness were known throughout the land. Only Serah the Spectacular, a young lady with hair as pink as a maiden's blush could match Vanille's good cheer.
For many moons, the ladies Vanille and Serah were fine friends, kindred spirits who treasured each other dearly, and through their friendship peace was kept between the noble House of Yun and the august House of Farron. But alas and alack – one day Vanille the Vivacious would fall to victim to treachery most foul, and from that day onward she would be known as Vanille the Vengeful, and never again would there be peace between the House of Yun and the House of Farron.
X X X
Vanille stifled a giggle and skipped down the street. It was a chilly winter's day, and it was so cold that she would likely have frozen in a few minutes if it wasn't for her thick jacket and gloves. But that was okay. She liked the icy touch of winter, and above all, she liked the snow. Nothing in the world was as much fun as good snowball fight (except, perhaps, for watching Fang bait Lightning), and she was off to Serah's house to ambush the pink haired woman. Serah would walk out the door and then whack! She'd get a snowball right to face. That would teach Serah to say bad things about Fang.
She skipped the rest of the way to Serah's house and knocked on the door. As footsteps drew near, she ducked behind the bushes beside the door, a snowball ready and waiting in her right hand. The door opened, and she let out a gleeful cry and hurled her snowball.
"Take that, Serah!"
Snow wiped the snow off his face and grimaced. "Vanille?"
Vanille stared. That had not gone to plan. "Uh, do you think you could get Serah to come out?" She dropped the snowball she was holding. "I'd like to talk to her."
Snow shrugged. "Well, if you want to talk to her, she's right behind you."
Vanille turned. And took a snowball right to the face, and then another and another.
"Not ready to admit you're wrong yet, Vanille?" Serah grinned. "Eat snow, Dia!"
And with that Vanille went down, her hands raised in a futile effort to block the avalanche of snow headed her way courtesy of the younger Farron. As for Snow, the big man simply shrugged and went back inside, closing the door the behind him. He'd learned a long time ago that it was better to let Serah do what she wanted when she was in one of those moods.
After a good five minutes of being pelted by snow, Vanille managed to drag herself out of the yard.
"Curse you, Serah!" she cried, shaking one fist. "I'll have my revenge –" Whatever else she would have said was cut off by another perfectly aimed snowball. After that, she decided that perhaps discretion was the better part of valour. Besides, she'd be back later – with reinforcements.
X X X
And thus did Serah the Spectacular reveal her true, treacherous nature. From that day forth, she would be known throughout the land as Serah the Sly, a pink haired shrew of unrivalled duplicity and general malevolence. Wounded by her friend's betrayal, Vanille swore vengeance and took up her new name: Vanille the Vengeful.
Mindful of her pink haired foe's skill in the arts of war, Vanille sought refuge in the fortress she shared with her sister, Fang the Ferocious. There, she appealed to her beloved sister to aid her in her quest for vengeance, for to overthrow a foe as dastardly as Serah the Sly, she would need a warrior stout of arm and keen of eye.
X X X
"And then Serah jumped out from behind some bushes and pelted me with snow!" Vanille buried her face in Fang's chest and wept. "It was so awful. I never even had a chance to defend myself. She ambushed me and I kept asking her to stop hitting me with snowballs, but she just wouldn't stop, and she kept laughing the whole time."
Fang and Lightning shared a sceptical look over Vanille's head. Fang wanted to believe Vanille – the red head was the closest thing she had to family – but she knew the other woman very well, and she had a feeling that things weren't that simple. Certainly, Serah had never seemed like the evil, homicidal maniac that Vanille's story painted her as.
"Tell me again, Vanille," Fang murmured. "What happened?"
And so Vanille again wove a tale of unbridled treachery and woe. Serah, utter villain that she was, had laid a cunning trap and then sprung from her hiding place to accost Vanille with snowballs, some of which the red head swore were nothing more than rocks covered by a thin layer of snow. The red had begged for mercy, even getting down on her knees in a vain bid to stay Serah's ruthless and tyrannical hand. Only after Vanille had been a bruised and bloody mess had Serah ceased throwing snowballs long enough for Vanille to drag her battered and broken body home, her ears ringing with the haughty sound of Serah's mocking laughter.
"I see." Fang wasn't sure whether she should laugh or cry at the sheer idiocy of what she'd just heard. "So, what exactly do you want me to do?"
Vanille leapt out of Fang's lap and thrust one fist into the air. "Avenge me! You know the rules of our clans, Fang. As my sister, you have to defend my honour! Serah totally betrayed me, and now she has to pay!"
"Is she actually serious?" Lightning was supposed to be working on some paperwork for the Guardian Corps, but halfway through Vanille's ridiculously overblown account of things, she'd decided that she could leave her work till later. This was far more interesting, and knowing Vanille, she was only complaining because she'd planned to ambush Serah herself.
Fang shrugged. It was at times like this that she wondered if maybe all that time in crystal stasis hadn't made Vanille just a little bit odd. "Technically, she's right. As her sister, I do kind of have to go over there and get revenge for her."
"Revenge? On Serah? Because of a few snowballs?"
Fang nodded. "Yeah."
"It wasn't just a few snowballs," Vanille insisted. She pointed to a perfectly unblemished portion of skin on her cheek. "See this bruise? I got that from one of the rocks she threw. I'm lucky to be alive. Another moment or two, and I might not have been able to get away."
"Right." Lightning reached for her coat. "If you're going to go over to Serah's house, I might as well go with you. Someone needs to make sure that things don't get out of hand."
X X X
And thus did Vanille the Vengeful sway Fang the Ferocious to her cause, and together, they went to mete out righteous vengeance upon Serah the Sly. But they did not go alone. Lightning the Legendary had heard Vanille's plea, and moved by her words, she had come to see justice done as well.
As they drew near Serah the Sly's fortress of wickedness, the clouds darkened, and the chill winter grew colder still. An evil wind swept in from the south, and the whole street trembled in anticipation of the battle that was to come.
X X X
Fang winced as Serah opened the door. The younger Farron wore a very Lightning-like scowl on her face, and with her hands on her hips, and her eyes promising swift, horrible death, it was clear that she was in no mood for mischief.
"So, uh, apparently, I'm here to get revenge on you for…" She glanced back at Vanille, who seemed determined to use her as human shield. "What was it again?"
"Unspeakable acts of despicable treachery." Vanille glared at Serah from behind Fang. "And general wickedness and malevolence."
"Yeah, what she said." Fang looked back at Serah. "So, what do you think?"
"No." Serah shook her head. "Vanille was planning on ambushing me. She's just upset that I got her first."
"Really?" Fang gave Vanille a pointed look. "She didn't mention that."
"Of course, I didn't. It's a lie!" Vanille jabbed one finger at Serah. "Stop lying!"
"Then why were you hiding behind the bushes?" Serah practically threw Fang out of the way, and Vanille backed up as the younger Farron stomped over to her.
"I could ask you the same thing," Vanille shot back.
"Guys, that's enough." Fang put together a pathetically small snowball and dropped it onto Serah's head. "There, happy now, Vanille? Let's go back home. I need to polish my spear."
The red head was still gaping at Serah when Fang turned and started to walk away. "Kids," the dark haired woman mouthed at Lightning. Then a snowball struck her right in the back of the head, followed by two more. Fang turned, eyes wide with disbelief, and ate another snowball to the face. She scrubbed the snow away to find Serah smirking at her as Vanille hurried behind her for cover.
"See, Fang!" Vanille ducked behind Fang and shook one fist at Serah. "Treachery!"
Fang's eyes narrowed. She was almost certain now that Vanille was in the wrong, but she did not appreciate being hit in the face with a handful of snow. Never mind right or wrong, it was time to get revenge. "All right, Vanille. Come with me."
Lightning watched the pair run off, and she was about to follow them when Serah tugged on the sleeve of her coat.
"Lightning, do you think we could talk for a second?"
X X X
And so, Vanille the Vengeful and Fang the Ferocious were forced back by the base, animal cunning of their enemy. Alas, Lightning the Legendary was caught, and though her heart and countenance were cold as ice, even she could not resist her sister's plea for aid.
Thus did the war begin – a war between the House of Farron and the House of Yun.
X X X
"You'll help me, won't you?" Serah asked. "When they come back."
Lightning pried her sister's hand off her arm and looked around. Snow was huddled behind the couch, and the blonde gestured madly for her to run while she still could. "What started all of this?"
"You really want to know?" Serah nodded solemnly. "Then I'll tell you."
What followed was the second ridiculously exaggerated account that Lightning had heard that day. Apparently, Vanille had made a vile slur on Lightning's honour, proclaiming that Fang was in charge of their relationship. As any good sister should, Serah had countered that in fact it was Lightning who was in charge of their relationship.
Things had escalated from there, and Vanille had sworn vengeance. When she had knocked on Serah's door earlier that day, Serah had sent Snow to answer it while sneaking around via the backdoor to get behind Vanille. Snow's noble sacrifice – he'd survived a brutal, and utterly merciless beating from Vanille – had allowed Serah to strike a blow for her beloved sister's honour. Thus, it was clearly Vanille who was at fault, not Serah, and if Lightning had any sense at all, she would side with Serah and help her strike down Vanille!
"You do realise that you're being totally idiotic." Lightning glared at Snow. Perhaps he'd begun to rub off on Serah. Wasn't that a scary thought?
Serah grinned craftily. "So, was Vanille right? Is Fang really the one in charge?"
Lightning bristled at once. "Of course not." She scowled. "I'm the one in charge."
"Then you have to help me." Serah nodded firmly. "Otherwise, it'll be like admitting that Vanille was right."
That was some of the most convoluted logic that Lightning had ever heard, but she wasn't about to let anyone think that Fang was in charge of things. Admittedly, there were times when she let the other woman take charge – Fang was very, very good at taking charge – but Lightning firmly believed that when push came to shove, she was the one in charge.
X X X
But unbeknownst to the House of Farron, Vanille the Vengeful had already put into place a plan most cunning and refined. For Vanille knew that in the art of war, it was not merely skill that counted, but numbers as well.
Thus did Vanille send out a call to all the houses that lay about her own: Let the children come forth and join our quest! Let the youth of the street gather beneath my banner so that we might smite the wicked!
X X X
Fang eyed the gaggle of children trailing after her and Vanille like a line of coat-wearing ducklings. "Remind me again, how are we not getting arrested for this?"
Vanille smiled. "Well, while you and Lightning have been busy doing all sorts of things to each other, I've made friends with all of our neighbours. I've even babysat most of the kids on the street." She turned and waved at the kids, who all waved back, their cheeks rosy from the cold. "Besides, we'll need more troops if we're going to beat Serah and Lightning."
"I suppose." Fang made a mental note to keep a closer eye on Vanille. One day she might be taking over the street, the next it could be the world. "So, what's the plan?"
Vanille stopped and turned to address the children. "Okay, kids, here's the plan. If you see anyone with pink hair, hit them with as much snow as you can. Got it?"
The kids snapped to attention. "Yes, Miss Dia!"
Fang stared. She really, really needed to keep a closer eye on Vanille.
X X X
But the House of Farron would not be outdone so easily. For in her vast and terrible wisdom, Serah the Sly had gathered an army of her own. And with her sister, Lightning the Legendary to command them, her fortress was soon turned into a realm so hostile and so horrible that no enemy could ever hope to overthrow it.
X X X
"Who are these kids?" Lightning asked.
"I teach at the local primary school," Serah explained. "Most of them live nearby, and when I mentioned that there might be a snowball fight, they all decided to come." She grinned. "And you have to admit, they're pretty useful. Look what they've done already with you giving all the orders."
Lightning had to agree. Over the past half an hour, she'd barked orders, wrangled kids, and somehow managed to construct a makeshift system of walls and trenches that would help defend her sister's house from attack. The kids had loved it, and they'd taken to following orders far better that the latest bunch of Guardian Corps recruits. All it had taken was a few stout glares and the occasional narrowing of her eyes. Maybe one day she'd have kids, and if she did, she could only hope that they'd be this easy to manage. If they were anything like Fang though, she'd have her work cut out for her.
"Look!" Serah pointed down the street. "Here they come, and they've brought company."
And they had. Fang and Vanille were at the head of a column of about a dozen children.
"Serah!" Vanille roared. "Surrender or else!"
Vanille folded her arms over her chest. "I thought you'd say that." She nodded at the children. "Attack!"
X X X
And thus did the Great War begin. It was a time of woe and a time of suffering, a time of courage and a time of honour. Children the size of dwarves fought with the courage of lions, and none who ever laid eyes upon the battle shall ever forget the deeds that were done that day.
And how could they?
For who could forget the valour of Timmy the Terrific, who all of eight years old, stood fast against the endless hordes of Vanille the Vengeful. How swift and keen of eye he was, how bold and unrelenting. For a full five minutes, he held the ramparts of Fort Farron alone, and though he fell at last, buried beneath a dozen snowballs, the children of the street would sing of his deeds for days to come.
And then there was Kelly the… Pretty Good, who stormed the trenches and led her compatriots in a desperate charge that drove Serah the Sly back to the very doors of her abode, and were it not for the cowardly ambush of Serah's minions, she might have struck down the pink haired enemy herself. Loud were the cries of lamentation that came from her fellows, and great was the vengeance they exacted.
Of such deeds were legends made, and of such legends did all the children speak of at lunchtime until the next term of school began.
X X X
Fang ducked as another snowball whizzed by overhead. Children were going down all over the place, nailed by snowballs as they tried to negotiate the intricate systems of trenches that Lightning and her cronies had thrown up. Trust the soldier to turn her sister's lawn into a minefield.
"What do we do, Miss Yun?" The question came from Leila, a cute little girl a few months shy of her seventh birthday. According to Vanille, she lived two doors down from them. "There's too many of them!"
Fang put one hand on the girl's shoulder. "It's okay. Just stay close to me."
And with that, Fang leapt out of the trench she was in. Snowballs races toward her, and she dove, rolling into a crouch as she palmed two snowballs and struck a pair of kids square in the chest. They went down, screaming and simulating death of a most gory fashion, and another one of them leapt up, only to be hit right in the back by Leila.
"I got him, Miss Yun, I got him!"
Fang grinned. "Yes, you did. Now, come on, we're getting close."
The two of them darted through the snow as the battle continued to rage around them. Out of the corner of her eye, Fang saw Vanille yelling orders from one of the trenches, the children around her hastening to obey as Serah's minions rained down snowy death. Fang tugged Leila after her, and the pair of them crawled through a low trench before they rose and sprinted toward a wall of snow that a few of their allies had hastily built. She paused for a moment to let Leila capture her breath, and her eyes widened as she realised that at some point, more of the local children had joined the battle along with their parents. Instead of just taking up Serah's front lawn, the snowball fight had now expanded to take in a good half of the street.
"You've gone far enough, Fang."
Fang turned. Lightning was there. Beside her, Leila trembled. The little girl had seen Lightning mow down half a dozen of the older kids like they were nothing. "It's okay, Leila. Go help the others."
"But, Miss Yun –"
Fang ruffled the girl's hair. "It's okay. This one's too tough for you. Let me handle her." The girl nodded slowly and then ran off. Fang smirked and began to pace in a slow circle. Lightning matched her stride for stride. "You realise that all of this is crazy, right?"
Lightning's eyes flicked over to where Vanille and some of her children had taken a trench opposite Serah and some of hers. The two sides exchanged insults and snowballs at a frantic pace. "Definitely, but that doesn't mean I can let you win."
Fang chuckled. "Well, there is that." She readied herself for battle. "Do you think you can take me?"
Lightning's eyes narrowed. "Watch me."
And then they moved.
X X X
Stories would be written, and songs would be sung of the battle between Fang the Ferocious and Lightning the Legendary. Two warriors bound by love, but separated by the feud between their two Houses. Such was their skill that the heavens wept, and such was their grace that even the winds gave pause and for the first time knew true envy.
X X X
After several minutes of non-stop combat, neither of them had managed to land a blow. In a last desperate bid to land a decisive attack, Fang lunged for another handful of snow, only to stop short as Lightning crossed the gap between them with impossible speed. She froze, a snarl on her lips as she eyed the ball of snow in Lightning's hand.
"Fang, no!" Vanille screamed and hurled herself in front of the other woman. Her body crashed to the ground, her chest covered in snow. She'd taken Lightning's snowball for Fang.
Fang grinned. "I won't let your sacrifice go to waste, Vanille. Take this, Lightning!"
But even as Fang threw her snowball, Serah leapt from her trench, and the younger Farron's body shuddered as Fang's attack struck her in the side. She tumbled to the ground next to Lightning.
"Oh." Vanille and Serah looked at each. "We're both dead. Truce?"
"Truce?" Serah giggled and sat up as the children in the yard continued to fight. "I'm not sure we can do that."
"In that case." Vanille grabbed a handful of snow and smeared it into Serah's face. "Take that!"
"Gah!" Serah growled and grabbed Vanille by the arm, throwing the other woman into the snow. "How do you like that?"
Fang stared, and then she grinned. "You know, Lightning, I think we've done our part for the day."
"Oh?" Lightning raised one eyebrow and leaned to the side to dodge an errant snowball. "What do you have in mind?"
Fang stepped neatly over Serah and Vanille as they rolled across the ground to the delight of the nearby children. "Since Vanille is here, we'd have the house all to ourselves."
"You're right." Lightning smiled. "Let's go home."
As they snuck out of the yard, Fang took Lightning's hand in hers. "You know why they were arguing right?"
Lightning nodded. "Yes, and for the record, I happen to think that Serah was right."
"Is that so?" Fang tugged Lightning over until they were walking side-by-side. "I happen to disagree. I guess we'll just have to settle things when we get home."
X X X
As always, I neither own Final Fantasy, nor am I making any money off of this.
So, this chapter was a little bit different from the one before. Heh. I'm a firm believer in letting the story dictate what style of writing I should use and once I saw the prompt, I just knew that I had to go for something light hearted. This chapter is based on Prompt #21: Something that fits the title "Snowball Fights are Fun (Except when we're involved)". Can be shippy or not!
There's not much to say about this chapter, so I'll turn to some questions that people asked about the previous chapter. Was that chapter (and for that matter is this one) in the same continuity as Ordinary Heroes and Tell Me A Story? The answer is…. I have no idea. I've written these for the prompts, so I haven't given that too much thought. Once I work things out I'll let you know. I will say, however, that this one definitely has a tone more similar to Tell Me A Story and Ordinary Heroes than the previous chapter.
If you have the time check out my blog over at razieltwelve(period)wordpress(period)com. I've got a piece about H. P. Lovecraft up that you might enjoy. You should also check out at Fangrai February at fangrai(dash)February(period)tumblr(period)com.
As something of a contest, I'll give an invisible internet hat tip (and an imaginary cookie to boot) to the person who can guess which prompt I'll be tackling next (since there are a few that have caught my eye).
As always, I appreciate feedback. Reviews and comments are welcome.