A/N: Well, hello there everyone. I introduce my humble self as: shezaei-neko. Pleased to meet you all.
This is the very first FLight story I've written since it was just recently that I fell in love with the couple and was able to play the game. However, I must say that this couple is one of my OTPs along with ShizuruXNatsuki. You can see in my profile that I've written some fics about them, and that I still need to update. *shame written all over my face.*Anyhow, FLight is really the best thing that had happened to me for a while now. I can't get enough of them, that's why I decided to give it a shot and write this.
Thanks to my awesome beta (and friend): leebot-sensei.
I hope that this story is to your liking. Also I hope that the characters aren't to OCC.
Now, on to the story.
Disclaimer: Property of their respective authors and creators, mostly Square Enix.
No need of…me.
It was almost silent inside the clean, tidy, and small room. The soft, intermittent beeping on the machine was the only sound that was heard, even though there were two occupants in the room at the moment. One of them was a tanned brunette that was seated on a chair next to the bed, tenderly holding the hand of the other occupant; her green eyes, usually vivid and full of mischief and glee, showed just profound sadness, grief and guilt. The other occupant was a pale, young, and beautiful woman with strawberry-blonde hair, who was laying on the bed. An oxygen mask covered half of her delicate features, an IV was coming from her arm, and other machinery was hooked up to her.
It was painful for the brunette to watch her beloved in this state. It shouldn't have happened. It was all her damn fault! If only she had acted sooner, if only she hadn't said those words back then, if only she had understood before how a 'simple' thing such as words could harm a person. Now she realized what the elders in Oerba meant when they said that words have power beyond your imagination, that's why you have to use them wisely. Actions and pictures can speak a thousand words, but still, when words are spoken it can make the soul and spirit shatter and crumble.
And now because of those words, her most beloved one…
Fang's mind drifted back to what most likely was what started everything. How words had made Lightning's soul crumble all the way to this point.
*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-* FLASHBACK *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*
It had been some years since the fall of the Fal'Cie and the crystallization of Cocoon. It was thanks to the quick thinking and organization of the survivor higher-ups and the ex-L'Cie that the people of Cocoon were able to settle in Gran Pulse at a considerable speed. Sure, they were lacking some of the commodities and technology they used to have back in Cocoon, but not everything was lost. Towns and small cities were built as well as they could. So, they adapted quite well to their new home.
Also, it wasn't long for Fang and Vanille to wake up from their stasis; just a bit over a year. It was painful for their friends to watch them in that crystal pillar, but at least they were out. And with them, hope was renewed, as well as emotions. Especially for a certain soldier that had been waiting for the Gran Pulse huntress all this time. When Fang woke up, Lightning decided to let Fang know of her feelings. She was not going to make the same mistake again.
When Serah had been crystallized, Lightning had had many regrets, and when Fang sacrificed herself along with Vanille to protect their friends, no, their family; she felt like, again, a part of her life was taken from her. Now she had a second chance to start over, and she'd do things right once and for all.
She wasn't a woman of many words, so instead she took action. Although, she wasn't the type to just head in guns blazing; she was more of a strategist. That's why she'd show up and tell Fang how much she meant to her, and it would be worth it. It didn't take too much time for the strategy to take effect since, as luck and destiny would have it, Fang felt the same for her. Soon, their close friendship became so much more. Something both wanted so much and were so happy with.
Serah got married to Snow and moved to New Bodhum. And even if Lightning still hated – which was way better than loathe or despise – the giant oaf, she was happy to know that her sister was happy. That's all that mattered.
Vanille moved in with Hope and his dad to Nouveau PalumPolum, in order to help more with the restoration and knowledge she had of the old Gran Pulse.
Sahz and Dahj traveled from Cocoon and Gran Pulse back and forth a lot to help bring stuff that might be helpful and useful. It was rare for them to catch a break, even if Sazh complained he was too old for that stuff.
Fang established herself at Lightning's new house in Shin-Oerba, where the new quarters of the GC were located. Lightning was re-enlisted and even promoted a few ranks, however, the amount of work didn't stress her out, since it wasn't only paper work, she was needed in the field, which she enjoyed. While Fang, she was still an under-contract huntress and Gran Pulse specialist.
Years passed, the society became more stable, the towns expanded to small cities, and to everyone's surprise, the cultures of Cocoon and Gran Pulse were merging together quite well. There were ups and downs but that was just as expected. That was until that fateful day came.
Lightning and Fang had been having a romantic relationship for quite some years now, and as in any other relationship, there were hard times for them, however they always managed to overcome them, together.
Sadly, this time, things were too heated up and both of them were fuming, neither wanting to back up or retreat – damn their hard-heads and stubbornness – all thanks to an incident that had almost injured Lightning badly on the field, if not nearly killed her.
Lightning had been on a mission with one of the squads of new cavalry near the Archylte Steppe training some wild chocobos when a Kaiser Behemoth appeared out of the blue, having followed the scent of the yellow chicks. Fang was there to help with the training when the incident took place. If it wasn't for her, Light would have been sent to the hospital with more than a black eye. She was able to push Light out in the nick of time from the Kaiser's sword when her vision had been blocked by the flock of terrorized chocobos that were trying to flee from the place. After that, they combined their forces and took down the beast in no time. They went back to the base and, once they gave their reports about the situation, they made it back home, yet the tension could be felt in the air. No one said a word that night, not wanting to think about what might have happened if…
The next day though, early in the morning, it was a different story.
Lightning got up as usual and Fang wasn't in the bed with her, so she assumed Fang was simply in the kitchen making breakfast. She took her shower and was putting on her uniform when Fang appeared at the door, arms crossed over her chest and a severe look on her face.
"And where the hell do you think you're going?" – said Fang in a serious and angry tone.
"To work." – was Lightning's simple reply.
"As if. You're not going today. I'll call and tell them you're taking the day off."
"And why would you do that? I'm feeling fine."
Fang walked over to Lightning and pulled her up in a strong embrace. Then she whispered in her ear.
Lightning didn't have to ask Fang to know how the huntress felt. Fang had been terrified at the prospect of Lightning having been injured, or even more. So had she. It wasn't a nice feeling, but it came with the job, and both of them knew that, better than anyone.
Lightning hugged Fang softly for a moment, then pushed her slightly away to see her face.
"It's okay, Fang. We know it happens, it's part of the job."
"Damnit, Light! Don't be in soldier-mode now! Don't dismiss it as if it was nothing! 'Cause the hell it wasn't!" – yelled Fang, pulling away from Lightning.
Lightning's stoic face soon turned into a deep scowl, and she glared at Fang.
"Don't you think I know it? I know too damn well! But what do you want me to do? I can't simply take days off or resign every damn time this happens. If it were that way, I'd be off half of the year, and I'd have resigned a fair share of times already."
"Well, sorry for Gran Pulse being this wild for you Cocoonians to handle properly!" – replied Fang sarcastically.
"What? Were you expecting for us to acclimate to hell-on-earth overnight?"
The level of their voices was increasing with each sentence that was spoken, as well as the bitter words, unconsciously said, but they were nearly hitting home. That was until Fang's finally did, right in the bull's eye.
"I know you love me, and if I ask you, I'll know you'll do it."
Lightning's face showed confusion. At this Fang continued.
"Resign, Light. I don't want to see you in any more hazardous situations like yesterday."
"What?" – Light's face was now pure shock.
She couldn't believe that Fang was asking her such a thing. She knew, better than anyone, how much she liked her job – despite the dangers – it gave her fulfillment, that she was of help, that she had a purpose. Lightning was at loss of words.
Seeing this reaction, or more lack of it, Fang could only chuckle, but it was a hollow sound.
"You know what? I don't need you to answer."
"Uh?" – Lightning snapped her gaze up and locked it with Fang's.
"I don't need your indecision or your lack of response. If you can't do it for me, then I don't need this burden anymore…"
Fang's face showed despair, anger, frustration, even helplessness. But more than anything else, even if it was a slight glimpse, it showed distaste.
"I don't need this, I don't need it or you."
And with those last words, Fang turned around and closed the door angrily after her, exiting the house, leaving a shaken Lightning behind. The damage was done, and from that point onwards everything went downhill. Like a snowball rolling down the hill, unable to stop it until it crumbles upon hitting something.
Lightning left for work that day, but Fang didn't come over to the base or back home. Lightning tried to reach her, but Fang was either out of signal range or she simply didn't want to speak to her. Whatever the reason, Lightning thought that Fang would contact her back when she felt like it, so she stopped trying.
However, she could still remember Fang's face when she said those words back then. Her eyes showed pure displeasure, nothing she had seen before in those green eyes. Unbeknown to her, that same look would unconsciously haunt her day and night from that moment onwards.
A week or so after, Fang still hadn't shown up at work, at home or even contacted Lightning back. Lightning knew somehow that Fang was safe and needed space, she herself had had asked for it a few times before in their relationship, still there was this odd feeling deep in her heart when she remembered the last look Fang gave her before leaving.
Putting those thoughts aside, she called Serah through her communication device. Her sister was busy studying to specialize and become a history teacher, which was why she hadn't had a baby yet after all these years – much to Lightning's delight – plus, Serah felt she was still too young for that responsibility.
Even if they were far away from each other, they kept in touch constantly; it was a bit difficult at time due to their busy schedules but they managed. And Lightning was sure that Serah appreciated the effort.
Lightning heard the other end ring a couple of times before she heard the voice of her sister.
"Hi, Serah, how are you doing?"
"I'm doing fine."
"That's good to hear."
"And Snow is fine too." – said Serah with a giggle, knowing her sister was scowling at the other end of the line.
"Whatever…" – Lightning paused – "And how is school going?"
"Well, not too bad. I have lots of things to read and reports to make. But so far so good."
"How are things there? Is Snow treating you well?"
Serah let out a giggle; during all the years she had been married to Snow, Claire always asked her that very same question time after time.
"Of course he is, Sis. We were having a little bit of trouble – not marriage related, so don't panic. It was more like a financial issue, due to all the donations we were giving to restore some houses. But Snow took more hours at work and I'm also helping, so we got it covered."
"I can go over and help. Besides, I still got some funds saved for you to…" – Lightning began to say before she was interrupted by Serah.
"Thanks, Sis. But Snow and I have everything under control. We are doing fine by ourselves. Really, there is no need for you to lend us any sum or for you to come." – replied Serah with a lot of confidence and resolution.
It had been a while since Lightning had heard that tone from her little sister; it was a tone that said that she completely refused to receive any help and would do things her way, whether Lightning liked it or not. Even if Lightning felt proud at moments like this – since it showed that Serah was growing and becoming more independent and stronger – this time, she didn't feel any of it. The reason? Fang's words echoed back in her mind: 'I don't need you…'
Lightning just replied with a soft 'okay' and continued talking with her sister, or at least she tried to. Truth be told, if she was asked, she couldn't remember half of what Serah had said after that point. The words continued nagging her all throughout the conversation. Finally, the sisters bid good bye to each other and hung up.
Lightning stared at the device for a moment and released a sigh she didn't know she was holding. At least Serah was fine, and that was all that mattered, right?
Almost three weeks had passed and there was still no contact from Fang. Not even to the base, and if she did contact, no message was left for Lightning or any other information was given to her. She didn't want to pry much, even if she did love Fang, she wanted to give the tanned woman the distance she was asking for.
Lightning was doing some reports when she found some information in it from Nouveau PalumPolum that needed to be clarified and consulted, and the best person to reach was Hope. Moreover, if Vanille was with him, then it wouldn't take so long.
Using her private line in the base, she dialed Hope. Just a few rings were needed before she received an answer.
"Hi Estheim residence, this is Vanille speaking! How can I help you?"
"Hello, Vanille. It's Lightning."
"Light! How you doin'? It's been a while since we talked and saw each other! How's Serah? Has she decided to take the other big step already? How's work?"
Lightning pinched the bridge of her nose, she really loved Vanille as part of her family, but sometimes the red-head could be so bubbly and get side tracked pretty easy. Before Vanille could bombard her with thousand of other questions she said.
"Everything's fine, I'm at work now and I need some information so, is Hope around?"
"Oh Light! Never changing, uh? Straight to the point!" – replied Vanille trying to suppress a giggle. Still the soldier that Lightning. – "He's here, let me call him."
Very unladylike, Vanille called Hope, and, after a few seconds, Lightning heard the voice of the youth who used to be her protégé.
"Hello, Light. How are you?"
"Not bad, Hope. And you?"
"Can't complain. It's good to be here with Vanille and my dad. There are lots of things to do and take care of."
"That's good." – replied Lightning with the ghost of a smile.
That weak and terrified boy, full of hatred, had already grown up to be a confident and hard-working young man. Hard to believe how many years had gone by and how much he had changed for the better. Her thoughts were interrupted when Hope asked.
"Vanille said you needed some information."
"Yes, it's related to some old vestiges that were found near Nouveau PalumPolum."
"Ah, yes, I know the ones you're referring to. What would you like to know about them?"
They discussed the report for about an hour or so, just until Lightning had all the information she needed, her questions answered and doubts cleared. Before saying her good byes, she thought it wouldn't hurt to have a chat with Hope. It had been a while since she really spoke to the young man about something not-work-related.
"Say, Hope. How is that application going for the technology research department you once told me about?"
"Oh! It's going smoothly. I just need to get some extra credits and reports to be able to start my own research along with Vanille."
"I can write a letter of recommendation and give it to you. That will help get you the credits you need." – offered Lightning.
"I appreciate it, Light. But, I don't need you to do that for me. I already have what'll give me those extra credits. That's why I don't need it." – said Hope proudly.
"Ah, I see. That's great, Hope." – replied Lightning trying to sound proud of what the once-boy had managed to do on his own.
But then, again, those haunted words plagued her mind: 'I don't need you…'
She bid Hope goodbye and hung up. Lightning shook her head, trying to get rid of that nasty feeling she always got every time she recalled them, miserably without result.
Before they could invade her mind again, she resumed her work. Unfortunately, those words had already moved away from her mind to a more dangerous and delicate place. A place where they could harm by forming doubt, despair and fear faster than the blink of an eye, and if not taken care of in time by digging them out, they were able to destroy the very core that being has in no time: the heart of the soul.
Four weeks already, and yet not a sign or even a glimpse of Fang. Was she really still that mad at her that she needed this much time to clear her mind?
Lightning was unsure now; she didn't know what to think. The always-composed and clear-minded soldier didn't have a theory, an idea, much less an answer at what might be going through Fang's mind to keep her away from her and home all this time. Also, from the looks of it, she had not contacted any of the ex-l'Cie either, and again, if someone at work knew about her whereabouts, they kept it from Lightning.
She was at work finishing a stack of reports from a recent training session of new recruits when a soldier came to her office letting her know that Amodar was calling her.
Amodar had survived and had been one of the ones to take the lead after the fal'Cie mess. He was named as one of the Commanders of the new GC and recruited Lightning back under his jurisdiction again; after all, he couldn't let the others have such an amazing soldier and good friend.
Lightning dismissed the soldier and stood up from her desk. She walked down the corridor to Amodar's office. Once in front of the door, she knocked two times on it. Soon after, she heard a deep 'come in'; she opened the door and went inside. Amodar was sitting behind his desk reading a paper when he greeted her.
"Farron! That was fast. Not for nothing you're Lightning." – said Amodar with a laugh, placing the paper down.
Lightning softened her features as a tiny smile formed in her lips. This old man; always telling the same old joke.
Saluting him, she replied.
"You said you wanted to see me, sir. So I thought it must be important."
"It is, so please, take a seat."
Lightning did as told. Amodar didn't look stressed or worried, so she wondered what this was about.
"Farron, first of all, I should congratulate you for all the reports on the missions you've covered, as usual a job well done."
"Thank you, sir."
"And it's thanks to them that it's come fully to my numbers that you've overworked, again. You've covered more hours than is normally allowed in a certain period, and thanks to it the amount of work at the base has decreased tremendously." – he made a pause – "So, I can't thank you enough for that."
"I was only doing my work, sir."
"You always say that. Anyways, now that you know about this, I then should tell you that you are dismissed."
Amodar used a care-free tone to rely this information. It completely took Lightning by surprise. She tried to hide it though, so she simply asked.
"What? Dismissed? What do you mean, sir?"
"You're dismissed until further call; the base doesn't need you at the time to do more for it. You've done more than enough already. It's an order, Farron, so there's no way to talk this one out. So go and enjoy your days off, starting from now." – said Amodar joyfully.
Amodar took the paper again to continue reading it, signaling the end of the conversation. Lightning turned around and left the office, went to hers, and took her stuff. Absentmindedly, she left the base and went home. She got inside, removed her jacket and placed her weapon case on the table, then walked over to the couch and sat on it.
It was certainly a very uncommon sight the one the soldier was showing now, slumped forward, shoulders dropped, her elbows resting on her knees as one of her hands held her head. It was nothing like the familiar image of the always-proper and serene Lightning projected.
She was still stunned. Her mind wasn't fully working after what just had happened, still unable to fully comprehend what had transpired in that office. Nonetheless, one thing was repeating itself over and over in her mind as a scratched disc, the only one thing she was able remember from that 'conversation' with her superior. Those words what had been haunting her weeks back now – since her fight with Fang. Those damned words that seemed to persecute wherever she went, whatever she did, every freaking time of the day! They just refused to leave her alone.
Those words that were starting to become like a mantra: 'I don't need you.'
'I don't need you.'
'I don't need you.'
'I don't need you.'
Lightning closed her eyes trying to suppress the sound of it in all the different voices she'd heard those words being said to her the past few days. Although all was in vain, since now they came with the images of the faces of the people they belonged to. And the most hurtful one was Fang – after all, it was the one most engraved in her mind.
She shook her head and went to her room to get some sleep, passing up a shower and even dinner. She hoped that sleep would bring her some calm. Regretfully, the darkness and stillness of the night isn't always as merciful with everyone. While sometimes it can bring peace and repose, other times it can bring only fear and insecurity, and tonight Lightning was its victim.
After an awfully restless night, Lightning woke up the next morning, completely drained of all energy, and this time it wasn't a certain huntress's fault. She was about to go and take a shower to change into her uniform when she remembered she was off duty for Etro knows how long.
Sighing, she went to the kitchen, still wearing her pajamas, to prepare some coffee. While she was there, she eyed the communication device they had at home. She went to it and checked if there were any messages left, hoping there would be one from Fang that she might have missed. Much to her dismay, there were none.
And with that, Lightning started her day, or more like, tried to survive it and make it to the end of it, which she did, barely. She did several activities to try to focus her attention on something useful and drift her thoughts away from the hollow way of thinking her mind was leading her to. But, how can you be able to avoid them when they have made their nest in the deepest part of your heart and soul?
The following morning she tried to train – she let anger consume her – so she could let all that energy out. She even imagined she was punching Snow, and when that didn't help, she thought about the fal'Cie she'd fought. The punches and kicks were meant as if to kill, but still, she couldn't find any relief. And when she was about to throw another punch, an illusion appeared in front of her, without doubt it had been conjured from deep in her mind. The image of the tanned huntress was standing in front of her. Fang's features still showed the same look, it never faltered, it never changed. With her arm still in mid-air, Lightning's eyes opened widely as Fang's lips moved, and even when no sound came from them, Lightning could certainly read them. Still the same message. Lightning dropped her arm to the side and walked to the living room to sit on the couch. It was starting to become a routine.
Just a few moments ago she was full of rage, not even a herd of behemoths would have been able to stop her, not even a fal'Cie would have been able to keep standing. Except that, when rage left her, it left behind emotions she dreaded: uncertainty, emptiness, misery. She was better handling rage than these other feelings. They reminded her of that time when she lost her parents. When she had to stop being Claire and become Lightning. When her life and fate had been given a sick twist. Nevertheless, she was able to overcome them, and why was that? There was someone that needed her. Serah needed her, and for Serah she had been able to stand up against a god.
But now, what did she have? Whom?
Looking around, she found herself alone. Fang wasn't there. Serah wasn't there. There was a point in her life when Lightning thought that as long as she could do her job, things would be fine, it gave her a certain level of satisfaction. And as destiny may have it, her job was gone too. Technically she still had it, but what good was it when she couldn't do it?
And why was it? Ah, right…they didn't need her.
That's when realization hit Lightning, colder than a blizzaga spell and she opened her eyes widely. That was the reason as to why there was nothing and no one in that specific point in her life at that moment.
"There's no need of me…" – whispered Lightning.
She recalled Fang's words one more time. Fang had said that: 'she didn't need this burden anymore'. That: 'she didn't need this, she didn't need it.'
She couldn't ask Fang what she meant by it, but now that she had time – and will – to reflect about it, she thought what 'this' and 'it' meant.
Lightning always tried to be a focused individual, analyzing every piece of information she had, not jumping to conclusions without a firm base. She could do it effortlessly when she was in a clear state of mind, but that wasn't the case this time. The doubts and hollow words plaguing her heart clouded her rational thinking, and could it really be a coincidence that of all the people she cared about, as few as they may be, had told her the very same sentence in a short span of time? Was life trying to tell her something?
Could it be that Fang didn't need the relationship with her? That she was a burden? That her love was a burden to her? That's why she didn't need it?
No, that couldn't be. Fang had told her that she loved her, and many nights and even days she had shown her that love.
Then again, why hadn't she contacted Lightning back? Could Fang have really meant it? That she didn't need her?
Serah came to her mind then. She was so independent now, she refused Lightning's help. She was able to fight on her own, and she had that big idiot to help her. Her sister didn't need her anymore it seemed.
Hope too rejected Lightning's assistance. He had grown so much that he didn't need her wing to protect him. No need for the old tutor, uh?
The only thing that she had had left had been her job. Now that she grasped the circumstances, the reason why her job satisfied and fulfilled her was because she felt she was needed. And now that, even there, they didn't need her, what else did she have left?
The answer was simple: nothing.
She was a burden, a nuisance, a heavy boulder that blocked everyone's progress and growth. How could she have been so blind not to notice it? Was she that proud?
Many thoughts and questions like these filled Lightning's mind the rest of the day and all night; she didn't even sleep due to them.
She needed to talk to someone, but she couldn't think of anyone who wouldn't give them a further burden, that was until one pair came to her mind. She only took her communication device and, after making a couple of calls, she left her house and headed to that place.
Maybe once and for all, she could really make things right this time.
A/N part 2: Well, this was originally planned as a one-shot, but it ended being a huge long beast of a one-shot. So, after the wise advice from my beta, I split it up in two parts.
I hope you enjoyed this first part.
Thanks for reading and don't forget to leave a review.
See you around!