Spoilers for Lightning Returns if you haven't seen any of the trailers so far. Be warned!

Disclaimer: I don't own Final Fantasy XIII or any of the characters used in this piece of fiction. I am making no money off of them.

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Light in the Darkness

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The Patron.

Of a city of pleasure.

Yet, all she could see was defeat and darkness in his eyes. Those very eyes that had seemed so alive and full of compassion before, now seemed to be guarded and unfamiliar.

Lightning didn't know why this made her heart ache, but she was sure that it had something to do with Serah. What would her sister have done had she seen the man Snow Villiers had become?

He was still licking his wounds on the other side of the room after his defeat at her hands. She tried to ignore the feel of his glare, because never had he ever directed such a spiteful look toward her before… On the contrary, he had always been on the receiving end of those looks, followed by a punch.

But really, she was getting sick and tired of his looks. She didn't have time for this.

Lightning started over to him, closing the distance that he had maintained and watched him rub off the blood from his neck. "Snow…"

"I can't go with you. I have a duty to the people here in Yusnaan. This isn't like it was five hundred years ago, Lightning. I can't drop everything when you snap your fingers anymore," came his harsh words.

Had she not been so good at hiding her thoughts, Lightning knew that she would've been gaping at him in surprise. Still... he was starting to piss her off and it didn't bode well for Snow if she were to get angry. "Look… you've sat here and watched over them long enough. Don't you think it's time you got up off your and did something?"

His eyes seemed to close off even more. "You don't have any idea what these last hundred years have been like."

The last of her patience snapped and she had to hold herself back from punching him in the face; she had the feeling that he wouldn't take it passively the way he had done in the past. "Serah…"

"Do not say her name."

Her lips parted and her eyes narrowed, ready to strike verbally.

"Don't you dare, Claire Farron."

That effectively shut her up.

"I have been here for five hundred years," he started voice dark and heavy, his blond hair hanging over his eyes. "I have agonized over every possibility, trying to think of what I could've done to save her. But where were you?"

Despite her own reserves as to what she was, whether human, subhuman, or something else entirely, she had to admit that his question hurt. Son of a bitch.

"I was chosen to walk a different path," she spat, eyes burning in anger, watching his shoulders tense. "And I went willingly because I thought that it was leaving her behind to someone I trusted."

Snow's shoulders sank and he looked away from the intensity of her eyes. No matter how he tried to separate them… she looked so much like Serah. It had been so long since he had seen either one of them that their images seemed to blend in his mind. Fuck.

"You're right," he muttered, defeated. He continued to dab at the cut on his neck that seemed to be taking its time to heal. "I'm a failure in every sense of the word."

And now she felt guilty; this hadn't been what she had set out to do when she had pursued the brute. "Snow… I didn't come to argue over who was responsible for her death."

Annoyed by his silence and his fumbling with the cloth in his hand, already smeared with blood, she snatched it from his hands, roughly tilted his head and pressed it against the wound. Ignoring the hiss of pain that sprang from his lips, she focused on dabbing the cut and then pressed her hand over it, feeling his skin almost feverishly hot.

Drawing into that power that seemed to be simmering on the surface, she sent a calm wave of healing over the wounded area and knew that it would work for the rest of his body, wherever he may have been hurt. He seemed tense and his breathing was shallow as her healing slowly faded and she pulled back.

Her own shoulder grew taught when his large hand curled around her wrist and held her in place. Their positions seemed far too intimate, with their knees touching, her hovering over him a little as he leaned back against a table. What the hell was he doing?

"Why weren't you here?" he asked quietly. "You would've protected her ten times better than I could have."

The anguish in his voice unexpectedly made her want to wrap her arms around him. But the feeling was wrong. This had never been her man to comfort.

"Probably. But you were the next best thing."

She hadn't meant for that to come out as an insult, but it seemed to hit him like one anyway.

"Second best… she'd still be alive if she'd been under your care."

Lightning shook her head. "Fate had other designs for Serah. She served her purpose."

He caught her off guard as he hauled her close and then turned, slamming her into the wall. "How can you fucking say that?" he roared, eyes wide with anger and deep, deep pain.

"Because I understand, far better than you will ever know," she murmured, staring him down as his fingers clenched around her shoulder and neck.

His breathing seemed to slow as he came back to himself and realized what he was doing and the actual meaning of her words. Of course she would understand. She hadn't asked for this life, either, but she had been pulled into battles to protect a goddess regardless of her wishes. When it came to deities, they rarely offered you what you wanted…

"I'm sorry," he muttered, releasing her neck and moving his hand to her other shoulder. "I don't—I don't fucking know what I'm doing anymore. My life is meaningless."

"Bullshit," Lightning spat, staring him down darkly. She smirked when his eyes reluctantly rose to meet hers again. "I know that the shit-talking hero is still inside there somewhere," she said, pointing at his head. "You just have to bring him back."

"It's not that easy," Snow said, releasing her all together but stayed where he was, invading her space somewhat.

"Probably not as easy as I make it sound, but it's not impossible, either." He was so damned stubborn.

"What's the point, Light?" he asked, despairing. "We can't bring her back to life! And I can't fucking join her!"

The silence hung thick between them at his words, and Lightning felt her fist itch to connect with that handsome face. Her lips parted to give him a piece of her mind, but he beat her to it, his words making her freeze in shock.

"Nothing seems to work, or else I would've joined her a long time ago."

That was it… she couldn't take any more of the dramatics and the... the angst.

So she punched him.

Snow doubled over with a gasp as the air was knocked out of him, but he supposed that he had it coming. Lightning had never been patient and she'd never stomached too much of his foolishness. He'd just wished he'd kept his mouth shut on those last words. But his mouth seemed to betray him…

"Maybe… maybe you can help me along, since you're saving souls and all."

He'd half-meant it as a joke after he'd finally caught his breath, but… she punched him in the face this time for good measure.

"How can you possibly think that that would be okay with me?" she hissed, voice low and controlled.

The calm before the storm, eh? Snow mused.

"It seems that living this long has addled your brains in more ways than one!"

"I won't argue with that," he muttered, rubbing his aching cheek. "Never was the sharpest…"

His words should've amused her, but they were more exasperating than anything else. This was not the Snow she had come to know and… care for. The man standing before her was a stranger. ""I can't help you if you don't want to help yourself."

She turned to go, but before she could get too far he grabbed for her arm and pulled her back to him, aware that he could be incurring her wrath by touching her again… "Please don't go."

Lightning stared up at him with a frown slanting her eyebrows and crossed her arms over her chest in defiance. "Why shouldn't I? There's not much else you can say to me that I want to hear."

Abruptly his arms circled her in a tight hug that in the past would've knocked the air out of her lungs… as it was, she only felt mild discomfort by his touch. Though… if she were to be honest, she'd admit that his embrace felt nice.

Lightning hadn't felt that kind of touch in a long, long time, and she had to wonder if the same could be said about Snow. Still, she knew that what he was doing could lead to all sorts of awkwardness and she lifted her limp hands to push him away.

"Don't," he murmured, nose touching her hair. He knew she wasn't Serah, despite the games his mind wanted to play with him; had memorized the feel and scent of his fiancée, but he needed the touch. Plenty of women had thrown themselves at him, but none had ever been able to block out the ache of loneliness and sadness.

When he had first seen Lightning in all her violent glory, he had figured that the Chaos had been playing games with him, showing him the image of someone he had thought long gone. Someone he had missed just as badly as Serah. It had been why he had run… he hadn't wanted to be plagued by those memories of failure once again.

Now, feeling her in his arms, feeling the underlying thrum of power in her body, something told him she would make things right. She could give him peace.

With gentle hands he pushed her back a step, his hand moving up to cup her cheek, his own brand of strength coming through when she attempted to draw back from his touch and he didn't allow her to.

"You'll make it right?" he whispered.

She stared into those blue eyes, so tormented and sad, and couldn't find a proper way to comfort him. So she nodded. "If it's within my power, yes."

"Good," he breathed, inching dangerously closer to her.

Her nerves were screaming at her to push away—she had more than enough strength to do it—but did she want to? I should. Serah… I'm sorry.

The first touch of his lips on hers made her body stiffen in shock, unaccustomed… never before having been kissed. It seemed unbelievable, yet she had never found time or the desire to go out and pursue romance. She had spent her teen years training, then her young adult years fighting for her life, and after that… it had all turned into some strange and twisted fantasy of violence and near death.

Snow's kiss was disarming in its own way. She had to admit that she had been waiting for the rough push of his lips on hers, but he felt cautious, unsure of himself. But behind it all, she felt that pressing darkness in his soul. The promise of danger and desire she had never experienced before.

But… was it desire for her or was it for the ghost of Serah he could see in her?

Damn it, she sometimes hated that she couldn't turn off her brain, even when she felt the touch of his tongue against her lips. Her hands were digging into the back of his jacket, his own clutching the back of her head and her hip as if trying to hold her there.

For a brief second she wondered how far she would let it go, but ultimately her common sense pushed through as she felt his teeth tug deliciously on her bottom lip. She had already betrayed her sister in more ways than one…

"Stop," she hissed against his lips when they parted for breath.

Snow shook his head and kissed her again, pressing her back against the wall, hips pressing hers, tantalizing her body as she shivered. It then took him a moment to register what she was whispering, her words cutting through the haze of lust that had begun to cloud his brain.

"…not Serah. I'm not Serah."

"I know." His voice sounded pained. "But you've been gone just as long, too." His thumb grazed her cheekbone, rubbing over the faint flush there. Her eyes seemed clear, but she didn't exactly look happy with the situation, either. "I'm sorry."

Somehow she didn't believe his apology at all. Snow was different and she imagined that the old Snow would've seemed more remorseful. But he wasn't. not really.

"Do you think we'll ever see her again?" he whispered, pressing his forehead against hers, seemingly forgetting what had just transpired between them.

She swallowed thickly before answering as truthful as she could. "I don't know. But if we do, you'll have a chance to keep that promise you made. Don't screw it up over something as foolish as this," she gestured between them.

He nodded, his blond locks brushing against her cheeks before he released her and gave them both space. "I'll aid your journey in any way that you may need, but I'm staying here. This people have trusted me to keep them safe all these years, and I will continue to do so"

Lightning shook her head and watched him close himself away... back to that bitter and brooding man she no longer recognized. The man lost in darkness, desperate for a way out, even though he couldn't see it. For a moment she contemplated kicking some sense back into him... or better yet, kicking the shit out of him again. But she couldn't honestly think of how that would be at all helpful right then.

She knew she had the power to bring him down to his knees. But she couldn't. Because his grief was her grief. They had both loved the same person, and they had both lost the same person.

Serah had been their whole world… and now they were both stuck in limbo, guilty for having failed to save the one they loved. She understood his pain, even when it angered her to know that he hadn't been as strong as she had originally thought. Though that wasn't at all fair when considering that he had been living in pain for five hundred years.

So, she would be his shoulder. She could the light to bring him out of the darkness. And together they could grieve for what they had lost.

She just couldn't do it now. She had been tasked with a responsibility far greater than healing a broken man.

But once she had completed her mission, somehow, she would find a way to bring back the Snow they had known and loved.

"Snow."

He glanced over at her, back in his Patron persona, gaze as cool as his Eidolon.

"We're not done here."

He smirked-an echo of his old self. "Until we meet again, Savior. I'll be waiting."

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I have no idea if this story makes any sense at all. I really hope it did, since I've been stalling on finishing this oneshot for days already.

Anyway... as bad as it sounds, I'm really looking forward to seeing how Lightning deals with Snow in LR... since apparently the people who died in the past will be erased from their memories, or something to that effect. I like the fact that Light is the one to seek him out, too, and the fact that Snow looks damn hot in that suit. Hopefully I can pre-order this sucker and get the Cloud outfit for Light, and don't anyone complain about how it's detracting from FFVII, because it's not.

Anyway, please let me know if you guys liked this or if it needs work. I'm always open to concrit as long as you're civilized about it. Have a good weekend everyone!