"After losing Serah and being turned into a l'cie... I've lost hope. I could only fight the Sanctum and move forrward without purpose. But bringing down Sanctum meant nothing to me. It was just a hopeless fight."
"What about Serah?"
"No reason to live? What are you talking about? Don't you want to see her again? You have to believe and hope that Serah will be saved. You must survive and fight for that. That's all."
"... I see."
"Fang..." Lightning looks up at the sky, "Serah is back safely and now lives happily with Snow. She's grown up and doesn't need my protection anymore...
Who do I live for now? And for what? What should I have faith in?...
... Fang... Please tell me...
... I wish you were here..." Lightning closes her eyes and lets out a sigh. There seems to be little dew drops on her lashes.
The wind is like little fairies dancing throuh Lightning's hair, lifts up the bangs that are hiding her furrowed brows. Her shadow on the singing grass makes Lightning looks even more vulnerable and lonely in the dusk.
Since the time she understood that she wouldn't, couldn't, be held in her parents' embrace anymore because they'd left her forever, she'd decided to ignore the pain, put away her childhood and weakness, and forget about the happy time spent with her family like any other kids. She'd had to leave all of them behind so that she could be stronger for Serah and find a way to support them both. She'd became an orphan without anyone to depend on, and she was ready to take on a harsh life, but her little baby sister was not. Serah had to live a good life, had to study and be happy like kids her age. She needed to be stronger, more mature and tougher to protect her only family in the world, her only sister.
"Serah... I'll always be there for you and protect you... forever!"
But now, she is all alone... Lightning... it flashes bright, then fades away.
Lightning usually comes here after work to watch the sunset. Aside from work, she doesn't have anything to do in a house without Serah's laughter. Her sister is a grown up woman now; she's got married and already moved out, leaving her alone by herself. The once small house has somehow become bigger and emptier.
She can stand here for hours until the last sun rays disappeared, replaced by a dark sky with millions of sparkling twinkle stars. It's not important whether she goes home or not, it'll just be a boring routine of unhealthy dinner, then sleep, and then work again tomorrow. Immerged in work is a way for her to forget about the emptiness inside her chest.
A year ago...
"Congrats, Serah," Lightning smiled and leaned down to whisper at her sister, who was beaming of joy, before gave Serah's hand to Snow, who was about to and would be her new family member.
"Serah Farron, do you take Snow Villiers for your husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do you part?"
"Snow Villiers, do you take Serah Farron for your husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do you part?"
"And now, I announce you husband and wife."
The groom kissed his bride in the cheers of all the guests in the church. Bells were ringing just like a happy word for the newlyweds, but the sound shattered Lightning's heart.
Lightning waved with a smile as she looked on after the disappearing car. Serah had found her happiness... As long as Serah was smiling, she would be okay. Because Serah is everything to her. She could do anything for Serah. But her mission was accomplished now, her job as a guardian has ended... The car has not only left but also took her sister away from her to build a new happy home.
Lightning shivered. She just acknowledged a feeling that she never thought of, didn't dare to think of...
What was happiness to her?
Lightning slowly walked home. She hesitated to go back to a house without Serah, no warm eyes and smiles waiting for her, no chiding whenever she came home late without calling, no special made food, no small footsteps when there were thunderstorms, no gentle hug whenever she was frustrated... no one there for her to protect... no nothing...
Tears suddenly rolled on her cheeks, making her heart fell hollow.
"Good work, Lieutenant. You're definitely gonna do this better than I do," Amodar praised and clapped Lightning on her shoulder, his eyes filled with pride of a father for a daughter.
"..." Lightning only nodded. Her hard work has finally paid off, she got promoted, but it meant little to her.
"But your job here is done for the day," Amodar studied her, "go home and throw a party with your family. They'll be thrilled to hear of your promotion. Say 'hi' to Serah for me."
He saw her nodded again but her eyes showed nothing, and she still hasn't spoken a word. The slender girl in front of him, his pride, has lost the fire that once filled her eyes. Amodar surpressed a sigh, he mildly shook his head and patted her shoulder before she saluted him and turned around to walk away.
Lightning set her Blazefire on the table, she tiredly threw herself on the couch in the living room. She didn't even bother to turn on the lights because she was so familiar with the furniture in the house that she could lead her way around with her eyes closed.
"Light? You're back?" A shy voice startled Lightning, made her eyes shot open and sit right up.
The lights were suddenlt turned on.
Lightning has forgotten about a guest currently staying at her house.
She turned around with an arm shield over her face. "You haven't slept yet? I told you not to wait up for me."
"I can't sleep."
"Why?" Lightning huffed and turned away, she didn't know why she would care for a stranger, let alone allow him to live with her.
Just a week ago, after she got back from Serah's wedding, she came accross a horrible car accident. Even though she'd quickly called for the ambulance, the mother didn't make it while the son, Hope, forgot everything except for his name. And she didn't hesitate to took the amnesiac boy under her care until they found his family.
"You don't look so good?" Hope approached Lightning and gently put a hand on her forehead.
"I'm fine," Lightning rolled over, avoiding contact with him, or anyone that remind her... remind her of Serah, and then she wouldn't be able to control her tears.
"I'm scared..." Hope slowly sat down near Lightning's back. "Everytime I closed my eyes, I see the bloody face of a woman looking at me sadly."
Lightning still held her position except for her head turning towards him, her eyes suddenly showed concern for the boy.
"When I woke up... I was all alone... I'm scared... I'm really scared..." Hope looked up at Lightning, his emerald eyes were bare, frightened and lonely. "Why can't I remember anything?"
"Hope..." Lightning's face was shaken for a second, she almost saw her own desperate eyes in Hope's.
"Don't worry..." She gently pulled Hope into a hug, her heart taking control instead of her mind. Lightning couldn't keep up her cold act any longer. She softly whispered to Hope as if she was speaking to her young self. "I'll be here. I'll keep you safe."
<TO BE TYPED CONTINUED>