Because You Are Here…
… I can go forward.
Yay, my first HopeRai fanfic! I love these two to death. Lightning is just so awesome and badass... and Hope is just so cute, I love him. I could care less if he was weak in the beginning. His character growth was probably the biggest in the game though (yay Hope) 8DD and it was allll because of dear Lightning XDD
This story is AU and the ages are different from the game: Hope is 16 while Lightning remains 21, I did this because I wanted a more mature Hope, but at the same time, have him mantain his childish charm. And I needed a way for the two to interact with each other XD which is why Lightning is still 21 and not 23. I also kept the town names such as Bodhum and Palumpolum because I'm uncreative like that.
I waited forever to get started on this because wanted the game so badly but I didn't even have a PS3, so I earned money and brought it (which took FOREVER.) Then I had to play the game in order to really understand how the characters are. I AM SO HAPPY I GOT THE GAME. I really hope the characters are IC and not OOC (and if they are, I'm so sorry D8)
Warning: slight spoilers, such as Lightning's real name, but that's pretty much it.
Disclaimer: I don't think my mind is creative enough to come up with a story like Final Fantasy XIII…
When you're not here, I forget how to love.
"C-Claire, I don't want to go," the little boy cried into her stomach, his shaking hands gripping on her uniform tightly. She bit her lip, feeling her own tears forming.
She couldn't stand looking at him so upset, so broken, like he was now. He was usually a cheerful kid, all smiles.
But how could one smile at the death of their own mother?
She quickly wiped away her tears with her fingers. Maybe if she was strong, he would be too…
"I don't want to be leave you," With that said, she could feel more of her tears threatening to spill, a feeling in her chest tightening.
Had she really made such an impression on him? She had tried so hard to push him away in the beginning.
"Silly…" she whispered, her own voice slightly shaking. She lightly patted his silver head like she always would. And every time she did, he would always give her his trademark toothy smile. He looked up at her, eyes all swollen and red. "I'll always be with you." She tried to smile, she really did, but it was hard.
But she did it for him.
He had said that he liked it when she smiled.
She pulled him off her for a second, firm hands on both his shoulders, and lowered herself down to his level. "Here, close your eyes for a second." She had to be strong, she reminded herself, not for her— but for him.
Hope did as he was told and waited, suddenly feeling her arms loosely around him for a split second. He then felt something cool fall against his skin.
"Okay, you can open them now."
He looked at her and wondered what she had done that made her want him to close his eyes. He then noticed the necklace she always wore was gone. Looking down, he saw it hanging from his neck.
Though it was a little long for him, she thought it looked nice. She leaned forward and brushed his bangs out of the way, lightly pressing a kiss to his forehead. He could feel his cheeks burn with embarrassment. She always tended to baby him, not that he really minded.
"So that I'll always be with you even when we're apart."
+Chapter one: Lightning Farron+
Hope looked into the mirror, fixing his green tie one last time. He then attempted to smooth out his hair which was still rather messy, anxious for the day awaiting him. He soon gave up on his hair, knowing that no matter what he did, it would always somehow revert back to its messy self.
After seven long years, Hope had finally transferred into the famous Imperial Academy of Eden, or Eden for short. He had heard of the school numerous times since it was famous for being one of the best schools in the area and probably the country. Even so, he had never really gave it much thought.
That changed when he realized that he had a chance of seeing Claire again.
He still had some faint memories left of her even though he was only nine at the time and she was fourteen, but he still remembered the light green tie with the school's extravagant emblem branded on which she wore loosely around her neck, the matching green skirt, the signature uniform only worn by students of Eden.
It took him at least a year or two to bring up his straight 'B' average to a magnificent straight 'A' average, one of the many requirements to be accepted into the school, that and passing their extremely difficult entrance exam. But with perseverance, hard work and a lot of coffee and restless nights, he had received an acceptance letter from them and he nearly hugged his father to death.
He smiled into the mirror and looked at the necklace hanging around his neck, mostly hidden by the collar of his white button-down shirt. Hope hadn't really grown much after leaving Bodhum, maybe an inch or two every year or so. But once he hit the age of fifteen, that was when he really starting growing and was now a proud five foot five.
Hope grabbed his backpack and walked out of his new apartment room.
Hope looked around, panicking.
He had heard that the academy's campus was rather large and that there were many different buildings for different subjects and grades.
He knew that, he just didn't expect for all the buildings to look the same. I mean, did the people who built the school feel the need to make every building look the same? He had spent at least twenty minutes walking around trying to find his class but that was kind of hard when it felt like you were just walking in circles in a freaking maze.
Groaning in defeat, Hope glanced at his watch and his eyes widened. Crap… Only five minutes left until his first class started and he had no freaking idea where he was!
Hope started looking for someone to ask directions, screw his pride, he was going to be late and he did not want to start out his year like this. And plus, the school had strict rules about being late to a certain amount of classes. He wasn't about to let himself get kicked out after all he'd done to get in!
Luckily, he found someone. Her back was turned and she had soft, light pink hair that seemed to be parted to the side. He smiled with joy and quickly ran over to her.
Once he caught up to her he lightly tapped her shoulder. "Um… excuse me, could you tell me where I'm supposed to find room one-ten A?"
She slowly turned around and Hope suddenly felt ten times smaller even though they were practically the same height. She wore a plain dark orange sweater that hung loosely over her figure along with tan jean shorts that hugged her hips. For shoes, she wore knee-high brown boots. She had a deep frown plastered onto her pale beautiful face, almost as pale as he. She had a few freckles here and there but it looked kind of cute—cute?— on her. She had fierce, piercing icy blue eyes that made her look intimating, yet attractive. Hope couldn't stop staring into them for some reason. Her soft pink hair was curled at the ends mixed in with some straight strands of hair that lay lazily over her left shoulder.
He had never seen anyone as beautiful, and scary, as her.
Hope saw her eyes narrow dangerously at him and took a step back. Maybe I shouldn't have asked her …
She remained silent to his question. "Um… nevermind, I'll ask someone—" he was cut off when she suddenly raised her arm and pointed to his right.
"Room one-ten A is in that building." She replied coolly. She spoke so quietly that Hope almost missed her words. His eyes followed her finger he had never felt like such an idiot before.
"Um… thank you." He said with a laugh, his cheeks red with embarrassment, in an attempt to lighten the mood but all he got was an unamused scowl.
She frowned and with a low "hmph", she walked away. Not even a 'you're welcome'? He scratched his head, involuntarily glancing down at his watch and nearly jumped. Three minutes wasted.
"Crap!" he shouted running towards the building.
Hope bolted into his classroom and flung the door open, gasping for air.
"I'msosorryi'mlateitwon'thappenagainipromise," he let out in one breath. His teacher along with the rest of the class stared at him in amusement.
"Hey, it's okay," he laughed, Hope stared shocked, expecting to get at least a lecture or something for being late on the first day. "You're the new transfer student, right?" Hope simply nodded. "I'm your homeroom teacher Mr. Katzroy. You can just take a seat right there." Mr. Katzroy pointed to the only empty desk near the window on the far right side. Hope nodded and walked to his new seat and took out his notebook ready to take notes. Even though it was only the first day, there was nothing wrong with being prepared.
"Psst." Hope heard soft jiggling and turned to his left and saw a foreign girl with bright red curly hair in tied in pigtails pulling on his sleeve, both her wrists filled with many colorful silver bracelets, her vivid green eyes shining brightly. "Can I borrow a pencil? Forgot mine." She giggled with an accent he had never heard before. She wore her uniform like everyone else only she had a cream-colored sweater tied at her waist. Her bright cheerfulness took Hope aback mostly because he was still recovering from his earlier encounter with that cold pink-haired girl, who truthfully, scared the crap out of him. But then when someone stared at you like she did, who wouldn't be?
Hope then remembered the girl had asked for a pencil. Her cheerful smile was contagious and he soon found himself smiling back at her involuntarily.
"Uh… yeah," he reached into his bag and pulled out a simple black mechanical pencil and handed it to her. "Here."
She took the pencil with a smile. "Thanks!" Her kindness made him feel all warm inside, it was nice.
A few minutes later into the class Hope quickly learned that the class was already fairly familiar with Mr. Katzroy, hearing the name "Sazh" every now and then, which Hope would assume was his first name. Sazh had basically explained the basic rules of his class and the supplies they would need since he was also their history teacher.
He found a note on his desk and he quickly went to open it. 'My name's Vanille, what's yours?' Hope read, the letters written in smooth bubbly letters much like her personality.
Hope quickly composed a simply reply. 'Name's Hope Estheim' and quietly returned the note to her.
The bell rung, signaling the end of homeroom and history. Since they both took place in the same classroom there was no need to move to a different classroom, thank god since Hope was positive that he would just end up getting lost again and show up late to the next class.
Hope quickly threw his notebook and pencil into his bag without a thought and got up, ready to leave.
"Hey! Wait up!" Hope could hear the familiar accent through her words and immediately knew who it was. Turning to her, she held up his pencil he had lent to her. "Can't leave without this, right?"
She reached for his hand and placed the pencil in his hands. "What's your next class?"
"Um…" he reached into his pocket and pulled out his schedule, quickly scanning the paper. "… Study Hall."
"Yay!" she cheered. "Me too, let's go!" Vanille took hold of his hand and skipped out of the classroom with Hope trailing awkwardly behind.
"We don't really have to be anywhere really for study hall, so we can just walk around on campus."
Hope turned to her. Vanille had finally released her iron grip on his wrist so he could walk freely. "Really?"
"Yep. But if you want, you could always go to the library." She chirped, her slim arms swinging back and forth besides her. Hope had never seen or met anyone with as much energy as her. He had only been with her for at least five minutes now and he was already feeling tired.
Vanille spun around and faced him, her finger tapping her chin in a playful manner. "Say, how 'bout I give you a quick tour?" She offered. "So you won't get lost next time."
"That would be great." He beamed. Then there would be no need to ask anymore scary people for directions, Hope thought with a smile.
"Let me explain the school system to you first." Hope nodded, blindly following her since he had no idea where he was going. "There are four sections in this school; the elementary which are grades one to five, grades six to eight is the junior section, we are in the varsity section consisting of grades nine to twelfth, then last but not least," she giggled. "The university section with is basically like any regular old university."
"Do we have to go there after we graduate?"
"Nope, you don't have to, but most people do."
"Did you start from the elementary section?" Hope asked, feeling the need to get to know the girl better.
"Yep, most people here started out in the elementary section since the entrance exams for 'outsiders' are much harder than the ones we take so most people who try to transfer into this school don't make it and fail."
Now that Hope thought about it, the entrance exams really were the hardest ones he had to take so far. He was almost positive that he didn't make it.
"Ha… no wonder." He sighed.
"Yeah, it's been a while since I've seen a transfer student since most of the people who do pass the exams get kicked out because it was too difficult to keep up since the expectations were too great compared to their old school and they couldn't get used to it in time, resulting in failing grades."
Hope felt his heart drop. He felt that his grades were average and decent but he felt that he had barely passed the exams. What if he got kicked out because he was failing a class or something? Then all his efforts to find Claire would have been wasted and for nothing.
He was so absorbed in his thoughts he didn't see someone in front of him and walked right into her, causing him to fall in an embarrassing manner.
Hope placed a hand on his head for a moment before looking up at the person he just walked into. Once he saw her pink curls, he felt his heart drop.
"Hope! Are you alright?" Vanille called over, helping him off the ground while the older girl just stared, no traces of concern found on her flawless face. Only for a split second, Hope saw some foreign emotion flash across her face but was soon replaced by her regular stoic expression.
"Sorry…" he mumbled.
She looked at him coldly, colder than before, her delicate eyebrows furrowed.
"Don't waste your breath, kid." She said flatly and walked away. He started at her walking away, eyes wide. Kid?
Hope let out a breath he didn't even realize he was holding. For some reason, she seemed a lot more colder and harsher than before— since she didn't really say anything last time.
"Wow, that was terrifying," Hope looked over and saw Vanille twirling her bright curls, sighing in relief. "I thought she was going to beat you up or something with that nasty look she was giving you."
Hope stared at her, eyes wide. "Y-you know her?" Why would someone as cheerful as Vanille know someone as scary as her, Hope wondered.
Vanille firmly nodded. "I don't think there's anyone at this school who hasn't at least heard her name before."
"What's her name?"
"She goes by the name 'Lightning' and is probably the most feared person on the entire campus." No shit. With a name like that and a glare like hers, who wouldn't be scared of her? "There are a lot of bad rumors going around about her that make her even more intimating."
Hope didn't know why, but he was really curious in this Lightning girl. Even though she nearly chewed him out, she gave off an aura of mystery and he wanted to know more about her.
"Well, just to name a few, some say she's been arrested at least twice, suspended once, and tried to kill a person." Hope's face turned pale as he felt his fear for Lightning double in size. Maybe triple.
"W-what? Y-you can't be serious, can you?" he questioned. "How did she not get kicked out because of that?"
"Because her grades are good, one of the best in this school despite her cold personality." Vanille explained. "And plus, most of those rumors are probably fake anyway but with her personality like that, it's not hard to believe."
Even with the possibly of the rumors being fake, that didn't change the feeling of fear he felt for her. "Lightning… it can't be her real name, can it?"
"I'm not even sure myself. Some people say it is, some say it's not." Vanille placed her hand on her chin. "But it's not like those people even have the guts to reveal it."
Lightning sat in her seat quickly in the library, staring blankly at her summer homework and filling in the last couple answers without a second thought.
"Hey sis! How's it goin'? I knew I'll find you here." Lightning's scowl deepened, she clutched her pen tightly as she glared at the bulky man grinning like an idiot at her.
"I'm not your sister." She growled. Her cold words didn't seem to bother the man all that much let alone affect him at all. He probably didn't even realize that she was not happy with his presence.
"Aww, c'mon, you will be one day." He laughed. With that said, Lightning quickly elbowed him in the ribs. Hard. The man winced in pain.
"Hey, now, it was a joke," he said. With one last stare, she turned her attention back on her homework.
"It better be."
Snow just laughed and took a seat beside her, grinning at her. She looked over and frowned.
"Wipe that idiotic grin off your face, it's disgusting." She said darkly.
Snow didn't listen to her which only fueled her anger. As if she wasn't angry enough.
"So I heard you spared the life of some kid today. Quite surprised you didn't break any of his teeth."
Lightning sighed angrily. "What the hell are you getting at? You're well aware that those rumors aren't even close to the truth."
Snow laughed at her comment and leaned back in his chair, placing his arms behind his head in a relaxed fashion, invading more of Lightning's much wanted personal space. "Yeah, but it's still funny hearing the things being said about you. Oh! There was this one time someone told me you—" Snow's sentence was cut short when Lightning landed a punch square in his face and Snow fell onto the floor with a loud thud.
"Jeez, I don't get how you too lovebirds have this much energy in the morning." A woman around the same age as Snow and Lightning appeared, her dark wavy hair messed in a wild fashion, her thin dark eyebrows arched in amusement. She wore a black and blue tank top and a pair of shorts with a brown belt around them along with a pair of open-toed boots covering her feet. She had black disconnected sleeves covering her arm from her elbows down to her wrist with numerous bracelets hanging off them. On her upper left arm was a large tattoo along with a couple of scars decorating both her upper arms and shoulders.
Lightning threw a dark glare at her way while Snow already having recovered from Lightning's punch (he was getting used to them), made a disgusted face.
The woman simply smirked in response to Lightning's unamused glare. "Ha, you can glare all you like but they won't work on me anymore."
"What the hell, Fang?" Snow shouted earning him an angry look from one of the librarians across the room. "You're well-aware that Serah is the only one for me!"
Lightning quickly gathered up her stuff and got ready to leave, but not before kicking Snow hard on the shin.
"Stay away from Serah." She threatened.
Snow recovered from Lightning's attack too quick for her liking and swiftly placed a large arm around her shoulders. "Aww, sis, don't be upset, you're still loved. I'll give you a hug if that'll make you feel any better." He mocked with a grin, he was clearly enjoyed this way too much. Lightning immediately took advance of his close proximity and threw another flawless punch to his face, hopefully to keep him on the floor long enough for her to leave.
Fang laughed at Snow's fallen and bruised figure, her smirk never leaving her face. "You never learn, do you?"
Hope jammed the keys into the door and quickly walked in, falling limply on the couch nearby. He didn't even bother taking off his shoes yet. A lot of things had happened, enough to make him utterly exhausted. That, and all the walking and running he had to do to get around campus and to his classes. Luckily, he had Vanille in most of his classes with the exception of gym, and three other ones the next day.
He felt his phone vibrate in his pocket and swiftly took it out and studied the number that came up.
He flipped the phone open and spoke clearly to the other end. "Hey, Dad."
"How was the first day?"
Hope switched the phone to his other hand and placed it between his cheek and shoulder, busy removing his shoes. "It was good, got a little lost, but it was good."
"That's good to hear. How's the apartment room?"
Hope had managed to stay in an apartment close to Eden instead of staying on campus because one, he figured it would be much quieter and he wouldn't have to deal with random parties at inconvenient times. He didn't like imagining himself wide awake at three in the morning having to hear the noise next door because of a wild party. Two, because it was convenient since his dad usually stayed in the same room incase he had a meeting in town and needed a place to stay. And plus, it would be easier for his dad if he wanted to visit some time which he promised to do in the future.
Ever since they moved back to Palumpolum seven years ago after the death of his mother, their relationship had been a bit rocky and extremely awkward. They were never really close from the beginning since his dad was always out of town for a meeting or a business trip of some sort on the other side of the world and he was home with his mom. So when he was suddenly the only family Hope had left, he had no choice but to turn to him for comfort and develop a better relationship. It was challenging and took many years for them to finally have a conversation without any awkwardness but it was nice finally having someone to other than his friends to talk to.
There were still some awkward moments between the father and son but Hope was hopeful that they'll go away over time.
And it was all because of Claire's encouragement all those years ago for Hope to build a stronger bond with his father.
"Yeah, the apartment room is nice."
"Okay, I would talk longer with you but I have to go, there's a meeting I have to be at early in the morning so I have to go to bed now. I'll call you tomorrow and you can tell me more about your day then. Good night."
Hope smiled into the phone. "Good night, dad"
Chapter one [END]
A/n: My failed attempt at humor.
Ehehehe... so what do you think? Good? No good? Terrible? Please tell me 8D constructive critizism would be nice but if so, please explain yourselfs by taking some examples from the story so that it'll help me understand what you are trying to point out to me C8
Just to clear things up: the emblem on the uniform is the Sanctum l'Cie brand (it's really pretty) in it's final form (you can always look it up C8)
Preview: "For all we know, she could be going through her—"… 'You have got to be shitting me.'
[Last edited: 1/29/11]