Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy XIII. Square Enix owns it. I do not own anything. Do not sue me.
Author's Note: So here it is. The end of the story. I hope you guys enjoy it.
Special thanks to Haruka-Chan 212 –
Not Over You
Chapter Sixteen – Not Over You
You know that I love you so / I love you enough to let you go / I want you to know / That it doesn't matter / Someone's gotta go / And I want you to k now / You couldn't have loved me better / But I want you to move on… – "Already Gone" by Kelly Clarkson
Lightning did what she could to take her mind off of Fang's upcoming move. She woke up, went to work, then came home. She didn't make any pit stops to the bar, which was an accomplishment in itself for her. She felt herself getting better as the days went on. She found herself crying less and laughing more when her sister came over with her husband, Snow (surprisingly).
Serah was proud of her. She was finally taking her advice. She was finally letting Fang go. It was time for them to move on and Serah knew it was only a matter of time before the two finally talked it out like civilized adults. She knew there was too much of a history between them to be able to forget about one another. "Lightning, where's your baking soda?" Serah called from the kitchen.
"I don't know," Lightning shrugged as she reached for the remote on the couch. "I don't use it. I don't even know if I have any."
"Of course you don't…" Serah smiled as she continued her search. "Everybody's got baking soda somewhere. It's like a law or something." She pulled open a cabinet above the sink as she continued looking.
Lightning flipped through the channels lamely. She hated days off. They were boring. She'd much rather be at work filling out papers than sitting on her butt at home. She was, however, thankful that Serah had come by for a few hours. Serah had always taken her mind off things, the bad things. And her sister knew it. She knew that Serah knew. And that's why Serah was there.
"When was the last time I even baked something, Serah? You know I don't like anything to do with a kitchen," Lightning commented.
"You'd much rather order out at that nasty restaurant on the corner than have a nice home cooked meal... and the last time you baked something was when you tried to make a cake for my birthday," Serah said laughing. "That was a complete mess."
Lightning laughed along, until she remembered the food fight with Fang. It was moments like that, that made her life worth something. But when she looked in the kitchen, staring at her baby sister, she had something new to fight for. "Serah, do you remember when I told you that I joined the force?"
"Of course I do! I wanted to pull your gun out of your holster and shoot you myself," Serah giggled as she peaked her head around the corner. "But in the end, I realized how proud I was of you. You've overcome so much and I'm proud to call you my big sis."
"Wait, were you ever NOT proud of me?"
Serah giggled again and walked out of the kitchen, plopping down next to Lightning. "When you went undercover as a stripper to catch a criminal, yes. I thought you dropped your day job and went for… that one."
Lightning shivered, "I remember that… Fang came in to the strip club that night. Of course it had to be THAT night."
Serah laughed loudly. "You were so embarrassed when she figured out it was you. It was adorable."
"Oh shut up, you. That was not my proudest moment," Lightning groaned as she remembered every excruciating detail of that undercover job.
"You never did tell me about that by the way… I only know bits and pieces."
"And that's all you're ever going to know."
"How did you do it? You know… just to… bare all of yourself like that?" Serah pondered.
"Really. Don't ask," Lightning tried to shrug the embarrassing memory off. It was one reason Fang called her 'Sunshine'. It wasn't something like 'hun' or 'darling'. 'Sunshine' was a way to poke fun at her.
"Oh, you're no fun," Serah pouted. "I just wanted to know, you never hide stuff from me."
"Some things are better left unsaid, Serah. Trust me, the only thing I enjoyed about that was taking that prick down.
Serah just shook her head and laid on the couch, her head on Lightning's lap. "Snow's taking another shift tonight, can I stay here?"
"You don't have to ask, you know that."
"Well it doesn't hurt to make sure. I don't want to impose on your 'Lightning self loathing' time."
Lightning didn't say anything. She knew Serah was right. She was just thankful Serah was there to distract her…
"Why can't I go with you?" Vanille asked from her spot in the hallway. "I'll be good, I promise!"
Fang laughed. She sounded like a little kid. "You have school, Vanille. I'll call every day. I swear. You're going to stay with Lebreau 'til I get back."
"When are you coming back?" A tear fell from Vanille's eyes.
"Within the year. It's only temporary. Unless things work out, then I'm going to stay…"
"What am I supposed to do without you?" Vanille bit her trembling lower lip in an attempt to fight off her tears. Fang wasn't leaving for a few days yet and she already felt like she was losing her. She could only imagine what it would be like the day Fang did actually leave.
Fang sighed heavily before turning to face her sister. She placed both hands on Vanille's shoulders before speaking. "You're going to continue goin' to school and getting' your degree. You're not some little kid anymore, Van… ya can't always rely on me ya know."
"I know. It's just… we've been together for years. It's gonna be hard just watching you walk away like that."
"It's not like I'm leavin' ya forever. Sheesh… It's gonna be hard, yeah, but we can make it through. Besides, there's always holidays, ya know." Fang pulled Vanille in for a tight hug before letting her go and moving back toward her own room. Saying bye to Vanille was probably the hardest part about her decision to move in the first place. "You're gonna be fine, Van. I'll visit, I promise. But until then, I have to pack some things up and you got homework to do. I'll call you when I go to get dinner."
"I wanna go with you!" Vanille folded her arms over her chest before glaring at Fang.
"I just told ya… yout have to stay here and finish school."
"I meant, I wanna go with you to get dinner…"
Fang's heart broke at the younger woman's tone of voice. The sadness was evident in her desperation to spend more time with Fang. "Alright, alright," Fang smiled. "Let's just go out, yeah? But then you do your homework."
Serah and Lightning sat peacefully at the dining room table. They hadn't had a dinner with just the two of them for a while and Lightning was taking it in as much as she possibly could. It was rare now that Serah was married.
"How's school?" Lightning inquired as she rolled some noodles onto her fork.
"It's fine. I'm at the top of my class."
"As always," Lightning did a half smile. She was glad her sister wanted to go into teaching and not follow what Lightning did. "I'm proud of you, Serah."
"I know you are," Serah giggled. "So… about earlier."
Lightning sighed. "What about it?"
Serah bit her lip. "You need to go talk to her, Light. You and her can at least be friends… right? Vanille texted me earlier and said the same thing I'm telling you now. I might not like Fang much right now, but she's still family to us…"
"I know she is…"
"And all families have their arguments."
"I know they do."
"Will you go talk to her? Calm and peaceful-like? I mean, I know that's hard for you and all..." Serah asked with a somewhat broken voice. Lightning knew that voice.
She wasn't stupid. Serah didn't want a rift to be put between herself and Vanille, and with the two ex's fighting (who also happened to be their sisters), they know it would be inevitable. She knew that Serah's relationship would end with Vanille if Lightning didn't try to make peace.
"Yay!" Serah almost knocked the table over in her excitement. "Oh, crap! Sorry."
Lightning just shook her head. "It's okay, Serah. I'll go talk to Fang tonight, okay?"
Serah smiled in victory. "Good. Now let's eat up so you can grow a set and get over there."
Lightning was going to regret it. She knew that much already. "What am I even going to say to her?"
Serah dropped her fork on her plate and put her hands across her heart. "Oh, Fang! I love you oh so much and I miss you. I need you to stay here with me forever!"
Lightning glared at her sister, though finding some amusement in Serah's antics. She knew Serah was trying to make her feel better. "I'm being serious, Serah."
"And who says I wasn't serious?"
"You just got done telling me that I need to move on and now you're doing this."
Serah just laughed. "Okay, look. Just tell her you're sorry for everything and you want to start over from the beginning. As friends. Nothing more."
"But we tried that before… Look what happened."
"Well you didn't have much self control, neither did she. Now… you won't have much of a choice. You can lose her forever, or work your way up to being with her again."
"You're contradicting yourself. You just told me earlier you wanted me to move on."
"Well… I know what I told you. But I know what you're really feeling, you're my sister. If you follow what I said, you'll be sad… I don't want you to be. The two of you just have some issues to work out. Then it'll be fine and we can all be a family again…" Serah bit her lip. "I barely hang out with Vanille anymore because the topic of you two always comes up and we both end up fighting. I'm tired of it and I miss my best friend… I know you do too."
Serah was right. Fang was her best friend. Even at the beginning before Lightning was in SWAT. Sure, Fang harassed Lightning every moment she got, but deep down Lightning liked it. "I'm going to go talk to her."
"And I want to know how it goes tomorrow."
"I bet you do…"
She wasn't sure exactly what she was doing. Especially since it was already nearing midnight. A heavy sigh left her lungs as she stepped up to the front door. Was anybody even still awake? She knew Fang left the next day, but she didn't know what time her train departed. She'd feel horrible if Fang was already asleep.
If she didn't do it tonight though... it would never get done, she had to let Fang go. She had to make sure that Fang knew that too.
Lightning lifted her hand to knock on the door, but she hesitated. Instead of tapping her knuckles on the wood she simply pressed her palm against it. What was she doing? She thought for a moment that she should just turn around, that's when she saw the curtain move.
She was spotted.
Two thoughts crossed her mind at that point, run, or stay. Before she had a chance to make her decision, it was made for her. The door opened, revealing a rather confused looking Fang. "What are you doing here?"
"I was uh..." Lightning took a step back. She wanted to see Fang once more. But to let Serah know, or to even admit it to Fang was something she had trouble with.
Fang folded her arms over her chest and leaned against the door frame. "You obviously came here for a reason. Come on... out with it."
"I just uh... wanted to come by... and say goodbye." Lightning diverted her gaze to the ground. What was she thinking?
Fang looked her ex over before backing away from the doorway. "Vanille's asleep, keep your voice down."
"I'm sorry I came over so late." The detective's voice was soft, just as Fang had instructed. She watched the taller woman close and lock the front door before walking toward the kitchen. Lightning was right behind her.
"It's fine, couldn't sleep much anyway. anxious to get tomorrow over with."
Lightning just tossed her a friendly smile before sitting at the table. She couldn't just beg Fang to stay. Begging really wasn't in her. Even though that's what she really wanted. "Why are you anxious about it?"
"The move, what else? I've never ran a store before ya know." Fang sat across from Lightning at the table.
"Yea, true." Lightning looked down at her hands. She wasn't exactly sure how to say what she really wanted to say.
"So... cut the small talk Light. I know that's not why you're here Light. Be honest with me."
"I already told you, I wanted to say goodbye."
Fang sighed. "We both know this ain't goodbye Light."
"It feels like it though." She couldn't lift her gaze from her hands. Looking at the woman she was still in love with was too hard.
"I'll tell you the same thing I told Vanille... it's not permanent." When she didn't receive a response she continued. "Light, look at me." Lightning slowly lifted her head, causing their eyes to lock for the first time since she arrived. "We'll stay in touch."
Lightning laughed dryly "You know, Serah made me come over here... she kept telling me I should talk to you. I even prepared a speech in my head and everything, but I'll tell you I can't remember a single word of it."
"I'm kinda happy you decided to listen to her Light." Fang smiled softly across the table. "I was talking to Vanille and she actually suggested the same thing. That I see ya one more time."
"Guess everybody wins huh?"
"I guess they do..." She fell silent for a moment before continuing. "I'm leaving tomorrow."
"I know you are. That's why I came over tonight. What ever happened to us Fang?"
Fang chuckled softly. "We both know what happened Light."
Lightning diverted her gaze again. She did know what happened. She knew that it was her fault that Fang walked away. "Yea... we do." She wanted to say more on the subject, but it was safer to watch her wording on everything. The last thing she wanted to do was upset Fang, especially the day before she left. Sure, Fang said they'd stay in touch, but she didn't want to push that.
"Look..." the detective started off slowly. "I'm sorry for everything Fang... everything I've done. I know it's mostly my fault. With the things I'd said and the way I'd treated you." Fang leaned back in her chair, arms folded over her chest, waiting for Lightning to continue. "There were things we both said that never should have been said Fang."
"I thought we already said them when ya came into my office the other day?"
"I meant in the past Fang. When we were together. It all ended pretty badly."
Before Fang could continue though, Lightning beat her to it. "And I know it was my fault. I never should have said those things about your job. Or assumed that you were any less of a person because of the job you have. I mean... obviously you love it, you're willing to move for it." Lightning bit her lip quickly when she heard the bitterness in her own voice at her last statement.
"It's the best for both of us anyway Light."
"You running away from everything is best for us both?"
"No, I'm not running away, I'm puttin some distance in a volitile situation and you know it's true... we were toxic together Light."
"We might have been toxic, but we were in love. You made me feel like a person and now..."
"Now you're just as lost as I am." Fang stood up and made her way to the counter. "I might as well start some coffee. Gotta feelin we're gonna be here for a while."
"I'll just go. I know you have to be up early."
"Train doesn't leave til 2... besides, I'll just sleep on it." Fang turned to look at her ex, suddenly feeling a little insecure. "Unless you really had to go..."
"No." A soft smile graced Lightning's lips. "I'm off tomorrow."
"So... coffee it is then?"
"Yea, coffee it is." The smile on Lightning's face grew a little bit. It was odd, to her. Smiling. In all honesty, it felt alien. It was something she hadn't done in months. Nothing that was a real smile anyway.
A comfortable silence fell between the pair. Fang busied herself with coffee while Lightning simply watched her. It wasn't domestic, not in Lightning's eyes anyway... it was friendly. And comfortable. "How's your job been?"
The question caught Lightning a bit off guard. She wasn't exactly expecting the make small talk. It definitely helped to defuse the entire situation. "It's been kind of slow actually. Which is a good thing though." The detective looked up at her ex and saw a small smile peek out of the corner of her lips. "What about you... are you..." she paused to regain her thoughts before asking something she didn't really want to, "looking forward to your promotion?"
Honestly, Lightning didn't want to ask. She didn't want to know. But it was polite and Lightning was always taught to be polite, not that she always was though. Fang shook her head. "I am... but I know ya don't really care. I know you Lightning, better than ya know yourself sometimes."
A light pink hue covered Lightning's cheeks. What Fang had said was something Serah told her all the time. She hated being 'known' by more people than just herself. Nobody should know her better than she knows herself, but apparently they did. "What did you mean when you said I'm just as lost as you are?"
"What do you think it means?"
"I know what I want it to mean Fang, but what I want it to mean and what you actually meant are two different things I'm sure."
Fang placed two cups of coffee on the table before getting the creamer out of the fridge. "Here." Lightning smiled as she accepted it. She was a little surprised that Fang still remembered how she liked her coffee. "What I meant Light... was that... deep down, you don't want me to leave, just like I don't want to leave. But you know that in the end this is all for the best."
"I guess you're right."
"Listen..." Fang reached across the table to take Lightning's hand gently. It wasn't anything romantic, but more of a friendly, comforting gesture. "We need this distance apart... this time apart ya know? It'll give us both a chance to really clear our heads and figure out what we want and where we're goin in life."
The only thing Lightning was certain of, was that she was still in love with Fang. For the longest time, Fang was the only constant. There were times when Serah went days and even weeks without so much as a visit. But Fang was always there. Ever since they had first become friends, she was there. And now... now she was leaving. Lightning felt as if a hole was being ripped right out of her heart.
As far as where she was going with her life... she thought things were looking up when she received her instructor position. But once it was ripped out from under her, everything felt lost. It was a domino effect that left her rebuilding from the ground up. She knew Fang was right, it was hard to admit it though because she didn't want her to be right. Having the time apart would help both of them to clear their heads. They needed it. Some time apart. Lightning trusted Fang when she said that they'd keep in touch. She just knew she had to be patient... that everything would come in due time.
"What are you hoping comes from this?" Lightning was blunt with her question. She knew that she was hoping Fang would come back. She was hoping that she be able to overcome her own demons and become a better person.
"Honestly, I'm hopin everything works out in the end." There was a double meaning to Fang's words. Something that neither of them pointed out, but both of them knew. Yes, Fang wanted everything with her promotion is as she expected. She was also hoping that with time things with Lightning would work themselves out. She was still in love with Lightning, but it was dangerous for both of them emotionally to try to rekindle their relationship so soon.
"This could be a way for us to truly start over... as friends."
"It'll be nice. Because Fang... to tell you the truth, I miss you as my friend."
"I miss you too Light."
Neither of them wanted the night to end. But as Lightning glanced at the clock she realized that it had to end eventually. She hadn't realized that it was already pushing 2 in the morning. She'd been talking with Fang for over two hours now. "I should really get going so you can go to bed. You're spending all day on a train aren't you?"
Reluctantly Fang stood up to walk Lightning to the door. She didn't want her ex to leave either. It was nice to be able to have a decent conversation with Lightning. Just like old times. Old times that Fang didn't want to part with, but knew she had to. They would always be locked away in her memories. Whether she was gone for a few weeks, months, or even years, the memory of her last night in Bohdum would always be fresh in her mind.
"Yea, it's like 7 hours or somethin like that. I don't even know how long it is." Fang chuckled, drawing a small laugh out of Lightning.
"Well..." Lightning stopped at the door to look up into Fang's eyes. "I guess this is good bye."
"Nah... good byes are forever in my eyes." Fang cautiously stepped forward to wrap her arms around Lightning's waist.
All of the breath left Lightning's lungs at the very familiar, and very missed feeling of Fang's warm body pressed against her own. She felt herself melt into the touch... get lost in it even. She savored every last moment of it.
Little did she know though, Fang felt the same. She didn't want to let Lightning go, but she knew she had to. "How bout I promise to call ya when I get there."
"That sounds great." Lightning was first to pull away from the embrace. "Please be safe."
Lightning placed her hand on Fang's shoulder before she smiled up at her. "Good night Fang."
"See ya Light." She stepped back into the house once Lightning was out of sight and closed the door. It was like she was closing the door on a now finished chapter of her life. In a few short hours, she'd be reopening the door, only to start a brand new chapter.
I hope you guys enjoyed it. I decided to do a middle ending because honestly? It was easier. I tried to write a sad and happy ending but NOTHING came out. If Haruka manages to help out a little (more than usual), then there will be a few more updates. But until then, the story is complete. If I do a sequel, it'll be a short one (seeing as how I'm horrible at updating). And again, if anyone has a PS3, add me. Username is in my profile.
Also, thank you so much for the support and reviews and alerts. I really appreciate it. You have no idea.