Chapter 01 Meeting
Lightning was walking her regular route to work, circling in fast strides around beach and toward shopping mall without stopping to admire fantastical scenery spreading all around her. With Sun slowly rising up taking its place on the crystal clear sky above, casting its iridescent rays all over small alcove below like bathing in its own glow reflected by mirroring surface of emerald clear water, its radiance embraced with most beautiful sandy beach imaginable and framed from both sides with all sorts of fantastical plants adorned with flowers of dazzling colors and palms so high almost touching the dome towering high above. Only reminder it’s all fake. Created with combined effort of humans and machines working together and forces transcending them both to ensure this living cradle continue to sustain world it encapsulate and artificially controlled environment it provides function at all times without fail ensuring survival of its human inhabitants and keeping its peace at all cost.
Light wasn’t the type to dwell on these things, but part of “keeping it safe” was her job she was taking seriously. Enough to know this path like inside of her pocket, so well she thought she could find her way even in darkest night, even without looking, and her present was her main concern especially since it seems to get even darker this morning.
She was still upset after encounter with Snow list night and it was still too early to go home from her night shift, her pace speeding up deciding to take another long stroll and check the area she’ll be responsible for firework festival.
Beach was ok as usual, locals, few tourists and few monsters, nothing she can’t handle by herself, and she liked walking the beach with its soft sand feeling pleasantly warm and calming under her boots, but moment she was in front of shopping mall district her face frowned drawing one long breath and stopping in her tracks for a second to think hesitant before entering, how long was it since I was here last time? her hand move automatically folding around her gunblade and setting it behind her back, moment she entered all her senses were overwhelmed by this deeply crowded area making her feel almost noxious of contrast after fresh and silent beach, she needed few seconds to get used to this chaos and noise and decide where to start next?
Hope was with his mother on a fast train line to popular tourist destination, his emotions mixed, thinking about it bit irritated he couldn’t tell if he should be happy or angry at his father who was not present at the moment for what should be their “family vacation”, but of course that was too much to expect, his face smirked with eye roll recalling once again his father waited last moment to call and cancel plans they were looking forward for so long, but he still didn’t find chance to tell that to his mother knowing she’ll be upset and probably disappointed as he was, as this already happened too many times for Hope to count or care, only problem he did, it should be family vacation after all and what can he do about it if his family breaking in half even before it started?
Noticing irony very same person once trying to teach him promises are important to keep, end up constantly forgetting his,,,, he sighted, maybe that’s for the best, that way he wouldn’t had to confront him about it and could actually enjoy this journey with his mother, his face soften with smile looking at her as she continue pointing at the window and chatting with fellow tourists, always looking so happy and trying to compensate his father missing and cheer him up best she can, even he know how she feel about it, so he decided to play along, so she don’t had to be sad about him too, following her and nodding like listening all what she says and show him around,
“oh! Look it’s a Bowdam beach!”
It was his mother words that pull Hope out of his thoughts as he looks through the window, train was progressing swiftly and he was only able to catch glimpses of the coast passing by,,,
“oh! Look there are some monsters!”
“One, two, there is six of them!” And just for a moment he thought to see metal glint and pink haired girl surrounded by 6 monsters ready to attack! Alarmed he didn’t notice when he stand up from his seat pinning to window glass for better view but just when he was about to say something train was already long past that scene with scenery changing swiftly, so he end up looking at his mother confused, was it real? even if he was about to help it was ridiculous thought as there is no way he could get there in time, just in that moment train host voice announced, “ATTENTION all passengers take your sit, train will arrive at Bowdam station in a 5.00 minutes!” so he drop to his place with shoulders shrug,
“we’ll be there soon!” His mother replied obvious so he just nodded in silence waiting for train to stop.
Did he know? Back then? Hope follow light,
Hope find his light and he will follow her anywhere.
Bowdam was nice looking tourist destination, Hope confirmed upon their arrival as they set in a small hotel near the beach taking a walk around to see this place, and first place they visited after that was shopping mall! Hope rolled as they pass through entrance gate, as a kid he love to spend his time in shopping malls especially toy and electronic department was still his favorite but as he get *older* he find that boring, as he already know everything he wish to know about new gadgets coming around every so often, and thanks to FDS (fast data exchange system) it was easy to get access to any information or shopping, so he had to ask himself why do people still bother going in a real shop?
“You can’t try on things virtually!” his mother say as reading his mind,
he was about to protest that’s not entirely true since you can send your scan data to compare with desirable product and AI will suggest best solution for you, but his mother just laugh and drag him here,
so Hope was standing beside small glass display packed full with all sorts of trinkets and gadgets observing around, when he notice familiar glimpse catch his sight, he saw it just for a second but his breath stopped sending bolt to his steps as he know what it was, I wish Kai is here with me now! he would know for sure! his thoughts racing his pulse as he was glancing through the crowd in attempt to see it again, his memories fly to his childhood friend Kai and all the time they spend together playing, remembering how he admired listening him talk about military equipment transport and staff and showing him images of his favorite weapons, even now he was wondering how did he know all that?His reminiscence stops noticing soldiers at the entrance and his eyes wide open gazing toward the girl standing near, doubting what he saw? Pink haired? scanning her top to toes Wondering is she a soldier? Marks on her shoulder say she is high ranking too, I bet she is tough! but can it be? did he really saw it? I couldn’t just ask her about it? He gazed at her in his thoughts, hesitant, it would be awkward, he didn’t know how to approach, or what to say?
Lightning turned around to soft voice, just in time to catch glimpse of green eyes as boy turn around averting his gaze toward the pet container.
“You like this kind of thing mom?” he asked nonchalantly pretending to be interested.
“What? But you used to like these too! You’d always stand in front of the store crying; “I want one, I want one!” women laughed while looking at him.
Boy face turn red and he sound bit irritated “And how many years ago was that?”
“Not too long... only ten years ago.”
Now boy was smiling too, obviously happy with this response, and Light had to smile, noticing their features looked a like it was clear they are family except boy hair was cool silver, and his mother’s much warmer, and they both shared same beautiful smile, looking so happy they seems to be getting along so well like a family should be,
she didn’t notice when her breathing almost stop, recalling,
It all reminds her on her mother, she was just that age when,,,,
she cut that thought abruptly turning around to leave her tracks frozen next instant with her whole body shiver in premonition suddenly overwhelmed by familiar sense she didn’t feel long time ago,,, in wonder she realized it feel like,,, home?
Involuntary she overhear more of their conversation,
“These are really good with kids. They’re clever, and become easily attached to their owners.” Seller was praising his Chocobos talking while showing one small yellow Chocobo he take out of its container.
Seeing boy smile at Chocobo Light grinned remembering Serah loves Chocobos! When she was a kid one of her friends had that yellow bird as a pet and she used to talk about it pestering their parents until they agreed to let her have one if she can prove responsible to take good care of it, which never happen as she forgot to lock the cage and bird fly off same day it was first introduced to family! These warm memories bring big grin to her eyes and maybe because his height and bright orange jacket he wore, make her think this boy was probably her age, she sighted sadly at next thought
if Serah was to date someone like this maybe I wouldn’t be against it,
ice blue met warm green and noticing their eyes meet and boys persistent gaze she turn around straightening her back uncomforted, did he noticed I’m observing? Nothing strange it’s my job anyway, to “watch over” she smile at that, and from what she hear they were tourist, as expected, on vacation from Palumpolum apparently, this gives her idea! Maybe she could take Serah on vacation or short picnic to some local attraction? Maybe that would help get them close again and get along better and maybe she could get some sense into her? After all Serah was her only family, and she want only best for her that’s why she always lectured her about life and importance of good education, she wished for her sister to go to best university in Eden and become respectable member of society, she didn’t want her end up doing some underestimated job like she, and definitely not making some horrible mistake as marrying stupid irresponsible idiot husband of Snow would be.
That was lots of should and maybe but that was it. She decided once festival is over her schedule would probably be more flexible and she could ask for some time off.
Without realizing she start walking.
Noticing reflection in shop mirror and boy fast glances at something behind her back? And his quizzical look like he was about to ask her something, she smiled, getting some idea what he was staring about, and turn toward him abruptly as their eyes meet boy eyes fall to catch unexpectedly and he turn around to hide his embarrassment, in that moment *bip* sound announce as she pressed small button around her wrist, “I’m on it!”
On my birthday, she thought, running away toward her next mission.
On Lightning birthday, they always spend it by making dinner together.
Then Serah would give her a present that she had put a lot of thought into.
This time she would be able to say ‘thank you’ by saying; ‘let’s go on a vacation together!’ Just the two of them.
It was thanks to that mother and son who gave her idea. She turned around wanting to say thank you, but they were no longer in front of the pet shop. She saw them walking away together in the crowd. They looked so happy, it made her feel warm inside thinking about them.
Thank you, Lightning thought with a smile, I hope you enjoy your vacation and create many happy memories together!
Hope face frowned walking away I should just ask her when I had that chance! She was right there in front of me! How did she manage to disappear moment he lift his eyes of her was beyond him, He looks around again but she was nowhere to be seen. Angry at himself for wasting a time instead doing what he meant to he was scowling himself mentally, too bad I wish I could talk to her.