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The Truth Beneath The Rose

By dreamfall07

Romance / Fantasy

New job, new challenge

It was Monday and it started as bad as the last week had ended. One of her best employees would leave the company this week and she still hadn't found a suitable replacement. Maybe her expectations were too high, but she needed the best for the job as Director of the Swords Department, mainly because it was the department with the most profit and she personally preferred swords more than guns. She, of course, wouldn't admit that out loud.

Sigh . . .

Today only one woman applied for the job and the interview would be in half an hour. If she also turned out to be not sufficient qualified than Lightning would have a big problem. Of course, she could do the work by herself, but that meant more time at work and it would definitely cut short her precious time with her beloved sister Serah.

She wouldn't like that. Lightning thought.

After they had lost their parents, they only had each other and Lightning treasured the rare moments between them even more. Therefore, this was definitely no option.

Silently she prayed to Etro that this would be the last job interview she had to endure.

Lightning looked down at the job application and memorized the few important details she wanted to ask.

Mh . . she worked for one of our competitors. Let's see. . .almost 1 year. I wonder why she quit her job after only 1 year. . . I hope that she isn't one of these job hoppers who lose interest after a short amount of time and leave more chaos than before.

Time flew by and soon Lightning heard a knock at her door, signaling that the job attendant was waiting outside. A quick glance at the clock showed her, that she was punctual. She liked that.

"Please, come in." Lightning addressed the person behind the still closed door.

The said door opened slowly and a drop-dead gorgeous brunette entered Lighning's office. She was wearing a black dress with a few dark blue patterns. Let's just say, that it complimented her figure very nicely. Good for Lightning that she was a master at keeping her facial expression neutral, otherwise she would have definitely drooled on her table. Not a good first impression if your boss looks like a moron.

"Hi, you must be Ms. Farron." Her voice was deep and pleasant. It left goosebumps on Lightning's arms. Luckily, she wore one of her long-armed white blouses.

Lightning remembered her good manners, stood and walked up to the woman and held her hand out.

"Yes, nice to meet you Ms. Oerba. Please . . . have a seat." Lightning gestured to the chair in front of her desk and then walked around to take a seat herself.

"Thank you." Fang smiled and sat down.


After one hour, Lightning was positively surprised that Ms Fang Oerba really understood her job so far, would be a great support, and would complement her team perfectly. There was just one point that made Lightning a little bit uneasy. Even if she fit perfectly and had a great knowledge, she still left her old job after one year. She wanted and needed to know the reason.

"So far everything fits perfectly, but. . .I saw, that you quit your old job very fast and. . . I want to know why. I don't want to hire a new employee and loose them after a few months."

Fang nodded understandingly and replied. "Of course, that's quite understandable." She smiled and continued. "Let's just say my former boss didn't just want me as an employee after a short while. As he got a little to persistent I . . . please excuse my wording, but I punched his sorry ass right through his lovely desk."

Even under these serious circumstances, Lightning couldn't hide her smile. The imagination of this delicate woman just throwing her boss around his office was quite amusing. Fang saw this and smiled in return.

Seems like she isn't that uptight as I first thought. Good no know.

"Seems like there is no reason as to not employ you. Welcome to the company." Lightning held out her hand once again and Fang responded happily in kind.

"Thank you." Her smile was beautiful.

"So about your tasks, I would like to set a meeting for tomorrow, so that we can look at the current and upcoming projects. If it's okay with you, I would like to show you your office and you can settle in today. If you have any further questions, don't hesitate to ask."

"Okay, thanks again. I won't let you down."

"Good to hear." Lightning said and motioned for the door.


"This is your new office." Lightning said, as she opened the door to let Fang go in first.

The room was huge. On the right side was a very comfortable looking black leather couch and a small glass table. On the left was a huge, also black, cupboard along the whole wall. Moreover, at the far end was her new working place, a huge black desk. However, what impressed her the most was the scenery behind the desk.. The room was illuminated by the light coming from the large windows, showing the ocean view.

"I hope you like it." Lightning got Fang out of her daydreaming state.

"Y-yes, it's absolutely breathtaking." She responded still in awe.

"Good, then I will leave you alone, so that you can prepare for our meeting tomorrow." She closed the door silently and Fang was alone in her new office.

Wow, I've never thought I would be this lucky.


Lightning returned to her own office and sat down. Looking at the still open folder on her desk.

I hope I made the right decision. Let's see how you fit in Fang Oerba.

Closing the folder and safely putting it away in her drawer, she concentrated on her work again.

In one of her training sessions, her temper got a little bit out of hand and she almost destroyed her favorite gunblade "Blazefire Saber". The gunblade was quite extraordinary so she didn't want any other person to handle it.

Sigh . . . should have watched out better . . .

The problem was, that she couldn't transform it into a gun anymore. The mechanism was stuck or broken somewhere. Therefore, she needed to take the whole gunblade apart, but that didn't solve the problem at all. She couldn't find the reason and it was driving her crazy.


Meanwhile Fang had called her sister to tell her the great news.

"Vanille? Guess what, I got the job." She almost screamed aloud.

"Great Fang. Congratulations!" Vanille answered happily. "Hopefully your boss is nicer than the last one."

"Don't worry. My new boss is a woman and I don't think that I have to fear anything from her. I guess she's as straight as someone can be." Fang sighed.

"You sound disappointed." Vanille grinned. "Could it be that you already have the hots for your new boss?"

"Vanille! You have to be blind not see how gorgeous she is, but she is my boss, so. . ." She trailed off.

"But still you want to get into her pants."

"Stop accusing me of acting like a horny teenager." She pouted.

"Okay, okay, I stop bugging you. . .for now."

"Thanks, that's all I ask. So, how about we celebrate when I get back home?"

"Yes, of course. I'll order the food and you get the alcohol flowing." Vanille cheered.

"Yes, alcohol for me and juice for you." Fang singsonged.

"You are so mean." She could hear the big pout.

"And you are underage. So stop the pouting and prepare the party."

"Yes, boss. See ya."

"Yeah, till later sis."

Fang shook her head, her sister was just unbelievable, but the sweetest person on earth nonetheless.

Time to get back to work. Need to prepare for tomorrow.

Fang wondered why her boss hadn't shown her anything regarding work, but she guessed that she just wanted to see how fast she could adapt to a new position and all.

I'll just have to show her how good I am.

With this thought in mind, she started the computer and looked at the grand list of project the company worked on right now.

After hours of looking through lists of different kinds of weapons, timelines and statistics, something caught her eye and sparked her interest.

"Blazefire Saber . . ." She read aloud. "Mh . . .let's see. . .Some reports about a broken mechanism that's . . .wow . . . an amazing weapon. A sword and a gun in one. Interesting design. According to the analysis, they couldn't identify the problem. Sounds like a tough case." Fang desperately wanted to take a look at the weapon, but was not sure if this would be such a good idea on her first day.


Lightning was exhausted after hours of searching for the problem, so that she could get her precious gunblade repaired.

She decided that sitting in front of the computer would definitely not help to solve the problem, so she went down to the labs and trying once again to repair the gunblade herself.

What she didn't expect was the person that was already there, next to her weapon and observing it closely.

Fang Oerba.


Fang just wanted to touch the weapon as a deep, strong voice stopped her dead in her tracks.

"What are you doing here?"

Shit. Was all she thought as she turned around and looked into the angry eyes of her superior.

"I . . ." She was at a loss for words. She looks even more beautiful when her eyes are burning with anger. Unfortunately, it is directed at me. Sigh . . . there probably goes my new job.

"I just wanted to look at this gunblade, because I looked over the analysis. Let's say I was very curious to see it up close. Such a beauty." As her last sentence left her mouth she didn't only mean the gunblade and she was sure, that her boss caught the meaning as well. But Lightning decided against any further comment, instead she concentrated again on the weapon.

"So . . .what is your professional opinion. Any suggestions how to repair the gunblade?" She wasn't quite sure why she asked, but she was really curious what her new employee thought about the weapon.

Fang saw the challenge and decided to proof that she was capable of handling every task thrown at her.

She turned around again, facing the weapon and looked over her shoulder.

"May I?" She reached out to touch the weapon, but waited for Lightning's approval.

She nodded and silently observed how Fang carefully analyzed the weapon.

Minutes past and Lightning got a tad nervous because Fang didn't say anything. She just looked closely at every part.

Found you, you little bugger. Fang cheered in her head. Deep inside the weapon, there was a small broken connection, not bigger than a fingernail.

"Ms Farron?" Fang addressed her superior.

"Yes? You found something?" Fang heard the hopeful undertone, but was wise enough as to not comment on it.

"Yeah, I can show you."

Lightning walked closer until she was right next to Fang. The brunette pointed at the middle of the hilt.

"I can't see anything." Lightning stated irritated.

"It's very small, but there is a broken connection. If we fix this, then it should work properly again."

Lightning slightly bowed down and indeed, there it was. How could I have overseen this?

She straightened up again, facing Fang and only now realizing how close they were.

"Good work." Her voice sounded hoarser than normal and she could feel a blush rising to her cheeks.

The sound of Lightning's deep voice left a tingly feeling in Fang's whole body.

"Thank you." She responded with a sincere smile. "Do you have the spare parts here? I could fix it right now."

Lightning's skeptical look almost hurt Fang's pride.

"I can repair it, don't look so worried." She emphasized the word 'can' a little bit more than necessary.

"You are aware, that if you damage it any further your first day will be your last one here at the company?"

Fang only nodded.

"Okay, then go ahead. Every spare part regarding this weapon is stored in this room." She pointed at a door with a sign: Blazefire Saber – Property of . . . Fang didn't dare to read the last words. She gulped audibly. So this is the reason why she acts so protective over the weapon. Property of Lightning C. Farron. Oh man, I sure know how to make my first day a bad one.

Not showing any sign of nervousness Fang walked to the door, opened it and looked at the various items stored in there. Wow, there are enough parts to build hundreds of these gunblades.

She immediately found the spare part she was looking for, because everything was precisely named and sorted. She probably did it herself. She smiled at the thought that the mighty Lightning Farron stood in this room, sorting items the whole day.

Fang still smiled as she walked out of the room again.

"You've got everything you need?" Lightning got Fang out of her daydreaming state.

"You've bet." She replied and without further distraction, she started working on the weapon. She was aware that Lightning's eyes followed her every move.


Lightning started to get impatient. Fang "repaired" the weapon for two hours straight already. What if she destroyed it now completely and didn't want to confront Lightning.

"You know. . . " Fang started. "It would be a lot easier to concentrate if you stopped your pacing."

Lightning stopped, her teal eyes meeting Fang's forest green ones.

"And you know that you talk to your boss right now?" Lightning reminded her.

"Yes, I am aware of that, but it doesn't change the fact that you disturb my concentration like this." She answered honestly.

Sigh . . . Lightning, come one, don't be such a nuisance. She tries to help.

"I'm sorry . . ." She said very quietly, so that Fang almost didn't catch it.

"Me too. . . and thanks." She smiled.

"Why are you thanking me?" Lightning was confused.

"You stopped pacing." Fang grinned.

"I . . . " Lightning didn't know what to say. She slightly blushed again. It never happened before that she did something just a random stranger asked of her.

Sensing her boss' distress Fang offered an option. "Don't worry, I won't tell your other employees that you've got a soft spot." She winked at Lightning, liking how the blush got a little bit deeper.

The rose haired woman didn't know how to reply to such bluntness, so she stayed silent and just glared at her new employee.

A few minutes later she heard Fang say: "I'm done."

"You did it?" Lightning still didn't believe that Fang was capable of repairing her precious gunblade.

"Wanna try it out?" Fang challenged her, handing her the repaired weapon.

Lightning took it and made a few moves to get the feeling for her weapon back. Then she glanced at Fang. Her eyes burned, not with anger, but with the fire of a wild and untamed warrior.

Fang liked this new side of her boss very much. "How about a training match? Let's see if your work is as good as you think."

Not one do bow down before a challenge Fang accepted immediately.

"I would gladly take that offer." She bowed down.

"Good, take every weapon you like. The choice is yours." Lightning pointed at a wall where all kinds of weapons were displayed.

Fang directly took the lance at the end of the row, swiveled it around her body a few times until she was satisfied with her movement.

"Impressive, never thought you could actually wield a weapon like this." Lightning voiced her thoughts.

"I'm full of surprises." She smirked and directed her weapon at Lightning. "Before we start, we should name the reward for the winner."

"What do you suggest?" Lightning didn't like the smirk on Fang's face one bit.

"If I win, I want to know what the 'C' stands for in your name." She grinned.

Taken by surprise Lightning just looked at Fang. Why do you want to know?

"Tsk . . .whatever floats your boat." Lightning retorted a little bit annoyed.

I got her angry. . .this should be fun. Now I want to know your name even more.

"What do you want?" Fang asked curiously.

"Simple, you work at the company for free . . . a whole month." Lightning took her stance, ready to charge.

"Deal."

They both charged in at the same time. Their weapons colliding heavily against each other.

She's strong. Lightning thought and smiled slightly. Finally, she got a real challenge.

She should smile more often. She's even more beautiful like this. Fang thought.

They jumped back and just looked at each other. Trying to predict the next move.

"I've never thought that I would find such a good sparring partner. Where did you learn to fight?" Lightning asked.

"This . . .you will get the answer to when you defeat me." Fang grinned and charged in again. Her lance behind her back and swinging it at Lightning at the last second before Lightning's sword could hit her. Their weapons clashed against each other, the loud clanking noise ranging around the room. Sparkles flying everywhere as the weapons slid along each other.

Suddenly Lightning lessoned her strength, so that Fang fell slightly forward. She used this opening ducked under the lance and kneed Fang into her gut. Then Lightning jumped back at a safe distance and saw Fang getting down on one knee, taking her lance as aid.

She looked up and faced the rose haired woman. "That hurt . . .cough . . "

Lightning smirked and pointed her sword at Fang. "Was meant to . . .So . . . wanna give up?"

Fang struggled a bit to stand up again, but just laughed it off and responded: "Not on your life."

She started running and evaded Lightning's sword, as she jumped high above her stunned boss, using her lance as a support, she landed directly behind the surprised teal-eyed woman and swung her lance, so that it took Lightning off her feet in the process. Mid-fall she felt a hard shove to her back by Fang and flew right into the next wall.

She collided, right shoulder first, with the white wall and then sunk down on the ground. She lay there for a few seconds until she slowly got on her knees, her trusted sword still in her hands.

She coughed up blood and faced the brunette with fury in her eyes. She wiped away the blood that trickled down her chin and shakily stood up, almost falling in the process. Shit, this was a hard blow. Almost knocked me out. I shouldn't underestimate her again.

"You sure you want to continue?" Fang asked a little bit worried.

She knew her strength and was quite surprised that her boss could still stay after this blow. Normal people would have fainted before colliding with the wall, because she hit a very sensitive spot on her back.

"Of course, this is not gonna stop me." Lightning charged at Fang, determined to beat her and take revenge on the embarrassment she felt for getting hit by a total stranger.

Thinking, that Lightning would try to strike her with the sword again she strengthened her stance and prepared for the blow. What she didn't expect was for Lightning to change her weapon into a gun and fire some shots at her. Luckily, she was fast enough to dodge all but one bullet. This scratched her upper right arm and blood soon after trickled down her arm.

That was close. It's payback time sweetie.

Fang prepared for one final attack and once again jumped high above Lightning, who tried to stop her by firing bullets at her. Fang used her weapon like a moving shield and this time no bullets got through.

She tightened her grip on the lance and with a powerful swing; she unleashed the special ability of this weapon. It was a long ranged weapon. That meant that she could extend the blade and reach her opponent even if they were meters away.

Now she could reach Lightning from a safe distance, who seemed so surprised that it took a second too long for her to evade the attack. Fang's lance swirled around Lightning and after one strong pull she was embraced and therefore trapped by Fang, not able to move.

"Hnngh . . ."

I got you sunshine. Fang grinned triumphantly, landing at a still safe distance. Another pull and the grip on Lightning got even stronger, so that she was forced to let her gunblade fall to the floor.

Fang walked gracefully right up to Lightning, her smile still in place.

"I would say it's game over for you." She was now right in front of the trapped woman and waited for her acknowledgement.

However, Lightning was far from giving up. She used her last strength and knocked her head right into Fang's who groaned in pain and fell backwards by the sudden forth. Lightning following suit, landing right on top of the brunette.

"Ow . . ." Fang groaned again. She wanted to rub the spot on her head where she knew a bump would form soon, but stopped dead in her tracks as she felt the additional weight on her body. She opened her eyes and saw right into the teal eyes of her superior, who also looked slightly in pain.

Fang realized, that her left hand stayed on Lightning's back to keep her from falling off, because she was still trapped by her weapon and couldn't break a fall with her own hands.

She looks even more stunning up close. Fang realized, but was interrupted by Lightning's deep voice.

"Do you mind letting me go?" She demanded a little bit irritated.

"Y-yes, of course." Fang leaned up, so that she could move her weapon and free Lightning in the process. Then she laid down her weapon and looked at the rose haired woman who sat now beside her on the floor.

"So . . .you tell me the mysterious name of yours?" Fang asked into the silence.

"Why should I? You didn't win." Lightning responded.

"Excuse me? I think I got you quite good."

"I don't think so. I knocked you down at last." Lightning reasoned.

"The last one wasn't necessary, don't you think? I've got you and you know that, but you are too proud to acknowledge it." Fang answered a little bit angry.

"I didn't know that we established rules to stop fighting at such a moment. In a fight you don't stop till your opponent can't fight anymore."

"I thought I did just that."

"No, otherwise I wouldn't have had the chance to knock you down."

"Okay, I see, I can't win against the logic of yours." Fang sighed and held out her hand. "Thanks for the training nonetheless."

"Tch . . . I don't need you to thank me." Lightning stood, took her weapon and left Fang sitting on the floor alone.

I think she's not very good at handling a defeat. Fang smiled to herself and also took off.


Lightning was back in her office; her gunblade lay on her desk. She wanted to check if everything was all right after their fight.

This woman is really unbelievable. Tch . . . she definitely didn't win. I mean, if this had been a fight until death then I . . .

Lightning thought about the last moments again. Sigh . . . she was right. I would've still been trapped by her weapon and at her mercy.

She didn't like to admit it, but Fang had won the battle quite and fair. She was just a sore loser.

A look at the clock told her, that Serah would await her in half an hour for dinner. That meant that they sparred for almost two hours.

She shut down her computer, sheathed her gunblade and walked out of her office.


Meanwhile Fang was on her way back home. She had walked directly to her car after the fight. Not having the energy to concentrate on work again.

Deep in thought, she entered the house she lived in together with her sister Vanille. In the kitchen, she found her sister preparing dinner.

"Hi Vanille, I'm back." She greeted happily.

Vanille turned around and just wanted to greet her sister as she saw the beat up state she was in.

Full of concern she ran up to Fang and asked: "What happened? Who did that to you? Oh my god, you are bleeding."

"Don't worry, Vanille, it's just a scratch." Fang reassured the orange-head.

"But how did that happen? I thought you had a safe office job? You know, just sorting files and taking phone calls."

"Yeah, I got this kind of job, but I . . . I got in a fight with my new boss."

"You what!? Are you crazy? On your first day?"

"Slow down, Vanille. It is not what you think. She asked me to train with her. And let's just say it was quite the intense training." She smiled upon remembering her fight with Lightning.

"So . . . you still have your job?" Vanille asked carefully.

"Of course, don't worry." She ruffled Vanille's hair. "So, what's for dinner?"

"That's a surprise. Now go, set the table. Dinner will be ready shortly."

"As you wish, princess."

Fang still smiled as she left the kitchen.

Can't wait to see you again Lightning C. Farron.


Lightning luckily arrived just in time. Her sister Serah waited in the living room, already sitting at the set table.

"Hello Lightning." Serah smiled. "You made it."

"Yeah, but just barely. I've been held back by something. Sorry . . ." Lightning apologized.

"Don't worry. You are here, that's all that counts."

"Yeah . . ."

Just as Lightning wanted to sit down, Serah took a loud intake.

"W-what happened to you? Your lip is bleeding and there are bruises forming on your arms." She rushed over to her older sister.

"Don't worry, I had a little rough training session with my new employee."

"But. . ."

"Really Serah, I appreciate your concern, but I will be just a bit sore tomorrow, nothing to worry about. Believe me." Lightning reassured her sibling.

"But why did you fight?"

"She . . . she repaired my gunblade and we somehow ended up fighting." Lightning slightly smiled.

"You are smiling, Light. So it was good?" Serah smirked.

Lightning frowned and responded. "Not really, I lost. . ."

"You . . . you lost? The mighty CEO lost?" Serah couldn't believe it.

"Yes . . ."

"You don't look so bothered." Serah noticed.

"I know, but . . . she was really good. I do mind the losing part, but it was a really refreshing challenge. I liked it."

"Then you don't plan on firing her for beating you?" Serah asked to be sure.

"No, of course not. What do you think of me?"

"Just making sure."

"Thanks for your trust in me." Lightning sulked.

"Come on, it was a small joke."

"Yeah . . .yeah . . .let's eat. . ."

Lightning and Serah sat down at the table and enjoyed the delicious meal.


After dinner, Lightning stayed awake in bed, reading a book and occasionally glancing at her gunblade.

She remembered Fang's face after she was faced with Lightning's special logic. Would she have accepted my refusal to acknowledge her victory if I hadn't been her boss? Or would she have argued more?

Normally she would have given Fang her price for winning the battle, but she refused to tell a total stranger her real name. Why should she tell her? She didn't like to be called by her given name. Only Serah was allowed to do that.

So if she told Fang her real name, she would probably call her like that in no time. This would be just too intimate for Lightning.

However, another thought occurred to her. As Fang named her price she didn't argue back, instead she had accepted the challenge right away. Maybe her subconscious mind told her that she could trust Fang, even if she won and demanded her price in return.

Maybe I'm thinking too much about the whole situation. Let's see what'll happen tomorrow. With this thought in mind Lightning closed her book, covered herself with the blanket and let sleep take over her.

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