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A world consumed by Chaos.

Doomed to utter obliteration in less than a month.

But how could time continue to flow after being destroyed?

Young Hope Estheim had been trying to unravel the mystery for almost five centuries, without success. Perhaps some things just weren't mean to be understood by mortals…

As every afternoon, Hope had left his house to watch the sunset from one of the high, steep cliffs of the Shrine's Lands, the most remote and desolate island of the four that composed the fragile world of Nova Chrysalia.

He had been doing so since he settled down at that ravaged place centuries ago. The sunset had something that calmed the aching loneliness that devoured his heart for so much time.

Although he chose solitude by himself, somehow it had been imposed to him by the gods, in many ways.

That thought made him squint his light-colored eyes, the same green color of sea waters, while staring at the huge but ruinous silhouetted shrine of the goddess Etro. Behind it, enormous, majestic, was floating the New Cocoon, surrounded by its rings and named after the god Bhunivelze, worshiped by the people of this world to the brink of destruction.

Hope couldn't help but crack a bitter half-smile. He was the one who designed that giant floating structure with the purpose of protecting mankind from a catastrophe such as the fall of the old Cocoon. And yet, there he was, isolated from everything and everyone, chased away for knowing the truth behind the absence of natural births and deaths.

Faith in the gods had once again imposed before hope in mankind.

To some extent, he had assumed such solitude. The Shrine's Lands weren't the best place to live; if they were connected by the monorail to the other islands of Nova Chrysalia was almost by chance. Hope had to learn to fend for hunting, and that wasn't an easy task because of the dangerous monsters, but because of it he got used to use his magic again.

But the feeling of loneliness never abandoned him completely.

He could've chosen any other and better place to hide from the Order of Luxerion's grasp. Even the Dead Dunes would've been nicer compared to that rough, rocky crag.

However, the simple contemplation of Etro's Shrine at sunset, framed by the New Cocoon, had the power to relieve that searing feeling of absolute loneliness.

It hadn't much to do with the sight of the building. It was more about what the building had inside it.

Hope remembered with perfect clarity the first time he gathered the courage to enter Etro's Shrine, five hundred years ago, looking for any clue about what he had been desperately searching for.

And he found it.

The young man would never forget how he felt when he saw that crystallized figure, sitting on the huge alabaster throne floating over a pit. He remembered falling on his knees to the marble tiled floor, his shoulders hunched, his body trembling, the silent tears escaping from his eyes and rolling down his cheeks, his heart breaking into a thousand pieces.

Living in separate worlds, looking for her for so many years, and when he could finally see her again, he found she turned into a crystal statue.

After that, Hope returned to the island where years later the capital of Nova Chrysalia, the grand city of Luxerion, was built. He lived there for almost ten hundred years, until he had to run away for his life because of his research and thus discovering why no one was born or died in that world.

After his exile, Hope visited many times the Goddess' throne and the crystallized young woman who was sitting on it. At first he did it every day, but over time his visits spaced, in part because his research kept him busy, and also because it was so painful for him to be that close to her and unable to even touch her.

Over time he came to the shrine's top not only to visit her. He also kept fairly clean the Chamber of the Throne and carried out some studies about that sanctuary, originally housed in the Unseen Realm, the world of death. Over time, he became the guardian of that forgotten place.

But, every time Hope came to the chamber, he knelt on the floor, his aqua-green eyes never leaving the beautiful face of his partner, his teacher, his friend, until his head fell down respectfully and his lips always whispered the same words.

Wake up… Please, wake up.

But the gods hadn't answered his prayers yet.

As a scientist he was, Hope didn't rely so much in the gods. He didn't despise them, though. He simply believed they had separate lives from the mortals and didn't care much about them.

However, he still prayed inwardly for his friend's return. If anything was clear to him was that no one would ever hear his plea if he didn't ask for it.

And so the days went by.

And with them, the end of the world came closer.

Hope leaned against the small balustrade he built at that cliff years ago, wistfully watching the sunset. He had been a l'Cie and faced a fate even worse than death itself, so the prospect of doomsday didn't worry him as much as it did the rest of the people of Nova Chrysalia.

What he would most regret was dying without speaking one last time with the woman for whom he fought and worked for centuries.

Still, he didn't lose hope. And because of that dim light he could continue onwards.

Something glittered in the golden sunlight. A myriad of sparkles began to float before the young man's eyes and brought him out of his apathetic reverie.

It wasn't the first time he witnessed that scene, but it amazed him as much as it did the first day he saw it.


Those delicate flowers were carried to there by the wind whenever a storm shook the wooded Wildlands. The wind currents circulated in a way those big dandelions always came to Etro's Shrine and passed through the Chamber of the Throne.

Hope knew this because he witnessed it once without previous warning when he was visiting the shrine and that flood of dandelions suddenly burst into the chamber. The silvery and golden brightness of their petals filled the room while the flowers crossed it headed to the New Cocoon, carried by the breeze, surrounding the young woman crystallized on the throne.

It didn't happen very often, but whenever the dandelions crossed the sunset, Hope felt strange but comforting warmth in his heart. He remembered an unforgettable moment during his journey as a l'Cie in the hollow near the Sulyya Springs, where he saw those huge dandelions floating everywhere next to his friend and mentor.

Lightning Farron.

That name was present in all his wishes. Every time he saw the dandelions, it appeared in his mind with diaphanous clarity.

According to the stories that Vanille, one of his fellow l'Cie, told him, Gran Pulse's dandelions carried the wishes of people to the gods if they caught one, tell it the wish and blow it. When the gods received it, they judged whether the heart who requested the wish was pure and sincere, and depending on it the wish would be granted or not within thirteen days.

There was a time Hope wouldn't have entrusted his wishes to the gods, but would've worked in order to achieve them by himself. But now he was aware it wasn't in his hand to bring his friend back.

So, whenever he saw the dandelions, he silently confided them his wish.

But that afternoon something changed.

Hope was leaning against the balustrade watching the gentle sway of the dandelions on their way to Etro's Shrine, his gaze always nostalgic and full of longing, when he suddenly felt a strange tickling in his cheek that made him land from his daydream world.

He turned his head cautiously, since nothing in centuries had touched his skin so directly and, in a way, so intimately.

What he saw was an exceptionally large dandelion, that in his flight had been too close to him and now it was stuck between his neck and his shoulder, its corolla entangled with the young scientist's silver hair. The breeze stirred it and brushed his face in a soft caress.

Hope made a bittersweet half-smile while gently taking in his hands the dandelion for not breaking it. He knew it was a bit silly, but he was somewhat grateful for that contact with the flower. He involuntarily shivered when it touched his left wrist, still partially covered by an old, yellow wristband.

He observed it by the sunset light. Its gleaming silvery filaments shone specially under the golden rays, much brighter than the other dandelions. Its touch was soft and surprisingly warm.

But something radically made it different from the other flowers that were crossing the Shrine's Lands that afternoon.

Between that tangled web of silvery filaments were trapped dozens of rose petals of a certain pink tone he perfectly remembered.

Hope hardly believed his eyes. In five centuries he had spent traveling and researching across Nova Chrysalia never found a single rose, much less one of that special color. His fingers shyly brushed one of the petals; they were real, and definitely belonged to a rose, no doubt about it.

The petals of the flower that always accompanied his memory of Lightning Farron.

The young man found himself trembling as the first time he saw the crystallized figure of his friend. For him, seeing a rose and seeing her was almost the same thing. He had learned to love that flower as much as he loved her.

And that dandelion had led her directly to him.

A signal.

He raised his head and looked thoughtfully at Etro's Shrine with the dandelion in his hands. The more he thought, the more certain he was about that couldn't be a coincidence. He was a scientist and as such he didn't believe in coincidences.

But at that moment he didn't give the slightest care in the world about the causes.

Helplessly, Hope let out a soft chuckle tinged with the purest, absolute, most sincere joy. He felt her much closer to him than he had felt in more than thousand years, in which he heard her voice just once.

Her words never left neither the memory nor the heart of the young man.

You're on the right path, Hope.

And, exactly twenty-six days for the end of the world, he received an unexpected message from his friend once more.

Outlining a sweet smile, Hope leaned to the dandelion his hands were cradling until his lips touched its soft surface. He spent a long moment savoring this strange sensation until, for the first time, the young man whispered his wish to the dandelion.

"Wake up, Light. Please. I'll be waiting for you until the end of times."

A single tear shone a moment in the light of the sunset and got lost among the bright petals of the dandelion.

Making his wish again in his mind and heart, Hope raised his hands up to his face and firmly but gently blew the dandelion, which soared gracefully and joined the rest of flowers floating towards Etro's Shrine, from where they would rise up to Bhunivelze, the New Cocoon, after visiting the crystallized young woman sleeping on the throne of the fallen Goddess of Death.

Hope's gaze followed the dandelion until the pink color of the rose petals it carried inside was lost in the distance. But his eyes never left Etro's Shrine and the New Cocoon's silhouette against the sunset.

The legend Vanille told him returned to his memory again.

Thirteen days.

He made a soft half-smile full of hope, his heart suddenly as warm as the heart of a phoenix just reborn from its ashes.

Now he just had to wait for the answer of the gods.
This is a really short One-Shot, but the idea came to me all of a sudden and, well, I thought it was adorable and romantic as hell. So I decided to write it, and I'm really pleased with how it ended.

Let's explain a bit where this comes from. Since the rose is the flower that symbolizes Lightning, I've always thought the flower most fitted for symbolize Hope is the dandelion. I mean, it's silver and fluffy, his eidolith vaguely resembles one, it's carried by the wind and Hope's clearly associated to birds –all his boomerangs are named after mythological birds, being the phoenix his trademark since his Airwing has written the sentence "To the heavens soars the phoenix"–, and you blow dandelions to make a wish with the hope of becoming true. And then I remembered the opening cinematic to Final Fantasy XIII where Lightning holds a dandelion in her hand and it bursts in a flurry of petals and my Hope/Lightning feels made me write this.

I really liked the dandelions floating over the exit of the Sulyya Springs. That's why I found beautiful the idea of lots of dandelions carried by the storms –Lightning– to the Shrine's Lands, passing through the Chamber of the Throne and then heading up to the New Cocoon. It has a strange feeling of nostalgia...

Notice that the dandelions carry the wishes directly to "Bhunivelze", the New Cocoon. That's on purpose. I wanted it to be symbolic.

Oh, yes. This happens in the twenty-sixth day before the end of the world. According to the legend, the gods will answer in thirteen days. Make the counting. x)

As a side note... It's just a personal favorite. When Hope whispers his wish to the dandelion, he touches it with his lips. I point this because if the dandelion's carrying Light's "essence", it's a metaphore of Hope softly kissing Light, hence his "savouring of the strange sensation". Awfully simple, but... I found it kinda heartwarming.

So! Hope you like it! *3*
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keichama Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
LOVE IT!! :iconawwplz::iconloveredplz:
Minus the one little thing (but that thing is unsure anyway), the "must-hunt-to-eat-in-the-chaos-tainted-world" !
Is he realy must? If time really stopped, noone died (in natural death) and born since then, that means the cirle of life stopped to move...:iconconfusedplz:
ShadowMeowth Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Well, you see, it's stated in Luxerion people have lunch, so they have to eat. And I'm sure there's no restaurants around the Shrine's Lands. |'D

(Well, meh, who knows, perhaps they eat because they're used to do so.) xD

Anyways... I'm glad you like this! Even I get teary when I read this particular One-Shot. If I may say, I consider this my best Hope/Lightning story. <3
PhoenixLc Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
So much symbolism. I love it! :D

And yeah it was romantic and adorable as hell. Keep up the great writing. :3
ShadowMeowth Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Thank you so much! I'm glad you like it! <3

Yeah, I wanted this one to be mainly symbolic. Anyway, the whole Final Fantasy saga is ruled by symbolism, so well, I tried to catch that special symbolism. xD

You see, I always try to focus more in the "adorable" part rather than in the "romantic" one. I suck at romance. And besides I usually describe things from Hope's point of view. I've still to write one from Lightning's perspective. |'D
PhoenixLc Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
To me, their relationship is usually more adorable than romantic if anything so it's ok. XD

But yeah, I look forward to more stories from you. :)
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