[identity profile] first-seventhe.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] brokenprism
Such Generous Company

Fandom: FFV
Characters: Lenna, Faris, Krile
Rating: PG

Summary: Friends can be sisters, and sisters can be friends: bonds grow between Lenna, Faris, and Krile on their journey.

- - -

At first, she and Lenna are united in their sympathy -- although Lenna's sympathy is so much more gracious than hers; Faris can only curse, extensively, and maybe offer sentiments made carefully half-gruff and dull-edged, while Lenna can both smile and cry as needed, and looks a princess doing both.

But Krile smiles, a little, when Faris curses. Of course it's Lenna who points it out; "She finds you amusing," she says, her voice pitched low, and Faris' stiff pride crackles -- and then disintegrates at the soft look on Lenna's face. Of course it's a compliment from Lenna, who has never entirely seen how often female pirates have been the butt of the joke. Lenna, who is everything optimistic and sweet; Lenna, who has looked so tired as of late, carefully mourning a friend by helping his granddaughter.

"You make her laugh," Lenna says, and she smiles.

Later, as Faris tends the fire, a wayward stick jumps and crackles in her face, and only vaguely consciously she lets rip a stream of profanity, sure her eyebrows have been singed. Flushing, she glances up; Bartz is watching her with wide eyes, and Lenna is hiding a shocked smile behind her hand, her eyes enigmatic and pleased.

Krile's lips twitch; she is watching Faris, unabashed.

Faris glowers at her, her best captain's glower. "Aye, and what're you lookin' at? I've had me mouth washed out with worse things than you've struck with yon knife, there. Shouldn't be too surprising what sticks in there, child, and I won't apologize for educating ye on the ways of the world."

Krile giggles. Loudly. And long; it grows into a laugh, an unfettered and free sound, and even as Faris flushes at the laughter - and the strange look Bartz gives her - she can't help but notice the approval in Lenna's eyes, and it's like they're suddenly a team for a brief moment.

- - -


The look in Krile's face is innocent, curious, friendly, beguiling all at once -- all things Faris stopped being weak to the day she tucked her hair up under a kerchief. Or she'd thought: is it the happy innocence on Krile's face, or Lenna's carefully-blank stare; maybe you should do what she asks, says Lenna's face, neither suggesting nor chastising. What can it hurt?

Faris looks back down, at the innocent shard of crystal the girl holds in her innocent hand. At Lenna again. And then, she curses, and Krile's lips turn up in happy, innocent victory.

"Aye, then," Faris says, grumpily -- "but just this once."

Krile laughs out loud; it's a sunny sound, as sunny as her young face as she smiles, and Faris can't help but feel a little bit better at it. She plucks the crystal shard out of the girl's hand and closes her fist around it. The shard warms up; they respond, always, when they can sense you want a changing. This one's faint, light, but with a line of steel dancing through the tingle. Faris clenches her grip, and then presses her fist to her heart.

Light erupts around her.

When it fades, the first thing she realizes is the chill of the wind, about her, as something silken tickles her arms -- "Skies and seas," Faris says as she opens her eyes, "I'm bleeding naked."

The giggle is gentle, faint: Lenna. "You have pants," her sister points out.

"Like hell these count," Faris states. They are silk, and yellow, but she has barely noticed them past the pink of her top. "Pants are useful things ye can fight in, run in, do yourself things in. These are not--" She trails off as Krile takes a step forward; the girl's fingers trail her silken sleeves, playing with the fancy ribbons that edge her sleeves.

"You're so pretty," Krile says, and her voice is surprised enough that Faris is mildly insulted even as it carries enough warmly affectionate truth that Faris is also - less mildly - touched.

She touches the crystal to her breast again, closing her eyes against the light and the return of her familiar Knight's garb. She crouches down and holds the crystal out to Krile.

"This is a crystal for the prettiest girl here," she says, her voice serious even as her lips quirk. "Which means it should stay in your keeping, aye?"

Krile nods, and blushes a little, even as she says, "Aye," in an imitation of Faris' accent that makes Lenna gasp in smothered laughter.

- - -

It's as if they've become a team, she and Lenna, the way they can work Krile's lesser moods into greater ones. Faris doesn't realize it until the day Lenna and Bartz have left on patrol, and Krile's gaze has turned sad as it cycles between Faris' boots and the fire.

"Alright, spit it out," Faris says, and Krile jumps; "Something's on your mind," she continues, less gruffly. "It's written on your face, child."

"Your crystal," Krile says. Faris frowns; she's been wearing the Monk for the past week or so, trying to instill in her brain the skill to fight bare-handed, the gift the crystal gives after enough use. "Grandpa liked that one."

"He did," Faris confirms -- needlessly, because all of Galuf's skills live on in Krile's mind; the girl spends a good deal of time fighting bare-handed as a White Mage, a potent combination. "He was the first one to master it, aye."

"I know." Her voice isn't sad, or petty, or soft: it's prideful, almost pleased, and Faris smiles despite herself, at the way Krile's lips turn up at the thought. "I was just curious if it -- if it remembers any of him."

"Well, no," Faris says, slowly. The crystals don't retain anything, which is why they can swap them amongst themselves like trinkets, and why more than one of them at a time can call forth a crystal's gift, although she and Bartz have promised to never both become Summoners at the same time again. But Krile's expression is thoughtful, poignant, and Faris thinks of Lenna and adds, "...but I do."

The smile that crosses Krile's face is sunshine; the flush on her cheeks is precious. "I was just missing him," she says softly. "Can you tell me a story of--?"

"He had a right cross that could decapitate a bear," Faris starts bluntly. Krile giggles, expectantly, and curls her knees to her chin to comfortably listen.

- - -

Faris comes to with a gasp, coughing dust and blood at the force of the magic purging her body; another spell enwraps her in healing, the blissful sharpness of it almost painful as her muscles and bones knit themselves back together into the right shapes. She struggles to her hands and knees, trying to breathe as the curative spell pulses in her blood, almost too-clean, too-much. Small hands come to help her, guiding her down until she is sitting, stable, simply breathing hard.

Krile grips her shoulders; the girl's face is dirty, worried, fierce with determination. "Are you alright?"

"Aye, an' ye nearly cured my head off," Faris quips, because she still can't breathe from the force of the magic: Life hurts even as it saves. "Damn near makes me wish I was still unconscious."

Krile's eyes flash. "Don't say that." Her voice is urgent: "Don't ever say that, you're all I have left," and her eyes dart to Bartz and Lenna both before landing on Faris with something like accusation in them.

Faris feels strangely chastised, because it's true: this odd family, their strange sisterhood behind Bartz's lead, Galuf's memories between them.

"My apologies," she says, slow and gruff because she doesn't know how to be otherwise. "I --didn't mean to offend."

Krile's face colors, prettily, pink with embarrassment. She looks away, as if ashamed by her outburst. "I didn't mean... it's alright."

"Feh." Faris stands, slowly, re-knit limbs tingling as she collects herself. "Healing always makes a body a bit confused, I reckon, an' it's finer than the alternative." She puts her hand on Krile's shoulder -- solidly, like a comrade, like a teammate. "I thank ye."

Krile bites her lip. "It's my job," she says with a small nod of self-convincing determination; "you don't have to thank me."

"Aye," Faris says with a quick grin: "but that that White Mage robe makes ye so bleedin' cute, I can't help meself."

- - -

"Catch," Lenna says, her eyes alight, and Faris just barely nabs the glittering crystal shard from the air; it's already sparking with warmth, inviting and friendly. Lenna presses a fist to her chest, and the blinding light sparkles about her; she emerges as a Dancer, smile broad across her face.

Intrigued, Faris raises the crystal in her hand, inviting its attention; a faint song flirts across her consciousness, and she guffaws: of course. Lenna has given her the Bard. No graceful dancer, Faris; she raises her hand, inviting the crystal's warmth fully, and lets its light and skills envelop her.

"We need something fun," Lenna says, twirling on her toes, and Faris is filled with admiration and envy. "Play me a song, sister."

Faris picks up the harp. The Bard within her, the crystal's gift, already has ideas, and her finger's pluck intuitively at the strings even as she arranges herself comfortably on the ground. Lenna's dress spins around her as she twirls. Faris strums, letting her crystal-borne skills settle into her untrained hands, humming the melody she wants the Bard's spirit to play.

Lenna stops, and turns to her as the first few notes of the dance fall through the air. "Is this...?"

Faris remembers their first dance lesson -- her only lesson, in truth -- she and Lenna giggling and spinning round the ballroom as their teacher chastised them, playing the waltz again and again... "Aye," she says, softly. Her hands continue to find the notes she wants. "Do you remember?"

Lenna plucks Krile from the ground, holding the girl's hands in her own, and starts to spin; Krile shrieks in wild glee, but Lenna's eyes are soft with remembrance.

Faris chuckles, and continues to play.

- - -

She wakes to Lenna's hand on her shoulder, gentle and firm; blinking sleep from her eyes, Faris sits up. Lenna offers her a glass of cool water, which helps to wake her. Murmuring thanks, Faris leaves the tent and quietly closes the door to take watch as Lenna climbs into her already-warm bedroll.

The night is cool on her skin, and Faris sits back down with her back against a nearby tree. Their nightly watch has been neither necessary nor eventful, but that's fine. Faris likes to sit alone, with nothing but the deep of the night for company. It reminds her of nights on the sea, with nothing but soft noise about -- although she was never alone. She thinks of Syldra, and sighs, once.

She hears a small shifting sound, and her hand goes to her blade before her ears realize it's coming from the tent; she pauses, and soon Krile emerges, her eyes still blinking away the sleep.

"You never wake me for watch," Krile says, and her voice is a little girl's voice, almost incongruous in the quiet of the night.

"Aye, and it's a-purpose." Faris shifts, as Krile sits down next to her, beside the fire. "Did we wake you?"

Krile nods. "I didn't even know you were keeping watch at night." She shifts, and straightens her shoulders, the way Lenna does when she's about to deliver some uncomfortable truth. "I'm just as good a fighter as the rest of you, right?" Her voice is small and determined. "You should give me a shift, just like everybody else."

"Don't be daft," Faris says. Krile sets her mouth, as if she's going to argue, so Faris adds: "There's naught in yon crystals what teaches you to stay awake and alert at night -- only experience teaches that lesson, right as a blade, and the longer ye can run from that experience, the better for ye."

Krile sighs. "I want to help," she says, and it's raw in her throat: that sun-spark of a drive that carries her through all of their battles, stronger than a child has any right or reason to be.

Faris thinks. She wants to tell Krile to just go back to bed, but -- the girl deserves a better answer, after what she's been through, what they've all been through.

"Do ye even realize, yours is the most important job of all?" Faris gives Krile a sidelong glance. "You're the only one rackin' up a full night's sleep, an' we're all countin' on ye to watch our sorry backs in battle, Krile." It's a half-truth, maybe, but it's truer than Faris might like. "We need protecting and healin' just the same as always, if not more."

For a moment, it looks like Krile won't believe her -- and it's only a half-truth; none of them want her up at night, alone, just a child, watching a camp while the adults sleep. That isn't fair; none of it's fair: knives and blades in a little girl's hands, spells at her lips, an old man's spirit riding in her heart. And an old man's stubbornness; Faris braces herself for argument.

But then Krile nods, satisfied. "Alright," she says, her voice still small and young, so young - but proud, besides. "I'll go back to sleep, then. Good night, Faris."

- - -

"Oh, wait," Lenna gasps, the low whisper-laugh catching in her throat like twilight. "That's almost too cruel."

Krile's grin is huge, playful, irresistible. "It is not!" She puts her hands on her hips, and it's such an imitation of Lenna's stance that Faris has to turn away to hide the smile. "It's just a joke. The crystals won't hurt anyone."

"They aren't toys," Lenna points out, but her mouth is smiling, her cheeks alight with the simple humor of the prank.

"Aye," Faris says, and she steps forward to take the shard from Krile's unsuspecting hand. "They're not toys."

Krile's eyes grow wide, and Lenna takes a step forward, murmuring--

"So let a professional handle this," Faris says, pressing her other fist to her chest; the change into her mastered Thief is quicksilver-simple, and she tosses the other shard into the air and catches it with an easy grin.

Krile laughs, stuffing her fists into her mouth in a belated attempt at silence. It's only a moment for Faris to dart over to Bartz, sleeping; another moment, and she's swapped out the shard in his pocket for the one Krile had chosen.

"Augh!" Bartz yells the next morning, although his voice is somewhat muffled by the yards of fabric. The sound of his bell fills the clearing as he swings his arms, ineffectually. "You know I hate this one! I can't move in this bubble shirt, I can't see under this hat, I look like a clown!"

Krile shakes her head, and in a solemn tone she says, "They're not toys, Bartz."

His hands tear off the hat and his gaze turns to her -- and his smile turns rueful, even amused. "I should have known you'd all gang up on me eventually," he says, and tosses the shard back to Krile. "Can I have the Black Mage back, please?"

Krile bows, grinning, and Faris exchanges a glance with Lenna and realizes it's true. It isn't that Bartz isn't part of them: he's the leader, the center, the glue. And they are a team, the four of them... but the three of them are also something different.

She plucks the Black Mage shard from her belt and throws it back to Bartz; he catches it, but his eyes widen. "You were in on this, too?"

Lenna laughs. Faris just raises an eyebrow. "Just be glad it weren't the Dancer we decided to give ye," she says, and Bartz reluctantly chuckles.

- - -

It isn't until the day she spies Lenna, quiet and solemn, that Faris realizes this tie goes multiple ways -- because it's Krile who sees it first, and Faris only notices when they stop for a break at mid-day.

"Come," Krile orders, and neither of them argue with their youngest and star-brightest member. She tugs their hands in a manner both eager and authoritative, pulling them off the path. Bartz approaches, his face questioning and confused, but Krile cheerfully spits out something about a bath and he backs away. She drags them through the woods, as if she knows where she's going; and she does, the little wood-sprite, because there's suddenly a bubbling little stream opening into a quiet pond. It isn't even big enough to submerge in, but it's lovely, strange flowers growing in its shallow basin.

Lenna smiles at it.

"Come on," Krile says, and she drops their hands just long enough to kick off her boots; Faris follows, willing to play this game for the touch of the cool water. Lenna is a shadow behind, unlacing her boots slowly. Krile splashes them both, and Faris curses and threatens her with a vicious dunking. They pluck flowers, and Lenna weaves them into Krile's hair as Faris teaches them sailor's-knots with the stems.

"How did you know this was here?" Lenna asks.

Krile smiles. "The moogles," she says, and just because Faris hasn't seen any moogles doesn't mean she's lying. "I thought you'd like it."

Lenna sighs. "I miss--" Her voice trails off. Her hands still in Krile's hair; the girl looks up, her young face pensive.

Faris thinks that maybe that sums it up: they miss, all of them.

Then Lenna starts braiding again, her fingers deft and quick. "At least I have my sisters," she says, boldly, and Faris isn't sure whether she feels embarrassed or flattered to be in such generous company.

Krile smiles at her once, slow and secret like a sister might, and Faris takes a brief moment to wonder at it - the youngest of them all, caring for the others - and then smiles, knowing she's flattered and damned lucky after all.

This is a fic for [livejournal.com profile] help_haiti, for Trialia! Thanks again for your donation and help! <3



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