Selphie deals with the fallout.
When he had finally told them the truth she was shocked and surprised and she didn't quite believe him because there was nothing there. No personal memories of her younger self with him to fall back on. She felt cheated that he could remember and she couldn't. She knew how to find the good in everything that had taken place but not this, /never this/, because the past couldn't be changed. She clenched her fist around her weapon as she walked further into the vegetation and she knew the truth; she could only impact her future, their future. She wondered if she hadn't forgotten something that would make that impossible as well.
She worked out the frustration as always; the formations and moves flowing out of her limbs like water, something she wouldn't forget even when she had perhaps forgotten everything else-even who she was. He was her connection to the past that only now came to her with concentration and a headache. She pinged between anger at him, herself, Garden and couldn't settle on one. Instead she took her weapon and decimated monster after monster, eaten up with something that she couldn't defeat with smiles and cheer. Hits that were hard, hits that were deadly, sweat leaked off of her and it made up for the fact she couldn't cry without feeling silly and indulgent when no one else was having the same problem with the lies.
She was a believer now; her childhood was lost to her and she was angry with no other good outlet besides her ability to see the positive in everything and it had failed. She knew that she simply didn't miss what she no longer had until he had given her the lack of knowledge as snow fell from the sky. She was amazed that he gave them so much and yet nothing. She had asked herself as they departed the broken Garden in the snow how it was possible for someone to give another person something in the negative.
She dropped her weapon to her side and watched the last grat fall and fail, struggling at the end to survive and in the past she had always looked away. She was a killer of living things and she knew it; it was what she wanted. She didn't have to watch it happen because it was useless to let it rip at her. She had wanted to be strong and she now was. She knew it wasn't watching death that made someone strong.
She stared at the ground of the training center completely still. She hadn't said anything to him or anyone else because there was nothing to say that could change what had happened. She could continue try to work through the feelings of failure and loss with training; it had always worked in the past. She knew, however, that it wouldn't work with this. She felt lost and disconnected and had since she had seen her old Garden, its shell obliterated, people she had known and loved dead, her new team sympathetic but unable to understand.
She remembered his voice. It had been full of excitement as he told them of their past and her world had tilted just a bit. Even though it had righted itself nothing was correct about it now. Everything she hadn't known had spilled out over her life and changed everything: the family that wasn't her own and the Garden she loved. She hated this feeling of being unhappy and hated not knowing how to solve it.
She turned and made her way back toward the entrance of the training center, thinking of a shower and a few hours of sleep. They would arrive at Centra soon and she didn't know what to expect from their travels anymore. Being lied to and used was the norm now. She thought:/ well, at least I'm used to it/.
She was almost at the sliding doors before she saw him standing there. She stopped a few feet away and looked at him.
They didn't speak; she had nothing to say to him without prompt and she had said nothing since departing Trabia. She thought back to her first impression of him: charming, quick-witted, flirty and absent of pretenses. She wondered now what had given her that idea. She wondered now why she trusted herself to gauge people when she was so terrible at it. Her first impressions of all the people she had spent her childhood with were wrong.
They stood staring at each other for a long moment. No words passed. He leaned against the wall so casually, coat missing and arms crossed. He looked tired.
"Hey," he said, as if this was /normal/, as if anything in their lives could be normal.
"Have you been here long?" she asked.
"Long enough," he said. "Care to share your reasoning behind an hour of beating grats into the ground?"
"I'm working things out," she said, dropping her eyes to the ground.
"I never pegged you as the type to work problems out this way," he stood upright and took the few steps needed to put him next to her. He looked down on her and she couldn't read his look. She had no explanation to give him and even now she fought with herself over whether he deserved one.
"Things have changed," she whispered.
"That would be my fault," he said, and there was no velvet in his voice now. There was the scratchy sound of the dregs of what he had oh-so-casually tipped over and it hurt her to hear him say it. It hurt her to know he could remember her quirks like tiny weapons to use against her when she had nothing.
"It doesn't matter," she managed to say, and it was a lie and they both knew it. A lie for a lie wouldn't fix anything but she didn't know how to be honest with him knowing the truth.
When he leaned forward and picked up her hand she was stunned out of her frustration at the contact; he had never touched her before. She looked up at him and questioned him with a look: narrowed and curious eyes. Instead of answering, he turned her hand over and cupped it and the leather of his glove was warm against her skin. His hand dwarfed hers.
"Your hands," he murmured, tracing his fingers lightly over the blisters forming on her palm from gripping too tightly in anger and frustration.
His gentleness in the face of her behavior over the last few days threw her. She could only look at him and shake her head.
"I can take care of myself," she said, wanting to tug her hand away, wanting to leave it and wanting to use it to hit him, over and over.
He looked at her so oddly she thought he might be angry but he simply closed his other hand over her palm and squeezed.
"I'm sorry," he said. The regret was real in his voice and the lump in her throat she had been denying grew.
"Can I believe you?" she asked.
He didn't look happy when he spoke. "That's up to you, miss."
It wasn't going to be perfect and she didn't believe in happy-endings any longer. She placed her free hand over his.
Word Count: 1,289
Feedback: All reviews, squees, and concrit are hugged close to Renay's heart.
Author's Notes: This was written for the Hand-in-Glove challenge at Final Fantasy flashfic on Livejournal.