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10 September 2013 @ 02:23 pm
Knight and King [II] [Caius/Yeul/Noel]  
Title: Knight and King [II]
Pairing: Caius/Yeul/Noel
Fandom: Final Fantasy XIII-2
Genre: Angst, Retrospection
Rating: PG
Summary: We must all play our respective parts.

*****

Chapter 1


II.


By the time Caius was born, the original Yeul had already dwindled into a legend.

She was the first human, the first to be cursed by god. She died without fanfare, lost, abandoned and tranquil (the accidental prey of a behemoth). But Etro's vast, hollow heart boomed with pity for the girl who looked so much like herself.

She who had been alone.

Sobbing, the goddess sent her back and wondered if this was how Mwyn had felt, kissing her child (just before devouring it whole).

But that Yeul was now no more than mythical, fantastical. And so, he considered the first Yeul as the Yeul he first knew. The one he sacrificed and devoted his life for, the one who inflicted upon him this scourge and bane.

(Reluctantly, he stood aside and watched as Noel fell in love with her—with his Yeul.)

--

The Yeul who prophesied the War of Transgression was the first Yeul to see Noel. The vision came sudden and brutal, siphoning the last of her strength with its weary might. It stopped short of killing her (not how she was destined to die).

Exhausted and breathing heavily, she rested her head against his back and whispered of a boy who was yet to live. And Caius could tell from the way her eyes sparkled and voice grew low that she loved this boy not-born.

"I saw me laughing with him. He made me happy. I felt it."

Judiciously, Caius disguised his contempt as apathy. If for a brief moment she could experience joy, then that was enough.

--

In Oerba, two hundred years after Cocoon collapsed, she pleaded for him not to kill that boy—the one she'd come to pity and adore intermittently. Poised to kill, he relented (just this once).

--

She told him of the Dying World, of the last Yeul to walk the desolate, parched land. Fascinated, stoic, he listened as her words unraveled her own demise. She spoke of the encounter between him and Noel and his pledge to end the world, time itself.

Solemn, she declared that it was pointless. Seven hundred years was not too long, and she was content to wait. After all, she had died so many, many times already. One more won't hurt.

"When you fight him," she begged. "Please be gentle. He will still be so young."

And that he promised her because this Yeul was one of his favorites.

--

Caius never ate food nor did he drink water. He never slept. Never changed. And for him, she wept, for his eternity that seemed so much crueler than her own. At least she could live anew each time.

"Do you regret anything, Caius?"

Steely, he answered her. "I have nothing left to regret."

"Will you tell me about her? About your Yeul? It was for her that you became a guardian, was it not?"

He tensed and immediately she was sorry. Sighing, he unearthed the soliloquy he had memorized centuries ago. Each rebirth, each one different, and still they ask for the same. As much as it pained him, he persisted in denying her—this shred of bitterness that remained solely his own.

--

He was so tired of counting her deaths, of reciting her visions and distilling them for descendants of descendants of children she will never have.

She will never know what marriage is (though she had seen the apocalyptic demise of cathedrals and holy lands).

She will never suffer and win against an illness that turns her hair white (silver and starlit, she was already old).

She will never grow higher than his chest (straining, she attempted to crown him with daisies).

She will never witness him die (emancipate him of his despair, gorging the sorrow and making it her own).

For now, he was content to observe her play, always a few feet away. At three-years-old, the seeress was prone to wandering through icy streams and tearing up Yakshini nests. He could rest—sleep easy—knowing that she had ten years left.


She will never…


And repeat.

--

At last, Yeul wound to a stop.

The mother glared at him ferociously, hugging the tiny child, thinking if she could return it to her body then he will depart. Vanished and vanquished and forever-ever gone.

So when he granted her the concession (pardon) she cried with elation and relief. Although suspicious, she did not question the tall man—this Caius. No man was foolish enough to mangle his savior.

"Do we get to keep her?" Noel asked, peeping from behind the door.

"Yes. Yes, we do."

--

The gods were sadistic.

That was the single justifiable explanation why they created her thus: made his first Yeul and the last one the same.

He laughed. Harsh and guttural and pierced with delirious anguish. Of course—how could he forget?—all Yeuls were the same, down to each lock of hair, each nick and mole on her limbs. If he peeled her apart, she'd bleed the same.

And he was sorely tempted to try—

Defy fate, just once.

--

He noticed them grow closer by the day. Yeul was never too far apart from the boy, clinging to his arms, stubby legs carrying her unsteadily to him. Blushing, Noel flung her hands away, only to forfeit when her expression scrunched up with tears.

Caius was amused. Never before had she showered such blatant, almost ardent, attention upon anyone. And so, when the boy approached him, beseeching to learn how to fight, he agreed.

--

Noel progresses slower than he wished. His swings lacked the frigid ferocity of assurance, and his blocks were weak, hesitant.

But whenever Yeul cheered on their sparring, Noel lurches with power. Raw and animate, his reprisal conveyed sufficient force to nearly topple Caius.

Maybe there was still a chance.

Curious, Caius probed and prodded. Noel fell back again, shattered into an inglorious heap.

And maybe there was none.

--

During the winter of fourteenth birthday, Yeul became sick. Deathly sick only not. This was not how she will die (not prophesied). Although Noel ran frantic with worry, guarding her all hours of the night, Caius was not disconcerted.

She shivered underneath the thin quilt, her body ragged and wrecked and creaking of bones and blood clots. Resting a demure kiss upon her cheek, he vowed that everything would be okay.

"Let us leave, Noel. She needs her rest."

Before this time next year, Noel will be stronger.

And he will be gone (one way or another).

And she—she will be no more.

Chapter 1