Her hand held yours.


Vanille. She would never let you go. No matter how far you both had to run, no matter what you had to face as you escaped the Purge and desperately sought some way to reach Gran Pulse, you'd stick together.


Her soft red hair bounced in curls as she ran ahead of you, forcing you to keep pace by still clutching your wrist. Your feet pounded in unison against the glassy blue below you- the crystallized remains of Lake Bresha, cast up into waves as Anima had crashed there.


It was a miracle you had both managed to survive that. wasn't without some form of harm. Though your limbs still worked and you bore no wounds, both of you were now marked with something different. Those intricacies were tattooed on your skin, possibly forever.


Everything was frightening. To have become l' be forced to accept this new life as runaways...everything was happening all at once.


Despite that...


“When you see Oerba, I just know you're going to love it! You'll never wanna leave!”

Even though she had endured such world shaking tragedies, somehow the girl was still chipper. Her highly pitched voice practically sang out like bells as she skipped across the crystal, adding an extra rhythm to your journey. It was miraculous that she was still managing to be so positive.


...You hesitated. Gran Pulse...Oerba...

“All I've ever been told is that it's hell. They say it's simply hell down there, that nothing can survive, nothing but monsters and nightmares...”

“Is that what they say?”


Vanille paused, turned, and tapped her cheek as she observed you. A little tilt of her head and all, she just looked so casual in the moment. As if nothing could faze her.


“Well...yeah...” you uttered sheepishly. Did she take offense? It didn't look like it...

“Hmm...well it's not like there aren't some dangerous creatures down there. But in Oerba we'll be totally safe. Our village is like a haven, you'll see~”


Now both her hands were taking yours. They provided a warmth that you had long been missing. The Purge had taken everything from you. Your home, your life, your family and friends...all you had ever known, lost to such a sick regime.


Vanille was all you had, and were okay with that. Surely this optimism couldn't last, and you didn't doubt she was hiding her own pain too. Yet as long as she could smile a long as she could hold you, even just by a finger, you'd be fine with that.


Stay together...and maybe you'd find a pure world.

One you'd happily live in forever.


As long as you had her.