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Might As Well Be Me

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One week in, Hope was starting to be very sad that they destroyed Cocoon.

Not that it wasn't necessary, really -- if they hadn't done it now, something would have come along later, or the war that had been threatened would have happened, or any of a hundred other things that meant that the world ending would have resulted in everyone on Cocoon dying. As it was, almost all of Cocoon's population was alive, well, and adjusting to life on Gran Pulse.

Well. Trying to adjust, anyway. It had only been a week; Hope would give them some leeway.

Mostly, Hope was sad that they'd destroyed Cocoon because right now, he really wanted some ice cream.

He glanced down at his wrist, where one week later he still wasn't used to his brand being gone. Not entirely gone, he supposed, in hindsight; there was the faintest imprint let, a few arrows, a hint of the blue of a scorched brand, but it wasn't the mark of a L'Cie that it had once been. It was more of a memory than anything else, a little bit of the past that would never quite fade: it left its mark on him and the others but didn't define them, not anymore. They still had their powers, though. Some quiet testing had proven that, and it was a really good thing that they did when Neochu came rumbling through where they were setting up camp two nights before. Sazh had looked at them afterwards, his grip on his pistols tighter than normal as he looked down at Dajh (whose skill with a Haste spell had come as a welcome surprise when Sazh and Hope were both busy flinging Fires in the plant monster's direction) and said, "Note to self, everyone: next time, we check for local wildlife. Didn't we already learn that lesson?"

But for the most part, life was... not quiet, because life on Gran Pulse wasn't quiet at the best of times and they were trying very hard to avoid becoming the face of the new Gran Pulse population. Or the scapegoats for everything going wrong, for people having to adjust to doing things for themselves that they'd had done for them their entire lives. There were some things still around, thankfully, and several airships had made it down to Gran Pulse, which meant that in the future -- hopefully the near future -- forays could be made up into Cocoon to salvage books, supplies... Anything that could be carried down and used without power.

And ice cream.

But, Hope mused, sitting against a tree as he watched, in the distance, as the people who had been the citizens of Palumpolum, along with a few survivors of the Bodhum purge, struggled to build fires. Yuj, he could see, was helping -- that hair was unmistakable; the young man had a talent with fire that had Hope thinking he'd be one hell of a Ravager, if he were ever made L'Cie. Still, the idea of hunting meat, skinning it, cooking it over fire... It didn't go over well with most of the former Cocoon inhabitants. Not to mention, supplies were not going to last long, Hope thought. There were way too many people now living on Gran Pulse to make do with what was in the local area.

Someone came up, sitting down beside Hope against the tree. Without turning to look, he said, "We're going to have to think about splitting up."

"You think we should each head out with a group?" Lightning asked, and he wasn't surprised that it was her, of all their group. Sazh was busy with Dajh, Snow inseparable from Serah. Lightning was the only one who'd come up alone. "I'm not sure I like that idea."

Hope shook his head. "Not us. Just... Everyone from Cocoon. In general. Leave a group here for... I guess a kind of base camp? But we need to colonise other regions if we're going to survive. We can't all live in Archylte. There's not enough here."

"I don't think it'll work unless we do split up, though. Although... Snow wants to take Serah to see Oerba," Lightning pointed out. "And it wouldn't a bad place to colonise. We've got weapons, too, from both PSICOM and the Corps, and soldiers to wield them. They're already half-organised as it is."

Hope sighed. "I think that worries me more than anything else. I... don't think people are ready for us to step up as leaders. Is there anyone from Bodhum around who you could talk to, who'd trust you? Someone who might be willing to step forward as the face of things?"

"A few people, maybe," Light allowed. "I can ask around, at least, see who might be willing to head out that way. At least Oerba has materials that could be salvaged."

"And the tower, too. It's close enough to Oerba, and with Dahaka gone, it'll be easier to keep clear, I think. The only problem is the crystal dust, but... it's somewhere to start?"

Lightning nodded -- even though he wasn't looking, Hope felt it as her shoulder shifted against his. "So that's one group. Sazh will want to stay around here, I think. Dajh won't want to leave the chocobos. Which leaves us."

And that was what Hope wasn't really thinking about: what it meant for them to be splitting up. "At least there's the Cie'th stones?" he suggested. "We can get around pretty easily, if we need to. The four of us, anyway, and probably Serah. Dajh... I don't know, and I'm not about to suggest to Sazh that we test it with him, are you?"

Light just scoffed, a sharp exhalation that said everything it needed to about her thoughts on that suggestion. "So we take a third group somewhere there's a teleport stone," she agreed. "One of the Archaeopolii?"

"If there's anywhere we'll be able to salvage things, it's probably there. And I think my Dad will find them interesting." Hope picked up a stone and started idly digging with it, picking at the dirt. "Materials, anyway. Also... I think we should try to arrange some kind of trip up to Cocoon soon, if we can convince someone to let Sazh take up one of the ships."

Light reached over and stilled his hand with hers. "To salvage supplies?" she asked. He nodded.

"Food, mostly. Books. Or anything else portable, as long as it doesn't run on power."

"You're thinking like a leader," Light said, and Hope had to look over to see the smile on her face, because he couldn't quite believe she'd said that. She wasn't just smiling, he realised: she was proud. He blushed, but smiled anyway.

"Yeah, well, someone has to," he said. "Might as well be me."