After all they've been through, it's not so hard to adjust to life on Gran Pulse—in their memory, she uses its proper title—without all the comforts of the Fal'Cie on Cocoon. It's hard for the others, but Lightning thinks that somewhere in the middle of Taejin's Tower she accepted that she'd never have that easy thoughtless life back, and anyway, they've got a head start, between L'Cie powers and everything Fang and Vanille taught them.
No, the hard part isn't adjusting to life without Fal'Cie coddling. Nor is it the angry looks that Cocoon citizens give them. She's bitterly amused at how disappointed Snow is at Cocoon's collective lack of gratitude, which doesn't surprise her at all. They see only what they've lost, not what they kept, and she knew they'd do that.
But the things she didn't know she'd lose—those are the real kicker.
It hurts to look around their table and see still six, with Serah and Dajh, but none of Vanille's sparkling laughter or Fang's rough camaraderie. It hurts to work on rebuilding Oerba, to hear in her head the stories that Fang and Vanille told, but not be able to have them here as their hometown is put to rights. It hurts to reach out at night and find cold blankets and an empty pillow. It hurts to fight without them by her side.
Lightning is no stranger to loss, but their ghosts are everywhere, and she didn't realize how heavily she relied on them until they were gone. So many times, the three of them had taken point together, letting the men trail along behind, and although the other L'Cie are just as skilled, there's not that instant seamless knowledge of what should be done. It'll come with time, but until then, it's a gaping hole.
She hears their echoes everywhere, and though she knows they chose this, she still grieves.