Oerba Dia Vanille was a princess.
She was a princess if only by people’s standards in Oerba, anyway; not by royalty, but simply by looks. So beautiful, so pristine, so innocent and naïve to the rest of Pulse, with a view so refreshingly positive that it startled even the most chipper of individuals. Golden red hair was bunched up into locks either side, deep, emerald eyes, and a skin tone that was the perfect balance between a creamy pale and a golden beige from the sunlight. She was perfect, and the talk of the town would often be, “that’s a lucky man who gets to marry that one”.
A lucky man that came in the form of a woman, perhaps. But really, for the sake of peace, Vanille was thankful for her village’s ignorance.
The looks between her and Fang were fleeting, and yet meant so much. Their smiles, their mutual gazes, little moments where Fang would rest a hand on her shoulder; all were moments she remembered. Every last little detail.
Even the way Fang’s tattoo felt as it brushed against her fingertips when they lay together; especially that moment, even. Vanille loved Fang to death. More than life and death put together.
Oerba’s princess always knew she was ‘different’ somehow, but couldn’t quite put her finger on what it was. Vanille had never, throughout her life, ever truly experienced something as miniscule as a “crush” on anybody; and before Fang, hadn’t even had her first kiss. There were seldom any rumours flying around about her like there were for so many other girls.
Naturally this made everyone interested – as she was pure and untouched, as far as everyone else was concerned, and in some ways that made men compete more for her affection.
Little did they know.
“Vanille, wait up. There’s somewhere I wanna take ya.”
And with the sudden announcement of Oerba Yun Fang’s voice reaching out, she felt her breath hitch in her throat and spun around.
Vanille and Fang were stood in the middle of one of Oerba’s many deserted cabins; everybody else who resided there had gone out for the night, either to hunt along the Wildlands of Pulse or to see their friends, with Vanille volunteering to stay behind due to the fact she was “tired”. But in actuality, she knew exactly why she was staying behind; for the woman that was stood before her to come over and take her somewhere as a ‘surprise’.
She had been excited for it all day, counting the hours on her fingertips secretly, but her dignity would prevent her from ever confessing that to Fang.
“Vanille?” Fang asked, her sapphire eyes scanning the girl before her for any sign of life. “What’s up?”
Vanille shook her head quickly, as Fang smiled and folded her arms, with that I know you so well smirk that Vanille knew better than anyone.
She grinned, brightly, as Fang spoke with a melodious giggle behind her voice.
“Lost in your daydreams again, huh?”
“You could say that.” Vanille replied, chirpily. Fang smiled, and offered her arm out towards Vanille.
“Come on, silly. I told you, there’s a place I wanna go.”
“Really?” Vanille asked, curiously, and slipping her arm through Fang’s, cheeks flushing pink as she felt Fang’s arm clench it tightly to her side. “So, um…where is it?”
The skin of her side that was just showing outside of Fang’s blue cloth was so warm, Vanille thought, before they paused for a moment as they took steps out of the deserted building.
“Well, if I told you that, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise, huh?” Fang chuckled to herself. “Cheeky girl.”
Vanille beamed at her lover, as Fang peered cautiously out of the doorway; she knew that if they were spotted together so affectionately, there would be…talk. So far, all that had happened were people knowing of their ‘close friendship’, and that was as far as a woman as private and devoted as Oerba Yun Fang was willing to allow people to know.
“This way, Vanille.”
They tiptoed quickly, with a laugh shared between them; giggling like schoolgirls at the sudden pump of adrenaline they felt surging through them. Vanille paused for a moment, her arm slipping from Fangs momentarily – which did not slide with the beautiful dragoon herself.
Fang caught her by the hand by instinct as they rushed through the trees and bushes, and with such a sudden touch that neither one had quite expected, she felt as though her hand was on fire.
Fang’s cheeks turned a little pink alongside Vanille’s gasp, before both of them paused; and turned their gazes up to the sky.
“Oh!” Fang exclaimed, “Well, hey. We made it to what I was aimin’ for.”
“Gosh, Fang, the sky is beautiful tonight-!”
“Exactly, my girl!” Fang replied, hurriedly, and smiling in her voice as she realized she was getting Vanille nowhere fast without a prompt, “C’mon, that’s where I’m takin’ you! For a better view, see?”
Vanille, still clasping Fang’s burning hand tightly, ran along with her against the dusty paths of Oerba; past the breezing trees and the chattering people in their large, accommodating houses. The pathway was only lit by small torches hanging off the ends of people’s gates and fences, as they both finally reached the edge of a silent cliff; overlooking a calm, blue sea, which was reflecting the night sky back up at itself.
“Fang…!” Vanille began, breathlessly, as her eyes shimmered.
Fang rubbed the back of her neck bashfully with her free hand, not intending to let Vanille go any time soon, and cleared her throat a little.
“Well, I thought you’d like it,” she began. “I just figured it’d be nice…just to go someplace quiet and beautiful, y’know? Oerba has so many nice spots, and with not really being able to be as open as we’d like -”
“You don’t need to explain. It’s perfect, honestly.”
Fang paused for a moment, as the two of them turned to face one another.
She was so beautiful, Vanille thought, as she looked at the woman before her.
She was donning a shy smirk, but beautiful shining eyes. So tall and dark and protective, which was what was the most appealing to Vanille – the fact that she could read Fang like a book, and nobody else quite got to see these parts of her. Fang was perfect, and she was hers, and Vanille knew it. She knew what a lucky girl she was, as Fang got a little swept up in the moment too, blushing uncharacteristically. Vanille’s lips curved themselves into a smile again.
“You’re beautiful.” She suddenly slipped out, as Fang was caught off-guard.
“…So are you, Princess.”
Vanille beamed, and blinked twice, before mumbling something a little illegible; Fang laughed to herself, giddily, before moving in a little closer, slightly subconsciously grateful she hadn’t heard Vanille’s words as an excuse to move closer to her.
“What did you say just then?”
Vanille sighed with embarrassment, her cheeks bright red, as she flopped herself down on the grass and pulled Fang down beside her, hands still connected.
“I said…I love it when you call me princess.”
Fang grinned proudly, as they looked up at the stars, and squeezed Vanille’s hand lightly.
“Then I’ll call you it more often.”
Vanille smiled silently, before shuffling herself underneath Fang’s arm, and rested her head on her shoulder.
Fang felt the butterflies in her stomach turn to bats, due to the feeling of having the person she adored the most resting, snuggled, on her shoulder, the perfume almost intoxicating as she looked up at the most beautiful scenery she had ever seen.
“Fang…do you think we’ll get married someday?”
Fang laughed, nervously in the sense that it was something she would love to happen, and also out of surprise that Vanille was being so forward all of a sudden after such hesitant embarrassment.
“You wanna be with me forever, huh? ‘Cos that’s what that means.”
Vanille wrapped her arm over Fang’s stomach, as Fang abandoned her embarrassment from such affection, and wrapped her arms tightly around Vanille.
“Yeah.” Vanille replied, quietly. “I do.”
“Can you promise me one thing?”
Fang looked away from the glistening stars up above her, still processing the words reaching her ears, and down at the girl whose face was beautifully apprehensive just centimetres away from her lips.
“Anything,” she managed to choke out in a euphoric disbelief.
Things between her and Vanille had always been romantic, had always been in plain sight – but hearing everything that Vanille was saying so forwardly was like an oddly surprising dream suddenly coming to life.
“Promise me…that even if we argue, or if we lose one another someday, if we go outside of Oerba…that we’ll always find our way back to each other. ‘Kay?”
Fang almost felt crippled by the look Vanille was shooting to her. She swallowed her nerves that were rising back down, hard, into her stomach once more, and allowed Vanille and her to get a little closer.
“What d’you mean?” she spoke, so softly it was almost a whisper. “Where’s this come from?”
“It’s just a feeling I have. And I don’t want to lose y -”
“You’ll never lose me,” Fang cut in, sharply. “Not ever. I promise. Okay?”
Vanille felt a blow to her heart of the best kind, which was rare.
Fang could feel that her heart was pounding against her chest, and Vanille’s was beating equally quickly, as they lay against the soft grass of the clifftop, the sound of the sea’s calm waves brushing against their ears, and the stars above them in the navy blue sky shining down silently.
Beneath the stars, Vanille knew, at that moment – as if it hadn’t already been present before anyway – that she was in love.
Completely, hopelessly in love with the woman that lay in her arms. The woman that kept her so close, so tightly against her and the woman that she was dying to kiss – Oerba Yun Fang, the woman who had won her heart. And little did she know, that at that moment, Fang realized the exact same thing.
“Vanille…can I tell you something?”
Vanille nodded, as Fang leant in a little towards Vanille’s lips, as Vanille gasped with excitement and the fact that her heartbeat was buzzing so loudly she was surprised it didn’t sound like a drum.
“I…well, I really love you.”
Vanille paused, and smiled, as she felt herself becoming overwhelmed with emotion and a fire burning in her stomach, as she leant in closer, and closer, before her eyes closed and her lips touched Fang’s with a firm press; kissing as delicately and yet with as much love as she could convey into three or four single movements.
Fang blinked a little, as her hands were too frozen with delight to move; all she could do was hug Vanille as tightly as she could, whilst Vanille’s arms were wrapped around her neck, as they sat up with a fiercely locked embrace and a kiss on the cheek.
“I love you too,” Vanille murmured, into the silence. “I love you too, Fang. I’m not scared of anything when you’re around.”
Fang smiled against the skin of Vanille’s neck, as she continued to wrap her arms around her waist and clench tightly against her.
And with not another verbal word said, they spent the rest of the night under the warm blanket of Oerba’s weather, drifting in and out of consciousness in each other’s arms.