Having lived a thousand lives of dreams descending to catch her unaware, she has learned with time to feel them before they come, and to prepare herself for Etro's descent. This one in particular she remembers well, for she has seen it before, and knows that it will not be like the others. It is more than a mere prophecy; it is a step out of the stream of time, a physical meeting, a disjointed moment snatched away from her now and again in lives past, with a different seeress for every sentence.
It is not a vision, but a memory of a vision, dreamed by the very first Yeul so many years ago, and passed through each reincarnation as they rise one after the other to play their part. It is very important, this collection of pieces, no matter how brief each may be in the great yawning vastness of time.
It is like a performance, with countless players moving in scripted precision. And she is the last. In more ways than one, she is always the last.
So when she is sitting by the fire one night with Caius on one side and Noel on the other and something in her eyes starts to burn like exhaustion, she knows exactly what it is. She excuses herself, declines their guard, and slips away quickly to her home so that she might lie down. If she is going to dream of walking the winding stairs that curl through the space that billows chaotically around time, it only seems appropriate.
It is a close thing; she barely has let her head hit the pillow before everything in her vision explodes with light and her body violently passes out. She bursts into being in the Void Beyond with a form that feels almost real, almost like herself, and looks about.
She knows this. All of it. She has seen it, the memory of it. There are the stairs, the stones, the shadows; the warped false images of Valhalla that are the closest she will ever come to death. There are eternity's timeless stars. And there is the girl who burns too brightly with Etro's light, running up spiraling steps as if she will die if she tarries too long at the bottom, hands flashing through the air with an invisible sword and cutting down the void-creatures that nip at her heels to drag her back. Another memory, another moment of time. She feels a fragment forming for it already in the cold dead air.
Serah reaches her effortlessly and skids to a stop with the sort of grace that all warriors find through combat. She's smiling, gentle and sweet. Every line in her body speaks of friendly familiarity.
"You're another Yeul, aren't you?" she asks. If she is worried by her situation, it does not show, for her eyes are very bright, very curious, very warm. Serah is exactly as lovely as she saw -- as they all saw, every Yeul, every one -- and there is something about that which hurts the heart. It is only the practice of too many lifetimes of witnessing pain that keeps Yeul's expression neutral and comforting, in spite of that, as she nods. Walks forward, walks close. Opens her mouth.
She does not have much time, but she does not need it, for unlike the others, she has not been tasked with much to say. She has given all of her warnings already, piece by piece doled out one after the other with a hundred years between each telling. Serah has been taught all that she needs to know, now, and there is only one thing that remains.
(it is very hard. She knows these words, knows them well, has seen herself speak them aloud, and yet. Her breath catches)
"I am sorry," Yeul says, at last. And then she steps up on the tips of her toes and kisses Serah very gently on the mouth. There is little resistance to her; Serah merely stands there with her eyes opened wide with surprise, frozen as if she is caught in time.
She tastes familiar, like tangled threads and ever-present looming death. She tastes exactly like a seeress should, and it is enough to make Yeul's heart break with sorrow, to reach out with her own tiny hands and grasp the elbows of another doomed as only her line should ever be. This pain, this feeling of scissors circling in and snipping closer, shearing bits of life away -- it is unfair that another should have to suffer the poison of Etro's eyes like this, with no joy of rebirth waiting on the other side. Distantly, beneath the more immediate distraction of crushing empathy, she wonders if this is how Noel and Caius feel, and then perhaps their actions do make sense, after all.
(it is unsettling, that knowledge; to see as they do, and not with Etro's ever-neutral sight. Even if she dreamt this meeting long ago, it is only now that she wonders if there is more to it, more twists to its weft, than simply providing a wayward time-traveler with answers)
Serah's lips are lightly chapped, with a fine thin half-healed cut curving down onto her chin, and so she feels like battle, even as her response is gentle and warm in a way that war will never be. There is something bittersweet about that.
It is a lovely, lovely kiss.
Yeul does not press upwards long, before lowering down to flat feet and looking Serah serenely straight-on once more. She is very much aware of Serah's engagement to Snow, of the sin of her actions, but even so, there are no misgivings in her heart. They are rare and lonely kindred souls, Serah and she. It is only natural that they find a closeness, no matter how fleeting, with each other before the end.
Yeul steps away and clasps her hands behind her back. Looks up at Serah through her eyelashes. Observes. She is like a tropical flower in a place this muted, dressed all in brilliant reds and pinks as she is, and the framing of her bright bubblegum hair around the blooming rosy blush that is creeping across her cheeks really does feel like some sort of plant opening up its petals. Serah raises a gloved hand slowly to brush her fingers across her lips, looking down at Yeul with eyes too full of emotions for even a seeress' sight to tease out the truth to be found therein, and it is a long moment before, at last, she speaks.
"Thank you," she murmurs, and reaching out, she curls a hand around Yeul's upper arm, palm a flat soft comfortable warmth against the chill air of in-between-time, fingers gentle in a way that neither of them truly deserves. "Thank you. I'll find my way out."
Yeul can feel herself fading around the edges, being slowly drawn back to her own era from this land of dreams, so there is no time to do anything more than let go and swing a hand around to cover Serah's with her own before her body dissolves at last into glittering light. But she sees, she sees still, and watches the hazy distant flicker of Serah's thin back as she turns and seeks out another Yeul, another time, another meeting that she remembers only dimly from a long-ago life.
Serah goes to Caius. In her own way, Yeul does too. There is irony in that, but only she knows it, because she has not told him what it is he will do, not yet.
(there is pain in this too, but she is used to that, because this is what it means to be a seeress)
Back in a choked and dying future that cannot be, she opens her eyes. The weight of Etro's gaze burns upwards through her and cools slowly away, leaving her alone in darkness with nothing more than the heavy taste of a girl she will never meet resting soft and warm against her tongue, and the hollow feeling of yet another year dropping away, away, away.