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Inherit the Stone

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Inherit the Stone
a FFXII story by volta arovet

Vayne supposed he should be on the deck of the Bahamut, giving testimony to the historic moment which had arrived

Vayne supposed he should be on the deck of the Bahamut, giving testimony to the historic moment which had arrived. Or perhaps he should be on bridge, efficiently meting out orders for courses and targets. There again, he should be in his quarters, with words of honey and poison to keep his brother content and unsullied.

He remained kneeling, palms pressed to the floor, in an empty room that may one day be used for servants' lodgings, but was yet unused in the understaffed airship. The engines thrummed and the heat from its mist spread through the thin, metal floors, and the ship was like a beast awakening beneath his palms.

Venat was present, clear and focused in a way Vayne had never felt before. The Occuria was more real than he, as much a presence in his mind as he was. Cid was most likely dead; both Occuria and scientist were far too jealous to share this intimacy with aught but the other, while both still lived.

"I would wait for our Doctor Cid to join us before partaking our final bid for independence, and yet, I begin to fear that doing so would ever halt our plans," Vayne mused, to the air as much as Venat. The Occuria stirred, bright eyes focused on Vayne alone.

By his son's hand he fell in Pharos tower, and now explores the land I shall not see.

"He always did like to rush into new fields. Do you suppose he, instead, is waiting for us there?" He shook his head. "More likely, he is busy conducting experiments on the various spirits, or manufacting superior haloes as reparation to us for leaving without a by-your-leave."

Venat bobbed and shimmered in saddened amusement.

There lasts one more effect to portion out; a stone of modest blush and power fair which should pass not to researcher, but friend.

The stone was in his hand before he even knew to clench his fingers; such was the way of Venat. It was nethicite, of course. Vayne laughed quietly. "And I thought the Occuria's stones were to be kept from the hand of man, not freely distributed once more."

His spirit passed through mist-beholden air and coalesced into a crystal form to make a stone not of the gods, but man.

"Manufacting nethicite until the end," Vayne said, rising to his feet. "A testament to the world's most dedicated scientist! To Doctor Cidolfus Demen Bunansa!" Vayne looked from his right hand, fingers wrapped about the stone, to his left hand, waving dramatic circles in the air in an eerily familiar manner. "So, this is what it is like to be Doctor Cid?" Vayne marveled. "How extraordinary. What was it like for him, at the end?"

He burned more brightly than the mist itself, more glorious than all Occuria

Vayne closed his eyes. "Show me."

It was delicate, at first. A trace of warmth spreading down his outstretched arms, a steady pressure on his shoulders, a brush against his cheek, a lightness in his core. The powers grew, Venat settling into his mind and through his body until the heat touched every part of him, pressing on his skin, bursting from his bones.

There was no focus to it—it was constant, unrelenting, overwhelming. Had he breath, he would have groaned at the frustration of such intimacy, to be joined so fully without a body to wrap his arms around, without the scent of perfumed hair and sweat, without blushing skin to press his lips against.

"Enough!" he cried before his heart gave out. "Enough." Venat withdrew smoothly, slipping out of Vayne with a tiny, delicious shiver. "Forgive me. It is too much, as I am."

Venat nodded, eyes dimming and brightening for one short moment.

Vayne bent to the ground, retrieving the nethicite which had fallen from his hand. He wrapped it reverently in his handkerchief, tucking it into his shirt. "Perhaps, at the end. Years from now, when I must follow Cid's path, we shall join again and follow it together. What say you?"

Venat did not move, but radiated waves of pleasure.

I thank you for your generosity

"And I for your company in the most lonely of hours."

Vayne straightened himself, checking the comforting weight of the nethicite against his breast, and strode out of the spare room and into his command.

Venat watched him with little copper coin eyes and, humming in tune with the Bahamut's engines, followed.