Characters: Lucil, Elma
Pairings: Lucil/Elma undertones
Spoilers: Not for the game. Maybe very mild spoilers for FFX-2
Notes: Written for auronlu, who requested Lucil and Elma for the Out of the Comfort Zone meme. This story is set within the "Aftermath" universe, right after Chapter 3, but all you need to know from that story is this: Post FFX, Elma comes home to Kilika. A few months later, Lucil comes to visit in the hopes of convincing Elma and others to join her in the Seekers, a band of sphere hunters working for Lord Trema. The rest should be self-explanatory.
The sounds of insects and dripping water echoed through the jungle. Elma raised her knife to cut the vine that blocked the trail, then pushed the dangling ends aside to let Lucil through. The two of them had walked in silence since leaving town on their quest to search the island for spheres, pausing only to clear the path when necessary. Lucil's arrival in Kilika Port yesterday morning had set off a whirlwind of events, and Elma still felt like she was catching up.
Lucil stood at the trailhead, peering down it at the jumbled mass of trees and flowering vines that lay ahead. "You are certain this is the way?"
"Yeah." Elma stood next to Lucil, and pointed at the ground. "See how the dirt is trampled smooth here? If you follow the track for a couple of miles, you reach a cave near the shore. We used to play down there when we were kids."
Lucil turned to look at Elma. "And you think there may be spheres in that cave."
Elma shrugged. "It would be as good a hiding place as any on the island. And we never went too far into the back, because we couldn't bring torches. So who knows what's in there?" She patted the bag on her hip. "I have my flint right here, and finding wood shouldn't be a problem."
"All right, lead the way." Lucil stood aside, and Elma brushed past her, stepped between the tree trunks and skipped over a puddle as she sought solid footing on the little-used pathway. Silence fell between them again, although the jungle teemed with so much life that it could never be truly silent: birds singing in the treetops, lizards crashing through the underbrush, insects buzzing and chirping all around them. The trail wound its way through the trees, then broke free of the jungle and turned right to follow the coastline. Elma and Lucil had to pick their way over increasingly rocky terrain as they walked past the temple, high overhead on the bluffs.
Eventually, Elma stopped at a fork in the path. She thought for a moment, then nodded toward the left. "It's that way." Three steps down the trail, she realized she was no longer being followed, and she turned around. Lucil stood still, feet rooted at the spot where they had stopped, looking to where the trees met the sky, bright green against brilliant blue.
"It's so peaceful here." She glanced around, taking in the water, the temple perched on the distant hilltop. "And beautiful. Did you know, I have never been here before? Yevon had no need for Chocobo Knights in Kilika."
"Yeah." Elma surveyed the area as she walked back to Lucil, the jungle behind them now, the rock cliff to their right and the bay on their left. The water was calm here, the tides barely more than ripples as they lapped against the shore, and the air was cooler than either in the jungle or the port town. "I remember. All those years of patrolling from the Calm Lands to Luca and back. It's all nice country, but it's not Kilika. I missed the sound of the cicadas during the day, and the ocean whenever we were stationed inland."
Lucil looked Elma hard in the eye. "It must be hard to leave again, then." Her blue eyes were sober, placid. "You don't have to, you know. The days of Yevon pulling us away from our homes are behind us now. If you wish to stay..."
Elma placed her hands on Lucil's shoulders. "Not a chance. Captain." She smiled, and after a moment Lucil smiled back, curling her fingers around Elma's forearms. "If you're there, I'm there."
Lucil tightened her grip. "If you are sure, then I am glad. And Lord Trema will be happy to have you."
Elma grinned. "He'd better be." She dropped her hands and pointed down the pathway with her chin. "C'mon, let's see what's out there, waiting for us to find it."