Now updated with new LR information. There are unmarked spoilers below. This was inspired by other, similar postings on Tumblr and such. This is also me trying to get my thoughts in order, and is mostly to try and show where I come from with this pairing, not so much "evidence" for it. It's to show where I kind of get the impression that, hey, this could actually work. and I'm bored and have no tumblr yet. Let's begin!
1. Design: well, obviously. They were very likely designed to parallel each other, and darnit if they don't look pretty good together as a result. Let's face it, they look good together. Dark and light colors work very well when done right, and you don't get much more obvious than pink and purple, light and dark colors, male and female, icy determination and fiery passion.
think of the beautiful family they would make, seriously
2. I don't think Lightning holds hard feelings toward Caius forever: here's where I'm going to step on some toes. By the time LR rolls around, it's been 500 years since he's seen her. We don't know exactly how he feels about all this, but I'll get to that later. Lightning's behavior around him is important. A theory of mine is that she is literally unable to say no to helping people if someone asks her to, but that's just a theory and we have no idea why she agreed to try and save him to begin with. We do know she's taken on the responsibility for Serah's death. Her lack of emotion makes it difficult to tell what she really feels, but she rarely talks about the world ending in terms of what Caius did. In fact, she pretty much never mentions him at all and flip-flops between loathing him for what he did and apparently feeling sympathetic to it. Even in the second game, while she demonstrated some bitterness toward him here and there, in general he felt kind of like a
hot plot device when it came to her. We have no idea how she thinks of him. Fragments After kind of implies she pities him, as well as that she's angry at him. Come the English release, we're left with the idea that she truly hates him, but it's ultimately inconclusive, as the only source of the idea of her hating him comes from Lumina, a creature of Chaos.
3. Her reaction to losing him: she wasn't pleased with him having to stay behind. Who can say why, exactly, but she wasn't. When he tells her he's staying, she objects, demanding to know whether he thinks he'll be able to atone by staying (in the Japanese version, the dialogue seems to point more toward her not liking his fate). In the ending, though, once she's 100% whole (which she hasn't been since before the trilogy began), she has a look of anguish on her face. Arguably, she could just be upset about Yeul, but I'd say she's likely upset about Caius, too. And why not? As pointed out to me by bretanne, his sacrifice means she gets to live in his stead (as she'd planned on taking Etro's place) as he remains to hold back the Chaos alongside Yeul in eternal darkness and suffering. This isn't a happy ending and she knows it. That's got to bother her. I would think it'd bother anyone, to be honest, especially when he so desperately needed a happy ending.
4. His behavior: when Lightning encounters Caius again, he's not the same man she fought against in Valhalla. He's solemn. He's not chewing the scenery anymore, nor is he going on and on about Yeul. As he speaks of his fate and looks down at himself... it's hard to see, but he gets this look of sadness that's just heartbreaking. That look of acceptance, defeat, and sadness doesn't leave until his last few moments in the ending, when he allows Noel to leave after testing his love for Yeul (because I'm quite certain that's what it was about) and smiles about it. I can't ignore the way he just kind of... gazes at Lightning. Staring at her. Intensely. Like he's angry, bitter, regretful, defeated, and finally seeing the error of his ways.
and that she's beautiful and wonderful and darnit now I have plot bunnies why does this keep happening
5. Caius might regret his actions: I say "might" because there's no solid canonical evidence, but I'm pretty sure he regrets what he's done. It wasn't what he wanted, obviously, because within 500 years, it was bad enough to break him down enough to change his personality into what he see in LR. It was so bad that it strips away his sass, obnoxious
and stupidly sexy little smirk, and even his desire to fight with Lightning. I suspect he fights her just to prove there's nothing she can do for him, because he didn't have to. When she tracks him down, he only challenges her when she refuses to leave, ultimately using it as a way to prove that even if she struck him down, Yeul won't let him stay dead for more than a few seconds.
6. I don't think he wants to stay with Yeul anymore: I've said this many times, but I honestly don't think he wants to stay with her. Unfortunately, she forces him to: her incarnations can't agree to let him go, so he's trapped with her for all eternity. They resurrected him, and now they're keeping him alive because they're unable to let him go. He says nothing of wishing to stay, only that he has to stay with her. Personally, I believe he wants to go to the new world, but a) can't because Yeul and b) probably doesn't think he deserved it. After all, he ended up destroying the world, which probably wasn't his original intention.
7. Lightning's non-reaction to him: I have a hard time seeing their rivalry, not because I'm a shipper, but just because it doesn't resonate with me. It's a case of telling instead of showing to me. I don't feel it. He's just kind of there, like I said, and Valhalla and the war is more about Lightning's continuing struggle with herself. Only in LR do they have any non-antagonistic interaction, and only then does she really interact with him. In Valhalla? It's just kind of like, "stuck here, gotta keep Etro alive, I'll never get out, MUST FIGHT MUST FIGHT MUST FIGHT". We hear a lot about what they're up to, but their "rivalry" doesn't feel fleshed out enough. I'm not making a ton of sense, but I'm having trouble articulating what I mean, so I apologize, that's my fault, not yours.
8. Serah, Yeul, and Valhalla: I think they could connect on this level if they had the chance. Lightning might be objecting to him being stuck with Yeul because she knows what it feels like to sacrifice everything for someone she also dearly loved (Serah) and it got her stuck in what she described as the "nightmare realm" of Valhalla. And guess what? Caius dearly loved Yeul, and it got him stuck in Valhalla. There's that.
9. Caius's passions consume him: they ultimately destroyed him (truly a tragic tale), but passions aren't by default a bad thing. He loved Yeul to the point that his emotion became passion and consumed him to the detriment of everything else. Now, imagine for a second that he turned those passions elsewhere and made them positive instead of negative and selfless instead of selfish. All loves are equal, but not all are the same. I've often imagined what he could be capable of if he focused those passions on Lightning and fell in love with her. Good heavens, he would be a force to be reckoned with. The kind of epic romance that can come out of this man is... *^*
10. Lightning is restrained, but also passionate: she started the trilogy as a pretty cynical/realistic soldier type with a singular focus. By the end of the first game, she'd learned the value of "hope". When LR ends, hope, to me, is what ultimately fuels her drive to defeat Bhunivelze, because she had the hope of going to a new world free of the constraints of false gods and their idea of "fate" (she ended up on Earth, which is way worse than Gran Pulse, but I digress). When she feels for a cause, she's gonna go for it, and with everything she has. With the way she cares for Serah and her friends, imagine what she'd be like if she ever fell in love.
11. "The encounter is ordained": spoken by Yeul about Lightning ending up at the ruins of the temple. What encounter? With the Chaos? The plot points toward this conclusion, but what if it's with Caius instead?
12. Lightning being taken to Valhalla: Yeul's chaos is responsible for this. It was most likely an accident, but we should take into account the fact that Yeul was watching her as Lightning fell through the Historia Crux. From LR, we know that Yeul cared for Caius so deeply that she... kept him alive against his will, bound him to the chaos of the dying world, and literally couldn't agree with herself on whether or not to let him go. Maybe she dragged Lightning to Valhalla on purpose. Maybe she did it to protect Etro from Caius. Maybe she did it to keep him company. Maybe it was a complete accident. Maybe, since Caius describes her as a mere child who can't be without him, she doesn't know exactly why she did it. Only the Yeul of 700 AF could be capable of truly understanding the real world, and, tellingly, she doesn't care for him nearly as much as she does Noel.
13. I can't get over how he looks at her: during their first meeting in LR, like I said above, there's just something in the way he looks at her that gets to me. After the battle, in particular... are there words to describe it? It's intense and it's kind of intimate and I fangirled so hard the first time I saw the scene that I missed it. Now I literally can't get over it. Is there a name for what's going on there?! It's bitter, it's defeated, it's determined, but there's something else there... almost like remorse, guilt, and an apology resting on the tip of his tongue that he'll never speak.
14. She impresses him and bests him: in Valhalla, he calls her "warrior goddess" (a mistranslation, by the way - it's supposed to be something like "knight of the goddess"), but after she dodges all his fancy magic and drops in behind him, he smirks and tells her he's impressed. Later, he almost seems to enjoy being thrashed by her at certain points during their first battle (the "cinematic action-heavy" one). He calls her his "finest opponent", even. As the most powerful warrior in history... he probably thought her completely destroying him was kind of hot.
15. We're meant to feel sorry for him: I made a Herculean effort to avoid falling into the DILP trap a lot of fangirls fall into. If Caius was meant to be a villain, then I was going to make sure to treat him as such. Then LR came out and I gave up on that. His story is tragic. He did a lot of things no one should like, but as far as I can tell, Lightning doesn't hate him for any of it, and the sendoff he gets is heartwrenchingly tragic. It's not a villain's end. It's an antihero's/antivillain's end. And the music that plays after Lightning's battle with him? Beautiful, and tragic. He brought his end upon himself, sure, but he sure didn't mean to. I mean, Yeul won't even let him die because she "loves" him so much. She knows full well how much he's suffering because of her, but her terror of being alone keeps her from letting him go.
16. The end credits theme: their themes play one after the other during LR's credits. Probably unintentional, but I can't help latching onto it a little. And how utterly opposite one another they are. They are both strong, passionate pieces, but speak with completely different tones - one sad, one triumphant.
17. Hades and Persephone: more or less, their roles as of the trilogy's end reminds me of this. Caius is an all-powerful Guardian of the underworld, and Lightning is a fair maiden in a beautiful land. One took the plunge into eternal darkness, sacrificing his own desires to keep the world safe and keep Yeul from being alone. The other walks free into a peaceful new world. In a way, they represent life and death.
18. They are both great warriors: and there's something about two powerful people with such layered and interesting characters willing to be vulnerable with each other one moment and also perfectly willing to argue with each other and also fight back-to-back on the battlefield and curb-stomp everything that's frankly awesome.
19. Lightning and Lumina: Lumina is Lightning's soft and vulnerable side, who wanted to be loved and wanted and didn't like being alone. Lightning destroyed that part of her in an attempt to be "stronger", but it follows her throughout her life. Caius loves with all he is, as he demonstrates by his dedication to Yeul (whom he only left at the very end, on the day of her death, when she had Noel, whom she loved, to be with her in her final moments). Imagine what it would be like if he ever fell in love with her. I don't think she'd ever be left wanting.
20. The possible flirting: at the very beginning of the first sequel, he seems to be flirting with her, and Lightning practically feeds into it with the way she blows him off. This fades fast as the seriousness of the situation really strikes home, but it seems to be present.
21. Their... intimate activities: let's be frank, it would be really hot. Beyond that, though, think of what it would mean to both of them: Caius finally gets to be intimate, with a woman physically his own age, and wake up knowing she's not going to die (and that he didn't just make love to a teenage girl). Lightning gets to freely acknowledge "Claire Farron", have a true connection with someone else, and know she's loved and wanted. It also means they've conquered Valhalla, which probably hadn't been a fun place for either of them, and left all the bad memories behind.
22. Caius's loneliness: his only constant companion has been a 14-17-year-old girl for untold hundreds, if not thousands, of years. While he eventually succeeded in his plan to "save" her from her fate, it was only to discover that there had been no fate to save her from, as she had chosen to be reborn to be with him again. He tries to kill himself, many times if his words to Lightning are any indication, for who knows how long, and eventually gives up and gives in to his self-imposed fate. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if he were a very, very lonely man. Lightning can fill that void, because she too is known to be lonely.
23. They form very strong bonds with those they are close to: Caius formed a strong bond with Yeul, and as far as we know with Noel as well. Lightning formed a strong bond with her five l'Cie companions over a very short period of time (my headcanon is that FF13 lasts thirteen days). While they'd have to work past the pain they've caused each other, I don't think them forming a bond between themselves is all that far-fetched. They are more alike than I ever realized before, particularly with the revelations of Lightning Returns, and while that might cause them to initially clash, it would also allow them to form an emotional connection based on shared experiences.
24. Lightning's man would have to be superhuman: as per an interview with Motomu Toriyama, the designer and creator of the character of Lightning, Lightning's lover would have to be practically superhuman to be with her, which makes sense. The woman's not easily impressed, after all, and is canonically stated in LR to not have ever had romantic entanglements of any kind (makes complete sense considering her military past). But what kind of superhuman are we talking about? If we're talking about raw power, sans Bhunivelze (and, depending on how technical you want to get, including Bhunivelze), Caius is the most powerful being in Nova Chrysalia, full stop. Even when he fights her in the temple, he can call on Bahamut, use powerful physical attacks like Flamesparka, and uses some of the series' most powerful magic, like Tornado. He's also got an exceptionally powerful will, encumbered only by Yeul's own incredible power, without which he'd be unstoppable. He's immortal, capable of bending time and space to his will, and now guards the entirety of the Chaos from invading the new world. But he's also superhuman in his devotion to those he loves and his determination when he's got his mind set on something. The man is no fool, nor a weak-minded plaything of the cosmos, and even if he were simply human, he'd still be something to reckon with. I think Lightning can respect that completely. And who knows, maybe she'd think it was pretty hot.
25. I get a sense of mutual respect: neither of them underestimates the other and Caius flat-out states she impresses him. I believe Lightning gains a great deal of respect for him following the events of Lightning Returns, considering his ultimate fate. There's really no issue of power dynamics there, at all, and I don't think there'd be any issues with them fighting for dominance or anything in a relationship. They consider each other equals, and that's how it would remain.
26. Think of the arguing: no, seriously, think how entertaining their arguments would be.
Drop a comment and tell me what you think. And please try to be nice, even if you don't agree! I wasted 2-3 hours of my life writing this thing. It was a very nice stress reliever, though.
Source of LIGHTNING RETURNS cutscene translations: Tensai-Shoujo's Tumblr
Toriyama interview: GameFAQs / Tensai-Shoujo
...my poor baby... I just want to curl up in a little ball every time I think of Caius's fate...