There’s a lot of discussion surrounding Fang and Vanille’s relationship: what are they to each other?
Vanille and Fang were residents of Gran Pulse in the village of Oerba. During the War of Transgression the two lost their families at the hands of Cocoon’s l’Cie and fal’Cie, and befriended at Oerba’s orphanage.
I guess they’re just good childhood friends.
But the more controversial answer is that they’re lesbians. It’s what many players immediately think when seeing them interact. They seem to be very close to each other. Fang is very protective of Vanille. The way Fang and Vanille embrace each other when they reunite seems passionate. Fang anxiously checks Vanille’s brand, which just happens on her upper left thigh…*
Their relationship does seem intense. And at one point, Fang and Vanille were probably lovers, since:
Fang was originally written as a male character. Early in development, Lightning was meant to be a flirtatious character with more sex appeal but these traits were transferred to Fang to make Lightning a more serious character. Character designer Tetsuya Nomura has stated that when compared to the other characters personality-wise, Fang is stronger than Lightning and more stubborn than Snow.
Their relationship was also to have a mythological connection.
The characters of Fang and Vanille are based on the Ragnarok myth of Líf (“life”) and Lífþrasir (“eager for life”)—the only humans who will survive Ragnarok. They sleep through the destruction of the earth and upon awakening will find the earth verdant again. Líf and Lífþrasir will become the progenitors of a new race of humans, and their descendants will inhabit the world. This is congruent with the idea that Fang was originally envisioned as a male character.
Fang’s character as a man simply carried over when she became a woman. This also explains the remnants of a slight friction between Sazh over Vanille. The writers stopped short at the love triangle, as they did with any potential romance subplot for the two. But they kept their relationship ambiguous enough for us to think they’re still an item, without it being “shocking”.
Yet, maybe both interpretations could have a bit of truth to them. Vanille could think of Fang as just a good friend, whereas Fang lusts after more. If Fang were attracted to women, Vanille, who exhibits a greater amount of feminine gender attributes relative to other gender expressions, might excite Fang. Maybe Fang Vanille is hot, and is constantly pursuing a relationship with her under the guise of being her friend? At the most, Vanille could be questioning, or even secretly bisexual, whereas Fang is a lesbian.
Or, it could be the other way around, you never know.
- Maybe they thought they were a bit too intimate, or inappropriate, for the occasion. Fang seemed interested to see how much time she had left.
Or maybe it was due to wanting to see that booty?