Greetings and Goodbyes

A sharp snap in the distance indicated a door shutting, and the sound carried easily through the crisp night air. It was undoubtedly Sazh again, as he had already woken from his uneasy slumber throughout the night several times to check on Snow's whereabouts. The older gentleman was, despite his earlier façade, not at all happy with their current location. In private he had told Snow that the environment summoned forth too many bad memories—too many thoughts that were better left forgotten. Sazh had crumbled beneath the weight of his burdens and his guilt, and his false countenance of ignorant happiness had been stripped away to reveal the broken father beneath.

Sazh had been near to tears then, a sight that was most disheartening for Snow to witness - disturbing, really. The Sazh that Snow knew, who had been Snow's co-conspirator and confidant through thick and thin, had disintegrated and revealed a man far more fragile than Snow knew how to handle. This must have been obvious to Sazh because, as quickly as he had fallen apart, he had pulled himself together again and reinstated the perverted old man that they had grown to love - or, in Lightning's case, barely tolerate.

But still…Snow had barely been able to help Sazh through his troubles. All he offered was a pair of ears to listen with, but he hadn't uttered any helpful advice, no sound bits of wisdom; nothing that Sazh typically offered Snow. Was Snow really that useless with such things? Was he only good at getting aroused and beating the shit out of monsters?

Snow sighed and rubbed his arms absently, trying to warm himself. He had left a large portion of his belongings inside, but he didn't want to retrieve them. He wasn't sure if Lightning was still awake, and he didn't particularly want to go see her; not when he wasn't even remotely close to knowing her thoughts on his sudden display of...whatever the hell that had been. He knew it wasn't planned—one moment he was in one spot, and the next he was hovering a few inches above Lightning wondering how the hell he got there. He did some fast talking, which was something he was pretty good at, said he needed to wait until she was ready, and then left.
Why did he leave? Why did he go so suddenly?

Why the hell was he making those kinds of moves on her?

He rubbed his neck again, thoroughly exasperated with himself. He had seen Lightning's despair at Sazh's words when they first entered the city. He had seen the doubts return yet again; once he saw her eyes flicker towards him and saw the wondering dismay that they contained. He knew she was doubting whether or not they should try this out, wondering how Serah would come into play.

After that, it was almost as if…as if he had to prove himself, show to her that it wasn't a question of Serah anymore. It was about them. Had he tried to prove too much, too soon?

Snow grunted in a half-mocking chortle. Judging by the rigidness of her body every time he drew near to her, he probably had been. Yet, with that thought came a faint trace of hope: she never pulled away from him. Not once. Surely that meant something, maybe that he was making some progress?

She let Gadot get pretty damn close to her. Why not me?

Gadot. His best friend.
Gadot. The damn name sent a jealous rage coursing through him every time he thought it. Hearing what Gadot had done, from Lightning's lips, had been positively infuriating. Gadot, his lumbering idiot of a best friend that knew Snow had a thing for Lightning, went off and got her drunk at some bar and ended up doing what? Groping and grabbing Lightning on a beach, probably slobbering all over her and rubbing his—

Enough. He breathed deeply through his nose, calming himself. It had been a long time ago, he thought. Or had it? Lightning had mentioned something about when it occured, but it totally escaped him now. It had to have been a few years ago.

If it was only a couple months ago, I'll beat the bastard—

But wasn't I with Serah a couple months ago?

Snow thought about it a moment, nodded resolutely, and decided that it didn't matter. If it really had been only a couple months ago, he swore he'd break Gadot's nose next time he saw the bastard. Or, better still, he'd make good on Lightning's word and shove Gadot's left testicle up his nostril. He deserved more than that for stealing Lightning's first kiss in some drunken display of machismo—

But my first time having sex involved alcohol…

He thought about it again, shook his head, and concluded that it was irrelevant.

A crack sounded somewhere off to his left, shaking Snow from whatever thoughts he had buried himself in. Was Sazh coming to check on him or something? Maybe the old man needed someone to talk to again?

He began pacing, his soft footsteps rattling the metallic rooftop. If Sazh needed someone to talk to, Snow wasn't so sure he would be able to assist him. He was bad enough when he was still somewhat awake—Sazh speaking to him about personal issues when Snow was starting to get drowsy could end badly.

His pacing became faster and noisier as his mind spiraled out of control from there. How did he ever expect to be an emotional rock for Serah if he couldn't even form a coherent sentence of comfort when speaking to Sazh? Could he be that rock for Lighting?

He stopped. Did Lightning even need an emotional rock? Would a soldier that hardened need such a thing?

Fingers itched towards his bandana, to distract himself, only to find sweat-dampened locks in its stead. Of course. His bandana was still inside. He had thrown it and never picked it up. It was only a few feet from Lightning's bed, and she was probably fast asleep by now…

A bitter wind bit at his exposed digits. Gritting his teeth, Snow buried his hands in his pockets and took a seat on the edge of the rooftop, facing the dwelling that he had been diligently guarding, watching over it silently for any sign of trouble. There were no nasty beasties in sight, and if any dared to get near Lightning's resting spot, there'd be hell to pay.

Absolute hell.

His eyes roamed upwards, to the opposing roof - the roof of Fang and Vanille's old home. He wouldn't soon forget the events that had taken place there; where testosterone, lust, and growing attachment nearly got the best of him. He'd almost gone over the edge, nearly got lost in a sea of want and desire. He had been phenomenally aroused then, perhaps by the sight of her legs and exposed midsection, or maybe the sound of her voice, or maybe the way the wind whipped the hair across her face...

He wasn't entirely sure, and for all he knew it could have just been her mere presence. Whatever it had been had made him lose track of himself. He had been having an inward battle on whether or not he should make short work of what little clothing she wore, speaking nonsense about making himself even with Gadot. He had gone on some stupid speech, making himself seem so honorable after very nearly ripping her shirt off and doing what he had fantasized about for so long.

He was a liar; he felt dirty and rotten.

But even if his intentions and words had been less-than-honorable, their shared experience had been pretty damn amazing, and recalling the memory made him grin. Kissing her skin, tasting the saltiness of the sweat that had gathered throughout the course of the day, smelling the mixture of earth and sweetness that clung to her…it had been ecstasy. Serah's kisses — more experienced than Lightning's would be - had nothing on the way that Lightning made him feel. Serah's lips meeting his was an action so simple, sweet, and so damn innocent that it barely lit a fire within his belly. Lightning hadn't even responded to Snow's actions, and yet Snow was forced to pull himself away, to distance himself from Lightning before he did something she may later regret.


He knew now that he had just wanted to be Serah's hero, in a way. Yeah, he had used her to get to Lightning, but Snow had still wanted her to look up to him, to respect him, and maybe make him feel a little less guilty about what he was doing. He wanted to protect her; in fact, he felt obligated to do so. When Serah announced that she was a l'Cie, he felt as if he had to find a way to save her. Not that he wanted to, exactly. Just that he had to.

With Lightning he was free of that obligation. She protected him, and he protected her. In a fight, the responsibility was shared. Outside of the battlefield, when Lightning's walls crumbled and she let him in—she didn't expect him to be there, to heal her, and that's precisely why he wanted to. She didn't expect him to solve everything, and so he tried his damndest to do exactly that. The expectation wasn't there, and so he was able to freely love—

Wait. 'Love'? Where the hell did that come from? No. It's too early for that. Way too early. I already made the mistake of telling that to one Farron girl. I'm not about to screw up with this one. That was a mistake he didn't intend on making twice.

He shook his head, mumbling something to himself. Eyes glanced up, scanning the area around him, half expecting some big-ass dinosaur to have come sneaking in like a ninja while he had been devoted to his own thoughts.

One day I'll take those things on…maybe that will shut Light up about the damn flower.

Snow snorted quietly. Lightning had yet to forget about the infamous flower incident. Whenever Snow performed less-than-exemplary in a battle - or anything else, really - she'd bring it up, always with that smart-ass smirk that he found irresistibly annoying, the one that always made him grin despite himself…

He buried his head in his hands, groaning in frustration. Everything always seemed to go back to her. He suspected that it always would. In a way, much of his life had been about Lightning since he first met her.

With a heavy sigh he reached into his pocket and pulled out a long-forgotten item: Serah's tear. He held it aloft, peering at the outline of Cocoon in the center of its depths and wondered at what the creator of the crystal shard could have been thinking, even as he replaced the crystal back to its hiding spot. Would she hate him? Would she hate Lightning? Disown her? Abandon her?

He frowned, set his jaw. Snow may have been new to the whole getting-to-know Lightning business but, from what he did understand, Serah leaving Lightning would cause Light an unending amount of pain and guilt. She could never move forward.

A door creaked right below him. He leaned over the side of the building, his head peeking out over the edge of the roof, trying to find the source of the noise, though it was undoubtedly just the wind. The motion upset the necklaces hanging from his neck, and they all wound together, tinkling loudly in the otherwise still night. Upon spying nothing, he leaned back and made a move to unwind his necklaces when, upon the sight of the jewels hanging from his neck, he froze.

His engagement necklace.

He plucked at the chain around his neck, his frown deepening. How could he expect Lightning to move forward when he still couldn't remove a simple piece of jewelry? How could she when, every time she looked at him, she could be reminded of who they had to leave behind?

His hand reached for the jewel and tightened around its circumference, as if strangling it, and his mind began to race. He couldn't move into anything resembling a relationship with Lightning and cling to this relic of his past with Serah. Lightning deserved more than that. She shouldn't have to feel like she was betraying someone every time she gazed at Snow.

Maybe…yeah. It was time. It was time to let go of the past, once and for all.

It was time to say good-bye.

He reached behind his neck and unclasped the necklace that came to resemble so much. Because of this necklace, he had been a part of the adventure of a lifetime. Because of this necklace, he had found the woman of his dreams, though it wasn't the one who held the matching jewel. Because of this necklace and the journey that started because of what it signified, he had become a hero. He had become a man. It was far more than an engagement necklace—it resembled the small steps he had taken in his brisk walk through life that had gotten him to this point.

But it also represented Serah, and so he couldn't cling to it without clinging to a woman that was not Lightning, however closely they may have resembled one another.

A grim line replaced the frown he had worn throughout the night. "I was wrong," he whispered. "I'm not the right man for you. You'll find a better hero to take care of you, I'm sure of it." Gingerly he wrapped the necklace chain around Serah's tear. "Don't blame Lightning. Don't be mad at her. This…is my fault. Not hers. Be mad at me."

Once again he aimed the heart of the crystal at the sky, at Cocoon. "Good-bye, Serah." He tucked the crystal and the necklace back into his pocket, promising to himself, and to Lightning, that it wouldn't be removed any time soon. "I'm sorry for—"


Snow whirled around, both shocked and relieved to find Lightning striding towards him, curiosity etched into her features as she drew near. "Light?" She was one rooftop over, hovering on the edge of the building, preparing to leap to the roof Snow currently claimed. She was a good fifteen feet above him. "How did you get up there?"

"Beats the hell out of me," she shrugged once. "I saw you up there, took the door beneath you and ended up here." She snapped her fingers once and jumped down, the AMP technology cradling her fall. "What did you have in your hand?"

Snow smiled uncertainly before it blossomed into a grin. "Just some rock I was carrying." Long strides carried him over to her, and once again he felt his blood warm at her presence. "Why are you here?"

"Couldn't sleep. Why are you taking watch way out here?"

"Couldn't sit still." He tugged at the hem of his shirt, suddenly remembering why he hadn't seen her for so many hours. "So, ah…"

She took a few bold steps forward. "Why didn't you come inside? Sazh was worried."

They were a yard apart.

"I wanted time to myself, I guess," he said, averting his gaze, becoming quite aware that she had still forgotten to replace her vest. His cheeks burned.

"You never came back. That's a lot of time that you needed to think. What was so important that you had to run without saying a word to anyone?"

Was this going to be one of her interrogations?

His arousal shifted into annoyance. "Stuff." He scratched his head, examined his surroundings. Did she always have to question him about everything?

"'Stuff'?" Lightning took a step forward, an angry glower in her eyes. "'Stuff'? I had to go through hell by myself in there—Fang kept offering 'pointers' about…about positions and Sazh wouldn't shut up about your damn eidolons, and you sat out here thinking about stuff? That's not going to cut it, Villiers." She took a long stride forward, her finger poking his chest. The bridge between them had been crossed. "You owe me."

Snow pursed his lips in thought, debating on where to even begin. He had thought about a lot of 'stuff'. "Last night, in the tower. You messed with my head. I woke up and saw you first thing. It was…"

"Weird?" Lightning offered, her expression carefully indifferent.
Snow nodded uncertainly. "Not a bad 'weird', just…different. And today I just wanted close and—"

"I noticed."

"I'm talking now, I believe." Despite himself, Snow grinned. "As I was saying. I wanted to be near you, and you didn't pull away, either. But I can't help but wonder if you're ready to-"

"Can I speak for myself yet, or are you going to start one of your speeches again?" Lightning huffed, shifting her weight impatiently. "You talked enough on the roof over there. Now, here we are, hours later, and you're still talking."

"Last I checked," Snow countered, "you were the queen of one-liners and awkward silences." He glanced down. "And death threats. You don't do conversations."

Lightning glared for about a minute. "I fail to see your point."

Snow's eyes shot up in time to see Lightning tuck away a self-satisfied smirk. "You do it on purpose!"

"Of course." Another half-step nearer caused a change in her demeanor. She became skittish, nervous, and her cheeks were tinged a bit more brightly than normal. She opened her mouth to speak, but a creaking door in the distance silenced the thought that was in her head.

"Just Sazh, probably," Snow said, wondering at the change between the confident Lightning and this new, coy woman before him.

"Oh." She paused. "Okay." Another silence stretched before them, long and thin, seemingly lasting forever. "What I was about to say is that…this will be hard to get used to, and it will be...odd, but…" she glanced back up at him, and Snow swore her eyes raked over his neck. "I'm ready."

He blinked, slowly. "For…what?" He had to admit, he wasn't entirely sure—

She released baited breath in a long stream of curses. "Damn it, Snow! You're the biggest idiot I've ever—"

"What did I do?"

Lightning stormed to the far end of the rooftop before returning, her swearing not alleviating any as she vented. Her eyes were bright; her mouth was still spewing obscenities about both Snow and Snow's mother; and, much to Snow's astonishment, he felt that tiny, angry fist grab a handful of his shirt. With a great tug, she yanked him down to her level.

Confusion melted into surprise as Lightning's lips clumsily met his jaw. "Damn it," she mumbled, her lips moving against his stubbly jaw line. Next she greeted his chin, the corner of his mouth, and then an explosion of sensations welcomed him when her plush lips met Snow's for the first time.

He tasted something wonderfully sweet, something distantly familiar, something—

Wait, why is she pulling away?

Confused eyes met Lightning's, who was watching him warily. She seemed embarrassed, but she would be loathe to admit it. Maybe she was humiliated that she had missed? He had found it rather cute…

Maybe she was afraid she was too sudden?

I've been waiting for that for ages, though.

Maybe she thought…

What the hell am I doing?

He smiled to himself, which caused Lightning's brows to furrow. "What?" she demanded, obviously unhappy. "If you have something to say—"

"I do." He waited a moment, still smiling softly. He cupped her chin, angling her head up and bent down to meet her mouth for a second time. He hesitated when he felt her warm breath tickle his lips. "Stop talking."

His lips pressed gently against her top lip, committing to memory the way that patch of velvety skin felt before he dared move on. He didn't know how long this would last, but he wanted to ensure the memory of her, of this, would always be with him.

He moved on to her bottom lip, touching it once with his own before enveloping it completely. A short, warm breath escaped Lightning; it may have been a sigh of contentment or surprise, but, either way, it urged Snow on.

It was amazing how that soft, dewy, lovely mouth could drive a man wild. How often had he dreamed of kissing Lightning? Fantasized about it? It had consumed hours of his life, possibly days if those hours were combined. Yet, all that fantasizing was in vain—no, this kiss wasn't exactly what he had planned, what he had dreamed of…

That sweet taste filled his mouth again, and this time he could place its origins: the succulent Oerban fruit that Snow had grown to love throughout this journey.

No, this wasn't what he had dreamed of. This was a vast improvement.

She was clumsy, unsure of what to do, but it was…beautiful, simply put. Snow's hands found Lightning's neck and it explored its contours as the other played with silken locks of hair. They kissed tenderly, exploring the other with great precision, using their hands as a mean of communication.

Snow showed no rush to grab and grope her—with great discipline he kept his hands in zones he knew he would be safe in. Eventually his hand would leave her hair and instead trace her spine, her shoulder, and the muscles in her upper arm; all the while he memorized every shape, every detail that he could. He dedicated the taste of the Oerban fruit mixed with sweaty saltiness to his memory, along with the feel of her skin beneath his fingertips and the way her breath came in short, shallow, quiet gasps.

Her hands, too, took their part in expressing themselves. At first she had been hesitant, unsure of what to really do with those extra limbs when she wasn't gripping his shirt with deathly strength. Eventually she, too, began her explorations and soon she found Snow's biceps, which she took no small amount of time to discover and learn about. From there her hands traveled down to his abdomen, treading dangerous ground. Perhaps she realized what she was doing because, mid-kiss, her hands shot up to Snow's chest and there they remained.

Snow had been with other women throughout his life, but none had the same effect that Lightning had on him. His body was reacting strongly to her, unimaginably so, and it took all that he had to retain control of himself. Every inch of him burned for her, craving her in a way he never knew possible. Though inexperienced, her fingers, strong and thin, left a trail of fire wherever they touched. The only way he could satisfy the burning hunger of his body was that which caused the fire to begin with.

He parted for a moment, pressing his jaw against her temple. "Lightning…" he mumbled, his hands totally preoccupied in the details of her body. Whatever thought was supposed to come after that was forgotten once he kissed her temple. That single kiss trailed back down to her mouth again, and this time the tenderness gave way to a passion that had long been contained on both parts.

They became lost in each other, in the moment. Their surroundings were forgotten as lips met yet again, sensuously and, this time, far less cautiously. What started out as something simple and romantic began to give way to emotions more heated and carnal.

Snow's heart beat faster as Lightning's body crashed against his. One set of fingers were lost somewhere between her hair and her tailbone while the other set was gripping the hem of her shirt tightly. A voice within him cried out for him to cease, to stop, but he had wanted this for so damn long that it was hard to heed it.

Pounding lust and a tidal wave of other, lesser emotions hit him. He wanted her, but he knew he shouldn't take her. He needed to be with her, to join with her, but he knew he couldn't. He craved her body, to feel her and explore her, but she couldn't, he wouldn't. Not yet.

But he wasn't so sure he could stop himself.

His eyes squeezed shut and he pressed his hands firmly into Lightning's skin. He soon found one at the small of Lightning's back, and the other had tucked itself inside Lightning's shirt, counting her ribs.

The kiss slowed again, back to its original pace, gentle and sweet once more. Snow nipped once at her bottom lip, earning a small smirk from Lightning and a grin for himself. He felt her smile and pressed his mouth against her upper lip once more. Their lips lingered, barely a hair's breadth apart, before Snow rose back to his full height, pulling Lightning in close to him.

She obviously wasn't used to such affection. Her body, as it always was in such moments, was as stiff as a board, but it eventually relaxed. When it did, Snow enveloped her in his embrace more fully, resting his chin upon the crown of her head.

"This…is nice," she said, her voice muffled by Snow's shirt. A grin couldn't help but flash across Snow's face at the words.

"It is." He tried to focus on the image of Lightning's eyes, the memories of how her body felt, or even how fantastic it was to finally be able to hold her like this without her constantly withdrawing. Instead his mind wandered to the growing problem between his legs and the realization of just how short Lightning's skirt actually was.

His vision was blurring , and thoughts that he knew Lightning would kill him for entered his head. None were helping his situation, and all made his blood rush even faster to his groin.

Please don't let her feel anything. She'd kill me. Pleaseohplease…

Before he could even stop himself, he repeated, "It's nice. Not what I'd like to be doing with you right now…but still nice." Upon understanding what he had just admitted to, he froze and felt the fear flood him. Still, though, his arousal failed to disappear.

Lightning was quiet for some time before she separated from him a couple inches. "And what is it that you'd like to be doing?"

He managed his most charming smile. "I can go take a ride on the Shiva Sisters if you'd like—" A strong jab to his shoulder silenced the thought. "Fine, fine…what I'd love to do is something that my grandmother, whoever she is, would frown upon. Sazh, however, would be both thrilled and jealous."

Lightning frowned. "We're adults. You can talk about sex without alluding to it."

A loud laugh escaped him. "Fine. Yes. Sex. It's on every man's mind. Don't blame me if I find you really…sexifying."

"That's not a word, Villiers."

"Well, it should be."

She was quiet again, and still she kept the distance between them. Perhaps she had caught on to his problem, after all? "I thought you'd try to go for it."

"You'd kill me if I did."

"Damn right."

Another grin. "You're more than a number to me, Light. I'm trying to show you that." He pulled her close yet again to hide a snicker. "Besides, I'd like to keep my left testicle out of my nostril, thanks."

They stood there for some time in a silence that was neither awkward nor strained. They merely enjoyed the company of one another and, for once, they felt no need to share any words. The moment spoke enough for both of them.

The wind blew around them, encircling them with the fine crystalline dust that glittered with the moonlight as it sped past. In the distance the sound of the waves crashing against the shore and lapping gently against the sides of the building lulled them both into a state of relaxation that they had not experienced since the start of their journey.

Snow's thoughts wandered to various places as they stood there, entwined in each others' arms. He wondered what would become of them, of their future. He tried to picture what their kids would look like, if they ever had any, and he hoped that they would have Lightning's eyes. He thought about the journey before them and how it would probably become more difficult. How they would have to decide how to conduct themselves in front of the others. What they had to eat for tomorrow. Where they would go tomorrow. If Lightning would even acknowledge him, or their kiss, by the time the sun rose…

"What do we do, Snow?" Lightning asked, turning her head so her ear was pressed against the left side of his chest.

He looked down and brushed her hair out of her face. "Take it one step at a time. Get out of this l'Cie mess. Go back home." His arms wrapped around her shoulders again. "I'll take you out to dinner, somewhere nice. Maybe that place by Lebreau's. You can wear some hot dress with a lot cleavage—" he felt the angry glare that she wore, even if he couldn't see it. "Or even a little cleavage…anything other than that damn turtleneck—Hey! What the hell?" He glanced down after he felt that tiny fist of fury strike his stomach.

"I'm serious, Snow," she said flatly, blinking up at him, her hair once again spilling into her eyes. She wasn't going to be eased with foolish words aimed to distract. He was insulting her by trying such a thing. That's not how he wanted it to go.

"One day at a time, Light," he said, smiling softly down at her. Her mouth was still a thin line. "Right now we have to be heroes. Later we can be…us." He paused thoughtfully. "We can be us in our downtime, too. Who knows…maybe one day, instead of being us, we can be Mister and Missus Villiers." He grinned wickedly. "Lightning Villiers. It has a nice ring..." She stiffened at the comment, obviously not ready for such talk.

In fact, why was he even mentioning it?

"Or, instead of 'Lightning'…maybe I can call you by your real name, if you'll tell me?"

Yeah, way to distract her!

She grunted, still displeased. "Ask tomorrow."

The comfortable silence from before became strained, unpleasant. It was all his fault, too…

He turned his head, examined the opposite side of Oerba. "I'm thinking we should head for that bridge tomorrow," he stated, nodding towards the landmark of which he spoke. Lightning, too, turned to face it. "The other side of town is crawling with some nasty sons-of-bitches, though. We might be awhile in getting to the bridge…but I'm anxious to see the other side of it." They watched the monsters crawling near the beach, never traversing past the staircase that Hope and Lightning had cleared earlier. "Ever wonder why they never go past certain points unless they know you're there?"

Lightning, too, examined their foes by the beach side. "I always assumed they were just stupid." She chuckled quietly at her own idea of a joke before considering the mass amount of fiends to their side. "That'll take some time to get through, though…unless we have Hope blow them to Cocoon."

Snow scowled. "I'm sure we can handle it."

"You don't like Hope, do you?"

Snow grabbed her hands and held them tightly within his own, leveling his eyes with hers. "That's not true."

"Please. Every time I turn around, you two are glaring at each other…"

Snow was quiet for a moment before responding. "He's got it bad for you, Light."

Lightning chuckled. "I doubt it. He's just a kid that lost his mom. I'm the oldest here—well, I act more mature then Fang, anyway--and so, naturally, he gravitated to me."

Thinking the matter through, Snow decided it was best not to press the subject further. So long as Lightning maintained that belief, there was nothing to worry about. Besides, hadn't they just kissed? He was one up on the kid now…

"He's a good kid. You should try harder to get along with him."

"Got it, boss."

Lightning glanced down to her hands, still clasped tightly in Snow's. "I should…probably get back to bed," she muttered. As she did so, a look of annoyance spread over her, as if bed was a place she really didn't wish to be. Or maybe it was because Snow had reeled her back into another embrace?

"Goodnight, Light," Snow mumbled into her hair.


They pulled away awkwardly; Lightning too quickly. She turned on her heels and headed for the edge of the roof, then froze at the sound of boos emanating from where the dwelling was.

"What the hell are you doing?" Fang cried, and even in the dark of night Snow could see her waving her arms like a madman. "You didn't even give her a goodnight kiss! I didn't come out here to see shit like this!"

"I wanna see some action!" Sazh pumped his fist in the air. "Let's get it on!"

Snow heard Vanille squealing. "Come on, Lightning! Grab 'im like you did before!"

At least Hope isn't out here…

"Fang." Venom dripped from Lightning's voice as she spoke her name. "I hate her. I hate them. I hate all of them." She began searching her body. "Where's my damn gunblade? I'll shoot their heads off now and then I'll be rid of their idiotic—"

"Kiss him again!" Vanille was nearly beside herself with excitement.

"Don't disappoint me now! This is more action then I've had in years!"

Snow had to choke down his laughter at that one.

"Shut UP!" The last one was from Hope, inside the building still. Loud clanging could be heard, and Snow assumed Hope was throwing things at the ceiling.

Lightning fumed from the rooftop she and Snow shared. "They have ten seconds to run before I kill them."

Snow walked over to Lightning, one arm draped lazily over her shoulder. He raised a hand in the air, offering a single-fingered greeting to the three in the distance. As he did so, he leaned over and kissed Lightning's temple briefly.

"That was shit!" Fang stomped her foot. "You can do better than that—I saw you! I know you can!"

Snow grinned crookedly. "Make 'em bleed."

Lightning snorted derisively. "As if I'd aim for anything less." She curled her hands into fists at her side, pausing briefly to consider Snow thoughtfully. "I'll…see you tomorrow, Snow. And…thanks."

She gave him an odd smile that turned into a snarl as she jumped off the roof and raced towards the opposing building, bloodlust consuming her. She sprinted towards Sazh at full speed.

"Shitshitshit! Run! We gon' die!"

Snow couldn't contain the laughter that bubbled from within him. Lightning may be a soldier that didn't take shit from anyone, but she was, somehow, his…just as he was hers, wholly. He had given up a lot for Lightning, and Lightning was, potentially, giving up much more for him. They were an odd pair, but somehow they'd find a way to make it work.

Tomorrow they'd go to the bridge and press on to the lands beyond until the sun set, but once the moon rose and the velvet night sky replaced the bright blue of the day's, well…that's when he could have her again, all to himself. He could hold her without interruption, and maybe he could start peeling back the layers and discover parts of Lightning's personality that few, if anyone, had yet to discover.

Once more the wind blew and chilled him, but even as it did he couldn't help but think: his past was behind him. He had only the future, perhaps their future, to look forward to. No matter what happened between them, or how Serah would react to the news, one thing was certain: he was a hell of a lot warmer whenever Lightning was around.

He grinned as Sazh began to scream in the background. Yeah, everything's gonna be okay.

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