Lie awake and pray

by Pavana Lachrimae

Disclaimer: Final Fantasy X does not belong to me. No squish please.

Rating: R

Pairings: Jecht x Auron, implied Auron x Tidus.

Teaser: Set in Zanarkand, pre-sin. Auron muses on Jecht, and the boy that so teasingly resembles him...

Warnings: M/M, yaoi, spoilers, some content may disturb.

-x-

As per usual, I can't sleep. Strange, because you would think after all these years the steady rock of Jecht's house-boat would gradually have soothed me into oblivion (I still think of it as his, after all these years). And it's not that the sounds of the city are keeping me awake, either. Our home seems to exist in an odd little niche of its own, away from the roar of the crowds and the colossal machina whose presence I still can't get used to. I felt their existence from streets away- heavy and burning, more disturbing than I had ever found them in Spira- but I cannot hear them. Only the lilting hush of the sea in the background and, if I listen carefully, Tidus' breathing.

He is in the next room, his bed pushed up against the wall nearest me, his lithe body only two-and-a-half precious metres from the edge of my shoulder. If I close my eyes against the glare of the city -sound escapes us, but not light-, immediately I can envision the gentle rise and fall of his chest in time with this sound, pushing a slow and infuriatingly subtle beat against the one strap of his shirt that has not yet come undone. He has fallen asleep in the clothes he was wearing when he came back, now half-off and sweat-stained from the blitzball game, and his limbs are splayed out across the bed. One leg of his shorts has ridden up his thigh, baring more flesh than it should. He is lying face-up. His sculpted hand grazes the wall separating us.

I cannot allow myself to think about him, because if I do, gradually I will allow the wall and the space between us to disappear, and his fingers will catch on the skin of my waist and trail downwards in quiet experimentation. My good hand will leave my chest and instead move to guide his wrist as I lie on my side and let him touch me, let him explore, let him shed his innocence willingly, piece by shivering piece. Already I can imagine the exact way he rests on his side next to me, concentration and anxiety parting his lips. His hands are careful and tentative. He is nothing like his father.

And yet at the same time he is far too much like Jecht. Less in his looks than in the way he moves when he is playing- something in the roughened grace of his limbs makes me feel his father's absence as painfully as I felt it ten years ago. I watched him grow from a sexless child into the dangerous territory of young adolescence, lithe and pretty enough to spark again those vestiges of lust that Jecht left behind, yet innocent enough to dumb them down with fear. I distanced myself from the boy, not just because I did not know how to rear a son, but because I couldn't trust myself to be close to him. Paranoid, but necessary. I had made a promise to his father that I would take care of him, and that meant protecting Tidus from everything- even myself.

I was careful not to mention Jecht too much, afraid that even one careless remark could throw everything that happened between us out into the open. I knew how Tidus felt about his father. I didn't want to imagine how he might react if he knew that the very same brash lips that had made his childhood a misery had, only a few years ago, been trailing hotly across my stomach.

How I missed those lips, in the beginning. Every night, as I slept on the couch beneath hostile blankets- and later, after Tidus' mother died, beneath the sheets of a bed that I knew had once touched Jecht's body- I lay awake for hours, praying that the memories of him would lose their potency as they replayed themselves, unbidden, through my mind. Eventually, they did, but it was a long time before they stopped hurting. I would remember the exact texture of his flesh as I bared it beneath my palms, and the way the ridges of his scars would feel against my fingertips. The curve of his cheek would get lost in my hair; later he would mould the shape of his body to mine and tease it through his fingers as he fell asleep.

Taken out of context, he was not a spectacular lover. His hands were clumsy and sometimes too rough to be pleasurable- he was a forceful kisser, and although this could be thrilling at times, it made me paranoid that Braska would ask me to explain the bruises on my lips the next morning. Often, he would push too far too quickly, and I had to stop him or guide him to somewhere less painful. But it was the gestures that surrounded the sex which made his loss burn all the more intensely, and that unspoken chemistry between us which made me want him even when he climbed blind drunk into my bed at night.

The first time we made love, he felt like a virgin. He fumbled at the clasps to my sodden robes as we lay on the bank of the lake at Macalania forest, dangerously close to where the summoner was sleeping in the tent we had snuck out of earlier on. Our lips and noses bumped gracelessly when he leant down to kiss me, and his hands lay uncertain on my chest, lost on unfamiliar terrain. When I unsnagged the waistband of his pants and eased them off he tensed up; when my fingers explored the backs of his thighs and the folds of his flesh he jerked as if stunned. But it did not stop him from clumsily handling my desire as I teased his, and although he was blushing by the time he pulled away from me, it did not stop him from tugging at the side of my waist, urging me to turn over.

He didn't know how to prepare me. I was the first man he had ever been with. Even after taking his fingers into my mouth up to the knuckle, I had to guide his hand down to between my thighs and actually tell him what to do with it before he understood me. Through the stabbing pains I whispered to him- slower, deeper, push towards yourself, yes, there, there... when he finally managed to make me shudder and tense he was so desperate to satisfy his own need that he pulled out of me so quickly I almost whined.

I climbed onto my hands and knees, my wet robe pooling around my wrists as I felt his legs tangle themselves with mine. His tanned thighs pressed against the backs of my own- I felt the tip of his member breach me and travel tentatively through the threshold, and I spread myself against him, suddenly conscious about the way the ends of my hair were brushing against the mud. The edge of the lake was lapping against my toes, but by the time Jecht was deep inside me I did not care. I needed only him; all other sensations were defunct. My whole world shrunk to our bodies and the spaces between them. In my build-up to ecstasy I pleaded for him to reach around and touch me, and I could hear his breaths quicken as he tremblingly obeyed.

Jecht came first, but he brought me off by hand afterwards. We collapsed onto the grass, his climax still warm and slick within me, my own still resonating in my shaking limbs. He kissed my ears and the back of my neck as he withdrew, and though we had to separate once we had washed and returned to either side of Braska, the warm press of his flesh still seemed to linger against mine.

And it still does, sometimes- I feel his body beside me, like a ghost, and at night its absence taunts me. And every day Tidus seems to fit the space he left behind more and more.

He has started dropping small hints towards me, too. Walking topless around the house; stretching and grinning at me when he knows I am watching. He finds excuses to get close to me, pretending to be drunk when he comes home so he can lean against me (even though he never drinks) and jumping 'playfully' into my lap when I'm reading (or trying to ignore the fact that he's not wearing very much). Tidus is still an innocent, but he is growing aware of the effect that his athletic body has on people, even if he does not yet know that effect extends to me.

Neither does he know that he is playing with fire. Part of me is afraid that, one day, I will wake up and find him wound around me, sleeping just like Jecht did when we were alone together. And there is another, darker fear within me that, when I wake, he will not be sleeping peacefully beside me, but shivering and crying, his virginity crushed between my body and the bloodied sheets- or else, that he will be gone.

Fourteen, Tidus- you were fourteen years old when I first started dreaming about you. How can you not be afraid of me? Would you change your attitude, perhaps, if you knew the truth? I am on borrowed time; I have known that for a while now. How long can an unsent last before the transformation from ghost to fiend occurs?

Perhaps it has already started.

My resolve is already breaking. Every time your lips sweep past mine I feel more and more compelled to meet them with my own. When you shove yourself into my lap under the premise of stealing my glasses, my hands itch to wrap around your waist and pull you against me. I know that if I kissed you then, if I started to unwrap your infuriatingly smooth body and taint your innocent skin with my lips, you would not resist. I could peel your clothes off and take you then and there, and you would only moan and gasp and urge me on. You would let me break you, Tidus, and it scares me.

Jecht told me to take care of you. Now every night I plead to his memory that, when the day comes and you climb into my bed and slowly ease my hand between your aching thighs, I will have the strength to resist. For this, I would willingly sacrifice rest- so that you would sleep soundly, my beautiful young curse, while I lie awake and pray.

-The end-