Note: Just a quick little Tikku oneshot I did last night – I couldn't sleep, so neither can they. Takes place at the Thunder Plains, after they decide to stay for the night. Enjoy! Oh, and I don't own the characters in this. )
Under the Covers
The blonde blitzballer shifted in his bed, trying to get comfortable and attempting to block out the crashes of thunder and the muted pitter-patter of rain against his window. Opportunities to sleep in a nice warm bed had been few and far between since he had arrived in Spira and joined Yuna's pilgrimage, and he intended to take full advantage of this one.
He had always been a heavy sleeper, but that was only when he was able to fall asleep, and lately, he had been having trouble with the getting there part. He supposed he could blame it on the thunder, or the bright flashes of lightning that precluded it, or on the whole "stranger in a new and unfamiliar place" thing, or even on the stress of protecting the savior of the world that was beginning to take its toll on both his body and his mind.
His thoughts were interrupted by a soft knock on the door.
Or, he decided, he could just blame it on her.
The door opened to reveal a petite blond in a small nightgown. Her hair was tousled and eyes sleepy, her arms crossed and cradling herself while her feet hopped from one to another almost unconsciously, trying to avoid the cold hard floor. Without a word (although a sad and silent farewell was given to the warmth of the covers that he was forced to desert when he moved from his comfortable position), he shifted in his bed, allowing the younger girl to climb in. While she now occupied the niche in the bed he had spent a good hour and a half forging, he was forced into new, uncharted, and cold territory. As he pulled the covers tighter around them, she snuggled up closer.
"Couldn't sleep." She mumbled.
"So you decided to ruin mine?"
"Too cold in my room. Warmer in here. 'S Nice..."
They had been doing this every night now, ever since they had been reunited when she had washed ashore by the Moonflow. She would approach him in the middle of the night and they would spend the night talking or bickering or teasing or even trying to sneak out from under Auron's watchful eye to go exploring. Tonight, though, he heard her starting to doze off, until a bolt of lighting crashed just outside their window, and suddenly she was very much awake and very much clinging to his half-naked self. The sensation of her cold body pressed against his was enough to rouse him from his drowsiness as well, and he grumbled to himself as he worked to disentangle their limbs.
"Chill out, wouldja?"
However, his features softened as another bolt of lighting flashed outside and she yelped before she dove under the covers. He sighed as he searched out her body and pulled her close to him with a comforting arm. He could feel her trembling softly.
"Hey..." He spoke gently. "It can't hurt us from in here. Let's go to sleep, alright?"
"Come on... come out from under there, okay?"
Tidus couldn't help but smile a bit. She sounded like a stubborn small girl. Well, younger girl, he supposed, since one couldn't get much smaller than she already was. Still, it was endearing, and he had to resist the urge to ruffle her hair. Instead, he pulled the covers over himself as well, joining her under the heavy blankets in the pitch-blackness.
For a moment the lighting and thunder were a distant memory, as the two hid silently in their own little world, only a blanket and a wall separating them from the next room, yet a million miles away. After a few minutes, she broke the silence.
"...Did you ever used to get scared? You know, when you were a kid?"
"Me? Never!" His smile quickly turned into a grimace when her elbow connected with his stomach.
"Ow! Okay, fine, fine!" He paused to think for a second before continuing. "I guess... I was always kind of scared of being alone. When I was little, my dad used to go away all the time, y'know, to go play blitzball, but I would be okay, since I still had my mom and all... But one day, I guess my dad got hurt or something, and my mom had to go to the hospital to see him late at night, and she left me by myself at home because I guess I was already asleep. But I woke up in the middle of the night, and… when I called for my mom, she wasn't there. I was alone... and all of a sudden, everything got bigger, and darker, and… scarier, you know? I mean, even now sometimes, when I'm by myself, I kind of just feel..."
"Helpless." She whispered.
Even in the pitch black, she was able to find the exact spots to meld her body against his as she nestled herself against his lithe frame while his arm instinctually, almost magnetically curled around her waist.
"Me too," She said.
"Good thing we're not alone, then..."
The sound of the thunder was muffled by the thick covers that protected them, and he could feel that her nerves were quelled as her whimpering ceased and she started to relax against his body. He had always found it strange that they fit perfectly against each other, that her head always seemed to find the perfect spot between his neck and his shoulder and they were so comfortable, so complete, so right together.
"Tidus?" She spoke much softer this time.
"How 'bout now? Do you... ever get scared?"
He paused again.
"All the time."
"I don't know... Of... Of what tomorrow will bring, or never getting to even see tomorrow. Of not being able to protect Yuna or not doing a good job. Of never finding the answers..."
"Do you love her?"
Her question was whispered so softly he wasn't even sure he had heard it, but it seemed to echo loudly around the room as the bed quickly turned frigid and his mind froze. She had broken their silent rule, talked about the one thing they never talked about, in all their midnight conversations- the one secret he had been allowed to keep.
She stopped him before he could continue.
"...Do you know what I'm scared of now?"
He was silent.
"I'm scared that one day I'll wake up... and you won't be here."
The bed suddenly seemed too small for two.
"Don't," she whispered quietly, cutting him off. "Don't say that you'll always be here, or some crap like that, because I know you won't. When this is all over you'll be gone, and-"
It was his turn to cut her off as his lips magically found her forehead with a soft kiss and his hand found a strand of her hair to brush away despite the darkness that shrouded them both.
"I will be here. Always. As long as you keep dreaming."
Her lips suddenly met his in the gentlest of butterfly kisses, the slightest whisper of a touch, before she the covers were thrown back off and his lungs were flooded with fresh air and the spell was broken as the world around them shattered and faded back into a cold lifeless room. His eyes probed hers, searching for a hint of emotion, of anything, but she would not meet his gaze. When she finally looked up, her eyes contained no explanation, only her usual spark that this time seemed to be guarding something deeper, and he knew he would get no more answers from her - not tonight.
At least she didn't seem scared of the thunder anymore.
"So, was that all you were afraid of back when you were a kid?"
Her tongue peeked out from her mischievous grin and he couldn't help but return her contagious smile with one of his own.
"Well... Yeah. And bunnies."
"Hah! The great, big, blitzball star was scared of teeny-weeny little bunnies!"
And just like that, the butterfly kisses and whispered promises went the way of the dreams of nights before – certainly not forgotten, but not dwelled upon either, simply stored away in a little part of their minds and their hearts, as their conversation turned to simpler things while lightning and thunder danced outside to the rhythm of the falling rain and the night lingered on.
She had always been the first to fall asleep, and every night for a few moments he would watch her gently breathing, marveling that she was actually able to be still for a moment in her life and longing to obtain the inexorable peace she held on to in sleep. He always made sure to take the time to appreciate the moments they shared together, because he knew that in the morning when he woke she would already be awake and gone and they would go back to pretending everything was back to normal. He held her closer to him as he too started to drift off into the land of dreams himself and took one last look outside his window where the faintest rays of the rising sun were peeking through the gloomy clouds.
"Sweet dreams, Rikku."