Hurt He lay about five inches from her, close enough so that sudden breath
could shift his golden bangs, eyes closed in slumber. Even in the wan
moonlight, Seifer Almasy was golden - not the insipid, weak gold of
sunlight, but the gold of molten metal - bare-chested and smooth-skinned,
and so heartbreakingly perfect she felt her heart was trying to explode out
her chest looking at him.

And yet Fujin could do nothing about it.

It was like he was ten miles away, a protective, hardened shield around
him that she could not break. Even if she touched him, dared to caress
his skin with milk-white fingers, he would merely grimace in annoyance
in his sleep that some mortal had dared touch his perfect visage.

It was a hot night, even with the window wide open. The hotel did what
it could to make it's rooms airy, but nonetheless the heat was oppressive,
making the Posse shed shame - with clothing - to be comfortable.
Raijin, snoring peacefully in the next bed, was stripped down to a
large sheet covering his body and boxers. Fujin herself could only bear
having her undershirt and underthings on - making the other two
carefully look the other way - and Seifer dared the heat on the bed,
wearing only his pants. His chest gleamed with a slight sheen of sweat,
but his features were peaceful, at rest.

There were only two beds in this room, and Raijin barely fit one. And
of course, Seifer and Fujin had argued for over twenty minutes as to
who would get the second - both trying to make the other take it -
until exhaustion and the heat claimed them and they tumbled in together
at a careful distance. And even at that, Fujin could not
sleep as his presence dominated the bed. Couldn't sleep knowing...
knowing... that their skin might brush or that they might touch as she
dreamt.

Her long bangs were irritating her, making her eyepatch itch, so Fujin
rebelliously took it off to let the moonlight see what nobody else had
for years. The itch subsided as moonlight looked upon her ugliness, her
shame, the reason she was Fujin Kazeno. And where externally she was
proud of the T-Rexaur's mark on her flesh, right now she loathed it;
couldn't bear what it made her.

Seifer stirred in his sleep and her fingers hurriedly fumbled with her
patch, but off he dozed again, and she relaxed. But he muttered in his
sleep, his hip arching up and flopping forward as he rolled closer. Her
nose was almost buried in his cheek as he sleepily, unknowingly pulled
her towards him with a lazy swipe of his arms, like a child with a
teddybear. Fujin looked at him, horrified, but all he did was snuggle
closer, cheek pressed to her collarbone. His hair smelt like woodsmoke
and like him, just utterly Seifer. She had to stop herself from taking
a deep breath like an addict, just to get more.

Let me go, she begged him silently, heart beating fast, arms
trying to wriggle away. Please, let me go. Don't let me sleep like
this in your arms, just to wake up and discover it's nothing.

For a few gut-wrenching moments, he stayed, but then his consciousness
decided lying on his back was better for heat and he rolled away again.

Two sides of Fujin warred, one bitterly disappointed and the other
screaming in relief as she slid gently off the bed and on to the floor.

And facing the window, bathed in moonlight, she wept silently, soul
tattered at the edges as she suddenly wondered with amazing clarity
what the hell she was doing there, with a man who didn't love her and
who she loved so much she might die of it.

And it hurt and it hurt and it hurt and it hurt and it hurt...
___________

Hurt
___________

Fusama was awake.

Her wakefulness was pissing him off most royally but something inside
him said not to admonish her; after all, it would be her fault in the
morning when he was faced with not enough sleep, grumpy and baggy-eyed.
Anyway, the heat was shitty too, helping to keep him awake - he was
sweating half his bodyweight.

Yet when he opened his eyes a crack, she looked cool in the moonlight,
a creature carved from fine marble. Seifer hadn't looked at her before,
couldn't look at her slight form dressed in dangerously skimpy cotton,
but now he selfishly looked as he pleased. Hell, she was damn beautiful
for a woman whose favourite pastime was trying to make herself ugly.
Her features were soft, musing, not the hardened mask she usually
contorted them into. Face so delicate, lips so pale pink... one of the
most beautiful women he'd ever seen, that was for sure. Better than
Rinoa. She'd been pretty, sure, but it was such... such a common prettiness.
Crimson-eyed, platinum-haired Fujin was exotic in her beauty, even more
so right now, no barriers up. And as for the slim, toned body, with
that perfect, pale skin he sometimes... longed to caress, just
sometimes...

Yeah, right, Almasy. Like she'd ever look at you as anything other
than the posse-leader that you are. As far as he knew, Fujin Kazeno
didn't like any men, and what with the one-eyed two-legged
shouting-pale-people-eater gig she put on, nobody ever noticed how
beautiful she really was. So, Seifer rationalized, he was doing her a
favour by admiring the sweet curve of her bust through her undershirt
and the slimness of her thigh and the way he could see her flat stomach
peeping out from - no, no, Seifer... if you go hot and panting now,
you'll go into heat shock.

Suddenly her delicate fingers reached up to her face and she tugged off
her eyepatch, and he tensed up. He hadn't seen that wicked scar since
he had wiped it clean, and the severity of it cut him; you could see
where the claw had dragged, tearing through flesh... Seifer shuddered
and was furiously proud of her all of a sudden, the way she was carrying
the scar now and looking back so that the light could touch it. It
didn't detract from her beauty, it just seemed to enhance it.

Suddenly he got the selfish, lustful urge to hold her in his arms, to
kiss the scar and see how the most vulnerable part of this woman felt
underneath his lips. He murmured her name under his breath and rolled
forward, bundling her into his arms and burying his head in the soft
skin beneath her throat. She smelled sweaty and sweet, soap mixing with
her heat. He felt her body tense up under his, and for one hopeful
moment he though she was going to hold him back - but she squirmed a
little, fearfully, so he rolled back, somehow bitterly disappointed.
He turned his head away so that she might not see the hurt his features
twisted into, wanting... wanting... what he couldn't have.

She doesn't want your touch, Almasy, what did you expect? That brave
bold Fusama would suddenly turn into a fainting flower and snuggle into
her white knight's arms, as you whispered sweetness into her ear about
how beautiful she was, about how the moon was hiding behind the clouds
in jealousy just looking at her. Some trite shit, just to let her know
behind the lines how much he felt, how much he admired her cool beauty...
He'd been rejected a million times, accepted a million times, none of
it had mattered. So why did it hurt so damn much to have Fujin squirm
out of his arms?

Before he could stop it his eyes got all hot and burning and a tear
shamefully slid down his cheek. It dripped down on to his hand and he
stared at it momentarily before dashing it away like it had never
existed. It had never existed. Seifer Almasy didn't cry... never ever
ever, no matter how much anything hurt, if not before, not now. If
Fujin had pushed him away, shouted 'Rage' and kicked him in the shins,
he would have just laughed. Her loss. It had been mere lust to want
to hold her. He wasn't made of stone, after all, even if she
was. It had just been too damn long since he'd been intimate with
anyone. And of course he didn't want to hold her specifically, even if she
was pale angel Fujin who was making his pulse skyrocket.

He'd be fine, lonely in his bed, without her. Because he had to
be without her.

And it hurt.
___________________

By morning, the matter had been pushed to the backs of their minds with
nary a glance at the other. Yet Raijin still had the smarts to ask why
Fujin's eyes were so puffy and bloodshot, and why Seifer looked so
tired, and they gave each other one glance - one mere glance - just to
see, be suspicious, that maybe, - maybe -

But then they abruptly looked away, because eventually pain monopolizes
the body so much, it just hurts more to hope.

~FIN~

___________________

Well, wasn't that a happy little episode? I wanted to do a prequel
to 'Sapphire Blues', in the nature of the relationship between Fujin
and Seifer, but it suddenly worked out to this. Oh, well. I'll get
it right one day, people. - Guardian