Another one of my random sit-down-and-write oneshots.
Written from 10:45 - 12:04.

Enjoy!

My eyes burn even more so than the last time this happened. My chest is throbbing from my ever-breaking heart. My lungs are tired after gasping for air. It's unbearable, this pain. It's what keeps me awake every night, and even if I do happen to sleep, it's the nightmare that wakes me up.

I'm so afraid.

Even after countless discussions with Tifa, I refuse to let anyone in. I can never let them see me like this; it would change the way they thought of me forever. Wouldn't that make it worse?

But if I keep rejecting them, my worst fear will come true. I can't bear the thought of losing someone else… anyone else. I would rather die myself.

I hear the church doors open. I don't turn around; I don't care who it is at the moment. Friend or foe, it wouldn't matter. Either way, I wouldn't pay attent–

"Cloud."

I know that voice. I feel my skin tighten as goosebumps make their way up my arms. There's a different, casual chill in the air now; when did it get so cold? Surely it couldn't be the open doors… that couldn't make a difference.

He's closer now. I realize how quick he is, and I fear him for only a second. I suddenly realize how much attention I'm actually giving him as opposed to my earlier thoughts. I wonder why he changes my attitude so much more differently than everyone else I know.

I feel his presence. It's directly behind me… probably no more than two feet. I feel childish, sitting there, leaning over my knees. I fear he'll see my eyes; I fear he'll know my pain.

"You're hurt."

My distracted mind fools me for a moment, and I wonder if he means an injury. My lips part slightly in realization. He's so much more intelligent than I give him credit for. He does mean an injury, of course. He means heartache.

"To some extent." I imagine his eyes narrowing, which is probably exactly what he did.

"This is more than that, Cloud."

And then I see his eyes. They're focused on mine, and I look away like the idiot I am. He waits to see if I'll look back, and when I don't, he reaches up slowly with his right hand. Surprising me – and probably himself as well – he gently places his fingertips on the side of my jaw and turns my head to face the man kneeling in front of me again.

For some reason, my lungs don't cooperate with me. I feel like I've forgotten how to breathe, but I can't remember while I look in the only eyes I've seen with the color and spirit of fire put together. His hand slides up my cheek, and he's soon holding my face in his hand. By instinct, I cling to the comfort and, very, very slightly, nudge my head against his palm.

He chuckles at my reaction to his support, and I shiver. His laugh… so rare and quiet, yet so powerful and bright. It relaxes me, and I close my eyes. His hands are incredibly smooth, and surprisingly warm. I lift my hand and cover his, almost immediately regretting it. He's going to pull away… he's going to pull away…

I sigh when I feel his thumb brush against my finger. I try to remember the last time I ever saw him show any kind of affection towards anyone. I can't.

This confuses me, but even more so, it makes me curious. I open my eyes tiredly and slowly. He's still looking at me, and I know he hasn't looked away yet.

"Tell me… why do you care?"

He smiles, and my heart skips a beat. His lips… his perfect, delicate-looking lips are curved upwards ever so faintly. It's hard to tell if he's mocking me or if there's some other reason for his smile. And then I watch his lips part, but only a little, as they always do when he speaks.

"Because you need me to."

I don't remember asking him for sympathy, so I blink once, twice. And I realize he's right; even if I've never spoken the words, he's heard them all along.

I need someone to care.

I've always needed someone to care. Even if they have, I've never felt it, because they've never shown it. The reason I was so surprised at his actions was because they were new to me. It had taken me a while to process everything because I've never had to think about it before.

Before I think for another second, I smile back. Something flashes in his eyes, and it takes me by surprise. What… what was that?

It came again, and this time it stayed. I study him. I watch him long and hard, focused on his eyes, determined to know what it was I could see. It was so familiar… it was so… comforting.

My lips part again, this time a small gasp escapes my lips. It's… passion.

I recognize it from Tifa's eyes. That look she always gives me… the look I know that's telling me she loves me. She's fond of me, and she's letting me know with her eyes.

But why am I seeing it now in his eyes? Why would he show me this kind of emotion? Or, much less… why me?

There's question in my face; I can feel it. He can see it, and his smile returns.

"You wonder, don't you Cloud? You're confused."

I feel myself nod, and that lovely, chill-worthy chuckle comes back.

Then, without warning, I feel his hand move even more towards my neck. He pulls my head so I'm leaning forward. The same look is still in his eyes, only more powerful than before. I feel his other hand take my free hand that's resting on my knee; it feels just as comforting as the one on my neck.

And I feel more of his skin now… on my lips. My eyes reflex and close slowly. His so very, incredibly soft, marble lips are locked with mine. My stomach is twisting and turning like there's no tomorrow; the butterflies I have are driving me crazy. I adjust my hands slowly; my left hand slides down his arm, holding his upper arm. My right hand flips over and holds his hand.

He doesn't seem to mind. On the contrary, he seemed to enjoy it. I feel him smile for a third time, and it lets me know he's comfortable. I lean forward a bit, just to push my lips against his a little more. He responds by tilting his head to the side and forward. I feel his nose bump lightly against mine as his kiss depends.

Something about his actions makes me feel bold. I lift the hand on his arm to his neck and, before I can stop myself, I open my lips and close them again over his. To my surprise, he only strokes my neck with his thumb repeatedly.

I enjoy the fact that he allows me to do such a thing. I lift both of my arms this time and wrap them around his neck, leaning forward even more. I hear another chuckle climb from his throat as he places his hands on my sides just behind my rib cage. He pulls me forward and lays back into the patch of white and yellow flowers around us.

I'm lying on top of him, kissing him. My mind goes crazy at the thought, but I can't fight it. There's something about this man, kissing me, holding me, that feels right. It feels complete.

He slides his arms around me, one arm angled so the hand is on the upper part of my back, and the other arm wrapped around me as far as it could go. My hands are resting on his shoulders now, and I rub them slightly.

He mimics my action, opening his lips and closing them down on mine. I sigh in pleasure and excitement; I cannot get over how amazing it feels… to be cared for… to be loved.

Everything I'm thinking about dies when I feel his lips and mine pulling apart. I almost whine, but I catch myself. He sees my expression, complete with shock, appreciation, and desperation, and he laughs. It isn't a chuckle… it's an actual laugh, and I find myself smiling with him.

And then he's gone. I'm sitting up now, my knees bent. The places that had felt his touch are tingling with such energy that I find I can't stop smiling. The feeling of his touch is stained on my skin, and as I stand up for the first time in hours, I raise my hand to my cheek where he had first touched me.

I lift my head to look up at the sky above me. It's very bright, and I feel happy… something I haven't been able to claim as an emotion for quite some time.

I begin to think about what I'd just experienced. Obviously, he'd done it for a reason, and that reason was because… I needed it?

For some reason, it doesn't make as much sense as I would like. The last thing I need right now is more confusion. Still, though, there had to be something else.

I know he knows about my pain, my regret, my thoughts. But what I find the most perplexing is that he knew exactly what I needed to stop stressing. It was almost as if he…

I take in a short, unexpected breath. Of course. Memories… pain… regret… he felt it too. He knew what to do because it was what he needed too.

I smile to myself and turn towards the doors, of which are still open.

I simply have to return the favor.