I sat up as Zelos tapped my shoulder, pulling out my cards.
"Hey, relax. It's your watch." he laughed quietly. I grumbled and stood, stretching and yawning. Zelos looked at me, a strange expression on his face. I attributed it to lack of sleep and walked over to sit by the large oak tree we'd designated that afternoon as our watch post. Zelos laid down. I watched him wistfully. To think, a few years ago I hated him, I bitterly reflected. Now I can't get him out of my head.
I turned my gaze to the moon and sighed. The chances of someone coming were so slim that a night watch was barely needed, but Raine insisted, so we did. Ah well, at least it's a good time to think. A light drizzle of rain began as I sat there, and I pulled my blanket closer, hoping fervently that no lightning would come.
"Hey." I jumped as Zelos sat down by me.
"What are you doing? Your watch is over, Zelos." I said, confused but comforted by his presence.
"Couldn't sleep." he replied, shrugging. I turned back and we both were absorbed by our own thoughts.
Then the lightning began. I fought the urge to scream, but couldn't stay silent as the bolts drew closer. Zelos looked concerned as my whimpers began, probably because I rarely showed weakness. Then comprehension dawned on his face.
"Sheena...you have to stop blaming yourself." he softly said.
"No...it's my fault those people died..." I bit my hand to stop from shrieking as a bolt of lightning struck a tree in the far-off but visible forest. Zelos's eyes were sad as I looked up at him.
"No, Sheena, it isn't. You weren't experienced, you weren't ready, they shouldn't've pushed you into trying to form a pact with him." he told me gently.
"Whether it was or wasn't my fault I went, I still caused so many people to lose their lives." I moaned in fear as more lightning lit the sky. "And even though I shouldn't be, I'm terrified of storms now...I'm not only a murderer, I'm a fool and a coward." I whispered as the tears began.
"You're not a murderer! And you're definitely not a coward or fool. You're the bravest, smartest person I know. And anyway, you may have failed to form a pact, but you still succeeded in a way; you learned your weaknesses, and you improved upon them." he said, sounding shocked at my opinion of myself.
"At the cost of others' lives." I said, looking bitterly at the wet, dark green grass.
"At the cost of my mother's life, I learned – incorrectly - never to trust people. For months I was afraid to go outside, and for even longer, I was terrified to go to Flanoir. And though I still haven't truly forgiven myself, I know, deep down, I didn't cause her death; Seles's mother did, and I couldn't have changed that." It was the most I'd heard him speak about his mother in years. Then a bolt of lightning terrified me and I jumped onto his lap, unable to stop myself, and I hid my face in his chest. One of his hands curled around my waist, the other in my soaking hair, and I wished that I could enjoy it more, that I could banish my fear.
"Zelos...I'm scared...Help me stop being scared..." I whispered into his chest, wishing I could utter those three words I longed to say to him.
"Of course, love. Of course."
"Wh-what?" I gasped, looking up at him. His drenched red hair framed his handsome face, and it was the face of a true angel – beautiful and irresistible. I hid my face yet again to prevent myself giving away my secret.
"Oh, Sheena, listen to me. Despite my perverted façade, I care about you, and it hurts me to know you're hurting. I am more than I show, Sheena, and I'm tired of lying...I am in love with you, and I can't stand watching you suffer." he whispered in my ear. I sobbed harder and his arms tightened protectively around me.
"Yes, Sheena?" those two simple words held so much – hope, fear, love...
"I love you too." I murmured, lifting my face from his chest. He leaned down and kissed me fiercely in the pouring rain. I didn't know how I'd fallen in love with him, but I certainly was glad I had.
Zelos finally pulled away and whispered in my ear, "I love you..."
"Thank you so much, Zelos. I think I can conquer my fear now...with your help..." I said quietly. His only response was to hold me closer.