Astraphobia: fear of thunder and lightning.


Oily marks appear on walls
where pleasure moments hung before

Storms are his namesake.

And it is this fact that makes him think it is mildly ironic that they are the one thing in this world that makes him lay awake in bed at night with wide eyes, cringing as they pass, wishing desperately for once in his life that he wasn't alone.

Yes, Squall Leonhart is afraid of storms, and it is a fear that has been with him since childhood; one that is slightly irrational and unconventional, and one that he has yet to shake, for as a crack of thunder in the distance startles him awake, he suddenly, bitterly, remembers why he detests that they have decided to dock at Fisherman's Horizon, in the middle of the ocean.

His breathing is fast and labored as he struggles to slow his rapidly thumping heart. He thinks he'll never get any sleep at this rate, because this is the fifth storm-ravaged night he has endured in a row. Why, he thinks. Why couldn't he be frightened of something logical, like death or spiders? Better yet, why couldn't he be frightened of nothing at all? What need has he of fear? Its only purpose is to make him weak; a luxury he can't afford.

He squeezes his eyes shut as a flash of lightning illuminates his room and the rumble of thunder that follows shakes the walls. At least it isn't raining, he thinks, because then he would feel very foolfish for leaving his window open as she had asked. The idea of rain pouring inside was not a pleasant one, but she insisted the sound of the waves helped lull her to sleep. So, he had listened, and was now beginning to regret doing so. He would give anything to even muffle the sound of the thunder and shut the blinds against the lightning.

But then the body beside him stirs, and he remembers why he didn't mind too terribly in the first place. He glances down and watches as she stretches just barely before curling into the contours of his side. He can feel the soft wisps of air on his skin as she breathes; asleep and unaware of the storm just outside the window. Her dark tendrils of hair hang in her face, a stark contrast against her lily-white skin. He wonders what she is dreaming of as her eyes flit back and forth beneath their lids.

He flinches as another clap of thunder rattles the room, but she remains blissfully ignorant, for which he is jealous of her. The warmth of her naked skin against his is a comfort, but still he shudders violently when the thunder grows louder and more frequent; the lightning brighter. But, she stirs again, and he assumes that his shaking is what rouses her. Her eyes are heavy-lidded and confused as she lifts her head and gazes up at him. She places a delicate white hand on his chest.

"Is something wrong?" she asks quietly. "You're shaking."

Her silvery voice is laced with concern as she stares up at him from under her eyelashes, but the feather light touch of her fingertips is calming, and his trembling slows significantly.

"Squall?"

Another peal of thunder sounds outside the window, and he is racked by another uncontrollable tremor. He lays very still for a long moment, attempting feebly to regulate his breathing. But when he looks down at her again, she is smiling gently.

"You're afraid of storms," she realizes, eyeing him softly.

He forces a crooked smile, "Nah."

She quirks an eyebrow slowly, still fighting back drowsiness, "Really? Are you sure?"

He rolls onto his side and wraps his arms around her tiny shoulders, "Yeah. I'm sure."

She looks skeptical as she strokes his chest with her thumb.

"Do you want me to stay up with you?" she asks in good humor.

But sleep starts to reclaim her and her eyes begin to slip closed. She blinks repeatedly in a vain effort to keep herself awake.

His minute smile is genuine this time as he presses a kiss against her forehead and replies as a bolt of lightning momentarily lights the room: "Nah. I'll be fine."

She is already fast asleep as he pulls her against him, cradling her head in the hollow of his neck. As another crack of thunder rumbles the sky outside, and his fingers gently caress where he knows the tattoo of an angel wing colors the skin of each shoulder blade, he remembers why he didn't mind too terribly leaving the window open in the first place.