Title: Distance
Author: Traxits
Fandom: Star Ocean 2.
Pairing: Dias + Ashton (not necessarily romantic).
Rating: PG-13
Content Notes: Nudity, non-graphic; mild adult situations.
Word count: 2745 words.
Prompt: Star Ocean 2, Dias/Anyone: distant - If I told you what I'd seen, would you believe me or leave me alone?
Summary: After the shipwreck on the trip to Ell, Ashton Anchors and Dias Flac are on the beach alone, in the dark. They plan to look for the others with first light, but first, they have to survive the dark and cold of the night.

[[ ... One-Shot ... ]]

They were sitting not three feet from one another. He couldn't help it; as the night air blanketed around them, he found himself inching closer and closer to Dias Flac, hoping that perhaps he'd manage to get warm before the swordsman firmly lodged his blade through Ashton's heart. Maybe Gyoro and Ururun would be able to stop him. As cold as Ashton was, he didn't think he'd be fast enough. He shivered a little more, casting a glance over toward Dias. Nothing rattled that man, and despite their proximity, Ashton got the feeling that they were miles apart from one another.

They'd been sitting there for just a few minutes. Long enough to really absorb what had happened. The ship had gone down; they were the only survivors on this stretch of the beach. Dias had immediately set toward the treeline, finding firewood and Gyoro had lit the fire. Ashton had never been more grateful for his dragons than in that moment. Glorious heat had burst into his senses, and he'd nearly stepped too close to it. Only the hand that had grabbed his elbow kept him at a safe distance. He'd shivered, and then they'd both plopped down in the sand.

Now, Dias stood up again, and Ashton, still trembling, looked up at him. That massive cloak hit the ground first, and Ashton's mouth went dry as he watched Dias begin to undress. Ashton iknew/i that it was safer to get out of the wet clothes; with the fire, their naked bodies would be better suited against the cold than wet leather and heavy fabrics that could potentially take all night to dry. He hesitated, and then, his fingers shaking, he started to unclasp his own cape.

He couldn't manage to convince his fingers that they were doing the right thing however, and after three attempts, three times that his fingers slid off of the clasp uselessly, he felt Dias reach for him, pull him back and take over undressing him. The dragons snapped at first, sensing Ashton's unease with Dias being so close, but all it took was a look from the swordsman, and they settled back down, curling up against Ashton's back. He bit his bottom lip for just a moment, and as his clothes were peeled off, he felt strangely light-headed.

For such an intimate action, there was no personal connection between them. Ashton blushed slightly as he felt Dias unbutton the top of his robe, and when those slender fingers reached for his belt, he shook his head and pushed them away. Dias was colder than the air around them, and Ashton wasn't entirely certain he could take it. "I-I got it," he managed, a faint smile on his face as he looked down. The blush was hot on his face, and he felt foolish, blushing like a schoolgirl over survival matters. Dias shrugged slightly but didn't move, instead only rocking back on his heels and waiting for Ashton to unbuckle himself.

Swallowing thickly, Ashton pushed himself up to his feet, and he slowly pulled on the belt, getting it out of the belt loops and letting it fall onto the ground. His robe opened and fell in the same motion, sliding from his skin and making him shiver. He hesitated for just a moment before he reached for his trousers. The wet leather clung to him, making him gasp and wince as he peeled them off carefully. He had already begun to chafe on his thighs, were the leather rubbed every time he took a step. Dias finally moved then, spreading out his dark green cloak over the sand and looking up at Ashton pointedly. He didn't wait to see if Ashton sat on the wet fabric either.

"What are you doing?" Ashton sank down onto the heavy material- it was better than getting even more sand stuck to him- and watched as Dias collected a pair of sticks. A flash of a small dagger, and they were sharpened in an instant. Ashton shivered and drew his knees up to his chest. He'd never had to sit in the open like this, completely naked, and he found that he did not like it very much.

"Getting something to eat."

Dias disappeared then toward the shoreline, and Ashton frowned. There was no way that Dias could go spear-fishing, with a pair of sticks, in the dark. He needed tide pools or shallow water, or ilight/i to see with. Ashton sighed and looked back into the fire, trusting Gyoro and Ururun to keep watch. They would smell or hear something coming long before Ashton would, anyway.

Even with the fire though, he couldn't stop shivering. It was the excitement, the fear that he could still taste in his mouth. The bitter flavor coated his tongue, and it felt like nothing would remove it. He looked into the fire, and didn't move again until Gyoro leaned down and nuzzled him slightly, warning him that Dias was returning. He looked up, and a faint smile curved his lips. Dias had not just one but itwo/i fish, neatly impaled on the makeshift spears, and he propped them up carefully in the fire before he fell down to sit beside Ashton. Oddly, Dias seemed perfectly comfortable wearing nothing at all.

Ashton hesitated for a moment, and then, as he propped his chin up on his knees, he asked softly, "Do... Do you think anyone else..?"

"We'll find them in the morning."

Ashton nodded, his eyes closing. "Right." Someone else had survived. It couldn't only be him and Dias. They just had to find the others. It would be easiest to do that in the daylight. He drew his knees in a little more tightly. Dias stretched out, looking up at the stars, his blue hair still slightly damp. One more shiver from Ashton, and then the younger man was gasping, shocked as Dias reached up and pulled him down. Chest to chest, Ashton stared, wide-eyed at Dias, trying to figure out what exactly was going on. Ururun was growling lowly, and Dias sighed.

"Just warming you up. You're freezing," he muttered, and he even reached up to lightly pet Ururun's head. Ashton shivered as he realized that he could ifeel/i that, and he blushed slightly.

"R-right." Still shivering a little, Ashton squirmed around until he found a nook just under Dias's shoulder that he seemed to just fit in. He was laying a little on his side, a little on his front, as he rested his head on Dias's chest. At least there was warmth, he reasoned, and he felt Dias wrap an arm around him, pulling him close. It was nice, strange as it was.

And yet, there was an odd intimacy, one borne of close physical contact with little to no emotion behind it. Ashton lifted his eyes slowly and watched Dias as the swordsman studied the sky. Tucked under Dias's left shoulder as he was, Gyoro laid his head lightly on Dias's stomach, and Ashton blushed just a little. Ururun nuzzled the small of Ashton's back, where Dias's arm was laying, and Ashton sighed a little. "Would you stop?" he hissed, and Ururun sighed noisily before he rested his head on Dias's arm.

Another peek up at the swordsman, and Ashton was relieved to see that Dias hadn't moved. Except... was that a smile on the older man's lips? Ashton couldn't look any more closely without being obvious, so he sighed a little himself and tried to just relax. At least it wasn't as horrible being naked anymore, not when he was held so closely. A faint smile curved his own lips. Not like it would do to get used to it. Another moment passed, and Ashton slowly reached one of his arms out to let it rest over Dias's body. He ignored Gyoro's grumbling and repositioning. When Dias didn't move, Ashton breathed out his sigh of relief as slowly as he could and burrowed a little more closely into Dias's side.

Ashton was determined not to talk; he was inot/i going to be the one to upset Dias, or annoy him, or otherwise destroy the illusion of peace between them. His shivering subsided slowly, and he focused on the feel of Dias's skin under him, the feel of that muscled chest against the side of his face. He drew a breath, and when he began to feel sharp sparks that were iall/i too familiar, he felt panic beginning to set in. There was no way to hide it with neither of them wearing anything. He shot a quick look to his clothes, but they weren't dry yet. He could see them still glittering the campfire. Another moment, and then he couldn't wait. He jumped up, ignoring how both dragons growled at his sudden movement.

He had his back to Dias as quickly as he could, and he drew a breath, closing his eyes for a heartbeat before he began picking at the pile of clothes, his fingers nervously rearranging them. He could ifeel/i Dias sitting up, looking at him curiously. But the swordsman didn't say anything. Instead, he just leaned forward and checked the fish. By the time Ashton was done, Dias was holding one of the spears out to him, and he accepted it gratefully. He blew on the fish, pretending not to notice the look that Dias gave him before he began peeling off the meat.

A bite for Gyoro, a bite for Ururun, and then a bite for himself. He smiled slightly as he chewed and swallowed. He didn't know how a simple fish, grilled whole over open flame, managed to taste so good. Perhaps it was just the joy of it being his first meal since he'd been so certain he was going to die. He dug into the fish with enthusiasm, only stopping when he felt Gyoro eat something that he hadn't offered to the dragon. His eyes lifted, and he couldn't stop the blush as he met Dias's gaze.

The blue-haired man peeled off another piece of his own fish, and offered that one to Ururun. Ashton swallowed thickly. Was there sand in his throat, is that why he was suddenly unable to speak? He inched just a little closer, and he looked away to cough slightly before he said, "Dias? Th-thank you. For ... food, I mean."

Dias seemed taken aback, and he lowered the bite he had been about to offer Gyoro. The dragon seemed quite put out with that, and lowered his red head to follow the bite, although Dias's hand was just out of his reach. Ashton's eyes widened whenever Dias reached out to brush his dark hair from his face. The touch lingered for ijust/i a moment, and then it was gone, and Dias was eating the piece of fish, much to Gyoro's disappointment. Ashton set his fish aside, and he ignored Gyoro and Ururun as they immediately began to fight over what was left.

"Why did you come with us, Dias?" Ashton couldn't stand it, the distance between them. He hated thinking that he knew nothing about the man he fought beside. He felt a little tremble shoot down his spine at the look he got, but it was too late to stop now. He had opened his mouth; he had committed himself to the path. "Did Rena-"

"I don't want to talk about Rena."

Ashton, to his credit, didn't flinch at that tone, and instead he just sighed and eased back. "Sorry," he replied, looking away. He felt Ururun toss the stick that had held his fish. The two dragons had picked it clean. He drew his knees back up to his chest, and he traced a pattern over his own thigh for just a moment before he realized what he was doing. A dark blush, and he forced his arms around his legs, where he couldn't keep doing it.

He stayed like that for a few minutes until a piece of fish appeared in front of his face. He hesitated, then looked up at Dias, who had moved closer to him. Gyoro and Ururun were dozing, since they'd eaten, and hadn't warned him as they normally did. Dias frowned and moved the hand holding the fish again.

"You didn't eat enough." Dias spoke lowly, gruffly, and Ashton considered his options for a moment before he reached out to take the bite from the swordsman. His blush darkened.

"Thank you," he whispered, and he ate it slowly. Soon as he swallowed, Dias held out another bite, and then another. Before long, both of them had managed to pick over the second fish, and Dias tossed the stick towards where Ururun had thrown the first one. Ashton licked his fingers, then wiped his hands on the hem of his drying robe. Smelling like fish was the very least of his concern, he decided, given their situation.

Dias shook out his hair, reaching back to see how much of it had dried. Ashton watched him curiously, his hand lifting of it's own accord to push back his own dark tangle. His was dry, at least. His fingers twitched, and then he sighed before offering quietly, "Do you want me to braid it?"

His companion stilled, and then looked at him critically, although Ashton wasn't certain why. Did Dias suspect he was joking, or being rude? He smiled blandly, trying to look as disarming as possible. Clearly, he managed it, because Dias made a low noise- something akin to a grunt- and moved so that he was sitting in front of Ashton, his back to him. Ashton decided not to comment on how tense Dias was.

Instead, he just gathered up the mass of blue strands, and he shivered at the feel of how soft it was, even caked with salt. Very carefully, Ashton began working his fingers through it, getting rid of tangles as gently as he could, trying to dislodge most of the salt. At least the hair was dry though, and he very carefully divided it into four sections. Nothing fancy, just something that would lay flat and stay. He savored the feel of it, and he couldn't help but wonder- what would it be like to do this regularly?

He pushed that thought away as he finally came to the end of the braid, and he reached blindly behind him, looking for his robe. Finding it, he tugged it closer and dug around in one pocket before he pulled out a small strip of leather, swollen from the seawater. He frowned and shook it slightly before he wrapped and tied it around the end of the braid. "There. All done."

Dias nodded slightly, and he moved carefully until he was facing Ashton. For another moment, they were both quiet, listening to the crackling of the fire, to the slight snores of the dragons. Then Dias was on his feet, walking over to the clothes and checking Ashton's cloak. Ashton managed a small smile as Dias spread it over the sand on the opposite side of the fire. At Dias's hand motion, Ashton got up and followed him over. He carefully pulled both dragons forward to hang over his shoulders, letting them stay asleep.

"Get some sleep," Dias commanded, though not unkindly. "Wrap up in it. I'll wake you when everything else is dry."

Ashton nodded slowly, obediently laying on and wrapping up in his dry cloak. It felt incredible, even as rough with salt as it was. "You'll be okay?" he asked, although it wouldn't have mattered what Dias answered. Ashton's eyes were closing the instant that he folded an arm under his head. Dias said something, and when he moved to leave Ashton, the younger man reached out and caught him by the arm.

"Don't go," he whispered, and for a moment, he thought Dias was going to leave anyway. But then the swordsman hesitated, and Ashton wriggled around in the cloak until there was enough room for Dias to sit on part of it. Ashton's head rested on Dias's thigh, and his eyes closed as he lay on his side, facing the fire. Dias's hand fell into his hair, and both dragons were draped over Dias's leg.

And yet- Ashton shivered slightly- they were somehow only marginally closer than they had been when the ship wrecked. He felt himself sinking, and he sighed. Tomorrow. He would work on closing the distance between Dias and himself tomorrow.