Title: All I Need
Rating: M
Warning: Sex, angst, and game spoilers. Consider this an alternate ending because certain things that happened at the end of the game didn't happen here.
Prompt: 2-Final Fantasy XIII, Snow/Lightning, Comfort Sex "Serah is gone but I still have you"
Summary: They were sharing a common pain. All that was left was for Light to realize that they could help each other deal with it.
A/N: This story was made for the Spring Kink community, and is the second Snow/Light fic I've written, but the first one I've posted. I hope I've done well with their characters, and I didn't completely butcher Lightning, since I do think she's kind of OOC here; be warned! Anyway, special thanks to the awesome ObsessiveCompulsiveValkyrie for listening to my questions, rants, and doubts, and most of all for beta-ing this story. And expect the next fic to be up in a few days, after it's posted on the community. Please enjoy!

Disclaimer: I don't own Final Fantasy XIII or any of the characters used in this piece of fiction. I am making no money off of them.

It had taken her months to be able to think about Serah without wanting to break things. The pain was still ever present in her heart and no amount of fighting or killing monsters on Gran Pulse had helped with making it go away.

After so much fighting, so many close calls, so many sacrifices to save their world, Serah had not been returned to them. She had remained a crystal and Lightning had the feeling that she would never see her again. The pain had been choking at first, but now there was a dull throb in her chest whenever she thought of her sister.

Lightning had been forced to move on with her life minus a loved sister and two comrades who had helped bring about the peace the whole world was enjoying. Hope had gone back home with his father to finish school, though he had promised to keep in touch. He had, but his schooling left him with very little time for vacation. As for Sazh and Dajh, they were off traveling together, trying to catch up with the time they had been away from each other. At least her remaining friends had found a small measure of peace in their lives.

Though Lightning knew that there was one person she had made an effort to forget and ignore, but she knew she couldn't avoid him forever. Snow had been just as affected as she when they had seen that Serah had not returned, but instead of helping each other cope, Lightning had walked away from him without giving him a chance.

Now, she realized, she would've given anything, would've accepted their relationship, their marriage and everything else if that meant that she would get her sister back. Sighing in irritation when her eyes began to burn and her throat began to close, she stood and made for the door of her apartment; after living with Serah in their old home, it hadn't felt right to remain there without her sister.

She had simply packed up her things and sold it. Serah's personal belongings had been hard to even look at, so she had left it to the moving men to do the work for her. It made her a coward, but her sister had been the one person who had ever called her on it. Now, there was no one left to tell her to grow up and stop being a baby.

She wandered around Bodhum, avoiding the beaches and the overcrowded shopping district, wanting nothing more than to clear her head before she started to question what she could've done differently. The town was unusually crowded on that night, and about half an hour later, she realized why when the first fireworks lit the sky.

Lightning started in surprise when she was reminded that their journey had begun nearly a year ago. Serah had been gone nearly a year ago as well. Feeling her chest begin to ache—coincidentally right over her old l'Cie mark—Lightning rubbed the spot and thought of Serah. This was the first of many fireworks displays that Serah would miss. Sucking in a tight breath, she turned in the direction that would lead her to the one person who would understand what she was feeling.

Snow had figured that it would've been a good idea to accompany the fireworks with some hard liquor to make the memories more bearable. Had it really been a year ago when he had asked Serah to marry him? It felt like it had happened a lifetime ago, but the pain was ever present in his heart. He missed her, and he had a feeling that the pain and love he felt for her would probably never go away.

Sitting outside of Lebreau's café, in a dark corner, Snow stared up at the fireworks and decided to make his wish for the hell of it. He didn't have anything else to lose, what would be the harm in it? After a moment of staring blankly up at the bright sky, Snow realized that he was now very much drunk. "Powerful stuff," he muttered to himself, slowly getting to his feet and tossing the bottle.

Weaving his way down the beach, he ignored the curious stares as he trekked through the water, uncaring of his pants and boots becoming wet. Intending on submerging himself entirely, he only made it into knee-high water. He didn't want to die because he had never been an ungrateful type of man, but if he did die, then maybe, maybe then he would be able to see Serah again…

"What are you doing?" asked a voice flatly.

Snow's eyes widened as he recognized the tone. Whirling around, he nearly toppled over into the water but thankfully righted himself just in time. Despite that, he managed to look like a fish out of water as he attempted to move closer to her. From a distance he could almost see Serah… but no, she was too tall, and her body was different. Lightning was all sleek muscle and with an air of danger around her. Serah had been much more docile and sweet.

"Hey, sis," he muttered, rubbing a hand across his face, ignoring the painful booms coming from the fireworks.

"Don't call me that," Lightning whispered with only half the heat she would've used long ago.

Snow managed a weak smile and began to walk back towards the café. "Want a drink?" he called over his shoulder.

Lightning narrowed her eyes and wondered if this drunken buffoon was what Snow had been reduced to. "I think you've had enough to drink," she said. "Go home."

"Too quiet. And lonely," he muttered the last part in a low voice.

Despite his volume, Lightning heard him quite clearly. Sighing in annoyance, she stormed towards the taller man and grabbed the front of his shirt before beginning to draw him back towards the streets and away from the beach. "Where do you live?" she asked in a no-nonsense tone.

"Two blocks down; in the building at the corner," he replied automatically, not even attempting to put up a fight.

Lightning continued to pull him along and they must have looked like quite a sight with her dragging a man a foot taller than her. Thankfully, they arrived quickly at his apartment and Snow handed the keys over, wordless.

The inside of Snow's apartment was not plain or too much of a bachelor pad; it was a balance that really worked. He had worn, comfortable looking furniture, a massive TV screen, and a modest breakfast table in the kitchen. The walls had been painted a serene green, and thankfully he had curtains in place at the windows that overlooked the beach. Sitting on the table near the two sofas, right next to a lamp, was a picture of their group back when they had been right in the middle of trying to complete their focus.

"Do you have coffee?" Lightning asked him as he leaned on the wall right next to the door, staring blankly into the darkness.

The fireworks were still going strong, and the noise and lights shone through his parted curtains and open windows. He shrugged one large shoulder. "Don't remember," he replied.

Lightning shook her head and rolled her eyes, half-expecting to find empty bottles of hard liquor in his trash bin. What amazed her more—aside from seeing a clean kitchen—was that there was no trace of liquor around. Finally finding a container of coffee, she left his coffeemaker running before walking over to stand in front of him.

Snow squinted once before his eyes settled on her with a heavy sigh. "This wasn't the way I wanted you to see me after so long," he said, slurring a few words. "I didn't even think I'd see you again…"

Lightning sighed and for once didn't feel the compulsion to ram her fist into his face. "If we're being honest, I didn't want to see you," she replied, solemn.

"I figured," Snow said, voice filled with sadness. "I failed at saving Serah and I failed at being a hero."

"Serah remaining a crystal… was no one's fault," Lightning assured him, unsure as to why she was trying to make him feel better in the first place. She supposed it had something to do with the fact that they had all traveled for so long, and even this man had become like family to her.

Snow eyed her blearily and grunted. "Why aren't you bashing my skull in? Why are you even taking my side?"

Lightning shrugged. "We've all changed," she said, turning her back to him and walking back towards the kitchen. "Besides, Serah wouldn't have wanted me to break your face," she murmured.

Snow felt the lump in his throat ease slightly when Light mentioned changing for Serah. He figured that she wouldn't have wanted to see him drunk and depressed, either, so he'd try to lay off the alcohol. "We would've been married by now," he said into the empty room.

Lightning stopped and turned to him. "And you would've made her happy," she said, serious.

Snow felt a smile tug at his lips. "Thanks, Light."

She nodded once and moved back to the coffee maker. She heard him move closer but was completely unprepared when she felt his thick arms encircle her waist and pull her into a strong bear hug. It wasn't so much the physical contact—or that he was Snow—that made her shove away from him, but the force in which he hugged her. Her breath rushed out of her and she gasped loudly.

"Snow… I can't breathe!" she hissed angrily.

His grip eased off a little, but he didn't let go of her. Instead, his face burrowed into her hair as he gave a shaky sigh. "I miss her." The tenseness in Lightning's body seemed to dissipate a little, but her hands began to push at his so that he would release her. "Serah is gone, but I still have you…" He paused. "Right?"

Hands still digging into his forearm to get him to free her, she froze at his words. "I… What the hell are you talking about?"

"I can't do this alone. I can't move on by myself," Snow growled against her neck.

It was in that moment that she realized just how close they were pressed together. Snow's arms were like steel around her, her back in line with his front and without no space between them. Lightning swallowed hard and more than before felt the need to get away from the man holding her in place. He was drunk and he didn't know what he was doing or asking.

"I wanted to see you so badly after we realized that Serah wouldn't come back, but… I respected your wish to mourn on your own and stayed away," Snow said, quiet, his chest rising with his every breath and pushing between her shoulder blades.

"I need you to let me go," Lightning said very slowly, as if talking to a child. She felt his grip loosen, but one hand curved around her waist and turned her around in the circle of his arms. Damn it! Where the hell had all of her training gone? And why wasn't she hurting him physically to get him out of her personal space?

Well, the answer was simple and one she didn't really want to consider: she didn't want to hurt him physically or emotionally. But he was seriously asking for it with the way he was now holding her.

He was a foot taller than her and had pulled her up to the tips of her feet. This close, even in the darkness, she could see his eyes, a much darker blue than her own. They were still hazy from the alcohol, but not completely unlike the Snow she had come to know during their journey. The very small part of her that was still feminine—because that's what she thought of herself—was highly aware of why her sister had gone for a man like Snow. Aside from his height, he was a well… formed man. With the stubble on his face and the bandana, he looked liked the epitome of 'bad boy.'

Standing there, pressed up to him and with his face so close, it was easy to forget that only a few months ago this man would've been Serah's husband. Lightning couldn't… It wasn't right…

But apparently, Snow had another idea entirely. Having waited for her to either kick him in the groin or break his nose, he realized that all Light had done was dig her fingers into his jacket at the shoulders. His thoughts were quite clear in his head, but with slightly dull edges that made him gather the courage to close the distance between their faces and kiss her.

Her first reaction was to jerk back, but one of his hands slid to the back of her head to keep her there. His kiss wasn't rough or bruising, but uncertain and a little nervous, which was what did her in. Snow seemed like a lost man now, and Lightning had to admit that since losing her sister and their other friends, she hadn't been able to find herself, either.

Being an efficient soldier wasn't helping in matters of the heart, and she had realized that it never had. All she had done was hurt the one person she had left in the world who she truly loved with all her heart: Serah. And now she was forever lost and all she had left was the man holding her in his arms like a lifeline.

Despite his inebriated state, he was gentle, his lips moving slowly over hers. He tasted like bourbon and something sweet. Despite how pleasurable the chaste kiss felt, some part of her would wonder—always—if he was seeing Serah instead of her. That thought was enough to make her draw back and shove away from him.

Unprepared by her abrupt movement, Snow stumbled back with a slightly dazed look on his face and gasping slightly for breath. Lightning was aware of how her own breathing was irregular, but covered it up by turning to finally get the cup of coffee for him. "How do you take it?" she muttered, trying to alleviate the heavy silence.

"With… uh… three sugars and milk, not creamer," Snow replied, walking away towards his largest couch and dropping down onto it with a groan.

Lightning stared down at the swirling cup of coffee as it mixed with milk. Maybe she should just give him a completely black coffee so that maybe his senses would return to him. What the hell had just happened? Had she seriously allowed her sister's fiancé to kiss her? Lightning felt as if she were losing her mind and it wasn't a feeling that sat well with her. Shaking her head in dismay, Lightning walked over to Snow to hand him his coffee but then realized that he was asleep.

Sighing heavily to herself, she took a seat to his left, on a worn, comfortable recliner and set the mug on the coffee table in front of her. The fireworks were still going on outside, but her mind was too convoluted to pay attention to them. Slanting Snow a glare, she realized that he had always been in the middle of her problems ever since Serah had met him. Unfortunately for Lightning, she found that she couldn't hold the glare on her face as she watched him lying there with a peaceful expression on his face.

Her eyes followed the curve of his lips and his dark lashes, down to his neck and the glimpse of chest. He had large hands and, against herself, she shivered at the thought of them on her. She needed to stop looking at him and thinking of him. Rubbing a tired hand over her face, Lightning bit back an irritated growl and closed her eyes, trying to listen to the fireworks.

Before long, she, too, fell into a sleep far more peaceful than she had managed in months.

He woke before she did and felt the beginnings of a mild hangover. He hadn't gotten that drunk as that first night he had known Serah wouldn't come back. No, this binge had been far less, and he didn't know whether to consider it a good thing that he remembered everything that had happened…

It was a miracle he was still alive, especially after the way he had manhandled Lightning. Speaking of the woman surrounding his thoughts, he looked up and in her direction for what seemed like the tenth time in under a minute. She had stayed the night in his dingy apartment. But why? Had she been afraid that he would wander off and do something crazy? Did that mean that she cared?

The questions made him scoff as he watched her relaxed face, free of the tension and severity it had always reflected while they had been on their journey. Lightning was a beautiful woman and he couldn't deny it. Though her resemblance to Serah had been eerie at first, with time, Snow had come to see that there were details that separated her from her sister. Aside from the fact that she was older, Lightning also possessed sharper features and her eyes were a paler shade of blue.

It was her eyes what had always spoken for her, be it in anger, despair, and the one only Hope had ever been privy to, kindness. He had found himself watching her eyes more often than he had cared to admit back when they had been fighting against the fal'Cie. Back when he had still had the hope that Serah would be coming back…

And now those eyes were right on his and it had taken him a moment to realize that she was awake and giving him a strange look. "Morning," he said, going for his usual cheer, surprised that it was genuine.

Lightning give him a look for a few seconds, then nodded once. "You're pretty cheerful for someone with a hangover," she said, getting to her feet and beginning to stretch her stiff limbs.

Snow stood up, too, and made his way to the kitchen. "I have a killer headache, but nothing a shower and some good coffee won't fix. Hey… uh…" he trailed off, turning to look at her. "Want to get some breakfast?"

Lightning let out a slow breath before shaking her head. "I do have a job I need to get to," she reminded him. "But… maybe some other time," she said vaguely, moving to the door.

Snow shoved off his bandana and nodded, giving her a sad smile. "Are you saying that just to appease me before you disappear for a few more months?"

"I don't—" She paused, not knowing how to put her thoughts into words without it sounding idiotic. "Snow, all that ties us together is a person who might as well be considered dead. Serah… She's not coming back."

The blond man felt a pang in his heart at Lightning's words, even though he had known this for months already. There was a sort of finality at hearing it come from Lightning. No, not Lightning. "Claire…"

Her fists tightened at the name, but she did not insult him. She would no longer insult the name her parents had given her, either. "I should go."

"That kiss meant something to me."

His words froze her on the spot and she was tempted to turn to glare at him, but she wouldn't. Not after the words that had left his lips. Those lips that had been so soft against hers last night… No! She would not do this! "You still love my sister, Snow. I won't be a substitute for her." With that, she opened the door and walked out without a backwards glance.

"Not a substitute," Snow muttered into his empty apartment. Light would never be Serah, and in his heart he knew that he would never put Lightning through that, either. Lightning—Claire—was an entity all on her own. She was strength, spirit, and… passion. And he'd be a fool to not see that in her. All that was left was for her to believe him. He wasn't looking for a substitute, and he wasn't looking for love, either, all he needed right now was someone who understood his pain and was willing to share it.

A few days later, he showed up at her apartment and Lightning had absolutely no idea how it was that he had even gotten her address. She supposed that not everyone was immune to his "charm," and he had probably bribed someone to get information on her. She gave him credit for showing up with dinner and a couple of beers.

Their silence was companionable as they ate on the floor of her kitchen. Lightning couldn't even recall how they had gotten there, but she supposed it'd had something to do with the fact that she had dropped a pair of chopsticks—still wrapped—and had decided to stay there. It was a good thing she always kept her floors clean, she mused.

Once her carton was empty, and the beers had been split and finished, she let out a sigh and stared down at the tips of her boots. Snow was still scraping at the last bits of food in his carton and it was a wonder that she hadn't bitten his head off for it the way she would've done a long time ago. "Why are you really here?" she asked, finally turning to look at him.

Snow finished what he was chewing and swallowed, setting the container in his hands down. "I know things between us are awkward, and I don't want it to be, Claire. We share a common pain, and I know we can help each other out of it," he said, tone completely honest.

"How would you expect us to help each other out?" she asked, tone annoyed and disbelieving.

"We can start with keeping each other company. All Serah ever wanted was for the both of us to get along. Why can't we honor her wish, especially now that she's gone?"

Well, she had to give the brute credit; he'd learned quite well how to emotionally black-mail people. "You're a reminder of all the things I wanted to deny my own sister. I don't think it'll be a good idea t—"

"Then for once in your life, don't think," Snow muttered.

Lightning chewed on the inside of her cheek when she saw just how close he had moved over. She was thankful that he made no move to touch her, though she did notice his hand resting right next to hers, their pinkies almost brushing. "You're saying you want to be my friend," she muttered flatly.

"Does that seem like such an impossibility? Come on, Light. I'm not that bad," said Snow, voice laced with laughter.

"No, you're actually worse," Lightning replied, her lips twitching into a small smile.

Snow chuckled, happy that he had gotten a positive reaction from her, no matter how little. "So… Same time on Saturday?" he asked, motioning to the empty boxes around them and the empty cans.

Lightning didn't know whether it was the beer that had removed a fraction of her reservations. "I'll think about it," she replied, her tone light.

The blond got to his feet and offered her a hand to get up. "Any preferences?"

She stared at his hand for a long moment, wondering what it was she would be getting into. "You mean for dinner?" she asked, trying not to think too much as she gave him her hand and allowed him to pull her to her feet. There was a pleasant buzz in her head from the alcohol that would soon wear off, but for now she felt okay. Her eyes snapped up from the necklaces Snow wore around his neck when bare fingers brushed against her cheek; she still hadn't released his hand.

"Pizza, meatball subs, salads?" he teased.

Lightning scoffed. "I've never been a salad-eating type," she replied, slowly releasing his hand. "Surprise me," she said, turning to gather the trash from the floor.

Snow decided to help, but when they were done, he was left wondering what he should say to her. He didn't want to say something stupid and risk the common ground they had found. The thought of losing Lightning now that she was back when he'd already lost Serah was too much for him to even consider. He looked at her door before turning to look back at her. "I guess… I should go," he said, reluctant.

Lightning fidgeted with the last fortune cookie before she held it out to him. "Here. Enjoy your fortune," she said with a wry smirk.

Snow opened his hand for her to set the cookie over his palm, but his fingers were quick to close around her hand. "Keep it. Maybe it'll convince you that it's good for us to stay close, even though Serah…"

She let out a slow breath and nodded. "Take care, Snow."

Before he lost his nerve, he moved forward and pressed a kiss to her forehead. "Goodnight, sis."

Lightning grit her teeth at the ever-present reminder and stayed quiet as he opened her door and stepped out. He gave her a nod before he walked out. She felt foolish standing there, in her kitchen, unsure of what to do now that she was alone. The fortune cookie's wrapper crinkled in her hand and she decided to open it. She had never been a big believer on fortunes, horoscopes, or anything having to do with fate, but she'd give it a shot out of curiosity.

Cracking the cookie in two, she drew out the little paper and rolled her eyes at the message. We should not measure life by how many breaths we take, but rather by the number of breathtaking moments we experience.

If only she could allow herself to believe in that fortune.

The next month flew by and, so far, Snow hadn't failed to show up her door with dinner and, sometimes, breakfast. Every time she felt like she couldn't take anymore of his positive outlook towards the future, she thought of Serah and how her sister had always enjoyed that about her boyfriend.

Lightning had realized, when their dinners together had started, that he was trying so badly to remain his positive self, but she could see that Serah's crystallization had left him with a lot of pain. She could sympathize in that respect. As much as she had hated Snow in the beginning, he had begun to grow on her to the point where she looked forward to seeing him every Saturday. She'd even grown fond of their companionable silence while they watched the chocobo races on her big screen.

Which was where they were at the moment. Snow was sprawled out next to her, nearly taking up the entirety of the couch and with her taking up one small corner. Snow's favorite bird was winning, and Lightning was hairbreadth away from slapping a hand upside his head if he didn't stop bragging about it. When the first race was over, he let out a loud 'whoop' and grabbed her around the shoulders in a rough hug that once more pushed the air from her lungs.

She struggled in his grip, but it seemed like the man had the strength of a troll… Grunting with the effort, Lightning twisted her leg around his and threw her weight back, sending the both of them to the ground with Snow underneath to break her fall. His breath left him loudly and he coughed a few times only to realize—when the stars cleared from his eyes—that Lightning was practically sitting on his chest; she had yet to move.

She was staring at his hair after seeing that the bandana had fallen away, leaving unruly blond locks of hair free. Leaning forward and ignoring his slightly rough breathing, her fingers slid over the thick, soft strands, curious of their color and texture. His hair and stubble were a fair color, but his lashes were much darker and stood out with the cool clue of his eyes.

So this is what Serah had seen in him. A handsome face, honest eyes, and leaning forward, soft lips. When she drew back, unsure of how he would take her brash move, she felt his hands slide up her thighs to settle at her waist. "I've never been good at giving comfort. I always imagined that by giving Serah all she wanted and needed it would be enough for her. And we both know that I was wrong."

"You did as best you could," said Snow, sitting up. He swallowed hard when his move made her fall right onto his lap. "Serah loved you."

Lightning stared into his eyes, her own were dry since she had cried all of the tears she'd had in her and she had done it alone. But Snow's words brought a deep ache to her heart, even when it caused her joy to hear that despite everything, Serah had always loved her as a sister. "I would've given my life for her."

"I would've done the same," he replied, brushing a thumb across her cheekbone. "And for you, too."

Her eyes closed as his touch dragged over her jaw, down one side of her neck, and over her shoulder. The thumb returned to sweep over her lower lip, turning her chin so that he could look at her face fully. "Claire," he whispered, willing her to open her eyes.

"What?" she asked with a long, guilty sigh. Her eyes had yet to open.

The touch of his lips to hers did it, and her blue eyes popped open, pushing away from him and getting to her feet. He was after her almost instantaneously, grabbing her hand and pulling her back into his arms. "Why are you running?" he whispered against her forehead, arms now around her waist to prevent her from escaping.

"Because you're not supposed to be here, doing this with me," she murmured back, fingers clutching tightly at the shirt he wore under his coat. "We shouldn't…"

"You think it'll ruin the friendship we've managed to develop between us?" he asked.

Lightning nodded, flinching when his stubble scratched at her forehead. She felt warm in his arms, but more than that she felt safe. Safety had been something she had forgotten about when her parents had died. She hadn't needed to feel safe for herself in a long time. She had been looked up to as a leader, a soldier, a warrior who protected those she cared about, and yet… the most important person had been the one who had not come back.

"Have you… considered that maybe Serah chose not to come back in order to keep you safe this time?" Snow whispered against her ear.

"I would've never wished for this," Lightning shook her head.

"Me neither, but she'll watch over us from now on," he said, serious. "And maybe… maybe she's happy where she is."

Lightning shuddered in his arms, and Snow held her tightly to his chest, running careful fingers through her hair. Looking up at him, she found those eyes were looking at her with warmth and comprehension. Snow knew exactly how she felt, and he was offering her a shoulder to lean on. Merciful Odin, why had she ever hated him so much?

"Stay," she said quietly.

Snow swallowed hard and nodded, knowing that she was offering and asking for the only comfort she knew how to give now. They were about to move into uncharted waters and Snow could feel himself shake in anticipation. This had been something he had never done with Serah, though they had come close many times. It would've been a lot awkward if it had happened, he realized. That wasn't to say that he had never been with a woman before… but Light was different. She was part of his family, but from that night on, she would stop being 'sis' to him.

A part of her felt as if in pain as she allowed Snow to guide her to her bedroom. Her palms were sweaty, and she couldn't recall the last time she had been with a man, but maybe that explained her nervousness. Snow was supposed to have been her brother-in-law and now they were in her bedroom where something that could not be taken back would happen; it would've been disturbing if she hadn't been nervous.

It didn't matter when she had last been with a man, or if she had changed her bed sheets; what did was matter was that she didn't back out of this now. They needed each other to cope with her sister being gone, and this was the most basic way.

She watched him inspect her bedroom, eyes curious to see the most private place a person owned. They were standing in the middle of her pristine bedroom with the large, white-sheeted bed, deep purple curtains, and the lilac walls. There was nothing out of place and everything looked and smelled clean. It suited her perfectly.

"Are you sure you want to do this?" he asked drawing her close once more.

Lightning nodded and remained quiet, knowing that if she spoke, her voice would either betray her nervousness or say something she would regret. Like telling him to go home and leave her alone for the next century, because she still felt as if she were betraying Serah…

But her silence was enough to get Snow started before she had a chance to back out. He pressed a kiss to her lips, drawing her up on the tips of her toes.

Forcing herself to stop thinking, Lightning softened her mouth for his and bit back a moan when his tongue slipped into her mouth to curl around hers.

With the way he was kissing her, it took Lightning a moment to realize that Snow was slowly undoing her belts, over-shirt, and lowering the zipper of the top she wore underneath. Her gasp was loud as lips found the hidden skin of her neck and he tongued collarbone and shoulder, trailing kisses up to her jaw. Her hands were in tense fists, unsure of what to do or where to touch him. It wasn't like she was a virgin, but this moment was so surreal. She was standing in the middle of her bedroom with her ex-brother-in-law kissing a path down skin very few males had ever gone.

Just as her hands had begun to settle on his own shirt, traveling down to his waist and the belt of his pants, Snow turned her around so that she was pressed back to his chest. He slowly pulled off her shirts and leaned forward to scrape his teeth between her shoulder blades, causing Lightning to gasp and arch at the sensation. Next he worked on her skirt and the shorts underneath until she was bare save for her panties.

Turning her around again, Snow's lips met hers in a rush, his hands wandering, trying to touch every inch of her as quickly as he possibly could. For some reason, he could just imagine Light backing out at any moment right before they got in too deep. But she didn't. She was pliant and relaxed in his arms as he threw her sheets and blankets over the side of the bed before laying her down.

He nearly tore off his shirt so that she wouldn't feel too odd being the only one in the nude, but then he was above her with more hot kisses that left her breathing uneven. Her fingers hesitantly ran over the bared skin of his chest and she had to stop and admire the smooth paths and groves of his impressive upper body. Then, his mouth began a slow trail down her skin, pausing to nuzzle and lick slowly at her breasts, teasing the undersides and rubbing with careful fingers until she shuddered against him.

Her eyes were wide and a little panicky when she felt teeth scrape her navel and then lower, over her flat belly. Large hands slowly slipped off her underwear and slowly parted her thighs. Before she could even suck in a breath to stop him, he reached out his tongue to trace over her sensitive skin. "Snow!" she cried out, torn between pulling his hair to get him away and pushing him closer.

He could feel her thighs trembling as his tongue slipped in even more against her hot, slick skin. He had done this a couple of times before, but never had it mattered so much to him until now. Light was a woman who he did not want to disappoint in any other way than he already had. So he used everything he could remember to push her towards the edge of pleasure.

He drew back to stare at her and felt his breath catch when he caught a good glimpse of how beautiful she really was. Her pale, pink hair was messy from its usual style, but the strands were framing her flushed face perfectly, making her looks like something feminine and delicate when he knew she was anything but.

Aching at the thought of touching her again, Snow sat up and pulled off his boots before getting to his feet to work his belt. He paused when Lightning's fingers tangled with his and she began to work the belt and fly of his pants. He shivered when those skillful, soldier hands rubbed over his stomach, making the skin twitch. He watched her quietly, still aware of her hesitance, but he figured that there would be time for her to touch him later on if she felt up for it. Now, now he wanted to show her that he was there for her, the same way he wanted her to be a constant presence in his life, too.

Kicking off the rest of his clothes, Snow leaned forward and pushed her back against her pillows so that she could get comfortable. Her hands tangled in his hair and she drew him in for another kiss as his hips slipped between her thighs. His kissed her forehead, her cheeks, and then settled on the pulse at her throat as he began to ease into her.

Lightning's breath caught and her fingers left his hair to grab and dig at his back. Her lips parted into a silent moan once he was fully inside her, a warm, thick presence in her body. "Snow," she whispered, eyes bright in the darkness.

He paused and leaned on one arm to be able to rub her cheek gently with his other hand. "I want you to stay in my life, Light," he murmured. "I don't want to lose you, too."

Instead of replying, she shifted under him and wrapped her legs around his hips in answer. Snow shuddered against her and began to move, trailing kisses across her neck and collarbone as she gasped out pleasured breaths. She had never even contemplated being in this situation with Snow, but now that they were there, together, it somehow felt… right. Maybe it was their common pain that made it feel that way, but Lightning knew that in the long run that wouldn't be enough.

"Stop thinking," Snow whispered, pushing his hips against hers harder.

The pleasure was beginning to build and she really was beginning to lose coherent thought as Snow began to thrust in earnest. Her back arched when he hit a specific part inside of her that made her see stars. The only noise in the quiet room was their breathing and the slick sound of flesh against flesh. It was a good thing that she wasn't so short, otherwise she would've been smothered by his chest. Still, he was quite heavy and he was making her even more breathless.

Snow noticed her discomfort and with a grin rolled on his back before she could say anything. A groan was ripped from both their throats at the new angle, his hands gripping her hips to help with the movement. She watched him as she began to slide up and down, sweat forming on his chiseled chest, and she tightened her muscles around him experimentally. Snow choked on a groan and his hips began to rise to meet hers, his body so close to orgasm, but he would be damned if he went before Light. She'd probably deck him, he thought with a grin.

"What's so funny?" she asked, eyes narrowed and cheeks flushed.

"How unbelievable you look," he replied; it wasn't a lie. She looked like the warrior that she was but much more beautiful in her passion. Her lips parted in a breathless moan when her body began to reach its peak, her hips jerking against Snow's as his fingers found the bundle of nerves between her thighs and rubbed mercilessly, drawing her release out. She had scars from her years of service, but she remained a beautiful woman, and the blemishes spoke of her strength to move forward.

With a last shudder, the sweet tightening of her muscles ebbed down. Lightning let her head fall back with a content sigh, but her gaze snapped up to Snow. His hips jerked against hers once, twice, and then his mouth opened as his eyes slid closed as he reached his release. His big chest rose and fell with his every breath, and slowly his body relaxed underneath hers.

Sliding off of him with a long sigh, Lightning eased down onto her bed on her side, her body slowly returning to normal, but still feeling soft and relaxed.

"How do you feel?" he murmured against the back of her neck.

"Good," Lightning replied, nodding slightly. "A little strange, too."

"That's not something a guy wants to hear after sex," Snow said with a snort, squeezing his arm around her middle.

She half-smiled and twisted in his arms to look at his face, noting his messy hair in amusement. "I feel… light. I don't think I'm even sure how I feel right now," she admitted.

"It's the strange kind of good," he said, seeing her nod a few times in the darkness. Snow's expression grew somber as the back of his fingers brushed against her cheek; a move he was becoming fond of. "I want you to always be around," he said quietly.

Her eyes narrowed, but there was a bright shine in them. "For the sex?" she asked, cheeky.

Snow let out a chuckle and shook his head. "To be my friend and my family. Maybe, in the future… something more."

She was silent for a long moment, watching him fidget and clear his throat as her eyes remained trained on him. "I'm not an easy person to love, whether in a friendly or familial way."

"And in an intimate way?" he asked in a low tone.

"I'm even worse," Lightning said with a shrug, smirking.

"Would you mind if I tried in all three of those ways?"

Lightning shrugged and pulled the covers over her, snuggling in. "Ask me again in the morning."

Snow's laughter was softer now, caressing her ears, and even if she didn't want to admit it, her heart. He settled in next to her and laid his head on her pillow, throwing his thick arm around her waist once more.

She waited until she heard his breathing even out before her eyes opened and gazed at his peaceful face. Is this what you would've wanted, Serah? For the both of us to grow close this way? She asked herself, reaching her finger out to trace his lips.

Snow shifted in his sleep to pull her closer, mumbling incoherent words. Lightning remained still, expecting to hear him mention Serah's name, but her heart skipped a beat when, instead, he said hers. "G'night, Claire."

Lightning smiled to herself and snuggled into his chest a little closer. "Goodnight, Snow."

Maybe this had been what she had needed all along to find some peace.