Written for the Springkink Community on LJ
Prompt: July 3rd. Final Fantasy XIII, Snow/Lightning: Addiction-there were things she could do that he knew Serah would never even consider.
Warnings: Sexual content, non-explicit.
Rating: T/PG-13
Notes: Oh boy, this kept getting further and further from what I originally planned for it the longer it got. I just hope that it's not too horrible. It will probably get some editing on a non-holiday week. Also, for those of you who are followers of my other stories, I apologize for not updating for a few weeks. I finally got over my flu/plague, so they'll be updated for serious in the next few days.
Summary: Snow and Lightning discuss the nature of their relationship, but what real conclusions can they come to? They shouldn't see each other, but Snow can't give it up.

He knew why he did it. There were things she could do that he knew Serah would never even consider.

Lightning Farron stood across the room, but she seemed much further away, her soft smile a lie and a distraction. Conversation surrounded her and she was a statue, an island amongst the many wedding guests.

When they were dating, Serah was shy and pretty, a classic tease-who-didn't-know-she-was-teasing, with her curly ponytail, big, big blue eyes and short skirt. After they were married, she touched him with timid hands and whispered to him with a surprised voice. It was very charming and endearing. He liked knowing she was as innocent as she seemed, his very own Serah, sweet and playful. He loved Serah for what she was and never resented what she wasn't. It wasn't that plain and simple, and he never wished that it was.

He saw Lightning because she was fierce and confident and always knew what she liked. One day, he fully expected she would find that she did not like their sordid affair and that would be that. Until then, he took what she offered. He hated to compare them, Serah and Lightning, so similar and so different, but it enthralled him. It was all so dishonest, not as he wanted to see himself, but he was a man divided. It had to be possible to be in love with two people at once. He couldn't name it any other thing.

Lightning was ever so alluring. He didn't think of anything besides the arch of her back or the softness of her skin. Her body had a way of blinding his every sense to anything but the sensations she made him feel. When she was curled up around him, arms encircling him, he didn't know where his skin ended and hers began, but it was bliss and sin.

She looked at him curiously then, as if she could guess that he was thinking about her. She did look like Serah, but in that moment he measured her differences. Her hair was wilder, her eyes slightly smaller. Luckily, her skirt was just as short because she had fantastic, toned legs. She held on to him, never letting him be the one fastened to her. Her voice never surprised her when they were entangled in the sheets. Her hands were always firm.

Lightning's eyes narrowed and she set her champagne glass down, excusing herself from Hope's arm to the powder room. The tie around his neck was growing too tight. She excited him in a way that Serah never did, and that was because of her daring and sense of adventure. Snow glanced at Serah to his right, a champagne glass held aloft next to her head by thin, delicate fingers. She laughed and spoke to the other wedding guests. At this type of social event, Serah felt at ease, conversation coming with the oxygen she breathed, her body exuding personability and warmth, like she was a light bulb.

He pictured Lightning instead of watching her, slinking away from the crowd, feline and fluid. She tried, for Hope's sake, not to seem unwelcoming, but she also wanted to be invisible, unremarkable. Snow knew differently, how fascinating a creature she really was, but that was behind closed doors, lights out and curtains drawn shut. He thought of the way her hands found his hair and her voice shaped his name. She could will him into existence with that sound. How did she have that power when Serah couldn't come close?

With another careful glance around, Snow stuffed his hands into his pockets and excused himself to the toilets. Wherever she was, Lightning had to answer his burning question: What power did she have over him?

The hallway had waiters and other catering staff busily transporting platters to and from the kitchen. They spared him only a few glances to keep from running into him and making a mess. Snow followed his instinct, slipping out the back door to the patio and the garden. The hotel had decorative lanterns close to the building but the blackness of the autumn night pervaded the trees and shrubs. That was where he found her, a pale, dim figure easily draped over a stone bench, long beautiful legs stretched out in front of her.

"Hello," she said.

"Hey," Snow replied.

Lightning brushed her hair back with a short toss of her head and light hand. It was fascinating to just watch her behave as other people did. Her movements held a magic in them. This was an addiction, her body satisfying a craving of his soul that he couldn't fight or deny. It was too late to go back to Bartholomew Estheim's wedding the moment he laid eyes on her.

"What are you doing out here?" Lightning asked casually.

Snow cleared his throat. "I followed you, of course. I always follow you."

"Right," she said under her breath, turning her head away from him in seeming displeasure. "It's a nice party."

"Yeah," Snow said, allowing her to change the subject. How hard it was to just let her act like they were old friends who hardly saw each other. That was the way they pretended their lives worked.

"What's wrong?" Lightning asked. She had cocked her head to the side ever so slightly, a light crease in her brow.

"It's so easy for you, isn't it?" he said, clenching his hands into fists in his pockets. "You're so good at hiding any kind of feeling, this just comes to you with ease. No struggle not to tell Hope or Serah what you're doing behind their backs."

"Is that what you think?" Lightning shot back. The chilly, autumn breeze rustled through her skirt, lifting the material slightly and settling it back down. He wanted to hold her, and be held by her.


"It's not easy for me," she cut him off. "Why do you think I walked out? It was because you were looking at me like...like you should look at Serah. Like I should look at Hope."

Snow had to look away from her blazing blue eyes. "I'm sorry."

"It would be easy," she continued. "If I still thought you were a big ogre with no redeeming qualities. Now I know better. I know too much about you. This...this between us is anything by easy."

"I guess I'm not the only one," Snow said slowly. He looked up again and met her gaze. "We're both so far gone, aren't we?"

Lightning chuckled humorlessly under her breath. "I suppose so."

The thought surfaced in his mind, not for the first time, but this time it bubbled up through his lips. He had never told her before, had never thought it was safe to do so.

"I could leave Serah for you, you know," his voice said, sounding detached from his mind and body.

"It's too late to go through that tonight," Lightning said evenly. He saw how stiff she had become. "It might just be too late for everything."

"Love should mean something," Snow said.

"Love means you share one life," Lightning replied. "I think it's too late for that. You promised to do that with Serah."

"You're saying that like you don't think I really love you," Snow said.

"I don't know if I believe you do," Lightning said. "Doesn't this sometimes seem like all we're going is sleeping together? And hurting each other? Sometimes you don't even show up, Snow."

It was unfortunately true. Sometimes, when he was thinking of Serah, he stopped himself. He wanted to simply tell her that he did love her, but it wasn't that simple. He had been thinking it earlier as he watched her. It wasn't easy to stop loving Serah, but Lightning acted like that made her undeserving of love. Snow could only argue that with her without a way to back it up.

"I don't want to hurt each other tonight," Lightning said suddenly.

Snow nodded. "I don't ever want to hurt you."

She quietly accepted it, not moving from her place on the bench. The night began to stretch out between them, nothing resolved, but her companionship became enough for him somewhere along the line. Serah and Hope would be missing them, but they wouldn't think much of it. Snow and Lightning were careful not to be obvious, not to be more than unlikely friends. Lightning didn't like big gatherings. It would be natural for her to slip out, and Snow would be a companion because that was what he did well.

They certainly did have everything figured out. He sighed and crossed over to her, sitting beside her on the bench. Brushing a hand over her shoulder, he found her skin was cool to the touch. He wanted to start a fire under her and stop feeling guilty. He just wanted her, no questions and no complications.

"Maybe we should go back inside," Snow suggested, chuckling.

"You know," Lightning began, leaning into him. "We get to do this, Snow. The only things that would stop us are ourselves, and I can't seem to."

"It's wrong, to them," Snow pointed out, nodding toward the hotel building. They both understood everyone he was referring to, more than Serah and Hope and friends and family; the world that everyone lived in during the day.

"I don't know if I care anymore, what's wrong," Lightning said quietly.

Snow pressed his lips together. He could smell the scent of her hair but he kept himself from burying his face in it.

"I don't really think about leaving Serah most of the time," he admitted. "Do you think about leaving Hope?"

"No, not really," Lightning said. "They're both happy. It's all I've wanted."

"You don't want to be happy too?" Snow asked.

"I am happy," she answered. "As long as they are, I don't have anything to be unhappy about, so I can just be happy. Life is too short."

Snow sighed. "So I'm the only one who isn't happy about everything. I feel like someone with a bad habit that he can't shake, Lightning. I'm...cheating on my wife. With her sister."

"You're looking at it like that again," Lightning said, her voice scolding.

"Yeah, like it is really like that, not like this is some kind of special exception to all the stories of infidelity," Snow said. "You're looking at it like love doesn't really matter, it's only that you think you're in love that makes a difference to a person."

"Maybe that's how I really feel about it," she replied.

It put a bad taste in his mouth to think of it like that. She had resigned herself to being the dirty mistress, and it didn't hurt her like it hurt him. It just happened this way. He fiercely wanted to change that for her. He was supposed to be the hero of the story. Everyone knew that the hero made sure everyone got a happy ending after all was said and done. Lightning deserved one just as much as Serah did, and she wouldn't get it like this.

"I don't want you to settle anymore, Light," Snow told her, but he didn't know how to continue. She sat up, pulling away from him as the silence between them became tense.

"What did you come out here for, Snow?" Lightning asked. "To tell me that you're thinking of leaving your wife for me? No, you already answered me when I asked you about that earlier. Did you come here to play the hero again?"

"That wasn't why I followed you."

"But that's what it is now?" she asked.

"No, that's not it," he lied, and she knew, because he couldn't lie to her. "I...I came here for forgiveness."

"You're acting strange," Lightning said. "I can't give you that. I don't have anything to forgive you for. I'm going back inside, Snow."

"It's really too late, isn't it?" he asked. "This is how it's going to be, until the day we die. Some washed-up hero with an addiction to a pretty girl, cheating on his wife."

"Yes, that's how it's going to be," Lightning said.

He still wanted to challenge it but the fight had gone out of him. When she started back to the reception and the lights and cake, he stayed. It was better if her didn't go back in with her, and it was better that he collected himself a bit. Snow straightened his tie and smoothed down his tuxedo jacket.

Absolution wasn't easy to find.