Title: Never Again

Author: Silver Symphony

Rated: M

Summary: That night would be etched into his memories until he died.


Her tiny hands fumbled with the buttons on his suit jacket— five awkward minutes passed before he eased her hands away and removed it himself. She bit down on her pretty, rosy lips; lips that belonged to him now, lips that eagerly sought his at the priest's insistence. Her teeth dug deeper into her lips, bruising the tender flesh. She was so nervous.

He ran a finger across her lovely white dress. Soft, like silk, and embedded with white chocobo feathers, Serah gushed over it the minute she saw it. Snow knew she would. All eyes were fixed on her as she sauntered down the aisle; the dress hugged her tiny waist and swayed against the curve of her hips when she moved. Snow would fantasize about this very moment—Serah, his Serah, naked only for him, begging him to take her; her ivory skin crushed against his; her voice hoarse from her screams of pleasure. And after they were both spent, they'd curl up in each other's arms, exhausted, until the flames of their desire reignited. And they would remain that way, through countless sunrises and sunsets, as husband and wife. It was all he ever wanted.

His fingers brushed across her bare cleavage; she gasped and thrust her chest forward, silently pleading for more. He gauged her reaction. It was tame, subtle; it wasn't anything like her.

He did it again, distracted by the sharp memories flooding his mind; he ached for her body, he wanted to hear her moans. His skin tingled where her lips left a trail. Serah, eyes tightly shut, trembled underneath him, unaware that she was not the focus of his lust.

He took her in the wilderness of Pulse. His heart yearned for Serah then, but she was encased in crystal, dead to his suffering. Many nights, he held her frozen tear against his chest and lamented her absence with his own tears cascading down his face. Frustration brought him to Lightning that night. He found her stretched out across a hill, watching the pink sun descend behind the clouds.

They talked often of Serah; the conversations were always optimistic. Lightning never allowed Snow to grieve over Serah in front of her. She never allowed herself to think about the possibility that Serah would never return to them again. So he shed his tears privately and grinned for her benefit. And, for a while, Snow forced himself to share her optimism. He chatted about wedding plans, future children—Lightning wasn't fond of having nieces and nephews, and she wrinkled her nose whenever he joked about wanting five children— and how wonderful life would be once Serah came back.

Except that his faith weakened as the days progressed. Each day that he noticed a new arrow on his brand caused him distress. Serah was doomed to her crystal prison if he morphed into a Cie'th. How many days did they spend wandering every corner of Pulse's isolated terrain, seeking answers to their unfulfilled questions? Were there any answers at all? Perhaps that was their doom— to wander this dead land until the curse obliterated their bodies and minds and replaced the flesh with those gruesome red eyes and crystal bodies.

That night, Snow succumbed to his misery. He kneeled next to Lightning and cried. She yelled and punched him, but her anger was rewarded with more tears. And then he heard it. Her voice cracked in the midst of her swears. Her hand flew to her mouth, but it was too late; Snow heard it. And he pulled her into his arms.

She fought him, naturally. Her fists slammed into his face, arms, any inch of him she could hurt. Snow clung to her and sobbed harder as her fists pounded away; it stung him no less than the pain he already felt for Serah and his fate as a l'Cie charging straight towards destruction. To hope that things would end brightly was too exhausting to dream about any longer. He knew she felt the same; beneath that tough exterior, Lightning was hurting deeply. She was terrified to show her doubts, her sorrow, and her shame over their predicament and the choices she made that caused so much of this.

Lightning went limp in his arms; tears trickled down her face and onto Snow's neck. He held her tighter against him; her arms, which had fell to her sides, wrapped around his neck. Their embrace was innocent, at first—entrenched in sadness and nothing else. He stroked her hair; she buried her face against his bare neck. Yet, Snow found himself kissing her neck after a while, encouraged that she yielded to his touch. She slipped her hands underneath his coat and raked her nails across his back.

Desire engulfed their sorrow; pure, raw sexual instinct flooded their judgment and urged their hands to grab, pull, pinch, stroke, and tease. With little regard, they ripped off their clothes, eager to feel bare skin. Snow groaned his approval when Lightning freed him from his zipper; her caress unleashed a fierceness in Snow that he longed to released. She guided his hand to her heat, moaning appreciatively when his fingers obliged.

The grass prickled their naked skin, but neither minded as Snow and Lightning devoured each other. Thrashing around like wild animals, they flailed and howled until they were drained.

Serah's voice, soft yet audible, crashed around his ears and shattered the sweet memory. Her dress laid at her feet. The sunlight bore into her tiny, naked body. Unmarred by scars or blemishes, she was a vision to behold. She looked so vulnerable, so breakable as she stood before him. Her sky-blue eyes were glued to the floor and he noticed that her hands were balled up. She was fighting the urge to shield herself.

Serah... his Serah... she was naked and willing, yet he thought of Lightning—longed for Lightning. What was he thinking that night? Serah was his love, his soul-mate, and he deceived Serah with her sister.

Serah would be devastated by the truth. Snow would protest that it wasn't a betrayal, that he thought that he had lost her forever. But he wouldn't find any understanding in those gorgeous sky-blue eyes. He wouldn't be able to stand the disappointment, the devastation in her eyes if he confessed their fling that night. Lightning, through her sobs, swore him to secrecy. Remorse swam in her eyes, eyes he noticed that were remarkably like Serah's. He reached for her, but she slapped him. Lightning didn't have to say it; this would never happen again.

Snow's arousal plummeted. He couldn't do this. He couldn't sleep with Serah, wishing the entire time that it was Lightning writhing underneath him.

The guilt brought him to tears. Serah, startled, cuddled him; she barely reached his chest. He wriggled free of her arms and excused himself to the bathroom.

That damned night would be etched into his memories until he died. He struggled with his feelings for Serah and his lust for Lightning. He had wanted Lightning so many times after that night, and it hurt him when Lightning snubbed him. She refused to be alone with him and treated him cruelly in front of company, like she did when they first met. They never spoke of Serah again.

It was wrong to want her as badly as he did. He pulled on his blonde hair until he felt some strands part from his scalp. Lightning regretted it the instant she regained her senses; his only regret is that he couldn't conquer her one last time, one last time before Serah awoke from crystal stasis. A yearning he'd never felt for Serah set his soul afire; he could feel the blood boiling through his veins as he thought of Lightning. She was ingrained in his system The ache wouldn't be as painful if he had ravaged her until the desire was sapped from his body. And he would be free to love Serah fully— his body would only want Serah.

Dread settled in the pit of Snow's stomach; Serah would never be able to extinguish the fires Lightning left behind. Serah was sweet, too sweet... she didn't have Lightning's passion, Lightning's intensity.

Never again will that night happen. He'd have to suffer the memories and urges and hope that Serah, his Serah could banish Lightning's touch.

Snow fell onto the floor and cried.

Serah was tucked underneath the sheets by the time he exited the bathroom. He mumbled an excuse about not feeling well and buried himself under the covers, facing away from her. Serah shook her head, sympathy in her eyes. He couldn't tell whether she was also disappointed by the turn of events.

So they were asleep by sundown. Serah slept peacefully, tucked into a ball on her side. Snow twitched and figetted in his sleep, his heart in pieces and his loins aching.