Gungnir and Zantetsuken
Happy birthday, V-Ninja! Don't worry. This year, I wrote a oneshot so you don't have to wait on the ending :P When you asked for a Kain/Lightning crossover/Dissidia fic, I was at a total loss. I had no idea what to work with. Finally, the light bulb went off and I came up with this.
Hope everyone else enjoys!
The sun is shining high over the world of Gran Pulse. Cocoon is safe and Serah's back to normal. We've all changed from our journey. Now all that's left is to decide what to do next. I always kept my mind on the goal at hand, but now I don't know what to do.
I squint in discomfort and a small spark forms in my chest, and I press my hand to it to try to still the pain. My l'cie brand was once in the same place. I wonder, does Odin still hold a vengeance for being discarded so unapologetically? Fire swells in my chest and the pain deepens, making it feel like firecrackers going off in my heart. I fall to my knees, gripping the grass between my fingers to try to stay sane. Blackness comes over my vision and I fall to the ground.
Turns out, my fate was decided for me.
I walk the high cliffs of the nearly empty Eblan coast, aimlessly wandering to nowhere. I betrayed my brother-in-arms. I betrayed the woman I love. I betrayed my homeland. I betrayed my father's memory. I have nothing left. I am a disgrace.
I have nothing left.
I wander the world, waiting for my fate to be claimed. My life is an empty one. I fight when a monster finds its way to me, but I have yet to lose. I walk an empty path, neither happiness nor friendship on my road.
Wait, what is that down there?
Washing along the shoreline, it looks like… a person. They must've drifted ashore. Perhaps a ship attacked by a monster? I Jump from the ledge and land with ease on the sand a few feet from the limp corpse. Moving closer, I kneel down to examine it—her. She's alive. I'm not sure how someone could've lived from a drift like that, but this woman managed.
I suppose I'll do my best to aid her. Perhaps saving a life can help to atone for a fraction of my sins. I swing Gungnir onto my back and bend down, checking her for water in her lungs. I remember once, long ago, Cecil and I were taught how to release water trapped in a person's lungs. I grab the shoulders of her shirt and pull her up the beach, bending down again and remove my gauntlets and helmet. I settle down into the sand and lean over, placing my hands over her chest and press three times. It doesn't work right away, so I turn her chin back to face up and take a deep breath, leaning down and forcing the breath onto her lungs.
I repeat this a few times until, finally, she coughs and spits out the water. I replace my armor and stand, scooping the pink-haired woman into my arms. I'll see if I can find a small shelter somewhere. The sky beckons for rain.
I carry her inland, back to the shelter I used last night. It was a small ledge, but it will be enough. This would go much faster if I could Jump all the way, but it is a difficult matter of balance when carrying someone. I have successfully done it twice before. And, I loathe to admit, unsuccessfully several more. The rain is coming. I have no choice.
I brace and focus my strength into my legs, readying the secret skill of Dragoons, of which I am the last. It was a strong legacy, but it has come to a disappointing end. My father, Ricard Highwind, is likely rolling in his grave at how I turned out. I can only imagine how disappointed he would be.
I'd rather not go there. Too many harsh memories return when I think about my parents.
My current thoughts belong focused on this woman. She's unconscious, but I don't think she's wounded. Her scant body is lean and muscular. She must have been trained in combat. The look on her face even appears to be harsh and untrusting. She could be a difficult one to heal.
I reach the ledge and lay her down, removing my satchel to act as a pillow for her. I lean back against the stone edge and wait for her to come to.
I will help her as I can. If even a remnant of my honor remains, then I can be proud of that. I have nothing else…
A flash of brown streaks through my peripheral vision and my hand snaps out to catch the incoming boot. The attached leg twists, breaking free from my grip and the woman's body twists, swinging both legs 'round to sweep under me and I jump, clinging to the stone overhang to dodge.
I give a deep-throated chuckle and sigh. "Relax, woman. I merely saved your life. There is no need to attack."
She glares and drops back, leaning against the stone and closes her eyes. "What happened?"
I drop back to the ground and squat across from her. "I do not know. I simply found you washed ashore on the Eblan coast. What happened before is a complete mystery to me."
She looks up at me in a slight shock. "Where the hell is Eblan?"
"It might have been destroyed by Zemus, but it's not so far gone that it should be erased from memory."
"Answer the question."
"It is an island country to the southwest of Baron."
"So we're on the planet?"
I narrow my eyes at the stranger. "Just who are you?"
"I should ask you the same."
"I am Kain Highwind, former dragon knight of Baron."
She looks awkward and says, "Lightning. I'm from Bodhum."
I have never heard of a realm called Bodhum. Now it is my turn to ask. "And where is that?"
"It's a part of Cocoon."
"Co…coon?" What is wrong with this woman? Perhaps her mind is disillusioned from her accident. "I am not sure of where you speak, but I can assure you, there is no such land called Cocoon or Bodhum here."
She looks to the sky as the rain starts to fall. "So where am I?"
"You are, as I said, on the coast of Eblan. I found you washed ashore with your tattered clothes. If you like, I can take you as far as the royal capital. The king, Edge, would make sure you found your home, or at least guide you to those who could."
"What about you? Do you work for this king?"
"Alas, no. We were once traveling companions and enemies alike. I am a dishonor to my name and country, so I wander these lands alone." Why did I feel the need to tell her this? My personal business was no concern of a stranger. Yet, the look in her eyes reminds me of Rosa somehow. The blaze of determination placed up to hide the feeling of loss. She is a strong one, but alone, like me.
"So, you're a wanderer? Mind if I hang out with you until I figure out what's going on? It could be useful to have someone who knows the terrain and, frankly, I am in your debt. I can help you fight."
"I assumed you were trained in combat. What sort of instruction did you have?"
"If you're asking what my specialty is, it looks like you'll never see it in action. My weapon was lost when I washed up here, apparently. Or did you take it?"
I shake my head. "I did no such thing."
"I see. Then I'll assist with hand-to-hand combat." She pauses. "Can you give me a sec?"
She rolls her eyes. "A second. You know, can you turn around? I need to check something."
I eye her carefully and turn, leaping away to the next ledge, not fully trusting this woman yet. I glance back out of the corner of my eye to see her turn her back as well before raising a hand to her heart. She shuffles around and, slowly, peels back the fabric of her shirt.
No wonder she asked me to leave. Perhaps she is wounded. I wait quietly until her voice calls, "Alright, I'm done."
I leap back and ask, "What is it?"
She sighs in disgust. "Turns out, I'll be able to help with magic, too; curative and offensive."
I raise an eyebrow beneath my helm. "And you seem unsettled by this. Why?"
"Because, apparently, I've been cursed. Again."
"How so? How is the gift to cast magic a curse?"
She closes her eyes again and remains silent. I will not press farther if it is an uneasy subject. But, then, she speaks, "It's not the magic so much as what allows me to cast it."
"I am confused."
"You see, in my world, there are so-called 'supreme' beings known as fal'cie. They have taken oaths to protect the world and can do nothing to harm it. So, when they have some dirty work to do, they curse a human with magic powers, making them into a l'cie. I was made one this past year and fulfilled my task, turning me into a crystal. The alternative would be to become a monster. I am a slave to the fal'cie. Nothing more, nothing less."
"I see. That is unsettling. If you think I can help, don't hesitate to ask."
"Actually, there is one thing."
"I know you already saved my life, but if you don't mind, could you do me another favor?"
"What is it?"
"If I start to go cie'th, would you do me a favor and kill me?"
"What is… cie'th?"
"Cie'th is the name given to monsters that l'cie become."
"I see. And you would ask me to kill you?"
"Death would be far better than becoming a mindless beast. Don't you agree?"
"Hrm, in all fairness, I can't say I am anything but a mindless beast."
"No, you aren't. If you have the intelligence to say you are, then you're not… yet."
"Fair enough, Lightning."
Four months have passed. Lightning and I have become companions in travel, but we've hardly become friends. To say we understand each other's attack patterns is one thing, but to assume we understand each other as humans is another. We work together, nothing more.
And yet, when I look at her, I feel something beyond allies. Beyond friendship. When I look at her, I don't see a rugged woman in men's clothing. I see a beautiful woman who showed up in my life when I needed her most.
I see a woman who stole my heart long before I realized it was still intact.
Now is not the time for such thoughts. The winds rush past my face as I drop straight down, back towards my target as my Jump nears its end. Lightning is still on the ground, battling with the monster with her magic. I don't usually Jump and leave her alone, but the monster is an airborne one, easily susceptible to my attack. I adjust my body, angling to get the most thrust out of the drop. And, once again, my calculations are perfect. The beast falls to my spear, releasing an ear-splitting screech before finally stilling.
I turn to look and see Lightning holding her shoulder, five of the fiend's quills buried deep within. The creature must have released them at the last second. I remove Gungnir from the corpse and shoulder it before moving to her side. "Are you alright, Lightning?"
"Ha…" she snorts. "You don't think a small wound like this would take me down, do you?"
"No, but I am not so foolish as to think you can't bleed. Come. We'll make haste for the next town and get you healed."
She pulls out of my grasp and walks a few steps. "I'll be fine. I just need to get these things out of me and cast Cure."
"Lightning, I'm not sure if you noticed, but they've gone straight through. You need to sit and dress those wounds."
"I told you, I'll be fine!" she snaps.
I slowly pull my hand back. "Very well, then. Do it your way. Let me know if you need help."
She stalks away in silence, dropping done on a rock to sit while removing the quills. I sigh. I can't just stand here…
I walk over and bend down in front of her, gripping the end of one of the quills and brace her shoulder with my other hand before tugging to remove it. "It looks like the whole thing came out on this one, but they're rather fragile and break easily once detached from the body. Hold still and I'll try my best to get them out cleanly. Then you can Cure to your heart's content."
She nods slowly and looks away, gripping the rock beneath her to try to keep her reflexes in check while I grip the second one. "Ready?" She remains silent, neither approving nor negating my next action, so I pull. It comes out cleanly and I toss it aside, moving to the third one. This one feels a bit flimsy. I'll come back to that one. The fourth and fifth feel the same. "Lightning, these are going to be very painful. Be ready."
"Alright. Just get it done with."
I grip the third one and pull gently, trying to ease it carefully as possible. Slowly, slowly, slowly… There. It's out. One done, two to go. "Lightning, how are you feeling now?" She doesn't respond, so I look up to find her eyes half-lidded and her breath moving in and out much more slowly than normal. "Lightning? Lightning! Stay with me."
It's too late. Her head slumps over and lands on my shoulder, her hair already soaking up some of her own blood. I need to get her to an inn, where I can clean and dress the wounds properly. The next town is a good two days walk, less than a full day if I can Jump the whole way. Again, I find myself holding this woman while attempting to Jump. I have no choice, though. Her life has become far too precious to me.
So I gather her up and leap, taking the first jump of many to get us to town. She's lost a lot of blood, though I fear the quills may have been tainted with poison as well. I worry for her survival. But I must focus. One false step and I could lose a lot of precious time. Plus, the air this high is thin. I have been trained to adjust my breathing, but Lightning is injured and unconscious. Even training is useless when rendered unconscious.
The hours speed by, the strength in my legs fading by the time we're halfway there. I know that I, as the Dark Dragoon, am not welcome in most towns, however, I don't have the time or care to change into my disguise first. Finally, the outskirts of the town comes into view and my sharp vision manages to make out an inn from this distance. I stay to the skies, moving from the trees to the rooftops until I reach the inn and drop down right outside the door.
My appearance in the dark of the night frightens several villagers and they run, but I can't be bothered with them. I turn into the inn and everyone looks up from their drinks in the tavern below to watch me. I look to the girl sweeping near the stairs and say, "I require a room, as well as some bandages and ointments. I will readily pay for all supplies you can offer."
She nods and hastily leans her broom on the wall before starting up the stairs and gesturing for me to follow. The brunette girl takes a key out of her pocket and opens a door on a vacant room and allows me to enter first. I walk over to the bed and lay Lightning down before removing my gauntlets and helmet, letting my blond hair fall down my back. The girl asks in a whisper, "What did you need exactly, sir?"
"Bandages, ointments, remedies, and perhaps a bath and a change of clothes for my companion."
She nods. "I'll hurry with those, then."
I can't take my eyes off Lightning as I say, "You have my deepest gratitude."
She hurries off and I reach out, untying the straps to Lightning's leather armor and pulling out a dagger on my boot before cutting the area near her wounds to remove the vest. I slip the very tip of the knife into one of the holes in her tunic to cut around the injuries while trying to leave her as modest as possible. Two of the quills are still embedded in her shoulder. I need to get them out, but I need to clean her blood away first.
A knock sounds on the door and the girl comes back in with a basket on her elbow and a pitcher in her hands. "I brought the things you requested. I added some towels and I brought this pitcher of water to help wash her wounds."
I manage the kindest look I can and say, "Thank you, miss. I truly appreciate this."
"Would you like me to help? Many travelers come through injured and I have quite a bit experience dressing wounds."
"Thank you, but I think I can manage. I'm sure you have duties to tend to."
"My first duties are to our guests, but if you don't want me here, I'll leave. I'll check back shortly to see if you need anything else."
I nod, my hands already soaking one of the towels in the pitcher. The door clicks shut and I return to my duties, lightly touching the cloth to clean the blood away. I toss it to the floor and grab another, rubbing it into the healing salve to make it easier to apply. With the ointment soaking her wound, I open a bottle of the remedy and take a deep breath. I know what I have to do, but…
I lightly shift her to wrap one arm around behind her to incline her form a little. I take a drink from the remedy, storing it in my mouth before leaning closer to Lightning and pressing my lips to hers to force-feed it. The thick fluid slides down her throat and I slowly pull back, mentally scolding myself. I was helping her to get the medicine she needs! Nothing more!
Once all of the remedy has moved down her throat, I lay her back down and move to tend to the quills again. The ointment has been working on numbing her skin, so I lift the dagger and gently prod into her skin. It's better to cut lightly and remove the whole barb than to risk it breaking and have to cut deeper.
Finally, the first quill loosens and slides out. I throw it on the bloody towel and move to remove the other one. The dagger cuts into her lightly, and blood starts to pool out. I press a little more and that one comes loose. I toss it with the first and grab a towel, soaking it in water and press it over her shoulder to try to quell the bleeding. I pick up more of the ointment and slowly peel the towel back, placing the salve on her wounds to help them heal. Now, to get her shirt off and properly bandage her.
I wonder if that girl could help me at this point. I've only ever had to bandage myself, not prop up an unconscious body and bandage it—not to mention, the body of a woman. I pull the towel tightly over her to act as a temporary bandage and stand to find the girl. I walk into the hall and head for the stairs, just to find her on her way up. She smiles softly and says, "Oh, I was just on my way to see if you needed help. Is the lady alright?"
I nod. "She will be. But could ask your assistance in bandaging her?"
She smiles wider and follows me back to the room where Lightning lies. "Um…" she whispers timidly as the door closes behind us. "Are you… Are you the one they call the Dark Dragoon?"
"I am. And I don't know quite what rumors have spread of me, but I can assure you, I mean neither you nor your town harm."
She smiles again and lifts a roll of bandages from the basket. "I know. You're not like the stories say. The men who come in here, claiming to have fought against you and lived, say that you're a man of hideous features; scars ruining a once-handsome face, and anger darkening your eyes to make them unreadable. Your hair is a dark, filthy black, you carry yourself as if you have pride to spare, and your lance is stained with the blood of families you've slain."
I hum a slight sound of amusement as I sit and cut the rest of Lightning's shirt open, doing my best to stay focused on the conversation and not defile her privacy. "I see. As you can see, those are false."
"I never believe the stories around here unless I see proof. Even then, I'm skeptical." She keeps a small smile on her face, even as she takes the bandages and starts to weave them together to create a pad. After repeating the process to make a second, she holds one to Lightning's front and starts to wrap the remaining bandages to hold it in place before taking the other pad and placing it to her back. She wraps to hold that in place as well and continues to make it thicker, wrapping it over her shoulder to hold it steady while I hold her behind her neck and around the waist.
I keep my eyes on the wall as she works, trying to ignore the slight feeling of Lightning's bare breast touching my arm. Finally, the girl steps back with a smile before reaching in the basket she brought and pulling out the spare tunic. She fits it over Lightning's head and smiles softly, indicating for me to pick her up. I lift my friend from the bed and the girl pulls the bedding down so we can tuck her in.
She looks up and says, "I'll go take care of the dirty fabrics and such."
I look up and nod. "Thank you. Be careful for the quills in the towel. Don't touch them with your bare hands. They are poisonous."
"I'll be careful. Thank you." She heads to the door, pausing before leaving, and says, "Oh, my name is Diyana if you need me again."
"Thank you, Diyana. I am Kain, and my companion is Lightning."
"A pleasure to meet you, Kain. I hope she gets well soon."
Three days later, Lightning is still unconscious. Diyana and I have had a difficult time trying to feed her and wash her, though most of the latter was done by Diyana. I have removed my armor for my stay in this town, to remove suspicion, if nothing else. I will stay as a general traveler, not the Dark Dragoon so many fear.
The room in the inn has only the bed Lightning is in, so I have spent the past few nights sleeping on the floor. It has been hard, watching Lightning suffer like this. I feel incomplete without her constant sarcasm to complete my comments. She has a way of making me feel better about myself. Perhaps, in a way, more so than Rosa ever did.
I have considered the thought that it was fate that Cecil and Rosa were in love. Because, if that were destiny, than it helped me to move on to meet Lightning many years later. Lightning is different. She's not as forgiving as Rosa, but instead punches someone to the ground if they wrong her. She is… a different woman than any I have met.
She is from a different world.
She was not raised a king's soldier or mage, nor a farm girl or bar assistant. She was raised to be her own person, to fight for what she believed in. She fought hard to save her sister and to escape her l'cie life. She came here for some reason, but it is far too arrogant to think it might be to be with me. She must have a purpose for being here, but I do not know what.
The last time our planet was in distress, the heavens saved us by sending us a pair of half-Lunarian brothers. Perhaps Lightning will save us from whatever is next.
"You love her, don't you?"
I look up to find Diyana standing in the doorway with the day's lunch in-hand, a thoughtful expression on her face. I stand and walk over to take the tray from her, letting her in if she pleases. Quietly, I say under my breath, "I do."
She walks in and closes the door behind her, helping herself to a seat near the bed. She takes a bowl of soup off the tray with a spoon to feed Lightning while asking, "Does she love you as well?"
I sit on the side of the bed with my own soup, Diyana's father's own recipe, and reply, "I do not know. I would find it unlikely."
She slips the spoon between my companion's lips. "And why would you say something like that?"
"She does not behave like a woman in love."
"And how does a woman in love behave?"
My memories of Cecil and Rosa come to surface at this moment and I answer, "A woman in love watches the man whom she adores with adoration and trust. She follows him, regardless of danger. She believes in him and never turns him away. She'll not hesitate to tell the man how she feels."
"But…" She uses a napkin to wipe some soup off Lightning's chin. "If a woman in love behaves that way, would a man in love not also be that way?"
"I suppose that is true."
"Then… Do you hesitate to tell her how you feel? Do you watch her with love and affection? Do you never push her away?"
I look down at the floor before lifting my eyes back to Lightning's face. "I have not told her how I feel. I have hesitated."
"Then what makes you think that she might not be having similar thoughts? Perhaps she hesitates to tell you for the same reasons you do."
"I will have to think on this for awhile. Thank you for this new perspective."
She smiles and sets the half-empty bowl on the tray. "I'll let you finish. My mother asked for my help with the cleaning today."
I nod. "Thank you for your assistance."
She smiles and stands. "Just leave the tray by the door and I'll come up to collect it later." The door shuts again and I turn back to my food, finishing off the dish before setting it back on the tray.
"Did she leave…?"
My attention snaps to Lightning to find her eyes half-open. Her right arm reaches out from under the bedding to touch her temple and her eyes close again. "How long was I out?" she groans.
I hope she did not hear my conversation with Diyana. "Only about three days. How do you feel?"
"Just a massive headache, but I'll be fine in no time."
"Your arm doesn't hurt?"
"No. It's kinda numb."
"I see. Then the ointments are doing what they are supposed to. It'll be a long while before you are back to normal."
She drops her head back to the pillows. "Ugh, I can't believe I let that monster hit me."
I stay silent for a moment before lifting the bowl of soup. "Do you think you can eat?"
She shakes her head on the pillow. "No, I'm not hungry."
"You need to keep up your strength."
"I will. But not now."
"Alright, then. I'll leave it here. I'll see if Diyana can come and help you bathe. I assume you do not want me to accompany you."
I turn slightly. "Hm?"
"Thanks for helping me out."
I nod. "Of course. That is what friends do."
She remains silent, so I walk out to find Diyana. The regulars of the bar have come to recognize me and don't bother moving anymore. I walk over to the bar where Diyana's elder sister serves drinks. "Nala, do you know where Diyana is?"
"Why?" The raven-haired young woman leans across the bar seductively and asks, "Are you trying to steal my little sister from me?"
"I have no such intentions. I simply need her assistance with my wounded friend."
"I'm kidding. You're far more of a gentleman than the rest of the strangers who come in." She stands up straight and flips her long braid over her shoulder. "Hang on, I'll go get her."
I wait at the bar as Nala walks out the back door. A presence moves up behind me, slowly coming closer. I turn and grab a wrist coming at me, gripping tightly and forcing my attacker to drop his knife. I narrow my eyes and ask, "I am a simple guest here. On what grounds do you attack me?"
He glares, the alcohol reeking on his breath. "I know you! You're that dragoon everyone's scared of! Do you know how many women can't sleep at night, knowing you're in town?"
"To frighten the townsfolk was never my intentions. I am only here, paying for my stay with honest gil, until my companion recovers from her wounds. Ask Diyana. She will tell you."
"That little whore wouldn't know a chocobo from a cockatrice!"
"I do not know what kind of person she has been to you or you to her, but she has been of great assistance to me during this time, while you have only attempted to harm me. I believe it is rather clear who I should trust."
Nala walks back into the room and leaps over the bar with ease, slamming a well-aimed fist to the man's face. She glares and snarls, "I thought I made it very clear that no one is to speak of my sister that way!"
I raise a hand. "Nala, please. You and your family have been more than hospitable. Allow me to handle this one."
A small hand grabs my arm and I turn to see Diyana standing there, a small smile on her face. "Come. I'll explain everything to you. Nala can handle him."
Nala shouts as we head for the stairs, "You don't have to say anything you don't want to!"
"I know!" Diyana smiles brightly and makes for the stairs. She turns slowly to look at me. "It's been years, but when I was fourteen, I was taken from this bar by a group of drunken patrons. They led me to the surrounding forests and abused me several times, physically and sexually. Next thing I know, I wake up, in the middle of the town square, perfectly fine and clean, laying on the rim of the well with all the men laying about, dead, and their, um, lower bodies, if you will, were removed in a bloody manor. I'm eighteen now and still the town thinks I'm some kind of witch. I honestly don't know what happened that night."
My thoughts stray over to the Eblan army of ninjas. They easily could have and would have—if lead by Edge—done something like that. "I see. I am not one to believe in witches, only mages. And of all the mages I know, none could have done something like that subconsciously. I imagine someone came to your aid."
She smiles. "Thank you for trusting me."
"It only seems to be the right thing to do."
She smiles again and opens the door to the hotel room to find Lightning standing near the dresser, her good arm bracing the wood to keep herself up, her injured arm hanging limply by her side. I walk over to her and ask in Diyana's direction, "Would you mind going to prepare the bath for Lightning?"
She nods and backs out, walking down the hall to the downstairs bathhouse. I stop walking once right in front of Lightning. She's almost a half-foot shorter than me. I lift her chin with my left hand and give a slight smile. "You shouldn't be up yet. You've only just woken."
Her eyes narrow into mine and she hisses, "I can't just sit around and let someone take care of me."
My smile fades and I ask, "Not even me?"
"Look, I hate not being able to do things for myself. It's just the way I've always-" She cuts off suddenly as my lips close over hers. I felt she was talking too much. I know I shouldn't be indulging like this, let alone without her permission, but I care far too much about her.
I love her.
"I love you."
Her eyes widen as she registers what I've whispered against her lips. She stares, dumbfounded, with an expression I can only describe as charming. Her throat shifts as she swallows, trying to find her voice. I wait, my mind anxiously awaiting her reply.
Why does she make me feel this way?
My heart feels so full right now. This feeling is so different from when Rosa would speak.
"I… I can't…"
I look into her eyes, curiosity and hurt flooding through my being. "Lightning…? Why…?"
She tears her gaze way from mine. "This isn't my home, Kain. I have to go back; back to my family and back to my world."
"But… I love you."
She shakes her head. "I'm sorry, Kain! I have to go back!"
I swallow the bile rising in my throat and place both my hands on her face to make her look at me again. "What if I go with you? If I did, would you consider the thought of returning my feelings, or is the idea so repulsive?"
"No!" She tears away and makes her way to the bed, dropping down a little unsteadily. "I… You're far from repulsive, Kain."
"Is it only our separate homes that divide us?" I ask, walking over and sitting down on the seat by the bed.
"I…" Her hand forms a fist as she closes her eyes. I almost wonder if she's about to hit me, but I don't care. She sighs. "Aside from my family, you're the best friend I've ever had. You're the only one who looked beyond the scary exterior to try to meet the person underneath."
"If I am just a friend to you, then I will say no more of this to you."
She remains silent for a long moment before slapping her hand to her forehead and groaning. "Look, Kain, I don't know how all this works here. But where I'm from, when two people are attracted, they date for awhile. They get to know each other as a couple. And then, when they're really comfortable together, they get serious. I just don't know right now. Yes, I feel… something, but if it's as strong as what you feel for me… I just can't say. I don't know."
I remain silent as I think her words through. "Very well. I have a proposal for you. While you are here and while we try to find a way back to your home, stay with me and we will try to understand each other as lovers. If, by the time you can go home, you can say that you love me and mean it, then I will go with you. If not, then I will stay here."
"Alright." She nods. "I can agree to that."
I can't hold myself back as I stand, shift to sit beside her, and gently kiss her again.
The sun shines brightly through the window, urging me awake. I roll over in the crisp white sheets, slowly reaching out to pull Lightning against me. She's already awake, as expected, and rolls to sit above me and greets me with a morning kiss.
It's been four years since we met. Now, we live in the city of Bodhum, just a short walk or Jump from her sister and her husband. Lightning's brand is gone once again. We're happy here. We married on the one-year marker of our coming to this world. There has been a lot to adjust to. This world is so much different from my home. Even the self-moving doors and glass windows were a wonder, let alone all the machinery. It's a wonder a child can grow up in this world with all the things to know.
Yes, I do miss my homeland now and then, but even when I lived in that world, I could not visit my home. I left a letter to Cecil and Rosa to explain to them that I was leaving to be somewhere where even I could find happiness. When I left, Rosa had just given birth to their first child. I am happy for them.
I find that I do get along well with Lightning's sister, Serah. We have many fascinating conversations together and neither she nor her husband with the odd name—Snow—question my lack of knowledge of this world. They trust Lightning and it is good for me to see that. To see that it was better to come here than to stay in my world.
Lightning and I will have been married for three years in a matter of months. I could not be happier. I love this woman and I'm delighted that I made the choice to profess my love to her that night. I wouldn't have anything I have today if I hadn't. I reach my hand out, gently setting it on the small bump of Lightning's stomach.
No, I wouldn't have anything.
When I thought I was cursed, I was, in truth, blessed. I found my life that day when I found her washed up on the shore.
I am a married man, twenty-six years of age, and expecting my first child with my beautiful—if not ill-tempered—wife. I may not understand the concept of many things around me, but I know that I made the right choice in coming here. This is my fate.
And I could not be a luckier man.
*Sighs in delight* Thanks, V-Ninja, for helping me get hooked on this pairing. For the record, when I said you were going to hate me while hinting at this fic, I meant that you were going to hate me for saying you were going to hate me. That was just to get you riled up before reading. I had to add a bit of an April Fool's joke in there ;)
Love and huggles,
P.S. The rest of you can review, if you don't mind ^_^