Second Chances

"Lightning. Time to stop sulking."

"Who's sulking?"

"Tch." Lightning blinked out of the memory, shaking her head. Kain had been the only person bold enough to say anything to her at all while she had been "sulking". But he was also the only person bold enough to betray the group outright and try to kill her.

Worse than that, though, he had the nerve to travel with her and her group on their way to destroy the manikins. Did the rest of the group not realize that he betrayed all of them? That he was now their enemy, and they should have struck him down like he tried to do with her? She had no sympathy for traitors.

He said he didn't expect forgiveness. That was good, because she didn't plan on giving it to him. The only thing that she would give him was the cold shoulder. It was hardly different from how she treated the rest of the group anyway, since she hardly spoke to any of them. If she had her way, she would have gone alone to face the manikins instead of leading a group to their slaughter. They didn't deserve death like Kain did.

Lightning came out of her thoughts eventually because of a noise she heard outside the cave that she and her allies were resting in for the night. It was snowing outside, and the only thing keeping her warm was a fire that she was sitting close to. It was times like these she wished she wore pants instead of the mini skirt. But the skirt made movement easy in battle, so she supposed there were advantages and disadvantages to whatever wardrobe she chose.

She pushed herself up off the cave floor and looked over to see Kain resting against one of the rocks, his mask covering his face as always. He was alienated from the rest of the group who was asleep, but he was only that way because of Lightning's insistence. She didn't consider these allies "friends", but they were coming close to receiving that title. And she wasn't about to let Kain kill any of them off.

Or the manikins, she thought bitterly, walking forward softly so she wouldn't disturb the rest of any of her comrades. She stepped forward to the edge of the cave's protection and peered out into the snowfall, the whole world dark because of the weather and the nightfall. But the night was a perfect time for the manikins to come out to play. And that was what she believed to be happening now.

She glanced behind her into the cave one last time, saw her party's sleeping bodies stay where they were, and then she ran out into the snow to face the enemies. She would protect them.

Even the traitor.

"Back off!" Lightning hollered, swinging her sword at a manikin of the Warrior of Light. He finally fell to her blade, though he managed to get in a hard shot to her left arm before he vanished. She grunted and sank down to one knee in the snow, used to the biting cold by now. She didn't know how long she was fighting, but it was long enough, considering the sun was going to start rising soon.

The fight had been long and hard, and it showed no sign of ending anytime soon. The manikins just kept coming and coming, and even if she was practically an army of one, she didn't know much longer she would fair against them. She did a back flip to avoid a sword from some enemy she didn't recognize at first, her free hand curling into a fist as she slugged him. Enough of this!

But it would never be enough for the manikins. They were merciless, and right now, they were intent on killing her. She wouldn't let them have their way too easily. She wasn't going down without a fight. She shifted Paradigms, waving her sword in her grasp slightly. Gathering her strength, she cast a powerful thundaga spell, the purple lightning bolt knocking out quite a few manikins.

But it wasn't enough, because there were many more clones to kill. She turned around quickly enough to block a bullet from Laguna's clone. He seemed tougher than the real deal, since he wasn't blabbering away all the time and making himself look like an idiot.

He wasn't the true idiot, though, not right now. Light was cursing herself for running out into this fight alone, because it was far more than she could handle. Hours on end were spent fighting these clones, and she was too stubborn to die to them. Soon her stubbornness wouldn't make a difference.

A short cry left her lips when she felt a lance pierce her from behind, going into her ribs before being yanked out. She fell down to her knees again and felt the snow come up to her mid-thigh, the snow turning redder with her blood.

Kain. That was Kain's clone. Ironic I'd fall to him…

"I can't…stop now," Light said stubbornly, speaking to herself. Who else would she speak to when she was now at least a mile away from her group's cave? Not only was she an idiot for running out and fighting alone, she was also an idiot for drawing the fight away from her friends who could help her.

"Tch." She lifted her gaze to the manikin right in front of her, "Kain" bringing his lance down on her in a killing strike.

The blow never landed.

Out of nowhere, the real Kain came running in, and instead of going for the foes, he went straight for Lightning. His arm wound around her waist as he ran by at a supernatural speed, the dragon warrior keeping a secure grip around Lightning as he ran right through the enemies and cut open a path for their escape.

Light didn't have to open her eyes to realize that Kain was the one who rescued her; he was the only person who had such speed. And now that traitor would either take her some place where he could "put her to sleep" or he would force her to be indebted to him and hold this over her head forever.

"Hands off," she mumbled, feeling the wind against her face as Kain started jumping atop a series of snowy rocks to a higher level.

"I only have one hand around you," Kain replied smoothly. "And I should think you would fall to your death if I took that hand away."

Better that than to be indebted to a traitor.

Kain kept his grip on Lightning despite her weak struggles until he finally found a safe-haven. Or, at least, the safest place they would be able to find in a world full of manikins. Another cave, like the one he and his comrades rested in last night. He had awoken that morning and noticed Lightning was missing, but he also noticed the signs of battle in the snow.

It was too hectic for any of them to take the time to track the footprints to find Lightning. So, everyone ran off in different directions to find her, and he had been the one to track her down first. Fate.

Kain Highwind set her down just inside the cave, and though he would have preferred to sit her upright, his hold on her only allowed him to put her on her hands and knees. He knelt by her and gazed at her behind his mask in concern, seeing how she turned her body so she was sitting and her back was against the cave wall.


She ignored him and leaned her head back against the wall, her pink hair strangled because of the wet snow. Her lips were turning purple as well. Her skin was much paler than usual, and earlier he could even feel how cold she was when he held onto her to get her away from the battle. She was suffering from more than just battle wounds.

"We need to find a way to fight the hypothermia."

"Back off" was her reply.

"Accept my help or die, Lightning," Kain said bluntly, his voice harsher than his usual calm tone. "The decision is yours."


Does she really hate me that much?

"Fine," Lightning said bitterly. "I'm open to suggestions."

"Cast Cure on yourself and take away those wounds," Kain said, moving to her side and peeking at the wound he saw his manikin inflict. "Blood loss won't help with anything."

Lightning finally took his advice without arguing, much to his relief. She shifted Paradigms and cast a series of small spells over herself, and he knew perfectly well that being a medic wasn't her strongest field. She was more of a physical fighter than anything else; he had faced that side of her himself.

The spells ended, and so did Lightning's submission to him. "Stop staring."

"I need to be able to look at you to help you. It's best to accept it," Kain said, calm despite Lightning's temper. He was used to this attitude from her by now, but he didn't return the bitter feelings. He cared for her, and that was why he wanted to take her out of the conflict in the first place. That was why he was so tempted to try that move now and bring her peace.

Lightning ignored his advice and gave her own orders. "Back away. I know you want to send me to dream land."

"Borrowing words from Laguna now, are we?" Kain asked with an arched brow. The gunner had said the same thing when he approached the group and agreed to help them with the manikins. He was surprised Lightning would even think of mimicking somebody she was so cold to.

"Hardly matters who I borrow the words from when they're right."

"I'm not going to send you to 'dream land,'" Kain said. "You have my word."

"Like that means anything," Lightning spat, opening her pale blue eyes and staring at Kain. Her gaze was almost as icy as her body was by now.

He sighed and threw his lance to the other side of the cave, hearing it crash to the ground. "There. Better?"

Light only grunted.

"Right now, I'm the least of your concerns. How long were you fighting in that weather?"


"Lightning," he said more firmly. She needed to cooperate with him if she was going to survive this.

"Hard to say. Three hours at least."


Lightning's icy glare returned at the name, and at Kain's disapproval. It hardly mattered to her what he thought, since he was only a traitor in her eyes. Or so he thought. In reality, if he was only a traitor to her, she would have physically attacked him harder than she had in their one fight. If it went to the death, she would have followed through. But Kain got under her skin, because he was one that Lightning could actually tolerate in their group.

"You should have at least woken somebody to fight beside you," Kain said in an attempt to recover. Lightning never did take insults well.

"They were all too exhausted to move. I had enough stamina to keep fighting."

"You could have asked me."


"Think of me and my mission however you will, but you knew in that fight I'd be by your side against the manikins. We're both trying to kill them off for good, aren't we?"

"I don't know, Kain, are we?" Lightning asked boldly, wrapping her arms over her chest to cover her shivers. "You say you're coming with us to get to the manikins, but you know with the chaos that you can find a way to kill us off one by one. Why risk us getting close to the manikins when you know we're all going to die if we face them?"

"Because I realize now that you had a point. If we don't do something about the manikins now, then we'll have no chance to conquer them in the next battle. The time is now."

"You're going to die then," she mumbled. Both of them knew how the battle would end.

"And so are you if you don't drop the argument and let me start helping you. Your hypothermia is getting worse."

"How are you planning on helping me when we're stuck in a cave with no resources?" There wasn't even firewood for them to use and try to make a fire.

Kain silently answered Lightning's question by moving to take off the torso section of his armor. He heard the curse Lightning said under her breath when she understood just how he was planning on helping her body return to the right temperature: He was going to get close and let his body heat help her.

"I know you, Lightning," Kain said calmly. "You'll do whatever it takes to preserve your life, even if it means getting close to me."

"You don't know me," she hissed, eying Kain as he took off the breastplate of his armor. He wore a long sleeved black shirt under his armor to make it more comfortable, and to keep him warmer in conditions like these. She could see his abs and other well-defined muscles through the tight shirt. She knew he was strong; he had to be, to take out all their allies like he did. That ticked her off, but more than anything, what he just said ticked her off more. I know you, Lightning.

"Is that what this is about? You fear letting me get close physically because I'm already near to your heart. Or at least I was, before I lifted my weapon against you."

"Stop acting like you know everything."

"I will, as soon as you tell me I'm wrong."

She said no such thing.

"Now, if you want to take your anger out on me, do it tomorrow. Focus on living through today." He opened his arms to her as he moved to lean against the smooth cave wall, his legs spread apart just enough that Lightning could sit between them and lean back into his chest. It was the only way he could see this working out.

Lightning glared at him despite how his helmet was still on before she obliged. She stood and put her sword away in her case since she had been holding it the whole time. She was forced to unstrap the bag from her to sit comfortably between Kain's legs, so she did. She threw it across the room so it landed by Kain's weapon. She wasn't risking him using her own weapon to take her out.

She cautiously sat down between his legs and leaned back into his warm chest, and she could feel how tense she was compared to him. That, and she could still feel her own faint trembling that came from the shivers. Kain must have felt it too, but he didn't say anything. Instead, he lifted his arms and wrapped them around Lightning softly, his arms on top of her freezing ones.

She only briefly turned her head and glared at him.

"I hate you, Highwind," Lightning muttered, her head finding his shoulder as her eyes fell shut. No doubt it was a combination of tiredness and hypothermia that caused her to do that. Not comfort.

"That's alright," he assured her softly. "It's to be expected when I made a grave mistake."

"Just one grave mistake?" she snapped, angry even if he wasn't.

"I am not a perfect man. If I continue to make mistakes, then call me out on them. I have no desire to hurt you."

"Cut the crap, Kain," Lightning demanded lowly.

"Already done," Kain replied smoothly. "I'm walking the correct path now. And when this battle is complete, our allies will awaken and continue the fight for us. I did what was necessary."

"If those allies were still alive, they could help us fight the manikins and none of us would die in that fight," she stated bitterly.

"…A flaw in my plan," he acknowledged.

"One of many flaws. Who are you that you think you can just waltz into my life and fight by my side again?"

"I am a man who wants to end this conflict. And earn your trust again."

Lightning curled her hands into fists; Kain could feel the movement under his arms. "Why does that bother you so much?" he asked softly, lowering his head and gazing at Lightning on his shoulder.

"You had my trust and you threw it away. You're one of the only ones I actually trusted. And liked," she finally admitted, voice quiet instead of harsh.

"You can trust me, Lightning," he whispered, moving his head closer to hers. "Believe in me again. I won't let you down."

Light's head turned against Kain's shoulder a little, her damp pink bangs hiding her closed eyes just a bit more from Kain Highwind's view. She was losing consciousness because of the cold and exhaustion…And comfort. He only knew that it was the last because of the words she mumbled before she fell asleep.

"I already do."

Kain gaze at Lightning even when it was clear she was unconscious, and he could tell by her easy breathing that she was already past the worst of the hypothermia. Regardless, he stayed where he was and held Lightning close. She already trusted him…And that was heartbreaking for her because a soldier like her knew not to trust a traitor. But her heart told her to trust him anyway. Even a soldier like herself could not ignore the yearnings of the heart.

She only showed anger to him because he did know what she was like underneath her mask; she didn't want to believe she was duped into getting close to a person who only had treacherous intentions. But her mask fell away, finally. He could see her for who she really was again, and she finally confessed she saw him the way he really was. He was no traitor.

Despite all her tough talk, she still cared. And so did he.

He lifted a hand away from Lightning's arm and used it to take off his mask, the man performing the movements carefully so he wouldn't awaken the soldier he saw as so beautiful. He had to gaze at her with no restrictions, and see her and himself for what they really were. They weren't fighting machines; they were humans, who had the capability to love and hate, to hurt and to heal.

It was his time to love her. His time to heal her. His time for a second chance.

After his helmet was off, he looked down at Lightning with soft brown eyes, his dirty blond hair falling around his face as he gazed at her. He bent his head down and gave her a small kiss on her pink hair, the surprisingly soft eyes of the warrior on her even after the action is done.

I swear to you, I will not let you down again.

Author's note: I'm so shocked and disappointed at the lack of Lightning/Kain stories. In the game, the pairing is so obvious! *Sigh* Regardless, I have taken the time to write something out. It only took two days, which is pretty good considering how bad my writer's block has been lately.

Be sure to review the story and check out my other stuff if you liked this. I do a lot with Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts. (: