A/N:A long-overdue Christmas and New Year's present to all my readers and fans of this ship. Thanks for all your support!
About this piece:
Lightning's beautiful dress is a product of Eirlys-Tylluan's imagination. I myself love the design ET made. I also stole the title from ET (I regret nothing!). So, for those wanting to see what exactly Lightning was wearing in her wedding to Squall, go turn over to Eirlys-Tylluan's DeviantArt page.
As for why a wedding? Perhaps because of the superstitious mind, or because couples just want an easy date to remember, or because of reasons I can't be bothered to think of, churches (that I know of) were packed last 12/12/12 with matrimony ceremonies. While spending time with cousins I've never met before during the reception, I was struck with a wonderful SCE-worthy idea - and one that needed ET's creativity to help me write. Really, ET's been a great help in this drabble.
So, without further ramblings from my sleep-deprived mind, onwards to the story!
Theme 42: Heaven's Light
Pairing: Squall Leonhart/Lightning Farron
The wedding that unified the Blood-Soaked Black Lion and Etro's Valkyrie was a grand spectacle.
It was clear how everything was meticulously planned up to its beautiful execution. The program was perfect.
At Lightning's command, Squall had personally ensured the day would be perfect and to his bride's taste.
The couple had already been wed, of course. As expected of the two pragmatists, they already had a civil union, with Serah and Quistis present as their only witnesses. While Squall was no longer an active field agent, and Lightning no longer appeared beside the rest of Pulse's generals on television, they both were still high profile individuals, and Lightning wanted to make sure their binding was legal before everything else.
She could no longer wait for Squall to sort out the world.
Laguna had thrown a fit when he found out through Ellone some months later when both Loires visited the memory, and demanded of Squall and his bride to host their ceremony in his city as soon as they could. The longest running President of Esthar had actually shed piteous tears through the video feed in a bid to rattle his son's conscience.
Lightning's head had slapped against her husband's shoulder in distraught at the realization that Laguna's blood would run through her children's veins – she could only hope such outbursts were not hereditary.
Nevertheless, the married couple had taken Laguna up on his offer, and now were finally pronounced man and wife before all their peers and the world.
And grand as the ceremony was, attended and watched by all, it could not outshine the radiant bride.
When the double oaken doors of the ceremonial hall opened to reveal the bride - the Valkyrie - Lightning, hushed whispers and praises were spoken as all eyes were drawn towards her – especially Squall's, who had not seen the dress, haggard as he was the past months preparing for this day amidst Lightning's obsessive attention to detail. Squall had been stunned witless when her gaze fell upon him during her tranquil approach; he felt as if he was being blessed by the heaven's light, and, as if blinded by light, he had to look away for the briefest of reprieves as he calmed his fluttering heart.
Never had Lightning looked as beautiful as when she graced through the red carpet to be escorted by Squall to the altar.
It was not hard to imagine why.
A shoulderless white dress that gently traced the doubtlessly feminine curves of Lightning's bodyline until it planted a light kiss on the floor. The skirt, embroidered with silvery floral design that twinkled discreetly in the light, was parted at the left side of her hip. The slit ran southwards from there and across the front; an innocent tease that revealed layers of sheer silk and the barest trace of her leg's sculpted lines.
Two thin rose-coloured belts whose buckles were fashioned after the armbands of Lightning's old uniform embraced her waist like the ribbons of a present; it filled more than one mind with wonderment if unclasping those two innocuous pieces would be all it took to reveal the woman's soul underneath the Valkyrie's thick outer raiment. It scarcely occurred to them that woman and Valkyrie were one and the same; that was a secret Squall would take until death they would part… and maybe not even then.
A brooch reminiscent of both Lightning's former home, the now frozen Cocoon, and Cosmos' crest, a nostalgic reminder of where Squall and Lightning had first met, shined with the most wondrous shade of crystal rose from where it secured the strap holding Lightning's cape on her left shoulder, the flowing fabric itself also dipped in the colour of innocence.
Whiteness that shimmered with the faintest velvety sheen and made of the finest cloth hugged Lightning's arms like a sleeve, and made the Valkyrian bride's skin glow faintly as if blessed by the sun. Its delicate, filigree hem ending just beyond her wrists pronounced the tenderness of the Valkyrie's hands.
A thin ribbon had drawn many gazes to linger on her neck and the feminine lines of her enticing shoulder; only Serah truly knew the symbolism behind that white choker, and she whispered in Squall's ear not to think too hard.
Lightning's veil was a beauteous piece. The diaphanous fabric was frilled and layered as it cascaded mid-thigh; the entire ensemble of innocence gave the impression of pristine white feathers. Two roses whose shade was just a shy darker than the wedded Valkyrie's own pink hair adorned her left side. Its leaves were a brilliant green that
wonderfully contrasted with both the flower and the ornament's feather-like lace edge.
Even now in the gala after, whispers of praises and awestruck eyes still followed after the elegant steps of the wedded Valkyrie.
Most beautiful of all, however, was the tender smile etched across Lightning's lips as she gazed warmly between her husband and their gathered guests; it was a rare sight on the normally stoic woman's demeanor, but that knowledge may have only pronounced the vision of such loveliness further.
There was no shade of doubt in anyone's mind how enchanting Lightning looked, not even as the joyful, glowing bride held her bouquet in one hand and swung her glinting gunblade with her other.
The wedding cake did not last long.
A cool smile was on Lightning's lips as the program progressed. Serah and the hired concierge of Laguna's finest hands attended to the eating guests, distributing slices of cake. The wedded Valkyrie felt a small hint of distaste when she spotted Vaan and Zidane wolfing down their portion rowdily but, she figured, she could let their uncouth behaviour slide on this day.
Laguna was saying something in the mic about his youth and love, but Lightning tuned her father-in-law out. Turning to her husband, she praised him with shimmering eyes.
"You've done good, Squall."
She would have said perfect, but…
Squall grunted something incomprehensible in return, shifting his gaze away in a surly manner.
…but her husband was in a sour mood.
Her lips twitched into the shade of a frown. "Aren't you glad, husband?" She intoned with a stern reminder of who he was now.
Squall rolled his eyes. He did face her, however, and told her bluntly.
"I'm glad this is only happening once."
There was a noticeable drop of frustration in his whine.
"Oh come now," Lightning began conciliatorily, wrapping a soft palm around his shoulder to prevent his eyes from averting from hers. "We finally have a wedding to remember. Given how little you remember before becoming SeeD, I'd say this is a plus."
Irritation twitched on Squall's brow. That was quite the low blow.
"And thus," Lightning continued, letting go of his hand to rest smugly in her seat. "I'd also say this is a very good time for you to actually be happy, and thank me for planning every bit of this occasion."
The proud Valkyire's tone was dripping with suggestion, her eyes full of conceited anticipation for his words of praise. When Squall's lips remained impertinently sealed, Lightning's eyes hardened.
"I said: you should be grateful that this once in a lifetime celebration is something you will always remember."
Squall slowly pressed his eyes shut as he deliberated her words and sorted his ambivalent feelings. On one hand, he really was grateful to the beautiful woman beside him for taking the time to prepare this day, while on the other hand…
He sighed tiredly with the knowledge that he was acting selfishly. Penitent grey eyes revealing themselves to his wife.
"Fine." Squall amended, inwardly shaking himself of his tiredness. "Thank you for creating this wonderful memory, Lightning." The frown on her lips remained, and Squall took her hand in his. He ran his thumb across her bare knuckles to convey his sincerity and confessed to her honestly, "I'm sorry, alright? It's just- I'll feel better once I've gotten some rest."
It was Lightning's turn to deeply sigh, the earlier tension in her body rolling off with her breath. She was not so hardened that she did not know what she had put Squall through the past months. Like a slave driver, Lightning had forced Squall to follow her every whim and dictation, and ensured he would not complain with a harsh ultimatum.
Lightning had become a true authoritarian, and Squall was lucky to have three hours' sleep each night.
The Valkyrie inwardly winced when she remembered the harsh scolding she had given him when he tried to put off finishing the guest list – he had muttered something about time zones and unable to contact the invitees, but Lightning knew he just wanted to close his eyes and waste an hour on the couch. She had felt that was an unforgivable insult to the amount of time she spent whetting her plans for the rapidly approaching day.
At the time, she did not realize that Squall had just finished a three-hour attempt at sorting out the catering – a fiasco of itself – while organizing the entertainment and security detail. Their extended family also had been repeatedly pestering him; they could not contain their excitement as they helped in the preparations, often times doing things contrary to the grand scheme Lightning had planned and finishing them without the Valkyrie's consent.
She supposed that she really should have taken the hint when Squall had trebled his daily dose of coffee and aspirin, grudgingly fulfilling her every request with little to no complaint.
In Lightning's defense, she just wanted their ceremony to be a memory they could forever cherish – a memory they would recall fondly even when they were too old to do more than watch the sunset together.
And if Lightning was perfectly honest, she would also admit that she had been struck by a sudden anxious chill as the date drew near.
Lightning inwardly shrugged off her wandering musings and cleared her throat.
"Apology accepted." She graced with a tender smile, covering his hand with hers before she, too, stroked his bare knuckles gently to convey to him that she wasn't mad – not really. Her eyes sparkled with mirth when she continued, "So long as you remember that now that we're together, if you really want this marriage to work…" She leaned into his touch, not caring if their guests were watching their intimacy; whyshould she? They were being fed for free. "…you will always have the final word. You do remember what they are, don't you?"
For the first time that day, all of Squall's fatigue that had accumulated over the past few months vanished with the small but enamored smile he blessed his pledged. When he spoke, it was no longer with the reluctant resignation that was ever-present in the past months whenever Lightning imposed her will too harshly.
"Aw, isn't that sweet?" A teasing voice suddenly cut in.
The married couple departed from their world to rejoin their guests, and Squall raised a questioning brow at Serah, who held a microphone next to her smile.
His in-law continued lightly.
"Well, seeing as Squall, Sis, and all the guys are pretty much finished eating-" Serah's eyes briefly flashed to where Tidus was greedily stuffing his mouth with two slices of cake held in either hand while beside him, Zell was slurping down another bowl of fruit cocktail, "-or finishing, I'd like to take this opportunity to continue the event. It is now time to remove the wedding garter."
Lightning actually felt Squall's pulse thunder in his arm at the end of Serah's pronouncement. Really, was her husband actually nervous about slipping his hands under her skirt before all their gathered guests just to continue a wedding tradition?
Lightning scoffed at the ludicrous reaction even as she fanned her suddenly flushed face.
"May I request the bride to please sit on that chair, and the groom to kneel before her?" Serah requested, gesturing with her hand to a chair near the end of the stage that was facing the audience.
With an uncharacteristically nervous cough, Squall stood up, grasping both of Lightning's hands with his own, and acquiesced to Serah's request as he escorted Lightning to the offered seat. With a curt nod of thanks, Lightning made to let go of his hands and sit herself when Squall's hold remained firm.
"Squall?" The Valkyrie questioned him curiously, wondering what was going on in his mind.
"I don't like this." He replied gruffly, narrowed eyes glaring at the chair. Letting go of her hands, Squall adjusted the seat so that Lightning would be facing away from the crowd when she sat, much to the disappointed groans of their guests.
"Oh, come on, Squall! Let us see!" They heard Zidane yell, swiftly followed by a loud smack as Garnet glared at her husband with displeasure.
"Well," Serah's swoon drew eyes towards herself. "If I had any lingering doubts about Squall, they're all gone now." The Valkyrie's sister beamed warmly at her brother-in-law. "Thank you for looking after my sister, Squall."
Squall nodded back and mouthed her 'no problem'. He turned towards his bride and stepped back, allowing the wedded Valkyrie her throne.
It was Lightning's turn to draw questioning gazes as the woman took a moment to herself. Squall could see her deliberating – he had learned long ago how to interpret Lightning's body; the way her shoulders hunched and her eyes dulled were merely just two of the tell-tale signs.
"Is something wrong, Lightning?" He asked her, only a trace hint of worry in his tone.
When her name registered, Lightning's eyes seemed to flash, and she tilted her head up at him. There was a light of certainty in her eyes even as her skin seemed to brighten, the endearing shade of red making its way even to her exposed shoulders.
Fingers bunching the sides of her white gown, Lightning seemed to rise, her hips slightly swaying in a questionable but nonetheless alluring manner as she sat herself on the chair, her body shivering suddenly when she upon contact. The edges of her skirt rose slightly, revealing the white of the Valkyrie's heeled boots. Her body appeared to light up even further now that she was fully seated, and Squall's heart thundered against his chest, spellbound as he was by the enchantress before him and watching him with dewy eyes.
"Well, go on, groom!" Serah beckoned him into motion with a sly wink. "Do your thing."
Shaking himself out of his daze, Squall knelt before Lightning on one knee. He glanced up at his beautiful bride and wondered if her heart was beating as hard as his when he was bathed with her light.
Lightning blinked her warm eyes open, smiling radiantly down at him while she took deep, calming breaths. Watching him, Lightning could not help but wonder if he intentionally chose this stance of servitude – and the thought made her heart skip another beat.
It had been skipping too much recently.
Slowly and with utmost gentleness, Squall's hands slipped underneath her gown. He could feel the heat of her skin radiate into his own, making him grin nervously especially when Lightning's breath hitched. He could not help himself; he brushed against her calves and caressed her knee as his hands slowly trailed along her thighs to where that damnable wedding lace no doubt was. He could feel her powerful legs tremble - Lightning was trying her hardest not to react to his brazen touches.
His fingers glanced over what felt like the garter he was to procure, but just as his fingers grasped the fabric, Lightning placed a delicate hand on his head that grabbed his gaze from his task.
"Bit higher." She whispered to him breathily, a slight plea in her dewy eyes begging him not to ask or speak but, instead, follow.
Following her guidance – maybe he found the wrong fabric? That would have been really embarrassing...– Squall lowered his gaze back to his task and complied. His hands wandered further closer to that place where her thighs met, all the while blood thumped against his ears.
It was there where Squall encountered something unexpected.
"What the…?" He murmured in confusion when his hands encountered a rather… elastic barrier between Lightning's smoldering thighs. His fingers brushed against the fabric, his curious inspection revealing a soft but intricate design. The barrier was also very, very warm. It also felt incredibly familiar.
Squall slowly blinked as dread began to creep up his spine.
He brushed against the fabric once more just to be sure. Finding out that this was real - that this was happening - Squall's eyes widened in shock as his head snapped up towards his blushing bride.
Lightning somehow managed to turn an even deeper shade of scarlet as she smiled at him - her lips quivering but nonetheless curved beautifully. Her eyes were glistening from her chagrin at the reward she prepared for him for letting her have her way.
She nodded her head at him.
"Well, Squall?" Lightning began slowly, trying but adorably failing at remaining cool and aloof; she was betrayed by her quivering crimson body. Her voice was low and shaky, but nonetheless filled with certainty. This was what she wanted. "I told you, right? The husband always gets the last word. So, say it."
Although enraptured by his lovely bride, Squall still managed to retain a semblance of coherence and, after swallowing his hesitations before blessing her with a gentle smile while his fingers hooked underneath the garter of her offered cloth, replied.
In one fluid but gingerly pull, Squall slipped Lightning's bridal panties off her long, toned legs before quickly pocketing both the delicate fabric and that other, now less-important garter that started this.
The Valkyrie's breath hitched and she shivered, the sinuous material of her dress deliciously chafing against her now exposed petals. Her knuckles were white against the chair until Squall warmed them when he gently raised his blushing bride to her feet. Lightning leaned against her husband while her legs regained their grace, and Squall could not help but inwardly smirk with anticipation as he held the Valkyrie tightly with the profound strength of his love for this beautiful and capricious Valkyrie.
Maybe rest could wait until tomorrow.
Squall was certain that the memory of what Lightning planned for the wedding night to come would be one that would be forever engraved into his mind, and one he would definitely enjoy.
It was just like the old saying, that truism that Squall now agreed was true, which made the stress of the past months simply worth it.
A happy wife does indeed breed a happy life.
A/N: Has 'blinded by light' taken a whole new meaning?