Theme 47: Wicked - The Conclusion
Pairing: Squall Leonhart/Lightning Farron
Lightning Farron was not a woman that was particularly chatty about her past. In fact, Lightning Farron was not a chatty woman at all. It had become a habit of sorts to Lightning to repress her thoughts and just keep on moving forward. It was how she brought herself up in the wake of being orphaned with only her timid Serah to fall back on.
Squall Leonhart was not a man that pried deeply into others' affairs. In fact, he believed that what mattered most was the present. It had taken Squall Leonhart a while to endorse such idealistic thinking, but that only meant he wasn't likely to break out of it.
Not even for his Lightning Farron.
Still, over the years, they learned everything about each other.
Squall actually has low blood pressure in the morning, but old habits…
Lightning actually has a sweet tooth, but her training…
Squall enjoys teasing Lightning, because she…
Lightning relishes in making Squall squirm, because he…
Squall worries too much, since his mother…
Lightning detests powerlessness, since her father…
It was testament to their devotion to each other that their relationship had not exploded sooner.
"You fucking dick." Lightning cursed at the underhanded bastard as she clutched her uncomfortably sore breast tightly. Pain undulated from the abused organ and Lightning knew she was going to bruise. "I can't believe you slapped my boob with your full strength!"
Sat on the floor before her, Squall's eye reflexively twitched at his girlfriend's whining, and he winced again when the sudden movement aggravated his injured face. After enduring a thorough asskicking from Lightning, Squall shuddered to think how his face appeared the next day if he did not get any treatment. Painful did not even begin to describe how he felt; the closest way he could even describe what he was feeling was as if his body grew out of a bruise.
"You dislocated my shoulder." Squall spat, clutching his now reattached limb. It was a dangerous move to do, but upon seeing a break in Lightning's onslaught, Squall threw everything he had to stun his crazy girlfriend. "How am I supposed to control it?"
"Well, you should!" Lightning fired back as she tried to alleviate the soreness.
Squall's brow twitched again when Lightning began to subconsciously rub circles on her sore breast, and again he winced when a spike of pain flared from his face.
The pain was enough to distract him from Lightning's distraction—damn it, he was in a coma for far too long!—and he frowned. Lightning really did seem to be in pain, now that he had a good look at her. Aki had said that the regeneration restored his strength but just not his control—he was literally given new limbs, so to speak—and he immediately felt bad for hitting his girlfriend with everything he had.
Even if she asked for it.
"…sorry." He offered her quietly. When Lightning's attention snapped back at him, Squall cleared his throat. "I didn't mean to hit you so hard. Will a cure help?"
"It will." Lightning said but then quickly narrowed her eyes at him in suspicion. "But I don't want to."
"I can do it for you." Squall added. He'd have to retrieve Shiva, but he could do it.
Lightning shook her head. "Not now. I—" Squall almost missed the small embarrassed flush suddenly blossoming over Lightning's already red cheeks. "I'm not wearing a bra."
"…?" Squall stared at her blankly. What was she getting at?
Sensing that Squall would not drop this until he got an acceptable answer, Lightning blurted, "Cure magick is cold right? And you know how my nipples get when it's cold…" The last part Lightning admitted in a more subdued tone. Even to her boyfriend, such a bodily reaction was mortifying to admit.
Squall blinked. His mind slowly processed Lightning's frank admission.
"…Oh." The stupefied man finally said. Indeed, that would be a much more distracting, if deadly sight; Lightning could probably poke somebody's eye out at her stiffest. He paused again, thinking for a quick moment before gazing up at his embarrassed girlfriend, who had thankfully stopped rubbing envious circles on her injured mammary. "…I still think we should get that checked."
His suggestion was entirely of noble intent.
If Squall expected a reaction from Lightning, it was not the unreadable stare she gave him, nor the tired sigh that followed.
"I can't believe it." Lightning began, throwing her gaze up at the ceiling in disbelief. "You're worried about me. You're actually worried about me." Running a hand through her hair, a calming habit she had picked up after the many times Squall had aggravated her so, she settled her pained orbs on the puzzled SeeD, whose full attention still remained on her. "After the ordeal you just went through, you're worried about me. Hell, immediately after you woke up, you act like you were never gone. Can't you see how wrong that is, Squall?"
Couldn't he rely on her?
"I hurt you, Lightning." Squall admitted his mistake, eyes slightly narrowed at the aggrieved woman with remorse and worry. "It's my responsibility—"
"I'm not your responsibility!" Lightning hissed, eyes flaring with her temper. Squall's body reflexively tensed in preparation for another onslaught when Lightning approached him with angry stomps, her voice growing ever louder with each step. "This—our relationship—our—love—it isn't about responsibility!"
Squall's eyes widened when Lightning knelt before him, her eyes rapidly softening in such an uncharacteristically pained way that hurt Squall to look at. Lightning's hands were balled into trembling fists at her sides as if she was struggling to keep herself from pummeling her already injured boyfriend some more in her turmoil.
"These past five years together—no, ever since we first met in that other world—we were about trust." Lightning declared softly, her eyes serious and sincere. "It was always about trust." She repeated, this time more firmly—clearly, "We entrusted each other with our everything. Etro, gods, damn—" Her eyes scrunched shut, her hand flying up to clench her face as Lightning struggled to contain her emotions before they spilled.
Squall wanted to reach out to her comfortingly, but he could not rally his thoughts before the vulnerable Valkyrie baring her feelings to him.
"I trusted you to call me when things get bad." Lightning's eyes fluttered open, and Squall inwardly winced when he found her orbs glistening with unshed tears of frustration and regret. "This badge I wear… it isn't just for show."
He knew that. Squall knew Lightning worked herself until exhaustion every day; she measured herself up to not only hers, but SeeD's limits as well, and then stormed passed it.
He knew that. Squall knew that, but…
"…I didn't want you to get hurt."
It took a moment for Lightning to process the truth in Squall's reason, and when she did, she exhaled a displeased scoff.
"Newsflash, schoolboy, I'm already hurt." She reminded him dryly. "You're already hurt. Simply meeting people means we're bound to get hurt."
"Don't argue semantics with me!" Squall growled at her making light of his confession. Could Lightning not see that he was serious? "You know what I mean! If you went into the field with me, you might die!"
It was when Lightning's eyes glinted lividly in the next moment that Squall realized Lightning was not taking him lightly.
"And you already died!" She spat back just as angrily as he did. "How do you think that makes me feel?"
Squall's protests were silenced, but the Valkyrie still was not done.
"I'm much stronger, now— I just wiped the floor with you!" Her hand shot out to grab his necklace, roughly dragging him closer into her glare. "I refuse to watch another person I love die, especially now when I have the power to make a difference."
Gently, Squall's hands wrapped around Lightning's trembling fist.
"I'm sorry, Lightning…" He asked for her forgiveness. What else could he say? The woman he was in love with was at a point far beyond words and reason; this was something she had to pull herself from; he could only be there for her.
Lightning's grip on his pendant slackened, as did the intensity of her gaze. Her head dipped slowly in what Squall perceived was uncertainty—trepidation—eyes downcast in a manner that screamed at Squall was not Lightning.
It was the woman underneath—the woman who could not remain perpetually strong.
It was Claire.
"I've seen it, Squall." Lightning confessed to him. Her voice was low—as if she was haunted by whatever it was she had seen; low, but firm.
Gingerly, Squall caressed her wrist—rubbing circles against her soft flesh comfortingly, coaxing her gently to continue and reminding her that he was here.
"I didn't know what they meant." Lightning began in that same low and vulnerable tone that somehow felt like a knife in his chest; sharp prickling needles radiating all over his skin, "I saw flashes in my nightmares—glimpses of a bright light before indescribable pain."
Squall's grip tightened when he realized what it was Lightning had seen.
"I'd wake up screaming alone in a bed much too big for myself. And when my nights weren't filled with pain, then it was with horror." Lightning's orbs finally settled on him, and for a moment, Squall wished they would remain downcast, for what once were vibrant sapphires had now become haunted blues.
Those were the eyes that stared back at him whenever he looked in the mirror, alone.
"Wars that went on forever… blood and carcasses everywhere I looked. The sickening squelch of human flesh rend into indistinguishable pieces of meat." A light shiver ran through Lightning's body, but for Lightning, that was a lot. "The stench of rot and death could not be any more real outside my sleep… and then it hit me—these were your memories, Squall. Shiva consumed all the bad, didn't she? Just to keep you alive?"
Just to keep you sane? Lightning's eyes seemed to ask.
Underneath Lightning's gaze, Squall found his throat dry, his mouth unresponsive, and he could only jerk his head in agreement.
Lightning's eyes pressed shut. Despite all logic, she had still hoped she was wrong. She had hoped that Squall was not so stupid as to not know his limits. She had hoped that Squall knew what he was doing.
"I can't anymore, Squall."
Lightning's eyes opened, and they were no longer vulnerable. Her orbs were still tired, but sharp. Hard. Resolute.
"I can take all the blood, but I can't stomach all these close calls. I can't just watch you anymore, hoping that I'll see you again—or waiting for you to call on me. That's why…" Lightning trailed, her hands returning to her sides as her posturing straightened. Clearing her throat of all trepidation, she continued, "That's why I quit my post at Academia. I'm joining SeeD."
Her declaration was like a thundaga jolting his head, and Squall was left stunned—speechless.
"You once told me that no matter how strong I become, I still won't have eyes at my back." She reminisced that once upon a time with a nostalgic smile, "The same goes for you, Squall. You may have carved a legend for yourself, but in reality, you're still just a stupid, silly, mortal man."
He wanted this. Squall knew he wanted this—for Lightning to be there with him. However, could he put Lightning in harm's way? This decision would change both their lives; those halcyon days spent in each other's embrace as the sun set; those phantasmagoric nights bathed under the moonlight; where would they go?
Could he bring Lightning into this life? Could he bring Lightning, who never looked for strife, into the dark world of SeeD?
Though Squall had not said anything, Lightning's eyes narrowed at his silence. Their many years together had instilled upon her an idiot-sense, and she preemptively growled.
"If you don't let me join you, then I will rip your arm off. You and I both know that Aki can safely regenerate your arm only two more times."
The coldness in Lightning's declaration made Squall inwardly shudder—his girlfriend was dead serious about her threat.
Still, Squall had to try.
"You can't stop me, Squall." She cut him off sharply. Lightning could not allow Squall's reason to win. This was not a matter of the mind; this was of the heart. "I've already handed my resignation."
That quieted him.
In hindsight, Squall found, this was typical Lightning. She always forced his hand. Lightning always did things that made him doubt, initially, but it was always for their benefit.
Lightning was just like that—creating chaos in her wake but, when the dust settled, every strand of grass was much greener than before.
"One more year, Lightning." Squall finally relented. Lightning cocked her head to one side, the action making her look far cuter than she would ever admit to being, and Squall could not stop the tiny smile tugging at his lips. "I was briefed earlier today that Ashelia and Vaan have settled the differences of both their factions, and that Noctis has finally negotiated a truce with his own insurgents."
Lightning nodded with an affectionate smirk of her own.
The world was finally moving.
"Alright." Lightning nestled both her hands in her own before reverently kissing his abused knuckles. White magick coursed through their union, healing Squall of his wounds; Lightning's way of asking forgiveness. "One last year, and we can put our arms to rest."
Feeling all his aches disappear, Squall's body finally relaxed. He nodded his head at his sassy lover, "Yes."
"Hey… Squall…" Lightning slowly began after a short silence, "How are you feeling?"
"Relieved." Squall readily admitted, "You have no idea—"
"Not that." Lightning suddenly cut him off again. "I meant your body. Have you regained your strength?"
Squall wondered if this was a joke, and he responded accordingly.
Scathing sarcasm was a go.
"You almost tore off my, if you recall, recently regenerated limb, and you're asking me if I've got my strength back?" Lightning stared at him, and he relented begrudgingly, "…why're you asking?"
"We just fought. We're both dirty and sweaty. And you're barely clothed..."
The hints could not be any more blatant.
Squall had a sinking suspicion about where this was going…
"Make-up sex." Lightning demanded. "Here. Now."
Her tone left no room for nonsense.
Squall took his sweet time processing Lightning's request by leveling her with an incredulous stare.
Finally, he sighed.
"…sometimes, Lightning…sometimes, you can be so random."
Lightning remained unfazed by his deadpan remark.
"And you always whine, but you follow me anyway." She quickly pointed out.
Squall's brow twitched.
"Then why the hell did you ask in the first place?"
"I never did." She explained, "I just needed to make sure."
"About what?" Squall asked exasperatedly, "My health?"
"No. If I can lead again this time." Squall inwardly shivered at the sudden gleam in Lightning's smile. "And it seems I can. Get ready, Leonhart. I've got a lot more pent-up frustration to vent and only your body to receive it."
"…only you can make impending sex sound like a punishment." Squall grunted and rolled his eyes at her. "Not doing any favors for the mood."
Nor for his boner.
Especially considering how this crazy tête-à-tête started!
"Some things in life you just do." Lightning's eyes closed as she nodded to herself in affirmation. When her eyes were unveiled once more, they were burning with an eager ferocity. "Squall… you're mine!"
She body-tackled him into the floor and wasted no time ravaging him there.
"Not the arm! Not the arm!"
"What was that fo- ugh! What the hell, Lightning! Did you just poke my eye with your-!"
"Have some more!"
The road to recovery had never been so long, that night.
Omake: I had neither the cheese nor the corn to place this in that scene, but…
"Alright. One last year, and we can put our arms to rest."
"Yes. One last year before the Valkyrie and the Lion can fade into a memory. This shall be our last story."
"Our final fantasy."
A/N: OTZ I can't. I just can't. I think I just traumatized myself writing such cheesy corn!
Anyway, there you have it! The conclusion to Wicked~~~ What, you didn't think Squall would forever remain a field agent or Lightning a Brigadier General, didja? o_o I mean, look at where they're both at in my Tiny Titans 'Verse 8)
Now to asphyxiate myself...