Disclaimer: I don't own anything from the Final Fantasy franchise, which belongs to the awesome Square Enix.

A/N: This story pays tribute to Final Fantasy II. Specifically to the 'Wild Rose' and the Rebel Army. And, funny enough, the inspiration for this story came from listening to the song from Final Fantasy II entitled: The Rebel Army. If you have not heard that song from the game yet, I suggest you take a listen! (You can receive it in Dissidia 012 in the PP Catalogue for easy access.) Now, to be honest, I stink at romance, so if I've failed at writing this, I won't be offended if you tell me so. Also, I've been fixing up my Dissidia story Acrophobia, (I have to do one more edit to get the last of the minor mistakes) so check it out if you have a chance, as it's actually my favorite Dissidia story I've written so far. And though the genre says it's a friendship/hurt/comfort story, trust me, it has just as much humour in it as all my other Dissidia stories do.

A/N #2: This story is for my reviewer Have a Little Faith, and for several other reviewers who either asked directly or hinted that they would like to see me write a Firion x Lighting story. My story A Simple Wager is basically about what could have gone on if Firion and Lightning weren't interested in each other as a couple, and this is its sister story about what could have happened if they were interested in each other, as it takes place around the same time, so after the Firion/Lightning rose conversation and after Squall's little talk with Laguna when Firion first gets the rose. And since we never see Firion and Lightning interact again after the rose incident, this could actually fit with canon! Enjoy!

Rebel Rose

"So you've been using the password, have you? Continue doing so. It can unseal the lips of many who would not otherwise offer the time of day."-Mindu (Final Fantasy II. Password: Wild Rose)

A clash of steel and a blur of two bodies moving fluidly through the familiar paces of battle, it was like watching an acrobatic dance of spectacular swordplay, almost like poetry in motion, and as a shower of bullets rained down around the two warriors of harmony who were fighting against one another with as much intensity as they would have displayed while fighting against their enemies, the silver-haired warrior watching the action, who was known by his comrades as a weapons master, could not take his eyes off the mesmerizing sight before him.

In Firion's opinion, the sparring match taking place between two of his fellow comrades was simply beautiful and breathtaking to watch, and because he was utterly captivated by the intensity of the battle, he had taken it upon himself to merely sit and observe, his eyes following their every move.

And he wasn't alone in that regard.

Though he had originally been sitting by himself at the start of the battle, not five minutes into the match, Vaan, Zidane, Bartz, and Tifa had decided to join him, having also been taken in by the impressive display of skill currently on display. Firion hadn't, of course, minded their company in the slightest, and sitting amongst his fellow warriors, who were all sprawled around him, lounging comfortably in the grass, he continued to watch the movements of Squall and Lightning battling it out in the dusky gloom of twilight, their main source of light and visibility to aid them in their sparring match coming from the fire crackling in the centre of the camp and the pale glow resonating from the tall structure in the distance known as Order's Sanctuary, its comforting presence a beacon to guide them all on their journey.

Currently, all fourteen of the warriors fighting in the name of Cosmos were traveling together, and due to the coming of nightfall, they had decided to stop for the evening to get some rest and to have something to eat before continuing on their journey the next day, most likely rising early before setting out again, thanks to their unofficial leader, the Warrior of Light.

Not that Firion minded. He respected the man whose name still eluded them all, and he also respected the Warrior of Light's calm demeanor and his skills in battle, and since Firion was an early riser by nature, it suited him just fine, though Vaan and Zidane were always quick to complain, and more often than not in the mornings they needed to be kicked awake to get them moving.

"My gil's on the beautiful and elegant Lightning," Zidane suddenly announced, letting out a cheer as the female warrior managed to successfully knock Squall off his feet. "She's going to own Squall in this fight."

"I wouldn't be too sure about that," Vaan countered, nodding his head at Squall, who was apparently the current topic of debate. "He's down, but he's not out. I wouldn't start counting my gil yet if I were you."

Immediately, Squall was back up again, making Firion wonder if perhaps he had heard Vaan's words, and somehow the male warrior managed to catch Lightning in the ribs with his gunblade, sending her tumbling backwards in a roll, a spray of bullets tearing up the ground all around her smaller form.

"He just got lucky that time," Zidane grumbled, crossing his arms over his chest. "I'm still going with Light. She's got this match pretty much won already."

"Says you," Vaan replied, reaching around Firion to poke the blond thief in the shoulder. "I think I'm gonna have to go with Squall. He's not going to go down easy, even with Light as his opponent. I know I wouldn't want to be battling him, even in a sparring match."

Tifa, who was sitting on Vaan's other side, held up a finger, and with a playful wink, she said, "I think, like Zidane, I'm gonna have to go with Light on this one. She's one tough lady, kind of like me actually, now that I think about it, and us girls have got to stick together on these kinds of things."

"What do you think, Bartz?" Zidane asked, turning to the mimic sitting on his right.

"Um...I think, like Vaan here, I'm gonna go with Squall, too. Even when he looks like he's about to lose, he always comes back to surprise you."

Zidane shrugged, dismissing Bart'z words with a wave of his hand. "It's your gil. Firion, what about you?"

Firion jumped in surprise at being addressed, and frowning he studied the two warriors battling it out on the grass with a more critical eye, using all of his skills as a weapons master to study their movements and technique.

Currently, the two warriors were locked in a tangle of blades, and using her whole body to shove Squall back a few paces, Lightning performed an eye-catching back flip to put some distance between them, her blade lifting in her hand to send a spray of bullets at Squall.

Using his own gunblade as a shield, Squall was successfully able to block the deadly barrage, and darting forward, he knocked Lightning off her feet with a well placed shoulder to the breastbone. It was a perfect opportunity to strike, and jumping on the chance, Squall took a quick swipe at her with his gunblade. Unfortunately for him, Lightning nimbly rolled out of the way and kicked him in the back of the kneecap with her foot, sending him sprawling beside her on the grass. There was a slight pause and then both warriors were immediately on their feet again, stalking each other in the fading light, their gunblades out and ready for use.

"Well?" Zidane demanded.

Firion thought about it for a moment before deciding to answer. "It's hard to say. Indeed, they are quite evenly matched, and both of them are obviously well-trained, but that does not mean that one of them won't eventually slip up once fatigue sets in. It will be a close match."

"So...basically he's not gonna join in on our fun," Vaan surmised, shaking his head in defeat.

"Well, then who do you want to win?" Zidane insisted, suggestively raising his eyebrows.

Firion, who was sitting between Vaan and Zidane, felt the blood rise to his cheeks, and avoiding Zidane's eyes, he proceeded to keep his gaze firmly focused on the two toned and athletic bodies leaping, diving, turning, and twisting against a backdrop of faint red and gold, which was quickly turning a deep shade of velvet blue.

Two extremely talented warriors, one stunningly beautiful, the other achingly handsome, it was hard not to stare, and all of a sudden Firion felt rather inadequate in their presence.

"It's Squall. Right, Firion?" Bartz teased, smiling in amusement. "You're definitely rooting for Squall."

"Yeah, he's totally got a thing for Squall," Vaan agreed with a perfectly straight face, earning himself a snort from Tifa.

At this sudden declaration, Firion let out deep sigh, his head dropping into his hands. It was going to be a long night.

"Firion, I thought you had better taste than that!" Zidane joked, his tail swaying happily as he shifted position.

Indeed, a very long night.

Cecil must have let something slip to the others about the incident with Light a while back. I must speak with him again before things really start to get out of hand...

It had only been a couple of weeks since he had managed to get his rose back from Lightning, and he had been unable to stop thinking about her ever since. Often his eyes would stray in her direction of their own accord, and every time she looked back at him, it would send a pleasant tingle coursing through his body. Though they had talked several times since he had gotten his rose back, neither one of them had brought up the incident again, but even so Firion felt as if a connection between them had formed that had not been there earlier, and it confused him. It was obvious they shared a special bond of sorts, but whether or not Lightning felt the same way, he did not know. Her attitude and demeanor made it seem as if she felt nothing had changed between them, but during those unpredictable moments when their eyes would meet, something in her intense gaze had the ability to make him think otherwise. It was subtle, barely a flicker of emotion, making him sometimes wonder if he had only imagined it, but then he would see it again and his heart would try to convince him otherwise.

There was no denying he found Lightning to be incredibly attractive, but it was more than just her appearance that had captured his attention. It was also her strength, her rebellious nature, her will to fight, her calm and sensible personality, her passion, and most of all the fire in her eyes that, to him, made her more beautiful than her physical appearance gave her credit for, and it was those things that attracted him most of all.

And over the last few days Firion had reluctantly found himself wondering if perhaps there wasn't some truth to Cecil's misconceptions after all.

And speaking of Cecil...

Firion sent a half-hearted glare in the paladin's direction, but not surprisingly it went unnoticed.

At the present moment, Cecil was sitting around the campfire with Kain, Jecht, Laguna, and the Warrior of Light, while Yuna and the Onion Knight were taking their turn at watch duty, and judging from the serious discussion the warriors by the fire appeared to be completely engrossed in, a second glare would mostly likely go unnoticed as well.

There was no way Zidane and the other more playful warriors would be teasing him about Lightning unless they knew something, and due to earlier circumstances, Cecil was the most likely culprit. Firion was sure it was unintentional, but even so he wasn't too happy with the paladin at the moment.

Perhaps I shouldn't have let myself get so worked up over Cecil's words earlier. If I hadn't, he might have forgotten all about the whole thing, and there would have been no need to mention the incident to the others...

A soft grunt suddenly caught Firion's attention, and shifting his gaze from the fire, he turned his head just in time to see Squall fall over backwards onto the grass in a tangle of arms and legs with Lightning, their blades scraping together with a resounding clang. A brief scuffle ensued, in which Squall tried to throw her off, but Lightning was quicker, her sharp reflexes immediately sending her into action. Shoving Squall hard in the chest, she quickly sat on his stomach, her knees pinning him in place, and kicking aside his weapon with her foot, she held the sharp edge of her gunblade roughly against his throat, her intense gaze boring into Squall's cold, blue eyes.

"I win," she said simply, gazing unsympathetically at the fallen warrior beneath her.

"What I wouldn't give to be in Squall's position right now," Zidane sighed, gazing dreamily at the beautiful sight of Lightning silhouetted against a backdrop of fading sunlight, an image of red and gold tinted by a hint of violet. The female warrior was still sprawled on top of Squall, and though she held her gunblade in a firm grip, her body was relaxed, the battle having finally come to an end, with her as the victor.

Bartz, looking extremely amused, snapped his fingers in front of Zidane's face, and blinking the Genome quickly shook his head to clear it before cheerfully declaring, "Oh right, my gil! Hand it over, Bartz."

"Why is it that I always end up losing half my gil to you?" Bartz complained, rummaging around in his clothes for some spare cash. "Maybe from now on I should just give you whatever gil I manage to get my hands on right away and save myself the trouble."

Zidane replied by giving his treasure hunting friend a mischievous smile, and Firion winced in pain as the Genome clamoured over him to get to Vaan, earning himself a whack in the forehead, courtesy of Zidane's feisty tail.

"Same goes for you, Vaan!" Zidane sang out, triumphantly holding out his hand. "As I always say, never underestimate the ladies. They're always full of surprises."

"Hey, it was a close fight. It could have gone either way," Vaan grumbled, reluctantly handing over his gil. "You just got lucky, that's all."

"And that winning streak of yours won't last forever," Bartz added, shaking his head at Zidane.

"You guys are just jealous cause your boy lost and the beautiful Light stole the show with that...er...rather suggestive finale. Didn't know Squall had it in him, to be honest. Hmm...maybe I'll have to try that trick the next time I spar with Light..."

"You dummy, he didn't do it on purpose!" Tifa scolded, cuffing Zidane roughly on the back of the head. "Unlike you, Squall has some class, and he's much more gentlemanly than you, too, I might add. And aren't you forgetting something?"

"Of course not!" Zidane replied, wincing as he gingerly rubbed the back of his head. "I'm always happy to share my gil with a lovely lady such as yourself. We both did bet on Light after all. Fair is fair."

"Good. Now hand it over, lover boy," Tifa shot back, though despite her admonishment her dark eyes sparkled with amusement.

As Zidane and Tifa bent their heads close together to divvy up their winnings, Firion turned his attention back to Squall and Lightning, a frown on his handsome face.

Zidane's teasing words about Lightning had rather annoyed him, but they had also made him uneasy, seeing as how Zidane had unknowingly touched on what could be considered a sensitive issue.

It was plainly obvious that Lightning came from a world that was very different from his own, and truthfully someone like Squall, who also seemed to come from a more modern world, would be better suited in the role of a possible love interest, so even if Firion, who wasn't quite ready to admit it to himself yet, did harbour feelings for Lightning, they would most likely not be returned.

In his opinion, they were just too different to coexist in such a manner, and due to his more traditional nature, which Zidane and the others often teased him about, it was highly unlikely that Lightning would show any interest in him other than a professional nature as comrades and allies in the war.

He was an excellent warrior, of that he had no doubt, and he could rival Squall and his other comrades in battle any day. It was other areas where he unfortunately seemed to be lacking...

Light isn't the type to pursue romance while involved in more important matters, like the war between harmony and discord. I'd be foolish even to suggest it, but...

Instead of responding to Lightning's words, Squall merely nodded his head, conceding victory to the female warrior, while at the same time acknowledging his own defeat, and pulling her blade away from his neck, Lightning gracefully clamoured off the dark-haired warrior, her sharp gaze watching Squall as she held out her hand to him.

Squall silently accepted the hand, allowing Lightning to pull him to his feet, and watching her calmly, he said, "Next time, I won't hold back."

Lightning raised an eyebrow at Squall's words, and turning her back on him, she glanced once more over her shoulder and said, "Neither will I."

And with that she wandered off to sit by herself, leaving Squall to stare after her, an unreadable expression on his handsome face, before he turned and stalked off to join the group by the fire.

"Is it just me or does anyone else think Lightning can be a bit on the scary side?" Bartz asked, glancing curiously at the female warrior.

"She also has a really bad habit of hitting people," Vaan muttered, unconsciously rubbing his shoulder where Lightning had assaulted him earlier in the afternoon for one of his smart remarks.

"A bit scary, yeah, but that's also part of her charm," Zidane said enthusiastically, his blue eyes sparkling in the fading light of the sun. "Who doesn't like a girl with a bit of a wild side? You might want to make your move, Firion, before you lose out to someone like Squall. He's got everything going for him. Tough guy attitude, good looks, awesome fighting skills-"

"Sounds to me like you're more a part of the Squall fan club than Firion is," Bartz teased, smiling at his treasure hunting companion.

"As a self-proclaimed ladies man, I do have to scope out the competition, you know," Zidane pointed out, rolling his eyes.

Firion found himself sputtering in outrage at Zidane's words, and protesting loudly, he quickly jumped to his own defense, his words coming out a bit more heated than he had intended. "You guys have got it all wrong! Light and I, it's not like that. You don't understand, it's not-"

"Sure it isn't," Vaan laughed, hitting him lightly on the shoulder. "I've got a lot of gil riding on you, you know. You better not disappoint me."

"Pardon me?"

They were betting on him?

"Don't take it personally," Zidane said airily, dismissing the words with a wave of his hand. "We've also got gil riding on who'll be the first one to make the Warrior of Light lose his cool. Seriously, that guy's like a rock. Nothing fazes him."

"Why don't you try stealing his helmet? That might get a reaction out of him," Tifa suggested. "Especially since you're betting on yourself."

"Actually, that might not be a bad idea..."

At this point Firion had had quite enough, and leaping to his feet he promptly stormed off towards the fire, ignoring the startled calls of Zidane and the other three troublemakers within the Genome's company.

What do I really feel for Light? Am I merely drawn to her because of her connection to the rose, or is the bond between us something deeper? Maybe Zidane and the others aren't too far off the mark...

Judging by his earlier reactions, and the embarrassment he always felt when anyone hinted at the idea of Lightning and himself being together, he suspected what lay deep within his heart did not in fact revolve around the rose.

Not that he would ever admit such a thing to Zidane and the others.

"Firion, I see you've decided to come and join us," Cecil called out, smiling warmly and beckoning him closer to the fire.

Firion took a seat next to the paladin, and glancing once over his shoulder at Lightning's profile in the fading sunlight, he proceeded to gaze solemnly into the flames, a slight frown on his face.

"Firion, whatever is the matter? You seem rather distraught," Cecil asked, a look of worry on his handsome face.

"Cecil's right, the doom and gloom expression doesn't suit you, kid," Jecht smirked, lounging back on the grass between the Warrior of Light, who was sitting on Firion's right, and Squall, who was on the blitzball ace's left, one leg crossed over the other.

Firion ignored Jecht, and turning to the paladin beside him, he murmured, "I am not very happy with you at the moment, Cecil."

Cecil looked properly startled at this, and glancing uncertainly at Kain, who merely shrugged in response, he said, "I apologize if I've done anything to upset you, Firion, but I don't understand..."

"It's nothing. Forget I said anything."


Firion turned away from Cecil, trying unsuccessfully to avoid Squall's eyes, who for some reason was watching him intently from across the fire, though he had no idea as to why. Squall sat between Laguna and Jecht, his face expressionless, and feeling a bit embarrassed, Firion quickly averted his gaze and turned to look at Laguna instead, who was seated on Kain's right, a sympathetic smile on his face.

Could it be that Squall too misinterpreted Cecil's words?

"Cecil is right; you are troubled," the Warrior of Light agreed, his eyes narrowing as he studied Firion's face. Having removed his helmet earlier, his silver hair sparkled in the twilight, and remembering what Zidane had said earlier, Firion glanced anxiously at the discarded piece of armour lying by the Warrior of Light's side, relieved to see that it was still there.

"I'm fine. I just-"

"Your expression tells me otherwise," the Warrior of Light insisted, leaning towards him and scrutinizing his face closely. "When your mind is not at ease, that is when your guard slips, thus I am relieving you of watch duty tonight."

"I must refuse your kind offer. Truly, I'm fine."

"Vaan can take your place and keep Kain company tonight," the Warrior of Light insisted, placing a firm hand on his shoulder. "For now, you should rest."


"It would be wise for you to do as he says and save yourself the trouble of arguing," Kain interrupted, a slight smile on his face. "Though I must admit, I would have preferred your company tonight. As much as I am fond of Vaan, he does have a rather bad habit of talking too much and letting his attention wander."

"Still, better him than Zidane," Squall snorted, poking at the fire rather harder than was truly necessary with his gunblade.

"Now, now, that wasn't very nice," Laguna scolded, nudging Squall affectionately in the shoulder. "You had a fun filled adventure sitting watch with Zidane the night before."

"You call that murderous look on his face 'having fun?'" Jecht said dryly. "I'm surprised monkey boy survived the night."

"That's just Squall's way of showing affection. Ain't that right, Squall?"


After that reply, Firion would be surprised if Laguna ended up surviving the night.

"Firion," Cecil started, his obvious confusion and the worried look on his face instantly melting the ice around Firion's heart. "Is this about Light? It was never my intention to upset you."

Firion sighed, and reaching out to place a comforting hand on Cecil's shoulder, a warm smile on his face, he said, "Forgive me, Cecil, I know that was not your intention. But, if I may ask, please do refrain from mentioning the incident to the others from now on. It will only encourage them."

"Of course. Although, I never once insinuated there was anything going on between you and Light when the incident was brought up."

"I know, but they appeared to have come to their own conclusions."

"Yes, they would. Rest assured, Firion, I will honour your wishes."

Firion nodded, and once again climbing to his feet, he said, "Forgive me for the abrupt departure, but I would like some time to be alone with my thoughts."

Cecil nodded in understanding, his silver hair gleaming in the twilight. "Do not let your thoughts trouble you too much, Firion. I believe your heart will lead you in the right direction, when you've come to understand your feelings."

Firion chose not to respond. Maybe Cecil really did have a better idea of what was going on than he did after all.

After giving Cecil's shoulder an affectionate squeeze in reply, Firion wandered off to sit by himself, his gaze constantly returning almost against his will to Lightning, who was sitting on the other side of the camp. He wanted very much to speak with her about the feelings stirring in his heart, but at the same time, he was afraid that if he did, she would either brush him off or plant her fist in his face.

Then again, compared to Vaan, Zidane, and some of the others, Lightning had never before treated him with anything other than respect, so the chances of her hitting him were slim, which at least gave him some hope.

"And here I thought you were one of the sensible ones."

Firion quickly shot to his feet, startled by the sudden voice behind him, an turning he spotted Squall standing close behind him, and intense look on the stoic warrior's face. "Squall, what are you..."

Squall silently nodded his head at Lightning, and Firion once again felt himself start to blush. Avoiding Squall's eyes, he murmured, "You've been talking with Zidane and the others, haven't you."

"I don't need them to tell me what's going on. I have eyes, and anyone with half a brain can see it."

"So...everyone thinks that...that I..."


Firion sighed, and turning away from Squall, he let his eyes fall on the solitary form of Lightning sitting alone in the descending darkness, a sinking feeling in his heart. "It's silly, I know. Foolish even to think-"

"That's not what I meant."


Firion turned to look at Squall in surprise, and Squall gazed calmly back at him.

For a long moment, they merely stared at each other in silence, and realizing suddenly what Squall was trying to say, Firion felt his face turn an even deeper shade of red. "It would never work. She wouldn't. I'm not..."

"Look at them," Squall said bluntly, jerking his head towards Zidane and the others, who were joking and laughing together. "They're all different, from different worlds with different ideas. Hasn't stopped them, has it?"

"I'm surprised to hear you say that."

Squall looked back over his shoulder, his eyes falling on Laguna, and speaking almost to himself, he muttered, "So am I."

"But Light and I...we're too different. You seem more like the type..."

"And yet you're the one she takes the time to speak with. You're the one she can't keep her eyes off of."

Firion stared at his fellow warrior in shock, and glancing once more at Lightning, he froze, unable to look away. Lightning had turned her head in their direction, and she wasn't looking at Squall. Even from a distance, Firion could tell her eyes were focused on him, an unreadable expression on her face.

"Only you can decide what happens now," Squall finished, turning away.

Before he could leave, Firion grabbed his arm, stopping him. "You really think so?"

Squall shrugged. "If you don't go for it, your loss."

Something about his words made Firion pause, his eyes widening slightly as a sudden thought occurred to him. "Squall, did you ever..."

Squall was silent for a moment, his face expressionless. "I don't remember much, but...I think...once there might have been someone..."

Firion bowed his head in solemn respect, nodding to show he understood. "I...thank you, Squall."

"Just don't screw it up."

And with that, Squall left to join the others by the fire again, having said what he felt needed to be said.

Lightning...could we really coexist together?

After Squall's departure, Firion was left standing on his own, and gathering his courage, he took a deep breath and quickly made his way over to Lightning, Squall's words having finally opened his eyes to what he truly felt in his heart.

At his approach, Lightning looked up, her blue eyes studying him calmly in the darkness. "Had enough of Zidane and the others?"

Firion smiled at that, and nodding politely to his female companion, he said, "May I sit with you awhile?"

"Go ahead. I won't stop you. You're free to do what you want."

Having already gotten used to Lightning's attitude a long time ago, Firion didn't take offence to her words, and sitting down close beside the female warrior he proceeded to gaze quietly at the stars beginning to light up the night sky. "Strange how such a beautiful world can be so full of conflict and disorder."

Lightning turned her gaze to the sky as well, but instead of responding, she remained silent, a distant look in her eyes and a thoughtful expression on her face.

They stayed that way for some time, neither of them feeling the need to speak, and just when Firion thought he'd never work up the courage to reveal what was on his mind, Lightning spoke first, her words catching him off guard.

"Wasn't is supposed to your turn at watch duty tonight?"

Firion looked over to where Kain and Vaan were exchanging places with the Onion Knight and Yuna, and feeling his face heat up again, he mumbled, "I was relieved of my shift."

Lightning raised her eyebrows ever so slightly, and she leaned towards him, her hard gaze studying his face. "It's not like you to let down your guard, Firion."

They were now sitting so close together their shoulders were touching and their noses were only inches apart, making Firion gasp in surprise. Lightning's warm breath ghosted across his face, and he stared at her in stunned silence, unable to look away from her intense gaze. Not only that, her thigh was pressed against his own, and the sensation caused a pleasant shiver to race down his spine. Gazing back at her, he felt himself get lost in her eyes, almost as if he were drowning in them. It was as if her eyes were pulling him in and looking right into his soul, allowing her to see all of the emotions buried deep within his heart. Free, rebellious, unrestrained, unhindered by the opinions of others, she reminded him of the wild rose, a symbol that was very fitting for her nature and personality. A few thorns might litter the surface, but underneath her prickly exterior was a kind heart and a sensitive nature, beautiful and caring to the very core of her soul, and looking at her now, Firion could not deny the truth anymore. Somehow, he had fallen in love with this fierce and talented warrior, who unknowingly held the key to his heart in her hands.

"Light, I...if I may, there's something I would like to discuss with you."

"Again? Haven't we gone over this already?" Lightning asked, studying him closely.

Firion let out a soft gasp when he felt the heat of her fingers come in contact with his hand, and looking down, he realized with some surprise that he had unconsciously summoned the wild rose, its pink petals shimmering softly in the darkness that had descended within their little camp.

As he watched in silence, Lightning let her fingers brush lightly against the petals of the rose, and lifting his hand Firion reached out to touch her cheek, his instincts taking over for his brain, which seemed to have deserted him at the moment.

At his sudden movement, Lightning jerked back in surprise, and quickly withdrawing his hand, Firion began to apologize profusely, the words tumbling out of his mouth in a tangled jumble. "My apologies, Light. I didn't mean...I never meant...I know it's foolish to even consider-"

"Firion," Lightning interrupted, grabbing him roughly by the plate of armour on his chest, a fierce look in her eyes. "Just shut up and kiss me."

Firion, who was too stunned to argue, was happy to comply, and slipping his arms around her slim waist, he pulled her close and pressed his lips against hers in a chaste kiss. It was a kind of unorthodox first kiss for the type of world he came from, but he certainly wasn't complaining. The kiss was even better than the ones he had shamefully dreamed about, and having received Light's permission he was going to make the most of it.

In the background, Firion was quite certain he heard several catcalls and the exchange of gil, but seeing as how he was rather preoccupied at the moment, he chose quite happily to ignore the other warriors, instead preferring to focus on the feel of Light's arms around his neck, and to his slight embarrassment, the fact that she was now practically sitting in his lap, the rose nestled comfortably between them.

As they pulled back slightly so Lightning could nestle her head into the crook of his neck, he wrapped his arms securely around her slim form, content just to hold her in the darkness. After what had just transpired, he couldn't say he was sorry to have given up his shift for watch duty that night.

There was no doubt there would be many trials ahead in the future, but Firion knew with Lightning fighting alongside them, somehow they would find a way to end the war between harmony and discord. She would make sure of that, and even once it was over and they returned to their own worlds, she would always be his rebel rose, wild and free, and his heart would always be hers.

And someday, even after they had returned to their respective home worlds, he was sure they would somehow find their way back to each other, the wild rose guiding their hearts through the darkness, allowing his new dream, a world filled with wild roses and Lightning standing by his side, to become a reality.

The End.