The heart can think of no devotion
Greater than being shore to the ocean.

I. Devotion

(Fang's POV)

Orphan's Cradle.

This is the dimension created by the fal'Cie Eden at the command of Barthandelus. The very structure itself is the true form of the being that sits at the centre of Cocoon, overseeing the endless functions that keep the floating world running.

The sea of data flowing through Eden has materialized as physical matter, forming a shell that shelters the sleeping Orphan in a space that hovers between reality and dream.

Reality and dream, eh? This Datalog's really got itself made. Keeps all this information for us, but it's all so damn objective. Facts, figures; all the stuff that's happened since me and Vanille woke up. Sad thing is it's so smart yet it can't understand the real story, can't even begin to keep a record of it. I can keep my nose buried in it, make myself seem like I'm so distracted by it while we walk up one last ramp through this mess of pink and purple data, but it ain't all it's cut out to be. Not even close.

We've stopped at a three-way fork in the road, and they all lead to three different teleports. Well, 'least I've stopped fully—the others are sort of wafting in and out of the corners of my eyes, like they've no clue what the hell to do. My feet are rooted to this cold cast metal roseate, and everybody thinks I'm still reading through this little digital booklet. Truth is the top corners of my eyes are trying to understand the shell of light just ahead, the one glowing in that violaceous wine of static electricity.

Not the Cradle. The Light.

She stands there at the edge of the incline with a hand on her hip, her back to me, looking the same as always. The same cool, collected determination. Same confidence, same cold attitude; the same air of certainty in every damn thing she does and believes in. It's stunning. She's stunning. Nothing short of lovable. Adorable, almost, 'cause she scowls so damn much without noticing, until I point it out.

She wasn't always like this. Not completely. We've had a lot of talks—some short, most long—'bout the world. The past, present, future; our pasts, our present, but never our future. It was never about us. There never was an us. Not with me and Lightning. I don't even know if she wants nothing more or not.

With me and Vanille, yes, there's always been some kind of us, there's always been no doubt in my mind about her love for me and mine for her. It's just how it's always been. For the sake of keeping a promise I've stayed with her, dutifully, even though I've slowly watched my heart float elsewhere. It's been leaving Vanille; leaving her gentle, careful, safe hands and arms and into the strong, toned, dauntless ones of the woman I've not been able to keep my mind off of these long, dreadful months…

It's been nothing short of brutal, having to pretend I don't care for her that way. That I'm not in love with her. I know I am—there ain't no denying it no matter how much I keep praying otherwise. I feel like such a bloody heathen whenever I smile at Vanille, whenever I kiss her gently in front of the others, whenever I tell her I'm all right. She knows I'm not. She knows I ain't nervous about our Focus. She knows how strong I am and that whatever I'm worked up about has gotta be some serious shit. She knows she knows she fucking knows but she won't ask. Nor can I bring myself to tell. I just can't.

"I dunno, maybe we should head back?" Snow winces, rubbing the back of his hard head. My fist still hurts from time to time just looking at his dense metal lump for a noggin. "I kinda feel like we owe it to those poor people… We should help those last Cie'th stones while we still can!"

"So you wanna take this teleport back to Pulse?" Sazh has his hands on his hips, walking over to the leftmost one. The baby chocobo bouncing about on his head looks like it agrees, and so do I. I feel like I've still got some things I need to do too, even though I haven't the foggiest as to what they are…but I have to settle things before who knows what happens… "Wouldn't hurt. We still got time."

"Yeah, and we're loads stronger now. Those last few missions should be no problem now." Hope follows after Sazh with Snow behind him. I feel Vanille behind me. Her eyes are on me, and I can't move. "Light?" He stops to face our leader, looking cheerfully innocent. Maybe a little too innocent… "Is that okay? Should we head back for now? I know we're almost to Orphan, and people are counting on us, but…I think we should wrap things up, tie loose ends while we still can. No regrets, you know?"

Lightning's completely still. Military still. Thinking. I wonder if she can feel my body screaming that I want to speak with her one last time. We want to save Cocoon, we all promised we would, but the future beyond that ain't clear. It's anyone's guess, and I'm willing to play Devil's Advocate right now. I can't face my fate without knowing…without knowing for sure that she don't feel the same.

And when her body makes that seamless arc to turn and face me and only me, looking at me with an unexpected, derailing intensity, I almost drop the Datalog. Almost.

Her eyes keep me stone still. I feel so thick and heavy with shameful longing, but she looks right through me, right through it, somehow. "Fine by me." Lightning's tone is curt, final; authoritative. The way she looks away from me and starts walking over to the guys is the same… "Any idea where it takes us?"

"Looks like…" Sazh is closest to the circular portal, bending over and moving his neck this way and that. "Vallis Media…where we ended up the first time we landed in H—I mean.. Gran Pulse." He glances at me. Hell. I don't feel like yelling at him right now. "Alright then…looks like we're headin' on back!"

It's all I can do to stand here, barely hearing the guys keep conversation while not bothering to notice me at all. Lightning just keeps walking, away from me, like she's on a catwalk. Walking that strut-like walk with all her fortitude and firmness. Her boots echoing off the ground and the sounds of data overhead zooming behind me spell out my demise for all I know. It's all telling me no. To not do anything. Feeling the way I do feels so wrong, and the wrongness might make me get carried away.

But despite all that, despite what the world or fate or reason is telling me, I need to talk to her. Alone. Even if all I manage to do is stare blankly at her so she knows, I've gotta do something.

The deadness I feel about my hand when Vanille takes it and has us follow the others is what does it for me. She's always told me to follow my heart, no matter where it leads me. Right now it's practically bathing Lightning in rays of light that I can't resist. I can at least do that much for Vanille, for myself.

Still, Lightning ain't exactly the type to care for someone the way I care for her, and that's all right. I accept it, but she needs to know that. She needs to at least have some idea that I want her, that I don't know who I am no more because of it. I stare after her, knowing Vanille can tell—stare in all this sudden nervousness that's savaged me. And Vanille feels it. I know she does. The thought almost makes me as weak as Lightning's able to make me feel whenever she walks past me without saying nothing.

Vanille won't even tell me I've dropped the Datalog in my weakness right before we warp back home.

While we all stand around on the grass in the chilly valley where the teleport took us, Vanille recites the words one of the Cie'th stones told us—one of the few ones we had to ignore 'cause we were too weak at the time, "Gaian Grudge. Divine bounty fills the earth with life, giving birth to all its creation. A tonberry stands upon the living earth, consuming stagnation within the flow, ready to decide your fate. Face its judgment…"

She's quiet for a moment, probably scorning me in her mind somehow, 'cause she's smiling peacefully. Lightning's looking straight at me, too. I shift uncomfortably, pretending to scratch the back of my neck, noticing how interesting those two palm trees look together. "I think we should settle that one. It's been on my mind for a long while…I feel awful about it! It's in the Faultwarrens, but we can warp close by!"

"We're gonna need some serious healing power for that," Snow recalls, looking all determined. "Hope, Vanille, you two in?"

"Of course!" Vanille looks determined too. Hope nods, looking the same. Why's everybody got all this determination lately, and I don't? They sap all of mine or something? "And we'll need some nice spells to give us a boost!" She points to the old man, giving him a quirky grin, "Sazh! Won't you help us?"

"You got it little lady," Sazh smiles gently, giving her a thumbs up. Lightning is still looking at me… "Hey, Trench Coat, you ready to tank?"

"Any time!" Snow makes a fist right when I look away and put a hand over my burning face, shaking my head. They're planning all this lovely strategy and all I can think about is how stupid I must look in front of her right now… "Hey-hey! Light, Fang, what about you two? We sure could use your help!"

The moment of truth—to decline, or not to decline… To tell them yes, or to tell them no—no I won't help them 'cause I'm ridiculously too preoccupied with our leader's mystery to give a shit about everything else. No, I can't help them, 'cause whenever Lightning's around, I forget that all my spears are two-sided and it feels like I'm poking thin air with a broken weapon when we fight together. I can't bloody focus when she's next to me, tearing shit up—tearing my mind up with only her grunts and growls and every other sexy sound she makes when she fights with all her heart and body.

I'm saved the trouble when Lightning unfolds her arms and starts walking through the weeds to the Cie'th teleport stone not too far away without a word. She warps and everybody assumes she's gone ahead, including me, and I swear it hurts like a murderous bitch… I almost think I've lost my chance until Vanille gives me her usual happy-go-lucky look while the guys continue on after our grumpy leader.

She treads over to me carefully with that same bounce in her step, and I look down at her just as carefully with my arms folded defensively. As if I wasn't so terribly turned-on by an ex-soldier who is not the one I grew up with, spent next to all my life with, and swore up and down to Hell and back that I'd protect no matter what.

I can tell she wants to scream at me, demand why I'm being unfaithful to her, even if it's only in my thoughts. If this was just some physical thing, something I could get out of my system with a simple kiss or a fuck, then I would've done it already, told Vanille, had her go off on me and started working my way back into her good graces. I would do anything to put Vanille back at the centre of my world.

But she ain't there no more, and she knows it. It's too late and I don't even remember how or when I pushed her aside, or if I was even the one that did it. I can't keep eye contact with her right now..

"I think…" She takes both of my hands in hers, swinging them gently while she smiles at me not being able to look at her beautiful face. If you think you've been subtly hurt by someone, I invite you to get on Vanille's bad side, "…you should stay behind. You've not been yourself lately. Take some time, to sort things out. I honestly hate seeing you so wound up…"

The wind blows faintly, and it weaves through her hair so softly, just like I used to enjoy doing with my hands. My hands are too sweaty and guilty to do nothing of the sort these days. My eyes are the same— teary, weary—all 'cause I can't bring myself to say nothing to either her or Lightning for obvious reasons. It ain't right…it ain't fair to her… I'm terrible, and I'll burn in Hell for all the dirty thoughts I've had of Lightning while looking in Vanille's cheery eyes..

Cheerful til the end. Used to give me so much hope, so much warmth… Now I'm too warm, too wired for something more, and all I want to do is share that warmth and adrenaline with Lightning. But even if she does feel the same, I can't do nothing…not unless…

"Vanille…" I feel my voice ring dully in my throbbing head, body… I'm fucking throbbing everywhere and it makes me wanna squirm. I owe this much to her.. "You're brighter than the three guys put together, and me and you've always been on the same wavelength…y'can't honestly tell me you don't—"

"Don't say it…" The glistening. The pain. She's gripping my hands now, gritting her teeth now. Now, I look at her, and I've hurt her even more with just that alone. I feel her there but I see someone else. She knows. "Don't you dare… As far as I know, everything ended the last time I kissed you and you couldn't kiss me back. I don't want you to say it, to give it a voice… It's too much, Fang…it's just too much!"

She shoves my hands away from hers, looking like she wants me to apologise, but I keep standing in place like a lost mannequin. She turns, twisting and crushing the weeds underneath her pointed shoes before jogging miserably to the teleport stone without looking back. Maybe I should take a hint…

I bet the only reason she leaves me standing here is 'cause she don't want nobody to materialise back here, wondering why we ain't left yet. She don't want them to worry. She's always looking out for everybody else, making sure they're taken care of, rarely ever giving a care about herself. She's rubbed off on me after so long. I think I'm the same.

Maybe…maybe that's why it don't hurt so much, in the way I thought it would, 'cause what I want with Lightning has nothing to do with my own gain. I feel so strongly for her, mostly 'cause I see so much in her that I want to bring out. I want to show her how to feel, just like I had to learn. If what Vanille said was true, then she and I ended weeks ago. I'm…numb to it now. Call me a bitch, fine, but it's the truth.

The craze I have to care for Lightning and show her how I feel, how she's affected me, makes my very spirit change—I feel it in the shape of a tranquil twilight in the north. If she's there—if me and her are on the same wavelength now—then I want to go all the way. There might not be a second time, a second chance. There won't be no going back if she feels me too.

When I arrive in the corner of the Village Proper in Oerba, I find it completely empty of Undying and other Cie'th. I step down to the cracked pavement, narrowing my eyes at the direct sunlight on my left, walking past the tree and down the hill. I keep my narrowed eyes focused on the path ahead, feeling the comfort of home surround me, the comfort of Lightning no doubt being here swallow me whole. For the first time in a long time I feel at ease, like the nearby sunlit sea. Nothing can ever disturb me here.

I was never too terribly bothered by the state of my village. I knew time had passed. Things were bound to change. Just as I had, when I first walked along the crystal dust. When I had stopped, feeling nothing—a bad kind of nothing—Light was the only one who stood by my side. Vanille…she'd been too torn to do anything. I was supposed to go to her, and I did, but not right away. Lightning only put a strong arm around my shoulders and told me everything would be all right. I believed her, and I still do.

I reach the lowest level near the water, and I hop over the roots, taking them two at a time I'm so damn elated. The sea catches my eye, and I walk over to the patterned stone steps leading down to the drifting aurora. I feel my sari billowing by my ankles with my almost-forgotten dignity while I walk down the stairs with a little bounce in my step of my own, thinking about everything and nothing all at the same time.

It's a dreadfully beautiful sight she is, my village. It's still so calming to me, even through all the decay and death it's suffered. It ain't unsettling—it's still home. Lightning's here, I know she is, and I know she agrees with me. We always seem to agree about a lot of things, without needing to really say nothing. She just gets me, and I get her. It didn't take us years to get to this point, neither. Didn't take us lifetimes to fall into a relationship together, 'cause we might as well've been in one from how close we are…

When I walk down to the steps that make up the water's shore and stand in the middle of the strong sunlight, letting the warm air fill me, I feel a hazy chill overpower me that practically knocks the wind out of me. I stop, wincing, feeling my face freeze and then burn all over again in the sunset's rays, and it makes me dizzy. The sensation feels like it's coming right from my shoulder—my brand—and I raise a trembling hand to rub the ache away, finding that somebody's gloved hand already beat me to it…

"You're here," she mumbles, so quietly I can barely hear it over the gentle water. Her voice is just as smooth and soothing while I place my hand over hers. She stands next to me, looking over to the soft golden horizon the same shade as her skin, "For a while there I didn't think you'd come. I cleared everything nearby pretty easily, hoping you'd follow me. I couldn't ask you to, not in front of everyone."

I close my eyes, sighing quietly from how close she's standing to me. I've forgotten about my brand completely. Makes me feel warmer inside than she's ever made me feel before, saying things like that. It gets my hopes up high—high up there, way higher than Cocoon is out of the corner of my eye.

"What exactly couldn't you ask me in front of the others?" I decide to savour this—savour everything. "I don't think they would've said nothin' if you only wanted to come here with me one last time. You're my friend." C'mon, now…bloody nerves—don't kill me now…not before I can get all this off my chest. "My best friend, even… I care about you, so much.." I laugh a little, at myself. "Maybe even too much…"

She says nothing, and I open my eyes slowly, feeling the quiet heat evaporate the faint blurry quality to my eyesight. There's still so much to say, and I don't know how to go about voicing none of it. Lightning…I'm painfully sorry I'm just now tellin' you this, but I've fancied you with all my heart for ages now… Had nothin' to do with your l'Cie brand, I ain't like that—'least I wasn't—I respected your shyness and didn't let my mind wander at the time. Now I… I don't even know how to finish my hypothetical confession; I'm so bleeding ridiculous…

"Come again?" Lightning says that out of nowhere, and I want to ask her what she's on about…but then the forethought of what it means staggers me senseless. "You didn't…really say what I thought I heard, did you?" Out of all the ways I spill my guts to her, this is how it happens? I do it without realising? Well, I came to love her without realising it for the longest, that's for damn sure… "You did…didn't you?"

I can't give her an answer…she knows what she heard… She sounds so subtly shocked, but not…in a disgusted way. No…that ain't it. My dried up excuses for lungs practically pound away in time with my heart when Lightning takes her hand from my shoulder and walks down to the step below me. Her boots pierce the water, just like her entire presence does to my fading one. The sunlight's reflection on her outline makes me want to chuckle in my aching, sadistic humiliation—it almost looks like she has a halo around the gorgeous falls of her hair blowing faintly in the wind. Almost…

Lightning looks up at me with so much innocent surprise in her eyes, the kind that don't fit at all with her usual cold or stoic expressions. Everything inside of me feels like it'll melt if she so much as blinks and breaks eye contact with me for a fraction of a second. The surprise…changes to fear—from fear, to understanding—from understanding, to a kind of mutuality that's deep and warm; deeper and warmer than her eyes have ever been in mine. So I didn't just make a complete arse out of myself!

I don't even know how long I keep standing here looking embarrassed and happy and thrilled until she does something that makes me reach my melting point…

All she does is hug me, for the first time, and with so much meaning—she holds me close around my waist, easing me into her without a word. Her head is comfortable on the swell of my chest, she's comfortable, here, and she fits into me so damn good and I wish I could find the sense to tell her.

I manage to get the point across in the way I hold her, around her shoulders, around the back of her head. I shiver at the metallic echo I hear and feel all along my back when she runs her nail along Venus Gospel. It's so bad that I have to relax my hold on her to let her look up at me properly again.

She pauses for a bit, biting her lower lip. Tempting me so hard without a clue… "What about Vanille?"

I let out a small, guilty laugh, shaking my head. How do I explain this…? "Lightning, I love her, I do… What I feel for her, it can't…can't compare. She knows I ain't…in love with her. Not like…"

I know the final fight's looming over the horizon and all, but that ain't helping me right now. It's like…because this might be it, I don't wanna ruin it all by saying too much. It's ruining me instead. It ruins me even more when she lets go of me, and I just end up sitting down on the steps like a fool, staring hard at her thighs. She's got some damn good muscles on her, not like me; I'll say that much...

She kneels down with one knee in the water and the other bent in front of me, keeping her elbow over her thigh, while her hand reaches out to warm my face in blue leather and Lightning. Her other hand is busy grazing the nape of my neck with the same deliberate tenderness I see in her eyes—the same ghost of a force that keeps my mind spinning in anticipation, wanting more, and more, and so much more..

"How long…?" she murmurs, and only the growing flush of my face can tell me hers is nearing mine. I only shake my head and let her heady presence overpower me; let it make my eyes flutter closed when her nails stroke through my hair, through my scalp that's erupting in shivers. "Mmm, same here… You're better than me—at least you said something to me…I don't think I could've told you on my own."

I can barely fill the silence coherently; I'm trying not to smile like a bloody moron. "Why not…?"

Lightning's millimetres from my aching lips; my aching, throbbing head and mind and body and spirit. I feel her breath right under my nose, I feel it seep right through my lips I have to keep parted to breathe properly with her so close to me like this. Breathing through my nose ain't enough—smelling her scentless, humid breath keeps making it harder and harder to fill my broken lungs.

"Because if I had…and you didn't feel the same…I thought I might've still tried something. Or maybe I wouldn't have, I don't know… Probably not. Still…I didn't wanna take that chance…even though we might not wake up right away.. even though you might…" Her pained words anchor my breath heavy with hope right into hers, seamlessly, effortlessly; so perfectly that it makes me weak and then strong 'cause it's her doing this to me, and—"Goddamnit, Fang—"

Lightning brings me into her with a shared shallow breath, breaking the breath with the sudden sharpness of her hands on me and her mouth on mine shaped with all her pent-up need, kissing me like it's the last-first-last time—what the hell do I know right now?—she's kissing me and it's so sweetly demanding and grippingly liberating, like her hands and arms gripping me; holding onto me so damn lovingly while she holds me around my neck and back, easing, gliding my body down.

She opens me up and makes me drown in our need, drown away the months we spent wasting time apart, and it tastes deep—deeply and intensely lovely—and I forget about everything except the way Light moves her head into mine more and more and keeps kissing every blazing inch of me even though she hasn't moved away from my lips.

I let out a sound more delicate than I thought I was capable of when she smoothes a hand along the small of my back and pulls me in with a sudden want. I want more of that, more of her, and it makes me arch into her impatiently after she breathlessly breaks our bruised lips apart. She makes up for it when she hisses powerfully, and I inhale her dizzying words—"What the hell was I thinking?"—before she pulls me into her again to kiss the left side of my face while she cradles the right in her elbow. The weight of the situation—of her words and the way she holds me and loves me—almost brings tears down from my eyes, but I won't allow it. For now, I have the strength not to.

I turn my face to give her plenty of access, keeping my eyes closed against her forearm in my warm hysteria as balmy as the vestiges of her lips on mine. Every firmly gentle press she puts along my searing face spells out just how affectionate I knew she could be, like this, with me. When she glosses down to my neck and starts putting pressure with her lips and tongue and teeth there, along sensitive spots that I never knew were even there, she's got me twisting my head and torso and hips and legs this way and that underneath her.

Lightning just moves to chuckle throatily in my ear before giving it the same treatment, and I know I'm as wet there thanks to her tongue and gentle teeth as I am between my aching legs. The care she takes to let my earrings go untouched makes me shut my eyes—now's not the time to be getting all sentimental, but she's got me vulnerable and feeling all sorts of things I never thought possible to feel and I can't help it.

It's a wonder how I don't notice what she's doing to me and yet I feel it—I can't see I can't think I can't move on my own, I can only do what she makes me do without any direct order, without any curt command. The wordless control she finally has over me makes me grip her in a wild delirium I feel, the kind no one but her can ever make me experience.

She keeps me reeling, and I'm feeling the way she's undressing me with so much vital care that makes me nervous and excited and needy—but so nervous 'cause of what it all means and excited 'cause it's her and needy 'cause I need her to get rid of this bubbling, searing anxiety in the pit of my stomach—my bare stomach that she's kissing while she sets my weapon aside, lifting my head up while she puts my sari underneath me like a pillow. She's already started getting rid of her accessories, and I want her clothes off—I want to feel her skin on mine—and I'm hastily fumbling with the clasps of her jacket.

It's steadily invigorating, how we're both so busy unclothing the other, how it's so urgent and loving and messy, almost, from all our nerves splaying everywhere, always present like the ebbing water I feel along my ankles. Lightning's in between my legs, working so hard to undress us both completely—she folds her coat with a gentleness that she probably never knew she had before she lifts me slightly by the small of my back. I arch into her automatically, watching her nervous eyes so dark with want while she puts her jacket underneath me. I smile 'cause she leaves my jewellery on. I guess she likes it too much.

Soon all of her clothes are my makeshift bed underneath me while she's on top of me with only sweat between us. Light looks at me while we catch each others' breath, and her weight on me is so maddeningly soft and it makes me feel…safe. I never cared for anyone making me feel this way, before her. It's nice, though.. and she knows what she's been doing to me—she sees it, and she must like it a lot if she's been able to keep me going like this non-stop without ever entering me.

"This is it," she whispers. It's kind of silly of her to say that right now but I know what she means. I only nod. "Fang…"

"Light…" I smile gently at her apprehension, taking in all of her adoration, and prepare to tell her something I still can't believe I've wanted to say to her for so long, "Take advantage of me…" Not a hint of surprise this time—only a strong curiosity lay in her darkened eyes. The change ignites a smouldering need inside me, "Take advantage of this moment, of the last bit of certainty we've got. Even if it might seem impossible, make us forget the future—forget our Focus—even if it's just for right now… I know you can. I trust you…I need you right now so much…"

Lightning says nothing more with words—she only shines a line of want down my skin while her breasts move from mine; mine is where her mouth moves to, and I feel an immediate, lasting jolt that pierces a cry from my throat while I throw my head back. Her tongue and teeth are doing things to me I know she ain't never done before, doing them with a growing, starved crave that makes me writhe and hold fistfuls of her hair in my reckless hands. I feel and hear the rumble of her delighted groans against my skin, and I don't hold back any power in my grip.

She kisses down my curved body with a wet warm want that cuts my mind off to the outside world, with a loving force that pulls me right into her world through her lips that taste of my sweat and skin. I can't keep still when she circles my hips with her mouth, licking me lightly before pressing her lips down so gradually and deeply while she holds me around my back with the same burning need. Every time she does that, every time she breathes me; every time I feel her thigh crush my hold on sanity while she grinds against me I feel like screaming, but I only bite down and tense and twist my neck uncontrollably.

When she stops, breathing hard against me, between me, fighting my hands trying so hard to pull her into me, I have to shut my eyes to stop the stinging her eyes assault me with. Her eyes, so patient and adoring—the blurry image of them burns holes in my eyelids, and I can only squeeze her head with my thighs so she can feel my insane pulse, 'cause I feel it everywhere and I want to feel her in so many more places; places that I ain't never let anyone touch, 'cause I was always afraid to let go, afraid to even admit I was scared. With Lightning it's completely different, it's so natural to trust her this way—she's got me in her grasp so good and hard and deep and I never want to leave…

The second I open my watery eyes to look down at her, to ask her why she hasn't taken me yet, she takes that as her permission. She refuses to break our eye contact. I don't break it either, not even to blink—I still can't believe she's doing this to me and I need to see it to feel it more, feel her more, have everything get me off more by watching.

Lightning only licks me once, delicately—completely—and I feel my warm slickness wrap around that one velvet touch that rips a hissing, hitching breath from me in the shape of her name. She takes it further and further, takes me harder and harder without wasting any time, without wasting any of me that drips and drips into her moist mouth.

Her mouth against me is so damp and her tongue is so silky and her teeth aren't doing enough to me. She's moving faster but she's afraid to hurt me, so I ram my hips into her to tell her to fucking claim me completely without any hesitations or fears. This ain't the time or place for those and I'm too damn hot and bothered by the mere image I have of her ferocity for her to hold back now.

Her teeth close in on me while she suckles me and gives it to me harder, and the vibrations I feel of her surprised, delighted moans against me keep my hips going, bucking, gyrating harder still. She keeps up with my direction, following my wants; following me up with more mind-blowing stimulation while her nose keeps blowing hard against my navel while she tries to keep breathing. I know I'm close to suffocating her against me, but she can take it—if she leaves me I might suffocate and shrivel up in frustration from how Goddamn good she's making me feel right now, finally. She can't stop.

But she does… She stops I let out a long groan of frustration, feeling winded and blinded and unaware for a moment that she's moved her face back to mine. Lightning only looks at me, slightly wide-eyed while my eyes are heavily lidded and dark and depraved while I breathlessly breathe in her breath that smells musken, that tastes slick and salty-sweet while she kisses me—that smells and tastes of her having been on me. I'm about to growl out a demand to know why she stopped until she asks me something I should've seen coming:

"Do you love me?"

I can only blink for a moment while my eyes remember that there's a bright sunset not too far away, searching hers for a way to answer her without saying too much or not enough. I open my mouth to tell her that I do, but she stops me again:

"You don't have to say it right now.. I understand. I just…needed to know if you did or not." Another deep-tasting kiss, and then she's moving back down, not breaking our gaze, "I love you too, Fang…"

Ardour arrests me, and she picks up where she left off; keeps going, and going, pressing the tip of her tongue right there—with so much pressure but not enough to do more and she knows it—keeping me on edge and clawing at the air around us with the epicene sounds I had no idea I was capable of making. I can't growl or grunt at all—not with the way she was handling me, taking me; dominating me with a liberating strength that kept lifting me higher and higher in her world that I've wanted to be in for so long; in her wanton mouth that I've wanted to devour me with her devotion for far longer.

Her words, her understanding, her strength her care her love create this jet of nerves inside of me that threaten to consume me, melt me apart and leave me broken but Light keeps going, lovingly—fast hard deep while she keeps holding me around my twisting back, keeping me together and tearing me apart all over again with what her mouth is doing to me…

I keep watching her watching me, doing me, loving me and her everything she gives and gives to me triggers a trembling all over that I can't fight, that I don't want to fight. The fondness in her bottomless eyes give me a place to be lifted endlessly into, and I'm calling her name from my heart. I hitch it, hiss it; hearing myself turn into someone I never thought I could be. Steadily screaming it with the softest, breathiest, loudest voice I can manage to keep her blushing, keep her going hard for me.

"Light…Lightning…!" My body can't stop moving with her, my breathing and my sounds can't calm down and nor can hers—I can't stop being with her, "Oh, please don't stop don't stop don't stop… I need you, I need you, I need you…" Everything picks up to a pace I didn't think she could reach; every stroke makes me almost leave the ground from how much I shake once with each one, "Fucking hell, Lightning, I love you…"

I tell her this over and over, say her name over and over; rip everything from my throat to her through my tremulous voice and neck and body that still can't keep still from all of her in all of me while I feel a lift from my mind up. It's sudden it's strong it's sublime—just like my love for her—and I'm cursing out loud for waiting so long for Lightning to take me here; I pant her name and pull her hair and pool into her warm mouth with violent shudders and spasms. The longing look in her eyes keeps me soaring powerfully for a long while.

The glide back down is weightless, but I feel sore everywhere, especially my throat from screaming so loud. Lightning's mouth stops while she watches me, smiling from between my cloudy legs. It's such a cute smile, and it makes me laugh even though I'm out of breath and I can't move or keep my eyes open. I let my body relax while I let go of her hair and recline on my bed of clothes, listening to my laughter fade in and out of my ringing ears.

Everything's fuzzy and hazy, but I feel Light kissing me soothingly and I don't feel lost here, wherever she's taken me. I don't feel pressured to keep quiet, to not show at least one person who I really am while I lay here in the comfort of her arms at the day's end. I don't know what'll happen once we go back, but Lightning keeps me from thinking about all that. We don't need words, either. Too many words make me remember the reality that relies so much on them. As crazy as it sounds, I don't want reality right now.

Once I'm fully aware again, she's straddling my face and I'm switching between holding onto her hips and her hands, returning the favour with everything I've got. She's raw and uninhibited after the show I gave her, so much to the point where she's got me blushing and my jaw and lungs aching from how much I'm giving to her and getting in return.

If this ain't real—if this can't continue in reality—then I really don't want that right now.