ARGH. This took forever DD: School's been kicking my ass. I'm still working on requests for people, and hopefully I'll be able to get those done and uploaded. :) I think all but one is at least half done...

Anyway, had a BALL at homecoming last weekend. Now that that's over, I'll get back to work~! :)


49. BAD

A good night's sleep was something that had managed to elude Lightning Farron for years. Since her childhood, she'd been plagued by insomnia, a condition she'd never imagined would become useful – until she was made a l'Cie and didn't have time to sleep.

When she woke up one morning feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, she had a brief flash of uneasiness amidst her blissful morning grogginess. As she watched specks of dust dance in a beam of sunlight peeking through the curtains, she noticed that she was propped up on a tangled mess of the blankets on her bed and briefly wondered why her feet were closest to the wall as opposed to her head, as was her usual bedtime settlement. Any explanation was lost on her as she absentmindedly threaded locks of soft hair between her fingers.

That was when she realized that something was very, very wrong.

Lightning always slept alone.

This is bad.

It only took a once-over of the room to identify several things that, to say the least, weren't normal in her bedroom.

For starters – she was naked. Sleeping in the buff wasn't one of her kinks, and probably wouldn't ever be. Privacy didn't exactly exist in the battlefield, and in a years-long fit of self-redemption, her showerhead held the honor of being the closest thing to anyone seeing her outside her clothes since her last deployment.

Well, it had. And that brought her to next bedroom discrepancy.

Part one – her lewdly splayed legs. Part two…what seemed to be two sets of clothes scattered in various places on the bed and the floor. Part three…the mop of disheveled silver hair resting on her breasts, framed by her aforementioned legs.

Hands shaking, Lightning brushed a lock of silver away from the face of the person snuggling rather comfortably into every curve and contour of her body just to confirm her suspicions. First came a full, soft pink lower lip followed by a darker pink upper lip, the set slightly parted in slumber. Pitch black eyelashes interlocked and fluttered as he navigated through a dream.

The repercussions for anyone else in Hope's position would have been brutal. Despite the inevitably explosive anger boiling in her chest, Lightning's heart softened when Hope's arms tightened around her waist, mumbling something in his sleep. There was no reprimanding the innocence resting against her breasts, and Lightning knew that the now-sixteen year-old had officially stolen her heart.

Sixteen…oh, there was the guilt.

It didn't take much to see what had happened the night before. Twenty-three year old women didn't seem to make habits of just cuddling with sixteen-year old boys and just happening to lose their clothes.

With the exception of Lightning, of course. Even though cuddling hadn't been on hers and Hope's agenda at all the night before.

The only thing Lightning was able to take comfort in was the fact that she hadn't directly initiated it. Hope had tagged along with Serah and Snow on one of their 'lets keep Lightning sane while she lives alone' visits and had stayed behind. They had talked for a while, watched a couple of movies, and the whole time, Lightning could tell something was different about her former charge. Something was nagging at him. He showed a slight variation of the barely-restrained impulsiveness she'd seen in him during their travel through the Gapra Whitewood and Palumpolum, but it was obvious that he wasn't itching to kill anyone. Itching to say something, maybe. Lightning had done her best to ignore his behavior, but couldn't shake the tension she felt growing between them.

The longer he stayed, the longer she ended up having to look at him. He'd lost most of the baby fat left over in his face, giving him a more masculine appearance despite his eyelashes remaining pitch black, as thick as Lightning's own, and even longer than hers. He'd grown several inches, and prided himself on being three-tenths of an inch taller than her. He'd developed some muscle here and there, most notably in his chest. His eyes, if anything, had only grown more beautiful with age, the green swirled with subtle touches of gold and still sparkling with innocence and naiveté even after watching so many die at his feet.

The longer he stayed, the more she wanted him.

The longer he stayed, the more she wanted to shoot herself for wanting him.

It wasn't long before everything came apart and Lightning tried to retreat to her bedroom for the night. When she told Hope that he ought to go home, he refused. A simple conversation evolved into a heated exchange, then to a whispered confession when Lightning backed herself into a corner, and from there into an entire night steeped in lust and unbridled passion, facades cracking away as each delved deeper into the other, searching for every secret they may have kept. Something in the back of Lightning's lust-hazed mind nagged at her to stop, but the overwhelming feeling of rightness refused to let her acquiesce. Hope was young. Hope was innocent. Lightning was a woman. Lightning was scarred. Nothing in their relationship was right anymore. One couldn't tell where the complexes began and ended, where Lightning stopped acting as an elder sister and became a mother, and where she left maternal instinct behind to focus her attentions on her needs as a lover. For anyone else, the tangles of one's overwhelming instinct to protect, another's smothering desire, starvation for family, and a shared desperation for something to hang onto in years to come all convening in the crying of names with perfect synergy at ecstacy's peak would have been unhealthy.

But for Lightning and Hope, it was perfect.

Until Lightning woke up the next morning and found her cloud of hopelessly intermingled emotions and desires had faded in sleep, leaving her faced with the stark reality of her situation.

She'd slept with Hope.

This was bad.

When Hope murmured a string of random words in his sleep, Lightning held her breath in hopes of prolonging his sleep. The more time she had to think her way through a solution, the better. Of course, she soon came to realize that there was no solving a problem she'd begged for only hours earlier.

Her time soon ran on short supply, and it wasn't long before Hope stirred himself into consciousness. Lightning felt her cheeks redden as he stretched, eyes closed and jaw appearing to unhinge itself as the boy released what was probably the largest yawn known to man. He turned himself onto his stomach, eyes still closed, and laid his head back down on Lightning's ample chest, his mussed silver hair coming to rest across her breasts.

Lightning watched him apprehensively, in the same manner one might observe a potentially threatening animal. She murmured words in her head like a mantra, willing power into them.

Please don't wake up please don't wake up please don't wake up please don't wak –

"Mmm…orning, Light…"

Damnit.

Lightning managed a smile and brushed a hand through his hair to get a better look at the entrancing jade orbs left hidden beneath the platinum shag. His eyes sparkled as they met hers, cobalt blue and shadowed by her eyelashes. A smile tugged one side of Hope's luscious, pale pink lips into a seductive, half-awake smirk as he assessed their arrangement, a faint blush tinting his cheeks.

"How'd you sleep?" he slurred, eyes drifting shut for several seconds before reopening.

"Better than I have in a long time," Lightning replied truthfully.

Hope stared lazily into her eyes for a few seconds in silence.

"Then why do you look so guilty?"

Lightning bristled. "Why would I be guilty?"

Hope huffed, his warm breath raising excited goosebumps on Lightning's skin. "It's written all over your face, Light. Quit trying to cover for yourself," he murmured. Lightning felt a glower creep into her eyes.

"Forgive me, but women – especially women soldiers – don't usually make a habit of engaging in the things we did last night," she grumbled, staring holes into the pale blue wall behind Hope. "At least not with minor boys." She looked back at him when he touched her cheek.

"If you're gonna regret it…I'll just go," he murmured, a sad smile taking root in his features. Lightning watched in paralyzing confusion as he moved away from her, the muscles in his porcelain-skinned back cording and smoothing back out as he stretched. He moved to grab the boxers hanging on the bedpost, but Lightning grabbed his arm.

"Li – Mmph!"

Before he could get her name out, Lightning had pulled Hope back to herself, smothering his words with her lips. Though initially frozen in surprise, Hope soon melted into her, weaving his fingers into her hair and shyly dipping his tongue between her lips. Lightning acquiesced and allowed him to do most of the work, egging him on with a strategic, airy moan every so often.

Hope pulled away for air, cheeks flushed red and eyes half-lidded. He smiled when he took in Lightning's matching expression.

"So was it really that bad?" he murmured, leaning down to nip at her neck. "That sinful?" He bestowed another mark on her neck before kissing it. "That black?"

Lightning tilted her head back, eyes closed as she reveled in him. "Yes," she murmured. "But I'd rather sin and bask in ecstasy like this instead of not having done this at all."

Hope chuckled. "I thought you were more of a good girl than that, Light."

She peered up at him through barely-open eyes, a smirk turning up one corner of her mouth.

"A mistake you won't make twice."