Title: Piece of Mind
Authoress: Tomo Trillions (http://www.hanashika.com/tomo)
E-mail: FonduKnives - at - hotmail.com
Series: Final Fantasy X
Rating: R
Warnings: Quasi-smutty-angst, citrus-lime, Zanarkand spoilers/(game spoilers?)?
Pairing: JechtxAuron, AuronxTidus
Disclaimer: Square's. So there.
Notes/summary: Sexy Jecht.... I've wanted to write a piece like this since I finished the game, but each time I tried, it felt faintly awkward. After several tries and edits, I satisfied by the 'feel' to this ficlet.


Strangely enough, the man in his arms reminded him of the years he'd spent growing up within the great temple of Bevelle, a boy with no place but those hallowed halls to call home. The halls had been intimidating and yet they welcomed all comers with open arms, as an unwanted child he'd found a sense of peace there, something worth dedicating his heart to. He had spent hours of his life wandering those great depths, and he'd never tired of the massive stained glass murals that lined the halls, depicting brilliant aeons and the chiseled expressions of summoners past with dramatic, bold lines of color. They were images burnt into his mind, that he would never be able to forget...

And that was where the similarity struck home, because the man in his arms reminded him, strikingly enough, of that colored glass. The analogy had seemed odd at first, comparing a complex man to the simple splashes of hue that cast beautiful shadows when the sun was just right - but it held true the further into the older man's mind Auron dared to delve.

When you stood close at the feet of those great accounts of history you could fully see the light falling through closest glasses, all of them seperate and jagged, though equally bright. If you didn't step back, though, you would be stuck in a shadowy pool of blue or green or red - and if you looked only to one piece, you would never see the picture. You needed them all.

Jecht was...like that. All this time, Auron had been so focused on the single colors he'd expected to find that he'd never given the full picture a thought at all. And now, months into their friendship and month's away from its end, he'd only begun to understand how the pieces fit together, the frothy blue that he fancied was a love of blitz, the deep, hard red of anger and loss, the bruising-purple of loyalty and honesty.

He looked so hard for them them that they felt tangible, Auron could nearly see them reflected in Jecht's faintly eager, amused gaze, his eyes dark and shadowy next to the pale fingers Auron had unconciously placed against his cheek. "What're you lookin' at?"

He hadn't expected things to end up like this, though he had certainly dreamed of it. And he knew, now, that had he bothered to shift his stance and really *look* at Jecht the first day they met, he would have seen the pieces long before and realized, just as Braska had realized, that Jecht was prone to giving up huge portions of himself to the causes he loved.

"Just you," Auron curled closer, and felt Jecht's chest rumble with laughter. It was strange.

Had he that incredible sense of intuition he would have seen the core of the man he'd fallen for. He would have looked past his own jealousies, insecurities and desperation and seen what Braska saw when he had looked Jecht over that first night in the cells of Bevelle.

It had taken him *this long*, and when the epiphany came he had turned to Jecht and managed a stumbling confession, and they had suddenly gone from being associates to something more, not quite friends, but closer to that point than ever before.

The room had been silent and then warm as Jecht had agreed with Auron's tentative offer. Had hesitantly - clumsily - admitted his own lonliness and the nightmares that plagued a man cut out of his own world, and allowed Auron to come close, closer, until their thighs were barely pressing and the bed sagged with the weight of two. The springs squeaked.

He'd vaguely expected Jecht to turn and initiate their first kiss; however, Auron *hadn't* dared hope for the arms that were folding about his waist, the stubbly chin pressing against his neck, nor the warmth of breath exhaled as Jecht silently *clicked* in place against him, as if he had been meant to fit there. Worlds apart, they were worlds apart, but it was so relieving to have come this close to him after *how* many months of unwilling attraction?

He had long missed this piece of Jecht that loitered in the depths of homesickness and despair, this slice of the man that and desperately desired human contact and someone to listen; somehow Auron had only seen the pieces and not the whole, and he hadn't even considered that Jecht might be as starved for contact and comfort as he was, he hadn't bothered to believe that *he himself* might be what Jecht wanted.

There had been teasing and joking, Jecht had made a few brusquely drunken offers over the course of their journey - but Auron had never taken them to be more than the unwittingly cruel remarks of a drunk.

Perhaps they had been genuine. Perhaps Jecht drank to be brave again, though now he had moved past liquid courage into his own.

Auron had formed no expectations in the black. He couldn't think, and as rough fingers trailed down his shoulders, couldn't breathe, this piece was too much for him, all at once. They had left the inn with its thin walls and squeaking bed, leaving Braska's peaceful slumber behind to return outside, bedrolls over their shoulders to ward off the cool air.

It was dark as Jecht pressed them down into the blankets, the moon flickering overhead like a massive candleflame, torn between leaves and wind and clouds. It played softly on the swells and curves of human bodies and heavy cloth as they moved to banish their lonliness, if only for this one night.

Tentatively, hesitantly, he let his fingers tighten against thick shoulders, touching for the first time what had only been sensed, dreamed of, or perhaps fleetingly brushed in the darkness. Palms flat against a broad expanse of faintly scarred back, he dared release the breath he had not meant to hold.

It was real. He had been so blind, he hadn't seen the lonliness that had always been there, he hadn't given Jecht the chance to be the friend he might have been. He had sacrificed months of close contact. After all, Braska had hinted in quiet tones many times before that Jecht could do with more company, with a confidant and not simply a companion. Auron hadn't looked, because he hadn't wanted to believe there was more to Jecht than a drunkard and a crazy man, some wandering fool believing himself the sole survivor of an ancient city... he hadn't wanted to find such fantastic truths in a man such as that.

But Braska had been right. Jecht *was* a perfect match for his own temperment in many small ways Auron had never noticed before; ways that seemed glaringly obvious in the throes of perfect hindsight.

Apologies were in order, and he quietly closed his eyes, inhaling deeply. "...Jecht... I - I owe you - "

"Shut up." Heavier, the stocky blitzer pushed forward, one knee coming to rest between Auron's thighs, pressing and lingering there. One hand splayed against the guardian's lower back while the other took up a shoulder, warmth pooling between them as they moved, almost clumsily, towards what neither could quite do without. The expression he wore was a cross between vague concentration, mixed with something that might have been embarassment and a tinge of shame; he didn't want any apologies, he didn't want to be pitied. The fierce look tempered itself with just enough desperation that Auron obeyed the gruff command wordlessly, eyes never leaving the vicinity of that hard, crimson gaze.

The apology was swallowed, and Jecht seemed content. Auron couldn't tell if he understood or had simply never considered those words necessary...though...

Somehow this more passionate piece didn't seem worth protesting.

That this could be, that he could give in to something so... so - (his breath was gone, his eyes half lidded as Jecht spoke again) - so necessary... in the midst of their journey seemed completely alien to Auron's train of thought.

Jecht's voice was quietly overwhelming as he spoke again, softly this time.

"Just... be quiet, okay?" It was almost an apology for silencing an apology; Auron opened his mouth and closed it again, gaping. Jecht just half-smiled, a cracked look that seemed more forced than anything else, and displayed another piece of himself. "You don't have to say anything."

Beyond the brash parts of Jecht that bristled with pride and a need to be recognized was a very lost man, someone who had been thrown from being revered and loved into a world where nobody knew his name.

And so Auron hushed numbly, nodding his partial understanding as heavy fingers fumbled with the belt around his waist, not so much inexperienced as hurried, a wet mouth leaving warm trails across his neck. Jecht threw himself completely into whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted it; he delegated a portion of himself to many different things, inequally perhaps, but not half-heartedly. His son, blitzball, then their pilgrimage and now (after so many months of travel) their purpose had all become something so utterly important that pulling them away from Jecht was nearly impossible. You could not break up the pieces without shattering the whole, it was a delicate, dangerous balence that Jecht somehow managed to maintain.

This wouldn't be any different. There was no halfway, there was no in-between, and no 'maybe'. This was a piece of the lonliness being changed into another L-word, one that they were not tempted to say.

Jecht kissed as if he wished to press himself into Auron's very existence, as if he wished to curl up inside the younger man and see the world through his eyes - as if through the heated friction of skin on skin, he could forget who he was and where he came from. He could feel Spira, he could become Spira, he could belong in Spira, as if with hot kisses and breathless gasps he could throw away Zanarkand and the ties and the memories, and the world he would never see again. Auron lay back passively, let him forget that piece of his life; he returned the kisses with an open mouth, fingers curling tensely in the soft, black hair falling across the blizter's neck, content. He knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that even should he wish for more (for love), this small piece of the older, rougher, worldless man was all he would ever be given. Auron breathed in the sweat and musk and \\Jecht\\ and half-dreamed that what he held was his to keep, forever, pretending for a moment that Jecht was his and he was Jecht's and they would never be pulled apart.

He could pretend there was something more in the other man's eyes than mutual need and deep-running lonliness.

Roaming hands across his stomach, long, damp black hair, sharp eyes and tongue, kisses that were not so much sweet, not so much salty, but some shade or flavor that could only be tasted in dreams.

It would grow to be an addiction of sorts, though he couldn't know that \\now\\. He would dream of it for years, he would never stop dreaming of colors and glass, he could not forget nor could he live without it.

For the moment though, the young man was content to simply \\have\\ it.

Strange, he mused as he let his head fall back and spooned against the heavier man, thoughts running like watery ink. Strange how happy this little piece of colored comfort rendered him, how this small indulgence left him smiling against Jecht's thick, dark hair even though one day it would be gone.

So good. The lonliness was evaporating as they each found what they sought.

Auron half-smiled in the darkness, wincing as Jecht slipped away from 'gentle' and proceeded towards something more primative that was bound to leave marks across his skin. "What would you do," he whispered, hesitantly, when the assailing mouth freed his own and pressed against the arch of his turned neck, "if I told you I didn't want this?"

He was curious, and the response was immediate, confidant, colored with shades of black and red. His robes fell off his shoulders and were threaded aside, abandoned.

Jecht's voice made Auron shiver; was thick and heavy, satisfied, sure. "Call you a liar," he couldn't see the half-lidded carmine gaze, and thought he wouldn't want to. His hands played softly in jet-dark locks, his eyes fixated on the blackness between the stars, faintly visible through the sweeping expanse of forest canopy above. He could smell wet grass and sweat.

"A liar."

Auron almost laughed, making Jecht pause for a lingering moment, then press closer. He wore the cocky, smug grin that the young man had come to associate with distractions, or adventures. That expression, that guilty-in-advance smirk made Auron press his palms to Jecht's face, forehead to forehead for a long moment, studying the colors reflected in his eyes. He smiled. "...and what if I asked you to stop?"

Jecht's stubbly chin tickled. "I'd laugh at you!"

He did, and they laughed for a strained moment, until one of them - he couldn't tell whom - shifted closer and hotter and sent coherent thought spindling away. Young fingers unthreaded a long headband and pulled it off, then moved close to the pulse at Jecht's throat as he counted the heated throb, forgot the numbers and spoke again. "And what... if..." Sharp exhalation, fingers massaging deeply into his hips, "I told you tha ... that I loved you?"

A sharp nip, and something that started as a statement and ended an incoherent moan.

There was a moment of silence, caught between thoughtful and mindless.

"'d call you a fool." This time the deep red eyes moved away from his navel and met his sight, the grin Jecht wore was one of posessive amusement, the like of which Auron couldn't remember seeing before. It was a smirk that promised rejection upon such a sentiment, a grin that would not accept emotional attachment of any sort - it saw straight through Auron, and Auron gave in, raising his hips slightly, wistfully.

He had to ask even though he'd always known the answer. Wasn't it human to want more than you would ever get?

"It's stupid to love this," Jecht paused, face and rough chin pressed against the flat of Auron's stomach, breath sweeping across bare skin. "...stupid to love anything ... like a person."

His voice dropped, dark against the monk's flesh. "You'll just lose it in the end... people always leave, one way or another. Or they don't care." Auron pressed his face against the taller man's neck, kissing fervantly, momentarily concerned that Jecht would push him away for good. "Take what you can get while you can get it... love....

"If you did say that... if... I would tell you that you're dreaming," he murmured, half-still. "Stupid."

"Well," Auron whispered, stroking the back of the blitzer's skull with tapered fingers, trailing down to neck and the bunched cords of taut muscles there, not bothering to disguise how taken aback he felt. Strength, coiled and prepared - the heat of Jecht's personality and stare was only matched by his raw physical ability, though for the moment he seemed content to press close and wait. "I'm quite the fool," he breathed the admission too softly to be heard.

But Jecht must have.

The body against him tensed, every muscle shifting where they brushed together, the path of unstoppable lips paused for one quiet moment in which Auron waited, not quite daring to breath. And then, as if Jecht had made a great decision beyond words or explanations, he shivered once and pressed his marked chest to Auron's, moving in such a way that the guardian beneath him could only gasp and tighten his fingers helplessly at the slow, sensual burn, too caught up to speak.

This was colored orange and yellow and gold.

"Yeah. You...just might be..."

For a moment he gave in and let the physical engulf him - he held Jecht's head tightly to his neck and moaned something that might have been a name. After a heated round of writhing and tactile exploration, the blitzer lifted one hand to Auron's forehead and pushed his head down, kissing furiously. Roughly. He smiled into it, imagining what a magnificent window-mural they would make, locked like this in so many colors -

As quickly as it began, his mouth moved away, leaving Auron empty and burning for another cloes touch. Jecht kissed the corner of his right eye and grinned - Auron could see the pull of his lips and the stubble that crowned his chin in great detail. His breath was hot. There was a faintly outlined scar just beneath the line of his jaw, on the left - he kissed it, lingered, and spoke fervantly.

"Spira is.... difficult, when you're on your own,"Auron offered hesitantly for the second time that evening, shifting and pulling closer to the warm expanse of Jecht's bare chest. "Must have been...nn.. hard..."

Jecht's hands were busy, fingering soft skin and long healed scars. His words were an admission not to be taken lightly. "Yeah."

"...must have been..."

The word was breathed against his neck, and made Auron crush his fingers against Jecht's back. "Lonely."

They moved. For a moment, nothing else mattered.

"I... I'll stay... with you," he whispered, no substance or volumn to the sound, just breath and emotion and color. He slipped a knee up around Jecht's waist, hooking it there, pressing skin to skin and half-smiling. Spreading his fingers he let his hands play across the other's tatooed chest in a desperate bid for more complete contact, he could feel Jecht's sweat and breath against him, nearly purred at the shuddering of his frame.

This was his piece. He'd been given this little part of the whole.

"I'll just...stay...until you go home."

Deep carmine eyes, half curtained, crinkled at the corners with a faint smile. He nodded slowly, thoughtfully. "I'd...like that..."

"...Jecht - " Auron began softly, but his mouth was captured, and words were made impossible by the shifting heat between them. He could only cling to Jecht's shuddering frame, riding out the last throes of their first night together consumed by an overflow of sensation so intense it was almost painful.

Later, Jecht would curl on his side as the moon slipped away, his chest rising and falling against Auron's ribs in the warm, post-coital bliss that rendered even the cocky, arrogant blitzer prone to snuggling closer. The older man would soon run a hand down Auron's side and tell him 'not to say it', because if he said it, it would be *something*, and anything could be lost. Just...know.

And settle for knowing.

The younger man obliged, concentrating instead on listening for the whisper of Jecht's breath as it slowed and steadied, as a warm, blocky chin burrowed against his shoulder and sweat dried across his skin. He lay and stared as the stars changed, the blackness stretching and growing as clouds swept in overhead, the air growing damp with the promise of rain. He stared and thought hard, about the nearby Inn and Braska's expensive room, about the swords laying criss-crossed and cold at their feet, about the occassional pyrefly that floated overhead, close enough to be touched.

He did not reach.

He considered his fingers buried in dark hair, hovering over the pulse that certainly felt real... real and uncertain. That pulse and the life it bore was something that could be lost so easily - it was fragile, unlike the unspoken words - and someday that warmth might be gone, and he might be alone with only the stained glass murals of former friends for company.

Auron \\knew\\ what Jecht would not let him say, he knew what he felt, and he knew he would not be able to forget any easier for *not* telling the man next to him that he was drawn, compelled, and desperate to stay by his side. If he himself knew, wasn't it real? If he felt it undeniably each day, couldn't it be lost?

Couldn't glass shatter?

He would always know and he would never speak of it, because that piece of Jecht's heart was one he would never be given. Sometimes it would pain him like a hole in his soul, but that was alright, because for the moment the gaping wound was filled and salved and he would be content until the sun rose and life began to move again.

Auron turned and let his lips press against the warm skull at his side, closing his eyes as soft, dirty-dark hair pressed against his cheek. He whispered, and the wind blew.

"....as long as a piece of you will have me, I'll have peace of mind."


Auron watched his friends and the stars and the spiral as it turned.

Auron watched him, as the end became the beginning, and the companionship he had found threw itself away, and he watched, unable to speak, as they moved and fought and believe and died. He watched the temple of Bevelle erect statues and colored glass that bore his own face, and returned to Zanarkand despite it all.

And the pyreflies fluttered closer, flourescent, undulating, closer.

And he closed his eyes.



The spiral turned and other nights passed, it turned and the sun rose and fell, and life slipped through his fingertips. Before he could realize what he'd been living for (in the end, it hadn't been Spira at all), those faces and lives were gone, and he was somewhere else completely, something changed and unwanted in the world of the living.

It spun, and eventually returned him to that warm, hot place, years and lives and worlds away, with warmth at his side and a tiny piece of what he'd never spoken.... a little shard, left over, once the great panes of glass had broken in.

He knew \\why\\ he felt the need to touch such heat again, why it pressed into his self-control with such insistence - his first indulgence had led to more joy than grief (though certainly a fair share of both), and though touching the hot flame again would burn, he reached regardless and watched it flicker through the shadows of his fingers. He touched the only real piece that was left, because what he had cared for long before had turned from dream to nightmare, and he was left only with this small body that looked nothing like his dreams, but completed him none the less.

In his dreams, his footsteps crunched over broken glass.

Innocent, teenaged, rumpled and as cocky as the one who'd sired him, Tidus had a smirk that would do his father proud. His colors were blonde-bleach gold, cool blue and warm, brilliant yellow - no red, no black, only ridiculously bright shades. He was lighthearted, curious, and invariably as passionate as another had once been. And for the first time in years, Auron felt \\it\\ again, something that could not be spoken of, for now mention of it raised the dead.

Expectations hadn't been formed as hesitant motions were laid across the table and taken advantage of, he hadn't been dissappointed or pleased by what they'd become for he hadn't taken the time to plan or to think. He had merely tilted up the small, sleek chin with his so-large fingers and kissed, and from then on it had been too easy to lose himself in the familiarity of family.

In the piece that had been left behind.

Young. Too young for this, perhaps it had been a mistake to reach out to one that looked so different, sounded so strange, tasted so alien - but the heat and fire that he'd found in another was there indeed, the passion, the book-face that bit straight through self-control and pressed warmly against his soul.

He reached and Tidus did not run, simply trembled, brows furrowed faintly in concentration as fingers traced his jawline and lips pressed softly against his neck. Smooth hands, such a change from his father's, eyes that swam with liquid rather than flames, devoid of blood-red glass. Young indeed, but not so much younger than Auron had been, all those years ago, when he had first felt broad, sporting arms slide around his shoulders from behind -

So unlike Jecht in that soft straw-blonde hair tickled his chin as they slept side by side, soft hands caught against his chest in sleep, curled against the warmth there, relaxed and trusting. Ever the supplicant, it seemed - or perhaps only when they were dreaming - Auron had asked permission to touch, and the boy hadn't denied him. He had smiled faintly, as if it was to be expected, and he'd stood on tip-toe, for Auron was still \\that much taller\\.

He'd justified it easily. One kiss wouldn't hurt in the end, because they had both lost, were both left alone, and neither knew where else to turn for the heat of a presence that had been torn away. Together they were something worth having...

At first there had been nothing but a promise, and then that damned slippery emotion had wormed its way into his heart once more, twice in decade and yet so utterly different.... Something about the blood, he mused, running calloused fingers across the boy's - though very nearly he would be a young man - tanned skin.

Silently he watched Tidus sleep and imagined what that boy might look like, if he could only survive long enough to earn a place in the hallowed murals of Bevelle's great temple. Jecht's only son could melt all the snow of Gagazet with his warm smile, and when backlit by the sun he was nearly blinding with his hope and optimism. A wealth of strength, health, and faith.

He would be a pleasing figure cut of colored glass, Auron supposed, a dream warm and worth remembering.

And his Calm would be eternal.