There was a warm heat pressed to Claire's body once again, and it felt good. Fang's arms were strong and firm and just like every other night she latched onto her like an octopus. But this time it was more appropriate.
The night before was different than Claire was used to. She knew, even though she believed that she was doing something wrong, that what Fang needed before was tenderness and compassion. But their second night together was nothing but heat and passion.
"Fang?" Claire cooed quietly. She was already naked, so she wasn't sure how she was supposed to wake the famed heavy sleeper.
The dark-haired girl let out a series of unintelligible murmurs. Claire couldn't help but smile and brush a hand over the girl's messy hair, still matted against her sweaty skin. They hadn't been resting very long, but the sun was out.
Their blinds were shut, but the room seemed way too bright. She could hear the call of gulls in the air and the waves crashing against the soft sandy shore. Claire could feel Fang squeeze her before the girl blinked awake.
Claire just stared into the eyes of the girl that she loved. They were such a deep green, filed with life and wonder. The pink-haired girl lifted a hand and ran it over Fang's cheek. Her skin wasn't particularly soft, but she felt a gentle warmth under her fingers that transmitted up her arm and into her heart. Claire rubbed a thumb over the little beauty mark just beneath her eye. It was a perfect little thing for the girl to have; that's what the girl was– beautiful.
Fang smiled at her, and Claire felt her heart take fluttering beats. She ran a hand over the muscular arms that held her the night before. They were strong and made her feel so safe. She had never thought herself as a girl who needed protecting, but that didn't mean she didn't like having someone to look after her.
Claire was still dumbstruck that Fang loved her back. But even though they loved each other, that didn't mean it was all going to work out perfectly. No, she still had to get Serah through college.
"Fang, we need to talk."
Fang bit her bottom lip and gave Claire a gentle squeeze. "Can't it wait? I know that there's so much we still need to talk about, but– I finally have the girl I love in my arms. I just want to enjoy this moment."
Claire could feel the heat in her cheeks; there was something about the way Fang said the way love that touched her on some deep level. It was so tender and sweet, it was as though she'd never really heard the word until Fang told her that she loved her.
"Fine," Claire responded gently, tucking her head into Fang's neck.
She had to admit the girl was right, it could wait.
"Is your back alright?" Fang asked after a few moments, her fingers hesitantly caressing the skin near Claire's scars.
"Yes," Claire answered, her voice flat. In actuality, they were a bit sore, but Fang didn't need to know that. "But thanks for asking," she added quickly, leaning up for a kiss.
When Claire opened her eyes, she saw that Fang had frozen stiff. She knew that people called her an ice queen but she still didn't think her kisses could be that cold. She glanced up and down the other girl's face. "What's the matter?"
"I don't know. Guess it still hadn't struck me, that I could–," Fang hesitated, then leaned forward and planted a soft, tender kiss on her lips. "That it was alright for me to kiss you."
Claire couldn't believe the way she reacted from a simple kiss. Her eyelids fluttered open and she smiled. "Very alright," she said, her voice husky and rich; the tone was so she barely recognized her own voice.
"Mmm." Fang kissed her again, rolling the pink-haired girl onto her back. "Again?"
Claire nodded, then leaned up to taste her girl. Their lips were barely a hairsbreadth apart when there was a knock on the door. Pale blue eyes shot open and Claire pushed the other girl off. Fang slid onto the floor, blinking in shock.
"Shit, shit, shit," Claire said as she clawed her way out of Fang's furs.
She was trying to get herself put together. She lifted her t-shirt from the night before– at least half of it. Lightning cast a glare over at Fang, who just gave her a sheepish shrug. She crossed over to her closet and threw on her pink robe.
Fang was rooting around for her own clothes, but each article she lifted was shredded to pieces. The huntress turned and smiled. "I love you," she said with a snicker as she lifted a torn pair of panties.
"Just– get in the bathroom."
"Are you saying I smell?"
Fang laughed as she was shoved into the bathroom. Claire slammed the door shut and went to open the door. Her hand hesitated at the knob. There was a tingle of worry in the back of her mind, wondering if there was something in the room or on herself that would give her secret away. The feelings of safety from earlier had all but vanished.
With trepidation, she opened the door and found green eyes peering in at her.
"Hey, did you ever find Fang?"
"Yes," Lightning answered quickly before moving to slam the door, but Vanille jammed her foot into the door.
"Ouch," She yelped. "So I guess everything worked out fine?" Vanille gave her a warm smile through the small crack her foot held open with all too knowing eyes.
Vanille pried open the door despite Lightning's attempt to hold it shut. She slid in easily and crossed the room. The girl skipped to the window and popped it open.
"It smells like a zoo in here," Vanille said as she turned around.
Lightning glanced away, feigning nonchalance. She tapped her foot impatiently, hoping that the younger girl would get the hint.
"So," Vanille dragged out. "I take it your talk went very well?"
The pulsian girl chuckled. "It's not like I don't already know."
Lightning looked at her coldly for a moment. "Get out and don't tell anyone."
Vanille paused for a moment, then pulled Claire into a spontaneous hug. "Congratulations," she said quietly. "Ciao!" she said, darting out the door before Lightning could mount any sort of reaction.
The bathroom door slowly cracked open, and Claire spotted a sliver of a green eye peeking through. "Was that Vanille?"
"Yeah. Fang, we need to talk."
Lightning hated the forlorn look on Fang's face as the door open and she stepped out. Taking a seat on her bed, Lightning patted the space next to her. Fang had wrapped herself in a towel while in the restroom, and she stepped over slowly and sat beside the other girl.
Lightning looked at the ceiling, then to the floor. She looked anywhere but at the girl she loved, because if she looked into her eyes than she couldn't say everything she needed to say.
"Outside of this room, we aren't dating," Lightning said quietly.
"I love you. But nobody can know. When we're here, anything goes. But out there, nothing. One inappropriate touch, one inappropriate comment, one longing glance, and we're done."
Fang hesitated for a moment. "Listen, Claire, I've thought about it. It doesn't have to be this way. There's no other way for you to get enough money alone. But if the two of us were working at normal jobs, we could do it right?"
"I can't ask you to stay here."
"You can't ask me to go somewhere you're not. You can't ask me to let you go somewhere you may be risking your life without me."
"Fang, it's not going to happen."
"Because I can't risk it."
"Yes. I know that you say you love me, and I know that I really do you love you. But we're still kids, Fang. I always have to be an adult, for Serah. You never know what will happen. If we didn't work out, I'd be left with nothing."
"I'm not going anywhere. I really do love you."
"What if you resent me? When you're living in this place that you hate and that hates you, because of me, you will resent me. I can't live with that. If you don't agree, then we can't do this."
"Claire–," Fang said weakly.
"No, promise me. I want to be with you. I want to enjoy the time we have together."
Fang took a deep breath. "Fine. I promise, I won't say a word. What we have will stay a secret."
"Thank you." Claire went to give Fang a quick squeeze, but ended up settling her body on the other girl.
"I'm not happy about this, Claire," Fang said as she lifted an arm around the other girl's shoulder and buried her face into Claire's neck. "But you did say anything goes."
Claire felt the smirk against her skin, and it sent a shiver up her spine. "I guess I did."
Claire smiled as she pulled her teeth out of her sore and nearly bleeding bottom lip. Every breath felt raspy as it fled from the bottom of her lungs to her parched mouth. Even though every gasp of air burned, she loved the sensation. She glanced down from the ceiling at the girl whose chin was resting on her belly.
"That was better than I thought it'd be."
"Good to know you really meant anything. You truly are a woman of your word."
"Shut up," Claire said with a smile. She pulled the pillow from behind her head and hit Fang with it. She could feel the air of Fang's laughter on her bare skin, and she dropped her head against bare mattress and just enjoyed it. "Get up here."
Fang crawled up through the sheets, and Claire pulled the blanket that had slid down when Fang did. The room was a hundred degrees too hot and Fang quickly kicked it back down. The two rested a few moments.
"I'm going to need food and water," Fang responded, groaning as she rolled onto her back.
"We should get some–," Claire glanced at the clock, "lunch."
Fang laughed. "I've never gone this long without eating. But I don't want to leave this room."
When another knock sounded at the door, Lightning cast a slight glare at Fang, who gave a resigned sigh. Apparently too lazy to stand, Fang rolled off of the bed and onto the ground. She didn't stop rolling until she was tucked away against her bed.
Claire let out a sigh, got up, and put on a robe. She opened the door slowly.
"Oh, Lightning, you're back."
She just nodded at the muscular idiot. Gadot towered over the door, pretty obviously staring. She tightened her robe and crossed her arms over her chest.
"You just finish working out?"
"Sure." She raised an arm to wipe away a bit of sweat from her brow.
"Yeah, nothing beats a good workout. I uh– I was wondering if Fang was here. I needed to speak to her."
"Uh, actually, maybe you can help me out. I was going to ask her out on a date, do you know what kind of things she'd want to do?"
Claire stood perfectly still for a moment, her brow furrowing and pulling her face into a fierce glare. It had been a surprisingly long time since she had glared and really meant it. As it turns out she didn't go out of practice, it just built and built and built until it was finally released on some poor unsuspecting person.
The muscular giant darted away like a scared mouse.
"You couldn't have thrown him a bone?" Fang asked once the door shut. "I mean, he doesn't stand a chance, I kinda feel bad for him."
Lightning walked past her and sat on her bed. "I don't actually know where you would want to go on a date."
"Really? We've sort of been on a few really nice ones."
"Yeah, like the day we went to shopping and karaoke, or when we had dinner up in Orphan's Cradle. Oh, and when we went to that steam room and got a couple of burgers. Not like it matters anyway, since we can't go on dates."
The pink-haired girl grimaced. Fang was probably right and every minute Claire spent with the girl made her question her resolve. "Those weren't really dates, and it's not like we can't go places together. We're also friends."
"I guess you're right."
Fang didn't look to be cheered up, so Claire leaned over and gave her a quick peck on the lips.
But once Claire got a taste of Fang, she just wanted more. She took the huntress's lips again, this time deeper. Then again, deeper and deeper she went until she just took Fang's shoulders and tossed her down onto the bed.
"No," Fang said laughing, barely managing to hold Claire at bay. "I told you I'm hungry; I need to eat. I'm going to die of starvation if we keep this up."
Claire slumped onto Fang. "Fine, but we need to shower first."
"Oh? We need to shower?"
Claire looked at her out of the corner of her eye as she stood up off the bed. "Yes." She started heading to the shower, but she didn't hear anything behind her. "Aren't you coming?" she turned and asked. She couldn't help but smirk when Fang practically leapt off of the bed and ran past her.
"Uh," Fang said from the closet over. "You might want to cover your neck."
Claire nodded and put on her scarf. She would have been more shocked if there weren't any marks on her. Luckily it was winter. The room was silent for a moment before she turned and headed for the door.
Her hand was almost on the knob when there was yet another knock. She checked over her shoulder and saw that Fang was fully dressed. Her turtleneck covered the bites Claire had put all over her neck. She opened the door only to find another muscular idiot towering over her.
There was a certain frantic air to him. Claire always thought he looked a little scraggly and disheveled, but there was some sort of slight, imperceptible difference. His hair stuck out a little worse from his beanie and his facial hair was thicker and more uneven than usual.
"I heard you were back." His voice was a rushed as his appearance.
"You heard right." Claire's foot began to tap the ground quickly. She wouldn't admit it to Fang but she was on the verge of passing out from hunger too. She was very strict about her no food in the room rule, but that was going away now that there was a very good reason for her not to leave.
"Please, you've got to get Serah to talk to me."
"What'd you do?" Lightning crossed her arms over her chest and once again brandished her glare at him.
"Nothing! She just– she broke up with me over winter break, out of nowhere. Now she's avoiding me. I just need a chance to talk to her."
"I'm not going to help you, ever. Please leave." Lightning slammed the door. She could feel the strength beginning to leave her legs.
"What was that about?" Fang asked as Claire stumbled past her.
"Serah broke up with Snow." Lightning had walked over to her desk chair; she fell into it with a blank look on her face and rubbed a hand through her still damp hair.
"Oh, yeah, she told me about that, I guess she never mentioned it to you. You were going through a bunch of things," Fang said, walking over and putting a hand on her shoulder. "Serah did it because she's scared. Snow wants to be a cop and she said she can't be worrying about everyone she loves. It's because she's scared for you. I'm scared for you too. We both love you and don't want you to get hurt."
Everything suddenly getting to her, Claire felt herself starting to tear up, and she did her best to wipe it off.
"Hey, whats the matter?"
"Nothing, this is just– this is the greatest day of my life." Claire finally smiled, but it was hidden beneath a little tent she made with her hands.
It had been so long since she felt this happy. Just a year ago she wouldn't have even thought it was possible. But now her sister wasn't dating a loser and she was half dating the perfect girl. Her whole body felt light with elation, almost as though if Fang didn't have a hand on her shoulder she would just float off of the face of the earth.
"Glad to hear that I helped make that possible."
Then it happened. The noise started low and deep, then grew louder and louder. It flooded and filled the room, growing in intensity for a few moments before it died to nothingness. Then there was nothing but awkward silence.
"So, food," Claire said, glancing up at Fang.
The huntress's face was dyed scarlet. Claire loved the cute way she bit her lip when she was embarrassed. Fang glanced around the room, trying to look anywhere but at the girl who heard her stomach rumble– or quake. When Fang finally met her eyes, she just gave a small smirk.
"Come on." Fang practically lifted Claire out of the chair. "I love you, but right now my stomach hates you."
"Okay. I need a cheeseburger."
"Do you know anywhere I can order a whole cow?"
Claire shook her head and laughed as she shut the door. Best day ever.