Author's Notes: Yes, I know this one is a short chapter, but I had no choice on the matter. It wanted to be short, so it ended up short. You know how it goes.

Bring Me Home

Chapter Four - Kiss from a Rose

By tir-synni


"Like I had said, the moogles left Kuja and me to sleep. We were totally wrapped around each other. I guess that's a Genome thing, from what I've noticed. Our tails were even wrapped around each other's! So, like I said, he couldn't miss when my nightmare started.

"It was nasty. I dreamed...I dreamed that I was looking at the ground from far above. Someone's arms were wrapped around me, holding me back as the world was destroyed beneath me. There was fire everywhere...everything was being destroyed. I saw creatures flying from the ground. They were coming at us, charging, trying to attack. They were trying to defend their home, Blank! Like they were nothing, they were all wiped out. It was just senseless destruction. I think I was crying. Everything was blurring, and someone turned me around. They held me, and then the dream ended.

"I awoke still crying, and I was confused when I felt arms wrapped around me. They weren't yours. I know you even with my eyes shut. But this...I still knew him. Those arms were tight around me, and I heard his voice soothing me. It was Kuja.

" 'Hey, it's okay,' he kept saying. 'It's just a dream, Zidane. It can't hurt you. Not anymore.'

"I didn't understand why he said that. I just kept crying. That was really embarrassing. I haven't cried over a nightmare since I was old? And there I was, bawling all over Kuja. Oh, yeah, embarrassing.

"But, the weird thing was, he didn't seem really bothered, or even surprised. He just held me and kept rocking me like you do. He wiped the tears off my cheeks and kept whispering to me. When I finally calmed down, he pulled me up into his arms and smiled at me. Kuja seemed so sweet to me. I've never seen him like that before.

" 'Are you feeling better now?' he asked quietly.

"I only nodded. I was really embarrassed right then. If he wasn't acting so good about it, I would have left the room.

"Kuja only smiled at me. 'Bad dream?' he asked softly. 'Or bad memory?'

"I swallowed hard. I had thought it was some type of memory since some of the creatures I saw reminded me of eidolons, but where had I been to have a memory like that? Kuja knew though. In the moonlight, I saw his expression. He understood. I was practically lying on him on the small bed, but he only pulled me closer.

" 'Tell me about it,' he invited. 'When you were younger, you never had nightmares. I never...I never got the chance to chase your nightmares away.'

"You would never believe it. When Kuja said that, he actually blushed. Kuja! Kuja blushed! It was so cute I forgot I was

embarrassed."I was more comfortable because of that, so I explained my nightmare to him. They were always the same. For as long as I could remember, I would always have those nightmares. So I told the nightmare to him, and he just nodded. I had a feeling that he knew what my nightmare was before I told him. As usual, I was right.

" 'That actually happened,' Kuja confided to me. 'I was there. I was the one holding you. It was the day when Garland destroyed the Summoners' village. He wanted his two Angels of Death there to watch his triumph. Using the Invincible, he annihilated the village. Whatever eidolons were sent out were destroyed under the Eye. From the ship, you watched. I held you in my arms as you watched. Garland was too focused on the village to notice you, but I couldn't help but see. You were crying as the eidolons were killed. After a while, I couldn't take it and turned you away. I knew then, holding you against me, that there was no way you could be Garland's Angel. You were too much of a guardian even then. If he had found out then, he would have killed you. I could not allow that. Despite my earlier intentions, you wormed your way into my heart. I could not allow you to be killed. It was after that incident that I banished you to Lindblum.'

"I was shocked, to say the least. I had thought, all that time, that Kuja had left me to die. Instead, he had tried to save me. Heh. Talk about figuring someone wrong. And he said he had never done anything worthwhile, that he was useless. Personally, I felt

insulted."Anyway, he stroked my hair some more, kissed my lips again, and told me to go back to sleep. 'I'll keep the nightmares away,' Kuja reassured me.

"I couldn't help but grin. 'That's Blank's line,' I told him.

"I guess Kuja didn't recognize you on name alone. And all this time you've been telling me you were world famous. And I trusted you. 'Who's Blank?' he asked.

"I smiled and would've answered, but I was feeling sleepy again. It was the middle of the night. I had the right. 'Tell ya tomorrow,' I yawned. 'You should get to sleep, too. You've had a hard time.'

"I felt him nod more than I saw it. 'All right. Sweet dreams, Zidane.'

"For a bit, we laid there in silence. No matter how tired I was, my mind wouldn't let me sleep, and I knew Kuja wasn't asleep either. It was a small bed, we were tangled up in each other, and I had the feeling that I was being watched. Yep, I definitely knew he was awake. I didn't care, though. What I had been having nightmares about for years was actually true. I had actually seen Eiko's village being destroyed. I was there! I was there, Blank! All those people...they were killed before my eyes. I-I mean, just the thought....

"I guess I said something out loud, because Kuja pulled me closer. He was totally wrapped around me, his tail wrapped real tight around my thigh. 'I remember when you were younger,' he sighed in my ear. 'Even then you were very brave. If you could have stopped the disaster all those years ago, I know nothing would have stopped you. But you couldn't.'

"I opened my mouth to say something--I still can't remember what exactly, maybe a protest or...I don't know!--but he stopped me with his lips. That's how I know he's a good kisser. He pulled me closer; I don't think we could've gotten any closer with our clothes on. After a long moment, Kuja pulled away again.

" 'You gave me a second chance, Zidane,' he told me quietly. 'When we were younger, I gave you a second chance, and you used it to the best of your ability. Teach me how to do the same.'

"His mouth was so sweet, Blank, and it took my mind off everything. I pulled him back into the kiss, kissing him hard, using every trick I've learned over the years. In each other's arms, we were able to forget everything. Our kisses had moved from gratitude attempt to forget. Kuja saw me as his opening to a new life. I saw him as a way to finally say good-bye to an old one. Either way, we found release in each other's body. If it wasn't for our exhaustion catching up with us, we would have kept going. As it was, when we finally parted again, I cuddled against him and fell asleep. Kuja wasn't too far behind.

"For both of us, we had been separated from the rest of our kind all our lives. We were learning so much together. That night was just the start. There was so much to go."

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