Author's Notes: Sorry it's been so long since my last update. (cringe) A long while. I didn't have much of a choice in the matter, but now that I do, I'll be able to start updating regularly. Hopefully that'll make up for the long absence. Please review so I know if people are still interested. And if I haven't lost your attention over the long absence...well, have fun with this part. }) Thanx, Irina, for beta'ing!

Bring Me Home

Chapter Seven - A Lock of Silver

By tir-synni


"Since that didn't answer your question, I'll continue on. Don't fret! I'll get there shortly. After we--well, I, anyway--said good-bye to the moogles, Kuja teleported up the entrance of the Black Mage Village. In the whole time we were together, he never taught me how to do that. Bloody bastard.... But anyway! Kuja still seemed worried about his reception--his tail was all limp--so I took his hand and led him into the village.

"Mikoto was the first to notice us. She was at the entrance anyway, just kinda checking out the place. We walked in when she was facing us. Great thing about Mikoto. She makes such a big deal out of everythin'!

" 'Zidane,' she greeted calmly. It was a wonderful feeling to know she had been so worried. Then she looked at Kuja and just raised an eyebrow. 'Hello, Kuja.'

"Heh. Well, Kuja's reaction more than made up for hers. I'll never get sick and tired of seeing Kuja shocked. I don't think he's used to being surprised. He was making up for lost time.

"I jumped in. 'Kuja, this is Mikoto,' I introduced. 'She's the third and last Angel of Death. So far, she's the only one who never told Garland to fuck off. Tsk, tsk. Ruined a fine tradition, too.'

"I swear Mikoto's lips twitched in small smile. 'Everyone knows you, Kuja,' she said softly. 'Both you and Zidane are legendary among the Genome and Black Mages.'

"I swear, Blank, I didn't know that part! 'Huh?' I gasped.

"Kuja, that bastard, smirked. 'It's nice to meet you, Mikoto,' he greeted politely. While he no longer looked at other Genomes with disgust, he still seemed wary. So, I took over again.

" 'I'm going to show Kuja around the village, introduce him to B.C.,' I told Mikoto, grabbing Kuja's hand again. 'Come on! Let's

go!'"I wonder if Kuja minded me dragging him around like I did. He never complained, so I continued on to my heart's content. Unlike Kuja's fears, no one hated him. They just kinda accepted him, just like they do with everyone else. And moreover, they didn't seem real shocked that we had survived. At the time, their reactions surprised me. I had expected the Genomes to act like that, yeah, but despite what I had told Kuja, I really wasn't expecting the Mages to. I was just tryin' to get him there, then win over the Black Mages with my charming personality...Get that damned smirk off your face, Blank. But no, they had no problem either. Hey, I wasn't going to bring that up, especially in front of Kuja, so I just grinned and kept going. You should have seen him when he met Bobby Corwen; he got a kick out of it.

"By the end of the day, Kuja was in a great mood, if a little pooped. Hell, I was tired, too. After the tour, a Black Mage looked us over, gave us a Hi-potion each, and sent us to sleep in the inn.

"Again, I slept in Kuja's arms that night. Another Genome, one who had yet to figure out a name for herself, showed us to one of the bigger rooms in the inn. Looking around, I didn't see many Genomes sleeping alone. It was a revelation to Kuja and me. I guess we had figured it was only us. Stupid, ne? That was why the girl had led us to a single bed. She expected us to sleep together, too. We didn't disappoint her.

"Kuja held me close, and I cuddled against him. Our tails intertwined, and again, he started petting my head. Why does everyone do that, anyway? All this time I thought it was my eyes that attracted the ladies. For once, I guess I was wrong.

"Kuja kissed my forehead after a couple of moments. 'Thank you,' he said quietly. 'For everything, Zidane. I don't know....'

"Kuja trailed off, and his arms tightened around me. It was like he was reassuring himself that I was there. I didn't mind. I just rested my head on his chest and listened to his heartbeat. It was really soothing.

" 'The inn's gotten bigger since I last saw it,' I muttered.

" 'Many people live here now,' Kuja pointed out, his hand lowering from my head to my waist. I wasn't protesting. His hand grazed up my back, then back down my waist, petting me like before. I looked up at him and was surprised to see that funny look on his face again.

" 'Zidane,' he started, looking a little worried. Then he shook his head. 'Never...never mind. Garland never would have...never mind.' He shook his head again, like he was banishing whatever he was thinking. 'This place is much nicer than Bran Bal. Nicer than the Iifa Tree, too. Better place to spend my last days.'

"I clutched him. 'No!' I denied viciously, but Kuja silenced me with a kiss before I could say more. He kissed me long and deep, and when he pulled away, I was too senseless to argue more.

"Kuja didn't make a move to further it, only stared silently at me. When he spoke again, it made no sense to me.

" 'You have taught me so much, Zidane,' he whispered to me. 'And I know you will teach me much more. But there's one lesson you taught me that I'm not sure you yourself have learned. Before I die, I'm going to teach it to you.'

"Oh, yeah, that peaked my interest. Before I could ask--by the way, I don't mind being interrupted this way--he kissed me again, pushing me down onto the bed. I threw a leg around his hips, twined our tails, and parted my lips. He thrust his hips against mine, and even clothed, it felt pretty damn good. I moaned into the kiss, moving my hips. He was so fucking hard against me. He kept panting my name. If he had panted someone else's, good or not, I would've nailed him.

" 'I did not realize members of the same gender procreate,' Mikoto's voice interrupted. Kuja froze--embarrassed again!--but I didn't mind. I was used to Marcus walking in, and at least Mikoto didn't point and laugh.

" 'We do it for the pleasure, not to produce a child,' I informed her wryly, pulling away from Kuja. I didn't think he was real happy with it, but I wasn't going to be the one who taught Mikoto about same gender sex. 'It feels good.'

"Mikoto looked at us like we were nuts--she looks at everyone like that, so I didn't mind--and nodded. 'I wished to bid you goodnight,' she said formally.

"I rolled my eyes. The mood was good and dead. 'Goodnight.'

" 'Goodnight,' Kuja echoed, though he looked baffled saying it. Since Mikoto knew the saying and Kuja didn't, I guess she had learned it in the Black Mage Village.

"After Mikoto had left again, Kuja sighed and rolled over. He picked me up easily and settled me on his chest. I wasn't horny anymore, but it was still nice to be close to him.

"Some of his hair fell on me, and I started toying with it. My hair hadn't been in its ponytail for a long time, so the strands mixed. It looked so eerie, the gold and silver like that. Every other Genome I had met had blond hair like me. Kuja was the only one I had seen with silver hair.

" 'Kuja,' I asked, wrapping it around my fingers, 'why do you have silver hair?' Hey, I've always been straightforward. Good habit to have.

"Kuja shrugged. 'It used to be gold. Before I left to Gaia, I suffered a long sickness. at the final stages, my hair started turning silver. Then Garland ordered me to drink some concoction I had never seen before. My hair turned fully silver, but my illness faded. It upset Garland, and he sped up the plans by sending me to Gaia. At the time, I did not care much, so I didn't question it.'

"I frowned. How could one's hair change color like that? I wondered. I thought it might have had something to do with Kuja being such a powerful mage. Most mages you see have gray hair, so I thought...Anyway, I was wrong, so it didn't matter. Kuja kinda knew, but he didn't put the pieces together, and he couldn't bring himself to think it, so it didn't matter.

" 'Has there been any other Genome with silver hair?' I asked. Most of the Genomes had skills like Kuja and me, with Mikoto leaning towards Kuja's powers, so the question made sense to me.

"Kuja's arms went real tight around me, and he started shivering. I didn't understand why he was so upset, but I tried to reassure him anyway. I snuggled against him and purred, petting him like everyone likes to pet me. I was so proud. I got to finally return the favor to someone, and dammit, it worked! Hey, don't stop petting.

"Kuja sighed and relaxed under me. I kept petting him, and it was only when I knew that he was asleep that I let myself fall asleep too.

"It still bothered me all night, though. Even in my dreams."

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