Afraid to Love: Long Nights

By Black Rose

I told you I didn't want a father. I meant it.

Is it wrong, then, to want a lover who can hold me? Someone I can lean on? I don't want a father. I don't. I want you. but right now...

You're so fucking far away.

I never knew. I hated being Commander, every minute, every day, but it was the only thing I could do. There were no options so I did the job and never thought about it. It just was. But now... there's a door. And I've seen the other side of it. I've tasted it. I've felt it. I want it.

I want out.

The walls of Garden are a cage that I pace, endlessly, and every second is another eternity that I don't want to be here. I can't just leave. I owe them too much, I owe it to myself. I can't leave a half done shit job behind me. There are things that if we don't put them in place now, while the spector of the war looms in people's minds, then we'll never have them - and we need them. I'm the one with the reputation, the fucking recognition and name - I can get it done. I want my replacement trained and willing; nobody deserves to be shoved into this job as unprepared as I was. There's a million things to take care of, every day, and it takes patience to put each thing in line until I can, finally, set the trigger and watch it all topple in perfect order.

I don't have any patience left. the walls are closing in.

Your voice over the phone, in the minutes we can snatch, is the only thing keeping me sane. Talk to me, Laguna. Help me keep a grip as it all slides out from under me. Help me remember there's something I'm working towards.

You know. You can probably hear it in my voice, but if I don't say anything directly then you won't either. Don't ask, just talk. I want... I need...

No. Don't say it.

Every hour I work is an hour closer to freedom. I have to remember that.

And every hour I work is another hour I'm not spending in the silence of my own rooms, on a bed that's too big and cold. Pillows are poor substitutes for you and the nights are so fucking long when I can't sleep.

Nine days straight without closing my eyes is my current record. I'm going to break that before I get out of here.

I should have stolen one of your shirts. Maybe the gray one, you wouldn't miss it. Something of yours, with that worn, soft feel all of your clothes have and the scent of your soap and aftershave... maybe then I could sleep. Because Hyne knows four nights without and half a bottle of scotch sure as hell aren't doing it right now and this night is barely a quarter over and nothing helps. Nothing.

I don't want to be here.

I need you.

I don't want a father... but I would give anything to just be held in your arms. For one minute. One minute where I'm not Commander, or SeeD, or hero, or any of the other labels they've tried to pin on me. One minute where I could lean on you, just for a moment.

Could you do that, without that other label getting in the way? Is it something lovers do for each other? How the fuck would I know?

My eyes hurt and my whole body aches. I can deal with almost any pain, but this ache... it won't leave. It's not an injury, something to be cured or at least maneuvered into a comfortable position. It's stuck under my breastbone, my whole chest too tight, and it just sits there, constantly. I'm watching the chronometer tick over another minute in the dark but this night has already lasted years and it's never going to end.

I am so fucking pathetic.

I couldn't ever let myself be weak. I couldn't afford it. I relied on myself, there was no one else. You're the first person I've ever dared to let those walls down with.

If I let them all the way down, if I let you see inside... will you care? If I can't be strong enough all of the time... will it matter?

If I need you to hold me up...

...will you?

Return to Archive | prequel | sequel