Disclaimer: Squaresoft owns them, naturally. this is part of the angst LxS arc, all out of order... this would be somewhere in the middle.

Afraid to Love: Moments of Peace

By Black Rose

// if i should die this very moment
i wouldn't fear...
i've found the one i've waited for... //

- Lamb, "Gorecki"


// i've never known completeness
like being here //

There is something so decadent about sex in the afternoon. All I can think, sometimes, is that I don't know what I'm doing here. I don't belong here. Afternoons mean paperwork, the ones I put off in the morning because one cup of coffee isn't enough to do them on and maybe they'll make more sense after lunch. Afternoons mean sitting in an office with the sun from the window too bright across the screen of my computer, the glare sharp in my eyes as I try to type. Afternoons are that period of time that you suffer through in order to get to the evening and some time to yourself before getting up and doing it all over again.

Until now. Until here.

// wrapped in the warmth of you
loving every breath of you //

Wet. Tropical. The air is heavy with it, thick and damp and scented with all of the green plant life and salt from the sea. It rains in the afternoon, here, brief showers as warm as bath water, washing in sheets across the ocean waves. Weekend tourists, caught out in the open, scramble for cover along the cafes and shops of the waterfront. It lasts fifteen, twenty minutes before it ends as quickly as it began, leaving only a wet, clean scents in the air and warm moisture across everything that evaporates as the sun comes out.

The cabin window faces out towards the ocean, where the sea wind and the sound of the waves are almost close enough to touch and the sand stretches up to the base of the steps. I've sat on the tiny patio and watched the afternoon rain fall less than an arm's reach away, dripping in streams from the sloped roof. I've sat on the steps and let it wash over me, cool and warm all at once.

I've lain on the bed - our bed - with his arms around me, his hands on me, and listened to the patter of the raindrops splash counterpoint to the beat of his heart.

// here is true peace
here my heart knows calm //

We've been caught out on the waterfront in the afternoon, wandering through the maze of streets with their tourist shops and hidden restaurants inbetween the thick growth of green leaves and bright red and white flowers. I spent a day being tense, trying to watch every side at once, too aware of the pistol tucked in the small of my back. I shouldn't have bothered. He passes unnoticed here, too far from the capital, too unexpected, with his hair tied back beneath a cap, loose shorts and sand covered sandals. People see what they want to see - a president without his guards, without the retinue and cabinet and the forbidding faces in dark suits, is nothing but another man on vacation with his lover at his side, invisible against the changing wave of tourists that come and go every day.

Lover. Hyne. I can say that now. Here, impossibly, I can say it. I can walk at his side, his hand in mine, and no one cares. I can reach out to touch and no one notices.

I never want to let him go.

He wanted to see everything. I only wanted to see him. At one small shop, opened to the street, there were flat cases filled with bits of silver jewelry, rings and pendants. I thought of how dark he tans beneath the sun, golden honey all over, perfect and glowing. I thought of the bright gleam of silver against that skin.

I thought of a smooth metal band, wrapped around his finger, and felt my breath die in my throat as my heart stuttered hard against my ribs. I almost said something. I didn't dare.

The girl tending the shop smiled at us, white in her sun darkened face. I saw her eyes move across our hands, fingers clasped, bold and daring there on the street in the middle of the afternoon.

"Are you here on your honeymoon?" she asked brightly. He turned red beneath his tan, stammering a denial. I let him speak for us both; he's much better at it than I.

When I tightened my fingers his own grasp answered me. A few shops farther down the street the afternoon rain caught us, sweeping in without warning, fat drops that splattered against the awnings, wet and warm, drenching us in minutes. He laughed as the rain drops slid down his face. I bit my tongue - there was nothing and everything to say and I let my own smile try to speak for me.

// safe in your soul
bathed in your sighs //

Twenty minutes can last a life time, ticked off in the drip of the rain, the wash of the waves. In his breath and the sounds he makes, or the clench of his hand in the sheets after we've kicked the covers to the floor. The taste of him beneath my lips is the most perfect thing I've ever known.

Sometimes the rain is long gone before we even realize it. Other times it is only beginning and I can lay beside him as we listen to it. The thin fabric of the sheets sticks to sweat slick skin, slow to dry in the humid air and only marginally cooled by the afternoon shower. Overhead the antique ceiling fan spins in lazy circles, the quiet motor a countering throbbed hum to the percussion of the rain as it tries to push the heavy air around in sluggish eddies.

I can close my eyes, reach out, touch him. Hold him. Feel his hands on me and all of the lingering sensations in my nerves, the remembered echo of his touch. Both of us here and no where to go, no place to be, just one long moment sliding into another like an endless stream as the water falls in drops from the slatted window blinds.

He tastes of salt and something unique to him. He feels more right than I ever dreamed anything could.

// could we stay right here
until the end of time,
until the earth stops turning //

Two weeks of vacation. Fourteen days. Three hundred and thirty six hours. Twenty four thousand one hundred and ninety two heart beats.

I can't - I shouldn't - let myself grow used to something that quickly. I can't let something I've known for such a little time change everything I've known before. I can't...

I shouldn't.

....I already have.

Fourteen afternoons. Fourteen mornings. Fourteen evenings. Fourteen nights. Sweet Hyne, let me keep these memories. Let me keep the sound of the ocean and the scent of the rain. Let me keep the the feel of him, the taste of him, the weight of his body next to mine. Let me keep the quiet moments, his breath and mine echoing beneath the patter of the raindrops.

Let me capture memory in crystal drops, string them on a chain in my mind. Let me keep them as vivid, as real, as they are now.

Memory is such a fragile thing. The moments slip away too fast. Please, dear gods, let me keep them.


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