Weathering the Storm

By Wayward Tempest

silently if, out of not knowable
night’s utmost nothing, wanders a little guess
(only which is this world) more my life does
not leap than with the mystery your smile

sings or if(spiraling as luminous
they climb oblivion) voices who are dreams,
less into heaven certainly earth swims
than each my deeper death becomes your kiss

losing through you what seemed myself, I find
selves unimaginably mine; beyond
sorrow’s own joys and hoping’s very fears

yours is the light by which my spirit’s born
yours is the darkness of my soul’s return
--you are my sun, my moon, and all my stars

--e.e. cummings

“Squall, tell me again that you’ve never held your face up to the sky and tasted the rain?”

Rinoa looked back to the young man standing in the doorway. She threw up her arms and twirled around in the torrential downpour.

He sighed and leaned against the doorframe. “No Rinoa, I have never held my face up to the sky and tasted the rain.”

“And why is that?”

“Because…it’s …”

“Silly?” She lowered her voice to mock his serious tone.

“No, its crazy. You’d better come inside before you catch…”

“My death of cold,” she finished. “Yes, I know.” She pushed the dripping bangs from her eyes.

“C’mon Squall, don’t you ever like to take chances?”

“Not when there doesn’t seem to be a point,” he replied.

She laughed. “You thrive on having a reason for everything don’t you? Okay, the point is Squall, and you might want to sit down for this one…it’s fun.”

“Fun?” he questioned. “I’m sorry, I just don’t see the fun in getting drenched just to get a few drops of water on my tongue. It’s much easier and comes in much larger quantities when you pour a glass from a faucet.”

“True, but it always tastes different this way,” she said and followed through by darting her tongue from her mouth. “Its like catching stars on your tongue.”

“Probably tastes different because there’s acid in it,” he said coolly.

“Oh ha, ha. Well maybe if you try it, the acid will melt that sarcasm off your tongue,” she countered.

“Touché. But I’ll just take your word for it.”

“Now what’s the fun in that? Come on; open yourself up to new experiences! This is my goal for you.”

“Oh, so I’m just a project am I?”

She laughed. “Yes, originally entitled ‘Project Meanie,’ it has now been upgraded since your recent promotion.”

“Project Asshole huh?”

“Yep, patent pending of course.”

He finally broke his serious demeanor as he chuckled. “Well miss scientist, your lab rat truly wishes that you would come in out of the rain so that research will not be interrupted by pneumonia.”

“Come and get me,” she dared.

“No thank you, I have already had my shower for today thanks to your dog.”

She laughed. “He really likes you, you know. Usually when I give that command he tears the hapless victim’s throat out.”

He looked at her incredulously.

“Yes, I’m kidding,” she winked.

“Where is he anyway?”

“Somewhere dry I would imagine. He hates the rain. Reminds me of someone I know.”

“I don’t hate the rain.”

“Oh yeah? Prove it.”

A bolt of lightning suddenly flashed in the sky. It was followed immediately by an earth-shattering boom, which caused Rinoa to yelp and shut her eyes tightly. When she opened them again the doorway a few feet in front of her was empty. She nearly jumped out of her skin once more as a pair of arms wrapped around her shoulders from behind.

“I win,” he whispered in her ear. A surge of chills ran up and down her spine. And it wasn’t from the cold.

She turned her head as he leaned his head over her shoulder and took a few drops of rain on his tongue. He looked at her slyly, grinning like a Cheshire cat.

“That was unfair. Can I call a foul?” she giggled playfully.

“Nope. My rules.”

“Since when?”

“Since I clearly have the upper hand.”

“Hmm…guess that works for me.”

Another bolt of lightning ripped the sky in two in front of them as they watched. They could feel the thunder roar in the pit of their stomachs.

“I think its time to go in,” she said eagerly.

“Glad you see it my way.”

The two of them made their way into the orphanage as the blackened sky was settling in to dusk. The sky made it seem like it was night already in the old abandoned building. Rinoa took off her heavily saturated duster and hung it across a piece of broken pillar.

“Good thing I was able to get us down when I did.”

“Yeah, I don’t have any fond wishes to become a lightning rod anytime soon.” Squall proceeded to unfold their picnic blanket onto a section of wood floor that wasn’t currently being invaded by the leaky roof.

“Did you…like it Squall?”

“I’ve never been a lightning rod.”

“No, I mean, the dance…up there.” She pointed upward to the ceiling.

“It was the most wonderful experience of my life.”

“Yeah,” he said as he smiled awkwardly. “It was fun.”

“Yes,” she said slowly, seemingly understanding exactly what he meant. “It was fun.”

She walked leisurely around the room looking at the darkening shadows of the ruins and remnants.

“So what are your memories of this place?”

“Don’t have many of them. The ones I do have aren’t worth remembering.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be, not your fault,” he said. “I do remember fighting with Seifer a lot.”

“Big surprise,” she smirked.

He walked over closer to her and pointed near the corner of the far wall. “I pushed him into that wall there once, made a nice dent in it.”

“Ouch. Poor Seifer.”

“Poor Seifer nothing, that was really the only battle I ever won…rest of the time he usually pummeled the shit out of me.”

“Wow, you two have always been close haven’t you?” She grinned.

“Hah,” he snorted. “He could never be far enough away for me.”

Her laughter was cut short as a bolt of lightning struck the ground somewhere nearby with a loud pop of electricity. She jumped as a natural reaction and stumbled backwards into Squall. He caught her by the shoulders. He felt a slight tremor run through her body.

“You alright?”

“I’m okay,” she said as she finally remembered to breathe. “Just an old memory.”

He had noticed this before with her. She would recoil any time a lightning spell was used in battle. She had always refused to be junctioned to Queztacoatl with a quiet and hesitant voice. He wondered what would make her fear it so much, even when she was able to control it.

The loud boom of thunder broke him from his thoughts and he looked down to discover that he was running his hands through her hair. This caused him to blush furiously and drop them to the side.

“Sorry,” he said quickly. “I got sidetracked there for a second.”

Her old voice returned. “Don’t be,” she turned around to face him. “It was nice.” Her smile returned as well.

He scratched the back of his head nervously. “I’m just not used to it I guess,” he said.

She started to say something before she shivered slightly. “You know, I think you were right. Playing in the rain was a bad idea.” She followed through by rubbing her hands along her bare arms.

“See…you should listen to me once in a while.”

“Okay, okay, don’t let it go to your head mister ‘common sense’. C’mon, lets go sit down.”

She walked over to the large blanket and sat down on it, bringing a corner of the back of it up to wrap around her shoulders. Squall plopped down beside her and removed his wet jacket and gloves and tossed them aside. He took the other corner and wrapped it over his shoulder. They stared out beyond the open doorway in silence as the rain fell with a force like it was trying to wash the entire world away.

It had a certain beauty to its driving ferocity. The large raindrops streaming to the ground did seem like a downpour of stars in their shimmering appearance. Squall reminisced of an earlier time when he saw his first shooting star. Before he was fully aware, his hand made its way over to hers and intertwined his fingers around it. His gaze shortly followed.

“Pretty, isn’t it?” She said breaking the silence.

He stared at her. He didn’t really mean to. But he found himself taking in every detail that was revealed in the fading light. Her dark hair hung limply around her face. Small droplets of water formed on the tips as the liquid ran along the strands of her hair, mindlessly obeying the law of gravity. They sparkled as they filled to capacity and had no choice but to release themselves from their captors, fleeing for the ground as they ran in tiny rivulets along the features of her face. They curved the end of her jawbone and trickled down the length of her neck. They gathered in a shallow glistening pool in the groove of her clavicle bone. She moved slightly causing the dam to break and the water to plunge into the depths below her neckline. For some reason, gravity seemed to fascinate him, as it does most things that have defied it.

“Its beautiful,” he replied almost breathless as he continued admiring something other than the rain.

His eyes traveled up from where their journey began where they met another pair of confused eyes. He felt like an idiot.

“Great…now she’s going to think I’ve been taking pervert lessons from Irvine.”

Instead she just smiled, her deep blush hidden in the grayish light.

“Thank you,” she said lightly.

“Oh, real smooth Rinoa,” she thought to herself. “You come up with that line all by yourself?”

He turned his head away, embarrassed. “I’m sorry,” he apologized quietly, closing his eyes to hide the emotion. “I didn’t mean…”

He was stopped in mid sentence as her hand came up and touched the side of his face. “Stop saying that Squall,” she said as she took him by the chin and brought his eyes back into the view of her own.

When he opened them to her, she saw a million emotions flooding through them. Doubt, uncertainty, comfort and uneasiness, hope and fear; was he afraid of her? This was new to her, she had always seen beyond the coldness into the deep truth of his eyes. But she had never seen so many things at once coming from them. He had laid his heart in her hands, and suddenly she was afraid herself. How did she ever become worthy enough for such a gift? How was she supposed to accept it?

“I’m sorry,” he said again.

Without another word, she wrapped her arms around his neck, and kissed him. After freezing in his initial shock at the sudden gesture, slowly the world melted around him, he felt himself cave in, he closed his eyes, and he returned it. Imprinting the image of her lips upon his. Deepening with each breath, exploring the realm beyond her lips. An enrapturing sensation surged through him. It tasted of fire and it tasted of ice.

“Like stars.”

She felt his lips open against hers and she mimicked the gesture, allowing him access. The sensation sent electricity running throughout her blood. It was euphoria as gentle as the flutter of butterfly wings, and as ferocious and untamed as the wind that drove the rain outside.

She cradled his face in her hands, holding it close to her own with a feathery touch. He was so warm. Her lips parted from his and began trailing a line of soft kisses that descended down his neck. She savored the sweet salt of his skin on her tongue. She could feel the wild rhythm of his pulse racing against her lips and the low vibration of his voice as he moaned softly.

Squall wrapped his arms around her as he drew her in closer. He lowered his head and gently kissed her on the shoulder. He pulled a lock of damp hair aside as he made his way along the back of her neck with slow and diffident movements. She ran her hands through the tresses of his hair before gliding them down to across his shoulders. When they reached his hips they automatically rose upward again darting under the fabric of his t-shirt. The chill of her hands caused him to catch his breath and made his muscles tense.

“Sorry,” she murmured half-consciously as she continued gliding her hands across his stomach up to his chest and then down along his back.

He said nothing and paused only long enough to aid her hands as he brought the muddy shirt over his head and tossed it aside. His mouth found hers again as his idle hands slipped down to her waist and slowly ran underneath her tank top raising the fabric up the small of her back. She assisted him much the same as he did her by pulling her shirt over her head and dropping it to the ground.

“What the hell am I doing?”

It was at this brief moment that Squall snapped back to reality and realized what he was about to do. He was ashamed. He had let himself get carried away. He lost his self-control. Something he had never allowed to happen, until he met her. She represented everything he could not control, the life of the world itself. And now he believed he was taking advantage. Violating something that was never meant to be violated. He cursed his own selfish animal-like desires. Desires he had been fighting for months. Desires that were now quickly winning him over. He felt an overwhelming want and the need for this in the pit of his soul and his heart begged him not to stop. But he also knew he didn’t want this unless she did. He stopped and looked into her eyes.

“Oh god Rinoa,” he said breathlessly. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to…take advantage. Please…I don’t want to force…”

He was interrupted as she brought a hand to his lips. She almost laughed as she said something that she never thought she would say in a million years.

“Squall,” she breathed. “Shut up.”


He did.

She grabbed him around the neck and pulled him down with her to the soft blanket below them. He met her lips once more; glad to return to his state of blissful reverie. They continued to discover one another as one by one the remnants of their garments were cast aside.

He began his own exploration, moving down from her lips to her neck, finding her in the shadows. He felt the cold bite of the metal of her chain necklace as he moved down to her chest. The feel of the sudden cold mixed in with the heat of her body to his lips confused his senses. Unsure how she would react to the gesture, he slowly moved farther and with timid insecurity, he kissed her breasts lightly. She moaned delicately, sending another rush of ice down his spine. He took it as an invitation and continued with a little more confidence. Slowly, as if he were afraid he would awaken from a dream, he began tracing the path of his lips with his fingers. Finding the shape of her form. He wanted to take her in with all of his senses. He breathed in sharply as his heart stuttered bewilderedly at this new surge of electricity. Though he could not see fully how beautiful she was there in the darkness, he could feel it, and he could taste it.

His touch was like that of soft velvet to her. Hands that had were lethal and had been stained with the blood of many, were now as gentle as new-fallen snow. It was like a hail storm of feathers falling from the sky. She could feel the scars of a thousand battles pressed against her, mingling with her own. He was so beautiful, both inside and out. Something he was never truly able to hide from her. The experience was elating. It was colors, lights, and darkness all enveloped into one endless movement, simplicity in its most basic moment. The moment when it becomes clear, that out of a vast sea of souls one would wash along the shore of your heart. Carrying with it that one single grain of sand that would complete your own soul. She needed this moment. She needed him to know all the love that she held for him. A love so full that sometimes she felt as if she could not contain it all.

Rinoa glided her fingers across the muscles of his back and shoulders. They tensed at the light touch of her hands. She reveled in the closeness of their bodies, in the simplicity of his touch, in the warmth of his kiss. Just knowing they were both...alive. They had experienced so much in their seemingly short existences that she felt as if she had already lived four lifetimes. She had come so close to losing him, more times than she cared to remember. This act, this union, was not only an affirmation of love, but also, an affirmation of life itself.

Squall traveled the length of her body with his hands. Running them along all her imperfections, everything that made her perfect. He could not express this feeling in words. There were no words for what he felt just in this simple closeness. The silken feel of her skin, of her body, against his. The word love, could never illustrate it. Love was only one word, one word to describe the ten thousand that were running through his mind. This was what songwriters have reflected and lamented over for generations. This was what made man become a poet.

She reached his hips causing them to quiver. They made eye contact as they joined together, looking in to each other's soul and finding a bit of themselves. It was all the confirmation they needed as they sealed their love.

Their coupling was slow and rhythmic like a dance. And they sought out once again the only song they knew by heart. The ancient song that brought life itself into being. The oldest song in the history of time, reciting the same lyrics that it had repeated since the beginning. It drummed in their ears like a fully orchestrated symphony. For a few fleeting minutes, they were one. One dance. One song. One soul. One heart.

In that time, time did not exist. The world stopped turning. The driving rain paused in mid-air. The world faded until the only other presence they could sense, the only other they could know, was of each other. Drifting on the shorelines of forever. Wanting nothing more than a net full of its beautiful essence, so that they might hold on to those precious moments for an eternity. And even that, could not be long enough.

When the physical world pulled them back, and the hard rain filled their ears once more, his arms buckled and he collapsed against her, exhausted. She wrapped her arms around him with a fierce intensity. Holding him as close as she possibly could.

When he gained enough strength he broke free of her and moved his body over so all his weight would not be bearing down upon her. He brought his head just centimeters from hers as he gazed into her eyes. Her hair hindered his view. He brushed her bangs away with a gentle and trembling hand.

Their breaths were quick and shaky as they tried to hear over the thunderous booming of their hearts. For a few moments they remained like this, staring into each other’s eyes. Searching for answers perhaps, answers to questions they already knew, and answers that were still uncertain. Neither had many answers, but it didn’t matter. Answers would be known in time. Time itself that seemed to stop in this moment, allowing them both to know of forever.

Both of them glistened with sweat, the rain on their bodies evaporating in the heat long ago. He moved an arm underneath her as she rolled over to him, pressing her body against his and reveling once again in the contact. He pulled her in closer, basking in the same. She rested her head against his chest as he reached over and pulled the rest of the blanket around them as if it was a last ditch effort to keep the outside world from entering into theirs.

Rinoa reached up and ran her finger from his forehead down to the tip of his nose, mimicking a gesture they had shared earlier that day. He smiled affectionately and returned the gesture. She gave him a drowsy smile and patted his chest lightly with her hand.

“One…two…three…” she whispered with each hit.

He kissed her on the forehead and then watched as she slowly danced herself to sleep. He gazed at her in the dim light, hypnotized by her slow and even breathing. This was the only sound reaching his ears, save for the last drips falling through the leaky roof. The rain had stopped. He looked up at the sky through the tattered roof. Some say that afterwards the earth moves, the oceans part, and you see fireworks. Squall Leonhart only saw stars, an endless sea of stars. And her.

The darkness became hazy. He closed his eyes as sleep overcame him. He welcomed it as it led him out to realm beyond the earth and beyond the stars themselves, to the place where his dance partner was waiting for him.

"A waltz is three count. One…two…three, on the downbeat. Like that. Do you remember?"

He could never forget.

“One…two…three…” he whispered with a smile.

Wayward Tempest's Fanfiction