No Wish To Be Alone Chapter 2

The Inn

By Chocobo Goddess

The inn wasn’t busy, but it wasn’t empty, either. As they approached, he shifted her carefully, hoping not to wake her. She had curled closer to him as they went, and he was loath to lose her warmth. It was oddly comforting to have her in his arms like this. He ducked his head under the low door and walked up to the counter, pointedly ignoring the stares he received.

The girl in his arms murmured something in her sleep.

"I need a room," he said to the frightened innkeeper. "Now. Preferably your nicest one."

"Y—yes, sir," the keeper stuttered, "Right this way."

They were shown to a comfortable room upstairs, with a soft-looking bed against the wall, a chair, and a fire burning in the hearth. He dismissed the innkeeper with instructions for a hot meal to be delivered as soon as possible, then set her down on the bed. He was about to straighten when she stirred and half-woke. His breath caught at her expression.

Her eyes were dark green, half-open, and her cheeks were rosy. She smiled up at him dreamily as he leaned over her, raising her hands to cup his face. He remained very still as one hand traced the silver line of his brow, the other brushing his lips. "Thank you," she whispered, and her hands dropped to rest on her stomach, her eyes closing once more in sleep. He stayed, watching her for any signs of realizing what she’d done, and finding none, he smiled bemusedly.

A knock at the door announced the tray of food he’d ordered. Once he had shooed the inkeeper away, he ate his fill and settled into the overstuffed chair to sleep.

The sky had lightened by the time she woke. Normally an early riser who liked to get things done first thing in the morning, today she was unwilling to leave the bed. She snuggled deeper into the feather mattress and drew the quilt tighter around her. Funny, I don’t remember going to bed...

That thought made her sit bolt upright. Hair disheveled, ribbon askew, she looked about the room for her companion. He was sprawled in a large chair by the dying fire. His long legs were stretched in front of him, crossed at the ankles, his head propped up on one hand. The other was draped across his lap, a book dangling from his fingers. She hopped out of bed, landing silently on her feet. She padded over to him, knelt beside the chair, and peered up at him.

He certainly doesn’t look evil when he’s asleep, she thought, folding her hands on the arm of the chair and resting her chin on them. He really is handsome. I always hated the idea that someone so beautiful could be so terrible. She felt a mental "tug" that meant the Planet was talking to her, and she closed her eyes to concentrate. It was always harder to Listen when she wasn’t in direct contact with the earth.

Safe here. For both of you.

Why, is he in danger, too?

Always. Always. He must stay with you to be safe.

I don’t understand...

You will. Ask him. The music sounded like a chuckle behind the words. Cannot tell you everything, child. Must do some things on your own.

You know, dear Friend, sometimes you’re too cryptic. She couldn’t help but smile, though. She knew there were rules of Nature that even the Planet needed to follow. She had the sneaking suspicion that it had already "bent" a rule or two to make her enemy into her friend.

"What’s so funny?" His voice rumbled, and she jumped. She blushed furiously when she saw him watching her, one corner of his mouth quirked upward.

"N-nothing," she jumped to her feet and backed over to the bed. She hit it unexpectedly and sat down with a yelp. At his low laugh, she hung her head, hands clenched at her knees. Great, now I’ve been caught staring at him. He probably thinks I was mooning over him or something. She tried not to listen to the little voice at the back of her mind that said, well, wasn’t that what you were doing?

"Are you feeling better?" She heard him stand and stretch.

"Yes, I think I just needed to sleep." She looked up at him. He seemed impossibly tall in the small room. "I am sorry for being such a burden."

He looked at her in surprise. "You are no burden. Indeed, I seem to recall hardened soldiers that gave out under less pressure." He motioned toward the tray the innkeeper had brought the night before. "There’s some excellent beef stew in there, as well as half a loaf of bread. I’ll go get us something warm to drink, if you like."

She nodded, grateful for the chance to be alone for a moment. "Do they have tea? That would be lovely." He smiled.

"I’ll see what I can do. You can finish whatever is left now, I’ll get more in a while from the innkeep." With that, he stepped out the door, closing it carefully behind him. She waited until she heard his footsteps fading, then went to the washbasin to clean up. Stripping to the waist, she used a linen cloth to remove some of the grime of the road. It felt so good to be clean! A sound outside the door caused her to dress again quickly before he came back with their tea. Just as the last button was done, she heard his steps in the hallway, coming back. She found a small comb and started to work through the tangles in her hair. He knocked twice.

"Is it safe?"

She opened the door for him, and he nearly dropped the small tray, hot water and all. She had been working on her hair, he saw. It fell in soft waves to below her hips, the ends just brushing her outer thighs. He normally didn’t pay attention to women’s hair, but hers just begged to be touched. He remembered running his fingers through it earlier, when she had cried against him.

"Is something wrong?" She asked, looking up at him uncertainly. He realized that he was still standing in the doorframe with the tray, staring. When he nodded and forced a slight smile to his lips, she relaxed a bit and took the tray from him. Setting it down by the hearth, she opened the canister of tea and prepared two mugs. He closed the door carefully, trying not to look at the curtain of chestnut hair that flowed over her shoulders and arms as she worked. How would it feel to bury his hands in it? It looked like silk; he wondered if it always smelled of flowers.

She straightened, handing him one of the mugs. "Here, let it steep for a moment. Thank you for getting this. Somehow, a cup of tea always manages to be the most comforting thing." She finished the leftover stew, then sat on the bed, comb in hand. He made himself comfortable in the chair and watched her work through some of the knots from traveling. When she was having a particularly difficult time with one, he intervened. Ignoring her protests, he plucked the comb from her fingers and sat beside her, instructing her to turn away from him.

"Hold still. How did you manage to get it this bad?" He carefully began loosening individual strands.

"I can do it, really," she insisted. "I’m used to it."

He snorted. "We have quite a bit of traveling ahead of us, my dear. We don’t have time to wait for you to fix your hair. If I didn’t like the colour so much, I’d have you get it all cut off." As soon as the words were out, he nearly bit his tongue. Now where did that come from?

She, too, fell silent, thinking about what he had just said. He liked the colour of her hair? She didn’t know whether to be flattered or worried. She felt the blush creeping over her cheeks again. Oh, I hope he doesn’t notice how red I am now! What would he think of me?

That small voice in the back of her mind said, Why does it matter what he thinks of me?

He smiled at the way her ears reddened. At least she hasn’t slapped me or something. Deftly, his fingers separated the fragile strands of her hair. He ran the comb through it a few more times, stopping once or twice to pull more of it back so he could comb all of it. She shivered when his touch brushed her temples and the back of her neck. Once that was done, he separated the whole thing into four parts and began weaving it into a complex braid.

She closed her eyes as he worked. It felt—strange, to have someone else’s hands working on her hair. It was definitely pleasant, and his hands were surprisingly gentle. She could feel him braiding it for her. His hands brushed her back as he worked, flipping the sections over and around each other, until he reached her waist. He paused, then leaned forward. So close to her ear she felt his breath with each word, he said softly, "Hand me your ribbon."

She stopped breathing. Such a small, ordinary thing to say, but suddenly the whole act of letting him so close, letting him touch her hair, seemed…intimate. Hands shaking, she gave him the long piece of grosgrain over her shoulder. He took it, hesitating for the barest of moments, slowly drawing the ends out of her grasp. She felt it trail down her back, and then he was tying it tightly about the end of the braid. She tried to sit without touching him, but all she really wanted to do right then was lean back against his chest and feel his warm breath on her neck again.

He watched her swaying, could almost see the battle raging in her mind. When the bow was done, he gave in to the temptation of touching her hair one more time. He closed his hand about the base of the braid, gently tugging on the long spiraling column. She didn’t resist, as she gave in to her body’s demands, a slight "oh" escaping her lips. That was all he needed.

His left hand tunneled under the braid, until his fingers were trapped by her hair against her head. He turned her face upward to his, pulling her into his lap with his right arm around her waist. Her hands grabbed at his arm as his mouth met hers in a searing kiss. She couldn’t resist, nor did she even want to. She had been kissed before, but never like this, and never by this man. He ran his tongue over her lips, demanding entry, and she opened her mouth to him. He tasted her thoroughly, coaxing, encouraging her response, until she began nibbling on his bottom lip as well. He felt, rather than heard, her moan, and he tilted her head further back, exposing her white throat. He placed a line of fiery kisses along her jaw, under her ear, and over her neck. She was threading her hands through his hair now, urging his mouth back up to hers. He obliged, whispering, "I need you," just before he captured her lips again.

The music in her head rose and fell madly. The Planet sent a whirl of colours into her mind, impressions of passion reds and yellows. His kisses were intoxicating, addictive. She wanted more.

Good, good, good, the Planet sang, Right. This is right.

A sharp knock at the door brought them slamming back into reality. They stared at each other, dazed. Both jumped when the knock sounded again.

"Hello? Umm, sorry to interrupt, but the door wasn’t closed all the way…," They looked over at the door to see the innkeeper. He seemed to be trying to make himself very small. The General fixed him with an icy glare worthy of Shiva.

"What?" He growled, not trying to keep the venom from his voice.

"I—I was coming up to get the tray if you were done with it, and th-the door was open." The poor frightened man yelped at the murderous expression in his guest’s fathomless green eyes. "I, um, guess I’ll, uh, get it later…" A book floated up from the floor and hurled itself at the innkeeper’s head. He quickly pulled the door shut just in time to hear several items thud against it. Feeling extremely lucky to be alive, the innkeeper ran down the stairs. He decided to hide in his kitchen until his unnerving guests decided to leave. Let his wife deal with them.

Chapter 3

Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic