If I Should Wake Before I Die #2

After calling up the Lifestream, Aerith recovers and Zack teases. Romance with Drama, I-2

Pairing(s): Aerith/Zack

Aerith slumped in Zack’s arms, trying to catch her breath, still seeing life-sparks of green dancing in front of her eyes every time she blinked. “How… can I be out of breath… if I haven’t got a body!” she panted. “This is so unfair.”

“No need to move on my account,” Zack murmured.

She managed a laugh. “Oh, I get it. You just want more chances to cuddle.”

“While you’re too worn out to hit me for wandering hands, yep,” he agreed cheerfully.

“Zack!” She did manage to swat his shoulder, though it was a bit shaky as chastisements went.

“Well, come on, what better restorative for the lady who saved the world… ?” She could hear the grin in his voice as his hand slid down to her hip.

The next swat was a lot firmer. “You!” And then Aerith sighed and let herself relax against him again.

“Aerith?” Zack tipped her chin up, looking at her curiously. “Since when do you give in that easy, without at least tickling me until I squeak?”

She could feel her smile tremble around the edges. “It seems like a waste of time, and I don’t know how much we’ll have.”

Now Zack looked alarmed. “What do you mean? It worked, right? Meteor is gone and we’re all safe.”

“Yes, Zack.” Aerith ran her fingers through his hair, smiling more surely, if sadly, at the familiar springy-soft texture. “But I don’t know how long you have before the Lifestream draws you away.”

Zack blinked at her. “As long as you stay, I’m staying too.”

Aerith bit her lip. “How long do you think you can resist the pull, though? I…” she traced the line of his shoulder-guard, watching her fingertip on the cool metal instead of his face, “I think I’m going to stay concentrated for a long time. I’m the last one. And you’re not…” A finger on her lips interrupted her.

“Not Cetra? No, I’m not.” Zack shrugged. “But my exceedingly great grandparents were, right? Nothing to say I can’t figure it out.” There was no compromise at all in his expression, despite the lightness of his tone. “I’m staying.”

She looked at him for a long moment. “Well, you’re certainly the most stubborn person I’ve ever met,” she allowed. “Who knows?” She couldn’t quite help hoping that it was true; that it could be true.

“Besides,” he added, leaning back, “I need to stick around and make sure Cloud doesn’t totally cock up his life. Again. You know he’ll try to, even with our girl Tifa looking after him. Though she has grown up well, I have to say.” He looked as proud as if he’d had something to do with it and Aerith leaned her head on his shoulder, laughing.

“You have a point.” Besides, she was way too worn out right now to argue. She’d try believing in him, instead.

After all, it was only fair to return the favor.