Shine a Light

Final Fantasy 8. Kiros/Laguna. PG-13. 1500 words.

It takes a moment to clue in on what it is Laguna had interpreted from his intention to get some shut-eye, but when realisation hits it crashes in like a ton of bricks.

Shine a Light

Kiros relaxes on the bed while Laguna prowls around the dinky little flat like he has insects in his shirt. Laguna stalks from waypoint to waypoint, never stopping for long unless it’s to prop himself up against a surface and stretch. Boundless optimism, that one, Kiros thinks, because he knows they won’t be going anywhere until Ward gets back with the supplies. Kiros crosses his feet heavily at the ankle and unscrews the lid of his canteen.

“If you loosen up any more, your arms are going to fall off.” The water is warm and far from refreshing. Sterile though, and that’s the important part in a place where the taps run orange with rust.

Laguna stops in mid-stretch, one arm crooked over his head and his hand clamped to the elbow of the other raised high in the air. He leans back, chest arching until faint lines of ribs and muscle show under the threadbare fabric of his shirt. “We should’ve all gone.”

“You were the one who didn’t want to be stuck in the car for that long.” Nevermind that staying had meant picking up a badly needed job since they had barely afforded the car and the gas in the first place. Kiros takes another swig of stale water and raises his canteen in salute. “Cards?”

The suggestion earns him a gusty sigh. It’s cards every night, and their deck has enough worn spots that it’s no longer only Kiros noticing which scratches and tears match which face card. “Okay, forget cards.”

Kiros draws one leg up, knee to chest, and glances out the window. Only a few stars flicker weak in the sky above the rooftops. He chokes down a sigh of his own. “Any ideas then, fearless leader?”

The bed squeals as Laguna drops down at the foot of it, his knees wide and hands dangling between them. “Why do I have to think of something? Your suggesting cards doesn’t count.” He thrusts a hand out, fingers flicking in the direction of Kiros’s canteen.

Kiros leans forward to pass it over. “Did you miss the fearless leader part? Because I’m pretty sure I said that out loud.” Laguna flings a scowl at him and Kiros chuckles under his breath, but the moment’s relief from boredom is just that—gone in a blink and leaving Kiros nearly as restless as Laguna.

“Well,” Kiros starts, leaning back again and getting comfortable with his legs sprawling wide, “if you don’t have any ideas, I’ve got one.” His eyelids sag. Any good soldier knows that a nap makes the time pass pretty damn well, and even though the mattress isn’t that comfy, it wouldn’t be three to a bed again until Ward got back.

Laguna chokes on a mouthful of water and his hand freezes in place with the canteen hovering near his chin. “I, uh.” His hand slaps to the back of his neck. “Kiros, man, I uh.”

Kiros had heard the “uh” the first time. He arches a brow, and Laguna’s mouth runs off, babbling something about maybe not being drunk enough. Not quite the reaction Kiros expected. It takes a moment to clue in on what it is Laguna had interpreted from his intention to get some shut-eye, but when realisation hits it crashes in like a ton of bricks. Laguna’s optimism seemingly extends to translating sagging eyelids as come hither and “having an idea” to the two of them rolling around together, or something equally tawdry.

“There’s still half a bottle of spirits hidden in my pack,” Kiros says, egging Laguna on. He shifts, body pitching forward to drop his weight on one arm and crawl forward, wrist brushing Laguna’s arm as he points helpfully towards the pile of their belongings.

Laguna’s throat bobs as he swallows and he’s visibly torn, his leg bouncing wildly and body poised to either flee or possibly to dig like a ferret through Kiros’s pack. He stammers out an incoherent batch of syllables and a shiver ripples through his form.

It’s clear as a mid-summer day that he really did think Kiros meant it, and a laugh tickles Kiros’s ribs, but he keeps his mouth shut. Laguna’s behaviour isn’t all that different than the way he gets around little miss songbird. Kiros retreats back towards the pillows and props his hands behind his head, preparing to milk this for all its worth.

He grins all teeth. “So~o, someone swings both ways, do they?”

“What? What? Kiros, geez. Come on.” Laguna is back on his feet again, pacing the whole five feet of clear space in the matchbox of a room. “I thought you- I mean, all this time, don’t you think-” His face grows progressively more red. “Quit grinning at me! For a minute there, you had me thinking you liked guys or something.” A nervous laugh vibrates the air and then Laguna is burrowing through the packs, hardly looking at what he’s pulling out and strewing all over the floor.

“Maybe I do.” Kiros’s grin fades and resurfaces as more of a smirk. Bedding a bloke after all hasn’t been entirely outside the realm of his experience. He rolls onto his side, dragging a knee up and slinging an arm over it lazily. The shift in his pose isn’t lost on Laguna, who nearly drops the bag clutched in his hands. Kiros can’t hold off his building laughter anymore, and waves an arm at Laguna, getting the feeling that he might be pushing things a little too far. “Oh, man, Laguna, calm down.

“Booze is in that one,” he adds, keeping a lid on the measuring glance until Laguna turns his back. It’s not like he hadn’t thought about it, once or twice, what with the close quarters the three of them keep and the way Laguna has a habit of snuggling close after kicking all the blankets onto the floor. “You’d think being in the army you’d be used to guys getting friendly.”

The bottle located and tucked under his arm, Laguna snatches up the nearest of their stuff and starts cramming it back in wherever it’ll fit. “I’m used to the idea. It’s cool. Guys and guys.” He puffs his chest out and manages to catch the bottle as it slips from its perch. Forgetting his nervousness for a moment he holds it up like a trophy. “It’s okay if you like guys sometimes, I’m not going to- or you know, all the time…haven’t really seen you make eyes at any girls, but that’s cool.” He fights with the cork for a few seconds until it pops out and then he’s downing a mouthful like the stuff is some good Sylkis red instead of swill that tastes like chocobo feed.

Laguna wipes his mouth with the back of his arm and smothers a cough. “So, uh. Do you?”

“Make eyes at girls? Sure. You’re just too busy losing all higher brain function around them to notice.”

Laguna’s scowl is endearing.

“Oh, you meant do I like guys.” Kiros grins again, almost following up with “what do you think” but biting that one back at the last second. The scowl twists in on itself, leaving Laguna resembling a nervous fish as he hovers near the edge of the bed downing occasional mouthfuls of strong, cheap liquor. Kiros waves a hand. “C’mon, if I say yes you’re going to freeze to death sleeping on the floor.”

“I won’t! It’s not like I care either way. Give me some credit,” Laguna says, and Kiros is willing to bet that statement was supposed to have come out a lot stronger. He’d also lay a few gil down that despite the growing flush on Laguna’s cheeks that the glance that had skimmed his body hadn’t been intended to be quite so obvious.

But in his experience Laguna has his moments—brilliant, exuberant, and surprising moments that add up to the miracle of the three of them having survived for so long. Stuck together for so long too.

“Let’s talk about it some other time,” Kiros says. It doesn’t take much to get Laguna sloshed, either, and if—when—they have this conversation he doesn’t want it to be when Laguna is ‘drunk enough’ for it. His smile is soft around the edges when he gestures for the bottle.

“Yeah, sure,” Laguna says, dropping down on the bed and sharing without hesitating. He flops onto his back with his arms flung wide. “I wouldn’t mind though, honest.”

“I know,” Kiros says, as the air thickens in the wake of Laguna’s sincerity.

Laguna rolls his head to the side, his hair fanning silken and dark on the rough wool of the blankets. His eyes carry all the stars missing from the city sky as he looks up at Kiros. “Next time we all go.”

Kiros flicks him playfully in the forehead with a finger before he sinks too far into seriousness. “It’s a deal.”

“Cards?” Laguna suggests, the bulk of his restlessness having drained away.

“Sure thing, boss.”

“Cool.”

*

End

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