It's funny, really. A grand fucking comedy. Back in Flanoir, back in the snow, back in the cold. The fireplace gently licking away the frost on his fingers and eyelashes, but unable to touch the piece of ice beating in his chest.
Zelos reached a bare hand toward the fire. It was too hot, but he held it there, letting his fingertips singe before pulling them away and staring down at them. He was alone in the three-bed room of the inn. Lloyd and Genis had run off to talk somewhere, leaving him there with only his own fear as company.
Ha! What a coward.
He was going to betray them all, first his friends and then his enemies. Yeah, he was dead, one way or the other. And it terrified him.
"I should have never been born, huh. Well, I can't give you that, Mother. But tomorrow I'll be as dead as you are and everything can be right with the world," he clenched his fist until his fingers ached. Thoughts of Seles flashed in his mind. She would be thrilled: her stupid waste of a brother gone and finally able to live a better life. He wondered how long it would take her to find out. Wondered if she'd even cry.
He stood and began furiously pacing the length of the small room. Why did he have to be like this? He couldn't be the hero like Lloyd or the pure and selfless Chosen like Colette. A laugh choked through his throat and turned into a sob before leaving his lips.
He imagined her in the next room, probably sleeping peacefully alone, since all the others went with the doctor back to Altessa's. He imagined handing her over to Pronyma, those huge beautiful eyes that usually looked up at him full of trust. It was going to be so easy. He imagined her asking him why he would betray her, those same beautiful eyes watery with tears and looking up at him full of fear.
"Dammit!" his fist connected with the wall in front of him, the stone not giving way beneath his fury and ripping at his knuckles in retaliation. He sank to the floor. Looked down at his hand, bloodied and trembling, and in the back of his mind knew it should hurt. But it felt far away. Little drops of water were falling into the cuts and creating pink rivulets that ran between his tendons. He hadn't even felt himself start to cry, "Dammit. . ."
There was a muffled knock at the door, probably just Lloyd and Genis coming back for the night. He hastily wiped the shame off his face with the back of one hand, hiding the other behind his back, and felt shaky words dribbling out of his mouth, "Come in."
The door creaked open and she walked into the room, all pale pink pajamas and tousled hair and sunshine so fucking bright he couldn't do anything except stare at her as she chased the darkness out of him.
"Sorry. I uh, I heard some shouting and a thud against my wall and I just wanted to make sure everything was-" but the explanation was smothered as Zelos stood, crossed the room in three long strides, and wordlessly wrapped his arms around her. Pulling her close until there was no room for anything but desperation between them. And then her arms were around him too and he wondered if she understood. A perfect moment drifted around them before he pulled back, cupping her face in his hand and losing himself in the warmth behind her eyes. She reached up and put her tiny hand over his, then frowned and examined his knuckles, "You're bleeding."
He shrugged, recovering himself, "Oh, this? It's nothing! Don't even worry about it, my sweet little angel."
She shook her head, "I still have some apple gels from the battle earlier." And with that she was dragging him into the next room over, still carefully holding onto his injured hand, not letting go even after he took a seat on the edge of the room's one small bed. Her usual clothes were draped neatly across it and she reached into one of their pockets, pulling out the healing gel and offering it to Zelos. He used it but said, "Ya know, I could have just cast first aid."
"But this is better, don't you think? Because now we don't have to worry about the others coming back, right?" as she spoke he wasn't sure which was redder: the apple gel or her face.
The words caught him off guard, but he replied almost without thinking, "Are you saying you want me all to yourself?" he leaned in closer and his voice was barely above a husky whisper in her ear, "I'm all yours."
He pulled back a little to see the effect the words had on her, half expecting a chakram to the face. Instead she looked like she was holding her breath, like she was waiting for something, like she was waiting for him. His clean hand was running through her hair, chasing a tangle all the way down to the small of her back before breaking lose, but still lingering there.
If he was going to die tomorrow in darkness he wanted just one last taste of the sunlight first.
He tilted his head and closed the distance between their lips, pressing his gently to hers. He pulled her closer, one hand still pressed into her back and the other gently cradling the base of her head. She returned the kiss, deepened it. She was perfection and he felt himself getting lost in her. His palm slid down her back, slipping under her shirt then back up to where it had been. Her bare skin was fire beneath his fingers and he half expected it to burn him like the fireplace had. She sighed softly into his mouth and he inhaled her breath, parting his lips and letting her tongue carefully explore his. So innocent yet also so curious.
He carefully pushed her backwards and she willingly melted under him until she was laying on the bed and he was above her. His arm around her back tightened, her body arching into his, so pliant and lovely and. . . fuck he wanted her so badly right now. He knew she could feel just how much, too. There was no space for secrets between their bodies and no matter how inexperienced she was there could be no denying the hardness pressing against her. But she didn't try to draw away from him and the kiss only ended when they had to pull away for air, looking into each other's faces, both panting softly into the inches between them.
Zelos plopped down next to her on the bed and they laid face-to-face, his fingers still playing along her spine, drawing a shiver out of her. He smiled and tried to think of something flirty to say, but his mind was blank.
And suddenly tears were pooling in her eyes and he felt sure that he had just done something horribly, terribly wrong. His hand was off her back and cupping her face again in an instant, his thumb catching an escaping droplet and brushing it off her cheek, "Whoa. Hey. Colette. What's wrong?"
She shook her head, talking down at her fingers as they traced absently along his collarbone, "I've just been thinking about how we're so close now. So close to making the worlds whole again and stopping Mithos and I just. . ." She looked up into his face, "We still have so many battles ahead of us. What if someone dies? What if. . . you die. . . I don't want anyone else to be sacrificed."
Her voice guided Zelos' thoughts to his dark plan. Betraying his friends and letting them kill him for it, just so it would be over, just because it would be better than Mithos killing him later, just because maybe it's what he deserves. But looking down at Colette now he knew he couldn't just give up like that. Even if Seles wouldn't cry for him, he knew that Colette would. "I won't let that happen."
She smiled then before exclaiming, "Oh! I have something for you!" She sat up and fetched something else from her pocket, laying back down with an object nestled between them. It was a little white rabbit figurine of some kind, "It's a charm. A Flanoir snow bunny. They say it brings good luck. . . I-I want you to have it."
A sharp exhale turned into a genuine laugh, "Snow has never brought me much good luck." Her face fell with disappointment and he quickly grabbed the rabbit with a wink, "I'm sure this will, though. Thanks, my sweet little--" He cut himself off and continued more seriously, "Thank you, Colette."
He wrapped his arms around her again and a moment of comfortable silence passed as he held her and she let him. Her breathing become more even and her body relaxed, he looked down at her and her eyes were closed.
"Hey, Colette, do you trust me?"
"No matter what happens tomorrow, please don't stop, okay?"
No sooner had she said it than she had drifted to sleep, completely unaware of how hard her promise would be to keep.