Legacy

BY : Rina76
Category: Final Fantasy Anime > Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children
Dragon prints: 1511
Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy VII Advent Children or any of the characters from the film. I am not making money from the writing of this story.

Part 6.


At long last, Loz comes back from the men’s room and Gods, am I glad to see him. He’s the biggest and meanest-looking out of the three of them but he’s the only one who hasn’t made me feel scared or menaced. In fact, being with him makes me feel safe and shielded and I’m so thankful for that right now, I could almost leap up and throw my arms and legs around him like a starfish. I manage not to body-slam him, though.

“Finally,” I drawl. “I thought you’d drowned in the urinal.”

He stops in front of me, his hands hidden behind his broad back and a goofy grin on his face.

“Sorry I took so long. I was getting sumthin’ for you.”

“Oh yeah?” I raise my brow inquiringly at him. “What?”

“You’ll see.” He keeps grinning. “Pick a hand.”

Starting to smile at his infectious excitability, I point to his right. “That one.”

Bringing it around and showing me that it’s empty, he replies jokingly, “Aw, too bad. Try again.”

In spite of myself, I smile wider. “Okay. The left one.”

This time he is holding an object and he produces it with a flourish. “Here’s your prize, little lady.”

Sitting in his palm is a neon stick. A pink one, the two ends joined together and formed into a bracelet. Somebody must be going around selling them in the club for a nifty profit. I look at him in astonishment.

“You bought this for me?”

“Yeah. I thought you might like it, since you listen to that techno stuff,” he says shyly, passing it over.

Touched by his thoughtfulness, I exclaim, “Oh, Loz. You’re the sweetest! Thank you so much.”

“It’s nothin’.” He shrugs bashfully as he lowers himself down on the seat next to me and I lean in to award him another kiss on the cheek, this one longer and more grateful than before. I even give him a tiny squeezing hug around the neck to show how appreciative I am of his kindness. He’s smiling when I pull back, maybe even blushing a little. It’s a bit hard to tell since the club is so dim and full of swirly colour-changing lights. I slip the glowing circle of plastic over my hand and onto my wrist, gazing down at its phosphorescent radiance. Getting a present from a gorgeous guy should make me happier than this, and it normally would, but Kadaj’s threatening words are still echoing in my head, worrying and distracting me.

Picking up on my changed mood, Loz inquires apprehensively, “What’s the matter? You don’t like pink? I can get you a blue one.”

“No, it’s not that. I love it,” I assure him, glancing back up. “It’s just...when you were gone...” I halt, knowing that I don’t have to tell him what happened but I decide to anyway because he should know.

“I met your brothers,” I reveal reluctantly. “They’re very protective of you, aren’t they?”

“Aw, crap.” His brows cinch together, a crease appearing on his otherwise smooth forehead. “What did they say?”

“Nothing I’d like to repeat. Yazoo was nice about it but Kadaj?” I shake my head. “That little freak needs to be locked away and straight jacketed.”

Sighing heavily, he replies, “I’m sorry. He gets weird about stuff sometimes.”

“Weird? How about creepy and crazy?”

“He’s not always like that,” Loz immediately defends his younger sibling. “He just doesn’t know you.”

“Yeah, and he doesn’t want to either,” I retort. “He made it pretty clear that if I ever hurt you I’d be on the other end of his fancy sword.”

“He doesn’t mean it.” Loz gazes at me imploringly. “When you get to know him, he’s not that bad. Really.”

My lips curve wryly at his earnest tone. “I see protectiveness runs in the family.”

Right at that moment I hear something over the thumping beat of music that sounds a lot like a trumpet fanfare. It repeats and I realise it’s coming from Loz’s jacket.

“Is that your phone?”

He peers down at his pocket, only just noticing it’s ringing. “Oh. Hold on, I better get this.” He digs into the top half of his leather suit and pulls out a silver cell, making an annoyed face when he sees the caller ID. Flipping the phone open and holding it up to his ear, he impatiently barks, “What do you want?”

While he’s listening, he glances around the club as if looking for the speaker. It’s clearly somebody here and I’ve got a fairly good idea of who it might be. And it’s not Yazoo, who’s taken up residence on the far west wall of the room again, trying to quietly blend in with the wallpaper and not get noticed by girls which isn’t working at all; a constant stream of emboldened females coming up and doing their best to flirt with him, all wanting a piece of that hot assassin ass. He seems unimpressed by the attention, bored even, barely even glancing at them, let alone speaking. Since he doesn’t have a phone held in his hand - only a half-full wine glass - that means the person Loz is talking to must be Kadaj.

“I know. It won’t. Yeah, I know that.” Loz sounds progressively more irritated with each word. “You don’t have to tell me three times! I’m not a moron.”

He is silent for a moment as he’s being spoken to and then he blurts out, “Because I want to, okay? Quit buggin’ me!” With a scowl, he listens to the reply and then turns to the side, cupping his hand around the mouthpiece of the phone as if he doesn’t want me to hear what he says next.

“I’m NOT getting angry.” The way he’s snarling between gritted teeth proves that he is. “Just leave me the fuck alone, all right?”

He hangs up without saying goodbye, tersely snapping the phone shut and sticking it back in his pocket.

“Sorry about that. It was my stupid brother,” he mutters. “He’s being a dick.”

“Let me guess; he’s telling you to stay away from me?”

After a long pause, Loz slowly says, “Noo.”

He’s a dreadful liar. I give him an arch look to let him know I don’t believe him for one second and he sighs. “Okay. Yeah. That’s what he said. But I ain’t gonna. He can’t tell me what to do tonight. It’s our free time. We’re not working and we’re not looking for Moth-” He cuts off whatever it was he was about to say and ends with a defiant, “Free time means we can do whatever we want and he can’t say jack about it.”

Finding it highly flattering that he’d defy his bossy brother for me, I question teasingly, “So, hunky Hit Man. Since you’ve got all this free time, what do you want to do with it, then?”

“Hang out with you,” he mumbles, looking all shy again.

“Good because that’s what I want to do too.”

He looks as though nobody has ever told him that before. “You really wanna hang with me?”

“Dude, by sitting here drinking at the bar with you, I already AM,” I point out. I sip from my straw and then grin wickedly at him. “Hey, do you think if we hang out all night we can piss Kadaj off so much he’ll leave and go to another club?”

He snorts. “I wish. He’d never leave Yaz and I on our own, though. Thinks we can’t survive without him giving us instructions every ten minutes.”

“How can you stand it?” I ask with an incredulous expression. “Having your kid brother act so overbearing and demanding all the time?”

Lifting his drink up to his mouth, he replies dryly, “You get used to it.”

“Oh!” I spot a familiar face in the crowd, jumping off my seat excitedly. “Wait here. I gotta say hi to someone.”

“Who?” Loz inquires but I’m already going in the opposite direction. With a huge smile I go up to this tall, brown-haired guy with glasses and the cutest dimples, tapping him on the shoulder. He turns from his college buddies and smiles back delightedly when he sees me, greeting me with a warm hug. I pull back and tell him he looks good – which he does, being the fit, handsomely intelligent type – and he tells me I look great in return, mentioning with much cheekiness that he likes my boots. Big surprise. As I’m quickly finding out, men go nuts for these boots. We chat and joke for a short while and, mindful of not leaving Loz alone for too long, I have to make my eventual departure, hugging my friend again and promising to catch up again soon. He tells me to take care of myself and to give him a call sometime and then I turn away with reluctance, wishing I could talk more with him but also knowing now is not the time to do that.

When I get back, Loz is making that intense, scowly-face. It’s almost cute.

“Who’s that guy?” He asks jealously, shooting him a glare. “Ex-boyfriend?”

“Gods, no.” I laugh. “That is my foster brother, Jaren. Man, I haven’t seen him for months.”

“Foster brother?” Loz’s expression loses some of its intensity and he peers scrutinisingly at me, waiting for further information.

“Yeah. I grew up in a few different houses, with a few different families. He was from the last one I stayed with.” I fidget with my straw and sigh, knowing my whole life story is about to come tumbling out. I don’t normally tell people I’ve just met about it but for some reason I want Loz to know. I feel like I can trust him. And I’m kind of wasted which doesn’t help to keep my mouth shut.

“I don’t have any parents, Loz. Well, I did once but not anymore.”

He stares at me. “What, you’re like...an orphan?”

“Yes,” I affirm in a quiet tone, gazing down into the remains of my cocktail. “My mom died of a stroke when I was only five years old. Dad never got over it and eventually drank himself to death. I was the one who found him on the couch. It’s like he was sleeping. But I couldn’t wake him up.”

I swallow the lump suddenly sticking in my throat; the memory old but the pain still fresh. I’m a capable chick and I’ve managed to survive without a mother or father in my life but Gods, I miss them both so much sometimes.

“Shit,” Loz nearly whispers in dismay. “I’m so sorry.”

He moves closer and takes my hand in his, concerned sympathy and sadness in his face as he looks at me. “I’m not just saying that, little girl. I really am sorry.”

“Thanks.” I give him a small, trembling smile of gratitude before continuing on with my tale. “I had no other relatives to take care of me so after that I was moved from foster home to foster home. I was a difficult kid and I guess nobody wanted to deal with me. I wasn’t girly. I swore too much, argued too much, fought with the other kids too much. I didn’t really get along with anybody. Until my last foster home. It was the best one I lived in. The parents were great and the kids were even better. All boys and they didn’t care if I acted just like them.” My lips tug upwards in fond remembrance of tree-climbing, wrestling in the dirt and water fights on hot days and I spare an affectionate glimpse at Jaren’s lanky figure.

“Jaren and I hit it off right away. He was like my best friend growing up. We’d tell each other everything. Stay up late at night whispering secrets. Sharing our plans and dreams. Talking about sex.” I give a soft chuckle, recalling our innocence and naiveté on the subject and the many entertaining conversations we had about it. Then my amusement wilts, my voice turning wistful and nostalgic again. “He went to college to study engineering and ever since I moved out into my own apartment and got married we’ve kinda lost touch. It’s a shame because we used to be so close back then.”

“And you and him never...?”

In answer to the rest of Loz’s unvoiced query, I confess, “Well, we kissed once. Just to see what it was like. But that’s as far as it went.” I squeeze Loz’s fingers reassuringly. “Don’t worry about him. He’s won’t try making moves on me. He’s cool.”

“Wouldn’t wanna,” Loz growls possessively, throwing Jaren another jealous glare. “I’d break his handsome, college-boy face.”

I smile at Loz and this time, it’s a brighter one, my frame of mind lifting. I love how he’s acting like my boyfriend already and we haven’t even had a first date yet. Reaching up to caress his cheekbone, I murmur softly, “He’s not as handsome as you, Green Eyes.”

Loz doesn’t reply, just looks at me searchingly and intensely, his pupils narrowing as he focuses. He tilts his head slightly and for a thrilling moment I’m sure he’s going to kiss me so I lift my chin, lips parting in anticipation and invitation.

“Sorry to interrupt, but do you guys want another drink?” The hedgehog-haired bartender inquires, glancing between us both with that curious violet gaze, apparently having noticed the emptiness of our glasses.

Dropping my hand, I declare with inebriated enthusiasm, “Fuck, yes. Bring ‘em on, Blue Boy. This one’s not nearly drunk enough for a Saturday night yet.” I elbow Loz jokingly in the ribs.

“It takes a LOT to get me drunk,” Loz remarks unthinkingly. “You know, because of what I am.”

I turn and give him a weird look, wondering what the hell /that/ means, and he hurriedly adds, “Big! It takes a lot to get me drunk because I’m so big...and stuff.” He awkwardly scratches the back of his neck. “Uh, yeah. That’s what I meant.”

“Well, I may be able to help you with that, bud.” Porcupine-guy leans across the bar, a piece of sapphire-hued hair falling across his brow and making me want to brush it aside. He’s got silver stud earrings in both lobes and his white work-shirt is rolled up his tanned forearms, showing how strong they are. His face has a particularly fine-boned, sharpish structure, similar to Yazoo’s or that rat-tailed redhead I spilled my drink on before, and I give a silent blessing to the Gods for putting so many pretty boys on this planet for me to perve on...I mean, appreciate the beauty of.

Dropping his voice to a hushed, top-secret level, the bar guy says to Loz, “Feel like something stronger? I got this bootleg overproof moonshine under the counter that’ll give even a strong fella like you a decent kick in the guts.”

“Sounds worth a shot,” Loz muses, pushing over his spirit tumbler, empty except for a clump of ice cubes. “Make it a double, huh?”

The male in the black vest ducks under the serving bench so that all we can see are the tips of his long blue spikes and, making sure his supervisor doesn’t see what he’s doing, quickly pours the illegal liquor into Loz’s glass, filling it almost to the top.

“This is between you and me, all right?” he cautions Loz as he straightens and places the now-full glass back on the bench.

“Sure,” Loz agrees absently, smelling the brew and finding it to his liking, taking a large mouthful of the dark tawny distillation. After he swallows, his silver eyebrows shoot up in astonishment.

Bar-boy smirks knowingly, which he really shouldn’t do because it makes him look really devious and puts wicked thoughts in my sexed-up brain. “Well?” he prompts Loz. “What do you think?”

Shaken but not stirred, Loz lets out a long breath and I can literally /smell/ how fiery the forbidden alcohol is, my tough drinking companion almost breaking out into a sweat at the choking burning that must be happening in his gullet and belly right now.

“That...” He clears his throat and starts again, his voice rough. “That’s some serious firewater, man.”

Loz gets chuckled at, the younger guy’s violet eyes sparkling like amethysts. “See? What’d I tell you? Do I know my shit or do I /know/ my shit?”

Finally grinning, Loz reaches over and thumps the vest-wearing guy on the shoulder, probably a little harder than he ought to judging by the way the smaller male winces, but I assume that’s Loz’s way of showing man-to-man appreciation.

“Thanks, kid,” he booms in that baritone voice. “This is just what I need. Keep it coming, okay?”

“No probs, pal. Will do.”

Loz goes to pull out some money but I smack his hand aside. “Nuh uh, buddy. You’ve been buying the last few rounds. This time it’s MY shout, okay?”

Loz lifts his shoulder nonchalantly, not objecting to having a girl pay for his drink. Blue Boy turns to me, still half-smirking and looking entirely too Godsdamn gropeable for his own good.

“Now that he’s sorted, what can I do for you, young lady?”

I refrain from slurring, “How ‘bout take your shirt off and dance on the counter for me, hot stuff?” and shrug instead, in no reasonable state of mind to be hitting on the wait staff or even making simple decisions about what to drink next.

“I dunno. Get me something purple.”

Shaking his head in mock-exasperation, the spiny-haired young man replies, “I don’t think I have any purple cocktails left. You’ve pretty much tried them all.”

“Well, invent another one,” I urge, as if that option should have been perfectly obvious to begin with. “You seem smart. I bet you can create something for me. Just make sure it’s sweet, okay? Not burny like that bootlegged crap.”

The guy grins confidently, taking up the challenge. “You’re on, Missy, but /you/ have to come up with a name for this new drink. Deal?”

“Deal.” I nod and watch interestedly as he gets to work being creative, appearing motivated by the challenge I’ve set him, getting a clean cocktail glass and pouring in a bit of this and a drop of that, his face lit up and soft mouth smiling, giving him a youthful, appealing attraction and energy. He must get bored making the same drinks over and over again and I’ve probably just made his night by letting him do something different. I’m generous like that.

“Ooo, looks good, doesn’t it?” I enthuse to Loz, indicating to what our new pal is mixing up, using pink and blue liqueurs, a dash of lemonade, red syrup and a few other things I’m too slow to read the label of.

“I guess,” Loz replies dubiously, no doubt imagining how high the sugar-content is going to be.

“Here, try this and tell me I’m not a genius,” the trendy bartender announces when he’s done, shoving his creation across the counter top and waiting excitedly for my reaction. It certainly wins points for appearance; the fizzing concoction consisting mainly of purplish-blue with a layer of marshmallow-pink at the bottom. It’s tooth-dissolvingly sweet, just like I asked but damned if it isn’t the most delicious thing I’ve had in my mouth all night. Of course, I haven’t had Loz in there yet but I’m saving that for later...

I take another sip of the syrupy blend, enthusiastically nodding my approval. “You’re a genius, Spikes. This is GREAT. I can feel my blood-sugar levels going off the charts already.”

“So, what’re we gonna call it?”

I have another thoughtful swig, smacking my lips together. It tastes like bubblegum, cotton candy and sherbet. It’s like a liquid carnival, a riot of flavours cavorting on my tongue.

“I got it.” Looking at his unusual eyes, I announce smilingly, “I’m gonna call it Violet Riot.”

“Nice,” he grins his endorsement.

“Feel free to add it to your cocktail list.”

He quirks one thin, blue brow at me. “I might just do that.”

Before Loz starts to suspect I’m flirting with Hedgehog Boy - which I kind of am, admittedly – I pay for our drinks, throwing in a tip for his trouble and receiving a cheeky wink in return. The kid goes back to work, zipping down the opposite end of the bar to serve some other people and now that we’re alone again, I turn to the taller, older man sitting beside me, resuming the conversation we had begun earlier.

“Anyway, Loz. What about your parents? What are they like?”

He seems startled by the question, as if he didn’t expect it, but rapidly masks his surprise, answering casually, “I don’t know. They ain’t around either.”

“Why, what happened?”

“It’s...complicated,” is all he’ll reveal and even that sounds reluctant. “You probably wouldn’t understand.”

“Complicated how?”

“Forget it,” he mutters, turning away from me and focusing on his drink.

I ask him a couple more questions about it but he clams up and refuses to tell me any more. I sense him starting to shut down, to close himself off again like he was before, his face and voice turning blanker and more neutral so I stop harassing him. It’s evidently a very personal subject and I don’t want to pry. If he wants to talk about it, he will but until then, I’ll avoid the topic.

“I’m sorry,” I say quietly, kicking myself for ruining the fun mood we had going on. “I didn’t mean to be nosy. You don’t have to tell me anything you don’t want to.”

He doesn’t say anything for a while and then he heaves a sigh. “It’s not that I don’t want to. I do, Cate. It’s just...I’m not allowed to.”

“Kadaj’s orders?” I guess.

He nods glumly. “I already told you too much about us. My brother would kill me if I said anything else.” He sighs again. “It’s better if you don’t know anyway. You’d probably only end up in danger.”

I look at him and his strange, otherworldly eyes, wondering again how his pupils came to be elongated like that. I’ve seen all kinds of extraordinary eye-colours on this planet but I’ve never seen anything such as this before. It’s peculiar. Almost not...natural. I know he said it was a genetic thing but I can’t help suspecting that there’s more to Loz than he’s letting on. A lot more. He’s told me about his job – and I’m grateful he’s let me know such confidential information - but there’s other stuff he’s not telling me. Important stuff. There’s something about him that’s such a mystifying enigma, making me want to learn more about him and who he is, where he came from, what his life has been like and why he acts the way he does. He’s so different to any other person I’ve ever known and not just in looks. He’s strong yet shy. Simple yet complex. Aggressive yet gentle. Fierce yet kind. Reserved yet truthful. Cynical yet naïve. Tough yet vulnerable. He’s not like other guys at all. In what way, I’m not exactly sure but I can sense that he’s something special, rare and unique. I’ve been searching for a man like this my whole life and now that I’ve found him, I can’t let Loz get away because I’d never find anybody of his calibre ever again.

“I don’t know what your big secret is, Loz, but I’d really like to find out,” I say softly. “I know we just met but I hope one day you can trust me enough to tell me.”

Turning back to me, he searches my gaze, intently and guardedly, as if seeking the true meaning behind the words I’ve just spoken. Or looking for lies.

He mustn’t have found any because after a while his expression relaxes a little.

“Yeah,” he returns in a quiet tone. “I really hope so too.”

His voice is tinged with hidden yearning, as though he wants nothing more than to let someone in and share his secrets but at the same time he sounds afraid of it, of trusting someone that much. But the fact that he’s even considering it makes me optimistic about the future and makes me believe that we actually could have one together, in spite our differences and the issue of us being literal strangers who don’t even know each other’s last names. I don’t generally believe in love at first sight - lust, maybe - but now that our gazes are connected and held, I can see in those glimmering green pools of his that Loz is thinking the very same thing as I am; that we might have something here. Something unknown and kind of scary but excitingly promising and potentially powerful. Something we both feel. And need. And yearn for. And have been waiting for our whole lives. Something deep.

Something...real.

My Gods. I think I could be looking at my soul mate. The one I’m meant to be with for the rest of my life. Images flash in my head. Marriage. Kids. Growing old together. The works.

Shit, I must be smashed. I only just got divorced. Why the hell am I even /thinking/ about weddings again? Especially since the last one I attended turned out to be such a spectacular success. Not. I didn’t come here looking for a husband – in fact, that was the furthest thing on my mind when I walked up the stairs and through the door – but I can’t help imagining these crazily fanciful things though, feeling as if we’re two magnets being pulled towards each other, or perhaps two opposing forces being pushed together from behind by fate’s persistent hands.

I’m not psychic and I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future but right now, I do know one thing for certain.

I want Loz. Oh yes, I want him bad.

Since we’re locking eyes, I decide that now’s the ideal time for us to lock lips too so I go to reach up to Loz’s face in order to pull him closer and as I do so I clumsily bump my forgotten drink with my elbow. Before I can even react or even gasp in alarm Loz’s hand zips out and catches the glass with a speed and deftness that stuns me, steadying it and managing to save most of the violet liquid inside, although some of it sloshes over the rim and onto my bare arm.

“Aw, fuck,” I grumble, grabbing some napkins and dabbing at the cold, sticky mess on my skin and the bar bench. “If you wanna date me, Loz, I should warn you now that I’m hopelessly clumsy. If you take me out anywhere in public I’m probably going to embarrass you. I drop things, trip on things and run into things. If it can be knocked over or spilled, I’ll probably be the one to do it.” I look at him warningly as I dump the sodden serviettes into an already overflowing ashtray. “Just so you know.”

He doesn’t seem too concerned about my faulty physical wiring, instead asking in amazement, “Are we gonna date?”

“I dunno. Are we?” I throw back mischievously. “I hope so ‘cause I’m having an awesome, awesome time with you, man. I would totally like to see you again.”

“Me too,” he exclaims. “With the awesome. And the totally.”

“So, that’s settled, then,” I declare authoritatively. “You and me, Lozzie...we’s gonna be dating buddies. Cheers.” I hold my glass up to him and he raises his in return, both of us clinking our glasses together before taking big swigs of our drinks, Loz evidently forgetting how dangerously potent his firewater is, instantly coughing and spluttering while I whack him on the back and try not to giggle.

“Shit,” he rasps, wiping at his watering eyes. “That’s harsh. It’s like sucking on petrol.”

“Done that before, have you?” I reply with a none-too-sympathetic grin. As an afterthought, I ask, “It’s okay if I call you Lozzie, right?”

He shakes his head, still looking as though he can’t quite believe what’s happening to him. “Girly, if you date me you can call me anything you damn well want.”

Since we’ve agreed to become a semi-serious couple, we celebrate this by drinking some more, Blue Boy making me another Violet Riot since I slopped some of the last one over my own arm. I’m still spun out by how quick Loz caught that glass. I don’t think he even looked at it; just acted on reflex. If he can move like that, he’s nowhere near as plastered as me then so I make sure the cute bar guy keeps refilling Loz’s tumbler with that nameless moonshine stuff, Loz rapidly turning immune to its fieriness and chugging it down like apple juice. Unlike yours truly, he doesn’t get clumsier the more he drinks, but he does become a lot looser and relaxed, not even caring when some young, hot-headed ruffians get into a testosterone-fuelled tussle behind him and one of them gets shoved into his back, bumping him from behind. I expect Loz to leap up roaring but he just slants them a half-annoyed look, grunts at them to watch what they’re doin’ and then turns back to me. His casual reaction surprises me but in a pleasant way. Some men get ultra-aggro when they drink heaps and I thought this’d be the case with a heavy metal head-banger like Loz but the drunk version of himself is actually a pretty cruisey, mellowed-out guy. We chat, we laugh, we flirt. We have fun, just like any other members of the opposite sex getting to know each other and for the moment I choose not to dwell on what secrets Loz is hiding from me. I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough.

As I’m applying a fresh coat of raspberry-flavoured lacquer to my lips, I hear a new tune start up on the DJ’s mixer. “Oh, I fuckin’ love this song!” I gush to Loz, jamming my gloss-stick back into my skirt pocket. “You HAVE to come out with me again and I’m not taking no for an answer.”

I quickly drain the contents of my glass and, leaving it on the counter for Hedgehog-guy to clear away, I hop off the bar stool, looking at Loz in expectant eagerness. He groans complainingly when I tug on his hand but gets up like a good boy and follows me onto the wooden floor under all the disco lighting. It’s a new track just out; hard guitar rock remixed with a driving techno beat - something we can both enjoy. A lot of people enjoy this song too, apparently, because the floor is packed with them and we work our way through the human ocean until we find a suitable spot to blend in. Like the trancer that I am, I start jumping around with one hand in the air which I soon realise isn’t a great idea because I’m not sober enough to do it without staggering and I don’t want a repeat of crashing into someone else and having to fork over more money to replace another drink that I’ve spilled with my uselessness. Much like he saved my cocktail, Loz grasps my upper arms and gently steadies me, making sure I don’t trip over and hurt myself. Needing his stabilising influence, I stumble around and lean back against his chest – also an acceptable excuse to feel that solid body against mine. And boy, is it solid. It’s like leaning on a rock wall. Only warmer. He doesn’t mind me leaning on him for balance, indeed welcoming my weight, slipping his right arm around my middle and resting his hand on the side of my waist, hugging me close to the front of him. I can feel his oval-shaped belt buckle pressing against the base of my spine. If I wriggled against him, I could easily make those pants of his fit tighter all of a sudden and cause him a significant amount of embarrassment. Not that I’m going to. I wouldn’t do that to him just for the heck of it. I’m not a tease. When I want him to get hard, it’ll be for a reason. For now, I just wanna dance.

Losing myself in the chest-pounding music I move against Loz. And he moves with me. He’s still not really dancing, just supporting my body with his; his torso and stomach against my back, firm and stable. His left arm is on the outside of mine, his palm covering the back of my hand and his fingers lacing through my own, strong and sure. He’s holding me as I rock and sway to the pulsing tempo, our bodies completely in sync. For a non-dancer he moves with perfect rhythm, almost like he knows what I’m going to do next, as if he can anticipate my motions. As the excited crowd jostles us, he hugs me closer and I feel absolutely secure in his embrace, like he will not let me slip and fall, like he will always be there to catch me, and I know on an instinctual level that Loz is somebody I can trust with my safety. My life.

Maybe even my heart.

Since my last hubby damaged it by divorcing me, I haven’t been in a hurry to give my heart away again but you know what? I might be ready now. I might be ready to enter into a partnership, a commitment, a monogamous relationship, to get involved with someone, to be their girlfriend. Woman. Wife? Can I see myself marrying again? Hmm...perhaps. One of these days. I’m not that ruined emotionally that I can’t envision myself as Mrs Loz...um...something. Damn, gotta find out what his surname is before I can marry the guy. But I could see myself getting hitched again. I could so see that. Despite my past heartaches, I still believe there’s someone on the planet who’s meant just for me.

I still believe in forever love.

Or I might just be utterly trashed and not know what the hell I’m talking about. Yeah. That’s probably it. I’m fucked up on purple cocktails, my brain is mush and I’m thinking dumbass romantic girl-thoughts because I’ve been without a man for so long. Forget that heavy, serious shit. I’m dancing with a hot guy here! There’s techno music! And I got a glow stick! Whee!

Eyes half-closed in a blissful state of being, I lean against Loz’s wonderfully supportive body and wave my free hand in liquid swirling motions, watching the pink streaks the fluorescent band around my wrist leaves behind, finding the sight spellbinding, especially when the strobe light kicks in; the blinding flashes creating a black and white snapshot where the whole room gets frozen for a second in time, like a lightning strike in the dark. The night has reached its pinnacle, the point where the music is loud and throbbing, the laser lights are spinning and hypnotic – slicing through the smoke-haze that winds around everything like mist – everyone is drunk, sweaty and horny and we all just want to dance and grope and grind together as one heaving sea of humanity. The whole scene is very tribal and very primal, bringing out our baser animal sides and our desire to touch and be touched, to pair and to mate.

Even Yazoo ventures away from the wall he’s been stuck to for most of the evening and weaves through the partying populace onto the dance floor, bringing with him an adorable, casually-dressed young man with shaggy black hair who’s chewing his own thumbnail, his dark eyes huge and slightly shocked, as though he can’t fathom why this stunning silvery creature has selected him over everybody else in the club. I guess Sara from the bathroom was right about Yazoo’s sexual preference because he’s been approached by dozens of women and I’ve seen him either refuse their offers with aloof politeness or just ignore them outright, turning away silently and coolly until they get the picture. This is the first person Yazoo has shown real interest in and must have been who he was staring at earlier. I notice he passes right by Kadaj, as though he wants his littler brother to see the cutie he’s brought with him. Kadaj grins approvingly, slapping Yazoo cheekily on the ass as he glides past. Yazoo just smiles and keeps walking, holding the chosen boy’s hand and leading him to a slightly less crammed area of the floor so they can dance without being crowded or bumped into. I note that the kid has bare feet. He’s game, walking around a nightclub with no shoes on. I wouldn’t mind taking these platform boots off to make myself more comfortable but hello, broken glass? And let’s not forget icky sticky-floor syndrome. Doesn’t seem to bother this boy, though. He probably goes barefoot all the time. Either that or he’s too dazzled by Yazoo’s angelic beauty to notice if he’s getting glass-shards stuck in his soles.

Not one for small talk or shyness, Yazoo slips his palm around the back of the younger man’s neck, drawing him closer until they are nearly eye to eye, Loz’s slimmer sibling absorbedly gazing down at his overawed partner. Yazoo towers over him, partially because the boy is kind of hunched over with his shoulders slumping forward, like he spends most of his time in front of a computer and has developed bad posture. Even if he stood up straight, he still wouldn’t be as tall as Yazoo but I don’t think Yazoo wants an equal. He wants someone he can be...well, not dominant over, as that doesn’t seem to be part of his laid-back personality, but definitely someone he can take the role of the male seducer with and this shorter, more passive kid suits him perfectly. Realising he ought to be a participant in the seduction ritual, not just a dumb-struck mannequin, the brunette boy removes his thumb from his mouth and tentatively touches Yazoo on the waist, using only the tips of his fingers, as if he’s not used to human contact. His hands are long and thin, much like the rest of him. It appears that Yazoo likes long and thin as he begins to dance with the boy, moving with dream-like slowness and sensuality, as if he’s making love to the air between them, no other part of their bodies touching except for the kid’s fingertips on his waist, and Yazoo’s hand on the young man’s nape, gloved fingers woven in feathered ebony hair. Yazoo is an amazing, amazing dancer. Graceful as a ballerina but much sexier and infinitely more seductive. His dress-coat seems to float around his fine figure, almost like it’s part of him, and his lengthy pale-grey hair has the same swishy lightness, granting him an aura of being airy and wraithlike, of being not of this realm, and again I have thoughts of angels and vampires, of fairytales and mythical creatures. He’s quite possibly the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I have to force my gaze away from his lithe, sinuous body because if I don’t, I’ll be watching him all night and Loz might not like that very much.

Of course when I look somewhere else, I’m drawn back to Kadaj. Bit hard to miss him with his stand-out platinum mane, each collar-length strand reflective and shimmery as if actually coated in precious metal. He is in the centre of a large group of women, and a couple of so-inclined boys, unmistakably the star of this entire place, like a celebrity, even though most people probably don’t even know his name. Or if they do they have no idea that he’s a torturer and a murderer; only that he’s glamorous and gorgeous and they want him. Everyone in that group is trying to get close to Kadaj, swarming in front and behind of him, hands grasping at his arms, his jacket, his hips, even daring to stroke his gleaming hair. He’s surrounded by a number of ardent admirers who would gladly give him whatever he desires but he’s not paying particular attention to any of them. He’s letting them touch him - even the boys - but he’s not touching anybody back. As he dances it’s not with anyone or for anyone else. It’s for himself, for the unadulterated exhilaration of it, letting the beat of the music take him over and guide his movements. His elated face is tipped up to the whirling lights, eyes closed with abandon, kaleidoscopes of colour washing over his skin and silver head, making his lips look blue and his hair even bluer.

He dances like he walks, with self-assured sexuality and style, seeming to gain pleasure from the feel of simply being in his own body. By how blissed out he appears, it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s taken some drugs, like Euphorine or Fantasmic, popular happy-pills for clubbers. I tried Euphorine once a couple of years ago and though it certainly gave me a rush, I spent the whole night walking around with my eyes so wide and pupils so dilated I looked like a manga character; a real-life cartoon. These days I’m more aware of the risks involved with popping pills and can get the same feeling by downing a few cocktails but I couldn’t say the same for Kadaj. He’s young and out to party hard so the Gods only know what he’s swallowed or snorted to help him get high.

As I watch, he randomly reaches out and grabs the first person within range, a girl with bobbed pink hair and matching hot-pants who has practically been rubbing herself on his leg for the last two songs. He yanks her forward with one arm, crushing his mouth against hers. The girl excitedly receives the demanding thrust of his tongue, squashing her tits against his chest while other people look on in lustful envy, wishing they were the ones in her place. I’m not sure if I’m seeing things or if it’s just the coloured lights shining down from the roof but I think I catch a glimpse of green luminescence near Kadaj’s other hand as he makes a quick gesture and then she suddenly goes slack, as if swooning with overwhelmed ecstasy. He kisses the girl thirstily and roughly for a few more seconds and then releases her. She looks weak and faint, her face white and eyes glazed. Pushing her away from him with an abruptness that borders on revulsion, Kadaj watches impassively as she collapses and falls backwards into the crowd. He breathes in deeply and allows his eyes to drift shut for a moment, swaying on his feet and looking even more drugged than before, and then he turns his back on the unconscious pink-haired girl. Showing no emotion whatsoever, he barges through the milling mob, walking away and letting them deal with her. I stare at him as he leaves, trying to figure out what the fuck just happened.

“Hey!” Loz’s envious outburst slices though my pre-occupation. “If you wanna check out my brother at least do it when I’m not standing right here.”

“I wasn’t...I just thought I saw...” I glance back at the small group of people trying to revive the passed-out girl and then look back at Loz in bewilderment.

“Didn’t you see that?” I raise my voice, trying to be heard over the music. “It was really weird. He grabbed her and then she-” My words are cut off when Loz impulsively takes me by the face and leans down to cover my mouth with his own. His lips are pressed firmly against mine but his palms are so very gentle and warm and I soon forget whatever it was that I’d been thinking about. All that’s going through my mind is, “Ohmygods, ohmygods, he’s kissing me!” I’m so astounded by the sudden move I even forget to close my eyes. As if realising he probably should have asked first, he starts to pull away but then abruptly changes his mind, swooping down again for another taste of me, our mouths pressed together harder and longer this time, Loz dragging this moment out, delaying it, as if it might be the last chance he gets to do this. When he starts giving me small, hungrily-sucking kisses, like he’s savouring my flavoured lip-polish, I almost melt in his hands, my eyelids fluttering shut as I lean forwards onto his broad chest, completely surrendering to him. The scent of the moonshine he’s been drinking is heavy on his breath. I lose all feeling in my legs and if he wasn’t cupping my face in his hands, I’d probably slide right down to the floor in a dizzy daze.

Eventually, but far too soon in my opinion, he draws back, licking my raspberry-gloss off his lips. His eyes are faintly anxious, as though he’s expecting to be scolded for making such an audacious move without obtaining my permission first. Like I really needed to be asked. I’ve been sending him the kiss-me vibes for quite a while now.

“I was wondering when you’d do that,” I sigh drunkenly, my lips still tingling. “So worth the wait.”

Relief fills his face. “You don’t mind?”

“If I minded, would I do this?” I return, grasping his strongly-crafted jaw and standing on tip-toe so I can reach his mouth, kissing him back with an assertiveness he isn’t prepared for. With a muffled groan of amazed desire, Loz crushes me to his chest, angling his head and bending down a little to compensate for my shortness, his lips eagerly parting for mine. With his arms so tight around me I’m finding it difficult to breathe but as long I have enough oxygen not to pass out, I don’t care. I’m the first one to introduce tongue, not delicately or slowly, but practically shoving it in, wanting to know what he tastes like. Yes, I know it’s brazen but I’m not a lady and I’m not gonna try and act like one. I’m a ballsy chick who knows what she wants and isn’t shy about going for it, especially after a few drinks. Finally inside the hot wetness of his mouth, my senses are assailed with the sweet-sour flavour of the firewater the bar guy has been supplying him with, the tang of illicit alcohol strong and intoxicating. Beneath that I can still taste him, Loz’s own personal taste, something I can’t describe, something masculine and addicting, making me crave more of it and kiss him deeper and more aggressively.

Feeling me practically mouth-raping him, Loz gives another astonished groan, one that I capture and swallow with pleasure. My boldness seems to shatter his tentative timidity and he gives me his tongue in return, coiling it around mine in repeated stroking motions. He seems to be tasting me too, and though I must taste disgustingly sugary to him, he still kisses me with a raw, needy thirst that stirs my passion, waking it up like a sleeping wildcat and making me growl in sudden lust. I arch nearer to my bigger partner, flattening my breasts against the front of his torso, my fingers climbing up the nape of his neck into the pixie-peak of his hair. It’s a lot softer than I thought it’d be and causes me to briefly wonder how he gets it to stay up like that. My other hand wanders downward over his ribs and side, finding the gap between his jacket and pants and slipping into it, touching the warm skin of his hip. He reciprocates by investigating under the back of my halter-top, working his fingers beneath the wide band of my bra and resting his palm between my shoulder blades, as if he needs to touch my skin too. His left hand slides down over my short skirt and cups my ass through the denim fabric, Loz having figured out by now that he doesn’t have to ask anymore. I’m all his and he knows it. While everyone else is dancing around us, Loz and I stand there making out, not caring who sees us, devouring each other with our mouths and feeling each other’s bodies with impatient hands. I’m sure we’re not the only ones doing this but I’m too occupied to turn around and look for myself, only concerned with the leather-suited man I’m kissing and the heat I feel bubbling in my blood at his touch. I know he feels the same heat too; I can sense it radiating from his body like the glow from a fire.

As if on cue, the DJ starts playing a track which is essentially a fuck-tune, the lyrics describing a particular way to do it – ass up, face down - the hardcore rhythmic beat interspersed with female moaning and orgasmic cries, reminding me of just how long it’s been since I’ve had hot, hard sex. This song makes me want it.

Now.

With Loz.

I break off the kiss and completely disregarding my earlier proclamation that I’d never screw anyone in a club, I lean into Loz’s ear and blurt, “Ever done it in a public bathroom?”

He stares at me, his jade gaze murky and smouldering beneath his surprise. “Nuh-uh. Why?”

“Would you like to?”

“Right now?”

“Right now. I want you, Loz,” I purr, leaning in again to lick enticingly at his earlobe. “Do you want me?”

“Hell yeah,” he answers, managing to sound excited and nervous at the same time.

I grin naughtily and take him by the hand.

“So, let’s go, biker boy. I wanna see what’s under that sexy suit of yours.”


***

A/N: Who else wants to see what’s under Loz’s suit? Review kindly and I’ll show you... ;)


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