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Eternal Love

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Yuna sat at the bar on the Celsius, toying with the straw in her soda bottle. The rays of the setting sun filtered through the windows, lighting up the cabin in a fiery glow. It had been almost a week since Tidus returned. He hadn't changed. He was still the same cheerful, outgoing guy she knew and loved, who would throw in the occasional snide comment when it suited him. He had spent most of the week with her catching up with everyone in Besaid and learning of her latest adventure. Recently, they had visited the Zanarkand Ruins where they pondered the mystery surrounding his return. At first, she was terrified he would fade again, but a gut feeling led her to believe otherwise—not that she ignored logic, but Tidus' existence in itself kind of defied it to begin with.

The past few days had been almost torturous. They had kissed and even made out, but she could tell something was holding him back from initiating anything further. And honestly, she couldn't take much more of the sexual tension. Yes, she was still innocent, but she had waited over two years for him—never knowing if he'd return. She suspected part of his hesitation had to do with her being a virgin. With him having been a star blitzer in Zanarkand, she was certain he had been with other girls—only they had never discussed the subject and not knowing was driving her insane.

Her thoughts were interrupted by the mechanical hum of the elevator door sliding open. Holding in a breath, she hoped it was the man she loved and not Rikku or Brother who was about to walk in.

"Hey beautiful," a sensual voice whispered into her ear.

The gentle caress of his breath made her shiver. Tidus had never done that before and it surprised her a little. Releasing her breath from earlier, she watched as he sat on the stool next to her wearing his famous grin. Did he have any idea how aroused she was at that moment? He must have from the smug look that was now plastered on his face.

"Have you eaten yet?" he asked.

"No, not yet." She bit her bottom lip, contemplating whether to broach the subject with him or not. "Tidus, can we talk?"

"I thought we were already doing that," he quipped with a chuckle.

The response he gave was exactly what she had expected. He was intertwining his hands repeatedly on his lap, which suggested he was more nervous than he was letting on. One of the things he dreaded was heavy conversations. If she wanted to get answers, she would have to fish them out of him. "I'm curious about your life before in Zanarkand."

He looked somewhat relieved, now resting an arm on top of the wooden counter. "Well, whatcha wanna know? We talked a lot about that time on your pilgrimage."

"I know, but…" She paused, hesitant to voice her question, worried not only of his reaction to it, but of the answer. "We never talked about your past…relationships."

Clearly she had struck a nerve from the way his eyes slightly widened at her suggestion. He sat up straight and winced as if he were in pain. "Why do you wanna talk about that?"

"So I can understand you better. Why? Is it off limits?"

Judging from the stunned look on his face, he must've detected the hostility in her voice, which she had been trying to suppress. "I'd rather not discuss it, but if you insist—"

"I, insist!" she snapped. Surprised at how venomous her own voice sounded, she tore her eyes away from his and looked down at her hands, which she hadn't realized until now were twisting the bottom of her top. What was wrong with her? Why was she getting this upset? "I'm sorry…just forget it." Yuna stood and prepared to make a dash for the door when she felt his hand gently tug on her arm.

"Hey, c'mere," he said in a tone barely above a whisper.

A small part of her wanted to run away like a frightened child and cry in a corner—unwilling to deal with how infantile she had been acting. He didn't even admit to anything yet and she was already jealous. He tugged more firmly on her arm this time, forcing her to face him.

The concerned look in his blue eyes made her uneasy. She wasn't sure how she was going to justify her actions, but nonetheless she would have to. "Yuna, what's going on? Where's all this coming from?"

"Do you love me?"

His face dropped and his bottom lip, ever so slightly, pushed forward in what almost looked like a pout. "You know I do. I love you more than anything."

Her throat tightened at his sincere response. She felt the sting of tears threaten her eyes and drew in a quick breath, hoping it would help regain her composure as she willed herself to articulate what was really on her mind. "Then why won't you make love to me?"

"Yuna…" He exhaled heavily as his eyes slipped shut. "Is that what all this is about?"

In an attempt to hide her embarrassment, she looked down at the floor and pressed her lips together tightly. She could feel his eyes on her as if they were burning a hole in the top of her skull. What was she supposed to say? The truth? Well, that would be a good start, but she wasn't too keen on revealing her insecurities. The more she mulled it over the more her stomach twisted with dread.

"Yuna, will you at least look at me?"

"Is it because I'm inexperienced?" There, she said it. And now, she wasn't sure if she wanted to hear his response.

His finger slid under her chin, tilting her head up. His expression was deadly serious—so much in fact it gave her chills. "Do you honestly think that matters to me? I love you. I respect you. I haven't pushed the issue because I wasn't sure if you were ready to take that step."

"I am—I want to—I want you." Yuna sucked in a deep breath, trying to calm her frazzled nerves. "I'm so in love with you. I just don't—I mean—I'm afraid of having my heart broken."

"Yuna, I would never intentionally hurt you in any way." He traced a finger across her jawline, stopping at her chin. "I've never been in love with anyone before, but I'm madly in love with you."

A wide smile spread across her lips. She wanted more than anything to kiss him right then, but those lingering doubts she had briefly pushed out of her mind had crept back in. It had become a sick form of torture on her psyche and it needed to end. "How many girls were you with in Zanarkand?"

What had otherwise been a tender and loving moment was completely ruined by her question, and she knew it. Judging from the disconcerted look on Tidus' face, he wouldn't have disputed that fact either. "Really? We're back to that again?"

She felt a warm flush across her cheeks. "I'm sorry, but I feel like I need to know."

"Look, I'm not proud of who I was back then. I was a celebrity and I used it to my full advantage."

It was clear to her what he was implying. She had a hard time believing the sweet, caring man she knew today had been a womanizer before coming to Spira. That fact alone urged her to press him further for answers. "So…you used girls? Why?"

His brow creased into a frown, making his frustration known. "I was alone. My parents were gone. I just didn't care anymore. I wanted to feel good. And sex felt good. I was never in love with any of them. And I never intended to fall in love—ever."

There was a heavy sadness in his eyes which she had never seen before. It pained her to see him this way. She was certain his actions were fueled by something much deeper than he was willing to admit. "You didn't want to hurt anymore. The loss of your family—it changed you, didn't it?"

"Yeah," he muttered, avoiding her gaze. He exhaled heavily then looked into her eyes. "Then I met you. And that plan to never fall in love went out the window. I fell for you. And I fell hard—just to find out that I couldn't stay with you." He scoffed. "Story of my life."

Feeling guilty for dredging up such painful memories, she brushed a hand against his cheek and whispered, "I'm sorry."

"It's fine. You wanted to know, so now you know."

Yuna rested her hands on his shoulders and gave him a sympathetic smile. "We're together now and that's all that matters."

There was a mischievous gleam in his eye, which was normally reserved for when they were about to engage in a heavy make-out session. His arms snaked around her waist and pulled her close. The gap between them closed and his moist lips melted onto hers for a slow, tender kiss. When his fingers caressed the small of her back, she trembled at his touch, feeling a fire ignite deep inside. He was driving her crazy with his slow, seductive torture. She wanted more and he had to have known it. His lips teasingly lingered on hers, sucking on her bottom lip before he released it, and whispered, "You still wanna make love?"

And that was all she needed to hear. She crashed her lips against his and dug her hands into his unruly blond hair. Finally, she would get to be with the man she loved in the most intimate way possible. The thought alone drove her wild with pleasure.

In her blissful state, she didn't realize his hands had left her waist and were now at her shoulders, gently pushing her back. "Yuna, we can't do this here," he said, breathless.

His words snapped her out of her trance-like state. He was right. The last thing she wanted was for someone to walk in on them. She knew the perfect place for them to go. And thankfully, it was right there on the airship. "C'mon," she said, grabbing him by the wrist. "Follow me."

"Where are we going?"

Dragging her lover into the elevator, she pressed a button on the panel inside, then released her grip on him when the doors slid shut. "Cargo area."

Tidus chuckled. "Kinky."

Ah yes, same ol' quirky Tidus. The amused look on his face brought a smile to her lips. He didn't know about the secret room in the area. She was curious if he really believed they were going to "get-it-on" in amongst a bunch of metal crates. "There's a room down here that only a couple people know about."

"And how do you know about it?"

The elevator doors slid open. Yuna cautiously peeked around the corner, making sure no one was around the dingy area before stepping out. "Rikku told me. It's kind of her private room where her and Gippal…well…you know."

"I hope she changes the sheets often."

Yuna couldn't help but giggle at his comment. She imagined he was grinning from ear to ear behind her as they weaved their way through the sea of boxes and metal crates.

Stopping in front of a blinking control panel on the wall, she tapped a finger to her lips, trying to remember the code.

"What now?" he asked.

"I'm trying to remember the passcode."

Tidus let out a chortle. "A secret room and now a secret code? This is becoming quite the adventure."

"Stop it—I'm trying to think," she chided.

"All else fails that crate over there looks pretty inviting."

If she didn't love him she would've slapped the smirk off his face. She was getting flustered. Her mind was so clouded with want and desire she couldn't think clearly.

He must've sensed her irritation with how quickly his smile had faded. "Sorry, I was just trying to lighten the mood."

The fog in her mind lifted and suddenly she remembered the numbers. Not wasting anytime, she punched in the code and watched a section of the metallic wall shake and slide up, revealing a dimly lit corridor with a metal door at the end.

"So…Rikku gave you the code to this room, huh?"

"Uh-huh," she said, hurrying over to door at the end of the hall.

The wall behind rumbled and slid shut.

When she hit the button at the side of the mechanical door, she caught a glimpse of Tidus playfully wiggling his eyebrows at her from the corner of her eye. "I guess she expected us to use it, then?"

Yuna nudged past him when the door slid open, desperately trying to hide the blush she felt burning her cheeks. Sadly, without her mother around and Lulu expecting her to stay virtuous for as long as possible, she didn't have anyone to discuss the subject of sex with other than Rikku. Luckily for Yuna, her cousin was at least experienced in the matter, but knowing what to do in this situation didn't make her any less nervous at that moment.

"Wow, this place is pretty nice," Tidus said in awe, after flipping on the lights and locking the door.

He was dead on with that comment. Rikku definitely had taste when it came to décor. The room wasn't small by any means. There was a dresser, a large wardrobe, and a vanity all made from what looked like mahogany wood. Matching nightstands guarded a queen size, black and white canopy bed with fluffy pillows propped neatly on top. The color scheme of the room was quite chic in itself with its warm eggshell painted walls and black fur carpet. But to Yuna, the best part was the added door left ajar, leading to a full bathroom. At least they wouldn't have far to go to clean up afterward.

"Yeah...this room is really impressive." Yuna sat on the edge of the bed and toyed with her long braid, hoping Tidus hadn't sensed her sudden discomfort.

A rustling sound came from behind. She glanced over her shoulder and spotted him switching on the brass lamp on the nightstand. He gave her a reassuring smile before returning to the wall, beside the door, to turn off the main lights.

It was amazing how lighting could suddenly change the mood of a room. A moment ago it had been warm and inviting, but now, the ambience had changed into a dark, romantic atmosphere. This was what she wanted. So why was she having second thoughts?

She felt the mattress move adjacent to where she was sitting and heard more of the same rustling from before. Was he undressing? Should she do the same? What if she couldn't satisfy him in bed? All these questions swirled in her mind making her dizzy. She had been confident earlier that she was ready for this. Now, she was having doubts and it was mainly due to his admission of sleeping with other girls in the past. In all honesty, she had been hoping he was a virgin like her, but that was definitely not the case.

The mattress moved once more. Her pulse quickened. What was he doing? Her question was answered when she felt his breath tickle her ear, sending a shiver up her spine. His fingers gingerly brushed back her hair and his warm lips pressed against the delicate flesh of her neck, moving over her skin in a seductive open-mouthed kiss. Her eyes slipped shut as a low moan escaped her lips. His mouth felt so good. Without thinking, she tilted her head back to give him better access.

He responded to her gesture with a gentle nip followed by more hungry kisses. His hands slid over her shoulders then down her arms, slipping her armbands off along the way. Suddenly, the erotic assault on her neck had ceased. His hands slid back up to her shoulders and tugged on her gently. "C'mere," he whispered into her ear.

The nervousness she had rid herself of earlier had returned. Her muscles tensed and her stomach turned icy. "I…uh…I still haven't taken off my boots." Yuna cringed. Boy that sounded convincing. If Tidus hadn't suspected something was off with her before, he definitely would now.

Leaning forward, she unlaced her boots and discarded them to the side. A deafening silence hung in the air. The mattress jarred and sank the way it would when someone plopped down. Suspecting Tidus had done exactly that, she was positive it was his way of expressing his displeasure.

"We don't have to do this if you're not ready. I'm fine with making out and cuddling after."

He didn't sound disappointed—in fact, he sounded guilty, which in turn, made her feel awful. What was wrong with her? This man loved her more than his own life. He proved that on her pilgrimage. He sacrificed his life for her, killed for her, come back to this world for her. This was her chance to show him how much she loved him. And she was going to pass it up because of her childish insecurities? No way. Not a chance.

Shifting herself on the bed, she turned and faced her lover, who was now lying on his side with his head propped up on his elbow, wearing only a pair of black boxers. All coherent thought escaped her at the sight of his gorgeous tanned body and perfectly ripped abs.


A familiar flush warmed her cheeks. "I'm sorry. Yes, I want this. I'm just a little nervous."

"Y'know, Yuna…I've never made love to a girl before. Yes, I've had sex, but it's not the same thing—there's no emotion behind that. So, in a way this is new for me too."

The uncertainty in his eyes must've mirrored that of her own. It was at that moment when she realized he was just as nervous as she had been. After all, he had been afraid of love for so long, the emotional aspect of this probably frightened him. No longer interested in exchanging words, she crawled onto the mattress over to where he lay and straddled his hips, before leaning down to capture his lips in a heated kiss.

His hands roamed up her back then down to her hips, gripping her tightly as he pressed her against his growing arousal. She gasped, surprised by his actions, but not unpleasantly so. His lips hungrily devoured hers, parting ever so slightly, as his tongue slipped inside her mouth to entangle with hers in a slow, seductive dance. This was completely different from their usual make-out sessions. He was far more dominant and less careful, which to her surprise, was really turning her on.

Before she could react to him unknotting her periwinkle half-skirt and tossing it aside, he rolled her over so that she was lying beneath him. The mischievous grin on his face coupled with the lust in his eyes almost had her undone. He was so damn sexy. And he was all hers.

His lips found the nape of her neck and lavished the tender flesh with fiery kisses, before making a path down to her collarbone. Her body burned with passion from each pass of his mouth on her skin. This man's touch was incredible. She swore she'd erupt into a ball of flames at any second from his sensual maneuvers.

Urging him on, she dug her one hand into his wispy blond hair while she squeezed his biceps with the other. There was no mistaking the love she had for this man. She wanted to be his completely and feel his lips on every inch of her body.

As if he had read her mind, he slid down to the pink hem of her top and left a tender kiss on her tummy. What had initially began as butterfly kisses turned into hungry, opened-mouthed ones, trailing a line up to her mid-drift as he pushed the pink and white material up along the way.

Her breaths grew heavy as she felt moisture build at her core. She didn't know how much more of this seductive torture she could take. A groan escaped her lips in an attempt to voice her frustration.

In a rather daring response, he tugged the top up and over her head then tossed it to the floor. She didn't have time to contemplate the loss of clothing before he took one of her breasts into his mouth while gently massaging the other. Closing her eyes in bliss, she turned her head to the side and moaned loudly as his tongue flicked over her nipple.

These sensations were very new to her. She had never dared to touch herself before, hoping somehow she would reunite with Tidus and he would be the one to bring her to release. Rikku of course, never really explained to her what it felt like—just that it was the best feeling ever. If it was better than what she was feeling now, she was afraid she might pass out before fully experiencing it.

With his mouth still hungrily feasting on her right breast, his talented hands had slipped down to the rim of her shorts where he unbuttoned the denim fabric, then proceeded to slowly pull the zipper down. Much to her chagrin, he released her breast from in between his soft lips and focused his attention on the task at hand, sliding the denim material off her hips, and onto the floor.

As eager as she had been earlier, she couldn't help but feel a bit hesitant at this point. This was still her first time and no matter what, she was convinced it was normal to be nervous to some extent.

From the concerned look on Tidus' face, he must've sensed her uneasiness. "Yuna...relax." He shifted himself over her again and brushed his lips against hers. "I promise I'll make you feel great," he whispered.

Almost immediately after, she felt his hand slither into her panties and begin to massage the sensitive nerves at her core. Her eyes squeezed shut as a moan got strangled somewhere in the back of her throat, eventually escaping in the form of his name. Responding to her passionate cries, he changed tempo, moving his fingers faster before slipping one inside her moist passage. She was moaning constantly now and squirming uncontrollably. The pleasure building low in her body was quickly spreading like wild fire throughout. Just when she thought she would hit her pinnacle, he stopped and withdrew his hand.

Frustrated and confused by his actions, she let out what sounded like a growl. "W-Why'd you stop?"

He looked pleased with himself from the way he was grinning. After giving her a peck on the lips, he slid down the length of her body, his eyes never leaving hers as he murmured, "You'll see."

Gnawing on her bottom lip, she thought about how he'd pleasure her next. He was toying with her—and he made it well-known from his amused expression that he enjoyed it immensely. Frankly, she was enjoying it as well. Leave it to Tidus to ease her nervousness by turning this into a fun, erotic game.

He hooked his fingers into the sides of her panties and slowly slid them down her hips then tossed them aside. His hands traveled up her legs, squeezing gently as they reached their destination at her thighs. Every touch from his hand, or kiss from his lips felt like an electric pulse rippling through her body. She didn't know it was possible to feel this good. It was as though his mere presence could plunge her into a euphoric state. This must've been what Rikku meant by chemistry between lovers. They certainly had that and more.

Gently, his hands guided apart her thighs. She could feel his warm breath against her folds and shuddered at the erotic sensation. The anticipation was almost maddening, which led her to believe it was all part of his plan.

The teasing he had been inflicting upon her had finally come to an end with a glide of his tongue. She gasped and moaned loudly at the delightful feeling, her hands finding a home in his messy blond hair. Gripping her hips in reply, he altered the pace of his erotic ritual. In what had been slow, sensual glides changed into lightning-quick flicks. Her breaths grew ragged and uneven as she felt a titillating sensation build deep inside.

Another pass of his tongue and Yuna was completely undone. An intense feeling of pleasure shot through her body. She gripped the sheets and arched her back, releasing an erotic cry so loud that unless the room was soundproof, someone, somewhere on the airship must've heard it.

Quivering from the intensity of her release, she glanced over at her lover, who was not quite finished lapping up her essence. He certainly delivered on his promise from earlier. It really had been the best feeling ever.

In a matter of moments, he resurfaced only inches away from her face wearing a triumphant grin. "Told ya I'd make you feel great. I gotta say—that scream had to earn me a point, or something in all this."

Feeling giddy from the whole experience, she tried to suppress a giggle, but it didn't work. "That was amazing."

"Yeah?" his voice raised an octave. "Does that mean I win a prize?"

After his stellar performance he was definitely deserving of one. She was actually quite happy with him turning this into a more playful experience rather than how serious it had initially been. Thinking about it now, it was probably one of the reasons she had been so nervous at first. Fully intent on rewarding her lover, she grabbed him by the waist and rolled him over. "You want a prize, huh?" she quipped.

The stunned look on his face was priceless. It was the kind of expression she expected to see if he were the winner of a lottery draw. He probably hadn't expected her to take control. She was no longer the timid girl from her pilgrimage. If he hadn't figured that out yet, he was about to.

Fascinated by the muscles on his chest, she decided to start her journey there by running her fingers and tongue along his tanned pecks. Her actions were rewarded with a low groan. The sexy sound of his voice urged her to become more daring. She hungrily moved her mouth over his stomach then down to his abdomen, savoring the salty taste of his skin.

Upon reaching the waistband of his boxers, she could feel his excitement poking at her chest. Her stomach fluttered. Technically, she knew what to do to pleasure a man, but it's not like she had ever put it into action. And this was one of those things that had made her nervous earlier. Battling through her insecurities once more, she grabbed the sides of his boxers, and yanked them off in one swift motion.

Determined more than ever to pleasure her lover, she curled a hand around his arousal, and bent down to lick the bead of moisture on its tip. Her erotic gesture elicited a loud hiss from him. There was something irresistible about hearing him make that sound. She was certain it had to do with her coaxing it out of him.

Not wasting another moment, she took him inch by inch into her mouth, relaxing her throat as she slid him deeper inside. He groaned and shut his eyes, throwing his head back on the pillow. There had never been a more alluring sight to her than how he looked at that moment. She was hooked like an addict and wanted more. Gripping the bottom of his shaft, she moved her mouth up and down the length of him, sucking hard.

"Holy shit," he groaned.

Between his labored breaths she would hear a low moan escape him every now and then. With every sexy sound he made, her confidence grew. She loved this man with every fiber of her being and she wanted him to know it.

Suddenly, his hands were on her shoulders as a loud gasp escaped his lips. "Yuna," he choked. "You need to…stop!"

Startled by his reaction, she quickly ceased her erotic maneuvers, and sat back on her legs. Her heart sank. Things had been going so well. She wasn't sure what she had done wrong. Had she hurt him? Exhaling heavily, she watched as he lay with his arm draped across his eyes while he steadied his breathing. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to—"

"Wait—what?" He sat up with an alarmed expression. "You didn't do anything wrong, Yuna."

Now, she was more confused than anything. "I don't understand."

"You did everything right. I was close—way too close."

Yuna frowned. "And that's a bad thing?"

"No, it's not a bad thing." His face softened. "Look, sometimes it can take a while for a guy to reload and fire so-to-speak. I didn't want the night to be over with."

"Oh," she said, sheepishly.

A devilish grin crossed his face. "You can think of this as pay back for what I did to you earlier."

It took a moment for her to clue in, but when she did, she was more at ease. He never ceased to amaze her with his uncanny knack to quickly turn a situation around from the brink of disaster. She smiled and wrapped her arms around his neck. "I love you."

"I love you, too." He rested his hands on her waist then softly pressed his lips against hers for a tender kiss.

His movements were much more careful now, slowly rolling her beneath him, never breaking their kiss. The gentle caress of his hands traversed up her sides then back down to her hips. She appreciated the level of care he was showing to her body in the wake of what would happen next. From what she knew, it wasn't going to be very pleasant at first.

Breaking the kiss, his eyes locked with hers in what she assumed was a silent bid to continue. "I love you, Yuna. Now and forever."

"Always, remember?"

He shifted his body into position and brushed his lips against hers. "Yes, always."

Steeling herself for what was to follow; she wrapped her arms around his neck and melted into his kiss. All the conversations she had with Rikku hadn't prepared her enough for this. A stabbing pain ripped through her core. She gripped his neck tighter, whimpering against his lips as he slid the rest of the way inside.

He stayed completely still, not moving a single muscle except to break their kiss. His worried expression suggested she was doing a horrible job of concealing what felt like sheer agony. Nevertheless, she loved this man—and even though it hurt like hell, their bodies were one right then, and that alone made the pain worth it.

"You alright?" he asked, his eyes full of concern.

Yuna forced a smile and nodded.

The questionable look he gave in return, led her to believe she had been anything but convincing. "It's okay. Take your time. When you're ready let me know."

It was almost surreal being with him like this. She was never one to lose hope, but even after talking with the fayth in the Farplane, she had resigned herself to the notion of never seeing him again. And now, he was here making love to her.

Whatever pain she had felt before seemed to vanish with her last thought. Wrapping her legs around his waist, she moved her hips against him and sucked in a sharp breath—finally experiencing the pleasure of being joined with the man she loved.

His thrusts were slow at first, moving in a rhythmic motion in tune with hers. This man was truly amazing. She couldn't get enough of him—his musky scent, his dreamy eyes, his soft lips—never in her life had she been so entranced by someone. It was as if he had become her obsession. His heavy breaths were hot against her skin. The temperature in the room felt like it rose by at least ten degrees. Every groan and grunt escaping his lips sent a fiery rush throughout her body.

Slow, careful movements had quickly turned into desperate thrusts. The familiar feeling of pleasure stirred deep within her belly. Her breaths came in heavy pants and her vision blurred. He felt so good. She didn't want this to end.

One look at Tidus' blissful expression with his eyes squeezed shut, snapped the last of her resolve. The pleasure culminating inside her body finally erupted into a blinding ecstasy. Through her passionate cries, she heard his grunts grow louder followed by the wild and unruly groan of his release. Never had she imagined hearing a man make such a sexy sound. It was both exhilarating and satisfying at the same time. In an expression of gratitude, she raked her nails down his back as his thrusts slowed to a stop. He gave her hips a gentle squeeze before collapsing onto the pillow beside her, breathing heavily on his back.

Still trying to catch her breath, she watched his chest rise and fall as, he too, focused on slowing his breathing. He was so incredibly sexy. This evening had truly been special. And she would never forget it as long as she lived. "I love you, Tidus."

He rolled on his side and draped an arm over her waist. "Yeah? How much?"

The playful tone of his voice brought a smile to her lips. She turned her head to face him and quirked a brow. "Didn't I just show you?"

He chuckled before his expression turned serious. "I love you more than life itself. And I can't imagine living without you by my side."

Something about his admission made her uneasy. It seemed rather desperate and final as though he expected her to leave him at some point. She sensed this had more to do with his insecurities than anything. "I'm not going anywhere. We're going to be together always, remember?"

"Then marry me."

It felt like all the air had escaped her lungs. Had she heard him correctly? Propping herself up on her elbows, she searched his eyes, trying to get a better read on him. "Are you being serious?"

"Yes, I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I've been thinking about it ever since I came back." He bit his lower lip then drew in a quick breath. "I don't have a ring for you yet, but I promise I'll get one."

To say she was stunned would be an understatement. The last thing she expected from him today was a marriage proposal. Her heart thumped against her chest as if it wanted to escape. She already knew what her answer would be. "You know I'm not materialistic, but...I guess I wouldn't mind having one to show off."

His face brightened. "Is that a yes?"

Shifting herself into his arms, she smiled a toothy grin, and nodded. "Yes."

Immediately, his lips captured hers in a passionate kiss, which would mark the beginning of what she believed would be a long life together. Their love was special—it survived through time, death, and defied all logic. Nothing in life was certain, but one thing to her was clear—their love was eternal.