"I--" Jecht hiccuped, lolled for a minute, scuffed mailed fingertips in the coarse, shit-brown dust of Djose cliffs. "I have a son, y'know."

He was halfway through Auron's bottle of sake--wouldn't make it the rest of the way, but nobody ever did. Auron was, he had said, too sober. Braska was off meditating, Jecht's eyebrows were singed from getting to close to a fire element, and Auron was pouring sweat under his coat and just drunk enough that the skin on his forehead was starting to crumple, like it always did when all the thoughts he'd buried under his vows came bubbling up.

Jecht groaned, let the bottle slip a little from his grip, let himself fall with a great animal heave of his back to lie sprawled in the dirt. Auron could see flakes of it clinging to his bare skin, suspended in drops of sweat; there was dust caught in the crinkles of dead skin in the scars that stood out like staccato shrieks on his arms; there was the healing pink flesh of a lightning burn laced into the tattoo stamped black upon the whole expanse of his chest. Fine dark hairs scorched away. Belt riding a little uneven, one side lower than the other

Yevon, they looked beautiful--his scars. Braska always healed Auron too well, everything smoothed over perfectly with magic, but let Jecht suffer just a bit, because he liked it that way. No marks of what they'd been through--and though his summoner's care warmed his gut better than the sake, he suddenly wanted wounds like Jecht's, so badly, ridging and furrowing their way along his skin. Distinctive. Something to run hands over, tongues--

"Miss him," Jecht whispered, like a man talking in his sleep. "An' my wife--c'mere, honey, sweet thing, m'lady girl..." Thumb hooked into his belt, tendons and knuckles standing out in the gray light, fine muscles down his forearm twitching.

Auron gritted his teeth, hard, and pried his bottle out of Jecht's hand--and he was far gone not to protest, too far gone. Better to let him sleep it off half-naked in the dirt. Better to guard his summoner, and instead have to watch those fine features sheltered under heavy robes. The muscles round his eyes were aching.

Jecht reached out a wavering hand for him when he was gone, but let it thump back bruising to the ground.


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