Parting with Laguna had gone okay. It had been more than weird, eating ice cream with the two of them. Laguna hadn't stopped talking and Leon hadn't said more than two words, she was sure. But that was to be expected. They were them. And Leon didn't know about... stuff. Like Laguna being Squall's father. And then, in turn, in a very freaked and messed out way, also Leon's.
Rinoa wasn't sure what to believe anymore. And she wasn't sure if she was welcome back to the apartment, now that she'd left. "Uh. Thank you back there. For getting me back again."
"...Don't worry about it." Leon said that a lot to her. Really, because he didn't want her worrying about thanking him or anything. He was still going over the whole fight in his head. The whole thing had been kind of surreal. And that Laguna guy was starting to feel more and more uncomfortably familiar as Leon thought about it.
"You keep saying not to worry about it. Not worry about anything." She couldn't help but worry. It was like she was made to worry. And she felt insecure around him right now. She wasn't even sure why. "I can't just turn it off." And she was babbling. Yei.
"...Sorry." This was the pattern, he'd realized. He'd tell her not to worry, she'd get irritated, and he'd apologize. It was all too familiar.
"No, I'm sorry." Biting her lip, she stopped walking for a second. "For the whole sleep spell thing too. I'll understand if... I mean, if you don't want me to come back and stuff. I'll get it."
"...Why would I want that?" Just because she'd done something kinda dumb didn't mean he wanted to kick her out.
"I don't know. Because I did that? What if someone came and killed you all when you were sleeping?" And she so hadn't thought about this when she'd cast it. Hello, guilt. "Not to mention that I am Ultimecia and thus pose a threat at all times."
"But no one did." And he really couldn't help it. The streets were quiet enough that no one he'd know would see them, so he reached out and took her hand in his. "....And I can bring you back from that."
Rinoa looked down at their joined hands and felt something stir inside and she wasn't sure if it was Ultimecia writhing in anger or her own fears letting go, but she knew she was on the verge of tears. "I... Thank you."
Leon looked over at her, actually lifting a corner of his mouth in an almost-smile. "...Don't worry about it. I'm glad I can help you."
Rinoa stood there, fidgeting for a minute before moving forward tentatively and hugging him. He wasn't comfortable with this, she knew that, but she couldn't help herself. "Thank you."
Leon blinked, and slowly moved his arms around her. Sure, it was awkward as hell, but she seemed to be big on the whole touching thing.
"I was scared when she took over again." He'd saved her from that. He kept saving her, but she would keep getting into trouble, she knew. This Ultimecia deal sucked so much. "I just- I...."
"There has to be a way to get rid of her." Leon believed that it was possible to get Ultimecia out of Rinoa's body. It was possible to force her to the back of Rinoa's consciousness, it had to be possible to remove her completely.
"I hope so." Rinoa could hear her own voice muffled against the material of his jacket and burrowed her head just a little bit more against him. Hopefully she could keep the waterworks off for a while.
Leon tightened his arms around her a little. She just brought out this softer side of him that generally only Aerith could drag out of him. Of course, it wasn't exactly the same with Rinoa.
After a while of just standing there, Rinoa pulled away, looking up at him. She owed Leon a lot. More than a lot. She owed him her life. She'd owed Squall her life too. So she probably owed Leon two lives. Her head wasn't making sense. And neither were her actions. She wasn't sure what made her do it, but she was reaching up to touch his face before she could stop herself, tracing a finger along his scar.
Leon held still, looking past her fingers, down at her. "....Heartless. I was trying to hold them off while the others got on the ship. Cid had to haul me out of a mess of them." It was hardly his proudest moment.
"Seifer." Rinoa answered back, smiling softly. "You were sparring, but it got a little out of hand..."
Leon frowned a little. "...Seifer is an idiot." He got that from the man harassing him on the journals. Whatever their relationship was that he could vaguely remember, clearly they had never gotten along.
Rinoa laughed, bringing her other hand up to rest on his chest as she nodded. "Seifer is an asshole." There wasn't much doubt in her mind about that part.
Leon nodded a little, before this stance reminded him of something, and he tilted his head to the side. "......You knew Seifer before you knew me."
Raising her eyes to his, she looked a bit puzzled before nodding, if a bit hesitantly. "Yes. He was... We were together for a little while. That was before he turned into the biggest jerk on the face of the earth and tried to sacrifice me to Adel, of course."
Leon's face darkened somewhat. He remembered that. Very clearly. "....I think I still need to kill him for that."
"Hey," Rinoa made a face at him, shaking her head lightly. "My fight. I get to kick him a lot first."
"..And then I get to kill him."
"Right." Laughing, she smiled widely, all previous fear having seeped out of her at just his touch.
Leon couldn't help but smile. Just a little. Because her smile had a funny effect on him. And made him want to be less stony. If only around her.
Seeing him smile shocked her. A lot. Squall had never smiled. It was... nice. And she could feel herself only smiling more. Her hand slipped down to his cheek, rubbing over the small stubble for a few seconds before starting to pull away. But she didn't want to. Hyne, she didn't want to.
Leon figured that was probably a sign they should be getting going. "...We should...probably get back to the apartment."
"Yeah." She answered, but didn't move.
And he didn't either. Because she didn't.
Rinoa really had no clue what she was doing. Or if he'd push her away. But she was pulling closer again, not away. Was it a good thing, a bad thing? A very very stupid thing that would freak him out? Probably. But there was just something that prevented her from stopping.
He didn't really know what he was doing. What she was doing. He was just so close to her, and he knew he loved her. He couldn't say it, but he knew it. Otherwise he wouldn't have done everything he did. So, having the occasional impulse, he tilted his head down between that last bit of distance and kissed her. It was light, and brief, but he'd done it.
Rinoa probably broke a little in that second, but then healed even more for it. Breathless only from that brief instant of contact, her eyes fluttered open again and she looked up at him, hazily. Hyne. Without thinking, she raised herself up again, kissing him back, this time holding on a little bit longer.
Leon pulled his arms even tighter around her as she kissed him again. At least he knew he hadn't done something seriously messed up. Or maybe he did. Right now, he didn't feel like caring.
Feeling absolutely safe, so close to him, Rinoa dared herself to smile against his mouth before pulling away, again breathless. "Mmm."
Leon looked down at her, his eyes soft, and absently brushed a strand of hair away from her face. "...Now can we go back to the apartment?"
Collapsing against him, giggling, Rinoa nodded, feeling like she could float right about now. She wouldn’t be surprised if she did, either. "Yes."
Leon smiled a little more, practically a grin, and moved away from her, sliding his hand into hers. Yes. Today had been a good day. Despite the fighting and the fact that when they got home he'd really need to bandage his arm.
She'd probably insist on doing that for him. Letting herself be dragged away, for the first time in Twilight, she felt like things might actually turn out okay after all.