Setting: Mount Gagazet, pre-canon.
Theme + Number: #8, "Stay Awake".
Warnings: Implied m/m/m, people getting hurt, boykissing. Shock horror.
Summary: Jecht is cold and bleeding and would really like to go to sleep. But he can't.
"Don't you dare go to sleep." Auron's voice is rough with worry and exhaustion, but his hands against Jecht's ribs are sure as he presses down on the long, bleeding gash left there by a fiend Jecht didn't dodge quite quickly enough. "Just--don't you dare."
"Braska's 'sleep," Jecht says vaguely.
"Braska," Auron says with something approaching his usual tone of voice, "is not dying of blood loss. Besides, he was not fool enough to go climbing a frozen mountain without a shirt, so he is not in danger of dying of cold as well."
Jecht doesn't think he's dying of cold. Not yet, anyway. He's only just gotten numb enough that he's not screaming in pain. He should probably be worried about that, but Auron's worried enough for both of them, so he doesn't bother.
"'m not dying of cold," he insists.
"Of course not," says Auron, slightly more testily even than usual. "Your fingers have always been blue."
"They're blue?" Jecht looks down at his fingers. They are, indeed, slightly blue at the tips. He wiggles them experimentally. At least he can still move them, even if they look almost like a stranger's hands.
Auron swats at him. "Stop moving!" he snaps.
Jecht does, more or less. Auron's wrapping some kind of bandage around him. The steady movement of his hands, around-across, around-across, is strangely soothing. Even though he knows he shouldn't, Jecht finds himself drifting away on the rhythm…
Auron slaps him across the face hard enough to sting despite the numbness. "I said, don't fall asleep," he growls. "Do you never listen?"
"Y'know me," Jecht says as cheerfully as he can manage.
"Well, try, for once in your miserable life!" Auron ties off the bandage with a brutal tug. Jecht can see him do it, but he can't feel it. Yeah, he's got problems. He does feel Auron bringing him closer to the fire. Jecht's never been a big fan of fire, but he's willing to make an exception just this once.
"When'd you light a fire, 'nyway?" he asks. He's sure he would have noticed.
"Just now." Auron's breath is harsh, and Jecht can see the sweat beading on his forehead despite the cold. Auron is no expert, but such a small magic shouldn't take so much out of him. Suddenly, Jecht feels real worry, a sharp pang that cuts through the chill. Auron never lets on when he's hurt or tired. If he can't keep it from showing, then there's something very wrong.
"Hey, you 'kay?" he asks, not expecting an honest answer.
He doesn't get one. "Fine. Drink this."
The potion is bitter on Jecht's tongue, like always, but he can't be bothered to complain. "It won't close the wound," Auron explains, "but it should replace some of the blood you lost, if--"
Jecht doesn't want to think about "if", so he doesn't. "Drink one y'rself."
"I don't--" Auron begins, but Jecht isn't dead yet, and he's not going to let Auron get away with it.
"Bull. I saw tha' thing hit you. Drink one." Auron complies. He must feel really bad. Jecht decides not to think about how hard the fiend hit him, or how little time internal bleeding can take to kill. "How's Braska?" he asks instead.
"Still unconscious," says Auron shortly. "I don't think--he'll be fine." Jecht wonders if Auron got lessons somewhere in sounding more sure of himself than he feels. It isn't working. Jecht can see him sneaking glances across the fire at Braska and trying to control the impulsive movement of his hands. This kind of thing has happened before, and he knows the signs.
At least the fire is warm and comfortable. The numbness hasn't retreated from his wounded side yet, so it only aches dully. Covered by Auron's coat, he could almost pretend it's any other day of the last week, and they're just resting for a moment before going on again. It's kind of peaceful, lying there, and Jecht feels his thoughts begin to blur around the edges…
"Jecht!" Auron shouts, and he realizes he was half-asleep. "You have to stay awake. If you sleep--"
There's that "if" again. Jecht hates "if", and it's all around him now. If his side doesn't stop bleeding soon, if he lets the cold get to him, if he falls asleep, if Auron turns out to be just as bad and collapses too, if Braska doesn't wake in time to heal them both, if another fiend finds them like this, if, if, if…all the possibilities swirl around him, dizzying, or maybe that's the blood loss, but either way the world's fuzzy and so uncertain…
"Jecht!" Auron hits him again.
"I know," he mumbles and tries to stay awake, but it's hard. He only just realized how tired he was even before the fiends attacked them, how long he's been awake, how much work it is to fight all the time, how much he'd really like to sleep, just for a little bit…
The part of his mind that's still awake hears Auron growl and then--then the rest of him decides to join it in the land of the living, because unless he's hallucinating, which is perfectly possible, Auron's kissing him, and that's worth staying awake for any day.
Auron's mouth burns against his, which Jecht figures is one part desperate passion, one part that his own lips are so cold, and one part that he's delusional. It feels strange, lopsided, to be like this, just the two of them there and Auron refusing to let Jecht sit up, but Jecht's body has decided to stop rebelling and wake up, so he doesn't much care. Besides, the fact that he's kissing Auron automatically improves the situation.
Jecht sees Braska stirring out of the corner of his eye, and he feels Auron let himself think that they might survive this after all.