Author's Note - This is highly AU. The two main characters are Seifer and Squall, but I changed names so I could fit something in. I actually wrote this story pre-FF8, but reread it to find my characters basically the same as my fav pair. I've updated it to match them a little better, but they are still a bit OC. None of the other characters are FF8 based.
Shaen woke with a start from a dream he couldn't determine as pleasing or disturbing. A brief look down told him that at least his body thoroughly enjoyed it.
"Mmm, what is it?" a sleepy voice asked next to him.
Placing an arm over his eyes, he quickly tried to remember her name. "Oh, nothing, Loraine. Just a dream. Go back to sleep."
The other body shifted and sat up. "Hmm, looks like an exciting dream. Care to share?" she asks while rubbing a fine hand over the harden flesh under the sheets.
With a lazy smile, he fingered her long brown hair. "Just dreaming of a certain irresistible brunette."
She smiled and kissed his nose lightly. "I guess you deserve a reward for that." She lowered the sheets and began to lick the already leaking member.
While her deft tongue felt good, Shaen's thoughts veered to the truth of his statement. The brunette wasn't Loraine, nor even female. It was the little demon he had currently locked up just down the hallway. It somewhat bothered him. He didn't like the idea of being attracted to another man, especially one he barely knew. Then again, of the women he had slept with over years, how many of them did he know beyond the several hours at a party or other event?
He knew what attracted him to the dark-haired man. It was the number of contradictions that surrounded him. A bloody killer who children trusted. Hard, fearful eyes on a young, handsome face. A legendary mercenary who was polite and intelligent. But how his curiosity of the man could turn into a lovely image of him writhing beneath him was beyond Shaen.
Even now, at the thought of the image, he came into the young lady's mouth. She spat the fluid onto the bed sheets.
"Shaen! You could have warned me." She pouted as she wiped her lips off with fingers.
"Sorry, my dear. It came on so suddenly from…" He didn't finish the sentence, hoping she would take the implied note that she caused his rush of excitement. He kissed her lightly, licking the corners of her mouth.
Blushing slightly, she leaned into the kiss. Before she could move closer, Shaen placed his hands on her shoulders and pushed her back gently.
"Sorry, but I have work. Thank you for the lovely night."
The beauty pouted exquisitely, but he was used to such looks. Unfazed, he got up to wash up and dress. With her still in the bed, he drafted a note in his head that would be sent to Loraine later to tenderly inform her that nothing more could happen between them. He didn't feel too guilty since she should know of his reputation.
It was earlier than he thought as he noted the darkness outside from the windows in the hallway. With a slight smile, he quietly placed his key into the lock of the door and entered. On the bed was his demon. It was the first time in a couple of weeks that he had seen the other asleep. Compared to when he was thin from starvation, he now looked alluring. Shaen had to resist his impulse to touch the soft looking skin.
The moment ended when stormy eyes opened in the near darkness and stared at the intruder. Shaen unconsciously took a small step back at the deadly threat in the eyes, but it faded quickly once the dark-haired man recognized the form by his bed.
Sitting up, he looked at the blonde with an accusing glare.
"I didn't mean to wake you, Tyr." He didn't bother with any excuses. What reason could he have to watch a sleeping man? Well, other than he was trying to figure out strange emotions he held for the demon.
"And I should probably let you go back to sleep."
Tyr lit the oil lamp near his bed, filling the room with dim light. He turned back to the blonde with a look of 'too late now'.
Shaen sighed and brought a chair closer to the bed. It amazed him how the man could say so little at one time and yet hold a decent conversation at another. With several hours until he had something scheduled to do, he hoped the young man would get into a slightly more verbose mood.
"Have you thought more about my offer?"
He leaned back against the headboard as if deciding whether to be truthful or not. "I don't think I can stay here for long."
"And why not?"
"… How long do you intend on locking me up?"
"For at least another few weeks, until I know you won’t fall off a horse when you are traveling alone."
Stormy eyes widen slightly and then his head bowed. "In that case… I have a favor to ask of you."
Hiding his surprise at the other admitting the need for help, Shaen replied, "Ask away, but no guarantees."
"I need to borrow money that I will of course return to you in… in any service you request. And there is some place I need to be in a week's time. I would return if you'd just let me go for a few days."
A blonde eyebrow raised. The man was clearly offering anything, including the possibility of sexual repayment that was probably foremost in his mind. It annoyed Shaen that the man thought so little of him, despite the fact he had been dreaming of the brunette in such a position.
"How much money?"
The hands of the dark-haired man were slowly inching up his arms in a protective hug. Shaen wondered if the other realized he was doing it, but decided it was a reflexive motion when the man was nervous.
It was a strange amount to request, but Tyr didn't seem the ordinary type. 200 gold was a large sum of money to simply loan to someone. Especially someone who was also asking to be let loose for a few days. Then again, this could lead to a decent excuse to spend time with the man.
"Very well. I'll loan you the money with the intent that you fight for it back as a member of the group. As for your trip, I will accompany you to insure you stay true to your word."
The grip on his arms tightens slightly, but he nodded his head. "That would be expected. Thank you."
Shaen was tempted to ask more about the requests, but could feel the wall Tyr placed between them. With an inward shrug, he decided he would find out anyway during their trip.
Six days later, the two mounted horses to head for Etheny, the destination somewhat surprising the blonde. He had spent the week assuring Baker that he wouldn't need additional men to keep watch over Tyr. The older man reluctantly gave in, but the worry didn't leave his eyes. Shaen didn't consider the dark-haired man threatening, especially with his nervous air the morning they left. Not for the first time, the blonde wondered what the demon had to do in Etheny.
By late afternoon, they reached the good-sized town. Following Tyr once they entered Etheny, the blonde's curiosity grew stronger when he stopped by a street vendor to purchase a wooden jewel box with a gold piece and pocketed the change. They then rode into an alleyway where the dark-haired man discreetly placed the 200 gold pieces into the box. With a jealous tinge, Shaen wondered if they were visiting an old flame.
They continued through town to the other side until they reached a narrow three-story building where they dismounted and tied the horses nearby. Reaching the door, Tyr hesitated a moment before knocking. Moments later, the door opened a crack and then suddenly swung open all the way.
"Tyr! Ah, you've come!"
An older, large woman hugged the man in what appeared a back-backing grip. He returned the hold almost carefully, a slight smile on his lips.
"I'm home, Elly."
There was the sound of padded footsteps as three young children ranging in age came out front behind the legs of the woman. Working his way out of the hug, he bent down to be eye level with them.
"Tyr?" the boy asked.
"Hello, Chael. Arisu. And is that Erin? My, you're going to be quite the lady. Afraid I didn't have time for presents, so I hope this will do." Fishing into his pocket, he pulled out six silver pieces. The children smiled as they took their two pieces each and thanked full-heartily to the man.
"Now, you're just spoiling them. Those brats don't need so much." Shaen noticed the warm glitter in her eyes that contradicted her rather harsh words. "Ah, look at me. You've come all this way, even brought a guest, and you're still outside. Come in, come in. You're in time for dinner."
Tyr came up from his squatting position and swayed unsteadily. The blonde placed an arm around his back to prevent a fall.
"Are you okay?"
Walking inside after the dark-haired man, Shaen noticed an odd look from the older woman and realized he had yet introduced himself.
Bowing slightly, he said, "Forgive my rudeness. I'm an acquaintance of Tyr's. You can call me Shaen."
She smiled broadly. "Good to meet you, Shaen. I'm Eleanor Drey, but in this house everyone calls me Elly."
Suddenly, a group of older children entered the room from the stairs and surrounded Tyr. They all asked about his latest adventures, where he's been hiding, and the like. They appeared to know the man better than the younger children from before. On the stairs, however, there was an older girl who looked warily at the dark-haired man.
"Tyr, why don't you and the little ones go into the main room to talk? I'll yell when dinner is ready."
Whether Tyr wanted to or not didn't matter as the children pushed him in that direction. The blonde was surprised that the man was smiling in his vague way through it all. This must be how he got good with children.
"Shaen. How would you enjoy a cup of tea with an old lady?"
"I think that sounds lovely."
They went into the kitchen, which had a small table for four to sit at. The blonde got comfortable as Elly placed an old kettle over a stove in addition to the two large pots on it.
"So, how do you know Tyr?"
"It's somewhat a long story. At the moment, he is a member of my mercenary group." Shaen decided on the vague route, unsure how much Tyr would want the older woman to know of his past.
She sighed. "It hurts me that such a good boy fights like that. But it's what he wants…." She took a couple of matching teacups and dishes from a cabinet and placed them on the table. "And it seems he likes you quite a lot, so I guess it could be worse."
"Well, I'm not sure if he cares for me, but I'm pleased he agreed to join our group."
She pointed a finger at the blonde. "Oh, he likes you. Children aside, he doesn't care for people touching him, especially his backside."
Shaen felt a touch of surprise and interest at hearing this. While he wasn't sure if he believed the demon liked him, this woman knew things about him. Things that he'd probably never get out of the silent man.
"How he is related to you? I can't see a family resemblance."
Taking a seat while the water heated, she smiled. "Well, he is different from the others here. Most are those left by troubled parents or those who have no family left. As for Tyr…." She paused a moment in brief memory. "I found him exactly twelve years ago. You see, today is the anniversary of the day he joined this house. Since he started living on his own, he always comes back on this day. I admit was rather worried he wouldn't make it with the rumors about that man's -- Keltbow or something -- of his castle being destroyed. I held my breath all day." She said the last part while wiping a tear with a rag.
"You knew Tyr was imprisoned there?"
"How could I not? He was sent there because of what happened the last time he was here." Seeing the confusion on his face, she continued. "I don't know too many details. Tara, she's one of the older girls in the group, was almost taken away by some soldiers with sex on the brain.
"Tyr tried to save her, killing many of them in the rescue. One of them used Tara as a hostage, and he surrendered for her safety. Luckily, some of the older boys were around to make sure that Tara was returned, though they felt awful about Tyr giving himself up like that. The lad has always kept on eye on us."
Shaen sat back in thought, smiling slightly at learning the reason for the fool Kelbaugh getting a hold on the demon. It had seemed too easy.
His thoughts were broken as Elly began pouring hot water over tealeaves. "Can I ask you a favor, young Shaen."
"Ask and I'll see what I can do."
She laughed softly. "I like a man who doesn't give false promises." After returning the kettle to the stove, she sat down and leaned in a little. "I need you to keep an eye on Tyr for me."
Sipping the deliciously warm liquid, he smiled. "Even if you hadn't asked, I would."
"Umm, but there's something more. He's… a good boy, but different. He's always been such the adult, even when just above my knee in height. When I found him, he was a bloody mess, as if wolves got to him. But I know knife wounds when I see them. For the life of me, I can't understand why someone would harm a child like that."
Frowning, Shaen thought back about the two long scars that were on the man's back. When he first cared for the man, they had appeared to be healing wounds, but were in reality deep scars. Perhaps they were evidence of that time long ago. Elly was right. Harming a defenseless child was immoral at the least.
"In case he stays with you for a time, let me warn you. Sometime after the New Year, when winter is at its worst in these parts, he'll disappear on you. He worries me every time, but not once was I able to keep him locked up. With so many children running about, I couldn't spend every moment on him. The worst part is he always seems to leave sick and come back worse. I remember the last time he was gone for almost a full week in horrible blizzards before he returned. Maybe you can stop him better than I."
"He does this every year?" She nodded with a touch of motherly sadness. "I appreciate the warning. I'd hate to see my new man getting ill."
As the older woman got up to finish making dinner, Shaen swore to himself that he wasn't going to let the demon get himself killed in a blizzard after all this effort to make him healthy again. There was no sense in that.
After a surprisingly good dinner at the large table in the main room, Tyr and Shaen were forced to stay in the house overnight. Before the children woke the next morning, they shared breakfast with Elly and left after both received a tight hug from the large woman. Shaen suddenly felt like he had been adopted into her 'family' without realizing it.
On the journey back, Tyr let his horse follow Shaen's as he sank into his thoughts. He had seen Tara's wary glances from across the table and noticed her successful attempts at staying far from him. She feared him. He couldn't blame the young woman, but it hurt nonetheless. She had been first a little sister to him when they were younger, but to him it grew into something more. He never got the chance to ask if she felt the same. She would just run from him now.
It was no matter. He was able to leave the jewel box with the coins in Elly's room just before they left. She was too proud to accept the money, so he always found new ways of sneaking the gold to her. He could never repay the woman for her kindness, but the amount at least helped the orphanage throughout the year.
The ride was surprisingly quiet, the blonde perhaps lost in his own thoughts. There was something about the man that made Tyr feel threatened. Not that his life was in danger, but rather his freedom would be stripped from him. The man was getting too close to him, as if trying to form some kind of bond that would keep him from leaving.
With a shadow of a smile, he swore silently that he would escape the blonde once his debts had been paid. If it meant fighting the man, then so be it.
Barely a week after the trip, Tyr was led to a dirt courtyard by the blonde. The sun had just risen over the mountains in the distance, the morning air cool and refreshing. Several men were already sparring in the area, though most were watching with tired eyes while leaning against the wall.
"Ho, Commander. Finally going to test the boy out?"
Tyr looked at the approaching man. He was older, but he had firm muscles and the confident stride of an experience warrior.
"We aren't out here for some tea, Baker. Have a blade lying around for him to use?"
"What, you're not planning on personally testing him out, are you?"
The blonde winked. "You know how much I like taking advantage of a favorable situation."
Not having touched a sword in a year, Tyr knew he wasn't going to be much of a match for the man today, but like hell he was going to make it easy for him. Shaen looked like a man to rely on strength in a fight. Perhaps he didn't defend well against speed. Eyeing the blonde, Tyr thought that he was at least lucky enough to have started exercises in the room to build up his strength a bit.
"This should be a fast fight. Take my blade, boy."
The sword was heavier than he preferred and the hilt was too long, but Tyr nodded his thanks without a word of complaint. Straight away, he let his body relax into a loose stance and he focused on Shaen.
"Oh, so ready to lose, are we? Very well." He pulled out his blade and got into a defensive stance. He motioned forward with his hand. "Come and get me, little demon."
Stormy eyes squinted in annoyance at the mocking tone, but he quickly put the emotion aside. Thoughts couldn't be wasted on petty matters. Holding the sword to his side with both hands, he ran straight towards the blonde. He could see the man prepare for the expected upward cut. With a slight smile, Tyr suddenly bent low and spun. An extended leg easily knocked the confused man to the ground. Standing quickly, the brunette held the point of his sword down to Shaen's neck.
Wide green eyes slowly narrowed as the blonde began to laugh. "Bravo, demon. Bravo. I am impressed. Though I will make you pay for such a cheap trick."
"Perhaps." Tyr made a shallow cut into the pale flesh. "But first blood is mine."
"As would be expected of 'Bloody Tyr'."
The brunette frowned. "I do not care for that title."
The blonde smirked and raised a hand to him. Before he realized what he was doing, Tyr grabbed the hand and helped the man to his feet. As they stood close, Shaen didn't release the grip and perhaps held tighter when the shorter man's hand loosened. Staring eye to eye, something resembling fear flooded through the brunette. His mind focused on one thought - Shaen wasn't going to let him free.
And then the connection was gone as the other went to pick up his dropped sword.
With a cocky grin, the blonde faced Tyr. "Until I restore my honor, there is no mercy. Prepare yourself, demon."
With sigh, Tyr put the small purse of coins into his dresser. In the past months, he had been fighting under the leadership of the blonde. Of his pay, most had been deducted for his debt but Shaen insisted he keep some for his own uses. In retrospect, it was a good idea since the brunette had lost his blade over a year ago and the stock ones here weren't sturdy enough for his aggressive attacks.
According to his calculations, nearly two-thirds of his debt has been paid through the deductions, and after purchasing necessary equipment, there was the purse of almost twenty gold left. In other words, he just missed. If only there had been one more mission, then perhaps he could have left before the snow began to fall. He was tempted to believe the blonde planned it this way.
Looking at the bed, he wished he could take the warm cover sheet with him, but the item in his hands would most likely make someone suspicious and send word to Shaen. He didn't intend to leave the group, which it would appear. Just a few days, or perhaps a week was all he needed and then he would return. With a slight smile and a quiet laugh, he wondered how furious the blonde would be with his 'demon' missing.
He poured a glass of water, his throat hot and dry. The liquid was mildly refreshing, though its effects didn't last long. Placing fingers against his temple, he could already feel his skin heating to higher temperatures. Setting the empty glass down, he decided it was time to stop delaying himself.
After locking his door, he strode at a regular pace down the hall. It was well before dawn, so not many people should be awake and wandering yet. Especially with little to do in the winter months except get warm with drink in the night hours. Reaching the nearest side entrance, though, it appeared someone was up this morning.
"Captain Baker," he said with a nod of the head.
"Good morn, Tyr. What can I do you for?"
"Nothing, sir. If you'd excuse me…" Tyr took a step forward, but an arm rose to block his path.
"Hey, lad. There's a least a foot of snow out there. Not the best strolling conditions, especially when it's still dark out."
Instantly, the wrongness of the situation hit the brunette. Why would the older man be awake this early and just happen to be standing near one of the few exits outside? Examining the man's face, there was a gleam in his brown eyes that suggested he knew something.
Without another thought, Tyr ducked and lunged forward beneath the larger man's arm. Taking advantage of Baker's surprise, he got to the doorway and quickly knocked out the bar. Though he managed one step out of the opened door, the old warrior had quickly recovered from the fast dodge and tackled the smaller man. Both fell into the thick snow.
With a strong hand pinning both arms behind the brunette, Baker stood and forced the other man onto his feet and in the direction of the doorway. Seeing no feasible way to escape, Tyr let himself be lead back inside. It surprised him, however, when he wasn't returned to his own room.
Baker stopped him in front of a double door entrance and then knocked loudly. There was a muffled reply followed by two voices talking. A door suddenly opened as a woman stormed out in only her underclothes. Tyr blushed slightly at the unexpected sight.
"This better be good," a familiar voice said from inside. Gray blue eyes narrowed as he realized he'd be foolish to think anyone would cause him trouble.
Baker opened the door wider and pushed the brunette forward, but didn't release the steel grip.
"I believe this is the man you ordered." Tyr started as a large hand was placed onto his forehead. "And he appears to be nicely warmed for you."
With a loose robe on, Shaen walked up to the captured man. He placed his own hand on the heated skin and sighed. "Stupid demon, you shouldn't play in snow with a fever. It may cool you off, but you'll only get sicker."
The blonde smirked. "How did I know you'd run off? A worried, little bird told me. There are men posted at every exit, so you won't be leaving anytime soon. Why don't you go back to bed like a good boy?"
Anger flashed through the brunette, but it was quickly suppressed. To fight or yell would only waste energy. There had to be another way out of here and raging would only blur his ability to think. He nodded to Shaen, admitting his momentary defeat.
The three men walked to the brunette’s room a short way down the hall, Baker never releasing his grip. Tyr wanted to laugh at how seriously they were taking this. Only Elly could have told Shaen about his winter outing, and she didn’t even know his reasoning. Why bother wasting resources to guard one man who leaves for a few days? It wasn’t logical.
At the open doorway, Tyr was released into his room. His own key was left with him, Shaen explaining with a grin that the men needed more experience at guarding, anyway. The door was closed and locked, Tyr left alone. He looked outside the window at the deep navy color of the sky. He tried to breathe against the feel of an illusionary collar tightening around his neck, against the idea that he was trapped.