Judgement of Worth
May 2002 (revised Oct 2002)

 

[Squall]

"Hello, Seifer. It is good to see you well."

"You are…And I…right in front…not one fucking word…"

I remain silent as the blonde rants incomprehensibly while pacing angrily. Soon enough he should come to the correct assumptions by himself. Meanwhile, I examine my hand as I change it into a dark paw and then return it to normal shape. All my life, I could never control this bothersome transformation. Strange how simple it seems now.

"I should've guessed. The arrow shaft, vanishing scars, the fucking same eyes!" He finally stops and takes a deep breath. "Alright. Alright! I can handle this. It doesn't matter that you didn't trust me enough to tell me. We can still make this work."

Or perhaps he'll need a little bit of prompting in the right direction after all.

"Seifer. My life is one of a beast from the full moon to the new moon, and then I am human until the moon returns to its fullest." Not seeing any kind of recognition within his eyes, I take a step closer to him as I simplify the statement. "Half my existence has been as a cat, the other part as man."

His eyes lose some of their focus, turning to thought. "Half beast…half man… …"

I smile sadly at his slow realization. "Yes, Arbiter. The time of trial has come."

"But, it's just a myth. A stupid tale my father told me."

I raise an eyebrow at the words.

"…And cats don't transform into humans. Alright, fine. I'm an Arbiter. But it's not like anyone has told me what to do in this situation."

"You are to judge the worthiness of me and my clan."

He smirks almost gleefully. "Well, that's simple enough. I hereby declare you worthy for the rank of man, but only as long as you stay with me in exchange, that is," he adds with a wink.

I stare at him, stunned. Only this man could mock a ritual created by the Spirits.

Gathering my senses, I stride directly up to him. Pressing our bodies together, I hunger for the taste of his lips. He bends down slightly for me so we can kiss as we have many times in the past, though perhaps a more desperate edge exists on my side. Sliding my hands down his back, I pray the Spirits don't condemn me for this. Bringing my hand to the front, I start unlacing his trousers.

Seifer leans back from the kiss just far enough to speak. "Umm. Squall, shouldn't we go somewhere more comfortable?"

I growl in response, taking back his lips with mine. The trousers are finally loose enough for me to fit my hand inside and grasp his responsive flesh. As I stroke, I feel his hands traveling to their favorite destination. One massages my lower cheek as finger enters me none too gently. I have to pull back from the kiss to take a gasping breath.

"Spirits, Squall. I love it when you're aggressive." He leans close to my ear and whispers. "I want to be inside you."

And I want it, too. Just once more to feel that real connection between us.

With smooth speed, he quickly rids himself of his clothing. But before he can take control of the situation, I direct him with my body to lie down onto the grassy ground. Though a bit surprised, he doesn't mind the position of me straddling him. As he places his hands on my waist to steady me, I maneuver myself over his ridged cock. He moans in satisfaction as I move down on him.

I didn't realize how taxing it would be with me doing most of the work, but I can't seem to bring myself to stop either. Judging by the strangled moans, the blonde is both frustrated and pleased with my unusually slow motions. But it's not really for him that I'm making it last. I want this moment of completeness to linger. A moment where I can't separate my existence from Seifer's. But like every time before, it ends.

For a short time I allow myself time to recover my breath before pushing off the dazed blonde.

"Uh--n, don't move. You were fine."

I ignore him as I walk to his scattered clothing. "So, no one told you."

"Hn?"

I toss an unsheathed dagger onto his bare chest. "The trial is a death match."

He sits up quickly, the blade falling to the ground. Green eyes fixed on it for a moment as if the weapon could bite him like a snake, and then he looks back up to me, questions filling his gaze.

"Arbiter, I should die tonight."

His eyes go wide as he rises unsteadily to his feet. "What fucking nonsense is that? Why even consider it?"

"My clan does not deserve to become human. You showed me that."

There's a bark of laughter.  "I'm hardly an example of a decent human being."

I shake my head. "You saved me without concern of my past, took care of me. And the humans of your clan treated you with such tenderness when I could only fear for your life. You saw those of my clan. They care only for themselves, perhaps only helping a kin in need. And they were all too happy at the chance to kill a helpless human though I declared you as my savior. Even the people of your clan let me be when they found me unthreatening."

"But… but what of that older feline? It helped to save me. That means there are some worthy, right?"

"No. He did it only for my sake. That was my sire. Even he would have killed you if I were not there."

His head bowed and his hands clutches into fists, I can feel his raging emotions from here. "I don't want this. I didn't ask for this."

My eyes narrow. I walk the few paces to him. "Seifer!"

His head jerks up in response just as I swipe a hand across his face. Blood spurts from the slice between his eyes and he stumbles back a few feet as a hand goes to his forehead. He stares at the red liquid on his palm with a shocked expression, eyes slowly shifting back to me in disbelief. I fix onto his gaze as I lick the sweet blood from the extended claw on my finger.

"I have killed plenty of humans before. You would not have been the first nor the last if we had never met before the trial."

He straightens, ignoring the mild flow of blood. "What are you doing, Squall?"

"This is not about you. You are simply an Arbiter chosen by the Spirits. Do your duty."

"I can't kill you!"

"Not your choice to make."

I pick up his dagger from the ground and throw it at him. Unable to dodge, he catches it skillfully to prevent the blade from entering his flesh. Before he can drop it again, I attack with clawed hands. His fighter reflexes act in defense before he can consciously oppose the undesired battle. Planning my attacks carefully, I have tentative control of the fight as I force it to a higher intensity. Soon enough, he loses himself in the deadly dance and adds his own threatening attacks. Perhaps it is due to his destiny as an Arbiter that he cannot resist this fight.

In an odd sense, this feels the same as having sex with him. The passion between us builds to painful pleasure, the blood split almost like the sparks of a roaring flame. My whole body is heated and tense while my senses are completely focused on him. For that split second it is only Seifer and I joined as one being.

And then it ends.


[Seifer]

Steady hands covered in blood lay gently but firm on top of my hand that clutches the dagger. Stormy eyes narrow slightly as he smiles at me. Lush pink lips say something to me, but I can't hear his voice. He is falling and I can't move to stop him. I just stand there with a bloodied blade. Ever so slowly, I look down on him. Eyes closed and lips parted in a smile, he seems asleep and dreaming of pleasant memories. If it only weren't for the blood.

I sneer at the still form. "What do you have to smile about, bastard? If you think you've finally run away from me, forget it."

Turning the handle of my dagger in hand, I place my other hand behind it and point the blade to my bare chest. The sight of the quiet brunette filling my gaze, I pull the darkened blade towards me.

Before it touches skin, the knife is ripped from my hands and flies into midair. In confused shock I watch the dagger hover in nothingness as a blue hand forms around the handle. Spreading from that point and on, a woman emerges from empty air. She has an unearthly beauty, her blue hair streaked with yellow gold caught in a permanent wind.

"Shiva…"

"It's good to know humankind hasn't completely forgotten about the Spirits."

My awe is quickly replaced with cold fury. "I have fulfilled my damn duty, so why do you interfere?"

"My poor child. You cannot take your own life," she says as she seals the dagger in ice and lets it drop to the ground.

"Why not? Have someone else you want me to murder?"

She frowns.  "This was necessary as your role, Arbiter. This trial is meant to strength your kind. If humans have grown weak, you would have died and thus new strong blood would join your race. But in this case, they were not worthy to join your rank. The blood would have only served to weaken humans."

"You dare to call him weak?"

"No, the boy was indeed strong. I must admit a trial has never proceeded like this, the chosen one deciding the fate of his kind instead of leaving it to the Arbiter. But his reasons are true."

"He's reasons were insane. Neither of us should have died. Thanks for the chit-chat, but if you don't mind, he is waiting--"

"One day, you will reunite with him in some time, in some place. Committing suicide like this will only serve to damage your spirit to the point that it cannot travel to him." She places a chilled hand against my cheek. "My child, I felt the love between you both. It is for that reason alone I came here to counsel you. Heed my warning."

I swat the hand away. "Are you done?"

The Spirit pulls back from me and nods slightly.

"Then leave... I have a grave to dig."

With a vague, relieved smile on her lips, Shiva disappears into a swirling blizzard that blinds me. When my vision returns, the rays of the sun return to the forest as if I had merely dreamed. Thinking of nothing but the mechanical tasks at hand, I pick up my shirt to cover the still smiling face. After putting on my trousers and ignoring his dried seed coating my stomach, I lift the lean yet heavy body into my arms. Near the waterfall should be the best place for him so the pixies may help his spirit laugh, wherever it has traveled to. I suppose I should return to the cabin first to get a shovel.

…And I am fooling myself. I drop to my knees with him held close. Moisture glides down my face, but I just don't care. Looking at the cloth covering his face, I try to remember every one of his small expressions. I clutch him hard against my chest, half hoping he would make a sound of pain. Of course it doesn't come.

"You fucking better well return to me like you promised. I swear on our blood that I'll hunt you down otherwise."

Please…wait for me.


[EPILOGUE...aka afraid of what people would say if I simply left it there]

A small feline trots its way along hard ground, moving as fast as it can despite the tight bandaging on its shoulder. Skillfully dodging sneakers and high heels, it travels without being noticed by most of the people towering over it. Never stopping, it proceeds over white lines on the black pavement, as if knowing this is the best way to cross safely. Sometime later, it turns left at a corner, its momentum abruptly halted as the cat hits headlong into a pair of boots.

"… …"

The lean brunette bends down, leather pants squeaking in the movement, and he picks up the dark brown cat with care. The animal doesn't resist as the man cradles him and then softly massages its head in an examination for damage.

"God damned cat! Get the fuck back--"

A blonde man runs around the corner, almost running into the silent brunette himself. With startled green eyes, he stares at the shorter man directly before him.

"Looking for something, perhaps?"

"Uh, yeah. That furry thing you're holding, to be specific."

"I don't notice a collar. Is he your pet?"

"Fuck, no. Like I'd want that demon as a pet. Just a stray I'm helping out."

Stormy blue eyes study the blonde, making the man shift his footing under the intense stare.

"If you're thinking it's hurt because of me, stop now. I found the kitten being used as a rag doll by some neighborhood dog."

The brunette stares a few moments longer before turning his gaze to the feline that was attempting to bat the longish strands of his hair.

"Hungry, little one? I think I have some sashimi left over from lunch." With that, he turns his back on the larger man and begins to walk away.

"Hey… Hey, wait a minute here! Are you stealing that flea bag from me?"

He stops at the question and angles his body to the blonde. "You can come if you want."

There is only a brief hesitation before he smirks with his reply.  "Hn, I had better to make sure you don't poison it."

They walk silently as the brunette looks straight ahead while rubbing the drowsy feline in his arms. The blonde however constantly steals glances at the other man through the corner of his eye, the action resulting in some near misses with a bench and some pedestrians.

With a growl he says, "Okay, I give up! Don't take this the wrong way, but do I know you from somewhere?"

A secretive smile forms on the brunette's lips, his expression revealing none of his thoughts. "Perhaps."

 

{And thus, a cheeseball ending}