One would think someone would have noticed. The sudden shift. The shrouded tenseness. But instead, they all see is the perfect ending of a princess fairy tale story. Who cares if it wasn't the right one. However, I shouldn't put all the blame onto them. Spending a lifetime at not revealing my thoughts and feelings to anyone, it is natural that I wouldn't begin now.
I don't love Rinoa. Never had. I admit I had grown to like her as much as I could any person and she does have a gorgeous body, but there isn't love for her. Unfortunately, that isn't the same for her. While I think she is more attracted to the princess and knight living happily ever after than anything close to a real relationship, she wants me. And the day she received her sorceress powers, she got me.
I don't believe she meant to do it. She desperately wanted me to love her. Add to that her inexperience with the magical powers, and suddenly a kind of love spell was placed on me. Hyne knows she isn't smart enough to think of it herself, let alone figure out how to do it. The girl is cheerful and good-hearted, but you don't really overhear people complementing her for her brains.
The spell is slowly driving me insane. If only it made me love her instead of making me act like I love her. Never out loud can I say 'I don't love Rinoa.' I tried, but it always comes out the opposite or some pain drives my breath away. She commands, I obey. Everyone knows I can't stand social events, or if I have to go I'd rather stay in the shadows. But because she wants me to, I go to these parties with her and stand out in the lime light by her side. I am dreading the day she will get me to propose to her. There have been subtle hints, but I can resist those enough. I'm not that weak. But it's only a matter of time.
At the moment, I'm in the Headmaster's office and still officially known as the Acting Headmaster. I never realized how much vacation time one man could build up. I'm no fool, though. Cid is testing me out, and since the Garden is still doing just fine without him, I think he will be giving me the title of Headmaster soon enough. I don't mind much either way. I get a lot of alone time with this job, sitting in the office and signing papers. And since I have had some issues with authority figures in the past, what better option is there except to be the top. In the end, it will be a matter of duty to the Garden I was raised in, but it helps to focus on the perks.
A buzz from the outer office wakes me from my thoughts. "Sir, the President of Esthar is here to see you."
"Show him in."
I stand up from the desk that is covered with neat piles of papers, and prepare for my father. I don't bother resisting his open affections for me anymore. That's just how Laguna is. But he is also rather clumsy, so I make sure to steer him clear of the orderly desk. We meet halfway through the room.
"My son, how are you?" he asks while trying to break my spine. I think my back has gotten stronger since I met this man.
"Fine," I say once I can breath again.
"So, ready for our lunch together? I was thinking seafood. Or perhaps pasta."
I shrug. It didn't matter to me as long as it was food. More so, I was happy to see Laguna, although of course I don't show it. Over the past months, we have gotten to know each other better as father and son. He is an idiot and drives me crazy at times, but he also has that energetic air about him that makes me feel better. Plus, he is my father. He left me at the orphanage, but he did have his reasons. I can forgive him, especially with his full-hearted attempts to make up for lost time. It is an orphan's dream to have their parents back, so why resist it?
We take the elevator down and just as the doors open, she is standing there.
"Ah, Rinoa! Good to see you," Laguna says giving her a gentler hug than the one he gave me before.
"I didn't know you were coming today. Are you going to lunch?" she asks.
I nod in reply, my mood already sinking inside. I had hoped to spend time alone with Laguna. It would be time for relaxation, as he would talk happily about anything and everything. It helped me to believe the world wasn't as dull as I saw it.
"Wonderful! I'll go with you," she says linking her elbow with mine. Why did she always have to touch? "There is a great new salad bar in town." I couldn't say 'no' to her, and I know Laguna was a pushover, so I guess the choice was made.
Walking towards the entrance of the Garden, I spotted a familiar blonde whose hair had grown a bit longer in the past few months.
"Give me one minute," and I run towards Seifer before Rinoa could tell me to wait.
A couple of weeks after the defeat of the sorceress, Seifer asked to come back to the Garden and finish his SeeD training. He had looked ragged, as I'm sure everyone had given him a difficult time for all he did under Ultimecia's control. I was glad he came back, hoping he could find some relief here where there was at least a handful of people who knew what he went through. But since he arrived, I hadn't seen the blonde. I probably spent too much time behind the desk.
He looks up from his sitting spot on the low wall, probably hearing my boots pounding on the floor. He seems better than when he first came, but there certainly isn't that arrogant air around Seifer as I had grown used to over the years. This experience affected him in more ways than one, hopefully most for the better.
"Seifer." Now that I was standing in front of him, I don't know what to say. I wanted to know how he was doing, but he wouldn't be the type to gush out his feelings and problems. We were alike in that way, only I hide behind apathy while he hides with a sneer and anger.
He smiles cynically as he closes his book. "And what did I do to grant me the grace of your presence, Acting Headmaster?"
"I haven't seen you since you came. I just got in reports on your progress. Looks like you'll easily make SeeD this time, perhaps top of your class."
"Ho, so you're keeping an eye on me? How kind." The sneer was in place.
I shake my head. "I've seen the reports on everyone. Can't help it that your name stands out."
Normally, he would have had something snide to say, I mean, doesn't he always? But instead he looks at the book in his hand, avoiding my eyes.
"Hey, is that you, Seifer?" Of course, Rinoa couldn't stay away for too long.
Seifer looks up as she and Laguna approach. She slides close to me, my arm moving on its own around her small waist. His green-blue eyes shift between us a bit before a somewhat odd expression crosses his face and disappears.
Amazingly, Rinoa must have noticed the glance. "Didn't you know? Squall and I are a couple," she says happily to her ex-boyfriend. Yes, not the most tactful woman.
"I heard something like that. The Ice Prince finally found his princess it seems." Great, he's probably going to congratulate me on the wedding day, too.
"Seifer, this is my father, Laguna."
The blonde extends a hand to the man, who then uses it to pull Seifer into an awkward hug. "I heard about you from Squall. Well, besides what I know from the other circumstances. Great to meet you." And I knew he meant it, despite his city being ruined in part by Seifer's controlled actions. Laguna could probably forgive a person for killing him if there was a good enough reason.
"Uh, thank you, Mr. President." He was obviously put off guard by the older man. Laguna has that affect on people.
He waves a finger. "Uh-un, all friends of Squall must call me Laguna."
"Then I guess that rules me out. And I have to ask--have you two done blood tests? I seriously doubt you can be this dour guy's father."
Laguna laughs. "Actually, yes. Squall refused to believe it at first, too. DNA can't lie. Say, we're off to lunch. Why don't you join us?"
Seifer shakes his head. "'Fraid I have class. Next time."
I don't say anything, but it makes me happy to hear he is taking coursework seriously. He will be valuable as a SeeD member.
"Squally-poo, I'm hungry." Rinoa bats her eyelids at me.
I take one more look at Seifer, nod, and start for the entranceway with Rinoa clinging to me. At least she is light. After giving Seifer the open offer of visiting him Esthar, Laguna catches up to us.
It doesn't bother me as much at it once did, but eyes still continue to follow me. The traitor. The Sorceress's Knight. How could people not be condemning, hateful, and morbidly curious? Everyone was told how the sorceress controlled me, but it was still my voice that ordered the killings and my Hyperion that bit into innocent blood. People may forgive, but they will never forget.
Words didn't really bother me. It was the look in people's eyes, as if I was planning a mass murder. Even in the people who knew me from before, there was suspicion and scorn in their eyes. Quistis is currently one of my teachers, and though she has kind words, her hand always hovers near her whip. Chickenwuss always had that gleam of fear in his eyes when he saw me, but now there was a touch of honest hate. I try not to let it get to me.
But then there was the time I met with Squall to be reentered in to the Garden since I couldn't think of another place that would potentially accept me. His face was expressionless as always and those stormy blues held nothing different. Perhaps a bit tired, but no hate, no fear, and no pity. For the first time in weeks, I was with someone who treated me like nothing was different. And this was the man who had the biggest reason to feel something against me. I tortured him for Hyne's sake. But it was clear in his eyes that none of it mattered and he truly welcomed me back into the Garden.
I couldn't face him in the months since. I was afraid to find something there that I didn't notice before. The words and glares of other assholes didn't matter as long as Squall forgave me. Since our time in the orphanage, I wanted to be friends with the sullen boy. But the only way I could get a bare reaction from him was through fighting. Not the best way to make friends, in retrospect, but he did notice me. Once hormones hit me, I discovered gender didn't matter as long as it was a good lay. And when you are in an environment with mostly males and typically butch looking women, sometimes a guy will find himself looking closer to home. Anyhow, I have come to the conclusion that if you're bi-sexual, you get the better of two worlds.
Once I admitted to my love of anything beautiful, how could I not look at Squall? He had and still has that feminine form with obviously male features. But then we get back to the issue of our 'relationship'. Not exactly easy to drop hints that you are interested while handling a gunblade. And there were clues that he wasn't for trying out other teams. With how antisocial he was, I could never tell for sure. Perhaps he didn't like anyone outside of that world his mind tends to travel to.
Then there's the situation with Rinoa. Everyone says they'll be married within a year. There's even a betting pool on it. But just right now, something seemed wrong. They were talking all buddy-like, in Squall standards, and then Rinoa comes up. Being the main rival of the brunette all these years, I knew a defensive stance when I saw one. It wouldn't be obvious to other people. Searching his face, it looked like his eyes were screaming something at me. It was like looking at a walking contradiction, holding his supposedly destined lover and yet not wanting it. But, that has to be just me, hoping for a chance with him. The guy could love the slut and just not enjoy the touching part Rinoa adored. Sounds very Squall like.
Looking at my watch, I find out I have only a few minutes to literally run to my class. Placing my book back into the backpack, I head further into the Garden.
Sleep is avoiding me. I just sent Professor Teroh an essay that wasn't even due for another few days. I worked on it to stop thinking about the stormy eyes calling out something. Before I realized it, the essay was finished. Fujin and Raijin would laugh at me now. Wanting to prove something of myself and to make sure Squall didn't regret his decision, I resolved from the beginning to do my best at training. Who knew there was a nerd beneath the dimwit bully?
But now, nothing is left to distract me. No chance in sleep coming soon either, despite the clock glowing 2:04am. I get out of bed and decide to head on to the training center. A few good fights could help tire myself out.
No one is around as I walk to the center. Getting there, I realize that the place must be closed for the night. I guess there is still a bit of the idiot left in me. I try the door anyway to find it unlocked. Odd, but why question good fortune? Walking around, I notice the corpses of several monsters not yet cleaned up by the center's robots. Which meant someone was still in the room since they only appear when the place was vacated as to not distract the fighters. Or more so, to make sure the expensive robots weren't mistaken for monsters and destroyed. As predicted, I soon hear the sound of some heavy breathing.
Deciding to check out the person from behind a bush, I am surprised to see Squall charging a T-rexaur. With his gunblade flashing, he easily beheads the beast. I can only stare as he stands over his kill. Those things usually take a few people to take down, and Squall did it in one blow. He has gotten good.
He turns in my direction, eyes narrowed in question. Before I can call out anything, a couple more monsters appear behind the brunette. Without looking, he casts a spell and the beasts shatter into frozen shards. Damn, wasn't it just months ago that he was an easy target? He strides near my hiding spot and nods his head towards the exit.
"Couldn't sleep either I see," I say as he sits down against a wall. Wonder how long he has been here.
"What do you want?" Never great at chitchat, was he?
"I wasn't looking for you, Squally-boy." Silently I add, actually, I was trying to not think of you at the moment. "Just wanted to play in the training center."
Ah, how I missed talking with this gorgeous wall. "Right. Well, unless you want to fight something with a brain, I'm going to add to your monster collection in there."
Squall gets up and walks back into the room. As much as an invitation I need.
Without any more words, we fight. At the beginning, I have to defend, unused to Squall's new aggressive style. Soon enough, I pick up his rhythm and can throw in some of my own attacks. It is a good thing he tired himself out before I came, or else the match would have been too short. If that had been the case, I wouldn't have seen the slight smile on his lips near the end, just before he disarmed me.
I plop onto the floor. "Damn, you couldn't have gotten that good by just fighting Ultimecia."
" " Something in his face, though, told me I was right. Maybe these late night exercises were more common than I thought.
"Something wrong, Squally-boy? Rinoa not putting out for you? Or does she laugh at seeing your little one."
A pause and then a quiet sigh. "I love her."
"Can't you say it with a little more passion? A person might not believe it." Then I see those eyes staring at me. Yelling at me. "Leonhart, if you have something to say, just say it. Don't look at me like that."
His eyes widen, like a man dying of thirst who sees an oasis. It bothers me. "I can't " he says, an odd hint of pain in the words.
Something in me said this wasn't him being introverted, but he literally couldn't say what bothered him. "Why not?"
He shakes his head, a few drops of sweat fling to the ground.
Well, duh. If he can't say, he can't say. Maybe another person could speak for him, though. "Would anyone else know about it?"
He starts to shake his head again, but stops to stare at me with another odd expression. "You."
What the hell? I haven't seen the guy in months and I'm supposed to know what is wrong with him. "Sorry, I don't read minds. Someone else?"
He just sighs and turns to the exit.
"Wait, I want a rematch," I say trying to get my footing.
Without turning around, he tells me, "20:00 the day after today." And he is gone.
Walking numbly out the door and to my dorm, I hope that Squall tired me out enough so that I could get some sleep tonight despite our little talk. At least I have a couple days to figure out my role in this.
The lukewarm water feels good on my heated skin. I face the flow, enjoying the massaging effect. I was an idiot tonight. How could I have thought for a moment that Seifer would help me? I'm not too sure that we are still rivals. The fight was intense and reviving, but there wasn't the usual flare in it. But that doesn't make us friends, really. So why would he worry about my problems? It is annoying how he may be the only one to understand what is happening to me.
I turn off the water to the shower and dry off. Putting on some boxers and an old shirt, I notice the time. A little after three in the morning. That meant I could get about three hours of sleep before I had to get up. I may have over done it tonight, but it's not like I got much more sleep than that these days.
Rinoa lay sprawled on the bed, covering all of it but a bit on the side. We still have our own rooms, especially considering her wardrobe couldn't fit in just one closet. Though more often than not, we sleep together. It's completely her decision, but she thinks I like her cuddling up to me, stealing my warmth. And then there was the sex. Thank Hyne Rinoa is an above average looking woman, otherwise there would be no way I could perform. I am certain her little spell helps as well.
Scrunching into the bit of edge she left me, I force myself to sleep. I have to wake up before she does.
I am lying on a bed with white sheets, but nothing else of the room can be seen. Trying to move my arms, I confirm my fear that they are tied firmly. No escape. That is how this dream always begins. Lovely how the subconscious can mimic reality.
From the darkness, Rinoa appears in white lingerie. She practically glows in the darkness.
"Hello, handsome." Her smile sickens me.
I prepare for the next direction the dream will take, but instead of coming to me, she turns to look behind and holds out a hand. Another emerges from the nothingness. A naked Seifer takes the offered hand.
"Ready for some fun, Squally-boy?" he asks with that patented sneer. As if I could respond with him looking look like that.
He tickles the underside of Rinoa's chin, to which she giggles. He points her down. She kneels gracefully to the floor. With a manicured hand, she takes hold of Seifer's manhood and directs it into her mouth. I'm sure with wide eyes, I watch as Rinoa gives head, the blonde clearly enjoying every stroke, lick, and nip. My own growing hardness shows how much I enjoy the exhibition.
Eventually, he pulls out of her mouth and points her to the bed. She leans over it near my feet. Unceremoniously he pulls down her lacy underwear. With green eyes he looks directly at me, then forces his way into Rinoa. By her expression, it appears to be anal. I can almost feel every thrust as if it were me. Rinoa is crying out in pain and pleasure, but it's mere background sound to Seifer's softer moans. As he comes in her, I think he whispers my name.
Both satisfied, Seifer lifts Rinoa into his arms. After a wink to me, he turns and walks away with her. I want to yell out to him, especially with my throbbing length in need of attention, but my voice can't be heard in the darkness. He left me with no way to escape.
I wake in the same position I fell asleep in. I check the clock, 6:23am, and then glance downwards. I certainly have to fix that before Rinoa wakes. Lucky me she enjoys to sleep in. I get out of the bed and check on the softly snoring princess. She is wrapped in all the sheets, her hair a mess. Hope she enjoys getting those tangles out.
I relieve myself in the bathroom, thoughts of the dream helping me out. Since I was hit with this spell, I've had nightly dreams of Rinoa. As if the curse was trying to convince me that I loved the act of being with her, or perhaps it was reminding me how helpless I was in this situation. There had never been another in the dreams before, though. Until this one with Seifer.
I have had my wet dreams about him before, but it's been at least a year since the last one. It's probably just because I sparred with him last night and he was fresh in my memory. That and a small part of me still hopes he can help me with my Rinoa situation. Thus, a dream with them together. It made sense.
Satisfied with my conclusion, I dress quickly into black leather pants plus belts and a decent white shirt with my silver pendant hanging out. Cid may prefer me to dress in a suit out of respect for the title, but I came here to be a damn SeeD, not a salaryman. If he can't deal, he can take back the job. I won't argue.