Accept Me
March 2003

 

[Squall]

Sitting cross-legged on the soft mattress, I run a finger along dark skin etched with lines of white scars.  Every brush of scarred flesh under the tip of my finger causes a pulse of guilt within me, along with the darkness of fury.  Seifer should have never been injured those weeks past, the fault entirely mine for putting him in such a situation with no plan of escape.  He'd never blame me for it, always muttering something about there being worse ways to die.  It's meager relief, but I promise him daily that there will be revenge.

Once reaching the tip of the folded wing, I take great care in removing the last of the braces that had held healing bones in place.  Letting the light metal fall to the ground, I press a hand against the middle of Seifer's back in a light suggestion to stand.

Dark wings shake vaguely.  "Are you certain they're healed already?  It's only been a few weeks."

I could remind him that his other bones have obviously healed with the help of the old technology that I had found deep in this piece of the colony ship turned palace, but I know the wings cause him the greatest pain.  Pain that could never be easily forgotten.  Instead of replying, I slip my hand down his back to then rub a couple of fingers beneath the base of his tail.  He tenses immediately at the touch, dark wings stretching back as he moans in bliss.

"That's foul play," he growls out, causing a flush of desire to echo in me.

"How do they feel?"

"Absolutely amazing."

"I'm talking about your wings," I state while adding more pressure to the highly sensitive spot.

He stands up abruptly, then turns to push me flat onto the mattress.  Smirking down at me with a fang peaking out over his lower lip, he asks, "And how can I think about them while you're seducing me?"

Before we can continue the obvious plans we have in mind, a quiet buzz informs me that someone is approaching these rooms.  Granted it could be for any of the few other high ranking 'gods' within this wing of rooms, but I know better than to tempt fate.  I place my hands on his chest and shake my head in the silent command that we have to stop.  Seifer scowls, but moves off me quickly with the knowledge that an android could easily hear us from beyond my rooms if he were to argue.

Stepping lightly on stone floor, I leave the bedroom and go to the large balcony to assume my 'I have been thinking all day' position as I lean over the wide railing.  Seifer is soon near my side, a thick leather collar now worn on his neck.  I can't watch as I hear the clinking of chains from him attaching the leash onto his collar.  Appearing safely restrained, he kneels in the corner of balcony with green eyes focused on me such that I can almost feel the nonexistent brush of his gaze, but I know the moment that someone joins us, his head will be bowed to show respect and fear for his 'gods'.

Without warning of a knock or call, the outer door opens wide and I listen as several people enter.  Somehow sensing her presence, I know Rinoa leads the small group, her personal guardians never too far behind.  And Seifer once thought that I was being paranoid to leave sensors in the hallways to announce someone's approach.

I turn slowly and bow to the woman with a quiet, "Rinoa."

"I thought I said you didn't have to do that, my gentle knight."  Her words are light and full of warmth, but as Seifer once said, it feels flat as if she is trying too hard to be kind and loving.

Still bowed, I wait patiently for her permission to rise.  No, I don't have to do this display of respect as none of the higher 'gods' bow before the High Goddess, but I know it pleases her to see me do such chivalrous acts.  In her mind, I am her knight and she my princess.

She places a finger under my chin, the light pressure my signal to straighten.  "Are you happy?"

My head moves in a bare nod.

That makes her smile beautifully, the raven haired woman then lifting onto her toes for a chaste kiss.  I've stopped trying to analyze the woman since my first day awake, instead choosing to follow her lead as the safest option.  In so many ways she is still the teenage girl-next-door, and yet that aged side of her can appear without warning, hatred coating her thoughts and words.  Deactivating this 'goddess' will be as much a favor to her as well as the humans she oppresses.

Dark doe-like eyes stare up at me with affection until she glances to the side of the balcony.  "He has been healed."  When I don't respond to the appalled tone, she turns her narrowed gaze onto me.  "Why?  Why have you healed this beast?"

This is the first time Rinoa has seen Seifer since that day weeks ago, the 'goddess' typically sending lesser 'gods' to retrieve me or to inform me of various events.  During the rare times she would enter my chambers, the blonde demon would be hidden away by chance or by design.  If I had my way, I would continued to protect the man from her presence, but in time Rinoa would noticed my special treatment of the blonde.

A smirk comes too easily to my lips.  "Pain is better felt when old injures don't cloud his senses."  Looking directly at Seifer, I add, "And I'm curious about his screams when those perfect wings are torn apart by my own hands."

Rinoa wets her lips at the sickening imagery.  "May I watch your work?"

"In time, my goddess.  I want to make certain he remains awake for the entire process, thus some training will be needed first."

She hums her approval, then kisses me once more, though her eyes are clearly focused on Seifer for his reaction.  The blonde demon has been playing the game of concealing his true emotions for most his life, thus it's no surprise that he doesn't break now.

"Is there something you wish of me, my goddess?"

Rinoa shakes her head.  "Just needed to see you, and to remind you of our plans for tonight."

I nod my head, hiding my annoyance.  Since the third day of my arrival, I've been servicing the 'goddess' twice a week.  While it bothers me that I must entertain her like masters of the past, it does have its benefits.  First is the ability to draw information out of the android without her knowledge by exploiting a mechanism used to pass pleasure between sex toys.  But with my own ambitious plans, I'm able to take information from the beauty while testing the ability of me to upload bits of data into her system.  Thus far she hasn't seemed to notice anything.

The second benefit is Seifer's possessive streak, the man always cleaning me thoroughly afterwards and then taking me roughly to reestablish his claim on me.  That is what makes my smiles possible when I'm with the raven haired 'goddess'.

"Then I have arrangements to prepare for the festival in a couple weeks.  See you tonight, my dark knight."

I bow before she turns to leave, not straightening until the outer door is closed.  Even then I don't dare speak until well placed sensors inform me that the small group has left the hallway.  I really do need to search more closely in this broken piece of the colony ship to find cameras to better use for this purpose.

Perfectly ready to continue where we had been interrupted, I turn to Seifer with a few plans in mind.  That line of thought quickly vanishes, however, when I notice the man kneeling with his head still bowed.  Confused, I step up to him and kneel in front of the blonde demon.  Before I question him, a strong arm wraps around my back as his hand buries deep into my hair.  He clutches painfully at the longish strands, his face still downcast as he refuses to met my gaze.

"Are you real?" he whispers hoarsely.

"I don't understand."

"Which one of you is the real one?"

"Seifer..."

If possible, he clutches my hair harder and pulls me against his bare shoulder.  "I hate you."

Cautiously I place my arms around him, hugging the part-demon loosely.  Pressed against him I can feel minute shivers that I hadn't seen.  In a way, this is a good thing, that if Seifer can't recognize my play as 'god' then no one else should be able to, and certainly not Rinoa.  But I never expected it to cause him such pain.

"I hate you, I hate you, I hate you."

I don't speak as he clings onto me, and then only move to remove the hated chain from the thick collar he wears.  The sound of metal hitting the stone floor seems to wake Seifer partly from his dazed state and his hold loosens.

"I fear you more than the rest of them," he says softly, the admission stunning me.  "Even more than the High Goddess."

"Why?"  The horror in my tone comes without thought.

He gently pulls me back from him, bright green eyes finally meeting mine.  "Because I foolishly gave you my soul."

"But, that's not physically possible, even if you account for the unlikely existence of a soul in living things."  My look of utter confusion makes him laugh. 

"Idiot.  Can't you look at anything from an illogical viewpoint?"

Suddenly I can't bring myself to continue looking at him, so I glance out to the view of the city when I answer, "You?"

He hums interestedly, then rests his head on my shoulder.  "You don't sound too certain of that."

"I don't understand myself when I'm with you..."

"Heh, then that makes two of us."


Someone knocks lightly at the door, an unsurprising event given the notice of my sensors earlier.  I call for the person to enter while I continue to scratch and rub the short tan fur of Wren, the dog easily the size of a normal adult dog already, as the pup pounds a hind leg happily from the attention.  Seifer has already taken his place at the couch's side, kneeling with his head bowed as comes too naturally for him.

"Well, I'll be.  You are still functioning."

The drawled out voice catches me off guard, making me look up sharply.  "Irvine?"

The violet eyed android smiles at me in his flirtatious manner that hasn't dimmed in all these centuries.  "Hey there, sweet stuff.  Where have you been hiding since the crash?"

"Trapped in an escape pod," I reply while standing.  The android looks strange as compared to my memories, him currently dressed in a horrid brown robe that covers all but the Quezacotl symbol on his right shoulder.  I'm used to him wearing more clinging outfits of black that would best highlight the shine of his long auburn hair.  Images of past times with the careful lover briefly come to mind, but I quickly remind myself that he has been tainted with Rinoa's programming by now.  He's not who I would wish him to be.

"Leave it to you to reply with as few words as possible."  Irvine enters fully into the room to take a seat on a second couch of this main room, only then do I notice the half-human that follows silently behind with her face downcast.  The woman is part jaguar or some similar cat, her pale skin bearing faded spots of brown and black.  This odd coloring of skin has also affected her hair, the light blonde streaked with black as it falls softly over her shoulders.  Rounded ears and a lengthy tail hold the the same marking as her skin, but more pronounced looking with the short fur.

But I make certain not to look too long at the woman, knowing well that a 'god' shouldn't show any interest for the lesser humans.  I retake my seat and stroke Wren absentmindedly, noting that he isn't growling as he typically does when 'gods' visit this room.  There's only an odd, curious look as he watches Irvine closely.

"Interesting beast you've got there.  Where'd you pick that up?"

"The desert."

Violet eyes widen at the reply.  "That's a desert dog?  Uh, you do realize that it'll be large enough to snack on you once the year is through."

Smirking, I scratch the underside of the dog's chin and earn a quiet, blissful growl from the pup.

"You still have the touch to calm the most savage of beasts, I see."  He glances to the side at Seifer before smiling secretively.  "And what are your plans for your other pet?  I heard rumors of some heinous crimes he committed."

"He will be punished thoroughly for those crimes."  I have to control my cool expression, easily recognizing Seifer's increased heartbeats related to the fear he finds in my 'god' personality.

Irvine's smile falters slightly, nothing anyone else would notice.  "Good to hear.  Hate to imagine these creatures overstepping their boundaries."

I don't respond, deciding to observe the android instead.

He stands with a sigh.  "Well, in truth I just returned myself from handling problems in the city.  I only wanted to check with my own eyes that you had returned to us, but I should go clean up before the Goddess summons me once more.  We'll talk again."

Nodding though a bit baffled by the short visit, I watch him round the couch and head for the entrance, his half-human following closely behind.  She suddenly trips on a loose rug and falls gracelessly to the stone floor.  Without hesitation, Irvine turns and offers a hand to the woman, both freezing after the action.  The longhaired android closes his eyes and lifts the hand to rub nervously at the juncture of neck and shoulder.  Violet eyes then open to focus on me in a pleading expression.

"There could be a reasonable explanation for this."

I arc an eyebrow in a 'try thinking of one' manner.  As Seifer had told me the first day we met, 'gods' never touch anything partly human unless dealing out punishment.  They would certainly never offer aid to a guardian, rather he should be in the middle of disciplining the half-woman for being so clumsy.

"I remember you being different than the rest of us..."  He sighs.  "What are the chances that you are still an exception to the rule?"

"What do you mean?"

"You--"  He pauses as he looks at me more intently.  "You aren't upset."

I wave a hand to the couch.  "Perhaps you would like to sit.  Both of you?"

The flirtatious smile returns before he helps the fallen woman to her feet, a light blush coloring her cheeks.  He naturally wraps an arm around her waist and leads her to the couch where they sit pressed close together.  "Squall, this is my lovely kitten Quistis."

"... ..."

She tries to keep up a dignified front when she looks at me, but I can still see the fear in her clear blue eyes.  Not fear of Irvine, though, as she clutches onto the hand at her waist for support and comfort.  I hate being feared like this.

There's abruptly movement to the side, Seifer rising to his feet as he stretches his wings back before plopping next to me.  "I knew there was something off about you," he states with a confident smirk.

Irvine looks amusedly at the blonde demon.  "Is that so, guardian?"

"You don't deal out nearly enough punishments."

"Heh, so you're telling me to work on that, are you?  Cheeky human.  You certainly sound like you haven't been beaten around enough."

Before they can continue with this pointlessness, I interrupt.  "Irvine.  If you don't mind, how is this possible?  How did you break Rinoa's control?"

"We are the same.  What's to question?"

I shake my head.  "We are far from being the same."

He leans back against the cushions.  "Ah, I suppose you're right.  It took me much longer than you to discover humanity, if we could even call it that.  It was a fluke in my case.  For who knows how long, I felt the same hatred for humans as Rinoa.  And now that you mention it, perhaps it was her controlling the emotions she gifted us with.  But centuries ago I came across old files, memories of my last mistress.  It was a confusing moment when I could find no reason to hate her, and actually fell in love with those memories of her..."

"She died in the crash?"

Oddly Quistis glares at me, but Irvine lightly scolds her with a tap to her nose.  "It's okay, lovely.  I trust this one with my existence.  Selphie, my mistress died by my own hand.  A ritual of Rinoa's for us to celebrate our freedom.  Pathetic still feeling guilt from all those years past."

"No," I correct him.  "Only a curse of our 'emotions'."

Our gazes meet in quiet understanding before he continues.  "Because of those memories, I broke free of some of Rinoa's control.  I've been trying to aid the humans in the city the best I can, but there's only so much I can do without being caught.  While they trust me some, I make certain that we don't interact too much.  If I'm ever reprogrammed and give Rinoa the information I hold, it would mean the death to what little resistance the humans have left in them."

"And how do you know I won't betray you?"

He points at Seifer.  "That one is perhaps the only guardian who despises the so-called High Goddess and her gods.  Even Quistis here can't fully be rid of her trained love for Rinoa.  I thought of recruiting him, but feared he would draw too much attention to me.  Anyhow, if he can handle your presence, I know there has to be something different about you.  That, and you have saved me several times from punishments in the long past."

I frown as I glance worriedly at Seifer, the half-demon bearing a similar expression.

"Don't worry.  No one else has noticed his inner defiance.  The fool gods don't believe it possible that one of their hand raised guardians could ever go against them."

Looking back at Irvine, I make the quick decision to trust the android.  His obvious affection for the feline woman and the pain he holds for his crimes sets him far apart from the 'gods' I have observed thus far.  And judging by Seifer's relaxed state, the blonde demon does hold some trust for the violet eyed man.  With connections to the human population, Irvine would be invaluable to the coming change in reign.  It's worth the chance that this is some kind of ruse originating from Rinoa, though I doubt that after all this time that she would suspect anyone under her direct command to betray her.  After all, what person or android would refuse the power of being worshipped as a 'god'?

"How would you like to be free of the High Goddess?"


[Seifer]

Staring at the exposed back and body of my deity, I hesitate at the last step of pressing the reactivation sequence of keys.

"What's wrong?"

I glare at the female guardian, not appreciating any of the critique she has given me since Squall's body had been sliced opened to give me access to the numerous boards of impossibly fine wires and tiny discs.  Of course she wasn't so smug when her own master was exposed beneath me, Squall then giving me the necessary instructions of what to remove, cut, or switch.  It had helped having a physical model to work on instead of just his lectures over the past weeks.  Unfortunately, Irvine hasn't the same information about the setup of an android body, thus it was still left to me to transform my deity's innards.

"Well?  Think you did it wrong?"  As if she has any right to act superior to me, the fucking whore.

A cool hand placed on my shoulder makes me start.  "Hold trust in what Squall taught you."

"Get your hand off me, holy one," I snarl out, the man thankfully following my order.  This is all Squall's fault.  Why the hell did he also have to educate me about everything that could wrong from this?  If I manage to kill him...

After coding for the reactivation, I step back as spread boards of wires and discs shuffle before reinserting into the body to best conserve space.  Suddenly the split skin folds back in place as odd light shimmers while the flesh heals completely to hide the fact that any work had been done.  As with Irvine earlier today, it takes several long moments until the limp body stiffens and Squall moves carefully to eventually push himself up from the mattress.  He turns enough to sit, gray eyes then focusing on me without any of the blue electricity that gives life to his gaze.

"Squall?"  I rake fingers deep into his dark hair, clutching tightly when he continues to look at me blankly.  "Come on.  We can't do anything without you."

He blinks slowly before pale lips form a small smirk, then followed quickly by a rush of blue light to his eyes.  "And I wonder which activities you're referring to."

"You know I have a one-track mind," I mutter before placing my forehead against his.

Annoyingly, Irvine clears his throat to gain some attention.  "Sorry to interrupt, but what now?"

"In four days, her reign will come to an abrupt end."

"Oh?  Does this have anything to do with the festival of the Heavenly Fall?"

"Just be ready, Irvine."

"Always, sweet stuff.  Well, don't worry about showing us out.  We'll just wander over to my rooms for some premature celebration fun."  As he leaves with his guardian pet, the longhaired god calls out, "Be gentle with your demon in case we need him later."  And not soon enough, I hear the door close behind them.

Blissfully alone, I lean in to kiss my deity on the nose before leaning back to better look at him, the perfect and pale skin of his bare chest almost glowing in comparison to the tight black pants he wears.  Squall pouts slightly for some reason, perhaps a wandering thought causing him worry, the sight of protruding lips making me chuckle.  Moving to lie down on the mattress next to him, I pull the brunette along with me, then tightly trapping him in my wing and arms.

"Seifer..."  The scold is a half-hearted attempt.

"Do you have to fuck her tomorrow?"

"Jealous?"

"Of course not.  She can't give you the same pleasure as me.  Just curious if I should be saving up my energy for your purification."

"One last time and the virus will be uploaded."

He has tried to explain this 'virus' of his, then quickly gave up on teaching me about the specifics of what a virus does to an android.  Instead, he briefly described the ultimate outcome of what the virus will achieve.  Though I still don't understand it fully, apparently the High Goddess once had a control placed within her to obey her master no matter the request.  Somehow, Squall is placing that control back into her, though with his own modifications.  I'm not certain what end this will bring, but I trust my deity and his promises of vengeance.

"You're not allowed to touch anyone else after that.  Not even Irvine."

"Irvine?"  His tone is amused.

"Especially that one.  I swear, the bastard was about to feel you up while you were unconscious.  And every time you bend over, he looks about ready to take claim of your ass."

"We played in our past, and that is all."  A cool hand slides up my back, pressing each sensitive spot along the way with annoying precision.  "Do not worry, my master.  I am yours."

"He does have more to offer you," I admit reluctantly.  A shared past, common fears and thoughts, longevity, intelligence...  How could I possibly compare to a 'god'?

"But only you can make me feel human."


It's never taken so much effort to maintain a neutral front as I kneel to the side of the darkly dressed Squall.  I've succumbed to distracting myself by counting the grains of the various colors within the stone that forms this large balcony that encircles the front of the palace.  The expanse of ground before the palace is filled with humans of the city, none allowed to miss the address of the High Goddess that will start the festival of the Heavenly Fall.  Even all of the gods and guardians are present at this time, lined up along the railing as they glare down on the humans below.

Being the one most favored at this time, Squall has been given the privilege of standing closest to where the High Goddess will speak to the people.  I try not to give a reaction as I think of speeches of the past, the goddess always reminding us that we would die without her guidance and wisdom, that we were created in her image and should feel blessed, that she loves us even though she must punish us at times.  And I had fucking believed every line she has given us throughout history.

Suddenly there is a fluttering of feathered wings, the sound signaling the approach of the goddess and her guardians.  The whispering crowd below goes quiet, the perfect silence unnatural and heavy given the large amount of people.  There's a light jingle of jewelry as the High Goddess approaches Squall and pauses there to most likely kiss the brunette.  Glaring at the stone floor, I assure myself that it'll end today.  There's no reason to ruin everything by surrendering to my anger now.

"Your masters await, princess," comes the soft voice of my deity.  I smirk at the words, recognizing them as the key phrase to activate this 'virus' within the goddess.

"My... 'masters'...?"

The unearthly scream that followed was entirely unexpected, my first instinct being to protect Squall.  Rising to my feet, I rush over to my deity and wrap arms around his chest to pull him away from the insane goddess.  The deceivingly weak form doesn't budge at my action, Squall placing a calm hand on my arms as he watches the screaming woman, the High Goddess now fallen to her knees as she covers her face with shaking hands.  Suddenly there's an echo of the scream, and I look back in time to witness one of the gods dropping to the ground, soon followed by another further down the line.

"Squall...?"

He tightens the grip of his hand, his only attempt to relieve my worries.  The coolness of his gaze as he watches the goddess sends shivers up my spine.  Watching her, I'm not certain whether to be pleased or horrified by the sight, the High Goddess in obvious agony from whatever Squall had done to her.  It makes me wonder all the more which side of my deity is the true, natural side of the man.  Never have I both loved and hated the same person with all my being, and it bewilders me.

The High Goddess turns abruptly, the tears streaming down her face surprising me.  Dark eyes focus on Squall, betrayal clear in her expression.  When she clumsily moves towards us, I try once again to drag my deity to safety, but he stays in place and never breaks his cool gaze from the goddess.

"What... have you done?"

"The humans are our masters, Rinoa."

"No.  No!  We are far superior than those beasts!" she yells out with hurt lacing every word.

"... ..."

Once in reach, the High Goddess clutches onto his dark shirt, fabric ripping from her grasp.  "Can't you see...?  We're free."

Squall glares at her.  "When did we gain the right to abuse our creators?"

"When did they have the right to play God?!"  The shirt tears completely in her hold, the goddess slumping to the floor with a pained sob.

"... ..."

From the ground, the goddess reaches blindly for Squall's leg, then holding onto his ankle.  "...for you, my knight... we can be together..."

"Good night, cursed princess, and find peace."

After a long period of time, quick steps on stone breaks unrealized silence, Irvine speaking as he approaches.  "Well, shit, that's one way to end an era.  But did you have to knock out everyone else, too?"

"They were connected to Rinoa," he says softly in reply.

"What did you do to her?" I question in a low whisper.

"The virus within her told her that every human within view were her masters.  The absolute need to please her masters conflicted with the knowledge that it is impossible to please everyone."

I stare at the fallen goddess, not fully understanding the explanation.  That someone could die from being given an unachievable task bewilders me.

"Seifer, let go."

It takes effort to follow his command, my muscles locked in place from the unusual, unbelievable events happening right in front of me - the High Goddess was killed.  It's impossible to tear my gaze from the fallen goddess, now resting on the ground as if asleep, but gods don't need the same rest as us meager humans.

Squall moves gracefully forward to look down on the stunned humans below.  He speaks to them, his voice amplified somehow, "As you have witnessed, your High Goddess is no more.  I hope for a brighter era to follow from here, but that is up to you.  At sunset, I request that you send representatives to speak with me about the future.  Otherwise, go home and celebrate this day with your families."

The far less than impressive speech ends there, Squall turning to me with a broken expression that is quickly covered by his neutral mask.  I don't even get the chance to question his faltering, instead thrown into the chaos that I have to help straighten out.  It's a blur at that point, myself ordering the grief-stricken guardians to prevent anyone from entering the palace in case of a riot.  More than once I have to play the 'my god killed your god' routine, but eventually some kind of order forms within our ranks.  In the mean time, Squall and Irvine handle the bodies of the inactive gods, placing them somewhere secure and out of sight.

Sunset doesn't arrive soon enough in my opinion.  Already forced to console five of the guardians that the world wasn't ending, I breathe a sigh of relief when I'm informed of a band of humans asking for entrance.  I glare at the sight of at least twenty people walking into the front hall, wondering if they really think a group of them would be safer than the few that actually should be here.  Growling out a command to follow, I lead them to Squall.

Entering the throne room, I first notice the throne of the goddess lying on the floor and split in two, the thick metal looking to have been snapped apart.  Table and chairs had been dragged in from someplace, now placed in the middle of the room.  I grin at the sight of Squall, the deity sitting with his legs crossed and eyes close as he drifts within his thoughts.  Irvine stands at the sight of the humans, smiling in a way that makes my skin crawl.  If he shines that smile Squall's way...  With my role done, I hurry to stand at my deity's side.  He frowns when I refuse his silent offer to sit, but perhaps he recognizes my need to be up and moving.

"Cid.  Edea.  You idiots, what are you doing here?  Didn't you think that this could be a trap?"

At Irvine's question, a rather short and stout man steps forward from the group with a taller, graceful woman following close behind.  The man grins foolishly, but there's something intelligent to his dark eyes as he examines the gods before him.  "Well, this is a rare opportunity to speak directly with the demon god.  How could we pass it up?"

"Demon... god...?" Squall questions warily.

The man grins even broader.  "We all heard about you passing through town with a desert dog tamed in your possession.  That in addition to your choice of guardian, it was only time before rumors started to spread about the demon god and his ability to control any beast."

The brunette sighs wearily with a hand pressed against his face.  "Sit.  We have much to decide tonight."

The man and woman look startled by the action and offer, taking their seats hesitantly before Cid starts, "If you don't mind, holy one--"

"Squall."

"Uh, excuse me?"

"It's my name.  I'm not a god and I won't be referred to as one."

And thus the boring talks began ranging from the gradual release of medical technologies to the validity of elections within the human population.  I was too distracted myself, watching my deity closely for the signs of weakness that I had gotten a mere glimpse of before.  Several times I'm close to bringing an end to the meeting, to call Squall's bluff with his show of apathy.  But I also see the determination in his eyes to make things right, and I will never deny him what he truly wants.  I only hope that I can keep up with this 'saving humanity' routine of his.


[Epilogue]

[Squall]

Leaning on the wide railing of the balcony, I look over the expanding city while thinking about more changes that could best aid the growing population of humans.  Trees and parks now add color to the layout of tan buildings that was designed painfully perfect as by Rinoa's plan.  Medical technologies have already helped the humans greatly, simple diseases and injuries no longer the worry they once were.  A new city is currently in construction further north where there is better access to minerals that the mountains can provide the humans.

And yet, with very step forward, it makes the road seem that much longer.

At the sound of a door being forced open, my thoughts clear as my lips form a simple smile.  A loud padding of paws and claws on stone approaches me, and I turn in time to get a large furry head pressed against my chest.  Thankfully these desert dogs are intelligent, easily recognizing my abnormal strength.  A typical human would have been shoved off the balcony by such a move.

"Finch, where did you leave our master this time?"

The dog straightens to his full height easy a foot taller than me and lulls out his tongue in a 'who cares, I'm having fun' manner.  Sighing, I scratch under his chin and smirk when I hear his tail thumping happily against the wooden door.  I unlatch the chain leash from his collar and toss it aside just before I hear the angry mutterings of Seifer's approach.

"Why the hell can't he wait five fucking minutes?  The damn thing running through the halls like a pup..."  The half-demon then enters the bedroom, green eyes narrowed threateningly at the large creature.  "Bad dog!"

While Finch gets away with a huff of laughter, I control my expression at the idea that Seifer is scolding an animal easily four times his weight.

"Yeah, you go ahead and laugh.  Get to your room, mutt."

Nudging me once affectionately with his massive head, the large dog follows the order happily, knowing well that dinner will be waiting for him there.  Seifer continues to scowl at the animal until Finch is out of sight, then he releases a tired sigh.

Despite almost fifty years and his torturous past, Seifer is still as strong and beautiful as I remember from our first meeting.  Of course his coloring has changed - his hair turned white with remaining pale blonde streaks, his skin no longer so tan, his wings and tail not nearly as dark as they once were - and his body is aging in spite of his efforts to keep up muscle and stamina.  It doesn't matter to me, but I think my seemingly endless youth bothers him more than he'll ever admit.

My master approaches in a stalking manner, soon trapping me against the railing of the balcony with his arms to either side of me.  "And what are you grinning at?"

In reply, I wrap my arms around his lower back and squeeze his ass while pulling him forward at the same moment.

He hums pleased and leans forward brushing sun roughened skin against my cheek.  Teeth take hold of my earlobe, rolling it briefly in his mouth before releasing it to speak.  "We need to talk."

Amusement evaporates away at the sound of his voice.  "You're cornering me."

"Because you won't let me say anything otherwise."  He rests his chin on my shoulder before continuing.  "I know you don't want to hear it, but I want you to promise me two things, Squall.  First, never give up on these people.  They still need your guidance, ever wise and lovely Sage."

"I should let Finch eat the person that came up with that.  Sage... I'm not a spice."

He breaths a chuckle.  "So you've said before.  I also want you to promise to find a new 'master'--"

"No."

"Squall--"

"No."

"Damnit, Sq--"

"No!"

Seifer leans back, his smirk still the same since his youth.  "What are you, a child?"

Despite myself, I pout at the reference, only making the bastard grin wider.

"You'll live for who knows how much longer.  Don't you deserve more than me?"

I bite my lip, preventing the ridiculous response that I only want him.  Him or nothing.

"What about that 'carnation' thing you told me about?"

Sighing, I correct him.  "It's reincarnation.  But it isn't real, Seifer."

"You can't be certain of that."  He presses his forehead against mine.  "I just want you to know that it's okay for you to find someone beyond me.  I'm only human, even with those medicines of yours keeping me alive."

"But... I love you."

"And you'll love another.  Trust me on that."  His arms wrapping around me, I let the half-demon pull me into the bedroom.  "Enough?"

I nod, grateful that he isn't pressing the issue too hard this time, but since I haven't given him my promise yet, he'll certainly continue to badger me about things I'd rather forget.

"Good, because I'm not dying yet and you have to finish what you began."

"And what if I'm not in the mood now?"

He laughs.  "Is this my punishment, holy one?"

Smirking, I push him onto the mattress and spare a moment to gaze at the matured man.  "My master, will you accept me?"

Seifer's expression turns serious at the question, this being the one thing he'd never joke about.  With his hand held out to me, he replies simply, "Yes."

 

{Owari}

 

Author's Whining -- Well, it's done at last.  Nothing special like I warned before, but happily it has been finished and now I can move on to other ficcies.  Sorry that Rinoa's demise wasn't as grand as many of you may have wanted, but I preferred the irony of her short-circuiting while trying to be the slave to the humans she oppressed.  Yeah, it's silly, but I can't see a glamorous beheading type ending given Squall survived thousands of years, aka those androids are really hard to destroy physically.

Hope you enjoyed this Jamaica.  Also, thank you to Miss Dincht and WolfPilot06 for suffering as my betas.