Blind Sight
August 2004

 

Upon waking into darkness, Squall didn't move aside from opening his sightless eyes.  His entire being felt warm as he continued to lay pressed against Seifer, unbothered by the dirt and blood still covering the firm body which he had become familiar with over the past year.  Only a single year of time, and yet it had somehow made his difficult past less clear in his mind.  His hunger, his shame, and his hatred were easy to forget as the underlining scent of spice and musk clouded over his thoughts with the sense of protection and strength.  But now with a known gaze upon him, Squall remembered every reason as to why he didn't want to return to his home town.

Sighing inwardly, the blind man lifted slowly from the heated body, Seifer soon murmuring his complaints at the loss of contact.  Accustomed to escaping the fighter's tenacious hold, Squall managed to pull away the arm from around his shoulders and pressed the limb down onto the mattress while leaning over to lightly kiss the man's temple.  Whispering, "Dream of me until I return," Squall earned himself a pleased, somewhat lecherous hum from the blond as Seifer returned to deeper levels of sleep.

Unable to form the small smile he usually directed at the childlike man, Squall slipped smoothly from the bed and stepped lightly across the room he knew very well from years past.  Reaching the doorway left open judging by the cooler flow of air, the blind man stopped and stared forward while resisting the urge to cross his arms around his body in a defensive manner.

In a quiet voice to avoid waking Seifer, the seer said, "Good morn, Father."

Without warning, Squall found himself wrapped in a tight hold, the move nearly stealing away his breath.  Though against his nature, the blind man easily relaxed into the strong hug as he silently savored the scent he associated with the smell of freshly baked pastries.  But even as he found comfort in that long lost hold, Squall couldn't return the embrace, something his father eventually noticed.

Pulling away, Laguna spoke quietly to his son.  "Perhaps we should speak in the hall and let your... friend rest."

Squall nodded once in agreement, shame burning through his chest with the thought that he had disappointed his father.  Stepping out of the room and into the narrow hallway, the blind man gave into his weakness and hugged an arm tight around his waist while keeping his back to the older man.  The door to the bedroom closed softly, Laguna then moving behind the blind man before speaking to his son.

"Squall...  I'm so sorry."

The brunet turned sharply with disbelief plain on his face, unable to understand why the elder man would be apologizing when he had done nothing wrong.  Then a careful hand was at his face, the soft skin of the older man's thumb stroking under his worthless eye.

"Your eyes have hardened since the last time I saw you.  There's too much knowledge them."

While wishing to reach out, Squall drew back from the touch of his father.  "I... I shouldn't be here.  I have sinned too many times..."

After a pause of surprised silence, a breath of laughter came from the older man.  "All this time and you haven't change in the least, placing yourself at a higher standard than any sane person would."

Shaking his head, Squall stepped back, not trusting himself to refuse the comfort his trusting father would offer his tainted child.

"Then tell me, son, what sins have you committed?  Have you killed a man?"

His arm still tight around his waist in a defensive pose, the seer smirked with maddened sneer.  "I killed a woman before your very eyes, remember?  But yes, I have killed others in cold blood.  Many others."

Laguna hummed at the answer, obviously undisturbed.  "And how many of these people threatened your life or the boy's future?"

His smirk gone, Squall turned his head away from the older man, but his silence answered the question - he had 'seen' those people harming Seifer in horrible ways, something the brunet would never allow the Hero to experience.

Breaking the strained silence, Laguna chuckled without humor.  "I've had six long years to think about what I should tell you upon your return, and for the life of me, I can't remember a single word of the speeches I had planned.  Looking at you now, all I want to do is hold you, but you pull away from my touch.  Why?  Do you hate me that much?"

Eyes wide, Squall stared in the direction of his father's voice.

"It's alright.  I knew since the day you left that you hated me for keeping you from Seifer.  A part of me knew it long before you ran away, but I still couldn't let you get wrapped up into that boy's life.  You were so young and it was ridiculous that Hyne was asking so much of you.  Back then, I simply refused to believe your visions, your destiny, and I forced you to the point of running away from me when I..."  The elder man moved back, his voice hushed and broken as he said, "I failed you."

"No," Squall argued quietly.  "It wasn't you who drove me away.  I never hated you."

"But you did leave because of my denial and foolhardiness.  I should have supported you instead!  I should have been there for you so that my hands would be the ones stained in blood, not yours!"

Pale lips parted in shock slowly closed as Squall smiled softly.  "You are doing this wrong.  You are supposed to be disgusted with me."

Laguna moved quickly, taking his son in his arms once more.  "Never.  Nothing you say can make me love you any less."

Though he wanted to believe the statement of devotion, the seer shook his head and let incriminating words flow from his lips - "I love Seifer."

After a stunned pause, the elder man laughed and held his son tighter.  "And why exactly should that disgust me?"

"It goes against the words of Hyne..."

"Perhaps in the Bukre du Hieghen, but those words have been tainted by the minds of men.  No, I cannot believe Hyne would be angered by the feelings you hold for the Hero you have protected for most of your life."

Relief at his father's acceptance flowed through the blind man, weakening him as he slumped forward and warily returned the elder man's hold.  Part of him wanted to argue further that he didn't deserve Laguna's love anymore, but the rest of him now understood that his father was too devoted to abandon his tainted son.  But even so, it felt like a sinful pleasure to be held by his father once more.

After a lengthy time of silence, Laguna kissed his son's brow and leaned back to cup his hand around the young man's face.  "One day, I hope that you are able to tell me about everything which has happened to you, but for now, I think you deserve a time of peace.  If you can find that here..."

Squall couldn't reply to the offer, the memory of his dream without Seifer dimming his hope of a pleasant future with those he cared about.  But needing to say something as to not offend his father, to explain why it wasn't a time to think about 'peace', the seer said, "Adel is coming."

"Adel...  How long do we have?"

"She won't be able to break the seals Edea created until the new moon."

"Good, then we have some time.  But now that you mentioned her, is Edea...?"

The blind man shook his head.  "I cannot imagine her soul surviving after so many years."

Laguna sighed deeply at the loss of a dear friend.  "It will be difficult to tell Cid, but I don't think that man will ever give up hope.  Edea was always a strong woman."

Resisting the urge to describe the deep hatred which made Adel stronger, Squall instead said, "Seifer should wake soon.  And I was hoping that before anything else can happen... would you take me to visit Mother?"

"I think that would make her very happy," Laguna replied softly, then moving to the side of the blind man while offering his arm.  "Will you let me guide you?"

Though they both knew the seer could find his way without any aid, Squall nodded slightly and slipped his hand around his father's arm.  A warmer hand patted lightly against the blind man's, a silent 'thank you' from his father that Squall was humoring Laguna's need to support his son.  But in his own thoughts, the younger man knew that he had the equal desire for the touch of his father, to feel his living heat as opposed to the dead forms existing in his dreams.  It was a small comfort, but one Squall couldn't refuse.


Feeling sore, filthy and bitter, Seifer grumbled unintelligible complaints as he stumbled down a set of steep stairs.  Reaching a dimly lit hallway, he glared down the length of the corridor, uncertain where his seer could currently be located.  While he trusted Squall to take care of himself, the words of the dark swordsman were still clear in his mind and bought various images of the blind man's possible execution at the hands of his own people.  With this worry added to his persistent headache from the broken barrier within his mind, the blond man's mood was steadily worsening since the moment he found Squall absent from their bed.

"Need some help, young Almasy?"

Seifer started at the deep voice, then winced at the jerked movement which aggravated his headache further.  Fingers pressed against his temple, he glared in the direction of an opened doorway, his eyes meeting the fairly cold gaze of the overly large priest.  "Not really, unless you happen to know where my kitten wandered off to."

A dark eyebrow rose with interest.

With a sarcastic smirk, Seifer said, "There's no need to call him by name, is there?"

Ward hesitantly shook his head, understanding that Squall's name wasn't to be mentioned where others could overhear, but he was obviously bothered by the blond's use of a pet name.  "I know where he went, but come inside my office first.  I have something he asked for last night that you can deliver for me."

Though sensing the ambush of the priest, Seifer shrugged with indifference and followed the large man into the room furnished with numerous bookcases and a single cluttered desk.  It was no surprise when Ward closed the door for privacy, the blue-eyed man then moving pass Seifer to reach the desk and retrieve a small pouch from the mess of crumpled pieces of parchment and opened books piled on top of each other.  But the priest didn't relinquish the item directly, and instead stared at the fabric pouch resting within his large hand.

"Judging by your stance, you understand the real reason I wanted you to join me."

Seifer scoffed and shifted his footing to take a more relaxed pose.  "I have yet to meet an old man who didn't enjoy a drawn-out lecture, let alone a priest of Hyne."

With a breath of laughter, Ward approached the fighter and stood tall before him.  "Then I'll keep this short to save you from boredom - I don't like you."

A sarcastic retort died in Seifer's throat as he stared into icy eyes, the young man recognizing the severe understatement by the priest as the pale orbs gleamed with the cold aura of soldier accustomed to killing.

"While I can admit that I know nothing about you, I still hold a deep hatred towards your very existence.  Only my vows to Hyne currently prevent me from snapping your neck here and now."

Refusing to show the intimidation he felt, Seifer glared defiantly at the priest.  "If this is some attempt to scare me away from Squall--"

A bark of laughter erupted from the large man.  "No, I doubt he would forgive me for that.  Remember, I saw you both in the meadow before the attack on our village.  The lad would never tolerate such intimacy with someone he didn't love, and he is very protective of those he holds dear to his heart."

"Then what's the point of this little heart-to-heart?"

Ward didn't reply immediately, and instead removed an object from the cloth pouch.  With the thin silver chain wrapped around his fingers, the priest drew attention to a tiny jar of frosted glass connected to the necklace.  "Do you know what this is?"

Somewhat entranced by the small object, Seifer dumbly shook his head and slid a foot back in unconscious retreat.  On first sight, the glass had appeared cloudy in a decorative fashion, but with closer inspection, the blond could recognize the tiny print of runes etched around the small jar.  While unable to read those symbols, something about the energy of the container bothered Seifer and made him wonder what his seer could want with such an object.

"... You don't know, do you?" Ward said with unhidden surprise.

Snapping his eyes to the face of the priest, Seifer asked, "What is that thing?  And why does Squall want it?"

With a thoughtful frown, Ward gazed at the necklace.  "I'm not certain.  I thought at first you asked it of him, but now I see that he is acting by his own will."

"Then what was I supposedly asking of him."

The priest shook his head in reply before placing the necklace back into the fabric pouch and holding it out to the fighter.  "I shouldn't say anything more since I must be mistaken.  Squall will have to explain his plans to you himself."

"As if that idiot tells me anything to begin with," Seifer scoffed while accepting the pouch from the large man with an angry snatch.

"Then I suppose his quiet ways haven't changed much over the years," Ward said with soft amusement, but his pale blue eyes were still like ice with their cool hatred as they viewed upon the blond youth.

Though noticing the controlled look of the priest, Seifer chose to ignore it.  "So, are you going to tell me where Squall walked off to or not?"

"He left with his father a short time ago.  I imagine he wanted to visit his mother's grave."

At the words, an echo of his seer's voice came to mind, telling Seifer that the only thing the Hero wasn't responsible for in the brunet's ruined life was his mother's death.  "How did she die?"

Ward paused before replying, perhaps offended by the straightforward way the question had been asked.  "Her body wasn't suited for childbirth, but her spirit was amazingly strong.  I swore she was going to live a long life by pure will alone, but on Squall's second birthday, her body finally failed her."

Seifer smiled bitterly at the information as he realized just how little he knew about his stoic lover.  He hadn't a clue about the date of the man's birth, let alone the general details of his childhood.  Meanwhile, Squall knew everything about the Hero, even the things Seifer hardly remembered himself.

"Why did it have to be him?"

Blinking out of his thoughts, Seifer stared at Ward for the unexpected question.  "What do you mean?"

"Why did Squall have to be given this life?  He was a happy child, a well-mannered boy compared to most his age, and his life was... destroyed so that you could be protected.  What is so damned important about you that he had to--"  The priest sharply turned his head to look away from the Hero, his face flushed while he prevented further heated words from leaving his mouth.

"I didn't chose for this to happen."

"Well, someone did," Ward hissed, his hand unconsciously grasping the silver pendant of Hyne resting on his chest.

"A-ah, someone did," Seifer replied, his voice sounding rough and disconnected to his hearing as the words followed quietly from his mouth.  "Someone knew he'd be strong enough to lead the Hero down the correct path even if it meant unjustified suffering on his part."

Hesitantly the priest gazed at the blond youth, his blue eyes wavering with intense and conflicting emotions.

"In his heart, he has forgiven me for his pain.  When will you?"

Teeth clenched, Ward slammed a fisted hand against his desk, causing several books to fall noisily to the ground.  "He never deserved this life!"

"He willingly chose his responsibility--"

"Was that before or after he was plagued by visions of death and torture?"

"... ..."

Ward laughed humorlessly as his hand clutched harder onto his pendant of Hyne.  "How can a child decide anything like that?  He's still just a child who shouldn't have to sacrifice his life, and for what?  For the lives of people who will never know of his suffering?  For those who throw rocks at him and treat him like a monster?"

"No... I won't let him... sacrifice his life... not for me," Seifer bit out through chattering teeth, his arms then wrapping tight around his body as he collapsed to his knees, shivering uncontrollably.  "Fucking shit..."

After a stunned moment, the large priest knelt before the blond.  "Are you all right?"

"No, not really," the younger man grumbled before staring forward with brightly burning green eyes.  "Don't tell Squall."

Ward frowned at the demand.

"Don't tell him about... whatever that was.  He has enough to agonize over without knowing about my damned breakdowns."

"You mean, he doesn't already know that Hyne speaks through you?"

Eyes narrowed, Seifer growled before pushing up from the ground into an unsteady stance.  "If that's what it was, then the bastard has no business using my body for his own enjoyment.  He's a fucking god - what the hell does he need me for?"

Ward stared up with wide-eyed surprise at the unbalanced youth.  Then the corner of his mouth twitched oddly, twisting the lengthy scar covering the side of the man's face before full, unrestrained laughter erupted from the large man.  Though unappreciative of the man's sense of humor, Seifer couldn't find the energy to vocalize his offense as he fought to remain standing.

Eventually, the priest stood up tall with a kind smile, the first honest show of goodwill since the man had learned Seifer's identity.  "How in Heaven's name were you chosen to be Hyne's messenger?"

"I don't know.  How can you be a priest who worships a selfish god?"

Humor gone, Ward stared down at the pendant on his chest, the silver wing bearing a red gleam of blood along the curved feathers from the strength of his grip.  "I am not a priest for His sake, or at least not any longer.  But in this role, I can help people, and just because I feel betrayed by Hyne, it doesn't make His words untrue and meaningless."

Seifer snorted to show his thoughts about the matter, unable to admit to himself that listening to Squall's rare sermons was hearting in some way.  It was nice to think that there could be peace in this world if everyone could simply be good and never give into temptation.  But life wasn't meant to be that easy or boring.

"Perhaps... I was mistaken about you."

At the words, Seifer felt exhausted, not caring in the least what the priest thought of him.  "Can I see Squall now?"

"A-ah, I suppose can lead you to him.  Do you need help?  Or perhaps you'd like to visit the bathhouse first?"

The blond shook his head at the offers and forced his arms to his sides despite the remaining chill he felt.  Ward looked about to call the fighter's bluff of strength, but the large man merely shook his head in resignation and led the way outside of the church.  While following the priest's lead, Seifer clutched onto the pouch in his hand and attempted to understand the magic of the glass jar hidden within, but that knowledge evaded him to further frustrate the youth.

As they stepped through a back door of the church, the sunlight of late morning stung the blond's sensitive eyes and made him curse quietly at the added aggravation to his headache.  But that irritation faded quickly as Seifer spotted his seer kneeling before a gravestone in a fenced off area.  Resisting the urge to run to Squall, the fighter continued to walk behind Ward as they approached the cemetery, the priest eventually greeting the longhaired man who stood at the entrance of the graveyard, reminding Seifer of Laguna's name.

But the two older men were of little importance to Seifer as he walked passed them to reach his seer.  His steps light, he moved behind the kneeling man and spoke in a low voice.  "Is this your mother?"

The blind man breathed a laugh before standing.  "You should learn how to read someday."

Seifer frowned at the implied insult, but seeing the small smile of the brunet, he decided to not be overly offended.  "Who does the grave belong to, then?"

"A man I never knew, but I have placed blessings on most of the graves here so that no one will question me visiting a single grave."

Eyes narrow with anger at the idea that Squall couldn't visit his mother's grave in peace, Seifer asked, "What do these people hold against you that you have to hide your identity?"

"They are afraid of me," the seer stated without a hint of resentment as he fingered the cloth concealing his branded wrist.  "And before you ask, no, they wouldn't hurt me once learning who I am, but they wouldn't let me stay here and protect them either."

Seifer sneered.  "It doesn't sound like they are the type of people who deserve to be protected."

Squall smiled softly, as if humoring a child who didn't understand the deeper points of life, and then walked to the closest corner of the cemetery to kneel before a headstone made of white marble.  Though wanting to continue the discussion, Seifer followed silently in respect for the dead.

The seer placed a hand on the grassy ground, his expression somber as sightless eyes darkened with grayer hues.  "I can feel her, you know.  And sometimes I can hear her whispers to me..."  Squall smiled weakly as he gazed in the fighter's direction.  "She approves of my taste in a lover."

On the verge of speaking a sarcastic reply, Seifer was startled by the sensation of intense coldness stroking along his cheek and arm, the touches making him hiss with discomfort during the brief contact.

"Mother..." Squall spoke in a scolding whisper, and then held his silence for a long time before saying something under his breath as his parting words to the spirit.  After standing up with his natural grace, the blind man reached out for the blond and Seifer took that hand in his to pull them closer together.  The seer frowned slightly at the contact.  "What's wrong?  You feel torn apart inside."

Instead of answering, Seifer leaned down to claim pale lips in a demanding kiss, the man uncaring about their audience.  Releasing the hand in his, the fighter wrapped his arms strongly around the lean waist of the smaller man, pulling his unresisting seer as close as possible.  While the feel of soft lips and the smell of autumn rain soothed some of the ache deep within the blond, it wasn't enough for Seifer.  Breaking the kiss, he moved to rest his head on a narrow shoulder and buried his face against the long neck.

"Don't leave me again," he demanded quietly, not caring how childish he sounded.

"You know I can't promise you that," Squall stated while stroking his fingers through short hair.

A peevish noise escaped Seifer, but that was the extent of his argument.

After a short time of humoring the blond, the seer pulled away.  "Come with me."

Though not releasing his hold on the brunet's waist, Seifer allowed the man to lead them a few rows back where Squall paused and brushed his fingers along the etching on the gravestone.  While expecting to not understand the words, Seifer stared at the bold lettering, his eyes widening as they focused on the one thing he did know how to write - his name.

"My father, Laguna arranged for your father to receive a proper burial here.  They fought side by side during the Great War and Father had great respect for Alexei from those days."

Staring at the gravestone, Seifer felt numb as images of his father came to mind, the sight of splattered blood overwhelming his other vague memories of the laughing man.  "You can speak with the dead, right?"

"The spirits are stronger in this region for some reason, so I can hear them on occasion.  But your father isn't here.  His spirit resides in the meadow where he died."

"Can we go there?"

"Later.  You're filthy and it would disturb him to see you in such a state."  Moving his hand from the gravestone, Squall rested his hand on the arm circled around his waist and squeezed lightly.  "I can't promise to hear him, but I do know he loved you.  He asked for you at times after Father had sent you to live with the Kinneas family."

 Eyes narrowed, Seifer looked down at the seer.  "Your father was the one to send me away?"

"He wanted to protect me from you," Squall said with a small smile, as if amused by the utter failure of that attempt.  "He didn't believe that I was the one destined to protect you."

"In other words, you don't want me to throttle him," the fighter said with a scowl, irritated by the mistakes of the past which made their lives worse than they should have been.

"I'd appreciate that."

"What about that gorilla of a priest?  Surely he could handle a few good solid punches."

"I take it that Ward had words with you, then."  Leaning against the larger man, Squall sighed.  "Don't mind him or Kiros - they are plagued by guilt.  After you were gone, the villagers forced the point that I was no longer human and should be marked as such.  And so, in front of the entire town, Ward was made to brand me as a lost soul and Kiros was the one to hold me down since my father couldn't bring himself to do it.  They will never forgive themselves for that day."

Seifer stared down at the brunet, unable to believe the indifference Squall held toward the event.  "And they shouldn't be forgiven for that.  Fuck, you were only five years old.  Why didn't they just steal you away from this town and avoid the whole situation?"

"I needed to be here.  This place holds a certain energy which helped me to learn sorcery at a faster rate, and my mother is here.  I didn't want to leave her, so I begged Ward to let me go through the ritual."

Shaking his head, Seifer said, "I still don't see the purpose in it all.  What is that mark supposed to do?"

"Its a never disappearing symbol of my unnatural life and it serves as a warning to others.  Beyond that, it does little."

"Except earning you the scorn of people who don't even know what type of person you are."  Turning to better face his seer, the fighter cupped his hand around the man's chin and angled it upward to stare into cloudy eyes.  "How can you endure such a thankless life?"

"I have you now.  It's enough."

"Your standards are too low," Seifer stated while pressing his forehead against Squall's.

"Funny, my father mentioned today that my standards are higher than reasonable."

A breath of laughter escaped the blond.  "Stop trying to be right all of the time."

"Then stop trying to correct me," Squall replied with a mischievous smile before pulling away from the larger man.  "Let's go to the bathhouse, and then we can spend time in our room.  Try not to lose the necklace Ward gave you."

Reminded of the pouch in hand and only vaguely surprised that Squall knew he held it, Seifer asked, "What is this thing anyway?"

"I will explain everything beforehand, but I'd rather privacy first.  And you smell."

"Very well, kitten.  But remember, you owe me for yesterday."

"How could I forget?"


Running a hand through damp hair, Squall sighed and mentally prepared himself for a long argument with the headstrong fighter.  They had just returned to the church after well deserved bath where Seifer had fallen asleep during a lengthy scalp massage.  The blond's persistent headache had worried Squall, but upon waking, Seifer declared himself cured and tried to 'thank' his healer.  At that moment, an elderly couple had entered the bathhouse, effectively ruining the moment to the seer's silent relief.

But now, with renewed privacy after the sound of a closing door, Squall found himself wrapped within strong arms as one hand grabbed onto his exposed thigh and the other sneaked beneath the opening of his robe.  The sudden sensation of warmth along his skin made the blind man lean back against the solid form and savor the calloused touch of the fighter.  Lips caressed the side of his neck, drawing out a needy noise from the seer before he regained control of his body and slipped out from the larger man's hold.

"Where's the necklace Ward gave you?" Squall asked, ignoring the fact that his voice was rougher than usual.

"No use hoping that you forgot about it?"

Though interested in Seifer's distrust in the object, the seer held out his hand for the necklace.  The fighter took longer than necessary in retrieving the item, but he didn't argue further about letting Squall have it.  Fingering the small jar, the blind man smiled at the skill of the large priest to manage such detailed and tiny runes.  And considering Ward's reluctance to make the item, Squall was also fairly surprised that the runes hadn't been altered.

"You said you would explain what it is," Seifer reminded the seer, not bothering to hide his continued annoyance at being kept in the dark in the past.

"So I did," Squall said while moving to the bed and sitting on the changed sheets.  Holding up the necklace for the other man to better see, the brunet explained, "This is a trei-pernula jarre or a 'three pearl jar'.  In short, by placing three parts of my body into this jar and giving you the necklace, you will have the power to control my every move."

The statement was followed by stark silence, which was eventually broken by the harsh, disbelieving tone of the fighter.  "What the hell...  Are you insane?!"

"I have already warned you that the beldame will appear here, but in the past weeks, I have been dreaming of my vision and I've noticed more details.  I saw you bleeding heavily from wounds created by a blade, but you seemed reluctant to fight and defend yourself.  I think... no, I'm nearly certain that I'll be the one to harm you."

More silence followed the additional explanation before Seifer stepped in front of the seer.  "Why would you be the one to fight me?"

"I was Adel's prisoner for most of a day.  In that time, she could have taken anything from me - hair, blood, skin - to make me her servant through magic.  That is why I want you to have greater magic over me, to prevent me from doing something that would..."  Squall bit his lower lip, suddenly overwhelmed by the idea of harming the man who had become his lover and life at some unidentified moment.  Then a warm hand pressed against his cheek, the gentle touch nearly breaking the seer.

"Is there no other magic which can protect you from that bitch?"

Squall shook his head.  "I don't know what she may have taken from me or what magic she might use, but freely giving you power over me will make our connection stronger."

"But... are you certain she'd do this?  Why now and not earlier?"

"You sliced her throat, remember?  She probably healed only recently."

"... I don't like this.  Not one bit."

"And that's why I can trust you," Squall stated softly.

"Manipulative bastard," Seifer hissed in reply, then hesitating in thought before giving his answer.  "Alright, but before we do this, I want to know in exact details how I would be controlling you.  I don't want you to become some mindless slave or worse."

"Do you truly think I'm that weak?"

"No, it's not...  I didn't mean...."

Squall smiled at the uncertain tone of the fighter.  "Don't worry - my mind will remain intact, but I'll be driven to follow your orders when you focus on a command.  And even then, I can resist to a certain extent."

"And that's it?  You'll just follow my orders and no other side effects?"

"That is the general idea."

After a long pause, Seifer huffed in surrender.  "You do realize that you're probably placing yourself in more danger this way."

"I know," the blind man stated while lying back on the bed.  "But you'll do this for me."

"And what is it that I need to do?"

At the question, Squall felt shameful heat rise to his face.  "I need some of my..."  His words trailing off, he waved a hand towards his nether regions covered by the small robe.

"Some of your....?" Seifer asked, mimicking the self-conscious tone of the seer.

"My... ejaculate."

His humor returning, the fighter laughingly asked, "You can't mean that some of your own cum is needed to complete this magic of yours."

With tightlipped humiliation, Squall nodded.

"Well, well, I didn't realize that there would be perks to this spell casting business," Seifer said while sitting on the mattress and placing his hand onto the seer's inner thigh.

Shivering at the touch, the blind man sighed with expectation.  "I can't do it myself."

"I know."

And with the soft words of understanding, the small robe covering the lithe body was opened to reveal everything to Seifer, the hungry gaze of green eyes easily felt by the seer.  A rough hand rested on his hip to slowly slide up along sensitive skin, angling inward such that fingertips rubbed on either side of an exposed nipple as Seifer leaned down to claim parted lips.  Squall moaned into the joining and allowed the exploring tongue access into his mouth, the taste of spice briefly overwhelming his other senses.  But with the squeeze and twist of his nipple, the blind man whimpered from the arousing sensation and attempted to lift up his hips, but the hand on his thigh restrained him from appeasing the increasing warmth in his groin.

Breaking the kiss with tender bites to sensitized lips, Seifer leaned up and asked, "How do you want this done?"

"Your hand," Squall answered immediately, not even considering the other option.

"Don't you trust me?" the larger man asked with soft amusement as he moved lower along the seer's body.

"I'm about to give my life to you and you ask that?"

"Then why won't you let me taste you?  I promise that it'll feel good."

"Have... have you done it before?" Squall asked warily, always believing that, except for the past year, the blond had only been interested in women.  He couldn't remember if Seifer had ever said that himself or if it was merely an assumption on his part.

"No, but plenty of ladies have done the service for me.  I doubt I'd be as skilled, but I have to admit that I'm curious."

"Don't be.  It's not pleasant."

"You might think that from your past, but..."  Seifer licked the area around the seer's navel, drawing a hissing breath from the brunet.  "I'd like to make my own opinions if you'd let me."

Considering the request, Squall stared up into the darkness of his world as the persistent blond nibbled at ticklish skin and distracted his thought process.  He didn't want Seifer to be disgusted with him in any way, but as the man moved lower, Squall knew there was little point in arguing.  "I warned you."

With his victorious smirk curling against skin, Seifer kissed sensitive flesh one more time before lifting away.  "Move up on the bed for me, would you?"

After a few deep breaths, Squall sat up and slowly took off the opened robe from his body to drop it over the edge of the bed.  He then placed the necklace around his neck and moved closer to the head of the bed.  Lying back on pillows, the blind man let his legs fall open despite the sense of shame he felt at completely exposing himself to the larger man.  A soft chuckle came from the blond, soon followed by the sound of a second robe dropping to the floor.  Without a moment of wasted time, Seifer crawled between the spread legs and arranged them to better suit his comfort.

There was a warning breath against skin before wet warmth trailed along sensitive flesh.  Squall jumped at the feel, his hands grasping onto the cover sheet of the bed for a sense of support within his darkness.  Seifer didn't hold back despite the reflexive tensing of the seer, and instead became more aggressive as if the first lick was a testing taste and he discovered a flavor to his liking.  With every whimper and sigh, Squall relaxed and was soon rocking his hips in time with the wet caresses.  Seifer slowly trailed up the stiff shaft with tongue and teeth, his calloused hand eventually wrapping around the base of the erection just as his lips covered the sensitive head.  The seer gasped at the dual sensation of rough skin and warm wetness, wondering why he at first resisted against this suggestion.

Releasing the tip of his arousal with a wet slurp, Seifer asked smugly, "Like that, do you?"

With a couple breaths to steady his voice, Squall demanded, "Don't do that.  I need the fluids."

"A-ah, I forgot.  Then shall I try something different?"

Before the blind man had the chance to question him, Seifer shifted his grip such that his thumb rubbed hard along the underside of the penis, enticing a cry trapped between surprise and ecstasy to escape the brunet.  While distracted by the pleasuring touch, Squall was hardly aware of his leg being lifted and placed onto a broad back, but he did notice when a strong hand gripped onto his thigh to raise his hips even higher.  He managed a questioning call of Seifer's name, but was then stunned into silence as a moist touch circled his anus.  Shivering at the unexpected feel, Squall tried to pull away, but his positioning was too awkward and his body too weak under the handling of the Hero.  As Seifer licked heavily around and deep into the vulnerable region, his hand continued to pump steadily at the throbbing erection, bringing the blind man closer to the agonizing edge of release.

"Please..."

At the quiet plead, Seifer plunged his tongue into tightness one last time before sitting up.  "You want this done with?"

Squall nodded once, not trusting his voice as he whimpered quietly at a firm stroke along his stiff erection.

"Hyne, do you know how hard it is to control myself when you make those noises?"

"Later... anything you want..."

"Oh, I plan to, kitten.  No doubt about that."

Squall smiled softly, no longer surprised by the anticipation he felt toward the prospect of sex.  But that smile was quickly lost to a deep moan as a pair of fingers slipped into his anal passage and rough skin pulled along the sensitive walls.  With practiced ease, Seifer located that special spot which made Squall tense with overwhelming pleasure.  Mercilessly the blond attacked that hidden region while continuing to pump strongly with his other hand, and then bent forward to cover and shelter the smaller man with his body.

"It's alright, Squall.  Let go," he whispered before taking a taut nipple between his teeth.

One sensation too many, the seer stopped breathing as his hips jerked up against the body above him and hot fluid flowed between them.  Seifer continued to stroke the softening penis, his pleased smile felt by the blind man around his teased and sore nipple.  Slowly relaxing with steady breaths, Squall reached out and hooked his arm around the thick neck of his lover.  Using that leverage, he lifted himself to press his lips against the man's ear and caressed it with his lips and heavy breath before speaking.

"Get me my knife."

Seifer tensed at the command, but didn't argue as he gently removed his fingers from the tight opening and carefully lowered the leg from on top his shoulder.  Reaching over the seer toward an end table, the blond hesitated before placing the knife of cool metal into the blind man's hand.  Squall waited a moment to prepare his mind before angling the knife to his chest just above his heart.  A hand instantly covered his, the painfully strong grip making it impossible move the blade closer to his skin.

"I only need a small amount of blood, nothing more," Squall assured the fighter, who reluctantly relaxed his grasp but didn't release the hold completely.  Smirking with amusement, the seer lowered the blade held by two hands until the sharp point broke through skin and hot blood seeped a short distance across his chest.  The simple task finished, Squall turned his hand and offered the knife back to the paranoid man.  Without a word, Seifer accepted the weapon and promptly flung it at a far wall, the blade embedding into wood with a loud thud.

More amused than offended, Squall closed his eyes and concentrated on painful visions of the past, forcing himself to remember blurry images of Seifer being tortured, his soul destroyed and his body ruined.  But he didn't achieve his goal until he recalled the recent vivid dream where the arrogant Hero had chosen to leave him alone after a year of the man's heat touches, his unexpectedly soft words, and his unshakable presence.

"Squall...?"

The blind man blocked the large hand of the Hero before he could touch the tears slipping from his eyes.  After brushing aside the muscular arm, Squall ran his fingers along the necklace around his throat to locate the glass jar, then lifting up the small container for Seifer to hold onto it.  Delicately and with uncertainty, the fighter placed his fingers around the tiny container and held it steady.  Softly smiling, Squall placed his hand over Seifer's so that he could locate the jar, but also in a sign of trust toward his lover.

Wiping a finger along his cheek, Squall retrieved a drop of his tears and held it over the opening to the jar.  "This is a sign of my concern for your safety, your life, and your happiness."

The statement was followed by a charm spoken in ancient languages, and pale eyes widened slightly at the sound of an echo within his mind.  But his surprise disappeared when the seer recognized the voice of Griever, the Spirit always one to favor any magic which benefited Seifer.  With the final word of the charm, the single tear was accepted by the container, the feel of dark magic making Squall inwardly wince.  But ignoring his baser instincts, the seer continued the ritual by running his finger across his abdomen to coat it in cool, thick fluid.

"This is a sign of my lust and other irrational emotions for you," Squall stated with a weak smile, moving quickly onto the words of the dark spell to avoid uncomfortable questions from Seifer.  As only a drop of the cum was drawn into the small jar, Squall wiped his finger on the sheets beneath him before dipping his fingertip into the small pool of blood on his chest.

"And lastly, this is a symbol of my life and strength, which I give to you in complete confidence and without regret."  Once the third and final drop was accepted by the container, the seer felt the activated magic of the trei-pernula jarre as invisible strings wrapped around him, binding him with unbreakable ties to the owner of the necklace.  It was dark, poisonous magic which seemed to cut into his body and mind, but when an unexpected breath of hissed out pain from Seifer blew across the jar, the bindings became cool and comforting with their embrace.

"Fucking hell, it's hot."

Inwardly smirking at his idiocy to connect himself to the crude Hero, Squall gently took the jar from Seifer and carefully removed the silver chain from around his neck.

"Shit, the damned thing burned me."

"No, it marked you as the true owner of this necklace," the seer corrected him and placed the chain around the fighter's neck, then running his fingers across the silver to locate the tiny container still warm with active magic.  "Try not to lose this."

Seifer rested his hand over the brunet's and held it tight.  "Don't even jest about that."

Assured by the touch of the larger man, Squall relaxed into plush pillows and stared into darkness, wishing more than ever that he could see his lover.  "Test it."

The large man scoffed.  "No, I don't think so.  If I have my way, I'll never use this thing.  Hell, I don't even like the touch of it against my skin.  It feels... sick."

"It's darker magic used by Khaos which neither Hyne or Altemehsia cared for and why they sealed him in the lower levels of Hell.  But Seifer," he continued while pressing his hand against the man's rough cheek.  "I need to know that you'll be safe."

"You will be--"

Squall interrupted the undoubtedly weak argument.  "You could ask me anything and I would have to answer you truthfully."

That made Seifer pause in thought, whether in interest or disgust, the blind man couldn't tell.

"It's alright," the seer assured him.  "I'm tired of hiding things from you."

Hesitantly, the blond said, "Then tell me when you started following me."

Squall felt the stirring of manipulative power within his mind, but the command was easy to brush aside.  Smirking, he said, "You'll have to try harder than that, Hero.  And ask something you think I wouldn't tell a living soul."

"I don't..."  Growling with frustration, Seifer asked, "How did you die the time I don't know about?"

While the power had grown in strength, the blind man scoffed with disappointment.  "Pathetic.  Adel will have me dancing in the streets before you'll get a single word out of me."

The fighter squeezed the hand in his strongly and leaned forward with a threatening aura.  "You want to play that game, do you?  Fine.  Then tell me, kitten, why can't you masturbate like a real man?"

Squall closed his eyes as overwhelming energy burned through his mind, searing every nerve as the brunet tried to resist the demand.  But despite his mental wishes, his mouth opened and words flowed pass his lips.  "I had a customer who--"

"Enough!"

Instantly the commanding power disappeared from the seer's mind, disorienting him with the abrupt renewal of control over his body.  Seifer's grip had loosened on his hand, but he didn't release the hold as he bent over and pressed his forehead against the brunet's chest.  Surprisingly, hot wetness fell onto bare skin, bringing Squall back into sharp awareness as the fighter spoke in a near growl.

"Never again.  Never fucking again."

Reaching out with his free hand, Squall raked his fingers through damp hair.  "You will control me again, and I want you to."

"No, I refuse this.  I hate the responsibility you keep placing on my shoulders."

"You are the Hero, Seifer.  You are everything and your path will determine the fate of everyone on this planet."

Shaking his head, the fighter argued, "I'm just a man.  A selfish, weak man."

"You are stronger than you realize."

"And you have too much faith in me."

Squall smiled softly as he leaned forward to kiss the top of the blond head.  "You have yet to prove me wrong."

Scoffing loudly, Seifer moved to press his face against the seer's neck.  "I've had you killed at least four times, and that's not to include the pain and suffering you went through while following my ignorant ass around the continent.  I've done nothing to deserve you, let alone earn your trust."

"If you truly think that's the case, then become worthy of me."

After a long pause, Seifer moved back and said nothing as he stared at the blind man to the point of making Squall vaguely uncomfortable under the intense gaze and complete silence.  A breath of laughter finally broke the silence, and the larger man leaned forward to initiate a tender kiss which made Squall feel lightheaded with the tingling power unique to the Hero.

Breaking the connection, Seifer pressed their foreheads together and squeezed the hand still entrapped in his.  "I make no promises to the rest of the world, but I would do anything for you."

Squall had nothing to say in reply, his first instinct being to reject the irrational pledge, but wasn't it the same for him?  He had just handed his life to the fighter, never thinking twice about the decision to trust Seifer.  And when the fighter wanted to refuse that ultimate offering, a deep part of Squall had ached with despair.  To act similarly and reject the Hero's words as recklessness...

"I know," the seer finally whispered.  "Just don't get killed in the process."

"Dying for love... there are worse ways to go."

"Don't say such foolishness."

Seifer chuckled quietly.  "Make me."

Feeling provoked by both the tone of voice and the feel of magic lingering in his mind at the command, Squall forcefully pressed his lips against the man's mouth to prevent further ridiculous words from the blond.  While being the one to initiate the kiss, the blind man gradually released control to Seifer who pushed him back onto the mattress and straddled over his smaller form.  With careful control, the fighter lowered on top of Squall, effectively trapping the brunet beneath his solid, not quite crushing weight.

"I should take you right now," Seifer stated with a bite to full lips.

"Is that so?"

"Hn, but you ruined the mood."

Seeing no point in apologizing, Squall simply wrapped his arms loosely around broad shoulders and said nothing.

"Can we just lie here for awhile?"

"I suppose."

The subsequent silence was mildly surprising to the blind man, not believing that Seifer could handle a moment of peace without it resulting in sleep or the prologue to sex.  But they laid there quietly for a time, both men immersed in deep thought about the past and future.  In that silence, Squall focused on the images of his last vision, unable to find more details which would give Seifer an upper hand in the coming battle, but the seer no longer felt the threat associated with the Hero being attacked by someone he was unwilling to fight.

Without warning, Seifer broke the moment of peace by lifting off the blind man and moving from the bed, his two necklaces chiming with an unusual sound as they moved against each other.  "I want to visit my father."

Though confused by the abrupt decision, Squall was accustomed to the man's spontaneous ways and nodded in agreement to the idea.  With the returned memories, the blind man assumed Seifer was upset over the way his father had died and would need closure before anything else could happen.  He had hoped the gravestone would be enough, but Squall should have known better.

"I may not be able to hear him," the seer warned while moving off the bed.

"I don't care about that.  I just need... I need something, and hopefully it'll be in that damned meadow."


With an arm wrapped tightly around the waist of his seer, Seifer examined the open space of long grass surrounded by tall trees of changing leaves.  Without the heavy rain from the day before, the meadow looked more inviting to the fighter and almost peaceful.  But as they walked to the furthest corner of the fairly large meadow, the air felt stale and oppressive in a peculiar way which made the hairs on the back of Seifer's neck stand on end.

"The people of the village avoid this place.  They say it's haunted by a vindictive spirit."

The green-eyed man frowned at the brunet's statement.  "While it feels strange here, it's not exactly evil or anything.  Just... off."

Squall smiled at the phrasing, then slowed to a halt.  "He's here, but I can't hear his voice clearly.  I think he's befuddled by your appearance."

Examining the remaining meadow before them, Seifer's eyes were attracted to a tall but thin tree a short distance away.  It took him a moment to recognize a crude image of a wing, Hyne's wing, which had been carved into the white trunk.  Releasing his hold on Squall, the fighter walked up to the tree and knelt down to finger the aged scar.  "He died right here?"

"A-ah, I forgot how you carved a tree to mark this spot.  I'm surprised it's still there."

Images of that day flashed through Seifer's mind, the color of deep red and his father's remorseful voice something that would plague him until his death.  "I'm going to kill that bitch for what she has done."

After a moment of silence, Squall said, "In that case, I should tell you something before the beldame can use your memories against you."

The fighter stood and turned at the statement, but didn't speak as he stared at the man who was full of too many secrets and half-truths.

"I know you remember some of it, but how much do you clearly remember of the day the sorceress first attacked you."

"You mean, the day when you died right in front of me?" Seifer asked bitingly.  "I remember more than I'd like to.  There's you lying in mud and bleeding from a wound on your chest, where I imagine you got your lovely scar from.  You died, and then I brought you back somehow because I didn't want you to leave me."

"But how did I receive that wound?  Do you remember before that?"

Frowning in thought, Seifer shook his head.  "No, not really.  It's all blurry."

"I can't recall everything clearly either, but... The sorceress came for you, to kill you.  My father tried to protect us, but she knocked him aside with ease along with Ward and Kiros.  Still, I stood between you and her, and I resisted her magic."

As the seer spoke, Seifer was able to assemble his jumbled memories into some sense.  "Wait, I think I'm confusing things.  I keep thinking of some red-haired woman..."

Squall smiled softly.  "That's right.  Adel was the one who wished you dead."

"Now wait a moment, Adel and the beldame are the same person, right?"

The blind man nodded.  "In spirit, yes.  Somehow, Adel was killed before she could harm you.  And as you know, when a sorceress dies, her powers are passed onto another host."

"But I don't remember receiving any powers back then..."

"That is because Edea stepped in the way before you could receive them, protecting you from the toxic energy of Adel which would have surely overwhelmed your young mind."

"Edea...  Why does that sound familiar?"

"Edea Kramer, or as we called her, 'Matron'."

Green eyes widened, memories of the motherly woman abruptly coming to mind, a woman who impossibly had the face of the beldame.  But in those memories, she held him gently and assured him that his parents were watching over him from Heaven.  It was alright to cry in those sheltering arms, and he had needed to cry so badly.  In a hushed voice, Seifer asked, "What happened to her?"

"She resisted Adel's control for several years.  In that time, she taught me sorcery and spent many days warding this village.  On the day she left, she activated those seals to prevent her from ever returning.  But those wards have been deteriorating over the years and Adel will finally break them once the new moon arrives."

While partly listening to the soft voice of his seer, Seifer focused on the images of the past.  He could see the woman who had been Adel, a fitting picture of legendary witches with vibrant and wild red hair, sharp yellowed teeth, and unnatural eyes of black and red.  He remembered being terrified of the woman and how he had ridiculously held onto the shirt of the child before him, a blind boy who glared in the sorceress' general direction without visible fear.  But his memories jumped to the point where the witch had somehow stolen his father's dagger and then had promptly buried the weapon into the chest of the young Protector.

Seifer couldn't remember if Squall had cried out at the attack, but he knew the boy didn't fall immediately.  Instead, the brunet had held onto the gloved hand which still gripped onto the knife.  Frowning with concentration, the fighter forced his memories to remember a white glow surrounding the boy, an odd light which had spread even further to cover the tall woman.  She had screamed out with obvious fear, but not with the pain Seifer would have thought knowing her ultimate fate.  In little time, the witch had slumped to the muddied ground and stared with wide eyes at the blind child for a final time before dropping to the side dead.

"Seifer...?"

The blond jumped at the touch of coolness on his arm, but quickly regained some composure to wrap his arms around the waist of the seer and pull him close.  "Sorry, I was just remembering some more things about that day.  She really did a number on you," Seifer stated while lifting a hand to push aside the collar of the brunet's shirt.  With renewed respect, he fingered the aged and lengthy scar.  "She pulled the knife with her when she fell to the ground, didn't she?  Shit, I knew there was something about this scar..."

Squall said nothing as the large man bent down to strongly kiss the long scar before he allowed the shirt to recover that area of skin.

Staring interestedly into unseeing eyes, Seifer asked, "How did you manage to kill the bitch, anyway?  I thought you said you didn't have any magic of your own."

The blind man frowned.  "I wasn't the one to kill her."

"Come on, kitten, I don't think I'm one to make up memories at this point.  After the bitch stabbed you, this white glow surrounded you and you basically gave her the touch of death."

Squall pushed himself away from the fighter, his eyes narrowed defensively.  "You remember wrong.  I didn't have any powers until after you revived me with the souls of the Spirits."

"And I'm telling you that you did.  I even remember how that glow felt, that it was pure and beautiful, but it was incredibly... sad for some reason."

The seer shook his head while backing away another step.

"Well, if I'm wrong, then how did it happen?  How am I mistaken?"

"I... I couldn't see.  I don't know how she died or who did it."

Seifer eyed the brunet carefully, surprised by the panic hidden under the controlled surface of the man.  "Squall, I know what I saw and felt.  You were the one to save me from her."

"No, it wasn't me..."

As if looking at his lover for the first time, Seifer asked, "What are you, anyway?  You speak to the dead and the Spirits, not to mention that you can kill someone with just a touch, and who knows what else.  I can understand your role as my guide, but that other stuff doesn't seem to fit."

With his pale eyes wide, Squall stared at nothing as if he couldn't understand a possible reply to the question, but before Seifer could attempt rephrasing what he meant, the blind man abruptly went limp and began to fall to the ground.  His reflexes accustomed to the sudden bodily failures of the seer, Seifer lunged forward to catch the smaller man and help him gently to the ground.  But instantly the fighter realized something wasn't right as Squall laid lifelessly across his lap, something that was completely different from the seizure-like episodes caused by plaguing visions.  Worried, Seifer brushed his fingers back through dark hair and angled the man's head to better examine the lovely face.

"Squall, you have to wake up.  You aren't allowed to scare me like this."

After long moments of painful silence, the seer began to mumble under his breath, only the phrases 'stop this' and 'not your right' discernable to the blond.  Unable to do anything more, Seifer watched over the unconscious man while stroking his fingers along cool skin in a soothing manner.  A short while later, the blind man slow opened his eyes to reveal an exhausted gaze and made no attempt to move from his fallen position.

No longer able to handle the silence, Seifer asked, "What happened?  Was it a vision?"

"No..."

"Then what the hell happened?"

Squall closed his eyes once more, and then smiled humorlessly.  "They are trying to prevent their toy from breaking."

"They?  You mean the Spirits?  What are those parasites doing to you now?"

"I never asked that question," the seer stated, ignoring the man's growled words.  "I never thought about why I could hear my mother, or why I can feel people's pain so clearly, or why those damned dreams hurt so much.  It's obvious, but I always ignored it.  Though, I imagine the Spirits played a role in blocking such thoughts."

"But now you know, right?  Despite those bastards?"

Milky eyes crossed vaguely in thought before Squall said, "It doesn't matter at this point."

"Don't you fucking tell me that.  Obviously those voices of yours think it's something important."

The seer shifted as if uncomfortable, and then brought his hands together so that he could rub his branded wrist in a long forgotten nervous action.  "I'm a healer and a murderer."

"Damn it, you aren't a murderer.  Stop saying that."

He shook his head.  "You don't understand.  Innately, I have the powers of a healer, a life giver.  But I have killed with those powers.  It's...  It is..."

Seifer stared bewildered at the blind man who seemed on the edge of tears, but his attention was then attracted by the sight of blood from where Squall had dug his thumbnail into the skin of the marked wrist.  Cursing softly, the blond grabbed that wrist and lightly sucked on the small flow of blood before closing the minor wound with a quiet spell.  Not releasing the hand, he rubbed his thumb over the new skin.  "Why does this trouble you now?  I mean, you've been doing things to protect me for years."

"That's why I said it doesn't matter.  Typically, healers can go insane from the mere thought of murdering someone with their powers, but I've moved passed that point.  I've already surrendered to my fate of doing anything to keep you alive.  But it's still... disappointing to know just how far I've fallen."

Despite the seriousness of the seer, Seifer couldn't prevent his smile at the thought of his lover being a fallen angel.  "Don't worry, kitten.  We'll both go to Hell for our crimes and then spend an eternity doing horribly sinful things together."

Squall frowned and opened his mouth to undoubtedly correct the fighter, but was interrupted when the lithe body shivered violently, but briefly.  After a deep steadying breath, he stated, "Your father says you should hold more respect for Hell."

Stunned, Seifer stared wordlessly at the seer for relying a message from his father, but then unexpected coldness caressed between his eyes, making him jerk back in surprise and discomfort as he hissed out a curse.

"He also keeps saying he is sorry.  He's plagued by guilt."

"No," the blond said softly while rubbing his fingers along his scar to warm the skin.  "It wasn't him.  I know that."

Cloudy eyes shifted to the side as if seeing what a normal human couldn't.  "I tried to convince him that you wouldn't blame him, but you obviously got your stubbornness from your father."

Seifer breathed a laugh, enjoying the idea of inheriting something from the man who was able to break a sorceress' control to protect his son.  "The only thing I blame him for is leaving this world without giving me the chance to say 'goodbye'."

"Then do it now."

"I can't hear him.  It wouldn't be the same."

Squall nodded with understanding.

"So hey, if I can feel these spirits..."

"You aren't a healer, Seifer," the seer said as if amused by the possibility.  "As I said before, the spirits are stronger here for some reason.  Everyone senses them and that's why they avoid this meadow and the graveyard.  But only I can hear their words."

"But what does that have to do with being a healer?"

"It's hard to explain and I don't really remember the lectures Edea gave me about the different forms of magic, but somehow, spirits can feed off of my powers and gain enough life force to speak to the living.  As it's my energy they use, I can better hear them."

Shaking his head, Seifer said, "You never had a chance of a normal life, did you?"

Squall laid in silence as if contemplating the question, but then pushed himself up into a sitting position.  "May I have my hand back now?"

The fighter gazed at the arm in his hand, and then shook his head.  "No, I don't think so," he stated before kissing and licking the faded brand.

"Seifer," the brunet hissed.  "Your father..."

The large man groaned at the reminder.  "Alright, that's twice you've completely ruined the mood for me.  I'm starting to get a bit frustrated here."

Squall smiled softly, looking entirely too pleased with himself.

"You think that's funny, don't you?  Well, just wait until I claim your ass in the church for Hyne and all of the Spirits to see."

The brunet shrugged.  "Do you think they haven't been watching already?"

After stunned moment, Seifer growled, "Those sick fucks.  How dare they look at what's mine."

Amused, Squall shook his head.  "Enough talk.  We should enjoy the time we have."

The Hero stared at his seer for the soft words which meant so much.  It hurt to imagine what could happen when the beldame would finally arrive, and so Seifer pushed those thoughts aside as he leaned forward to kiss the lovely young man.  Every promise the fighter wanted to say was placed into the simple kiss while his hand tightened around the hated marking on the man's wrist.  He wished he could heal that section of skin, but he had already failed at that attempt in the past.  He wanted to remove every scar from the graceful body as too many of them represented painful and shameful moments in the seer's life, nothing like the scars which Seifer considered badges of honor along his own body.  And while there was simply too much to the man's past, the Hero craved to make things right, to make every sacrifice worth the spilt blood and tears.

But most of all, Seifer desired to find a future where Squall wouldn't suffer, preferably a future spent within the safety of his arms and in the warmth of his bed.  That was the only future he felt was worth fighting for, and something he would risk everything to obtain.

Eventually Squall pulled away from the lingering connection, his breath caressing a rough skin when he spoke.  "I know," he stated before placing a feather light kiss at the Hero's cheek.  "I know."

"Then that's enough," Seifer replied softly, knowing that wishes were for fools and people who couldn't create their own destinies.  But the Hero was ready to take control of his chaotic fate and force things into the direction he wanted, whether it meant defeating men or gods to have the life of his choosing.  And with a dark smile, Seifer held his seer tightly with the silent promise that they would never be separated again.

 

{Continued}

 

Author's Whining -- Yeah, nothing much to say here other than I'm trying my best to wrap up loose ends in this story.  In my head, I have so much freaking detail about the past to this story, but I doubt that I'll be able to write even half of it all.  So if you end up having questions, I'll try to answer them on my livejournal, but only if it doesn't give away pieces of the ending.  Here's to hoping that I'll have this story finished within another couple chapters... there's one lengthy fight scene left and then the ending part which I really haven't a clue how to write yet, so it could get very interesting. *sigh*  It would've been so much easier if you people would've let me kill Seifer. ^_-