Lying on top of warm and somewhat damp sheets, Seifer leaned on his elbow while amusedly gazing down at the beauty who was partly hidden by the barrier of covers. Dark pink hues crossed the cheeks of the brunet, but typically full lips were taut in a thin line of displeasure. And although the blond knew that it was his wandering hand which was the cause of the man's discontent, Seifer reasoned that it wasn't his fault that he couldn't stop. The seer was simply irresistible.
"Hyne, were you always this afraid of me?"
Unseeing eyes of blue ice shifted away, Squall's retort expected before the words even left tight lips. "I'm not."
Seifer bit back his laugh in fear of offending the wandering soul who was currently residing in his lover's body, but he couldn't resist arguing, "You are. Look at how tense you are at this moment, and I've barely done anything to you."
"You were fucking me."
Chuckling softly, Seifer leaned closer and stated proudly, "You wanted me to fuck you."
Stormy eyes widened at the declaration, both disbelief and fear present in the brunet's open expression. "I don't... I wouldn't..."
"It's alright. I don't expect you to believe me, but what about this?" the fighter asked as his hand went beneath the sheet and into dangerous realms as his calloused fingers stroked the erect penis with extreme tenderness. Squall gasped at the feel and squirmed as if to retreat from the touch, but the large blond knew that there was nowhere for the seer to escape. "You know better than I do that you wouldn't react like this unless you wanted to. In fact, I don't think you could react unless you trusted me. Not after what those bastards did to you."
The breathy command made Seifer pause for a brief moment, but he chose to plow on with his current method of holding onto the skittish man's attention. It had worked in the past, and he could only hope that the seer had been serious when he mentioned that the fighter had assaulted him in his wandering dream. "Squall, I know it's hard for you, but trust me when you wake up in the morning. I could never hurt you. Eventually you'll understand that."
Cloudy eyes narrowed, the distrust visible those eyes painful for Seifer to see. And as pale lips parted to speak hurtful words of accusation, the blond decided that he didn't want to hear anything like that spoken in his lover's voice. Covering the seer's mouth with his own, Seifer kissed the smaller man with a firm but gentle press. Unexpectedly, Squall's body vaguely relaxed into the caress of tongue and fingers, but the fighter still could feel the distrustful gaze of sightless eyes upon him.
Reluctantly breaking the kiss, Seifer looked directly into the stormy eyes of the brunet and wondered what he had done in the past to clear those eyes of fear and pain. "Please don't avoid this future. Do whatever you can to stop Adel and the rest of those bitch sorceresses, but don't prevent us. I can't exist without you."
Squall didn't reply, his body tensing with an unnamed emotion before he closed his eyes and attempted to relax. Wanting and needing to soothe away the man's pain, Seifer continued to caress sensitive skin with his fingers while his mouth wrapped around the ragged tip of an ear. It was frustrating to the blond as Squall went into a limp pose, a tactic the brunet had used with his customers in the past and only once tried the same trick with Seifer when he assumed the fighter wanted sex. That had led to an angry lecture from the blond, Seifer disgusted that the blind man would consider him no better than the sick customers who had paid for sex. And now, with Squall unresponsive beneath him, Seifer felt the same mix of fury and revulsion as in the past. But he kept those emotions at bay, reminding himself that it wasn't truly his seer in their bed.
It wasn't too much longer before an odd drawn-out sigh escaped the brunet, Squall then jerking as if startled in someway. His sightless eyes wide, the smaller man grabbed onto a muscular arm and squeezed tightly, his uncut fingernails digging into golden skin. Though still partly covered by the sheet, Squall shivered violently and pulled on the arm in his hold. Not needing a vocal plead, Seifer moved such that his body pressed fully against the leaner form and his arms wrapped around the bare shoulders of the brunet.
After taking the time to calm down, Squall muttered, "Fucking Drasberg..."
The bitter tone catching him off guard, Seifer laughed at the less than refined return of his lover. "So this is what happened to piss you off in the past."
A mortified groan sounded in the dark room as Squall buried his face into warm skin.
"Come now, kitten. You knew that it was going to happen sooner or later."
"Actually, I had hoped that I could avoid that particular part of the future."
Though unable to contain his smile, Seifer attempted an offended tone. "You wanted to avoid my bed? Am I that awful?"
"And yet, you still found a place in your heart to trust me."
Squall sighed with regret. "I was a fool to do so."
Gently pushing the man aside so that he could see his face, Seifer brushed his fingers through dark hair. "What was it like just now?"
The seer shivered vaguely before grasping onto the warm hand. "It was like being under Adel's control, but more powerful. I couldn't do anything except feel and hear you. And that lost soul... it was cold. So incredibly cold."
Humor lost to concern, the blond lightly kissed below a sightless eye. "I'm sorry for that, but if speaking with me just now helped you to trust me in the past, then I can't say that I wished it hadn't happened."
Pale lips curled faintly. "You did more than simply speak with me."
Chuckling, Seifer removed his hand from the tight grasp and slid his calloused fingertips down scarred skin. "What can I say - it's an impossible task to get you to listen to me when you don't want to. And you had mentioned that I was overly horny in your dream."
"Hn, how was I supposed to know that you were actually being reserved with your touches."
Laughing as he reached the partial arousal of the blind man, Seifer leaned down to kiss his lover as he lightly stroked sensitive flesh. Unlike the man of before, Squall didn't shy away from the intimate touches, but instead arched slightly into the pleasing contact of rough skin as he also helped to deepen their kiss. Encouraged, Seifer tightened his hold on the stiff member and proceeded to draw quiet moans from the smaller man. It was intoxicating to taste and feel his seer, knowing that his attention was wanted by the man who once hated the Hero and everything he represented. And shifting his body to further press against the lithe form, Seifer had the desire to fully exploit his hard-fought trust.
Abruptly, Squall jerked back from their heated connection and spoke a breathy, "Wait..."
Seifer frowned at the interruption, though obeyed the command as he moved his hand to a bare hip. "We didn't get the chance to finish earlier."
"I know," the seer said with an apologetic tone, "But I need to ask this before you distract me further."
"And what did you need to ask?"
After taking a few deep reviving breaths, Squall began, "Just now, you asked me to help you stop Adel. But in the past, you told me to stop Altemehsia. Is there a reason why that changed?"
Surprised, Seifer stared down into sightless eyes, unable to think of a quick response even though he knew that his hesitation was saying everything to the intelligent brunet. And as the time of silence lengthened, the green-eyed man realized that he had no answer for Squall, that he couldn't speak of anything except the truth to his lover, but he wasn't ready to talk about that truth. Not yet.
Pale lips curled vaguely as Squall lifted a hand and caressed a rough cheek. "Is this something you cannot tell me?"
"No... I mean, I want to, but..."
"Will you tell me?"
"I will. I promise I will, but... Is it alright to just want this for now?" Seifer asked before turning into the hand cupped at his cheek and kissing the sensitive palm.
Allowing the wet touch, Squall eventually stated, "It's not easy, is it?"
Confused, the blond made a questioning sound.
"To know something important, but being unable to speak about that knowledge."
Seifer finished licking a curled pinky before saying, "It's not the same as your determination to tell me shit. I'm just..."
Eyes narrowed, the blond looked down at Squall's face, and instead of seeing the expected humor, Seifer saw simple understanding in the man's expression. His voice rough, he replied, "I'm terrified."
Smiling softly, the seer wrapped his arm behind broad shoulders and used the support to lift himself off from the mattress. Exploring kisses landed first on a rough cheek, and then moved sideways until a wet tongue caressed a defenseless ear. While always teasing the brunet's ragged ear, Seifer had never experience the odd feel himself and he hummed in unexpected pleasure. Warm lips were then pressed at the rim of his ear and heated breath tickled sensitive skin as Squall spoke.
"No need to waste the moment. Secrets can wait until you are ready."
"Hyne, I don't deserve you," Seifer whispered as he turned and captured teasing lips with his own.
As their kiss deepened, the larger man gently lowered his seer flat onto the bed and lifted his hand to run fingers through thick hair tangled from their previous activities. Stilling his hand, Seifer rested a thumb behind the brunet's undamaged ear and caressed the sensitive skin to entice a throaty moan from the typically stoic man. In retaliation, a chilled foot brushed against the back Seifer's leg, the unexpected touch making the fighter lean back in surprise and break their kiss.
"Fuck, do you ever warm up?" he asked with harsh humor while continuing to rub the spot behind the Squall's ear, the simple touch causing the brunet to squirm beautifully.
Squall responded with a simple smirk before he hooked his leg over the blond's lower back and used that support to lift himself and rub his strengthened erection against a bare thigh.
"Well, now, that feels a bit warmer than the rest of you," Seifer said with a laugh.
"Stop talking and do something about it, you idiot."
"And what should I do, hmm?"
Eyes crossed in thought, Squall placed his hand into short golden strands. "Why do you always want me to say it?"
"Because..." Taunting words quickly died in Seifer's throat as he gazed into cloudy blue and realized that there were deeper emotions which had prompted the question. With a silent sigh, the blond replied truthfully, "Because I like to know that you want this. That you aren't just humoring me."
Unnoticed tenseness evaporated from the brunet. "In that case... I want to come. Suck me or fuck me - it's your choice."
With a fond smile, Seifer continued to stare down in milky blue. "My choice, huh?"
As his reply, Squall slipped a hand down the man's torso and easily located the partial arousal to stroke the sensitive flesh in an enticing manner.
"Uh-un, that isn't my choice," the blond stated laughingly as he removed the teasing touch. Leaning down, Seifer kissed pouting lips before saying, "I do believe that it's your turn by now."
"To do the fucking."
Squall went rigid with surprise, his eyes widening and his breath quickening. "Me?"
"Only if you want to. I understand that sex is a... complicated issue for you."
Stormy eyes crossed in thought before a stray hand lifted to touch warm skin. "You trust me to... you want me to..."
Holding back laughter at the seer's disbelief, Seifer moved to the side of the smaller man. "I hope you don't mind, but I'm not as flexible as you, so I think this would be easier if I stayed on my hands and knees."
"But why? Why now?"
"Well, when two gorgeous men with achingly hard cocks really need to come--"
"Seifer," the brunet interrupted with a growling tone. "Answer me seriously."
"Seriously, huh?" Brushing aside dark locks of hair, Seifer gazed at the lovely face which represented so much to him - intelligence and defeat, strength and fear - and wondered what he did to deserve his Protector. "Just now, I was reminded about your past, about our past. You were so afraid of me and of what I would do to you, and I didn't turn out much better than what you feared. I always take you, and you always give me what I want."
Squall smiled softly as his sightless eyes brightened with understanding. "You are nothing like those men."
"Perhaps, but it doesn't change the fact that I've been selfish."
"Then, you are doing this out of guilt?"
"No, not guilt. Maybe something closer to payback, but..." Seifer hesitated in thought as he stared into cloudy blue, and feeling his anxiousness slip away, he stated quietly, "I want this."
His smile widening, Squall moved his hand to lightly slap an exposed thigh. "I hope you have plenty of oil. You'll need it."
"You aren't that big, kitten," the blond said with a chuckle as he reached for the bottle sitting on the end table.
"But you're the virgin."
Seifer paused while staring at the container in his hand, somewhat surprised by the concept of being an innocent in any regard. "Well, at least I can trust you to be gentle."
"I don't remember promising that," Squall said while sitting up and stealing away the vial of oil. "But if you're good, I may consider healing you afterward."
The blond laughed, louder than warranted given his returned nervousness, but he didn't hesitate while moving into a kneeling position and bending down to rest comfortably on his folded arms. He shivered when a chilled hand felt along his upper thigh and the blind man began to explore with careful touches. Once he found his target, Squall placed cool oil at that sensitive region and used his fingers to work the medium deeper into the previously untouched anus. Though awkward, Seifer didn't mind the invasion, and relaxed further as the oil soothed away the occasional burn of discomfort. But as the fingers slipped even deeper, the blond inhaled sharply at an unexpected spike of pleasure, the sensation causing his whole body to tighten in expectation.
Squall breathed a laugh at the reaction, his lips then caressing the lower back of the fighter as he asked, "Does it hurt?"
Seifer shook his head, unable to consider speaking as the brunet continued to assault that hidden pleasure spot. But eventually realizing that Squall wasn't able to see his silent sign, the blond muttered a hoarse, "Don't stop," as he leaned back to better feel the teasing fingers.
Another soft laugh sounded as the fingers slipped out despite the previous demand, the removal causing an oddly empty feeling within the sensitized anus. Shifting to glance back at his seer, Seifer held back a groan at the sight of the stoic man rubbing oil onto his stiff erection. Obviously, Squall was more eager about the switch in roles than the brunet was willing to express. Comforted by that knowledge, the blond smiled softly and moved into a more comfortable position.
A chilled hand touched his waist as an oil-wetted tip pressed up against his anus. "Last chance to change your mind."
His smile widening, Seifer replied, "When do I ever change my mind?"
"Stubborn idiot," Squall muttered with amusement highlighting his voice.
The entry was slow and careful, the blind man pausing at every wince of the blond before proceeding deeper. Once fully sheathed, Seifer was given the moment to adjust to the strange invasion, something not entirely painful, but his body still wanted the heated length removed as soon as possible. However, given that spare moment, Seifer couldn't stop wondering what had happened during Squall's first experiences of sex, something which was now making the seer overly gentle.
But then a firm hold was at his softened length and Seifer jumped at the unexpected touch, the move quickly reminding the large man about his awkward position. Squall didn't pause at the nervous reaction, and instead held fast while stroking the flaccid penis into an aroused state. Once achieving that goal, the brunet shifted back until nearly removed, and then drove forward while tugging hard on the partial erection in his hand. An unusual sound, partway between a groan and yelp, erupted from Seifer, the blond uncertain if he had enjoyed the sharp mix of pleasure and pain. But as Squall continued to pound into the fighter, Seifer realized with some amazement that he was becoming more and more aroused.
Then, without proper warning, the green-eyed man gasped when heated emotions burned through his veins and set his rapidly beating heart aflame. A small part of him recognized the weight on his magically imprinted back, but Seifer couldn't focus as the physical world dissolved into endless feelings - fear and desire, adoration and hate, rage and tranquility, hope and misery, joy and pain - every emotion coated with a strong sense of love. Clutching onto his pillow as if it would give him a better grasp on reality, Seifer couldn't prevent the hot tears which began to slip down his cheeks. He felt ridiculous, crying like a small child while being fucked by his stoic lover, but he couldn't stop, not with the intense sensations continuing to pour into him.
"Hyne, Squall... please move..."
The blind man jerked back at the plead and the connection between them broke instantly, but Seifer was allotted only a spare moment before the link was renewed by soft kisses from the brunet. Unlike the haphazard emotions of before, there were only warm sensations of love and devotion which seeped into the protection charm and created a tingling heat that spread throughout the fighter's body. Groaning at the assault, Seifer shifted as the passionate warmth gradually concentrated and settled in his nether regions. A contented hum sounded from Squall as he resumed his disrupted rhythm, the thrusting hardness deep within the blond being one stimulus too many as Seifer bit into his pillow to smoother his eventual cry of release.
Once spent, Seifer hesitantly opened his eyes, but quickly closed them when he couldn't focus on the world around him. His breaths ragged and his body feeling numb, the blond tried to hold onto the consciousness which was threatening to leave him. But even as he felt the continued movements of his seer while the brunet was reaching his own completion, Seifer slumped deeper into his pillow and silently begged his lover to not tease him in the morning.
Feeling more at peace than he could last remember, Squall adjusted his position against a smooth rock and enjoyed the feel of cool grass beneath him. In contrast, a heated weight rested on his thigh, Seifer humming quietly as the blind man threaded his fingers through soft hair. The air around them was almost cold, a subtle warning about the approaching winter months, but the warm sunlight of mid-afternoon kept both men comfortable despite their light clothing. It was strange and reviving to be seated there with no visions casting shadows over their future, and with no plans to travel, Squall felt relieved to spend the extra time in his hometown.
And yet, Squall knew it couldn't last. Fate simply wasn't that kind to the cursed seer.
Seifer groaned quietly as he adjusted his position. "Fucking hell, my ass still hurts."
Already hearing several versions of that complaint during the morning hours, Squall only smiled while he lowered his hand to massage the man's neck. The night previous had been indescribable, and for far more reasons than sex. Granted, the blind man had never imagined what fucking another man would be like, but the sex was amazing simply because it was a new and completely different way to feel Seifer. And before that, to hear the deep voice saying, 'I want this'... Squall knew at that moment that Seifer would do anything for him. It should have been a frightening realization, but instead, the seer welcomed the man's passion and allowed himself to be loved.
"Do you ever second-guess yourself?"
The blind man breathed a laugh. "I'm hardly perfect, Seifer. I always wonder if my choices were the right ones."
"Huh, who would've guessed. You always seem so confident."
Sighing, Squall admitted, "To this day, I wonder why I didn't warn you that Adel would kidnap me in Correna, but that was my decision. Wrong or right, it happened and I live with that choice."
"If you ask me, it was a terrible decision," Seifer stated while sitting up from the seer's lap and brushing aside the hand which had been massaging his neck. "But I've made plenty of stupid choices in the past, so I don't think I'm one to talk."
Not speaking his opinion about how truly idiotic some of those choices were, the blind man waited for the conflicted blond to finally put words to the thoughts which had been plaguing the fighter since the battle against the sorceress. But as Seifer didn't speak immediately, there was only the quiet of the forest for a length of time. It was the type of silence which Squall typically despised as he felt alone in his darkness, but after surrendering to his feelings for the arrogant blond, he could feel the vague connection between them. He wasn't alone and had no reason to fear the darkness.
"Back when I was unconscious, fighting Adel..." Seifer hesitated, obviously uncertain where to start. "You know my father's spirit was there, I mean, you sent him to help me and all. But you don't know that I spoke with him, after Adel was killed, that is."
Squall reached out to try and ease the man's apprehension, but Seifer jerked away from the touch.
"Don't. You're going to be yelling at me in another minute, and this is hard enough without you being... nice and shit."
Hiding his pain at being refused, Squall pulled his arm back and nodded for the man to continue.
"I... That is... Fuck, do you know anything about my parents?"
"Only what my father told me of Alexei during their army days, that he was an incredible fighter and a good man. As for your mother, I seem to remember Father saying that she was a skilled nurse."
"She was more than that. Apparently, she was a healer, just like you."
Sightless eyes widened, Squall surprised by that fact, though he didn't understand what should be upsetting by such information.
"My old man, he didn't tell me much about her, but I remember her vaguely. She always glowed with this soft golden light..." Seifer trailed off, lost in momentary thought before he suddenly spoke with confidence - "I want to revive Altemehsia."
Before the seer had the chance to form his own response to the unexpected madness of the Hero, the silent Spirits came to life in his head with heated arguments. Shiva warned her 'lover' that the blond could be possessed by his latest addition of souls, Leviathan spoke of past Heroes who had left the path of Hyne and had to be exterminated, and the child Spirit, Carbuncle, simply ranted on about the 'bad, bad woman' who shouldn't be allowed to exist. Not so oddly, Griever held his tongue during the outburst, his unspoken humor easy felt by the blind man.
"Stop... I don't care... Be silent!"
Though momentarily quieted by the command, the Spirits began their chatter once more with pleads to listen to their warnings. Squall didn't want to hear another word from the demi-gods, but pressing his hands to his ears did nothing to silence their talk. Frustrated, he slammed his head back, but the impact against stone only resulted in added pain to the hurtful words of the Spirits.
And then suddenly, there was silence. Cautiously, Squall relaxed and gradually recognized the heavy hand on his head. Grasping on to that hand, the blind man pulled it down to his cheek, and after a moment spent appreciating the heated palm, he opened his mouth to speak. However, instead of words passing over his lips, a choking gasp escaped the seer as his body went limp and bright images of the future assaulted sightless eyes. With every flash of blurry pictures, Squall wished for his blindness to take those images away from him, but it was useless as he viewed the simple death of the Hero. And though he felt the degree of importance about that future, Squall rejected the message with every fiber of his mind and soul.
As darkness wrapped around him once more, Squall inhaled the fresh air around him, the scent of spice invading his senses and soothing the turmoil deep within him. Burying his face into the thick neck, he spoke hoarsely. "I would follow you into Hell."
Holding the brunet tighter, Seifer demanded, "What did the vision show you?"
"That I should kill an idiot Hero."
"... Hn... I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. But I assume that you're stubborn enough to ignore the warnings of the future?"
"I already told you once that I refuse to be your murderer."
"So you did," Seifer murmured softly as he stroked dark hair.
Haziness of the vision leaving him, Squall clutched at the man's shirt and asked, "Why now? Why are you suggesting to subject this world to the whims of a cursed goddess?"
"That's the last thing I want, and you should know me better than that. I'm not some evil bastard attempting to dominate or destroy the world."
Though hearing those words spoken out loud did relieve some of the blind man's fears, he argued, "What possible good could come from resurrecting Altehmesia?"
Seifer sighed. "I'm not too certain that any good will come of it, but... Before we were interrupted, I was telling you about my parents. Did you know that my family lived only a day's travel from here?"
Squall vaguely shook his head, disconcerted by how little he knew about the people who had brought the Hero into the world. But with that new knowledge, it didn't surprise the seer that Seifer was born nearby. There was a strong energy that existed in the foothills of the Estharian mountain range, a strange aura which made learning magic from Edea easier for the blind child of destiny. And for that reason, it was almost obvious that the Hero and Protector would both be born in the magically enhanced realm.
"I don't remember the place much, but my old man... He told me a little bit about the Almasy heritage, about the history and the legends associated with my bloodline. I don't know how much I believe, but according to him, we're descendents of Alexander, one of the so-called 'heroes' who sealed Altehmesia."
"'He who wielded the blade of Truth, the fearless swordsman with no homeland and without loyalty. Defeated and controlled by Odin, Alexander was the destroyer, the Hero who laughed with Death and danced with his minions...' That Alexander?"
"Damn, do you have every passage of that stupid book memorized? But yeah, my old man mentioned something similar about Alexander being a horrid example of a hero. Though he also said that the most important part was that Odin basically owned Alexander's soul. Because of that, Alexander became a pathetic guard dog, bound by Odin's command to keep watch over the shrine where Altehmesia had been sealed. When Alexander died, his duty was passed onto his son, and then onto that man's son, and onto that man's daughter... Strange luck that my line was apparently cursed with the ability to only have one child per generation."
Blue-gray eyes widened in vague understanding. "Your father had the duty to protect the shrine, and now you... but you haven't..."
Seifer chuckled softly as he pulled away from the seer, though kept his hand steady in dark hair. "Funny, I had the same reaction. But Dad said that my existence alone has kept the shields in place, which have prevented sorceresses intent on raising the bitch from reaching her. But the problem comes with my eventual death."
Hesitating, the seer guessed the dilemma. "You haven't had an heir yet."
"Close, but not quite. I won't have an heir," the blond stated, intensifying his point by stealing a kiss from the sightless man.
Once understanding the deeper meaning of his statement, Squall jerked away from the kiss. "You can't risk the world for me. You can still have an heir."
"No, it's too late for that. And before you say a damned word about me being young and you not caring, I'm telling you now that it won't happen. There's too much between us, Squall, and no one can ever compare to you." There was a sound of clinging metal from a necklace and the seer felt a flush of power burst inside of him from the trei-pernula jarre. "Your very soul is bound to me and you think that I could settle for anyone else?"
"But, if it means keeping Altehmesia sealed..."
"That's why I want to revive her." Moving his hand to caress the brunet's jaw line, Seifer spoke proudly, "Remember when I told you that my old man was impressed with your abilities? Well, if anything, that was an understatement. He thinks you have the raw power to become an amazing healer if you had the proper training. Given that and my childless problem, my father asked a final favor from me - he asked me to attempt restoring Altehmesia to life."
"How is that something which even resembles a solution?"
"Don't you get it, kitten? You can cure her insanity."
Sightless eyes wide, Squall pushed against the broad chest and used the support to stand up onto shaky legs. With the removed touch of the Hero, whispers of the voices returned to the seer, but their words were far less certain about the insanity of the blond. Even so, the blind man didn't pay attention to those words, instead his entire body was racked by shivers and his breath refused to come out evenly. Attempting to retreat further from Seifer, the seer stumbled on fallen branches and landed on his ass. With humiliation added to fear, Squall turned his face away from the blond.
In a voice no louder than a whisper, the seer asked, "Haven't I done enough?"
"I've protected you, cared for you, and loved you, and you ask me to achieve the impossible, as well?"
"I wouldn't ask you if I thought that you couldn't do it, kitten," Seifer stated with some offense. "And I also don't believe that it's an impossible task. Remember, a part of Altehmesia's soul is within me, and there's a chance... a small chance that it's the part which she's been missing all of this time."
"You can't know that."
"No, I suppose that I can't, but I do know what I feel, and that chunk of soul feels different than the spirits of the sorceresses within me. I can't explain it, but it seems... sad and regretful. And really lost." With a short laugh, Seifer added, "Actually, it reminds me a bit of what you were like when you still hated me."
Eyebrows drawn in thought, Squall hesitated before reaching out a hand to the blond fighter. Seifer responded to the silent request and moved forward to grasp onto the hand, and after lightly kissing sensitive fingers, the fight placed the spread hand onto his chest. Instantly, Squall was overwhelmed by the warmth of his lover, but pushing that sensation aside, he dove deeper through the aura of the blond and reached the jumbled mess of souls existing within the Hero. It was impossible to decipher the mix of energies and emotions, but the seer only wanted to touch upon the fractured spirit which Seifer believed existed within him.
"He smoothers her," Seifer murmured quietly as he tightened his hold on the seer's hand.
Though at first confused, Squall guessed the meaning of the hint and reached toward the silver aura of the Hero. It was surprisingly cold to brush upon that power of Hyne, and while the seer wanted to pull away from that harsh energy, Squall forced himself to look closer. But there seemed to be nothing in the sea of silver, a vast region of frozen metal shards which cut into the seer as he delved deeper. And yet, just when he was pulling away from exhaustion, a glimmer of gold flashed from the coldness, the rays of warm yellow reaching out as if pleading for help.
Startled by the caress of somber energy, Squall jerked his hand from the fighter's grasp, and already weak from the vision, he continued to fall backward onto the forest ground. Lying uncomfortably on cool grass, the seer rolled onto his side and curled into a slight ball as he tried to cope with the conflicting thoughts raging in his mind. He didn't want to believe the Hero. He didn't want to understand the glimpse of hope which the foolish blond harbored about the cursed goddess being restored to her original state. And most of all, he didn't want another impossible burden being set onto his weary shoulders.
But as a large and warm body laid down and curled behind him, Squall knew that he had already lost, that he would do anything for his lover. Even so, he argued softly, "I don't know how..."
Warm breath on chilled skin, Seifer replied, "My old man said that there are books about healing at the family home. He suggested that we should read those books before we came to a final decision, but... I really think this would bring an end to everything. No more crazed sorceresses, no more fucking Hyne, and no more destiny. Of course, if I'm wrong--"
"You'll bring a plague upon this world."
"Hn, basically. But if it's going to happen sooner or later with my death, then I'd rather be around to take part in the fun."
"Murder, havoc, and the end of the world as we know it. That is your definition of fun?"
"As long as you're around, kitten, then I don't give a shit about the rest of the world."
Shaking his head, Squall muttered to himself, "And I fear how true that is."
Blue-gray eyes opened hesitantly, the sensitive pupils contracting to pinpoints of black due to the assault of bright light. Eyelids snapped closed at the painful glare, and with a quiet groan, Squall pushed himself into seated position before daring to open his eyes once more. It took several blinks and squinted eyes before the seer could begin to recognize objects around him, though there wasn't much to strange room, if a person could call it that. There appeared to be no walls or ceiling, instead mist covered the ground and spread up into shifting 'walls', and high above was the familiar twilight sky of his wandering dreams. But despite the open view of the 'room', Squall could feel the area around him was closed off in some fashion and a part of him knew that he wouldn't be able to escape.
Of more normal appearances, Squall was seated on an expansive bed of fine gray cloth, an incredibly soft material for which the seer had no name. Posts of black wood rose up from the corners of the bed, etchings of intricate designs momentarily entrancing Squall as he felt power seep from the apparent runes. Made of the same black wood were two bedside tables, one of which bearing a cup and pitcher, both made of an unusual glass which bore a silver gleam. Curious, the seer reached for the cup and smelled its contents, the sweet fragrance instantly making him dizzy with its strength.
Quickly setting aside the unknown drink, Squall gazed at his body. Uninterested in the white cloth made of similar material to the bed sheets, he instead stared at a black mark peaking out from beneath the hem of his shirt. As the fabric was lifted, blue-gray eyes widened at the sight of a tattoo, a magically imprinted design which covered from below his navel to the base of his neck. Staring at the cross of runes and the image of a broken wing, Squall's breath quickened at the dark branding of a lost soul.
A chilling sensation down his spine broke the seer from his shocked state as he quickly lowered his shirt and scanned the room around him. From beyond the right corner of the bed, a figure wavered into view, blurry air gradually taking form into a gray-haired human bearing demon wings and long red horns. But as crimson eyes ringed by black met the wary eyes of the brunet, Squall was struck by immediate recognition though he had never seen the true form of the visitor.
The demi-god smirked weakly before walking forward, his pants of black leather creaking with every step in the painfully quiet room. ::You shouldn't be here, Seer::
Squall frowned at the demon god's tone, the typical arrogance and humor lacking from the growled voice. "I'm not even certain where I am. It seems... unreal. Have I died?"
Dark wings shook with the Spirit's laughter. ::No, you haven't died yet. But yes, for you to end up here, I imagine that you have died in this future::
"Then... it is possible for me to die?" Squall asked with some fear, not of death, but of the unknown potential that he could leave Seifer alone after his promise to always remain at the fighter's side.
::We haven't the time for questions with obvious answers, Seer. It was hard enough to convince the others to remain with your body and conserve their strength. But how was I supposed to guess that you'd end up here of all places...::
Though wanting to ask where he was exactly, the brunet folded his arms across his chest and straightened his posture. "What do you want, demon?"
The demi-god smirked a fanged grin at the terse tone before taking a seat at the foot of the bed. ::Few dare to call me 'demon' to my face. You are truly unique, blind one. But that is why I have grown fond of you, despite the path which Fate wanted you to travel::
"I have done everything asked of me."
Red eyes glittered at the statement. ::Perhaps, but I know your heart and you won't do everything which has been demanded of you::
Turning his gaze away, Squall said, "Seifer doesn't deserve to die."
::He has chosen to raise my diseased sister::
"Not for his own gain, but to help her and to finish his destiny."
Chuckling, Griever stated, ::Reviving Altehmesia is the last thing Fate would want of him. She despises my dear sister with a passion::
Hands fisted, Squall declared, "I won't kill him."
Surprised by the somber and hopeful tone, the seer looked at the Spirit, but crimson eyes were downcast in thought as thin lips curled into a near smile.
::You know, I always assumed that you would be like the rest of the blessed Protectors, cursed souls chosen for their innate magic, their strong faith, and their ability to manipulate their Heroes. But then, things went wrong for you at the very start, didn't it? Death and revival, your Hero taken away, being forced to hide in the shadows rather than face the man who had shoved you aside... No other Protector has suffered like you, and that pain shaped you into someone you weren't intended to be::
After a time of reflective silence, Griever turned to the brunet and asked warily, ::Do you truly believe that you can heal Altehmesia?::
Squall replied hesitantly, "I want to."
::But you are uncertain of your strength:: Though the seer didn't affirm that assumption, the demon god smiled vaguely at the silent answer. ::You do realize that he will try to stop you::
Though wishing he didn't understand the vague warning, the seer said, "He smoothers her."
::But he will never control her::
Stormy eyes narrowed, Squall stared directly into the crimson gaze of the demi-god. "What do you want from me?"
Not breaking their eye contact, Griever waited several moments before saying, ::Your human legends aren't truths. Hyne may be your creator, but he isn't a kind god, not even to his half-blood children. Only Altehmesia was able to refuse his wishes, and he punished her for that::
Staring into deep red, the seer considered the words, and after a time, made a guess about what the Spirit was referring to. "The warrior who 'killed' her, he was sent by Hyne...? But no, that man did it for revenge, because she wouldn't heal his wife."
::One lies of many. Hyne sent dreams to the human, enraging him about a false future and showing him the methods to best injure a goddess. Although, I doubt Hyne foresaw her resulting madness considering she became even harder to control after that point::
Thoughts running wild in his mind, Squall spoke out loud to sort through conflicting ideas. "And then the Heroes were enlisted to seal her, to end her dark reign."
::Because, to Hyne, it was better to have her asleep than out of his control. But the smart girl had her revenge::
"Her revenge...? After she was sealed?"
::My overconfident father stepped directly into the trap left for him and he was sealed along side his precious daughter. And that is the true destiny of the recent Heroes - to release Hyne from his eternal bindings::
"I don't... I don't believe you. If it was so simple--"
Griever interrupted. ::Typically, Heroes bind with the soul of Hyne which resides within them. It gives them their strength and power, and it becomes an addiction as they rely further and further on a soul which isn't theirs. And due to that foolhardiness, a Hero's soul must be sacrificed in order to return Hyne's spirit to his body since one cannot be separated from the other::
::Sacrificed, martyred, murdered... it's all the same. As to why we never admitted that to you... Well, what arrogant Hero filled with life and power would willingly submit to a destiny of death, hmmm?::
Stormy eyes wide in horror, Squall felt his entire body go cold. "Then the sorceresses weren't lying. This entire time, I was leading Seifer to his death."
::Perhaps, but just as you aren't an ordinary Protector, the golden one isn't a typical Hero. He rejects the greater powers which Hyne's soul offers him::
"But I've trained him, forced him to use magic when he never needed it before."
::Those minor tricks are nothing compared to the true power which your Hero refuses everyday. And because of that, their souls haven't merged... or at least, not to a dangerous extent::
Sighing, Squall relaxed at the knowledge that Seifer was temporarily safe from that one particular threat of death. But as fear slowly left him, the seer frowned in deep thought. "Why have you told me these things? Do you desire to confuse me? Is this some prank on your part?"
Griever laughed in rumbling tones. ::I suppose that is my reputation, but no, I've only spoken truths here. Forgive me for rambling on like an old fool when I had only wanted to see for myself if you were serious about healing Altehmesia::
"And now that you know my intentions...?"
The demi-god smirked as his blood red eyes flickered with the power of demons. ::Call upon me, blind one. The others may desert you, but I will be your servant::
Stunned by the offer of the recluse Spirit, Squall could only stare as the winged demon stood from the bed and made to leave. Not wanting to be left alone, the seer blurted out a question that still bothered him about the so-called truths Griever had told him - "Why would Hyne want to punish his own daughter?"
The demon god paused, his dark wings swaying at the abrupt motion. ::He didn't approve of her choice in a lover::
"She loved somebody...? But I don't remember any passages about her loving anyone. Before her madness, she was the unattainable goddess, the holy angel who loved everyone but cherished no one."
::True, she loved much like a mother will always love her children, but there was one soul who meant everything to her::
::...My better half,:: the demi-god replied in a hoarse voice, then promptly disappeared in the same fashion as he had arrived.
Staring at the empty space, Squall shook his head and wondered how much further the demon god would surprise him. But after the past day of numerous revelations which tore apart at the seer's already shaky faith, Squall felt oddly calm. Nothing made sense anymore, but it didn't seem to matter as he smiled softly and spoke to himself in the mist-filled room.
"So, the goddess of light and madness cherished Khaos... No wonder Hyne was furious."
Author's Whining -- One chapter down, one step closer to the end of this story. For those confused about the first part of this chapter, that was the past Squall from chapter 5 (whoo, almost ten chapters ago). I couldn't resist showing Seifer's side of that little scene.
As for all of the god stuff... well, I'm going to try to explain more in the coming chapter, but like I've said before, I've gotten my inspiration from Greek myths. So Hyne is basically a Zeus-like god who doesn't care too much about humans until they do something really stupid. He's also fairly horny, always changing forms to have sex with various people/species. As such, Griever and Khaos are twins born from a demon, Shiva was born from a snow-nymph, and so on. Altehmesia is an exception as she wasn't 'born', but was formed from a piece of Hyne, thus she is a full-fledged goddess, while most everyone else is a demi-god.
Hope that I haven't overly confused you all, and here's to hoping that there really is only one more chapter left... fat chance, but it's a nice dream, isn't it?