Blind Sight
November 2003

 

Stormy eyes opened slowly with disinterest, Squall expecting to see the same sights of death highlighted by the redness of the sunset.  But instead of red light glaring into his eyes, the seer was presented with a scenery that he had never witnessed in the past.  Cautiously he scanned the immense room made of dark stones and wood.  For its size, the room was sparsely decorated with large suits of armor and various pieces of furniture colored black and red.  Blue-gray eyes then settled briefly on a large window to his side, the view outside one of bright red and orange clouds hanging over deep purple mountains.

As he turned to better see behind him, Squall froze at the sound of chains dragging against stone and the unrealized weight at his wrists.  Hesitantly, he looked down to view upon dark metal encircling his wrists and ankles, the length of chains apparently just long enough to keep the brunet in a kneeling position on a small collection of dark red and black pillows.  His clothing of the same coloring was obviously made of expensive material, the outfit a simple one with a high-collared long-sleeved shirt and loose pants.  Carefully he grabbed onto a shirt sleeve and pulled it back to reveal his skin which was covered by dark runes that had been branded with high precision into his flesh.  With only a brief glance, Squall knew the purpose of the runes and let his shirt sleeve fall back down to cover the signs of sorcery.  His magic sealed completely, Squall had nothing better to do except sit and wait.

After a time of complete silence, the sound of opening doors was incredibly loud to his sensitive hearing.  Squall's head snapped up at the intrusion, his blue-gray eyes widening at the sight of a single man approaching him.  The large man walked with complete confidence, his booted feet creating echoes within the practically empty stone room.  The sound brought a sinking feeling of fear within the seer, but he didn't dare let that show in his expression.  Instead, he continued to study the man who held both physical strength and strength of charisma.  Squall was reminded of Shiva's term for the man, the golden one of blond hair and lightly tanned skin.  Always the man had been a blurred image in his mind, no different from the other hazy people within his visions, but to see him clearly with the damned smirk in place, Squall was reluctantly impressed.

Despite his desire to study the man further, Squall soon closed his eyes in the attempt to escape the image before him, to escape the image of a man bearing eyes of coal black instead of the green the seer knew should be there.  But as in dreams before this one, the simple action of closing his eyes didn't bring the unwanted dream to an end.

Undisturbed by the action, the blond man continued his approach until standing in front of the chained seer.  Squall couldn't resist a flinch when a large, heated hand cupped beneath his chin and forced him to glance up.  Reluctantly, the brunet opened his eyes and gazed defiantly into the black orbs.

The large man laughed, the sound completely wrong for the blond.  "And what do you plan on doing to support that look, Seer?"

The runes on his arms and chest burned at the words, but Squall refused to look away.

"You should be punished for such insolence, but I'm still pleased by your earlier counsel concerning my disloyal general.  As promised, I'll allow you a brief time with your 'love'."

The seer frowned vaguely at the word stated with distain.

"But remember, Protector, I hold the chains which bind you both."

Staring directly into the dark eyes, Squall was startled by the sudden change from black to a bright green flecked with blue.  But that didn't compare to the overwhelming shame and sorrow clear in the man's gaze, something the seer noticed only briefly before he was trapped in a strong hug as the blond knelt down to the pillows.  Without asking for permission, Seifer kissed hard along his neck and pressed his body tight against the smaller man.  Unable to handle the strange happenings, Squall tensed completely in that hold.

Eventually Seifer pulled back from the brunet.  "Hey, what's wrong?  Aside from the usual, that is," he added with a weak smile.

Squall couldn't respond as he fought the urge to push the man away.

"Kitten, why aren't you..."  Green eyes widened, the shocked expression quickly passing as Seifer once more leaned forward with a more cautious hold.  "Squall... Listen to me carefully.  I didn't want any of this.  I fucked up.  You..."  He shook his head vaguely.  "I wish I hadn't tried to save you.  I should have listened to you, but what's new there, eh?"

"What--"

Seifer shushed the brunet, fingers then pressed against his lips.  "Don't speak.  I know what you want to say, but it doesn't change anything.  Death for us both would've been better than this.  If only you could have prevented this future..."

Stormy eyes went wide when he realized that Seifer was trying to warn him.  But it didn't make any sense to the seer, only the voices able to offer warnings about the future in past dreams.  It confused Squall to interact with a living person who was apparently unable to give a straight warning.  For that matter, the voices appeared absent this future, which was highly unusual given their enjoyment in lecturing the seer during the lengthy dreams.

Unexpectedly, Seifer whispered into his ear.  "I love and trust you with all of my soul."

Before he could process the words, Squall was abruptly pushed away as the blond jerked back onto his feet into an unsteady standing position.  Blackness swirled in his eyes, soon covering the bright green that rightly belonged there.  Lips curled into a vicious smile as the blond hissed out something unintelligible.  Straightening, he looked down with stone cold eyes.

"Now, about your earlier attitude..."

~ > < ~

"--all.  Squall."

Eyes snapping open, the seer was bewildered by the lack of light, but the hands grabbing onto him from the darkness became his first concern as he struggled from the strong hold.  Though he managed to get an arm free, the powerful hand regained its hold with little effort.  Shoved down against the softness of a mattress and pillows instead of hard stone, some sense of reality came back to the frightened man as he stopped struggling.  Even so, the strong hands didn't release him.

"Are we done now?"

After a series of deep breaths, Squall nodded and tired not to show his relief when the bruising grip was gone.

"Shit, don't scare me like that again.  You were screaming and your body..."

Placing a shaky hand at his upper arm, Squall asked cautiously, "What about my body?"

"It was burning, and yet somehow wasn't... From what I saw on your arms, the burned areas took the shape of lettering that looked a lot like what I saw on that dead man, but far smaller and cleaner."  A careful hand touched the seer's skin, caressing slowly along the sensitized flesh.  "It seems to be gone.  What happened?"

Ignoring the question, Squall stated with surprise, "You woke me from the dream."

"Well, apparently so.  I can't exactly sleep with you yelling like a man being tortured."

Though Seifer obviously didn't mean his words, Squall couldn't stop an involuntary flinch.  The following silence was awkward for the blind man, but he was somewhat assured by the warm hand still on his arm, though unmoving.  Eventually the silence was broken as the larger man changed his position on the bed and renewed his stroking motion along the seer's arm.

"What happened in your dream, Squall?"

Feeling a chill at the low voice, the dark-haired man answered hesitantly.  "It wasn't a future I'm used to.  You were alive and I couldn't see beyond the walls of where I was entrapped."  After a pause, Squall shook his head.  "No, we were both entrapped there.  I don't understand much, but I think someone of great power took control of your body.  Through you, this person apparently ruled without contest."

"And I hurt you?" Seifer asked with disgust clear in his voice.

"I was punished, yes, but while it was your body and voice, it wasn't you.  No, you were the one to warn me to not let that future happen."

"All right, now I'm really confused.  If it wasn't me controlling my body, how did I warn you about anything?"

Squall sighed.  "The details don't matter.  That future happened because you were an idiot and didn't listen to what I said."

"Is that so?" Seifer asked, clearly amused by the statement.

"You said it first, not me."

The blond chuckled weakly.  "Well then, I'll just have to take your word for that.  So, who was it that stole my body?"

"I don't know," Squall said quietly.

"A-ah, but you have a guess, don't you?"

The blind man cursed under his breath as he wondered how it was possible for the blond to read him so easily.  "... I think it may have been Altemehsia."

"Altemehsia?  You think a goddess took my body and it's somehow my fault?  Why the hell would I let some ancient bitch have my body?"

Stormy eyes narrowed.  "I don't know for certain.  You're a fool who thinks I need to be saved and apparently did something to prove your stupidity."

The large hand tensed at his arm.  "I did it for you?"

"I don't know!" Squall hissed out while sharply pulling his arm out from the strong hold.  He then moved to escape the bed, but hands were upon him once more to keep him in place.

"Why must you always run from me?"

The question nearly broke the blind man, the somber voice holding a similar tone to the Seifer of his dream.  "Promise me that you will never sacrifice yourself for my life."

"I don't think I can do that."

Remembering the words that death was better than that potential future, Squall closed his eyes and said, "Promise me and I will do anything you wish."

As soon as the words were said, the blind man was shoved back onto the mattress as Seifer suddenly stood up from the bed.  "Don't you fucking offer me that, you piece of martyr shit.  How dare you think so low of me."

Startled by the angered voice, it took Squall a moment to collect himself.  "That future can't happen."

"Then I won't let it happen, but fuck you for trying to make me swear to a bullshit promise like that by whoring yourself."

The statement was entirely too arrogant, and yet the seer felt somewhat relieved, as if Seifer could prevent such a future by simply saying that he wouldn't allow it to happen.  Squall knew it was foolish to take such words seriously, but he found reluctant trust in the blond anyway.

After a tense silence, Seifer sighed deeply.  "I will do what I want, Squall.  Don't try to change that about me."

The blind man nodded his understanding.

"It's still night out and I'm exhausted.  I don't know about you, but I'm going back to sleep."

Not bothering to comment on what sounded like a ridiculous suggestion, Squall listened to the already familiar sounds of Seifer stepping lightly across the wooden floor to the other bed.  With a creak and a grunt, the large man settled on the mattress in preparation for sleep.  Focused on the calming breaths of the blond, Squall found the idea of more sleep not the impossible task that it seemed only a short time before, his body and mind suddenly feeling exhausted after talking to Seifer in both the dream and reality.  But before he allowed himself that momentary peace, Squall turned to the silent man.

"Thank you for waking me," the seer whispered, thinking the fighter asleep.

"Hn, we'll talk about that in the morning," Seifer replied in a soft tone, his earlier anger somehow already gone.

Staring into the darkness, Squall wondered how the blond man must look at that moment.  The golden hair which was combed and sleeked back with grease in the dream of the future would probably be a mess after sleeping.  Though truthfully the seer couldn't be certain if Seifer did his hair that way in the present time, or if it could be a decision of the soul who possessed the man.  Silently he hoped that the fighter didn't bother with fouling up his hair like that, since the feel and smell of grease rarely failed to make the blind man feel ill to his stomach.

And once realizing the direction of his thoughts, Squall scoffed quietly at his ridiculousness and rolled over to his other side as if it'd help him to forget the large man.

~ > < ~

There was only darkness as he opened his eyes, but hard movements against and within his body forced the blind man into awkward awareness.  Harsh breaths rang in his ears, and he was startled to find his own breaths matching the quick and sharp rhythm.  His body was already tense as his hands gripped at metal bars of the headboard and his feet pushed against the mattress covered by very soft sheets.

Squall wanted to scream.

But instead, old habits instantly took over as he allowed the unknown man to do whatever he wanted with his body, and meanwhile he hoped for a quick end to the situation.  Though no matter how hard he tried, Squall couldn't force his mind to blank out the physical happenings as he could in previous sessions.  After several long moments, the reason for his distraction finally became clear when he identified the overwhelming scent of musk hinted with spice.

"Seifer...?" the blind man gasped in part horror.

A familiar deep hum sounded as the large body lowered slightly and heated lips caressed along his neck.  "Hyne, Squall... Do that hand thing for me."

"W... What...?"

"Don't tease," Seifer said in rough voice as he added strength to the following thrust.

Squall found it nearly impossible to breath as his body began to shake.  "Get off of me."

Though pausing his motions, the large man didn't follow the weak order.  In an oddly amused tone, he asked, "Fuck, kitten, what did I do wrong now?"

Unable to stop the quakes of his body, the dark-haired man tried to steel his voice and failed.  "You said you wouldn't..."

"I wouldn't what?" Seifer asked in the same humored way.  But when no reply came, he questioned again with more concern in his voice, "Squall, what's wrong?  You're shaking, and I can tell it's not for the normal reasons."

Looking up at nothing, the blind man didn't bother to hide his offense at how casually Seifer was taking this situation, as if the man had the right to know what was 'normal' about his body.  And to do this after saying that he didn't want the offer of sex...

"Squall...?  Ah, shit.  Don't tell me that you aren't..."

Not understanding what the man was implying, the seer frowned in confusion.

Promptly, Seifer continued with a mantra of 'shit, shit, shit' as he carefully pulled himself out from the smaller man.  Squall hissed at the slow removal, and was quickly uncomfortable with the general idea of how much was deep inside of him.  Sheets moved then, the soft material covering the blind man from the waist and below.  Though allowing that much consideration, Seifer didn't leave the bed, and instead made himself comfortable next to the seer while placing a leg over the sheet covered ones.

"If you're faking this, kitten..."

"What am I supposed to be faking?" Squall asked icily, his composure easily regained with the man removed.

A deep chuckle sounded.  "Of all the times...  You're dreaming."

"Couldn't you think of a better excuse?" the blind man asked with bitterness.

"Oh give me a break.  Do you think I'd start fucking you while you're asleep?  I'm not that desperate for your body.  Close, but not that bad."

Squall could feel the smirk that the fighter was aiming at him and quickly turned away in a vague attempt to avoid that gaze.  "But I can't see."

"Of course you can't.  You never do before...  Wait a minute, just where in the past are you?"

"I'm not 'in the past'."

"Yeah, yeah, whatever.  Just tell me what town you are in right now.  Maybe Correna?  Or Jutte?"

Squall frowned.

"Hn, then we haven't gotten that far yet, but I don't remember any other time when you...  Ah, it couldn't be, I mean, don't tell me that you're in... Drasberg?" Seifer asked, his voice oddly strained.

The blind man continued to say nothing, but something in his expression must have given the fighter the answer he was looking for since the man began to laugh long and loud.

"Oh Hyne, I've been waiting for this day," Seifer eventually said with some regained control.  "Let's see, where to begin... Well, first, you're still blind in some of your dreams.  We haven't figured out why, but you think it has to do with how I fulfill my destiny.  Either way, there's a time element involved.  As to why you haven't had this type of dream before, it's because you've never been able to wake up midway into a dream.  Only I can help you do that..."

During the speech, the humor in the voice faded away and was replaced with something almost soothing.  But Squall didn't have the chance to relax to that voice before a hand was suddenly on his chest and rubbing with careful strokes.

"Well, actually, it's not right to call it a dream really.  You, or rather your spirit is kind of wandering while your body is asleep.  We haven't really figured out how you manage to take over your body in future times, though.  Anyway, if you fall asleep directly after me waking you up from a 'dream', you still end up wandering again, but not as far into the future.  And so, here you are."

Stormy eyes narrowed in confusion.  "I'm wandering?"

"Yeah.  You still beat yourself up for not realizing it sooner."

"I don't understand."

With a sigh, Seifer leaned in closer, his heat almost overwhelming as he rested his head on the bare chest and wrapped a strong arm around the lean waist.  "When did you start having these dreams?"

"I've always had them."

"No, you've always had your visions, but not these dreams.  They aren't the same thing."

"You... know this?"

Seifer laughed lightly as he pressed closer.  "I've dragged a lot out of you over the past year, but I'm still learning new things about you.  You are such a tight lipped bastard."  Leaning back, the blond moved his overly warm hand down to a bared waist.  "Hyne, were you always this afraid of me?"

"I'm not."

"You are.  Look at how tense you are at this moment, and I've barely done anything to you."

Glaring in the direction of the deep voice, Squall stated, "You were fucking me."

Chuckling softly, Seifer leaned closer.  "You wanted me to fuck you."

Stormy eyes widened.  "I don't... I wouldn't..."

"It's okay.  I don't expect you to believe me, but what about this?"

Squall gasped as the warm hand lightly stroked his penis.  A surprisingly erect penis.

"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."

"Stop..."

The deft fingers didn't pause in their assault.  "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."

Before he could think of a response, heated lips were suddenly pressed gently against his.  After the initial surprise, Squall was soon overwhelmed by the careful touches of both lips and fingers.  Part of him wanted to escape those odd feelings, but his body didn't seem to agree that such touches were unwanted.

Seifer broke the kiss and spoke quietly with his breath caressing sensitized skin.  "Please don't avoid this future.  Do whatever you can to stop Altemehsia, but don't prevent us.  I can't exist without you."

Beyond words, Squall couldn't reply to the man.  It hurt to think that he had allowed a person to get this close to him, and yet... and yet he wanted it as well.  Eyes closed, he tried to relax despite the caressing hand and slowly sank down into the ever-present darkness of his world.


Groggy upon waking, Seifer decided that getting out of bed would probably take more energy than he currently had at the moment.  Looking out the window closest to him, he was mildly annoyed at the sight of the predawn sky.  While he was used to waking early in the morning, he hadn't gotten much sleep after first waking to the quiet screams of the stoic man, and then his mind had been filled with heated thoughts about the desperate offer of the man.  Seifer was still furious at him for even thinking he would accept such a deal.  And yet, at the same time it said something to him that Squall was willing to offer anything in order to prevent that future.  While he wanted to know more details about what exactly the seer wished to avoid, Seifer preferred to think that he was being rescued yet again.

Once accepting that he wasn't going to get any more sleep, the blond sat up and swung his legs over the edge of the bed before he stretched his arms high above his head.  For a brief time Seifer then watched the resting man who was somewhat curled under messed sheets and occasionally took a shaky breath as if cold.  Deciding that there was nothing he could do to help warm the seer, or rather that there was nothing Squall would allow him to do, Seifer stood up from his bed with another stretch and walked quietly into the adjoining hot spring area.

Eventually settled in soothing hot water, Seifer sighed and stared up at the unimpressive ceiling.  He ached, and he had a good feeling that the springs wouldn't be able to relieve him of this particular pain.  Always it had been a random girl on his mind, the face and body changing every week or hour depending on the town.  And the ache he held for those lovely ladies was no mystery.  But when it came to Squall...  Every time the man flinched or held a frightened gleam in his cloudy eyes, it somehow caused a physical pain within Seifer.  And it was ridiculous, since he knew the seer didn't want his touch, but Seifer was unable to stop himself.  He had to prove that the incredible man was real, and that despite his feats, Squall was still simply a man.  A blind man at that.

Swirling a finger in the water, the blond watched as the circles enlarged and broke against his body.  Seifer was proud of his body and strength, and more importantly he trusted them to keep him alive no matter the situation.  Of course, he wasn't the invincible swordsman he believed himself to be only months ago, but he still had deep faith in his abilities.  It was a shame that he couldn't use his physical power to win over the difficult seer, but he also felt an odd sense of relief that if Squall ever accepted him, it would be for more than simple attraction.

Laughing to himself at that thought, Seifer took one final dunk into the steaming water before leaving the spring.  He took his time drying off the rapidly cooling water on his skin, and he then put on a fresh robe instead of clothes since he didn't plan to leave the inn that day.  With a relaxed stride, the fighter walked to the closed door and slid it open, thereby giving himself a direct view of the prone man who instantly closed his eyes at the sound of the door.

Chuckling, Seifer stepped up to the bed.  "What's this?  Trying to sneak in more sleep while I'm stuck awake?"

Squall curled slightly in the sheets while not replying.

"Oh, no.  No more sleep for you.  Selphie wants us to have breakfast with them."  With that serving as his warning, the blond took a hold of the sheets and sharply pulled them off of the lean man.  "Now get up and... oh..."

A faint blush colored pale cheeks as Squall ineffectively tried to use his robe to better cover an apparently bad case of morning wood.

Clearing his throat to prevent his laughter, the fighter grinned.  "Looks like you had a nice dream for once."

"Bastard," he hissed.  "You planned this."

"Um, I planned what exactly?"

"You planned this.  You purposefully..."  With a growl, Squall reached out and ripped the sheets from the blond's hold, then able to recover himself as he moved to a seated position.

"Fuck, just relax, would you?  There's nothing you have that I haven't seen before."  Sitting on the edge of the mattress despite his obviously unwanted status, Seifer smirked at the upset brunet.  "Now while I know that I'm completely irresistible, it's unfair to call it my fault for giving you a hard-on."

Squall pulled the sheets tighter over his body, and before the fighter could mention the ineffectiveness of hiding his arousal that way, he noticed the shaking of pale hands.

"Seriously, are you all right?"

Clouded eyes shifted down in a nervous action before Squall spoke in a nearly unintelligible mumble.  "... it hurts ..."

Biting back a laugh, Seifer replied, "I guess that's my cue to leave you to your business?"

The blind man frowned slightly.  "My business?"

"You know..."  Seifer started to do a pumping motion with his hand before he remembered it would be unseen by the man.  "I'm just talking about masturbation here."

The blood seemed to drain from Squall's face at the simple suggestion.  "I can't."

"Sure you can.  All it takes is a strong grip and... Squall?  What's wrong?"

"I can't," he whispered again, the soft voice hinted with fear and disgust.

No longer feeling any amusement about the matter, Seifer tried not to think about what could have happened to the man to cause such a reaction.  "I guess that you can wait it out, but truthfully, I think you need to lose some of that tension.  Too much stress doesn't do a man good, you know."

The seer shook his head.

Sighing, the larger man gently brushed away dark strands of hair to better see the blue-gray eyes.  "Why do you have to make everything so difficult?"

"... I dreamed," Squall said in a hesitant voice.

Seifer was about to make a sarcastic reply to the obvious statement until he realized that the man could be referring to one of his foreseeing dreams.  "But, I woke you up from that dream."

"It was a closer future that I dreamed about.  You... you asked me to trust you."

"And...?"

Squall bit his lower lip before saying in an incredibly quiet voice, "It hurts."

Sharp green eyes studied the man before Seifer cautiously took a hold of the sheets and slowly pulled them off of the lean form.  With some reluctance, Squall released his desperate grip on the soft material and stiffened vaguely, but he never spoke a word to correct the blond's assumptions.  Even so, Seifer was surprisingly uncomfortable with the sudden turn in events, and he didn't trust the dark-haired man's current motives.

Shifting closer to the smaller man, Seifer placed a hand at an exposed thigh.  "Are you sure that this would be better than handling it yourself?"

A shiver coursed through the body.  "Yes."

"And what about you being angry with me?"

A touch of hardness returned to the stormy eyes.  "Because you planned this.  You knew that this..."  He paused, his body oddly relaxing from its tense state.  "But you didn't hurt me."

"Never," Seifer said with pure seriousness, the single word causing another shiver in the lithe body, but it felt different than the one before.

Green eyes never left the seer's face as Seifer watched closely for signs of discomfort as he ran his fingers over the thigh, his hand never leaving the soft skin so that Squall wouldn't be surprised by any action.  He didn't take a hold of the hardened flesh immediately, and instead stroked his fingertips along the sensitive organ to become familiar with handling another man.  Once comfortable with the different angle, and after receiving an annoyed glare from the blind man, Seifer gripped the arousal while brushing his thumb over the sensitive head.

Squall closed his eyes with a shaky breath, his body soon tensing again in fear.  But Seifer didn't stop at what he hoped was a reflexive action, that Squall wasn't truly afraid of him.  He started to pump as he would to himself, but with slower and gentler strokes.  Eventually he started to follow the rhythm of rapid breaths, Seifer trying to push away his own arousal as he watched Squall go through the levels of physical bliss.

So entrapped by the attractive face lost in pleasure, Seifer was startled by the eminent release spilling onto his hand, but he didn't stop as he helped to milk the release to its fullest.  Once finished with his task, the blond stared at the heated fluid on his hand, hesitating before taking a sample of the cum with the tip of his tongue.  Before Seifer could make a decision about the taste, his hand was captured in a painful hold and he was pulled forward slightly as Squall pressed his face against the strong chest.

"Whoa, what's this now, kitten?"  The fighter wrapped an arm around the body, and he was surprised by the severe shaking of man.

"I'm lost..."

"What do you mean?"

"The door... which way is the door?"

Holding the man tighter, Seifer smiled slightly.  "It's all right.  A greatly needed orgasm leaves everyone a bit confused."

"How do I get out?" Squall asked, his voice near cracking into a sob.

With a soft shushing sound, the blond said, "I'm here."

Surprisingly, the dark-haired man eventually calmed after the simple statement, his desperate grip on the robe relaxing such that he leaned limply against the larger man.  Seifer couldn't help himself from smiling at the previously unimaginable situation, but he still wanted more.  He wanted to explore every inch of the lean body, to learn every secret of the mysterious man, and to understand every thought that guided his selfless actions.  But for that moment, Seifer was appeased to have the trusting seer pressed up against him and safe within his arms.

After a time of comfortable silence, Squall leaned back before asking, "Do you put grease in your hair?"

Though confused at the odd question, Seifer answered, "On occasion, I guess.  When I'm invited to the more snobbish parties.  Why do you ask?"

"I hate grease," the seer mumbled before lifting a hand to feel the short strands of blond at the thick neck, the careful hand then moving forward to run fingertips along a rough cheek.  "I saw you...  In my dream, I saw you for the first time."

"But you've had visions before."

"I told you, they are just blurs.  But this dream was annoyingly clear."

"Oh, is that so?  And...?" Seifer prompted with an amused grin.

"And... and nothing," Squall replied in a voice that was obviously hiding something, but Seifer didn't have the urge to press for a real answer.

"Were you able to see yourself, as well?"  When the seer shook his head, Seifer leaned down closer to the man.  "A shame.  You're beautiful."

Taking advantage of the anticipated surprise, the blond pressed his lips hard against the slightly parted lips of the seer.  Kneading their lips together, Seifer was almost entranced by the feel of hot breath against his face.  It seemed almost impossible that there could be the presence of heat within the man of icy words and cold skin.  Not wishing to frighten Squall too badly, the fighter kept the kiss short as he finished with a soft bite to the full lower lip.  He then pulled back while watching the man expectantly.

After a failed attempt to speak, Squall asked, "What was that?"

"Just a kiss, kitten."

"That's... a kiss?"

Humming the affirmative, Seifer brushed his fingers through thick dark hair.  "And a promise.  I'll always protect you, Squall.  Whether or not this is real between us, I won't let another person harm you."

Reddened lips formed a shadow of a smile.  "You're a fool to make such a worthless promise."

"Maybe, but that's nothing new."

After briefly closing his eyes, Squall said, "I need to clean up."

Grinning broadly, Seifer asked him, "Want some help?"

"No."

The sharp reply made him laugh.  "Are you certain?  You didn't seem to mind the other night," the blond said as he undid the belt to the robe.

"Seifer..."

"All right, all right.  I'm not planning on anything here.  I just want to look at something..."

As the robe was pushed apart, Seifer studied the revealed skin with keen eyes.  While he was once more drawn to the long scar that extended from nearly the man's shoulder and down to about mid-chest, Seifer instead took a closer look at the white scar in the ragged shape of a thin oval.  Lightly fingering the damaged skin, he frowned in thought.

"How did you survive this?"

"... I didn't," the seer said in a thoughtful voice.

"That isn't funny, Squall.  You were seriously injured because of me."

Apparently not hearing the words, he continued in a distracted tone, "That's what you meant.  The first time I dreamed, it was after I had died.  And you knew about it..."

Pulling his gaze from the bared chest, Seifer stared up into cloudy eyes.  "You... you aren't kidding, are you?"

Startled out of his thoughts, Squall looked in the direction of the blond with no sense of humor in the blue-gray eyes.

"But... how?  Are you a zombie or something?"

Squall shook his head.  "I still have my own will and thoughts, but they won't let me die."

"They?  They who?"

With a tight smile, the seer ran fingers through his dark hair and clutched the longish strands.  "They don't want me to tell you.  The voices want to use me to control you, but I won't play that role.  Do what you want, and never worry about my life.  I don't want it anyway."

Seifer could only stare at the blind man for several moments, surprise and emotion overwhelming his thoughts.  Oddly, pity wasn't a large part of those emotions.  Rather, he felt almost proud of the man's determination, and then there was a sense of happiness that Squall really did understand him and his need for freedom.

Even so, Seifer was unable to respond to the seer's statement, and so he refocused his attention to the damaged skin and ran two fingers along the lengthy scar.  "How did you get this beauty?"

"A knife," he replied as if it could explain everything.

"I still feel like I recognize this cut, but it's an old one, isn't it?"  When the fighter didn't get a response, he asked half-jokingly, "Did this kill you, too?"

"No," was the soft response, implying something else to Seifer.

"Then, you have died more than once?"

A cool hand gripped the blond's wrist to pull it away.  "Why do you ask so many pointless questions?"

"I want to know you," Seifer replied as he reversed the hold and lifted the hand such that he could kiss the brand on the underside of the wrist.

The sightless eyes crossed slightly in thought before Squall said, "I don't want to be known.  May I take a bath now?"

The fighter smiled at the terse response as he helped the blind man up from the bed and led him to the adjoined room.  While grabbing a clean towel and robe for the man to be placed within easy reach, Seifer grinned with amusement that he was finally starting to break down the icy boundaries of the quiet man.  In one day, he had gotten more answers to his questions than in the past months, which left numerous possibilities for the coming days.

Turning, Seifer was momentarily stunned as he watched the robe drop from the body of lean muscle.  While he was afraid of making the man uncomfortable, he couldn't stop looking over the body which had gained some greatly needed weight over the past weeks.  Though marred by scars, the pale skin appeared smooth and perfect from his current view, not to mention extremely touchable.  As Squall turned to face the fighter, Seifer was amazed by the contrast of blue-gray eyes with the dark hair that framed the attractive face.

"Seifer?"

The questioning voice startled the blond out of his stunned state, and Seifer took a deep breath after too long without one.  "Yeah, I was just getting you towel and robe.  I'll set them on the bench for you.  But you know what, I better go see if Selphie needs some help.  I'll fetch you later for breakfast."  And with a quick stride, Seifer set the items down before leaving the suite, all the while trying to ignore the faint, knowing smile that Squall was sending his way.

 

{Continued}

 

Author's Whining -- Whee, is this story getting long or what?  Anywho, once I'm happy with the base of their relationship, the timeline should speed up quite a bit.  But yes, this thing is no where near ending yet, so please continue to be patient with my slow pace. =P