Blind Sight
January 2004

 

It was weak struggling that woke Seifer from a restful sleep where he had been dreaming of a very willing and very horny brunet.  With sleepy annoyance he glared down at the real form of that man who was currently trapped in his arms.  Quickly he remembered the events that morning which ended with the exhausted man falling on top of him.  Pale lips formed a lazy smirk at the memory.

"Calm down, kitten.  It's just me."

Ceasing his movements, Squall scowled at the bare chest in front of him.  "I know that.  What do you think you are doing?"

In the middle of a yawn, Seifer replied, "I was sleeping."

A quiet growl sounded from the seer.

"Hey, I didn't expect to get caught.  I had to haul your unconscious ass all the way here to our room, and I was going to steal a few moments with you in repayment.  I didn't think I would fall directly asleep like that."

"... ..."

Laughing at the continued annoyance of the blind man, Seifer shifted his position to hold him closer.  "You know, I can feel that spell of yours wrapped around me in protection.  And if I close my eyes, it feels like you're the one holding me tightly.  It's incredible..."

"You're being ridiculous."

Smiling, the blond said, "No, I'm not.  It seriously feels like that.  It kinda spooked me at first, but it feels right.  It feels safe."

After a moment of silence, Squall softly said, "Don't rely on it."

Though bothered by the almost pleading tone, Seifer breathed a laugh.  "I fight by my own skill, kitten.  Remember, I killed that Rogien without any of this magic crap."

"Worgein."

"Right, that beast."  Eyes narrowing in thought, the fighter asked, "Do many people know about this type of magic?  I mean, I still want to do tournaments but I don't want to be disqualified or anything.  And Selphie mentioned that I now have a rather large and red tattoo on my back, which I can't imagine people missing."

Squall shrugged.  "I wouldn't know.  But this charm only protects you from magical attacks, not physical ones."

"Really?  But I thought you said I was immune to magic."

"I said resistant.  Hyne, do you listen to anything I say?"

Humming with amusement, Seifer said, "I remember you said that I arouse you."

"I never said that," Squall growled out, but surprisingly didn't renew his attempts to escape the blond's hold.

"Fine, you implied it then.  But if I remember correctly, you did say that I didn't hurt you."  The fighter moved his hand to massage soft skin of the man's side beneath his shirt.  "Is it so terrible being with me?"

Hesitating, Squall avoided the question and said, "You have more things to learn."

"Alright, but not until later.  I can tell that you are still exhausted.  You won't be any help like this."  Running his hand up along cool skin, Seifer said, "Anyway, I'm too comfortable to move."

When no argument came from the blind man, Seifer smiled lazily as he closed his eyes and hoped to continue the dream he had been wakened from.  But for whatever reason, sleep wouldn't come as he laid there with the tense seer in his arms.  Realizing that neither of them would get needed sleep in that way, Seifer debated about returning to his own bed.  But then a careful touch was at his side, and worried that he would frighten off the timid contact, the fighter had to force himself to be still as if he weren't awake.  Gradually tension left the lithe body, and with the hand not moving from its perch, Squall fell asleep.

Reveling in the sign of trust and perhaps more, Seifer found sleep even harder to grasp onto.  While Squall didn't seem adverse to his touch anymore, the fighter figured it was more from tolerance and not because that contact was actually accepted and wanted.  But a new possibility came to Seifer, that perhaps the seer was only being difficult and refusing a touch of happiness in his life despite how much he may desire it.  Breathing a chuckle, he held the smaller man closer.

In a quiet whisper, he said, "Poor kitten, you'll never get rid of me now."

~ > < ~

With eyes closed and his body relaxed, Seifer leaned back against an aged tree as he listened to the sounds of the forest surrounding his hometown, a forest he knew well given the adventures during his youth with Irvine.  His sword hung heavily at his side, the hilt at the best angle for a fast draw.  Moved to his forearm, his father's dagger was strapped such that it was hidden beneath the darkly colored cloth of his shirt.  And around his neck was a thin chain which held a silver pendant displaying the one wing of Hyne, a gift from Selphie in her own form of protection.

But none of that gave Seifer the same sense of safety as the feeling of ghostlike arms wrapped around his chest.  The hold was tighter than usual, most likely due to Squall's continued reluctance about the coming fight, but Seifer refused to run.  He had been forced to flee twice already, and he wasn't about to give some witch another victory.  Especially not when Squall still bore some scarring from the burns caused by the magical bindings she had placed on him.

The sound of birds taking a quick and loud flight into the air interrupted the peace of the forest, making Seifer open his eyes to calmly scan the surrounding forest.  Eventually a young, dark-haired woman appeared as she walked into the open area with an unnatural grace.  She smiled broadly at the sight of the blond, her expression too innocent for what Seifer knew about her.

"The 'Hero' comes to greet me himself.  How sweet of you."

Seifer said nothing as he studied the woman, somewhat surprised that she had appeared exactly where Squall said she would.  The blond thought it would be more reasonable for her to use that teleportation spell she did last time, but the seer assured him that such a spell was worthless unless the caster was confident about a safe place to appear.  Otherwise, the person could end up trapped within a wall or even another person's body if they weren't careful.

Pressing a hand against her chest, she pouted at the man.  "You know, you really hurt me the last time we met.  I was only trying to warn you about that false seer.  But I can forgive you.  I know how manipulative his type can be with their talk of the future and density.  You should be proud to see through his deceit by yourself."

Smirking, Seifer asked, "And why would you say that?"

The young woman blinked.  "Well, he isn't here.  I assumed you handled him."

The fighter laughed, thinking to himself that he wished he could 'handle' the difficult seer in the ways he desired.

Dark eyes narrowed, her innocent front wavering.  "You still trust him?  When he wants you dead?"

"If I'm not mistaken, the only one who has tried to kill me lately has been you."  Drawing out his blade, Seifer settled into a ready position.  "Isn't that what you came here for?"

"No," she replied as if offended.  "I wanted another chance to reason with you, to make you understand the danger you are in."

"Give up, bitch.  Your magic won't confuse me like the last time."

After a moment of silence, the woman breathed a chuckle before smiling darkly.  "So it seems.  But remember, you forced me to this."  Eyes closed, she focused on something, but then frowned in confusion.

Using the given opportunity, Seifer sprinted forward to attack the seemingly defenseless woman, but inches from the slim body, his blade stopped short as if hitting a stone wall.  To avoid injuring his arm further, he didn't resist the momentum of his sword and spun back a step into a defensive position.

Reopening her eyes, the young sorceress glared at the blond.

Smirking, he said, "You won't use them against me."

Her reddened lips slowly formed a knowing smile.  "He's protecting them for you."

Seifer didn't respond to the obvious that Squall was currently safe within their room at the inn, doing his best to shield the town from the sorceress' manipulations.  The blond had been horrified to learn that the witch could have used anyone as an unthinking hostage against him.  To imagine fighting Irvine or Selphie had finally convinced Seifer about the true seriousness of the situation, though it didn't weaken his resolve to fight the sorceress.  If anything, it only made him more determined to Squall's disappointment.

Tilting his blade to best catch the sunlight, Seifer whispered a sharp, "Ectus."  Before the sorceress could react to the activation word, the fighter was swinging his blade once more.  This time the woman's shield didn't even slow the sword during its strike, but abruptly the sorceress disappeared, and the sudden loss of his opponent threw Seifer completely off balance.  He stumbled to the side a few steps before turning sharply in search of the witch.

She wasn't hard to find, the raven haired woman leaning slightly as she held a hand against her side.  "You bastard, you lured me here."

Seifer sneered at the injured woman.  "What, can't disappear like the last time?" he mocked, knowing precisely why she couldn't escape with the same teleportation spell as last time.  For the better part of the day, Seifer had helped Squall erect the necessary wards which would keep the sorceress trapped within the opened area of forest.

A threatening gleam entered the dark eyes before she straightened with a hand extended.  But unlike the time before, there was no warning light before she released a magical attack, this time in the form of two shafts of energy which sped toward the fighter.  Seemingly amused by the attack, Seifer grinned while raising his wide blade.  Upon contact, the two arrows burst apart into harmless sparks.  But overly confident about the situation, he didn't notice until the last moment that there was a third arrow aimed directly for his head.  Unable to raise his blade that quickly, he attempted to step out of the way.  Still the arrow connected with the side of his head, skimming the tip of his ear as well.  But the expected pain never came, only a chilled sensation which assured the blond that he had been touched by magic.

The young sorceress pouted with annoyance before raising her bloodied hand to join the other.  A ball of pale green formed between the two hands, and a sudden whirl of wind surrounded the woman before three wide arcs of condensed air flew at the fighter.  Seifer attempted to block the magical attack, but he was immediately disarmed by the strength of the first blow, leaving him wide open to the other two strikes of wind.

Sharp pain across his chest and stomach dropped Seifer to his knees, coughing for breath.  But as he wrapped arms around his body, the pain had already disappeared, replaced by lines of coldness along his skin.  Glancing downward, Seifer was surprised by the sight of his undamaged body, now left bare from his destroyed shirt.

"How...?" the woman asked not hiding her amazement.

Not letting himself be further distracted, Seifer removed the remains of the shirt sleeve from his arm.  Launching up from his kneeling position into a sprinting run, he removed his dagger from its sheath.  Reaching the still bewildered woman, he slashed the knife at her throat, but again she disappeared before the silver blade could cause real damage.

"Stand the fuck still, woman!" he growled out while spinning around to face the sorceress once more.

Though a thin trail of blood slipped down the pale throat, the woman didn't reach for the shallow wound.  Instead she smiled oddly before laughing in disbelief.  "How can a single man be so pathetic?"

Clutching his dagger tighter, Seifer glared darkly at the woman.

Wiping a false tear of laughter from the corner of her eye, the young sorceress smiled with humor.  "Oh, I'm not talking about you, sweetie.  But your protector... does he truly wish for death that badly?"

Green eyes narrowed, he cautiously asked, "What do you mean?"

"Hmmm, then he hasn't spoken to you about that little protection charm of his?  But that's not surprising, is it?  I'm certain that he keeps plenty of secrets from you, dear hero."

Deciding that the woman was only trying to confuse him, Seifer moved forward in a fast run, but he was surprised by the sorceress disappearing before he was even close to her.  The blast of energy against the back of his shoulder was completely unexpected, driving the large man to the ground where he rolled several feet before pushing himself up into a defensive crouch with his dagger held before his face.

"Yes, he must desire death greatly if only to rid himself of you.  But he isn't allowed to die, is he?"  Smiling viciously, the woman said, "Once I've taken care of you, I'll deliver him to my Mistress.  She will take such joy in killing him again, and again, and again."

His whole body tense with anger, Seifer glared into the dark eyes, for the first time seeing the madness well hidden by the raven haired woman.  Wanting, needing to destroy the witch before him, something built up in the large man to make him feel heavy and taunt with energy.

Giggling, the woman asked, "Have you ever thought of how many ways a person can die?  Hanging, stabbing, drowning, starving to death...  O-oh, and making rats burrow through someone's chest is so much fun to watch.  I wonder how many times it'll take before that horrible man goes insane."

The pressure broke within Seifer, but instead of heated rage, an oddly calm emotion overwhelmed him as a soothing sound like a soft breeze registered to his hearing.  His body feeling light, he launched up from his crouched position and advanced on the sorceress.  She laughed at the attack which had yet to work, the sound abruptly cut short when she vanished.  Closing his eyes, Seifer could suddenly feel a fast movement of energy.  Sharply pivoting on one foot, he turned to the right and threw his dagger blindly towards that shift of energy.  A loud cry sounded, and he opened his eyes to glare down at the fallen sorceress who tried to grab at the dagger buried deep into the side of her throat.

Still controlled by the unusual calmness, Seifer walked over to the panicked woman and picked up his dropped sword along the way.  She looked up at him with pleading eyes, but there was no remorse within the fighter, only an odd sense of pity.  Without hesitation, he swung the weapon down sharply, the hiss of burning flesh sounding as the silver blade sliced through the long neck.

Seifer stared impassively at the beheaded corpse for a time, but once an echo of that strange breeze sounded, his body suddenly slumped forward and he was forced to drive his sword in the ground as a support.  Breathing hard, he shook his head in a vague attempt to rid himself of overwhelming confusion.  Leaning against his blade like a crutch, he looked with wide eyes at the body of the sorceress, not understanding in the least how he managed to kill the young woman, a woman who looked terribly innocent with the deceit driven from her eyes.

As he stared at the body, green eyes widened when a grayish haze began to drift up from the severed neck.  Paralyzed by that sight, he stood there entranced as the haze condensed into a shifting cloud shortly above the sorceress.  Abruptly the cloud condensed further into a tight spiral which shot forward in Seifer's direction.  He cried out in surprise and pain when it pierced into his chest and drove deep inside of him.  Releasing the hilt of his sword, Seifer fell to his side and curled up from the overwhelming sensation of fire coursing through his body.  Eternity passed as he tried to outlast the agony, but it only seemed to grow worse as the sensation of claws ripping him apart from the inside joined the raging flames.

Then, somewhere within that pain was a quiet voice which assured him that it was alright to give in, that he deserved some peace.  It assured him that he would be protected if he would just relax and fall to sleep.  Gradually, he began to believe that voice, to trust it, to obey it...

"Seifer!"

With more effort than it should have taken, Seifer opened his eyes to stare into the blurry and tilted world before him.  Slowly the green eyes gained some focus and he saw the form of a man leaning against a tree.  The reddish blur to the man confused the blond before he shut his eyes again when pain flared within his body and mind.

"Seifer," the man hissed out with irritation and something else.  "What are you doing?"

"Goin' to sleep," the fighter force out through teeth clenched with agony.  "Join me, kitten?"

"No.  If you want me, you have to come here."

Vaguely shaking his head, Seifer reopened his eyes to stare at the unfocused man.  "Fucking bitch.  Can't you be nice to me when I'm dying?"

The seer didn't reply as he met the pained gaze.  But after a few moments, Squall began to fall, an oddly slow event as Seifer watched on helplessly.  The blind man cried out quietly as his shoulder bumped against the tree during his descent to his knees.  From there he slumped forward to fall onto his other side and lie there unmoving.

"Squall...?"

There was no reply or movement from the brunet to the shaky call of his name.

Trying to move up onto his knees, Seifer glared at the fallen man.  "Damn it, say something!"

Vaguely, the seer moved his head.  "... it .... it hurts."

Green eyes wide at the declaration, the fighter managed to get steady on his hands and knees as he was forced to crawl to the blind man.  While the inner agony grew to nearly unbearable levels with his first movements, each step closer to Squall resulted in decreased pain and clearer focus to his vision.  By the time he reached the man, Seifer stared down in horror at the sight of blood seeping through the seer's shirt from his chest and stomach area.  But somehow he was able to force back panic as he opened the bloodied shirt and discovered the two lines of deep wounding.  Placing a steady hand on the man's torso, Seifer spoke the strongest healing spell he knew, and repeated it twice more until the lines closed completely.

His task done, Seifer shifted his gaze to the brunet's face and stared into opened eyes.  "What happened?"

"I messed up..." Squall admitted in a quiet, breathy voice.  "Forgot that a sorceress' power could... transfer to you."

His mind fuzzy, the fighter frowned in confusion.  "No, she was already dead.  It was some cloud thing that attacked me."

"That was her power... tainted by her spirit.  Normally it goes to women of... similar powers, but you're... a special case."

"Then, she's in me?  I'm possessed or something?  How the fuck do I get rid of her?"

With a vague smile, Squall spoke even quieter than before.  "You are stronger than her... when you fight..."

Though he wondered if he had been insulted in some way, Seifer ignored it and glanced down at the bloodied chest.  "How were you hurt?  I thought you were safe at the inn.  Are Irvine and Selphie alright?"

Mumbling something intelligible, the seer closed his eyes and went limp into unconsciousness.

"Stupid prick.  You'll doing anything to avoid my questions," the blond grumbled to the unaware man as he brushed aside sweat damped hair from the attractive face.

A call of his name echoed from the forest, and Seifer looked up to see Irvine jogging toward them.  Smirking at the sight of his friend safe and uninjured, the fighter vaguely waved at him and said 'hey' in greeting.

Slowing at the edge of the opened area, Irvine breathed deeply a couple of times before straightening.  "Don't you fucking 'hey' me.  What the hell is happening here?  First Squall starts bleeding out of nowhere, and then he runs away without a damned word.  And how the fuck can a blind man run through the forest like that?!"

"Voices in his head," Seifer muttered, and then laughed as if making a great joke.  But as he stared at the obviously upset man, the fighter blinked in confusion.  "Hey, why are you tilting like that?"

"What?  I'm not... shit, Seifer!"

Barely registering that it may have been himself tilting to the side, the blond fell to the ground and grunted in ache at landing on a pointed rock.  One assault too many for his strained body, Seifer finally gave up in exchange for the painless state of unconsciousness.

~ > < ~

A flicker of light flashed onto Seifer's face, making him groan in annoyance as he reluctantly opened his eyes.  Seeing nothing to yell at in the direction of the ceiling, he turned his head to the side.  Any irritation at being wakened quickly left the man once he viewed the cause - dark hair blackened by water, Squall stood at the window where his hand was pressed against the pane of glass which fogged slightly from the relatively warm hand against the cold surface.

"You're naked."

The seer jumped at the voice, his hands quickly removing the towel from his shoulders to wrap around his waist.  He then awkwardly turned to face the fighter.

"Shit, how did you get that nasty bruise on your shoulder?"

Hesitating, Squall said, "From the fight.  The charm I placed on you transfers offensive magic to attack my body instead of yours."

Green eyes widened, realizing that the wounds he had healed were the exact same as where the wind attack had struck him.  "How... How could you do something so stupid?"

"It was necessary.  The charm lessens the force of the attack spells, but the energy still has to go somewhere.  While I had a couple of cuts on my chest, you would have been torn apart into three pieces."

"Don't you give me that.  You could've fucking bled to death."

Smiling oddly, Squall said, "I'm not allowed to die."

"But you were hurt-- ow, shit," Seifer growled out when he rolled onto his side to better face the blind man.  Quickly sitting up, he looked at his shoulder and frowned at the deep bruising there.  "Where did I get this?"

"If it's about your shoulder, you defeated a sorceress to fall on a rock," the seer replied, somehow amused and exasperated at the same moment.

Lightly touching the bruised skin, the fighter said, "So when you said the spell doesn't protect me from physical attacks, you meant they don't transfer over to you."

"... ..."

Sighing, Seifer glanced at his surroundings for the first time.  "Whoa, where are we?"

"Another tree room.  Maple or something.  Selphie wanted us in a clean room."

The fighter tried to not imagine the amount of blood which had been spilt in their previous room.  "Well, I'm not sure if you've notice yet, but there's only one bed in here."

With a frown, Squall nodded.  "Irvine said that all of the doubles are taken."

"Hn, I guess this place does get busy around the festival times.  But Selphie could probably get another single room for you."

"I... I'd rather not," the seer said quietly.

A pale eyebrow rose in surprise, but he didn't dare question his luck.  "Either way, if you keep walking around like that, you'll catch another cold."

As if remembering his damp and mostly naked state, the brunet wrapped his arms around his chest before he took a step toward the bed, then stopping with an uncertain expression to his face.

"Come here, Squall," the blond encourage while lifting the quilt.

Cloudy eyes were wary as they stared forward, but eventually he stepped to the bed and crawled between the sheets warmed by the large man's body.  Lying down on his back, he grabbed at the raised quilt to better cover his bare body.

Smirking, Seifer moved to his stomach so that he wouldn't put pressure on his bruised shoulder while he looked over the brunet next to him.  He couldn't think of anything to say at that moment, too afraid to scare away the seer.  So he only looked down at the attractive face and studied the pale eyes filled with so much pain and uncertainty.

"Why must you stare?"

Seifer smirked.  "Because there's nothing better to look at."

Squall shivered at the low voice and then turned his head to face the window.

Holding back a chuckle, the blond said, "So, are you bored hearing me thank you for saving my life, or should I say it once more for luck?"

"... I think you were right."

Blinking at the rare admission, the fighter leaned in closer.  "What was I right about?"

Almost bitterly, the seer replied, "My motives changed."

Green eyes widened in surprise and hope.  Carefully, he reached over to force the blind man to face him.  "And how did they change?"

"It hurt... I was losing you, and it hurt..." Squall replied in half-bewilderment that such a thing was possible.

"I'm sorry," Seifer said in a quiet voice before lightly kissing the corner of his lips.  Suddenly, a fisted hand beat hard against his side.

"Listen to me next time when I say you aren't ready."

Chuckling at the painfully stern expression, the fighter said, "Yes, kitten.  Your word is my command."

The brunet frowned at the sarcastic tone, but it appeared more of a pout to the larger man.  "I'm serious."

"So am I," Seifer said before moving to straddle over the lithe man.  Leaning on his elbows and partly bent knees, the blond made certain to not smoother the seer, who went immediately tense at the unexpected situation.

"Seifer...?"

Hushing him, the fighter said, "Don't be afraid of me.  I would never force you to do something, but I want you to touch me."

Instantly Squall scowled at that.

"Not that type of touching, idiot.  Just... won't it help you to feel me, to make me more real or something?"

Cloudy eyes widened vaguely with an unnamed emotion.  He then cautiously reached up with one hand to place it lightly against Seifer's cheek.  After a moment of brushing his thumb along skin, he lifted his other hand to cup the man's face.

Closing his eyes, the large man said, "Tell me what you feel."

"Too rough.  You need to shave," was the immediate answer, making Seifer laugh.  Slowly the hands trailed upward, one along his temple and the other up along the side of his nose.  With more pressure, two fingers stroked along an old scar which crossed between his eyes.  "This used to be deeper..."

Green eyes snapped open to look down at the seer.  "You know about that scar?"

Nodding vaguely, Squall moved his hands back into short blond hair.  "I saw you receive it in a vision.  I couldn't prevent it."

"Shit, I was like five years old or younger.  How could you think to blame yourself for this one?  Hell, I don't even remember how I got it."

"I know," the seer said softly, rubbing his thumbs behind the blond's ears.

Forcing his thoughts into focus despite the gentle massaging touch, Seifer asked, "What does that mean?  Should I remember?"

"... Your hair is shorter than I imagined."

"Squall..." the blond growled out in warning.

With a sigh, he replied, "Sometimes memories are best forgotten."

Green eyes were intense as they stared down into stormy blue.  "Tell me this?  For once, just tell me something."

Exploring hands paused at the base of his neck and squeezed lightly.  "Your father gave you that scar with the dagger you now carry."

"... What...?  No ... You're lying.  He... he never even fucking used his belt on me.  Why would he... attack me like that?"

With a knowing gaze, Squall said, "That is your memory of the event, and that is what you blocked out.  The truth is that he was controlled by a sorceress named Adel.  He killed your mother and himself before they could kill you."

"No..." Seifer said in a bare whisper.  "There were bandits... they were killed by thieves..."

"You were told that when you woke up not remembering that they were dead."

After a tense silence, pained laughter escaped the fighter.  "I forgot...  How could I forget him doing that for me?"  There was of course no answer for the question, and soon after, the hands at his back lifted away.  "No, don't stop.  Just... don't stop..."

Though hesitant, the cool hands return to his back and renewed their exploration.  Fingers drifted along deep scars until both hands were touching the lines of the red tattoo magically imprinted into his skin.  Seifer inhaled sharply at the sudden connection between the both of them, emotions of sympathy and comfort briefly overwhelming him before the link was abruptly cut off.  Confused, he stared down into pale blue-gray and somewhere beyond the typical guarded expression, he thought he could see the reflection of those same emotions which Seifer knew the stoic seer could never say out loud.

Moving his hand to bury his fingertips into dark hair, he whispered a quiet 'thank you' to Squall.

Eventually the hands at his back moved up along bare skin where the examining touch felt like a gentle massage to Seifer.  But then forgotten tenseness returned to the small body as the drifting hands moved to his upper arms which were thick with muscles built up from years of swinging a heavy blade.

Assuming the reason for the man's renewed fear, Seifer said, "That strength is for you now, Squall.  I won't use it against you."

"I still remember you shoving me against that wall..."

"Don't--"

"You were afraid of me," Squall interrupted with the barest hint of a smile as his body relaxed.  Squeezing the muscular arms, he continued to say, "I remember thinking, 'Thank Hyne, he finally got stronger.'  But I guess it didn't release me of my duties after all."

"Never," Seifer said sharply before trapping pale lips with his.  It was a harder kiss than normal as he bit the seer's lip and drove a quiet gasp out of the man.  Moving a hand to Squall's chin, he then coaxed him to open his mouth just enough to allow his tongue access inside.  With gentle strokes, he briefly explored the heated mouth before retreating.  After a couple light kisses against reddened lips, Seifer pulled back fully to look down into stormy eyes.  His voice rough and serious, he told the man, "I'm never done with you."

The seer returned the determined look with a half-lidded gaze.  "You even taste like spice."

Seifer blinked.  "I what?"

"You've always smelled faintly of some kind of spice, but you also taste of it."

"Spice...?  Oh, I bet you mean that hard candy I eat all the time.  It keeps the thirst away when you're on the road, and I've kind of gotten addicted to the damned stuff.  Shit, but don't tell anyone I eat candy like a little kid.  I'd never live it down."

"But you'd tell me?" he asked as cool hands left the thick arms and stroked down the fighter's sides to his waist.

Seifer scoffed to cover an inappropriate moan.  "As if you didn't already know enough about my life."

After fingering the waist line of dark pants, Squall let his hands fall to the mattress.  "What do you want from me?"

"Whatever you want to give me."

Pale lips formed a pained smile.  "I've already given you so much."

Shaking his head, the blond leaned down to lightly kiss the ear which had been indirectly damaged from the fight.  "You haven't given me anything you wanted to give me.  There's a difference."

"I... I can't..."

Smirking, Seifer licked the rim of the ear, careful to not reopen the healing skin.  Once he earned the desired reaction of a faint shiver and a slightly shaky sigh, he slowly rolled over and pulled the smaller man with him such that both men wouldn't rest on their injured shoulders.  With a strong arm wrapped around the slim waist, he drew the blind man close and rested his cheek against soft hair.

"Seifer...?"

"You woke me up, so I'm still tired.  And given that our bodies are still bruised, it tells me that your energy is completely drained, so don't even think of lying to me about not needing more rest.  Hyne knows that we deserve it."

No reply or reaction came from Squall, but after a time of silence, his cool hand found a comfortable place on the larger man's side.  There was then a deep and tired sigh from the seer as he relaxed for sleep.

In the silence, Seifer listened to the slowing breaths of the man within his hold.  Green eyes were open as his thoughts split between his parents and Squall.  He was ashamed for disrespecting the sacrifice of his parents by forgetting their deaths.  But then a voice sounding too much like Squall in his head scolded him, reminding the blond that he had only been a child who thought his father had tried to kill him.  It wasn't an unusual thing to forget something so painful.

Smiling at the insanity of hearing Squall even in his thoughts, Seifer wondered at their current relationship.  Remembering the hatred Squall once showed for him, the fighter found it hard to believe that the same man was now finding peaceful rest within his arms.  As for himself, he couldn't remember a time when he wanted to be loyal to a single person.  It had always been about 'number one', that everyone else could go fuck themselves as long as he got what he wanted.  But holding this one man close somehow felt better than any fuck, any victory, and any prize he had ever fought for.  It was strange to realize that he could no longer think of only himself as every decision seemed to factor in the unspoken needs of the seer.  It was strange, but right.

But Seifer hadn't been exaggerating when he said he was tired.  He hated being wakened from a restful sleep, no matter the reason, and there were few people he could forgive for such an offense.  Squall was a lucky man to be one of them.  And so, after shifting a touch closer to the resting man and saying a silent prayer to his parents, Seifer closed his eyes and let the calming breaths of the seer sooth him to sleep.

 

{Continued}

 

Author's Whining -- *laugh*  I thought that I was going to write about a chapter and a half for this chapter, but it turned into two chapters which I could split up after all.  I blame Squall. =P  In any case, I won't get back to this story for another month at the soonest, but probably longer.  I want to tackle requests while I still have the energy and I'll end up using this story as a break.  Trust me, this story won't be forgotten.  It's my epic, my baby, and it shall go on until it ends, which still isn't for some time yet.  Unfortunately, Rinoa completely sidetracked the story, the interfering bitch (not that I'm bitter or anything).  Thank you for being patient with me, and I hope the story remains entertaining.