Broken Wings
January 2004

 

"Why the fuck do I have fucking underlings if I'm still forced to go into the fucking cold where I know I'm going to lose something fucking important..." grumbled a tall, broad shouldered man as he roughly put on a heavy black jacket while striding through the tight hallways of the airship.  In short time, the man of golden blond hair reached a dead-end to the corridor, and with a quiet growl, he punched a red release button.  Immediately the metal door slid upward, which then caused a blast of cold air mixed with bits of snow to blow into the man's face, the event making him curse loudly and unintelligibly.

But with his first step out of the airship, the expression of great annoyance was replaced by a front of composure as the large man walked down the narrow ramp to the snow covered ground below.  He didn't have to travel far from the ship before he located two of his men standing close to the forest edge, and his green eyes narrowed at the sight of both men standing in defensive stances with their backs faced to him and their guns drawn.

Once within hearing range, the blond spoke in a deep and imposing voice.  "What is taking up my time here, kiddies?"

Both men flinched at the question, but only one turned to face their Commander.  "S-sir, the target is conscious and... and he has a weapon, sir."

A pale eyebrow arched in disbelief as the large man walked up to the two men and motioned for them to move aside.  At the first sight of his objective, the blond paused to study the person whom he and the rest of the Imperial Fleet had been ordered to retrieve.  His initial thought was that the nude man was small and too thin to be a threat, but that thought was quickly amended once the commander noticed that the man's defensive stance was best for those who strike fast and run.  Pale lips then curled into a vague smirk as the blond briefly took note of the peculiar addition of large feathered wings to the lithe man, but that wasn't a great surprise given the hobbies of his Empress.  No, what made him smile was the sight of bone protruding from one broken wing and the stains of dark blood that had splattered upon the painfully bright whiteness of the angelic wings.

Green eyes shifted once more, the keen gaze focusing on the small knife held by the cornered man.  "And where did you get your hands on that?" the commander asked, his irritation fading with the thus far interesting man before him.

The pale blue eyes of the winged man flashed beneath dark hair before he stated simply, "Borrowed it."

His smirk widening, the blond took a partial step forward.  "And then used it to give that guard a new way to breathe, no doubt.  Well, you're facing actual soldiers this time, and we aren't as lazy as those asses."

The dark-haired man said nothing in reply to the warning.  Instead he shifted his stance slightly, the vague movement exposing several weaknesses of the winged man, one of which being an injured leg.  At that sight, annoyance once again filled the commander when he realized that he was standing in the freezing cold, all to handle a highly injured man who probably couldn't move a step away from his current position.

"For fuck's sake..." the man muttered angrily under his breath as he stepped forward to grab the brunet.  The smaller man shifted back in a sign of fear and retreat, but the move proved to be a feint when he abruptly straightened and attacked with the small blade.  The commander realized the danger of the situation barely in time to dodge a fatal blow, but the ragged edge of the knife still connected with pale skin as the blade sliced up from the bridge of his nose and across his forehead above his left eye.

The large man stumbled back from the unexpected strike, but he quickly recovered with a quiet chuckle that built in volume as he straightened.  "Oh, you are going to pay for that one, little angel.  Count yourself lucky that I'm not allowed to kill you," he stated while pulling out his knife.

The commander wasn't ashamed to exploit the smaller man's weaknesses as he rushed to the side bearing the broken wing and injured leg.  Even so, the dark-haired man managed to slash his knife in a wide arc, the move ruining the commander's thick jacket, but the blade never touched skin.  Smirking widely, the blond flipped the knife in his hold such that the heavy hilt faced outward and he easily smashed the metal against the man's temple with a sickening thud.  Unable to handle the blow, the winged man slowly fell backward onto snow flecked with pinkish hues from blood.

Feeling somewhat disappointed by the quick ending to the fight, the commander knelt down to the man and eyed the silent form before he placed his knife point against the side of the man's nose.  "Are we still playing games, or are you truly unconscious?"

When there was no reply or movement from the man, the blond smirked and proceeded to press his blade into the tanned skin.  Cutting up in a mirror image to his own wound, he watched the man closely for signs of pain, but the winged man appeared dead to the world.  Sighing, the commander stood and wiped blood from his face before sheathing his knife while he stared down at the naked body half buried in snow.  With a scowl at his ruined jacket, he removed it and dropped the large coat to cover the winged man.

"Get this piece of shit to the ship, chain him nice and tight, and then toss him into the back storage room."  The two men paled at the order, their hesitation irritating the blond.  "Is there something difficult about my orders, kids?"

While fingering the slashes of his uniform, one of the soldiers eyed the fallen man.  "Is he really...?"

"He won't bite for the moment, but I can't make any guarantees if you keep waiting," the commander growled out.

"But, sir, he survived being rammed by the ship, and that fall, and then he attacked--"

"Private, are you questioning your leader?"

The two men jumped at the new voice, while the commander frowned vaguely before turning to face the approaching brown haired, brown eyed man.  "What do you think you are doing here?"

The youthful man just smiled as he stopped in place.  "You were taking too long, and I wanted a smoke."

Though glaring at the man before him, the blond spoke back to the other two men.  "Get moving before I give you a reason to move."

Most likely recognizing the threatening tone to his voice, the two soldiers quickly swung their guns behind their backs before leaning down to carry the unconscious man to the airship.  But the commander barely watched them stumble away as his gaze remained focused on the shorter man before him.

"What are you doing away from your station?"

The man's smile didn't falter.  "Give me a break, Seifer.  Nothing is going to attack us here."

Light green eyes narrowed.  "You can't be certain about that.  The rebels have gotten smarter since we were privates.  It won't do us any good to underestimate them."

Dark brown eyes glanced up at the bleeding wound before he met the threatening gaze once more.  "Like you apparently underestimated our target?"

Scoffing, Seifer pushed the man aside and walked toward his ship.

Chuckling, the brunet matched the larger man's stride.  "What did he do to catch you off guard?  I mean, you basically crashed your precious Hyperion into the man after he pulled that stunt to make you think he was surrendering.  He must have been barely standing when he faced you."

"Shut the fuck up, Nida."

With a wide grin, the man said, "Well, maybe it isn't too surprising considering that he is Squall Leonhart, after all."

The commander looked over at the brunet with obvious surprise.  "Leonhart?  The so-called 'Frozen Lion' of the rebel force?"

"The one and only."

"When the hell was he captured?"

"Damn, maybe seven or eight months back.  It was when we were chasing that assassin who took out General Caraway, not that old man was a great loss or anything."

Seifer nodded, realizing that he must have been too focused on their mission to bother with rumors from the capitol city.  And now it depressed him that the one time he could face the almost legendary swordsman, the man had been severely battered and certainly not at his best.  But as the commander wiped away the flowing blood before it could reach his eyes, he had to smirk at the apparent truth to the rumors about the man's skill.  It was both a shame and surprise to Seifer that the rebel had been turned into a personal slave for the Empress.

Letting his navigator board the ship ahead of him, the commander glanced back at the area of pinkish snow and murmured to himself.  "Next time, I want a real fight."

~ > < ~

With hardened green eyes, Seifer strode down the hallway of metal and black stone without apparent discomfort for his surroundings.  Meanwhile, the two soldiers following behind him with the winged man in their hold didn't hide their fear as they suspiciously eyed every shadow of the corridor.  The commander found it amusing that the young recruits acted more like prisoners than the brunet, who was faintly struggling to keep up given his injured leg and other pains.

It had been over a year since the blond commander had set foot the Palace of Esthar, and for that reason, he wasn't able to completely hide his awe once he entered the throne room.  He had forgotten the disorienting nature of the room which was tainted with the power of the Empress.  Despite the large windows which encircled the upper half of the walls, the room always seemed to lack sufficient light.  The design of the room itself held no sign of comfort, everything from the available chairs to the sparse decorations were made of the same dark stone and metal combination of the room itself.  While Seifer expected the daunting and suffocating nature of the room, the soldiers behind him showed their inexperience as they gasped in shock and fear.  With a slight smirk at their reaction, the commander made certain to not hesitate as he walked forward along the deep blue rug which ended in front of the overly large throne made of dark wood.

As he approached, a tall woman of unearthly beauty rose gracefully from her throne.  Her golden eyes glittered in the dim lighting of the room as the Empress gazed at her returned pet.  Before Seifer reached the end of the carpet, the sorceress spoke in a quiet but clear voice.  "Release him and leave us immediately.  Except for you, my golden dragon."

Green eyes narrowed vaguely at the unheard title for himself, but he bowed his head to hide his confusion.  Meanwhile, his two soldiers quickly released the winged man before they saluted and turned to leave at a much faster pace than when they had entered.  To himself, Seifer wondered at the difference between leaders and followers, and with that thought, he glanced at the dark-haired man who showed no fear in front of the Empress.

"Did you truly think you could escape me, my pet?" the sorceress asked in a seductively purring voice as she approached him.

With a vague smirk, Leonhart said clearly, "I did escape."

For a brief moment, the lovely face of the Empress was marred by a dark glare before she laughed.  "So you did," was the reply as she stopped in front of him and ran lengthy white fingernails along his bare chest.  "But was your taste of freedom worth such pain?" she asked while adding pressure to several deep cuts at his shoulder and trails of redness quickly coated her manicured nails.

Though the pale blue eyes narrowed with hurt, the man didn't make a sound.

"You always were the stubborn one," the Empress stated with a hint of pride.  Without warning, her hand moved quickly to wrap around the lean neck of the man.  As he struggled for breath, there was the rattling of stone before dark green vines shot up from the ground to encircle the lithe body and then wrap tightly around the broken wing.  The magically controlled vines proceeded to slowly remove the wing from the trapped body, and Seifer had to swallow back his nausea at the overly clear sounds caused by the crude amputation.  He didn't understand how Leonhart could remain silent during such a thing, but then he eyed the elegant hand clutching the man's throat and realized that the sorceress must have been both keeping the man silent and conscious for the full procedure.

That theory proved correct when she released her hold, and a strangled whimper escaped Leonhart before he slumped forward into unconsciousness.  The vines supporting him disappeared suddenly, and while the wing dropped noisily to the ground, the man hung in the air as a bubble of some sort surrounded him.  Gradually the bubble decreased in size until the body within was curled into a limp fetal position.

With a fond smile, the Empress stepped up to the sphere and stroked the seemingly thin wall.  "That was your punishment, my pet.  Once your lovely wing has grown back, you will return to my side where you belong.  For now, rest and heal," she said with a light kiss to the sphere.  After a step back, the sorceress lifted her hand and the bubble instantly rose high to the ceiling.  The Empress stared up at her retrieved pet for a silent moment before she turned and faced Seifer.  "You have done me a great service, Commander Almasy, as you have done many times before.  What reward do you desire?"

Wary of offending the sorceress, Seifer merely bowed his head.  "I only did as ordered, Your Highness."

"Do not hesitate, young dragon.  I rarely feel this generous."

Recognizing touch of irritation to the woman's voice, the commander quickly decided to accept the offer of a reward.  "If it's not too bold, then... an extensive upgrade to my ship would be appreciated."

After a silent moment, the sorceress laughed.  "Instead of the gold, or the noble titles, or even the persons that I could offer you, you desire something that would better your ability to serve me?  What do you expect to gain from this flattery?"

Seifer didn't reply, in truth only craving more power under his direct control, but if the Empress wanted to believe that he was considering her benefit, then he wasn't one to correct her.

With soundless movement, the silver-haired woman approached the commander and gently placed her blood stained hand beneath his chin to make him look up.  As he stared into the golden eyes, Seifer was overwhelmed by the sparkle of power within the examining gaze.

"You are a handsome creature, my dragon.  You would be an excellent addition to my collection."

The commander couldn't help the shiver of distaste which coursed through his body.

The sorceress smiled with amusement as she removed her hand.  "It is a shame that you are more valuable as an officer in my army.  Go and enjoy the pleasures of the city.  It will take time before the engineers can upgrade your airship."

Hiding an exhaled breath of relief, Seifer nodded with a quiet, "Thank you, Your Highness."

"You are very welcome, my golden dragon.  I hope you use my generosity wisely."

With a forced smile to show his gratitude, the blond commander nodded once more and saluted his Empress.  Resisting the urge to glance up at the one-winged man entrapped in the magical sphere, Seifer turned sharply to the exit and left the large throne room with his first steps slipping on spilt blood.   Pale lips set in a frown, Seifer wondered where he had packed his extra pair of boots.

~ > < ~

After a few weeks of enjoying the bars and soft beds of the capitol city, Seifer was summoned to the Imperial Palace by the Empress.  Not the most trusting of souls, the blond commander had overseen plenty of the work that had been done on his craft thus far, and so he knew Hyperion was nearly ready for battle once more.  While he figured he should have new mission orders, Seifer was accustomed to receiving his instructions from the higher-ups, never the Empress directly.  For that reason, something about the summoning troubled him, but no one refused the requests of the silver-haired sorceress.

Wearing his formal uniform of black with silver trimming and a short navy blue cape draped over his right shoulder, the commander strode through the main corridor which led to the throne room.  Without the accompaniment of his soldiers and the confident presence of Leonhart, the palace seemed even drearier and more oppressive than earlier in the month.  Straightening his posture, Seifer scoffed at his ridiculous sense of fear and walked up to the two large ordinate doors which seemingly opened by their own power.

Maintaining his same stride, the blond commander approached the seated Empress whose golden eyes were strongly felt despite the distance separating them.  As Seifer walked forward, he glanced down at the naked woman leaning heavily against the sorceress' leg.  The raven haired woman was one of numerous pets belonging to the Empress, this one bearing catlike features of a black tail, ears, and nails which curled into points like a set of claws.  The furry ears were pressed back against soft looking hair, and when the woman moaned without restraint given the Empress pinching a taut nipple, Seifer saw the additions of pointed fangs to the rows of white teeth.

But all of that was noticed in a bare moment before the commander's attention was captured by the sight of the dark-haired man on one knee to the side of the throne.  The lightly colored skin of the nude man had been completely healed from the ruined state Seifer had burned into his memory, and the feathered wings folded behind him were perfect in shape and whiteness.  Even the choker at the man's throat couldn't compare to the pure color of the soft feathers.  Taking in everything about the brunet, the commander instantly decided that Leonhart was more attractive with blood adding color to his body and wings.  And when blue-gray eyes glanced up to meet his examining gaze, the blond was disappointed to find the stormy orbs lacking the cold fire he remembered.

Reaching the end of the deep blue carpet, the commander dropped to one knee before the Empress.  "You summoned me, Your Highness?"

"Do not hide your face like that, my golden dragon."

Not receiving permission to stand, Seifer straightened to rest one arm on his bent knee and focused his gaze on the silver-haired woman who was still fondling the small breast of her slave.  The cat's moans were the only sounds which broke the silence of the room as the sorceress glanced over the man before her.

In time, lips colored dark red curled into a small smile.  "You clean up nicely, Commander.  Though I am not certain I like that scar.  Could the healers not remove it?"

Seifer resisted the urge to touch the scar he had received from the winged man.  "I didn't visit the healers."

A pale eyebrow arched at the statement, the Empress then smiling wider.  "Yes, you would be that type of man.  No matter.  I can grow accustomed to that look."

Teeth clenched, the commander hid his feeling of disgust from his features and silently hoped that the sorceress still believed him more important on the battlefield instead of on her bed.

A sudden, strained groan came from the slave, making the Empress glanced down fondly at the young woman.  "Very well, kitten.  You may touch yourself."  As the raven haired woman placed her hand at her cunt and sighed, the sorceress looked over at the silent man.  "You as well, my dove.  I know you have been waiting all morning."

With widened green eyes, Seifer watched as the dark-haired man briefly closed his eyes before lowering his bent leg to reveal a highly erect penis.  Sitting back on his heels, the winged man ran a single hand down his flat stomach before gently sliding his hand around the hardened member.  With half-lidded eyes and a partly opened mouth, he began to lightly stroke his reddened head with his thumb.  White wings then slowly unfolded such that they hung relaxed at his sides, and soon began to shake with the increased breaths of the brunet.

Light laughter snapped Seifer's attention back to the Empress, the attractive woman appearing highly pleased given her broad smile.  "I suppose it is unnecessary to ask you which of my pets you prefer."

His heartbeats rapid, the commander whispered a quiet, "Why?"

"Why what, my golden dragon?  Why are you here, perhaps?"  The silver-haired woman stood up gracefully to the vocal disappointment of the slave who moved to better pleasure herself.  With intentional slowness, the Empress stepped down the several stairs before her throne.  "Fear not, I merely wish to watch you participate in the only beautiful act that humans are capable of performing."  Reaching the kneeling man, she motioned for him to rise before she placed a hand at his chest.  "You can refuse this request, but I would advise against that option.  It would be more... profitable for you to forget your pride for one night."

Green eyes narrowed slightly in thought, knowing that it was dangerous to hesitate before the sorceress, but he was reluctant to decide too quickly.  While the threat of death was clear within the electric eyes, Seifer wasn't certain if sacrificing his dignity would be any better than a swift execution.  But in the end, living sounded a lot more enjoyable to the young commander.

"Anything you desire, Your Highness."

With a condescending smile, she replied, "Of course, my dragon."  Turning sharply such that her pale lavender robes flowed, the Empress strode up the small set of stairs and continued past her throne.  "Come, my pets.  I wish to enjoy this night to the fullest."

Seifer didn't move as the two slaves straightened with some annoyance given their aroused states.  They stepped through the hidden doorway the sorceress had opened behind her throne, and still the blond waited in a relaxed but confident stance.  Eventually the silver-haired woman glanced back at him, and after a moment of impatient glaring, her dark lips spread into an amused smile.

"If you would follow me, Commander Almasy," she said sweetly, as if Seifer's attempt to separate himself from her collection of 'pets' meant nothing.  The blond's answering smirk before following the woman showed his belief that it meant enough.

The corridor was dark and unimpressive with nothing decorating the metal walls.  The opening of a door further ahead helped Seifer to relax with the additional light.  The Empress paused at the doorway to caress her white fingernails along the lovely face of the young woman.  Seeing that face directly for the first time, the commander was struck by the identity of the cat - Rinoa Heartilly, the daughter of the deceased General Caraway.  Seifer had met the clinging woman a few times before, but she had obviously changed in the past year under the Empress' control.  The blond felt a flash of pity for the enslaved woman, but that quickly past when he remembered her condescending comments about soldiers.

With a gentle touch, the Empress guided the dark-haired woman inside of the room, leaving Seifer a moment to look at the winged man who was holding the door open.  Briefly their eyes met, and the commander straightened at the revealed flare of cold flame within the thus far stony eyes.  Seifer smirked interestedly at the man before nodding once.  He received a quiet huff in return as Leonhart stared inside the room in a silent warning that the Empress didn't enjoy waiting.

The commander stepped slowly through the doorway to examine the well lit room.  Everything from the rugs to the bed coverings to the sparse decorations lacked in color, but compared to the rest of the palace he had seen, the room was fairly comfortable.  At the sound of the closed door, Seifer suppressed the immediate urge to escape and forced his body to relax.  His attention then shifted as the Empress walked to an ebony desk and retrieved something from a small drawer.

The sorceress turned with a silver box in her hand and motioned for the large man to approach.  When Seifer stepped up to the woman, she held out the opened case to reveal the collection of white tablets inside.  Glancing up into the golden eyes, the commander realized that he had no choice in the matter and he reluctantly selected one of the pills.  Placing it on his tongue, Seifer was surprised when it dissolved rapidly, too fast for him to find the opportunity to spit it out.

After closing the silver box, the Empress smiled as she ran her lengthy nails along his cheek.  "Enjoy yourself, my dragon.  Forget that I'm even here."

Already his peripheral vision was starting to blur as his skin itched at the feel of clothing constricting his body.  Seifer inhaled sharply when a hand gripped his upper arm and forced him to turn around.  Staring down into the winged man's unreadable gaze, the commander was entranced by the eyes colored a pale blue with a haze of gray surrounding the black pupils.  Long fingers were then at his uniform, carefully undoing every button of the formal jacket with a maddening slowness.  Seifer could only stare as the brunet finished his task with the jacket and undershirt, and when the clothing was pushed back over his shoulders, the touch of cool hands along bare skin made the blond moan quietly.

The hypnotizing stormy eyes glanced up briefly at the sound, but Leonhart's expression remained neutral as he gracefully lowered to his knees.  Seifer could feel the tugs at his belt and pants, but his gaze had shifted to the tips of the white wings.  The collection of downy feathers called to him and he reached out to touch the bend of the wing, which he absently remembered being once broken.  The wing flinched away from his hand at first, but then relaxed to allow Seifer an examining caress of the warm softness.

Abruptly there was coldness as his pants were lowered with a hard downward pull.  Before Seifer had it in him to complain, warm wetness was at his penis in the form of light licking.  The commander quickly released the wing in his hold for fear of damaging it, his hand easily finding a firmer resting place as he buried his fingers into thick hair.  Leonhart didn't seem bothered by the increasing pressure of that hand, the winged man efficiently teasing the rapidly hardening member.  When he began to nibble at the painfully sensitized head of his erection, Seifer finally broke down with quiet curse.

For a brief moment, that seemed the wrong thing to do as the warmth completely left his needy arousal, but when Leonhart stood up once more to meet his gaze with stormy blue, the commander forgot his annoyance at the man.  Dark lashes lowered coyly before the brunet stepped back and pulled at the larger man to follow him.  After almost tripping from the pants still encircling his ankles, Seifer managed to kick off the interfering piece of clothing before following the winged man.

He was slipping.  Seifer could feel every restraint leaving him and there was no way for him to grasp onto the remains of his composure as he was pushed back onto the mattress and the smaller man crawled on top of him.  Their eyes were locked as Leonhart slowly leaned back and shifted to rub his ass against the stiff member.  Biting back a moan, Seifer placed his hands at the man's waist to caress the soft skin with the excuse of steadying the brunet.  But that teasing pleasure didn't last long as the winged man paused before reaching back for the engorged penis.  Green eyes widened when Leonhart began to impale himself onto the hardened member.  The sudden heat was tight and somehow slick, perhaps from earlier preparation, but Seifer couldn't focus on that.  His senses were overloaded by the feel of growing pressure, by the quiet noises of the brunet, and by the vague breezes caused by shaking wings.

With Seifer still steadying him, Leonhart placed one hand on the tense stomach for support and reached down with his free hand to fist his own erection.  It was too much to witness, to have the angelic man enjoying such sinful pleasures.  Moving with the brunet's motions, Seifer lifted the man up to remove his penis from the overwhelming heat.  Sharply he shifted their positions to have the smaller man trapped below him, but Leonhart didn't appear bothered by the sudden change, only curious.  Not caring about the pressure it would place on the delicate looking wings, the blond grabbed a lean leg and lifted it high onto his shoulder before he used his free hand to lead his manhood back into warmth.

Tingling heat coursing through his body, Seifer pressed hard into the lithe body that was still cool to the touch.  With every deep thrust, Leonhart arched up slightly and his feathered wings fluttered either with pain or bliss, neither mattering to Seifer as he drove harder into the unresisting man.  Even the burst of warmth sliding down his stomach didn't distract him from his desperate need for more heat and more sensations caused by the smaller man.  Each thrust made the goal of release feel even more distant and impossible, the frustration of pressure causing a single tear to escape his eyes.  Without warning, a cold hand was at his cheek as Leonhart brushed aside the wet trail.  One glance into the exhausted pale blue eyes was the final assault Seifer could handle as he arched back with a strained groan.  With two final sporadic thrusts, he milked his release into the tight hole before he leaned limply over the smaller man.

After a moment of deep breaths, Seifer glanced up at the tired gaze and was struck by sudden clarity of mind.  He had practically raped the man beneath him, a fellow soldier who had gained legendary status on both sides of the war.  And when there was movement in his peripheral vision, Seifer remembered the audience he had during the whole event.  But his attention was once again entrapped by the brunet when Leonhart glanced up with a thoughtful gaze and then shook his head in a bare motion.  Though uncertain about the message, Seifer held back vocalizing his renewed disgust.  Instead, he placed his energy into removing himself from the tight heat before he rolled onto his back next to the prone man.  Looking up from his position, the commander was surprised by the sight of the Empress standing at the mattress edge.

"Beautiful," she whispered before lightly brushing her fingers over the sweaty forehead.  "And now, you sleep.  Until we meet in the morning, my golden dragon..."

Seifer tried to fight the drowsiness that assaulted him with the sorceress' touch, but it was hopeless as his eyelids closed against his will and his body slumped into sleep.

~ > < ~

There was heavy warmth upon waking, the odd softness on bare skin somehow coaxing Seifer to remain asleep.  Though young, he was a battle hardened man who typically woke immediately into sharp awareness for fear of being caught off guard, but at that moment, he only wanted to rest and savor the touch of gentle warmth.  And so when he brushed his hand along the soft weight, it took his hazy mind several seconds to identify the feathers he was caressing.

Memories of the night previous rushed back to him, and Seifer knocked aside the large wing as he sat up sharply.  Forgotten muscles were stiff as he attempted to slide off the mattress, but the arm around his waist tightened its hold and held the blond in place.  Irrational panic flooded through the commander as he turned to face the person interfering with his escape.  But once meeting calm blue-gray eyes, the terror and tension left the larger man as he stared down at Leonhart.

To Seifer's surprise, the winged man spoke in a quiet voice.  "Don't show fear.  Not here."

When the commander didn't offer a comment in return to the warning, the dark-haired man broke their eye contact as he removed his arm from the blond's waist and casually rolled over to the other side of the mattress where he stood up from the bed.

"So... I'm alive," Seifer mumbled why eyeing the graceful lines of the winged man's backside and lower.  Something bothered him about the lightly tanned skin, but his distracted mind wasn't helping him to figure that out.

Turning slowly, Leonhart ran two fingers along the white ribbon-like material encircling his throat.  "It prevents me from intentionally hurting anyone."

"Otherwise I probably would have woken up in Hell, yes?"

The dark-haired man shrugged, the resulting shift of his large wings exaggerating the slight movement.  "I have no reason to kill you... yet."

Seifer laughed breathily.  "Except for ramming my ship into you, and of course that little fight..."  Green eyes widened as he viewed the nude before him and found no markings of a blade or otherwise on the skin.  Noticing this, the commander scoffed with irritation.  "You aren't really Leonhart, are you?  Shit, I can't believe I trusted Nida like that.  Of course the Empress wouldn't let a key rebel leader live, and certainly not within reach of her..." he said while standing up from the bed.

"What are you rambling about?" the winged man asked with annoyance.

"You!" the commander bit out while turning sharply at the man.  "You are no warrior.  Certainly nothing like the man Leonhart should be."

The brunet smiled vaguely with a shake of his head.  "You haven't a clue what this is about, do you?"

Confused by the somber tone of the man, Seifer straightened.  "I don't like being insulted by a pet."

Wings extending outward, the dark-haired man smirked at the blond.  "Yes, I'm a pet.  A worthless whore who can't go a day without touching himself because of that woman.  My rank, my scars, and my very honor have been stripped from me.  At least I have my name, so don't you fucking tell me that I'm not Squall Leonhart."

Startled by the intensity of the voice which never raised above its typical quiet tone, Seifer stared at the man while he tried to process the given information.  "Why... tell me this?"

Leonhart approached with silent steps until he stood barely a foot away from the taller man.  "Because, Commander, if you aren't careful, if you show your fear to the sorceress, you'll wake up with golden scales covering that body of yours."

Green eyes narrowed with suspicion.  "And why would that concern a man like you?"

After a moment of hesitation, the man shrugged.

While he studied the neutral expression of the brunet, several things began to click in place for Seifer.  The lack of scars on the man's body should have been obvious to him after the sorceress' comment about disliking the scar on his own face.  But foremost in his thoughts was the cunning of the Empress to turn the rebel's most respected leader into someone shameful and weak.  Torture or execution would have only made the man a martyr for their cause, and perhaps would have made them stronger in spirit.  As it was, the rebels lost their most skilled leader, and with his absence, they lost some of their hope.

But overall, that didn't matter much to Seifer as he reached out and stroked two fingers along smooth skin between the man's eyes.  "It's a shame.  You would've looked better with that scar."

Leonhart knocked the hand aside.  "Don't."

"What, sick of my touch already?" Seifer asked, feeling his humor returned with the knowledge that the winged man was in fact Squall Leonhart, a man worthy of his attention.

Blue-gray eyes burned cold fire before he turned his back to the blond.  "Your mission orders are on the desk.  You are to leave immediately."

"A-aw, no quick fuck goodbye?"

The large wings stiffened at the comment and the feathers bristled with annoyance.  "If you desire it..."

Seifer straightened at the reply.  "Are you serious?"

"... ..."

The commander nearly laughed at his own stupidity, for a moment forgetting that he was talking to the slave and not the warrior hidden beneath that facade.  He stepped up to the brunet and placed a hand at a tense shoulder.  As Seifer pressed against the taut body, he ran his hand down cool skin until he was loosely holding the winged man.

"You are a beautiful creature, and a very nice fuck from what I can remember.  Though, the drugs make it kind of hazy, y'know."  Grabbing an ass check with his free hand, he said, "I should probably take you while I still have a clear mind."

"... ..."

Lips pressed against the ear partly hidden by dark hair, Seifer said, "But I don't want you like this."

Leonhart scoffed.  "What, need some motivation from me?"

Chuckling, the commander replied, "No.  I want to fight you again when you're nice and healthy.  After I've beaten you bloody and knocked you to the ground, then we can talk about how hard I need to fuck you."

Some of the tension left the lithe body.  "You are a strange man."

Releasing his hold on the brunet, Seifer smiled as if being complemented by the statement.  "Like you can talk.  You must be insane to maintain this role of yours when I know what you really are.  Good luck finding another chance to escape," he said while putting on his wrinkled pants.  "It should be fun to hunt down your ass again."

Leonhart didn't reply as he watched the blond haphazardly dress himself in the clothes that had been left on the floor overnight.

After managing a few buttons of his undershirt and slipping on his formal jacket, Seifer leaned over to the ebony desk to grab the large envelope sitting there.  "Well, it's been fun, Leonhart, and don't be offended when I say that I hope to never do this again."  Not waiting for the reply which he wasn't expecting anyway, the commander moved to the door of black wood.

"Almasy..."

Surprised at the call of his name, Seifer turned to face the winged man who seemed reluctant to meet his gaze, but that sign of shyness quickly vanished as softened blue eyes met sharp green.

"Thank you for the jacket."

The commander was struck dumb by the simple expression of gratitude, and his mind blanked about the best cynical response to offer.  With nothing better to say, he mumbled, "Yeah... Don't mention it," before he opened the door and promptly exited the room of black and white.  Seifer then leaned against the closed door and ran a hand through his short blond hair as he silently yelled at himself to not feel something for the attractive rebel turned slave.  It was a hopeless situation that couldn't go anywhere and shouldn't go anywhere... and yet, the twinge in his heart remained as he thought about the eyes of cold fire.

~ > < ~

Staring out the darken window of his quarters, Seifer absently played with the small, narrow card in his hand.  The sky was unfortunately obscured by tall evergreen trees, but the attempt of camouflage was more important than star gazing.  When peaceful times would finally arrive, Seifer had already promised himself hours upon hours of observing the nighttime sky untouched by city lights.

The hiss of a door opening and then closing didn't disturb the commander greatly, the blond knowing of only one person who had the code to enter his rooms.  But then that person had the audacity to flip on the lights.

"Shit, Nida.  Warn me before you try to blind me."

With a laughing voice, the navigator said, "It's your fault for sitting in the dark.  Anyway, you're the one who wanted these maps ASAP."

Seifer turned in his seat and motioned for the dark-eyed man to place the large papers on the table.  Sharp green eyes immediately glanced over the lines and numbers until he found the region he was most interested in.  Studying those numbers in greater detail, he easily formed a mental image of the mountainous terrain they were about to cross over.  It would be tricky, but steering through the cliffs while avoiding detection didn't seem impossible.

"You know, I've seen you flashing that thing for the past month.  What's it for?"

Seifer blinked, and then realized that he was tracing lines with the golden card in his hand.  "Oh, this?  Just an access card."

"An access card?  To what?  Everything on the ship is protected by codes and fingerprints," Nida said while taking a seat at the table.  He then rested his chin on his hands with the look of a child waiting for story time.

"Nosy bastard," the commander muttered before leaning back in his chair.  He then looked at his friend to judge how much the man could be told.  "You know that I've been visiting the Imperial Palace more frequently since last winter."

The dark-haired man nodded with a frown.  "Everyone has noticed.  Personally, I wouldn't mind avoiding that place a little more.  Y'know, like we used to."

Seifer smiled weakly.  "While that would be the smartest thing to do, I can't stop going there."

"Why not?  You managed before."

Fingering the golden card in hand, the blond said, "I've become addicted..."

After waiting for a clearer reply but not receiving one, Nida sighed.  "Seifer, we've been friends since the second day we were rooming in the barracks.  Don't hold back on me now."

"... Do you remember Leonhart?"

Brown eyes widened.  "Leonhart?  The 'Frozen Lion'?"

Smiling in thought, Seifer said, "It's funny.  I'm certain he was named that for his personality, but he really is cool to the touch.  His feet are killer whenever I try to catch up on sleep.  Just like fucking ice cubes."

"Whoa, take a few steps back.  Are you implying that you... that you are..."

The blond snickered at the man's stuttering.  "I dare you to think of some platonic reason for me to sleep in the same bed as Leonhart."

"But Seifer," Nida started with earnest, "he's a prisoner of the Empress.  Hell, probably her favorite pet with the way she flaunts him."

"Trust me, I know that.  And I think I would be number two if she didn't need me out here."  Glancing down at the card, Seifer smiled bitterly at the gold coloring, either a threat or a sick joke by the sorceress.  "Sadly, some nights I'm not too certain that I would mind that fate if I could spend it with Squall."

"You... you can't be serious.  Since he has fallen under the Empress' control--"

"He's not the whore he seems," Seifer interrupted sharply.  "He's just biding his time, waiting for the right moment to escape.  The patient bastard has somehow separated his physical situation apart from his mind and pride.  I can't tell if the Empress knows that or even cares, but he's a smart one."

"... Are... you thinking of helping him?  To escape, that is?" Nida asked cautiously.

The commander laughed.  "Fuck no.  I know where the power is in this war, and I'm not going to fight for the losing side.  We both know that this will be over soon enough.  Anyway, I still get to fuck the bastard, so what reason is there to help him escape?  Nah, I'd have more fun watching him do it himself, and then I'll get the chance to capture him and drag him back to his cage."

With a small smile, the brunet shook his head.  "You always did enjoy a good hunt.  Well, glad to know you haven't changed sides without me."

"Never, my talented navigator.  Remember, you're mine until end of time."

Chuckling, Nida said, "The next time you want to depress me, please, just tell me that my dog died or something."

"You don't own a dog."

The man rolled his eyes.  "I think you missed the point."

"No, you just don't know how to insult properly.  If I were you--"

"Just shut up and tell me where we're flying tonight," Nida said to interrupt the blond, and then tacked on an insincere, "Commander, sir."

"Prick," Seifer replied with a fond smile and then leaned over the map.  "Now, we want to be at these coordinates by sunrise..."

~ > < ~

After swishing the spit in his mouth, Seifer spat out the redden mixture of blood and saliva.  Sick of the taste of blood and really sick of kneeling on the cement ground, he pulled at the chains binding his wrists, more out of frustration than with the hope of escape.  Once that bit of angered energy had been spent, Seifer slumped forward to stare at his ruined clothes and the unimpressive floor.  For the hundredth time, the commander tried to reason out his mistakes which may have led to the resulting imprisonment.

Perhaps it was his distracted mindset with his plans to visit the palace after the mission.  Certainly Nida had his fun the night before the surprise attack, teasing Seifer about his 'golden ticket' to the love of his life.  While the commander knew there was no love between him and Leonhart, there was still an intense attraction on his part.  And though he doubted anyone could assume the feelings of the 'Frozen Lion', Seifer figured the man felt nothing for him.  It was all an act, a role to play until the moment was right.  Still, the blond couldn't get rid of the persistent feelings he had for the lovely creature, impure feelings that were further tainted by the continued presence of the Empress and her random pets.

The commander breathed a laugh at his wandering thoughts, knowing that he would never let a stupid fling affect his performance on the battlefield.  And so, while it hurt Seifer to consider it, he forced himself to reevaluate his decisions during the simple but important scouting mission.  But no matter how many times he thought about the events which led to the crash landing of his precious Hyperion, something didn't add up.  They should have detected the weapons before they were attacked, but instead it had come as a complete surprise.

The faded echo of footsteps brought an end to Seifer's thoughts, but he didn't straighten from his limp pose as more than one person approached the occupied cells.  Eventually shadows were cast into his cell as the people stopped at the barred entrance.

"Is he awake?" one voice asked with a touch of true concern.

"If he's not, he will be soon," stated the guard Seifer had already become acquainted with during his brief imprisonment.

"Now, now, there's no need for violence at this time.  Just open the door, if you wouldn't mind.  I seem to have forgotten my key on the ship."

With a quiet grumble at his fun being ruined, the guard placed his card in the lock mechanism and punched in a code.  There was a pause before the barred door was opened noiselessly by hand.

"Thank you for your help.  You can leave now."

Though the guard hesitated, he eventually left with heavy steps down the corridor of cells, making it a simple case to judge when the man had returned to his station.

After a few steps into the cell, the unknown man spoke softly.  "If you are awake, Mr Almasy, this would move along faster."

Finding no reason to continue his act, Seifer smirked with feigned amusement before glancing up at the intruding man.  Once meeting with dark green eyes, the commander barely maintained his confident expression as he easily identified the rebel leader - Laguna Loire.  Their High General in name, but basically a king to his followers.

"Good evening, Mr Almasy.  Are you fairing well considering the situation?"

"Fucking wonderful.  And you?" the commander asked mockingly.

The older man of long hair and a youthful appearance smiled fondly at the reply.  "Why, I'm doing lovely.  Thank you for asking."

Seifer stared up at the man, wondering if he was truly that oblivious to sarcasm.

"Unfortunately we haven't time for much chit-chat, though I'm certain you would be an interesting man to speak with."  Squatting down to better meet the blond's gaze, Loire asked quietly, "Is it true that you have had contact with my son?"

After a moment of confusion, green eyes widened with realization.  "You can't be Leonhart's father."

"But of course I am.  I was present for his birth, oh, and of course for the... you know, the conception before that.  It's hard to believe that twenty years have already past since he took his first breath."

Seifer blinked, and then repeated, "You can't be Leonhart's father."

Loire smiled.  "Believe what you may, but I have another question for you - is it also true that you hold some... feelings for Squall?"

The commander stared at the long-haired man after the entirely unexpected question.  While many knew about his frequent excursions to the Imperial Palace, very few people also knew about his meetings with Leonhart.  And of that group, no one would dare assume that it involved something more than a good fuck.  But one man did know the truth...  Thoughts and memories flew through Seifer's head as pieces of an unrealized puzzle feel into place.  Nida... the skilled navigator who had more than a few 'bad days' when he couldn't follow certain enemy airships; the attentive friend who always had questions to ask about specific missions, the Imperial Palace, and his relationship with the former rebel leader; and the curious man who left Hyperion for no good reason and witnessed Leonhart's capture.

"Mr Almasy...?"

Green eyes narrowed as his attention focused on the rebel king.  "I like him where he is.  Don't expect any help from me."

Hurt flashed through the older man's eyes before he forced a smile.  "Yes, I figured as much, but it's easier on the heart to hope for the best.  Would you at least consider delivering a message for me?"

Smiling at the man's stupidity, Seifer rattled the chains binding his arms.  "I'm not going anywhere currently.  And even if you do release me, don't you think the Empress would be more than a touch suspicious that I escaped when no one else could?"

"Oh, it won't be that simple for you, son.  But if you do make it back to safety, I would appreciate you telling Squall that I love him and that I'll always be waiting for his return."

The commander sneered at the man.  "Why don't you save him yourself?"

"He doesn't like it when people die for him," Loire stated simply before removing a small card from his rolled shirt sleeve.  "This will be worthless in two days, so don't get any ideas.  And just to warn you, this is the only help that I can offer you."  He held out the card, motioning the blond to open his mouth.  Reluctantly, Seifer followed the silent order and resisted the temptation to bite the man's fingers.  "The code is 0823.  Good luck to you, young man."

And after that final comment, the commander was left alone in his cell to fumble with the card in his mouth.  It took some time to get it at the right angle such that he could just barely maneuver the keycard into the cuff around his right hand and unlock the restraint.  Smirking, Seifer decided that the time it was taking him to get free, Loire would easily be able to escape the base before he could consider assassinating the heart of the rebel force.  But even if given that chance, the blond commander wasn't the stupidly heroic type.  Unless he was certain that his back was covered, Seifer didn't have the urge place himself into highly dangerous situations.

After freeing the one hand, removing the rest of his bindings was a simple task.  He then moved cautiously to the barred door of his cell, and once certain that no guards were watching, he reached through the bars to swipe the card through the locking mechanism and blindly attempted to punch in the code.  It took three more tries before he got it correct, and by that time, the familiar noise of approaching footsteps sounded in the lengthy corridor.

Seifer pulled back into his cell and waited on the side that would be unseen by the guards until they were practically in front of the door.  As he sat there, the commander smiled faintly, knowing the setback of those who depended too much on technology - it makes them relaxed.  It was how Leonhart originally escaped his prison, and Seifer doubted that the rebels were any better.  And so, when the guard passed by without even glancing into the cell, the commander wasn't surprised.  Though the man trapped in the guard's hold did interest the blond.

Knowing the silence of the door mechanisms, Seifer carefully opened it enough to allow him passage and he easily stalked the unsuspecting guard and prisoner.  There was no warning for the larger of the two men as the commander launched forward and wrapped a muscular arm around the guard's neck.  Before the man could make a sound, Seifer removed the guard's knife, and after an unneeded twirl of the weapon, the blond stabbed the man in the chest.

As he waited for the guard to die in his hold, Seifer glared at the dark-haired man who stared speechlessly at the twitching body.  The young man then looked up with deep brown eyes and smiled with a relieved air.

"Don't scare me like that again, Seifer."

Coldness filled the commander at the familiar tone.

"Think you could get these cuffs off, too?"  When no action or response came from the blond, Nida looked deeper into the hardened green eyes and his smile weakened into something pained.  "Fucking Loire.  He messed up, didn't he?"

"How long?" Seifer asked, his voice oddly rough.

"Before I knew you.  Just the normal sob story of the Empress killing off my family for shits and giggles.  It kinda pissed me off."

The blond stared at the man before him, trying to understand who he truly was.

"Come to our side," Nida pleaded in a hushed voice.  "We could really use you."

Breathing a laugh, Seifer shook his head as he jerked the knife from the guard's chest and let the corpse slump quietly to the ground.  "The rebels have no power.  Sorry, but it's not my thing to die for nothing."

"What about Leonhart?"

The blond smirked.  "He isn't going anywhere."

With a resigned sigh, Nida nodded.  "Then it was nice knowing you, Commander.  And don't let the Empress get her claws too deep into you.  It would be shameful if she destroyed two skilled men for her own pleasure."

Twisting the knife in his hold, Seifer slashed the blade in a wide arc to cut shallowly into the man's abdomen, and then he redirected the weapon upward such that it sliced through the skin of the brunet's chest in an angled cut.  Before Nida could drop to his knees, the commander reached out with his free hand and grasped tightly onto dark hair to keep the man standing as he pulled him in close.

Whispering directly into his ear, Seifer said, "If you don't bleed to death, you'll survive just fine.  But I suggest playing dead until we're out of here."

A shaky hand reached out and squeezed the blond's arm.  "See you... when you've changed sides..."

Scoffing, the commander released his grip and carelessly let Nida drop to the ground.  Not sparing another glance at the fallen friend, Seifer knelt next to the guard to quickly strip the body of all weapons and keys.  He then strode down the corridor to free his men from their cells.  Keeping the potential master key for himself, the commander handed the other set of keys to a man he trusted to remain calm and help him free everyone.  Seifer was disappointed to discover that only eighteen of the sixty men under his command were located in the prison, and he silently hoped that the others were simply injured and not lost from the crash.

"Sir, is that--"

Seifer interrupted the solder's expected question.  "Forget that spy.  I already handled him.  Right now, we need to get the fuck out of here."  After checking his stolen gun for bullets, the commander switched off the safety and then smiled smugly at his men.  "Alright, kiddies, I want to be home for dinner, so let's get moving."

 

{Continued}

 

Author's Whining -- Whee, I hope Ruth doesn't hate me for turning this into quite the smut fic, but I couldn't help it.  It's something about the wings... Anywho, this was a fun request from Ruth since she didn't really ask for a certain plotline, but rather she told me about various imagery that she wanted to be mentioned.  For instances, the broken winged Squall, Seifer retrieving the lost 'possession' of a sorceress, vines wrapped around Squall's body, and other randomness.  I hope I handled this in a way that you liked, Ruth!  And an early Happy Birthday to you. ^_-