Author's Note - Yeah, yeah.  So I lied about not writing another mpreg.  Sue me for the money I don't have.  And just as a warning, no real plot with this one.  Written with the pure excuse to have a reluctantly emotional Squall. ^_-  Oh, and no Rinoa bashing for once.  I figure she could be a good girl if given the chance even though it's so much easier making her the evil bitch.

 

Choosing Life
September 2002

 

|Squall|

Hyne, it's too hot.  I had practically ripped off my clothes not too long ago and then laid down on cool silken sheets, but it wasn't enough.  Not for this type of heat.  As I rub hard against my erect penis, I curse the sorceress for doing this to me.  I'm so aroused that it hurts, release kept far from my grasp.  As one hand pumps in a futile attempt to appease, my other hand wanders across my chest, every inch I touch is sensitive enough to cause short gasps of breath.

The solid door to the chambers opens wide as someone is pushed inside, the form slumping to his knees onto the floor.  The exit is then quickly closed and locked by the guards.  With great amounts of will power, I force myself to stop masturbating and walk awkwardly over to the wretched looking man.  Kneeling next to him, I place a hand on his thigh, his body flinching at my touch.

"Seifer..."

"Hyne, don't, Squall.  Just don't.  It's my fault your here, that you got hurt.  I... I only--"

I move my hand to his face, forcing him to look at me.  "We're mercenaries.  Sometimes duty will require us to fight each other.  I'm just glad you're alive."  I had thought the blonde was executed for his stunt against President Deling, but seeing Seifer standing proud next to the sorceress was both a relieving and horrifying sight.

He shakes his head.  "She confuses me.  One minute I'm thinking that I'll never hurt you, and then she convinces me that you want to be hurt, that you want to be killed.  It makes me sick."

A light kiss to his temple in the effort to soothe turns into a string of kisses along his face and ultimately to his dry lips that I wet with my tongue.

He pulls back.  "Squall.  Fuck, this isn't the time for that."

I grab his choker, the chain and bar made of the same material as my Griever pendant.  "I'm drugged, naked, and really need to come.  We can talk later."

Green eyes widen, finally taking in the scene before him.  "What is she planning with this?"

I shrug, already pushing the worn trench coat from his shoulders.  "A prize for loyalty?"

"She doesn't need to give a lapdog treats, especially when it had failed its duty."  He grabs my wrists as I try to undo his vest.  "We can't do this.  The bitch is obviously setting us up for something."

"Don't make me beg, because right now I think I would."

With a stunned whisper he states, "You never beg."  Releasing my hands, he wraps his arms around my waist and helps me to stand.

Between uncoordinated and desperate kisses, we are amazingly able to remove his clothing before I end up on the bed of black silk.  He spares a moment to look down at me sprawled before him, some lust seeping into the eyes filled with worry and shame.  Hyne, I need him in me, and I hate the absoluteness of that need.  Though it is Seifer's greatest frustration, I've taken pride in my switch on/off libido.  No, I've never been one to beg for sex, but many a night I have dragged pleas from the blonde.  It's always a play of strength and will power between us whether in battle or bed, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Lying on top of me, he kisses too tenderly, too slowly along my neck.  With a growl, I force us to roll over such that I straddle him.  I don't bother with words of my need, instead work my way downward to his cock, taking it almost fully into my mouth.

"Fuck..."

As I suck for the mere purpose of getting him hard enough to please me, I silently apologize to Seifer for using him like this.  To others it would seem strange, but relatively he is the sensitive one in our relationship, always needing more than just the quick fuck that could satisfy me.  That isn't to say he does needlework in his spare time or anything.  He just needs the additional caresses and touches that tells him he is wanted and loved.  Since words are always hard for me, I certainly don't mind showing him how much he matters to me with a lasting massage or tongue bath.

The taste of pre-cum in my mouth motivates me to straighten and sit up in order to position myself over his stiff length.  Shuddering at the feel of his tip against me, I sink down onto him, the experience unusually painful but extremely pleasurable at the same moment.  As I go deeper onto his length, the sense of wrongness enters my mind.

"Squall...?"

Looking at his face, I know he senses something not quite right as well, but it feels too good to stop this now and compare notes.  Rising and lowering on my knees, I soon get a steady but fast rhythm going.  His large hands are on my waist, supporting me while waves of absolute bliss flow throughout my body.  It's hard to decide if the aphrodisiac is a blessing or curse while I impale myself over and over again onto his cock.  I suppose I should feel threatened that it's a poison the sorceress fed me, but it's difficult to think there could be a negative side to this pleasure.

A quiet whimper registers to my hearing before I climax, the rush of release almost worth the price of death.  Panting hard, I rest briefly while still kneeling over his thighs.  The warmth and softer flesh inside of me brings some relief that Seifer was able to come as well.  An arm laid over his eyes, he breaths deeply while recovering.  Feeling generous, I lean forward while brushing fingernails against his shivering sides, but before I reach his tightened nipples, I feel hardness pressing into my stomach.  Quickly sitting back up, I look down to discover my erection as healthy as before.  I hadn't come.  There was a mind blowing orgasm, and I didn't fucking come!?

"Damn, that drug has certainly gotten to you.  Want help?"

In his drowsy state, Seifer doesn't realize that neither of us has cum on our bodies from my 'release'.  I almost point this out to him, but his offer in addition the his light touch along my erection rekindles need within me.  Sliding off of him and moving forward, I kneel over his chest so that he can take my cock into his mouth.  As he works skillfully on the needy length, I dare exploration with a free hand.  Reaching behind, I discover my anus isn't sore whatsoever or stretched for that matter.  Swallowing the lump forming in my throat, I go forward with my hand to find loose sensitive flesh, my fingers easily sliding inward with light pressure.  Startled, I pull my hand back and then glance at my fingertips.

"Shit, you haven't bled in ages.  Are you okay?"

Numbly, I glance down at Seifer, never noticing that he had stopped the blow job.  He takes my hand, then licks the thick fluid from my fingers.  Feeling extremely sober as if suddenly freed of the drug's effects, I move off of the blonde and lie next to him while trapping his arm beneath me.  It's the closest I can come to asking to be held, and thankfully he can read the subtle action.  While he holds me tightly, I try not to think of what has been done to me while I had been unconscious and vulnerable.  I only want to focus on the warmth and strength surrounding me in momentary protection.  For now, it's all I can handle.


Glancing up at the sound of the sliding door, I meet dark eyes that peer over a pair of reading glasses, her expression holding both amusement and worry at the sight of me.  Crossing her arms, Dr Kadowaki sighs before speaking.

"Plan on standing in the hallway for another hour, or do you need something from me?"

I push up from the wall and stand straight.  "You requested a check-up."

She frowns, clearly seeing through my sad excuse for coming to the infirmary, then beckons for me to come inside.  I follow the silent command, the motherly doctor perhaps being the only one who would dare order me around in the Garden.  As by design, there is no one else present in the infirmary.  It's been over a month since the end of the war, and today was the first day when I could approach Dr Kadowaki without fear of someone overhearing.  I suppose as Commander of SeeDs I could have requested a private session, but rumors spread quickly within these walls.  Especially rumors related to highly secretive matters.

"Everyone else had their mandatory checkup directly after the events with Ultimecia.  So that leaves the question of why you chose now to show up."

"I have a private matter."

She pats her hand on a bed, signaling me to sit down.  "No need to worry about loose lips from me.  Tell me what's wrong."

"I may be pregnant."

Though I consider silence as my personal friend, I don't care for it much from other people.  It'd be a lie to think this wasn't another reason beyond privacy that kept me from a much needed examination.  Biting my lower lip, I glance longingly at the door for escape.  The doctor's plump form soon blocks that view from me.  A finger under my chin forces me to look up as she studies my face, perhaps looking for signs of alcohol or drugs.  How I wish it was that simple.

"I thought you were looking pale.  Are there spells of nausea?"

After a stunned moment, relief overwhelms me as I nod once in response.  Thank Hyne, she believes me.

"I will have to ask you some questions, but I suppose you would prefer that I avoid some subjects, hmm?"  She turns to her desk, taking some papers out of a filing drawer.  "First, how long since conception?"

"Almost two months."

A dark eyebrow rises at the answer, partial understanding coming to her eyes.  "Then this is the fault of a sorceress.  Using lives like they meant nothing..." she grumbles while writing down the information on some form.  "We will certainly need to run several tests to determine the effect this is having on your body, not to mention the child.  Frankly, I'm amazed that there wasn't a miscarriage in the weeks after conception."

Every word she speaks with unnatural calmness given the event somehow makes this more real than it had been for me previously.  Fuck, what ever happened to living the normal, wondrously short life of a mercenary.

A warm hand cups my cheek to regain my attention.  "Squall, I need you to think about something very carefully - do you want this child?  Compared to most, this will completely change your life.  For all we know at this moment, it could very well take your life.  While I usually don't intrude on other's decision in this matter, abortion must be considered in your situation."

I hesitate.  "Do the tests for now."

She nods, then moves to the far side of the room to gather the instruments she needs.

Truthfully, I hadn't thought about abortion.  I saw this as another unavoidable twist to my life that fate felt like handing me.  How could so many things go wrong in such a short time span.  A simple soldier turned SeeD Commander then Acting Headmaster who just happens to save humanity from an insane sorceress.  Then there is the recent knowledge that my deserting father is king of a mysterious country, though he claims himself as merely president for the past twenty years.  Somehow the additional title of 'pregnant man' either hasn't hit me yet, or else my shock circuit has been blown out for good.

For the next several hours, I'm at the mercy of the doctor as she does more tests than had be done on me in my lifetime.  Most embarrassing is when Dr Kadowaki tries to find the once existing second passageway into me.  She seemly doesn't believe my word when I try to explain how it disappeared not too long after intercourse.  Not soon enough, the examination ends when she snaps off her gloves.

"I should have results come morning.  Your orders for the moment are to go to the cafeteria for a large lunch and then take a nap."  She notices my frown.  "I'm calling Rosa the moment you leave to make certain you get a lunch and eat all of it.  That little life within you has no issues with taking what it needs whether you're healthy or starving."

"...Fine."

True to her threat, I hear the doctor pick up the phone as I leave the room.  It's probably a good thing she's already looking out for me, no matter how annoying it may be.  Without paying much attention to my surroundings, I make it to the cafeteria.  Unexpectedly, a hotdog is shoved under my nose.

"Too late, Squall!  I got the last of the hotdogs."  Zell laughs as only one obsessed with processed meat can.

I reel back, but the smell has already done its damage.  Trying not to loose it in the cafeteria in front of perceptive students, I stride quickly to the exit and head towards the thankfully nearby restroom.  Not seeing anyone in the tiled room, I bolt for the closest toilet and let loose the waves.  Gripping onto the flush handle to rid myself of the sickening view of my small breakfast, I wonder what would be the best way to kill Zell.  Tarring and feathering could be delightfully ironic for the chicken-wuss.

"Squall?"

I suppress a groan.  "Go away, Zell."

"Are ya okay?  Looked kinda green there for a moment."

"... ..."

"Um, right.  Well, the caf lady wants you to know you aren't off the hook.  Direct orders from the good doc and all."

"Do you think I want lunch now?"

"How about a sandwich or something.  For later?"

I rise to my feet and take heed to not slam the stall door open.  "Fine.  Have her send something to my office."

Happy with the excuse to leave my presence, Zell punches an upper cut into the air in a type of salute and then jogs out of the restroom.  Washing my hands, I frown at my image in the mirror.  I guess I am looking a bit sickly as of late, but damn if I don't have a reason for that fact.  I take slow steps as I head towards my office, the feel of nausea no longer peaking but regrettably always there.

Taking a welcomed seat on a soft leather chair, I lean back for a moment of relaxation.  Only a short time after my usual lunch hour and I'm exhausted.  This isn't good.  During the war itself, I found myself more tired than I should've been, but I wonder if that was by the sorceress's design.  Create the ultimate Knight as she called it and remove the leader of the opposition from action with one stroke.  Hyne, I hate this type of weakness.

Placing a hand under my shirt and lightly on my stomach, I reluctantly admit I have a decision to make.  Funny how much nicer it was to think that I had no choice in this matter.  The disciplined soldier in me, I suppose.  I spend several minutes doing nothing but sitting there, cool hand on my warm stomach, before I realize I haven't a clue how to make this kind of choice.  Tell me an army is heading this way or monsters are destroying large city, and I can come up with something.  But this...  what kind of training is there for this?

An unexpected idea comes to mind, and I act on it before thinking too hard about it.  With a press of a speed dial button, the vid phone is dialing the number Laguna gave me in order to contact him.  His attempt at bonding, I think.  When the line connects, I'm surprised to see Laguna's image, not a secretary.

An expression of confusion quickly transforms into a goofy grin.  "Squall.  It's good to see you."

"Ah, sir.  I didn't mean to interrupt--"

He waves a hand.  "I may have the title of president, but I don't do much.  This is my private line, so you can get a hold of me no matter where I am."

"... ..."  I suddenly feel a bit nervous at calling him.  I didn't realize how odd it could feel to be given special treatment by someone who says he's your father.

"So, mind if I ask why you did call?  Hopefully not a business matter."

I shake my head.  "I wanted to ask something."

He grins.  "Ask away."

I hesitate, but I can't hold out for long against that disarming smile.  "If you had the choice now, would you wish Raine had never gotten pregnant?"

Dark green eyes widen as the smile vanishes and he looks to the side.  "Wow... Well, that certainly wasn't something I was expecting.  Do... do you think I didn't want you?"

"Hard not to."

"That wasn't the case.  There was a finishing war, I had plenty of enemies, and Raine's death...  It's a poor excuse, but I simply wasn't ready for a child.  I didn't believe I could protect you and Ellone, let alone raise you both.  If there was anything to wish for is to have seen you grown up.  Maybe it's my age talking here, but I've learned that life is an amazing thing."  Laguna sighs and reforms eye contact.  "I'm sorry your life was hard because of my selfish decisions.  Someday I hope to earn your forgiveness."

"My life hasn't been bad, recent circumstances aside."  If there's one thing I can respect is a person that doesn't try to hide behind excuses and lies, who's willing to accept the blame for his actions.

After a moment of silence, he asks, "Is there anything else?"

"... It looks like I'm resigning soon.  I could visit in Esthar after that, if you would like."  So blame me for wanting to know more about the man who is supposedly my father, the man who could tell me about where I came from.  About my mother.

"Certainly!  We have enough rooms that we can spare you one for as long as you'd like.  But may I ask why you are resigning?  Is something wrong?"

"No.  Just a decision I had to make."

He eyes me through the video screen, an odd sense of fatherly sight somehow within the examination.  "If anyone deserves a rest, it's you and the other kids.  No offense, but you look like you could use the time off.  Just let me know when you'll be arriving.  I can pick you up from the train station."

"That's not--"

"I insist.  Let me treat you while you're in town."

At the sound of knocking, I look up from the screen.  "I have to go.  I'll message you the details."

"Alright.  And Squall... Thanks for giving me a second chance."

I nod, unsure of how to respond to his unrestrained relief, and then cut off the signal.  Pressing a hidden button, the door slides open to reveal Rinoa with a cafeteria tray held in front of her.

"About time you opened the door."

"Who conned you into this job?"

"Zell had quite the terrified look when Rosa gave him the tray to send up here.  Call me a woman of mercy."  She takes the two plates and a glass of water from the tray, placing them in front of me then setting the tray on an empty chair.  "Your lunch, sir."

"I thought I ordered a simple sandwich," I state while eyeing the additional side of fries, salad, and a small brownie.

She shrugs before taking a seat.  "Afraid you have to put up with me until every crumb is gone."

"Certain I can't pay you off?"  I hold up the desert.

She takes it.  "Well, Zell never said that I couldn't help you out with this chore.  So, anything you feel like talking about?"

"... ..."  I poke the sandwich with a french fry, my hunger still lacking.

"Righto.  Then how about the latest gossip?"

With a nod from me, she starts right into the random tales circulating the Garden.  While most of it is crap, some of the rumors are good to be informed about, especially if there is some kind of action I need to take.  With an uninterested bite into a fry, I look over Rinoa.  She is really a lovely person, both inside and out.  I could never hold the trust in humanity like she does.  And once you get beyond her occasional childish words and actions, her friendly personality eventually gets to you.

I'm just relieved she came to me directly after the war, trying to determine what our relationship was exactly.  I would protect the girl with my life, but I could never love her.  I think she sensed it early on, but we all need our crutches to get through hard times.  It's better having her as a friend, though it bothers me how easily she can draw words out of me.  Took her barely a week to discover the reason why I couldn't love her, or anyone else who may come along.

"Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any new word about Seifer.  He's in hiding, I guess."

"... ..."

"So... do you still love him?"

My lips curl into a bare smile.  "'Still'?  That would imply I could stop."

She laughs.  "And here I thought you weren't the romantic type.  I have to say it's amusing to hear how other people describe you and Seifer.  All I've heard is that you two were the definition of bitter rivals.  I don't think one person suspects the relationship that was hidden beneath the fights and ill words."

"It wasn't hidden.  Everything was a part of our relationship."

"Dueling with the intent to maim is part of a relationship?  Maybe it's a good thing I didn't get involved with one of you two."  Rinoa takes a couple french fries from my plate, waving them at me.  "Why haven't you called up the armies to look for our missing Knight?  You have the power to abuse for such a thing."

"... Do me a favor and start to spread the word that I'm resigning from SeeD by the end of the month."

"What?  Why?"

I shrug in response, then attempt to eat the sandwich before me.  Rinoa frowns, clearly not happy at being left in the dark about the sudden news, especially when I have told her so many secrets before.  This is just something I can't talk about with ease.  Having it my way, only one person needs to know - Dr Kadowaki, since there is no possible way for me to do this without medical assistance.  I don't know if it's from fear of rejection or perhaps my own continuing denial, but I don't want anyone else to learn of my pregnancy.  I just hope Rinoa doesn't try to drag this secret out of me since I don't know how long I could hold out.


|Seifer|

I glare at the entrance to Balamb Garden, trying to convince myself that I'm not afraid of passing through those gates.  Just taking my sweet time, that's all.  It's taken me three months to get this close, granted with the incessant prodding of Fujin.  What's another five minutes... or days?  It's not like I have anything pressing to take care of.  Just wanted to tie up some loose ends and hopefully move forward with my worthless life.

"Seifer!?  Is that you?"

What chance do I have of pretending to be someone else... "Who the fuck else do you think I am?"

Folding her arms across her chest, Quistis unexpectedly smiles at me.  "Welcome home.  It's about time you showed up."

"If you think that's going to get me to walk peacefully into some trap, you're insane.  Just send out Leonhart so we can have a little heart to heart, then I'm gone for good."

She laughs lightly while walking up to me, her arm soon sneaking its way around mine.  "Come on.  We all know about what the sorceress did.  Edea explained the whole situation.  Frankly, we've been a bit worried not hearing from or about you."

"No games, Quisty.  I really didn't come here for trouble."

"Good, because we're all about to have lunch.  It may be called a 'weekly meeting for SeeD affairs', but in reality it's our excuse to order takeout despite Zell's demands for hotdogs."

Before I can come up with a decent excuse beyond not wanting to be executed, I find myself led into a room where four heads turn to face me, expressions mixed with confusion and shock.  Only due to the sight of chicken-wuss with a drumstick of fried chicken held precariously in his mouth can I muster up a feasible smirk.  Damn, why couldn't I have just called?

"Well, hello there stranger.  You've finally come home."  Messenger girl smiles widely at me from her position on the cowboy's lap.

"I'm not staying long.  Just had some business with Leonhart."  Strangely, that comment versus my unexpected appearance is what earns me a few frowns.

"Good luck to ya.  He ran off 'bout three months ago with barely a word."  Zell points the drumstick at me.  "Probably took the lesson from you."

"Only doing you a favor, chicken-wuss."

"You would think that.  Do you have a clue how dull it is around here without the DC to stir things up?  And just when I reach a rank for some decent payback--"

"Ha!  Dream on, chicken.  Dream on."

He stands up from his chair and throws a couple punches into the air.  "Wanna try this out, Almasy?  It won't be so easy for you this time."

"Nah.  I'm sure everyone appreciates you swatting the flies for them like that."  And suddenly it's okay that I'm standing here in the Garden I tried to destroy.  Whether I was in my right mind or not during the war, these idiots shouldn't trust me this easily.  "So, what's this about the Lion ditching you kiddies?"

Rinoa gets up from her seat, wiping crumbs from her lap.  "You guys go ahead and finish lunch.  I'll give Seifer the details."

"Don't let him walk off, Rin.  We still need to grill him about the past few months."  A rather evil grin from Selphie gives me a brief chill.  Yes, calling would have been much easier.

A hand slides around my arm as the dark-haired beauty leads me from the room.  "Don't worry.  He won't escape so easily this time."

The sliding door cuts off some light laughter.  Neither of us say anything as we walk down the hallway, Rinoa hanging just a bit on the arm she holds.  It's been months since we've been like this, when I introduced her to Cid as a favor.  She seems more mature than I remember her, and more peaceful in a sense.  I have to wonder where that energy she placed into her rebel forces went to.  Then again, it would be near impossible for none of us to change and mature during those times.

I decide to break the silence.  "So, what are you doing in the Garden?  I thought they didn't care for civilians hanging around here."

"Didn't you know?  I'm a sorceress now.  Though no one will admit it, Balamb Garden is protecting me from people who don't care much for my kind.  Not that I can blame them for wanting to be rid of me."

"Sorry, I didn't know."

"That's what you get for staying away too long.  Which makes me wonder why you decided to show up now."

"It's between the Ice Prince and me.  You guys really haven't a clue where he went?"

"When did you stop loving him?"

Her words stop me cold.  "What the fuck do you know about that?"

She looks up innocently.  "Squall told me.  During the war we were kind of an item, but afterwards I realized that wasn't really the case.  He was just being overly protective because he thought I was important to you.  Took me a while to learn about whole secretive relationship."

"It wasn't a big secret, just no one bothered to ask.  And what makes you think I stopped loving him?"

"You hurt him."

"I couldn't help it.  That bitch messed with my thoughts.  Bad ideas suddenly sounded like a great plan.  Fuck, she could have told me left was right and I wouldn't have doubted her word."

"I'm not talking about that.  You didn't come back for him."  She jerks me forward to continue walking.  "Before he left, Squall seemed sick and exhausted.  You weren't here to comfort him."

"Leonhart doesn't need anyone to comfort him.  He's ice."  The words are reflexive, but unbidden memories come of him curling up to me while asleep, and then times after a duel when he would lean against me as we sit and watch the sunrise.  He always craved the simple touches to know he wasn't alone, even if he didn't realize it himself.

"Even ice has its cracks.  But you don't care, do you?"

"I do.  I have, but how could I just walk here and ask for a friendly little chit-chat.  I tried to kill him and the rest of you.  How was I supposed to know I wouldn't have been attacked on first sight?  I hoped with time..."

"Such an idiot.  I'm doing this to help out Squall, not you."

Confused, I look around at our surroundings.  "The infirmary?  Want to examine my head or something?"

Rinoa finally smiles.  "That would require a brain to check out first.  Ask Dr Kadowaki about Squall.  I think she knows something but her lips have been sealed tight.  And when you're done, come back to the room for your overdue lectures.  I can trust you to do that, hmm?"

"You know how much I enjoy being punished."

"Actually, Squall had mentioned something to that effect."

Amused and a bit shocked, I watch Rinoa walk down the hall and disappear from sight.  Almost on cue, the door slides open with Dr Kadowaki glaring at me from above her glasses.  She either has a second sight to know when someone is waiting in the hallway, or there's a hidden camera solely for her use.  The doctor doesn't speak, her expression calm with undertones of anger, and she is certainly not a person someone would want to anger.

"Hey, doc.  I was asking around about Leonhart.  You happen to know where he ran off to?"

"Come inside."

I hesitate as thoughts of how the instruments in the infirmary could easily be used as torture devices come to mind.  But the lack of a negative answer suggests she does know something.  After I step forward, the sound of the door sliding closed behind me seems louder than normal.

"He's been depressed.  Maybe you can do something."  She hands me a slip of paper with coordinates on it.

"Why haven't you sent one of the kiddies, then?  I'd probably only make him more upset."

She shakes her head.  "He's requested that no one know where he is.  You, his father, and I are the only exceptions."

"His...father?  Um, sure we're talking about Squall Leonhart here?"

"Oh, you didn't hear about the announcement?  The president of Esthar is his father.  It was quite the story on the news - father and son rejoined during war, and all that ruckus."

Well, that's what I get for avoiding the news.  I got sick early on about the crap concerning the evil Sorceress Knight that I stopped paying attention to the media.  Not like there was much good news, anyhow.

"When you go, make certain he is eating properly.  I've never had so much trouble getting a teenage boy to eat, especially in his condition."

"His condition?"

She straightens in surprise.  "You don't know?  Hmm, I guess I assumed incorrectly then...  Well, then I'll let him tell you if he wants to.  Patient confidentiality and all."

Knowing the older woman wouldn't let loose any more information than she already had, I more stumble than walk out of infirmary, my insides twisting and tearing at the news.  Of course there should be a reason why the doctor knows where Squall is currently hiding while everyone else is clueless.  Maybe he got more fucked up during the war than I had thought.  I need to see him.  Hyne help me, I need to see him right now.

"Seifer?"  I look up to find Rinoa waiting for me at the end of the hall, her eyebrows scrunched in worry.

"I have to go.  Squall... something's wrong.  Can you make an excuse for me?"

"Of course.  I'll make them understand, but promise me to send word that everything is okay.  We're all worried."

I nod my agreement to the condition, then run for the exit before anyone tries to stop me from leaving.  A good thing no one does since I don't feel like being responsible for another murder.


There's no response when I knock on the door to the rather large house, but I discover the entrance unlocked.  The idiot, just anyone could walk in while he's asleep or away.  I need to teach that boy how to lock a door.  After a quick and loud run through of the house, I determine that Squall is indeed gone, or else kidnapped by sorceress supporters and is currently being tortured.  Hyne, I need to stay rational here.  The little ice prince probably just went for a walk or to get groceries, and he just hasn't noticed how dark it's getting outside.  Or rather, he just doesn't give a shit.

Stepping onto the back porch, I find a mildly worn path from here to some place further out beyond the hill.  With no other plan in mind, I follow the path and hope I don't get lost if it gets too dark out.  Wish I could've made that rental car go faster.

A fair distance later, the path goes up a large incline.  Looking up the slope of bare sand and boulders, I can just make out a dark form that sits on one of the large rocks.  Only when I'm a few meters away does the man turn to look at me.  Squall seems mildly surprised by my appearance, as if he had been expecting someone else, then faces back over the distance of cracked desert as his arms wrap tightly around himself.

"Why are you here?" he asks with an annoyed tone while shifting so that more of his back faces me.  Can't blame the guy for being upset.

"I looked for you at Balamb and the doc told me you were here.  So, are you going to tell me what exactly is wrong with you, or am I going to have to force it out of those tight lips?"

"It's none of your concern.  Just, what did you want with me?"

"And here I thought it'd be obvious.  I wanted to apologize for all the shit I did to you."

"It wasn't your fault."

"Yes, it was.  I should've fought her harder or something.  At the very least I should have never hurt you like I did.  It can't cover everything, but I'm sorry.  I'm really sorry, Squall."

"I never blamed you."  And that means so much more to me than gaining his forgiveness.  How does he know what I need?

"Now, what's this crap that you aren't my concern."  I stride up to him and place my hand under his chin to force him to really look at me.  The action makes him lose some balance, his arms going back to brace himself up.  Stretched like that, I clearly see the mass that his stomach has become.  The condition Dr Kadowaki spoke of... "Is it a tumor?"

Blue-gray eyes go wide, then hysterical laughter erupts from his mouth and eventually through the hand he uses to stifle some of the sound.

"This is hardly a laughing matter, Leonhart.  How long have you had this?  Can it be treated?"

The laughing fit halts as if it had never sounded, and he slides off the boulder to stand.  "It's not a tumor and I'm not going to die anytime soon."

"Then what--"

"Seifer," he interrupts.  "Right now you can leave before you find responsibility in any of this.  The next time you ask, though, you'll have more choices to deal with than you will want to care about.  I suggest you go back to whatever rock you hid under."

The last part of his statement is partially a challenge to face him and whatever secret he is holding from me.  He'll probably think that will be the reason for my response, how I'll never back down from a blatant insult.  But in truth it's because of what I see standing in front of me.  Hyne, he's beautiful, absolutely perfect, and I haven't a fucking clue how a managed to stay further than two feet from his presence.

"Tell me."

He sighs and looks to the side briefly before reforming eye contact.  "I'm pregnant, and with your child."

"... ... W-wha...  What the fuck...?"  If it was anyone else, I'd call this a sick joke on my behalf, but Squall doesn't do jokes.

"Can we do this inside?  I'm getting cold."

Suddenly he looks so small and vulnerable before me, as if one wrong word could shatter him like thin ice.  Then I see the goosebumps lining his bare arms.  Shrugging off the trench coat that has replaced the one of old, I place the black clothing around his shoulders.  A lifetime ago he would have punched me for the gentlemanly gesture, but instead he smiles weakly and pulls the coat warmed by my body heat closer around him.

There is only the sound of our footsteps as we walk back, both of us too deep in thought.  He said that I'd have choices to make after his announcement.  For the life of me, I can only see one - do I stay or leave?  No matter what his answers will be to the various questions of when and how this came about, it doesn't change the fact that he is (Hyne, help me) pregnant.  With my child.  I'm going to be a father whether I want to or not.  Shit, I'm too young for this crap.

We enter through the backdoor, Squall sitting purposefully in a sofa chair meant for one.  I sit on the edge of the adjacent couch, trying not to smile at the sight of him still clutching onto the dark coat around his shoulders.  As his way, he starts without preamble.

"Do you remember D-district prison?  The one night we had?"

I feel like I've been splashed with cold water.  Of course, the one night that the presence of a sorceress wasn't in my mind and her gift of Squall.  The angle of entry and feel of him around me had been all wrong, but I managed to convince myself that I was imagining it since Squall found great pleasure in the act.  To my shame, I had even thought of asking the sorceress for more of that drug.

"She did something to me after I fell unconscious from the torture.  To put it bluntly, you were fucking me like a woman."

The blood.  Virgin blood.  "Heh, so I was your first for both ways.  Not bad.  Are you a hermaphrodite now?"

"No.  That opening is gone, but the uterus stayed.  Best we can figure is that the spell was cast incorrectly."

"Then the birth...?"

"Cesarean section.  That's what pushed me to see Dr Kadowaki, though I thought she was going to laugh me out of the room at first."

"Nah, I think it just adds to her list of 'now I have seen everything', though I bet you're topping the list at this moment."

It's quiet for a few moments.  "I'm impressed.  You're taking this rather well."

"Tell me, why did you choose to go through with this?"

He leans back into the chair, placing his hands on the growing belly.  "Laguna, my father, said something that surprisingly made sense - life is an amazing thing.  I've done so much killing and been responsible for the death of too many people under me, it's reviving to help create a bit of life in this world."

"Sounds like a good dad."  I can't keep the touch of jealousy from my voice.

"Whatever.  He's a klutz and an imbecile that can't even navigate his way through the building he has lived in for twenty years."

I smile widely at his attempt to cover up the newly formed relationship between father and son.  It's almost as if the world would come to an end the second Squall admitted to the strong emotions he held for only a hand full of people.

"Anyhow, turns out my choice didn't matter."

"Eh?"

"We had the minor mystery of why I didn't miscarry during the first important weeks.  Found out by chance that I have something like a pet who seems to enjoy the idea of me having a baby."

"Going to make me guess about this?"

Squall just shakes his head before standing up from the chair and going into the adjoining kitchen.  He takes a small bag out of the fridge and walks back in the room.  He removes something that looks like a strip of bamboo from the bag and holds it just above his stomach.  It's a rather unnerving sight when a fuzzy green head pokes out from Squall, large ears twitching as the creature sniffs the supposed treat.  Carbuncle takes the strip into its mouth before climbing up the brunette and sitting far too comfortably on his shoulder.

"The little guy has been shielding our child all this time.  I nearly had a heart attack when he first popped out of me.  How was I supposed to know he liked sugarcane, too."

And that was the limit for me, seeing the fluff ball of cuteness resting on Squall's shoulder like it belonged there.  I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard that tears formed in my eyes.  Seeing the brunette's frown, I try to reassure that I'm not laughing at him per se, but I can't find the air to speak any words.  I collapse on the couch and attempt to muffle the laughter while biting into a cushion.

Suddenly there is a weight on me, and when I move onto my back, I get a face full of fur as the small GF turns a couple times on my chest before curling up with a content sigh.  That quickly ruins my moment of humor.

"Squa-all.  What is it doing?"

He smirks down at me before retaking his seat.  "I think he recognizes you as the other daddy."

"Give me a break.  How do I get rid of it?"

A shrug.  "Whenever he feels like moving since the child isn't in any danger."

I glare at the little bastard on my chest, but don't even dare think of knocking it off.  I do have some value for my life, and upsetting a guardian force just isn't a smart thing to do.  Besides, there's now a glimmer of happiness that had been vacant in Squall's eyes since I first came.  I can suffer a bit of humiliation for the greater cause.

"So..."

I grin at the quiet voice.  Funny how I can hear the rest of what he says without a single word spoken.  "You're crazy if you think I'm going anywhere."

His lips form a small, pleased smile just before odd look comes to his face, then he abruptly stands up and walks to the far side of the room.  Carbuncle jumps off of me to follow its apparent master, giving me free movement to jump off the couch and chase after the fleeing man.  I reach him in time to have a door slammed in my face.

"Shit!  Squall, what's wrong?"

"Just give me a moment," comes the muffled reply.  That's when I realize he rushed into the bathroom.

Sliding down the opposing wall, I glance to the side and see the green fluff ball.  I swear it purposely sticks its tongue at me before walking through the solid door.  Not quite believing the obvious excuse for Squall running into the bathroom, I wait impatiently while sitting on the carpeted floor.  Too much time passes without sound.  Standing back up, I risk trying the door to find it unlocked.  Maybe I'll save those lessons of manual locks on doors for later.  Inside, I find Squall sitting in the bath, his face turned to the wall. 

"You know, that tends to work better when you don't have clothes and there's some water to sit in."

"Get out, Seifer."

Instead I kneel by the tub and force him to look at me.  Tears stream down from his stormy eyes, the vision previously unimaginable and now simply awe inspiring.  His head bends forward to rest against my chest, the sight of his tears hidden from view.

"I can't stop them sometimes."  He sniffs.  "Fucking hormones."

I move my hand to run fingers through thick hair.  "Should I be worried that I made you cry?"

"No.  I swear I'm happy, but the tears won't stop."

Poor guy.  Practically an entire lifetime spent holding too much in, and now those tight seals have been cracked and corroded.  He must be a mess of tension and emotions by now.  And to think he believed he could handle this alone.

I kiss the dark hair.  "It's alright, sweetheart.  I'm here."

A hand grips my choker and twists the metal painfully.  "Call me that again, and I won't hesitate to take your head off."

Wincing at the honest threat, I nod my consent before my breathing abilities are returned to me.  Note to self - find Lion Heart and hide that blade from Squall before he decides to have a truly bitchy moment.

 

{Continued}