Choosing Life
October 2002

 

|Squall|

My eyes snap open in the darkness, and it takes the length of several loud heartbeats to recognize where I am.  But before I can fully comprehend the details of this reality, something slides under my tank top and proceeds up along the rise of my stomach.  Panic proceeding reason, I wrench the arm from me and hurry out of the bed in escape.

"Squall... what the hell?"

Somehow my heart pounds even faster at the deep voice as I turn around to face him.  He had switched on the lamp, the light behind Seifer creating an arrangement of deep shadows across his face.  Suddenly I'm backed into the wall, no where to go.  Sliding down the barrier slowly, I end up sitting on the floor as my arms cover the unborn child... our unborn son.  No, this should be safe.  Seifer would never--

"Another nightmare?"

I nod, unable to speak as I brace myself against tears.  When did it require effort to hold them in?

"Are you going to tell me about it?"

A shake of the head.

"You've got to give me more credit, Squally-boy.  In the last four nights of the five total I've been here, you've woken up from a nightmare.  Call me paranoid, but you backing away from me just now like a lamb from a wolf makes me wonder if I have the lead role in those dreams of yours."

"I trust you," I manage to whisper, emotions slowly coming back under my control.

"More than I deserve.  Now talk before I have to resort to more drastic measures."

"It's just a dream."  At his silence, I look into green eyes and find no room for argument.  Damn him for being too stubborn.  "It starts with you glaring at me, saying something about your mistress.  Then I realize I'm bound to the wall in the prison, unable to do anything as... as you take the baby from me.  You say he was never mine, that he belongs to the sorceress for all of eternity and that I should be grateful to have been chosen to bear him.  Then you leave me there to bleed and... left alone..."  Too fresh.  The dream and emotions are too fresh for me to handle.

"Shit...  shit, shit, SHIT!"  He rips the sheet off himself, almost off the mattress as well, and stands up from the bed.  He walks heatedly most of the way to the door before pausing to contain some of the anger at himself and then he turns to face me, lips curled in a pathetic mimic of a smirk.  "I fucked up, and there's no going back.  You'll be better off without me."

"No."

"I'll sleep on the couch and leave in the morning."

"Get the fuck back here and help me up."

He hesitates.  "Don't change my mind, Squall.  I'll just hurt you again.  You know that even if you refuse to admit it consciously."

I don't dignify the words with a comment, only glare at him until he submits and comes over to me.  We both know I don't need the aid in standing, but that isn't what this is about.  It's about me never letting him simply run off again.  When I take his extended hand, I make certain that my grip is painful on his arm.

"It's only a dream.  I'll get over it.  But this..."  I place his hand on my stomach.  "I don't want to do this without you."

I used to think it wasn't worth it to depend on someone, always wondering why people would subject themselves to the possibility of hurt when you'll only find yourself alone in the end.  At that time, I had convinced myself that I didn't need Seifer.  Loved him, wanted him, but I didn't need him in my life.  These last several days with him returned have shown me otherwise.  I never realized that with one small addition, life could feel right and worth it.  I'm beginning to believe that people don't chose to depend on another, but rather it comes without warning or plan that two lives intertwine.  The resulting separation would be painful, but perhaps it's not an inevitable break if you work to make things right.

Seifer looks down at his hand, light green eyes filtered through blonde lashes in my view.  For once it's the larger man lost in thought, trying to find some sense in the world.  He wants to run, but not from me.  I'll have to teach him a lesson I learned the hard way - you can't run from yourself.

"Stay.  Don't make me beg."

His eyes widen before a small smile appears on his face and he rubs my stomach.  "You never beg."

Hooking a hand behind his neck, I pull him forward enough that I can reach his mouth with mine.  The man is too tall, perhaps an inch or two gained in the past months.  Soft flesh against soft flesh, I kiss him seriously for the first time since he has returned to me.  Gently nipping at his lower lip, I try to get him to respond.  When he doesn't, I pull away to question him.  His free hand is suddenly at my lower back, pressing me tightly against his body.  I don't care for not having my entire body flat and touching his, but it's strangely confronting to have our growing child between us.  Then we truly kiss, our first duel in a long time.

He breaks the kiss.  "Would it make you upset if I said I really want you right now?"

I can't hide my shock.  "When I look like this?"

"And how exactly do you look?"

"Unfuckable."

He sputters out a laugh.  "Hyne, as if that was possible."

"I... I need to go to the bathroom first," I whisper embarrassingly.  In truth, I'm also unsure if I am quite ready for sex yet.  Just a little over a week ago, the nausea and tiredness finally evaporated from me, but I still haven't found any desire to masturbate, the last time being months past.  For a healthy teenage boy, that's a somewhat distressing reality.

"Mmm, a shower sounds good."

A chill passes through my body at the sound of his voice, rough with obvious need.  How could I deny anything spoken in that tone?

Some time later, Seifer coaxes me under the flow of warm-hot water of the two opposing showerheads.  It's refreshing under that stream, the cleansing of dried sweat from my skin also washing away some of the aftereffects of the nightmare.  He comes close up behind me, lips brushing the back of my ear.

"Your hair has gotten long."  Fingers rake through the wet locks.  "Close your eyes."

I follow the order, the sound of an opening bottle registering to my ears.  Strong fingers are then in my hair, massaging the scalp beneath as he shampoos the dark strands.  It feels amazing under his touch.  Difficult to believe these are the same hands that bound me to a wall to be tortured.  They are simply too caring, too gentle.  After the soapy medium is washed from my hair, his touch is momentarily gone as he places conditioner onto his hands.  The massage restarting, I savor his pampering touch.

Apparently done with washing my hair, his hands travel down with the pleasing pressure of his knuckles along my spine.  Wrapping forward from my lower back, he squeezes just above my hipbones, his thumbs massaging in circular motions as he presses into my back.  If Seifer stops, I may have to kill him.

"You feel so much softer."

"I haven't exactly been able to run around with a gunblade lately."

"Does this mean I can take advantage of you without a struggle?"

I can't form a response when he adds more pressure, a quiet moan escaping my lips.  Hyne, I didn't realize how stiff my lower back had gotten over time.  There's additional warmth at my neck as he licks the bit not covered by hair, teeth lightly grazing my skin.  With a low growl, he turns me to the right such that the streams of water won't hit us directly.

"Soap or shampoo?"

His cock is hard against my crack, grinding in tiny motions.  The echo of want within me at his contact is a quiet relief.  "Don't need it."

"It's been a long time."

"I know what I can handle."

As he draws back in reply, I lean forward to brace myself against the tiled wall.  It's not much in the way of support, but I trust his strength to keep me standing.  The sharp pain of his entrance was expected, but rougher than I had hoped for.  By his hesitation, I know Seifer senses this as well.  It's always baffled me how he could worry about harming me this way while he has never held back with Hyperion.  His blade has drawn more blood than his dick ever will.  Showing my continued desire, I wiggle back enough to bury him all the way, forcing my breaths to be relaxed.

Seifer had never needed much in the way of persuasion.  He pumps carefully in and out of me, hands slowly trailing up my body as calluses scratch lightly against skin.  Eventually they go up my arms and link with my hands as he starts to thrust harder.  I become pleasure numb as I feel only him against and within me, his harsh breaths and groans the only sounds. 

A random thought emerges as I think to our son, "This is your daddy."

From the time of abstinence, my release comes too quickly for my own desires.  The strength leaves my legs, but Seifer's continued motions and arms now wrapped around my chest keeps me standing long enough for him to come deep within me.  Slowly lowering us to the floor, he kisses my neck in silent expressions of appreciation.

"I want omelets."

He pauses a moment before responding.  "Are you trying to insult me?"

"You made me hungry.  Make them with ham, tons of cheese, and black olives."

"Spoiled brat.  You're lucky I can cook without melting down the stove."

"It was just the grill and it happened once."

He snickers, certainly at the returned memory of the mandatory cooking class.  Well, mandatory for Seifer and me in the form of cruel punishment for fighting in the cafeteria (how we ended up there from the training center, I haven't a clue).  The instructor never could figure out how I managed to cause the metal grill to melt within the one hour class period.  Of course Seifer will never let me live it down, the bastard miraculously topping the class.  At the time, I had thought his only motivation was to impress the female majority of the class.  How was I supposed to know back then that he actually wanted to watch me licking his spoons, my eyes closed in pleasure from the excellent taste.

"Go make my omelets."

"Am I allowed to dress first, or would you prefer the 'naked with apron' look?"

"Nn, you know what I like."


I wake to the feel of Seifer tensing to my side, but I don't have it in me to actually open my eyes.  The porch swing sways beneath us when he sits up straighter and removes his arm from my waist.  I suppose something is wrong, but I don't feel anything threatening around us and I'm too relaxed to care.  The late afternoon breeze feels nice against my neck as well as the small rocking motions of the swing, and I'm still exhausted from too many nights of interrupted sleep, not too mention other activities at the discovery of returned sexual appetite.

"Who the fuck are you?" Seifer growls out.

There's a light laugh, and then I know everything is just fine.  "It's certainly a surprise to see you here, Seifer Almasy."

"What do you want?"

"Ah, sorry.  I'm used to people recognizing me before I know them.  The name is Laguna Loire."

Seifer tenses up even more.  "Squall's... father?"

"It's a pleasure to meet you.  Now, may I ask why are you in my home with my son?"

The poor man to my side practically stops breathing.  Though it could be more fun otherwise, I decide to be merciful.  "Because I want him here with me."  I open my eyes to look at Laguna, the longhaired man currently leaning back against the porch railing.  "I didn't realize you were coming earlier than usual."

"Hoping to surprise you, though it appears the reverse happened."

"Sorry to not ask for your permission first, but Seifer is the father.  He has the right to be here."

His eyes widen in shock, mouth not quite working at first to create words.  "I... I didn't realize.  Why didn't you say...?"

"... ..."  Although Dr Kadowaki knew some kind of intercourse had taken place, I let my father assume Ultimecia was responsible for all of the pregnancy, never correcting him that she only created the setting while Seifer and I had done the actual impregnation.  Back then, I think I avoided the issue simply because I didn't want to deal with that part of my reality - I was going to raise a child alone.  While I know I wouldn't have been truly alone, it's not the same without the father partner.  And frankly, no one could replace Seifer.

An arm returns around my waist.  "Can you blame him, bearing the ex-Sorceress Knight's child?"

"I'm not ashamed of you.  I just didn't care to remind myself that you weren't around."  Ignoring the wince from Seifer, I stand up from the porch swing and walk to the entrance before speaking to Laguna.  "Want something to drink?"

"Uh, I think I'll follow you inside."

I shrug in response and walk through the open doorway.  In the kitchen, I pour myself some orange juice while Laguna rummages in the fridge, soon finding the bottled beer in the back corner.  After a long swig of the drink, he takes a chair and straddles it with the back against his chest.  It's hard to believe sometimes that he's in his mid-forties.

"You're looking good.  Certainly much better than the last time I visited.  I assume the boy out front has something to do with that."

"He cooks well."

"Oh?"  He takes another sip.  "While it is quite the feat to feed you, I wonder if that is all he's done."

"... I missed him."

"You could have told me about him earlier.  It wouldn't have been a problem to assign people to search for him."

"No.  I didn't want that."

Laguna scowls, an unusual sight.  "You must have gotten that from your mother.  She never tried sending word to me, either.  Probably didn't want to bother me, or trusted me to return in time to support her when I hadn't a clue what was happening back home.  You can't assume people are able to read your mind, Squall.  Tell us what you need."

"You've been here for me, Laguna.  I appreciate it."

A shy, warm smile replaces the frown.  "You know, whenever you're ready, you can call me 'Dad'.  Just a selfish request on my part," he adds with a nervous scratch to his head.

Instead of responding, I take a long sip of the juice in hand.  Dad.  Even thinking the word, it's too foreign to feel natural in any way.  But then I look directly into dark green eyes and think of the man, not just the word.  Suddenly I realize that I've been referring to him as 'my father' in my thoughts for a long time now, not remembering the moment when it changed from the typical moron classification.  The bastard, working his way into my life without me noticing it.  But he isn't quite the fool of twenty years past, despite his occasional bouts of stupidity caused by nervousness.

"Ah, well, it's too late for today, but I was thinking it's time to start some shopping."

"... ...?"

"Babies tend not to come with cribs and clothing.  I thought that it wouldn't hurt to get an early start."

I cover my eyes with a hand as thoughts explode in my head.  I hadn't really considered about past the pregnancy, but at Laguna's reminder I realize just how much we'll need to get in order to be prepared for the new addition.  We'll have to purchase a crib, blankets, clothes, pajamas, diapers, toys, food... Fuck, I can't breastfeed a newborn.  Are there formulas for infants so young?  And what about a doctor?  Will this child react to medicines and spells like normal babies from a natural pairing?  What if--

"Squall!"

My head jerks up at the call of the name, my father standing directly before me.  When did he move?

"You were hyperventilating a bit there.  Are you okay?"

"Nh.  Just realized I can't have a baby."

A light laugh.  "Hate to remind you, but you are having a baby.  Nothing to do about that now."

I close my eyes as I take a cleansing breath of air, putting worries momentarily aside to tackle them one by one.  At least Laguna had thought of these things now and not a month before I'm due.  The extra time should be enough to get a few things readied, though I doubt a person is ever really prepared to have a new life introduced into their world.

I look at the open entrance beyond my father, a small fear at the base of my stomach aching as I wonder if Seifer could have run off again.  I trust him.  I really do.  But I know him, too, and I don't think I've assured him yet of just how much I actually want him here.  Given a spare moment, Seifer will probably convince himself that it'd be best for me if he wasn't around.  The damn ass.  Putting the glass on the counter, I mumble a pardon before passing Laguna and heading outside.  No longer sitting on the bench swing, Seifer leans on his arms that rest on the wide railing.  At the sound of my footsteps on wood, he glances sidewise to confirm it's me.

"Thought you would want some time with your father."

"Looks like we're shopping tomorrow."

"Wondering when you were going to get around to that.  So, which room is going to be the nursery?"

Hyne, I wonder if thought processes are effected by pregnancy.  "I hadn't thought about it."

He grins.  "I'd suggest the one cattycorner to the bedroom your using.  It's close, but not taking up one of the larger rooms.  We could paint it if you want some kind of theme."

"Blue for boy or something?  No thanks."

"Are... is it a boy?"

"Didn't I mention that?"

He turns quickly to face me, hands gripping my shoulders.  "No, you didn't, fucking bastard.  I'm going to have a son?"

The nearly desperate tone amuses me.  "Yes, a son.  It was most probab--"

Lips are on mine, stopping my words and stunning me with the abruptness before I join in the kiss.  Sometimes I feel like I draw in a bit of Seifer whenever we kiss, his breath and skin so much warmer than mine, heating me in every way.  He pulls back from the joining, but hugs me close as a hand rakes through my hair.

"Sorry.  I would've been happy with a girl, but really, what would I have to teach a daughter?"

"You underestimate yourself," I state while resting my head on his shoulder.  Not surprisingly, I held the same thoughts as him when Dr Kadowaki gave me the news.  A son sounds so much less fragile than a daughter, though no less frightening.

"Have you decided on a name yet?"

"Don't be upset."

"As long as you aren't naming him after some flower, I think I'll be good."

"Isan Almasy."

"... You mean Leonhart."

"I say what I mean."  I draw back from his loosened hold.  "This was decided before you reappeared, and you won't change my mind."

Light green eyes narrow dangerously.  "You want your son to suffer that badly?  What the hell is going through your head?"

"You don't need to understand.  It's what I want."

"Better damn well make me understand.  Why not just name him Killer?  It'd give the same effect if that's what you're looking for."

"... ..." 

I cross my arms around my chest as I turn to the entrance, blinking away some of the added moisture to my eyes.  At the sight of my father leaning against the doorway, I pause for a moment and then brush past him as I make my way inside.  Before I step into the bedroom, I change my mind and look into the room Seifer had mentioned earlier.  Too small to comfortably fit a bed and not needed considering the three bedrooms already present, the room is currently Laguna's study.  As if he ever did work in this vacation home of his.  I don't think he would mind sacrificing it to his only grandson.

Wiping away a couple escaping tears, I turn back to my bedroom.  Mentally exhausted and walking around after only a few hours of sleep last night and a couple this afternoon, I decide to lie down for a short while before dinner.  It'll probably something microwavable since Seifer shouldn't be able to cool down by then.  A shame.  I had forgotten how good his food could be.


|Seifer|

As I watch the retreating form, I try to bite back some of the anger that flows too easily out of me sometimes.  How could I just lash out at him like that?  I should know better than to do that with Mr. Talk-to-the-Wall.  And in front of his father at the same time.  Am I begging to get shot to hell and buried without a tombstone, or what?

"Need one?"  Laguna waves a beer bottle.

"Heh, that's the last thing I need.  Swore off the shit a little while back."

"You're too young for it, anyway," he states before sipping some of the dark liquid.  "Are you going to go beg for his forgiveness or is it a cold bed for you tonight?"

I smirk as I sit down onto the porch swing.  "I've been sleeping solo for months anyway, and there's no way I'm apologizing for him being daft in the head."

"You're not going even try to see it his way, are you?"

"You agree with him!?  What the hell.  Is this some pathetic attempt to gain his trust as his dependable daddy?"  The echoes of 'shut up, shut up' were ringing through my head while the words leave my mouth.

Amazingly he laughs.  "We both know he doesn't give his trust away so easily.  Now, if you are done, tell me why you think Squall is planning this?"  He points at me when my mouth opens.  "Not what's wrong with his thinking, but why he would want this."

"I don't know, maybe because he considers I technically have the father role.  But a kid shouldn't grow up with the kind weight my name will force on him."

"And you think the name Leonhart would be any easy to bear?"

"Yes!" is the automatic response, but once it's said, I know that isn't the truth.

"Not to burst your bubble or anything, but many people only know you as the ever so fearsome Sorceress Knight, not by your name.  Even the first warrants for your death only listed that title, your true name never joined with the rather unflattering photo.  Leonhart, however, is known worldwide.  Commander Leonhart, the Lion of Balamb and savior of humanity.  It would be quite the shadow to be buried under."

"Better than my shadow," I mutter, though not too certain of my case anymore.  I'm also being rather arrogant thinking I happen to be the only bearer of the name Almasy, but so close to Squall, what are others supposed to believe?

"If you ask me, though, I don't think that is Squall's reason for using your name."

"Enough.  I get your point that I'm an unthinking asshole, which is no new revelation I assure you."

He smirks, the shape a perfect match to Squall's.  "He's right - you do underestimate yourself."

"You don't know me."

"But Squall does, and I trust his judgment."  Tilting back the bottle, he drinks down the last of the beer.  "Well, normally I'd offer to take us out to dinner, but I doubt my son will care to be out in public much for the next several months.  Anything in the fridge to heat up?"

I can't hold it back any longer.  "Why do you give a shit about him now?  It's been seventeen years."

Unfazed, Laguna stands up from the wall he was leaning on.  "Because I've been running for all those years and he caught up to me anyway.  Because I've always given a shit about my son.  Because I wanted the honor of being a proud father."  He shrugs.  "But what use are reasons and excuses.  Love is love, whether between father and son or between two supposed enemies."

All I can think is that Squall is one lucky bastard to find his father, a man who turned out to be someone reliable.  I think I remember a drunken fool who loved the cane far too much and my mother not at all.  Then again, it could be something I dreamed up to make myself a victim in life.  Who knows, and who cares.

With a deep sigh, I stand from the bench and straighten.  "I can make up some pasta rather quickly.  Nothing fancy, but at least it'd be fresh."

He blinks.  "You really do cook?"

A pot of boiling water, pasta, random dairy products, and an hour later, I knock lightly on the door to invite the brunette out for some dinner.  At the lack of response, I open the door slowly and look inside.  The last bits of daylight filter through thin curtains onto part of his body as Squall lies on the bed, one arm resting on his stomach and the other hooked under the pillow.  He looks serene while in seemly dreamless sleep, but unfortunately he's not allowed to miss anymore meals.

I kneel down at the bedside and let my hand glide down his far side while I lean in close to him and inhale the both familiar yet new smell of Squall.  There isn't the scent of leather and gunpowder anymore, but the underlying fragrance is equally if not more so pleasing to my senses.  He shifts and moans quietly, a small smile form on his lips that I can't resist kissing.  Stormy blues open slowly, the subtle humor reflecting in their depths.

"You taste like alfredo sauce."

"Because you weren't around to taste test for me.  Come on, it's dinner time."

He doesn't move from his position.  "... I was wrong to say that you didn't need to know."

"It's fine.  I talked--"

He interrupts.  "I want him to know his origins, who he is.  I've chosen to always be there for our son, but I'd never demand the same from you.  With you in hiding for so long..."  He takes a breath before staring at me with determined eyes.  "All I can give him of you is your name, and I want him to have it."

After a short time spent in thought, I place my hand in his hair and bring our foreheads together.  "Only you gave a shit about me, thought I had some kind of worth in this world.  Even that bitch of a sorceress didn't want me.  She wanted you."

"Stop this."

"It's okay.  Really.  Because I'm going to live up to those hopeless expectations of yours someday.  I'll make Almasy a proud name for our son."

A cool hand strokes my cheek as his eyes tell me that he already considers the name a proud one.  But instead of speaking the words, he sighs in momentary defeat.  "You mentioned dinner?"

"Nh, and I even saved a couple spoons for you to lick for my personal enjoyment."


It's almost a guilty pleasure as I walk with Squall pressed close to my side.  The baby store has been left behind us about a block back, but he's still acting like he would hide within my coat if possible.  Turns out that his longer hair worked to our benefit, the saleswoman believing Squall a typical pregnant customer.  While it didn't serve to ease him much, his worry of us picking out something to only harass him out weighed the nervousness of being out in public.

Grinning, I think of the flower print dress the saleswoman suggested for Squall, mentioning that it would compliment his eyes.  My approval was quickly shot down by an icy glare as he informed the woman we were only here for baby items, not maternity wear.  For a guy who typically wears six belts, Squall just doesn't understand the appeal of kink.  After several hours of deciding what was needed, colors to get, and which luxury items were worth the gil, I think we have quite a nice base of preparation.  With everything in stock being delivered in about a week, it'll give Laguna and me enough time to clean out the room meant for the nursery.  Squall has already been informed he is not touching anything.

My moment of amused recollection ends when there is abruptly a slight drag as we walk, but then the pace starts back again as if nothing happened.  Curious, I look to the side and notice us passing an ice cream store.  I stop in place, making Laguna look back at us in confusion.

"I don't know about you two, but I'm in the mood for something cold.  Mind if we drop in for a scoop or two of ice cream?"

Though his expression is neutral, Squall clutches my arm a bit too tightly as if he was caught red-handed at something.

"Well, I guess, if Squall doesn't mind."

"Then we're agreed," I state without letting the brunette form his own response.

The store is bare of customers except one woman still deciding on what to get.  Holding Squall close, I stand up to the window of various selections, some of the flavors sounding down right frightening (tell me that really isn't Grat Juice), but at least the standard favorites are also available within the mixture of drums.

"What do you want?"

"I'm fine," Squall replies while his blue-gray eyes fixed on a certain container of ice cream tell me differently.  Stubborn idiot.

I look up to get the attention of the young worker, but he is currently finishing off the woman's order, a thick layer of hot fudge being poured onto a scoop of simple vanilla.  I almost miss the tip of a tongue as Squall unconsciously licks his upper lip.  Well, I suppose he is going through a chocolate phase at the moment.  That could leave for some interesting possibilities.

When the worker asks, I give him the order of two large cups of 'chocolate passion' with hot fudge on one of the servings.  Squall of course frowns at me for placing an order for him, but the expression doesn't last for too long.  I catch a glimpse of a pleased smile before he leans up to tell me he'll be right back.  It must being annoying to have a kid sitting on your bladder all day long.

"How do you do that?"

I turn to Laguna.  "Do what?"

"Know exactly what he wants when he won't tell you."

"It's gift.  After years of not getting a vocal response out of that gorgeous wall, I started to watch him closely for the subtle stuff.  Doubt he even realizes half the things he does that contradicts what he says."

The older man smiles warmly, and I recognize instantly how he conned a whole country into following him.  "I'm glad you're here with him."

"As long as he wants me, I'm not going anywhere."


The room soon to be nursery is currently stripped of furniture, cleaned of dust and cobwebs, and merely waiting for the new furniture coming within the week.  His planned tasks done within the weekend, Laguna said his goodbyes to us this morning as he returned to the demands of his title.  Squall has already found a comfortable sitting position as he takes up the whole couch while reading one of the various baby books his father had brought from Esthar.  That leaves me with no excuse to postpone the inevitable, and I pick up the phone to call Balamb Garden.

At the inquiry by a mechanical voice, I ask for Rinoa Heartilly, hoping that they managed to place her in the directory.  Looking up at the sound of the name, Squall glances at me curiously.  I mouth to him 'payback', to which he shrugs and returns to his book.

"Hello?"

"Hey, doll face.  How goes it?"

"Seifer!?  Where are you?  Why did it take you so long to call?  Is Squall there?  Is he okay?  Oh, Seifer, we've been so worried!"

I laugh at the rushed words, trying to decide myself where to start.  "We're fine, we're fine.  I found him last week and we've been... adjusting, I guess you could say.  Just calling to inform you everything is A-okay."

"Oh, no you don't.  I got burned for letting you run off without anyone else getting a word in.  I want details.  Is everything good between you two?"

"Much better than good.  I'm going to be sticking around with him here."

"Where?"

"You have to be more sneaky than that, doll.  If Squall wants to tell you, he will.  Though I think he wants to keep this quiet for at least a few more months.  Maybe longer."

"A few months?  Is he there?  Let me talk him out of this."

"Hold on.  Hey, bookworm.  Her highness wishes a word with you."

Squall frowns at me then extends a hand for the cordless phone.  "Rinoa."  There's a long pause before he speaks again.  "I'm sorry.  I know I've caused worry, but really nothing is wrong." ... "No, I'm not dying.  The opposite actually." ... "B Garden is fine without me.  Anyhow, I resigned." ... "What?" ... "What?  By who's orders?" ... "I am not--" ... "Tell Cid I will be calling him about this matter.  He can't arbitrarily do this." ... "I know.  In a few months, it may be easier for me to explain it to you guys." ... "I promise." ... "I am.  Seifer has been making sure of that." ... "Can't promise.  Listen, I'm going to hand you back to Seifer."

And thus I get back the phone.  "Sounds like you didn't succeed."

"He's too stubborn.  In fact, the both of you are.  How do you two get anything done?"

"We manage.  So, what's the big news?"

"Squall can talk to you about it.  I'm meeting Selphie and Quistis for lunch, and they'll really want to hear that you both are alive.  Promise me to take care of him, and call.  We miss you guys."

"If you say so, doll.  Don't bore them too much about us."

After putting the phone back into its recharge cradle, I go to the couch and lift up Squall's legs so I can sneak under them and sit down comfortably.  He stares at the closed book in his lap, a familiar zoning appearance plastered on his face.  He looks so damn fuckable with that cross-eyed expression of his.

"What's up, honey?"

He winces, then glares at me as his heel comes dangerously close to my treasured body part before I catch his foot.

"No 'honey', huh?  How about 'baby'?  'Sugar'?"

The scowl deepens.  "What's with you and these ridiculous pet names?  Don't treat me like some girl you're dating."

"They are also called terms of endearment.  Just showing you how much I love you, snuggle bunny."

The gleam of ice in his eyes brings a chill to my spine.  "I don't have to make your death a quick one, and no one would blame me for dealing with the Sorceress Knight.  Understood?"

In defiance, I grin widely.  "So, what do you need to have words with Cid about?"

He huffs at the change in topic.  "Apparently my resignation was denied and I've been promoted to Assistant Headmaster."

"Has he not noticed you haven't been around for the new job?"

"I'm on temporary leave according to the records.  Worse, the job is meant to train me for the position of Headmaster at Esthar Garden."

"Ha, better and better.  I didn't realize there was a Garden in Esthar."

"It's in the making.  Fuck, I can't be Headmaster.  Cid is always doing this crap without thinking about my response."

His foot still in my hand, I decide that I might as well massage it.  "You seemed to handle Balamb Garden by yourself just fine, and that was during a war.  Face it, people look up to you for leadership.  And you would be closer to your father this way."

He looks at me incredulously.  "Childbearing isn't a short-term thing."

"And mothers with children are allowed to work.  You will be in control of an entire Garden, so you can do whatever the hell you want.  Better yet, as Headmaster, you won't be directly involved with the battles.  You could probably keep Isan in the office with you."

"You aren't helping."

"Maybe you can fool yourself, but not me.  Do you really think you'll be able to put all your fighting instincts aside to become a housewife?  You'd go stir crazy within the week.  Right now you're dealing with being pregnant, something no man should have to do, and it's taking up your energy.  But you haven't been raised to sit back and do shit."

He sits there quiet for a long time before announcing, "I'm taking you down with me."

"Sure.  I don't mind hanging around a Garden again, but I'm not taking classes ever again.  A guy can only fail the final test so many times before his mind snaps."

"I mean, you're going to be Commander of SeeDs in Esthar."

"...Excuse me?  Forgetting the fact that I should be a SeeD before I can command them--"

"You are.  I managed to promote you to SeeD level 15 for your skill in leadership and fighting abilities."

"You didn't."

"I did.  Endorsed fully by Cid.  While you were technically on the wrong side, you still showed some of your potential."

"You sneaky asshole."

He smirks victoriously.  "At least I'm not a snuggle bunny anymore."

I push his legs off me and crawl up over him.  My hands braced on the couch arm, I look straight down into stormy eyes.  Love is such a strange emotion, hiding in the back of your mind until an unexpected moment when it seems to drown every other thought and feeling.  First licking the soft lips, I work my tongue into his mouth before our lips press together.  There's a faint taste of chocolate from the ice cream he had for lunch, the man silently grateful that I had thought of getting a gallon of the frozen treat that he enjoyed.  We should've dropped by the store for hot fudge, though.  I'll have to postpone those plans for now, I suppose.  A hand cups my crotch, forcing me to pull back with a hiss.

"Is this a clue that I need to reward you for good behavior?"

"Mmm, you better.  I might become a delinquent again without the proper motivation."

"Up," he orders with a slap to my hip.

Smirking, I stand up from the couch while Squall takes a pillow and places it on the floor.  Sometimes I feel like I could come from the mere sight of the proud man kneeling before me.  I almost did the first time he offered to suck me off.  Those words from such soft lips can't be legal. Lifting up my shirt, he attacks my navel straightaway, nipping at the rim and licking in and out of the cavity, while his hands slowly undo constricting jeans.  Why does his pace always get insanely slow when he is control?

My jeans and boxers are pushed down to my knees as his mouth travels further down bit by bit, unhurried despite the sight of my twitching cock.  Clutching fists to my side, I refuse to submit to the need of demanding him to get to the heart of the matter.  It's just another game in our power play, and respect isn't won by giving in too soon.  His hands cup my ass, kneading in rhythm with his mouth that finally moves to the base of my erection and slowly trails upward.

The second he takes the head gently between his teeth, my hands move to grip his hair for a sense of support, but I don't dare try to force him to take in more of me.  That would be only counterproductive.  Closing my eyes, I focus on nothing but the sensation of slowly being drawn into his mouth.  Not paying attention, the pressure of a knuckle of his bent finger pressing against my asshole makes me thrust forward fully into him.  Unfazed, he goes with the movement to start into some sucking action while he works my anus at the same time.

As if I could last long with that kind of attention.

By the time my senses return from the orgasmic overload, Squall has finished cleaning off my softened length and wipes the corners of his mouth.  Pulling up my clothes enough to be able to kneel comfortably, I join him on the floor.

"Thank you, lover."

He scoffs.  "You are incorrigible."

"And what shall I be doing to repay the favor?"

"Nothing.  Not in the mood."

"What?  Squall, you could've told me that sooner.  You didn't--"

He kisses me on the lips and mumbles through the joining, "I wanted to."

Still fuzzy from the pleasure high and with soft flesh coaxing my mouth open, I can't find it in me to lecture him about mutual satisfaction.  Instead I enjoy the simple kiss while rubbing a hand along the side of the bulge of stomach.  Beautiful.  Everything that he is and everything that he does is beautiful perfection.  Perhaps that is why I wasn't too worried under the control of the sorceress, knowing that whichever side Squall led was destined to win.  I would have happily died by his blade, but he chose to spare my life instead, just as he chose to protect the life of my child, our son.  ...Hyne, I'm going to be a father.  The possibility of death wasn't nearly as terrifying as this.

 

{Continued}

 

Author's Note - I hate naming characters.  With no better idea to fall back on, I just used a German name that supposedly has the origin/meaning of iron - 'Isan'.  Wish I could've been more creative. ^_^;  And sorry for my typical OOC Laguna.  Frankily, the man is president for a reason and he's in his forties, so I'd like to believe he has gotten wiser over the years.