Living Life
March 2003

 

[Part Four]

[Seifer]

There's nothing more irritating in the morning than laughter...  The sound of several people laughing...  All happy like...  Just after I got kicked out of bed...  Literally kicked out of bed...

"Looks like someone desperately needs coffee."

I don't know whether to scowl at Rinoa or bless her for the mug of black heaven held out to me.  I settle for a hoarse, "Thanks."

"And what are you doing up so early?"  Her overly sweet, 'oh, it's a beautiful morning' smile makes me wince.

"Doesn't want people fussing over him.  Sent me to make food," I mutter over the rim of the cup.

That causes a few chuckles in the too bright kitchen area, all of the older folk in the building already awake and probably continuing with the conversations they broke off the night previous.  I have to feel for Rinoa, the lovely woman beaten into Edea's early routine since she began training here over a decade ago.  Laguna, Kiros, and Cid grin at me from their spots sitting around a small table with their own cups of coffee and plates of mostly eaten breakfasts.  What is it about age that makes you get up so damn early?  I swear, once we're officially retired, I'm keeping Squall in bed with me until at least noon every weekday.  Maybe until dinner on weekends.

"It's alright, dear.  I've already made breakfast for the other children.  There's plenty to share."  The older woman still beautiful and regal despite her age smiles at me warmly while waving at the collection of covered plates.  Waffles by the smell of it.

"Sounds good.  Thanks, Matron."  That never fails to make her smile widen.  I can't remember how many years after the war it took me to call her by that childhood term again without a touch of cynicism, but I think it was a quiet relief to us both.  Our past not forgotten, but at least forgiven.

Rinoa laughs lightly.  "It's for the best.  You'd probably burn yourself in this state."

I choose a sip of coffee over replying to the insult, though I'm very tempted to point out that I've never burned myself in any kitchen.  Well, as long as a certain tease hasn't been in there with me doing that damn trick of his with his pinkie finger.  The padding of socked feet interrupts my thoughts, and I glance over to watch Squall's entrance, the brunette almost swimming in one of my shirts.  It's adorable how self-conscious he is about that small mound of miracle.  Though if he ever catches me thinking of him as adorable...

"Morning, Squall.  Hungry?"  Edea lifts up a cover to show the pile of waffles.

"Nh..."  He bites his lower lip while staring at the food.

Sighing, I set down the mostly empty mug.  "What do you want?"

"It's fine."

"Don't pretend that you can fool me, idiot.  Make this easier on us both and just tell me what the hell you want."

He glares at me before walking sharply to the seat next to his father while calling over his shoulder, "That hot egg thing."

Smirking, I look to Edea.  "Mind if I borrow your kitchen."

She shakes her head, looking mildly depressed that he didn't want her breakfast.

After quickly grabbing a load of items from the fridge, I walk to her side and mention loud enough for Squall to hear, "It's my own fault for pampering him.  So damn picky, our ice princess."

The smile is back with a scolding hint as she pats my shoulder, then leaving the actual kitchen area to join the others at the table.  By the sound of it, Laguna is already laying on the 'what will happen to Esthar when I'm gone' routine.  I wish Squall would just put the old man out of his misery and admit that he's already decided to take up the presidential throne next year.  But no, the ex-Headmaster never was one to take the easy route.

"Why aren't you two married yet?"

I nearly drop the two eggs in hand at the question.  "Where the fuck did that come from?" I hiss quietly.

Rinoa smiles innocently.  "You're making him breakfast and I was thinking, 'that's what the perfect husband should do for his pregnant spouse.'  Then I realized that you aren't his husband.  Why?"

"I think we've had this discussion before."

"And neither of you have given any of us a straight answer.  Come on, you're perfect for each other."

"Thus the reason we're still together."

She huffs.  "I don't see what the big problem is."

"My thoughts exactly."

"Seifer..."

"Rinoa..." I mock back in the same tone.

"Fine.  I'll shut up if you can tell me truthfully that there is a reason you and Squall aren't a happily married couple."

"There is.  Now be helpful and see if Edea bought the tabasco sauce I asked her to get."

Mildly appeased by the answer, the raven haired woman starts her hunt for the item.  Meanwhile, I know that the bottle of hot sauce is nicely hidden behind a bag of flour.  Good thing she didn't notice food stuffs I had grabbed to make the small meal for Squall and me.  The search should keep her busy long enough for me to escape this line of questioning for the moment.  While roughly mixing up the egg whites to form a stiff foam, I frown at this latest development.  I probably should've guessed that this pregnancy would bring the whole marriage issue back out into the open.  Crap.  Well, I should probably get around to warning Squall before the ladies blindside him.  Hate for them to accidentally trip off an emotional rush, no matter how amusing it would be to witness.


[Seveyn]

"I'm sorry, Headmaster, sir."

He looks at me with a vague, amused smile.  "There's nothing to apologize for.  And it's Squall."

Unable to continue looking into the cool eyes, I stare at the carpet in shame.  How could I have spelled the man that only held the intention to help me?  Like his son, the ex-Headmaster aided me without hesitation, without care about my past.  And in return for the service, I end up somehow reactivating a dormant spell that, of all things, has a death curse element to it.  How can he say that there is nothing to apologize for?

"All right, everyone out except these two."

At the shift of the cushions, I look back to Isan who stands up from the couch.  As if sensing my nervousness of being around so many legendary people, he smirks and winks exaggeratedly in such a way to force a smile from me.

"Doll face--"

"Out, Seifer.  I already said that you couldn't stay."

My slight smile widens a little more as I watch the petite looking sorceress push the quietly muttering blonde out of the room.  The president of Esthar and Isan follow after him, the door then closed and locked to prevent interruption.  Rinoa turns with an oddly triumphant look on her face and approaches the couch.

"Sorry, Squall, but can you sit on the floor?  It'd be easiest that way.  Seveyn, you'll be next to me."

While the three of us kneel to the ground, the older sorceress moves a chair to sit behind the younger woman and observe the process of removing the death curse.

"Alright, Seveyn.  Do as I instructed earlier, and don't get frustrated if it doesn't work the first time.  Magic isn't always as easy as it sounds," Rinoa states with a reassuring smile.

Nodding, I then close my eyes to focus on the sight she tried to explain this morning.  Everyone has several connections they make in life, whether with family, friends, enemies, or general acquaintances.  Each connection takes its own form between people and is possibly viewable if magic is properly combined with vision.  I recite the spell in my mind, picturing the written words such that they cross my vision.  With practice, Rinoa said it won't be necessary, but it's easier this way the first several times.

Slowly I open my eyes, and then I can only stare at the sight before me.  It's a mess of various ropes, chains, and the like around the three of us, Edea unseen from my line of view.  Most are vague, ghost like images of the bonds, but some are realistically clear.  I have to resist the urge to try and physically remove the odd ropes directly tied to me.

"Well?"

I nod, still unable to speak while I try to understand the meanings behind such appearances of the bonds, everything from metal ribbons to threads to barbed wire.

Rinoa laughs quietly, perhaps remembering her first time.  "The solid connections you see are directly related to people nearby, thus the reason I asked everyone unnecessary to leave.  It can get confusing.  And with such a young life involved, I'm rather nervous myself.  I never tried looking at a bond between an unborn child and its mother..."

When she trails off in thought, I look closer at the brunette, wondering if there really would be a 'visible' bond when they are physically connected.

"Squall, try thinking of the child for me.  Imagine holding your newborn."

Almost instantly, there's a glitter of silver down the centerline of his body, ending at his stomach.  Acting like a trigger, a soft glow of orange and red is suddenly visible to me, the warm light throbbing rapidly perhaps with heartbeats.  Before I consider the offense, I lightly place my fingers on the man's stomach and easily feel the heat of life and love.

"Hyne, she's beautiful."

A strong hand grabs my wrist, thus breaking my daze as I look up into narrowed eyes.  "She?"

"I, I'm sorry.  I should've asked--"

He interrupts by squeezing his hold even tighter.  "You said 'she'."

I can only stare at him, realizing that I had said it but not knowing why.  And for some reason, I still feel certain that it was the right thing to say.  Something about that warmth within him has a female presence to it, though I could never explain why.

"He's right," Edea says with a delighted tone.  "Looks like you're having a little girl this time."

His grip loosens enough for my hand to slip free, and I straighten to look at the clearly stunned man.  Slowly he encircles his arms around his midsection as his eyes get an odd, glazed over appearance.  Another moment later, the ex-Headmaster unbelievably begins to hyperventilate.

"Squall?  What's wrong?  Squall!"  Rinoa snaps her fingers in front of him, but the man doesn't respond.  Immediately she's on her feet and moves quickly for the door.  Before I can register much beyond my state of confusion, the ex-Commander is suddenly kneeling next to the brunette and forces eye contact between them.

"Come on, love.  You aren't allowed to run off like this."

Gradually the man relaxes, eventually blinking at the sight before him.  "...Seifer...?"

"Welcome back."

"Squall, are you okay?"  Rinoa looks at him worriedly from her kneeling position.

He nods and says in a quiet voice, "Sorry.  I wasn't prepared for that."

Green eyes narrow.  "For what?  What did she do to you?  Did something go wrong?"

The smaller man smiles softly.  "I'll tell you later."

"Fine.  But I'm not going anywhere this time."  The point is reinforced when he wraps an arm around the brunette.

Smiling fondly, Rinoa says, "Then let's try this again.  Squall, focus on your child like before."

Despite the additional mass of ropes and chains added by ex-Commander's appearance, the glimmer of silver is easily seen.  Placing her hand before the shimmer, I sense the flow of magic coming from the raven haired woman.  With the end of the spell, her hand drops to reveal a dense black and dark green fog wrapping around the thin bond, the light of silver obscured completely from view.

"You were right, Edea.  It looks like the curse is related to the pull of the bond between them.  Strange..."

"Try the cleansing spell we spoke of first.  Just remember to be gentle."

Rinoa takes a deep breath and nods.  Placing two fingers on his stomach, she says, "Squall, I need you to continue focusing on the child and let me know if something feels wrong."

I can only watch as she starts, my purpose of being here to simply observe and learn about control.  With my powers sporadic at best, it's amazing to sense how the sorceress directs her magic to the very tips of her fingers.  Instantly the dark fog shifts at the touch, the man gasping in surprise and pain as a result.  The flow of magic stops abruptly as well.

Sighing as she pulls away her hand, Rinoa says, "Of course that would be too simple.  Suggestions, Edea?"

After several more attempts with various spells, they settle with a strange mixture of a few spells that slowly dissolves away the sickening cloud from the thin line of silver.  By the time she reaches halfway up the bond, the ex-Headmaster appears deathly pale and leans heavily against the large blonde.

"Rinoa, he's freezing to the touch.  Can't we break?"

With the raven haired woman too busy concentrating on the spell, Edea speaks for her.  "To stop would only mean to start all over again.  And some reaction is inevitable given the nature of the spell.  It's trying to fulfill its purpose and push him towards death before its destroyed, but it is unable to do so without the condition of the child's birth."

"And what about the cub within him?"

"The baby will be fine.  The curse is directed against Squall, not your unborn child."

He doesn't look very relieved at the words, pressing a small kiss in dark hair.  It's strange seeing the two men like this, easily fitting against each other in a comfortable hold.  They are considered the most dangerous persons in this world, and yet I've only witnessed their kindness and unrestrained love for family, no matter how oddly they may show that affection.  It's difficult to believe the words that I have read in history texts, and certainly not in the random editorials about their farce of a relationship.  Though how anyone can still think the same after all these years is beyond me.  I suppose people only see what they want to.

In time Rinoa pulls away her hand and wipes it against her vaguely moist brow as she moves aside.  "I think that is all of it.  Can you check it?"

Edea slips off the chair to kneel in the vacated position, then presses her hand against the shirt covered area.  "Excellent work.  Quickly done, too."

"If he's good, can I move him to our room?"  The piercing green eyes are still filled with worry despite the optimistic tones of the sorceresses.

The older woman nods with a knowing smile.  "I trust you to warm him properly."

I can't stop the rush of hot blood to my face as I think of the night in the cave with Isan and his proposal of keeping us warm.  Luckily the others are too focused on the ex-Headmaster to notice my embarrassment.  As I continue to kneel on the carpeted floor, the blonde stands up and quickly lifts the smaller man into his arms despite the tired grumbles of complaint.  While the two men leave the room, Rinoa informs me to enjoy the rest of my day.  The lack of lessons is understandable given her own exhausted state.

Once I step into the hallway, I'm surprised by the sight of Isan still standing nearby.  I had thought he'd go with his parents or something of the like.

He looks up, muted green eyes appearing softer than usual.  "I overheard that you're free this afternoon.  Feel like going for a walk along the beach with me?"

"Your parents...?"

"Dad will take care of Mom just fine, and we trust Aunt Rinoa when she says everything is okay.  In other words, there's nothing I can do here."

Then he needs distraction.  Works for me.  "A walk sounds nice."

He smiles and pushes up from the wall.  "You know, we used to always go to the beach when I was younger.  Still can't get enough of it."

I walk by him silently as we go outside into the hot, but refreshingly breezy day.  The sound of his voice never tires me while he speaks about the random events in his youth during the rest of the afternoon.  At some point I notice the strong arm wrapped comfortably around my waist.  More surprising than my lack of noticing the move is a weird craving for something else, something more.  Placing a hand on his, I wonder silently if I should dare ask him about this desire.  Instead I focus on the touch of skin between us to savor the throb of energy and strength that flows freely through him, the sensation of it almost as soothing as the sound of his voice.


[Squall]

I hate being carried like some helpless child, and the fact that Seifer gets infinite amusement from it irritates me all the more.  The worst part about this is that I didn't even do anything to merit such an exhausted state.  Rinoa had warned us that the procedure would take a lot out of me because of the tight hold the curse had on my life energy, but this is ridiculous.

Seifer carries me into our room, kicking the door shut behind us.  Using his barefoot, he pushes down the comforter before setting me on soft cotton sheets.  In no time, the larger man is pressed close against my back as he shares my pillow and the comforter is pulled over the two of us.  I seem to remember Seifer mentioning that I had gotten colder than usual during the removal of the curse, but until now I hadn't realized just how cold I felt.  Grabbing the top sheet to wrap around me even tighter, I curl back against the blonde to steal more of his warmth.

His heated hand stroking gently along my stomach nearly soothes me to sleep, but I can feel the anticipation in the silent man.  Any second he should be asking me questions that I feel nervous to answer for some reason.  Hyne, why does this all have to be so difficult for me?

"Feeling better?"

"Nh."

"Good, 'cause now you're going to tell me what happened to freak you out like that.  I don't think you've done that since Laguna's last near death adventure."

Reflexively I take hold of the hand beneath my shirt and state simply, "It's a girl."

"What's a girl?"

"What's a girl, he asks," I say in exasperation.  "Seifer, what the hell else would I be talking about?"

"Wait, you mean... we're... a daughter?"

I can only squeeze his hand in response.

"Oh, wow.  I thought we wouldn't find out for another couple months or so.  Wow.  A daughter...  Heh, Selphie's gonna be jealous of you."  The victorious smirk is clear in his tone.  "Though I don't see why that got you so upset."

"I...  we're having a baby, a girl.  How are we supposed to raise a daughter?"

"Same way we raised the cub.  We'll just have to send this one to visit the aunts a little more often."

"It's not that simple."

"And it's not impossible.  Whether you believe it or not, you're an excellent mother.  This coming kitten is lucky to have you."

Biting my lip, I decide it's easier to not argue it out.  Seifer lives in the present while I tend to spend too much time in the possible future, worrying about every possible event that may come our way.  More so, he doesn't have to be concerned about this damn mother role that he has tagged onto me.  I'm already dreading the questions that this girl will ask of her 'mom'.

"So, any name ideas for the little one?"

"Well... I was thinking about Winter..."

"Hmmm, that's not bad."  A moment later he adds, "Say, if she ends up having eyes like yours, why don't we tag 'Skye' onto it for flavor?"

"Winter Skye Almasy..."

"Leonhart."

"Almasy."

He growls out a sigh.  "Don't you think one of our kids deserves your name?"

"She should be connected with her brother."

After a long pause spent in thought, he states, "I hate you."

"Only because I'm right."  Shifting in his tight hold, I move my arm under the pillow and unexpectedly brush against a collection of papers.  Confused, I pull out the magazine and stare at the cover.  "Seifer, why is there a 'Bride's Monthly' under my pillow?"

He groans.  "I was going to warn you about that.  Seems our marriage is back on the 'harass the men the until they break' list."

"Why?"

"Probably the combination of you being pregnant and the ladies lacking any other personal missions at the moment."

After a final glare at the cover of a rather moody looking model in a wedding dress, I place the magazine on the nightstand with the full intention to return it to Rinoa later with the clear statement that they should give up the ridiculous project.  They didn't get anywhere fifteen years ago and they certainly won't now, especially not when they're starting off with implication that I'm the bride.

"Just for kicks, remind me again why we aren't married."

Closing my eyes, I attempt to ignore him in pretend sleep.

"I'm serious here.  Rinoa cornered me this morning and I told her there was a reason.  There is one, right?"

"... Yes."

"And?"

"... ..."

"You know, I seem to remember you avoiding this in the past, too.  I'm not giving up without an answer this time around, Squally-boy.  Talk."

With a sigh, I surrender to the determined tone.  "You never asked."

After a stunned moment, Seifer lifts up and rolls me onto my back to force eye contact with his narrowed gaze.  "What the hell kind of answer is that?  After all the shit I get about treating you like a girl--"

I press two fingers on his lips to silence him.  "Think for a moment about who you were back then.  While you hid it well enough, I know you were broken inside.  You couldn't believe that I wanted and needed you.  You would've thought that I married you for pity or some other inane idea."

He looks about to argue, but then changes his mind as he lies back down with his head on my chest.  "Then all this time, I just had to ask?"

"At first I wanted you to ask me, for you to understand by yourself that you were more than good enough for me.  But eventually it just became too late."

"Too late?" he asks softly, hurt lacing the words.

Sighing, I take a hold of his hand that never seems far from my stomach these days.  "If we were to marry now, wouldn't that imply there was something wrong with all these years we've been together already?  I can't, I refuse to belittle our life like that."

It takes him several seconds to understand my words fully, the larger man then sitting up such that he can look down at my face.  The green eyes seem to shine in the light of the room before he leans down for a chaste kiss, soft lips kneading gently against my own.  Not pulling back, Seifer mumbles against the joining, "Let's get married."

"Seifer--"

"You're an idiot.  I love you.  Let's get married."

"I can't--"

"You can.  Stop analyzing this to death like some SeeD mission."

"There's no reason for marriage."

"We love each other.  What other reason do we need?"

Rolling my head to the side, I have to close my eyes to block the tears of frustration that want to flow against my will.  Why can't he understand where I'm coming from?  To marry now would just mean our love was somehow not enough in all the years up to this point.  Hyne, why does this have to happen at the same time I'm trying to deal with renewed worries about raising a child, forget the hormones that always work against me in this state.  Damn those bitches for getting this idea stuck in Seifer's head.

Warmth is by my side again as the large man settles down with his head at my shoulder.  "Don't worry, I'll manage to convince you before our kitten is born."

Teeth gritted, I swear silently to never again speak with Rinoa, Selphie, or Quistis for placing this additional plague on my life.


[Isan]

Though I'm not even close to being tired, I lie down on my bed and stare up at the ceiling with the good intention of staying like this for the rest of the night.  Only steps down the hallway Seveyn is taking his shower, rinsing the long strands of white free of salt and dirt.  Avoiding the too clear images of the slim form stretched out under a heated flow of water, I instead enjoy a small smile at the memory of his face when the kids joined us on the beach and tackled the shy man into the waves of the ocean.  He never stood a chance against the two young boys and the small girl.

Sighing, I roll onto my side and face the wall with my back to the other bed in the room.  Tomorrow is going to be a strange, bothersome day.  Whatever this is between Seveyn and me will most likely fade with my departure in the morning.  For a moment this afternoon I had seriously considered just dropping SeeD in order to stay here, but I haven't worked this hard too reach this rank to only quit.  And then there's the case of my parents hiding away during the next year or so.  It'll be strange going through a day without seeing one of them, even if only for a glance.  I just hope that I can be there when my sister is born.  A sister...  It's too amazing to even imagine.

Without warning the door is opened quietly, and then closed just as carefully once the person steps inside.  With light steps, Seveyn moves into the room and I'm momentarily surprised by the dip of my mattress as he sits.  I roll onto my back and stare into the reddish-purple gaze as he studies me in his usual way, as if searching for some answer that only I can provide him.

"You're leaving tomorrow."

The sudden statement spoken in a low voice makes me smile.  "Yeah.  I get my first SeeD assignment tomorrow morning, so we're leaving rather early.  Mom and Dad have to be dropped off first before we head back to Esthar."

Avoiding my gaze, he looks down to the edge of the bed.  "What do you want from me?"  Before I have the chance to respond, he adds, "I know you said that you didn't want to take anything, but there's something, right?  Something that you want..."

Reaching out, I take a clump of wet strands of hair and stroke it carefully with my thumb.  "I can't say that I don't have my desires, but I'm patient.  The question is if you want something."

"You'll laugh," he says quietly, almost unheard.

"Or I might not.  It's our last night together for a while.  I don't mind treating you, especially with today being the second time in a week that I almost got you drowned in the ocean."

There's a twitch of a smile, but he's too nervous to hold it in place.  "I want to...  Can I touch you?"

The question takes me completely off-guard, even my stroking of his hair ceased from my surprised state.  He certainly couldn't mean it in the ways I immediately interpret such a request.  No, he's far too naive and withdrawn to ask something like that.

"It's just...  it's hard for me to explain, but while most people have a simple pool of energy within them, you have this stirring flow of energy that... I've never felt it before," he says in a hushed voice.

"Hmmm.  Well, I certainly don't mind, however--" I sit up and brush aside wet hair to speak into his ear.  "Everywhere you touch me, I get to do the same to you."

Seveyn shivers at the words before meeting my eyes with a wary, and yet interested gaze.  I brush my lips against the corner of pale lips before moving back to remove the faded shirt I had put on for the night.  Lying back down on the bed, I stretch briefly with arms held out above, and then fold them behind my head in the hopes of better controlling my urges.  Though it's rather pointless considering uncontrollable body parts inefficiently hidden behind old boxers.

Eyes dark red from shadows glance over me, his expression turned more curious and determined like the times I've witnessed him at a computer terminal.  It's amusing how much he considers me a puzzle to be solve, or perhaps a complex system to hack into and discover treasured information.  He leans forward slowly, strands of hair that fall off of his shoulders making my stomach shiver from the damp coldness.  His hand hesitates inches above my neck before the callus-free fingertips press delicately against the base of my neck.  I have to close my eyes at the odd feel, his skin warm and yet there's also a coldness that seeps into my body.  It's almost like a cool breeze somehow finding its way between the press of skin on skin.

Gradually the hand moves lower, adding a little more pressure when its above my heart.  He pauses there for a long moment, and I can almost feel my heartbeats echoing off that barrier of his hand.  I wonder if he realizes how it's his fault that the rhythm is faster than normal, begging for him to be more adventurous.

"It's hot."

Confused, I open my eyes to look at him, but questioning words fail to form.  Something about the way he half kneels next to me and stares serenely at the hand he holds against my chest makes me think of a holy angel blessing this mortal soul.  Hyne, I have to stop listening to Nuala, but I think the image is already too deeply imprinted into my mind.

"In most, the energy within them is simply warm, nothing special.  But you... it feels like moving lava."

His hand drifts lower, hitting just the right spot with the perfect amount of pressure to make me arch into his gentle touch, an unintentional hum of pleasure escaping me.  He doesn't pull away as I may have expected, only stares at my chest before trying to repeat the move.  Damn his precision.  A soft smile grows at my quiet moan, redden eyes gaining more confidence at my response.  Meanwhile, I'm about ready to tear my hair out that Seveyn can manage to tease me with such naivety.  It's always the soft touches that set off my hotspots, and I should've realize that the angel wouldn't dare attempt firmer handling which doesn't do much for me.

With fingers spread, he slowly brushes against the rises of muscle of my abdomen.  With his other hand, he adjusts his lengthy hair such that I'm attacked with the duel sensation of soft flesh and sweeping hair moving against my skin.  His fingers abruptly stop at a vague shiver of flesh, and then moves a little more to the left before he strokes at the area carefully to coax another hummed out groan from me.  Fuck, maybe he isn't as innocent as I've led myself to believe.

The fingers continue across my body until sliding off from my waist.  Without a word, Seveyn then moves forward a bit before lying down on his side next to me, his eyes looking directly into mine with the silent plea for me to take over.  Hooking an arm around his waist, I pull him against me as I move back, giving the man enough room to comfortably lie on his back.  Sitting up, I open his robe enough to expose his chest.  A slight frown comes to my lips when I see lines of white scars that stand out from pale flesh.  Angels shouldn't have scars.  Leaning down, I press my lips against a longer, faded line that extends down his neck.  Seveyn inhales sharply, but doesn't pull away.

"Isan, I thought...  You said..."

Lips curling in a smile, I kiss lower along the one scar before saying, "I never clarified how I would touch you.  Only where."

I slowly trail down the same line as he had done to me, pausing just above his heart to lick and suck at an odd cross of scars.  Long fingers suddenly brush against my back before raking into and gripping onto my hair.  In nearly the same spot as mine along the inside of his ribcage, I find a tender point that I tease for payback.  The quiet whimpering causes a drunk sensation to flood my system.

"Can I have something I want?" I ask quietly against the area just above his bellybutton.

"Anything."

I should scold him for such permission, the angel probably not having a clue about most of the things I'd love to do with him.  But I'm too entranced by his presence and by the need to imprint myself on him for our time of separation.  I won't take him.  Not yet.  And for now, it's more enjoyable to give him unknown pleasure rather than selfishly satisfying my needs.

It's a simple case to undo the belt of his robe, the piece of clothing slipping off the sides of his body to reveal more pale flesh, more white scars.  Oddly, Seveyn doesn't react to the added exposure, but when I run my hand down the flat stomach and the thigh closest to me, his expression turns curious as he watches.  Sliding two fingers under aroused flesh gets an interesting moan out of the beauty, something that turns into a near squeak when I tongue the redden head.  He tenses as if ready to bolt, but stays in place to honor the permission he gave me.

"If you're uncomfortable with this, I can stop.  There's no rush."  And yet I can't resist licking and gently sucking at the tip of his manhood.

"Why...?" he breathes out.

"Because I want to bring you pleasure."

Reddish-purple eyes widen in disbelief until a shy smile slowly forms and he relaxes under my hold.  "If that's... what you want."

I've never given a blowjob to anyone before, my few male encounters leaving much to be desired before we even took a step into the bedroom.  But at least I know a couple tricks that some women have done to drive me crazy.  After teasing the head with rather hard kisses, I run my tongue along the ridge of the cap and then gently lick at the sensitive point underneath, occasionally tapping it with the tip of my tongue.  Once satisfied with the amount of arousing whimpers from the beauty, I slowly take the harden flesh into my mouth while adding a good deal of pressure with my tongue and suction.  At the same time, I run fingers down the underside of his penis to then massage the base, causing a twitching reaction that makes me hum in part amusement.

The resulting jerk of his hips upward and burst of thick fluid surprises me.  I pull back quickly, reflexively swallowing some of the cum, but lose some of it while coughing.  Well, I had expected that to last a little longer.  Glancing up, I notice Seveyn's horrified expression, and unfortunately it takes me a few more moments before I can regain my normal breathing.  Using my shirt as a convenient towel, I wipe off my mouth and chest.

"Looks like I caused a bit of a mess," I state with hopefully a soothing tone, then suck off some cum that had gotten on my fingers.  Funny, thought there'd be more of a taste to it given the numerous nose wrinkles I've seen by women at the mention of swallowing.  Kind of bitter, I guess, but easily forgotten while remembering how I forced it out of the smaller man.

"Sorry.  I... I'm sorry." Seveyn covers his redden face with both hands, avoiding my gaze.

Smirking, I decide to cultivate a taste for my angel.  I toss my shirt to the floor, and then begin licking clean the droplets of cum from the pale skin.  The man starts at the first press of my tongue, shifting as if to move away.  I don't let him escape, however, holding his thighs against the mattress while I lap at the bitter saltiness.  By the time I'm done, he shakes slightly in pleasure under my hold and amusedly peaks at me from between spread fingers.  I stretch out beside him, easily wrapping an arm around his waist and pulling him against me.

"Thank you," I say in a low voice.

Gradually his hands lower as he turns his body into mine.  I get a brief glance of a timid smile before he presses his face into my chest, warmth breath creating a reviving feel against my skin.  One of his hand drifts down hesitantly along my body, but I take firm hold of it before it goes too far.

"Not tonight.  You'll just have to promise it's my turn next time."

After a pause, he curls tighter against me, his hand turning in my grasp such that fingers can interlace.  "Next time, then."

The relief in his voice is clear, Seveyn understanding my silent promise that there will be more times.

I don't sleep that night, at some point moving the sleeping angel such that I can sit up and watch him until early morning.  Not once does he release my hand, and I certainly don't mind.  I had another hand free to stroke and play with the long white strands that took most of the night to dry.  It's so hard to resist touching the rest of him, but I didn't dare want to wake him.  Only once when he whimpered from a dream did I stroke a soft cheek, Seveyn instantly calming and leaning into the touch with undeserved trust.  A week.  Barely even a week and I'm completely taken by this beauty like no other.  My two sides debate about that fact, the logical voice saying it's too soon, too easy to think I've found the right person for me.  The other side demands that if it feels so fucking right, I should just go for it and damn the consequences.  It's pointless, really.  That other voice always manages to coax the logical one to its side, easily silencing reason with passion.

Eventually early morning light seeps through closed curtains and I sneak out of bed, not wanting to wake Seveyn.  I didn't feel like hearing him say goodbye.  Last night was too perfect for that.  Throwing on clothes and tossing dirty ones into my duffle bag, I leave the room with a single glance back at the sleeping form, a slight frown marring his face.

Entering the kitchen area, I'm not surprised by the sight of Edea cooking breakfast for the lot of us that are leaving this morning.  Granddad and Cid are already debating over some current issue about war technology while Uncle Kiros looks on with his typical amused gaze.  Dad leans heavily on the counter between the kitchen and small dining area, a cup of coffee clutched possessively in his hand.  Aunt Rinoa stops speaking to him about something and smiles widely at my approach, soon pouring a glass of orange to hand out to me.

"Morning, sweetheart.  Did you get up alright?"

"Yeah.  Thanks."

Before I have a chance to ask about breakfast, there's a sudden chill in the room as Mom walks in.  Glass half-raised to my mouth, I turn and stare at the man who looks pissed.  Dangerously pissed.  He glares at Aunt Rinoa and then Dad before moving to sit by Granddad, the long-haired man appearing as confused as I feel.

Suddenly looking awake, Dad smirks and approaches the table to kneel on one knee before Mom.  "Squall, will you--"  He's immediately silenced with a sharp intake of air when Mom takes an ear into a pinched hold and twists.  Hard.

"Get. Up."

Dad follows the growled order lazily as if he wasn't hurting as bad as he should be.  He then knocks away the painful grip before leaning over the sitting man.  "Give in, Squally-boy.  You know you can't hold out forever."

Mom glares back in defiance, and Dad unconsciously slips back his foot a bare distance in retreat.  Hyne, why does he continually ask for it like this?  Sometimes I have to wonder what he'll die from first - natural causes or Mom slicing his throat.  And with the current issue of the pregnancy, I'm rather certain that if Mom has control issues over his emotions, it would most likely apply for the restraint he holds over his attacks as well.  Why else would his gunblade be hidden away?  As if sensing my thoughts, I notice amusedly when Granddad pushes his butter knife further away from Mom's reach.

"Hey, kiddo.  You don't mind if your mom and I get married, do you?"

Blinking, I stare at him utterly bewildered at the sudden question.  Marriage?  I guess technically they aren't married, but in my mind they've always been bonded in some way.  Marriage just wasn't that important.  But if they want to, "Why should I mind?"

Mom stands abruptly, pushing Dad roughly aside.  "Don't get him involved like that," he says in a low voice.  He then stands in front of me for a moment of examination before unexpectedly taking me into his arms.  "Try to visit whenever you feel like it."

Confused, I only hug back in reply.  There's still a couple hours of flight time before they'll be dropped off at the vacation home, so there isn't a reason for goodbyes now.  Unless Mom is planning on hiding in the bathroom of the plane to avoid this fight, but I sincerely doubt that one.

Pulling back, he lightly kisses my temple.  "You've always made us proud."

I can only manage a hoarse, "Thanks."

Without bothering to speak to anyone else, he leaves to probably head back to his room.  A pity for Dad.  Not only is the man angry, but he'll be even worse when he gets hungrier after missing breakfast.

"Ah, forgot to mention it to you, kiddo, but here."  Dad hands me an envelope with the SeeD seal on it.  "It's your assignment.  You're on bodyguard duty for a certain sorcerer until notified otherwise."

A mixture of relief, happiness, and disappointment rushes through me at the announcement.  I get to stay with Seveyn while still being a SeeD soldier, somewhat the best of both worlds, but it also feels like my parents are babying me by giving me such a simple assignment.

Perhaps noticing my look, Dad warns, "Don't underestimate this role.  Files have a way of being recovered, and if the wrong person reads what is there about the boy, they can make the right connections as easily as Squall did.  Look out for him, kiddo.  He'll need it."

Frowning, I'm tempted to ask about these files, but I know my parents would've shown them to me if they thought it important.

"So... Did you enjoy your 'last night' with him?"

Raising an eyebrow, I glance at my smirking father.  The bastard, setting me up like that.  "As a matter of fact, yes.  More fun than it looks like you'll be having with Mom anytime soon."

That gets rid of his amused look in a hurry, though the comment causes a rather dumbfounded expression to cross Aunt Rinoa's face.  Whether about my relationship with Seveyn or the openness between father and son, I haven't a clue.  Damn, I'm going to miss these taunts.  No one has quite the selection of sexual puns like Dad does.

"Ungrateful shit," Dad mutters teasingly.  "Well, I better go make certain Squall hasn't found my blade yet and decides to use it on me.  Hey, old man, we're leaving in twenty, right?"

Uncle Kiros replies the affirmative since Granddad is obliviously reabsorbed into some discussion with Cid.

After flashing a suggestive smirk at me, Dad then walks off quickly while whistling some random song.  I can't hold in my laughter, wondering if he really thinks he'll convince Mom to do anything before they have to leave.  Meanwhile, Aunt Rinoa looks about to die from embarrassment as she catches on after my burst of laughter.  Too bad Aunt Selphie had to leave directly after the party the other day - it would've been nice to have someone laughing with me.

 

{Continued}

 

Author's Whining -- Well, didn't have quite the break I had hoped for but SxS just never leaves me be.  Anywho, how does the name 'Winter' strike you folks?  Felt like having something somewhat related to Raine, thought of snow and that led to Winter.  Stupid?  SxS have another few chapters to change their minds if people really don't care for it, but it seems reasonable that each generation has one child with the cheesy weather related name. ^_^;  And if you read this A/N before and noticed I've deleted part of it, I decided to just continue the debate in my head.  Got several emails with mixed comments (thank you! to those who did), and I don't think it'll get me anywhere.  I'll just have to see where the story takes me.