Living Life
April 2003

 

[Part Five]

[Seveyn]

It's never hard to find Isan, the dark haired youth rarely far from the beach when he is given free use of his time.  While locating him isn't much of a task, each day it takes a little bit longer to walk the stretch of sand before I stumble upon him.  Though he denies it with a smile, I think he's purposely tricking me out from the orphanage and its protective barriers, forcing me to use my powers to defend myself from the relatively weak monsters in this area.  Granted I've gained some strength along with the control Rinoa is teaching me, but I really don't appreciate the sudden appearances of fastitocalons when I'm alone.

A short distance after destroying my fourth monster of the afternoon, I slow until standing as I set eyes on the teen as he dozes against some large boulders.  Long legs stretched out before him and his dark blade resting to his side, Isan manages to look completely relaxed despite foolishly deciding to take a nap in the middle of monster territory.  But of course he wouldn't be worried with the small GF curled comfortably on his lap, a tanned hand resting on its back in mid-pet.  Noticing the torn tank top stained slightly with blood that hadn't been there this morning, I force myself out of the slight daze and approach once more.  Carbuncle stares at me with narrowed black eyes and his fur raises slightly, but he doesn't make a sound of warning.  Well, that's a first.  Maybe Isan's lectures to the small guardian are actually getting through somehow.

When I'm a few steps away from the teen, he inhales sharply as soft green eyes squint open into the late afternoon sunlight.  A lazy smile on his face, he looks up in my direction.  "Morning."

Sighing, I kneel next to him.  "Are you hurt anywhere?"

He shakes his head while yawning widely.  "Though maybe I should stop using my own healing spells and let you cure me."

Before I have much of a chance to think of a response, he reaches out and cups a hand behind my head to pull me close enough for him to lean up and lightly press his lips against the corner of my mouth.  Slowly he drifts to the center, ignoring my parted mouth as he focuses his gentle kisses along my bottom lip.  With soft suction he draws the sensitive flesh into his mouth, and I find myself leaning forward in a silent request to deepen the connection.  I can clearly remember a time when that first chaste kiss of his would have made me retreat from such intimate contact.  But now I can only want more of Isan, needing him to show me how to take more of him.  As his hand buries even deeper into my hair, he closes that open space between us and creates gentle friction with our tongues.  Each light stroke pulls back slightly, forcing me to meet his tongue to continue the oddly stimulating feel of heated flesh.  Before I consciously notice it and have the chance to pull away, he's drawn me into his own mouth, his flavor sharper than I've ever tasted before.  Then realizing the quiet moan that sounds is my own, I feel my face heat up in a blush, but I can't make myself move back from that joining.

In time Isan is the one to break the kiss, his look one of fondness as he gazes into my eyes.  I get lost too easily with this person, time and logic somehow losing priority as I react to his gentle lead.  A part of me feels like I should be offended that he can handle me without effort, but mostly I know that isn't the case.  It's my own fault for wanting to lose myself when I'm with him.

The slight haze clearing from my mind, I push myself up from the ground to stand.  "It's our turn to help out with dinner tonight.  We should probably head back."

With an exaggerated groan, Isan stretches before settling a hand on the silent GF.  "You heard him.  Unless you want anything pulled like the last time you appeared around the kids, you better escape while you can."

Carbuncle shivers slightly at the words, and after a final glance at me in a type of warning, he vanishes without a trace.

"Little brat.  I can understand him treating Dad like that, but you haven't done anything to him," he says while standing, then brushing sand from his legs and shorts.

"He's only protecting you, and he has stopped growling at me."

"Whatever, stop defending him.  After saving him from that lot of kids, you'd think he would show some kind of appreciation."

Smiling softly at the memory of that one time the GF seemed relieved to see me, I start walking in the direction of the orphanage.  "So what excuse do you have this time for ruining your clothes?"

"'Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned'," he says amusedly.  "I dragged out Shiva to play.  She's the only one of the guardian forces that goes full out against me.  And while it probably annoys her to no end, it's the best training I could get without my parents around to spar."

I shake my head, still bewildered at the idea that these GFs have rather dynamic personalities.  All the SeeDs summon them without care or even a thought about the possible thoughts and emotions that the guardians may hold.  Who knew that they could be so protective or even jealous of their masters.

It takes a shorter amount of time to reach the orphanage than when I first headed out, the monsters most likely avoiding Isan's threatening aura since I don't feel the energy of a repulsion spell around us.  It's been barely over week since the day we came here, and yet the sight of the building gives me a sense of 'home'.  Perhaps it's because I can't remember a time of home cooked meals and story time that I've quickly grown attached to this place and its people.  Angling towards the path that leads up the small hill to the orphanage, I'm stopped by Isan when he wraps an arm around my waist.

"I want to show you something first," he says softly, his warm breath brushing against my ear.

Curious, I look into the muted green eyes, but find no hint of what he is hiding.  "Alright, but you take the blame if we're late."

"As if Aunt Rinoa could hold anything against me for long."

He doesn't release me as we continue forward along the beach, the direction soon obvious as he leads me to the aged lighthouse, or more specifically to the attached building at the back of the tower.  Moving me in front of him, Isan opens the door such that I step inside first.  The scent of pine heavy in the air, I look around the large room with some confusion of what exactly I'm supposed to see.  Closest to the front door is a type of living area with an old, but comfortable looking couch angled before a large fireplace.  A small table stands to the side of the couch while some kind of fur rug rests on the ground.  Glancing to the other end of the room, there are a few steps that raise up to apparently the bedroom of the lighthouse with a large bed covered in a thick comforter and plenty of pillows.  Aside from additional dressers near the bed, there is a type of small desk that has a large, beautifully framed mirror attached to it.  Before I risk moving inside to examine that mirror, two arms wrap around my waist and pull me back slightly.

"Complain about the furniture all you want, but I had to make do with what was already here.  Don't worry, though.  Everything has been thoroughly cleaned and mostly fixed.  Just got the plumbing to produce clear water this morning, which was truly an event."

"I don't think I understand..."

He laughs.  "We've been kicked out of the orphanage to have a bit of privacy out here.  The deal was that if I wanted to clean out the crap that had piled up, we could move in.  It still needs some touching up, but it's certainly livable at this point."

"You did this...  It must have been a lot of work.  Why didn't you tell me?  I would have helped."

"But then it wouldn't have been a surprise."  He steps back, turning me to face him.  "You can look around here after dinner.  Trust me, there's still plenty of work to be done.  I only did the grunt work that you would've left to me anyway."

I reluctantly smile despite lingering guilt.  "It looks great.  Thank you."

"And that makes it worth it," he states before kissing lightly at my temple.


[Isan]

It's a warming sight to briefly watch Seveyn as he sits at the far corner of the couch, his legs tucked beneath him as he focuses fully on the flames of the small fire.  The slightly hooded eyelids reveals the tiredness he must feel after his training with Aunt Rinoa and Edea.  They may seem sweet and kindhearted, but they can push as hard as any SeeD instructor if not harder.  Their kind words only serve to make you feel guilty if you dare suggest to take a break or end a lesson.

Taking a seat on the other end of the worn couch, I hand him a cup of hot chocolate while sipping from my own mug.  He whispers his thanks and looks at me oddly while drinking some of the rich chocolate.

"Something on your mind?"

He doesn't lower the mug, almost hiding behind it when he asks, "Do you want children?"

I nearly choke on the hot fluid that I had resumed sipping.  "Excuse me?"

He moves back a bit tighter into his corner.  "I've noticed how good you are with the children here at the orphanage, like how you cheered up that new little girl during dinner tonight.  And you seem to really like playing with them.  I was just wondering if you were planning on having your own children."

It takes me a couple seconds, but I finally manage to translate the question into, 'if you want children, why are you wasting time with a man?'.  If I didn't know better, I would swear that he was determined to get rid of me.  "I haven't thought about it much, really.  Sure, I have fun with kids, but having my own is just a foreign concept.  Though I guess I have thought about maybe adopting in the far future.  You may not know it, but both of my parents were orphans here as kids.  No matter how nice Cid and Edea are, it kind of hurts to think that Mom and Dad didn't have a real family growing up."

Seveyn frowns in thought, probably silently cursing me for finding a loop hole in his question.

"What about you?  Any kids in your future?"

Reddish-purple eyes glance up at the question, then shyly look to the side.  "I wouldn't be able to handle a child."

"And you think I can?  Hell, I don't think anyone would have guessed that my father could change a diaper even if his life depended on it.  Though figuring Mom into that equation, his life probably did depend on it."

That earns me a small smile.  "The Commander is rather strange.  He thanked me for no reason before they left."

"Oh, I doubt that - there's always some kind of reason.  And you know, they did give you permission to call them by name."

"I know, but it feels wrong to use their names so simply."  He shifts a little, bare feet moving out from beneath him.  "Are you excited about having a sister?"

"Mostly, yeah.  Always wanted a little brother or sister, but it's kind of a shame that I get one now.  I doubt I'll get the chance to see her as much as I would like.  But I'm certain she'll be spoiled to death by everyone in the family, so she probably won't even miss me."

Seveyn frowns at the somewhat sarcastic comment.  "That's not fair to her.  Why wouldn't she miss you?"

Setting my empty mug on the floor, I move in close to the beauty.  "And would you miss me if I got called away on another mission?"

Instead of a simple 'yes' or 'no' answer I was expecting, Seveyn leans forward to rest his head against my shoulder.  A careful arm then moves around my waist as his hand clutches onto the back of my shirt.  It takes no thought to return the hold, myself unable to resist lightly raking fingers through a handful of the soft strands of white.

"I'm not going anywhere."

He pulls himself closer into my body at the words, but doesn't respond with only the sounds of the crackling fire disrupting the long silence between us.  Whether from the exhaustion of battling Shiva earlier or from the soothing feel of the moment, I almost fall asleep with Seveyn held too comfortably against me.  I realize this fact when I'm startled out of my doze due to light suction at the base of my neck.  Moving back, I look amusedly into shadowed red eyes that fail to show their typical innocence.

"Care to put words to that?"

He licks his lips, the unconscious action never failing to cause a shiver deep inside of me.  "Could we go all the way tonight?"

I've heard that phrase a few times in the past year, but never has it caused such an echo of want within me.  I bend down for a brief kiss, stealing a taste of the freshly wetted lips and pulling back without accepting the invitation of the parted mouth.  Standing up from the couch, I let long hair slip slowly from my loosen grip and offer that hand to help Seveyn onto his feet.  When he places his hand onto mine, the fire blazes brighter for a short moment, the soft light adding the perfect glow to pale skin that has refused to tan despite his time out in the sun.  After pulling him up from the couch, I'm briefly trapped as I stare into eyes of shifting red and purple from fire light.  He seems to show so much of his innocence and uncertainty through those eyes, but I can't help but wonder about the strength he tries to hide from the world.  Perhaps someday he'll trust me enough to let me see behind those shields he has in place.

'Someday'...  Hyne, I think my mere obsession is turning into love.


[Seveyn]

A nervous flutter filling my stomach, I let Isan guide me back onto the bed stripped of the thick comforter and several pillows, the bared sheets feeling blessedly cool against my heated skin.  Once my head touches a plush pillow, his lips are attached to mine as a chocolate hinted tongue slips through to brush against mine.  As the kiss continues, a calloused hand wanders down from my shoulder, the rough feel making my oddly sensitive skin shiver at the touch.  The hand pauses its journey downward to briefly toy with a painful hardened nipple, the moan it drives from me not bringing along the embarrassment it usually does.  It feels too good to be ashamed of it.

Soon the hand continues downward while its counterpart digs deeper into my hair, pulling enough to cause a soft gasp from me without being painful.  Isan chuckles breathily at the reaction, him turning the prolonged kiss into shorter pecks and light bites along my lower lip.  His hand reaching my already strained erection forces another sharp inhale of breath from me, my hand automatically reaching up to hold onto the dark haired youth in an attempt of doing something to distract away some of the overwhelming sensations the simple touch causes.  When his hand wraps fully around my length, I completely lose myself in the strokes of rough skin.

Before I can find release in such focus along sensitive flesh, his hand leaves me as he sits up to reach for something to the side of the bed.  The wanton whimper that sounds from the absence of his warmth surprises me, but I haven't the mindset to be ashamed of it.  A light scent of vanilla seeps through my senses and I look at Isan questioningly.  He only smirks before resting next to me again, his lips pressing against my neck on the area just behind my ear.

"This will hurt a little, but try to relax.  It'll only hurt worse if you tense up."

I nod absently, of course not understanding what he is talking about.  His hand brushes against my erection once more, but only to move it lightly to the side as coolness suddenly presses against an area of my body that I never really considered possible to cause pleasure.  Slick fingers move in small circles around my anus, the feel indescribable as the circles slowly narrow until a single finger pushes inward.  The moves shocks me, making me buck backwards away from the initial intrusion.  Isan shushes quietly while pressing hard kisses against my neck, the larger youth easily bringing back some calmness to me.  The fingertip still within me begins to move gently then, soon working deeper as I get accustomed to the feel.  Only when the finger slowly retreats can I remember to breathe, then losing that breath when an additional finger slips into the hole.

I'm not certain at what point it happens, but suddenly I find myself with slightly raised hips as I try to better feel the bending and twisting fingers within me.  It still hurts when they angle wrong or press too hard against the inner walls, but something about the thrusting action is almost soothing while also making my body tense in building pressure.  Just when I feel like I'm reaching some ending point, the fingers leave me permanently as Isan moves away from my body, taking away the protective warmth that gives me the confidence to bare myself like this.  Green eyes muted by gray focus on my face fondly, the vague flashes of flames from the fireplace adding a brighter hint to the lust in his gaze.

"I need you to roll over and move back onto your knees.  It should be easier that way."

I follow the request given in a throaty voice, then feeling a bit foolish to be lying on the bed with my ass sticking out in open air.  My face partly buried in the pillow, I almost don't smell the additional hint of vanilla.  Before I dare to peak out from my shielding of hair, heat is suddenly covering most of my body as Isan bends over me from behind and holds me with one arm around my chest.  With a muffled word of 'relax' heard, I close my eyes when coolness once again brushes against my anus.  As that coated thickness forces its way slowly into me, I try to focus on my shortened breaths instead of the sensation of that small channel being spread apart.

My veil of hair is pulled aside, the action making me notice that Isan had paused in burying himself within me.  Heated lips once again attack my neck and shoulders while a hand rakes gently through strands of hair.  The discomfort of his erection within me fades a little, giving me the courage to shift into a more comfortable position.  The bare move makes Isan hiss in restrained pleasure, making me realize that he's holding himself back for me.

"It's okay," I say, though uncertain if the quiet voice could actually be heard by the larger youth.

The whispered 'sorry' in reply is followed by him pulling out shortly before shoving back into me, somehow deeper than before.  As previous with the strokes of his fingers, the sensation amazingly becomes somewhat pleasurable, perhaps more so due to the sounds and muttered words that Isan makes as gentle thrusts slowly increase with speed and power.  The occasional burst of something drives my breath away every time, barely giving me a chance to regain air before the next flash of the odd sensation.  A strong hand suddenly gripping my bobbing erection in a firm hold is the last for me, the tension within me snapping as I cry out.  A sharp inhale of air echoes me, hotness flooding my insides in a somehow pleasing manner.

Too numb for thought let alone movement, I let Isan do as he will with me.  After a time of deep breaths and then pulling out from me, he rolls us over to the other side of the bed.  A cloth appears from somewhere, the thick fluid on my stomach and chest wiped clumsily from my skin.  Closing my eyes against too bright light when the covering of Isan disappears briefly, the feel of lips against my cheeks startles me somewhat before I stare into concerned eyes.

"I'm sorry.  Did I hurt you badly?"

Blinking, I then realize the presence of wetness on my cheeks just before it's wiped away by a warm hand.  "Nnh, it hurt, but felt kinda good, too."

The mumbled, barely formed words makes him smile.  "Good.  We don't have to do that again until you're ready.  Or maybe you'd like a turn?"

The suggestion makes me blush as I vaguely shake my head.  So far it's been Isan doing everything to cause such amazing sensations to course through my body.  I'd probably mess up and hurt him if I were to try the same things, or at least be unable to cause the same level of enjoyment for him.

"You say that now, but give it time."  With a light kiss to my forehead, he says, "Good night, my angel."

I tuck my head beneath his chin in the attempt to hide my pleased smile at his term for me.  It felt awkward whenever his friend used it in my presence, but hearing it in Isan's voice makes me feel wanted and maybe a bit more deserving of being compared to such beautiful creatures of legends.  Eventually my breathing matches the slow rises of his chest lightly moist from sweat, the pull of exhausting satisfaction soon taking me into sleep.


Lightly colored mist swirls around my feet as I step forward through nothingness, my nudity oddly natural in the vague setting.  Looking up as I continue to walk, I stare into the sky that gradually turns from light gray of the horizon to pitch black overhead.  It's hypnotizing, that ultimate void, and my eyes can only be pulled away when something else appears in this vacant world.  At first what appears to be a doorway when I set eyes upon it, turns out to be a mirror reflecting the blackness of the sky.

Curious, I step up to the mirror that refuses to reflect my image and briefly examine the dark, somehow familiar frame before placing a hand on the harshly cold glass.  The rippling waves that appear from my touch momentarily surprise me as it shows a vague figure that also holds a hand up to the mirror on the other side.  As the waves recede and the image clears, I stare into crystalline blue eyes that cause a shiver of fear and pain throughout my body.  I take a small step back in retreat, but fingers pierce through the black tinted mirror, his hand grasping onto mine in a deceivingly gentle hold.  His head tilts as he smirks, the brown strands of hair on his forehead shifting but not quite falling in front of his icy gaze.

"You know better than to come here."


[Isan]

Bothersome sunlight is my wakeup call in the morning.  Rather, it wakes me up from a deep sleep, but I promptly roll to my other side in order to avoid the glaring light and attempt to reclaim comfortable darkness.  A soft, breathy laugh accompanied by the vague scent of vanilla in the air makes me smile smugly before I open my eyes.  Apparently already done with a shower, Seveyn sits back against the headboard while drying his hair with a fluffy towel.  The purple of his eyes shines through as he meets my half-lidded gaze.

"Morning."

I manage an affirmative hum in reply, still too sated from well deserved sleep to bother with words.

He smiles softly before sliding off the mattress and moving to take a seat in front of the mirror I had thankfully thought to set up for him.  While he brushes through wet hair, I fumble blindly along the floor next to the bed before finding my boxers and slipping them on.  Yawning, I sit up and then promptly lie back down facing the opposite direction such that I can watch the beauty do his morning routine.  Such mundane motions, but highly entrancing.

A thoughtful, worried expression comes to his face as Seveyn pauses in brushing his hair and turns to face me.  "Are you done with me?"

"Done with you?"

"Now that you've taken what you wanted."

Sighing with annoyance, I roll off the bed and move to stand behind his chair.  "May I?"

He hesitantly nods before handing me the brush, then turning in the seat to look at me through the mirror.

"Listen," I start while brushing through the fine hair, "if you want end this between us, I'd be rather disappointed, but I would still honor your wish.  The last thing I want is to force you into anything."

Reddish eyes widen slightly as he shakes his head.  "You aren't.  I like being with you."

"Then what's with all of these questions?"

He tenses.  "I don't know.  They just come to mind and sometimes I can't stop thinking about them."

"Do you realize how much it sounds like you don't trust me?"  I place the brush on the desk, freeing my hands so that I can attempt to braid the long hair.

"I'm sorry," he says softly.

"Well, for your reply, I'm not just going to suddenly drop you after stealing away your virginity.  If I was planning on a one-nighter, I would have made that clear with you from the beginning."

In a small voice, he states, "But you haven't said that you love me."

I briefly pause in my task.  "No, I haven't."  With a sigh, I continue the braid.  "Let me tell you something about my family - love is considered somewhat of a precious commodity.  My mother especially has problems believing in unlimited love, and though he would never show it, I'll bet he's currently panicking over how to love two children of his blood.  Because of that, I can't use love cheaply.  In fact, I think there are currently only four people that I truly love - my parents, Granddad, and Berkeley.  That isn't to say I don't care deeply for my aunts and uncles and certainly you, but I feel wary to call it love unless I'm absolutely certain."

After a long time of silence, Seveyn says, "I like that."

I look up questioningly into his reflection, somewhat surprised at the lacking bitterness in his voice.  I've tried to explain the same to a couple girls before, but they took it offensively, thinking that I was only using them while making an excuse to refrain from typical girlfriend-boyfriend interactions.  Don't blame them with the typical SeeD soldier type who tends to look for a quickie with no strings attached.

"If I ever hear it from you, then I know it won't be a false promise."

I smile at the words that explain the other part of why I can't tell just anyone that I love them - it is a promise to me.  How many times have I heard, 'No matter what, my love for you will never change,' the ultimate promise from my mother.  And then there is Dad, respecting such an innocent word as if it could strike someone dead.  He still hasn't told me why, avoiding my questions with the comment that he calls Mom 'love' all the time.  I wonder if he really thinks I'm that naive to not notice how he rarely uses the word in the way most people do.

While leaning forward to pick up a tie from the desk, I kiss behind Seveyn's ear.  No, I haven't told him yet, but I sincerely hope that he is the one to whom I can eventually say those words.

~ > < ~

My hands covering his eyes, Seveyn and I more stumble than walk towards an area of the flower field that is lightly shaded by a collection of thin trees.  It's a rare thing to hear such free laughter from the young man as he decides to find enjoyment in looking like an idiot with me, and I have to assume that a couple of his well placed bumps against me are done on purpose.  Reaching the destination, I mouth a count of three to the persons sitting there before pulling away my hands from his eyes.

"Happy Birthday!" Nuala yells out boldly compared to the softer calls by Berkeley and me.

Clearly shocked, Seveyn nearly knocks me to the ground when he jumps backward.  Laughing, I easily hold him in my arms while he gradually calms down his most likely racing heart with deep breaths.

"Heh, did we surprise you?  Isan didn't give us away?" the young woman asks with a gleam in her eye, happy to see her plan succeed.

He nods vaguely, then setting eyes on a chocolate frosted cake that rests on a picnic blanket along with plates and plastic forks.  "I'm sorry that you did all of this, but it's not my birthday."

Nuala laughs.  "We know that, silly.  But a big birdie told us about you never having a birthday party of your own before, and he begged and begged for us to come down to visit for just that reason."

I scoff at her, clearly remembering the green haired girl being the one to plead continually about doing this little surprise.  Personally, I think she just wanted an excuse to visit the orphanage that once housed 'heroes', not to mention harassing me to my face about 'her precious angel'.  Hyne help me when she finds out what I've been doing to her angel for the past three months.

"Well, are you two going to sit?  I've had to suffer with this cake sitting in front of me for the past half-hour.  I can't last much longer," Berkeley states while grabbing a large knife, obviously intent on not waiting another minute.

I help the still dazed Seveyn to the grassy ground, the white-haired teen not really awakening from shock until a plate of cake is placed into his hands.  With a quiet 'thanks', he takes the first bite of the dessert and smiles at the taste.

"It's good."

"Of course it is.  Like father like son," Berkeley says before digging into his larger portion.

Blinking, Seveyn looks at me while a fork hangs in his mouth in mid-bite.  "You made this?"

"It's nothing special.  Cakes are easy.  Actual dinners, on the other hand, take too much effort.  Don't know how my dad can cook almost every night."  I finger extra frosting off from the platter and hold it up next to his mouth.  Removing the fork, he accepts the chocolate offering, only blushing slightly once remembering that we aren't alone.

The day goes well after that, Seveyn unsurprisingly ending up with flowers braided into his hair by the end of the afternoon.  Given I invited the additional two people for dinner, I'm guilt tripped into helping with the meal while leaving the others to entertain themselves.  Berkeley looks completely at ease with the large group of children begging for stories while Nuala appears rather shy for once.  Nothing can quite prepare a person for young boys who try to remove vital pieces of clothing from you when you aren't paying attention.  Learning that Seveyn and I live in the lighthouse brings a relieved sigh from the partly traumatized teen.

Sitting on the old couch later that night, Berkeley and I watch as the other two sit on the bed with Nuala covering some embarrassing stories about me.  At least she doesn't have the same knowledge base as the older teen to my side, but she certainly knows some damaging tales that tend to start with 'he was visiting his grandfather when...'.  At least it was never completely by my own stupidity that those things happened, Granddad able to attract an odd mix of bad/good luck by simply fetching ice cream from the store.

"Not to be rude," Berkeley starts while adjusting his glasses, "but is everything okay between you two?"

"Well, I was thinking so until about five seconds ago.  What makes you ask?"

"Not sure, really.  When you're around, he seems fine.  Maybe even a little more open than he was the first time we met.  But practically the second you leave, he gets closed off with this kind of anxious expression on his face.  Has something happened since you've been here?"

Frowning, I look over to Seveyn and maybe notice a hint of apprehension marring the calm gaze that I'm used to.  But before I have a chance to analyze that piece of information, the relative peace within the lighthouse is ruined when Nuala suddenly straightens and glares in my direction.

"Isan!  You've tainted my precious angel?!"

~ > < ~

On the morning after Berkeley and Nuala had left, I wake earlier than usual for no real reason.  The sun not even up at this time, I sit against the headboard while watching the sleeping beauty.  I've tried to keep a closer eye on the young man over the past couple days, looking for signs of what Berkeley had told me about.  Aside from perhaps waking him from deep thoughts more often, I haven't noticed anything different from what I remember of this short time with Seveyn.  Although there is the more worrisome issue of the dreams that disturb his sleep.  While he doesn't mention them, I know that they plague most of his nights if not all of them.  And then just yesterday he started awake from a doze for no reason, his eyes bright with fear for a bare second.  When I asked, he only shook his head and stated that he was fine.  Hyne, how much I hate that phrase.

Abruptly Seveyn releases a quiet gasp, curling in place with his hands hooked behind his neck.  I place a hand on his shoulder in an attempt to wake him, the smaller man flinching from the touch as he rolls forward with a whine of pain.  Refraining from my desire to hold onto him after such a noise, I call his name softly with gradually increasing volume until he relaxes out of sleep.  The sight of hazy reddish eyes looking confusingly at his surroundings makes me smile.

"Hey, you.  Everything okay?"

Smoothly he moves up to a sitting position while a hand roughly massages the back of his neck.  The corner of his lip curling into a half-smile, he glances over at me.  "Everything is perfect."


[Squall]

"I've changed my mind."

Lowering the newspaper, Seifer smirks with far too much amusement.  "You're going to marry me after all?"

I instantly grab his mug and fling the remaining liquid at him, the blonde expertly shielding himself from the steaming coffee with his newspaper.

Frowning at the soaked paper, he gets up from his seat to toss it into the trash.  "Shit, that was still hot, asshole.  You could've seriously burned me with that stunt."

"What do you think I was trying to do?" I mutter while dropping the empty mug onto the tabletop.

After getting a sponge from the kitchen sink, he returns to clean the mess.  "Anyway, what are you changing your mind about now?"

"I hate the name 'Winter'."

A pale eyebrow rises.  "Oh?  Why's that?"

"Her nickname would be 'Whiney'."

"And?"

"And it sounds like a damn animal sound or something.  Might as well name her 'Squawk'."

Seifer laughs at me, an unfortunately common occurrence as of late.  "Alright.  I didn't think it was that bad, but you're the expecting mother so I'll leave the complex decisions to you."

I huff while placing a hand on my massive stomach that couldn't have been this large when I was almost seven months last time.  This is too hard.  All babies should be born with nametags.  No, scratch that.  All babies should be born with female mothers as Hyne intended.  Who the fuck was the idiot that came up with a male pregnancy spell in the first place?  I suddenly sympathize Ultimecia and her desire to travel into the past.  Two minutes.  I just want two minutes with that sorry piece of shit who--

Abruptly Seifer straightens such that his chair is knocked back to the floor, the loud crash waking me from typical bitter thoughts.  I almost question the action, but a rush of familiar energy flows through me, my mind automatically whispering 'mistress' in reply to the questing spell.  Immediately after, an opening of darkness appears a short distance into the living room.  While I stand curiously, Seifer moves directly between me and the teleportation hole.

"Relax.  It's Rinoa."

The blonde man loosens slightly at my confirmation, but nothing can remove the deeply seeded fear he holds for the spell that first took him away from me.  That and the taint of Ultimecia's energy within Rinoa's magic being the reasons why he always senses the spell moments before I can, even though Rinoa is technically only searching for her knight.

The void shifts slightly before the raven haired woman stumbles out from the darkness, the hole closing immediately while Rinoa falls to her knees.  Seifer moves instantly to her side, the hand placed at her back making the woman sob loudly.

"I'm sorry.  I'm so sorry, Squall," she says while cradling something in her arms and rocking slightly.

Seifer tries to calm her down from the continued repetition of 'sorry' while I go to her other side and kneel carefully to the floor.  Moving aside the long dark hair, I'm momentarily stunned at the sight of Carbuncle held protectively in her hold, the small GF oddly appearing unconscious and severely wounded.  With soft words of assurance, I manage to take the guardian from the distraught woman.

"Take her to the couch."

Seifer nods, lifting up the dark-haired woman who buries her tear streaked face against the large man's neck.

While he continues to try and soothe Rinoa, I hurry into the kitchen and take several GF specific healing potions from the pantry.  Placing Carbuncle in the sink, I pour the luminous liquid over the worst wounds and then place small amounts into its opened mouth.  After a few doses of the healing potion, the small GF coughs and narrowly opens dark eyes.  Sighing in relief, I pull a saucer out from a nearby cupboard and pour some of the remaining potion in it for Carbuncle to drink from.  Noticing that I'm the one treating him, the creature purrs before gratefully lapping up the liquid.  With the GF on its way to recovery, I go back to the pantry to retrieve a sleep potion.  After pouring a small dose into a freshly cleaned glass and then diluting until clear with water, I walk to the living room where Seifer holds the smaller woman tight against his side.

Meeting my gaze, he states simply, "Isan's gone."

"I'm sorry, Squall... You trusted me... and now Isan is... and sweet Seveyn... it was completely destroyed..."

I shush her ramblings mixed with harsh breaths and offer her the glass of water.

After a few long sips, her shaking reduces greatly and her breathing slowly calms to almost normal.  "Thank you."

"Now, try again."

Rinoa takes another drink of the liquid before speaking.  "They didn't come to breakfast and I thought to tease them about, well, you know.  But I found the door open.  The place was ruined and I only found Carbuncle..."  She inhales sharply.

"He's fine.  Don't worry about that."

Dark eyes brimming with tears finally met my gaze.  "I'm sorry..."

I somehow manage to smile assuredly and motion for her to finish the drink, the woman eventually slumping against Seifer in hopefully peaceful sleep.  Before he can say anything, I tell him to take Rinoa to a guestroom so that she can rest comfortably.  Meanwhile I check on the furry GF and find Carbuncle wearily climbing out of the large sink.  Taking a small hand towel from a drawer, I wrap it around the potion damp guardian before lifting him into my arms.  He purrs slightly before closing his eyes as tight as he can.  Distractedly rubbing under a large ear, I return to the couch and take a seat to wait for Seifer.

"You aren't going anywhere," he states from behind.

"I wasn't planning on it," I force out with a bitter smile.

I can feel his sharp green eyes study me before he decides to step into view, Hyperion strapped to his waist.  "Good.  Then I'll see you later."

"Seifer.  Just see what you can find there and then come back."

He smirks confidently.  "Will do.  And don't worry, love.  We both know he's a tough kid.  Not like we haven't done this before, either."

I can only nod, not feeling the same assurance that he skillfully displays despite the worry I know he is feeling.  After the door closes loudly behind him, I place an unsteady hand on my swollen stomach while thus far restrained tears start to fall.  Clutching the loose shirt, I whisper a prayer to Hyne with the plea that I don't want to trade one child for another.

 

{Continued}

 

Author's Whining -- And there you go - Isan and Seveyn have officially taken over this fic.  Damn hams forcing me to put a plot into this story...  Kurse them!  Anywho, sorry for such dull chapters lately, but there's actually some purpose behind most of the crap.  Thank you for putting up with this ficcie thus far.  I'm thinking about three more chapters for this part of the series.  For those who haven't guessed it, yes, there should be a sequel to this, but it'll be far shorter to only serve its purpose as a wrap up to the series.  Against what Miss Dincht may believe, this series cannot go on forever. =P