Living Life
May 2003

 

[Part Seven]

[Seveyn]

I walk forward, no other direction appearing better than the other in this vacant world.  A hand clutched at my upper arm, I use the pain to focus on, to barely keep myself from breaking down as I force myself to continue moving.

I betrayed Isan.  I'd never do so intentionally, but by setting him free as Ashur had planned, I placed Sir Leonhart and Almasy into his hands with barely any effort spent.  At least his grandfather is alive and safe, chance alone keeping Isan away from the Esthar capital.  I can only imagine the damage my other could have caused if he had been able to simply enter the presidential building.  No, that's not true.  I've vaguely seen what Ashur had planned to accomplish within the seemingly secure walls.  Thank Hyne that it didn't happen.

Looking up into the blackened sky, I scold myself for being so weak, so useless while Isan and his family are threatened by my own hand.  It sickens me that I can easily surrender to the control of someone who shouldn't even exist.  When thinking back about the past I can remember, there are too many holes, full days of missing time that I would brush off as nothing important.  It's ridiculous that I wouldn't be frightened or at least worried about lost days like that, but there was always something else to divert my attention, something to explain those blanks in my memory.

Then Isan entered my life.  It's not only due to his resistance that Ashur despises him, but because Isan stole control over me.  The first time we met, I was simply curious about my savior.  Afterwards I had found plenty of information about him and his family, using those facts to make assumptions about the star student of Esthar Garden.  A foolish crush was quickly beaten down into nothing by assuming him to be an arrogant soldier like most of those training to become SeeD.  But then I heard his voice for a second time.  It vibrated throughout my body, making me tense in momentary fear when I realized that all the information I had learned about the youth meant nothing in comparison to the simple presence he emits.  When I had faced him, I knew I was lost. He had smiled warmly before motioning me with an overly polite gesture to exit the Headmaster's office before him, and for no reason whatsoever, I felt safe for the first time in my life.

Blinking away memories, I realize that I had stopped walking at some point.  I stare down into swirling mist, momentarily entranced by the wisps that brush against me.  Am I this pathetic now, to simply stand here while I know Isan is suffering within my reach?  I don't deserve him.  No one deserves him, but...

No matter what he says, know that I'll save you.  And know that I do love you.

I had believed him, whatever Ashur told me about Isan.  That he only wanted to toy with someone who appeared so innocent.  He only wanted to play around with his latest of numerous admirers.  He only wanted to fuck a virgin.  There was no reason for Isan to want me when he could have so many others that were better, and yet...  I shouldn't be so happy about something that damned him, creating the bond of sorcerer and knight between us.  And now he belongs to Ashur.

Seveyn, you are stronger than him.

Clutching my arm tighter, I try to find it within me to believe those words.  Isan is the strong one, unafraid to face anything that threatens him or those he cares about.  I can't compare to that.  But, I also don't want to prove Isan wrong about something, not when he clearly believes in it so thoroughly.  If he holds such faith in my power, perhaps I can find strength through that.

A flash of light in the corner of my eye catches my attention, scattering my thoughts.  Slowly I turn to the right, my eyes widening at the sight of a dark shape just barely standing out from the gray horizon.  It wasn't there before.  It couldn't have been.  I would have noticed it while looking for something, anything in this dead world.  Hesitantly I take my first step forward, the warning that I'm not allowed near the mirror ringing in my ears.  But I don't stop walking in that direction despite the feeling of dread.

In the silence of nothingness, I hear myself whisper, "Help me, Isan."


[Seifer]

My body is completely strained as I hold myself still, knowing that movement is pointless given the collar and shackle that would restrict me from reaching Squall anyway.  Across our cage, the sorcerer doesn't dare to touch the silent brunette while some spell is cast.  Squall stands almost casually, a forced stance by the look of painfully clutched fists that hang to his sides.  Like the few times before, this sorcerer doesn't seem intent on hurting us just yet, only wanting our cooperation as he calls it.  Never in my lifetime did I imagine that I'd become some kind of leash to control my own son.  Knowing the stupid kid, he'd do anything to protect us.

In time, Squall relaxes ever so slightly, and the sorcerer opens his eyes with the spell complete.  Those dark red eyes shift to look at me and he smiles smugly with the confidence of someone standing behind thick bars for protection.  Turning sharply, the sorcerer leaves without a word, the door sealing tightly behind him.  I wonder if we should be honored by all of this security that imprisons two unarmed men.  Fuck, they even had the gall to strip us of anything on our bodies.

There's a quiet sigh before Squall turns and walks awkwardly with his extra load.  Despite the given situation, I can't help but to smile softly at the sight of him like this.  Over seventeen years we've been together without break, almost twenty since our first night, and yet I still find myself in awe of his stoic beauty.  Grey-blue eyes focus briefly on the steal collar encircling my throat before he holds out a hand such that I can help him sit down.  Resting back against my body, he allows me the simple pleasure of stroking his pregnant stomach.

"Are you okay?"

He nods slightly.

"You don't have to lie, you know.  I saw that it was hurting you somehow."

"It's not the spell.  He's using the magic wrong."

"How's that?"

Sighing, Squall places a hand over mine.  "That day at the orphanage, it was Seveyn who told me about us having a daughter.  During the session, I let him touch me and I was instantly overwhelmed by this sensation... something like a calming breeze.  I think it was his magic looking through me.  But the spell he cast just now felt different.  Like claws scratching me."

"So he is torturing you," I growl out.

"No.  It's nothing that strong."

"Then why the fuck is he doing this?"

He shrugs, pressing further back into me.  "He's going to kill her first."

I don't question the statement, already coming to the same conclusion a day or so ago while Squall slept in my arms.  The bastard parasite is being smart about this.  Isan has to be doubly careful about what he does in fear of our lives.  Meanwhile, Squall is left relatively helpless in his current state, and I'd never move if it would endanger him.  There's no reason to keep a newborn child alive once she has to be born, certainly if she ends up having sorceress-like powers that could one day threaten this sorcerer.  He'd kill her first as a lesson to the rest of us, but that's of course assuming we won't get out of here.

"Squall.  Will you marry me?"

He twists sharply in my hold, him just barely able to glare at me from the awkward position.  "What?"

Smiling with my best persuasive smirk, I repeat, "Will you marry me?"

Stormy eyes narrow further.  "Are you insane?"

"Yes, but that's beside the point.  Unless you don't think you can marry a madman."

He stares at me incredulously for a time longer before he suddenly relaxes in my hold.  "You're trying to distract me."

Damn, I hate it when he catches on too fast.  "Nah, I just realized the great opportunity here - you can't run away when I start begging."

Sighing, Squall turns back around to rest against me.  "Why are you so determined about this?  It's pointless."

"Is that what you think?  That marriage between us would be meaningless?"

He huffs.  "Hyne, I'm the pregnant one here.  Stop taking my words so damn literally."

Truthfully, I don't know why this is so important to me when I had barely spared a thought about marriage over the past two decades.  Squall was right about my state of mind directly after the sorceress war, a time when I was ready to leave the second he no longer wanted me.  And I truly believed that at any moment he would suddenly see how worthless I was.  No clue when I stopped believing that.  Hell, I think I still held my doubts until Squall made his foolish pledge to save me if a sorceress ever took control of me a second time.  Young Isan repeating that promise sealed it - I was stuck with a family that wasn't going to let me go.

I rest my head on his shoulder.  "Can't you just take this as me marking my claim on you?  I'm tired of all of those bitches glancing at your hand and doing a sultry smile once they don't see a ring there."

"Who does that?"

"And your fucking obliviousness certainly doesn't help any."

"You're being possessive."

"Damn right I am.  But if you're implying that I'm seeing things, just ask Selphie or Rinoa.  Hell, even Zell would back me up on this one."

It's quiet for a time before he mumbles out, "Fine."

I swear my heart stops in shock.  "What?"

"I said, 'fine'.  If you want this, we'll do it.  But with a condition."

"Oh?  And dare I ask what the condition is?"

"For the wedding and honeymoon, you're the bride."

I laugh at his smug tone.  "And you think that'll stop me?  Believe it or not, Squally-boy, I've already planned the wedding that way."

Eyes wide, he looks back at me.  "You... you've already started planning?"

"Fuck yeah.  Think I'd give you a chance to back out of this?  I've been ready to marry you within 24-hours after your okay.  Hope you don't mind, but I figured a white tux would work just as well as a dress.  While you would be stunning in a bridal outfit, I'd just give people nightmares."

"Wait.  You've already planned out the wedding that I said I didn't want."

"Y'know, you actually haven't said 'no'.  Until this point, you kept avoiding a real answer.  So I figured you were waiting for me to say something right about why we should get married.  Then I figured you're sick of being treated like a girl because of your mother status, so you'd probably kick and scream before being considered the bride.  I certainly don't mind playing the blushing bride, just as long as I get to show the world who you belong to."

"You're serious..."

Smirking, I lean in to lightly kiss the corner of his mouth.  "Marry me."

"Asshole," he whispers, and I pull back to see tears trailing down his face.  He shifts his sitting position so that he can comfortably press his face against my neck, hiding the tears that disgust him to no end.  "I want to go home."

Hearing the child-like request from Squall nearly breaks me.  "We will.  Then our kitten will be brought into this world, and we'll have sleepless nights, stinking diapers, and no sex for weeks.  Don't know about you, but I'm certainly excited."

Squall doesn't take the bait to rant about the hell that is caring for a newborn, him only pressing closer to me.  Realistic idiot, too afraid to hope for the best in the world.  Knowing that it'd be impossible to convince him otherwise, I simply continue to rub his swollen belly in the attempt to coax him to sleep.  In time he mutters something angrily with the realization that he's too relaxed, but I can feel it's past the point of no return for him.  Once his breaths even out into a familiar cadence, I look up at the ceiling as my mask of confidence finally slips.  Holding back the urge to scream out in frustration, I silently demand Hyne to get us the fuck out of here.


[Isan]

It's only pain for several long moments, and even once that ends abruptly, I can't seem to focus on my thoughts properly.  I'm sorely tempted to mention that there are better ways to wake a person, but I know better and keep my mouth shut.  Let's just say that I'm not in the mood to hear about the different ways my parents can be tortured for my viewing pleasure.  At least nothing has happened yet, though I should be more realistic and admit to myself that they could already be dead.

"Roll over."

Sluggishly I follow the command, my arms instantly bound to the wall by magic once I make it to my back.  Can I begin to rant about how tired I am getting of this?

"Good boy," he praises as one would to any obedient dog.

Haziness of my vision eventually clears and I focus on the sorcerer as he pulls out something from the typical white, high collared outfit he wears.  With disgust he looks at the revealed vial of red liquid, and then he glares at me as if I've committed some great offense to him.  It only takes a few steps before he towers over me, and with the sound of the vial being uncorked, I have a spare second to panic about what he may be planning before the crimson liquid is poured carelessly over the chest and stomach of my unclothed body.  Tense with the expectation of searing pain, I cautiously reopen my eyes when I feel nothing except wetness.

The sorcerer laughs humorlessly.  "And this is why you are so pathetic, afraid of meaningless pain.  It's shameful to call you my knight."

With widened eyes, I watch as the fluid seeps into my skin, but does nothing else that I can feel.  Not yet, at least.  The sound of a zipper makes me look up at the sorcerer who attempts to casually remove his pants, but he's obviously tense with fury.  My mind muddled from poison and previous pain, I instinctively shift away from the white-haired man.  The sensation of light friction against my skin due to the mattress makes me gasp loudly, but not from pain for once.  Sweet Hyne, I actually wish that it was pain flooding through me.

"Enjoying yourself?" he asks while dropping his shirt to the ground.

I stare up at the naked man, confused by the sight of him both aroused and yet furious.  "Wha, what is this?"

Sneering, he moves to straddle me and lowers to kneel above my body.  "While you'll serve your purpose for now, you are ultimately worthless to me.  I need a true knight to better suit my powers."

"What--"  I'm silenced easily by the touch of soft fingers stroking my chest, a moan pulled from deep within me.

"I could have bred your parents, but they wasted all their decent energy on you.  So that leaves us, but unfortunately the drug that keeps you inline wouldn't be very healthy for a baby."

"No..." but it comes out like a groan of pleasure.

"The spell within your mother was more complex than I thought, and of course that little death element had to be fixed, but it seems to be working just lovely."  He grips my hair in what should be a painful manner, but I'm too far lost in the need to be touched.  "It works too well, if you ask me.  It's revolting, but I actually want your dick within me.  Enjoy this as a last time, Knight."

"I'm not..."

He laughs overly loud at my denial.  "Oh, but you are.  You've handed over your soul to this body and you'll eventually obey my every word."  Leaning down, he mockingly whispers into my ear as a lover would.  "One day soon, you will even kill those knights to earn my praise."

I struggle against my bonds then, but the flash of rage is quickly suppressed by intense, aching pleasure that makes me instead thrust up against the body I'm so familiar with.  I don't want this.  Hyne save me, I don't want it like this.  With eyes closed tightly, I try in vain to reach out for the guardian forces, calling to them for any kind of help.  Unable to sense them through the block, I turn my silent pleas to Seveyn in both a demand for him to wake and a request for forgiveness.

"No reason to delay this any further."


[Seveyn]

I beat my fist one last time against the dark glass, but still nothing appears.  Taking a couple steps backward, I drop to my knees and hug my midsection to block out some of the pain I feel.  No, not pain really, but an overwhelming feel of wrongness.  It had vaguely started when I was halfway to the mirror and grew worse with every step closer.  I thought it was my own nervousness making me feel this way, but even the scenery around me has changed since that point, a vague coloring of blue added to the mist and horizon.

Suddenly a rush of emotion floods through me, making my breath stall.  Isan?  He... he's afraid?  There's confusion, anger, and so many other sensations that I can feel, but the fear hinted with panic overlays it all.  Please don't tell me something is happening to his parents.  He doesn't care when he is tortured himself, knowing he can handle the physical pain, but to have someone else suffer because of him, to get to him...

My body goes taunt at a new feel, familiar and yet different as it draws a gasp from me.  No.  He wouldn't.  He wouldn't do this.  But then it's followed by the vague, emptying feel before a deeper thrust of sensation drives into me.  Pulling thoughts from the haze of confusion and pleasure, I remind myself about the horror that I can still sense through our bond.  This isn't right.  I look into the black depth of the mirror, absolute disgust overwhelming me.  He stole my body, my life, and my knight, and now he has the gall to take this from me, too?

"I'm tired of this!" I yell out with burst of a wind spell, but the mirror doesn't even shudder at the attack.

I try several more times, once for every burst of bliss that runs throughout my body, but it does nothing productive, especially with my ability to concentrate growing exceedingly difficult.  Tears of frustration streak down my face, but I don't care anymore to hold up a front of strength.  Panting from both ecstasy and exertion, I glare at the black glass while trying to clear my mind enough for a stronger attack.

A glimmer of red steals my attention, and I look to the side stunned as something approaches me with cautious steps.  A thick tail waving above its small body, Carbuncle stops a short distance away as dark eyes stare at me without clear intent.

I shake my head slowly.  "You shouldn't be here.  You have to save Isan."

He cocks his head curiously, large ears twitching faintly.

"Please, go to him.  I'm not the one--"  A hard spike of pleasure drives my breath away.  Eyes closed tightly such that even more tears are squeezed out, I wonder just how long they were going to continue torturing me like this.

Cool softness makes me jump in surprise, and I look down as Carbuncle nudges at my arms that encircle my waist.  I want to knock him away, to scream at the GF to save Isan from me, but instead I end up helping the creature onto my lap and hold him lightly.  Isan had once mentioned that having the small guardian near always made him feel protected from world, that he faintly remembers holding on 'Carby' as a child to feel safe after dreams of sorceresses and monsters.  I found the idea amusing, nothing to take too seriously, but now with the creature in my hold, I understand fully what Isan could only vaguely describe.  The power he radiates is soothing in a silent promise of protection.

Without warning, energy bursts from the guardian, the unexpected surge momentarily overwhelming me.  When my vision refocuses, I look up to find us surrounded by a thick defensive shield.  I almost foolishly question Carbuncle as to why we would even need protection in this empty world, but at the sound of cracking, I look quickly to the mirror and my eyes widen at the sight of splintering glass.  The dark object continues to stand rigid, however, almost refusing to be destroyed.

The darken mirror instantly clears, the blue-eyed man glaring at me from beyond the glass.  "What do you think you're doing?!"

I glance down at Carbuncle, the creature pawing at my shirt with an odd look to his eyes.  When I place a hand to his head, I'm briefly surprised by a faint drawing sensation.  Staring into the black eyes, understanding is slow to come given my muddled state of mind, but amazingly I manage to smile faintly to show my agreement.

"Don't do this, you idiot," Ashur hisses with threat.  "Would you really kill us both?"

Granted, that possibility had never crossed my mind and makes me hesitate for a few seconds, but then suddenly it just doesn't matter to survive.  Not if I can't protect Isan.  I relax the hold on my power, Carbuncle pulling it into himself and releasing it in a whirlwind of energy that crashes against the previous barrier.  The dark object shakes and its glass splinters more at the surge of power, Ashur's image lost behind webs of cracks.  After a moment of odd silence, the mirror falls backward in ridiculously slow motion, and once barely touching the unseen ground, it instantly shatters into tiny pieces of black that seem to melt and evaporate to combine with the ever-present mist.

And then there was only pain.


[Isan]

I'm going to puke at any moment, that's for certain.  In my mind I know this is wrong, that I should hate the feel of this controlled body touching my own, but I can't drive away the potion driven lust.  It doesn't help that since the moment he impaled himself on my length, the sorcerer hasn't spoken a word.  His body obviously craving a sexual touch as well, he eventually relaxed into the motions of fucking himself on me.  Panting quietly with white hair flowing around his pale body, he was simply Seveyn to my messed mind.  The odd slick warmth encircling my harden flesh couldn't even continue to remind me that this wasn't my angel, that this isn't love or even sex, but something worse and sickening.  With my mind and body divided on what was truth, on what I wanted, I know I'm going to lose it at any moment.

Abruptly Seveyn rams down on me, screaming in agony as hands reach up to claw the back of his neck.  Beyond stunned and confuse, I can only stare for precious seconds before I instinctively reach up to grab his arms and stop the frantic movements.  Only when I pull his hands to my chest and glance at fingernails redden with blood, do I realize that I shouldn't be able to move.  But that thought disappears when the white haired man leans against me.

"Get it out, get it out, get it out..." he says hoarsely, the panic he feels easily transferring to me.

"Get what out, Seveyn.  What should I do?"

He doesn't respond, only repeating the same three words with occasional sobs and attempts to escape my grip.

I carefully push him back just enough remove myself from him, and ignoring the white fluid, I force him to lie down on his stomach.  Brushing away the lengthy hair, I inhale sharply at the sight of his neck.  Once pale flesh is angry red with fringes of black, his skin blistering in a boiling type of effect.  Assuming that Seveyn is right about something needing to be taken out, I look frantically around the room for anything to cut into flesh, but they've been too careful with me to not leave anything that was potentially sharp.  Glancing over the white clothing, I know that the arrogant sorcerer won't want anything as simple as a knife to defend himself.  But then I look at the shirt again, recognizing the slight bulge as the vial from before.  A glass vial.

Breaking the glass to form a decently sized shard, I turn back to Seveyn and pull away the hand that had started to claw again at his skin.  Willing my hand to not shake, I press the glass against redden skin, the cut causing renewed screams from my angel.  I try to block out those sounds as I probe fingers into the wounding, nearing panic until I come across something that burns my fingertips.  Not bothering to analyze what further damage I could cause, I grip onto the object and pull sharply.  It comes out easier than I thought it would as I reel back slightly.  Not even looking at the object as I drop it to the ground behind me, I place a limp hand onto the bleeding area, covering it with mine.

"Seveyn, you have to heal yourself.  I can't..."  It's then I notice how quiet he suddenly was, his face too relaxed as if in sleep.  "Seveyn!  Heal yourself, damn it!"  When he still doesn't respond, I bend down to whisper harshly into his ear, "Don't you dare do this martyr shit.  If you think this makes me any happier, then you're fucking wrong.  I want you and I'll have you, so heal yourself this instant."

I don't notice my strong grip on his hand, and therefore his injury, until the pale face flinches faintly.  But not until the rush of healing energy starts to flow from his hand, do I dare a relief filled sigh.  My strength completely exhausted, I move to lie down next to the lithe form and then wince at the return feel of overly sensitized skin, my panic of before probably drowning out any other sensation.  Lying as still as I can, I try to block out the potion created lust and will a returning erection away.  Hyne, I don't need Seveyn to see me like this.

Just when I feel like I have everything back under control, I find myself staring into deep pools of red flecked by bright purple.  I can't stop the groan with renewed arousal.  "Before you say or do anything, please, cast esuna or something to get this shit out of my system."

His eyes widen slightly, but he doesn't speak when moving his hand out of my hold and placing it with painful tenderness against my cheek.  The cool breeze of his magic flows throughout me, blowing away the constant fog that has been in my mind for too long.  Sighing in the ecstasy of clear thoughts and a refreshed body, I move my hand to his waist and pull myself just a little closer to him before closing my eyes in a moment of peace.

"I'm sorry," he whispers out and attempts to say more, but the words seem trapped in his throat.

"He was never you."

"He is now."

I open my eyes at that, unable to hide curiosity and fear at the words.

"His memories, his plans...  It's all a part of me, now."

The uncertainty in his voice makes me smile vaguely.  "And will you follow through with those plans?"

"No," he says in horror.  "Some of it... But that's not the point.  He's within me and I don't think I can get rid of him."

"Seveyn, my angel, that is the point.  Maybe you have his thoughts trapped in you, but your conscience would never let you follow his path."

He pouts slightly, perhaps thinking that I'm not taking him seriously, but I'm too tired to convince him about the difference between holding knowledge and abusing that same knowledge.  Stiffly I sit up and Seveyn follows my lead, wincing before he places a hand against his stomach.  Redden eyes widen before he looks at me questioningly.

"I'm sorry," I say softly.  "I tried not to.  I swear I didn't--"

He presses fingertips of his other hand against my mouth.  "I know.  I think... I think we have more important things to worry about.  Your parents first.  And Esthar is in danger.  This can wait."

By the growing firmness of voice, I smile in quiet awe of the way he can transform right in front of me, now showing the strength that I easily sense within him.  And at this moment when I feel about ready to fall apart at a wrong word, it's a relief to be able to depend on his lead.  Pulling his hand away from my mouth, I kiss softly at the underside of his wrist.  Seveyn smiles faintly at the action before moving to stand.

As he starts dressing in the scattered clothing, he tells me, "There's a guard just down the hall that I can take care of and then I'll bring you back his clothing."

I stretch as I stand.  "What, think I'd attract too much attention like this?"

Eyeing my bare body, he frowns.  "Yes."

For the first time in too long I laugh out loud, never before hearing such a possessive tone from my angel.  His scowls deepens as he bends down to retrieve the wrinkled shirt and puts it on rather tersely before leaving my cell with ease.  The second the door closes, my amusement dies as I lean heavily against a white wall and stare down at my raised wrists of burnt and scarred flesh.  Shit.  These aren't going to go away anytime soon.


[Seifer]

At the familiar whisper of the door opening, I clutch Squall closer to me while glaring at the entrance of the sorcerer.  He stops in his normal spot in front of the thick bars, the youth looking a bit more ruffled than when we saw him last.  Hn, I hope Isan was giving him hell.  Then a darkly clad soldier quickly steps up from behind him, his face downcast until the door closes tightly behind the two of them.

The hat is quickly removed when the soldier looks up at us.  "Shit, what's wrong with Mom?"

"Isan?"

The kid flashes a quick smile in reply, but it disappears when green eyes settle onto his mother again.  "Seveyn, I thought you said he didn't hurt him."

Hearing the unhidden worry in the young voice drives anyway away doubts I could hold about my son being controlled by his sorcerer.  However, glancing back at the white-haired boy, I'm not too certain about how far I can trust this kid, not when he's betrayed Isan twice.  Nothing personal to him, but I may have to rip out his throat the next time he gets within reach.

"Fucking Hyne, Seifer!  I'm not a squeeze toy."

I loosen my hold at the growled tone and look down into stormy eyes.  "Are you okay?"

"Are you okay?" he repeats back in a very uncharacteristically whiny voice.  "Next time, you get pregnant.  And it better be fucking twins before you even think you've made this up to me."  He groans quietly and grasps onto my arm such that fingernails dig into skin.

"What's wrong?" Isan foolishly asks from beyond the thick bars.

"Your sister is being too damn impatient, just like your bastard father."  Squall looks over to glare at his son.  "And why the hell are we still in this fucking cage?!"

The cub winces at the unusual display of rage, then looks to his sorcerer.  "How do we get these bars up?"

The kid shakes his head.  "They're fixed to the floor and don't move.  You know how your parents were teleported in, and now there are wards preventing such magic from being used.  He didn't want Rinoa intruding."

"Shit, and here I thought I was paranoid," I mutter.  "So how do we get out of here?"

"I can..."  He pauses, reddish eyes looking at me oddly.  "You got out of your collar."

I tense at the statement, still uncertain about this kid and his state of mind.  But it's curious that he'd notice any subtle difference from what I had done days ago, while his other half hadn't mentioned a word.  While everything had been stripped from us, who would think to scan a person's body for signs of strong plastic that could be used in lock picking.  Though the collar is still fitted around my neck, the lock mechanics are beyond repair, just barely holding together and waiting for me to breakout at the best moment.  But considering this news about the bars, it would've taken much more planning before I could have figured a way out here.

The white-haired boy smiles vaguely.  "Ashur underestimated you," he states before raising a hand.  The long hair floats slightly before a wind attack arches outward and crashes against apparently very solid metal with a ringing clang.  It takes several of such attacks with focused aim before numerous bars fall loudly to the ground.

"Seifer..."

Grinning, I look down when hearing the cautious call of my name, but sarcastic remarks are held back at the sight of wide eyes.  Suddenly there is a feel of wetness, and I move my foot quickly while staring at the puddle forming on the floor.  Right.  Got to be supportive for the guy with a pressurized bladder, but what the hell am I supposed to say?

"Look for me," he orders sharply.

"Uh, what?"

"Damn it, Seifer.  You know what should be down there, so fucking look!"

I glance up and notice Isan frozen in place while stepping through the formed hole, his eyes meeting mine in mutual confusion.  He then clears his throat, purposely turning his back on us to look in the lab rat's direction.  Sighing, I open the broken latch of my collar to remove the restraint before I slide around Squall.  After helping him lean back somewhat comfortably against the wall, I dare venture downward.  He bends his legs closer to his body while it takes me several seconds until I figure out what exactly I should be looking for.

"Holy fucking..."  Heh, this is the first time I've actually been able to see this part of my lover, aside from the two times of exquisite sex.  But the sound of a thump draws my attention and I look up at Squall to watch him hit the back of his head against the wall.  I quickly move my hand to block further damage, but get squished fingers for my effort.  "Shit, what do you think you're doing?"

His glare turns deadly.  "I want a bed, I want drugs, I want a fucking C-section.  I do not want to give birth like some woman!"

"Well, considering the equipment is there and they do say natural is bes--"  My airflow is suddenly cut off by the irate mother-to-be.

"What didn't you understand, lover?  I. Am. NOT. Doing it this way."

"Excuse me," starts a soft voice, "but we had best hurry if that's the case.  I can't use space magic except when deeper within the base."

"There's no other way to escape without magic?" Squall asks, worry hinting the sharp tone.

"There is, but the upper levels hold tight security that could become problem, and considering we are currently in the middle of some desert, it would take too long to drive to a city that could help you."

The hold on my throat tightens before abruptly releasing.  "Then we stay."

Coughing, I managed an annoyed, "What?"

"We're staying, and stop making me repeat myself."

"Shit, I was only kidding about the natural birth crap.  We have to get you to a doctor no matter how this happens."

"... ..."

"Come on, Squall.  Who here is going to be able to help deliver the baby?"

Oddly, he looks upward and focuses on the sorcerer.  When I notice Isan also glancing at the boy, I ask, "Is there something I'm missing here?"

The kid pales slightly.  "I only helped once.  And not even really helped, but watched Edea aid in the delivery."

"Now wait a fucking second here.  You're going to let him touch our daughter?"

"It's okay, Dad.  We took out the device that was controlling him."

I continue to glare at the sorcerer.  "Who said there was only one?"

Isan stiffens at the question, never thinking that there could be additional worries beyond the obvious.  "But why more than one?  Wouldn't they conflict?"

I snort at the sense of that, but I'm not ready to trust this lab rat just yet.

Then Squall grabs onto a defenseless ear and pulls me in close to whisper harshly.  "I don't have time for this shit.  I trust him and leave it at that.  Understood?"  Before I can answer, he releases his hold and bends forward with a low groan.

"Fine.  But I still don't get why you're being stubborn about staying."

He glares up with icy eyes, but doesn't respond while trying to handle the contraction.

Suddenly the kid is kneeling in front of spread legs, his hands daring to touch the swollen stomach without permission.  A warning growl dies in my throat when I feel Squall relax completely as he leans against me, his breaths coming with less strain than before.  He moans more in relief than pain, blindly reaching out for my hand.  Clutching it tightly, I then wrap my free arm around his shoulders in hopefully more comfortable support than the bare wall.

Redden eyes focused on Squall, the kid speaks softly.  "I won't do this for long, but try to calm your breaths and then I'll need you to deal with the contractions on your own.  Eventually you should feel the need to push.  Go with that urge at the height of the contractions.  Sorry, but I really don't know anything else."

Squall nods and takes a few deep breaths before saying, "I'm okay."

The brunette instantly tenses with renewed pain, but amazingly keeps a forced steady rhythm of breaths throughout the contraction.  Some seconds later, he relaxes slightly in my hold and turns his face against my chest.  While I'm focused on Squall, the sorcerer turns briefly to Isan and orders out some directions to a storage room down the hallway.  Though at first hesitant to leave, the cub then nods and refits his dark hat before exiting the cell room.

Once the door closes, I growl out, "If you're playing us for fools, I won't hesitate to kill you."

The lab rat meets my narrowed gaze, his pale lips forming an oddly relieved smile before his focus returns to Squall when the brunette groans through another contraction.  Feeling completely useless, I kiss the increasingly sweaty forehead and whisper minor comforts in the attempt to help him through the pain.


[Isan]

On the list of things a son really doesn't want to see, his mother giving birth to a second child must rank high up there, and having a male mother certainly doesn't help any.  Though to be totally truthful, I couldn't bring myself to watch.  It was a blessing for Seveyn to send me out in search of clothing for my parents and fresh towels.  Shortly after I had returned, Mom reached the cliché pushing point of pregnancy, Dad only managing a couple encouraging 'come on, keep pushing' type statements before his manhood was seriously threatened if he ever did it again.

Even then I was more focused on Seveyn, utterly amazed that he could be so calm throughout this situation.  As he had said, there was only one time in our months at the orphanage when Edea was needed as a midwife, and it was by chance that Seveyn had tagged along.  But thinking about back then, it was shortly after that day when he had decided to specialize in healing arts aside from his general sorcery lessons.  I wonder if that event had affected him more than he ever told me.

"She's nearly here.  Take a few deep breaths before pushing once more."

Mom nods sharply while following the order, then abruptly groans in a renewed effort of pushing.

There's an odd, slick noise as Seveyn handles the coming baby, myself using his body to block out the sight.  Mom half exhales, half laughs in relief while Seveyn moves quickly to clean and wrap the newborn.  For several heart stopping seconds, there's no sound aside from panting breaths.  And then suddenly the whole room seems full of the irritated cry of the young girl.  Almost ridiculously, that makes Mom laugh even more as he looks over with such an exhausted expression.

"Isan, hold her for me."

With wide eyes, I move to kneel next to Seveyn and cautiously take the bundle of towels and child from him.  Nervousness evaporates once I look at my reddish-purple faced sister, old lessons from Edea about holding a baby quickly taking over my mindset.  I gently rub the body through the cloth, trying to keep the little one warm and soothed.

"Squall," Seveyn starts awkwardly, obviously uncomfortable using the man's first name, but Mom had already lashed out at him for the one 'Sir Leonhart' spoken during the delivery.  "It's not quite over yet.  Use this time to regain your breath, but then there'll be more pushing for the afterbirth."

Mom growls out something unintelligible, which is probably for the best given the way Dad winces.

Again I happily take advantage of distraction and focus on calming my little sister instead of witnessing what else had to be pushed out from my mother.  In short time, a new string of curses begin, but at least it seems to last much shorter this time.  While Mom clutches Dad's throat and hisses out promises about what he'll do to the blonde if he even thinks about a third child, Seveyn carefully wraps the cord and placenta in fresh towels before holding the load to me.

"We have nothing to cut the cord properly.  It'll have to wait until we're out of here."

Dumbly I take the extra load and try vainly to not think about what the stuff looked like.

"Sir Almasy, if you could carry Squall, I'll lead us to where we can safely teleport."

Now dressed in the same dark outfit as myself, Dad nods his agreement before wrapping Mom tightly in a blanket, the smaller man clearly upset at being treated like a child, but he's too tired to resist. 

It must have been an odd sight to see our group traveling down the hallway, but Seveyn walked with a forceful presence that warned no one to question his presence or company.  Smirking faintly, I realize that the blood on his otherwise pure white outfit must be nicely adding to the effect.  We walk deep into the maze of hallways, nervousness held back by my faith in Seveyn.  Though I will admit to casting a quick scan over the person in search of metal once Dad had mentioned the possibility of other control mechanisms.  Finding none, I knew for certain that I had my angel back.

Seveyn slows to a stop, then turns to face me as he reaches out a hand to my cheek.  "I don't remember the place well.  Think of your parents' home."

Eyes closed, I envision the vacation home where my first years of life were spent, and then only brief visits with Granddad and Uncle Kiros.  Almost instantly I feel a breeze of the opening portal, Seveyn not pulling away from me when he tells my parents to step through.  After I hear my father follow the order, I'm surprised by the soft press of lips.  I open my eyes to look into dark red that stare at me pleadingly.

"Everything will be fine."

He manages a weak smile at my words, then pulls lightly at my arm to drag me through the dark portal with him.

Unlike the one time before, I somehow keep my footing despite the nauseating step through the rip in space.  The infant in my arms begins to wail with refreshed power, giving her opinion on how much she cared for the magical trip.  Automatically rocking and shushing the newborn, it takes a few moments before my eyes adjust to the sudden shift in lighting.

"Isan."

At the whispered voice, I look to the side and smile.  "Hey, Granddad.  What are you doing here?"

For a second there he looks about ready to pounce me, but his expression changes quickly as he eyes the whining bundle in my hold.  Dark green eyes grow moist as he smiles tightly.  "Thank Hyne, my grandchildren are safe.  I've never been so afraid...  Can I hold my granddaughter?"

I carefully hand over the double bundle, pausing only briefly before looking around the room for my parents.  Just when I'm about to ask about them, Dad appears from the back hallway.

"Squall is resting for now, and you kids should do the same unless you want some food first."

I glance at Seveyn, then look back at my father.  "Esthar is still in danger.  We have to warn people--"

Granddad sighs loudly while sitting on a worn couch.  "The capital has been under attack since this morning.  The shields are holding for now."

"Then we have to go there before the shields collapse.  Mom and Granddad are safe here, and if I borrow the Runner, I can be in Esthar within hours."

With three long strides, Dad approaches me such that we're practically face to face.  "You aren't going anywhere.  Not just yet."

"But--"

"Don't be an idiot.  Do you really think you'll do any good in this state?  Get some food and sleep, and then we'll talk about you running into a battle zone."

"But that Garden is my home."

Green eyes narrow coolly.  "And you're the only one who thinks so?  There's a whole fucking Garden filled with soldiers, and you think they can't handle themselves?"

I return his glare.  "That's not what I mean."

The stare down continues for several moments before Dad sighs and wraps an arm around my shoulders to pull me in close.  "Just listen to your old man, would ya?  Give your mother a chance to recover and see you safe one more time before you try to get yourself killed."

Returning the hug, I try not to smile at him for hiding behind Mom as an excuse.  "Fine then, but there better be brownies in the freezer.  I'm starved."

He laughs weakly.  "As if I'd survive a day with your pregnant mother if my patented brownies weren't on hand."  He continues to hold me for a time longer before abruptly stepping away.  "Get a shower while you have the spare time.  You stink, kid.  Can't believe I let you touch my kitten smelling like that."

I can't stop my pleased smile as I watch him 'rescue' my sister from Granddad's hold, the proud father carrying her to the back bathroom closest to the nursery.  As I glance to the side, my smile fades at the unreadable expression Seveyn maintains as he tightly crosses his arms across his chest.  I quickly mention a shower to Granddad before he can start asking questions, him nodding with understanding and a comment about ordering delivery food.  With a hand placed at Seveyn's waist, I guide him to the other side of the large building to where my room and a second bathroom are.  He doesn't resist my lead, but he doesn't really react either.

The door locked behind us, I quickly remove my clothes while Seveyn watches me in a daze.  Stripped of the dark uniform, I carefully approach the silent beauty and start to unbutton his bloodied clothes.  When he continues to do and say nothing, I help to completely remove the white clothing that I have plans to burn in the near future. 

Standing back up, I gaze into reddish eyes while I brush fingers across the side of his face and deep into the long strands of hair.  Something about the move breaks him, Seveyn abruptly wrapping arms strongly around my back as he pulls his body against mine.  I try to rub away the sudden shakes of his body while my mind works to think of anything to assure him that there's nothing for him to worry about.  But I fail at that task, not able to believe such words myself.  So I just hold him protectively while rocking with a gentle sway, eventually coaxing him to stand with me in the shower, but the heated spray of water fails to grant me the same cleansing sensation that it always has in the past.

 

{Continued}

 

Author's Whining -- Boooooo, looks like it'll be another two chapters before this thing dies properly and not the one last chapter that I was vainly hoping for.  As for those of you who have been asking about the possibility of an Isan x Seveyn mpreg, there you have it.  When I asked people about whether I should dare to do it, the response was rather fifty-fifty.  However, the common reason why people didn't want this mpreg was because they thought Isan too young.  Well, that's actually what I want.  Call it angst, story turmoil, or whatever you will, but I like the idea of two kids panicking over the sudden responsibility of having a child of their own.  And it's not like SxS will disown Isan over this.  Frankly, shit happens, even to the young and innocent of heart. =P

Anywho, next chapter should be the 'everything is explained' chapter.  I was going to try and fit it within here, but the chapter got too long. ^_^;  Hopefully all your questions will be covered soon.