More Than Words
January 2009

 

"... And with Shiva braced against his battered body, Ifrit carried her to the safety of the mountains and away from the fields darkened with blood," Squall read in a quiet voice, recognizing a couple pages earlier that Leander had drifted to sleep.  Even so, past experience had taught the sorcerer that it was best to continue reading until he could be certain that the young boy wouldn't accidentally wake and tiredly demand for more stories.

Once a soft snore sounded from his son, Squall closed the old book of sorcerer fairy tales and smiled fondly at the young boy sprawled beneath a collection of fabrics.  With a careful touch, the brunet moved a hanging arm back onto the bed and better covered the small body from the chill of the autumn night.  As if knowing the man was about to leave, Leander breathed a whine in his sleep, but didn't wake as Squall stood up from his chair and blew out the few candles that had given him light to read.  The sorcerer stepped softly toward the bedroom door, but still woke the large figure curled up at the padded bench at the foot of the bed.  Noticing the shine of amber in the darkness, Squall whispered a goodnight to Sekre in the Moomba's language, earning a purr of content from the watchful feline.

Moving from the bedroom, Squall glanced at the tapestry that led to his room, but didn't use the hidden entrance.  Despite his occasional need for peace and quiet, the sorcerer had grown accustomed to the warmth of Seifer's expansive quarters and no longer felt stubborn enough to deny his need for that comforting heat.  Crossing the hallway, Squall entered the master suite and smiled faintly at the soft song that could be heard from the bedroom.

He paused at the open doorway and watched for a somber moment at the woman singing to the babe in her hold, the three-week-old Verena feeding noisily at the offered teat.  It was a constant source of ache for the sorcerer to watch another feed his child, but Squall was comforted by the fact that Leila, a servant from the kitchens, was given the duty of wet nurse and not some nameless woman from the capital.  The young woman of messy blonde hair and light brown eyes had a commonplace beauty to her appearance, but her true qualities lied in her naive ways and her eagerness to please others.  It was for that reason Squall had gained plenty of free advice from the woman about how to properly care for a newborn, thereby able to maintain his ruse of playing 'steward' over the Almasy children.

The song abruptly ended with a sharp inhale when Leila lifted her head to notice the silent man.  Once recognizing the brunet, she scowled and accused, "Good Hyne, Squall, you walk like a ghost.  How many times have I asked you not to frighten me like that?"

With a whispered apology, Squall moved from the doorway and into the large bedroom.  By the time he crossed the room, Verena had finished her meal and released the teat with a fussing whine that would quickly grow in volume.  Leila sighed at the complaint, and after wiping the girl's lips and chin, she lifted the squirming babe toward Squall.

While the brunet took his daughter, Leila commented, "Honestly, what kind of child cries after being fed?  Do you know how troublesome it is when you aren't around to comfort her?  Only you have the magic touch to calm that child."

Squall hid a smile at the truth of her unintentional words, the woman unsuspecting of the sorcerer using a warming spell at his fingertips as he stroked the babe's back.

Despite her previous bitter tone, Leila smiled fondly at Verena and her broken whines that were common before slipping into soundless sleep.  But when brown eyes glanced up at Squall's expression, Leila exhaled a frustrated huff.  "I don't know how you can stand it."

Curious, the sorcerer glanced at the woman in silent question.

"Look at you, Squall.  You're holding the proof that Master Almasy fools around with women while he keeps you here to warm his bed, and yet you still show that girl a gentle face.  Where do you find the strength to bear such an insult?"

With his breath caught in his throat, Squall could only stare at Leila and her smile that was crooked with scandalous knowledge.

"Please, everyone in the kitchens talk about how Master Almasy is absolutely fascinated by you.  Some people have witnessed you entering his chambers and not leaving until the early morning.  Others say that he purposefully planned the trip to the eastern coast in order to seduce you in private.  But no matter the details, it's plain as day that he desires you like no other we've seen."

Unable to think of a response to defend his actions, Squall cursed at the gossiping nature of servants and how his role of steward had taken him away from that network of rumors.

"Oh, you don't have to worry about me," Leila assured in a soothing tone, misunderstanding the reason for the brunet's sour expression.  "While some of us are bothered by Master Almasy wanting another man, I found it more appalling that our lord would drink until stupid and flit from woman to woman without caring about the shame he brought upon the Almasy Estate.  Worse yet, do you know what he did to the young master years ago?  How the boy could have died at the hands of that drunken fool?"

"... I know," Squall said softly, but the declaration went unnoticed by the young woman who was quick to anger over any perceived injustice.

"And now there's yet another bastard child in this household, just when Master Almasy starts up his old habits of fleeing to the capital and coming back while reeking of alcohol and looking... debauched.  Only Hyne knows what he may do to his daughter if he keeps that up.  It's terribly disappointing, and though Matron was prepared to scold him, she suddenly changed her mind months ago.  She told me to be silent, but I can't anymore."  Straightening in her chair with resolve, Leila begged in a serious tone, "Please, Squall, tell me that you aren't going to continue to let that... that jackrabbit touch you when he's making children left and right in the capital.  You're not the type to be swayed by emotions and pretty words, so why are you letting Master Almasy blind you like this?"

Squall fought against a smile, amused at the assumptions that had been created by the numerous lies and games of secrecy that were supposed to hide everything, not ignite interesting rumors amongst the servants.  The dark-haired sorcerer then realized that he should be angry, maybe even afraid to have the relationship exposed to others, but he was too tired to care what they thought.  Ultimecia and the Emperor were dead, their laws and beliefs no longer the looming threat they once were.  Being identified as one of many lovers to the sex-crazed lord didn't present the same danger as it did in that past; however, Squall wasn't too certain he was prepared for the entirely new set of problems that would arise if Seifer was allowed to openly announce his love.

A light gasp broke the sorcerer out of his thoughts and he looked at the woman who was wide-eyed with surprise.

"Hyne, Squall, don't tell me that..."  Leila paused while studying the brunet's face.  "Are you in love with him?"

Without any intention to reply, the sorcerer met the woman's stunned gaze, curious what was the greater surprise - his love for Seifer Almasy or that he was able to love at all.

"I think I'd like to hear the answer to that question, too."

The deep voice caused Leila to jump from her seat and assume the position of a servant who had been caught committing a misdeed.  Meanwhile, Squall adjusted his hold on his sleeping daughter and turned without hurry to watch the entrance of the green-eyed lord.  Seifer was dressed in a formal outfit that was an open display of the man's wealth - his long silver jacket was adorn with pearl-encrusted clasps, his cape was held in place with a golden chain and an emerald brooch, and his boots were made of the skin of some exotic reptile from the south.  Seifer appeared the typical flop of a nobleman, the perfect guise when invited to the Imperial Palace for an afternoon of tea with the new royal family.  Squall found it incredible that people were fooled by little more than expensive clothing and feigned stupidity.

His smirk sharp and dangerous, Seifer stepped to the sorcerer's side and asked, "Has Vera been fed for the night?"

Squall replied with a raised eyebrow, his silent statement that he wouldn't have let the infant fall asleep before being fed.

"Good," Seifer said as he placed gentle kiss at the babe's head.  Green eyes then shifted to the waiting servant and Seifer intoned lowly, "Then we have no need for intruders."

Leila flinched at the threat-filled tone and looked worriedly at Squall.

Recognizing that she feared to leave him alone with the lord, Squall wondered why people were quick to assume that he didn't have the strength necessary to protect himself from rape and perverted noblemen.  "Verena and I will see you in the morning, Leila."

The young woman took a shaky breath at the dismissal, visibly relieved that Squall wasn't concerned by the lord's looming presence and that she wouldn't have to take any action herself.  With an awkward curtsy, she hurried out of the expansive quarters, undoubtedly eager to add new information to the rumors circling throughout the manor.

"I thought she would never leave," Seifer muttered as he pressed a kiss against the brunet's neck.

"She was worried about me," Squall explained dully, as if unaffected by the lord's touches.  "It seems we have failed at hiding our affair and she is rather concerned that I'm a fool who is in love with a heartless bastard who impregnates any woman in sight."

Seifer breathed a laugh against sensitized skin.  "Hyne, Matron warned me that some of the servants thought I was taking advantage of you, but I never thought one of them would be bold enough to approach you about it."

Shifting away from the lord, Squall demanded, "You knew about the rumors?"

"In generic terms from Ward and Matron," Seifer admitted with a scheming smile.  "There was nothing threatening about the gossip and it was convenient to have them talk about my sex life instead of making assumptions about my other suspicious activities."

Squall frowned at his inability to argue against the rare amount of logic from the nobleman, the sorcerer perfectly aware that the plans against Ultimecia deserved priority over his selfish need for privacy.  Even so, he didn't appreciate being surprised by those rumors, especially when Seifer knew of their existence.

"Be as angry as you desire, my Prince, but I don't regret my choice at hiding those rumors from you," the lord stated as he removed his belt and began to unbutton his jacket.  "You already had Ultimecia and an unwanted pregnancy to stress your mind.  Something as trivial as gossip wasn't worth your attention."

Reluctantly accepting that truth, Squall looked down at the babe curled against at his shoulder.  Her small hand clutched tightly at the collar of his shirt and her mouth hung open to release a trail of milky drool onto the dark material.  Verena was innocent in sleep and mostly quiet when awake, but she was quickly irritated by the touch of people who weren't tied to her through blood.  Squall knew the trait was related to her exposure to intense bonding magic when he and Seifer had joined souls months earlier, but Seifer continued to contest that the small infant recognized the people who loved her the most and had no interest in others taking her away from her family.

"Is she out for the night?" Seifer asked as he stepped close in socked feet; meanwhile, his jacket, cape, and boots had been dumped in a careless pile next to the bed.

Instead of a vocal reply, Squall pried the infant from his body and offered her to Seifer for his nightly ritual.  The green-eyed blond braced his so-called 'baby girl' against his shoulder and whispered something into a tiny ear, the words only meant to be shared between the two of them.  Squall shook his head at the nonsense of sharing secrets with a babe, let alone a sleeping one, but it was more tiring to debate the issue with Seifer instead of letting the man have his way.

Knowing that Seifer would put Verena to bed, the brunet picked up the discarded clothing and boots to put them in their proper places while making his way to the bathing area.  Squall then removed his stained shirt and washed his face with cold water before using a wetted cloth on his neck and bare chest.  Just as his skin prickled with goosebumps, heated arms wrapped around his shoulders and pulled him back against the firm body of his lover.

"You know," Seifer spoke lowly with his breath teasing the sorcerer's ear, "you never did answer that servant's question."

"Her name is Leila."

"That's not an answer, either."

Turning around within the accommodating hold, Squall raked his fingernails over the thin fabric of the nobleman's shirt, the only barrier between him and the dark symbol of 'Sugenti Denynas'.  "Why should I speak the words when you already know the answer?"

A growl-like purr escaped Seifer as his body shivered from the intimate touch.  "Because..."

When no other words followed, Squall breathed a laugh once realizing that the non-reply was the same one that the lord deeply hated in response to his own questions.  The corner of his lips lifting into a soft smirk, Squall mocked, "That's not an answer, m'lord."

With the vague warning of a snarl, Seifer's arms tightened around the smaller man and Squall was dragged back into the bedroom to be unceremoniously pushed onto the wide mattress.  Before the brunet could think of moving, Seifer was above him with his hand firmly planted at Squall's shoulder and a bent knee pressed against the man's hip on the opposite side.  His lover essentially trapped, Seifer took a moment to stare down at the shirtless sorcerer before cupping his free hand at the side of the man's face.

"The things you do to me..." Seifer said in a voice no louder than a whisper.

Unafraid of the volatile man above him, Squall smirked and lifted a hand to the lord's neck.  "Is that a request?"

Eyebrows arching high, Seifer hesitated before asking, "Are you interested?"

The sorcerer's smirk widened at the tentative question, not entirely certain if the man was referring to the state of his mind or to the condition of his body.  Deciding that it ultimately didn't matter, Squall warned, "Try not to wake Verena."

"Hn, we can't have her learning anything dangerous, can we?"

Though the words were meant to be joking, Squall felt something stir in his chest at the growled undertone which promised that Verena would be protected by the blond lord from enemies and suitors alike.  At that recognition, a small voice in the back of his head questioned if Seifer would be able to carry out his pledge to kill the sorceress if madness appeared, but Squall pushed aside that constant fear, wanting and needing to believe Seifer's words that she would be nothing more than a daughter.  Their daughter.

The kiss from Seifer was a welcomed relief from plaguing thoughts, the man's tongue skilled and practiced in drawing the sorcerer into the heated joining.  Squall hummed at the taste of dark bitter sweetness, suggesting that the lord had visited the kitchen before moving onto his quarters.  Squall found it interesting that despite almost a year together and despite his decision to join souls with the blond, Seifer still found it necessary to play the games of seduction, such as the taste of chocolate to prolong their kisses.  A part of the sorcerer found it condescending, as if he was a wild animal to be lured and tamed, but he couldn't deny that he enjoyed watching Seifer constantly work to gain his affections.

A heated hand caressed his side, the lord tapping into the fire element trapped within his body and using it to excite his lover.  Squall breathed a laugh into their kiss, impressed that Seifer had managed to figure out the method to use the element to rouse a body when all other forms of controllable magic eluded the single-minded lord.  Encouraged that his trick was working, Seifer moved his hand to the sorcerer's flat, but still soft stomach and slowly massaged downward until his hand slipped beneath the waistline of the brunet's pants.

Squall broke the kiss with a soft gasp as the abnormally heated hand curled around his erection and calloused fingers toyed with the sensitive head.  "Rya soaler'ke, magic isn't supposed to be used that way."

Seifer grinned boldly.  "A good thing I don't know that, hn?"

The sorcerer arched up against the looming man and cursed lowly in the language of the Shumi, knowing that the growled words would only encourage the lord further.  As such, it wasn't a surprise when Seifer replied with a purring hum and tightened his hold on the stiff arousal.

"You owe me something, my Prince," the lord commented with a smirk that demanded everything.

Squall mimicked that smirk while wrapping his arms around the man's back and bracing his hands at broad shoulders.  "No, I think you owe me something."

Before Seifer could utter a word in protest, Squall called upon the wind that instantly swirled around them, the element attracted by the use of the same fire that bonded their two souls.  The blond cursed when they were lifted up from the mattress, his hand wisely moving from Squall's vulnerable organ to instead wrap around the man slim waist in a painfully strong hold.  The wind whipped around and between them, moving the two bodies to the center of the bed while also cutting into their clothes without harming skin.  In slow motion, they were gently flipped such that Seifer eventually hung below the sorcerer, but in a sudden lack of care, the wind broke apart and the two bodies dropped the few feet to the mattress.

Pushing up against the lord's chest, Squall toyed with the shredded shirt that no longer hid the brand of Sugenti Denynas from his view.  "Are you prepared to keep your promises, m'lord?"

Seifer wheezed out a laugh, his breath partially stolen from the harsh drop.  "I didn't think you remembered."

"I never forget."

The lord frowned at the serious answer, and though visibly troubled by it, Seifer lifted a hand and stroked his fingers through dark chestnut.  "I'm sorry... that you can't forget."

"I'm not," Squall argued as he bent down and caressed his tongue at the edge of the black symbols on golden skin.  "If I had forgotten, then I wouldn't know how much you changed for Leander.  For me."

Seifer's hand clutched onto longish hair, his eyes tightly shut at the pleasure coursing through his body.  "You give me too much credit."

"Or not enough," Squall murmured as he trailed further down the body and abused each opening of sliced clothing with either teeth and tongue or with dexterous fingers.  Eventually reaching torn pants, Squall was surprised by the lack of dread he felt while so close to the thick erection straining against a single strap of leather.  He hooked a finger over the dark material and slowly drew the cloth over the sensitized organ, causing a sharp hiss from the tense lord.  His attention focused on the freed penis, Squall was surprised when, after a single lick to the salty flesh, the hand at his hair jerked him aside.

"Don't..." Seifer demanded in a short breath.  "I forced you before... And I can't..."

Prying the hand from his hair, Squall directed a scolding glare at the childish lord, but didn't mock the man's feelings.  For whatever reason, the act of forced fellatio bothered Seifer the most compared to the other happenings from the painful night in their past.  Squall assumed it had something to do with him, a former prince, kneeling before the nobleman and coerced into taking an active role in what Seifer still considered as rape.

Instead of pressing the point that their present relationship had little to do with that single night, Squall used his mouth on the wrist trapped in his hold and slowly moved up the palm with his tongue, eventually reaching rough fingers to demonstrate exactly what the man had just denied himself.  Seifer groaned at the play around his fingers, but proved his stubbornness by mouthing a relieved 'thank you'.  Huffing at the silent words, Squall placed his free hand at the straining erection and stroked with the same rhythm of his mouth on fingers, uncertain what he wanted more: to make Seifer suffer for his idiocy or to bring the man to sharp release in return for the times Seifer had patiently done the same for him.

A sudden hiss of pain, however, surprised Squall and he jerked back his hand from moving lower along the erection and fingering the sac beneath.

"Damn it," Seifer groaned, the curse seemingly directed at himself.

"I didn't know you were hurt down there," Squall commented suspiciously.

Green eyes shifted, the man visibly debating what lies he could get away with before he came to the conclusion that the answer was simple - none.  "I... saw Irvine while I was in town and asked him if there was anything to be done about my... fertility problem."

Squall stared at the blond, disbelief highlighting his voice.  "You didn't..."

"I hate seeing you in pain, physical or mental," Seifer declared with a flash of golden fire in his eyes.  "But I want you, too, and I know that I'm too weak to control my desires.  So, I asked Irvine to do whatever was necessary."  Under his breath, he added, "Soreness for an hour or two, my ass.  Fucking masochistic healer."

Of all the reactions, Squall was bewildered by the knot of desire that twisted in his stomach and made his erection feel heavy and sore, but he didn't fight against that absolute need.  Leaning forward, the sorcerer brushed his lips over Seifer's in a mockery of a kiss and said, "Then it works out for both of us that you're mine tonight."

After a stunned pause, Seifer chuckled and commented, "Why, princeling, I didn't realize that you had it in you."

"You bring out the worse in me," Squall reasoned with another teasing kiss before slipping off the lord's body.  "Roll over and get comfortable."

Grinning with interest, Seifer did as ordered and moved his hands to torn pants with the intention to remove them, but was stopped by a firm hand capturing his wrist.

"Leave it on.  If there aren't already enough openings for my purposes, I'll make more."

Green eyes first widened at the suggestion, but then quickly narrowed in pleasure.  "Whatever you desire, my Prince."

While Seifer found a comfortable position, Squall searched between the headboard and mattress for the oils hidden within easy reach.  Once finding the square bottle that had his favorite oil, the brunet knelt behind the larger man and opened the vial such that the glass grounded noisily, a clear announcement of what was to come for the lord.  Fingers coated in cool oil, Squall leaned over his lover before pushing aside the shredded pieces of leather to reveal the hole beneath.

Something between a hum and hiss sounded from Seifer at the first entrance of fingers.  The tensing of muscles was unavoidable, but Squall made certain to distract the blond by using his free hand on the man's flagging erection and pressing kisses within the random openings along the slashed shirt.  Seifer laughed at being doted upon for his first time, but Squall ignored the suggestion that he deserved to be punished in some fashion.  Shortly after, the unspoken matter was dropped when Seifer jerked at the sharp sensation of fingers against his prostrate and a weak 'oh' of realization sounded.

"Beginning to understand?" Squall questioned while biting lightly at a shoulder blade.

"Hyne, I'm 'beginning' to do more than that, so don't even think about stopping."

Squall hummed in a pledge that they would both find satisfaction that night, but kept silent about his own amount of unexpected appreciation.  He had never considered the minor torture involved with preparing a partner for sex, how his own arousal was left hard and cold while Seifer gradually relaxed to the fingers invading his body.  But with each shaky groan and plea for more, Squall better understood why the blond lord constantly endured and even enjoyed prolonged foreplay.

In time, Squall recognized the soft rocking of hips and the clenching of muscles that were signs enough that Seifer was prepared for more.  Sitting back on his heels, Squall coated his length with the scented oil, purposefully slowing his movements when he noticed Seifer watching him with an awkward bend of his head.  However, the burning gaze of bright green was too much to bear while so aroused and Squall was forced to move out of view and behind the larger man.  Positioning his erection at the slicked open, the brunet braced his other hand at the lord's waist.  Impressed when Seifer didn't instinctively tense up or shy away. Squall pushed inside of his lover.

It was like fire - the heat of flesh around his length, the burn of skin against his hand, and the fever of his own body temperature rising.  Squall could hardly breathe, overwhelmed by the sensation that resembled touching his brand on Seifer, but much stronger and bringing their souls too close for a second time.  Squall paused to reform shaky barriers, needing to protect both himself and Seifer from the taint of old pain.  The smell of smoke then reached the sorcerer, his stormy eyes snapping open to look at Seifer's spread hand.

"Shi-it," Seifer cursed in a low hiss before squeezing his hand tight and smothering the magical fire that wanted to burn.

"Alright there?" Squall asked, his voice wavering with the strain of maintaining the barriers between them.

"Damn... hasn't happened since... joining," the lord panted while also shifting backward, burying Squall further into heat.  "Hyne, is it like this... for you... each time?"

Blue-gray glittered with silver light while the sorcerer considered his answer.  He wanted to say that he didn't know what Seifer was feeling, thus couldn't accurately make a comparison.  He wanted to reason that it had never felt this hot, this much like fire in the past.  He wanted to believe that his excuses and lies were truth.

Instead, he replied hoarsely, "Yes," and drew back from the blond to promptly thrust forward in a hard push.

Once he started, Squall found it increasingly difficult to stop, to even think of stopping as he became drunk on the motions of sex.  The speed of his thrusts didn't increase to the same levels of Seifer's rapid beats, but Squall could understand the man's continued attempts to thrust faster and harder, all in the attempt to get deeper.  The sorcerer bent down and wrapped his arms underneath the body covered with shredded cloth, his hands reaching for, but not touching his brand and claim on the blond.  Shortly after, Squall heard his voice speak out Seifer's name, a broken call for his lover that sounded again and again, much like a newly learned spell that he was trying to commit to memory.

Seifer was the first to find release, the mutter of 'damn coy princeling' barely understandable through the rush of fire and wind that rang in the sorcerer's ears.  With his partner satisfied and slowly sinking to the mattress, Squall felt his bodily restraints falling apart like they always did in the face of Seifer's pleasure.  His orgasm came hard, almost painfully so, and Squall groaned in both release and relief as the heat of fire was quickly replaced by the cooler air of an autumn breeze against his skin.

It took a minute of deep breaths and closed eyes for Squall to regain the energy necessary to pull out from the blond.  His arms shaky as he moved to the side, Squall couldn't hold up against the hand that abruptly grasped at his elbow.  Collapsing to the mattress, Squall rolled onto his side and glared at the energetic lord.

His grin lustful and exhausted, Seifer commented, "You were calling my name."

"... And?"

"You don't usually do that."

Squall huffed lightly, not particularly interested in what was 'usual' during their bouts of sex.

His grin softening, Seifer lifted a hand and brushed aside sweat-dampened strands of hair from Squall's brow.  "So stubborn, my Prince, but I wouldn't expect anything less."

More focused on the man's voice than his words, Squall closed his eyes and savored the touch of rough fingers against his heated skin.  It was a reviving moment to simply lie in peace with the few sounds consisting of breaths from his lover and daughter, the faint breeze echoing within the fireplace, and the brush of skin against skin.  Eventually they would clean up and discard their ruined clothes, but Squall didn't feel any need to hurry matters.

"Squall...?"

The brunet drowsily opened his eyes to direct a mildly annoyed glare at his lover.

Instead of speaking straight away, Seifer studied the sorcerer's face while continuing to play with locks of dark chestnut.  Green eyes were sharp in their gaze, and yet distracted by whatever thought was foremost in his mind.  Squall recognized the expression from what seemed like a lifetime earlier, the same expression from whenever Seifer wanted to stir up the secrets of the past no matter whom it would hurt.

Seifer took a breath, and though his voice almost sounded, the lord abruptly sighed out that breath as his expression changed to one of resignation.  "No, I told myself..."

The sentence left hanging, Squall eyed the blond for the unusual hesitance and abruptly recalled the conversation prior to their other activities in which Seifer had also avoiding speaking his true thoughts.  "Muro-kasre, are you still focused on what Leila said?"  When eyelids twitched in a vague wince, Squall sighed in disbelief, "After what we just did, you are obsessed over some meaningless... words?"

"They are more than words," Seifer replied sharply, his hand grabbing onto thick hair.  "I know the feel of your body reacting to mine and I know the sound of your soul calling for me, but I want to hear your voice.  I want you to admit that..."  Green eyes briefly shifted away from stormy-blue, the only sign of uncertainty from Seifer when he finished, "You love me."

Anger burning in his veins, Squall fisted his hands around shredded leather and jerked their lower bodies together.  "You bastard, is it never enough for you?"

"I was going to wait," Seifer insisted with echoing anger.  "I was going to wait forever if necessary."

Squall scoffed at the idea.  "You aren't patient."

"For you, I am."  At the dubious glance from the brunet, Seifer smiled crookedly and amended, "Well, I try to be patient.  I don't bother for anyone else."

Wanting to be furious, but knowing that he ultimately couldn't last against the determined lord, Squall took a steadying breath and said, "You don't understand... 'Love' doesn't evoke the same type of emotions for me as it does for you."  When green eyes shined with a desire to understand more, Squall explained bitterly, "My father loved my mother like the fool he was, but she still died when giving me life.  My uncle loved his partner and was betrayed for his trust, but he somehow managed to love his daughter and save her life due to that love; she killed him all the same.  And I... After everything that had happened to destroy my life, I impossibly fell in love with a child that grew inside of me, but that love did nothing to feed Leander and help him live.  Love... has failed me too many times."

"Don't say that," Seifer demanded as he massaged his fingers deep into dark hair.  "Love brought you back to Ander and brought you into my life.  Hyne knows that I couldn't have defeated Ultimecia and her pet emperor without you.  More so, love gave Verena life when any other sorcerer would have killed her for simply existing."

"It wasn't my love that saved her," Squall argued softly.

"You can't fool me, princeling.  The moment Vera cries whenever that servant or Ward or even Matron holds her, you wrap your arms across your chest to prevent yourself from stealing her back from the people bringing her misery."

Squall frowned, hazily recalling the times when he would do as the lord described.

His smile soft and alluring, Seifer moved closer such that only a few inches remained between their faces.  "You don't have to say anything tonight.  While I had my assumptions, I didn't realize how deeply you were scarred by something that other people treasure."  A gentle golden light entered Seifer's eyes before he announced, "And I'm sorry, my Prince, but I love you."

Squall's breath to speak was stolen away by a demanding kiss.  It wasn't the hardest kiss they had ever shared, but the fire magic from their previous joining came back to life at the first brush of lips and Squall groaned at his body's response to Seifer.  He hated how easy it was for the man to seduce his body and soul, and when a calloused hand exploited one of the many slices in his pants, Squall felt a pang in his heart along with the other more common throbs and aches whenever Seifer touched him.  The deep hurt reminded him of the sensation of placing icy cold hands into hot water to warm the flesh and improve blood flow.  It ached and burned, but Squall knew that enduring the pain would lead to better things... if he was patient enough and allowed the heat to chase away the ice.

Pulling back far enough to speak, Squall whispered, "How many times would I have to say it for you to be satisfied?"

Seifer chuckled lightly.  "That isn't the point, princeling."

Squall hummed as if agreeing, but was instead focused on the reality that the lord would never be satisfied.  Never... but that knowledge did little to temper his inane desire to try.  "What if... I can only say it once?"

His expression sobering, Seifer moved his hand beneath the brunet's chin in a subtle restraining move that wouldn't allow the sorcerer to look away.  "Then say it slowly."

Squall felt his breath leave him at the request, instinctively realizing what it would mean to speak the words that he had disregarded as meaningless only minutes earlier.  It would be the last link in the chain to bind him forever to Seifer.  Simple words... and so much more.  His words barely sounded, but still reached the one person to whom it mattered:

"I love you, rya soaler'ke, and it terrifies me."

His soft smile returning, Seifer didn't say anything straight away.  Instead, he leaned forward to brush his lips against Squall's, and though it was a gentler press than before, Squall felt the burn in his heart all the same.  Seifer's broad smirk against his lips could be felt when he said, "If you think saying that will make me pity you, then you are very wrong.  Instead, you stupidly informed me that your love for me is greater than your fear of said love."

After a brief clasp of lips initiated by the blond, Squall growled out, "Bastard."  For pointing out the inconvenient.  For making him fall in love with the lord in the first place.

Seifer hummed into another short-lived kiss and remarked, "Nevertheless, you love me."

Deciding that his annoyance would be better placed into actions and not words, Squall shoved at a shoulder to put the larger man on his back, thereby giving the brunet the position necessary to crawl on top of Seifer.  The lord grinned with clear interest as he grabbed and fondled the firm ass covered by torn cloth.  Knowing perfectly well where his actions would lead him, Squall bent down to press his lips against Seifer's in a hard kiss that would inevitably lead to cut lips and the taste of blood. 

For that night, Squall was prepared to live in his love for Seifer and deny nothing to the man who had made everything complicated and confusing.  Tomorrow... Tomorrow was another day.

 

{Owari}

 

Author's Whining -- And there you have it - Squall having his way with Seifer and the stubborn brunet admitting that he loves the bastard.  I hope it's what you expected, Hardleyf, and that you enjoyed your request.