Please, Not Again
August 2006

 

[Squall]

[Present]

Sitting on a worn, but comfortable porch swing such that the midday sun is blocked from my body, I try not to doze while watching three boys at play. Unfortunately it’s a losing battle, but I don't trust that lot, especially with the two eldest checking on me every other minute to see if I've fallen asleep. Not even nine years old and Pyre is far too much like his father, always managing to get his brothers, Vitel and Wynden, excited about random 'good ideas' that typically lead to burnt property, lost eyebrows, and promises of 'we won't do it again, momma'.

Hyne, I should've killed their father while I had a credible excuse during the War.

The screen door squeaks open, Seifer pausing there to watch our kids playing a boy’s version of tag, and when Vitel manages a painful looking tackle as his 'tag' on Pyre, Seifer shakes his head before stepping over to me. He holds out a tall glass of cold lemonade, which I immediately press against my heated face. Grinning as he does far too often as of late, Seifer sits close to me as his hand goes instantly to my swelled stomach.

"Why won't you go inside if you're so warm?"

I spare him a half-hearted glare before closing my eyes. "I don't feel like it."

Seifer chuckles. "Sounds like someone should've taken his nap earlier."

I growl at the condescending tone.

"Squall, you know I love and respect the way you handle yourself in such a delicate condition," he says, smirking at the word 'delicate'. "But you shouldn't push yourself."

"I'm sitting." How annoying to state the obvious.

"When you should be lying down. I know you haven't gotten much sleep recently, so why not treat yourself to a nap while you have the chance?"

"... ..." Because I don't feel like being logical, damn it. I'm barely thirty and shouldn't be this fucking tired.

As if hearing my thoughts, which I'm certainly beginning to wonder, Seifer sighs and takes the glass from my hand to place it on a small table. Before I can think to argue, a strong arm wraps around my shoulders and pulls me close. It takes little effort to get comfortable against Seifer, something that bothers me on a deeper level.

Even so, with the foolish assumption that Seifer will keep watch on the boys, I close my eyes. Just to rest them, of course.


[Nine years seven months ago]

It had started off as an innocent day with no worthless faculty meeting, no new contracts to examine, no urge to puke, and no students sent to my office... Yes, a rather good morning indeed, even if it took me nearly fifteen minutes to pry off Seifer when I first woke. I swear that man was an octopus in a previous life. And the one time I mentioned that to him, he had flashed a weird grin and mentioned something about tentacle sex. Whatever. I don't know why I bother.

Suddenly, my decent morning is ruined when something falls before my eyes and my arms are unexpectedly trapped.

"Whoo, you really are a cowboy, Cowboy."

Ineffectively trying to remove the tightened lasso, I glare back at the grinning duo. Irvine's smile falters at my scowl and he quickly hands the rope to the blond manipulator. With a tilt of his hat in a vague apology, Irvine hurriedly strides off for the nearest exit.

Unconcerned, Seifer gathers up some of the rope before giving it an experimental tug and jerking me off my feet.

"What do you think you're doing?"

The bastard doesn't even wince at my low tone. "The Doc told me about you avoiding her, so I thought to myself, ‘if I'm going to be punished for dragging you to the infirmary no matter how I do it, I might as well have a bit of fun’."

"I’ll go when I'm damn ready.”

"You see, that's the funny thing about a yearly - it happens once a year whether you like it or not. But if you’re good, maybe the doc will let me stick a thermometer up your ass."

Curse the janitors for keeping these floors so damn clean, Seifer having no issues with sliding me down the hallways to the infirmary. Granted, I try to stop him by dragging my feet, but that just lands me on my back when he yanks the rope too hard. I suppose I only have myself to blame for not wearing the belt that holds my pocket knife.

Soon enough, there's the whisper of an opening doorway, Seifer shamelessly pulling me inside the infirmary. Still turned the wrong way, I first hear Dr. Kadowaki when she stands up from behind her desk. Looking back with a hopefully neutral gaze, I watch as Seifer hands the rope to the elder woman.

"No need to be gentle. He doesn't bruise easily," Seifer states congenially.

With a bemused smile, Dr. Kadowaki shakes her head. "It’s always something with you boys. You can go now, Mr. Almasy. This should take some time and I don't need you harassing the patient."

Seifer does a mockery of a salute before heading for the exit.

Well, that’s just fine. We’ll see how much he still likes ropes after I tie him to the bed and deny him a single climax tonight.

The moment the door hisses closed, Dr. Kadowaki lets loose a soft chuckle before helping me to remove the rope. "It's a wonder you two are involved."

“… …?”

"Sorry, dear. One of the questions refers to sexual activities and that boy went into more detail than required for a simple yearly physical. Don't worry, though - patient confidentiality is my religion," she assures with a wink.

A hand pressed against my face, I can only shake my head in a type of response. Seifer and I have been together for four months, not quite a casual relationship, but certainly nothing serious either. Frankly, aside from gunblades, Seifer doesn’t take anything seriously. I still remember over a year ago when he strode into my office, and with his cocky grin in place, the blond ‘suggested’ that forcing him to test for his SeeD rank was ridiculous since I knew he deserved it. While I ultimately agreed, I’ve still made Seifer earn his rank several times over. Working in security under Zell was certainly a lovely blow to that ego of his.

With a loud cough, Dr. Kadowaki interrupts my drifting thoughts. "You might as well take off your jacket, Squall - you'll be here for awhile."

~ > < ~

The door abruptly slides open, the irritating light of the outer room making me wince and roll onto my other side. Unfortunately, hiding my face in an overstuffed pillow does little to block out the glare.

"What do you think you're doing? I thought we had dinner plans. Or is this your conniving way to trick me into bed?"

Sighing, I reluctantly sit up and move such that my legs hang off of the mattress edge. Even so, I can't look up into Seifer's eyes. Hell, I can barely focus on his combat boots without feeling anxious. This isn't supposed to happen.

"Squall?" Too easily, his voice shifts from cocky to forced concern. "What's wrong, baby?"

I shiver at the term, promptly knocking aside the hand that reaches for my face. "I told you to never call me that."

"Right, sorry. Bad habit."

Sure, a bad habit from cheap flings who didn't care what they were called as long as everyone got what they wanted.

"Hey, what's with this attitude you're giving me? Did I do something wrong? It can't be that lasso thing. I mean, it was a joke, Shiva."

I don't know why I'm stalling. If he's going to leave me, I should just end this quickly. I know that, but I want a few more moments, just a little more time when things are how I want them to be.

In a quick move, Seifer puts his hand under my chin and forces me to look directly into his eyes. "I don't like it when people hide things from me, Leonhart."

The firm tone in addition to hard eyes undoes me, forcing words from my dry mouth. "Dr. Kadowaki found something in the examination today. Don't ask me how, but despite every impossibility... I'm pregnant."

Several emotions flicker in clear green eyes, disbelief highlighting them all. "Is this a sick joke in payback or something?"

I manage to shake my head, just barely, and I hope that he noticed the vague movement.

"You’re… Do you realize how fucking insane you sound right now? Pregnant?" Seifer laughs out harshly. "Do you want to be a girl so much that you'd dream this up?"

The anger I should feel at that statement slips from my grasp and I'm left defenseless against his growing anger.

"Shit! Pregnant?! Hyne, Squall, why the fuck do you think I'm mostly interested in guys anyway? They aren't supposed to get pregnant when you bang them into next year." His expression darkens when he adds, "Shoulda known normal is just too fucking good for you."

“… …”

"So what did you want me to do about this, Princess? Slap you in a dress, take you to the nearest chapel, and become ‘daddy’ to whatever… thing you have growing in you? Why don't you just get rid--"

"No," I say with a calmness I don't feel.

Seifer glares at me before turning around. "This isn't in my plans, Squall. You aren't even in my plans. Sorry, but I'm outta here."

And Seifer does just that, not even bothering to grab the few clothes he has here in case of spending the night.

Unable to think or move, I simply sit on the bed and stare at the spot where Seifer had last stood. I knew this is what would happen, that Seifer wouldn’t want yet another burden in his cursed life. That’s why he chose to fuck me in the first place since I never demand anything of him and I’m not the type to force him into a relationship. I was supposed to be an uncomplicated lay and, as he said, I wasn’t supposed to get pregnant.

Why does this shit always happen to me?

After Hyne knows how long, I barely notice the sound of quiet knocking that is eventually followed by careful steps on carpet. The door opens with a slight breeze filled with the scent of wild flowers, the familiar perfume making my eyelids flutter close in exhaustion.

"Squall...?"

The concerned voice makes me realize that I’m no longer alone and I look over to find Rinoa and Selphie standing uncertainly at the doorway. Staring at them while still unable to move or consciously react, I then become aware of tears slipping down my face. There's a quiet gasp before I'm encircled by two sets of arms, their petite bodies creating an unexpectedly welcomed sanctuary.

But too numb for much else, I palm my cheek and stare at the shimmering wetness on calloused skin. So, Shiva’s Lover can cry.


[Present]

"Hey, what's this about?"

Blinking my eyes open, I reflexively close them again when a hand brushes against my cheek. Reopening my eyes, I watch Seifer stupidly kiss away the tear from his finger. Sighing, I push up from the moron who reluctantly lets me go, but still wants an answer.

"Were you thinking about... you know, back then?"

Ignoring him, I focus my attention on Pyre and the way he smiles at his two brothers as they try to catch their elder sibling. Sometimes I feel jealous at the carefree childhood these kids have been allowed.

With a deep breath, Seifer rests his head on my shoulder. "Why don't you hold it against me more often?"

"You came back."

He breathes a laugh. "And look at what that landed you with."

As if on cue, there's a high-pitched call of 'mommy' from within the house. Sighing, I make an effort to stand, but I'm forced to rely on Seifer’s support to escape the porch swing. Loud enough to make certain that our boys can hear me, I inform Seifer that I'll return shortly.

Stepping through the back entrance, I walk (refusing to term it a waddle) the short distance through the kitchen and into the den where Tera had fallen asleep in her playpen. Her nap apparently over, she holds onto the railing and glares at me with tear-reddened eyes of pale blue.

"What's wrong? Thought we left you?"

Her small frown deepens as she nods.

"Sorry, little one, but you’re trapped in this family as much as I am."

I reach into the playpen to help her out, the young girl then clinging onto my shirt to prevent me from placing her onto the ground. Knowing that I won't be able to carry her outside, I take her to the nearest couch and sit with the youngest Almasy and Seifer’s jewel. Tera leans heavily against my side, apparently not as awake as I thought she was. It was probably the surprise of seeing everyone else missing that kept her from going back to sleep.

Reluctantly, I settle into the corner of the couch and watch her rest against me, her small hands clutching onto my stretched shirt in a silent demand to stay. It’s a pity, I didn’t want to sit on this couch – it’s far too comfortable for my own good.


[Nine years three months ago]

I wake up slowly from a light sleep, at first not understanding what could have woken me, but then I get upset with myself for napping in the first place. I'm too young for this crap. With humiliating effort, I get myself upright and to the edge of the mattress, cursing Rinoa for convincing me to lie down. I was only going to humor her for ten minutes and not (I glance to the clock) nearly three hours. That's it. I'm done with being pregnant.

The murmur of yelling filters through the closed door and it’s not the typical playful shouting that I would associate with the immature SeeD soldiers that I happen to list as friends. Moving off the mattress, I walk to the door that was locked at some point. Releasing it, the door slides open to reveal an empty living room, but the yelling is certainly louder. I cross the decently sized living room, one of two quarters in Balamb Garden that has such a luxury.

Unable to understand the now hushed voices coming from the hallway, I open the entrance door to find Selphie and Rinoa with their backs facing me and blocking the open portal. Glancing over their heads, I directly meet the gaze of verdant eyes that shine with a variety of emotions that I'd never seen from the arrogant man. But then, I never expected to see Seifer again, either.

"Squall, what are you doing up?" Rinoa asks, grabbing my arm and pulling me back inside before I can refuse.

I angrily shake off her hold. "What is the meaning of this?"

"Just sit down for a sec, okay?" Rinoa asks with pleading doe eyes that take away my ability to say ‘no’. Reluctantly taking my place on the couch, I glare at her until she speaks. "I know that you don't want to admit it, but you're vulnerable in this condition. And we don’t want Seifer hurting you again."

"That isn't your decision."

"You were crying, Squall. I've never seen you so broken up before. And Selphie... We both know that what you felt for Seifer was something real."

"'Felt'?"

Glaring, Rinoa demands, "How can you still feel anything for that bastard? He deserted you with the reason that you weren’t worth the trouble!”

I shrug and point out, "He’s back."

"That means nothing, Squall! He's just feeling guilty or something conceited like that. He couldn’t care less about everything you've gone through."

"Even so, I need to talk with him, and if I decide to trust him--" I place a finger on full lips when Rinoa tries to interrupt. "If I, as in my choice, decide to trust him, I will let you and the others make the rules."

"Rules?"

"Like when he is allowed back in my bed."

"Never."

The huffed out answer brings a bare smile to my lips. "He means a lot to me, Rin. Even if only as a friend, I'd like to keep him in my life."

Clearly hesitant, Rinoa sighs, "Alright. I'll let him in, but we'll be right outside if he does anything. And no touching allowed, got it?" At my nod, she sighs again. "With all my heart, I know that I shouldn't let him talk to you, but... I hope you know what you want."

As she walks off, I place an arm around my raised midsection, hugging slightly with the wave of uncertainty that still comes with such a statement. In truth, I doubt I have a clue about what I really want. My goals in life went through a sudden shift, starting with the simple desire to keep alive with the help of my gunblade, but that ridiculously changed to bringing a child into this world, a child I will somehow have to raise. I’m a fool to think that I can manage this, but I refuse to end a life that hasn't even begun.

At the reopening of the door, I look up at Seifer's entry. He's certainly tanner than I remember him and his clothing a bit worn from outdoor life. There's something else different about him, perhaps the way he holds himself that makes me straighten and focus on his eyes. He doesn't move far from the doorway, his gaze briefly focused on my obviously pregnant stomach before he meets my gaze.

"They say we get ten minutes before they'll barge in." Seifer doesn't even attempt a smirk, weariness clear in his voice.

"And no touching."

"Fuck, can I at least sit?"

I motion to the couch facing mine, Seifer showing his disappointment that I didn't offer the spot next to me. Setting his duffle bag on the ground, he slumps down onto the cushions with an exhaled breath. After several long minutes during which Seifer probably assumed I'd start making accusations or the like, he meets my eyes once more.

"You know, you're not doing this right. Rinoa and Tilmit told me everything I've done wrong in my life before I could say a single word edgewise, and they have nothing against me like you do."

"Whatever. I'm listening, so don't my waste time."

Seifer sighs in frustration as he looks up at the ceiling and scratches a hand through his short, sun-bleached hair. I know him. He was anticipating a blowout between us during which he could abuse my buried emotions like always, but I won’t allow that this time. If he actually wants something from me, he's going to have to convince me that this is more than a guilty conscience or a matter of so-called knight's honor.

In a near growl, Seifer begins, "I can't be a father, Squall. I'm too young, too much of an asshole, and way too irresponsible. I can't even be a fucking role model, let alone someone to depend on. And this is a life we're talking about. I mean, I shouldn't even be allowed around pet rabbits, and out of nowhere you tell me that a child is a part of my life?" Seifer closes his eyes and breathes deeply. "No, I don't mean that in the sense of blaming you. I sincerely doubt that this was on your to-do list, but... I'm not you, Squall. I can’t handle this."

"Then why are you back?"

"Fuck if I know. I've just been kind of walking around and doing some thinking. I ended up in some town down south and found this..." Seifer reaches into his duffle bag and pulls out a stuffed toy that he tosses to me. "I thought that I should at least come back, but didn't really think further than that."

I turn over the moderately sized stuffed animal and look into the mismatched button eyes of the lion. While mostly tan in color, it has numerous patches of flannel that gives it an older, loved type of feeling. I run fingers through the mane of torn cloth, then noticing a heart-shaped piece of flannel added to the chest of the toy lion.

With a faint smile, I glance up at Seifer and notice that his attention is once again focused on my midsection. And why wouldn't he be curious? It’s not everyday that a man is pregnant, and certainly not with his child.

"It's nice."

Startled, Seifer looks up guiltily. "Uh, yeah. I thought it kinda fit."

"So, what will you do now?"

"I... I don't know, really. Like I said, I didn't think too far ahead."

Of course not, because he was expecting me to make that choice for him. Either 'get out' or 'don't leave me'. But I won't make it that simple for him no matter how much I truly crave his presence.

His eyes not meeting mine, Seifer says, "I really hurt you. And no, I didn't have to hear it from your bodyguards out there. It was simple enough to see that I finally hit somewhere deep this time."

True, Seifer had hurt me worse than ever before, but I have already cried my few tears over it and yelled at the walls for the scene they had witnessed. More importantly, I've had my time to think. In the end, Seifer had only reacted as I imagined, lashing out at me for complicating the life he was rebuilding. While it will always hurt to remember that time, I don't blame the blond. It's pathetic, but I’m relieved that he has returned on his own.

"I was kinda thinking... maybe I could move back around here? I can't be what you need, but I could still help out."

"They'll scold you."

Seifer breathes a weak laugh. "Damned if I do and damned if I don't, but... truthfully, I'm tired of running from my problems. And you deserve better than the shit I threw at you when I left. But I really don't have much to offer you, Squall. Just what you see."

Thumbing the heart patchwork on the toy lion, I smile softly and resist commenting out loud - that's all I ever wanted.


[Present]

There's a quiet 'mommy' and a tug of my shirt before I open my eyes to look down at Tera, the infant certainly more awake than I feel. This dozing isn't working well to refresh me, only making me feel more and more tired, but I can't help my peevish denial that I don't need to lie down.

"Want to go outside?"

Tera nods such that her thin hair rises from the static of the couch. Patting her on the back, I coax her to walk ahead before I attempt and barely succeed at the event that is standing up. A small hand instantly grabs onto my fingers as I lead my daughter to the back entrance. Holding the screen door open for her, Tera smiles widely at the sight of her father, Seifer soon oof-ing in surprise when he gets a lapful of his girl.

"Well, there's my kitten. I thought you were going to sleep the whole day away."

Tera curls against his broad chest, shaking her head slightly. Laughing deeply, Seifer places a hand to her back and leans down to kiss her forehead. Although all of our children get their deserved attention, Tera is Seifer’s planned child, a child he purposefully got me drunk and stupid to conceive. It’s a lucky thing that he loves her so much – there were days I sincerely considered killing Seifer for his betrayal.

Before I step onto the porch, I'm hit by a disorienting wave and forced to lean against the doorframe. A hand to my stomach, I shake my head to try and clear the fuzziness clouding my mind.

"You alright there?"

At the worried tone, I sigh and ask, "Who's on call for today?"

Concern evaporates completely as Seifer smirks. "Fujin is the lucky loser this time around. Want me to call?"

I shake my head. "It's too early to be certain."

"You haven't been wrong since Pyre and that was from lack of experience."

I snort at his ridiculous notion of me being infallible, a defense mechanism of his to assure himself that only someone perfect could ever defeat him in battle. Whatever. Looking up at our three boys, I inwardly groan at the idea of going through yet another birthing process. At least this time will be certainly the last time. No more assumptions, no more mistakes, and no more children.

… Hyne, why does a ridiculous part of me actually feel bad about that last bit?


[Eight years eleven months ago]

Cradling the too small piece of life in my arms, I finally know for a fact that I'm not ready for this. The completely trusting infant rests with barely a move or a sound, simply existing as he lies there. How can this be the most frightening thing that I have ever faced in my life? But then there is that hidden part of me which seems to swell in pride when the not-even-day-old child drools on his blanket. Personally, I think I'm cracking up.

There's a quiet groan from the bed next to me, Seifer sitting up with a hand placed gingerly to the back of his head. Blinking in confusion, he then looks at his hand as if to check for blood. Seeing none, he rubs the sleep from his eyes and yawns widely.

"How do you feel?"

Seifer jumps at the question before looking at me. "Okay, I guess, but shouldn't that be my question to you? Umm, everything went fine, right?"

I chuckle silently. "We're good, despite you passing out halfway through the delivery."

"Fuck, I was hoping that I only imagined I did that." He slides off the mattress and moves to a chair next to my bed. "Wow. Is that really him?"

"No, I stole this one from the nursery to see if anyone would notice.”

"Oh shut up, smart ass. I'm waking up from head trauma here. So, how does it feel?"

I'm tempted to laugh at his anxious shifting. "Would you like to hold him?"

Bright green eyes widened as if I'm granting some rare honor. "Are you certain? I could drop him or something..."

Smiling, I show him the best way to hold the small infant that looks even smaller once held close to his broad chest. Leaning back against the pillows of my raised bed, it's a simple pleasure to watch Seifer hold the life created between us. It’s been four months since his return, and though we aren't as close as I’d like, I prefer being delusional in my belief that Seifer is just taking things slow. It's a nice thought, but I can't be certain that Seifer will ever want more beyond the friendship we are rebuilding. Either way, I'm satisfied knowing the young boy in his arms will have his other father around.

After a quiet knock, Rinoa pokes her head into the private room of the infirmary. I wave her inside, Selphie and Quistis following closely behind. They all glance at Seifer with varying degrees of emotion before settling with smiles as they notice the infant cradled carefully in muscular arms.

"Morning, Squall. How's our gorgeous mother feeling today?"

"I'm not a mother," I remind Selphie, but I can already see that this is a losing battle. The energetic brunette brought up the point months ago that since I'm giving birth, I’m technically a mother. Hyne knows why everyone else thinks it's such a wonderful idea.

"And what about Pyre? Everything check out alright?"

While I nod, Seifer finally looks up with some confusion. "Pyre?"

Both Rinoa and Selphie giggle while Quistis replies, "The name of your son, genius."

"Really? I thought Squall settled on something else. Where did Pyre come from?"

Again the others laugh, leaving the reply to the regal woman. "Several times Squall mentioned that you had better be dead for passing out on him like that. He then became rather fixated on placing you on a pyre and setting you ablaze. It charmed us to the idea of Pyre."

Seifer gulps quietly, easily imagining my fury if I had bothered to use such details about his death. Just wait until he learns about my graphic descriptions concerning where I wanted to place most of the kindling.

“Oh, lookie, Squall’s smiling!”


[Present]

A small, but clearly felt twinge of pain makes me open my eyes and sigh in resignation.

There's a deep chuckle from Seifer as he stands with Tera in his arms. "Alright, brats. Time to get your overnight bags and one toy that you can't live without for the next couple days."

Pyre scowls at his ruined playtime. "Now?"

"What do you think, kid?"

After a dramatic sigh, the eldest walks unhappily to the house and stomps on the wooden porch steps. Following his lead, the younger boys stomp as well, but fail to hide their grins at the mocking game.

"As for you," Seifer starts with a warning finger pointed in my direction, "You will only be allowed to call Fu. If you pick up anything heavier than a phone, I'll let you go through this without your beat toy."

"You say that like you have a choice."

Seifer smirks, offering me a hand to aid me in standing. Really, for as much effort as it takes, one should think that I’d learn to never sit down during the last month of pregnancy. While Seifer jogs upstairs to grab Tera’s things, I don't have to walk far to use the vid phone. Pressing a speed dial button, my call is promptly answered and a tattooed face pops up onto the screen.

“<Yo, what's-- Hey, Squall! What are you calling for?>”

"We're heading to Esthar. Ready to handle Seifer's children?"

Zell grins broadly. “<Bring them on! Natsumi will put those boys in line.>”

Unable to resist a small smile, I think about the time the young girl managed to bully both Pyre and Vitel into playing house with her. If anyone can handle these boys, it’s that platinum-haired girl, and she's barely older than Vitel.

"We'll be there in less than an hour."

“<Hear ya, man. I'll let Fu know. And don’t let Seifer give you any shit.>”

Just as I hang up, a snort sounds from behind me. "I'd like to see him say that to my face, damn punk. He hasn’t a clue about the amount of crap that I have to deal with."

"Says the man hiding behind a child."

Smiling widely, Seifer hefts the infant held at his side. "I haven't a clue what you're talking about. Anyhow, I think our precious mommy needs to get comfortable in the Raven, don’t you agree, kitten?"

Tera nods vaguely, always taking her father's side no matter the issue. In a pathetic attempt to keep my ego intact, I like to reassure myself that she rarely understands the questions her father asks her.

And with the fight in me being cut off by an unexpected, forceful stab of pain, I decide that getting into the small aircraft would be a decent plan after all. But as I turn and step in the direction of the door, a heavy hand steals the chance to slap my ass. Hyne in Heaven, why did I ever think that being with this man was a good idea?


[Seven years nine months ago]

The door slides open before me with an irritating hiss, a sound unique to the infirmary door that will always set me on edge. With a step inside, I let the door close behind me as I glance around the room brightened by open windows. It’s unusual to not find Dr. Kadowaki at her desk or in the main room, but when a loud crash of metal sounds from further back, I easily guess the reason for her absence.

Releasing an exhaled breath that causes my long bangs to sway, I take my first step toward the private examination room.

“Calm down, Mr. Almasy,” Dr. Kadowaki insists from beyond the doorway, but is apparently ignored when there are continued sounds of struggling and property damage. “You need to sit down before you hurt yourself further!”

It’s at that moment when I open the door, an ill-conceived act on my part as I barely avoid the flight of a thrown syringe.

“Squall! Are you all right?” Dr. Kadowaki calls out as she steps in my direction, but I motion her to stay back.

I feel cold at the sight in front of me - the battle beaten Seifer backed into a corner by a pair of idiot SeeD students. With one wrist bound to an overturned bed and his other arm free, but badly bleeding, Seifer brandishes a broken potion bottle in a wordless sign for the two boys to back away or be cut. The young students, most likely volunteer orderlies, seem conflicted by their choices – Seifer is obviously injured and in no shape to fight, but even so, he’s still the Sorceress’ Knight and a man to be feared.

“Who tried to bind him to the bed?”

With a quiet sigh, Dr. Kadowaki looks to Seifer while answering my question. “It’s my fault. I asked them to make certain that he didn’t try to leave before I could treat his injuries. They must have found the straps I have on hand for prisoners.”

I nod once, a silent sign to the good doctor that I will address this later. Leaving the door open behind me, I step to the closer of the two students and shove him in the direction of the other oblivious teen. They both yell out in surprise, and then offer me a warning that ‘he’s insane’. Morons. Noting how the broken bottle is lowered as I approached, I step directly to the bed and release the straps from Seifer’s left wrist.

All this time and no words have come from the typically boisterous blond. It would have probably disturbed anyone else in our group, but I’m the one who knows about the life of the Sorceress’ Knight directly after the war. In particular, he once described to me about the time he was bound, tortured, and left to die in a prison south of Esthar. If it weren’t for his loyal posse, this man wouldn’t be here today.

His hand freed, Seifer immediately grabs my wrist and says hoarsely, “I can’t stay here.”

Before I can reply, Dr. Kadowaki argues, “He just got back from that disaster in Trabia. I agreed to his request to treat his squad first, but I won’t allow him to leave this infirmary.”

“I can tend to his injuries,” I offer.

“No, you can’t. Dragon fire was involved, which means cure spells are useless. And in any case, I haven’t had the chance to fully examine him!”

“Squall… please.”

And with that whispered plea, I find myself placing his arm around my shoulders and supporting the larger man as we make our way to the exit.

Dr. Kadowaki huffs at our complete disregard for her profession. “Very well, but at least wait until I can make a treatment kit for you.”

And so, with a heavy bag slung over one shoulder and Seifer hanging on the other, it’s a painful and silent trip to my quarters. During his act in the infirmary, Seifer had been hiding a bad leg injury, something that forces me to practically carry the large man. It doesn’t help that his arms are burnt from guarding his face from dragons, but without vocal complaint, Seifer endures my tight hold on his wrist.

I sigh in sync with the hissed opening of my door, relieved to have made it without much trouble, but I know that only half of the battle has been won.

“Squall?” a female voice calls from inside.

Seifer stiffens as his arm around my neck constricts in a silent sign that he doesn’t want to leave. As if I would let him leave in his current state.

Rinoa appears from the tiny kitchen, her light step instantly slowing when she focuses on the bloody soldier. “Heavens, Seifer, why aren’t you in the infirmary?”

“Tried that already. Not going back,” he growls.

Before Rinoa has the chance to argue, I tell her, “Dr. Kadowaki gave me the potions needed to treat him. He’ll stay here while he’s healing.”

The dark-eyed woman frowns at my words, Rinoa never forgiving me for allowing this ‘deserting bastard’ back into my life. But I see the change in her every day, a subtle warmth toward the ex-knight who has stayed by my side ever since his return over a year ago. Anymore, her show of displeasure is a reflexive response and not a true emotion.

Eyeing the battle worn man one last time, Rinoa sighs. “I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised – the both of you are hopeless when it comes to the infirmary. Well, Pyre just fell asleep, so he shouldn’t be a bother for the next few hours. Call if you need anything,” she says while walking for the exit behind us, but first places a hand on my shoulder. “By the way, Squall, you have my permission.”

With undoubtedly wide eyes, I stare in response.

Rinoa smiles softly at my expression. “Let’s just say that saw something I couldn’t ignore when you left to retrieve our idiot here. It’s pointless to try and prevent the inevitable.” And with a kiss to my cheek, she leaves.

“What was that about?” Seifer asks.

I shrug as my reply, not wanting to divulge the information that I’ve avoided sex with him because Rinoa had yet to give me her permission. It was the worse pledge I have ever made to Rinoa and I don’t need this asshole reminding me of that.

Adjusting my hold, I begin moving in the direction of the bathroom, but Seifer resists that path as he pulls to the left.

“Do you want to be healed or not?” I ask a little angrily, tired of lugging this dead weight around.

“Give me a break, Leonhart. I’ve been gone almost three weeks – can’t I see my kid first?”

For stunned moment, I stare up into warm green eyes. Of course I know that Seifer loves his son, but it’s something more for him to ask to see Pyre. Something real.

Standing at the crib, Seifer gazes down at the child clinging desperately onto the tail of his stuffed lion. “Dammit, the little brat grew while I was gone.”

“What, he was supposed to wait for you?”

Seifer scowls at the question before promptly asking, “What else has changed? Can he walk by himself yet?”

“He covers about seven feet before falling.”

“Fuck, I wanted to be here for that. I shouldn’t have left.”

“And your squad would’ve died without you there.”

Green eyes narrow at that statement, the man not pleased, but not arguing either. “Do you think he’ll recognize me?”

I scoff quietly. “He’ll know who ‘Daddy’ is just fine, but only if you’re still alive when he wakes.”

At that reminder, Seifer glances down at his burnt and cut body. “Hn, decent point.”

Once able to drag the frustrating man away from the crib, I help him remove his torn clothing and direct him into the cramped shower where I clean his wounds. That task quickly finished, Seifer stands quietly with one hand on the shower head and his other on the door as I apply various healing potions to his injuries. His arms and back are the worse areas, so by the time I manage to go lower along his toned body, I discover an interesting sight.

“You’re an injured mess,” I decide to point out.

With a sneering growl, Seifer counters, “You’re being gentle… You’re never fucking gentle.”

I smile at his frustration, enjoying the secret that I don’t have to deny him anything tonight. But with good intentions foremost in my mind, I lower to my knees and place a thick cream on his thigh that bears a bite from a large and poisonous reptile of some origin. Really, it’s a wonder that this man is still standing.

The worse of his injuries treated and his body dried of water, I silently offer my assistance to the blond knight. Accepting the aid given his weakened thigh muscle, Seifer shamelessly drapes his naked body against my side and casually nips at my earlobe. And he calls me a tease. But despite that distraction, I manage to help the larger man into my small bedroom.

Hopping the last few feet by his own power, Seifer drops onto the bed. “Hyne, I didn’t think I’d make it.”

I frown at the offhanded nature of his comment, something I know to be near truth after hearing the preliminary reports concerning the mission in Trabia.

“Hey, are you staying?”

I look up at the question and focus onto hopeful green. Somber thoughts are pushed aside as I nod, my reply making Seifer grin like a fool as he stretches out his long body. Amused by the move, I smirk while slowly removing my shirt stained with his blood and filth. Seifer’s smile widens at the show of skin, but that expression fades into something more cautious when I unzip my pants. For far too many months, I haven’t been fully naked in front of Seifer for the sake of resisting temptation. He never really questioned that barrier between us, something he probably decided that he deserved after leaving me vulnerable. Idiot, as if I actually wanted the life of a monk.

My pants and briefs discarded, I step to the bedside and crawl onto the mattress such that I straddle the larger man. With my hands placed onto his shoulders, I bend down to lay claim on pale lips parted in an unasked question. His taste is unusually bitter from the numerous potions he had taken to keep himself alive, an unwelcome thought that makes me kiss the moronic knight even harder to show my frustration.

Seifer finally responds to that biting kissing, a low groan rumbling from his chest as he presses up against my body. Strong hands settle on my waist and ass, securing me in place as he rubs his thickened arousal against my own. It’s a teasing, wholly unsatisfying touch, but the feel of his cock after so long makes me hum longingly into our kiss.

Abruptly, those hands leave their positions and move to my shoulders for the ridiculous purpose of breaking our kiss. Our breaths matching in a fast rhythm, neither of us can speak for a long moment as I glare down at the blond.

Breathily, Seifer asks, “Are you sure we should do this? I mean, what if…”

Catching his unspoken words, I assure him, “Dr. Kadowaki performed every test she knows and couldn’t find anything… ‘special’ about me. Her best guess at this point is that it’s something related to the GFs. And right now, I’m not junctioned.”

Seifer gazes into my eyes, a smirk not far behind. “I’m not junctioned either.”

“Then stop talking,” I say as I knock aside one of the hands that had been restraining me. I go directly for his neck, specifically to the area just beneath his choker which I bite mercilessly.

Seifer groans out a few choice curses before he pulls together enough sense to retaliate. A massaging hand encircles the back of my throat in a hold that could potentially take my life if Seifer desired it and I don’t resist. Pleased by my relaxed state of trust, Seifer purrs out a groan as he trails his calloused fingertips along the length of my spine. I can’t help shifting when his hand cups a cheek of my ass, his thumb in the perfect position to be useful to me, but the bastard doesn’t do a damned thing.

“Lube?” he questions amusedly.

“Nightstand.”

Seifer leans back, his expression one of childish disbelief. “There isn’t any lube there.”

I glare at him. “You’ve been looking through my drawers?”

“Hey, you don’t say shit, so I’ve been looking for signs that you were ready for sex again.”

Unfortunately, I can understand his point. “Did you look in the eyeglass case?”

“… You were hiding it?”

I shrug. “It’s your fault for not realizing that I don’t wear glasses.”

A baritone laugh leaves Seifer, a full sound that makes my chest ache at the unexpected elation I had caused him. Not wanting him to find anything in my expression, I reach for the nightstand and retrieve the tube of lubricant. Our eyes reconnecting, he grins boldly at me and takes the lube from my hand.

I don’t give Seifer much of a chance to prepare me, too many months of abstinence making it hard to control the desires of my body. In a silent promise of what’s to come, I squeeze on his inserted fingers before pulling away his hand. Green eyes gaze up at me with a hungry gleam, and when he licks his lips in anticipation, I nearly groan from that sight alone. Lifting up on my knees, I reach back and caress the strained erection beneath me, spreading the pre-cum over the tender head. Humming in pleasure, Seifer places his large hands at my hips, his short nails biting into my skin.

Once positioned correctly, I lower steadily onto the awaiting cock, the sting of pain and pleasure drawing a keening moan from my lips. I pause when I’m seated fully onto the blond, wanting the spare moment to adjust to the invading warmth. But I don’t need long, and as if sensing my readiness, Seifer helps me to lift back onto my knees to allow me a long, hard drop.

Years of sparring have given Seifer and me a special rhythm, one of predicting and reacting to the motions of the other person. It’s the same with sex, both of us starting with slow and hard moves at the beginning of the battle, testing each other’s limits before leading into the faster and riskier strikes. Thusly, I’m forced to press a hand against his toned stomach, clawing into the scarred and sweaty skin for a semblance of purchase to aid in the rapid pace we had set for each other.

We lock gazes moments before the end, neither wanting to surrender first, but we both know that someone has to lose. It’s an unfair play, but I can’t maintain this pace forever, so I move my hand from his stomach and place it at my chest. Briefly toying with a nipple to make certain I have Seifer’s attention, I run my spread fingers down my body and slip my hand over my cock. Green eyes narrow in silent anger of impending defeat, and with the first hard jerk of my dick, Seifer arcs up in a mistimed thrust of his final climax. My pleased smirk doesn’t last long as I submit to my own orgasm, losing sense of place and time as I focus on that forgotten ecstasy.

Exhausted beyond words, it’s a clumsy endeavor when I remove myself from the softened cock and fall onto the mattress at Seifer’s side. He grumbles at his loss and promptly entraps me against his sweaty body in punishment. It should be uncomfortable, but after weeks without this man, I’ll take him as I can get him.

Seifer seems to be of a similar mindset as he nuzzles his nose into my messed hair. “So, is this what Heartilly meant by giving you permission?”

It was stupid to think that I could hide this from him. “One wrong word and you’ll lose something important.”

Seifer chuckles, not threatened in the least.


[Present]

Ready to kill, I’m wheeled into my private room while holding my arms tight across my chest. The fucking nurse had demanded that I couldn’t set my hands on the armrests of the wheelchair since, apparently, destroying three wheelchairs in the past several years is my limit. I want to see that in writing.

Seifer helps me onto the bed, his eyes serious and his voice silent. Bastard, he can talk all he wants before this moment, but he never did like seeing me in a hospital bed.

My other hand is taken into a warm hold, the feel of soft skin something that will always be foreign to me. Looking to my side, I smile weakly at Laguna Loire, my father as of six years ago. It doesn’t matter that he is my biological father – he didn’t earn my love until well after the first time Vitel stumbled toward his ‘grampy’.

“Need anything, son?”

I shake my head, moments before a contraction crashes over me. I barely keep in mind who is at which side of me, and when I hear Seifer yelping in pain, I smile with the pleasure of knowing that I’m hurting the right man.

The moment I release that pressure, Seifer breathes a quiet, “Sadistic.”

“It’s not sadistic until I grab onto your dick for doing this to me.”

“Hey, it’s not my fault! How was I supposed to know that using ‘Curaga’ a month after the procedure could reverse it?”

“That’s why you should’ve listened to your fucking doctor about no healing spells,” I growl out, and then demand, “I want you checked. Now.”

“I was checked a month ago, Squall. It’s official – I’m no longer a man.”

“I want you checked again,” I complain as another contraction comes. Fuck, I’m not ready for another Almasy spawn to be born. It’s too soon. And what’s worse, it’s a girl this time. Please Hyne, I’m not ready for this.

A warm press against my fingers makes me look to my father, the older man kissing my knuckles with a smile to his lips. “Everything will be just fine, Squall. You will love this one with the same heart you have for the other children.”

And just like that, Laguna takes away my momentary fear with hardly any effort. It shouldn’t be a surprise, really, since I had hidden away in Esthar for several weeks when Seifer tricked me into my fourth pregnancy. Laguna was there for me, a startling source of support and intelligence when I needed it the most. I never guessed that he had it in him.

When an irritating hand ruffles my hair, I return my attention to the ex-knight.

Seifer grins beautifully when he says, “I’ll bet she has your eyes.”

… Fuck, I hate it when I love this man.


[Seven years seven months ago]

Cold and uncomfortable, I sit on the edge of the examination table as I wait for Dr. Kadowaki’s return. Really, there has to be something better to wear than a piece of oversized paper during this kind of test. Distracted by that thought and the reason for this visit, it takes me a moment to realize that someone was yelling from the entrance of the infirmary.

Squall?! Squall, are you here?!”

With a hand to my face and a grumbled complaint that this can’t be happening, I call out, “I’m here, you imbecile.”

The door slams open to reveal Seifer in a clear state of panic with our young son held tightly to his chest. Green eyes go wide at the sight of me in the flimsy hospital gown, and though I feel like punching him for that expression, my anger turns to concern when I look at the whimpering child in his hold.

“Is something wrong with Pyre?”

Seifer blinks at the question, his eyes then narrowing in sudden anger. “Why are you asking about Pyre when you’re the one in the infirmary!?”

Not liking the violent emotions around him, Pyre cries out with a flow of fat tears. I sigh at the pitiful sight and motion for Seifer to give me the child. He hesitates, but gives in when I mouth ‘now’ to him. Pyre instantly quiets once in my arms, but focuses blue-green eyes on me as if to ask, ‘what’s wrong with Daddy?’.

“Squall,” Seifer begins in a far quieter voice. “Why are you here? Selphie told me that she saw you come here… willingly, no less, so it has to be something serious.”

“It may be nothing.”

Nothing? Does this have anything to do with your sudden trips to the bathroom?”

I smile at the inquiry, knowing that if he was anyone else, he would have just answered his own question.

Before Seifer can bombard me with more questions, Dr. Kadowaki enters the room and promptly scowls at the blond soldier. “Next time, Mr. Almasy, please try to remember that this is the infirmary, not the training center.”

Undaunted, Seifer demands, “What’s wrong with him?”

Dr. Kadowaki looks to me in surprise. “He doesn’t know?”

“He’s an idiot,” I counter as I hand Pyre to his confused and offended father. “Can we get this over with?”

The doctor looks over to Seifer, but given the fact that I haven’t driven him outside, she smiles at this being my way of announcing the news. Offering me a sheet to cover sensitive regions, she folds the gown such that my stomach is completely exposed. I flinch at the first spread of cold gel, but settle when the wand of the sonogram is pressed against my skin.

Seifer remains surprisingly silent, perhaps appeased by the idea that he’ll get his answer in time. He focuses on the monitor with an angry intensity that makes me smirk before I turn to look at the same image and silently ask Hyne, ‘please, not again’. But unfortunately, my plea has come too late as I easily spot what I don’t want to see.

“There’s our peanut,” Dr. Kadowaki says fondly.

“What is that? A tumor?” Seifer asks, uncertain given the doctor’s reaction.

I just smile as Dr. Kadowaki turns on the sound feature, rapid beats of life easily heard in the quiet of the examination room. Despite the coming months of pure torture, I think I’ll always savor this sound of tiny heartbeats.

“That’s… Oh Hyne,” Seifer chokes out, and before I realize it, the large man drops to his knees.

The wand dropped, Dr. Kadowaki rushes around the table to take Pyre from his father’s dangerously loose hold. She shushes away the beginning of a fearful cry from the child, and with a nod to me, she leaves the room to give us privacy.

“… It wasn’t supposed to be… there,” Seifer mutters out.

“So we all thought,” I state with an exhausted sigh. Sitting up on the table, I grab a towel and wipe away the gel from my exposed stomach.

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

I hesitate and look away from the stunned man. “Isn’t that obvious?”

It’s silent for a long minute such that I feel my calm exterior slowly dissolving into nothing. I almost wish that Seifer would just get up and leave if he was going to do it, just as long as he allowed me this moment of dignity. The last thing I want him to see are my unwanted tears.

The sound of Seifer standing from the ground has me tensing. A heated hand caresses my cheek, and though I try to focus on his chest, Seifer gently encourages me look directly into his gaze. Hyne, I’ve only seen that loving glow to his eyes once before, when Pyre first asked for ‘Daddy’.

“I’m not going anywhere, not if you want me to stay.”

I close my eyes briefly, absorbing the implied vow of the former knight. “I don’t want you to go.”

Seifer flashes a brilliant smile before enfolding me into a dangerously strong embrace. “I’ll treat you right, Squall. You won’t be alone again.”

I place a hand at his back, accepting his pledge, and yet, I can feel the tingling sensation of dread at the base of my neck. While I’d like to attribute it to the pregnancy alone, I have the horrid feeling that there are worse things to come. And when a drifting hand squeezes my exposed ass, I’m certain that all of my troubles will stem from this senseless act of letting Seifer be a constant part of my life.


[Present]

With no cries for ‘mommy’ and no sounds of chaos, I wake leisurely for the first time in months to discover that I’m not home, but in a darkened hospital room. It doesn’t take long before I remember the torturous hours of labor that led to my well deserved sleep. Looking to the side, I focus on the man resting with his head on my pillow and his bandaged fingers entwined with mine.

Savoring the momentary peace, I think about our impossible family. Pyre, born from complete ignorance and without warning. Vitel, born from the stupid assumption that I couldn’t be different. Wynden, born seven months after we discovered that condoms were only 98% effective and, as always, I fitted into the damned minority of that equation. Tera, born from her father’s tenacity and many, many glasses of wine. And now, Lana, born after her idiot father used a ‘Curaga’ spell too soon after his first vasectomy. Overall, it was a mess of improbabilities that could be labeled as terrible luck on my part, and yet…

With a flutter of golden lashes, Seifer wakes slowly. “Hey… You feeling okay?”

“Hn.”

“Good,” he murmurs with a lopsided grin.

“You realize that I’ll have to castrate you if I get pregnant again.”

“Nh, that’s why I got myself checked while you were asleep. I’m 100% sterile, so if you get pregnant, we have other problems.”

I smile softly at his words, amused that he actually had the examination done. “How’s Lana?”

“Absolutely perfect.”

“You’re biased.”

Seifer hums in partial agreement as he glances at our joined hands. “It’s amazing, y’know, that very first time I hold one of our kids. I’m going to miss it.”

“Then you have the baby next time.”

The blond laughs lazily as he renews our eye contact. “Squall…” He doesn’t say anything else, all of his words stated clearly in his open expression of want, desire, and love.

“I know,” I whisper in reply, keeping to the silent agreement of orphans to never speak the words of those people who had left us behind.

Seifer smirks smugly at my acceptance of his wordless love, and with another squeeze of my hand, he closes his eyes. “It’s quiet here.”

Though he can’t see it, I nod in agreement of his assessment. “We should sleep.”

Given his pathetic hum, I know Seifer is already halfway asleep, leaving me behind like always.

With no one to see, I smile while gazing at Seifer, enamored by his golden hair stuck in all directions. Anymore, it’s hard to remember a time when Seifer wasn’t directly by my side. And though he has caused me the most anguish in my short life, I have to admit that he has also given me the most reasons to live. It’s sad to imagine that I owe him that much. But oddly, my smile doesn’t disappear at the thought of spending the rest of my life to make that up to him.

“You’ve ruined me,” I whisper to the sleeping knight, and when no reply comes, I close my eyes with the intent to sleep. Hyne knows when I’ll get this chance again.

 

{Owari}

 

Author's Whining -- This was the FF8 fic I submitted to the Yaoi Con Anthology and, unsurprisingly, it wasn't accepted.  What can I say - I wanted to see if they would actually take on an mpreg.  They mentioned to me that they got an influx of FF7 stories this year, but I know that isn't the main reason for being rejected.  Once again, I tried to jam too much into a short story and that never works.  Ah, well.  That's my fault for taking a chapter of a story I stopped working on and changed it into a short story when it was meant to be a multi-chapter fic.  Anywho, the idea behind this one came from a conversation Miss D and I had about how times Seifer could get Squall pregnant without being murdered first.  I couldn't help myself from trying the story. *laugh*