Author's Note -- Another case of me dabbling in songfics where instead of just showing the lyrics within the story, I'm using the lyrics as dialogue, etc.  This time I'm using the words from 'I Write Sins Not Tragedies' by Panic at the Disco.  I am not going to be quoting the song exactly as I go along.

 

Poise and Rationality
May 2006

 

[Squall]

Well, imagine...

It's the day that everyone has been waiting to witness for months.  In fact, it's been almost a full year since that fateful night when my friends had decided that I needed to be with Rinoa.  Somehow I missed that particular meeting, but whatever.  I think they were right, that I have always needed someone in my life to remind me that there's a whole world beyond the walls I've created in my mind.

Rinoa has done that for me.

... or so I've been told.

With a long sigh, I gaze into the large mirror of the dressing room and adjust my tie one last time before coming to the conclusion that it isn't the silver silk that is making it hard to breathe.  I run a hand back through my hair, hating the tug of the tuxedo that feels too tight around my shoulders.  I wish I could have worn my formal SeeDs uniform, something that I could at least move in, but Rinoa had immediately vetoed that request, stating that it was a reminder of death that would ruin her wedding day.  Funny, I thought I was the killer and not my uniform, but I learned a long time ago that I could never win in an argument against Rinoa.

Deciding to work off my anxiety, I leave the dressing room with the idea to get some fresh air.  But one step pass the door and I encounter a wall... a very warm and musky wall.

"Holy shit, don't scare me like that," the wall complains, jumping back to give me a better view of the tall, green-eyed man.

"Seifer..." I say in quiet surprise.  "What are you doing here?"

The large man winces at the question and runs a hand through hastily gelled hair, a few soft strands falling free of the constraining gook.  "Um, well, it's your wedding and all... and fuck, I couldn't pass up the chance to witness the proof that you're straighter than you look," Seifer finishes with a pathetic smirk.

It's sad to see this sign of lost love, and yet I somewhat envy this arrogant man and his 'romantic dreams'.  "Listen, if I had known that you still cared for her--"

"Shit, I don't want to hear that crap from you," Seifer says while avoiding my eyes.  "If you want to dump your guilty conscious on someone, go to the confessional down the hall or something."

"I asked you to be my best man."

My statement hangs in the air for a long time as Seifer closes his eyes in a painful squeeze.  It reminds me of that day almost two months past when I had stupidly asked that damning question.  He didn't say anything back then except a hoarse refusal, and when Seifer turned his back on me and left, he didn't return for well over a week.  Oddly, the thing that hurt me the most was that he had gained another scar during that time, a deep one at the outside corner of his left eye.  I'm the only one who should be allowed to mark his face like that.

Clearing his throat, Seifer regains my attention from deeper thoughts.  He grins at me, a common expression of his whenever he pulls me out from my inner world.  "Don't worry your pretty little head about it, princess.  And hey, I heard that Dincht put on quite the show for you last night.  He's done you right as a best man, and that is what's important.  Though, if I were you, I would check with him before the ceremony to make certain that he didn't lose the rings."

"... I'll do that."

Green eyes briefly regain that dangerous fire of his as he leans and tells me, "You look good, Leonhart."

And then, like so many times before, I watch Seifer walk away.

Left alone, I'm reminded of the pain in my chest, a deep pressure that makes it hard to breathe.  Knowing that going outside would only lead to a lecture from our wedding planner, I decide to find a quiet space where I can think.  Seifer's suggestion of a confessional comes to mind, and with that, I remember the smaller chapel area that was the original building of the church.  Expanded over the years, the newer and far larger area was exactly what Rinoa wanted for our wedding.  To this day, I haven't a clue how she met the nearly three hundred people who are attending this 'blessed event'.

Once entering the small chapel, I take a moment to examine the few gorgeous pictures of stained glass that stretch from floor to ceiling.  But that moment of awe disappears when I find myself pacing the pews in the church corridor and playing with the cufflinks my father had given me.  God, I'm renowned for being Shiva's Lover - why do I feel like I just junctioned with Ifrit?

After about ten minutes, I come to the decision that doing laps within a chapel wasn't helping much.  I leave the small area and begin walking back to the dressing rooms where, hopefully, Zell and Irvine are getting ready for their roles.  It's quiet in the hallway, even my footsteps muted against an old rug, and I can't help but to hear an exchanging of words:

"What a beautiful wedding!" a cheery voice echoes from a side room, the reception hall if I remember correctly.

Glancing through the cracked opening of double doors, I notice Selphie leaning against the half-stocked buffet table with a red-haired man to her side.  I have to give the petite brunette the credit she deserves - few women would dare to attempt flirting while dressed in a bright lime green bridesmaid outfit.  Even the man in the serving uniform doesn't seem to be able to face Selphie directly for fear of blinding himself.

"There are white roses everywhere in the main hall, and these cute blue butterflies are going to be released when they seal their marriage with a kiss.  Truly, what a beautiful wedding!" says the bridesmaid to the waiter, her smile cute and flirty.  "And yes, but what a shame," she adds in a gossiping whisper, "What a shame that the groom's bride is a whore."

If I were another man, I'd chime in with a "Haven't you people ever heard of closing a goddamn door?!"  But no, it's much better to face these kinds of things with a sense of poise and rationality.  At least, that's what I like to tell myself.

With a surprisingly steady hand, I push open the door to reveal myself to the pair inside.  Selphie gasps at the sight of me, her large green eyes wider than I have ever seen them.  Meanwhile, her man of interest takes on an amusedly panicked look as he slips a foot back in automatic retreat.

"I'm the idiot groom," I say, not particularly caring if I relieve the waiter's worries that I'm not a jealous boyfriend out to kill.  No, it's my way of telling Selphie that I had heard her comment and I expect some answers.

With a pained look, the brunette pushes up from the table and hurries in front of me.  "Squall, I'm so sorry--"

"Don't apologize.  Just explain."

Selphie pouts lightly, but not from my coldness in tone.  No, she may be good, but I still see the hint of moisture to her eyes.  "It's my fault.  I just wanted you to be happy and smile for once in your life, but instead, I ruined everything."  Full lips forcing a smile, she places a hand at my chest.  "You're such a good soldier, Squall.  So brave, so noble, and so obedient.  There isn't a single mission you would leave unfinished.  And that's how you see Rinoa, isn't it?"

I glare at the woman, not certain where she is going with this.

"Why are you marrying her today, Squall?  Do you really love her and want her in your life?"

"Of course," I reply quietly.  "This is how it's supposed to be."

Selphie smiles sadly.  "And that's the problem.  No matter how many times Rinoa can talk of destiny, this isn't how it's supposed to be.  It can't be this way no matter what the rest of us hoped for you."

"I don't understand..."

The flustered woman sighs out a breath before gazing directly into my eyes.  "Rinoa survives on emotion, and you don't have any emotion to offer her.  Even if you marry her, she'll always look elsewhere for what she needs."

I can only stare for a time, at first more surprised by Selphie's blunt reply instead of the message, but then the words seep through my defenses and hits hard.  I want to argue, to say that I do have emotions like any other person.  The only difference is that I don't see the reason in burdening others with my darker feelings and thoughts.  What is wrong with that?  And more importantly, if I didn't have emotions, would I have this burning pain to my chest and head?

But in the end, I say nothing.  I turn and walk away with the need to see Rinoa, to ask her what is the truth and how can I make things right.  The distance to the other side of the church feels too long, my thoughts repeating in an endless loop of the times Rinoa and I have spent together.  I can't remember a moment when she seemed anything but my girlfriend and fiancée.  Kind smiles, soft touches, encouraging words... never a glimmer of deceit or disloyalty to my blind eyes.

"I love you."

The hoarse confession makes me stop in place, the male voice too familiar to ignore.

A soft sigh sounds in response, a frustrated sigh that I know all too well.  "We shouldn't be doing this.  Not here, not now."

And yet, despite the words, another deep breath reaches my ears along with the loud rustle of clothes.

Finally noticing a doorway that wasn't closed fully, I shake my head in momentary denial.  But the quiet hum of approval shatters any remaining hope I may have held.  Perhaps if I were truly a man of emotions, I'd chime in with a "Haven't you people ever heard of closing the goddamn door?!"  But no, it's much better to face these kinds of things with a sense of...

Pushing back the desire to grab my gunblade first, I approach the door and easily swing it open with a mere push of fingertips.  Seated on the old vanity of the bride's dressing room, Rinoa arches back against the large mirror to allow more of the hard kisses from the man pressed against her, a betraying man who was stroking a gartered leg beneath the heavy material of the wedding dress.  The sight of loose auburn hair against pure white makes me sick.

A gasp not related to the hand nearing her ass escapes Rinoa as her dark eyes focus on me.  She pushes a confused Irvine away until he realizes that they are no longer alone.  He jumps back from my bride, knocking aside two glasses of champagne to the floor.  Violet eyes panicked, Irvine immediately reaches for his gun, but the weapon is absent given his formal attire in his rented tuxedo.  God, and he was supposed to stand by my side in that fucking outfit.

"Squall," Rinoa breathes in lingering surprise.  "This isn't what you think.  It doesn't mean anything."

I stare at her, a little insulted that she thinks I could fall for something so easy and cliché.  But when I remain silent, she smiles beautifully, that same smile she sent my way at that first dance.  Sliding off the vanity, she strides up to me and places a hand against my chest, her left hand currently bare of my ring.

"Lover, what are you doing here, anyway?  Don't you know it's bad luck to see the bride on the morning of your wedding day?"

After a moment of disbelief, a hesitant and choked laugh slips past my lips.  It was beyond ridiculous, her accusing me for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  And she actually thinks she can get away with this?

Rinoa flinches back at my cold laugh.  "Oh, well, in fact--"

Grabbing her hand, I stop her latest attempt of an excuse.  "Well, 'lover', I'll look at it this way, I mean technically our marriage is saved," I state a little too happily, a little too crazily.  Pushing her out of the way, I go directly for the alcohol, enjoying the way Irvine moves back to allow me plenty of space.  Picking up the fallen glasses, I announce, "And this calls for a toast, so pour the champagne!"

Filling the two glasses and leaving them on the vanity, I keep the bottle for myself and enjoy a swig of the sweet alcohol.

"Squall..."

With a calm deadness filling my chest, I look at the raven-haired woman, hating her expression of guilt and pity.  She knew what she was doing, something she can't deny.  But by the look to her eyes, I wonder if she thought I wouldn't be affected, that this cold-hearted man wouldn't care that he isn't enough for her.  I thought she knew me better than that.  When did she forget that I place loyalty above most everything else in my life?

I don't waste anymore words on the woman.  More so, I don't want to hear anymore meaningless justifications.  I bow my head in a silent parting and make certain to slam the door closed behind me.

The champagne is mostly gone by the time I reach the reception hall, expecting Selphie to still be around with her waiter.  Though it can't help the situation, I still want to know the details of how my life was suddenly destroyed.  However, with one step past the double doors, I'm surprise to not find the petite brunette, but instead the tall blond dressed in a wrinkled suit.  Standing next to the partially stocked buffet table, Seifer focuses on an unopened bottle of champagne in his hands as if debating to pour himself a glass.

Though his reaction is delayed, Seifer eventually turns at my entrance and stares at me with some surprise.  "Hey, what you are doing here..."  Fine eyebrows scrunching in concern, the large man then asks, "Uh, Squall, are you alright?  You're looking a bit sick over there."

I hesitate before letting the door swing behind me and slowly approach the blond fighter.  Instead of speaking, I decide to finish off my bottle of champagne.

"Okay, wow, don't tell me that you're getting cold feet, puberty boy.  That would be entirely unlike you," Seifer says with a smirk that is meant to be taunting, but I notice a glint of something else to his eyes - a spark of satisfaction that increases the bitter pressure to my chest.

"Oh, well, in fact, I just discovered that my bride doesn't really want me."

"... What?"

The alcohol starting to affect me slightly, I snicker at the man's shock.  "Rinoa is with Irvine as we speak, and well, I'll look at it this way, I mean technically our marriage is saved.  And this calls for a toast, so pour the champagne," I say while tossing my empty bottle to the floor.

Slamming his full bottle onto the table, Seifer glares at me for the suggestion before storming past me for the door.

"Did you enjoy her, too?"

The large blond stops cold at my question, unusually silent.

"I know you care about her," I state quietly, my previous recklessness gone at the idea of Seifer taking advantage of Rinoa's infidelity.  Strange that it's harder to imagine him with my former bride than any other man.  I suppose that, no matter how many times he has left me, Seifer has always returned and been there for the best and worst times of my life.  That was one reason I feared him not appearing at my wedding.  It was selfish of me when I knew of his lingering love, but I still wanted him to be here today.

In a sudden move, a strong hand grabs my wrist and wrenches me back a step before forcing me to turn around.  Recognizing that he is the romantic sort who would forcefully protect the honor of his lady, I'm willing to be punched as I deserve, and so I leave myself open for any attack.  I owe at least this much to Seifer.

However, the lips on mine is a bit of a surprise.

Too stunned to react, I remain loose as the taller man continues to hold my wrist with iron strength and moves his other hand to my lower back.  His lips feel dry and cracked against my champagne wetted flesh, and yet the coarse sensation causes a deep shiver of pleasure that begins at the base of my spine.  He takes his time with the kiss, a gentle press that contradicts the painful hold at my arm, and when he eventually retreats, his enflamed eyes take firm purchase of my confused gaze.

"I don't give a fuck about her."

Though the kiss should have been obvious as a chocobo on fire, it takes me a moment to realize that if his hate for the wedding isn't connected to his feelings for Rinoa, then that only leaves me as the person he doesn't want to lose.  Trying to understand that realization, my eyes drift to the scar that cuts through the corner of his left eye, a mark he had acquired when he was working off the great emotion he felt, an emotion I never recognized.

"Give me the word, Squall, and I'll kill her for hurting you."

And with those words spoken in a rough voice, I can imagine Ultimecia's feeling of empowerment every time she ordered her knight to do her bidding.  Passion, strength, and loyalty...  But she destroyed him by trying to enslave his mind and heart.  If she had allowed him to freely choose to be her servant, he would have handed her the world.

Awed by the dark light to emerald eyes, I brush my fingertips along the newest scar.  "How long...?"

The question steals away some of his murderous aura as his eyes take on an almost shy gleam.  "Since you let me live."

"And that's it?"

"... No.  I think I've always... But that's when I first realized it," he says, uncertain of his words, but not of his feelings for me.  No, Seifer was never one to question the intensity of his emotions nor what damage they could possibly cause other people.

Still supported by a strong arm, I feel relaxed and sheltered by the broad shouldered man directly in front of me.  It's something I never imagined wanting, but then again, I don't remember being offered simple support like this.  Instead, my life has been filled with people who have told me what is best for me and what I should want out of life.  Why didn't anyone mention that this could have been a possibility?

With a sigh and a weak smile, Seifer carefully backs away.  "Sorry.  I shouldn't be pushing this on you right now.  I mean, it's ridiculous anyway.  Two men like us..."

"What does that matter?" I ask with some disappointment at the lost physical contact.

"What does that..." Seifer chuckles lightly.  "You shouldn't say shit like that, Leonhart."

I shrug, not understanding why gender would matter as long as a person can find completeness in their lives.  I've seen that with my father and his unusual love of two men.  Granted, it was hard to accept at first, but seeing his smiles and hearing his laughter whenever those two are near... I thought that if I worked hard enough, tried long enough, I could achieve that same level of blissful happiness.  But apparently I was wrong.

The hand on my wrist loosens considerably, making me fear losing this tenuous connection to Seifer.  But it's impossible for me to know if this is real, if this is something I could truly want.  "Tell me something I need to hear."

Seifer stares at me with plain confusion.  "What's that again?"

I shake my head, not certain myself what I mean.  I just need to know...

The distance between us is removed as Seifer steps close and replaces an arm at my waist.  Bending his head down such that I feel the brush of his cheek against mine, he whispers against my ear.  "You don't have to be alone."

I shudder at the simple promise.  I think Rinoa has told me that once before, but to her, it was mere words to alleviate the concerns of an orphan child.  The same phrase from Seifer holds an entirely different meaning, an almost frightening meaning that if I were to allow him into my life, I'd never again be rid of him.

Seifer doesn't move as if afraid to breathe, and so I'm force pull back to gaze into his face.  It's easy to see the conflict in his eyes, a quiet relief of a burden being lifted from his chest along with the fear of being rejected with everything open and laid out before me.  I can only assume that it's the uncharacteristic fear in this proud and cocky man which makes me smile softly in wonderment.

I don't know who began the kiss that tasted of champagne and stale mouthwash, but suddenly I was was backed into the buffet table with my legs pressed uncomfortably against the edge.  Placing some of my weight onto encircling arms, I sit up onto the table and promptly take advantage of the new angle.  A hand placed at his thick neck, I encourage him to come lower and deepen the near frantic kiss.  Seifer growls low in his throat when he presses forward and rubs his knee against my groin.  The bold move startles me with the sense reality to this whole affair, and jerking back, I glance up into vibrant green eyes that shine with the same fever that he has during our rougher spars.

"Too much?" Seifer asks, his voice low with desire.

As I take in my position with me sitting on the buffet table meant for my wedding reception, I realize that this isn't like me.  It doesn't feel wrong, but certainly too fast.  And so, with a deep breath, I nod vaguely and force out in a rough whisper, "I don't want to ruin this."

Seifer smirks lightly as he places a hand at my chin and makes me gaze into heated jade.  "It's alright.  I've learned to be patient."

Pleased that he is willing to match my slower pace, I smile softly and lift up to thank him with a lingering kiss.

"Squaaall!?"

The screech has me looking to the wide open double doors and the dark-haired bride standing there with a hand pressed against her chest in shock.  It's a satisfying sight in some ways, and overall, I don't see the need in pushing away from Seifer in shame.  The large blond glances at me before smirking broadly, the man probably pleased that I'm still with him when Rinoa is in the same room.

"Why, Rinny, you're all dressed up with nowhere to go," Seifer declares mockingly as he leans closer to me, already possessive of his new toy.

She glares at the arrogant blond before looking back to me.  "Squall, what's the meaning of this?  We have people waiting for us.  Our wedding begins in just an hour."

"There won't be a wedding," I say calmly, rationally.  "We're not right for each other."

"Of course we are, love!  You're my destined knight.  We're meant to be together," Rinoa says with a step closer, but Seifer's threatening growl makes her stop there.

I shake my head, wondering how many times I've heard that claim and believed it wholly.  How could I mistake my oath to protect those weaker than me for something akin to love?  "We're through, Rinoa."

"No... No, I refuse to take that.  This is our wedding day, and... and you aren't gay!"

With a raised eyebrow, I sit relaxed as a large hand moves down my back and cups my ass for the single purpose of further upsetting Rinoa.  I really shouldn't encourage Seifer like this, but it's too hard to resist the need for revenge.  "It's not about being gay.  Seifer just happens to want me as I am."

That apparently hits a low spot as she stares at me with a stunned expression.  "I've... I've always--"

"Don't lie.  We both know that you hoped to change me, and for too long, I've let you try."

With angry tears forming, Rinoa stomps her foot in frustration.  "You proposed to me!  You made me think that you loved me."

I don't argue that I also thought that I had loved her.  Instead, I remain quiet as Seifer's hold on me tightens in a wordless sign of support.

"What are you going to do about this, Squall!?"

"I will explain to the guests that the wedding is cancelled," I offer, something Rinoa obviously doesn't want to hear.

"You are a heartless man," Rinoa announces with the first fall of tears, and hiking up her dress, she runs from out of the reception hall, nearly running into the few bystanders who had gathered just outside the double doors.

Pressing close to me, Seifer glares at the unwelcome gawkers and asks in a low voice, "Haven't you people ever heard of closing the goddamn door?"  As most of them scatter from fear of the ire of the Sorceress' Knight, one brave soul closes the double doors with a loud click.  Seifer huffs at the idiots before brushing a light kiss against my cheek.  "So, will you let me kill her now?"

It's so tempting to set this man free and allow him the blood he wants, but no, it's much better to face these kinds of things with a sense of pose and rationality.  "Maybe in the future.  But for now, I think we need to talk about this."

Green eyes bright with eagerness, Seifer smirks playfully at me.  "Yes, a nice long talk somewhere far away from here.  Preferably on a wide bed with a very sturdy frame."

I can't help a small smile, for once comfortable with a completely unknown future given this unexpected event.  The only thing I can be certain about is this idiot blond driving me crazy with his eternal arrogance, his overpowering passion, and his absolute love.  Gods above, I feel like I'm about to enter an endless duel with this immoral gunblade master.

Ignoring the murmurs from the outside hall, I whisper to Seifer, "Kiss me again."

He complies with a chaste, wholly unsatisfying press of his lips against mine, and he damn well knows it.

"Again..."

His wide grin not matching the seriousness to his eyes, Seifer pulls me in closer before he strokes a heavy tongue against my lips and engages a hard kiss that speaks of possessive devotion.  I moan at the feel of rough fingers pulling at my hair and the hard squeeze of the hand at my ass.  And then suddenly it ends.

Forcing my eyes open, I glare halfheartedly into vibrant jade.

"You wanted to 'talk' somewhere else, right?" Seifer asks innocently.

With as much composure as I can manage, I slip off the buffet table while 'accidentally' rubbing the length of my leg against the tightened material of his pants.  Smiling at his low growl of frustration, I tell Seifer, "First, I have a wedding to cancel.  Then I get to explain to my father why I'm considering to run away with the infamous Sorceress' Knight.  After that, we'll see how much talking I'm up to tonight."

Before I have the chance to step away, Seifer steals my hand into his and holds on tightly.  "You won't do this alone."

I meet his determined gaze for a silent moment before letting a soft smile form.  "I know."

His smile at my acceptance of his help is simply beautiful, a rare expression of happiness from the cynical blond.  And to think, I caused that blissful expression.  It's at that moment when I have the hope that this might actually work, that I could truly fall in love with this rival and friend of mine.  I just wish it was something I could have seen earlier, before I had gotten dressed in this damned tuxedo.

"So hey," Seifer begins as we walk for the exit, "If you don't want to tell everyone about Rinoa, I could just tongue-fuck you in front of the priest and that should give people the clue that you're no longer interested in the whore."

I choke down a laugh at the suggestion, and not wanting to encourage the blond, I don't respond and merely focus my attention on the double doors.  I have a feeling that there is going to be a whole lot less poise and rationality in my life from this day forth, and oddly, that doesn't frighten me in the least.

 

{Owari}

 

Author's Whining - Really, this fic came out of nowhere when I heard this song on the radio.  Something about it connected with me, perhaps the underlining emotion of angry surrender.  Anyway, I highly suggest checking out the video.  A little strange, but lordy, Daniel Issac (the groom) is a cute one.  I especially like his expression of pained realization when the bride runs off.  Lovin' the angst, yes?