Author's Note - Well, wow. I thought the story idea was pretty cliché, but I guess if you people still want it... *shrug* This 'plot' isn't too firm into my head, so it's probably just going to end up really cliché. What can I say, I can't help a snuggly SxS. Ah, but it's going to take me a little bit to get there. *grin* Anywho, I am having fun playing with non-AU characters, so I guess I'll continue this story through the end.
I finger the brown locks of hair too conveniently placed in my lap as Squall slept. It was quite the surprise for Zell and the girl...Selphie this morning when I was waiting for them by the station. They had turned to look at their leader for some kind of action, but Squall didn't show any expression that revealed his thoughts about my appearance. I assume he expected it, though, since he had extra gil to pay for my ticket to Timber. Without disagreement from the Ice Prince, the two kids went along with it.
Some time after the train began to move, Selphie complained of not feeling well and promptly fell asleep, which was quite odd for a girl who appeared to have an unhealthy obsession about trains. The real shocker was when battery boy collapsed into slumber. I was about to ask Squall what was up, but he was already relaxed in his sitting position with eyes closed. It only took one sharp, bumpy turn to make him tilt too far and slide into me. Gently, I maneuvered him such his head rested comfortably on my thighs and into his current situation.
I didn't realize it until seeing his face slack in sleep, but the man is exhausted. Judging by what little he told me, there's probably good enough reason for that. At first I didn't want to believe such an unlikely story, but his body and words are all the evidence I need to know it's true. Those scars are results of deep wounds, certainly nothing he could hide from me in the past week since I saw him shirtless during a dueling session. And Squall has never lied to me.
Treading dangerous lines, I brush an ungloved finger down his cheek that is as cold as his personality. His eyelids flutter slightly, but thankfully don't open. The man is beautiful. A body of smooth lines and velvet that covers the solid ice beneath. A quiet voice rarely used while stone-gray eyes reveal everything unsaid, at least to those who look closely enough. An overall image of loveliness in conjunction with strength and pride.
Sure, I love my women - gorgeous, soft, warm - and the idea of sleeping with a man doesn't do it for me. I'm not afraid of homosexuality or anything, I simply can't get it up for another guy. Except Squall. He's always the fucking exception to the rule. The Garden is full of pansies that can't handle a decent fight, except Squall. Everyone gives me shit and lies, except Squall. No one is worth my time, except Squall.
Someday I will make this man mine.
I smile at the pathetic chance of that one. Even if the guy could handle being with another man, I'd be far down on his list. Introducing me to the wall last night was a strong enough hint to tell me that he can't even bear my touch.
A loud yawn forces me to look away from the unusual sight of the peaceful brunette. Leaning back with my arms resting on the seatback, I hope it looks like Squall just happened to fall where he did and I didn't want to bother moving him. The first awake, Selphie looks at me with uncomprehending eyes, blinks, and then yawns again. A moment later, I feel the energy in the room spike just before the short blonde jumps up from his sleeping position into a fighting stance as if ready to defend himself.
"Dreaming of me? I'm touched, Chickenwuss."
He seems to gain some kind of sense of reality as he blushes and lowers his hands. "Who would dream of you?"
Selphie giggles. "Yeah, especially when we can dream of longhaired hunks."
"Yeah-- hey, wait! That's not what I mean!"
I sneer at him. "Might as well go for it. Not like a woman will give you the time of day."
Zell's face gets redder but from anger instead of embarrassment. "Why are you with us anyway? Like we need a low ranking cadet to slow us down."
I narrow my eyes, only the weight on my thighs keeping me from jumping him.
"Enough." Squall pushes himself up without a sign of awkwardness or irritation over his previous position. Looks like those walls of his have gotten better over the course of a war.
"Morning, great leader! Were you dreaming of men, too?" Selphie smiles naively, though it doesn't quite touch her eyes.
He sighs. "We all had the same dream of Laguna and them. Our stop is coming up, so we'll just have to leave it at that."
After a stunned moment, Zell and Selphie start speaking at once about this Laguna and whatever dream they had, pressing Squall for more information. He simply stands and walks pass them for the exit as if they were uninteresting statues. The girl pouts and stomps her foot at the unresponsive brunette.
With a chuckle, I get up from the seat. "Come on, kiddos. There's time for play later."
We follow our unimpressive contact into an abandoned train turned headquarters. The two men introduce themselves as Watts and Zone, the latter apparently the leader of this hopeless group. The Forest Owls... even their name is pathetic.
Squall elbows me and nods further inside the train. "Go get Rinoa."
I repress a curse in response and head for the doorway. Of course, the Forest Owls is that group she always rambles on about. I never really paid an attention to what she said, only listening for the key points that I could use to earn favors, such as getting her the meeting with Cid. I'm still waiting for my return on that one.
I don't bother knocking on the door and simply walk into her room to find the princess sleeping soundly in the middle of the afternoon. That dog of hers growls a bit at me when it runs up behind me, but then lies down to the side for its nap since his doggy duty was done. Smirking, I walk to the bedside and gently shake her awake.
She blinks several times before recognizing me and then wraps her arms around my neck. "Oh, Seifer! You've come to help me. I knew you wouldn't let me down."
"Of course, lovely." I lift her off the bed and onto floor. "The other SeeDs are waiting for us up front."
Rinoa pouts at me with practiced perfection. "Couldn't they wait a little bit?" She brushes a finger against my lip.
"Trust me, you don't want to make one of them more grumpy than he normally is." I kiss her forehead, hoping it would be enough for her right now.
She sighs. "Alright, but only because it's you."
I smile my thanks with a bit of effort. Seems like she is getting too close to the clinging point in this relationship. Perhaps a few more nights of pleasure and then I should take my leave of her. Such a shame since Rinoa is stunning with deep black hair framing cream colored features, truly the appearance of a fairy tale princess. Then again, I won't miss the princess attitude that comes with the looks.
The two of us join up with the others in the main cabin, and after brief introductions, we go to the 'war room' to learn about the coming mission. Pointing out the details with a small model, they lay out the plan to assassinate some president. It seems a bit complex for something that could probably be best handled by a sniper gun. I glance over to Squall who leans comfortably against the far wall with his eyes closed. Glad to know someone else isn't amused by this.
Once the explanation is finished, the brunette speaks out. "Scrap the plan. It's worthless."
"W, what? How can you say that?" Rinoa glares at him. "You're supposed to help us in our mission. You can't reject it."
Gray-blue eyes shift our way. "It's not the mission I'm rejecting, just the plan. It won't work."
"And how do you know that? I think it's a great plan, and no one will be able to link it to us this way."
"This guy knows his stuff, babe. I would listen to what he says if I were you."
Again the pout appears. "But we worked so hard on this, and I like the dummy president we made. Everything is perfect! And he," she points accusingly at Squall, "doesn't know anything. We did all of the research. The train times, the codes, everything."
Stubborn royal pride. "Have you considered that the information you received was for a setup? Presidents in general tend to be paranoid bastards. Did you check to see if there were decoy trains or the like scheduled? It's standard procedure."
She blinks naively. "I...don't know. Watts was in charge of information."
At the sound of his name, the man turns to look interestedly at a corner of the room thus avoiding eye contact.
Squall leans up to his feet abruptly and begins to walk out of the room, boots echoing on metal. "We attack at the TV station."
The lot of us are left in the room in quiet confusion. Rinoa tugs at my jacket sleeve to gain my attention. "Seify, how did he know the backup plan?"
I wink at her. "I told you. He knows his stuff. Give me a moment, would you."
A touch forcefully, I pull myself from the dark-haired beauty's grasp and walk quickly after Squall. A brief glance outside and I find him staring at an oddly shaped bottle. His gunblade in hand, he lets the bottle fall to the ground and shatter. Darkness lifts from the shards, sunlight practically pushed away from that spot. A giant batwing demon forms from the black haze and looks down threateningly at Squall. I'm about to pull my own blade to help the reckless brunette, but just then an odd sound much like a chuckle emits from the demon as he nods slightly and disappears.
Squall sheaths his gunblade, and after a mere glimpse at me, he starts walking away.
"Damn it, don't do stuff like that and walk off. What the fuck were you doing?"
"Testing a theory."
He doesn't pause in his stride, forcing me to catch up to him and keep pace. "It was successful - you've proven yourself a dumb ass. What were you thinking to face a GF like that alone?"
"He knew his master."
"You've already conquered Diablos? Shit. What other GFs do you have lying around unjuctioned?"
"'Enough,' he says. Is that five or fifty, Leonhart?"
"Alright, what exactly are you pissy about now? You're the one who told me to tag along on this trip."
He stops suddenly. "How did you know?"
"That you're upset about something? You're clenching your ass tighter than usual."
Something passes in those gray-blue orbs, but he turns to look to the side before I can identify anything. "You knew the train could be a trap."
"Oh, that. I was just going with a hunch. So, do I win a cookie for getting the right answer?"
"I never considered it."
I study his profile, admiring the way his thick lashes turn almost golden in sunlight. "Don't stress over it. It was your comment that clued me in, anyway."
"... ..." His thoughts are unspoken, but clear to me - 'was it my fault for not being good enough?' When will he learn that worrying over the past won't get you further into the future. All that time he spends thinking is wasted on events already come and gone.
"Focus on the present, Leonhart. It won't do us any good if you have a mental breakdown before it's finished."
Stormy eyes look at me with a side-glance, but at least some of the tension has left those shoulders. Not for the first time, I have the urge to massage the rest of the tension away from that body. But I prefer to fight in this mission without the issue of broken bones.
"Seify! What are you doing?"
A dark eyebrow rises at the nickname, the closest to a laugh that the brunette can achieve.
"Give me a break, would ya."
"Hn. She called me Squally."
I stare at him dumbly as he walks off with a relaxed stride. What the hell did he mean by that one?
There was perhaps a call from Zell to wait up, but I crash into the TV station anyway, Hyperion gleaming brightly before me. I run further into the main studio room to find our target - President Deling. The politician type man at the podium who is speaking about a sorceress at the moment seems to be a good bet.
"You're mine, Deling!"
Just as I get a good hold on the man, about six soldiers surround us and who knows how many are coming. Well, damn. I knew that a group of them would be around to guard the president, I just didn't imagine that there would be so many. Hoping to find a more defendable spot to fight my way out, I place my blade against Deling's throat and start backing away to the rear exit.
The soldiers follow, but keep a respectable distance as the frightened president demands. I don't really watch where I'm going, soon finding myself in a different room and backing into corner. This isn't good.
A pained cry comes from a soldier as he drops to the ground. Several feet behind him is the whip wielding blonde looking a bit too smug with the easy hit.
"Seifer, let the President go."
I smirk at the command, deciding I'll let the man go after I slice his throat.
Ah, but he is still important to me. Release him, my boy.
Blinking, I try clear my vision that threatens to darken. Suddenly I notice that the president is crawling away for me, my hold on him loosened at a some unknown point. A brief glance across the room, I discover Quistis lying on the floor injured. What the hell is happening. The energy in the room is all wrong, screwing up my senses.
You have gotten strong over time. Most impressive. If you desire it, I kan reward your hard work.
...Yes, that's all that I have desire in my life - some kind of proof and reward that my efforts are worth something. That my life is worth something. I can feel her overwhelming power, a force drawing me forward. I don't see a reason to resist.
And then I bump into something. Not realizing my vision had darkened, light and shapes come back to my eyes as I look down into brown hair. Taking a deep breath, I decide I need to slip some better smelling shampoo into Squall's shower. While stepping back, I'm surprised to find myself still at the TV station, somehow feeling like I was elsewhere by now.
"How dare you interfere."
I look up at the voice, seeing the darkly dressed woman for the first time. I recognize the tone as the one speaking to me earlier, but instead of allure, I can only sense the hatred and death that it drips with. My eyes widen as I take in the image of something that should only be a legend, a tale to scare children into bed before nightfall - a Sorceress.
I hear a boot against floor as Squall slides a foot back slowly, preparing himself for battle. Abruptly he dashes forward, a move I might have missed while blinking. He attacks several times, each strike stronger than first and certainly more powerful than anything I have ever seen the smaller man do. My feet are cemented to the ground in awe and shock. The combo finished, he jumps back to examine his opponent. There's a heavy weight in my stomach when I realize that the sorceress is barely damaged from the fearsome attack.
Even so, her golden eyes narrow with piercing venom at Squall. "You have made this...inkonvenient for me."
With perfect grace, she points a hand towards the brunette and he readies for the incoming spell. She grins wickedly and redirects the attack to me. I can only watch as white light with a tinge of green evolves from her hands and then bursts out towards me. I close my eyes tightly both because of the brightness and the reflexive wince on my part. I wait several heartbeats for the blow, but nothing happens.
Carefully opening my eyes, I find Squall standing in front of me in a hunched position, his gunblade held unsteadily before him. Damn reckless bastard.
The Sorceress laughs lightly from her spot, a portal opening to her side. "It makes no difference to me. Him as my knight would probably be more of a burden than a benefit. However, if you--"
Darkness begins to swirl around Squall as he slowly stands up straight to meditate on the summoning. Faster than I would expect, the GF appears and snarls at the no longer amused Sorceress. Unfortunately before Diablos can launch its attack, she steps quickly but gracefully to escape through her portal.
Unneeded, Diablos disappears into vapor and Squall takes a shaky breath.
The silence too suffocating for me, I speak the first thing to come to my mind. "I thought you were doing things unjunctioned these days."
"I knew I'd need the GFs to face her." Blue light twists around him briefly before slamming into his body.
"Why didn't you warn me?"
I scoff at the comment. "A place and time might be more helpful next time, idiot."
His eyes close with a relieved sigh. "You weren't taken this time."
And then he is falling to the ground. Still partially petrified from the earlier events, I almost don't catch the limp brunette. Kneeling, I hold him in my arms. With surprisingly strong hands, he immediately pushes at my chest.
"Don't touch me, bastard," he hisses at me.
"Then don't collapse in front of me! What the fuck else was I supposed to do? Let you crack that empty head of yours?"
His struggle doesn't let up. "Just let me rest a moment."
"Fine." I let him drop flat onto his back, and I pretend not to see the wince of pain when his head hits ground. "You do realize however this isn't the spot for a nap."
A soft moan reminds me of the other person in the room. "What happened?"
"Morning, Quisty. You missed quite the show."
"Seifer..." Blue eyes widen. "The President. You didn't..."
"That's right, I didn't. The chicken ran off when the evil witch made her appearance."
There's a loud intake of air. "Squall!? Is he okay?"
Before I can reply, the brunette in question rises quickly to a sitting position, soon after regaining his footing. I look up at him, not quite believing the show of strength he is giving us. Those eyes aren't as clear as they should be.
"We need to regroup. Might as well head for Galbadia Garden now."
"Now?" Quistis pushes her glasses up her nose. "The station should be covered by soldiers. Wouldn't a safe place to wait the night out be the better option?"
"We will fight through."
"Squall, you have to learn some patience."
I stand up and place my blade comfortably on my shoulder. "Quisty, just shut up and listen to the man."
She glares at me with a professor's air, acting like she knows more than a person she has a few months on in age. Quistis may have the better performance according to SeeDs tests, but she doesn't have too much practical knowledge. Certainly not about Squall. I can tell by his slightly twitching foot that he wants desperately out of this place and as far as he can get. With a smile, I wonder vainly if he is afraid of the sorceress's reappearance and a second chance at her getting me. Hyne knows I can't defend myself from her, and Squall isn't in too good of shape at the moment. Physically he's probably perfect, but I don't trust what's happening behind those walls of his.
"We leave now." The commanding inflection leaves no room for argument.
I don't bother knocking at the door and simply punch in the code for the doubles room. It was a rushed trip to Galbadia Garden, all of us dead on our feet by the time we got here. Through Quistis's connection with the headmaster, we were able to get several spare rooms with some of us forced to double up. However, I'm not one to argue good fortune. Squall headed here earlier while I was occupied with escaping from Rinoa. I really should get around to dumping that girl... maybe after she pays her debts in full.
The door slides open, the sound of running water now clear to my ears. Hmm, I think I suddenly have the urgent need to piss. Squall wouldn't mind my intrusion for such an emergency. I walk to the bathroom with light steps and open the unlocked door. The lack of steam is momentarily a surprise, but of course the Ice Prince would like his showers cold. It's amazing he doesn't get sick from the way he treats his body.
Abruptly the water is shut off. "Get the fuck out of here."
I smirk at the phantom form behind rippled glass. "I have to piss."
"You can wait five minutes."
"Then how about I'm dying for intelligent company?"
"And you consider this a good time?"
That makes me smile even wider. "Actually, this appears to be the perfect time. I believe we have a discussion to finish up."
"I have nothing to say to you."
"Don't give me that bullshit. There's plenty you have to tell me, but you don't want to. Why is that exactly?"
I hear him take a deep breath. "Give me a towel."
"My, how shy our Princess is. I've seen you naked enough times, Leonhart. Get your own towel."
He doesn't speak to me, goosebumps probably covering that lightly colored skin of his. Waiting for him to make some kind of decision, I lean back against the sink and imagine of how I'd like to warm the beauty up if given the chance. Funny how most of my fantasies about him aren't necessarily erotic. Sure, I've had plenty of wet dreams and masturbating moments with the clueless brunette, but for the most part I just want to touch him, to hold him tightly against my own skin.
I'm startled from my daze by the shower door sliding open harshly, glass shuddering from the impact. Belying the uncommon display of anger, his eyes are stone cold as he meets my amused gaze. Looking further down, my smile fades as I once again set my eyes on the numerous scars that marred his body. I wonder how many of them nearly took his life. Reaching thus far unseen territory, I stand up in slowly growing horror.
"What the fuck..."
"Don't recognize your initials, Almasy?"
Something yells in me to look away, but I can't move my gaze from him. Along his ever so normal penis were ragged scars in the letters "SA". Examining the body before me more closely, I notice the lines of circular scars around his wrists and ankles. Once again I meet up with his blue-gray eyes, but find nothing there except his practiced neutral expression.
"The towels are behind you."
"What did I do to you?"
"That was an order."
"Fuck your order and the bet! What in Hyne's name did I do to you?"
"It doesn't matter."
My anger driving me forward before I could consider the action, I press him back against the wall with his arms pinned to the side. I almost don't notice the shutter of revulsion from him before his mask slips back into place. The rage within me drains instantly, but I don't move back. I know the brunette can talk when he is confronted, but it requires an experienced hand. Who knows him better than me?
"Squall..." His eyes open slightly at the quiet call of his first name. "I did something to terrible you, and I need to know what. Please, tell me."
He turns his head to the side, refusing to meet my eyes. I don't move or speak as I play his waiting game. Considering the fact that I'm not on the ground with internal injuries at the moment signals to me that he will talk, but only if I'm patient enough. Meanwhile, I listen to the rhythmic drops of water fall from the showerhead onto tiled floor.
"We were on the mission to assassinate the Sorceress Edea and failed. Most of us were captured and I was separated from the group for questioning. You wanted to know the true purpose of SeeDs. I didn't know what it was at the time, but you continued to torture me anyway. Then at some point you asked if I hated you."
He stops there, perhaps hoping I'd say something to break the moment. But I know better and force him to continue with my silence.
"I said no, but you didn't believe it and punched me in my wounded shoulder. You asked again. Dazed, I unintentionally told you I loved you." Stormy eyes narrow a touch. "You laughed and mocked me. Then you started rubbing your hand on me. Despite your words and intention, it was you - I couldn't stop from reacting. You decided to place your mark on me--"
He obeys the quiet command, looking much like he just told me about the weather instead of pure cruelty.
I lean forward to place my forehead on the wall behind him, my cheek brushing against wet hair. "Did I...?"
"I don't know how many times."
I have never felt such hurt before in my life. It wasn't supposed to happen like this. Squall was supposed to live a generally normal life without ever knowing how much I wanted this body, this man. It didn't matter as long as he was at peace. But instead I only brought harm to him, and he still doesn't know my feelings for him that went along with desire, if he even considers the rape a form of desire. Curiously, I can't decide if it is causing the physical injuries or laughing at his emotions that pains me the most.
"So, you love me?"
"... I loved you."
I smile weakly. "There's some of that left, right? Saving my life and all."
"It was my fault the first time."
I suppress a cynical laugh at that one. Leave it to Squall to blame himself for not being perfect enough to save everyone, even an asshole like myself. But I hope that he is simply trying to find reason within his somewhat illogical actions. Hell, he considered killing himself rather than fighting a war against me a second time despite everything I did.
It's too overwhelming at the moment, learning both the pain I caused and Squall's fading love for me, a love I never knew existed. I need time to find a way to salvage anything that is left in him. That, and I need the coward's way out for now.
"Squall, I'm sorry." I release my grip on him and place a hand in front of his face to cast sleep.
"Bastard..." Hesitantly he grows limp against me, but unjuctured he can't resist the spell.
I lift him into my arms, noticing he is much lighter than the time I carried him after the duel when we exchanged scars. I have to show this boy how to eat properly. Gently I place him into bed and cover the naked form. My hand spread, I lightly trace the body under the sheets with my finger tips, the hidden scars already burned into my memory.
No matter what it takes, I will win him back before the opportunity is gone. I laugh lightly at the thought. Squall might think this is his second chance to correct the mistakes of his past, but I believe this is actually my second chance to repent for sins I would have committed. Brushing stray locks of hair from his face, I wonder if Squall is not only here to save my life, but perhaps my soul as well.
Note - Thanks to everyone who reviewed. You were all too kind about my abilities, but I'm glad you are enjoying it. At this point, the story has become a kind of 'things I wish were different in FF8' story. I think a few of you should agree about what will happen next chapter... whenever I get around to it. ^_-