Split
November 2002

 

With each swaying step on dirt and rock, I feel like I'm going to hurl at any moment.  There's two personalities within me battling for dominance, and while I'm almost certain that I'm the original, it's so hard to tell the difference between our thoughts.  Those most logical and void of emotion seem to be mine, and then there are the obvious false thoughts connected with Rinoa, the other's mistress and creator.  But the stuff in between, it's too hard to try and sort out what exactly is me.  It makes me ill to only consider the attempt.

One more step forward and suddenly there is no where else to go in this desolate plane, a cliff into nothingness before me.  Exhausted, I fall to the ground instead of attempting a more graceful movement.  I just need some rest and temporary relief from the nausea.  That's what it was supposed to be, but then I'm being called back ... no ...  He's being called back.  Of course Rinoa would only want her precious hero and not the true me.  What do I matter if she gets her knight?  But I try to resist that summons anyway, demanding that this is my body.  This is me!

Despite my claims, there is a bright flash of light that blinds me, accompanied with the sensation of torturous tearing.

Opening my eyes, I find myself still in this place of nothingness.  My thoughts are clear and sharp, a strange reality after all this time of muddled confusion within my mind.  But it's pointless.  Flexing my hands before my eyes, I can no longer feel the stiffness of the leather gloves.  Looking close enough, I think I can even see the desert floor through them.  And yet, despite the panic I think someone should suffer in my position, I only feel dead inside.

...squall...

A whisper that could be mistaken as a breeze if there were such a thing in this place.  But no, someone... someone actually wants me.  There is no reason to go as I am, and in fact, I almost feel like I should be going elsewhere, but I know where that person is now.  I think it'd be nice to see him one last time, if only to say goodbye even though he has never given me the same courtesy over the years. 

And so I go there to find him.

When my vision clears from the change in planes, I first see Rinoa cradling and hugging her knight.  There is some pain at the sight, but more so apathy due to denial of my new status as a nonentity.  Next that attracts and holds my attention is the sight of Seifer just before me, lying on the ground in a partially curled position.  I don't know how he got here, but he's hurt and there isn't a thing I can do about it, the feel of power from GFs and spells lacking in my state.  All I can do is stand there and watch, wishing I could touch him, but I don't dare try.

Eventually Rinoa and her knight are helped out by Zell, but Seifer is left unnoticed in the field.  It isn't until nightfall that Raijin finds him, the blonde finally receiving the treatment he really needed.  But the large man doesn't notice me despite my presence and inquiries to him about Seifer's health.  This is just lovely.  I try to follow when Raijin carries the unconscious man off, but suddenly I feel like I can't breath, can't move, can't exist.  Falling backwards, everything returns to normal until I lean forward to stand, the excruciating sensations overwhelming me once more.  Boundaries...  I have fucking boundaries?  Moving back in fear of that pain, I watch as Seifer is taken even further from me.

"I won't go..." I whisper, even though I realize that no one could hear me anyway.  "I won't go until..."  Well, isn't that just like me - not knowing what the fuck I really want.  That being the case, I guess I'll just have to at least stick around until I figure that out.


I only have a few seconds of anticipation before Seifer bursts through the door of the Headmaster's office.  His deep voice in addition to Selphie's high pitched cries pierced through the door rather well, but apparently people really can get lost within a kiss.  The blonde looks only slightly taken aback by the sight as Rinoa and her knight separate lip lock in order to get a better look at their intruder.  Seifer just sneers at the silent couple, but then suddenly a look of confusion replaces the confident mask.

"The fuck--?"

Rinoa almost leaps from her knight's lap, trying to regain composure.  "Seifer, I... we... What are you doing here, Seifer?  And don't you know how to knock?"

"Forget that.  Why the hell are there two Squalls?"

I look directly at the large man then, the unexpected question bringing unwanted ache of hope into my chest before I can defend myself against the foolishness.  It has to be a mistake that he can see me.  A joke.  No one else can, so why could he?  But those light green eyes that I sometimes daydream about are looking directly into my eyes, not even a fraction of an angle off.

His gaze moves from mine when my other stands.  "Seifer, there is only one of me in here.  Is everything okay?"

"But..." 

His gaze shifts to me once again.  Seifer really does know I'm here, he can see me, and... they'll think he's insane and take him from me once more.  I shake my head and hold a finger to my lips, hoping he understands the silent request.  Fuck, I don't think I remember how to talk anymore.

The smirk returning, he faces the couple.  "Must've gotten blinded by Rin baby's ring there.  I guess Puberty Boy figured out how to take care of his ladies."

"Squaaall...?"  Selphie peaks into the office from behind Seifer.  I have to hand it to that girl - don't think the Garden would be running as well without her given Rinoa's tendencies to distract her knight.

"It's okay, Selphie.  I've been waiting for Seifer to make his appearance for a long time."  His arm wraps possessively around his sorceress and he pulls her close before speaking to the blonde.  "I want you to know that I'm truly sorry about this.  I didn't mean to steal her from you or anything, but... Rinoa and I love each other."

Seifer looks oddly at my other, probably confused at the man's openness.  "To quote an age old thinker, 'whatever'.  Doll face and I were just a fling, those days long gone and forgotten."  After a few long strides, he takes a seat in front of the desk as if invited and then rests his feet on the piece of furniture.  "Anyhow, that's not the reason I'm here, Squally-boy."

"Have you finally come home to stay?"

I can't help scoffing at the statement.  As if this were some kind of boarding house where the weary traveler was welcomed.  Fuck, this is a shelter for killers, not a place that needs a white picket fence.

"I've come back to do some paid murder and mayhem.  The outcast life is rather boring these days."

"Squall, can you really trust him this easily?"  Beautiful tact, girl.  Didn't she date the man for a long while before she met me?

"He must have been under the Sorceress' control, just like you and Edea were.  And he hasn't tried taking over the world in the past year, so I'm not too worried."

Hyne, I hate the sound of my voice, especially when it's used more than it needs to be.

"Well, as my knight, I trust you to protect me."  Rinoa kisses his cheek before separating from his hip.  "I'll see you later, hun."

"Don't worry, this shouldn't take long."

The door closes behind the swaying figure, thankfully removing her from my sight.  I know this was all a mistake because of inexperience on her part, but I can't help blaming her for this torture.  I'm so tired, and her voice whispering spell-lined words of love to her knight that unintentionally protects him from me certainly doesn't ease any of my pain.

"Come on, Leonhart, what's with this act for her precious highness?  She can't be that good in bed."

"An act?  What do you mean?"

"Forget it," Seifer says with a defeated tone.  "So, you're taking me in?"

My other flips through some papers that I didn't notice him pull out.  Probably information about Seifer's reinstatement to Garden.  At least that was one thing I was able to do early on, before Rinoa started to reinforce the barriers that guarded her knight from my possession of him.  ...Funny, it's my damn body, and yet I've been thinking of it as taking over another person.

"The details have already been prepared since shortly after the incident.  You will start at SeeD rank five and have a single room in the same corridor as the rest of us.  People may have put the past aside for the moment, but don't assume bad feelings won't rise again with your appearance.  We may have to--"

"Right.  Whatever.  Just tell me where I sleep when I'm not fighting."

He sighs, upset at his speech being interrupted.  "Room 3C.  The code is 8-7-6-5 as default."

Hearing which room Seifer will be staying in, I decide to leave.  Turning, I step through the hidden doorway to take the stairs to the first floor.  While I can do it, I'd rather not take the elevator in my current state.  It's awkward for some reason.  I still haven't gotten a handle on all of the 'rules' for being a lost soul.  All I know is that if I think about it too hard, I end up sinking through the floor.  It's easier to just do what I can and not experiment with too many other possibilities that could end up with me falling to the center of the world.  While it's torture here, at least it's not as boring as molten lava would be, not to mention the pain I'd feel from crossing the invisible boundaries that keep me relatively close to my body.

I take my time crossing the first floor to the dorm wing, carefully avoiding any contact with people in the hallway.  Only have to experience that once to know that I never want to do it again.  I've already spent months with another's thought in my head, so I don't need a completely different person's random thoughts overwhelming me.

Once in the dorm area, I go for the stairwell and head up to the third floor at a slow pace.  With every step, a nervous ache grows in my stomach.  A year ago I promised myself to hold out until at least seeing the cocky blonde and it certainly has been a struggle this far, but what now?  Just say goodbye and give up?  With all this free time on my hands, one would think I'd mull through all of this by now.  I guess with it being so long, I assumed that I'd never see Seifer again.

Stepping through the door into the hallway, I'm in time to watch Seifer punch numbers into the security pad for his door.  He doesn't notice my approach and walks into the room, his shoulders a bit slumped from exhaustion.  I follow shortly after.  Leaning against the wall (a skill that took months of learning), I examine the blonde as he removes the gunblade from his side.  He has gotten stronger over the year, not to mention gaining a decent tan.  Wherever he has been hiding, Seifer certainly hasn't let his body go to waste as much of the other time compression survivors have.

Sighing quietly, he sits on the mattress and rolls onto his back for apparently a nap, but then his eyes widen in surprise at the sight of me.  He sits up quickly while retreating, his back hitting a touch roughly against the headboard of the bed.

"Shit.  Leonhart, what the hell are you doing in my room?"

"... ..."  I can only stare at him, still almost afraid to use my voice since this time someone will actually hear me.

He places a hand on his forehead, massaging his brow.  "Listen, I'm going to probably be dreaming of you in about five minutes here, so can't I just meet you there?  I kinda need my sleep"

"Dream... of me?"  Surprise, surprise, my voice does work.

"It speaks.  And being a figment of my imagination, you certainly know what I'm talking about."

Great, he thinks I'm not real.  "Seifer, I'm not something from your fucked up mind."

"Yeah, right.  And you've always had a twin."  He rolls to his side, mumbling something into his pillow.

With the only one who knows I'm here about to fall asleep, a touch of desperation overcomes me.  "Please... talk to me..."

Seifer sits up, wariness in his expression.  "You did not say that."

"... ..."  I feel ridiculous now after such a pathetic demand.  When did I get so weak?

"How about you talking, Squally-boy?  What is this all about?"

How could I possibly explain this?  "... I'm not here."

"Of course not, because you aren't real."

I shake my head, then decide on a demonstration.  I raise my hand and place it carefully through the wall, making certain I don't fall through the solid barrier as well.

"And how does that not prove my point?"

"No.  I...  When you were under Ultimecia, didn't you feel... split?  As if you existed, but another personality pushed you aside to take control of your body."

"What the hell do you know about that?"

I attempt to smile at his lack of knowledge.  "Rinoa is a sorceress."

"Alright, maybe I can accept that.  But I certainly don't remember taking a stroll all by my lonesome like you seem to be doing."

"You didn't go through the Time Compression as halves."  At his silence, I decide to continue.  "... Rinoa only called for the one she wanted back from that place.  I was left behind... for a time longer, that is."

In a partial daze, Seifer stands up from the bed and approaches me.  "Leonhart, am I the only one who can see you?"

At his words, I suddenly feel the weight of that reality, unable to stop the beginning shakes of my body.  "A year.  No one... And I thought I wanted to be left alone," I scoff.

He's silent for a time.  "If you can't touch anything, how do you eat?"

I shrug.  "Maybe my body being alive keeps me around."

Light green eyes stare deep into mine, and I despise the pity I can see in there.  I don't want his sympathy.  Never had.  I'm his rival and equal in this life, not some stray kitten to be pitied.  And yet he continues to stare at me like that, as if I were the sorriest person in the world.

My thoughts distracting me, I don't notice his moving arm nor the hand he attempts to touch me with.  Warm.  Sweet Hyne, he's so amazingly warm.  And then the thoughts follow quickly after like a flood through my mind.  His thoughts of me.  There's too much to identify singly, but the sense of want, desire, and... more is clearly imprinted on every thought.  Knowing I could drown in that unrealized need of me, I have to escape.

It's pure instinct that gets me into the hallway, my mind still clouded with Seifer's thoughts.  After a few sprinted steps, I notice that I'm about to run into Zell and Fujin.  Too quickly I turn towards a room, more falling than anything remotely graceful through the doorway.  Sitting on the ground of the empty room, I try to reorder my mind back into some kind of sense.

I can hear Seifer through the door as he talks with Zell and Fujin, though I don't really try to assemble the sounds into meaningful sentences.  I know they'll welcome back the blonde with open arms.  Over the year they would talk at times, wondering where Seifer had run off to and if he would ever return.  While it took some time for misdirected anger to drain away, everyone has come to the consensus by now that a couple months of strange times couldn't change what we knew Seifer to be over the previous fifteen years.

Or at least, I thought I knew him.  This insight into his mind has certainly changed things.  Actually, it's kind of amusing.  Every reason that makes him think... no, makes him certain that he loves me are things I've noticed about the blonde from my own point of view.  In a strange way, Seifer has given me a name to some of things I had been feeling and thinking whenever around him.  But I don't know if I can so readily believe that this is love.  It's too easy, perhaps.  And I don't know whether to be insulted or not with this 'beauty' classification he seems to have me filed under.

Maybe later I can ask him about what this all means.  And then maybe I should smack my head against a wall.  Oops, no, can't do that to any satisfying degree.  Slow motion is the key to resting against walls, so enough momentum to hit myself would throw me into the next room instead.  Well, this is not to mention the fact that I can't feel anything anyway.

...Hyne, I think I'm cracking up.

That last thought barely finished, sudden pressure envelops me and attempts to crush me into nothing.  Or at least, that is what it feels like.  Soon following is the sense of being pulled from this world, but I refuse the demand to give up my pseudo-existence.  Eternity of pain later, the unnamed force tires and surrenders to the fact that I won't give up.  Not yet.  But this force has gotten stronger and more persistent as of late.

Please, Hyne.  Allow me this selfish request of more time with Seifer.  Just... until I can properly say goodbye.


Considering I had ruined his attempt at getting some kind of sleep earlier, I'm a bit surprised that Seifer hasn't return to his room directly after dinner.  Bored of waiting, I leave the room and walk down the hallway as I try my damnedest to beat away the fear that he could've run off again before I had the chance to say anything resembling intelligent.  I don't know if I could wait another week let alone another year for his return.

Hearing voices in the entertainment room of this level, I decide to take a look inside.  Even if Seifer isn't there, maybe people will be talking about him and clue me into where he may have run off.  I step through the door, soon a bit taken aback to find Seifer sitting so relaxed with the few other people I consider friends.  Heh, so the bastard already feels like he still belongs here.

His green eyes stare directly into mine.  "Ever consider that it isn't Leonhart sitting in the Headmaster's chair?"

"Whoa, what's that proof on that alcohol you gave him, Quistis?" Zell asks jokingly.

Seifer ignores him, not breaking our gaze.  What is he planning with this?  "The point being, Miss Princess is a sorceress and your precious commander is her knight."

Quistis speaks after some silence.  "Seifer, this is nothing to joke about.  Rinoa has done nothing for you to make such a statement."

"Oh, she has done something.  And he's scowling at me right now for telling you."

Holy Hyne, this idiot!  Not even day and he's already trying to create turbulence in Garden.  Doesn't he give a shit if they lock him away for traitorous ideas like this?  Or place him in some white room where I wouldn't be able to reach him in?  Why couldn't he wait for this?  Why couldn't he ask my advice first?

"Um, seriously - what's in this beer?"  The humor isn't in Zell's voice anymore.

"Seify, are you okay?"

"Never felt better.  While the mechanics are really dull, Squally-boy here got split in two - Rinoa's lapdog in the body and our special boy roaming around like a lost ghost.  Apparently my status as a former lapdog gives me the privilege of seeing him."

"None of us appreciate this game you are--"

"Excellent idea, Quisty.  Let's play a game.  Someone get out a deck, and I'll tell you every card there with the help of my lovely assistant."

Oh...please...no....  A blonde eyebrow wiggles just a little in a plea for my participation during the ridiculous game.  With a frustrated sigh, I decide to play along if only to assure the others that Seifer hasn't gone completely insane.  Taking my place behind Selphie and Zell, I read off the cards and Seifer repeats my words, the 'game' boring before it even started.  At the sight of what I swear is a three legged, fanged rabbit, I glare at Seifer in a silent command that I'm through with this.  He tells Selphie about the hand drawn card, and the girl giggles through her explanation of the 'snuggle bunny' monster.

"Wow, how'd you guess it?"

"I'm telling ya, the invisible man behind you is telling me everything."  He looks frustrated, but I'm not too surprised that they still don't believe him after the show.  "Leonhart, just step on forward."

Shit.  He wants me to walk through them for the chill I give people, but I don't think I could handle these two in front of me.  My eyes meeting with Seifer's persuasive gaze, I reluctantly agree to this last favor.

"What are you--"  Selphie squeaks when I pass through her and there's a sound from Zell as well, but I barely notice the noises beyond the onslaught of thoughts rushing through my head.  It's too much, too chaotic for me to handle any of it and I drop to my knees.  Lost and powerless, I can only hope that the thoughts eventually disperse themselves.

"Shit, are you okay there?"  Somehow his deep voice burrows through the other thoughts and throws them aside, thankfully clearing my mind for me.

Forcing my body to not shake, I grit out, "Never again.  I don't give a fuck if they still think you're insane, I'm not doing that again."  Needing to get out of here before I get involved with some other stupid idea of the blonde's, I stand up to my feet and look down at the man.  "If they believe you, tell them that I never would have said what he did months back."

"You wouldn't have said what?  I don't do cryptic, Leonhart."

"They'll know."

I leave then, not wanting to hear their responses to my message, that is if they even believe my unusual situation.  I'm ashamed of that day months ago.  It wasn't me, but my voice basically told them that they were all worthless.  While the orphans were all skilled at hiding their deeper emotions, I saw how the words broke them inside.  For the first time, I truly wished I could tell them my real thoughts, at the least to explain that I couldn't have done anything without their support.  I'm not a leader.  Or rather, I'm not ambitious enough to be a leader, but once shoved into the position, I think I did enjoy being able to direct people to where they needed to be.  However, preferring logic over emotion, the others were necessary to force my mind to work along with my heart in the formation of important decisions.

I'm only grateful that the lot of them are too strong to let my other's words bother them for long.  Too bad they are also loyal to a fault, waiting for a change in personality that may never appear again, the puppet's walls too strong for me to break through.  Though perhaps with Seifer's help, I can make it up to them while I still have the time.


"Nh... there... holy shit, Squall..."

I straighten at the mumbled sound of his voice, the large man grinning widely in his sleep.  Since about an hour ago, I've been standing here to only watch Seifer rest.  He's different while asleep, his face slack and youthful in appearance.  Memories of the orphanage come to mind and the nights when I needed to be with the older boy for a sense of safety and warmth.

Seifer wakes abruptly, blue eyes shining with moonlight as he stares for a moment at the ceiling.  He groans a curse before he closes his eyes and a hand moves under the sheets in a noticeable manner.  From his brief touch this afternoon, I know some of what he must be imaging, but it's only the foremost thoughts that I can clearly read and understand.  Warped interest overpowers rational reason as I approach the occupied man.

With one touch of a finger on his shoulder and again I feel his extreme warmth before thoughts rush through me.  Immediately I see the scenes of his mind, and I almost have to laugh.  Seifer should have perhaps been a novelist instead of a warrior to have me acting like his personal sex slave in those dreams, just begging for his touch.  But I can also sense the love and need that had created these fantasies of his.  If only he had told me sooner, perhaps he wouldn't have needed those dreams to substitute reality.  But we'll never really know that.

A fraction of a second after my touch, Seifer surges up in a sitting position, his breath is ragged and a hand clutches his chest as if suffering a heart attack from the shock.

"I think you overestimate my flexibility."

He growls before glaring at me.  "What the fuck do you think you're doing, Leonhart?  Holy fucking Hyne, you're lucky that I can't touch you."

I can't hold back an amused smirk.  "Just... curious."

Slowly he begins to relax, then tenses as his mind catches up with the present.  "Wait a minute here, how do you know that... well, that you are..."

"I saw."

"You saw.  Right."  He shakes his head.  "Ever hear of privacy rights, Puberty Boy?"

"Why didn't you tell me?"

"What, that I've been fucking you in my dreams for the past few years?  Had a crazy idea that you wouldn't care to know and I'd end up with a gunblade through my chest for a wake up call."

"... ..."  Was I really that unapproachable?  Well, I can understand to most people, but to Seifer?  Then this is my fault.

"What are you doing here anyway?  It's..."  He glances at the clock.  "...two fucking forty-four in the morning."

"I am tired."

"Then get some shut eye.  Not like you need my permission or anything."

"... ..."

"You can at least sleep, can't you?"

"... ..."

"Why do you bother, Squall?  What the hell are you sticking around for like this?"

Because I wanted to see you again when you weren't under the control of the sorceress... but even now, I can't speak out my own confusing emotions.  Instead, I shrug.  "What else am I supposed to do?"

He falls back down onto his pillow.  "Fuck if I know.  So, you just going to stand there all night?"

His words seem angry.  "I can leave."

"But perhaps you don't want to?  Hell, stay there, lie down, or whatever else you want.  As long as I get sleep, I don't care."

"That sounds familiar."

He blinks before smiling.  "Heh, always found it amusing that you were afraid of your own name's sake."

"Maybe it was an excuse."  Considering I'm just now understanding some of my attraction to the blonde, I doubt back then it was anything more than a need of comfort.  But funny how it's always been Seifer I've turned to after Sis left me long ago.

Before I can follow that line of thought, pressure once again winds its way around me with a overwhelming force that tries to take me away.  No, not when I'm this close to him, when I've just figured out how much Seifer means to me.  I can't leave him now, no matter the amount of times he's left me in the past.  I don't want to be somewhere without him.

"I'm not going ANYWHERE!"

The force is gone as fast as it had appeared, mockingly obeying my demand for the moment.  While spending some time to regain equilibrium, I look up at Seifer since I apparently had fallen to the ground at some point.  He looks... I can't put a word to it, never seeing the blonde with such an expression before.  Fuck, I didn't need him to know about this pain of mine.  It'd only make him pity me even more.

"I'm sorry.  I'll go."  In another few moments, perhaps.  Experiencing this pain twice in one day has exhausted me.

"You were right before, Princess.  You aren't going anywhere until I say."

"... ..."  If only it were that simple.

"We'll figure this out.  Quisty is on the case, and you know how determined she can be."

"... ..."  I wish I could explain to him how dangerous hope can be for me. 

"Believe in us, Squall.  All you have to do is hold on."

"What else can I do?" I reply, but I can't give into his rare bit of optimism.

"Stay with me until we fixed this thing.  At least I would be someone to talk to."

His reply to my rhetorical question catches me off guard, warming me before I can resist it.  "Volunteering yourself as babysitter?"

"Hyne knows you need one."

I shake my head and then regain my feet.  "I can't stay far from my body for too long."

"Or this happens?"

"No.  Extended separation just makes me feel ill."

"And watching your other self have at it with Rinoa doesn't?"

I hear the venom in his voice.  "She isn't at fault.  Don't blame her for being inexperienced."

"I can do whatever I damn well please.  If I want to drop the little miss sorceress into the ocean at the next opportunity, I'll do just that."

While the 'heroic' gesture wouldn't be liked by most, I have to smile at his words.  Knowing he'd need sleep after the events of today, I walk to the doorway with the intention of giving him some peace.

"Wait," he calls out out to me.  "I...  You know that--"

"We'll talk about that afterwards."  At the door, I stop without turning in his direction.  "But I know."

I leave the room, and a kind of emptiness settles within me.  He wants me to realize the feeling behind the lustful thoughts of his mind. And here I thought he didn't give a shit what others thought of him.  It's amazing how much can change in a single day, but after fifteen years together, I suppose things have been waiting to explode for a long time now.

Stopping in the hallway, I look at my hand held in front of me, the design of the loudly colored carpet barely shining through the dark glove.  Hyne, what a fool I am to fall in love now.


Why in the world does it take five minutes of kissing to say goodbye for an afternoon?  I swear, they are acting like Rinoa is going away to a far away country and may never return instead of leaving in search of a wedding dress for several hours.  At least I've grown a sort of immunity to watching my body kiss the dark haired woman.  There's a quiet ping before the elevator door opens, though from my angle against the hallway wall I can't tell if the small area is occupied or not.  That is one thing that still bothers me a little - people thinking it's truly me that desires such public displays of affection.  Whatever.

At a rough sound of someone clearing his throat, Rinoa jumps a little and looks into the elevator.  "Oh, hello, Seifer."  I don't care for her condescending tone, but maybe a part of her senses how close the original me was to the blonde soldier.  Stepping back, she turns her focus to my other.  "I'll see you tonight, hun.  Don't miss me too much."

"Don't ask the impossible."  I have to repress the reflex to shiver.

She pats his cheek like she would to a good dog and then steps into the elevator, Seifer walking a bit faster than normal out from open doors.  He doesn't notice me, obviously focused on the hallway before him to ignore the sight of the sorceress and her knight.  Rinoa whines to her knight about Seifer intentionally bumping into her as a form of threat.  Come on, girl.  As if he needs to threaten women that are probably half his body mass.

But of course, it's the heroic knight to the rescue.  "Seifer.  Wait."

Stopping in place, Seifer turns and glares at the smaller man.  The blonde looks strange wearing a dress shirt and dark pants that I recognize from the formal SeeD uniform.  He appears... older and more respectable.  Handsome.  ...Hyne, what am I thinking?

"Listen, I know this must be hard for you coming back, but do you have to be so cold to Rinoa?  If anyone is to blame here, it's me."

"Leave it, Headmaster."

"She told me that you two were closer than you said, so I understand your jealousy."

"... ..."  He scowls with an intensity that should've sent a normal human being running in fear.

"Please.  Take it out on me, not her."

Before I can even think of warning Seifer against lashing out against the Headmaster of B Garden, the clueless puppet is flat on the ground easily a few feet from the large man.  With a raised fist, Seifer looks dumbly at the fallen body, probably acting before thinking as per his trademark.

Suddenly the unlikely opportunity of the situation strikes me.  Rinoa is gone, unable to protect her knight from me.  And if my other is truly unconscious, there shouldn't be any boundaries in my way.  I walk up to the body then, needing to make certain that the fool has truly passed out from such a simple thing as a punch.  Kneeling close to him, I can't sense any of the guards that have shielded the body from my possession.  I need to kiss Seifer for this.  Then I smirk at the true possibility of that.

I inform Seifer of the obvious.  "He's out cold."

He laughs a bit hoarsely.  "That was a bit too easy."

"He's let my body go to waste.  Hasn't touched a gunblade in months, and he certainly isn't used to you."

"Phft.  Pathetic."

This close to him now with his unusual attire, a pang of something shoots through me.  Closest thing I can define it as is need.  Maybe hunger.  For only a temporary amount of time will I be able to control my body, and I want to spend those perhaps last moments with Seifer.  I want to give him what he desires of me, the best way I can say goodbye to him.

"How long would you need?"

"To what?"

"To fuck me." 

He doesn't reply looking dumbstruck, but his eyes are dilated in sudden desire, too.

"With him unconscious and Rinoa gone, I can regain control and hold him back for awhile.  An hour.  Maybe two.  Is that enough?"

"Uh, Squall.  Do you even know what your asking for?"

Thinking of the night previous, I nod.  "Your imagination is rather detailed."

Placing a hand on my body, I succumb to the drawing force of the shell.  I have to take some time to both orient myself and relax against the sudden sensations of touch, taste, and smell.  Once adjusted, I open my eyes to the view of the ceiling and gently raise a hand to my face in order to check the damage of Seifer's blow.  Though tender, I feel nothing wrong.

"He passed out from this."

Smirking, Seifer offers a hand to help me up from the ground.  I stare at the hand, briefly afraid of passing through him once more.  But fears pressed back under my control, I grasp the hand and let the large man lift me to my feet.  Unused to this kind of weight of my body, I go too far and end up leaning against the broad chest.  The feel of his extreme warmth makes me inhale sharply, his familiar scent overwhelming me.

And there isn't time to be this foolish.  "My room.  Now."

Before I can read his movements, Seifer bends down quickly while throwing me off balance again from the sudden lack of support.  Too easily he lifts me onto his shoulder, carrying me like some barbarian taking home his mate.  Granted, I don't mind the position that much, but I still have my dignity to think of.

"What the hell are you thinking?"

"Don't need you getting hurt thinking that you can still walk through walls.  What am I supposed to do if you knock yourself unconscious?"

I sigh at the pathetic excuse, but decide to let him get away with it this time.

"What's the code for the door?"

"2-2-1-2."

"I'm touched, Leonhart.  Why didn't you ever wish me a happy birthday?"

I shrug.  It's not like he bothered to do the same my way.

There's the sound of the door opening.  "Surprised the love birds haven't changed it."

"Doubt they realize what it comes from.  By now, it's just a simple code for Rinoa to remember."

He grunts in reply, his interest obviously lacking in the subject.  He walks quickly forward to the bed, I assume.  When he turns, I lose my orientation until I'm suddenly on his lap, staring into green eyes that seem darker than usual.  A part of me wishes I could still sense his thoughts in this form, insecurity filling my chest.  I really haven't a clue what I'm doing.

Then his lips are on mine, firm and insisting.  I give him complete control over the situation, occasionally mirroring his movements to cause body chilling moans from the man.  How can giving pleasure cause so much bliss in return?

Eventually he pulls back, breathing heavily.  "Squall.  We don't have to do this."

"Yes, we do."  I start on the buttons of the formal shirt, holding back the urge to suckle the tanned skin.

"Why?"

"Because, a second chance may never arise."  I push off the shirt from his shoulders, using the excuse to stroke his muscular arms.

Moving my leg to straddle his thighs in a more comfortable position, I pull off the horrid shirt Rinoa had bought for her knight  and let it fall to the ground.  His eyes are sharp looking into mine, as if piercing through into my very thoughts.  Smirking, Seifer retakes my lips in a heated kiss.  While I hang my arms around the thick neck, his hands undo my single belt and then unzips the slacks.  When he touches my beginning arousal, I curse quietly at the barrier of underwear.  Breaking the kiss, I straighten trying to lessen the feel of burning that flows through my body.  Seifer licking on my exposed chest certainly doesn't help my attempt, forget the strokes along my concealed hardness.

"Seifer..."

In a disorienting move, Seifer manages to drop backwards onto the mattress and then roll over such that I lie beneath him.

He smirks down at me.  "You know, when Rinoa finds all these little marks over her boy toy, she isn't going to be happy."

While the idea sounds like blessed revenge, I suddenly recognize the good possibility of Seifer getting into severe trouble for this.  Frowning, I realize that I've been an unthinking fool to take this so far without considering the consequences for the blonde.  He could be convicted of rape, that is if Rinoa lets him live after harming her knight.

Needing to touch him, I press a hand against his cheek and brush aside some strands of hair that are too close to his eyes.  He turns enough to take a couple of fingers into his mouth, sucking gently in a way that creates an echoing sensation of pleasure lower on my body.  But I won't let him distract me that easily.

"I don't want you to get into trouble."

The suction stopped, my fingers slip from his mouth.  "Does your other half know what is happening?"

"No.  He isn't awake yet."  At his hurt look at the thought that this might end without really starting, I decide to continue after all.  I can still protect him somehow.  "Finish this.  Then we'll ensure your safety."

The gleam in his eyes tells me that he really doesn't give a shit either way, the blonde always knowing exactly what he wants and damn the consequences.  He lifts back off the bed, quickly removing both of our remaining clothes.  Soon Seifer is next to me again, eyes darkened with passion.  Why didn't I notice the desire between us before?  So much time lost, never to be regained or made up for.

He places a hand on my stomach, but I make certain to keep eye contact with him instead of watching his motions on me.  The shifting green entrances me, his thoughts almost readable.  The large hand brushes teasingly against my erection before continuing further down.  At the unexpected entrance of a calloused finger, I hold back a wince at the not quite painful, but certainly unusual feeling.  Eventually a second finger enters, and I have to close my eyes with both his hungry gaze and the ministrations too much for me to handle.  The occasional burst of ecstasy is maddening.

The pressure builds to a pleasure/pain level that I have never experienced before.  Then I realize that this could easily end with Seifer getting none of what he desired in those fantasies of his.  I open my eyes and place a hand on his arm to gain his attention and to demand for more than just my pleasure.  Seifer easily understands the silent command, removing his fingers immediately.  After a light kiss to my lips, he moves between my legs.  Lifting my legs smoothly, he soon positions himself such that I can feel probing against my entrance.  That is the only warning I receive before he thrusts his way into me, his erection much less forgiving than the fingers of before.

When he doesn't move for a time, I realize he is waiting for my okay to continue.  I order him to move, the single word being all the motivation Seifer needs to fuck me.  It hurts, but it's nothing I can't handle.  Actually, it's a relieving sensation, somehow making it more of a reality to have the pain in addition to the growing pleasure of the act.  His thrusts slowly gain intensity as the blonde looses himself.

"Seifer...!"  His name escapes my lips while I arc against him, my hardness trapped wondrously between our bodies.

After a missed beat in the rhythm of his thrusts, Seifer restarts with the same powerful thrusts.  Trying to keep the connection between us at the maximum, I rake a hand into his hair, lifting myself up with his support.  Testingly I return several of his thrusts, achieving the hopeful effect of creating a stronger hit against that unknown spot within me.

"Mine," Seifer growls out, pressing me hard into the mattress with a final thrust.  It's all I need for the pressure within me to finally break.

Once the light stops blinding my eyes, I stare at the ceiling in a daze and slowly come to the logical solution that I can see it because Seifer rolled off from me at some point.  Looking to the side, I find him on his back, just about to lick a finger coated in the cum from his stomach.  My cum.  I can't believe he has an expression that makes him appear to be tasting frosting instead of body fluid.

Glancing at my stare, he smirks.  "Wanna taste?"

I spare an unbelieving look before sighing at the unfortunate finish of the passionate act he shared with me.  "We need to clean up."

"That's nice.  Tell me again in a few hours."

Shaking my head at the hopeful tone, I carefully move off the bed.  "I'll shower first."

Seifer brightens at the mention of a shower, almost jumping off the mattress.  Glaring at him, I silently warn him that we don't have enough time for more play.  Not if I want to be certain to keep him safe from possible repercussions.  Too easily he manages to convince me that nothing will happen, and I can't resist the hint of pleading in his eyes.  True to his word, Seifer doesn't cause too many problems, though the long kiss under running water was definitely an interesting challenge.

Cleaned and soon dressed, I try to make certain nothing is too out of place in the room.  Wincing at the stain on the comforter, I call the cleaning crew to have the Headmaster's sheets changed.  I know they are used to such calls on a frequent basis.  It feels good walking through Garden within my body again, the breeze created from my stride refreshing even with the slight twinges of pain.  Seifer follows quietly as I lead us to Quistis' office.

The door slides open, the instructor looking confused at my unannounced visit.  "Squ-- Headmaster.  What can I help you with?"

The slip is rather amusing.  I've noticed Seifer does the same, refusing to admit my other is 'Squall'.  Looking straight into blue eyes shielded by glasses, I speak plainly since I can already feel the knight within me stirring.  "I want to make certain Seifer is not held responsible for our activities this afternoon, no matter what I say later."

She look strangely at me before questioning, "Squall...?"

I nod in reply.

Her smile is broad with relief.  "You found a way to retake your body."

"No.  It's only temporary and unlikely to happen again," I correct her, crushing the emerging hope.

"What?  Why?"

"He's unconscious for the moment, but he'll awaken and reform the walls he has been careless about lately.  Rinoa's presence will only intensify those barriers."  I hear the shift of clothing as Seifer reaches out to me, but I don't need his distraction for the moment.  "Give me a moment with Quistis."

He doesn't reply, but I hear him walk away as child would when scolded.

At the sound of the closing door, Quistis speaks.  "Squall, I have to apologize--"

"Don't.  There was no way for you to know.  Right now I want to protect Seifer the best I can."

Though the guilt doesn't leave her eyes, she nods.  "I'll do what I can.  What happened?"

"We engaged in sexual activities."

She slowly sits back down in her chair.  "You... and Seifer had sex."

"... ..."

"Sweet Hyne.  I knew there was tension between you two, but this..."  She breathes a laugh.

"Quistis, there isn't time."

An interesting smile comes to her lips.  "You want to make certain Rinoa doesn't try to get Seifer jailed for rape, correct?"

"It may never happen with the lack of evidence and memory, but I'd like a backup."

"In other words, to show it wasn't rape."  She types something into the computer at her side, intent on the screen for a time.  "And there.  I redirected the security camera in the hallway.  Just give us a little show and I'll keep a copy of the video file just in case.  Of course, I'll have to share with Selphie," she adds with a conspiring wink.

"Thanks.  And Qusitis...  I don't think I have much longer.  Outside of my body, that is."  I ignore her widen eyes.  "When I'm gone, tell Seifer that I left something for him.  In his locker at the training center."

"Squall--"

"And know that you all were important to me."

"Squall...  We will find a way to return you.  Trust us."

Smiling faintly, I turn to the doorway that opens at my approach.  Glad that Seifer didn't move far, I grab a bare wrist in one hand and reach behind his head with my other, forcing the tall man low enough for me to kiss him.  Instantly it feels too good, and I have to draw back before Seifer could make the joining even more pleasurable.

"Good?"

"Very.  Thank you much," Quistis says in a teasing tone, making me slightly worried about what else she'll do with the short clip.

Seifer tries to look hurt.  "Should I feel used here?"

I smile vaguely, feeling exhausted.  "I'm going to my room.  Don't follow."

"Am I a stray dog now?"

I glare at him reproachfully, not wanting him to continue thinking of himself as a lapdog.  "Never."

He seems confused at my flash of anger, but then he grins.  "Get out of here, Leonhart.  I'll see you later."

It hurts a little leaving him like that, but I want to go before my other wakes within me.  Remembering my room should be getting cleaned, I head for Rinoa's room instead.  Though the bed will reek of her scent, it'll be nice to try and get some rest before I have to leave this body.  In the lull of time waiting the elevator, hurt flares within me.  Punching the stop button, I hug my body tightly and slowly kneel to the ground.  It isn't the pain I've experienced over the past year, but rather a deep ache that destroys my walls of apathy.  Forehead against the cool metal of the elevator door, I allow myself a few tears while I can still cry them.


My favorite part of the day is the early morning when the world seems to be just a bit more peaceful, as if everyone stops in momentary awe of the sunrise.  And for the last couple weeks I've been able to enjoy watching Seifer wake from deep sleep, his expression always shifting in the same pattern - boyish confusion, to brief panic, and then to pleased relief when his eyes meet mine.  Hyne, I love him.

"I dreamed of you," he states with a sleepy smile.

"Where this time?"

"No sex this time.  Just a kiss."  He grins foolishly at supposedly the memory of the dream.  Makes me wonder if it was actually more than just the kiss.

But the light mood of the morning shatters when pressure wraps tightly around me, the crushing force grown in intensity over the short weeks.  I can hear Seifer calling to me, more like the sound of a calming wind than understandable words.  I can't leave.  I simply can't desert him after we've bonded in both body and mind.  Not when I know the pain for abandonment time and time again.  But that force encircling me, trying to destroy me...  Too much.

Once my barriers collapse under the strength of that power, the pressure instantly alleviates as it seems to change the focus to drawing on my energy.  It's pulling me elsewhere.  Worse, it's taking me from Seifer.

Opening my eyes, I'm not surprised that the blonde is right there before me, close as he can be without accidentally touching.  I reach out to feel that warmth one last time and let the thoughts flow through me.  Hope coats every thought on the surface of his mind.  There are even detailed plans of what he'd do with me the moment I was returned to my rightful body.  I force myself to smile, not wanting his last memory of me in pain.  Not trusting my voice, I can only think my apology to him.

And then there was only darkness.


Curled in that void, I rest.  There is never sleep, whispered words always heard from around me though I haven't seen anyone in perhaps eternity.  How would I know?  At the beginning there was some pain, or rather discomfort as I felt myself slowly pulled in strange directions.  But that has ended a while back, my sense of body feeling further extended than before.  Or maybe it's an illusion of this darkness.

I also had listened to the murmured words at the beginning.  They were words of revenge, hate, and despair.  But for whatever reason, I simply can't relate to those spoken emotions.  While I can almost understand the logic for such sentiments, a sense of peace has settled within me instead.  My life was one of desertion - my parents, my pseudo-sister, my replacement mother, my assumed love, my true love.  But I can find comfort in the one person that returned to me.  The one who had wanted me enough to draw me away from the dimension created by Time Compression.

And yet, I had deserted Seifer.  He must hate me.

Suddenly the darkness seems to shift around me, and then I feel the familiar pull that first brought me to this place.  I don't bother resisting that force anymore, letting it do to me whatever it wants.  I'm thrown into a world of grayness, the light hurting my eyes for several moments before I can keep them open comfortably.  Though it's only gray here, I can feel a ground beneath me, and so I stand.  Hearing a familiar deep voice behind me, I turn quickly to find him.  That's when I first notice the large black wings I bear.  Too confused to even start thinking about them, I instead stare forward at the sight of the blonde man... holding me.

Seifer is crying, though he looks extremely happy.  There are broken sentences through hitched breathing, but eventually I understand that the man is relieved that there was time.  Looking at the mimicry of me that he holds, I see the deadness of a puppet there.  Seifer...

"Yo, wake up!  We're here."

The scene before me shimmers and then vanishes, a feeling of regret hanging in the air.  I can only hear strange echoing of familiar voices - Zell, Fujin, and of course Seifer.  If I put effort into listening to the words, I can understand them, but instead I let the noise go untranslated in a calming hum.  I don't move from my position, my thoughts thankfully blank.  I simply hurt too much from the clear vision of Seifer to think logically at the moment.  Then--

"... to aid in our battle and victory, appear before me - Unwanted."

Automatically wrapping myself in the dark wings, abruptly I can sense that I'm falling.  No, attacking.  Attacking something that has hurt Seifer.  Seifer... my rival, my lover, and now my master.  Pulling the blade from the sheath at my side, I let my wings spread wide to better control my flight towards the enemy.  Smirking at the darkly colored creature, I attack without hesitation.  Weakened sufficiently beforehand, it dies with a pathetic whimper.

Though I feel the draw to return to where I was, I resist for the moment.  The whispered words I heard within the darkness suddenly make complete sense.  The hate, the desired revenge, the quiet despair...  all of it was focused on the existence of sorceresses, on the fate of dominated knights.  Guardian Forces formed from the tortured, broken souls of men and women that now only exist for meaningless revenge on sorceresses, or perhaps in the attempt to prevent such a fate for future knights.

At the sound of boots on crusted earth, I turn around and push away the hood that blocks some of my view of the approaching blonde.

"Squall..."  He stops before me, so close but not touching.  "How...?"

Uncertain how to speak, I only smile at the sight of Seifer and the vague realization that he is safe.  If I'm right with this recent understanding, he won't share this fate as me.  He resisted the complete split that Ultimecia had started.  But I can't think of this now.  I can't think of a possible eternity without him and only share this blessed moment with him instead.

"Can I... touch you?"

Almost moving on their own, the dark wings from my back lift slightly before encircling us in a mock hug.  Taking the half step forward, I push up to the balls of my feet in order to reach his lips.  Only a simple kiss, too afraid to taste too much of what isn't mine.  Lowering, I stare at him silently, an ache of worry throbbing at the sight of fatigue and distress on his face.

"So, what the fuck is this 'Unwanted' crap?  It's a lie, you know."

On a whim, I place a gloved hand on his cheek to reply.  ::It wasn't my choice.::  In truth I can see the reasoning behind the name, but only now knowing my new status, obviously the name was selected somehow without my direct choice.

He struggles for a moment, trying to think of what to say.  His hand lifts to grasp my raised arm, a bracelet glinting when it shifts on his wrist.  "I got your gift."

::I see that.::  I had never cared much for the bracelet that came in the set of the Griever necklace and ring I had purchased eons ago.  I think it was because it looked too much like Seifer's choker and I didn't want people thinking I was imitating him, but I had kept the bracelet anyway.  Shortly after the war when I could occasionally possess my lost body, I had placed the metal jewelry in Seifer's locker, hoping that he would return to find it someday.  I didn't understand my feelings back then, but I did know that I didn't want Rinoa to have the item.  That, and it was meant as a gift of peace.  With the end of the war, I knew I didn't want to seriously fight the blonde ever again.  I wanted the rivalry between us to end with that era.

"I've missed you."

::I know.  Seifer--::

"Don't go," he interrupts, the touch of desperation in his voice painful to me.

An apologetic smile forms.  ::I can't stay like this.  We'll meet in your dreams.::

I let the drawing power take me then, relieved that it did indeed return me to what is apparently Seifer's mind.  The grayness is filled with such conflicting emotions of happiness, anger, and guilt.  But everything is underlined with an aching force of love.  Hyne, please slow time to a halt, or at least prevent my thoughts from going beyond this potentially brief time with Seifer.  I can't afford to imagine an eternity without him.

There's suddenly a change in the energy around me, an unsettling feel before the image of the large blonde appears a short distance ahead of me.

"Seifer?"

Smiling, he approaches me, but stops before our bodies could touch.  Hesitantly his hand rises from his side and is placed on my cheek.  There's not nearly enough warmth or strength in that hand, but at least he is touching me, is here with me.  By the look of hurt in his eyes, it seems Seifer notices the lack of reality in this place as well.

"You're early."

He laughs weakly.  "I had Fujin place Sleep on me.  Haven't been sleeping much as of late, so she was happy to oblige."

"... ..."

"Don't look like that.  None of this is your fault."

I place a hand on his wrist and squeeze the arm firmly to better feel it.  "So.  Ever have a fantasy with me in wings?"

 

{Owari}

 

Author's Whining - And thus the second half.  Thanks for putting up with my playing around. =P