Wanting, and Taking
May 2011



"Did I ever tell you that I met Seifer's ghost, once?" I ask while gazing at the shimmering red liquid at the bottom of my glass.  From the corner of my eye, I notice Cloud's intense stare for the question that he couldn't have anticipated, but it's not his reaction that truly matters to me.  More than the fighter's strange gaze, I feel the burn of watchful eyes and I know that my every word will be heard.  "It was the first time I lived my life... Well, the first time as far as I remember.  I loved Seifer, but I couldn't burden him with my feelings.  And then, I killed him with the blade he taught me to use."

"... It was war," Cloud says in a tone that reflects personal knowledge.

"It was a mistake," I argue, refusing to accept the easy excuse that bad things happen during wars and no one is to blame.  My gunblade killed Seifer, and despite the circumstances, I can never escape that truth.  "Later, in the Time Compression, I saw Seifer's ghost.  Of all the things he should have said, Seifer told me that he was sorry and that he had always loved me.  I couldn't accept those words, not when he never knew my own feelings, and I think that is what made me go back in time.  Back to Seifer."

Cloud stares down at the counter, his eyes distant.  "It's not the same between me and Zack."

"Hn, but do you really want to wait until his ghost tells you that you've been blind?"

Sapphire eyes seem to burst with light at the harsh question, but Cloud quickly controls himself and lifts a hand to his brow.  I try not to smile when bare fingers touch and freeze in surprise at the sweat building on his forehead, but my restraint weakens when I realize that my role in tonight's game is almost over.  While his methods could have been more refined, Cloud forced me to admit that I need Seifer for so many reasons and I couldn't continue to hide behind the excuse that his body and memories were different, even when his soul is clearly the same.

I owe Cloud for pushing me into a decision I didn't want to make and I don't like having debts to my name.  There are also the little annoyances of Aerith's concerned looks whenever I get my coffee in the morning and Cid's recent complaints about the 'God-be-damned, sword-stroking son of a bitch' who has the entire construction crew on edge.  This has to end one way or another, and it seemed most efficient to give Cloud the same choices he forced upon me.

"Figured it out yet, Strife?"

Cloud turns sharply at the new voice and softly glowing eyes stare dumbly at the teenager's appearance, the paranoid fighter somehow missing Seifer's presence since a short while ago.  Then again, Cloud had no reason to be alarmed--young, green eyes weren't focused on him this entire time, but on me.

"How do you like the taste of your own poison?" Seifer asks with a smirk that heats my blood and brings an ache to my hand that creates a desire to grab onto golden locks and force his smugness away with a hard, unforgiving press of lips.  At that point, it would be so simple to slide my knee between his legs, driving them apart...

"What did you do?"

Forced to look away from my obsession, I meet Cloud's furious gaze.  "As I already said, I'm returning the favor."

His sapphire eyes brighten with the enraged desires of an experienced killer, but he won't attack me, not when I wasn't the one to start this.  As Cloud comes to that same conclusion, his hands slowly unclench from tight fists and his expression shows a touch of humility, the fighter accepting his punishment for feeding Seifer a dangerous aphrodisiac.  In all honesty, he's lucky I wasn't strong enough to hunt him down the very moment I discovered what he had done, although I imagine Cloud had no doubt that I wouldn't leave Seifer when he was in such a vulnerable condition.

His mouth twisting in disgust, Cloud demands, "And what now?  You expect me to crawl into Zack's bed like a tomcat in heat?"

While Seifer finds the question amusing, I take it more seriously.  "At times, people need an excuse to do the thing they fear the most."

Cloud shakes his head, refusing to accept that he's being pushed in the right direction.  Refusing, but I know there is a hidden part inside of him that wants this, too.  While not impossible, it makes a soul sick to live without the light it craves so much, and some days, I fear that Cloud's soul has withered past the point of revival.  But that was before I saw the way Zack can make the hardened warrior smile like no one else has and I knew in that moment what had happened to Cloud's lost light.

Momentarily changing his focus, Cloud glares at the empty bottle as if it were a living enemy.  "I can't believe you drank it, too."

"You would have been suspicious if I didn't," I reply as I stand up.  Once steady on my feet, I note the faint flushed color to the soldier's cheeks and decide to add extra kindle to the fire building in Cloud's blood.  "By the way, when you see Zack, you should thank him for recommending this type of rum.  I was having a hard time finding something that would disguise the taste of the potion."

By the scowl Cloud gives me, I succeed at riling the blond.  If I'm lucky, that extra push will convince Cloud to hunt down the pirate despite his current weakened state and get himself backed into a corner.

"He didn't know," Seifer says in a scoff, the youth not guessing my reason for the half-truth.  Unfortunately, he also chooses that moment to support me by placing an arm around my waist, the heated contact scattering my thoughts and making it impossible to focus on the mission at hand.  Clueless, Seifer continues to tell Cloud, "It's obvious what you're thinking, and you're wrong.  Zack gets really weird when you're involved, like he's your guardian or something.  If he knew we were planning this, he would've warned you."

Cloud shows a mix of emotions at the information, mostly relief and a dash of something else, but I can't try to process something so subtle when Seifer is pressed against my side and his hand rests on my overlapping belts.  One of his fingers slips beneath the widest belt and tugs lightly, the willful boy providing an unnecessary reminder of what he wants tonight.

With a curse, I say a bit too abruptly, "We need to go."

Seifer shows a fool's smile at the announcement.  "Whatever you say, but I hope you remember your promise."

"Why would I forget?" I reply in a low tone, my only warning to the teen that I recognize the game he is playing and he doesn't have nearly enough experience to know how to win it.  While green eyes stay firm and amused, Seifer's finger retreats to a safe distance from my belts, but I doubt that it's the final attempt by the blond to test my limits.  Knowing that I can't last much longer against the drug in my system, I turn to Cloud and give him one last piece of advice.  "Don't hold back tonight, Strife.  From what I've heard of this potion, it can do some real damage if you don't dispel the magic by the next morning."

"I think I'm aware of that," Cloud grumbles in return, and given the hard light to his eyes, I can easily foresee a brutal spar in our future.  Once the dust settles after tonight, I should probably suggest how this is something that should be saved for the Coliseum at Olympus--I'd hate to destroy bits of Radiant Garden over something as petty as coerced sex.

After a nod to the fighter, I encourage Seifer to move forward when his body had instinctively stiffened at the deadly aura surrounding Cloud.  To his credit, Seifer shakes off his fear and quickly regains his arrogant stride, as if it didn't matter that we had placed our backs to a deadly opponent.  One of these days, I need to teach this boy to react from more than instinct alone.

A handful of steps away from the bar entrance, Seifer leans in close and whispers into my ear, "If this poison is going to be a problem for Strife, you could always invite him along."

Without hesitation, I punch the teenager in the gut for even suggesting that I would share him.  Seifer somehow keeps his breath, and even when he shows clear signs of hurting from the assault, his lips curl into a satisfied smile and I reluctantly realize that he was baiting me with his offer.  Stupid kid, forcing me to act before I have the chance to think.

"Your eyes are amazing when you're feeling possessive," Seifer says in a tone that should only be used for phrases like 'suck my dick' or 'fuck me hard'... and obviously my ability to logically assess a situation has been compromised by the aphrodisiac in my blood.

Stepping out from the bar, I take a deep breath of cooler air and gaze up at the night sky filled with ordinary, perfectly white stars that have nothing to do with omens or dark intensions.  For the first time in a very long time, I feel like I may be able to find a sliver of rest and happiness in this strange world.  Well, maybe one day soon, but that obviously isn't in the plans for tonight.

"Don't even think it, Almasy," I warn in a growl.

Seifer snatches his hand away before he has the chance to touch my ass.  "Damn it, I thought you were going to be more, y'know, relaxed after drinking that stuff."

"... ..."

The teen sighs in disappointment at my silence, but then glances up at the night sky.  "You didn't see anything up there, did you?"

"... Nothing of importance."

With a show of white teeth, Seifer smiles at my reply.  "Good to hear, but for the record, I want to be the only damsel you save from an evil dark star.  Agreed?"

I stare into green eyes while I try to think and focus on the real question laced within his words, but it's a useless endeavor when the aphrodisiac chants that I should agree to anything if it means shutting him up, pushing him to the ground, and removing his conveniently loose clothing.

"You okay, Leon?" Seifer asks, some concern seeping through his youthful lust.

Growling at my weakened shields, I turn my back to the teen and start the walk back home, a very long walk if my thoughts continue to spiral out of control like this.  Seifer grumbles at my unresponsive state, but he doesn't demand for answers, which means I probably look worse than I feel.

Our steps echo along empty streets while I try my damnedest to keep my thoughts calm and uncreative as we move from the outer rim of Radiant Garden and into the main part of the town.  Despite the things these people have seen and lived through, there is still an air of innocence within this city and I'm reluctant to do anything to upset the balance.  More than my selfish needs, they have earned their peace and they don't need to witness one of their guardians acting like an animal in heat.... not that anyone seems to be awake this late into the night.

... Blessed Hyne, I have to stop making up excuses whenever something logical manages to appear through the fog of my mind.

Seifer's presence doesn't help matters, especially when his recent growth spurt has helped to add more definition to the features I find most appealing on the blond: his broad shoulders that can support my weight, his strong chin that occasionally shows a light stubble, his long legs that never fail to chase me down...  I don't know if it's with anticipation or a degree of fear that I watch him mature.  I remember very well what he'll look like at the age of eighteen and what he'll look like six years after that, the last moments of Seifer's deaths forever etched in my mind.

And such is my conflict.

With every life I have spent with him, Seifer has died in front of my eyes, but even knowing that, I can't help staring at the clueless teen and wonder which of his faces will be burned in my memory next.  For the sake of my sanity, a hope that it's a weather-worn and wrinkled one.

"Hey, seriously, are you okay, Leon?  Y'know, besides the obvious."

Blinking, I realize that I had stopped at some point, several blocks short of my building and standing in the middle of the street.  That... isn't good.

His question not answered, Seifer attempts examines me with nothing more than his gaze, and while it's a noble effort, the touch of his intense green eyes makes me groan with need all the same.  How many nights have I dreamt of that poisonous color and the way it seeps into my skin and deeper into my veins?  How many times have I cleaned my weapon and remembered the bright color of his blood on cold metal?  How many lives have I spent trying to escape Seifer and still ended up in his arms?  His strong, unrelenting arms that won't let me go, that won't let me run away from the thing I want most...

"Fucking Hyne," I curse under my breath, and before I can control my body, I grab the front of Seifer's vest and drag him into the alleyway behind a set of small stores.  I throw the teen against a brick wall and hold him there with my hand fisted in faded blue fabric.  "I prefer privacy, but if you're going to continue staring at me, I need something to help me... relax," I say, unable to keep out the touch of desperation from that last word.

Smirking with the knowledge that I was the one staring and not him, Seifer asks lightly, "Did you have something in mind?"

A low growl sounds in my throat before I lunge forward and force our mouths together into a reckless kiss.  Seifer doesn't resist, not even from surprise, and a flicker of annoyance enters my mind when I consider how he once understood that I was someone to be feared.  I don't want to be figured out by this cocky kid who has experienced one minor world-ending event and still doesn't know how to properly aim the gun portion of his gunblade.  I may want him beyond what logic would dictate as reasonable, but Hyne damn him, I'm not going to let some ambitious teen walk all over me.

As our kiss continues with the entanglement of tongues, I move my free hand to my belts and undo the buckle of the wider one, the same one that had caught Seifer's interest earlier.  Even if this only serves as further proof that I'm unable to deny the kid anything he truly wants, I pull the belt free from crowded belt loops and lift the worn leather to the caress the length of Seifer's bare arm.  The blond jumps at the touch and jerks away from our kiss, his green eyes immediately fixating on the belt in my hand.

"Are we..."  He licks his lips in hesitation and tries again, "Are we doing that out here?  In the open?"

Instead of using words, I smile at the conflict I see in his gaze and gently hold onto his wrist.  I wrap the soft leather around tanned skin, and when he doesn't baulk at my forwardness, I reach for his other wrist.  His bright eyes follow every movement of my hands as I fasten his forearms together, and after a final sharp tug, I fit the end of the belt through the buckle to complete the binding.

After a shaky exhale, Seifer comments, "You're pretty... efficient at that."

Amused by his attempt of subtlety, I lift his bound hands and show my tongue before dragging it over the finger that had assaulted my belt and nearly shattered my will in front of the angry and fairly unstable soldier.  "Did you really think that no one else has considered using my belts for something like this?"

Seifer frowns at the implication in my words, but he doesn't seem able to voice his thoughts when I draw his finger into my mouth and toy with the vulnerable digit.  Green eyes manage to stay firm despite the vague shivers of his arms, but his battle to maintain that composure is promptly lost when I slide my leg forward and press my thigh against his crotch.  It's a mild surprise to discover how hard the youth is behind loose pants, but I also know that Seifer has been waiting all week for tonight to happen.

Jerking his hands free, Seifer grabs onto the front of my shirt with an awkward hold.  "I don't care about before.  I have you now, and there's no fucking way I'm losing to some old guy who wasn't good enough to follow you here himself."

I stare at the surprising kid, and even when he seems determined to be better than my lost husband, I know how Seifer's soul was more than 'good enough' to follow me and make certain I'm not alone.  But despite that knowledge gifted from Griever, it grows harder with each day to see anything except the eager teen with the strange scar between his eyes, his right ear burnt and misshapen, and bright green irises that haven't been hardened by defeat and pain.  I know how his body will grow and change, but I find myself curious how this Seifer will mature in spirit and mind.  There are too many subtle differences between the fighter in my past and this kid in my present, and I don't know if I've been blessed or cursed to find myself in love with his soul time and time again.

His frown changing into something uncertain, Seifer's fingers relax from their grasp and his bound arms rest limply against my chest.  "Damn it, and now you're thinking about him."

"Why would you say that?"

"That weird smile... You only do that when you talk about your time with him."

While it's annoying to learn that I do something as ridiculous as smile whenever I think too deeply about Seifer, I decide to use his unfortunate observation to my advantage.  "What if he isn't the one filling my thoughts?"

Seifer visibly struggles with the budding hope that, for once, he has a clear victory against the man he views as his greatest rival.  His mouth opens, but no sound comes out when he tries to verify my implied meaning, which is for the better since the silence allows me to hear the scuff of boots against stone.  When Seifer takes a breath in an attempt to find his voice, I press my hand against Seifer's mouth to stifle whatever words he had finally decided upon.  Green eyes narrow at my action, but when I look to the entrance of the alleyway, he gets the hint and doesn't struggle against me.

A minute passes before Cloud stumbles into view, the drugged man forced to use the corner of a building for support.  His gaze focused on the cobbled street ahead of him and nowhere else, the spiky-haired man breathes in a harsh tempo as if to catch his breath.  It may have been a little cruel of me to give him the greater dose of the aphrodisiac, but the man does have a strange metabolism and I couldn't risk the drug not working on him.  Angry and frustrated, Cloud beats a fisted hand against the brick wall and growls out a barely heard curse before he continues forward with his single-minded decision to go home and handle his problem by his own means.  It's almost disappointing how easy it was to anticipate that decision of his.

"Seems like he has it rougher than you," Seifer comments once I lower my hand, the sound of unsteady footsteps long gone.

"As it should be."

The teen grins a bit too widely at my response and I can only assume that my tone has taken on the possessive edge he likes.  "Actually, I think I recognize that expression of his, which means he's ready to kill something... or someone."

"Strife would never take Zack's life," I say in a halfhearted attempt to console the teen, but my attention is divided between that and sliding my hand down the waistline of his pants.  "They may hurt each other, but ultimately, Zack is safer with Strife than without him."

"Good to know," Seifer breathes shakily as my fingers locate his cock, "but I was actually more worried about him coming after you."

Leaning forward, I press our bodies together and reach for his scarred ear with my tongue.  Seifer shivers beautifully at the intimate touch and I can't stop my smirk at having a true claim on the teen.  I may have lost the mirror to the scar between my eyes, but I'm starting to believe that the warped flesh of his ear is a better reflection of my damaged soul--scarred beyond recognition, sensitive to specific touches, and unable to revert back to its previous form.  It's the driving reason that I find myself constantly drawn to his injured ear, but there is also the additional pleasure at making the blond squirm with little effort on my part.

"Come on, Leon, I'm serious," Seifer complains while attempting to pull away, but I don't allow him that choice.  "Strife looked really pissed."

"Let him come after me," I say in a low voice, my breath against his ear causing a barely heard whimper from the teen.  The sound strikes an interesting chord throughout my drugged body, and while the thought comes to mind that wind magic is very efficient at removing armor and other coverings from a body, I reluctantly recall the several blocks remaining to my apartment.  No matter my fetishes, I'm a selfish man at the core of my being and I have no desire to share Seifer with an over-vigilant civilian guard wandering the streets.

Even so, there's no sense in either of us walking in our current conditions, which should be easy enough to remedy.

In an abrupt move, I pull my hand out from Seifer's pants, much to his disapproval until he follows my hands and watches me undo his rope belt and zipper.  He attempts to lower his bound arms to return the favor, but I grab onto the wide belt to maintain full control of the situation.  With my gaze focused on heated green, I use my free hand to open the fly of my restraining pants and exhale in relief when I'm caressed by blessedly cool air.  That reprieve is short-lived, however, and I'm driven to press closer to the teen and take both cocks in hand.  A deep ache courses through my body at the contact required of the drug, but before I make a sound, I place my mouth against Seifer's and smother my unwanted urge to cry out in exchange for something far more pleasurable.

Joining in the rough kiss, Seifer groans out in something barely understandable as a curse and thrusts forward against my hand and cock, encouraging me to finish what I've started.  Given the awkward hold, my hand moves in a jerky motion that is oddly satisfying given the situation, and by the sounds Seifer makes, I assume the same is true of him.  At some point, his bound hands grab onto my necklace and he abuses the leverage to make the kiss continue despite our mutual need for air.  There are too many sensations for my drugged body to handle, and when Seifer comes like the eager teenager he is, I'm not far behind.

"Fucking shit," Seifer murmurs in disappointment once his body settles down.  "Are you sure you didn't slip me that poison, too?  Or maybe kissing you somehow passed it to me?"

I smirk at his attempt to explain away the reaction of his young body, but say nothing while cleaning up our mess and making us look decent enough for a walk in the dark.  However, when I grab the thin rope Seifer has been using as a belt, I decide to pull it free instead of using it to better secure loose pants.  Before the teen can question me, I double up the rope, wrap it around his neck, and pull the ends through the loop to make a quick choke collar and leash.

Stepping back, I pull lightly on the rope and say in an unintentionally rough voice, "We'll continue this with a touch more privacy."

Seifer lifts his bound hands to touch the rope, but he doesn't attempt pull free from the simple restraint.  "You want to walk home... like this?"

"They trust me here," I say with a slight degree of annoyance at how blindly I've been trusted by these people.  "If anyone sees us, they'll assume I'm training you to escape your bindings."

Pink lips slide into a conspiring smirk.  "Now why in the world would I try to escape?"

Narrowing my gaze on the youth, I warn him, "You'll regret that question by the end of tonight."

If anything, green eyes brighten further at the threat and I'm forced to lump this idiot in with the others who trust that my honor will always dominate the darker parts of my personality.  The unfortunate truth for Seifer is that I used to let my honor and pride support my actions, and that ultimately led to his blood on my hands and my soul being lost in time.  I know it's not exactly true, but I can't help feeling like Seifer is safer when I allow my baser nature to take over, even when it leads to rough sex that has caused a serious injury or two.

That thought brings a familiar itch to my skin and I know that the aphrodisiac is already reviving within my blood.  With no reason to linger, I jerk the makeshift leash once in warning before I turn my back to the teen and move for the entrance of the alleyway.  Seifer resists for a fraction of a second before quickly moving behind me, showing his true embarrassment at his situation when he walks at my heels instead of at my side.  I smirk at revealing the limits of his arrogance, but whether from stubbornness or pride, he doesn't argue against his treatment.  It's a shame for him how that only makes me want to push him further and see how far he can go.

~ > < ~

"No blindfold," Seifer demands, his green eyes firm as he glares up at me.

My eyebrow lifts with interest at the argument from the teen, him currently kneeling on the worn area rug in my apartment.  With his arms still bound in front of him, the only clothing left on his body is his opened vest that couldn't be removed without taking a knife to it.  There is also the thin rope that hangs off his neck, and while slight red marks show on his skin, I decided that I liked the look of the makeshift leash.  Within minutes of removing most of his clothing, I had taken my two remaining belts to spread his legs and strap his ankles to a staff I use when training with Aerith.  Seifer asked if I would get a new staff after this, to which I smiled in reply.

"Do whatever you want with your belts, but no fucking blindfolds," Seifer insists.

I hum at the counteroffer, the sound making the teen flinch when he realizes his mistake.  Even so, he doesn't take it back, apparently that determined to keep his eye on me.  This obsession of his to always keep me in view is becoming a problem, but he'll learn sooner or later that constantly chasing after me is more trouble than it's worth.

For the meantime, I drop the dark piece of material and begin to unbuckle my remaining belts.  Seifer watches me as I remove the ones at my thigh, the teen waiting for me to reveal what I may do with his open-ended offer to use my belts in anyway I please.  I drag out the moment as much as the drug in my system will allow, and with each belt falling to the ground, I move to the ones at my forearm.  Seifer shows his naivety when he relaxes, apparently deciding that there isn't much damage I could do with the smaller belts.  Two of them fall to the ground, but with the third belt, I fit the end back into the buckle and bend down onto one knee in front of the teen.

Focused on confused green, I stroke the back of my fingers down his partial erection and then slip the small belt over his length.  Seifer jerks in surprise, but he can't easily retreat when I tighten the binding and secure the buckle with the extra hole made special for this occasion.

"Let me know if it begins to hurt," I say while continuing to stroke my fingers along his dick.

"W-wait a second," Seifer stutters out.  "What are you... No, why... Who would do something like that?"

I offer the blond a soft smile with the implied suggestion that he's about to find out.

Seifer frowns to show his skepticism, but he doesn't have the freedom to remove the piece of leather, forget the fact that he said I could do anything with my belts.

With a huff of laughter, I push up from the ground and pull off my shirt in a purposeful motion to remind Seifer about what we're about to do.  All of his wariness is replaced by lust when his eyes settle on my bare torso, and with an awkward shuffle, he moves forward to place his lips against a longer scar located at my side.  It's a pale scar, barely visible compared to the rest of my damaged flesh, but Seifer recognized it from the start as the first injury he had healed for me.  Undoubtedly, it won't be the last.

I place my hand into soft blond, and after indulging him, I wrap my fingers around the shaggy length and force his head back far enough that he sees when I unzip my pants.  His eyes widen slightly when I pull my cock free, and he glances up with a questioning look to his gaze.  Admittedly, I haven't given the teen all of the freedom he wants when it comes to sex, but when at least two of my more prominent memories involve Seifer and his skilled tongue, it's difficult to give that same privilege to a kid who is still learning the nuances of a proper kiss.  Still, the past has been untouchable for a long time and I have learned that I'm willing to forgive his reborn soul for the many things he has forgotten.

Taking my silence as permission, Seifer smirks with a subtle curl of victory to his lips, but his eager energy is quickly tempered once he focuses on the jagged letters forever cut into my flesh.  In the desire to touch, he automatically lifts his hands, but he is promptly reminded of his restricted state.  With an annoyed frown, he wraps his hands at my thigh in a strong hold, as if keeping me in place was his intention from the beginning.  Seifer then licks his lips in a nervous action before he leans forward and carefully follows the 'A' with the very tip of his tongue.  A shiver courses through my body at the intimate caress of the aged scar, and when he moves to the 'S', I'm forced to find additional support using my hold within his golden hair.  That only encourages him further, and with a gentle bite, he grazes his teeth against the vulnerable flesh in a familiar fashion, as if he could somehow remove the markings if he were careful enough.

When the aphrodisiac makes my shaking more than I can bear, I pull at his hair and guide him down away from the scars and toward the swollen head of my dick.  Maneuvering around my arm, Seifer glances up with a heated gaze and grins before curling his tongue around the tip of my penis and drawing the redden head into his mouth.  With unexpected accuracy, he teases the spot just underneath and coerces a throaty groan from me in response.  Seifer echoes that with a hum of satisfaction, the teen pleased at finding one of my weak points, and he determinedly continues to play with that one spot in an apparent effort to see what other noises I can make.  Better prepared, I bite back any further sounds, not wanting Seifer to confuse his luck with true sexual skill.

As he moves onto other unexplored realms, it doesn't take much of Seifer's ambitious attempts before my legs begin to weaken from the intense response of the drug in my system.  With a frustrated growl at being unable to properly enjoy the moment, I pull at golden hair and encourage the teen to release my dick from his mouth.  He shows a fleeting pathetic look at being forced to stop, but with one glance at my expression, Seifer regains an air of arrogance and uses more tongue than necessary to wipe the corner of his mouth clean.

I scoff at his overdone attempt to seduce me, and with slightly less strength than I would use during one of our spars, I slap the back of his head and knock him to the ground.  Seifer gets his bound arms beneath him before his face hits the floor, but with his legs also restrained, he doesn't have the maneuverability to easily shift back onto bent knees.  The blond tilts his head in my direction and, despite the rough handling, he has the nerve to grin at his precarious position.

Needing to remind him about my objective for the night, I smack his bare ass and then drag my fingernails along reddened flesh toward his hole, but I'm the one thrown off guard when I discover the sheen of lubrication already in place.

"I know how that poison hurts more than you'll admit," Seifer comments at my hesitation, "and while this is fun and all, I thought I could speed things up a little if I was prepared for the obvious."

Refusing to give him credit for being prepared for my sake, I glare at the blond and inform him, "It doesn't hurt."

"Like I said, you'd never admit it," Seifer counters with youthful smugness.

A whispered curse escapes me instead of the truer statement that nothing can compare to the pain caused by his presence on a daily basis.  My soul has been sheltered within ice for too many years, and like a frostbitten body part coming back to life, it burns from the constant exposure of Seifer's unwavering emotions.  And such is the irony of our existence--Seifer constantly adopts the mission to protect me from pain, and yet he has been the sole cause of the greatest agony in my existence.

"Leon...?" Seifer questions, but when he attempts to push up from his bent position, I kick the staff bound to his ankles and force him back down to his elbows.

Ignoring his grunt of pain, I tell him, "Don't assume you can protect me from everything."

With a weak smile, Seifer replies, "Not everything, but it'd be nice to save you from the easy stuff every once and awhile."

My annoyance ebbs at his honest answer, and with nothing else to hold back the cruder instincts, I kneel down to wrap an arm under his waist and lift his hips back against my sore groin.  I grind my cock against his prepared asshole, and to prove that I'm not completely at the mercy of the aphrodisiac, I tease him with false attempts to push into him.  That doesn't last long, however, and when Seifer hisses out a 'yes, dammit,' the final barrier of my pointless resistance collapses into nothingness.

It should be strange entering into his body, the same body of my dominate husband, but just as our spars will never be what I remember from my first life, our sex life has also taken a new form that somehow manages to feel right because it's happening now, because it's with this Seifer.  With steady pressure, I push into overwhelming heat until I'm mostly seated within the blond.  He shivers beneath me, and when I'm overwhelmed by the urge to cause more responses from the teen, I move a hand to one of his exposed nipples.  A pleasure-filled whimper leaves him when I twist and pull at the sensitive area, but apparently annoyed by the sound, Seifer bites onto the belt binding his arms.

I don't immediately notice the movement of my hips and the way the rhythm matches the motion of my hand at his nipple, but it quickly becomes evident that I need more support than my one hand can provide.  I move my arm to wrap across his chest and dig my fingernails into his shoulder, the action causing Seifer to exhale in readiness for the onslaught to come.  The aphrodisiac takes full control of my actions around that point, creating a desperate need as I push harder and deeper into the younger man.  Given the choice, I prefer the roll of hips to the jerk of quick thrusts, but there's no helping it, at least not for round two.  Maybe for round three...

"It hurts..." Seifer murmurs between thrusts.

Reaching the edge and uncertain if I can stop, I inform the teen, "Just a bit more."

"But y'said... a-ah, to tell you... "

His complaint is interrupted by a choked cry, but it's enough to remind me about the placement of my smallest belt.  Not pausing in my rhythm, I move my hand to his swollen dick and finger the unforgiving leather at its base.  I momentarily debate leaving it in place to punish Seifer for everything he has put me through, but I've learned that certain types of revenge simply aren't worth the trouble.  Seifer yelps when he doesn't anticipate the necessity to tighten the binding further in order to unlatch the buckle, but once the leather goes limp, he groans throatily and pushes his hips back to meet my thrust in the moment of his sharp release.

The sound from my own lips is a little more animalistic than that.

Compared to the heat I was expecting, the aphrodisiac creates a sharp electric sensation that courses throughout my body and steals away my ability to move for several noticeable seconds.  The true power of the aphrodisiac, however, reveals itself when that energy leaves and every piece of my body that touches Seifer abruptly feels soothed and renewed.  The drug was supposedly created for a desert king and I can imagine him winning over the hearts of several reluctant brides with that subtle addition.  Fortunate for me, I'm already hopelessly devoted to my young lover.

"...enough..." Seifer grumbles from his bent position, surprising me with his annoyance.

Carefully removing myself from the teen, I ask worriedly, "Was I too rough?"

With a scoff, Seifer argues, "Nah, not that.  Fuck, it blew my mind at the end there, but..."  He hits his bound hands against the ground and complains, "We have at least one more round ahead of us, and I'm not allowed to touch you?  That sucks."

A breath of laughter mixed with relief leaves me when I realize the source of his anger.  "You were the one to request the belts."

"I know, I know, and it was fun at the start, but..."  He bites his lower lip with uncertainty toward how to explain his dilemma.  Fortunate for him, I already know how it feels to be bound and coming down from the high of rough sex.  It wasn't always a bad thing, but for a younger man new to sex, I can understand how the loss of intimacy would affect him.

Pushing up from the ground, I move to the nearby bed and remove my leather pants before taking a seat on the mattress.  One of these days, I should look into getting a new mattress to replace this thin and well-used one.  If the current state of relative peace continues, I may actually have the opportunity to do something as mundane as furniture shopping, an act that also relies on the theory that we'll be alive and able to use the mattress beyond tomorrow.  It's a strange thought for me, but it brings a calmness to my spirit to think about the distant future as something hopeful for once.

With a huff, Seifer manages to push back onto his knees and glare at me.  "Are you planning to leave me like this?"

"No, I'm giving you the opportunity to free yourself before the aphrodisiac takes that choice from me."

Green eyes brighten in the moment before rich laughter sounds.  "You asshole, you're training me in the middle of something like this?"

"If I were training you, I would offer some help," I argue while leaning back onto my hands.  "You have five minutes.  I can't promise much more than that."

Seifer grins at the challenge placed in front of him, and without a breath wasted on bargaining for more time or some kind of assistance, he puts his teeth to the wide belt binding his forearms together.  Speaking through his teeth, Seifer warns me, "I'm goin' to make y'pay for that one belt."

I don't bother responding to the vague threat, fairly confident that the bindings are simple enough that he shouldn't have much trouble.  In the meantime, I take my enjoyment from watching the teenager fight against the leather that doesn't want to slide free of the metal buckle.  Sweat darkens his blond hair and plasters the strands to his head, but the moisture also brings a soft, attractive sheen to his tanned face.  His teeth are white in contrast to the dark belt, and when he almost frees the end from the buckle, I lower my hand to my groin and drag my fingernails over my limp cock.  Seifer catches the sight of my hand and loses his hold on the leather when his mouth opens in his moment of revived lust.  He scowls at my interference, and with his teeth returning to the belt end, he swivels around so that he doesn't face me directly.

"Four minutes, Almasy," I say with no intention of being helpful.

"Fuckin' bastard," Seifer mutters around leather and bites a little harder.

A soft, lingering laugh sounds from Cloud and I can't help thinking that he looks years younger when he smiles like that.  Even the harsh light in his eyes have quieted to a gentle glow, something I didn't think was possible of the strange energy.  It's hard to imagine that one night with his lost lover could cause such a noticeable change, but maybe Zack had accidentally stolen something from Cloud in their past lives.  To have that unknown thing returned to him, to have everything returned, Cloud deserves his moment of rebirth.

"You needed this," I tell the blond soldier.

Cloud schools his expression at the comment, but there's no hiding the soft light of his eyes.  "I haven't decided that yet."

"Sorry, Strife, but we both know that this isn't something we're allowed to 'decide'," I argue while turning my back to the man who could very well kill me for my unwanted help.  "Enjoy your morning.  Yuffie is covering your security duty for the day.  You'll owe her one."

Cloud groans at Yuffie's involvement, not that I have much sympathy for the man.  I've had to deal with the inquisitive thief since Sora first mentioned Seifer's name several months ago; I think it's long past time for someone else to handle that burden.

As I walk away from the building, I pick up a second paper bag from the sidewalk that holds another helping of breakfast for me to take home.  At least, that is the plan until I notice the figure leaning against a building across the street.  Disbelief causes me to pause in mid-step before I shake my head at the tenacity of my young lover and I change paths to walk toward the waiting teen.

"Are they both alive?" Seifer asks in a terse tone.

Ignoring his clear anger, I let my gaze drift over his body and focus on the deep bruises put on display given his sleeveless jacket and the low collar of his vest.  Early this morning, I was unable to control my warped satisfaction in those distinctive marks and I didn't heal the obviously painful injuries, assuming that Seifer would handle the task himself once he woke.  To see them in place and apparently untouched, I feel a burn in my chest that no aphrodisiac can ever mimic.

Seifer frowns at my silence and asks with honest concern, "They are okay, aren't they?  I kind of like Zack, and you did say Strife would never hurt him..."

"They're fine," I assure before tossing the bag at Seifer, forcing him to catch it and deal with the sharp movement of sore muscles.

He initially scowls at my action, but then his teenaged stomach gets a whiff of warm eggs and bacon.  Even when he seems embarrassed by the noticeable growl, Seifer digs into the bag and promptly retrieves a breakfast burrito wrapped in foil.  "So, did Strife actually admit anything to Zack, or is he still pretending that they can't be together because of the shit that happened in their other lives?"

"We didn't exactly talk," I say while turning and beginning the walk home, "but I don't think that pirate is the type to surrender, not when he has something to protect."

Keeping pace at my side, Seifer snorts and asks around a mouthful of food, "Do you think Strife is the type to let someone else protect him?"

"Hn, I imagine that depends on the protector."

After a thick swallow of his food, Seifer slows to a stop and modifies his question to ask, "Would you let me protect you?"

A few steps ahead, I stop and turn around to face the teenager, but I don't speak out with the easy replies that come to mind.  He's young, he's impulsive, he's inexperienced... There are so many reasons why Seifer can't fight at my side, let alone protect me, and yet I can't say any of those things out loud.  Maybe it's because I don't really believe in those excuses, or maybe it's because...

"I'll get stronger," Seifer promises with a heavy step forward.  "I know that I'm still a kid and I have a lot to learn, but one of these days, I want to save you like how you always... always save me."

My lips curl into a reluctant smile as I wonder where Seifer finds the energy to be so damned determined about everything.  I lost that strength too many years ago, even when I stood by my husband and walked across a dead planet.  It was his tenacity that made me believe that our world could be revived, and now, gazing into those same unwavering emerald eyes, I'm faced with an old urge to believe in the impossible... To believe in the future...

I move in front of the teen and slide my left hand over his cheek until my golden ring rests against heated skin and my fingertips brush against his damaged ear.  Seifer watches me eagerly, waiting for favorable words that, unfortunately, I can't bring myself to speak.  If I did, I think that would be the final death of my lost husband, and I'm not ready for that, not just yet.

Patting his cheek, I say coolly, "Learn how to aim your weapon, and then we'll talk more."

Hurt flashes through green eyes before Seifer abruptly grabs my retreating hand.  "You're such a fucking asshole, Leon, but I'm not giving up.  Not by a long shot, and one way or another, I'm going to win," he pledges with a kiss to my ring.

Staring at his lips against gold, the whispers of 'My Knight' enter my mind, and by the teen's smirk, I almost believe that I had mistakenly spoken the words out loud.  Almost, but he's not that good, not yet.

"If you're feeling that energetic," I say while pulling my hand free from his hold, "I'll inform Cid that you're well enough for construction duty after all."

"You wouldn't do that," Seifer argues with confidence.

I lift my eyebrow in the silent threat that I can do whatever I want, especially where his ass is concerned.

Doubt entering into his gaze, Seifer argues, "No way, you wouldn't.  Do you know how much my back fucking hurts because of you?"

I shrug with false indifference before I turn around and continue on my previous path; meanwhile, I mentally inventory the various potions I have stored in my apartment and decide upon a combination that should ease the pain from Seifer's sore 'back' without healing his bruises.  He earned those bruises, and even when I shouldn't give him everything he wants, I'm willing to concede on the little things.

"Come on, Leon," Seifer pitifully insists while chasing after me.  "I could barely crawl out of bed this morning and you expect me to do hard labor?"

"Maybe you should have stayed there," I comment, implying that he should have controlled his obsession to keep me in view.  Rethinking those words, however, it's no wonder when Seifer decides to hear an entirely different interpretation.

"Were you expecting me to wait in bed for you?" he asks with a hungry smile.

"Don't push it, Almasy."

"But if I don't push hard enough, you won't give in."

I glance at him for the bold statement, but I can't find the voice dismantle his renewed confidence.  Instead, the gold at my finger feels warm against my skin, and not for the first time, I wonder when I'll finally surrender to the inevitability of loving this younger version of the man I can never escape.  The word hasn't been spoken between us, but it still hangs there, ready for a moment of stupidity... or maybe for a moment of sober clarity.  I honestly thought Seifer would be the first to admit his love in a reckless fashion, but I see now that he's waiting for me.  Waiting, as if he knows that showing me patience is the final key to my heart.

"One more crack," Seifer says in a satisfied murmur at whatever expression I must be showing.  "You can't last forever, you know."

My gaze lingering on his face, I say under my breath, "I never assumed I would."




Author's Whining -- And here is Gnome's belated (with permission) birthday gift!  I hope you enjoyed that Gnome, although I know how you can do bondage ficcage so very much better than me. ^.~

To everyone else, I'm so, so, so sorry for the delay with ficcage all of these months.  For those who don't know, my ass was handed to me by the CPA exams, and after I passed all of them, Aera got super busy with her own coursework and couldn't do beta work for me.  Hopefully updates will pick up again really soon, but I'm beyond promising anything since, to this point, I've sorely underestimated how long things would take.  I appreciate all of the support during these months.  Without that, I probably would have been even more stressed out during an already painful time.  Love you all!!!