I sit on a flat boulder at my spot by the cliff playing a song on my guitar. I wish I could play something more fitting to my mood, but there's no melody that could match the confusion within me. It's been over two weeks since our first day together. We haven't gone further than kissing and touching, but I never dreamed how fulfilling the feel of skin on skin could be. While I hate to admit it, I've never been happier in my life. Seifer is surprisingly gentle and patient with me. Some days we do nothing but sit together here while I play my guitar. I feel at ease with him nearby.
But then there is the fear surrounding the happiness. The rumors of the awakening of a Sorceress have increased in the past weeks. But I know it is no longer simply a rumor. I can hear her alluring voice in my head now. It started as barely a whisper, but after just a few days, her words are clearer than if she whispered into my ear. As if knowing my darkest desires, she promises me she can give me back my wings and let me have my vengeance over those who oppressed me. All I have to do is join her.
Her voice is painfully tempting, but frighteningly dark as well. I know from the legends about the terror that Sorceresses can be, and while I don't want to be a part of that, I don't think my spirit is strong enough to resist. Those thoughts and playing ends when I hear a soft flutter from above.
"Hey, Squally-boy. You didn't have to stop." He smiles brightly at me but then frowns when he notices my mood. "What's wrong?"
He doesn't know yet about the Sorceress. I will tell him, but right now I need something from him. I don't want him thinking too much in the meantime. Placing the guitar gently to the ground, I look directly into green eyes. The worry on his face warms me.
"Seifer. I want you to claim me."
His eyes squint in confusion but then open wide as I remove my shirt and toss it by the guitar.
I unlace my trousers and it soon ends up on the shirt. Lying on the boulder and naked in the sun, I close my eyes. Knowing my thoughts, the voice tells me, I can give you more.
"Right now. Mark me. Take me. Show me I belong to you."
I hear clothing rustle and drop somewhere. Soon there is the shade of wings blocking sun from my closed eyes and warm skin touching mine.
"Promise me to explain this afterwards." His breath in my ear sends a shiver down my body.
I smile slightly at how well he knows me. "Promise."
He kisses me and nibbles at my lower lip. Then starting at my neck, he kisses hard and licks after a gentle bite. He does the same down my body at various locations. I never realized how tender my ribs were until his wet assault. I will myself to open my eyes and see the red spots on my chest. Fascinated, I touch a redden nipple and moan in satisfaction. He raises my leg over his shoulder and strokes a finger along my excited flesh.
"Where's the oil?"
"No. This one time I need to feel it."
He frowns at me. "Squall. This will hurt a lot for your first time. I don't want to--"
I stop his words with a breathy laugh. "Now you're worried about hurting me? After all those fights."
His frown doesn't disappear. "Still. This is different."
Raising up on an elbow, I manage to cup his face with one hand. "Please, Seifer. I need this or I may lose myself."
He looks at me with confusion for a moment, but then leans into my hand to signal his defeat. As I lie back down, he bends forward to pay attention to my harden member. Soon there is something pressing against my anus. At the same time as a finger enters, he nips the tips of my penis making me arch into both hand and mouth. After some probing, he removes the finger and then places two back in with scissoring motions. It feels uncomfortable, but his mouth is doing enough to distract me. In fact, maybe too much.
"Seifer. Please. Now."
He sits up with a sigh and worry in his eyes, but there is plenty of lust there, too. He places a hand under my other leg to bend it forward near my chest. There's something soft yet solid pressing against me and then it enters. I didn't want to show Seifer the pain it causes, but I cry out anyway. I feel him starting to retreat, but I thrust as best I can towards him. Unable to find the breath to speak, I stare at him. Begging for him to do this. Whether he understands the silent plead or perhaps too far in pleasure, he begins to move in slow thrusts. When the pace increases intensity with my prompting, the pain is joined by sharp intervals of pleasure from him hitting something inside of me. For the first time in days, I can't hear the enchanting voice. I loose myself in the feelings overwhelming me and suddenly there is release.
Opening my eyes, I feel a heavy arm and wing on top of me. Seifer is lying to the side of me with his head propped up on his hand and a worried look on his face. Did I pass out?
"Are you okay?"
"Hn. Sore but good."
"So, not that Im complaining, but what brought this on?"
Closing my eyes, I can still hear the voice speaking to me, but the allure was gone. I couldn't belong to her anymore, and I felt safe.
"Hey, sleeping beauty. You promised an explanation."
"There's a Sorceress being revived somewhere. She wants me to join her." Opening my eyes, I focus on him and smile. "But now you own me."
Surprise is apparent on his face just before he hugs me tightly. "Damn right."
While her voice doesn't attract me, I can't ignore it. It may have been alluring at one time, but now she seems angry at my resistance. I can't sleep well let alone eat. Father is worried and there is nothing I could tell him that would bring him some kind of peace. Unable to focus, I haven't gone to training in the past few days. I doubt they care. I go to my spot and play music in an attempt to soothe my nerves.
Seifer is always there with me. I wish I could drive him away incase something happens, but I need him too much. I don't know at what point I depended on his strength. Perhaps I always have, always needing him to push me further in life than I wanted to go.
Hmm, so it is only him that keeps you away from me, my Knight.
The guitar drops from my grip onto the ground with a loud noise. Seifer starts awake from his doze and looks at me with questioning in his green eyes. Without speaking, I stride over towards an open grass area and wait. The blonde is soon by my side, perhaps asking something. But I can't hear him over the sound of wind and laughter.
"She's come for me."
Squall is looking thin and drawn these days. If I didn't know better, I'd say he was regretting our sex in the sun. That sorceress must still be talking to him and there's absolutely nothing I can do. So I just sit with him, listening to the quiet melody of his guitar. I didn't realize that I was dozing until the instrument hits dirt with an unharmonious clang. Squall has an odd look in his eyes. I haven't seen fear in them for a very long time.
Suddenly he's walking to an open area a fair distance away. I try calling after him, but he doesn't respond. Deciding that the brunette will tell me when I need to know, I follow and stop by his side. Hyperion is ready in my hand, though Squall has yet to pull his own sword. The breeze of the ocean shifts its direction.
"She's come for me."
I grip Hyperion tighter knowing exactly who 'she' is. This sorceress will pay for the pain she's caused him in such a short time. He's mine now, and certainly no human was going to take him away.
From nothingness, a slim figure seems to come into focus in front of us. She is gorgeous. Dark lashes framing golden eyes, jet-black hair flowing in the breeze, and a simple black dress that all serve to make her white skin glow. But she also smells of pain, blood, and death.
"My Knight. Why do you spurn me?" Her voice is melodic and luring. Hell, I'm tempted to become the "knight" she is looking for. But her target is the man next to me.
"I belong to another."
"Hmm, this frightening fellow next to you?" she says, a thin finger again her cheek in mock thought. "I think I can take care of that."
Before either of us could react, large icicles fly at me. Most miss, but one hits my sword arm and two lodge into my thigh. The attack throws me back several meters, and I end up lying helpless on the ground. Judging by the intense pain, I think a wing may be broken from the landing.
The woman laughs coldly. "This man owns you? What a joke. As if he could control one of your power."
Ignoring the pain, I focus on Squall. His whole body is tense -- fists clenched and raised, back bent forward, and mouth is set in a silent snarl. Sadistically, it pleases me that he's furious at the attack on me, even though I don't deserve it. I didn't get a single blow in. Some protector I am.
Suddenly, Squall's body goes slack as a quiet laugh builds into full-blown laughter. The cold madness in it chills me.
"You think you can control me, human!"
His shirt moves, but not from the breeze. He arcs forward and the shirt rips apart as blackness explodes from Squall's back. My eyes are wide, frozen on the vision of two black wings dripping with dark blood. Fear overwhelms me. I know this is Squall before me, but somehow it is a different person as well. Someone who may not recognize me.
"Know your place, Knight." But her voice didn't sound as confident as before.
I can barely watch the attack she launches. It's too bright to identify. But I do notice the shine of a barrier protecting me. The light fades and nothing has changed except for an expanse of dirt instead of grass surrounding us.
"Is that all, witch?"
The Sorceress moves back a step before freezing completely. Squall must have placed a Hold spell to keep her from escaping the way she came. There's a quiet chant from Squall when darkness flows up from the ground in front of the Sorceress.
"You dare think a mere death spell could stop me?!"
A deep chuckle comes from Squall. "I'm no fool such as you to start with something simple. The Dark Warrior should be plenty to end this quickly." As he says this, the darkness solidifies into a human shape holding a large sword radiating black.
"No Impossible! You couldn't have this power!"
The Sorceress attempts a barrier to block the sword, but it crashes through and beheads her cleanly. The black form turns and bows to Squall before returning to the earth. In all my years of lessons, I have never heard of this "Dark Warrior" summon. I didn't realize until it disappeared, but I had felt my death eminent with its mere presence. The Sorceress herself didn't emit that much fearsome power, and the entity had been under Squall's control.
Walking awkwardly with the new weight on his back, Squall comes to me. He stops short however, a strange expression on his face. Though it takes a moment, I realize he must think I would reject him in this new form. While there was fear in me before, with the short battle finished, the threatening aura around Squall is gone. This is the complete form of the man I love.
Smiling the best I can with pain remembered, I say without hiding my awe, "You're gorgeous."
Gorgeous doesn't touch the masterpiece he appears right now. I always wondered what his wings would look like, and now I know I had failed in the attempt to picture it. They are darker than night, brightening the blueness in his stormy eyes and the highlights in his dark hair. They represented the strength I always saw in Squall.
Worries relieved, he quickly kneels next to me and heals my injuries entirely. The pain gone, I stand up bringing Squall with me. Lifting his chin gently, I bring my lips to his. We kiss deeply as I enjoy the sound of his wings fluttering in pleasure. He breaks the contact and steps back.
"Seifer, did you mean it about marrying me?"
If I doubted it at all before, I am certain now. He is mine. I won't settle for something less, nor will I let him go to another. And knowing Squall, there wouldn't be a second chance.
Instead of answering, I pull a feather from my wing. Making a slice along my arm with a knife, I dip the feather into the fresh blood. I look up to see Squall doing the same. We hold our feathers near the other's mouths.
"I give my wings and life to you," we say together and then place the feathers in our mouths to drink the blood. The sweetness of his blood tells me the match is valid.
To complete the bond, we need the symbols of our promise to each other. Looking about me, I notice I don't have anything to use as rings. Without warning Squall pulls two feathers from me. About to tell him off, I stop and instead watch him place my two light gold feathers in each of his hands to join two black ones. Like a magic trick, he closes his hands and then reopens them to reveal two rings. Picking up the smaller of the two, I look closely at the almost marble like material of two bands intertwined -- gold and ebony.
Smiling, I take his hand and place the ring on the forth finger. The finger of the heart. "I pledge to never leave your side if you will have me."
"I do." He takes my hand and puts on the ring. "I pledge to never leave your side if you will have me."
I raise his hand and kiss the bronze skin. "I do."
We hug somewhat awkwardly since I'm used to his wingless back. We stand quietly, enjoying the perfect moment. Then Squall squeezes tightly and once again steps back from me as far as he can with my arms loosely around his shoulder.
"Seifer, you have to cut off my wings."
"W, What?! Why? They're magnificent." I don't attempt to hide the shock and part anger in my voice.
He shakes his head and looks at me with pained, yet knowing eyes. "No one must see them. They would first kill me--"
"You're powerful now! What do you have to fear from them?"
"Seifer. Calm yourself and think. If they knew I could reform my wings, what would that mean for future children?"
I lean my head against his shoulder. "Fuck that. Why should you care if some unborn children die? Hell, it could be for the better. They wouldn't suffer like you."
A steady hand runs through my hair. How could he be so calm? "What if someone before me thought the same? I wouldn't have lived."
And the evil Sorceress would have ruled the lands. Sure, it's logical. But I don't want to be logical. Squall is complete again. He could show those winged fools what a real Letivian was capable of doing. They'd learn what happens if you treat others like shit.
I guess this is why Squall was born with this burden instead of me.
Unable to speak, I stand straight and nod at him. He smiles weakly and then kneels with his wings stretched back far. Walking to his side, I force wetness from my eyes. I can't afford blurred vision. I dont bother to countdown as I raise my blade, not wanting to belittle the strength Squall is showing by staying perfectly still. He trusts me this much.
With that thought, I bring Hyperion down as I step forward. The blade slices through bones cleanly, shaving only a touch of skin as well. Squall screams out loudly in pain and heartbreak. Blood tears flow down his cheeks as I drop my blade and hug him from the side. I pound his back with healing spells to stop the large amount of gushing blood. The flow eventually stops, but Squall is unconscious by then. I glimpse behind him to see the majestic wings that never had the chance of flight.
I hug the still body closer to me as a form glides in from the sky. I identify Laguna just before he makes a rough landing and runs up to us.
"Oh, gods." He looks over to the beheaded Sorceress then back at Squall. "Oh, dear, this isn't good. Seifer, give me Squall. We have to leave. Now. Take the wings."
I hesitate letting go, but the unusual command quality to Laguna's voice makes me trust him. I doubt I could fly and carry Squall in my condition of shock, anyway. He picks up the unconscious man and takes off towards the sea immediately. Caught off guard, I grab Hyperion, grab a severed wing in each hand, and fly after him in confusion. I ask questions, but he shushes me with an annoyed air. Perhaps Squall did get some things from his father after all.
We fly near the ocean surface next to the cliffs. At a random point, the older man tells me to drop the wings into the water. Another fair distance later, Laguna stops to hover in the air briefly. With a warning to follow him closely, he flies directly for the cliff wall. I hesitate but then fly just a few feet behind him. I close my eyes for the impact that doesn't come. Instead, there is coolness to the air as we enter a cave. A rather impressive illusional front, especially for the man everyone thought as a bit dimwitted.
Using a ladder, we go up a small tunnel, just wide enough for feathers to brush the walls despite being folded. I'm not surprised when the tunnel leads to an opening into Laguna's study room. He hands Squall back to me.
"Quickly clean him and yourself up. I'll meet you in the bathing room."
We leave the room, Laguna heading in the opposite direction. I note how he doesn't seem to be limping. Odd. I do as ordered and clean the blood and dirt off our bodies. Most of the blood on me is limited to my clothes, but Squall has it all over. After so much blood loss, I worry about his recovery. His breath is steady as well as his heart, but I'm no doctor. Despite the situation, I smile slightly every time I see one of my love marks appear from under the blood.
The door opens and closes quickly as Laguna enters with a robe for Squall.
"That's good enough, Seifer. Get him into the robe and into bed."
As I quickly dry and dress Squall, Laguna cleans up the bloodied water and rags. "Laguna, what is happening?"
He spares me a smile. "Please. I do as I say. There will be time for talk later."
After tying a towel around my waist, I carry Squall into his room. The sheets were already pulled aside, so I only have to place him down and cover him up. Clothes are sitting on a chair, apparently for my use. I get dressed and then sit down to wait. Seeing him in the same position as that first night together, I feel like the last weeks have been a dream. An amazing dream where Squall was mine. Playing with the ring on my finger, I smile at the reality of it.
Laguna comes in and closes the door. I notice that he has also put on fresh clothes when he sits in a chair on the opposite side of the bed. With a sigh and a smile, he runs a hand tenderly through Squall's hair.
"Forgive me, Seifer, for being so cryptic. And I thank you for following my orders. I promise, it's all to protect Squall." Leaning back from his son, he crossed his arms on his chest. "While we have time, let's start from the beginning. Tell me what happened. Details can come at another time."
Again, his firm manner prompts me to follow his command. "The Sorceress came for Squall. She attacked me, which made Squall upset. Suddenly, he produces black wings and completely over powers the witch with a Dark Warrior or something. Afterwards, he told me to cut off his wings. I was healing him when you showed up."
"I wish I could have seen them," he says quietly, a touch of wetness in his eyes. "I sensed the Sorceress's arrival and knew she would be after Squall. I was looking for him when I felt another much greater source of power. From what you say, it was Squall. I only was able to locate you directly when I heard his scream.
"If I could find you so easily, I'm sure others have already found that place by now. Those people are going to find a dead Sorceress. In over a thousand years, never has a Sorceress been killed. Sealed, yes, but not killed. The person that can kill a Sorceress has powers that haven't existed since the Dark Times. It was because of those Times that we now have the law that children with wings of black must have them removed. Are you beginning to understand?"
I nod. "The damn Council will want Squall executed for being too powerful. Despite the fact he saved the world from a Sorceress, he will be too much of a threat to them." Ruffling brunette hair of my unconscious lover, I tell him, "Looks like you went through that pain for nothing, Squally-boy."
"Well, they will have to have prove it, though. The wings won't be recovered, probably already fishfood. I've cleaned the bathing room of blood and the stained clothes have been burned. As for Squall's unconscious state, we can say he is ill. On both sides there is only circumstantial evidence, but they shouldn't kill him for it."
I look at Laguna with an approving look. "What happened to the other Laguna that limped all over the place?"
He laughed. "That's an old injury from my soldier days. When I'm nervous, the leg stiffens up. When I'm really nervous, I kind of switch into battle mode, or that's what a couple old war buddies of mine said."
"Hmm. Never thought you a soldier type. But with Squall as your son, I guess I could believe it."
"Who do you think it was that taught him the 'Dark Warrior' summon?" At my shock glance, he waves a hand. "Well, I taught it to him but I wouldn't dare try it myself. While the Council doesn't know it, my bloodline is one that produces the black winged Letivians. They are rare, but for those that are born, they can use that summon which is passed on through the family. Kind of insurance for events like today."
Our talk ends with a sharp rap to the door. Laguna gets up and talks briefly to the maid.
Looking back at me, he says, "We've got a guest."
I am lost. Blackness surrounds me, or perhaps I'm drowning in it. I can't tell nor do I care. It voids out some of the pain I'm feeling. The hurt of knowing what it feels like to be whole and then returning to a broken fragment. But I know I can't stay like this. Despite this pain, I have to go back to him. In the darkness there is the glint of gold twisted in black. Our bond. Just a light touch on it and I'm pulled from the numbing sea.
"What the fuck do you want?"
Ah, the ever so sweet words of my lover. Though I am awake, I can't find the energy to open my eyes or speak. Only the tenseness in the air around me keeps me from falling asleep. Even that dark place is closed to me.
"Who You're the Almasy boy, aren't you? The one who has been keeping this boy in line?"
I barely recognize the High Councilman's voice. Fear chills my blood as I try to determine if there was a possible way that he knew about what happened. Well, of course there was the headless corpse of a certain Sorceress and some wings lying around, but could someone have seen me do it? I easily identify the source of the growl directed towards the High Councilman's question.
"Seifer, calm yourself." Looks like everyone is here watching me sleep. How cozy. "Mr. Caraway. May I ask why you are in my home and intruding on my son's rest?"
"Don't play stupid, Laguna. We know it was this your boy that killed the Sorceress. He must be taken care of."
"I'm sorry, you must be mistaken. As you can see, he's ill in bed. I think I'd notice him battling with a Sorceress up here."
"Stop it with the games. Though wingless, he is a danger to us all. If you have any love for your people, you should hand him over. We will be sure to handle it painlessly."
"You'd have to get through me first." There's the sound of a chair being pushed back and a slight jingle of Seifer touching his blade.
"Boy. What is that ring on your finger?"
"Shouldn't call me 'boy'. I'm a married man, now." I can hear the arrogant smile in his voice.
"Married? Hardly. All marriages must be approved and performed by the Council."
"It was a spur of the moment deal. I didn't want to give him the chance to back out."
"'Him'? You don't mean--"
"Uh huh, sleeping beauty right here." There is a touch of warmth as fingers slide down my cheek.
"This this will never be allowed by the Council! Your poor mother must be crying in the heavens. I demand you to remove that ring this instant."
"Why? Because it makes Squall almost normal? Because he might have a touch of happiness in his life? Fuck you. You'll have to cut off my hand before you touch this ring. If you fear Squall so much, cut off my wings, too, and then we can live with humans."
"No." The word from my mouth is quiet even to my ears. I open my eyes to see Seifer looking at me worriedly, but anger still in his eyes. I can only barely move my arm, unable to release it from the sheets. Understanding a silent request, Seifer kneels by the bed and takes my hand from the cover to hold it near his face.
"No. Promise me to never willingly give up your wings." He shouldn't have to feel the pain of losing part of your soul. Not for me.
"Promise me on our bond."
He stares at me to argue, but then sighs and kisses my ringed finger. "On our bond, I will not let my wings be cut."
"How dare you." Looking to the other side of the bed, I see a red faced Caraway glaring at us. "You have no bond. You are barely Letivian and in such have no right to it. As for you, young Almasy, I'm greatly ashamed that you would turn your back on this town and help protect this threat to us all."
Seifer's hand grips mine close to the pain threshold. Oddly, there is a murderous glare from Father as well directed at the Councilman. I don't think I have ever seen him truly angry. Caraway is probably oblivious.
"Mr. Councilman, if I'm as powerful as you seem to fear, why do you think I would let you kill me?"
Caraway takes a small step back at the comment, caught off guard by my quiet, logical question. He opens his mouth to say something, but his voice fails in the attempt. Seifer bursts out laughing, thankfully releasing the pressure on my hand at the same time.
"Sir, I assure you that I don't plan on dominating the world. Just leave me in peace and I will return the favor."
"You expect me to trust you?"
"No, but I don't remember there being another option."
The Councilman clenches his teeth, probably holding back something insulting. For the first time, it doesn't bother me. The baseless hate of this person is meaningless. It just makes me feel tired.
"Well, Mr. Caraway, I believe we have reached a compromise. Now, if you're done insulting my son and his husband, I suggest that you leave. I think you know where the door is."
If I weren't exhausted, I would laugh at the way Caraway puffed his chest and graying wings. As if he could prove he wasn't afraid of the three men in this room and we would all pay for dishonoring him. The increased volume of Seifer's laughter tells me his thoughts of the action. When Caraway finally leaves and the door closes, I look at my father.
"I'm sorry "
He smiles tenderly as he looks down on me and ruffles my hair. "There is nothing for you to apologize for. You've made me very proud today. Though I think I would have been more satisfied letting Seifer have his way with Caraway."
His laughing fit finished, the blonde stands. "He couldn't have gotten far." I attempt to squeeze his hand painfully. "Hey, just kidding. Damn, glad you aren't hundred percent."
"Now, about this marriage of yours," Father starts while walking around the bed, "I don't remember my approval asked for."
Though I recognize no malice in his tone, Seifer does back up a step and places my hand back onto the bed. "Sorry, Laguna, sir. As I said, it was rather sudden."
The blonde flinches before Father attacks with one of his breath stealing hugs. "Welcome to the family. I trust you to look after my boy."
Seifer returns the hold slightly. "Uhn."
Father releases his death grip and walks towards the door. "I think you both have had enough for one day. Tomorrow, I want to hear the entire story. And Seifer, I believe Squall is still cold from his blood loss. Why don't you warm him up for me?" And with a wink, the older man is gone.
After a stunned moment, the blonde looks at me and says, "Don't tell me he planned this to happen from the beginning."
I can't help a quiet laugh. "That man sees more than he shows. Seifer, I am cold." He smirks at me and begins to pull away the layers of sheets. "I'm also tired," I warn.
He kisses my temple. "I know that. What do you take me for?"
He lifts me up effortlessly and slides a wing beneath me. Soon we hold each other while surrounded by the golden feathers. My head tucked under his chin, I enjoy his warmth. Arms around his waist, I grip onto the back of his shirt to try and be closer to him though we are already touching. His hands somehow find their way under my robe and to the naked flesh of my wingless back. As he starts to stroke the fresh scars, I retreat into the darkness of sleep.