With My Eyes
August 2002

 

|Squall|

Spending my time riding around the foothills, I have managed to avoid Seifer for most of the day.  The blonde gets to me.  All my life I have lived with this horrid shell of flesh, so I have grown used to the taunts and grimaces behind my back.  Who would dare insult a prince openly?  But I know what is said outside of the castle.  It doesn't matter.  I've learned to simply not care.

But this present of Father's, this crude mercenary... I can't defend myself against him.  I know when he is mocking others such as the guardsmen he hates so much.  He holds nothing back.  But when it concerns me, I can't read him.  It's almost as if his teasing comments were actual truths.  What's worse is that it hurts me to know he is only insulting me behind those crafted words.  That mockery of a kiss last night was more painful than being branded by red iron, and I hate myself for feeling such a way.

Yet, I can't bring myself to be rid of him.  He is what I wish I could be - handsome, strong, assured.  Even as a part of some game, it's warming to have him as something like a friend.  It's weak of me to need such a pathetic relationship.

Entering my chambers, I gratefully note that his door is closed.  He must have gone to bed by now being well into the night.  It's rather ironic that he sleeps in the room meant for a prince's bride.  My once arranged marriage was canceled when the lady's father decided he couldn't hand his princess over to a monster, future king or not.  I made Father promise to never arrange another bride for me.  He was hesitant.  Father may appear a fool in king's clothing, but there is wisdom hidden within him.  He knew that by not wanting a bride, I also rejected being his heir since what good is a king that cannot continue the bloodline.  It took many years to convince him, but I think he understands now that I am firm in that regard.

I open the door to my bedroom, surprised to find the room lighted by some candles.  My gaze easily settles on the blonde sitting on the edge of the bed.

"About time you showed up.  I was starting to think you ran away from home."

"I didn't give you permission to enter this room."

"Un, perhaps.  But you weren't around to say stay out, either."  He flashes me that teasing smile of his.

I glare at him to show that I'm not amused with his continued taunting, and then I turn to leave the room.

"Why do you want to die?"

I pause in the action of opening the door.  "I think you know."

"No, I can't say I do.  I saw a sketch of you today and, man, you are one ugly bastard.  But a fighter like you doesn't die over such petty matters."

I turn back to him slowly.  After such a short time, how could he know something like that?  No one, not even Father, could see beyond the obvious reason for not wanting to continue this life.  I look at Seifer carefully, trying to understand what he wants from me.

"Tell me." 

Green-blue eyes lit by the candle light show nothing but sincerity.  I don't want to, and I know I shouldn't, but I trust this man.

"There is a flame within me."

He looks at me questioningly, but doesn't speak.  I stride up to the bed as I take off my gloves and then sit beside him.  Holding a candle in its stand with one hand, I take his hand and hold it a fair distance above the flame.  He doesn't resist any of my movements.

"It's a weak flame, but it has always been there within me."

Seifer begins moving his hand within mine and abruptly jerks it from my grasp.  "Shit," he hisses as he blows cool air along slightly reddened skin.

"Even so far from the actual flame to the point where at first it feels only warm, you eventually get burned."

From the corner of my eye, I notice Seifer bring his hand down to rest on the bed as he redirects his attention back to me.  However the focus of my gaze doesn't move from the flickering light, my hand still hovering well above the flame.  With Seifer's hand gone, I can feel the heat of the lit candle.

"My body... It's like a shell made of wax that is unable to resist the continued heat of the flame."

Slowly, I lower my hand to the candle.  The feel of the heat against my flesh is familiar, though strange coming from outside of my body.

"In short, I'm always in pain."

Suddenly my hand is pulled to the side and Seifer places the palm against his lips.  Wide-eyed, I watch him suck gently at the insignificant burn.

After a few moments, he lowers the hand but doesn't let it go.  "Idiot.  Why are you hurting yourself like that?"

There is no answer to give him.  How can I explain that it really doesn't matter what happens to my body?

He takes the candle from me and replaces it onto the stand next to the bed.  "You haven't asked me yet."

"...What?"

"You haven't asked me why it took me seeing a sketch of you to realize you were deformed."

Thinking back, I realize it was odd for him to say it like that, but I was too overwhelmed by other matters.  Catching me off guard while in thought, he quickly swings my legs up onto the bed and is soon straddling over me with my hands trapped above my head.  He smiles down at me, a few strands of blonde hair hanging from his forehead.

"Seifer, what is the meaning--"

"I don't see you like that," he interrupts.  "Maybe I'm cursed, blessed, whatever.  Anyhow, I only see beauty beneath me at this moment."

"I...I don't understand."

He kisses just below my right eye.  "In the sketch I saw, this one spot was full of perfection.  Only I happen to see all of you like this.  Smooth, faintly brown flesh covering a lean body in flawless beauty."

"Please..."  He kisses my neck, searing it.  "Don't lie to me like this."

He sits up though he keeps his one handed hold on my wrists.  "It would be a rather stupid lie, now wouldn't it?  It's only logical that you can't trust someone who claims he can't see your destroyed shell of wax, perhaps only seeing what you were meant to be."

With his free hand, he takes a knife from his belt.  I relax slightly, relieved at the thought that my death may have finally come.

"But, my dark prince, it is the truth.  And I've never been one to leave such beauty alone."

He places the knife at my neck and under the high shirt collar.  With a single fluid movement, the sharp blade slices through the dark material.  I shiver slightly with the unexpected exposure to the cool air of the room.  After a sound of the knife being placed into the nightstand, I feel the warmth of the larger man as he leans down to renew his assault on my neck with his lips. 

I shift beneath him, trying to somehow escape the blonde's hold.  He murmurs something angrily, then takes each wrist in one hand and moves my arms firmly to my sides.  In the new position, Seifer can reach lower along my chest with that horrid mouth.  I can't watch him as pale, soft lips work over my mangled, discolored flesh.  Closing my eyes only makes it worse, each caress amplified to an almost painful threshold.

I don't understand this man.  Why would he belittle himself in this way?  Perhaps he thinks I may be king someday and will be able to grant him favors.  To manage this, Seifer must be focusing on the wealth and power I could give him.  I don't believe his lies of beauty.  Unfortunately, I can't so easily ignore his presence overwhelming me, somehow working its way deep inside of me.

"Squall..."

My eyes snap open to his voice.  He has only spoken my name once before, last night on the balcony.  And it didn't have that breathless edge to it like now.  I open my mouth to say something, anything, but I can't find my voice.  Grinning, he takes advantage of the situation and kisses me.  I reflexively jerk back, but there is no where to go while lying down on the mattress.  Suddenly something foreign is within my mouth.  Unable to do much else, I let his tongue wander where it may while holding my own tongue back.  Seifer manages to find it anyway.  Never had I imagined the joining of tongues, let alone what it could feel like, but with the first stroke I am lost as the simple sensation travels throughout my body.

After some time of his experience directing my clumsiness, he pulls back with a triumphant smile.  "I take it you like my kisses?"

"I could have you thrown in the dungeons for this."

"Been there before.  A rather dull place, but I could handle it again."  He rubs my slowly growing erection through the thin material of my pants.  "But can you handle me leaving it here?  Your lovely body seems to be craving more of my attention."

"I've lived fine without it before."

Surprisingly, his smirk is replaced by a thoughtful line.  "I guess you would have had to.  However, I intend on showing you what you have been missing."

I have the brief moment to wonder if he realizes just how much crueler he is to do so, but by then the barrier of my trousers are slowly being lowered down my thighs while Seifer licks my manhood in a teasing way, the coolness of drying saliva undoing the pleasure that his tongue brings the stiff organ.  I can't react against him, my body completely at his mercy despite my hands being freed after that kiss.  And damn him for making me crave such a kiss again.

My legs are raised as he strips the pants from me, then places the limp legs onto his broad shoulders.  He leans forward with smirk to look down at me, my lean body thankfully flexible enough for the position.  Light green eyes peer into me, the strength in them bringing a strange ache in my heart.  I want that strength.  So little I have desired in my life, but I suddenly knew I want his power and beauty to be mine.

"This will hurt, but I think you can handle it just fine."

"Whatever."

And then he is in me.  Yes, it hurts like nothing I've experience before.  Not in intensity, but rather in sensation.  He pauses there, his breathing rough and uneven as lies his forehead on my own heaving chest.  Unlike the heat I've known before, he is a gentle radiating warmth within in me.  There is a deep sigh from him as he slowly retreats and then thrusts back in deeper than before, somehow forcing pleasure throughout my body.  A sharp cry sounds and echoes before I even realize it's me.

"You all right?"

I wrap my arms around his neck, raising myself closer to him.  "More..."

He laughs.  "Yes, my dark prince."

I'm lost in the movements of sex.  There is only time for quick breaths between thrusts and uncoordinated kisses as Seifer fucks me, thoughts becoming pointless and bothersome to the task at hand.  Everything is increasing around me and within me, reaching a climax that seems so impossibly far away.  I both want and fear that ending point, but there is little choice in its arrival.  Arching into his perfect body, I can't prevent the vocal expression of my ultimate pleasure as a quiet grunt from Seifer barely registers to my hearing.

Staring up at the ceiling, I vainly try to regain composure while ignoring the feel of a lazy hand stroking my stomach.  On his side leaning on an elbow, he smirks at me with a hint of conquest in his green eyes.

"That was rather unexpected.  I thought it'd take a bit more effort on my part to gain some participation on your part."

"What do you want from me?"

"Nothing much.  Just your body, your mind, and eventually your soul."  He kisses my neck, and I can practically feel the smile against my skin.

"Money?  Land?  I won't be king, so I can't give you much else to leave me be."

"Prince and not future king?  Why is that?"

Why does he make me state things that should be obvious?  "As if the people could trust a king that hides behind a mask."

"Hmph, a shame.  I guess they just don't deserve a leader like you."

I gasp when he finds a tender point just under my ear.  "You don't know that."

"But I do, princeling.  I've had nothing better to do than watch you lately, though I'm not complaining.  I've learned how you protect the people under your command and I have seen you advise your father for the best of the people.  Spirits know that you think enough to make a decent decision.  So don't give me shit that you wouldn't be a good king."

"It doesn't matter."

He sighs, then turns my head so we meet eye to eye.  "How's the pain?"

I can only stare at him.  As if reminded, the flame flares slightly within me, its heat somehow absent previously in the time with Seifer.  My first desired reaction is to cry for the return of the pain, and for the fear of wanting to beg and depend on the blonde to take that ache away again.  But I can't give myself into such pitiful emotions, relying on silence instead.

Seifer smiles knowingly.  "Stubborn brat."

With closed eyes he lies down fully on the mattress with his head on my pillow.  I watch that face as it slowly relaxes into complete sleep.  The bastard never asked.  He never questioned if I wanted to be kissed, to be fucked, to be known.  He did it all without restraint.  Uncertainty fills me as I try to decide whether to hate or thank him for it.  I gently touch the peaceful face, closing my eyes so that I can admire the feel instead of seeing the difference of my hand against his beauty.  If this man makes me love him...


"Should I take it as a good sign that I haven't been transferred to a cell yet?"  He forks in some kind of meat into his mouth, already on his second plate for the morning after making the comment that he was starving from the late night activities.

Satisfied from a small loaf of bread, I sit and watch him eat the breakfast.  It's uncomfortable under the gaze of those sea green eyes, the bastard hiding my helmet in the hours I slept.  I'm beginning to believe that he enjoys to torment me more than life itself.

"This may be a new concept to you, but conversation works better when both people speak out loud.  Stop it with the glare and just tell me what has you so upset."

"You know."

"I know the fact but not the reason.  Your body was in full view last night and now you're stressing that I can see your face?"

To avoid those eyes I turn my head to the side as I gaze at the floor.  Without the mask, I can't leave my chambers and completely escape this man.  I wonder if he planned for that instead of his so-called desire to see my face while we are together.

"Squall, I swear that everything I have told you is the truth."

"Do you take pleasure in my pain?"

There is the clatter of silverware hitting a plate, the sound drawing my attention.  Seifer stands unmoving in front of his chair, the expression on his face filled with distress.  Hands clutched at his sides, his mouth moves as he assumedly tries to form some kind of response but nothing comes forth.  The unusual show of uncertainty confuses me more than most of his previous actions to date.

With a quiet 'fuck', he turns sharply to stride out of the room.  Before closing the door, he yells back with a harsh edge, "It's under the bed!"

As instructed, I find the dark mask beneath his bed.  Holding it in my hands, I loose the desire to leave my chambers and instead step out onto the veranda to sit against a wall.  The mask cradled against my bent legs seems to glare at me with a silent accusation.  I'm afraid of him.  In this short time, Seifer has managed to step through the barriers I've formed around myself in the belief that I was protecting others from me.  Father can never know of the pain I live with for he would only blame himself when there is no fault beyond fate in this matter.  So I have told no one, believing it my own burden to bear.  And this man appears out of the dungeons, not only discovering the reality of my ache but for a few blessed moments he took it away.

No, I can't believe he is simply a prisoner of war.  Father isn't that much of a fool.  He must have done some kind of research on Seifer to determine if the blonde would be a serious danger to me.  Smiling at the mask, I marvel at the idea of being setup by such a carefree, seemly innocent man.  I should remember that he is also the king, a title that requires vigilance and cunning.  But I highly doubt Father meant Seifer to become more than a friend to me.

Leaning my head back to knock it against the wall behind me, I wonder just exactly what the blonde does mean to me.  At this point I am exhausted, simply wanting to push my burdens onto someone else so I can get some rest.  Perhaps he is an outlet for my frustrations in more ways than one.  I can't let myself believe there is growing love between us, since for me love means to step away as far as I can so that the people I truly care about can live happily without me.  I don't want to move away from Seifer.  I want him to hold me close, take away my pain, and let me depend on his strength.

But desires and reality rarely share a common thread.

The sound of the door slamming open startles me from my thoughts, but I don't move from the floor.  I hear someone stomping through the chambers as the two bedroom doors are opened then shut loudly.  Suddenly Seifer bursts through the balcony door, practically run into the guardrail before leaning over to look at the ground below.

"I'd never do it in broad daylight."

Seifer jumps at my words, stepping backwards to look at me with wide eyes.  After a hesitant step forward, he practically collapses before me into a kneeling position, his hand covering his face as his breaths come a bit roughly.  "Shit, don't do that to me."

I don't bother responding, merely watching him as he moves to lie down on the veranda with an odd grin on his face.  His legs stretched out next me are temptingly close enough for me to touch.  How can he effect me so?  I've never needed to simply feel someone like I do him.

"You know, I was supposed to leave this morning."

I move my gaze from his legs to his face that is looking up instead of at me.

"I've been telling myself, 'One night.  One good fuck and I'll leave.'  But you just had to ruin my plans."

"I gave you your freedom.  There's nothing stopping you."

He laughs.  "Only you, my dark prince.  Only you.  One step out of that door and my guts started to tie in knots from worry."

"It's none of your concern."

"Then I'll make it my concern."  With a grunt he gets up and ends up next to me, his face close to mine.  "There has to be a reason for this.  Maybe I did something damn amazing in a past life, thus I get the treat of seeing the real you and have what no one else deserves."

"Or wants."

"But I want you.  And--"  His lips are suddenly on mine, his warm tongue easily making past weak defenses.  With coaxing motions, he leads me into his mouth for a prolonged taste of the man.  Then he breaks the kiss, leaving my tongue briefly in the relatively cool air as he pulls back.  "I'll make you mine."

"If you're after some illusion, don't bother."

His eyes waver slightly while looking into mine.  "A-ah, I was about to screw things up again, wasn't I.  No, princeling.  I can have any sweetness that struts about if I wanted, but you...  You I desire.  I can't even begin to explain why."

Well, that's at least one thing similar between us - that something we both want more of.

Before I can continue the line of thought, I suddenly can't breathe.  Severe coughs rack my body as I make the attempt to get fresh air into my lungs, the vague notion that Seifer is holding me firmly enters my mind.  Looking between coughs, I find blood coating my hand.  I gaze up into worried eyes before my vision fails me and I collapse into his arms.


I wake to the sound of whispered voices around me, opening my eyes but seeing nothing.  The experience is upsetting despite it being the third time now, all within the past two years.  If attacks like these continue, I shouldn't need to commit suicide.

"Squall."  My name is said in a part gasp, silencing the other voices in the room.

"How long?"  I hold up my hand, hoping Seifer will take the cue to grasp it, the need for an anchor in the darkness overwhelming me.

Large hands wrap around mine.  "Most the day.  It's nearly sunset."  His voice is unsteady while his hands fidget on mine.

Someone sits on the bed opposite of Seifer's voice.  "It's me, son.  How do you feel?"

Oh, beyond hopefully temporary blindness, the burning in my chest aside from the constant flames within me, and general frustration...  "I'm fine, Father."

"You call this being fine?!"  I can't help a small smile at the angry tone from Seifer.

"At least someone was with you this time.  I wish there was something--"

"Really, I'll be fine.  You can't do anything here, and tonight is an important dinner."

There is a pause before he sighs and I feel his fatherly warmth as he leans down to kiss my forehead.  "I don't need you to order me around in addition to Kiros and Ward.  I'll check in on you later tonight.  Seifer?"

"I'll tell you if anything happens."

"That isn't--" 

Father cuts me off.  "It's entirely necessary.  Get rest, son.  And I love you."

I nod in reply, always finding the words foolish whenever I say them out loud.

There is the sound of fading footsteps as Seifer and I are left alone in my bedroom.  Being in the room with Father most of the day, the blonde must now know of my infrequent attacks.  While I personally believe it is this unknown flame slowly eating me away inside, the healers have declared it an effect of my mysterious illness.  I realize I'm just stubborn, wanting to believe my body would be perfect if it weren't for something residing within me.

"Can you truly not see?"

"Sure I can see.  Everything just happens to be the same shade of black."

I feel the flitch through his hands.  "Is there anything I can do for you?"

"Don't pity me."

Surprisingly, he laughs quietly.  "Like hell.  Maybe envy for taking all of this so calmly, but never pity.  You may be blind at the moment, but you could still hit me with a lucky punch and I haven't quite recovered from the last one, thank you."

Squeezing his hands once tightly, I withdraw my hand from his.  "Go, Seifer."

There is a quiet moment before I hear him stand and walk away, his clothes sounding louder than I would have expected.  Instead of heading for the doorway, he moves up onto the large bed after lifting the sheets for his entrance.  A hand on my shoulder, he rolls me into his unclothed body as our naked flesh touches with an indescribable sensation.  I shiver at the feel of him so close but unseen.

"Does it hurt you for me to do this?"

"No..." I whisper back.

"Then why do you keep pushing me away?"

I bite my lip from answering what shouldn't be - I love him.  The only one to touch me like this, to work his way deep within me, to make me trust him...  And for that reason, I have to protect him from me and my pathetic, wasted life.

Soft warmth brushes my forehead, a tightness to the lips suggesting a smile.  "It's all right.  I think I love you, too."

I tense at the statement, looking up in the automatic attempt to see his light green eyes.  It unexpectedly doesn't matter to me anymore if he is using me or truly has some kind of affection for me.  I don't want him to leave me alone as I was before.  It's suddenly too late, my strength at some point becoming dependent on his greater power.  Without him, I'd fall.

Clumsily wrapping my arms around his neck, I stretch fully against his larger body.  "Don't go."

"I wasn't planning to."

 

{Continued}