With My Eyes
February 2003

 

|Squall|

An offered hand.  A hand that has roamed every part of my body, but never more.  He'd flinch at the touch of me now.

The gleam within his green eyes when he would stare at me shamelessly - gone.  Replaced with pity and shame.

Then I'm trapped, unseen power wrapped around me, stealing my energy.  I'm being taken from him and he doesn't move.  Just watches.

A woman's laugh.  At me, most likely.

Boots crushing earth, and he's suddenly running to me.  Reaching for me.  Why?

And then darkness...


It's freezing cold and my shoulders ache, but I don't dare open my eyes until I can try to figure out this new situation.  It seems I'm upright, arms spread painfully tight by chains as my back is pressed against a smooth stone wall and my legs hang unbound.  With my head hanging slightly forward from the position of my body, I realize my neck has gotten rather sore as well.  Suddenly a breeze full of evening smells flows across my bare skin, but I resist the urge to shiver.

"Poor boy."  It's a woman's voice that I don't recognize.  I don't think she is speaking to me, the direction of her voice angled the wrong way.  "You don't find his body pleasing anymore?"

A warning growl reaches my ears, a noise that is clearly Seifer.

"Mmm, but I think he is absolutely gorgeous.  Ruined to this extent before his twentieth birthday - it proves the enormous power trapped within him."  A whisper of shifting fabric sounds along with her words.

"Stay the fuck away from him."

A chuckle before fingernails brush up along my cheek.  "Gorgeous beyond words, however," she grasps a clump of hair tightly, yanking my head back into the wall.  "Far too proud for my purposes."

Somehow managing to keep up the appearance of being unconscious, I let my head drop limply when she leaves me.

"Then you came along, my strong warrior.  Did you think you were special, boy?  Finding a jewel where everyone else could only seen mud?"  She laughs.  "I had been patiently waiting for one of your kind to appear, to befriend our heartbreakingly lonesome prince.  So many years I waited, annoyed that none got close enough to him.  No one was able to expose his shielded soul."  With a husky whisper, she adds, "Until you came."

Chains scrape on stone.  "Back off."

"A-ah, but don't you want to know what I stole from you?"  After a tense pause, she continues.  "You were one of many bearers of Ifrit's split soul.  One of hundreds, and ultimately worthless.  But it was that fragment of the fire spirit that made you attracted to our prince and see the illusion of what never existed."

"Then what do you want?"  His voice is low and irritated, making me imagine the familiar flame of rage within the green eyes.  Flames of the fire spirit, apparently.  It doesn't surprise me much.

"From you, nothing.  You've already broken him for me.  Though, I suppose killing you may be necessary if he chooses to resist.  As for the prince, there's awhile longer before the moon is high enough for the spell.  Oh, but don't worry, sweet boy.  You both shall die tonight, never to be alone again."

I hear the woman move once again, but she doesn't approach me and apparently has finished mocking Seifer for the moment.  Not finding any benefit in continuing my act, I hesitantly open my eyes.  The sun already set some time back, it's difficult to see much around me.  The smooth stone I'm chained to seems to be a part of an arrangement consisting of large, shaped boulders.  The possible location of this place is completely unknown to me.

I easily find the blonde in the darkened evening, Seifer chained to an outlying pillar.  He doesn't even look at me, glaring angrily to the side.  I don't blame him for avoiding the sight of me, my ruined body left open to the night air.  But I can't resist looking at him, granting myself one pathetic warming thought that he came after me.  Now he'll die because of that.  Why must he be the stubborn idiot to the very end?

Suddenly green eyes meet mine and he continues to stare at me silently.  The corner of his mouth twitches into an almost smile, as if happy to see me awake, but knowing it wouldn't do me any good.  Still, he doesn't look away.

"Ah, our lovely prince is conscious."  Thin fingers cup my chin, the woman approaching from somewhere unseen and now blocking my view of Seifer.  "A shame.  You would've been better off asleep."

Controlling anger and fear, I glance neutrally at the darkly dressed woman.  Her golden eyes glow faintly with power in the evening light, the sight almost calming if it weren't for her cruel and hungry grin.

"Such pride, but I see your cracks."  She leans up to kiss my cheek, the action quickly followed by a growled sound from Seifer's direction.  The woman laughs gleefully.  "He rejects your true beauty, but hates the idea of anyone else having you.  What a contrary creature.  So undeserving of Griever's host."

Griever?  The most powerful of the Spirits?  What is she talking about?

She taps a finger on my cracked lips.  "I see you are curious.  A shame.  The moon has risen at last, and I don't wish to wait longer than I must."

When the woman moves to the side, I'm surprised to see the full moon directly before me in the sky, white light illuminating a meadow of high grass.  Something stirs within me at the sight and chains rattle as I unconsciously try to move away from the light that burns my exposed skin.  A monotone chant sounds from the woman, but the fact doesn't matter as intense pain immediately flares within me.  My head slams back against the stone as my body arches, that pain nothing compared to the blazing flame in the rest of me.  It's no longer a surprise why she is so certain that I won't survive the night.

<How disappointing>

My eyes open wide at the deep voice, which vaguely reminds me of Seifer's amused tone during a sparring match.

<All these years, and you'll give up now?>

As my fingers claw at the stone behind me, I laugh inwardly that pride and stubbornness can't help me now.

<Hmmm.  Do you realize that she plans to make us her servants?>

"...no..." I manage to whimper out, refusing the belief that I could be anyone's servant.

<And she will, unless you have another in mind...>

Though nearly choking on my own breath after wave of searing pain, I force myself to look Seifer.  The large man struggles against his bonds, yelling something I can't hear over the sound of wind and flame.  He shouldn't die tonight.  It's not his time.

<Would you give your life for his?>

I almost smile at the simple question.  "Yes," I bite out.  A purring laugh echoes in my mind at the response.

<Then state his name when I say.  Put your heart, life, and soul into the call>

I'm left alone in agony at that point.  Really, I shouldn't believe voices in my head when I'm about to die.  It's foolish.  Even so, I don't move my gaze from Seifer, resisting my body's demand to thrash with the pain that torments it.  I hold back screams in the attempt to save my breath for the final call of his name.  I only wish my vision of him was clearer than this.

The flames throughout my body gradually condense within my chest, and I can't understand why the fire isn't illuminating the night around me.  The sound within my ears reminds me much of a building storm full of thunder, words of the woman's chant just barely filtering through like the whisper of a breeze.

Enough.  I've had enough already.

<Now, child>

"SEIFER!!"

Everything flows slowly from that moment when a rush of black fire explodes from my chest, the intense power of release shattering the rock behind me.  As I drop to the ground, I watch the dark flame swirl as if caught in a harsh wind, abruptly forming the image of a large cat that resembles a lion of black with dark gray stripes and mane.  Flat on the ground, I can't do anything beyond lie there and stare at the scene around me.  The feline glances back at me, his blood red eyes glowing and unforgiving, and then walks up to the woman in black.

"At last, you belong to me.  No reason to waste time.  Kill that boy and we'll be on our way."

Dark lips go back in a frightening image of a smirk, and the cat then pads slowly to the bound blonde.  Seifer straightens as best he can, green eyes gleaming from moonlight.  No.  My life for his.  We promised, my life for his.  ...But my breath is gone, along with my voice.

The lion's head is nearly level with Seifer's chest, the beast then lifting up onto his hind legs to tower over the defenseless human.  The blonde doesn't even flinch at the move, his expression defiant and serene at the same time.  Too soon, a large paw of black claws slashes downward as the lion drops from his unsteady position.

<Hmph, he'll do>

Eyes wide, I nearly cry at the sight of Seifer unharmed, the chains binding him sliced.  The blonde eyes the cat suspiciously before attempting a step in my direction.  When there is no attack, the man jogs toward me without a second glance to the lion, the chains still shackled to the blonde dragging behind him noisily.

"Griever.  I ordered that boy to be killed."  For the first time there is quaver in the woman's voice, her absolute certainty gone.

There's a strange growled chuckle from the creature as he turns to face her, but he does nothing else.

By then Seifer has reached me, the man quickly kneeling to my side and lifting me onto his lap.  He voices nothing, but his eyes are full of worry and confusion.

"He's waiting... for your command," I breathe out, my lungs still not functioning as they should.

Pale eyebrows scrunch before he turns to look at the dark lion.  Lips form a vicious sneer, it reminding me of the feline spirit's previous grin of sorts.  "Mutilate her."

The lion launches at the words, the woman immediately screaming out a spell to defend herself.  Though I can hear their intense battle, Seifer soon blocks the view from my line of vision.  With the rattle of chains, I'm engulfed by the larger man's arms into a firm hug.  His warmth is an amazing comfort despite the raging heat before, my body now feeling cold and dead.  Ah, that's right.  My life for his.

"...I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry..."  Seifer mumbles apologies against the top of my head, clutching me even tighter.

"You did nothing."

His scoff sounds almost like a sob.  "Sure.  Nothing.  Just almost get you killed."

"It was bound to happen."

His hold loosens as he leans back to form brief eye contact.  Without warning, his lips are on mine, a heavy tongue moistening my cracked flesh before venturing further into my mouth.  It's so simple to lose myself in that kiss, to believe nothing has changed from yesterday, but I don't allow myself that comfort for too long.  After pulling away from the kiss, I bury my face against his chest and neck, no longer wanting to feel the sharpness of his eyes.

"Can you forgive me, Squall?"

My attempt at a smile is a weak one.  "Nothing to forgive."  I can't blame him for human nature, or perhaps instinct in general.  Nothing can find pleasure in what it deems as hideous and unnatural.

"Logical prick."

Suddenly my mouth fills with the taste of blood, the sickening flavor making me gag and cough.  Odd that no trace of blood ends up on Seifer's shirt from my actions.

"What's wrong?  Squall?"

I shake my head, slowly gaining back control of my body despite the remains of the nauseating taste.  At the padding of feet and the clicking of claws on stone, both Seifer and I glance over at the approaching lion spirit, dark blood dripping from its mouth and mane.  Red eyes examine us closely, the hardness I first witnessed replaced with something akin to amusement.

"Are you going to take me now?"

Seifer looks down at me sharply.  "What?"

I ignore the blonde and continue to stare at the dark feline.  "My life for his, and you've saved him."

Before Seifer can respond to the words, the spirit lets out a laugh-like roar.  <And I have your life, child>

"I... don't understand."

Griever lies down in an almost playful manner, perhaps to try and appease the tense blonde.  <I exist by sharing your life.  In truth, it would have happened anyway, but I was curious of your answer to such a question>

"The spell...?"

<Ah, a decent mind.  Yes, the summoning requires your life force to be divided between us, thus giving my soul a physical existence.  Most humans of your fate die before the completion of the summoning spell>

"Um, Squall?"

Confused by his interruption, I look up at Seifer questioningly.

"Are you... talking to that thing?"

<Thing he calls me.  Where has the faithful reverence gone?>

"You don't hear him?"

The dark lion snorts.  <My life is with you, child.  Not my master>

Seifer shifts uncomfortably.  "What is he saying?  And what the fuck is this about your life for mine?"

"I think I was supposed to die after the spell, if I was too weak.  As it is, my life is somehow shared with him.  And you are his master for some reason."

A chuckle-like noise comes from the feline spirit.  <Foolish sorceress.  Didn't know the spell could be completed by the host to choose his own master>

Seifer scoffs.  "Mine to control.  Some fucking good that does me.  That thing did this to you, Squall.  How can you not be angry, furious at it?  I know you aren't so dense to not realize that your visible damage must reflect the destruction within your body.  Its existence has basically killed you."

"I doubt he had a choice in the matter."

My quiet tone silences Seifer, but his expression tells me he can't accept such a simple answer.  I look back at the beast, its eyes narrowed curiously at me.  But I don't hold that gaze for long, noticing a deep wound along his shoulder.  Gently pushing at the blonde to let me go, I crawl a bit shakily to the spirit that is only a few steps away, my hands and knees scraping on broken bits of stone.  When I place fingers lightly near the injury, the dark fur shivers harshly at my touch.

"This is a deep gash."

<Unexpected of an omnipotent spirit?  Fear not.  It's nothing>

"Do you need treatment?"

A wave of odd warmth overflows me, the sensation originating from the dark lion.  <Drink the blood, child>

I don't wish to question the feline spirit once recognizing the demand is a type of offering, but the wound looks painful.  Surely I would only harm him more from such an action.  Suddenly a deep purr comes from the lion, the sound driving worry from my mind.  First licking at the gash, I'm amazed that it tastes nothing like the experience before.  The blood is almost sweet and leaves a cool tingling sensation on my tongue.  I then drink barely a mouthful of the thick liquid in total before agony once again floods through my body.  I fall to my side, instantly curling into ball at the feel of stretching and tearing.  It's probably my screams that I hear aside Seifer's deeper voice that calls to me, his words meaningless.  It hurts too much to think, breathe, or desire to exist.

As sudden as it came, the pain leaves me, my body limp and exhausted.  It's perfectly quiet in the night, making me wonder why I can't hear the blonde.  At least I think he was calling to me earlier.  I glance over to where he was last, Seifer now standing and his mouth partly open.  I blink at the sight, my vision somehow painfully clear and sharp.  With the large man apparently deciding to do nothing, I risk the attempt of sitting up.  Eyes closed in effort, I push myself up to an almost kneeling position. 

Reopening my eyes, I stare dumbly at the hands still pressed against the ground.  They aren't mine.  Too prove myself of this, I think to wiggle my fingers on one hand, but those undamaged fingers move as if sensing the silent command.  That hand also lifts from the ground when I want it to, and I can somehow feel the bits of stone embedded into the unmarked flesh, as well as the heavy shackle on the wrist.

"Squall..."

I look up at the straggled voice, once again wincing at the sharpness of my vision.  If possible, the man is more handsome than before.  I never realized the numerous shades of gold that makes up his hair, now shining faintly in the moonlight.

The large man kneels before me, taking me fully into his arms.  "Didn't I say you look perfect?"

Then, this is truly my body?  With some effort, I look over at the feline spirit.  Griever seems to smile gently at me.  I'm healed.  The flame that was slowly destroying me now has healed my body.  No longer do I have to feel that constant burn or fear the light of day being stolen from my eyes.  I don't even have to wear... my mask...

Seifer leans back to look at my face.  "Hey, what's this?"  Smiling, he thumbs away tears flowing my eyes.  "That happy?"

I shake my head.  "Father... he won't..."  I bite my lips, trying to swallow back the rush of sadness.  The one man to never consider me less than human.  A king that never abandoned his monstrous child.  I couldn't survive him not recognizing me.

"Shhh, you underestimate him.  He'll know this is you."

With both confusion and hope, I look up into the tender gaze.

"Yeah, I still don't like him, but I know he cares deeply for you.  You can't start doubting that now."

Hesitantly I nod.

Grinning, Seifer stands up with a stretch before squatting down to take me into his arms.  "We should get sleep.  It's been a long night."

When he turns, I get my first view of a small house.  As the blonde walks forward, I barely hear Griever follow behind us, the chains still connected to our shackles making much more noise.  Heading towards the cottage, Seifer trips several times when those heavy chains catch on unseen objects in the night.  Personally, I wonder if the dark feline is a direct cause of some of those snags.  I can sense the humor he is finding in the man's dilemma.  Focusing on that, I realize that I also feel the throbs of his wounds as the cat moves quietly.  Strange.  Already I have numerous questions for the dark lion, but they can wait.  For the moment, I rest my head on a broad shoulder and bask in the sensation of relying on another's strength.


It would've been an odd sight, two cloaked figures wandering the halls of the castle with a large dark lion following closely behind, but we didn't travel in open hallways.  After a night spent in the cabin to regain our energy, we began the two day journey home.  Lucky for us, the small home had fresh clothing that fit Seifer and I well enough, but it makes me wonder if  the sorceress had forcibly taken the place from a family.  Now, on the night of the third day we've been missing, I hurry through the secret passageways towards my father's study.  I'm rather certain he won't be asleep as Kiros would want him to be, instead waiting for word on my disappearance.

Once reaching the hidden doorway, I pause and look back to Seifer.  "As we planned?"

I barely see the assuring smile in the darkness.  "Stop worrying, princeling."

He pushes back the hood of his cloak, then pulls a rope that will ring a bell within the room.  Meanwhile I back up in the darkness of the hallway to where I know the light of the room won't reach me.  In short time, a crack of light appears before the door swings open.  Immediately a slim blade is placed against Seifer's throat, the blonde smirking at the action.

"Hello to you, too, Kiros."  So few would say the guard's name in such a mocking tone.

"Where is the prince?  What have you done with him?"

"Hey, hey.  I can't talk if you slice my throat, so back the fuck off."

"Kiros," my father's voice sounds from deeper in the room.  "It's alright.  I don't think he's directly involved."

Though the darkly skinned man mutters something about gullibility, his blade is removed from the vulnerable neck.

"Seifer.  Please, where is my son?"

"He has a small issue with his appearance at the moment."

"Don't tell me this is because of his forgotten mask?  I've seen him plenty of times without the blasted thing.  It means nothing to me."

I speak before Seifer can.  "This is a different case."

"Squall!"

"Don't," I order at the sound of footsteps.  He stops, and thankfully Seifer blocks his way as well.  "Do you recognize my voice?  Can you be certain it's me?"

"Of course.  For Spirits' sake, I'm your father.  Why do you hide from me?"

After holding the cloak tighter for a brief moment, I then pull back the concealing hood and glance at the grinning blonde for added strength.  He lets me pass into the lighted room, my vision adjusting quickly on the sight of my father.  I can't speak once seeing his stunned expression, and then I notice the exhaustion my absence has caused him.

Eventually he moves stiffly and places a hesitant hand on my cheek when close enough.  "So much of Raine...  I never dared let myself imagine..."  His hand moves behind my head, pulling me into a tight hug.  "Squall.  I feared you lost forever."

I return the hold, but don't speak.  I don't think I could at that moment if I had wanted to.

In time he pulls back and immediately brushes away moisture from his face.  "Well, are you just going to stand there or explain why you put me through hell over the past few days?"


"Your father isn't happy."

Filthy clothes removed, I look down at the blonde who is far too comfortable in the large bath.  Of course my father isn't happy with the current situation because he is too naive about the people under his rule.  A man transformed from monster to human overnight would only verify to the populace that I am a demon of some sort.  It's best for me to leave before I accidentally reveal my new appearance, but I reluctantly admit I need a short while to recover and adjust.  It'll give me the time to explain and convince my father that this is the best for us all.

Noisily, Seifer stretches in the scented water.  "Can't we at least stay for another few months?"

"You've been spoiled."

He hums the affirmative while sinking into the heated liquid, bubbles forming when he dunks under the surface.  How can a man that large act like a child?  Soon he comes back up for air and rubs the water away from his eyes.  Seifer then glances my way in mock irritation.  "While I appreciate the view, just how long are you going to stand there?"

Bare feet on the cold floor, I walk over to the bath.  It's still awkward to move, my sense of touch heightened slightly from tight, undamaged skin, and my muscles work smoother than I'm accustomed to.  It'll be interesting to see what happens when I take up a blade.  Seifer may have more of a challenge during our next match.

He holds out a hand for support while at the same time making certain I don't go to the other side of the bath.  Straddling over his midsection, I'm amazed by the feel of him beneath me.  Soft, solid, and warm.  Strange how I can tell the difference between his heat and that of the bath water.  Wet hands stroke hard down my sides, then grip my waist with thumbs rubbing small circles onto my pelvis.  He does nothing else though, that is aside from piercing green eyes examining my body thoroughly.

Biting my lower lip, I move a hand from the tub rim and hesitantly place my finger tips along his visible collarbone.  The golden skin shivers at my light touch, enticing me to try and cause such a reaction against.  I've never really touched Seifer before, never wanting to watch my hands taint his body.  Only with closed eyes could I allow myself such a guilty pleasure, but it certainly doesn't compare to seeing his body while learning of its feel.

With a single finger angled to gently scrape a nail along the smooth flesh, I trail down his chest and follow a line of muscle.  Surprisingly, his nipples harden at the teasing feel of my finger.  Leaning down, I take a darkened nub between my lips and feel it carefully before brushing the tip of my tongue along the trapped flesh.  A soft moan rumbles in Seifer's chest as I gain confidence to use my teeth to tease his nipple.  He shifts beneath me, purposely pressing his arousal against my ass.

Looking up to scold him, I'm stopped by the heated gaze of his eyes.  I've never noticed how intense those green orbs could be.

"Did you want your turn tonight?"

I stare at him blankly.

He laughs and taps a finger against my nose with each word.  "Did. You. Want. To. Fuck. Me."

My attention focused on his finger, it for some reason takes me awhile to understand his words, realization then coming fast and heated.

Seifer's eyes go wide before a lopsided smile forms.  "You're actually--"

I clamp a hand on his mouth, not needing to hear the obvious in that amused tone of his.  In my memory, I've never blushed before.  I didn't think it was physically possible for me, or else a response I threw aside to best hide my embarrassment over what people would say about my deformities.  And now... such an offer... fuck, I think this damn blush is getting brighter and it's certainly spreading.

Seifer takes hold of my wrist in order to keep my hand in place while he grazes his teeth along the sensitive skin of my palm.  Trying to pull back, he only allows my hand to go far enough so that he can speak clearly.

"You know, that's one of the things I love about you."  His free hand cups my cheek, a thumb brushing along the hottest area of flesh.  "How you don't hide your reactions from me."

Words of days past echo in my mind, 'Everything else I love about you is still the same'.  My hand limp in his hold, I force myself to not look away from his eyes.  "What else?"

"Hmmm?"

"Before on the cliff, you said..."  I stop myself when I realize how foolish it sounds, like a noble woman begging for complements.  I've never needed to hear such worthless words before.  Why should now be any different?

The hand on my face rakes back into my hair and pulls me down to his chest.  "Continue what you were doing, and I'll tell you."

With my hand released from his hold, I encircle my arms around his shoulders and press into his body, water of the bath swirling around us.  He arches at the move, exposing his throat enough for me to taste the pale flesh.  How much I've always wanted to press my lips against the pulse lying there, to prove to myself that he's alive and real.

"Mmm, let's see.  Well, there's certainly the way you can stop anyone with a mere glance.  Or when someone is stupid enough to anger you, it's lovely to seem them shiver from your icy glare."

While licking and sucking on the juncture of neck and shoulder, I wonder why my presence never had the same effect on him.  The cocky bastard probably doesn't believe I'd actually hurt him no matter my threat.  Biting lightly into his skin, I curse him for being right.  After dipping his hand in the cooling bath water, Seifer pours a bit of water on my back before rubbing his large hand down the wet flesh. 

"I love how you've probably killed numerous people without hesitation, and yet you can be so innocent when it comes to simple emotions."

The water drying quickly, I feel cold all of the sudden and lie completely against his larger body.  Resting my chin on his shoulder, I relax myself for the invasion I know is coming with his two fingers running down my spine and pausing only briefly to rub against my tailbone.  After circling my anus a couple times, Seifer carefully inserts the fingers.  Though trying to control myself, I thrust slightly at the curl of his fingers and moan quietly.

"I worship your strength of will more than anything."

Soon I'm panting at the build up of pressure caused by those damn fingers.  He's doing nothing more than bend and flex, and already I feel as if I've lost complete control of my body.  I want, I desire, I need his heat within me to replace the flame I lost mere days ago.  Yes, that flame had burned me, but it kept me warm for all my life as well.  I can only trust Seifer to restore that warmth to my body.

"And it's unforgivable that you thought my life was worth the loss of yours."  He removes his torturous fingers from me, then forces me to sit up and look at him.  "Your beauty has always been more than mere flesh, Squall."

Eyelids fluttering closed, I'm overwhelmed by an odd sense of heat.  More painful than fire.  More intense than passion.  More warmth than I've ever experienced.  This man could probably kill me with words alone.

There's the sound of rippling water as Seifer leans up to kiss me, strong hands placed behind my neck and into my hair.  He takes all of me with his kisses, never appeased with less.  Tiny shivers rack through my body, and he holds me even closer, perhaps thinking I'm cold.  I want to correct his thoughts, try to explain this amazing heat, but he could never understand so why bother.  At the hard pressure against my arousal, I moan into our lasting kiss and thrust forward for more.

...Wait, his hands are on...

My eyes snap open with realization, and for the second time in my life, I blush.  I push against the bare chest, earning an odd look from Seifer.  Panting hard, I order him, "Do it... now..."

He smirks, the bastard noticing my blush for what it is and not a flush from normal body heat.  "What's the rush?"

"Because I don't want to come from a damn cat humping a couch!" I blurt out, the pressure too great in me to take the subtle route.

Pale eyebrow rise high and his smirk appears stuck in place from shock.  "Excuse me?"

"Just fuck me and I'll explain later."  I shove my erection against his flat stomach to enforce my statement.

He growls while leaning forward, slowly rolling me back against the other side of the bath with my legs raised to his shoulders.  "I do believe that's the first time you've mentioned this by name."  With me securely curled into the side of the tub, Seifer bends over to whisper into my ear.  "Yes, my dark prince.  I'll fuck you."

It should be uncomfortable like this, or at least annoying with water splashing at his occasionally rushed thrust deep into me, but I'm lost in the sensations Seifer forces upon me.  Ripping pain of the invasion followed quickly by sharp pleasure caused by something further within blurs the line separating the two sensations of hurt and bliss that should be different as night and day.  My thoughts dull too quickly, and soon I'm only able to call for more and moan out Seifer's name.  I think I hear him mumble down at me, something about healed virginity or the like, but the rush of blood and the sounds of water blocks most of my ability to hear.

Too soon, too fast, intense pressure breaks abruptly, leaving me with the illusion of drowning.  But Seifer wouldn't let me die so easily. 

Forcing deep breaths, I eventually dare to open my eyes and look straight up into his smirking face that is flushed in a way the activities of sparring could never mimic.  Then I notice my neck hurts.  Perhaps seeing a wince of pain, Seifer pulls back and grabs my arm to follow him.  Not wanting to move despite the soreness of my position, it takes the tired blonde some effort to turn me around and make me sit between his legs.  Water swishes in the tub, the cool liquid feeling good along heated skin.  And no, I will refuse to think about the cause for the liquid to be less than clear.

After some time to relax and cool, Seifer pokes my side.  "Now, what was that about a cat?"

I bite back a groan, wishing the man had a horrid memory.  "You understand how Griever and I share life energy, right?"

"Nh."

"From that bond, we also share... intense sensations."

It takes him a moment before a snort of laughter sounds.  "He was getting off because of you?"

I nod, gritting my teeth to bear with his bombing laugh that echoes in the bathroom for a time.  At least someone finds it amusing.

All of the sudden, Seifer quiets and a hand snakes around my chest protectively.  "If you both share your life, then what happens if that lion is kill?"

I sigh.  "If you hadn't fallen asleep when I explained it to my father--"

"Tell me," he says sharply, apparently afraid of the answer.

"First, while Griever can be injured, he cannot be killed.  He's a Spirit.  If I'm killed, however, he gets the entirety of my life force."

He mulls it over, thankfully loosening his hold on me.  "Wait, then why aren't there Spirits walking around if they can't be killed?"

"When you die, his summoning ends and he'll burst apart into fragments that will enter various humans."  Just as Seifer ended up with a fraction of Ifrit's soul, though more than likely he acquired it through his bloodline.  It was confusing the way Griever tried to describe the process of the Spirits' souls, how they slowly condensed into one host through families and attractive forces.  A fragment within a person doesn't do much to harm the body, perhaps only stealing a few years of life.  But the entire Spirit existing within one person is destructive in its immense power and the Spirit's desire to escape its bonds.

"And what about you if that happens?"

"Technically I'd live, but to feel that tearing of soul along with your death weighing against me... I doubt I could survive it."

He hums, which surprises me some.  I expected him to be angry at my eventual lost of life along with his, but maybe he doesn't mind as much if it isn't a case of him out living me.  Selfish bastard. 

We lie there limply as his hand rubs lazy circles on my stomach.  Perhaps it'd be a good idea to get out of the tub, or rather to wash ourselves first and then get out to move on towards the bed for a restful night of sleep.  But without Seifer to motivate me, I'm happy enough just like this.

"Let's come back in a few years," he says out of nowhere.

"Seifer..."

"No, hear me out.  People have crappy memories.  I say tell your father to hold a huge service for your 'death', I mean, people have been expecting it for years, right?  Everyone thinks you're dead, we leave for a few years or so to let the idea settle, and then return when no one would even think to connect you with the dark prince. Though you'll have to change your name, of course."

To come back to my father, to small Forrest who never feared me...  That's almost too much to wish for.  Though Father always did intend for me to be an advisor to my younger brother and heir to the throne.  Perhaps I can still fill that role just as Kiros has for my father.

"What's your mother's maiden name?"

"Hn?"

"To make your new name."

"...Leonhart."

"Then how about Leon?  Not as flashy as Squall, but it works."

I can't resist a faint smile.  He's already so certain about this idea of his, and why do I have the feeling Father will enthusiastically endorse it.  "And my family name?"

"Of course 'Loire' is too easily connected with the royal family, so I was thinking..."  He takes an unusually shaky breath.  "How about Almasy?"

Stunned can't cover the current sensation controlling me.  There's just the feeling of... nothing.

With the sound of rippling water, he holds onto my left hand, his thumb rubbing along the ring finger.  "I guess that's no?"

"No!  I mean, not no... we can't... two men can't... what are you..."  Shit, why won't my thoughts organize coherently?

Lips brush against my ear.  "I don't want to share you.  I don't give a fuck if it's official, but I want people to see that you aren't to be touched."

I want to laugh, a reflex at the idea of someone wanting to touch me, the monster.  Then I notice how stiff he is behind me.  What did I say about his words having the power to break me?  I wonder if the reverse could possibly be true.  Never considered it.  Dazedly I continue to rest against his body, letting myself experience the odd feel of him stroking that single finger.  Could it be too soon to decide something like this?  But then again, my life is already tied to him through Griever.  How could this be any worse?

My lips form a small smirk at my surrender to his unending idiocy.  "Leon Almasy, huh?  I suppose that works."

 

{Owari}

 

Author's Whining -- Many apologies to all who have been nagging me for months in the hopes of a decent ending to this fic.  At least it has finally been killed properly, and now I can ignore its existence without any guilt. ^_-