Anything & Everything
By Elise Maxwell
Rinoa jumped as the cover stone to Ultimecia’s cave opened. Her lackeys, Watts and Zone threw Seifer out. She stared in shock. They had wrapped a tattered cloth around his waste, but newly formed legs peeked out the bottom. Her heart went cold when she realized he wasn’t moving.
“You drowned him!?” She screeched at the two who them swam back to their haven. “Gods, please let him be okay.” Rinoa took hold of Seifer’s chest and hauled the heavy man to the surface. Once she hit the air, she struggled slowly but surely to the beach and dragged the blonde as far as she could.
“Seifer…” Rinoa looked the new man up and down. She didn’t know what to do. She put her hands to her face and gritted her teeth. She couldn’t cry—not in the air where someone would see! Helping Seifer was her first priority. He ears caught a gasp behind her and she froze. The black haired mermaid slowly turned her head and almost died of happiness. It was the blonde girl from the day Seifer had saved Squall.
“Miss!” Rinoa waved at the girl who quickly scrambled down the rocks to her. “Oh thank the Gods you’re here! I don’t know what to do. How do I make him breathe?”
“What happened to him? I thought he was a merman.” The girl put an ear to Seifer’s chest then sat up and put a hand to his neck. “I’m Quistis by the way.”
“Rinoa,” the mermaid replied. “Can you please get Squall?”
“He’s not breathing.” Quistis stated hurriedly. She pinched Seifer’s nose and opened his mouth. After taking a deep breath, she blew into his mouth three times. She then pressed hard on his chest five times. All of a sudden Seifer began to cough and sputter up water. Quistis turned him on his side and sighed relieved.
“I’ll go get Squall.” The blonde girl told Rinoa.
The mermaid nodded. “I’ll stay with him.” She watched Quistis run away. “Where in the world else would I go?” She rubbed Seifer’s arm. “You alright?”
“I’m going to kill them,” Seifer growled before coughing some more. He stopped for a moment and looked at Rinoa’s tail. “I’m going to miss that.” He looked down at his own legs and moved them. “It feels odd, but somehow right.”
“What was it like?” Rinoa asked after a moment.
“It hurt. I could feel the bones changing and splitting.” Seifer clenched his fists. “You’d think magic would be painless.” He sighed and frowned. “Then suddenly after I changed, Ultimecia said, ‘Be gone,’ and those two assholes pulled me under the water. I couldn’t breathe in it anymore.”
“There was air?”
“The underwater chamber connects to a cave with air. The whole thing is filled with all sorts of weird things.” The blonde shrugged. “I’m just glad to be out of there.”
Rinoa smiled. “Well, I’m glad you’re alright. I was so worried.”
Seifer took a moment to look around. “Did you bring me up here all by yourself?” She nodded. “You must be getting lots of muscle lately. Doing those exercises I told you?”
“I feel really stupid now.” Rinoa cursed herself.
She frowned annoyed at herself. “I could have used my power with the water to push you up here.”
“True, but it might have been a waste of power.” Seifer contemplated this. “And you might have caused something else to go awry.
“Cause and effect, I know.” Rinoa rolled her eyes. “I have to be careful.”
“What? Quistis, what’s so important that you had to drag me all the way down to…”
The mermaid and newly made man turned to see Quistis standing on top of the rocks with a great grin. In front of her was the awe struck brunette man.
“Gods, if he stares any longer we’ll know something is up.” Rinoa giggled as Seifer threw her a glare.
“Oh, something is definitely up!” Quistis called back only to be hit in the stomach by a red faced Squall. The two on the beach gave them an odd look.
“Some sort of human joke?” Seifer asked to receive a shrug from Rinoa.
Squall stumbled down the rocks and fell to his knees next to the blonde man. “I thought you were a mermai—man.”
“I was,” Seifer answered quietly. “I came to see you.” He looked expectantly at the longhaired man and waited for an answer.
“How?” Squall asked breathlessly. “Why? For me?” The blonde nodded at him as he stared into oceanic eyes. “I—I don’t know what to say.”
“You don’t have to say anything.” Seifer’s hand cupped Squall’s cheek and stroked it with a thumb.
“This is way too good to be true,” the brunette whispered. “We should probably go…” he trailed off as he glanced at the girls, his face turning crimson a second time.
Seifer smiled as the sun came out from the clouds and by the way Squall stared, there was definitely a connection. “Yes, get me out of this… cloth… thing.” The blonde looked at the cloth around his waist.
Quistis giggled. “You look fine in just that.”
“I agree.” Rinoa winked.
“Thanks,” Seifer replied sarcastically to them as he stood carefully. He leaned down to Rinoa. “I’ll meet you here tomorrow, alright?”
She nodded. “I’ll be back.”
Seifer picked her up and walked into the water. He slowly released her and she faded into the depths. “I’ll miss you…”
Suddenly Seifer lost his balance and fell face first into the water. When he sat up in the water he heard laughter from the beach. “I’m gonna have to get used to this walking thing.”
“Are you alright?” Squall asked, trying not to smile.
“You can laugh.” Seifer chuckled. “I should have expected it.”
The brunette snickered, his hand trying to hide it. “Here, I’ll help you.” He held out a hand and Seifer gratefully took it. “I can’t believe you walked in the first place.”
“I wasn’t really thinking about it. I don’t know how I did it,” the blonde said as he balanced and held onto Squall’s shoulders.
“How long are you staying?”
“What?” Seifer looked up into the other man’s face.
“Are you going to stay?” Squall looked lonely—no, hopeful.
“I want to.” Seifer poked the brunette’s nose. “Then you can show me everything about the world on the land right?”
Squall smiled modestly. “Sure.” He nodded. “First things first. Let Quistis pick out clothing for you and to come up with an explanation.”
“Explanation?” Seifer asked as Squall helped him walk out of the water.
“About who you are and why you’ll be staying at my father’s home with me.”
“Don’t ask me.” The blonde shrugged and concentrated on his legs.
“That’s what I’m for.” Quistis smiled smugly.
“Quisty can think of anything,” Squall told the taller man.
Seifer nodded. “I’m sure I can trust her not to make me seem like an idiot.”
Quistis grinned. “I can be quite cruel.”
“Quistis,” Squall growled.
“Okay, okay!” She waved her hands. “Let’s just get him clothing for now?”
“I’m alright with that.” The blonde grinned.
“Then we’re off!” Quistis led the men away.
“Like this?” Seifer asked and looked up at Squall who nodded. He then concentrated on ‘buttoning’ his shirt. Dressing had been quite the process, but Seifer would gladly do it again. It was nothing short of embarrassing, but fun too.
First, the two original land dwellers snuck him into Squall’s residence, which was the largest thing he’d seen besides the palace in the underwater kingdom. Once inside, Squall made Quistis leave the room—for Seifer’s privacy—and measured his body for clothing. Quistis whined and moaned all the way out but after she left, the room subsided into a silence that embarrassed Seifer. He stood as Squall instructed as the brunette took a measuring strip and wrote all sorts of numbers.
A blush had painted the longhaired man’s features as he ran the strip along Seifer’s body and the blonde also felt slightly uncomfortable. Luckily, Squall got all the measurements without having to remove what little Seifer had on anyway.
Seifer looked up from his button troubles and to the blonde girl who Squall had finally let in. He looked down at himself and bit his lip. “Do I look okay?”
“Honey, you look absolutely fabulous,” Quistis replied with a wink and smiled.
“You messed up the buttons,” Squall muttered and undid them. He slowly re-buttoned the shirt and straightened the blonde’s collar. “I feel like I’m dressing my father.”
“You do it often?” Seifer asked.
“He’s a senator,” Squall explained. “I help him sometimes, but Quistis is the one who usually does.”
“Are you two siblings?”
“No, my family has served his for generations.” She smiled. “I’m Squall’s personal servant but I also help Laguna too.”
“You’re a servant?” Seifer gaped at her surprised. “You don’t dress like a servant. Well, I mean, the servants at Rinoa’s palace have a certain livery they must wear.”
“Actually, I’m a paid servant. My parents died in a fishing accident and Laguna took me in,” Quistis explained. “I live and work here all the while Squall and I are best friends.”
“I was a palace healer and protector of Rinoa.” Seifer paused amused at himself. “I wonder if the king knows I’m gone yet.”
“Protector?” Squall asked. “Rinoa is the princess?” He received a nod from the blonde and frowned. “Are you supposed to be telling us this?”
“I hardly think you two will try and steal Rinoa let alone hold her ransom.” Seifer grinned cheekily.
“True.” Squall smirked. “We stole you though.”
“No, you stole my heart.”
The brunette stopped and stared at him. Seifer was cool, confident and looked completely honest. There was no way he’d ever take back what he’d said because it was true, he just hoped that Squall felt the same. As he watched, the younger man’s hands rose to his shirt again and unbuttoned the top button, and then he stood back.
“Perfect,” Squall commented.
“You’re like the ocean in human form. Your hair is the color of the sand, your eyes the sea and you’re just so damn gorgeous.” Quistis looked the former merman up and down.
“You have a way with words.” Seifer blushed and chuckled.
“Well she’s right.” The brunette nodded and turned to his friend. “What time is it?”
Quistis looked at her watch and jumped. “Ah! I have to get lunch ready! I’ll call you when it’s done!” She was already out the door and down the hall before Seifer could say goodbye.
“Obsessive?” Squall finished.
“I was going to say devoted. She must really care about you and your family.”
“She’s also very insightful.” Squall sat down on the bed in the room they’d been using. “She can see right through you to what you’re thinking. She’s evil.” Squall grinned.
Seifer sat down next to Squall, adjusting to the pants he was wearing. “I’ll bet she knows there’s something between us.”
“And she’ll keep her mouth shut.”
“She scared of you?”
“Of the public.”
“What?” Seifer was confused. What did other people have to do with this?
Squall sighed. “Seifer, things like this aren’t popular up here. The idea of two men together isn’t thought of highly. People find me difficult already.”
“Oh.” The blonde subsided into silence and fiddled with his shirt. He felt a little left out and lonely. This world was a lot more than he expected. He needed to learn a lot more about the land and its people before he could ever get closer to Squall. “Will you teach me all about everything?”
“What?” The brunette glanced at Seifer through his chocolate strands of hair.
“Teach me about your world. Tell me how I’m supposed to act and what I’m supposed to do.” Seifer’s hand tucked Squall’s hair behind his ear. “Show me.”
“One thing first.”
“Can you uh…” Seifer trailed off, not knowing how to ask something like this.
Squall frowned. “What is it?”
The idea was so awkward it made Seifer get up and pace for a moment to think to himself.
“Well, I—I uh… How and, uh, where do I… relieve myself?” He coughed and avoided Squall’s gaze for fear of being laughed at.
The brunette stared at him and he felt so humiliated. “Are you serious?” Squall asked.
Seifer nodded. “Quite.”
“Oh.” The young man stood and approached the blonde. “I’m not going to laugh at you. I understand that you don’t know these things. You’re lucky you fell for me.”
“And why is that?”
“I don’t like to tease people for fun.”
The look in Squall’s eyes made Seifer believe that this had been done to him many times. It was probably the people or kids in his town. He never dreamt Quistis would poke fun at the brunette. Difficult he said they called him. The probably talked behind his back a lot.
“I would never turn my back on you. Ever.” Seifer rested a hand on Squall’s shoulder. “I give you my word.”
“How do I know its good?” Squall looked up into the blonde’s eyes. Seifer could see fear. It was something he never wanted to see in those gray depths again.
“You already know.”
Squall’s face fell blank as the idea turned over in his skull. Seifer froze as the brunette’s arms wrapped around his shoulders and pulled him closer and down to the shorter man. Suddenly Squall’s lips were upon his and he was drowning in a sea of ecstasy. Soft lips moved against his and Seifer let his eyes fall shut as he rode on this wave, never wanting to fall off.
When their faces parted, the blonde stood staring at the shorter man breathless. He couldn’t believe he’d just kissed another man, let alone a human. He smiled when Squall opened his eyes to reveal them still foggy from the kiss he’d just experienced. So, Seifer leaned down and gave the brunette a peck on the tip of his nose.
“Look, I'd really love to continue this… conversation, but I really have to go…?” he asked bringing the young man back to reality.
Squall started and turned a light shade of crimson. “Oh, right.” He smiled shyly and took Seifer’s hand. “This way,” he mumbled nervously and led the blonde out of the room.
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