Disclaimer: I do not own the characters of Final Fantasy VIII, however I do intend on using them for my own selfish amusement!
Author’s Notes: Some people have said that they noticed a bit of OOCness in some of the characters… especially Squall… but I do have to point out that this IS an AU!!!
A World Apart
"Wow, you live here?"
Squall nodded as he opened the back door.
Seifer stepped through and was amazed, this was how real people lived. It looked just as he imagined it would. His eyes kept finding new and wonderful things to look at and that was just in the kitchen alone. Following Squall through the attached dining room then the front hall to a large set of stairs, everywhere he looked he could see things that would have never found their way into his house. A potted plant, a vase of flowers, hell they even had an umbrella stand and a small bench by the front door for visitors to sit on to remove their shoes.
At the top of the stairs, Seifer paused, realizing that this was the first time he had ever been in someone else's house. What if he broke something or soiled it in some unspeakable way? He was bleeding after all. Self-consciously he looked down to make sure he wasn't dripping all over the carpets.
"Go down the hall, to the only door on the right, that's my room."
"Where are you going?" he asked a bit nervously.
"Just in here, I'm going to get some towels and peroxide and stuff, it's okay Seifer, just go before you bleed on the carpet."
"Don't you have carpet in your room?"
"No, now just go, I will be there in a minute or so."
Seifer went shuffling down the hallway and opened the door. He had to admit he was nervous, there were butterflies in his stomach and his palms were getting sweaty. He stared at the floor as he entered, sure enough Squall's bedroom floor was hardwood and had been buffed to a beautiful shine. He glanced up and had to do a double take. The scene laid out before his eyes were breathtaking. The field of flowers looked so real that he found himself reaching out to touch the wall just to make sure that it was only a painting. As his fingers brushed the slightly bumpy surface, Squall walked through the door carrying his supply of towels and medicine, slightly amused at Seifer's reaction.
"Come on over here and lie down."
Seifer let his fingers trail down the wall and turned toward Squall only to find an equally amazing painting on the other side. His mouth hung slightly open in awe of the masterfully created wonder. Then seeing the jungle scene, he couldn't help himself, he went to it and just stared at the giant cat that almost seemed to purr pure menace at him. "Did you do these?" he asked in a hushed reverent tone.
"Yeah, I did that one not too long ago."
"Squall they are amazing! They look so real I had to touch them just to make sure I wasn't hallucinating."
Squall blushed at the praise, but did feel a sense of pride from it too, he knew his art was good but hearing someone else say so made it seem all the better.
"Thanks Seifer, now if you are finished fingering my art, do ya think you can get over here so that I can take care of your back?"
Seifer had almost forgotten why they had come here. He sighed and nodded, without taking his eyes from the giant cats. There was something about those eyes that made him want to jump into the painting and run wild with the beast. He was free and powerful, a thing to be feared and respected, and Seifer wanted to join him, but then reality kicked in and he knew no such thing were possible. He straighted slowly from his crouch, and surveyed the rest of the room. He found it sort of funny that everything in here was low to the floor, with the notable exception of the easel that stood near what he took to be a very large window. There were few other furnishings, only Squall's bed and alarm clock and what looked like a large cedar chest.
Looking at the bed he smirked, "Didn't take you for a satin kind of guy. Bet the girls go wild over it."
Squall blushed furiously, "What's wrong with satin?" he asked intentionally trying to ignore the comment about girls, and what it implied.
Seifer took off his jacket and slid onto the bed and was delighted to find that the sheets were as soft as they looked. What would it be like to sleep in a bed like this every night? His own little rat hole bedroom was nothing compared to this, and this bed was heaven.
"Nothing wrong with it at all," he said trying to stifle a yawn but not succeeding very well. "In fact I think I could get used to it."
Squall's blush began to fade and he smiled a little before kneeling beside Seifer, laying a towel on each side of him to keep any blood or dribbles of peroxide from getting on the sheets. Carefully he dabbed at Seifer's wounds trying not to reopen them, but it wasn't working. The peroxide ate away at the drying blood encrusting the area, causing more to issue forth. God he was a mess. He bit his lip and held back tears as he worked. Nobody deserved this kind of treatment, least of all Seifer. He worried that he was hurting him more, but Seifer never made a sound. In fact, he had fallen sound asleep. Squall shook his head sadly, knowing that they should be in school right now, but there was no way he was going to wake him up.
Sighing he picked up the rather large mass of bloody cotton balls and threw them in the trash. Not having anything better to do at the moment, he grabbed his sketchpad and began a new drawing.
Seifer woke a couple of hours later, his back stinging but he didn't mind. At least it told him he wasn't dreaming, that this room and bed were real. He didn't think he had ever woke up in such comfort, with the exception of his back he could almost pretend that his life wasn't hell and that he lived here.
He stared at the wall that depicted the stormy sea, and noticed a small inscription near the bottom, half hidden by the mattress. Moving the comforter he was able to make out words.
Dedicated to the loving memory of my mother, this is my tribute to her. I love and miss her terribly, but I will always have my memories.
There was more but it disappeared behind the mattress. Seifer wondered what it was like to love someone that much. His own mother could die tomorrow and he wouldn't shed a single tear over her passing. It must have been really rough for Squall to love her that much only to lose her. Maybe that was part of his problem. Grief does funny things to people, and sometimes it makes them act a bit strangely. Maybe he was reading too much into Squall's situation and that he really wasn't being hurt. Maybe that was just wishful thinking on his part, so that would give him the chance to play the hero. Whatever!
He smirked at the wall for a moment and then pulled himself stiffly off the mattress, resisting the urge to stretch his aching muscles. Glancing around he realized that Squall was nowhere to be seen, puzzled he went the door and into the hall. He could hear Squall's voice coming from downstairs obviously using the phone. He didn't want to disturb him so he went into the bathroom instead and then back into the room to wait.
Squall paced nervously while he waited for the secretary to patch him through to his father's phone. After what seemed like hours, his dad's voice came on the other end of the line.
"Squall, you okay? You never call me during the day so what's up?"
He could hear the tension in his father's voice and it made what he had to say all the more harder. "Uh, dad? I'm okay, really I am. It's just that I wanted to let you know that I'm not in school and I missed half of yesterday too. I wanted to tell you before the school called you." He bit his lip nervously while he waited for the silence on the other end of the phone to break.
"Okaaaay, can I ask why you aren't in school son?"
"Well, I would rather wait till you got home to tell you, I just wanted to ask if I could have a friend over for a couple of days. He is in real trouble Dad, and I am afraid that if I don't help him, he is gonna get really hurt."
Laguna's eyes went wide with worry, "What happened to Zell? Is he okay? Squall what the hell is going on?"
The raised voice and questions that were hurled at Squall made him wince slightly and pull the phone away from his ear. "Dad... Dad.... No.... dad it isn't Zell!"
Laguna was stunned for a moment, Squall had a friend that wasn't Zell? Many unanswered questions ran through his mind, but they would have to wait. "Son, I trust your judgment, if you think that what you are doing will help your friend then I will stand by your decision, but I do want to talk about this when I get home. Just you and me, a father and son moment, a chance to talk man to man."
"Uhh...dad? You have forgotten all about Quisty coming home haven't you." He didn't have to see Laguna to know that he had slapped his hand to his forehead in the classic "DOH" expression. He smiled slightly, knowing that his father meant well but was just too scatter brained for his own good. "That's what I thought."
Laguna sighed deeply, "We'll talk later son, take care of your friend and I will be home later. Do try not to kill Quisty until I get there?"
Squall rolled his eyes heavenward in a plea for patience, knowing his dad was only trying to keep the peace, but still it irked him to no end that he was going to have to put up with Quisty for God knew how long. "I'm not promising anything but I will try okay dad?" he said through clenched teeth.
"Okay, I will see you when I get home."
"Alright, later dad."
He hung up the phone, sighing deeply and ran his hand through his hair. One problem down, now to deal with another, just how the hell was he going to manage to keep Seifer here?
(End Chapter Seven)
A/N: Yeah I know a real short chapter but 8 will be longer I promise!
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