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!!!
Thanks to Avatar Infidel for doing the Beta on this! She deserves much praise!
A World Apart
Squall heard the apology and knew that Seifer probably thought he was mad, he wasn't, but how could he explain that without telling him what the problem was?
'Would he ever want to kiss me again or want to hold me or even touch me if he knew?'
The kiss had been alright, okay, more than alright, it had been fabulous. But when Seifer's hands had touched his bare back, he couldn't help but feel revulsion course through his body. He shuddered involuntarily even at the memory of it.
Seifer watched him shudder and felt hope die inside. He shouldn't have kissed him, shouldn't have touched him. It was too much to bear. He got up and quickly rushed out of the room, nearly knocking over Laguna in his haste to leave the house. Hated and unwanted tears stung his cheeks as he ran. He'd been only been deluding himself that he could have been part of something that wonderful, that special.
He didn't know where he was running to but that didn't matter. Not even the tears coursing down his cheeks mattered anymore. He'd blown his one and only chance at happiness.
Squall turned around, meaning to tell Seifer why he reacted the way he did, only to discover his bedroom door open and that Seifer was no longer in the room. His eyebrows furrowed together and the thought that he might have gone home made him panic. He rushed down the stairs after him, but was stopped by a worried Laguna.
"Hey, slow down there, where's the fire? That's twice now that I have almost been trampled by overexcited teenagers, and in my own home to boot!"
"Sorry Dad, can't talk now, I gotta go after Seifer!"
Laguna scratched his head and watched Squall run down the stairs and out the front door. He wondered briefly if they had gotten into a fight, but then remembered why he had been coming upstairs in the first place. Being pleased that he had remembered, he forgot about Squall for the moment and knocked on Quistis's door.
Out on the street, Squall looked both ways and didn't see a sign of Seifer anywhere.
'Please don't let him have gone home. I wouldn't be able to stand myself if he went back there because of me!'
Without further hesitation he headed towards the school, not really knowing where Seifer lived was going to be a problem, but he was determined to apologize and bring him back to the house, where he could explain his reaction.
Seifer sat on the bleachers watching as the sun made its slow decent behind the horizon. Tears fell like raindrops, splashing down on his clenched fists in his lap.
'Why do things always go wrong? Why does it seem like I am destined to always be lonely and hurt? Why did I kiss him anyway?'
There were too many questions and not enough answers. He felt as if he were alone, floating on a sea of despair and loneliness. The despair he could handle but it was the loneliness that was slowly killing him inside. It didn't help matters that he had finally had a taste of what friendship was like and now all it did was leave a bitter aftertaste of things better left untouched.
His back began to ache again, and for a moment he allowed himself to cry bitterly from the pain. He bent forward and buried his head into his lap. Not for the first time, the thought of suicide came to mind. It would finally put at end to all of the pain. Not just the physical pain from his many scars, but also from the scars on the inside that hurt even worse. Those wounds that could never be healed with medicine, the scars that could never be numbed enough. No matter how many pills he took or how much he drank. It was always there, haunting him and laughing at him when he thought there might be hope.
He reached inside his boot for his knife and laughed bitterly when he remembered that he had left it in Squall's bedroom.
'Great, I can't even kill myself right. Oh well, at least I still have my pills, maybe if I take all of them at once it will be enough to finally do myself in. I don't want to wait for my dad to do it, if I'm going to go out of this world I want to do it on my own terms, no one else's.'
He sat up, digging in his pocket and retrieved the bottle of pills. He opened it and spilled the little blue and white ovals into his hand.
'Twenty pills left. Just twenty little pills that stand between oblivion and myself, it isn't like I would be hurting anyone else. No one else cares whether or not I live or fucking die so why not? Why don't I just do it and save the world the trouble? There won't be any tears shed over my grave, hell I would be surprised if they even gave me a funeral.'
'But what about Squall? Don't you think that he would care?'
His mind tried to reason with that part of himself that still hoped, still dreamed of something better. Savagely he tried to squash those thoughts, but to no avail. If Squall cared as much as he seemed to, then why was he sitting out here in the dark at the school and not in Squall's bedroom?
'Maybe he's as scared as you are about what seems to be happening.'
"Maybe," he said out loud.
'I mean really, have you ever thought about another guy before? No, you haven't, and chances are that he hasn't either. He's probably as confused as you are. Kissing another guy has never been on your list of things to do, and it probably wasn't on his either. So lets take a moment and really think about this.'
First of all, why are you out here? You're here because you think he rejected you. Well, aren't you reading a bit more into it then there really was? Come on, you're stronger than that. Why didn't you just stay and face up to it. He kissed you back didn't he? So there has to be some kind of attraction there. Admit it, the reason you're really sitting out here trying to decide whether or not to kill yourself is because you're having difficulty accepting that you might be gay.'
'Alright, that does seem to be a bit of an understatement, but really, so what if you are gay. What does that really matter? If Squall feels the same about you as you feel about him, isn't that the beginning of something wonderful?'
"But, what if he doesn't? What if he was so repulsed by what happened that he never wants to speak to me again?"
'You'll never know the answer to that question unless you go back and talk about it. If you go back and find out for sure, then you won't have to sit out here and wonder, now will you!'
"Maybe I don't want to know. Maybe all I want to do is just die and get it over with."
'Or maybe you're just too scared to find out that he really does care about you. The idea of someone caring and loving you is a foreign concept. Maybe the reason you're out here isn't as black and white as you first thought.'
"And maybe I think too much!"
'Maybe you do, but as long as you're asking these questions of yourself, wouldn't it be wise to actually find out the answers instead of just assuming you already know them? Or are you too afraid? Too scared of what someone else might think? Someone close to you. Someone who hurts you, someone like your father?
His hand shook a little as he brought the bottle to his lips, intent on swallowing the last remaining part of his pride along with the handful of pills.
'COWARD! I can't believe that you're even considering this! You're stronger than that! What that bastard thinks about you shouldn't matter! He hurt you, yes, but that's what made you strong! Don't let him win like this, make the bastard pay by outliving him!
The sound of his name echoing down the football field brought his hand down. He recognized Squall's voice but he couldn't face him, not now. He toyed with the idea of just swallowing the pills before he got to him, but his arm felt like lead. More tears welled up and spilled down his cheeks, leaving their damning trails of shame in their wake.
Squall was relieved that he had found him and that Seifer hadn't gone home. He jogged across the field feeling as if the distance between them would never close fast enough, and before he knew it he was sprinting as fast as he could.
Seifer lifted his head just in time to catch a flying Squall catapulting towards him. The pills he had in his hand spilled onto the ground as instinct made him catch Squall.
Pain blossomed and burst into tiny red dots behind his eyes as Squall firmly attached his arms around Seifer's back. He gasped but didn't attempt to remove Squall.
"I'm sorry Seifer, I really am. I...I need to tell you why...why I reacted like that...but...I don't want you to go away and if I tell you ...you might not want to be around me anymore...I don't want that. I couldn't stand it if that happened."
Seifer heard his words even though they were muffled against his neck. Hesitantly he brought his arms up and wrapped them around Squall who was sitting in his lap.
Squall squeezed him a bit tighter, not wanting to let go of him for fear that once he knew about what was happening, he wouldn't want to touch him again.
"I...know what I need to say, but I just can't think of an easy way of saying it."
Tears began streaming down Squall's face. God, he didn't want to do this, but what choice did he have? He was torn between not wanting Seifer to think that he didn't like what had happened and the shame of what had been done to him.
"Squall, it's okay, I don't need to know. If it is as bad as you think it is, then maybe you shouldn't tell me."
"No...I really need to tell you why..."
Squall took a deep breath and tightly closed his eyes, burying his head deeper into Seifer's neck.
The words tumbled out of his mouth in a rush, and he hoped that it would be enough of an explanation for Seifer. He didn't want to have to go into details unless he had to.
Stunned, Seifer's eyes widened and he tried to pry Squall's arms off of him so that he could look at his face, but Squall's grip was as if it were made of iron. Finally giving up on that course of action, he settled for just wrapping his arms as tightly around Squall as was comfortably possible.
Slowly Seifer began to rock Squall, waiting for the initial shock of his revelation to wear off so that he could figure out what to do.
There were no words of comfort that Seifer could give that would make the pain leave, or banish his fears, no magical potion he could give him that would somehow turn back time. His secret was an awful one and there were no words, no actions that could be taken to relieve his suffering. The only thing Seifer could do was be there for him. Be there and try to keep it from happening again.
Squall wasn't going to face this thing alone. How could he? He had been doing it so far and it was obviously tearing apart the last reserves of his sanity.
Softly he whispered into Squall's ear as he rocked him. Yes, they were platitudes nothing more, but saying them strengthened Seifer's resolve, and his determination to see that this never happened again. If he had to, he would spend every waking minute with Squall. Not such a bad punishment from his standpoint.
As the night breeze began to blow softly through the trees, and the moon began to rise, Seifer made a choice that would forever damn him in the eyes of his father, and probably most of his peers as well. He made the choice to follow where his heart led him, and looking down into the eyes of the smaller boy he held, he felt his heart swell and he found that he didn't care what others thought. All that mattered was that, for the first time in his life, he felt at peace.
(End Chapter Ten)
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