Author's Note: Well, here it is at last... It's not very good, but it's here. ^_^ Laguna, Kiros, Seif, Squall, Zell -- nuttiness abounds! Enjoy.
Disclaimer: You know the drill... Story is mine, the rest belongs to Square.
Coming Out Party
Chapter Six - Commando Psychology
"I was just wondering...well, are you sure we should tell him? I thought that maybe it could be a surprise-"
"Laguna, we already nixed that idea, remember? The kid'll have enough going on as it is... Besides, I really don't think you have to worry. We'll be lucky if we don't have to pick him up off the floor when he hears about this."
Laguna's eyes glowed with pride. "You think so?"
***'DING-DING! Balamb Garden, first floor. Please disembark for the Library, Cafeteria, Training Center. Remember to keep our Garden clean. Don't litter. Have a nice day!'***
"I can positively guarantee it." And that, Kiros thought, was the understatement of the year.
Vice President Kiros Seagill snorted as he, Laguna, and a small cortege of guards stepped out of the central elevator into the atrium, greeted by the lush scent of flowering plants and the earthy tang of loam. To the left and right, students were sitting on benches set up amongst the ring of flora, while directly in front of them was the staircase leading down to the magical directory. Stroke of genius that... Kiros grinned. In theory, it should have been a snap to get from there to the library, especially since he’d managed to convince Laguna along the way-
"-You're sure you're sure about this, Kiros?"
Well, he corrected with a rueful glance to the heavens, as much as 'Guna could be convinced of anything -- having Rinoa simply show up unexpectedly was not a good idea. A quick call to Quistis had pinpointed Squall’s last location to the study room for a meeting.
All that remained was the actual deed, and it should have taken five minutes at most to find a boy in black leather and fifty belts. In theory.
Then again, the architect had never accounted for Laguna Loire’s sense of direction.
“Hey, Kiros? Did Quistis say to hang a right and make a left, or make a right and hang a left, and- oooh, is that a Centrati tiger lily!? Kiros, c'mere, you gotta see this!”
Kiros allowed himself a quick grin; Laguna could still manage to get himself lost in his own palace, and they’d been living there for almost 20 years. “Just look where you’re going, ‘Guna-” he grasped Laguna by the arm, steering him forward before he smacked into a fern frond, "-and stay close to me.”
“Aw, but what if I don’t want to?” the slender President laughed, stopping to gawk at a particularly spectacular flower. Not surprisingly, two seconds later, Laguna was out of Kiros’ hands and headed the wrong way. “Oooooh! Hey! What if I just wanna walk around here all day?”
"Then you’re never gonna get where you’re going to,” Kiros retorted. On a whim, he reached out to snag the large orange blossom from where it grew. He presented this to a delighted Laguna with a flourish, replacing his arm smoothly around Laguna’s shoulder.
Muuuuuuch better, he thought as Laguna nestled against him. Not only will we get there twice as fast, but it’ll be a lot nicer this way, too.
“Nonsense!” Laguna was saying, eyes twinking with mischief. “Getting where you’re going is overrated anyway. I’ve ended up in a lot of interesting places by not paying attention. Do you know where the palace laundry chute ends up?”
Kiros raised an eyebrow. “Is this a trick question?”
“Oh, come on!” Laguna grinned, twirling his flower. “Give me some credit.”
“The laundry room, then?”
“Ah-ha!” Laguna waved the flower in the air. “But did you know that the laundry room has a fully stocked bar, and that the staff meets there to play gin on alternate Tuesdays?”
Kiros paused, the folds of his robe curling around his legs. “You fell down the chute, didn’t you?”
“You bet.” The President of Esthar grinned and smacked his Vice President on the back. “Best ride I ever had.”
“Best ride you ever…” Kiros stared a moment, finally shaking his head. 'Guna had the gods' own luck, and as a result, Kiros spent a great deal of his time trying to decide between taking his friend by the shoulders and shaking him, or hugging him and never letting go. “You’re lucky you didn’t break your neck!”
They reached the circular main path and turned left, making a leisurely pace for the library, walking arm in arm. “It would have been worth it. It’s not every day you land on your cabinet’s underwear,” Laguna countered, hissmile turning thoughtful. “You know, I never would have taken the Secretary of Defense for a thong kind of guy,but then again he’s so damned anal that it kinda makes sense-- what are you smirking at?”
Oh, Hyne help me now! Kiros’ shoulders shook with laughter. “Only you would associate a person’s character with their preference of underwear,” he teased, grinning when the clueless love of his life nudged him none-too-gently with his elbow.
“But there might be something to it!” Laguna insisted. “Colonel Atticus walks around like there’s something stuck up his ass, and now I know there is!”
His aqua eyes narrowed as inspiration struck.
“Hey, I wonder if I could get a peek at Squall’s dresser drawer while I’m here!”
Kiros fought to retain a straight face. Gods knew what the kid would say to that. “’Guna, with those tight pants he wears, I doubt the kid wears underwear at all,” he said carefully.
“Really?” Laguna’s brow furrowed. “What do you think that means?”
“That he’s got a button fly, or he’s really damned careful when he’s zipping up.”
Laguna rolled his eyes. “Be serious!”
“I’m always serious!”
“Except when you’re not,” Laguna scoffed. “Which is most of the time.”
Kiros bit his lip. How did he get caught up in these discussions? “Laguna, we’re talking about underwear.”
“So?” Laguna shook his head, eyes sparking with determination. “I still think I’m onto something here. Let’s see… Squall’s lack thereof would mean that he’s an open-minded, free-spirited individual… hmm… a little on the wild side and pretty comfortable living in his own skin. However, the unusual…uh… tightness… of Squall’s leather jeansfurther indicates that… um… he feels bound by the conventions of society and… well… constricted by societalnorms, forcing him into a role that he is uncomfortable with, but believes that he is locked into -- hence all ofthose belts.”
Laguna grinned in triumph, turning to Kiros. “What do ya think?”
Kiros’ lips twitched. “So, basically, what you’re saying is that the kid is held captive by his pants.”
“Kiros!” Laguna whacked him on the head with his flower. “I swear ta’ Hyne, I don’t know why I even bother-”
“Ow, ok! Ok!” Kiros held up both hands, dodging another blow. “I give! You’re brilliant, ‘Guna! You know everything there is to know about Squall and his pants, hell, you got the kid down pat…”
Kiros ran his fingers through his own braided hair, silken ropes slipping through his grasp to thrum lightly against his back and shoulders. Aw shit, shit, shit-
“No, I don’t,” Laguna said miserably.
Kiros’ heart rolled painfully in his chest as his friend gently pushed him away and slumped, shoulders sagging as if drawn downward by leaden weights. “You’re right. I don’t know the first thing about my own son,” the Estharian President sighed. “I’m a failure at being a father.”
“No, you’re not.” Kiros crossed his arms. He didn’t let anyone get away with hurting Laguna, damned if he’d let Laguna get away with hurting himself.
“Yes, I am.”
“No, you’re not!” Kiros growled, his scowl fierce enough to scare a Grat. “Laguna, you’re not a bad father.”
“Oh, yes I am,” Laguna insisted, gesturing half-heartedly at the SeeDs assigned to guard them from a respectable distance. “What kind of father lets someone else raise his kid in an orphanage for 5 years, and lets a military academy have him for the other 12? And,” he continued, raising a finger when Kiros opened his mouth, “what kind of father leaves his wife pregnant and alone in the first place?”
A father who didn’t know he was a father, cause his wife didn’t get a chance to tell him, Kiros thought, his eyes closing briefly. He took a deep breath, letting it out through his nose. “It wasn’t your fault.”
Laguna sighed, bowing his head so that his long, black hair fell into his face.
“I just want to get to know him, Kiros,” he said softly. “I want to understand him. He’s…he’s my boy.”
“I just want him to be happy,” Laguna whispered.
And I just want you to be happy, ‘Guna… Kiros took two steps forward and pulled Laguna into his arms, sighing as his friend buried his face into his shoulder. So much... “I know,” he murmured. “It’ll work out, you’ll see. Just give it time.”
Swear to Hyne, next time I see Quistis comin’, I’m gonna run the other way, Zell decided, putting his jaw back on its hinges as Squall hurtled past him in a flurry of white cotton and black leather, the door thrown open so fast that he thought it’d break in two. Could his life get any weirder? He’d found out that Squall Leonhart was gay (practically firsthand, no less…ACK!) and sided with Seifer in an argument on the same day. It had to be somethin’ in the water. Or the air. Or maybe-
Or maybe, nothing! Zell shook his head once, slapping himself on the forehead for good measure -- why was hejust standing around?! Focus, Dincht.
The question was what to do, exactly? He could (and, upon some thought, probably should) slip out and hole up somewhere until the whole mess blew over -- hey, maybe he could even finish Quistis’ report… He glanced over his shoulder at his pile of papers, pencils and diagrams spilling onto the floor from the supply closet. From the doorway, the sound of booted feet thudded with increasing velocity down the hallway.
“Seifer!” Squall pleaded. “Seifer, wait!”
“Go talk to a wall, Leonhart!”
Eh, screw the report. This wouldn’t wait. “Squall! Yo, man, wait up!” Zell jogged after them.
“Seifer, wait! Dammit!”
The SeeD Commander cursed at himself with a fluency of language that he rarely chose to employ, picking upspeed. Why the hell was the hallway so long? Why the hell were Seifer’s legs so long? He was supposed to be the goddamned Commander of Balamb goddamned Garden -- why was he so goddamned short?*
Why couldn’t he be as tall as the breathtakingly livid Seifer Almasy stomping around his brain, blond hair ruffled by a furious wind, blue-green eyes afire and gray trench coat swirling angrily to a dramatic musical score, railing at him from behind his eyelids?
“Thoughtless, Leonhart? Have you taken a look around your own head lately? Cause it’s lookin’ pretty empty to me!”
Proud, exasperating, but always faithful, always loving, Seifer had lived a lie for the better part of a year without explanation because Squall had asked him to. And Seifer, Squall recalled with a lump in his throat, had been theonly one to ever knock him flat on his ass when Squall had told him to go talk to a wall. Seifer had been the onlyone to stay.
But now, after this, what if he’d finally done it? What if he’d finally managed to drive Seifer away for good?
Squall groaned miserably. It wasn’t of any consolation whatsoever that aside from calling Seifer thoughtless, he’d been so deep in himself that he couldn’t quite remember what else he should apologize for.
“This is why people shouldn’t speak. There should be no speaking, ever!” he muttered, dashing past a bulletinboard so fast that the breeze left several flyers trailing in his wake.
“I told you to take a flying leap, Leonhart…”
Muttering under his breath, Seifer wrenched open the glass door at the end of the hall with a vicious twist of the wrist; the crunch as it slammed into the wall wasn’t nearly satisfying enough. Hyne, Leonhart actually had the nerve to call him thoughtless…
Thoughtless! Seifer let out a snort.
‘Moronic’ he could have taken -- he’d certainly done more than his share of stupid shit. But then again, so what? Maybe he wasn’t the brightest light of the bunch, but stupidity was relative anyway – he was smarter then the Chickenwuss, Chickenwuss was smarter then a geranium, circle of life, yadda, yadda…
And ‘Off kilter’ he could understand, hell, he was practically the poster child! All he needed was to have a T-shirt made up. “I tried to take over the world and all I got was this lousy piece of clothing”. Not a big thing. He could deal. As far as he was concerned, insanity wasn’t a detriment so much as a survival trait.
Seifer paused, looking down at his clenched fists. ‘Thoughtless’ had been the time he put paste in the soap dispenser and glued a boy’s hands together so that Kadowaki had been forced to cut them apart. ‘Thoughtless’had been when he’d dared a young sylph of a girl to touch the tail of a sleeping T-Rexaur, only to find out that it hadn’t been sleeping after all.
He loved Squall Leonhart. Hell, he’d loved him his whole life.
And he loved his friends.
His recklessness had taken Raijin years training with a staff to rebuild his grip, and had cost Fujin an eye, so he could recognize ‘thoughtless’ when he saw it…and this thing with Leonhart wasn’t it. Not on his part, anyway. Seifer drew himself up, ignoring the shrieks of students cowering behind the stacks as he took a step forward into the Library. This time, it wasn't gonna be him beggin' for Leonhart to throw him a bone. Fuck, he wasn't even gonna speak to him!
"Seifer! Wait, for the love of Hyne-" Squall's voice sounded from behind him.
Not that he'd keep up the silence forever, of course, wouldn't, couldn't, even if he wanted to; even as pissed as he was, somewhere deep inside of himself Seifer was able to admit that.
Not for more than a year...
10 years, tops.
"Seifer Almasy, how have you been? It's me, Laguna, Squall's dad... You haven't seen him around here lately, have you?"
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