Don't Let Me Wake
Chapter 4 - Couch Potatoes
By Balinese no Neko
Seifer's eyes bulged. "Whaddya mean, I have no bed?!"
"Quistis wouldn't let us rearrange Squall's room when we first thought of this," Zell, answered, sticking his head into the fridge. "Ewwww . . . . Man, Squall, I hope this is a science experiment and not real food!"
Squall glared in the direction of the kitchen. What was Zell doing poking around in his fridge anyway?
"Yo, Chicken-wuss! Might wanna stay out of the fridge unless you have a good reason to be in there!"
"Shut up, Seifer! And for your information, I'm cleaning it out! Trust me, you don't want to be the one doing this."
Seifer groaned and dropped himself onto the couch. "Great. Wonderful. No bed, no food . . . . What the hell are we supposed to do tonight?"
"You can sleep on the couch for tonight, Seifer," Quistis said crisply, taking charge. "Tomorrow, we'll be back to turn Squall's study into a proper bedroom for you."
"And what're we supposed to do until then? Starve?"
"I'll send Selphie over with some supper for you later tonight."
Seifer scowled and kicked off his boots before bringing his feet up onto the couch with him. "Fine. Don't let me keep you here, I'm sure you all have much better things to do."
"Better then listening to a grumpy grouch complain?" Zell asked, popping out of the kitchen with a garbage bag in his hand. He grinned. "Why, perish the thought!"
Seifer glared at him. "Go molest a hot dog or something," he muttered.
It was Zell's turn for his eyes to bulge. "What did you say?!"
"I said . . . ." Seifer paused, making sure he enunciated his next words very carefully. "Go. Molest. A. Hot. Dog."
After far too long, the two rivals were left alone with each other. Squall disappeared into his bedroom and Seifer slid down the couch a bit more, stretching out until he was comfortable. An unexpected shove had him meeting the floor, limbs flailing in surprise.
"What the hell?" He lifted his head up to see Squall glaring at him, one arm full of pillows and blankets and the other obviously the one that had pushed him off the couch. "Why'd you push me?"
In silent reply to the question, Squall dumped the bundle onto the couch and came around to the other side to begin making it up into something that looked, vaguely, like a bed.
"And you couldn't ask me to move?" Squall rolled his eyes. Yes, he could see it now. He should have just opened his mouth and flapped it about with no sound. How obvious the solution had been. He was definitely a right old dummy to not think of it. The blond scowled. "Not even a poke and a meaningful look?" Seifer was ignored. He took a jaundiced took at the mess Squall was creating and made a grab for the sheets. "Here, gimme that. Hyne forbid I sleep in the nest you make. What do you think I am, a bird or something?" It took him longer than he had thought it would, unraveling the pillow, not to mention the seat cushions, from the blankets and straightening them properly. Leaning back to judge his handiwork, he caught sight of Squall's faintly curious expression. "What, is it so surprising that I can make a bed? Damn, Squall, what's surprising is that you can't. How did you ever survive the room inspections?"
Squall glowered and would have declined to answer if he'd had a choice in the matter. As it was . . . . Besides, he wasn't going to tell Seifer that he could make a bed just fine. It was just that he'd spent two weeks in bed. It had nothing to do with the fact that Seifer had been watching him.
The brunet scooped up the controller for the TV and quite deliberately sat down in the middle of the "bed" Seifer had made. He made himself comfortable, smugly aware of, and taking much pleasure in ignoring, the expression on Seifer's face.
"That's my bed!"
Squall turned on the TV and searched for something halfway interesting on the channels. Ever since the interference from Adel's containment field was gotten rid of, more and more programs had been coming on. He, personally, thought most of them were trash, but this looked to be the best substitute to the Training Center he'd get for a long while. No doubt there was someone even now staking out his favourite stress relief area, making sure the Commander didn't go in and stub his toe again. He wanted to gag. As far as he was concerned, he needed stress relief even more now than he had before, now that Seifer, of all people, was going to be living in his rooms.
"I was going to go to sleep." He ignored the fairly blunt hint to go find his own bed. He figured the least he could do was take the couch, especially since neither of them had really been given a choice about rooming together. It wouldn't even make a dent to all the things he had to make up for, but it was the best he could do under the circumstances. And all he had to do was make Seifer think it was his own idea to "steal" Squall's bed. He knew his rival, he knew the way his mind worked.
"Fine, then, I'll just stay here until you decide it's your bedtime." A heavy weight thumped down beside him and he looked out of the corner of his eye to see Seifer staring broodingly at the TV, his arms crossed over his chest. Well, that was it. Now he couldn't go to bed. No way was he letting his rival win at a challenge his first night here. Although . . . . He pursed his lips. How could he get Seifer to "steal" his bed if Seifer insisted on staying here until he went to bed?
Squall dismissed the thought. Seifer would either go to sleep in a bed tonight or he would see dawn trying.
Seifer glanced bemusedly at the brunet currently leaning against him. Squall obviously didn't realize that the warm pillow he was almost asleep against was his long-time rival and the blond hardly had the heart to tell him, even as inconsiderate as Squall had been in taking his makeshift bed. But it was late and he was sure he'd need all the rest he could get for the next day. He carefully extricated himself from Squall's weight and stood up, looking thoughtfully at the other man.
"C'mon, Leonhart, it's time to get you to bed," he said gruffly, reaching a gently hand forward and tugging Squall to his feet. It wasn't exactly easy to maneuver the brunet to the bedroom and Seifer was understandably proud of himself as he tugged the covers back and coaxed Squall to lie down on the bed.
He frowned down at the sleeper, having just realized something. Squall had made no protest to his presence, verbal or otherwise, while the blond had been leading him around. In fact, he hadn't even come out of his half-asleep-ness, something that particularly surprised Seifer. He'd known Squall practically his whole life, and certainly all the time they'd spent at Garden together. Squall wasn't one to let anyone near him while he was half-asleep. He could wake up faster than a T-Rexaur on Haste if there was even a hint of someone else around; Seifer had nearly been impaled more than once on overnight training sessions because he'd walked just that little bit too close to the other. He didn't really think that the . . . situation with Ultimecia would have done more than reinforce that reaction. So why had Squall not tried to separate his head from his body?
With a shake of that same head, Seifer decided that it was a topic best left for another day, when he wasn't quite so tired. He'd been up late the night before, when Zell had finally left after yet another day of pleading, cajoling, begging, and outright threatening him to return to Garden and he'd been up early that morning, hoping, without success, to avoid another day of Zell bouncing around him. He sank back down onto the couch, groaning. And now he was back at Garden. Joy, oh, joy. Be still, his beating heart. Lifting his legs up with the rest of him, he decided not to use the blanket. He was too tired to move. A few cautious adjustments and he was more than ready to close his eyes and sleep.
He shifted onto his side and frowned. Who knew a television could be so loud? Cracking an eye open, he spied the remote lying on the ground, just out of reach. He debated for a moment whether or not it was worth getting out of his comfyness just to have some peace and quiet. The decision was made for him when a pair of feet shuffled past him and a mop of tousled brown hair came into his view. Squall picked up the remote and fumbled with it briefly before managing to turn the TV off. In the sudden darkness, Seifer could hear the other man moving, but was unprepared, to say the least, when he felt a warm weight settle down on the couch beside him. What the hell . . . ?
Squall laid himself carefully down on the couch, not wanting to wake Seifer up if he could help it. Once he was satisfied the blond wasn't going to suddenly wake up and bite his head off, he relaxed with a soundless sigh, sleepily content with the warmth of the other man barely touching his back. Okay, so maybe he didn't want Seifer to know how he felt about him, but . . . . This was the first night he had gotten anything even close to resembling a restful sleep. Dear Hyne, but it had felt so good, drowsing against the heat of the other man. He'd felt safe . . . content. Something he could only barely remember from the long-ago days at the orphanage, from before Ellone had left him. Something he hadn't even known he had missed. Besides, the other man was clearly asleep; the conspicuous lack of sputtering death threats told him that. Squall figured he could rest here for a bit before making his escape in the wee hours of the morning with Seifer being none the wiser. It was almost worth being caught, that feeling of contentment, almost happiness.
"Leonhart, I know you're not asleep, so would you mind explaining why you're trying to steal my bed?" came a weary voice from behind him. Squall tensed, biting his lip in sudden indecision. Should he . . . ? A sigh warmed the back of his neck briefly. "Never mind, you wouldn't tell me anyway. Come on, up you get." He felt warm hands urge him into an upright position and rather sulkily complied with them. "I'll get you back to your room and by then you'd better have some truly meaningful looks prepared to explain this away before I decide to just steal your bed and have done with it."
Squall brightened. Well, finally, the solution to his problem! All he had to do was be as communicative as he normally was and Seifer would take his bed. He mentally patted himself on the back even as he was herded by a sleepy Seifer back to his room and sat down on the edge of his bed.
"So," Seifer said, taking a seat beside him. He turned to face his rival. "What the hell were you trying to pull?"
Squall, of course, declined to answer.
"Are you trying to get me to kick your ass?"
Not a muscle moved.
"Look, Leonhart, if you don't even look at me, I'm not going to be responsible for the consequences."
The only thing Squall felt like doing was sneering at the obviously half-hearted threat.
Seifer sighed again and leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees and his head in his hands. "Do you want me to take your bed or something?" he asked, at a loss with what was happening. He rolled his head to the side just in time to see a small, satisfied smirk slide off of the brunet's face. He stared at the evidence supporting his random guess. A scowl transformed his face. "And why the hell would you want to do that?"
Squall hastily grabbed for his armor of indifference and tried to slip into it with the ease he had for the past three months. Seifer wasn't supposed to have seen that! He superimposed a scowl of his own on his face and gave a one-shouldered shrug.
"Don't give me that!" Seifer snapped. "Tell me your reason and we can both get to sleep sometime tonight." He eyed the brunet. "Something I'd sure as hell would like to do."
Squall bit his lip lightly and looked away, examining his hands as if the answers were written there. He stared at them for several moments before lifting his face to Seifer's and giving a small nod. Seifer waited.
"Well?" he snapped again. "Is this another round of yes-no?" Squall looked pointedly around the room, bringing to his attention the conspicuous lack of writing materials, then raised an eye at the blond as if asking if he would like to go fumbling around searching for some paper in the middle of the night. "Fine, fine, just . . . give me a moment, okay?" The blond lowered his head into his hands again and muttered a quiet, "Damn," into them. Raising his head to look at Squall, he asked, "Do you want to sleep on the couch instead of me?" Squall nodded. "Do you want me to take your bed?" Another nod. "Don't suppose you would be able to tell me why if I keep on asking yes and no questions?" Squall considered his answer carefully. He concluded that, yes, Seifer could discover his reasoning, but was unlikely to this late at night. Accordingly, he shook his head. Seifer sighed and shook his own head. "Never the easy way," he muttered. "Tell me, will you be able to sleep all right on the couch?" Startled by the seeming non sequitur, Squall shook his head without meaning to. Recovering himself, he directed an angry glower at the blond, who merely smirked tiredly at him in response. "Thought as much. No way would you've decided to crash on your couch and conveniently forget I was there." He looked thoughtful. "Don't suppose you'll tell me why?" An emphatic shake of the head was the answer. "Didn't think so." He stood up, stretching, and Squall watched him warily, unable to anticipate what the blond was going to do. "Well, then there's only one solution. You won't let me sleep alone on the couch and I'm damned sure I'm not going to kick the invalid out of his bed."
Squall's lips tightened; Seifer wasn't endearing himself any to the brunet. He raised an eyebrow, asking what that one solution was.
The blond grinned at him. "Why, we share the bed, of course!" Squall's lips tightened further. "Oh, come off it, Leonhart! You weren't that prissy about the couch and your bed's a hell of a lot larger than that thing. And if you don't agree, I'm still going to be taking the couch, even if I have to kick you off of it every five minutes."
Relunctantly, the brunet conceded that Seifer might truly have hit upon the answer to the problem. And . . . surely it wouldn't hurt to have one night of peace, would it? One night, and then Seifer would have his own bed. It was more than he deserved, but if Seifer was going to insist, and Squall knew the look in his eyes, then there wasn't much else to do except accede to him. After a long moment, he nodded his head.
"Great!" Seifer said briskly. He dropped back onto the bed and stretched out near the outside edge. "Dibs on the outside!"
Author's Note: *is happy* Aaaaand . . . another one bites the dust! ^^ Took care of da minor edits I had to do (although I'm pretty sure I didn't catch everything, at least I caught the "bare of feet" xx) and I'm feelin' pretty spiffy. Despite the fact that it's flippin' nine in the morning. *groans*
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