Dedicated to: Kitty's fic
Notes: *sigh* This one took me awhile to get together. I had to restock and figure out what I wanted to and how. I did have a clear plan when I started, but somewhere along the line it got muddled. ^-^ I'm beginning to wonder what the title has to do with the story. >.< Agh... well, anyway, enjoy. Feedback is needed... lifeblood and all that.
Disclaimer: I don't own FF8, FF7 or any of the characters in this fic... except Mr. Spider. ^-^
Don't Make Him Cry
Chapter Fourteen - Warm In Your Arms
Rufus dropped to his knees by Seifer's side. Anxiously he placed his hands on Seifer's shoulders. "Seifer, are you all right?"
Seifer let his arms fall and he slowly blinked his eyes open. He gazed up at Rufus with a little frown. He opened his mouth to speak but he didn't know what to say. He didn't know for sure if he was all right. His entire body was numb with shock. /Ifrit.../
/Where did Ifrit come from?/
"You're burnt." Rufus said quietly, he cast a quick cure spell. The burns on Seifer's face slowly faded away. "Seifer?"
/He's never called me by my first name before./ Seifer breathed in deeply, surprised when he could do so with little pain. The cure spell had eased away much of his injuries. "I'm all right." He said hoarsely.
"Sephiroth is gone." Rufus hid his relief, he didn't understand the odd emotion and he certainly didn't want anyone to see it.
"Not gone." Valentine commented, slipping his gun back under his cape, "Just retreated. We should leave here. Jenova is still near."
"Jenova..." Seifer whispered, but no one heard him.
"Can you stand?" Rufus asked, looking down at Seifer.
Seifer nodded, but when he sat up and attempted to stand he found that the world spun dizzily around him. He didn't protest when Rufus wrapped an arm around his waist. He simply wrapped his arm around Rufus' shoulders and held on tightly.
"Zell! C'mon Zell! Open your eyes."
Zell moaned softly, warm arms were holding him tightly and his face was pressed against something solid. Whoever was holding him smelt really good. The voice that was calling him sounded oddly familiar.
"Open your eyes dammit!"
Zell's eyes snapped open at that. He gazed at the white shirt pressed against his face, then he turned his head so he could look up at the one who was holding him.
"Shit!" Irvine sighed with relief, "You had me worried! Gawd! Don't ever do that again!"
"Worried? Do ..." Zell jerked in Irvine's arms, "Irvine! Did... Did Ifrit appear?"
"No. But YOU disappeared." Irvine said sharply.
"Irvine! Irvine, I figured it out!"
Irvine groaned, "Not again!"
"No! NO! I DID this time!" Zell grasped Irvine's shirt with both his hands, "I know how to get Seifer back!"
"We're not doing this again Zell!"
Zell pushed at Irvine's chest as he attempted to stand, but Irvine wouldn't let him go. "Irvine?"
"Do you love him?" Irvine snapped quite suddenly.
"Wh-what?" Zell gaped at Irvine. /Do I love him? Where did that come from? Do... Do I look like... I love him?/
"You sure seem hell bent on getting him back. More so than everyone else. Is it because you love him?!" Irvine's gaze demanded an answer. His arms tightened around Zell's small body.
"I... I don't know." Zell admitted reluctantly, "I mean.. I-I never really thought about it."
Irvine's face darkened. The arms that had been holding Zell so tightly loosened. Zell stumbled to his feet and he stared down at Irvine's bent head, covered by the ever-present cowboy hat. /Why is he acting so odd?/ He wondered. He tried to think of some reason for Irvine's odd behavior, but he could think of nothing.
"I'm going to go get the others... they should be here for my new idea."
Irvine just nodded. After hesitating for a moment Zell ran off to find the others.
He almost regretted leaving.
He'd been so warm in Irvine's arms.
/Where did that thought come from?/ Zell wondered. He stopped running and whirled around to stare at Irvine who was still kneeling on the floor where he'd left him. Head bent and body still. A strange lump formed in his throat. He pressed a hand against his stomach.
/What... is this strange feeling?/
Selphie stopped at the door and turned slowly, her heart beating in overtime. "Y-yes?"
"You didn't kiss me goodnight."
Selphie was sure she'd tripped and hit her head, for surely this must be a dream. With knees that shook she slowly walked to Quistis' side. The blonde got to her feet and smiled at Selphie. "K-kiss you?" Selphie repeated, wanting to be sure she'd heard correctly.
Quistis bent her head and very gently pressed her lips against Selphie's. The kiss was awkward, and quick, but it was sweet in it's innocence. Selphie gasped as Quistis straightened. "Good night Selphie." She whispered.
Selphie nodded, "N-night Quisty..." hastily she turned and hurried away, her heart beating in overtime.
"I think they're ... this way." Elena pointed to the west.
Tseng nodded, ignoring Reno's soft voice calling his name. "There's no evidence of them travelling that way." He commented.
"Yes, but there's no evidence of travel ANYWHERE in this STUPID FOREST!" Elena screamed, stamping her foot angrily.
Tseng and Reno both stared at Elena with surprise in their eyes. She coughed, patted her hair with her hand and smiled sweetly. "Which way do you suggest we go?" She asked calmly.
Tseng looked down at Reno with an upraised eyebrow. "Yes Vegas?"
"They're right behind us you idiot!" Reno snapped, upset that he'd been ignored for so long.
Tseng and Elena whirled around, their eyes immediately locking on the form of Rufus Shinra and Seifer Almasy. "Who's that with them?" Elena murmured.
"Vincent Valentine." Reno and Tseng looked at each other.
"What's he doing here?" They said in unision.
"How is he?" Rufus asked as Reno, Tseng and Elena approached.
"Alive, kicking and able to speak for himself." Reno responded with a grin, "It was no biggee Shinra. What about him?" He nodded at Seifer.
"Disoriented. Tired." Seifer mumbled, he barely glanced up as he spoke. The only thing keeping him standing was Rufus' arm around his waist.
"Well, let's get back to camp then..."
"Did you find the ones who attacked us?" Tseng asked.
"We didn't find the ones who fired, but we found the one who sent them." Rufus responded carefully.
"Who was it?"
Rufus looked down at Seifer's bent head. He reached up and grabbed Seifer's hand, which was hanging over his shoulder. "Jenova." He said finally, before turning and walking away.
"Squall?" She called hesitantly.
After a moment he stepped into the room, his face dark. Any emotion he might be feeling was hidden behind a careful mask. He didn't look at her as he walked further into the room. Instead he looked around. Studying the walls and gazing at the bed with uncommon interest. "Squall?"
"What was the last thing he said?"
She closed her eyes, trying to remember. When she opened them again she was smiling. "Dammit Rinoa. You're the one who needs help." Tears rose in her eyes. "He... He didn't want to leave me, but I begged him to help you."
His eyes were angry as they finally fixed on her face. "How can I believe you when you say he loves me? You had to beg him to help me?" He paced over to the bed and leaned over her, "How can I believe you?"
"Don't believe me Squall." She lifted her hand and gently pressed it against his chest, "Believe him. What you saw in him. The things he did, the way he acted when you were around. You were the only one he treated with respect... didn't you ever wonder why?"
He was quiet. He met her gaze levelly and leaned down further. Very softly he kissed her. When he finally pulled away she was breathless. It was the first time he had kissed her. Normally she was the one kissing him.
He stood, taking her hand in his and squeezing it. "Sorry." he said softly.
And then he was gone.
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