Dedicated to: Kitty's fic
Notes: Short. But I'm just in that kind of mood. Hope you enjoy. Almost done Kitty. ^-^ A big huge hug for everyone who's reading this. You have no idea how... cool it feels to know you've actually created something that people enjoy. I'm being stupid so I'll leave now. Feedback is welcome, and adored. In fact some of it is printed and framed. ~_^
Disclaimer: I don't own FF8, FF7 or any of the characters in this fic... except Mr. Spider. ^-^
Don't Make Him Cry
Chapter Seventeen - Crystal Tears
In that space between dreams and awareness... that's where he saw him. Bathed in a sea of fire, his golden hair shining red from the flames. /I've had this dream before./ He thought, but this time it was different.
This time he knew who the man in his dream was. 'Rufus'. He called in his dream. Rufus met his gaze and smiled. A gentle, loving smile. A smile that twisted his heart. This was the way he'd always wanted to be looked at. All his life he just wanted someone to love him... For as long as he could remember he wanted Squall to love him as much as he loved Squall.
But Squall never would and Rufus did.
/Please... please let me stay here.../
But fate has never been known to be kind. Just when he reached out to touch the blond angel.. the one he knew loved him, the world fell apart.
"Irvine?" Zell whispered, gazing up into Irvine's eyes. He was unaware of everyone else, his entire being was focused only on Irvine.
"He's back Zell...." Irvine said softly, his hands drifting up to gently clasp Zell's arms. "Are you glad?"
"Who...?" Zell blinked hard, trying to sort through his muddled thoughts. He glanced behind him just in time to see Seifer fully materialize on the ground several feet away. "Irvine..."
"Go to him. See if he's all right." Irvine pushed Zell away, ever so gently.
Zell met his gaze. /I saw it... I know I saw it... but now... now there's nothing. Did I just imagine it?/ He blinked. One moment there had been such longing and love in Irvine's eyes and now... now all he could see was a guarded friendship.
"Go on. Go to him." Irvine repeated.
After searching Irvine's gaze, Zell nodded and slowly turned away. He didn't see the way Irvine's jaw hardened as he walked towards Seifer. He didn't see the longing and hurt in those green eyes. He didn't see, so he didn't understand.
Tseng waved Rude and Reno out of the tent. Rude left immediately, but Reno lingered. Tseng approached Rufus cautiously. The boy was sitting on the floor in the center of the tent. He was clutching his hands to his chest. His shoulders were shaking but Tseng couldn't tell if he was crying since his head was bent.
"Why?" Rufus whispered, his voice barely audible.
Tseng knelt beside Rufus, gently placing a hand on the boy's arm. "Are you all right?"
"Why did I have to fall in love Tseng?" Rufus looked up then. His eyes were red and it looked as if it was taking every bit of his strength not to cry.
Tseng and Rufus turned to look at Reno, who, despite his breezy words was looking quite serious. "Yeah." Rufus bent his head again, "Shit happens."
Reno walked across the room and knelt on Rufus' other side. He wrapped his arm around the boy's shaking shoulders and just held him.
The first thing Seifer saw when he opened his eyes, was Rinoa's smiling face. She had one hand on his back, the other on his cheek. "Seifer!" She cried when his eyes opened, "You're okay!"
He groaned and shut his eyes quickly. /Oh god... I'm here again.../
Rinoa was hugging him, pulling him into a sitting position. All he could feel was pain and disappointment. /He loved me.... finally... finally someone loves me... and what happens? I get taken away./
He opened his eyes again. This time he could see that he was surrounded by familiar faces. Quistis. Zell. Squall. Selphie. They were all there. He looked at them all, and he didn't feel the least bit glad to see them. /I don't want to be here... Rufus../
"Don't touch me." He said harshly, pushing Rinoa away.
Her gaze widened, but she dropped her hands and sat back. His legs felt weak, but he managed to get to his feet without stumbling or making a fool of himself. He didn't stop to wonder what they were doing there, he didn't stop to wonder why, he just pushed his way past them and started walking.
He ignored the voice crying out his name and just kept walking.
/Why... Why did I have to leave?/
Irvine watched Seifer storm off. He glanced at Zell, but the blond hadn't moved. /You really do love him... don't you Zell?/ Irvine reached into his pocket for a cigarette. /I think I'll go drown myself... yeah. That sounds good./
He turned and walked away, never once looking back.
/Irvine... why did he look at me like that?/
"Someone has to go after him." Selphie said softly, her eyes on Seifer's retreating back.
/No one has ever looked at me like that before./
"I will." Squall said quietly. He bent and picked up Seifer's gunblade, then he pushed his way past his friends and started to calmly walk after Seifer.
/Was he just worried? Or excited because Seifer was coming back?/
"Does he know?" Quistis asked Rinoa quietly.
/No.... NO! That was love... I know that was love!/ Zell got to his feet. "Dammit Irvine... why didn't you tell me?"
Rinoa and Quistis looked at him as if he was nuts. Selphie just smiled secretively. Zell whirled and ran off towards the Garden, where he knew Irvine would be.
"What was that all about?" Quistis wondered aloud.
"Hormones." Selphie giggled.
"Is he all right?"
Tseng nodded and reached out to brush a lock of hair away from Rufus' face, "He's asleep."
"Hm. Help me get him on the cot."
Together they lay Rufus on the cot. Reno knelt beside the cot, his hand on Rufus' slowly rising and falling chest. "Where do you think Almasy is?" He asked quietly.
"Gone I imagine. Judging from Rufus' response." Tseng touched Reno's shoulder, "C'mon, let's leave him alone."
Reno nodded, getting to his feet. He didn't move however, he just looked down at Rufus' still face, "I always liked the kid."
Tseng nodded and took Reno's hand in his own, "I know."
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