Warning: This story contains yaoi/shounen-ai material. If you do not know what the terms 'yaoi' or 'shounen-ai' mean, then you probably have no business being here. If you are uncomfortable with boyxboy love, then you probably shouldn't be here. You have been warned. This story takes place after the game's end, so if you haven't finished it, you probably shouldn't read it as it does contain spoilers.
From the Beginning
Chapter Nine - Better Left Unsaid
"Let me get this straight. Your mom died giving birth to you and somehow your father missed the bus on that one because he was too damn busy rescuing Ellone and starting a revolution in Esthar. You were shipped off to the orphanage and then Laguna put Ellone there as well to keep her safe, never realizing that his son was there as well, or that he even had a son. Then years down the line after all that time compression shit, he figures out that the boy who saved the world is really his son by his long dead wife and he wants to try his hand at this father/son bonding shit."
"That's about the size of it."
"Why didn't just tell him to fuck off?"
Squall shrugged, flicking ashes into the ashtray between them without taking his gaze off the peeling beige paint which covered the ceiling of Seifer's apartment. "Whatever. Maybe I wanted to give it a try. I've never had a father before."
"But you could have. You should have." Seifer spat, shoving himself into a sitting position and leaning over to look down into Squall's closeted features. "You could have if he hadn't been so fucking busy doing whatever the fuck he was doing for the first seventeen years of your fucking life. I don't care if he was fighting the good fight or whatever; he should have found the time to figure shit out. There's no excuse for that, Squall. I was in that orphanage because my parents were dead. Your father was alive. He should have found you."
"No one told him that he had a son, Seifer."
"What'd they tell him, Squall? Your Ma died giving birth to you. It wasn't like they could conveniently forget about the child part of that equation." Seifer grumbled, lying back down and turning his head so he could keep Squall's profile in view.
"I don't care, Seifer. It's in the past. It's not that I haven't thought about everything you've said, Seifer, but it doesn't change anything." Squall murmured, taking a long drag off his cigarette before continuing. "I wouldn't be who I am if he'd been around."
"When did you get so fucking logical?" Seifer replied, a reluctant grin turning his features. "What the hell have you been up to while I've been away? You're all smart and shit."
"Yeah, I know all sorts of big words now, Seifer." Squall murmured, an answering smile tugging at the corners of his lips as he dropped his face to the side to meet Seifer's blue-green gaze. "Your eyes are luminous pools of aquamarine ecstasy."
"Stop it. You're going to make me blush." Seifer laughed, taking one last drag from cigarette before crushing it out in the
ashtray."Somehow I doubt that," Squall responded, crushing out his own cigarette and using the Seifer's lighter to light a new one. "I can't imagine you blushing at anything, Seifer."
"True enough. So the club was your father's idea?"
"Yeah. Laguna decided that a good way to bond with his only son was to take him to a club. Though I have a sneaking suspicion that I know who put that wonderful idea in his head."
"She doesn't give up, does she?"
"You think she's been datin' you all this time because of who you are or because of who she thinks she can make you into?"
"I don't know anymore."
"You fucked her?"
"Mind me askin'?"
"No. Did you?"
"Me? Fuck, no. We dated for what? Like a month?"
"She seemed to think you two were pretty serious."
"You oughta know by now that what Rinoa thinks and what's actually true are two completely different things. Some people see the glass as being half-empty, some people see the glass as being half-full; Rinoa sees the glass as being filled to the brim with champagne even when the glass is a mug filled with mud." Seifer sighed, reaching a hand out to brush Squall's bangs out of his eyes. "Let me know when ya get tired of hearing me talk shit about your girlfriend."
"You've haven't said anything that I haven't thought of myself, Seifer." Squall replied, his gaze settling on the black tattoo, which encircled Seifer's arm. "I never figured you for the sort..." His gaze narrowed slightly as he noticed the texture of scars beneath the deep black ink. "You didn't have those before."
"The tattoos? 'Course I didn't have 'em before."
"No, not the tattoos. The scars underneath the damn tattoos, Almasy. I didn't put them there so who the hell did?"
Seifer dropped his hand away from Squall's face, drawing his arm back behind his body. "None of your damn business, Leonhart."
Squall sat up, taking another quick drag from his cigarette in a futile attempt to combat the rising anger. He wasn't angry with Seifer, but he was furious at whoever had scarred Seifer's arms so badly that the blond boy had had to get tattoos in order to cover those scars. "What the hell happened to you, Seifer?"
"Not a damn thing that I didn't deserve." Seifer spat, drawing himself into a sitting position as well and meeting Squall's gaze evenly.
Okay, now he was angry with Seifer. "Don't start with that angsty bullshit again, Seifer. I doesn't suit you."
"How the fuck would you know what suits me, Leonhart? You haven't seen me for over a year. You don't have a fucking clue what suits me."
Squall crushed his cigarette out in the ashtray and stood, still glaring at Seifer. "And whose fault is that? You disappeared! Did you think I wouldn't care?!"
"Yeah, that's about the size of it, Leonhart. I didn't think you'd give a damn either way!" Seifer spat, shoving to his feet and glaring down at Squall, using his imposing height to its fullest advantage.
"Fuck you, Almasy." Squall growled casting a final measuring glare at the taller man before turning his back to him and crossing the room, taking off his borrowed t-shirt as he walked and tossing it down on the couch.
"What the hell are you doing?"
Squall snatched his own t-shirt from where it was folded neatly on the kitchen counter and pulled it roughly over his head. "I'm getting dressed and getting the fuck out of here. What the fuck did you think I was doing, Almasy?"
"You're running away? That's got to be a first for you."
"You should recognize the move though, it's what you've been doing for the past year." Squall spat, snatching his cigarettes from the floor where they'd been lying moments earlier and striding quickly across the apartment, thrusting the door open and coming face-to-face with his girlfriend.
"Squall. Hi." Rinoa stuttered, her eyes wide at her boyfriend's sudden appearance. "I was just..."
"I don't care," Squall responded, stepping around her and making his way down the stairs without another word.
"Well!" Rinoa commented loudly, setting her hands against her hips and starring after her boyfriend with a mixture of annoyance and confusion written boldly across her pretty features.
"Bang up job, Rinoa. He's even more dysfunctional now then he was back then," Seifer commented, leaning against the door's frame and starring at the stairs down which Squall had disappeared.
Rinoa turned back to face the blond man with a perfect mix of shock and horror, "S-Seifer..."
"Don't act so damn shocked. Who the hell's house did you think this was?!"
"I... I didn't know. I followed them to the building, but I didn't want them to see me and so I..."
"You spent the last couple hours banging on my neighbors' doors looking for him, didn't you?" Seifer accused, his gaze
narrowing."Well, yes, but..."
"I knew there was more than one reason I didn't like you. Couldn't just leave him alone, could you?"
"No," Rinoa replied, lifting her chin defiantly and meeting Seifer's scathing gaze with some effort. "He's my boyfriend."
"And that's my railing and this is my door and I'm going to slam it in your face just as soon as I get my keys so I can lock the damn thing behind me and chase after him." Seifer replied, turning on his heel and striding back into his apartment to snatch his keys from the kitchen counter.
Surprisingly, Rinoa was still standing in the doorway when he returned and stepped past her, slamming the door shut and locking it. He shoved the keys in his pocket and started down the stairs. He gotten about halfway down the stairway before he realized that Rinoa was following so closely behind him that she was practically stepping on his heels. He paused, turning to face the small dark-haired girl, gazing down at her with narrowed eyes, "What?"
"What, what?" Rinoa responded, looking genuinely confused, not exactly a new thing for her.
"Whatever," Seifer grumbled, turning back around and pounding down the remaining stairs. He walked quickly down the narrow street, Rinoa's quick steps echoing his own. He gave an exasperated sigh and turned back to face the girl once more. "What?!"
"Don't act like you don't know. What the hell are ya followin' me for?"
Rinoa smiled coyly, toeing the road with her boot, "Oh, you caught me."
"No shit. You aren't exactly the master of fucking subtlety, Rinoa."
Rinoa frowned, dropping the cute act immediately, her expression darkening, "He's my boyfriend, Seifer. I won't just roll over and let you take him from me."
"Are you always this paranoid or is this particular insecurity just for my benefit?" Seifer replied, crossing his arms over his chest and glaring down at her.
"I'm not stupid, Seifer. He wanted to find you and I remember the look in his eyes when he talked about you... Even when he was insulting you, it was still there. I love him, Seifer. I won't lose him to anyone and if, for some reason I do end up losing him to someone someday, you can bet it won't be you." Rinoa responded evenly, crossing her arms over her breasts and managing to look imposing despite the fact that she was a foot shorter than the man before her.
"Squall doesn't..." Seifer stopped, frowning before he began speaking again, "Look, he isn't... aw, fuck it. I am not having this conversation with you of all the damn people in the whole damn world. Follow me if that's what you're gonna do." ... and I'll make damn sure neither of us finds him, Seifer finished silently, turning on his heel and striding away down the street with Rinoa following close behind him.
Squall watched the altercation between his girlfriend and Seifer from the safety of his hiding place beneath Seifer's apartment stairs. He couldn't hear what was being said, but it certainly looked like an interesting sort of conversation. Rinoa seemed to be taking Seifer's return from the 'dead' amazingly well.
Squall remained hidden beneath the stairs until they were both safely out of sight before easing out from beneath the stairs and climbing back up to Seifer's apartment. Seating himself on the landing, Squall leaned back against the door, started to pull a cigarette from the pack in his hand before he remembered that he didn't have a lighter and Seifer's was still lying on the floor of the apartment.
"Damn it," Squall grumbled, banging his head back against the door and grimacing at the small pain it caused.
"Fujin?" Squall replied tiredly, turning towards the gray-haired girl who had paused on her way up the stairs to stare at him.
"Why are you sitting outside the apartment?" She asked after a long moment, mounting the remaining stairs and dropping gracefully down onto the landing beside him, a large brown grocery bag balanced precariously in her arms.
"It's a long story," Squall responded, giving Fujin a tentative smile. It was still strange to hear her speaking in such normal tones. It was even stranger to be speaking to her at all. Even when they'd been at Garden they hadn't spoken all that often, which wasn't all that surprising considering that neither of them had been real interested in idle chit-chat.
"Is he here?" Fujin inquired after a moment of not exactly uncomfortable silence.
"GET UP." Fujin ordered suddenly, standing up herself and balancing her grocery bag on one arm as she pulled a set of keys from the pocket of her jeans. That was another new thing. Fujin in jeans and a t-shirt. She'd even stopped wearing the eye-patch. Instead she wore the scars which covered her lost eye proudly for all the world to see and Squall decided that she looked nicer without the eye-patch obscuring half her pretty features.
"NOW." Fujin insisted, glaring at him with her good eye when Squall didn't move immediately. Squall finally obeyed, standing and stepping out of the way so Fujin could unlock and open the door. She beckoned for him to follow as she entered the apartment, closing and locking the door back once they were both inside. "SIT." She commanded, gesturing to the worn green couch as she moved off towards the kitchen. Obediently, Squall crossed the room and flopped down on the couch, watching the pretty gray-haired girl bustle around the kitchen as if she belonged there. Which she probably did. Squall couldn't really imagine Seifer cooking for himself.
Silence reigned in the apartment as Fujin went about cooking dinner and Squall laid down on the couch. He wasn't sure when he dozed off exactly, but the next thing he was aware of was being awakened by the feel of fingers sliding through his hair. He blinked his eyes open to meet Seifer's blue-green gaze.
"I'm an asshole, I know. Fujin already told me what a bastard I was." Seifer commented, his fingers slipping over Squall's cheekbone to trace the scar, which was the mirror image of his own. "She told me that 'I'm fucking this up royally' and 'I should get down on my fucking knees and beg your forgiveness because there's no one else on the whole damn planet who would put up with my shit the way you do.' She's right about that, you know. I am fucking this up royally. I'm tryin', but I'm no better at this shit then you are. I'm just better at hidin' it. Usually."
"Is that your way of apologizing?" Squall responded quietly, his stormy blue eyes unreadable.
"I guess it is."
"Good enough. How'd you get rid of Rinoa?"
"I killed her."
"Don't get my hopes up."
"Cute. Nah, I just walked around in circles for an hour or so. That's about how long it took before she figured out I didn't have a damn clue as to where the hell you ran off to and once she puzzled that out she went off on her own." Seifer replied, his grin fading after a moment. "When I was living in Balamb with Fujin and Raijin a lot of people used to come around to fight the legendary sorceress' knight. Some just for the hell of it, just to test their skills against such an infamous figure, but a lot of them were people who'd had family at Trabia Garden. They wanted vengeance, ya know? I couldn't bring myself to really fight them. I didn't blame them for wanting to kill me for the things I'd done."
"It was a long time ago, Squall. Doesn't much matter anymore. I didn't want to talk about, I still don't want to talk about it, but I shouldn't have jumped down your throat like that."
Squall nodded, "Whatever. What time is it?"
"Late. I didn't wanna wake ya. Are ya hungry? I know how to work the microwave and Fujin made sure she made you up a plate and put it in the fridge before she left."
"No, I'm not hungry right now."
"Okay. I'll let you go back to sleep then." Seifer murmured, giving Squall's scar a final caress before pushing himself to his feet. Squall caught his hand before he could pull away completely, drawing the tall blond back down to his level once more. "Yeah?"
"Seifer... I... I'm not good with words," Squall confessed softly, meeting Seifer's gaze for a long moment.
"Well, that's not exactly a big revelation, Leonhart."
"What I mean to say is..." Squall bit his lip, starring at Seifer for a long moment as if he were trying to find the right words and failing miserably. In the end, he gave up on trying to find the words and went for a more direct method of communication. Propping himself up with his free arm, Squall leaned forward and pressed his lips tentatively against Seifer's. The contact was brief, lasting only a moment before Squall drew back, settling himself back against the pillows once more. "Good night."
"Good night? You kiss me and then..." Seifer chuckled softly, shaking his head in disbelief. "You're something else, Leonhart."
"What were you expecting me to say? Did you think I was about to confess my undying love for you?"
"You confess your undying love for me? Never." Seifer replied, still chuckling softly as he leaned forward and pressed a kiss to Squall's pale forehead. "Good night, Squall."
"I'll share my couch with you if you want." Squall offered, meeting Seifer's smile with one of his own.
"Fuck your couch, I've got a bed big enough for an orgy. You're more then welcome to sleep in it if you promise not to molest me. Unlike some spoiled Garden Commander's I know, I have to go to work tomorrow."
"You could always just come home with me, you know. I know a certain spoiled Garden Commander who would be happy to give you a
job.""And leave all this?" Seifer grinned, waving a hand around the room. "I wouldn't dream of it. Besides you'd get tired of me within a week and ship me off to Galbadia wrapped in pretty ribbon."
"I'll never get tired of you, Seifer." Squall replied, his smile fading to something akin to a frown. "I don't want... I don't want you to disappear on me again."
Seifer sobered instantly, "I might have to, Squall. I'm still a wanted man, you know. Being someone you care about doesn't change that."
"Shhh... No more tonight, okay? If you still want to talk about it in the morning, we'll talk about it, but right now.... We've both had a long day, Squall, and we're both tired. We'll just end up sayin' some stupid shit that we'll both regret later. So let's just leave it, huh? There's just some things better left unsaid."
Squall remained silent for a long moment, merely starring at Seifer with some alien emotion flitting through his dark eyes. "You're right."
"Damn, I was afraid of that. I'm makin' sense. I must be more tired then I thought. G'night, Squall." Seifer pushed himself to his feet once more and moving off to his bedroom. He heard the rustling of blankets behind him and when he turned Squall was standing as well. The brunette raised an eyebrow at him; "Your bed's more comfortable then that lumpy-ass couch isn't it?"
"You complaining about my couch, Leonhart?"
"Damn right. I've got an imprint in the shape of a spring permanently embedded in my back because of that couch."
"Fine. I suppose you can sleep in my bed, but you'd best keep your hands to yourself."
"As if you're so damn irresistable."
"You're the one who kissed me, Leonhart."
"I..." Squall began, his throat constricting at the thought of the kiss and the round of teasing that followed.
"I know you didn't mean it like that, Squall." Seifer smiled, but it was more sad then anything. "C'mon then. Let's go to bed."
Squall wanted to say something, anything to explain why he'd kissed Seifer, but there was nothing that he could say. He couldn't explain what he felt for Seifer. Couldn't. Not just because he didn't really understand it himself, but also because the world just wasn't that easy. Anything he could say wouldn't change the way things were, the way things had to be. There was more than one reason that he hated words. They always came out wrong, they were always so easily misunderstood, and in the end they didn't change a damn thing.
No matter what he said, Seifer would still be a fugitive and he would still be the commander of Garden. He would still have to leave as soon as the ceremony was over and Seifer had it real clear he had no intention of going with him. He was still dating Rinoa and Seifer, for all his teasing, didn't even think of him like that. He didn't have anything to offer that Seifer would accept except friendship and so all he could do was try and keep his own jumbled feelings tucked away. He forced himself to offer Seifer a small smile, "You'd best remember to at least take off those damn boots."
"Just for that I think I'll wear them to bed after all."
Squall snorted as he closed the bedroom door behind them, "See how much sleep you get if do."
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