Disclaimer: I don't own anything. All characters belong to Squaresoft. All I own is my computer and a Crème Egg. Let's get the warnings out of the way. The pairing of this is Squall/Laguna, which means we have a large helping of a father/son incestuous relationship. Yes, people, that's a father and son getting it on. If that's not you're thing, I suggest you don't read this. To everyone who scrolls down, you've been warned. *Flames* relating to the ethics of such a relationship will be ignored. Nonetheless, enjoy.
Otherwise, The Bar Is Ours
Squall sighed heavily as he finished off the last bite-bug, only vaguely hearing its fizzy buzz fade into nothing. It was so strange, all of this. He wasn't quite sure how it had happened; his arrival in Winhill had been so sudden. There were reasons, sure, but once he'd gotten there, he couldn't recall a single one. Obligation was not something that sat well on his shoulders as a primary motivational factor, even to his father. Father? It seemed odd to call Laguna Loire by that term. For him, anyway. All of his 18 years, he'd grown accustomed to not having a father, and Laguna's entrance into his life to fulfil that role has not come without its problems. They had spent quite a lot of time together, in the hope that each would slowly find it easier to adopt his part, but so far there was too much friction to facilitate the growth of a parent-child relationship.
At the centre of Squall's being was obligation to his occupation, first and foremost. Even Laguna knew that that came first; his duty as a SeeD. He saw little reason why another human being, father or not, should interrupt his completing his daily work, and Laguna, for all that his sense could desert him sometimes, was well aware of his son's industrialism. He had hoped that bringing him out to Winhill on the excuse of a work-related task would aid relations between them and perhaps introduce a level of familial care. Yes, fate had played its ever-persistent part in the proceedings. Squall remembered well taking the call, his father's rasping tone as he glided over the details of his sprained ankle; supposedly caused by the combination of too many battles and not enough rest, or so his doctor had informed him. Laguna, for Hyne's sake, was 45. There was only so much he could do, though such fussing was never uttered in the man's presence. Squall had inherited Laguna's firm ideas of dignity, and it was admitted by most that for a man of his age, the 45-year old was in impressive shape. His military background, as well as his constant insistence on keeping up his job battling the beasties of Winhill as well as pursuing his interest in travel journalism had ensured his fitness was above many of his companions in the small town. A small injury to the ankle as Laguna had suffered had probably wounded his pride more than his ligaments, and it seemed with the greatest of embarrassment that he'd called Squall in to help.
He'd firmly refused any other SeeD's help, relying on the bond between himself and Squall to limit his mortification as much as possible. Accepting help was not his forte, but he'd graciously requested that Squall come and take over the job of protecting the folk of Winhill from the terrorising bite-bugs and such, whilst he could concentrate on writing up his latest reports. It wasn't an official SeeD operation, more of a favour on Squall's part in the name of deeper bonding and a free stay with his newly discovered father. At least, to the younger man's mind, there was one advantage. Laguna seemingly sensed his desire to go about his work unbothered, and had left him to it during the day. It hadn't exactly been the most strenuous working day Squall had ever had in his live, but he was still glad when the evening began to cast its dark shadow over the town and his work was considered more-or-less done. Trudging back towards the house that Laguna had taken after it had become empty of Ellone and Raine, Squall glanced at the surroundings that made up his temporary residence. Winhill was a picturesque little town; offering Squall all the quiet he so relished yet retaining a sort of quaint hustle and bustle during the day. The people living there had evidently forgiven Laguna for all that had passed during the 18 years of his son's life; both realising his lack of knowledge of the situation and praising his skill at protecting them all from the monsters that shared their home. Mr. Loire seemed some kind of local hero, that was certain. As for Squall, well, his reputation seemed to have pre-empted his arrival. The townspeople gazed at him almost in awe, and their attention unnerved him. They were perfectly friendly, but seemed to regard him as some kind of legend, and he was unused to the adulation. Slowly, brushing a few beads of sweat from his forehead, Squall stepped up towards the little house his father inhabited. It was a pretty building; all white- walled and with a small balcony overflowing with multicoloured flora. It stood next to the small pub that Raine had owned, Squall's mother, before she died many years ago. Laguna, Squall had heard, sometimes did shifts there to help out; perhaps as a tribute to the woman he'd loved and lost.
The young man made his way through the light wooden door, wandering nonchalantly into the kitchen that first faced him. It was a mess, as usual. Laguna seemed to regard most things as more important than tidying up; though the house never verged into unclean, nothing was in its proper place and rarely was anything ever cleared instantly. Squall flashed his eyes over the table -strewn with newspapers and trinkets Laguna hadn't yet put back- and tiredly removed his jacket, laying it over the edge of the tan wooden surface. The same old jacket, he smiled a little, running his fingers absentmindedly over the fluffy collar. He'd never quite grown out of his fondness for it, even after giving up the trousers and the belts for more relaxed clothing. Yet the jacket remained, even without logical reason. His attire wasn't the only feature Squall had changed. His emphasis of self-analysis was much improved, as was his social interaction. With this in mind, he headed upstairs in search of his father.
"Honey, I'm home!" He grinned, despite himself. It had been a long day.
Laguna's attention, previously fixed upon the glaring cursor on his screen, was happily distracted by the return of his son. He grinned at the younger man who stood in his doorway, eyes accustomed to the usual habit of absorbing every detail of Squall Leonhart. It was a routine he'd given up trying to break, though he was well aware of its implications. He was only human. Yes, he'd fallen in love with a woman, with Raine, and yes, he still felt an undeniable pang of loss whenever he thought of her. But his times with Ward and Kiros.maybe it was that that had led to his appreciation of his own sex. He'd never touched either of his friends, but their times together had left him with a sort of longing after males. And when he'd first met Squall, something had clicked. Some people said it was because the young man resembled his mother so strongly, but Laguna wasn't sure it was that. All he knew was that son or not, Squall was everything he'd dreamed of for all those years. It didn't even seem to matter that the man was a full 18 years younger than himself, or even that he was his own son; all that mattered was the attraction that festered within Laguna's heart whenever he watched Squall. Of course he knew better than to show it. It had to be repressed, that he understood. What he wanted to happen was neither ethical nor proper, much less 'right', but somehow it didn't seem wrong. Laguna felt sure even Raine would understand that without the time that would have facilitated the growth of an appropriate relationship between the two, Laguna's feelings would most likely end up confused. He only hoped that Squall would never discover them.
"Heh, how'd it go? I presume the little creatures didn't cause The Great Squall Leonhart any trouble?"
A small grin. "Piece of cake. I don't see how you couldn't do it, lame or not."
"Argh, Squall, don't make me feel like an old man!"
"Sorry, granddad." The grin became wider, and Laguna couldn't help but wonder at the way Squall's icy eyes lit up as his humour grew.
With a smart tap on the keyboard of his laptop, Laguna shut down the document he'd been attempting to work on and regarded his son with an authoritarian glare. He retorted with a smile: "I was going to take you out somewhere to relax after your hard day, but I'm not now."
"Let me guess. You're working at the pub so you were gonna improve your business by taking me with you and pouring drink down my throat?"
"I was actually," Laguna began faux-haughtily, "going to buy you one or two, but I guess you're not interested."
He watched, amused, as Squall tiredly rubbed his neck and considered the offer. His jade eyes followed the younger man's gentle fingers as they tenderly massaged the skin; prodding into sensitive areas until he was satisfied they'd adequately relieved his discomfort. "Well, what man could refuse such a sacrifice?" He smirked and nodded slowly. "Yep, I'm game."
"Good boy." Laguna replied, replicating Squall's grin exactly. "We'll be leaving-" he rummaged around on the work-desk until he found his watch under a pile of papers and checked it, "-shit, now!"
Squall couldn't help but laugh as he watched his scatter-brained father rushing around, gathering together what he needed for his shift before hastily pulling off his white vest and replacing it with a smarter, short- sleeved black shirt. After doing a quick surveying of the kitchen table for left valuables, the pair darted out the door and into the neighbouring pub, just in the nick of time.
After a few hours, the queues in the pub had quietened significantly and the place was filled only with the small buzz of a few remaining customers. Laguna, who'd felt somewhat guilty for abandoning his son most of the night in order to serve drinks, had slipped Squall more than a couple of freebies, and the younger man was looking all the more animated for it. As the night wore on and the pub became more and more deserted, the pair became immersed in quiet chatter between themselves.
"Tell me." Laguna studied his son carefully. "What did you think when I first asked you to come here?"
Squall toyed with the glass in front of him, propped his head upon one hand and returned his eyes to Laguna's face. "I wondered what the hidden agenda was."
"Ever the cynic."
"I don't get that from you, Mr. Sunshine, do I? Anyway, it's not cynicism, it's realism."
His father raised on eyebrow in encouragement.
"Everyone wants something from me. At Garden, I mean. It's an occupational hazard."
Laguna bit his lip. "I didn't mean it like that when I asked for you. Yeah, I wanted you to do a job for me, but that's not all. I wanted to spend time with you, get to know you better. I wanted you to get to know me better. You're not just some soldier to me, you know that?"
"It's just sometimes I feel like I am the job. You ever felt that?" Squall's eyes had grown a little weary, reflecting the weight on his shoulders, Laguna presumed.
"Yeah, I have." Laguna murmured softly. "You need a break from it."
Squall's gaze snapped up at him. "I-" A pause. "Everyone tells me what I need. Everyone."
"No, don't. I accept it from you. I guess you'd know. It's half the reason I agreed to come here."
"What do you mean?" Laguna queried, quietly tidying away a few glasses under the bar.
"I got so sick of it back there. Everyone telling me what was best." The drink had loosened his tongue; these were revelations indeed. "I wanted someone to care. They don't care about Squall, the person, the human, the man, the boy, they just want to look after Squall: the hired mercenary. As long as I'm physically in tip-top shape, my feelings are of no importance. I could be made of stone but as long as I could swipe with a gunblade, they'd be happy."
"I'd no idea it was that bad, Squall." Laguna's face darkened with concern as he saw, for the first time, the shadowy circles under his son's eyes.
"It's not a horrible life. I just sometimes have to get out of there. I wanted someone to care about me as a human being. Forget that I'm just a soldier, forget that all I'm there for is to kill and wash up the blood afterwards. I just wanted someone to care about me, y'know? And I figured that you're family, so maybe-" His voice tailed off uncertainly. "I know you all think that I abandoned hope long ago, but I'll gladly return to it when everything else becomes too much for me."
"Squall, I-" He'd stopped putting away glasses, stopped even moving. How to even begin to tell Squall how much he cared; he didn't know where sufficient words were inside him.
"I know you might have just hired me to kill creatures for you, maybe get the odd soldier or whatever. Maybe that's all you wanted. I just hoped."
Laguna slowly sat down, softly touching one of Squall's hands with his own and bringing both hands entwined closer to him body. "Squall, I did hire you for your skill. I needed someone who I knew could do the job."
Soft eyes fell. Squall's gaze became distant, almost with hurt. He flinched slightly as he heard the words. "But you're my son. I wanted you here. You, my boy. Not the soldier, not the job. You."
Slowly, calm blue eyes turned to face him again and the faintest hints of reassurance spread across his face. "Thanks." He whispered.
Laguna smiled in return. "It's okay. I just, I can't believe you haven't found anyone to care about you there."
"You mean a lover?" Squall raised an eyebrow and smirked as Laguna blushed.
"No, of course not! I wouldn't ask such a personal que-"
In response to the continued look that Squall sent him, the older man sighed and muttered: "Alright, a lover."
"Not really. I used to hang out with Irvine and Zell, both in the war and afterwards." Squall downed yet another drink and added, "They got bored of me when I wouldn't put out."
"What?" Laguna spluttered, half-laughing.
"Mm. Being with them, well, it sounds weird but it made men so much more attractive to me. I just wasn't ready for anything more then and they weren't too happy at my resistance." Squall studied his father for a reaction and smiled sadly. "I've shocked you." He stated.
"Not at all. Kiros and Ward had the same effect on me."
"What? But what about Raine?" Squall stared, his lips rounded in shock.
"Oh, Squall. Don't think I didn't love her. Don't think that for a second. It's just that my tastes seemed to expand a fair way in certain directions and I couldn't stop it. I never did anything with either of them, but I know what you mean when you say it makes you aware of the attraction other men hold."
"I wasn't judging you."
"I know. I just don't want you thinking badly of me."
"Why the concern?"
"Too many people have in my lifetime. I don't want another." Laguna spread his fingers around Squall's glass, gradually retracting it from his reach. "I think you've had enough, my boy."
"Yeah-" Squall murmured softly, placing his head upon the cool surface of the bartop.
"Hm. I'm taking you home, c'mon." Laguna left his side of the bar and walked over to his son, glancing over in the direction of one of the staff he shared his shift with. "Can you handle the lock-up?" He queried, and at their confirmation, he smiled in thanks and began to help Squall down from the barstool.
"I'd forgotten that you don't drink much." He said with a smile as Squall leant against him; capable of walking but far steadier with the support.
"I think I should take it up." Squall replied quietly. "It makes things goes away." His tone was sad, and Laguna glanced at him with concern. "You're gonna be okay, sweetheart, I promise. Just let me look after you a while, huh?"
"I'm s'posed to be protecting you, Laguna." Ever the realist.
"Change of plan." Laguna opened the door with one hand, leisurely helping his son inside. "You're mine, now."
Squall smirked a little despite himself. "Am I now?"
Once he'd gotten Squall sitting on one of the lightwood kitchen chairs, Laguna queried his response.
"Oh, nothing. Just sounded a bit kinky, that."
"Honestly. I'd forgotten how horny you 18-year olds get."
"I'm not that bad. Just frustrated."
"Overshare territ-ry, sw'heart." He held the keys in his mouth as he tied his hair back with a nearby bobble.
"Sorry." Squall put his head back against the top of the chair seat and sighed, unaware of Laguna's constant eyes over him.
"You tired?" The older man eventually managed.
"I know you insisted on sleeping on the couch, Squall, but I'm not having it. You're going upstairs, got it?"
The younger man was in no position to argue with his protective father, and merely nodded to the demand. Laguna crept closer to him, gathered his son up into his arms tenderly and carried him up the stairs. Squall blinked at the sudden, strange transportation and wriggled a little to be put down. Once back on his feet, he turned to look into his father's eyes. In the doorway, both were shaded in shadow, and they studied each other for some time. Slowly, almost timidly, Squall reached out and tucked a strand of Laguna's dark hair behind his ear.
"W-what are you doing?" Laguna whispered, skin prickling softly where Squall's fingers had brushed.
"Touching." Was Squall's simple answer.
"I think I should go downstairs, Squall."
"No, Laguna, please?"
"I- I want you."
The sudden admission came as a complete shock to the older man. It was drink-induced and senseless, and he told Squall as much in one hundred different ways. Yet his son was persistent, and such was his fervour, that Laguna agreed to sit with him as he got changed, and then, fell asleep. It wasn't easy in the least for him, watching Squall slide his slick hips out of his black trousers and haul the white t-shirt over his head. Laguna had to keep reminding himself, his own growing arousal, that this was his son. His own flesh and blood. That there are boundaries even for desire to keep to. He wanted more than anything to touch him. His fingers burned to reach out and stroke the beautiful, pale skin and Squall knew. Squall, kneeling on Laguna's bed in the hazy moonlight, gently pulling the trousers from his ankles and revealing every inch of his curves to the older man; lapping up the appreciative glances. Laguna couldn't remember when he lost the battle against his own mind. All he knew was that when Squall reached for the collar of his black shirt and pulled him towards him, there was no strength within him left to fight. Son or not, Squall was impossible to remove from his mind. His sadness wanted healing and his fear wanted fighting. Squall wanted his world rocked. The family ties became forgotten as Laguna reached back for him, taking the final plunge into forgetting their origins and stepping into a whole new world.
The reminders of their bond didn't even attempt to return to him as he took Squall underneath him, spreading him out and taking him in the misty light of the moon. Nothing crossed his mind at all except the quiet gasps of initial pain and surprise, and later, heat, as the younger man fell out of control beneath him. Nothing at all, but the new bond. Maybe it wasn't the way a father and son were supposed to connect, but it felt right to him. The light in Squall's eyes, the love and the excitement, was every confirmation Laguna needed. The uncontrollable cries towards the end were his every justification. Their union was all the bond they needed; the soft touches as he released Squall from himself and tended to his exhausted state. It was the most content Laguna had felt in a long time, as he listened to his son falling asleep in his arms. But what was more important was his new knowledge. The knowing that once the morning began to filter through the window above them, that there wouldn't be even the tiniest twinge of regret in his head. Taking Squall's hands in his own over his son's bare stomach, he closed his eyes and invited sleep to come to him.
Tomorrow was a new day, and tomorrow was a new world.
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