AN: This is yet another songfic in "The Only" Arc, based on the song "Perfect" by A Simple Plan. This is the second story in the arc, but it's first in the timeline. (I wrote it after "The Only" It has some spoilers, and some YAOI. If you don't like YAOI, don't complain to me...or do, more food for my muses. This part contains YAOI, Rinoa, and Laguna, as well as Little Chickie and Squall. It's my first for this pair, so...forgive me if I get things wrong. It's also got an original character, which chances are I'll develop in another story (of course part of this arc.) As for most of my songfic's, the lyrics are in italics...so don't get too confused, eh?
Hey dad look at me
Think back and talk to me
It was raining when he arrived in Esthar. Looking up into the dark sky, the brunette welcomed the old drops on his pale face, wishing they could wash away the tears and the feelings that had washed over him over the last three months.
He'd even fought with Rinoa. Was that why she'd been so eager to leave for Deiling after the phone call? At least Tristan would be meeting his grandfather.
"Squall, are you even listening?" The greying man opposite him asked. Squall shook the thoughts from his head, returning his gaze to the green-eyed president.
"Sorry, Mr Pre-" He caught himself when the older man lowered his gaze. "Laguna. Sorry. I'm listening."
"Good." He smiled, absently rubbing his left leg. "I guess...now's the best time to tell you this, since you're here and I'm here and well...we're both here." He laughed, despite himself.
"Squall, this might be a little hard for you to understand, I mean, I can understand if you don't because it's so unbelievable for me as well..." Breathe, Laguna, breathe. Squall watched the babbling man as he composed himself.
"Squall, I guess what I'm trying to say is...I'm your Father." He waited a moment for the words to process in his son's mind before he continued. "You were born in Winhill while I was looking for Ellone."
"Oh." The brunette looked down at his feet, a confused look crossing over his face.
"I should have told you sooner...I...I can understand if you hate me." Laguna sat down, rubbing the back of his leg furiously, trying not to let the tears of pain appear in his eyes.
To the president's surprise, Squall wasn't yelling. Nor was he even remotely looking angry. He just stood there, deep in thoughts, his hand on one hip and slouching to one side.
"There's someone I want you to meet, Laguna. Next time I'm here."
He turned and left, closing the door behind him, leaving Laguna staring at the dark door silently.
What the hell had just happened?
Did I grow up according to plan?
"Thanks for understanding Ma. Hyne, you've no idea how long I've wanted to tell you."
The woman grinned at her son before hugging him tightly. Zell felt like he'd cry right there and then. The short blonde glanced up at the clock and pulled away from his mother, pulling his jacket on quickly.
"He's due back any minute. Gotta go, Ma. Love you!" He shouted as he ran through the door toward the train station, his heart a lot lighter.
When the commander stepped off the train, the blonde's heart sank. The dark circles under his eyes hadn't gone...of anything they'd become darker. The holiday was meant for rest, not more stress.
"Squall, yo, over here!" He called, waving a gloved hand at the leather-clad youth. Looking up, the brunette smiled lightly, walking over to the shorter man with his bag slung over one shoulder.
"Did you enjoy your holiday?"
"What did you do, man?"
Zell sighed; he didn't have the time or the patience to deal with Squall like this right now.
"The car's this way." The blonde mumbled, his earlier elation evaporating completely. He hated to see the scarred youth like this. Squall nodded, following the martial artist to the car; jumping in the passenger seat without so much as looking at his friend.
They drove in silence back to Garden.
"Thanks for the ride." The stoic youth said, smiling lightly as he slid from the car. The drive from Balamb had been boring and uneventful, despite the amount of times Zell wanted to pull over and beat answers from the quiet man.
The blonde sighed again, walking towards his room and his beloved punching bag.
"Squall, you're back."
Squall winced as he placed his bag next to the door. As he raised his eyes, Rinoa's cheerful smile invaded his gaze.
"So are you." He said, with forced cheerfulness. He walked to her, holding his arms out and hugged her, kissing her forehead before moving her out of the way. Squall opened the fridge, pulling out a vodka cruiser.
"So..." The Asian woman began, rolling her tongue around her teeth nervously. "How was your holiday?"
Taking a mouthful of drink, he looked down. For the most part it was pretty good. Drinking, clubs, a new father...well, newly found at least.
And there was one night...three days before he came back. He didn't remember much about it, really; ecstasy and six bourbons easily mess with your memory. But he could remember one thing as clear as he could see Rinoa standing in front of him.
He never got a last name, it was probably for the best too; he had a wife and son to think about. But that didn't stop him from having the most mind-blowing orgasm of his life.
He blinked, looking up, remembering that someone else was in the room.
"It was fine."
"Mine was fantastic. Dad absolutely loves Trist. They're so cute together Squall. You should have seen how much fun they had. And before you ask, I've put him to sleep in his room." She smiled at him, before heading into their room, her heart shaped ass in perfect view as she searched through the drawer for a jumper.
"I'm going into town with Selphie and Irvine. Could you watch over Tristan while I'm gone?" She asked as she continued to search, finally standing up when she found the baby-blue sweater she was looking for.
"Fine." Squall replied, finishing the bottle off in one more mouthful. She giggled, sickly sweet, as she kissed him chastely on the lips. Bouncing quickly out the door, Rinoa left, leaving Squall alone with his thoughts.
A knock at the door shook the blonde from his shallow sleep, the muted TV playing another Kylie Minogue film clip as he roused.
"Come in?" He called sleepily, the door sliding open with a satisfying swish, revealing the familiar form of Garden's resident cowboy; his famed cheeky smirk plastered on his face as he walked in the room.
"Heya, Chickie Babe. You said you wanted to see me after you got back." He lifted his hat from his head as he gazed at the blue-eyed blonde.
"Shit, I'm sorry Irvine...I forgot all about it." Came the quick reply as Zell bounced up from his chair. They were meant to train together two hours ago...
"Forget about it. I can guess the reason for you ditching me."
Zell raised an eyebrow, peeling off his gloves.
"Yeah...Twenty one, brown hair...am I close?" He grinned, knowing full well about the pretty blondes infatuation with their commander.
"When he got off the train, he was..."
"No!" Zell snapped, instantly jumping to the defence of his crush, although he knew Irvine was right. He was being an asshole.
"He was...I dunno...depressed."
"He wouldn't say. He didn't speak at all until we got back here, and that was to say thanks."
Irvine looked down for a moment, deep in thought, before returning his gaze to his anxious companion.
"Talk to him."
Zell looked up, fear and confusion plastered on his features.
"Talk to him? About what?"
"About what's crawled up his ass and died, duh." Irvine smirked
"Zell...get your own answers." He smiled lightly, putting the sandwiches on the table before walking back to the door. "Enjoy your lunch."
Squall lowered his head to his folded arms, resting on the wall of the crib looking down at his sleeping three year old. He and Rinoa had agreed that meeting his only grandfather for his birthday would be special; but he'd had a call to Esthar. Thinking back on it, was it really a good idea to go?
And do you think I'm wasting my time
Doing things I wanna do?
"Do you hate me, Trist?" He smiled, looking over the child's peaceful face. "Of course you don't...you don't know about me yet, do you. Do you want to know? Truly? It's probably better if you hear it from me.
"I found some interesting things out in Esthar, you know. In what order do you want to hear them?"
The sleeping boy shifted slightly, but made no effort to wake.
"Well...the president of Esthar asked me to his country, which is always a great honour; if you ever get a chance like that, don't pass it up. We had lunch the first day I was there...he's a really nice person. I didn't get to spend a lot of time with him, though; he is a president, after all.
"But...I'm straying. It seems that he's my father." Squall grinned, going red at the thought. "Yeah, kiddo, you've got another grandfather. I'm going to take you the next time I'm there. I'm sure he's going to love you.
"We all love you. Just like they all love me. Or rather did love me. They won't after they know about me: the real me. My holiday in Esthar was great don't get me wrong; I met up with a couple of people I hadn't seen since the war and we went clubbing...
"And you're probably thinking: 'Dad? Clubbing?' And I would have said the same thing. But it was fun. But it was also the worst holiday of my life. I cheated on your mom."
Squall waited for a response, cold sweat beginning to pour from his forehead.
"But not with a woman." He winced, looking away from Tristan for a moment before he continued.
"Yes, me, Squall Leonhart, the worlds most desirable man, nothing but a dirty fag. I probably could have passed it off as a one off thing, you know...having my dick sucked by a complete stranger doesn't make me gay...but sucking back? Hyne..."
He closed his eyes, remembering the night in full detail.
But it hurts when you disapprove all along
From the door, Rinoa stood silently, a tear running down her cheek as she listened, and watched as her husband told her son.
Zone was right.
She had hoped she didn't have to sign the papers; that all this was nothing but a slump that all married couples went through...but now, she knew it was necessary.
Leaving the papers, she ran from the room, back to the one place she could get comfort.
"Squall? You awake man?" Zell called from the door. After a moment, the blonde punched in the override code that he'd seen Squall put in a million times before. The door slid open, and revealed a pitch-black room. He'd been home for a day, and he hadn't opened the curtains?
"Zell?" Came the sleepy reply from the nursery. Smiling, the tattooed youth walked through the dorm to Tristan's bedroom, which was as dark as the rest of the rooms.
"Morning sleepy head."
"...What time is it?" Squall asked, rubbing his eyes, squinting in the dark, barely making out the short frame of his martial artist friend.
"It's half past three, Squall."
"In the mo-"
"In the afternoon." Zell finished, moving to open the curtains. Squall stood, taking the blondes arm forcefully.
"Don't open them. Please." He asked. The tattooed youth stopped, his brows knitting together. He'd never heard Squall sound so...desperate?
"Squall...I know something's up. It'll help if you get it off your chest."
The brunette's eyes grew wide, like he was a deer caught in headlights.
"I...I don't know what you're talking about." He mumbled quietly, not wanting to wake his son.
"Come on, Squall. I'm blonde, not stupid! I can tell something's going on."
And now I try hard to make it
I just want to make you proud
"I can't tell you."
Clenching his fists, Zell hissed, raking open the curtains to let in the bright afternoon sun. Both of them blinked as the room became impossibly bright.
"Why the fuck not, Squall?" He shouted, instantly regretting it when he saw the tear reddened eyes of his crush. His heart fell when the tears started again in the brunettes beautiful blue-grey eyes.
"Because I don't want you to hate me. I don't want you to leave me..." The water dripped down the scarred man's face like someone had turned on a tap.
Zell frowned, looking down at the floor, absently tracing his eyes down Squall's leather encased body.
"I'll only leave if you really want me to." He said quietly, not even sure if he'd said it.
Zell cocked his head to one side. Had he heard right?
I'm never gonna be good enough for you
"Go. I want you to go to Galbadia. Follow Rinoa. Find out why she gave me these." Squall pulled out the papers from the table, throwing them towards the blonde, who caught them deftly.
Reading over them, Zell looked up from time to time. When was the last time he'd seen Squall this nervous?
Squall tapped his feet impatiently, a million and one thoughts flying through his brain.
'Hurry up, Zell, please...' he thought to himself, unsure of how much longer he could stay in the attractive little blondes presence without telling him everything. Hyne, now he wanted his best friend? He winced, the sudden urge to run overwhelming.
"Uhh...sure Squall. I'll go." The martial artist smiled anxiously. "You want me to take these as well?" He asked, holding up the divorce papers.
"Whatever. I'm taking Tristan to Esthar."
I can't pretend that
I'm all right
One Hundred and Sixty Eight hours.
And more heartbeats than he wanted to count.
Squall stared at the water as the train sped towards the forgotten continent, the waves crashing against the bridge pillars below. He slumped against the window, pressing his scarred forehead against the glass as he groaned.
It was dirty.
He remembered the feel of the lips on his, the masculine sensation of them, soft, but firm at the same time; kneading against his own as they coaxed him further into the willing and waiting mouth.
It was disgusting.
The pleasure mounted so quickly as the expert hands split open his buttoned shirt. The playful tongue of his companion's making short work of the rose coloured nipples as the small hands deftly removed his leather pants, freeing the painful erection.
It was cheating.
He moaned at the loss of pressure on his chest, leaving him with an overwhelming feeling of cold emptiness. Squall opened the eyes he hadn't realised he'd closed, looking down at the sandy-blonde hair hovering just above his manhood.
But it felt so good.
And you can't change me
"Daddy?" The small cry asked, startling the SeeD from his memories, cursing himself at the burning feeling in his stomach.
"What is it, Tristan?" He asked huskily at the small brunette boy standing at the door of the SeeD car, chocolate ice cream covering his face. The child quickly beamed, crossing the room with a speed that few SeeD could hope to get, to sit on the chair next to his father.
"Where we goin'?" the child asked, looking out the window with Squall. The brunette smiled at his son, pulling the small boy close to him in a protective hug.
"We're gonna go see your Grandpa 'Guna." The leather-clad SeeD replied, ruffling the dark hair in front of him. The look he received from the three year old was priceless.
"Yeah. He's my Dad." He smiled down at the child, brushing his hand down the side of the boy's face. "Don't worry, you'll like him."
Tristan looked up at Squall, grinning like Zell with hotdogs before slipping his head into Squall's armpit. It didn't take long for the rhythmic clatter of the train, and Squall's steady breathing to send the small boy into sleep.
'Cause we lost it all
Nothing lasts forever
"Rinoa, shh...it's okay now." Zone stroked the crying woman's hair softly, trying to calm her. His aqua shirt had been soaked in warm tears for the better part of an hour as his princess tried to tell her story between choked sobs.
When she'd been in Timber last time, she'd told him about the problems she and Squall had been having. He'd done his best not to smirk in front of her. He'd known it wouldn't last.
Squall just seemed...not right.
He was a nice enough guy, provided you could get him to talk. But the thing was...you couldn't. The Princess had tried to get him to open up, and even succeeded for a time to make him put more than three words together. They'd even had a son together.
Which brought up another point...what would happen to Tristan? If Rinoa's crying were any indication of how bad things must be at the moment, then that poor boy would be caught up in the middle of something no corner of the world would leave untouched.
"Rinoa, look at me." Zone asked, lifting the tear-swollen face below him into view, her lower lip still quivering under the emotion.
"Why, Zone? Why'd he do it?" She managed, using all her effort not to look away from the man comforting her.
"It's okay, Princess." He smiled at her, moving the stray strands of hair from her face and pinning it behind her ear.
I can't be perfect
"I know I'm not Squall...but I'll always be here for you. You know that, right?"
Unfortunately for Zone, the last comment just started her up again; Rinoa's crying becoming louder than it was before, just at the mere mention of his name.
Sighing, he held her for a moment, trying to think. He hated seeing her like this, especially because of him. Pulling her head away from his chest once more, he took a deep breath, kissing Rinoa.
After what seemed a lifetime, both pulled back, staring at each other in silence.
Now it's just too late and
we can't go back
"Zone?" She asked, the tears long gone.
"I know...I shouldn't ha-" Zone closed his eyes as petal-soft lips collapsed on his own again, seeking something deeper and more urgent.
Who was he to deny the love of his life the one thing she wanted?
Zell watched the two of them kissing before they fell down onto the couch out of view. With the little that he had seen, the blonde knew where it was going to lead without stretching his imagination to far.
Looking down at his watch, he sighed. It looked like he was in for the red-eye to Esthar.
"Oh Hyne, Squall...he's adorable." Laguna cooed as he knelt, looking at the dark-haired rug rat clamping tightly to his fathers leg. Squall smiled, though his eyes were constantly darting around the room, as if looking for someone about to attack.
"Tristan..." The brunette said at last, receiving a look from the hazel-eyed boy at his thigh, "This is your Grandfather: Grandpa 'Guna. I told you about him on the train, remember?"
"Pa'Guna?" he asked tentatively, causing the greying man to grin broadly. Stepping around Squall, Tristan examined the older man; looking down at his feet before running into the now open arms of the President.
"Where are you going?" Laguna asked the retreating form of Squall, ruffling the child's hair as he stood.
"I'm going for a walk. Tristan can stay with you." Squall smirked to himself as he walked into the hallway, the door closing behind him with a satisfying swish.
Squall turned, lust and disgust lurching into his chest as his eyes trailed down the body of the newcomer.
"Ryan..." he breathed, sweat building on his palms as he remembered the details of the night they'd spent together.
The tall red-head moved closer to the brunette, brushing his hand against the smooth, porcelain skin before he kissed it lovingly.
I can't be perfect
Zell had been in Esthar a fortnight, and in all honesty, he thought he'd have seen Squall at least accept the truth. But then, he hadn't really been back to his room since he'd told him...though, Laguna assured him that he was doing that long before Zell arrived.
Zell sighed, standing outside his commander's room in the presidential palace. It was 6pm; still early enough that Squall hadn't left the city without a trace.
Or at least, that's what the blonde hoped.
Knocking on the door softly, Zell waited patiently for the response. No one had seen him leave, so he had to be in there. Of course, Tristan would still be with his grandfather: they seemed to be getting along like a house on fire.
He pressed the override, the door sliding open to reveal darkness; the only light coming from the window that looked out onto the city.
In the dim lit room, Zell peered around, looking for any vaguely Squall-like shape. Sighing when he saw nothing, the blonde dropped his sky-blue eyes to the ground, fiddling with the metal on his knuckles as he listened.
"Squall? Are you in here?" He called as a last resort, hoping for an answer. The constant humming from the city became his only answer as he headed for the door. Taking one look back, Zell kicked the doorframe, sliding from the room sadly.
I try not to think
about the pain I feel inside
Once sure the door was closed, the dark-haired SeeD walked back towards the balcony door, walking through the glass-lined opening with his empty whisky bottle. Moving to the kitchenette, Squall opened the freezer, removing a glass and two bottles of amber liquid.
He hadn't expected to see Ryan again, and especially not with red hair.
Squall swallowed dryly, half filling the glass with liquid from one bottle before taking it, and the other bottle back out onto the balcony.
Closing his eyes, he could still see the alleyway; secluded and quiet, away from prying eyes as he was pushed against the wall. He didn't dare cry out, as he was hushed from below him, his leather pants unzipped and dropped to below his already growing erection.
The red-head looked up, grinning lecherously; his warm breath brushing over the head of Squall's cock making the brunette shift and squeal in the back of his throat. Remembering in graphic detail the feeling in his stomach right before the throbbing heat as the velvet mouth closed over his penis.
He hissed, blindly groping the brick behind him in an effort to keep himself stable as the relentless sucking ensued.
It was over too soon, but as his grey eyes opened to look at his companion, the wash of guilt travelled over him.
"You're still sweet, my love." Ryan cooed as he stood, claiming Squall's mouth.
Squall's grey orbs snapped open, looking over the tops of the glowing buildings that lined the Estharian horizon, tears forming in the corners of his eyes as he downed the sharp drink from his glass.
Dropping to his knees, Squall huddled quickly into one of the railing posts, twisting himself to look down at the walkways below through the clear glass panels as he opened the bottle, hoping to forget.
Did you know you used to be my hero?
"Squall, where are you?" Zell asked himself, dropping onto his bed. "This isn't like you..."
Turning, the blonde looked up at his ceiling tiles, before closing his baby blues.
"You used to be...better than this. What happened to you?" the martial artist sighed, placing his hands on his stomach.
All the days you spent with me
now seem so far away
and it feels like you don't care anymore
"What did you mean back at Garden 'I don't want you to hate me'? Don't you realise I can't?" He asked, almost screaming through the tears that threatened to flow. Thumping his fist onto the soft mattress, Zell sat up, shifting himself so he could lean against the grey wall next to his bed.
"I could never hate you, Squall." He whispered to the darkness as he closed his eyes; sleep overcoming the youth.
"Hey Squall, over here!" The young blonde called, hovering over a small crab as it scuttled towards the waves crashing against the white sand. From the rocks, a shock of light brown hair suddenly lifted, smiling over at the young boy who had called him.
"What is it, Zell?" the boy asked, running barefoot across the sand, the brown locks covering his eyes almost instantly after being forced behind small ears.
"He wants to go home." The smaller boy said with a lisp, pointing to the red creature at their feet. Reaching down to pick it up, Squall examined it with fascination, causing Zell to jump backwards.
"Be careful." He warned the seemingly fearless friend as he watched Squall bound into the rising waves with the crab in hand.
From the window of the orphanage, the Matron looked out over the beach at the two of her children who refused to play inside. She grinned at the bright blonde staring out over the ocean, his infections smile reaching his eyes as he stared intently at the waves.
The scream startled both of them, the thick foam from the waves crashing over the dark figure already in the water. Edea stood from her seat, knowing what the small blonde was going to do for his best friend.
"Zell, no!" the ebony haired woman cried out, un-noticed as Zell ran into the blue water. She remembered the day Zell had fallen from the pier: He couldn't swim, and was severely afraid of water. But he was running into the green waves, towards the small spot of yellow in its wake.
She held her breath, losing sight of both children for a moment, as another wave fell over the small figures wading in the water. It didn't take long for the two small boys to crash back onto the beach, the yellow Charlie brown shirt hiding the blue face of his smaller best friend.
"Zell?" The brunette asked, shaking the blonde as tears began to form on the crystal-blue orbs. Lowering his head heavily to the unconscious blonde's chest, Squall began to weep, the seawater stinging his eyes.
"Please don't leave me..."
Zell coughed, water spilling from his lips as the colour returned to them. Sky blue orbs opened up, focusing on the relieved brunette, showing his fangs as a smile spread across his dainty face.
"Never." The husky voice replied, the eyes showing he meant it.
Since unjunctioning Quetzacotl a year back, dreams of his childhood had been coming back every night. Things that he'd thought lost long ago coming back to haunt him.
But why that particular memory?
Startled from his reverie by glass smashing on his balcony, Zell looked out the window.
And now I try hard to make it
I just want to make you proud
Standing from the bed, he grabbed his jacket, throwing it on before opening the door to his balcony. He didn't even need to open it all the way to catch the overwhelming smell of alcohol coming from the glass.
Squall and alcohol was never a good idea. Zell had learned early on in Squall's relationship with Rinoa that it was always wise to keep an Esuna to the side.
Grabbing his sneakers, Zell pulled them onto his feet as he stumbled quickly towards the door. With what Squall was obviously drinking, the blonde hoped he wasn't too late.
I'm never gonna be good enough for you
Empty. All of them were.
Squall looked around his kitchen, looking at the various bottles strewn around the place. He'd drunk them all, and unfortunately for him, not even his SeeD identification could get around Estharian law prohibiting them from selling him alcohol.
You only had to look at him to know he was way over the legal limit.
Walking back onto the balcony, Squall gripped the railing, his knuckles turning white as he peered over it and down to the sublevels below. It was so far down, the bottom unseen as the lights from the city remained out of reach.
He was wrong; so very, very wrong.
No one could accept him now. The fearless leader nothing but a common whore, a faggot subject to his own perverse desires. He'd already lost his family, and he knew that he couldn't keep a secret like this to himself for long.
I can't stand another fight
and nothing's alright
He'd phoned Garden early on in the night to speak to Quistis, only to have his ear blasted off. It seemed that Rinoa already had his friends against him. The only one she couldn't have her claws in was Zell.
Squall knew that the blonde looked up to him. Model citizen, saviour of the world, ideal father and diplomat, the list went on. Who wouldn't look up to Mr Perfect?
The SeeD laughed, despite himself. He was far form perfect, if only the world knew. And they would.
'Cause we lost it all
nothing lasts forever
Rinoa was never one to do something by half. And then Ryan...he'd already shown in more than one way that he couldn't keep his mouth shut. He knew his world would be crumbling down around him soon, but this time, he didn't have the emotional walls he'd built to support him as his life fell to pieces.
The wind picked up around him, seeping into his skin through the cotton Tee, causing goose pimples to form on his pale skin. Pulling the loose bangs that floated in front of his eyes and tucking them behind his ear, he glanced back to his dark room and sighed.
His father had been so kind to him, even though he'd not spent that much time with the greying president. Tristan loved the foolish old man, taking a shine to him like a fish does to water. This would affect the two of them the most. It's hard enough that the small boy was in the public eye; he couldn't imagine what the press would do to him once they found out about his secret.
I can't be perfect Lost in the void below him, Squall jumped when something in his pocket vibrated. His cell phone happily chimed away as the brunette removed it from his pocket, looking at the caller display.
"Fuck!" Squall screamed, slamming his knuckles into the railing hard enough to make them bleed, tears springing to his eyes. He couldn't do this again.
Throwing the still ringing phone over the ledge, Squall's grey eyes watched with interest as the black below him swallowed the small, green object. If only it were that simple for him.
Squall's face almost instantly lightened, his eyes turning into a dark blue: focused with the plan forming in his mind while still watching the sub-levels below.
"Don't you dare." The unusually cold warning came from behind him.
Now it's just too late
and we can't go back
"Go away, Zell." The equally cold order came, the brunette still watching the darkness before him.
"I'm sorry, Commander, but I can't do that right now."
Squall sighed as the glass doors opened further, letting the shorter man through out onto the balcony, much to his chagrin.
"Disobeying a direct order, Zell?" the dark-haired youth asked, swallowing down the emotion before it could appear in his voice. "Seifer I'd expect it from, but you?" Squall growled in the voice he used to keep the underclassman in line.
He almost smirked when he heard the scrunch of Zell's leather gloves, the martial artist's hands obviously pulled into a fist as he tried to control his emotions. Maybe if he pissed the blonde off enough, he'd get the hint and leave.
"Just fucking tell me what's wrong, Squall." Zell huffed, grabbing onto Squall's bare arm and turning the brunette to face him.
Squall's hardened face instantly dropped when he saw the soft water drop from the corner of his companion's sky-blue eyes and down the pale cheek. He bit his lip as he watched the one tear brush against the thick lines on the blonde's cheek.
Lifting his hand, Squall reached to brush the cascading tear, but quickly pulled away as if burned. Opening his eyes, Zell let out the breath he didn't realise he'd been holding as he bit his lower lip.
"Squall?" he asked quietly, inching closer to his crush, trying to get the grey eyes to look at him again.
"Zell, just leave." The emotion choked voice pleaded. Squall tried to turn from the blonde, clenching his jaw in an effort to prevent the tears that were threatening to fall down his own face.
"I...I can't deal with this right now."
"Deal wit' what, Squall?" Zell asked, grabbing Squall's wrist so he couldn't turn too far away from the young man's face.
"I'm sorry, Zell." Squall replied, almost a whisper as he spun around, pulling the blonde to his lips in one swift movement.
Both sets of eyes fluttered closed, revelling in the feeling of the moist perfection through just a simple press of their lips. Squall felt like he was lost, and falling with how totally right it felt to be against the smaller man.
He was about to pull the muscled youth against him, when he realised he couldn't do this.
This was Zell.
His best friend.
His only friend.
Pulling back, Squall blinked at the blonde, who looked totally peaceful with his eyes still closed lightly.
I can't be perfect
The brunette swallowed, heading back inside to the darkness, trying to hide from the terrible mistake he'd just made. It was never going to be okay, now. Ryan was one thing...this was on a whole other level.
Zell opened his eyes, the wonderful pressure gone from his mouth, leaving only the cold wind caressing him.
"Squall?" he breathed, looking through the double-glass doors into the room. The blonde frowned as he re-entered the room, holding his breath as he listened for any movement. His heart almost fell when the sounds of sobbing hit his ears, the choked tears from his commander soaking into the white pillow.
Squall felt the bed depress and winced, hearing two soft thuds on the floor nearby. Why couldn't Zell take a hint? The brunette almost jumped when an un-gloved hand pressed against his back where his shirt had ridden up.
"Why did you kiss me?" The almost inaudible voice asked as the hand shifted, his back not the only thing feeling warmer from the contact.
"Please..." Squall managed, trying to bury his head further into the white material. "Don't."
"Why did you kiss me?" The blonde asked with a little more force, grabbing his companion's shoulder to flip him onto his back.
"Why!" Zell shouted, holding Squall down as he stared deep into the grey moonlit eyes.
The SeeD commander shifted, trying to escape from the vice grip on his shoulders. Pulling his knees close to his chest, Squall clamped his eyes shut, not wanting to look, not wanting to let the smaller man see the vulnerability in his eyes.
Weight shifted on the bed, the grip on his arms lessening, though still holding him down with force. Squall shuddered as warm breath past over his mouth, swallowing as Zell's mouth descended on his own once more.
Squall tried to push the smaller man off him, his blunt fingertips digging into the blonde's well-muscled chest in an effort to escape the martial artist. The brunette's eyes snapped wide as Zell's tongue slipped into his mouth, licking around the taller man's trying to coax a response from him.
After a moment, Zell pulled back, worry lining his otherwise youthful face.
"Shit, Squall...I'm sorry." He mumbled, slipping from the bed to pace in front of the bed. Squall remained immobile for a moment, staring blankly at the ceiling before he moved to sit up, leaning heavily against the wall as he looked at Zell.
"I shouldn't have...I mean, you obviously had a good reason to do it to me, but it doesn't give me the right to do it back, now does it?" The blonde muttered, watching as his fingers twisted around each other. Zell laughed lightly, stopping to look back at the pale brunette still sitting on the bed.
"I don't blame you if you hate me now..." He said, not looking at his leader.
"I mean, I would if-"
"I'm gay, Zell."
Nothing's gonna change the things that you said
Nothing's gonna make this right again
Zell's head snapped up, looking into Squall's eyes for any sign of lying. He stared a moment, as his teeth ground together, trying to weigh up the situation.
"I can't hate you, Zell. But I know you'll hate me now. Just like everyone else."
"I don't know why. Maybe Hyne decided to play a nasty game with my life. I have a son, Zell, and a wife. And then I come to Esthar for a holiday and everything goes wrong." Warm tears started to roll down his smooth cheeks, choking up his bobbing throat as he tried to regain control of his emotions.
"One night, it's all it took. You remember Crystal and Najinta?" Squall asked, glancing momentarily up at Zell before dropping it back down to the crumpled bed-sheets below him. Zell hummed in agreement, stepping slightly closer to Squall as the brunette continued.
"I met up with them...went out with them to The Court, just outside town. It's where I met him..."
"Him who?" Zell prompted, taking a seat on the end of the bed.
"His name was Ryan. I was so fucked up on E and pissed off my head that I went with anything, you know? There were rooms there...and...well, he took me back there and..."
Squall's breath shuddered, quickly bringing his legs tight against his chest.
"You can tell me." The blonde cooed, placing a hand on the brunette man's knee.
"We fucked, Zell. It started off him sucking my dick, oh Hyne it felt so good. And then...I couldn't help it. I...we..."
"It's okay, Squall. You don't have-"
"How is it okay, Zell?" Squall snapped, pushing the blondes hand away as he stood up. "How is any of this ever going to be okay?"
Please don't turn your back
"I'm nothing but a common whore. Once people know I'm nothing but a faggot, there's no telling what they'll do. Hyne, I shouldn't even be telling you."
Walking towards the door, Squall frowned, folding his arms across his chest as he looked back at the shining city.
"I can't do this, Zell. I can't keep lying to them like this. I'll only be hurting everyone."
I can't believe it's hard
just to talk to you
"And what about me?" Zell asked quietly, almost defensively, as he lifted his head to the glass doors. "Are you so wrapped up in yourself that you're blind to the totally obvious?"
Squall turned, cocking his head to the side as he examined Zell's pained face. To Squall's surprise, the blonde stood, walking over to him and pulling him crashing down against his lips again.
But you don't understand
A breathless moment later, Zell rocked back on his heels, staring at the slack-jawed Squall.
"You're not Rinoa, Squall. Haven't you figured it out yet?"
"I've loved you as long as I can remember. Playing in the sand at the orphanage, watching you and Seifer train. You've always been perfect to me, Squall."
Squall breathed out, tension dropping from his shoulders almost instantly.
"Bingo." Zell smiled, showing his fangs half-heartedly, lowering his head. "And you've got no idea how long I've wanted to tell you. It's not evil: what you feel. It's perfectly normal."
Taking Squall's hand, his bright blue eyes stared deep into the grey orbs, which were intently staring back.
"Let me show you."
'Cause we lost it all
nothing lasts forever
It had been a week of peace. Unconditional love was something that Squall had never thought possible again; but that's all Zell had to offer, opening so many doors and options that he'd never dreamed of.
He was more relaxed now than he'd ever been with Rinoa. Spending more time in the sun with Laguna and Tristan, as well as more time in the arms of his lover. He'd been in Esthar so long, he'd almost forgotten about his home: his duty.
His duty, it seems, had a way of catching up with him, even on the other side of the world.
Zell had been the first through the door, finding Squall crying on the floor clutching at a piece of paper scrunched in his hand.
"I'll uhh..." Laguna started, turning the boy in his arms around to face the hallway. "I'll be in my office. C'mon Tristan...want some ice-cream?"
Kneeling down, Zell placed his hands on the leather-clad shoulders, kneading them gently in an effort to make the brunette man relax.
I can't be perfect
"I have to go Zell." Squall said after a moment, the chill in his voice noticeable for the first time in over a fortnight.
"Where are we going?" he asked, trying his best to sound cheerful as he plucked the note from his lover's hand.
"Not we, Zell. I. I need to go." He looked up, his grey eyes marred with red and clouded by tears. Kissing the blonde fiercely, Squall stood, running from the room at a frightening pace.
Now it's just too late and
we can't go back
Opening the note, Zell read the too-perfect script scrawled across the scented paper; almost scowling at the sickly-sweet tone used in the loops.
I know I'm spoiling your vacation with this, but we have to organise everything with the divorce proceedings. All the material things, like the cars, the house and stuff can be settled pretty easy, but there are a couple of things that we need to discuss.
I want Tristan. I think he should be here with his only grandfather, since they both got along so well.
My lawyers will call your lawyers to work out the details.
Love - Rinoa.
He knew Squall all too well. He was running from his problems, like he had in the past. The only time he hadn't been was with Seifer: like he always had something to prove.
Moving out onto the balcony, Zell sighed, looking down onto the walkway below, hoping to catch a glimpse of the retreating SeeD.
I can't be perfect
He'd never meant it to go that far. Thinking back on it, he didn't really love Zell. He cared for him deeply, but it wasn't love. It probably never would be.
Love was somewhere you felt comfortable, safe and warm. Somewhere you felt you belonged: home. Squall, in all his years, had only felt something like that once. Floating in and out of consciousness, he remembered being carried by strong arms he fit easily into.
"I'm sorry, Zell." He said, frowning as he watched the sun fall behind a grey building.
He sighed, and moved off, looking back at the palace briefly before heading towards the air station.
And he wondered if he would finally find home where he was going.
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