Running

By Drakon Sword

A man in his mid-twenties walked through the street tiredly, his gunblade at his side. Blood dripped from a few small wounds on his arms, and mid section. Bruises also decorated his body. Not enough to cause much pain, but enough to be recognized. Nothing this man couldnít deal with as he walked home to clean-up and tend to his wounds.

A few small children, who were playing in front of their house waved, and called out to him as their mother sat on the front porch rocking on the swing, sewing.

"HEY, SQUALL!!!" the two children called, running over to him. He gave a small smile, and dropped to one knee as they jumped on him which caused him to fall to his back, chuckling.

"Lennox! Latonia! Get off of poor Squall!" the mother called standing up, putting her sewing down and approaching them, smiling. Squall just got up, with the feline grace he possessed, and balanced each one on one hip. Both children were more than happy, and used to this arrangement.

"Itís alright, Mrs. Yehosha," Squall said as they hung off of him, smiling, and giggling. The children were twins at the age 8 with strawberry blond hair, and pea-green eyes.

"Ya, mom! Weíre just saying hi!" Latonia complained, playing with his Griever pendent she liked so much. Latonia liked all jewellery, and shiny items.

"How many monsters did you kill?" Lennox asked excitedly, bouncing on Squallís hip. Squall held him tighter so he wouldnít land on his bottom in the dirt below.

"Many by the looks of it. Come. Weíll get you cleaned up," Mrs. Yehosha said, almost commanding. Squall let the children slip down his sides till they were standing on the ground.

"Itís all right. I'm going to go home, have a quick shower, and have a nap. I should be fine," Squall said, shaking his head.

"Nonsense!" Mrs. Yehosha argued, took his arm, and dragged him to her home. Squall sighed, and followed his neighbour who had seemed to take the place as a mother, even though he was 25.

Squall had moved to Winhill years ago. 2 years after the Ultimecia battle. He wanted to be a SeeD, but no one would leave him alone. He was the hero, their leader, their saviour. He hated it, and had to get away. He liked staying low, and being out of the spotlight. Also it seemed everyone had a perfect picture of who, and what he was supposed to be. Especially since he was the son of the president of Esthar, Laguna Loire.

He stayed there only because of Rinoa, his girlfriend, and all his friends. Then he, and Rinoa broke up which caused many things to be uncomfortable. Not because she dumped him. He had wanted to break up with her for a while in the last year, but couldnít hurt her. He would just refuse to go out, or be less enthusiastic about their outings. She had seemed to finally get frustrated, and dumped him.

It was uncomfortable because she seemed to still have feelings for him. She was often moping, or crying while he was satisfied and elated that they werenít together. Squall had sensed that she wanted to get back together, and that was partly the reason he needed to go.

He didnít know what made him lose his feelings for her. They seemed to be... real, but then again maybe it was because she cared. A lot of people gave up on him. She didnít. Then again, neither did Quistis. Maybe it was because it was a challenge. She was his rivalís, Seifer, ex-girlfriend.

Whatever it was, it ended, and he left. He was 19, tired of the pressure of being the hero, leader, and the pressure of trying to convince him to be the Headmaster since Cid retired. With that he left and moved to Winhill, saying he would keep in touch, and visit.

He hated to leave because he really did love being a SeeD. It made him feel whole. It made him feel... normal. Staying just wasnít an option. He left, and had heard that Winhill was looking for some people to control the monsters. The soldiers who were there had left to go earn their SeeD diplomas. Squall then went there to see if he would be sufficient.

They were overwhelmed that the world hero would want to live in their little town. Squall explained he wanted a break from the fame, and he still wanted to work. Since destroying monsters was his forte, and it was such a small town, it was perfect.

They agreed to keep his presence quiet, gave him a small cottage at the far end of town that the other soldiers used, and give him all the necessities as long as he kept the town free, and safe from monsters. Squall agreed without question or complaint.

He was accepted into the circle of the town very quickly. They kept their promise of keeping him secret. No one, including all his friends knew nothing of where he lived. The only way they could get in touch with him was through his computer on e-mail. All of which he hadnít heard from for over 2 years.

Squall wasnít really hurt. Everyone was busy. Everyone was moving around, and finding new mates. It had been over 6 years since the last time they were all at the garden, other than Seifer.

Seifer. Squall had heard that Seifer had returned, of course, a few months after he had left, apologizing. He was staying with Matron and Cid, and helping them out with their hotel. A small get-away for people, and Squall had heard that it was very successful.

Squall had felt excitement and relief that his rival was indeed alive and well. Also that he had come to his senses. Why? He wasnít sure, but he never really dwelled on it. He would probably never see the man again, though he wanted to.

"Dear, dear, dear. Squall what happened?" Mrs. Yehosha asked as he took off his leather bomb jacket with her instruction. The children were sitting at the table of either side watching as he also put his gunblade on the table. Both eyes gleaming as they looked at the silver, sharp blade which gleamed in the rays of sunlight that glowed through the window.

"I was just battling a small wave of monsters that were near the village," Squall explained as she washed his wounds with soap and water. It tinged a little since the water was cool.

"A small?" she asked, incredulously. Squall just said nothing as she continued to clean. The children were quiet as they watched his gunblade with fascination. "Donít you dare touch that gunblade, Lennox!" she scolded with her back to the children. Lennox stopped kneeling on the chair reaching towards the blade.

"Awwwww!" Lennox whined. Latonia giggled. Squall was impressed. Mrs. Yehosha always had a talent with catching her children doing something without looking. She had to have eyes in the back of her head!

He had met them when he moved in. The twins were only around 2 at the time, but were just as infatuated with him then as they are now. Mrs. Yehosha wasnít really sure what to think of him. She had only treated him with common courtesy in the beginning, till he saved her children.

Lennox, and Latonia were playing with a ball in the front yard till Lennox threw it too far and it rolled out into the street. Latonia ran after it, but a monster sat in the middle of the road. She froze in fear, and stared fearfully at the creature. Lennox fearing for his sister ran to her.

Mrs. Yehosha had gone in to take the chocolate chip cookies from the oven, and returned to find her daughter cowering behind her son, who was standing with his arms spread, staring at the creature defiantly.

She went to scream for help and run to her children, when Squall jumped in. The creature went to attack, but Squall jumped over them and it slashed his back. He quickly yet painfully, pushed the children to the yard.

Lennox, who still had his wits, took his younger sister farther into the yard, and watched as their mother held them as Squall went into battle. Destroying the creature with ease, but the slash across his back was aflame, and gushing blood, causing him to pass out in the middle of the street.

Mrs. Yehosha had Lennox run to get his father, her husband, the local welder and mechanic. He helped her take him home where she cleaned him up, and stitched him. She was the doctor for the town. It was then that she took him under her wing. She took him like another son, though he was 20 at the time. Lennox, and Latonia were more than happy to oblige to having another sibling.

"I donít think a shower would have cut it, Squall," Mrs. Yehosha scolded as he removed his shirt, revealing many bruises and slashes. There wasnít much blood, just lots of painful marks. The blood had clotted.

"Iíve had worse," Squall said, shrugging as she began to wash the wounds on his chest and arms with water. Normally he would have used a Cure, Regen, or another healing low-class magic, but since he'd left the garden he had to leave his Guardian Forces. He really missed them when he battled the monsters.

"Ya mom! Heís a hero! He fought the sorceresses!" Latonia said, her eyes gleaming as she looked at Squall. Both children were fascinated with him since they heard what he did, and especially after he saved them.

Squall grimaced, and sighed at the words Ďheroí and Ďsorceresses.í Two words he tried to get away from. Everyone had pretty much forgotten about him since he went missing so he wasnít as famous as before, thankfully.

As for sorceresses, his sorceress that he was tied to as a knight for a few years had suddenly mailed him a invitation with one of his best friends.

"All right?" Mrs. Yehosha asked, since he grimaced. Squall sighed, not really feeling the stinging sensation as she put peroxide on the open wounds.

"Squall? Can girls be SeeDís?" Latonia asked. She and Lennox were in an argument that Squall shut himself out. He loved them like they were his family but, the childish babbling was a little overwhelming at times. They never minded. Everyone in town got used to his personality, and understood he wanted to get away. Though he did become more out-going he still disliked the spotlight, unlike his father.

"Yes," Squall answered as gauze was wrapped around the few cuts on his arms. They would be gone by tomorrow, or the next day.

"HA! Girls can be SeeDís! Maybe even better!" Latonia said, leaning over the table, sticking out her tongue.

"EW! Youíre joking! Arenít you Squall? Girls can really be SeeDís?" Lennox asked, scowling at his sister. Mrs. Yehosha seemed also curious about it, and didnít stop the argument like she usually would.

"No, Iím not. My instructor in my last year was a girl... a woman who was a year older then I. She helped me with the sorceress, and is now the Headmaster," Squall explained, remembering Quistis.

"That sucks! Women are weak, and gross!" Lennox said in displeasure, curling his face with disgust. Squall smirked.

"Are not! Guys are gross, and stupid!" Latonia said, angrily glaring at her brother. Squall arched one of his eyebrows. He was a guy . . .

"Enough! I donít think Squall needs to hear this! Your father will be home soon. Make sure your rooms, faces, and hands are clean," Mrs. Yehosha said, shoving her children upstairs as Squall got up, and put on his shirt. "Sorry about that," she apologised.

"DONíT DO THAT LENNOX!!" They heard Latonia screech. Then hearing Lennox laughter.

"HEY!! DONíT! THATíS MY CHOCOBO!!" Lennox screamed as foot stomps ran across the ceiling. Squall looked up the stairs as Mrs. Yehosha sighed.

"There they go again. Ever since Latonia lost her stuffed Chocobo she has been taking Lennoxís," She sighed, shaking her head. Squall smiled, and placed a hand on her shoulder.

"Canít live with them, but canít live without them," Squall offered, as she laughed. She nodded.

"Yep," she said, as it was suddenly quiet. Very quiet. Too quiet. "Lennox! Latonia! I'll be up there in 10 minutes! If those rooms, faces, and hands arenít clean there will be trouble!" Mrs. Yehosha called up the stairs.

"WE ARE MOM!!" the two yelled from their rooms. She sighed, and shook her head. "So... Squall Iíve heard that you are leaving tomorrow. Thatís why you are your destroying monsters farther out, isnít it?" she turning to face him.

"Yes. A good friend of mine, Zell Dincht is marrying my ex-girlfriend, Rinoa Heartilly," Squall explained running a hand through his hair. This e-mailed invitation was all the contact he had received in at least 2 years.

"Oh! Do you still have feelings for her...?" she started to ask, concern written all over her face. Squall just shook his head, and chuckled.

"No. It was more me dumping her, than her me. Besides, Iím more surprised, and confused then sad, or angry," Squall said, more to himself.

"I guess it will be something like a reunion. Youíll hopefully get to see all your friends," she offered as Squall walked out.

"Maybe. Thanks Mrs. Yehosha," Squall said, giving a wave. She nodded, and smiled, her green eyes full of warmth.

"It was nothing, Squall. You are always welcome in my home," she said, fixing her light brown hair in a loose pony-tail.

"Bye Latonia! Lennox!" Squall called up the stairs. He heard the stomping, and pitter-patter of feet till they were both on the top stair looking down.

"Bye Squall!" they said in chorus as they ran down, and each grabbed one of his legs. He laughed, and bent down to face them.

"Iím leaving tomorrow to go to a friendís wedding," Squall started to say holding one of each of their shoulders.

"Oh, a wedding!" Latonia said, bouncing up, and down. Lennox made a gagging noise. Squall smirked at the two. His feelings were somewhere in between.

"Iím going to be away for a few days. Iím not sure how long, but no more than a week. I want the two of you to be careful, and lookout for each other till I get back. Stay in the yard, and listen to your mother. All right?" Squall asked, seriously.

"Yes, Squall!" they agreed together, mock saluting. Squall was satisfied, standing up. He smiled, and also saluted. He then looked at their mother who was standing at the side, smiling.

"Iíve already told the other children, and the mayor. I did destroy most of the monsters in the area, but it doesnít mean they are all gone though," Squall explained.

"All right. I'll watch out as well. I donít think the world will end if you leave for a few days," Mrs. Yehosha said, dryly. Squall quirked a chocolate brow.

"... whatever," Squall said, using the word he did so often. Everyone in town either glared, laughed, or groaned when he used that word. Groaning was his response, this time.

"Go! GO!! Have fun! Let us know when you get back!" Mrs. Yehosha laughed pushing him out the door.

"All right! All right! Take care! Remember kids! Taking orders is an important part of being a SeeD! Bye!!!" Squall called, waving as he walked to his little cottage.

He unlocked the door to his small cottage which was cosy. It had two floors. Upstairs had two rooms, and a bathroom. Downstairs there was a small living room with a fireplace, a small kitchen with a dining room, and a back porch. Squall liked it. It fit him comfortably. It would actually fit a couple, comfortably.

It was furnished when he came. It had a navy blue couch, a matching overstuffed, comfy armchair, and a small coffee table in the living room. The kitchen had a small table with a round white table, and two white chairs, with all the dishes, plates, and silverware. Upstair was one room with a double bed, dresser, lamp, and bedside table. The other had a desk, bookshelves, and a couple of chairs. More than enough for Squall.

The back porch had a swing that overlooked a small lake, which he took advantage of, and often went in for morning swims. Trees surrounded the area making it more private. Actually you couldnít get any more private, since he lived at the far end of town. The town wasnít visited much, and where he lived no one, or at least every couple of thousands of years someone might pass.

Squall liked it, and enjoyed the idea of never leaving. His mother lived here once, which was also why the town was proud of him. Funny, that his father once had the job that he had. His father went up, whereas Squall went down, willingly.

"Shower, then bed," Squall muttered, dragging himself up the stairs. He put his gunblade away, took off his boots, socks, and shirt. His muscles were aching, and groaning. He half regretted taking the neat dressing off his wounds, but he needed a shower.

He then flopped face first into the bed. His face in the white pillow, and his arms, and legs stretched out over the bed.

"Fuck it! Sleep..," Squall muttered into the pillow, causing it to be muffled. He didnít care as he closed his eyes, and slowly fell asleep.

Squall sighed as he straightened his duffel bag on his shoulder. He then started to leave the noisy train station entering Deling City. That was where Rinoa, and Zell were living. It said to go to her fatherís mansion. He considered phoning first, but it was last minute that he decided to attend, and surprising them would be fun. Hopefully they wouldnít mind. They were good friends to him.

He was wearing his black jeans, white tank top, and a black jean jacket. His hair was the same as before, well actually he was the same, except for his new scars, one of which was a least a foot across his back. Then of course his personality had also changed. Lennox, and Latonia changed him. They helped him ease up, and have fun. He still had the cool, calculating attitude, but only during battles, mentally or physically.

His left his gunblade at home because he wasnít a SeeD anymore, so he wasnít aloud to drag weapons around anymore. Strangely, no one recognized him. He was a normal young man travelling, instead of being the world hero.

He liked that. Being normal though he didnít notice all the woman, and men, young, and old, checking out his well-defined 5'8'í frame. He put on his sunglasses that were on the top of his head as he entered the town. The bright sunlight was blinding.

He walked up the steps of the mansion, and knocked at the door. He felt a wave of nervousness, considering he didnít tell anyone, and hadnít seen or heard anything from anyone in 2 years. Squall took a deep breath before the door was opened.

Out stepped Rinoa, who was dressed in beige capris, and an aqua blue sleeveless shirt. Her hair was tied up in a pony-tail and was obviously longer with beige sandals. She looked good, and shocked.

"Squall?" Rinoa gasped, blinking. Squall arched an eyebrow at her reaction. Did they think he wasnít going to come? Or better yet, did they think he was dead?

"Hey Rinoa! Babe! Who is it?" Squall then heard a male call from behind her. Zell then appeared beside her dressed in jeans, and a red dress shirt. His blond hair was still spiked, and his eyes still sky blue. He looked at Squall with curiosity, and shock, again. "Squall?" Zell asked, stepping in front of Rinoa, staring at him.

"If anyone says my name again, I swear youíll wear it out. Frankly, Iíd like to keep it," Squall dead-panned, shifting his weight to one hip, and placing a hand on it.

"SQUALL!!!" Zell yelled and jumped him. Squall wasnít expecting this, so landed on his back with his sunglasses, and duffel bag thrown over the steps. Zell was straddling his hips as Squall cursed.

Of course, Zellís voice carried throughout the mansion causing the other occupants to come running to the front door where Zell was straddling a manís hips.

"What the fuck... Squall?!" Quistis asked as she came out beside Rinoa who was still shocked. Quistis adopted her face quickly.

"Looks like Iíll have to get a new name," Squall muttered laying his head back down as the other filed out. Selphie, Irvine, Xu, and... no! It couldnít be! Seifer Almasy!

"How you been, man?! Christ! We thought you were dead or something!" Zell said, standing up, and offering a hand. Squall took it, and brushed himself off.

"... whatever," Squall muttered, picking up his sunglasses, and duffel bag. He put the sunglasses on the top of his head, and looked at the group of shocked, surprised, and/or amused faces before him.

"Is that really you, Squall? It has been so long!" Rinoa asked approaching him. Squall looked at her, and nodded kindly.

"Sorry Iím late. I had some business to finish before I came. It was a last minute decision," Squall explained shifting his weight on the cramped step.

"Hey! Itís great to see you, and that you came!" Rinoa said, and then without hesitation she embraced him. Squall was surprised, but returned the friendly hug.

"I think it would be best if we all made our way into the living room, donít you think Rinoa?" Seifer said, arching an eyebrow at Squall with amusement. Squall just gave a short glare before turning back to Rinoa who pulled away, and spoke.

"I agree! Squall you must tell us everything!" Rinoa insisted taking his hand as well as Zellís, and dragging them in, as the rest followed. Everyone sat down in the large living room. Rinoa deposited Squall in a navy, lazy-boy chair, and Squall promptly flopped into it. He placed his duffel bag beside him.

"So-o... Squall what have you been doing the past 6 years?" Irvine asked, as everyone continued to look at him curiously, and expectantly. All expect Seifer who seemed bored. Or maybe amusement. Detachment? Probably all.

"Hiding from the world," Squall said, dryly. Seifer scoffed which caused Squall to look sharply at him.

"No shit, Sherlock!" Seifer said, sarcastically. Squall just leaned back in the chair, and looked at Seifer with his cool, calculating attitude. A battle of wits.

"Squall? Why didnít you call or let us know you were coming? Or any other time, actually," Quistis drawled as she looked at him with slight displeasure.

"Busy. I wouldnít have gotten your e-mail if it wasnít for the fact Latonia decided to turn on my computer," Squall said, shrugging. He was busy, socializing. Also after a empty mailbox for two years, you stop looking.

"Latonia? Hey man if you have a girlfriend you should have brought her!" Zell said, as everyone blinked a few times after he said the girlís name. Squall could almost swear he saw jealously cross Seiferís face.

Squall looked at them all as they stared at him curious, and eager to hear about this girl. Squall couldnít help it. He broke into hysteric laughter almost rolling on the floor.

"Girlfriend?! HA! She is nowhere near old enough to cook let alone date!" Squall choked out after his fit of laughter. Everyone was looking at him strangely. Like he was an alien from another planet.

"Okay! What did you do with our Squall, and how can we get him back?" Selphie asked, blinking, as Irvine, who had his arm around her, gaped at him.

"Are you feeling okay, man?" Irvine asked, who leaned over from his seat grinning, and placing the inside of his wrist on Squallís forehead to check for a temperature in mockery.

"Nice, Kinneas. I hardly think you qualified to be a doctor, even if you know the female anatomy inside, and out," Squall said, dryly. Some chuckles were heard around the room.

"Hilarious, Leonhart. Hilarious," Irvine muttered as he sat back down beside Selphie, who was giggling and rubbed his back affectionately.

"Really, Squall! What have you been doing all this time? It has been 6 years, and you have finally made an appearance. We thought you died," Zell asked, still as exuberant as ever. Though relief washed over his features.

"I donít think I should say because then I wonít have any peace any more," Squall muttered wryly, as he leaned back, and crossed his arms.

"Like it makes a difference Leonhart. Youíve made your appearance. If we wanted to find you, we would! Between Quistis and Xu, we find you if we wanted to!" Seifer said, sarcasm was etched into each word. Squall inwardly cringed at the tone. Seifer knew exactly how to make him feel unwanted. Maybe this was all a bad idea . . . .

Zell saw this, and instantly saw that Squall was having second thoughts. He wasnít stupid, and he understood Squall quite well. If Squall didnít feel welcome, or he felt unwanted, he would leave without warning. He also couldnít really figure out why Seifer was acting this way. Especially after Seifer told him. Seifer seemed to be slipping back into his old facade when they were little as soon as Squall arrived.

"Seifer...!" Zell sighed, unhappily glancing at the tall blond man who glared in response. They glared at each other for a few moments. Something passed between them. Seifer then turned away, shifting his position on the frame on the living room entrance as Xu, who sat beside Quistis, spoke up.

"True! I would find you before you have a chance to cuddle back in at home. . . wherever that may be . . . ," Xu deliberately drawled out, waiting for Squall to fill in the blank.

"So you all think Iíve lost my touch, eh?" Squall asked, drolly, with narrowed eyes as he surveyed the group.

"One would tend to think so considering you are unarmed," Seifer said, giving a quick glance around Squall to point out that Squall had indeed left his gunblade behind.

"I canít carry it around anymore. Only SeeDs can. And if everyone remembers correctly, Iím not a SeeD. I just a normal, 25 year old single man. Nothing special," Squall shrugged.

"Oh Squall!" Selphie sighed as she looked at him from beside Irvine. Squall looked at the ever social butterfly, and friend, cocking his head in question. "Where have you been, and what have you been doing? Laguna has been concerned about you. He has called Quistis, and Xu, Irvine, and me . . . " she scolded, though obvious relief was apparent on her features.

"Squall! You just left, and the only way we could communicate with you was through e-mail! Where have you been for the past 6 years?" Quistis asked exasperated. She obviously saw the reluctance in Squallís eyes.

"Up the river with no paddle..," Seifer murmured, which Squall heard, but ignored. Zell again shot Seifer a questioning look.

"Winhill actually. The two soldiers left to finish becoming SeeDs. I took their place, been there since," Squall said, evenly. Trying to weight if what he did was to his advantage, or was a complete mistake. Though of course if any did come to visit, unexpectantly, the town would hide him, and deny him being there. For all they knew he was lying.

"How, exactly, do we know you arenít lying?" Quistis asked, with narrowed eyes, and arched eyebrows. She seemed to read his mind.

"You donít," Squall stated, staring back at her evenly. Rinoa then stood up, and touched Squallís shoulder.

"You are staying for the wedding, arenít you Squall?" Rinoa asked, almost pleadingly. Squall gave her a small warm smile.

"Of course. Iím a little confused, and surprised with everything, but I have been out of the loop for quite a while..," Squall dragged out, letting everyone know that he wanted to hear everything. Squall was curious to what he missed over the years. It seemed like a lot! I mean, who saw Zell marrying Rinoa?

"Hey! Weíll fill you in!" Selphie scoffed, waving her hand in dismissal at that. Selphie was the social butterfly, and knew all the gossip. She was the one to ask because she made it her business to know.

"Come on then! Iíll show you to your room," Rinoa said, gesturing with a hand for Squall to follow. Squall stood up, threw his bag over his shoulder, and followed. "Iím so glad you decide to come, Squall. We were... were afraid that something had happened. No one knew where you were so we thought... Oh! That doesnít matter, you are here now, and thatís all that matters!" Rinoa said, gleefully, smiling as she lead him up the stairs.

"I suppose. I apologize for not calling first. It was a last minute decision --" Squall started to apologize for the intrusion and surprise.

"Oh! Never mind that! This place is huge! We have more than enough room for you! Besides I was hoping you would come... we all miss you Squall," she sighed looking at him mournfully. Squall instantly felt guilty as he looked into the familiar, warm, coffee brown eyes. They were friendly eyes. They did nothing for him yet after Rinoa, no woman really did.

"I... I missed all you guys too," Squall murmured titling his head down, ashamed, and blushing a little. He wished that he didnít cut to ties so quickly.

"Come! You can sleep in the room beside Seifer!" she said, grabbing his wrist, and propelling him down the hallway.

"Wh-what?!" Squall sputtered as she threw open a door, and they walked in. It was a nice rich coloured room. Dark navy blue sheets met his eyes as he looked at the queen-sized bed. A pine dresser, desk, and bedside table also decorated the room. The carpet was grey, as were the walls.

"This will be your room. Seifer is just to your left. There is a connecting door here. He will have to use your washroom," Rinoa said walking to the door on the left. She flicked on the light as Squall followed, revealing a forest green, decorated bathroom.

"Seifer?" Squall asked, not really liking the idea of sharing with his childhood rival. Rinoa not really noticing the dread in his voice, nodded. She the walked back to the door.

"Yep. Quistis and Xu are in the next room to your right, and then Selphie, and Irvine. You two are the only singles," Rinoa explained. Squall again was surprised by this. Where the hell was he all this time?

"Christ! Iíve been in a time warp...!" Squall muttered to himself. Rinoa chuckled as she started to leave.

"You just get settled in. We well be having lunch in a half an hour or so. Come down when your ready," Rinoa said, smiling, and shutting the door.

"All right! Thanks!" Squall called. Hearing a muffled reply through the door.

Squall sighed, and dropped his bag on the bed after Rinoa left. So many things had happened in the past 6 years. Much he wasnít aware of. The foremost was Zell marrying Rinoa. Completely unexpected, and, to say the least, shocking.

With a shrug Squall went to the washroom to wash his face, and clean up. He wanted to hurry back downstairs to find out what he missed. He knew he missed a lot, and was pretty much out of it. Winhill was quiet, and for the most part, untouched. Nothing like Esthar. They were like pioneers at Winhill, and he liked it that way. It had a certain charm.

Squall walked downstairs after cleaning up, and removing his coat. He still wore his sunglasses on his head mostly because he had forgotten that they were there, but they, undoubtably, added to the outfit.

He walked down the hall, noticing that no one was in the living room. Continuing down, he came to what seemed to be, the kitchen. He could hear voices so he silently sneaked up after his hearing his name. Yes. It was eavesdropping, but hey! They were gossiping about him.

"Squall has changed. He was more... open?" Selphie said sitting on the counter munching on a carrot stick with dip.

"I know! He actually laughed!" Zell said from around Rinoa, who was sitting pleasantly in his lap, nodding.

"I think someone should call the world Guinesse. Squall Leonhart laughed," Seifer said dryly, eating a sandwich.

"Oh donít be so mean! Squall has changed in the last 6 years! We havenít seen him, but he is more open, and out-going," Rinoa said, waving a hand at Seifer to hush him. He just arched an eyebrow, and took a bite of a sandwich.

"He seems to have loosened up. He isnít such a tight ass any more," Xu said shrugging as she popped a purple grape in her mouth.

"I suppose Lennox, and Latonia would have something to do with that," Squall said, quietly leaning against the doorframe. A small smile on his lips as he looked at the gossiping group.

"Squall?! Uh... are you hungry?" Rinoa said, jumping off Zellís lap in surprise, and covering it up. Her embarrassment for gossiping was obvious as she blushed.

"How long where you standing there?" Seifer asked, looking unpulsed. Squall just gave him a small smirk of his own, and walked to the table where Zell, Quistis, and Xu were sitting.

"Long enough..," Squall murmured, taking an apple, and tossing it in the air. The apple landed on his shoulder, and rolled down his arm. When it came to the back of his hand, he flipped it up again at then caught it. Without another thought he bit into it.

"O-okay... that was interesting..," Selphie murmured with awe as the others did. Squall chewed, and blinked not understanding.

"The apple trick. What was that?"Irvine asked, coming beside Selphie. Squall blinked again as he chewed, and then clicked as he discovered what they were talking about.

"Oh that?! Just a trick that Kelso taught me," Squall shrugged, taking another bite as they all looked at him curiously. He was full of surprises.

"Okay man! You are going to have to explain," Irvine said, leaning against the counter beside Selphie.

"Ya! I mean, Lennox, Latonia, and now Kelso? You have a lot of talking to do!" Zell said waving a finger as he approached Squall, placing an arm around his shoulders.

"Nothing much to explain," Squall shrugged taking another bite of his apple. Seifer took a gulp of his pop, and gave Squall a look.

"I think there is Squall. You are a complete opposite of what you were at the garden, and you just did a weird trick. Something has to be said!" Seifer scoffed.

"Youíre a complete opposite too, after removing the shell..," Zell murmured, receiving yet another glare from Seifer.

"So...? Who is this Kelso? Whoís Lennox, and Latonia?" Quistis asked, curious as were the others.

"Kelso is an acrobat who ran to Winhill for a vacation. He taught me to do the apple trick. It has just become a reflex now, I guess. I would practise all the time just to prove I could do it. I guess I always do it now," Squall shrugged, pulling out of Zellís grip, and flopping in an unoccupied chair.

Squall didnít tell them it all. Didnít tell them that he was drunk, and it was a dare. Kelso said that if he didnít learn to do it in three days, that Squall would have to shave his head. Being drunk, or at least half there, he agreed to the attractive long blond haired, green-eyed man. Thus for three days after learning of his stupidity, he bruised many apples till he finally got it right. Squall did not, no matter how annoying they were, want to lose his bangs of unruly hair.

He also didnít mention that it was then he discovered that he was gay. He met Kelso again to show him of his triumph, and Kelso kissed him as a reward. Squall was surprised yet, turned on, and the two had a short fling. It lasted 3 weeks. For Kelso had to return to his circus that he worked at in Trabia, and undoubtably, his crush. Squall wasnít hurt because it was more like a deep friendship then a loving one. They both had cold, lonely beds, and Squall was experimenting, and discovering this new found sexual interest. Nothing more asked.

"Interesting... so whoís this Lennox, and Latonia?" Xu asked, nodding. Squall put his feet up on another chair, and finishing his apple.

"Lennox, and Latonia are my neighbours. They are twin 8 year old holy terrors, but are the ones that opened me up, and befriended me without question. Iím their hero, and they are mine. Mrs. Yehosha, their mother was also the one that pushed me to come. Also their father is the one that has fixed Lionheart on more than one occasion, as Mrs. Yehosha has me," Squall said tossing the apple core in the garbage.

"It seems you live a full, and happy life there," Rinoa said, cheerfully. She seemed surprised, but relieved with Squallís changes. She always wanted to release him, and make him this way. Winhill seemed to be good to him, and for him.

"I suppose," Squall said, shrugging. Then deciding to change the subject from him, he turned to Quistis. "Howís the garden?"

"Balamb? Good. Xu, is the vice-headmaster, and Iím still the headmaster. Everything has been fine," Quistis said, chewing a grape.

"I miss it. Are you guys still staying there?" Squall asked, looking around at the others. They gave him a look. "What? Iíve been out of it for... oh I donít know... 6 years?!" Squall whined with a look of plea.

"Irvine and I went to Trabia to help rebuild the Garden. Now that it is going again, we are staying there," Selphie explained as Irvine nodded. Standing between his legs while she wrapped her arms around his neck, sitting on the counter.

"Rinoa has been here since you left and I came a few years later. Seifer never really returned to the Garden. He has an apartment in Timber," Zell said putting his arm around Seiferís shoulders. Squall arched a brow at this. Since when were Zell, and Seifer close? They couldnít stand each other at the garden. He felt a small pang of jealously.

"Xu and I are at Balamb, obviously, staying in the Headmaster quarters," Quistis said, winking at Squall, teasing. He just sighed, and shook his head.

"How about Fujin and Raijin?" Squall asked, looking at Seifer. They were his posse. Seifer just let a small smirk come to his lips.

"Raijin and Athena are also in Timber, married. She was the Librarian at Balamb if you remember? The one that Zell here dated for a good 4 months," Seifer said, as Zell rolled his eyes, and sighed as Seifer patted his shoulder. Squall went to ask something more but, Seifer continued. "Fujin is engaged to Nida, the guy you, Zell, and Selphie graduated with. She is also in Timber. Theyíll be coming on the day of the wedding. They were only able to get 2 days off. The wedding, and the day after," Seifer explained.

"Okay. Let me get this right. Selphie, you, and Irvine went to Trabia to help rebuild the garden. After Irvine became a SeeD?" Squall asked. Irvine nodded, causing his chin length hair to brush his jaw as Selphie gave him a quick kiss as proof. "You, and Xu are also dating and controlling the Garden?" Squall asked Quistis who nodded as Xu placed an arm around Quistis.

"Actually Squall, Xu and I are married. We had a short ceremony 2 years ago," Quistis said, smiling. Squall faltered, but then continued.

"Quistis and Xu are married," Squall corrected. Seifer was watching him with amusement as Squall continued his short overview of the group. "Rinoa, and Zell are getting married. Raijin is married to the Library chick. Fujin is engaged to Nida. Last, but not least, Seifer? Single?" Squall asked, taking a deep breath.

"For now," Seifer said, evenly finishing his sandwich. Squall for some reason felt relieved. "How about you Squall? Dating? Or are you still ice prince? Frigid, and a virgin?" Seifer asked, this causing a smack on the back of his head. Zell placed his hands on his hips, and glared.

"Grow up, Almasy!" Zell growled. Seifer rubbed his head, and glared. Rinoa sighed, and stood between them.

"Stop it! Even as good friends you still canít get along for long!" Rinoa muttered, as the two glared at each other. Squallís eyebrows flew up. Good friends?

"Hey! I was just asking! He summed up our relationships! I thought he could return the favour!" Seifer shrugged.

"Single. My last lover and I broke up over 8 months ago," Squall said, speaking of Kelso. He wasnít going to say he was gay. Not yet.

"Cool! Maybe youíll meet someone special here!" Quistis said, wrapping her arm around Squallís shoulders, smiling.

"Not likely. This is Deling. Itís just one night stands," Irvine murmured. Almost fondly remembering his past one night stands.

"Hey! Maybe even that would be good!" Quistis said, chuckling. Squall grunted, and smiled.

"Been there, done that," Squall said, grinning as they all looked at him with shocked looks. No one saw Squall as the bar hopper. "Hey! Iím not a slut, but I ainít frigid either!" Squall said, throwing his hands up in surrender.

"This is getting interesting..." Xu murmured leaning in as the conversation continued, popping another purple grape in her mouth.

Squall lay down in his bed around 1 oíclock in the morning. They had talked the night away. He had heard, and learned pretty much everything he had missed over the 6 years. Itís amazing what you miss when you live on the other side of the world.

After he had left, Rinoa went back to see her father, and repair their relationship. Zell was there with her every step of the way. Helping her get over Squall, and fix her relationship with her father. The two got closer and closer till they started dating. Then now they are getting married. He had matured, but was still full of energy. Rinoa was still forever optimistic. They complimented each other well.

Before she left, Seifer came, apologized, and was accepted back into the gang. He stayed with Cid, and Matron helping them with their hotel. He finished becoming a SeeD with Irvine, who both received help from everyone. He then moved to Timber, but Zell and he became good friends and stayed in touch. He was a bodyguard for the President at Timber. He was hoping to make up for his mistakes, and prove himself.

Selphie went to help rebuild her beloved Trabia garden with Irvine after he finished becoming a SeeD with Seifer. He and Seifer did really well from what Selphie said. Irvine just blushed, and Seifer smirked triumphantly.

Sometime after he left, Quistis and Xu started a relationship. There had been close before, and even more so since Xu was vice-headmaster. After a few years of dating the two eloped. No one knew about the wedding till after. Xu, and Quistis just had a small one on one of their Sundays off. It was after everyone sort of stopped e-mailing Squall, so he never found out.

He also asked about his father Laguna and Ellone. Quistis said he was still the president, and it was said, Ellone was dating Zone. Quistis then said if he wanted to hear more he could call them or wait for them to come on the day of the wedding.

Then there was him. He had stayed as vague as possible. He just said he was single, and his last lover, who was really just a 3-week-night-stand, was 8 months ago. Though he didnít feel lonely. Yes, now he didnít like lying in a cold, empty bed, but in his heart he had his friends, Lennox, Latonia, and Mrs. Yehosha. He wasnít really alone.

With a tired yawn, he rolled over, and curled up in the warm, blankets. Closing his eyes, he fell asleep with his last fleeting thought of a tall, blond haired man, with aquamarine eyes.

Squall sat on a tall stool in front of the dressing room at the tuxedo shop. Zell, Irvine, and Seifer were getting their last fittings for their tuxes. Squall sat back leaning against the wall with his arms crossed. He was dressed in blue jeans, a black tank top, and his sunglasses. He tapped his foot, impatiently.

They had spent the entire day doing some last checkups. The wedding was four days away. The bachelor, and bachelorette parties were three days away. Today was the last check on the fittings. Tomorrow was the rehearsal, and the next day was the last check on the food, and flowers. Next day, was the parties. After the fittings they were going out to dinner at the restaurant at the corner. Frankly, Squall was hungry.

"Well-l...? Are you guys going to come out or not?" Squall asked, aiming it at the three change rooms that they occupied. The girls were across the street trying on their dresses for their last fitting.

"Ya, ya, ya! Iím coming," Irvine muttered as he walked out. Squall smirked at Irvine, who was in a black tux with a red dress shirt, and a black bow tie. It looked, surprisingly, good on him. The red brought out the natural red highlights in his hair.

"Nice," Squall said, nodding. Irvine straightened it and blushed a little as he fussed with the buttons and tie. Squall smirked as Zell came out.

"I wish I could wear a hat though," Irvine muttered, running a hand through his hair. Squall just smirked. He had heard Selphie bitch at him, saying it was rude to wear a hat in church. They were such a pair.

"Whatíd ya think, Squall?" Zell asked, turning around with his arms stretched out. Squall then looked him over as well. Zell was in a whit tux with a black dress shirt, and a white bow tie. It was a reversed traditional tux, and just as sexy.

"I like the reversal thing," Squall said, pointing at the suit. Zell straightened it, and nodded, grinning in satisfaction.

"I agree. Rinoa, Seifer, and I thought white tuxes would be nice," Zell said, agreeing. Irvine smiled, and nodded in agreement.

"Ya! White tuxes for the groom, and best man," Irvine said, crossing his arms. Squall had found out last night that since Seifer, and Zell were good friends, Seifer was chosen as best man, and Selphie was the bridesmaid. He was still in shock.

"Well Leonhart? What do ya think? Youíre the judge," Seifer said also coming out. He wore a white tux with a white tie like Zell, but he was wearing a jade dress shirt. He looked so... sexy.

Squall was at a loss for words. His mind was on over-load. He found men attractive, and intriguing after he stopped denying he was gay, but this was the first time he actually found himself aroused with just looking at a man. Seifer looked like a sex dream come true!

Now this was a surprise on its own, but the other was that this was his rival. They despised each other, but here he was, turned on by him. Yes, he never hated Seifer, per-say, but he never lusted after him either. Though of course at the time he wasnít gay.

"I really like that, Seifer, man. Looks good," Zell smiled as he adjusted Seiferís tie. Though Seifer continued to look at Squall, who was still staring. Squall's sunglasses slide down his nose, as he continued to gape at Seifer.

"Shut your mouth, Leonhart. Itís becoming. I take it the suit looks good on me," Seifer said, smirking, but something flashed through his eyes.

"Enough Seifer," Zell whispered in Seiferís ear so only he heard. Squall snapped his mouth shut, adjusted his sunglasses back, and glared.

"Glad to see you still have your ego intact," Squall hissed as a blush came to his cheeks as he crossed his legs, getting control of himself.

"Oh! Oh! Oh! My those suits looked positively . . . masculine on you all! Any problems?" A short man asked as he came fluttering in. He was the fitter. He had short black hair, and a black moustache. He had to be gay. He acted it. Squall may be gay, but he didnít act like it. He was the same as any guy, just he slept with men.

"No. I think they fit perfectly," Seifer said, checking his sleeves. Squall looked away from Seifer, and kept his sight on anything, but Seifer. Though he would have short glimpses from the corner of his eye.

"Good. Good. How about you two?" The short man asked Zell, and Irvine. He fussed at little with Zellís but nodded, and turned to Irvine.

"Iím fine. You did a fine job," Irvine said, straightening the neck. The short man did a quick overview, but again nodded.

"Thanks Cano, man! You did a fabulous job! They fit like a glove!" Zell explained patting the short manís shoulder. Cano looked at Zell fondly. He was definitely gay.

"Who is this?" Cano asked turning around, and looking at Squall, who was sitting comfortably because everything was in order again. Cano seemed to turn him off.

"Just a friend. I came to see the suits," Squall said, giving Cano a small nod, but not uncrossing his arms, or legs.

"Hey Squall! You should have a suit too!" Zell said, punching Squall lightly in the shoulder. Squall quirked a brow, and let his sunglasses slide down his nose.

"What? No. No way. Iím not the suit type," Squall said, shaking his head. Seifer came up beside him, and placed a hand on his shoulder as Zell pouted.

"Come on, Leonhart! It is Zellís wedding, and I think you can dress up, at least once," Seifer said, softly but, dangerously. Squall could hear the secret demand. Jealously ran through him for Seifer being so protective, and considerate of, and for Zell.

"Yes! Yes! You should! It is only right that good friends of the groom should be dressed in nice suits!" Cano said, siding with Seifer, and Zell.

"Donít say anything, Irvine," Squall muttered, and sighing. Irvine smiled, but said nothing, just shook his head.

"Cano! Find a suit that you think would be appropriate," Zell said, as the short man scurried away.

"I canít believe this," Squall muttered, banging his head against the wall. Seifer put his hand there to stop Squall from harming himself. Squall stopped and just glared at him. Seifer just smirked, and returned it.

"Donít worry Squall. Cano may be a weirdo, but he has good taste," Irvine said as the man came back.

"Here! Here! This is a perfect suit for you. Try it on!" Cano said, handing him the clothes. Seifer pushed Squall out of the seat, and in the direction of an empty change room.

"No. I canít believe this! I am not...!" Squall went to say, but saw Zellís sad, pleading look, and Seiferís challenging, angry one. "...whatever," Squall finished, sighing, and went into the room. Locked it, and changed.

"Hurry up, Leonhart! We arenít going to wait forever!" Seifer said looking at his watch after five minutes of waiting for him to come out.

"I canít, fucking, believe this," they heard Squall mutter from inside the change room. Irvine chuckled, as Seifer sighed. Cano just smiled.

"Come on Squall, man! We want to see!" Zell said, tapping the door. They heard Squall sigh, and few more minutes of rustling of clothes.

Squall then came out, unimpressed, 2 minutes later with the other four, who were waiting patiently. He came out in a black tux. The jacket was open, but obviously fit him perfectly with a dusty blue dress shirt that matched his eyes. His eyes positively glowed as the shirtís first few buttons open, revealing Squallís throat and collarbone. One hand was in a pocket while the other lay at his side as he glared at the four.

Seifer felt his breath catch. Squall looked like a god. Like the sex god that had come to seduce him. He was as cold as Shiva, but instead of freezing you, he made you burn with desire. He had always been attracted to Squall, but he didnít know it till much later after the 2nd sorceress war. Zell helped him come to his senses, and realize it, and this making them close and good friends.

Seifer was gay, and had been for a long time. That was what broke him and Rinoa up. It was then he finally decided to admit it to himself and others. He knew now, that was why he and Squall were always at each other. On his side it was because it was sexual tension. He was attracted to Squall, and hated being ignored by him. Why Squall played? He wasnít sure.

"Oh! It looks magnific!" Cano said, hushed. A kiss with his fingers at his masterpiece as he circled Squall. Squall just stretched his lips in a thin line not noticing Seiferís surprised and desiring look.

"Wow, man! You look great! Nice, Cano, nice," Zell said, brushing a bit of dust off Squall's shoulder.

"I agree. Squall you look really good. It suits you," Irvine said, nodding. Squall said, nothing, but held up the string of black.

"I am not wearing a tie! You can make me wear this to the wedding, but I am not wearing this tie!" Squall said, evenly, but meaning every menacing word.

"Aw! I agree. Mr. Squall looks better without the tie! You look so... sexy!" Cano said, throwing his hands up in the air. A whistle from the other side of the shop rang in response. Squall swore under his breath, and blushed.

Seifer smirked, and secretly agreed. Though he shot the blue eyed, black-haired man across the shop, who whistled, a dangerous look. He then put his arm around Squall in a protective matter, and narrowed his eyes. Being possessive, telling the man to back off, and that Squall was his.

Squall in the mean time stiffened when Seiferís arm went around his shoulders. Squall didnít see the man across the way or Seiferís look. He was blushing furiously, and bitching at himself for it.

"Nice, Leonhart. I guess all the gay people scare ya, eh? Donít worry. Iíll protect ya!" Seifer said, smirking, pinching Squallís cheek. Treating Squall like a child, after the man left. Zell smiled at Seifer knowingly, then sighed dejectedly at Seiferís sarcasm, and his continuous teasing of Squall.

"Hey Peoples! Letís go get some dinner with the ladies! We said we'd meet in another 15 minutes and Iím hungry!" Zell said, looking at his watch, changing the subject.

All nodded, and changed back into their clothes. They then went to the restaurant they agreed with the girls to meet at the corner after putting their suits in the car. Even Squallís.

"You know, I donít think Iíll ever understand women," Seifer sighed stirring his water so that the ice cubes moved around.

"Whyís that Seifer?" Irvine asked, leaning over his chair, and taking a sip of his ice cold water, waiting for the girls to come in.

"Ya, just ask the master, Irvine Kinneas. He knows everything about women," Zell muttered, his blue eyes gleaming. Irvine sighed. His reputation as a player would never leave him. Even though it was all past. He loved Selphie now. He didnít need any other women.

"I'm talking about all the bitching about small things, teasing, arguing..." Seifer mused, as he too took a sip of the water. They werenít going to order till the girls got there.

"If we are talking about that, then I guess youíre a woman because I sure as hell donít understand you," Squall muttered taking a bite of a bread stick. Zell and Irvine broke into laughter, and Seifer growled.

"Cute Leonhart, cute," Seifer snarled at the innocent looking Squall. Squall then broke into an evil grin.

"Oh I try," Squall teased but. His sinister smile didnít leave his usually cold features. Seifer couldnít help, but feel turned on by this. Squall was just too damned desirable!

"You know, I wonder about you two..." Zell said, earning his own glare from Seifer. Zell just grinned innocently.

"Exactly Zell, how can we be good friends with these two, but they hate each other?" Irvine asked, musingly.

"Well-l... they are complete opposites, but they do have a lot in common. Squall is Shiva, while Seifer is Ifrit, but are both the best gunbladers, and SeeDís thus causing them to be rivals. They donít hate each other because if they did one of them would be dead by now. I think if they actually stopped the teasing, and arguing they would get along nicely," Zell said, shrugging. Seifer sighed as Squall stared hard at his bread stick. They both knew that Zell was right, but refused to admit it.

"Hmmm..." Irvine hummed and nodded. Both Zell, and Irvine looked at the two knowingly as Seifer continued to stir his water, and Squall stared at his bread stick, nibbling it. Irvine just shrugged at Zell, who shook his head.

"Hey guys!" a bright cheery voice called, causing all the men to look up. Selphie waved as Rinoa, Quistis, and Xu followed. Seifer, and Squall thought they ever been happier to see the girls in their life.

"Hey sweetie! Everything seems to be in order," Rinoa said, kissing Zellís cheek, and  pulling in a chair to sit beside him, causing Squall to have to move closer to Seifer.

"It was so-o much fun! Just think a few more days, Rinoa!" Selphie said, flopping in Irvineís open lap. He just kissed her on her neck, and wrapped his arms around her waist. Loneliness, and a bit of sadness ran through Squall.

"I think we are already," Xu said, as she, and Quistis pulled chair beside Selphie, and Irvine, causing Seifer to move towards Squall.

"I agree. The rehearsal, parties, and then, ta-dah, the wedding!" Quistis said, smiling. Rinoa squealed in response.

"Iím so-o excited!" Rinoa said, bouncing a little in her seat. Zell just smiled, and kissed her cheek.

"Same here," Zell whispered. Seifer just smiled at the two. He was happy for them. It took Rinoa three tries, but she finally got the guy she deserved.

"Guess what ladies? Squall is going to be wearing a suit!" Seifer said, smirking as Squall groaned.

"Youíre joking!" Quistis said, looking at Squall. The close she, or anyone had seen Squall in dressing up was his SeeD uniform which he used . . . once? Wait. Twice.

"Nope! Cano picked a nice one out for him! I saw it myself," Irvine said, nodding his head as Squall slumped into his seat.

"No shit!" Selphie said, pulling in a chair, and thus causing Seifer to put his chair right beside Squall.

"He makes it look good though! You should have seen him! He was so - mumph?!" Zell went to say, but Squall had shoved a bread stick in his mouth.

"Enough. It isnít a huge deal, and youíll see it on the day of the wedding," Squall said, evenly, as he sat back.

"Embarrassed Leonhart?" Seifer said, patting Squallís head. Squall grabbed his wrist, and went to retort but, the waitress came up first.

"May I take your order?" she had long red curly hair with hazel eyes, and seemed to already favour Seifer because he seemed to be the only single. Not to mention Seifer was attractive. He was tall, out-going, and looked like your typical bad-boy. An instant turn-on with all the women.

"Yes, actually.  Think we are ready," Seifer said, giving her a true winning smile. She blushed, and smiled back. Squall felt jealously, and wanted to smack himself for it. Seifer was his enemy! Rival! Right? Then why the fuck was he so turned on by him?

Everyone gave their order, and Squall grumped out his. Seifer teased, and flirted with her a little while longer, which made Squall look like he had eaten lemons. He ignored her, and Seifer the best he could, which wasnít good, when she returned with their meals.

"I think she likes you, Seifer," Xu said, smiling as she started to eat after the waitress left. Squall frowned even more at this. He did not like where this conversation was going.

"Sheís cute. Maybe Iíll get her number," Seifer said, smirked. Seifer seemed to find the woman very attractive. Squall could swear he was going green . . .

"But I thought you were - ow!" Quistis started to saw, and then rubbed her leg under the table. ďWhat the fuck was that for?!" she growled at Seifer.

"Keep it to yourself, Trepe," Seifer murmured, and gave a Quistis a sharp look. She huffed, and went back to her meal.

"Oh he is!" Zell said, and Seifer again shot him a dangerous look. Zell just smirked, and stuck his tongue out at him.

Squall was confused by what happened between Zell, Quistis, and Seifer. What the hell were they talking about? Yes, Seifer seemed to be attracted to the waitress. Hey! If he wasnít gay, he would think she was probably sexy too! Just what the hell were Quistis, and Zell talking about? Why did Seifer want them to shut up? Did Seifer have a girlfriend? No. He said he was single. Then did he have a crush?

Squall was completely perplexed, but it seemed to be forgotten by everyone else as they drove back to the mansion. Though no matter how much Squall lusted after Seifer, which was till beyond him, Seifer was straight. Though he didnít get the waitressí, or rather, Lauraís number.

"Going to bed, Squall?" Rinoa asked, as Squall made his way upstairs. Squall stopped, and noticed that no one else was, but he was tired. He hadnít had to think or done so much running around like this in ages! Besides he was emotionally drained.

"Ya. Iím drained. See ya tomorrow," Squall said, giving a small salute as he continued to drag himself upstairs.

"Goodnight Squall!" Rinoa said, smiling as others echoed her. Squall nodded to them, and yawned. He then went into his room, and shut the door.

He couldnít figure out why, he lusted after Seifer. Especially now. Okay he wasnít, officially, gay before but, he didnít really care about Seifer before so why did he now?

That wasnít true. Seifer was the only one that cared. He cared at the orphanage, and then at the garden. Yes, he was teasing, and picking on him, but he was the only one that paid attention to him. He cared about Seifer, and wanted to be his friend, but Seifer seemed to only want to pick on him. He was envious of Raijin, and Fujin. They were his friends.

Squall sighed at this, and undressed. He had always wanted to be Seiferís friend. He hated fighting with him, but it was the only way to be with him, and repay him for the attention. Besides he wanted to prove himself to Seifer. To prove he was good enough to be his friend. He hated all the fighting though.

He hated having to fight Seifer when he was the sorceressís knight. He hated having to beat him, and hated the fact Seifer wouldnít listen to him. He hated it all. He wished the Seifer would stop, and they could be friends, or at least go back to the way they were at the garden. To Squall, anything was better than what was happening.

Squall sighed, and crawled into the warm bed. Maybe now he could be Seiferís friend. Though how can you be friends with a person you want to jump their bones? Squall just cuddled into the warmth, and fell asleep, wondering what to do.

Seifer went out onto the balcony as the others either went to bed like Squall, or sat around to talk. He really didnít want to talk, or go to bed. He was feeling restless.

"Why are you so mean to him?" a voice asked behind him. Seifer turned, slowly, to met the blue eyes of his good friend.

"Who?" Seifer asked, knowing full well as did Zell. Zell sighed, and flopped into the wooden chair.

"You sound like an owl. You know who Iím talking about. Iím talking about Squall. You said that you wanted to apologise for what happened 8 years ago, and be his friend, if not more. . . ," Zell said, crossing his legs.

Seifer was silent as he stared into the endless starry, dark blue sky. The cool breeze caressed his short blond locks. He hadnít changed at all, except maybe wiser, and maturer, when Squall wasnít around.

"Why Seifer? Why are you turning back into the old facade when Squall is around? Why canít you be yourself? Your real self?" Zell asked, softly, imploring.

"I-I . . . .I donít know. . . . I donít know!" Seifer muttered, sitting across from Zell, and placing his head in his hands. Frustration, sadness, and anger in his face, and body.

"Seifer I know how you feel. I did once. I loved him, and I worshipped him once, but Seifer even if he is straight you can be his friend," Zell said, softly after a few moments of silence. Zell was bisexual, and cared for Squall, but instead of pursuing, he went to the other person he was attracted to. Squallís girlfriend, fell in love with her, and now marrying her. He was happy, and wanted to the same for Seifer.

"Zell, I love him. That was why I picked on him. I wanted to be his friend, but he ignored me. So I picked fights with him so he wouldnít ignore me. Now here I am, Iíve gotten so used to picking on him to get a reaction that I canít stop. I just fell back into the old tried, trusted, and true," Seifer murmured bitterly, sighing as he looked up at Zell.

"Seifer, he has changed, and so have you. You have both shed your shields, and shells, and have become who you really are. You donít need to pick on him to talk to him any more," Zell sighed, touching Seiferís hand.

"I know. I guess Iím afraid heíll reject me, I guess," Seifer whispered, smiling wryly. Zell patted his hand.

"I donít think so. During the war he told me he hated the fighting, and having to be against you. I think he always wanted to be on your side. Remember the communications tower? He wanted to do work, and be beside you! He wanted to be your partner, maybe even a friend. Try being nice to him, and maybe youíll finally see the truth," Zell explained. Smiling warmly.

"Iíll try," Seifer whispered, getting up, and walking out. After giving Zell a pat on the shoulder.

"That all you can do Seifer is try. Goodnight," Zell whispered as Seifer left. He wished for his friends happiness with all his heart. He had his, and he thought Seifer deserved his own.

"Goodnight Zell," Seifer said, as he went up the stairs to bed. He was tired. He went to the washroom, and washed up. Just before he left the washroom, he saw the connecting door to Squallís room. Seifer stood and looked at it for a while, and then opened it silently after turning the bathroom light off.

Seifer could see Squall curled up on the bed, slightly snoring. His hair askew and strayed out on the pillow, and mouth slightly opening with one arm thrown over his head. He looked relaxed, and cute. Seifer smiled, and watched Squallís chest, rise, and fall for a few moments.

Then just as silently he closed the door. Left the washroom, and crawled into his own bed. With a small sigh he closed his eyes, and fell asleep.

Squall rolled over, waking up. He blinked as he looked around the dark room. His eyes flickered to the clock that read, 5:48 am. With a yawn, Squall rolled to his back, and stared at the ceiling. This was his 6th time he woke up! He could hear the Friday night Deling traffic below. He wasnít used to it, and was having trouble sleeping. He was used to wildlife, but not city-life.

With a curse, and groan he threw the covers away, and made his way downstairs, silently. He was thirsty, and a glass of milk sounded good. With the grace of a feline he made his way down the dark stairs. Trying his best not to disturb anyone, and anything. He was quite successful though the lights of the town shone in the windows enough for him to see. In Winhill it was pitch black so this was a piece of cake.

With a sigh, he walked to the kitchen. He went to the fridge, and opened the door, letting the glow of the fridge splash across the dark kitchen. He gently took out a glass, and filled it with the cool, white liquid, and gulped it back as he shut the fridge door, throwing himself into darkness again. It felt refreshing on his dry throat.

"What do you think youíre doing?!" A voice hissed, surprising the hell out of Squall for he hadnít heard a sound. Thus causing the half empty glass of milk to smash to the floor in the dark room. Only a tall shadow was at the other side stood as Squall stared at it like a doe in the headlights.

Seifer woke up. He had fallen into a deep, short-lived, sleep, but something disturb him. He wasnít sure what it was because he usually had not trouble sleeping in the mansion. It was like a second home to him. He always stayed over on long weekends or any other time off. He was close to Zell. Funny that they couldnít stand each other 6 years ago.

They became closer through time because they were both close to Rinoa, and she brought them closer. Also that they both matured, and loosened up, or calm downed. Seifer helped Zell with Rinoa, before Zell, and Rinoa started dating. Zell in return, help Seifer deal with his feelings with Squall. Zell helped him understand the feelings, and was still trying to bring Squall, and Seifer together as Seifer did for him, and Rinoa.

Seifer blinked a few times in the darkness, and scowling as he strained his ears to hear any sound. After a few moments as he listened carefully, he could hear someone moving downstairs.

Curious, he got up, and silently made his way down the stairs. Yes, he was positive now. He could hear someone in the kitchen. Smoothly, and stithy he made his way into the kitchen, where he stood at the doorframe, and blinked to see the shadow of a person. He couldnít quite make it out.

"What do you think youíre doing?!" he hissed, as the figure spun around surprised, and dropped a glass. The shattered pieces of the glass sparkled from the street light that shone through the window.

"Jesus Christ!!" Squall swore as the glass shattered, and his heart beat raced as he took deep breaths to calmed down once he realized that it was Seifer. Great. He acted like a fool. A jumpy fool at that.

"Nice Leonhart. Break the glass, why donít ya? Just a little jumpy?" Seifer asked, inwardly kicking himself for being an idiot, and surprising Squall. Then again for being so cruel.

"Shut up, Almasy!" Squall growled as he leaned to pick up the pieces of glass. Seifer sighed. ďIím not used to having people sneak up on me in the middle of the night. I do live alone. Now I know why," Squall muttered as he kneeled down. He was having trouble but, the shadow of the counter was making only letting a small amount of light. It was only helping a little.

"I didnít sneak up! Besides you should be prepared for anything - !" Seifer started to say, but stopped when he heard Squall hiss out in pain.

"Fuck!" Squall swore as he lifted his hand off the floor quickly. He looked at his palm where the blood was already forming on the slash from the glass.

"Are you all right? You should have waited till I turned on the light," Seifer said, concerned snapping on the light, and coming by Squall who was leaning against the cupboards, scowling at his palm. Seifer came up beside him.

"Itís fine. Can you get a stupid broom to sweep the glass?" Squall said, standing up, and turning on the tap after his eyes adjusted to the light. He threw his hand under the cold water, and hissed in pain again as the water washed away the blood, refusing to let Seifer see it. Squall could see that it wasnít very deep, and was about a inch long. It wasnít bad, just painful.

"Doesnít look too bad. Iíll get a broom, and the first aid kit," Seifer said, glancing at Squallís cut over Squallís shoulder before Squall could retort. Seifer then spun around, and went to the closet to fetch the items.

Seifer cleaned up the glass, and milk as Squall continued to hold his hand under the water to clot the bleeding. He threw it out the glass, and took some paper towel. He grabbed Squallís wrist gently, shut off the tap, and wrapped the paper towel around the cut.

"Letís have a look," He said, leading Squall to the table, where they sat down. Seifer cleaned the cut, and bandaged it. Squall let him, feeling strange, and enjoying the attention. Though he still had his guard up, waiting for Seifer to make him feel like an idiot. No one else could. Seifer always made him feel small, and worthless, but Seifer could also make him feel special, and important. Squall never realized how much Seifer had an effect on his life. Seifer wasnít just his rival. He was so much more . . .

"Arenít you going to make a smart remark on me being an idiot, or being a baby?" Squall asked dryly as Seifer was putting away the supplies. He heard Seifer let out a long sigh.

"No," was all the Seifer said. Seifer could hear Zell words. ĎBe nice to him. Then maybe youíll finally see the truth.í  He was going to try it.

"Oh," was all Squall said, rubbing his newly bandaged palm. He looked at Seifer threw the corner of his eye as Seifer put the supplies away. He could see the muscles working under the black tank top, and black pyjama pants. How could he want a man so much, but be so fearful of him at the same time?

"Look Squall, we need to talk," Seifer said, spinning around to face the surprised Squall. Squall was surprised that he wanted to talk, and that he called him Squall. As long as Squall could remember he was always Leonhart, or ĎLeonhartless.í

"Oh?" was all Squall could utter as he stared surprised at Seifer. Seifer wanted to talk? He sounded sincere, and something was up.

"Look Squall, I want to apologise for what happened . . . 8 years ago? Itís been a long time, eh? I regret what I did, and I apologised to everyone else, except you of course. Partially because when I finally decided to stop hiding, and face the world you had decided to disappear," Seifer said, sitting across from Squall. Squall blinked.

" . . . I . . . . uh . . .well actually Seifer you were under Ultemicaís control so I never really blamed you. I still donít," Squall stumbled for a response. He didnít blame Seifer for what happened, and never would. Zell had explained it all to him in an e-mail after Seifer returned. Zell told him everything till about two years ago, it stopped. Actually around the time he started dating Rinoa, supposedly. Zell must have been uneasy, or busy at the time. Though that didnít matter. Squall at the moment was mostly surprised that Seifer was actually apologising . . . to him?!

"How do you know?" Seifer asked, frowning in question. Squall twitched, and blinked. Seifer didnít know about the e-mails.

"Zell . . . .Zell e-mailed to me a lot till about 2 years ago. I guess that was when he started dating Rinoa," Squall explained at little weary of Seiferís reaction.

"Oh. . . . hell. I thought you hated me for the fighting. Or for the teasing I did. I apologise for that too. I was immature, and brainless. No excuse but, I donít think you have an excuse for letting me get to ya, eh?" Seifer said, playfully punching Squall in the shoulder. Squall blinked again. Seifer seemed to brush Zellís e-mails off, like nothing.

"Seifer . . . . I never hated you. I still donít," Squall said, still frowning as he looked at the older man across from the table.

"Ya. I suppose I never hated you either. You were really the only person that I truly respected. I mean, you never backed down, and always fought back," Seifer mused. Only he could apologise, and still keep all of his dignity.

"I respected you Seifer. I . . .you were the only one that somewhat understood, and paid attention to me," Squall said, surprised that he, and Seifer were actually admitting the truth. He didnít want to stop.

"I did because I wanted to be your friend. I think we would . . . will make better friends then enemies, or rivals. We are a lot alike, yet we are so different. Though are differences compliment each other," Seifer said, nodding at his statement.

"I agree," Squall said, also nodding. Silence fell over the two as Squall looked at his injured hand, and Seifer played with the napkin on the table. Who would have thought that the toughest battle they would engage in was a mental, and emotional one with each other?

"Squall . . . can we . . .will you . . .are we friends?" Seifer finally got out after a good five minutes of silence. Squall snapped his head up to look at Seifer. The blond twitched, but didnít back down from him. Bluish grey stared at aquamarine as they each searched for the truth.

"I want to be," was all Squall said not wavering. Seifer didnít either, and kept his poker face on. He reached out his hand to Squall.

"Friends?" Seifer asked as Squall pulled away from Seiferís eyes to look at the hand. Seifer still sat emotionlessly, though his eyes were a different story. ďNo more fighting. No more scars. No more hiding.  No more teasing," Seifer said. Squall arched an eyebrow. ďOkay! Maybe a little  teasing and  spars! No more childish games or scars!" Seifer corrected himself, smirking a little. Squall gave a small smile.

"All right! Friends," Squall stated as he gripped Seiferís hand as they shook. Seifer felt happiness as did Squall. They were finally friends with their rival, who they wanted to be friends with for the longest time.

"O-okay! This is a little awkward, eh?" Seifer said, playing with the napkin again. Squall sighed, and ran a hand through his unruly, chocolate hair.

"Ya. Funny that I always wanted to be your friend, and now that I am, Iím nervous," Squall chuckled at the irony as Seiferís hearted fluttered at the fact Squall had always wanted to be his friend.

"Hey! Tell me about Winhill. Your mother lived there, right?" Seifer asked, starting there first real conversation. Squall realized this, and smiled.

"Ya, Raine was my mother she lived in Winhill. Actually Iím doing the job that Laguna did while he was with my mother," Squall said, smiling. Seifer nodded.

"Oh? Whatís that? I didnít get to go into the past like you, and the gang. I missed everything! Even when you werenít in the past. Tell me. What happened? Zell told me a lot, but not all," Seifer said, leaning in.

"Well you see . . . ," Squall went on to explain. The first real conversation of this new found friendship. They talked till the sun came up where they went to get showers, and get ready for the long day ahead, but both feeling extremely happy, and content that they were friends. Maybe it was the beginning of more?

The next few days were interesting. Squall, and Seifer were close, and friendly. It was hard at first but, slowly, but surely the two became very good friends. No one was sure what exactly was going on. They noticed that Squall, and Seifer were friendlier to each other, and more human. They thought maybe it was because of the wedding that they dropped the bullshit, but the two were getting better. No one asked, afraid to jinx it.

The day before the wedding was the rehearsal. The rehearsal was awful. They did nothing, but laugh, trip, and make mistakes all the way through. Rinoa tripped, and took Selphie down with her. Zell went right instead of left. Irvine made jokes all the way. It was a complete disaster from start to finish. Though they say, Ďa lousy rehearsal means a great performance.í

Though what mostly perplexed everyone was that Squall, and Seifer were being so friendly to each other. They didnít stop. They just got better. Were they . . . .friends? No one was sure, but saw how close they seemed. Squall knew more about Seifer than anyone, and Seifer knew more about Squall then anyone else too. They were almost friends their entire lives, just . . . not?

While they were correcting Rinoaís mistakes, Zell pulled Seifer to the side, decided to bite the bullet, and asked what happened. Seifer told him about that early morning, and Zell gleamed. He hugged Seifer, and said that having his two best friends, friends was the best gift either could ever give.

Seifer was happy that Zell was elated, and was elated himself for having Squall that much closer. He knew that he probably never have Squall as a lover, no atter how much he loved the younger, shorter man, but being his friends was something he always wanted. It was better than nothing. Little did he know . . .

Squall was feeling so complete, and happy, that he was almost giddy. He was joking, and fooling with the rest of them like nobodyís business. He felt at ease knowing he was Seiferís friend. He noticed the looks they were receiving from everyone else, but it was mostly from surprise. Quistis had asked him on the side what happened, and he told her.

She was surprised, but hugged him. She then went back to Xu, and obviously told her, who told Irvine who would eventually tell Selphie, and then so on, and so on. Putting in the paper  would have been a lot easier. Though everyone was happy that the rivals had finally become friends after years, and years of torment.

Squall still wanted Seifer as a lover. He still saw Seifer as the most attractive man he had met. He wondered to himself, if he was in love with Seifer or if it was lust. Either would explain the fights, and a lot of feelings he felt now, and as they grew up together. It was all sexual tension.

Deciding not to get ahead of himself, since Seifer was straight, he just continued being friends with Seifer, though it was still in the back of his mind. It would be there for later brooding.

"Hey! Squall! Are you coming?" Seifer asked as he walked in through the washroom, the next night. Squall was only in a pair of boxers because he was changing to go out with the guys for a bachelor party, and the girls were going out for a bachelorette party.

"Ya! Iím coming!" Squall said, as Seifer stopped, and stared. He quickly tuned away, and leaned against the frame.  He felt his heart skip at the sight of an almost naked Squall. Squall didnít notice, but did notice what Seifer wore, and was lost himself as he tired to control his bodyís reaction.

Seifer was dressed in a long grey trench coat, much like his old one, but the other was destroyed, and this one had a silver tinge to it. He wore a jade button down shirt, and grey pants that match the jacket. Seiferís short hair was slicked back with his silver collar around his throat. He looked positively gorgeous, and masculine.

"Well, hurry! Zell, and Irvine are waiting!" Seifer said, evenly, trying to calm his body down. Why did Squall have to be so fucking gorgeous? Oh! Wrong word!

"Okay! Okay!" Squall muttered, as he turned away, taking deep breaths to calm his own body, and went to getting dressed. He put on his beloved soft, black leather pants with a matching bomb jacket, and a red silk shirt. He ran a hand through his hair to try, and smooth his hair in vain.

"Donít bother Squall. You of all people should know your hair will never be smooth, and slick," Seifer said, smiling. He turned to look at the ever sexy Squall, though his opinion was bias. Squall did look good.

"I know. Maybe I should just cut it all off," Squall sighed as the walked out. He blew his unruly bangs out of his face.

"Donít you dare!" Seifer commanded as Squall walked out. Squall spun around to see a serious Seifer. ďI like your hair like that. Never change it. For one, I frankly, canít see you with any other hairstyle," Seifer said, softening his tone as they walked down the stairs.

"I suppose not. Though my hair is annoying," Squall said evenly though he knew that now he would never change his hair because Seifer liked it the way it is. Though he probably never really cut it himself anyway.

"Finally! Christ! I thought you two got flushed down the toilet or something!" Irvine muttered as they came down. He was dressed in a brown leather, knee-length jacket, pants, and a his usual cowboy hat to match. A violet shirt underneath, and his chin-length hair smooth.

"No kidding! I thought I was going to find the two of you upstairs going at it!" Zell said, secretly meaning something other than fighting. He was dressed in jeans, and a jean jacket with a bright lemon yellow shirt underneath.

"Not likely Zell," Seifer sighed, and letting Zell know that he heard the under meaning, and sexual undertone. Zell just grinned. Squall just brushed it off, not understanding, and not particularly caring.

"Well-l . . . where are we going?" Squall asked. He had no idea where the ladies went, and didnít want to know though he had a vague idea since Selphie was in control. Seifer was of this, but had handed the responsibility to Irvine who of which was no better than Selphie.

"We, gentlemen, are going to a strip club!" Irvine announced. Both Seifer, and Squall groaned. Partially because they were gay, and because they knew that was coming.

"You know, I think I made a huge mistake giving Irvine the job of the bachelor party," Seifer muttered as the walked to the car. Zell seemed pleased though. Hey! He was a normal heterosexual man. Beer, naked woman, and music would turn any normal man on.

"No shit sherlock! Though you should have known. Just tell me exactly why you gave him the job?" Squall asked drolly as he and Seifer got in the back.

"Simple. I was busy, and Irvine offered to help. He asked, and me not thinking, gave this job to him because I hadnít even started thinking about it. It was the last thing on my mind, and obviously the first on his," Seifer said, sarcastically waving a hand at the cowboy driving.

"Hey man! You asked, I delivered!" Irvine said, laughing as they drove. Squall groaned, and Seifer sighed.

"Oh come on! This is my last night single! Letís live it up!" Zell said, grinning, and reaching other to punch the two in the shoulder. They both gave a glare, and watched Zell high five Irvine. It was going to a long-g night!

Selphie, Xu, Quistis, and Rinoa sat in a male strip club, ĎSugar Daddyí, at a round table, ogling the sexy men dance, and strip. Will almost everyone. Quistis, and Xu were there to take care of the bride, and bridesmaid. Not to mention drink, and party. No garden to babysit for a while, and they were with friends. No more excuses needed!

"Oh! Heís fine!" Selphie breathed as another man walked out onto the stage. Her hair was pulled back into a small ponytail as she wore a long emerald green dress with slits up the side to her thighs. A small green clip was in her hair to set it off. She looked like a sexy pixie. What a mix!

"I know. This is the last time I can ever ogle a man like this again. Iíll miss it but Zell is so-o worth it!" Rinoa sighed as she leaned against an elbow watching the man dance. She had her hair tied in a braid down her back to her waist. She was wearing a pink shift dress, with pink scandals.

"You know, Zell is doing the same thing," Xu said, smiling. Her brown hair was cut at her cheekbone, and was spiked at the ends. She wore a pair of navy, belled dress pants with a shiny silver halter top.

"I know. Irvine told me, and asked if it was all right," Rinoa said not looking away from the dancer, as Selphie cat-called him.

"Poor Seifer," Quistis said, smirking as she took a sip of her beer. She was dressed in a black leather coat that went to her knees, matching skirt, and knee-high boots. With a red, sparkly tank-top underneath. Her blond hair was tied in its usual bun with a red rose that Xu added before they left.

"Why do you say that?" Selphie asked, turning confused. Quistis had forgotten that Selphie, Irvine, and Squall didnít know.

"Seifer is in the same boat as Quistis, and I," Xu informed her as she rubbed Quistisí leg affectionately. Quistis was biting her tongue because she didnít know if she had a right to tell.

"What do you mean?" Selphie asked, frowning not understanding. Quistis sighed as Rinoa took a drink of her white wine.

"Seifer gay, Selphie," Rinoa said, evenly to Selphie who blinked. Quistis sighed at Rinoaís bluntness, and shook her head.

"What? Really? Oh man!" Selphie laughed, grinning. She took a sip of her drink as her green eyes twinkled.

"Well I guess heíll keep Zell, and Irvine under control," Xu said, smiling as she got a mental picture.

"And Squall," Rinoa said, looking at the man who swung around the pole. God! The guy was gorgeous with mustard brown hair that covered the side of his face. An emerald eye could be seen on one side. He wore tight, shiny silver leather pants, and was now removing the black button top to reveal his tight chest.

"HA! You are joking right? Squall! I think heíll hate it as much as Seifer!" Selphie laughed. Rinoa tuned back, as Xu shrugged.

"I donít think so Selphie. Squall has changed. He may like it," Quistis said, pointing at Selphie to make a point.

"Squall has a sex drive. He isnít a virgin, Iíll tell you that much," Rinoa said, glancing at the one green-eyed man as he continued to dance.

"Oh? You mean . . . .?" Selphie asked pointing at Rinoa, and blinking in surprise. Selphie didnít finish her question, but Rinoa knew the rest.

"Ya. I wasnít a virgin. I lost it with Seifer before but, Squall wasnít either. I can tell," Rinoa said sipping some more of her wine.

"Was he good?" Xu asked as the others gaped. No one knew that Rinoa was sexually involved with Squall let alone Seifer. Also Squall wasnít a virgin? She was his first girlfriend, but she wasnít his first?

"XU!!!" Quistis said, slapping her wife on the arm, shocked. Selphie chuckled, as Rinoa arched an eyebrow.

"Oh come on! Youíre thinking the same thing! You thought he was sexy too! Squall is sexy in a cold way. Besides you know what they say about the silent ones . . . ," Xu said, waving her brows at Quistis. Quistis sighed, and shook her head, blushing.

"He was the only guy I found at all attractive, yes but, I am happily married," Quistis said, smiling at Xu, who smiled back.

"Love you too, Quisty," Xu whispered, and gave her a quick kiss on the lips. Rinoa smiled at the couple. They seemed really happy. She hoped her married life would be the same with Zell. Tomorrow she would be Mrs. Zell Dincht.

"Well-l . . . . . how was he?" Selphie asked, gently nudging Rinoa. Rinoa giggled as she began to blush.

"Squall was . . . experienced. He knew where to touch, and how to make you feel. He lasted a long time, and never stopped the wave of passion. Squall made be cold, but he made sure you werenít. Unlike Seifer. Seifer was fast, and hot. He made everything run together. You couldnít tell whether you were cold or hot. Opposites, but just as good, and I loved both experiences," Rinoa said, blushing.

"How about Zell?" Quistis asked against her better judgement. She was falling into judging Rinoaís lovers, and their friends.

"Zell? Well-l . . . . Zell is somewhere in between. He makes sure you feel everything, but he is hot. I have to say, he is the best. I canít wait for the honeymoon!" Rinoa giggled, blushing furiously.

"OH!! SEXY!!" Selphie hooted at the one green-eyed man as he removed his leather pants, revealing his green G-string.

"You know, maybe we should get Seifer or Squall to do a threesome with us," Quistis said, only half joking to Xu. Selphie, and Rinoa laughed.

"Squall. Defiantly Squall. Seiferís gay," Xu said, nodding as she smirked. They all broke into hysterical laughter.

"God! Squallís ears must be absolutely smoking!" Rinoa laughed, her cheeks glowing with laughter, wine, and all the sex that hovered in the air.

"You know, I was thinking," Selphie said, tapping her chin as they calmed down. Quistis groaned.

"Now that is a scary thing! Selphie is thinking!" Quistis joked. Rinoa, and Xu laughed again, as Quistis sat smug. Selphie stuck her tongue out. ďDonít stick your tongue out at me, unless you plan to use it!" Quistis said, on a roll.

"Fuck you! Oh wait . . .maybe not!" Selphie joked back. Quistis narrowed her eyes as Selphie giggled at her own joke. ďNo. I was thinking how funny it is that Squall, and Seifer just become friends overnight. I mean, what happened?" she asked, musingly. Xu shrugged.

"Seifer, and Squall have always been close, even when they were rivals. They knew each other than they knew themselves. Maybe now they have finally grown up, and tossed the rivalry behind," Quistis suggested shrugging. She glanced at the pretty much naked man dancing with the pole, and felt nothing. She sighed.

"I know that Seifer wanted to apologise to Squall, and wanted to end the rivalry to be his friend. Other than that I donít know," Rinoa said, nodding.

"You know that whole rivalry was on sexual tension anyway. The two have wanted, need, and desired each other from the day I met them. They still do," Xu mused. They all gaped at her. ďWhat?! It explains everything! Seifer was frustrated that he couldnít have Squall, and that Squall ignored him. Squall closed himself up from him because he wanted Seifer, and was confused.  He was confused to why he wanted Seifer because Seifer teased him, and made his life miserable. Most importantly, they were confused because they were both guys, and being gay isnít really accepted when youíre a young teenager. The fighting was the way to get rid of their frustrations. Sometimes it went too far. Like the scars on their faces. That proves it, but they also made their mark on each other. Claiming each other. Owning," Xu explained as the other three gaped at her.

"When exactly did you figure this out?" Quistis asked, blinking. All were amazed at the truth of her monologue.

"For a while I guess. I just never said anything because I didnít want to disturb it. I knew they would figure it out on their own. It has just taken a while. Besides Iím half drunk," Xu said, shrugging.

"It makes so much sense! Thatís why Squall hated fighting Seifer, and Seifer never killed Squall! I always thought he was holding back as was Squall! Shit!" Selphie said, frowning at Xu.

"They werenít trying to overcome each other. They were modelling themselves for each other. All because of sexual tension . . ," Rinoa shook her head.

"All right! Right now and here we promise to say nothing! Squall, and Seifer will find their way to each other without our help. They have gotten this far in a few days," Quistis said, holding out her hand for a shake.

"We can help them though!" Selphie whined, complaining. She wanted to play matchmaker. She didnít think she could be patient enough to wait for them.

"No Selphie. We canít. Helping may make it take longer," Xu said, shaking with Quistis. Rinoa nodded in agreement.

"I know both Seifer, and Squall. Instead of getting closer they may pull apart if we push. Seifer hates being manipulated. We know that after Ultemica. Squall hates being pushed. We would make it worse by them pulling away from each other," Rinoa explained as she also shook Quistisí hand.

Selphie thought about it. It was true. Squall would probably pull back into his shell, and frustrate Seifer, who would start teasing, and challenging Squall again. They would fall back into the circle instead of getting closer.

"I guess youíre right, but Squall isnít gay so it will take longer!" Selphie whined as she unwillingly shook her hand with Quistis.

"No. They will be friends, Seifer might help Squall see being gay isnít bad, and eventually get together," Xu said, nodding.

"It could take years!" Selphie whined again as Rinoa sipped her whine, also nodding. Quistis sighed.

"Patience, Selphie. Maybe, but it will be worth it. We will help by being friends. Nothing more," Quistis sighed. Selphie muttered under her breath, but the four went back to girly conversations, watch the sexy men strip, and drink.

Squall inwardly muttered, and groaned as he took a drink of his beer. He liked strip clubs, and went to one once. I was just naked females did nothing for him. He was gay. If he wanted to get turned on, he would go to a male strip club.

Squall was half drunk, or maybe more, and Seifer was sitting across from him. Seifer was looking at the topless dancing females with amusement. He had removed his coat, and was also drinking a beer. He wasnít close to being drunk.

Seifer wasnít drinking much because he promised Zell, and Irvine secretly that he would watch out for them. They had girls to go home to. He could see them in the front row, calling at the girl as she danced. She really was a looker, but as a gay he wasnít turned on.

Seifer saw that Squall was near being drunk, and didnít seem at all interested with the topless females. Seifer was relieved because he wasnít sure if he would be able to handle Squall lusting after the girls. Especially since he wanted to have Squall all to himself. Though he was curious to why Squall wasnít turned on. Little did he know that Squall was thinking the same thing.

"Seifer? Why arenít you turned on? I thought you would be up there with Zell, and Irvine. I thought you would be a complete party animal here," Squall said, he was not completely aware of his words. Like I said, he was almost drunk causing him to be unusually blunt.

Seifer was somewhere between shock, chuckles, and anger at Squallís question. He was shocked that Squall noticed yet angry. He found it funny that he was thinking the same thing about him, and at Squall bluntness.

"I donít like howling, and jumping around like a horny male. Iím 26, not 13, like Dincht, and Kinneas over there. Besides why does it matter, Squall?" Seifer asked, taking a sip of his beer, and narrowing his eyes at the innocent looking Squall. Squall shrugged.

"I was just asking. I mean, I was curious. Sorry," Squall said, blinking, and scowling. More at himself then Seifer.

"Why arenít you, Squall?" Seifer asked. Squall looked at him questioningly. ďWhy arenít you allover the chicks? Why arenít you drooling? I thought you would have a membership here," Seifer asked, wondering.

"I been at bar, and one night stands, but that was years ago. Especially after I discovered I was gay, I stopped," Squall shrugged, not hiding anything. He saw no consequences in his drunk haze. He was being unusually forthcoming.

Seifer choked on his beer, and stared at Squall, who was looking at him concerned, and innocent. Squall was gay?!

"You . . . . .you are gay, Squall?" Seifer asked, hushed. He didnít want to bring any more attention to them. Squall just shrugged.

"Ya. Kelso was my first gay lover 8 months ago. Funny actually. I was drunk, and he dared me," Squall said, smiling.

"A dare?" Seifer asked, blinking. This was a shock! Squall was gay, and all this time he thought he didnít have a chance with the sultry brunette.

"Ya, the apple trick," Squall said, waving his hand in some motion to represent some of the moves of the apple trick. Squall didnít say anymore, like Seifer was supposed to know exactly what he was talking about. Seifer sighed, too surprised to be angry. Squall was being unusually forthcoming, but it was going to take some work to get it all out.

"How did he get you to learn to apple trick?" Seifer asked, playin g his cards, hoping to get all of the story. Okay maybe it was wrong, but Squall sparked his curiosity. Besides Irvine, and Zell were busy, and he was bored.

"Will you see, I met Kelso, then we went drinking one night. He dared me to learn this apple trick in three days if I didnít I have to shave my head. Will being drunk, I agreed," Squall explained, smiling. Seifer secretly made a note to kill this man for endangering Squallís gorgeous hair. ďAnyway I agreed, and spent the next three days practising. I did it, and went to prove it to him. He was very happy, and kissed me. We slept together, and dated for a while. We broke up when he went back home. It was nice though. I finally figured out why girls didnít do it any more for me, and I have some experience with a guy," Squall said, shrugging, and seemed pleased in his memory. While Seifer revised his note to kill Kelso for touching, and fooling around with his Squall. Okay, his friend Squall.

"Oh? So now youíre gay, eh?" Seifer asked, actually like it meant nothing to him. Though really it changed everything. ďWhy didnít you tell anyone?" he asked, softly.

"I guess I was afraid no one would like me," Squall whispered, scowling. Seifer sighed, and shook his head. ďDonít get mad! Please?" Squall asked, grabbing Seiferís arm. Seifer looked at the pleading Squall. He could almost see tears brimming Squallís bluish grey eyes. Squallís eyes were actually going to a bright blue. ďI donít want to lose your friendship! I always wanted to be your friend! I donít want to lose it!" Squall was almost panicking.

"Sh-h! Donít worry Squall. Iím still your friend," Seifer said, panting his arm. Squall sighed in relief.

"Okay. Good," Squall said, taking another drink of his beer. Seifer rested the urge to laugh at Squallís mood changes. Also to yell out gleefully that the man he lusted after was gay! Maybe it wasnít as impossible as he first thought.

"Why are you so afraid I wouldnít be your friend, Squall?" Seifer asked, purposely saying his name. He loved saying it.

"Because I like you," Squall said, staring Seifer straight in the eye. He was drunk now. He wasnít half drunk or near, he was drunk. Squall wasnít really aware that he was telling Seifer the truth. I felt like a whack dream to him at the moment.

"Of course you like me. We are friends," Seifer said, as his heart skipped, but refusing to believe what Squall really meant.

"No!" Squall shouted,  shaking his head. Then instantly regretted as he got his bearings again. ďIím attracted to you. I think youíre sexy. Youíll hate me because I want to fuck you," Squall said, evenly holding his head.

Seifer choked on his beer again, and stared at the drunk brunette with shock. Squall just stared back waiting for a reaction. Seifer tried to find his tongue as he gaped at the man. Almost wanting Squall to repeat it to make sure he wasnít going out of his mind. He knew Squall was drunk so, he shouldnít take everything literally, but . . .

Before he could say anything, Irvine came up laughing, and taking a swig of his beer. He was almost totally drunk himself.

"Hey guyz! Zell iz getting a zhow right now! Lookz!" Irvine said, pointing behind him. There Seifer say Zell getting a lap dance. Zell was hooting as the long blond with a purple thong, and eyes gave him a lap dance.

Seifer shook his hand, as both Irvine, and Squall laughed. Both finding it funny. Seifer found it amusing. His mind was still on what Squall had said. Frankly his mind wasnít going anywhere.

"Letíz go boyz!" Irvine said grabbing both Squall, and Seiferís hands. He dragged them closer to the catwalk. He ordered more beer, and sat them down for the show.

Seifer sighed, as he sat beside Irvine watching the show, drinking his beer. He would have to talk to Squall later about what he had said. For Seifer never had a chance to finish, or say what he wanted. Frankly Seifer had a lot to add to the conversation, and it wasnít going to be short.

It was around 2 in the morning when the four men stumbled in. All drunk, and horny. Unfortunately for Zell, he canít see his fiancťe till tomorrow. Actually it didnít matter because he wasnít holding the beer very well anyway. He felt like he was going to either pass out, or puke. At this point, either would be fine with him.

"Come on Zell! We will getcha upstairz!" Irvine slurred as he helped, and was helped by Zell upstairs. Zell just groaned in response and dutifully followed the lead.

"Iím coming. . . ," Zell just muttered, praying that he would make it to the toilet, or bed before he did something, or the other. Irvine just chuckled.

"You werez earlier! All the womanz . . ," Irvine said, waving a hand around for not particular reason. Zell just groaned.

Seifer, who was drunk, but very good at hiding it, was holding a hiccuping Squall. Seifer was standing straight, and seemed sober, but his talked with a lot of Ďsí on the end thus revealing that he was indeed drunk. Squall was leaning on him for support because he couldnít walk straight, and was hiccuping.

"No shits! I swears, next times we are going to a gay bars whether anyones likes it or not!" Seifer said, helping the Squall up the stairs. Squall couldnít walk or see straight, but could walk. Barely.

"YA !*hic* We gay people like to *hic* get off too! Next *hic* time we are going to get off, eh *hic* Seifie?" Squall said, patting Seiferís shoulder. Seifer didnít mind the nickname because he had given Squall his own.

Seifer had told Squall at one point when Squall was feeling vulnerable for being gay that he was also gay. He would never forget how Squallís eyes lit up, and the relief wash over his features as he leaned in for a small kiss on Seiferís cheek. Seifer near drunk wanted to take him right there, but they couldnít, being in a public bar. Besides Squall deserved more in his mind, though Squall probably wouldnít have disagreed being drunk.

"Yes indeeds, Leo. Next time we wills go to a gay bar, ors we will not gos at all," Seifer agreed. He went into Squallís room, and sat Squall on his bed. He shut the door planning to go through the washroom to his own.

"Leo *hic*?" Squall asked, blinking. He was drunk but, he didnít miss much. Seifer sighed, as Squall pulled on his sleeve of his silver trench coat, and sat down beside him. Even though he was drunk, he hadnít forgotten what Squall said,, but wouldnít bring it up again. Not until Squall did.

"Leo. Leos the lion. I guess itís a nicknames. Short fors Leonhart. Youíre a Leo ins astrology, and your gunblade is a Lionheart, so I guess it justs reminded mes of ya," Seifer explained, smiling as Squall nodded.

"Oh. Okay," Squall said, his hiccups gone. He sat, and looked at Seifer, feeling a whole bunch of emotions.

"If ya donít likes it, I can stops, ya know," Seifer offered, not sure whether Squall agreed to it or not. Willing to call him it, or stop if he wished.

"No. I like it. Please call me that. It makes me feel . . . special? Ya, special," Squall said, nodding, and holding Seiferís hand.

"Oh! Wills Leo, ya are specials! Very special!" Seifer said, holding Squallís hand as Squall smiled, drunkily, but a smile.

"So are you, Seifie," Squall breathed, as he leaned closer to Seifer. His warm breath caressing Seifer cheek. Seifer turned to look at Squall. They stared in each otherís eyes, and Seifer licked his lips in anticipation.

"Ams I?" Seifer asked, whispering as Squall hand his hand tighter. He also leaned in, and Squall smiled.

Their lips brushed against each other. Testing the waters, sort of speak. Seifer was a lose as was Squall but, both wanted it. Squall swiftly moved closer to Seifer as Seifer pulled him into his embrace. Body heat was exchanged as the kisses they exchanged were soft, and gentle.

"Fuck me, Seifie," Squall demanded against Seifer lips as he ran his hands down Seiferís arms removing the silver trench coat.

"No," Seifer stated, as the trench coat feel to the ground. Squall blinked at the taller man confused as Seifer gently removed the leather jacket from Squall shoulders. Seifer then ran butterfly kisses on his neck.

"Why not?" Squall asked confused. Didnít Seifer want him as much as he wanted Seifer? Also if Seifer didnít want to, why was he still kissing him, and touching him?

"Becauses I wants to make love to ya," Seifer whispered as he ran kisses up to Squallís ear. His warm breath causing shivers to run down Squallís spine. Seifer then caught Squall ear lobe between his teeth causing the shivers to continue.

"Oh!" was all Squall could say as he fell back to his bed as Seifer straddled him. He smiled, and ran his hands up Seiferís chest as Seifer continued to nibble, kiss, and lap at his neck, jaw, and ear.

Squall with deft fingers undid the button of Seiferís jade dress shirt, and removed it. He then leaned up and caught one of Seiferís nipples in his lips, and brushed the other with a callused palm causing Seifer to gasp.

Squall encouraged, flipped them so he was on top, and continued to play with the nipples. Tweaking, nipping, licking, and kissing causing incoherent moans, and groans from his playmate.

Squall felt Seiferís hands twine his finger in his unruly hair as Squall kissed his way up to Seifer neck, and back to Seiferís awaiting lips. The kiss was deep, and passionate. Squall used his tongue to trace Seiferís lips, biding entrance. Seifer willingly opened and let the tongue duel. Just like they did with gunblades, except this time it was for pleasure.

Seifer refusing to let Squall get too far ahead, pulled his silk shirt of Squallís leather pants, and pushed his hands underneath. Pulling away gently he tore the smooth shirt off, and Squall obliged by rising his arms, letting the shirt flutter to the floor. Seifer watched as Squallís hair flutter back down, and made Squall look more wanton.

Squall was pleasantly sitting on Seifer stomach, watching the man studying him from below. He watched Seifer. He admired the halo of yellow hair. The glowing aquamarine eyes shining with emotion. The taunt, defined muscles flexing with every movement. He could feel himself get harder.

Seifer studied the man on top of him. The unruly but gorgeous chocolate brown locks of hair. The bluish grey eyes, that were taking a bluer tint. Squall ran his hands across his chest, and gave a small smile. Seifer felt his breath catch, and went to work.

Seifer tired of being on the bottom, and wanting control flipped them so he was on top again. Squall struggled a little, preferring to be in control. He said not words but he grunts, groans, and movements were telling Seifer as much. Though the movements were only making him hornier, harder, and more determined to stay on top.

He leaned over Squallís chest, and let his warm breath breeze over the smooth, silky skin. Squall moaned, and writhed under him causing him to choke when their erections rubbed. He felt Squall stop momentarily, and then purposely did it again.

Having enough of that torture, Seifer leaned in, and kissed the demanding skin. This stopped Squall, as he gasped. Seifer slowly made his way down the warm skin till he came to the hem of Squallís leather pants. Quickly, and efficiently removed the annoying clothes with the boxers underneath, revealing the throbbing member underneath.

Seifer felt himself grow harder just looking at it. He heard Squall groan in demand. Smiling he kissed the tip making Squall choke, and squirm. Slowly kissed up, and down the length, gently stroking the underside. Squall was writhing under him in utter ecstasy, and making Seifer choke when Squall raised his knee to rub his own hardness.

No able to take anymore, he took the entire length, and made Squall buck up. Squall made a growling nosie in the back of his throat as Seifer sucked slowly. Squall was a lose. Seifer easily took his entire length, and tenderly stroked the skin around.

"Se-Seifer!" Squall yelled as he went over the edge. Seifer swallowed around Squall, taking everything Squall gave him. Seifer then removed his pants, and his own boxers, his length relieved to be released from the confinements of the cloth, as Squall panting slowly coming back to Earth.

As Seifer crawled up to lean his chin on Squallís chest, kissing a little after he retrieved the bottle lubricant that Zell gave him a few days before. He had forgotten to remove it from his trench coat pocket, and at the time growled at Zellís teasing. Now he was silently thanking his forgetfulness, and Zell, for the gift.

Squall came back, and looked down at Seifer, and wrapped his fingers in the golden. He dragged Seifer to his lips, and kissed him fiercely with a passion that everyone denied that he had. Seifer returned it, and poked a lubricated finger into Squallís tightness.

He swallowed the slight screech Squall made, and tentatively stretched the tender muscle. Adding another, then another, stretching, caressing, and massaging the tight heat. Squall was turning into jelly under him again, all except for one part. Seifer smiled against his lips.

Removing the fingers, with a swift movement Seifer entered Squall. He felt Squall stiffen under him, and the fingers on his hips, bite and pinch into him. Hard enough to leave bruises. He pulled out, and away gently studying Squallís face as he was clenched in pain.

Seifer felt a wave of regret, and slowly pushed back in as the heat relaxed. Squall opened his eyes, wrapped his legs around Seifer, as Squall grew hard again. Squall then bucked back wanting response so Seifer simply stroked in pace with his thrusts. The pace was created, and they took off. Grunts, groans, and the sound of the headboard smashing into the wall was all that could be heard in the dark room, lit by the streetlight glowing through the window.

Finally after falling. Squall was first calling Seiferís name as Seifer followed, and did the same. He pulled out as the two curled together, breathless. Still drunk, but now sedated, they fell asleep, not worried about tomorrow till it came.

Seifer groaned, and blinked as the sunlight insulted his eyes. Not to mention he could feel the after shocks of over drinking, sinking in. His head was pounding, and he couldnít remember walking to his room. The last thing he could remember was . . . .

He groaned, again not really remembering. Everything was a little hazy, and unclear. With a sigh he rolled over to connect with a hard warmth.

Seifer snapped his eyes open, and looked at the soft skin with a mop of chocolate brown hair. Seifer blinked a few times as he started to remember the night before. The club, the truth, and the affection. He smiled, and impulsively brushed his lips along the smooth shoulder.

Squall moaned in response, and rolled away, pulling the covers closer. Seifer just smirked, and then stretched. Deciding not to wake his new lover, then again was Squall his lover? They were both quite drunk. Did Squall really want it or was it because he was drunk. You did it because Seifer was available or because he truly wanted Seifer.

Seifer scowled in thought, and got up, gathering his clothes to walk into the bathroom for a shower. Not to mention some Aspirin. He decided that he would take what Squall offered. He wasnít going to show any weakness, and group for him, but if Squall offered, he wouldnít deny.

Nodding in agreement to his decision, he went into the washroom to have his shower. Praying that Squall didnít think it was a mistake, and wanted him as much as he desired the shorter, younger man.

Squall woke up with the sounds of a shower running. He yawned, and lazily rolled over. He stretched like a cat, and felt a sharp pain run up his spine. He hissed, and stopped. Gently rubbing the base of his spine, and scowled, trying to remember the reason.

It all came back to Squall. Or at least most of it. He was drunk, and so was Seifer. He attacked Seiferís lips, and then . . . . they slept together?!

Squall sat bolt up straight, and looked around, ignoring the fading pain. Seifer had removed all his belongings, including himself, from the room. Not a good sign. Like he didnít want Squall to remember, or care. Like he couldnít get away fast enough and clearly stating that it was a mistake. Seifer didnít stay to wake him up, tell him that he enjoyed last night.

Abandon again.

Squall frowned, and willed himself not to have breakdown. Blinking his eyes to fight the tears that threatened to fall as the abandonment, and loneliness set in. Instead he got up, threw on his boxers, and a shirt, deciding to pretend he knew of nothing that happened. Or at least shot back the regret of the night back at Seifer.

He was a fool! Seifer didnít love him! He never would! He had seduced Seifer in his drunk state for an easy fuck. Helped himself, and lost his good friend. Squall rubbed his hands over his face, hissing in anger, not hearing the connecting bathroom door open to reveal the tall, blond man in a blue robe.

"Squall?" Squall heard the deep voice of the man he loved. He knew that now, and hated himself for it. Here it came! Seifer was going to say forget it, and that it meant nothing to him. That he didnít even want to be friends!

"What?" Squall snapped, not turning to face Seifer. Seifer meanwhile blinked confused. He stared at the stiff, unmoving figure, and felt his heart start to break. Seifer thinned his lips in a thin line as his aquamarine eyes harden to stone. Squall regretted last night. Squall hated him.

"The shower is free. We have to be at the church in a few hours. Hurry up!" Seifer said monotone, and quickly left, slamming the door. Squall closed his eyes in pain, and sighed.

After he heard Seiferís bathroom door slam shut, he went into the washroom, grabbed some Aspirin, and took a hot shower. The physical pain eased away, but not the mental or emotional. He didnít know that Seifer meant so much to him. It was official he loved Seifer but, he had fucked every chance of being with Seifer at all. Literally.

The wedding was perfect. No mistakes, or any problems. Lilies of the valley, and Forget-me-nots covered the church with white, and blue ribbon. The church window craved with coloured glass reflected onto the white carpet, and pine benches. The entire church was the aura of beauty, happiness, and joy.

Squall sat in the second row on Zellís side. No one had a chance to comment on his suit, though he was receiving stares. Zell dressed in his suit, looked nervous as he looked to the doorway. Maybe not nervous, in anticipation.

Seifer, who stood behind him also in his suit was standing straight with his hands in his pockets. Amusement in his eyes as he watched Zell fidget. Squall tried not to look at him. Squall had already decided that it was probably best if he left as soon as the reception was over. Seifer hated him, and it would help both of them.

Though Squall never saw the aquamarine eyes that looked at him in longing, and sadness. He was too busy thinking, and ignoring the whispered conversation around him. Till the church went hushed as the music started.

All turned to see Selphie dressed in a sky blue dress that had puffed sleeves, and gathered under her breasts. It then flowed out, and brushed the ground. Her hair was curled as she wore a halo of Forget-me-nots. Carrying a basket, she tossed petals along the path. Throwing an extra handful at Irvine when she noticed that he was wearing his hat. Squall could see the cool, and unimpressed glare.

Irvine just muttered under his breath, removed his hat, and brushed off the blue, and white petals off. Squall arched an eyebrow as Selphie rolled her eyes at him as she continued on. Squall could see the grin, and knew it was all fun.

Then everyone turned to see General Caraway in his uniform, and on his arm was his daughter, Rinoa. She was dressed in a long white gown. It was backless with spaghetti straps that curled around her shoulder. It had a ĎVí cut at her waist, and dragged along the floor with many sparkly layers of material. Her hair was a bun of curled with white lilies along the edge. A veil originated from the middle of her bun, and ran down her back. In her hand was a bouquet of white lilies, and the blue forget-me-nots.

Zell gaped, and drooled as the two walked down. Rinoa just blushed, and grinned. She looked at the floor, and then looked back up with a small warming smile for her husband to be. Seifer smacked Zell on the back of the head, and snapping to Zell to attention. Zell shut his mouth, but didnít turn to Seifer, and continued to watch Rinoa.

General Caraway smiled, and patted Zellís shoulder once they came before the priest. You could see the tears in Carawayís eyes as he passed Rinoa on. Zell took Rinoaís arm as she took her place beside him and with Selphie on the other side.

The priest then started as the bald man started in his long white robs with crosses along the front. A silver cross around his chest, and the bible before him as he spoke. The ceremony started.

Squall sighed as he sat at a table. He watched the sea of dancers below with amusement. He could see Nida, and Fujin, dancing fast paced. They seemed to really enjoyed themselves, and seemed to be in love. Squall never imagined them getting together, but they seemed really good for each other. Nida was more out-going, and Fujin was less aggressive. He had talked to them earlier. Fujin talked normally, though everyone knew she could. It was her shell of harshness, and aggression. She was truly very intelligent.

Then there was Athena, and Raijin, who were eating some of the wedding cake. Actually Raijin was feeding it to the tall, dark haired woman. She was very pleasant, and Raijin was very polite. There seemed to be another side to him.

Ellone, and Zone, who were currently dating, were talking to the DJ. Zone had his arm around Ellone. Squall had talked to his ĎSisí earlier, and was surprised, and relieved to see him. They had talked for some time, and she explained that she and Zone had been dating for about 9 months. They also seemed pleased. Again another couple he didnít see coming.

Also on the dance floor was Zell, and Rinoa dancing in complete happiness. Ignoring the people around them. In there on little world. He envied them.

"SQUALL!!!" a familiar voice rang out. Squall outwardly cringed, sighing as he turned around to face his father. He was walking toward him with a huge grin, and his arms wide. Squall stood up, and took the embrace.

"Father," Squall said as he gently returned to embrace. Then again a bear hug compared to his father hug was nothing.

"Ellone told me you were here! Iím so glad youíre here, and okay! I havenít heard from you in so-o long!" Laguna said as he pulled away. Squall gave him a smile.

"It has been a while," Squall said, nodding. Squall then saw his fatherís lover, Kiros behind his father. ďHello Kiros! How are you?" he asked, smiling at the man.

"Good, Squall. You?" he asked, nodding as he straightened his tie. Squall saw that his father was looking him up, and down.

"Wow! You look good! You should wear suits more often!" Laguna said, whistling. Squall groaned, and blushed. He pushed his father away, and sat back down.

"Iím thirsty. Catch you two later," Kiros said, wisely taking his leave. He treated Squall like a son but, he knew that Laguna, and Squall needed father-son time. Laguna had already missed out a lot on his sonís life as it was.

"So-o . . . what have you been doing? How are you? Why havenít you called me?" Laguna asked, shooting the questions.

"Whoa! What is this? 20 questions?" Squall asked, joking as he held his hands up in surrender.

"Iím just curious," Laguna said, pouting a little. Causing Squall to laugh in spit of the fact he was feeling awful.

"Iím living in Winhill, doing what you did when you stayed with my mother. Iím happy, and content. I like not being in the spotlight, and unrecognized. Much more relaxing. I think Iíve found real happiness," Squall said, taking a sip of the champagne from his fluke. Almost . . . . Squall thought when he caught a glimpse of Seifer.

"Really? Hm. So you are okay with this marriage?" Laguna asked as Squall choked on his wine. After a few deep breaths he looked at his father with shock.

"Dad! Yes! Iím fine with it! Christ! I broke up with her like 7 years ago?! Besides Iím gay," Squall muttered, rolling his eyes.

"What? Youíre gay?" Laguna asked, secretly pleased with his son calling him ĎDad.í Though that was soon forgotten when he heard his son latest news.

"Donít give me that! Youíre gay! Christ!" Squall said, arching an eyebrow at his father. Laguna pursued his lips, and nodded.

"Ya, but it isnít everyday your only son tells you he also gay," Laguna said, protecting himself. He sighed as Squall scowled at him.

"Maybe itís in the blood," Squall mused as he switched his scowl to his fluke, and swirled the champagne around. Laguna chuckled.

"Maybe," he said, nodding. Squall took another drink of his champagne. ďAny lovers?" Laguna asked, and Squall choked on his champagne, again.

"Has anyone ever told you that youíre nosey?" Squall asked, dryly after he caught his breath, and calmed his throat again.

"Yes, but it doesnít bother me!" Laguna said, shrugging, and grinning. Squall sighed wryly.

"No. I broke up with my last boyfriend 8 months ago. Happy?" Squall muttered. Laguna looked at his son with question, and slight concern.

"I suppose, though you arenít obviously," Laguna murmured as he studied his son. Squall just took another swallow of his champagne. ďWhatís wrong?" Laguna asked, softly.

"Nothing. Will other than the fact I had to wear a suit, Iím tired because of where Irvine dragged us, and I frankly, hate, I mean hate, these big functions," Squall growled, and finished off his champagne as he watched as Zell threw the garter. Irvine caught it as the loud whistling, and cat-calls rang out.

"A little bitter?" Laguna asked sipping his own wine, and adding his own whistling to the others.

"Possibly," Squall answered. Laguna sighed. He knew that there was something else wrong with Squall, but didnít continue to bug. He knew that would push Squall away. When Squall felt ready, he would tell him. Besides, at least he knew that Squallís mood was not at the lose of Rinoa, or anything with Rinoa. Though it was obviously about someone, who meant a great deal to him. Unfortunately, he would have to wait for a while before getting any answers.

They watched as Rinoa threw her bouquet. It was hard to see who caught it because the women were a little more enthusiastic on catching it. It was a bundle of frills, legs, and arms, till finally Selphie jumped up victorious.

Laguna cheered as Selphie kissed Irvineís cheek. He then turned to his son who was still scowling though there was amusement in his eyes. Deciding on a safer subject, he started to talk about his work, Esthar, Winhill, and his sonís new life there.

It was around 5:00pm, and Squall was tired from all the events. The wedding was at 11, and the reception was lunch. Zell, and Rinoa left to go on their honeymoon were they were staying at Cid, and Matronís hotel. It was their gift to the newly married couple.

Squall went to his room, and changed into a pair of jeans, and a black tank top. He brushed out the gel, and mouse Zell put in his hair at a lame attempt to slick it back. It frankly didnít work. His hair was unruly, and would stay that way no matter how you cut it, or styled it. If he shaved it . . . .

Squall grimaced remembering the conversation he had with Seifer. Any memories about, or with Seifer were painful. That was all they were. Memories.

Squall scowled, quickly packed, and gathered his belongings. He already made all his plans. He would leave telling everyone that there was trouble at Winhill when he called to check-up, and he was needed back. It was a lie, but he wasnít going to stay any longer than was necessary.

He threw his duffel bag over his shoulder, and ran down the stairs. He came to the living room where the group was, relaxing and talking. He saw Seifer look at him, questioningly. He quickly snapped his eyes to Quistis.

"Are you leaving, Squall?" Quistis asked, frowning as she sat beside her wife, who was relaxed, but her look also questioning.

"Yes. I called Mrs. Yehosha and they are having a little trouble. They need me back," Squall explained, nodding.

Seifer inwardly grimaced. He knew he should have been expecting that. Squall was running. He wanted to get away, not able to stand to see him anymore. Then again, it was probably best for the best for both of them.

"Shame, ya know? We havenít had a real chance to talk," Raijin said, giving Squall a warm smile. Squall was thrown off. He really never expected that. He thought he was hated by Raijin, and Fujin.

"Too bad! Will if you ever in Timber look us up, eh?" Fujin said, with Nida smiling, and nodding beside her.

"Call me sometime, ya hear?" Laguna said, standing up, and hugging Squall. Squall patted Lagunaís back after he got over the slight shock, and embarrassment.

"Iíll try," Squall agreed, after his father let him breath. He knew that this was going to get into a huge conversation if he didnít leave soon. ďLook! I have to go! The next train leaving to Timber is leaving in 15 minutes! I e-mail you guys!" Squall said, running out. He didnít think he would last another minute on there with Seifer without breaking down.

He ran all the way to the train station, bought his ticket, and flopped into his seat just before the train went off. He let out a huge sigh, and rubbed his temples. The tension was getting to him.

He felt a wetness caress his face as it dripped down his face. He looked in the window because of the light in the train, and the darkness outside he could see his reflection. He was indeed crying. Crying silently. The pain inside was unbearable.

Squall closed his eyes as the tears continued to fall as he leaned his head back to rest. He was going back to his calm, and carefree life, though he knew that it would never be the same again. He would never be the same again.

It was a month after the wedding as Squall walked towards the Winhill, his town, and home. After the wedding his mailbox was full of e-mails almost everyday. He spent at least an hour a day returning e-mails. Though it wasnít fun. Everyone of them opened his wound, and let it bleed.

He couldnít forget his feelings for Seifer not matter how much he tried to deny it, and all the e-mail either said something to remind him of Seifer, or even mentioned Seifer. For he started getting e-mails from Raijin, and Athena, Fujin, and Nida, and more from Zell.

He got back, and everyone had noticed the changes. He was blunt, and short whenever anyone asked about the wedding, or how his friends were. He would say the wedding was perfect, and his friends seemed content. He was blunt, and less talkative. Slipping back into the shell he was so long ago.

Latonia, and Lennox seemed concerned, and timid around him. They were unsure to what happened to him at first. Squall realize this, and made a effort around them. Around the two he forgot about Seifer, and had fun. This pleased the two, and that relationship wasnít too badly hurt.

Also he gave Latonia the stuffed Chocobo that he bought while he was on vacation in Deling City. He also bought Lennox a book with pictures, and profiles of all monsters, and GFís. He forgot about the gifts till the second week he was back. It seemed to repair the uncertainty they were feeling towards Squall.

Though when Latonia, and Lennox were at school or werenít around, he went back into the ice shell, or become the ĎLeonhartlessí again. He stayed at home, and didnít go out, unless he was needed, or circled the place for monsters. The town was noticing his change, and he knew that they were gossiping about him. It was a small town. Everyone knew everyone, and everyone was curious to this sudden change. Everyone had there own ideas, and thoughts.

One time when he was on his way home, Mrs. Yehosha yelled at him to get his ass over to her. He begrudgingly did. She pulled him in for tea, and freshly backed cookies were she demanded to know what happened, and what was wrong.

Squall sighed as he remembered the conversation. It wasnít pretty because he refused to tell her. She got angry, and scolded him. She told him to get his act together, and stop acting like it was the end of the world.

In turn, he flipped out at her. He told her, she nothing of the pain he went through. Before, during, and after the wars. Abandoned time, and time again. All alone, and unloved. He was angry, and was steaming. She smiled.

She calmed him down, and told him she did that to get a reaction to make sure he was alive. She then asked again, and Squall tired, explained everything. Everything he could remember as a child, at the garden, the war, and after the war.

She sat, and listened as he explained the pain, loneliness, abandonment he experienced as he grew up. Also about the only one that seemed to care through it all, Seifer Almasy. She listened emotionlessly because she knew that Squall didnít want her sympathy, or pity.

Squall also explained what happened with him, and Seifer. She didnít seem appalled by his sexuality, and seemed to expect it. It was then when Squall realized that he loved Seifer, and had for a very longtime. It was just buried so deep that it was hidden from himself. He loved Seifer, but he knew that he had fucked that up.

When he was done, he cried. She tentatively took him in her arms, and rocked him back and forth, whispering encouraging words in his ear. Telling him that he was another son to her, and he wasnít alone because he had her. He felt comforted, and felt a little better, knowing that he was still needed, and loved by somebody.

Finally Squall stopped, and she just held him till he cleaned himself up. He thanked her before he left, and she told him that if he needed anything, like advice, an ear, or anything else, that she was there. It was then that Squall realized that he really did truly treat her, and feel that she was his replaced mother.

He felt better, and was acted warmer after the conversation a week ago, though he still felt depressed, and lonely. He was half happy with what happened at the wedding yet cursed the other, wishing he didnít go. He didnít know what he was missing till he had it in his grip for a while. Then it was gone.

He walked into town, and started down his street when he heard Latonia, and Lennox laughing in their yard. Squall turned to see them tossing a ball around with a tall, blond man as their mother stood on the porch, leaning against the pole, arms crossed, and smiling.

Squall stopped, and gasped. He studied the familiar man. He was about 6'2'í dressed in a long silver trench coat with black leather pants, and a blue vest. Short blond hair that was slicked back. A scar that mirrored his own, and a gunblade at his side.

Squallís bluish grey eyes were caught by the stare of deep aquamarine eyes. Both Latonia, and Lennox stopped to stare at the two as Squall gaped at their new friend, Seifer who was evenly watching Squall.

Mrs. Yehosha also watched with curiosity. The man had walked down, the street, and then stopped, asking for Squall Leonhart. She studied the man, noticing the gunblade, and scar. Just like Squall had described.

She asked for his name, and he told her what she already knew, Seifer Almasy. As her children introduced themselves, she considered her options. The town had been ordered to pretend they knew nothing of Squall, but this was different. He was a friend, and Squallís lost love. He was here, and maybe it meant something. Taking her chances she introduced herself, and told him to wait, that Squall would be on his way.

He smiled at her, and then was dragged into a game with the children. He talked to them, saying that Squall had talked all about them, and started to playing ball. Latonia, and Lennox bamboozled him with questions as they played, and she with her own, till Squall came around the corner, and gasped.

Okay . . . if you want to pass-out you can! All votes in favour! Though you would look like a woman, but hey! This counts as a stressful situation! Squallís logical, or maybe illogical explained to him as Seifer stared at him, and cocked his head at him. Squall knew he was gaping, and was going pale, but what was he supposed to do? Seifer wanted nothing to do with him, and he was here?!

"Squall? This is Seifer Almasy, he came looking for ya! Do you know him?" Lennox asked coming up beside the tall blond. He only came a little higher than Seiferís waist.

Squall just closed his mouth to swallow, glancing at Lennox, and then, almost fearfully, return his gaze to Seifer, who was standing calmly, still studying him.

"Yes, Squall knows me. Heís just a bit surprised, arenít ya Leonhart?" Seifer said, somewhat harshly because he saw the fear, and hated himself for it. Though he needed to talk to Squall no matter how much it hurt. He wanted to be Squallís friend at least, maybe they could put the night behind them. Or back deep in his dreams.

"SQUALL! LOOK OUT! ITíS A MONSTER!" Latonia suddenly shrieked, pointing behind Squall. Squall reacted too late as he turned around, pulling out his gunblade. Instead the monster attacked, and knocked him down.

Squall smashed into the ground, and his gunblade, Lionheart, spun and slid out of reach. With no time to think or get out, the monster attacked again. Squall screamed in pain when he felt something impale him. He spun to his side, and curled into a protective ball.

Squall saw a flash of silver blast by him. He saw Seifer jumped in between him the monster, his gunblade drawn.

"Donít think so, buddy! Cheap move! Youíll have to pay for that one!" Seifer snarled, and attacked the monster. He slashed, and cut the monster till it was pretty much nothing, but dust. As Squall watched, panting for breath as the pain engulfed in. He hissed on pain as he shifted to his back.

"Donít move, Squall," Seifer said, softly as he touched Squall on the arm. Squall flinched away from his touch, and saw the pain cross his aquamarine eyes.

"Seifer can you carry him? We have to get him to his house. Iíll repair him there," Mrs. Yehosha asked, carrying a first aid kit, and some potions. Seifer nodded, as the kids came around.

"Squall, I have to carry you. Hold on all right?" Seifer said, as he put his hands under Squallís shoulder, and knees. As he lifted, Squall hissed in pain, and arched his body away from the arms.

"Relax Squall," Mrs. Yehosha said, touching his forehead. Brushing some of the hair away. ďLennox gently, and carefully pick up Squallís gunblade," Lennox commanded. Lennox gleamed, and reached to carry the sword.

"This way, Mr. Seifer," Latonia said, tugging gently on Seiferís sleeve. He smiled weakly, and started to follow the young girl.

Squall felt the first step, and movement. The jiggling was too much for the pain allover his body, or at least it felt that way. He screamed as the pain jolted through his spine, and collapsed into darkness. Partially the pain, and the other the shock. At least there he didnít have to think or feel all the pain, mentally, and physically.

Squall felt himself coming to. He could feel he was on his stomach, and without a shirt, and could dully feel the pain, but he could feel potions working on his body. The pain had lessened, and was based around the one area on his back were he felt the monster impale him.

Squall mentally cursed at himself for being do weak, and getting caught off guard like that. There was no excuse. What does Seifer think? Heíll think that Mrs. Yehosha does this on a regular-bases.

"There! He should be all right. He has quite a few bruises, and were the monster stabbed him there will be another scar, but by tomorrow he will be completely healed. Maybe some stiffness, and tired, but no more blood," Squall heard, Mrs. Yehosha sigh as he felt his hands on his back, taping some gauze to a wound.

"Thatís good," Squall heard Seifer sigh. He felt a cool, leather fingertip stroke his upturn palm. Tracing the lines, and creases. Squall let his hand close over the finger, temporarily, and let it go. It then left to Squallís disappointment.

ďStay here with him Seifer, would you?" Mrs. Yehosha asked as the hands left Squallís back. Squall didnít hear a answer so he assumed it was a nod because of Mrs. Yehoshaís sigh. ďThank you, Seifer. I donít like to leave him. I didnít leave him last time," she murmured, and Squall felt her soft finger trace the long scar across his back.

"Last time? Is that where the scar came from?" Squall heard Seifer asked. He heard Mrs. Yehosha let out a rush of air.

"Yes. He saved Latonia, and Lennox. He had only been here a year, and Latonia, and Lennox were attacked by a monster that came out of nowhere. He threw himself in front of them, and took the blow. He got my children out, and killed the monster. Then collapsed. It was then he was truly accepted by me, and the town," she explained still touching the scar.

"What do you mean accepted? Heís a hero, and the town didnít like him?" Seifer asked, incredulously.

"I guess I mean me, I suppose. I thought he was some suck-up teenager who just happened to be the one in the way, and given the respect. I thought he didnít deserve it. It was then I realized that he was good, and talented. I took him in as another son. It was just recently I found out how wrong I was. His life was not easy. None of yours were. Hard lives, and at so young," Mrs. Yehosha whispered. Seifer said nothing in response.

Squall twitched as he felt a muscle contract. Silence was what he was met with. They seemed to be waiting for him to open his eyes. He wisely didnít. He was too tired anyway.

"Letís go. Weíll let him rest," Mrs. Yehosha said, and Squall heard them retreat. Not before he felt a gloved hand brushed some of his bangs from his eyes.

The hand then quickly left, and Squall heard the footsteps of the two leaving. Squall opened, his eyes a little, and then changed his mind. He closed them, and went back into the darkness. He was tired, and his body was begging for it. He fell into a dreamless, but restful sleep.

Though before he fell into the rest, he wonder why Seifer was there, and showed so much care? Didnít he hate him? Squall was confused, but was too sleepy to care, and fell asleep.

Squall could hear the chirps of the birds, and could feel the warmth of the sun on his back. He groaned, and he pushed himself up, yawning, and stretching. He blinked, rubbing the sleepiness from his eyes as he sat on the edge of his bed.

He remembered what happened with he felt a stiffness in his back, and stood to look in the mirror. He turned his back to the mirror, removed the gauze, and looked at his new scar, It was reddish, thin, and would probably be gone by tomorrow. It was about 3 inches long. It was down near his hip in the opposite direction of his other scar on his back.

Squall yawned again, and ran his fingers through his hair. He was only wearing his black jeans, and walked down the stairs. He looked at the clock in the kitchen, and it was a little after 11 in the morning.

Just when he remembered that Seifer stayed, he felt someone behind him. He spun around to come face to face with Seifer, who was watching him with concern, and pleasure. Squall was confused again. What was going on? Didnít Seifer hate him?

"All right? You gave us quite a scare yesterday," Seifer said, softly as Squall looked down. Seifer was dressed in his leather pants, and vest. They were wrinkled, telling Squall that he had slept in them.

"What are you doing here?" Squall asked, softly. Squall cringed at his own harshness in his voice. He saw the slight pain run across Seiferís face. It disappeared before he could really read it. Made him wonder if he saw it at all.

"I came to talk to you. It was . . . . how would you say . . . .awkward when you left," Seifer said, walking by Squall to the coffee machine, and pouring two cups.

"What is there to say? You regret it, and I - "Squall started to say, shrugging. A hot cup of coffee with double cream, the way he liked it, was shoved before him.

"Is that what you think? Tell me, Squall. What is your feelings on what happened that night? Because unlike you I remember quite a bit. Including some of your demands, and truths," Seifer said, stiffly. He had thought this out, and was determined to face Squall, and ask.

Squall stared at Seifer, gaping. Squall ran a hand through his bangs, and then sat down at the table, and stirred his coffee mug with a spoon, and watched the whirlpool as Seifer sat, carefully before him.

"Squall? Do you remember at all? If you donít, I will tell you. I will tell you everything you said, and what I said," Seifer said, softly as Squall continued to watch his coffee. Squall could remember pretty much everything, but some of it was hazy. ďSquall?" Seifer probed again.

"I . . . . I remember admitting about being gay, and my lover Kelso. I think I then said . . . . . . . ď Squall wasnít sure if he should continue, and looked up at Seifer. Seiferís eyes were softly imploring, asking, no, begging him to continue. ďI admitted that I wanted you, and I didnít want to lose the friendship. We then slept together,"  Squall said, not breaking his gaze from Seiferís.

"And? What do you feel?" Seifer asked, demanding. Squall felt anger run through him. He slammed his palm on the table surface, and stood up, glaring at Seifer as Seifer sat, for the most part, unpulsed.

"God dammit Seifer! What do you want me to say? That I love you! Will you have that! I love you, and I swear it is slowly killing me! I know you regret it so why in the fuck are you here?!" Squall demanded, his eyes going blue in anger as he turned away from Seifer.

Without a word, Seifer grabbed Squallís upper arm, spun Squall to face him, and pushed his lips against Squallís. Squall was confused, and instantly started to fight. Tears started to pour from his sky blue eyes, and as Seifer held him against his chest, Squall stopped, leaning against the warm chest.

"To be precise. Iím here because I love you, Squall. I thought you regretted that evening, Leo," Seifer whispered as he kissed the tears away from his loverís face, using his nickname he gave Squall that night.

"You mean, we have wasted a month because of our fears, and being idiots?!" Squall asked, incredulously. Seifer just kissed him again.

"Yes," Seifer whispered against Squallís lips. Squall was breathing heavily as their foreheads touched.

"Stay with me this time?" Squall asked, in a small voice, begging. He needed, he wanted, he desired, he loved Seifer Almasy, his rival.

"Always," Seifer whispered as he caught Squallís lips in a passionate, worshipping kiss. The two closing the promise. Finally admitting the truth. They had finally stopped running. From the world, the fears, and themselves. Especially from each other.

~*Owari*~

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