Somewhat Damaged

Part Two

By Scarlet Fever

He felt the hard metal entering the soft, sensitive flesh of his face, so cold it burned. The blood ran in paths down his cheek, but he felt no pain, just deep anger. Anger and........hurt? Betrayal? He couldn't put into words the feelings he had towards his assailant, he just knew it consumed him. Everything was happening so fast, he didn't realize he had retaliated until he heard a pained gasp, until he saw a pool of red to match the one he had spilled onto the ground. The other's gunblade fell out of his hand, making a clang that sounded so final, so irreversible. His made the same echoing, emptying noise as he lost grip of it's now heavy handle. He sank to his knees in front of his opponent, who sat back in disbelief, soaking in all that had just happened. It was as if neither of them had been there until this moment. He looked at the other, his face matching in it's bloodstreaked surprise.

He blinked a few times, not able to find his voice, the light rain mingling with the spilled blood, causing it to run around his hands, the mixture of his blood and his own. He watched as the other tried to speak, but found his voice failed him as well. They just looked at each other dumbly, their blood dripping on the ground the only noise they made. He watched as the trails of blood went down the face he was so intently looking at, watched as it snaked to the corner of his mouth, watched as the sly pink tongue reached out, stopping the slow journey. He felt an urge he couldn't describe, an urge for something he had never had, but knew he wanted, knew he needed.

He reached out quickly, his reflexes acting much more quickly than his now fuddled mind, and grabbed his opponent's collar. Those fathomless sea blue eyes looked at him with suspicion, but not fear. The sea colour disappeared as the other closed his eyes, preparing for a hefty blow. He pulled him closer, watching the eyes squint shut, preparing for pain. However, instead of reaching up with his hand to assault him, he leaned in closer, tracing a red path with his tongue, tasting the crimson metal on his lips. This metal was warm, filled with the taste of life. He leaned in again, wanting to fulfill his vampiric desires. He slowly licked across the entire cut, greedily swallowing down the blood, grinning through the red liquid that hung on his lips and the body beside him let out a surprised noise, a cooing of shock. His own blood began to drip down on the blonde痴 face, down his neck, under the collar of his shirt.

He sighed as his own actions were being mimicked, as that tongue ran across his own scar, caught the trails of his own blood. They pulled apart for a moment, breathless from the sheer emotion that was building. For him, it was a moment too long, and he pulled the collar again, this time bringing his mouth down on the other's, tasting his own blood on that mouth, sighing as the balmy breath tickled his lips, as the tongue touched his own, their blood flowing together in a crimson tide, joining them forever................

"Squall...?"

"Is he awake?"

"Squall, wake up..."

Squall heard his name as he began to emerge from the soupy veil of sleep that hung over him. "Huh?"

"Get enough beauty sleep?"

"Shut up, Zell."

"We're almost there...."

Squall rubbed his pale blue eyes, opening them slowly. His hand moved down to his cheek, expecting it to be wet. He pulled his hand away, almost disappointed in it's dryness. He looked over to see Rinoa looking at him oddly.

"What?" He asked, stretching his lean body as he sat up.

"You were having a pretty good dream."

Squall furrowed his brow, thinking back to what he had dreamed about. It all seemed hazy now. He then felt the warm heat of blood and the balmy breath against his lips. He blushed slightly. "Um, it was nothing."

Rinoa grinned, but her dark eyes still looked at him strangely.

Squall looked out the window, wondering why he had a dream like that. It wasn't the first time he had dreamed about that night, but he couldn't understand why he would dream of him like that, dream of something that had never happened, but wake up swearing it was real....

"Eeee! We're almost here!"

Squall turned around as Selphie's delighted shrieks filled the train car. She loved to ride trains.

"Are you okay, Squall?"

"Fine, Quistis." Squall smiled at his former instructor weakly. Since after the Ultimecia incident, Quistis and he had become quite close. He felt as if he could tell her anything and she would help to make it better. She had replaced the role that Ellone had had in his childhood; a big sister.

She raised an elegant eyebrow, knowing he was lying through his teeth, but didn't say anything, not wanting everyone to ask Squall questions.

Squall turned his attention back to the window. Why had he had that dream again? The first time had been almost a year ago..... "No", he told himself silently. Don't think about it. It was just a fucked up dream. It never happened. It never would have happened.

"So, if it never would or could have happened, why did you dream about it? Why did you make it up?" The voice in his head rang in his ears. Why was he thinking about him. He hadn't thought about him in a long time. Squall didn't even know if he was still alive...

"God, it's going to be good to see all the people so happy!!" Rinoa mused, delighted. "It's wonderful, knowing that all that we had hoped and dreamed for is finally coming true!"

Squall smiled, knowing how important this was to Rinoa. How important it was to the people of Timber. It was finally being liberated, thanks to the new government in Galbadia. They had been at the Balamb Garden, going through everyday motions when the word had come from the former Forest Owls by way of Chocobo. Timber was being liberated thanks to the office of President Deling II, and that he was going to come to Timber himself to make it official. They had all decided to board the earliest possible train to Timber to be there in person. Selphie shrieked in delight as the train slowed at the Timber station.

"We've been on trains before, Selphie." Zell rolled his eyes at her over the top of his magazine. He looked over at Squall and grinned as their eyes met. Zell loved to pick on Selphie, sort of the same way Seifer had picked on him.

Squall sighed as he thought of Seifer again, which caused Quistis, Zell and Rinoa to look at him again. Their attentions were diverted when the conductor announced that they had arrived.

"Hey, there's Zone!" Rinoa exclaimed, getting out of her seat quickly.

"I still owe him for that train ticket..." Quistis trailed off, her sapphire eyes glinting with mischief.

"I'm sure you do..." Zell trailed off as well, not looking up from his magazine, but Squall could hear the note of jealousy creep into his friend's voice. Zell had developed quite the crush on their former instructor. He could hide it fairly well, but Squall knew him better. The whole thing with that library chick hadn't worked out, and the situation had left Zell feeling less than fantastic about himself. But now he was over it and moving on to greener pastures.

"Squall!" Rinoa called from the front of the train. "Can you get my carry on stuff? Thanks." She bounded out into the sunlight to greet her friends.

Squall reached up to grab what he thought would be a small bag, but groaned when he pulled it down. "What the hell is in this thing? Bowling balls?" He practically had to drag the bag out to the platform, glaring at Rinoa as he did. "Why is this thing so goddamn heavy? We aren't going to be here that long."

She just looked at him, shaking her head. Their relationship hadn't been as hot as it once had, and they had now reached the point where things they did greatly annoyed the other. Squall was wondering if he had been just sucked in by another pretty face, but he pushed that thought out of his mind. He loved Rinoa......didn't he?

Zell stepped onto the platform, still reading his magazine. He didn't notice Rinoa's bag, and hit his foot on it. "Holy fuck!" He grimaced in pain, looking down at his feet. "Jesus fucking Christ, Rinoa."

She didn't noticed Zell's cursing as she talked to Watts and Zone. Zell just looked at Squall and shook his head. Zell had matured a lot since Ultimecia had been defeated, but every now and then, the old Zell would rear his overhyper head. Today he had felt lazy and not bothered to put gel in his hair, so his normally spiky blonde hair hung in his eyes in a ragamuffinishly attractive way. He slowly made his way through the sea of luggage and tired travelers until he was standing beside Squall and Quistis. "Okay, Squall, what's going on?"

"What do you mean?"

Quistis looked at him blankly. "Come on, Zell and myself know you better than anyone. You don't look happy to be here."

Squall sighed, his lithe body slackening. "No, it's not that. Never mind. I'm just getting lost in my head, that's all."

Zell nodded, but he wasn't convinced. He would revisit the subject when there weren't so many people around. His pale eyes looked over the top of the magazine at Quistis as she bent at her slender waist to pick up her bag. She was a beautiful woman, and Zell knew he wasn't the only one who thought so. The sun caught in her honey hair, shining like a shampoo commercial. Today she wore it in two braids, making her look like a schoolgirl, a thought that made a smile play on Zell's lips. She wore a long black coat that brushed against her ankles and was tailored to fit her long body to a T. Underneath she wore a crimson shift dress that reached to the middle of her thighs. Knee height black boots and a long red scarf finished the outfit. She looked great and knew it, but without arrogance.

Quistis looked over and smiled, her sapphire eyes dancing. "What are you staring at?"

"Huh?"

Squall nudged him, smirking. "Yeah, what are you staring at?"

"Nothing. I'm reading." Zell shot his friend a deadly look.

Quistis raised her elegant eyebrow; a motion that made Zell feel all warm. "Zell, usually when people read, they look at the words."

"Screw you all!" Zell muttered.

"Squall, do you know what track the President's train is coming on?" Selphie asked, impatiently tugging on Irvine's hand as his eye wandered to a group of girls standing in front of the pet store.

"I'm assuming the Galbadia track.." he trailed off, before he said more. He didn't want Selphie to think he was making fun of her, even though he sort of was.

She rolled her eyes. "Duh...I知 such a moron." She smacked her cute face with a small hand. This motion made her look twelve rather than eighteen. The denim jump-dress didn't help, either. She smacked Irvine to get his attention. "Stop it, you bastard!"

Squall tuned out. He wasn't in the mood to listen to Irvine and Selphie bicker, then apologize and get all cute. He raised his head as he heard a train entering on the track ahead of him, the Galbadia track.

Rinoa suddenly appeared beside Squall, her white mohair sweater tickling his hand. "That's the President's train."

Squall looked into the tinted windows as it approached, wondering if the President was really sincere about his promise to free Timber. He seemed decent. After all, he had helped Esthar come out from behind of it's veil of secrecy, and Laguna had vouched for him when Squall had told him about the Timber freedom plan. Laguna was planning on attending as well, and Squall was somewhat excited to see his father. Squall had never had a father growing up, and enjoyed the notion.

Squall looked in the window again as he saw a flash of movement. Pale, pale flesh and golden blonde hair. He blinked his pale blue eyes as the figure stood. Willowy, tall, graceful. He was staring, gape-mouthed at the stone carved profile, so regal, elegant. So, so sad. Squall squinted. The flesh was so pale, the body far too thin, so thin.....

"Squall, come on. We have to go to the hotel." Rinoa touched his shoulder gently.

He turned to face her, broken from his vision. He looked into her dark eyes, but saw an ocean of blue, deep and drowning. Squall nodded. "Yeah." He looked back to the train, but his vision was gone. The window was empty. He figured he was just seeing things; a leftover from his dream. He shook his head again. People probably thought he had a nervous tick. 'Stop thinking about that dream', he told himself angrily. He chalked it up to smoking up too much with Zell the night before.

"Can you get my bags?" Rinoa asked, not making it a question as she scampered off to catch up to Selphie and Irvine, who were now as cozy as ever.

"Yes, your highness," Squall muttered, picking up the obscenely heavy carry-on. He regretted being so sarcastic as soon as the words had escaped his sensuous lips. Rinoa hadn't seen her friends in a year. Of course she'd want to spend time with them. He slowly followed, the bag hindering his progress. Zell stopped to wait.

"Need some help?" Zell asked, not offering to help in the least.

"You don't have to tease me, Zell."

"Oh yes I do."

"Shut the fuck up." Squall smiled as he said it. "Do you know what the arrangements are?"

Zell raised an eyebrow in confusion. "Huh?"

"For the hotel rooms...." Squall trailed off, waiting for the light to go off in Zell's brain.

"Uh, I figured you and Rinoa..."

Squall shook his head. "Um, she's 'old fashioned', as she puts it. I think she wants to wait until we're married or something..."

"You don't sound too keen on that. But look at it this way, she can't compare you to anyone, like Seifer...."

Squall looked out into space when Zell mentioned Seifer's name.

"What did I say?" Zell poked Squall's arm.

"Huh? Oh, nothing. We'll decide what to do when we get to the hotel. Damn. What did Rinoa pack?"

"Bowling balls. Or tools to overthrow the government and take Timber for herself and rename it Rinoland."

"You are seriously fucked up. But she hates bowling, so I値l choose the second option."

They continued to the hotel in silence. When they arrived, Squall's arms felt heavy and he wanted to rip Zell's head off for continuously taunting him. He would get him back later.

"What took so long?" Quistis asked as Squall leaned against the train display, waiting for his arms to stop throbbing. He just waved his hand.

"So, who's sharing rooms?" Selphie asked, giving a sly look to Irvine, her emerald green eyes dancing.

"Well, I got two rooms. I would have got more, but I know we aren't all made of money. Each room has three beds, so there's enough."

"Are we doing it that all guys are in one room and all girls are in another?" Zell asked dryly. "I think we're old enough to control ourselves."

"I agree. What do you all want to do?" Quistis asked, looking at Rinoa in particular.

"Irvine and I will share a room. So, we only need one other person."

Squall and Zell looked at Quistis, knowing that she wouldn't be able to handle being in a room with Selphie and Irvine all night. Quistis loved both of them like siblings, but couldn't handle their lovey-dovey stuff for long amounts of time.

Squall looked to Rinoa, motioning her over so he wouldn't have to discuss their relationship with the entire room. "So, would you feel comfortable in the same room, or what....." Squall trailed off.

Rinoa looked into his eyes, seeing that lustful look in his eyes. "Maybe I should stay in Selphie's room. You and Zell can be with Quistis in the other room."

Squall couldn't keep the disappointment from his face. "Oh. That's fine, though. I don't want to pressure you."

"I know." She patted his hand. "I'm just not ready."

"I understand."

"I knew you would." She gave him a peck on the cheek, picking up her stupid carry-on bag. Why did it look so much lighter when she carried it?

Quistis came back from the desk, handing a key to Selphie and keeping one for herself. "So, is everything decided?"

"It's Irvine, Selphie and Rinoa in one room and me, you and Squall in the other." Zell offered.

"I could have figured out the last room..." She rolled her eyes jokingly. She looked at Squall, knowing he was somewhat miffed at sharing with them rather than his girlfriend.

Squall just shrugged at her, expecting these would have been the arrangements. He wasn't disappointed. He found he enjoyed Zell and Quistis's company very much.

They all went to their rooms. Rinoa's room was one floor below theirs. Quistis had tried to get rooms close together, but with the President coming, they were lucky to have gotten anything at all. When Squall, Zell and Quistis had gotten off the elevator on their floor, they were all surprised by the amount of commotion. There were media people milling in the hallway, talking loudly and snapping pictures.

"Hey, buddy," Zell tapped a burly cameraman on the shoulder. "What's going on?"

"Some of the President's aides are staying on this floor. When the press found out, well, you know how the press gets..." The guy said the word 'press' with scorn.

"Uh, you are the press." Zell pointed out.

The guy shot Zell a look. His eyes then wandered to Quistis, who was slowly trying to make her way through the crowd to their room. He smiled, which caused her to make a rude noise.

"Didn't figure that aides would get this kind of attention..." Squall commented.

"Anything for an early scoop. But I guess one of them was intricate in the Esthar joint venture..." The cameraman trailed off when he realized that they weren't listening to him anymore.

The trio finally reached their room, sighing as they were each jabbed by bony elbows and camera equipment. They practically tumbled into the room. The Timber Hotel had done a lot of remodeling since the last time they were all there. The rooms had a very urban feel to them now, and a lounge had been added. It had the feel of a Deling City Hotel now. The changes were probably recent due to the fact that the television connections had been reinstalled and Timber was being freed. There were a lot more people coming through town, and Timber didn稚 want to look backwards.

"Fuck..." Zell collapsed on the closest bed face down. "I am so tired. Do we have to go anywhere right now?"

Squall shrugged. "Who cares?" He chose the bed closest to the window, slowly sitting on the edge of the bed, his mind wandering back to the train, back to that dream. He sighed.

"Okay, it's just us now. What the hell is going on?" Quistis asked, sitting on the last bed, the middle one.

Squall felt bad that he was closest with Quistis and Zell. He should have been the closest with Rinoa. After all, she was his girlfriend. But maybe he was closest with them because he didn't have any sexual attachments to them. He didn't have to worry about that. But, he had been closest with Seifer, and he couldn't say the same. There had always been a strong bond between them, since the time at Edea's orphanage, even though they rarely saw eye to eye or agreed on anything. But Squall had known Seifer inside out, and vice versa, and he had felt something he could never really explain, put his finger on.

"Well?"

Squall looked over to see Quistis looking at him quizzically.

"Hey, how long do you think it takes to suffocate?" Zell asked, his voice muffled by the large duvet on the bed.

"I don't know. Why?" Quistis leaned back against the overstuffed pillows of her bed, turning on the TV.

"Because. I've been lying facedown here for a while, and I知 too lazy to move. I'm just wondering how long I have."

Squall shrugged. "Ask again after an hour."

Quistis snickered as she flipped through the channels. "Hey, I Dream of Jeannie!"

A muffled sigh came from Zell. "Great, now I have to go to the bathroom. Should I get up?" He paused for a few seconds. "I better get up." He stood and went into the bathroom, closing the door. "Did you know we have a hot tub?"

"Really?" Squall raised his eyebrows suggestively.

"Yeah, it's cool. You should see."

Quistis smirked. "I think I値l wait until you're done."

"Tch! Shut up. You love making fun of me, don't you?" His voice was filled with mock pain as it wafted from behind the door.

"It's so easy, though." Quistis retorted. She turned back to Squall. "Okay, enough stalling. You seemed fine when we left Balamb. What happened?"

"Yeah, what happened?" Zell echoed from behind the cherry stained bathroom door. "Hey, is soap supposed to stink?"

"Who cares, Zell!" She turned to Squall again. "So, what.....?"

"Did you and Rinoa have another fight?" Zell came out of the bathroom and flopped down on the bed again. "Face up this time."

"Well, not really. We seem to bicker a lot, though. That isn't it."

"It has to be something big to get your panties in a bunch."

Squall ignored Zell. "I had this weird dream. I had had it before, but....but, well, I haven't had it for a long time. Almost a year."

"What kind of dream? Was it about Ultimecia?" Quistis had a sincere look of concern on her face.

Zell sat up at the mention of the sorceress's name. "Is that it?"

Squall shook his head, his light brown hair falling in his face, hiding the slight creeping of blush to his cheeks. "No, it wasn't about her..."

"You're blushing. It was a sex dream, wasn't it? Wasn't it?" Zell had a silly looking grin on his face that caused both Squall and Quistis to crack up.

Quistis controlled her laughter. "Was it an erotic dream."

"You make it sound so...."

"Sexy?" Zell offered, finishing Squall's sentence.

"I guess so."

"I was right!" Zell had a congratulatory tone in his voice, like he was resisting the urge to pat himself on the back.

Quistis paused, a thoughtful look on her elegant face. "So, if it was a sex dream, why are you so out of it. Unless....."

Squall looked down.

"It wasn't about Rinoa, was it?" She cocked her head, her braids cascading down her shoulders.

He shook his head.

"Ah! Our detective skills are truly unmatched."

She frowned. "You didn't do anything. You just acted like a retard, as usual."

Zell stuck his tongue out at Quistis playfully. "So, who was it about? No, no. Let me guess...was it Quistis?"

Quistis shook her head. "Squall would have told me off the bat if it were me."

"I wouldn't dream about you that way. You're like my sister." Squall shuddered.

"Was it me?" Zell asked.

Quistis and Squall both laughed.

Zell crossed his arms in front of his muscular chest. "I'm sooo happy that the idea of me having sex is so amusing to you both."

"We're sorry," Quistis apologized through her breathless giggles.

"Was it Selphie?" Zell guessed again. "Man, I once had this dream where we were in the Headmaster's office and she had this pointer...." Zell trailed off when he noticed that Squall was staring at him like he said that he ate shit, and Quistis was biting down on her lip in confusion. "I think I値l just shut my big mouth."

"Come on, this is getting old. Tell us, we're your friends." Quistis smiled. "You have to tell someone. You can't just keep it bottled in."

"Yeah, you'll just get constipated."

"Don't listen to him. He's a retard."

Squall sighed. "Fine, but it doesn't leave this room, alright?"

"You know us better than that..." Quistis trailed off and gave Zell a look.

"I'm insulted. I would never break confidence. Are you ashamed?"

Squall smiled slightly. "No, not ashamed. I just don't want to have to explain it if Rinoa found out. She would flip out."

"The suspense is killing me!" Quistis grinned widely.

Squall took a breath, letting it out slowly.

"It wasn't Adel, was it?"

They both looked at Zell. "What the fuck? I am hoping I never get to see the inside of your mind..." Squall trailed off, flopping on the bed. "It was Seifer."

Quistis's smile faltered, while Zell's only grew larger, until it seemed to fill his entire face.

"Seifer...why?"

"I'll tell you why, Zell commented matter-of-factly, testing the springiness of the bed. 的 knew something like this was going on. Even though you and Seifer fought a lot, there was always some sort of connection there. I mean, I fought with Seifer constantly, but I hadn稚 had that, I guess the best word for it is spark, that you guys had. Zell took a breath and continued. 鄭lso, he had something that you never did: passion. You were always so methodical, so robotic, and Seifer wasn稚. It intrigued you, and you intrigued him with your calmness. He was never calm. But the main thing is that he痴 sex.

典hat was very profound of you, Zell. Quistis痴 beautiful face looked amazed.

的 don稚 get your last comment, though.

鏑et me explain. Seifer didn稚 ever have your prettiness. Don稚 take that the wrong way. Seifer was always attractive to everyone, everyone at some point has imagined themselves with him. Am I right?

Quistis shrugged. 添eah. I致e heard lots of people talk about wanting Seifer. Both men and women.

的致e even had a sex dream with Seifer. I think it痴 his pheromones. He is sex personified.

Squall just blinked. 的 can稚 believe that something that Zell is saying actually makes sense. Wow.

添our jest is duly noted. Zell spat dryly.

釘ut my big thing is, well, why now? I haven稚 seen Seifer in almost a year. I haven稚 even thought about him for a while, and now I can稚 stop. I thought I saw him on the President痴 train. And it felt really real.

的t was just a dream. Why are you letting yourself get so worked up? Quistis turned off the television, long since ignored.

釘ecause you池e afraid that the feelings it brought up are hitting a little too close to home, eh?

Quistis shivered. 鉄top it Zell, you池e scaring me.

典ch! Screw you guys. He lay back on the bed, his arms out to the sides, making him look crucified.

溺aybe he痴 right. I mean, I love Rinoa..don稚 I?

典hat痴 something you should probably be discussing with Rinoa, isn稚 it?

Squall nodded. 的 know you池e right, but it just seems that I can稚 talk to her anymore.

Zell sighed. 的 know the feeling, but it happens. Hopefully you guys will have better luck than I did. He trailed off, thinking about his own failed relationship.

Quistis sighed. 溺an, we sure did get depressing fast. Let痴 do something fun!

添ou sound like Selphie.

鼎ome on. There痴 got to be something to do

Zell groaned. 的知 not going back out in that hallway if it痴 still crowded. Say, do we get porn here?

撤orn痴 boring. Squall muttered.

添ou could fall asleep and have some fun that way

Squall sat up slowly and just looked at Zell.

鉄orry.

展hat time is the press thing supposed to start? Quistis asked, changing the subject.

Squall shrugged. 迭inoa would know.

鏑et痴 call her. That way, she can come up here, and you two can spend some time together while Zell and I look for the ice machine.in Galbadia.

Squall smiled. 典hanks, but even if we were alone, we wouldn稚 do anything.

的 never pictured Rinoa as such a.prude. No offense. Quistis mused.

的 did. Zell smirked.

敵od, shut up. I don稚 even want to know what you and Rinoa were doing in your dreams. Quistis gave him a disgusted but amused look.

Zell was about to reply rudely when there was a knock on the door. 鏑et us in!! Selphie痴 perky voice carried through the thick door.

Quistis groaned as both Zell and Squall looked at her. 徹h, don稚 get up. Let me. Bunch a lazy buttheads.

Zell just chuckled as she opened the door. 展ell, well. We don稚 want any. She made a move to close the door, but Irvine痴 arm stuck out to catch it.

展e were bored, so we decided to come up here. Rinoa said, sitting beside Squall on the bed.

的f you came in search of moronic conversation, you found it. Quistis shot a look at Zell.

He just shrugged in response. 展hen痴 the press conference start?

Rinoa looked at her delicate gold watch. 填m, in a few hours. What are we supposed to do until then?"

Squall tuned out the conversation. He got up and stood in front of the window, letting the warm, buttery light warm his skin. He sighed. Zell was probably right. It was just a dream. But then, why did it feel so real? His pale eyes moved downward, watching all the people on the sidewalk below, like ants in one of those farms that children had. His gaze was caught by a billowing of black material, so black against all too pale flesh and golden hair.

迭ight, Squall? Rinoa痴 voice cut into his mind.

滴uh?

展e should get some food before stuff starts, right?

He nodded, not really caring. 添eah, whatever. He looked out the window again quickly, hoping to catch a glimpse again, but the figure was gone..

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