By Scarlet Fever
Squall paused at the front desk to find out which room Laguna was staying in. He thanked the desk clerk and hurried to the elevator, which Seifer was holding for him. He entered the elevator, the length of his body brushing against Seifer’s.
“Did you find out?”
Squall nodded. He just looked at the man beside him, not really knowing what to say. Things had been easy with the others around, but now that they were alone again, he felt the tension rise, thick and ready to boil over. He noticed Seifer touching his lip.
“Are you sure you’re okay?”
“I’m fine. Just a split lip.”
“It’s kinda bruised.”
“Yeah, he hit me pretty hard. But don’t tell him I said that.” Seifer smiled. It seemed so unnatural for him to do so. As long as Squall had known him, smiling had never been associated with Seifer. More like scowling, or now it would be a distant sadness.
“I won’t.” The elevator stopped.
“Well, see you around, I guess…” Seifer began to step out.
“Wait…. Do you want to get breakfast tomorrow, away from the hotel, I mean….”
“Sure.” Seifer answered simply, avoiding more embarrassment on Squall’s part.
Squall smiled broadly. “Great! I’ll come get you tomorrow morning, then.”
The doors closed before Squall could see Seifer smiling again.
Squall felt loose, like he was melting. His mood soured when his mind began to wonder to Rinoa, though. When had things become so fucked up? When did he begin seeing their relationship as a hindrance rather than something pleasurable? He wiped these thoughts out of his head when the elevator stopped. There were only a handful of doors on this floor, the snazzy floor. Squall knew he was in the right place when there were guards standing around, their imposing arms crossed across big barrel chests. He stopped in front of one particularly beefy man.
“Is this President Loire’s suite?”
The guard looked at him like he was an insect. “Who are you?”
“I’m his son.”
He looked surprised. “Hang on a sec.”
Squall leaned against the wall, brushing lint off his black dress shirt, which didn’t look very dressy. He wore it over a white wifebeater, only two buttons near the top buttoned up. He also wore baggy charcoal gray slacks on which the cuffs were starting to get worn because Squall would end up occasionally walking on them.
“Go on in.”
Squall saluted the big man and entered the room.
Squall was astonished at the decadence of the room. There was a large sitting area with overstuffed wingback chairs surrounding a large round table, all of which looked antique. He could see a long bar in the corner, and the bedroom looked larger than Squall’s entire room.
“Squall!” Laguna’s handsome face lit up. He was sitting in one of the large chairs. The navy of the furniture brought out the navy in his suit. He put down the forms he had been reading and stood to greet his son. They embraced briefly and Laguna held him out at arm’s length.
“You look good.”
“Thanks. Look, Laguna…”
“Ah, ah, call me Dad.” He interrupted gently, the small wrinkles at the corners of his eyes creasing up as he smiled.
“Sorry, Dad. Anyway, I’m sorry I came so late.”
“It’s cool, man. You can keep me company now.”
Squall sat in the chair across from Laguna, ice blue eyes meeting their matching pair across the table.
“Huh?” Squall was taken aback.
“I can see it in your eyes.”
“What?” Squall was intrigued.
He sighed. “I guess you could call it that.”
“Well, at least we aren’t sticking to small talk about the weather.”
Squall smiled at his father. “I guess I can’t fool you.”
Laguna shook his head, his loose black hair, sprinkled with gray, swinging around his shoulders. “Well, tell me.”
“I’m beginning to wonder about my relationship with Rinoa…”
Laguna’s face fell. He never was very dignified. “Oh?” Laguna had always had a soft spot in his heart for the daughter of Julia Heartilly.
“We just seem to fight constantly. I don’t want to hurt her, but I’m wondering if it’s all worth it…”
“Every relationship has its ups and downs.” Laguna had a wistful look in his mature eyes.
“You’re thinking about Raine, aren’t you?” Squall always felt somewhat bad when he thought of his mother. He had wished he could have met her. A small smile played on his lips when he thought of the day that he saw her ghost in Winhill.
“Well, anyway, give your relationship time.”
Squall then became distant, his mind wandering to Seifer. He hadn’t thought of him in so long, and now all these feelings were rushing upon him. It was almost more than he could handle. Years of pent-up emotions were all coming down on him so fast…
He looked up. His father was giving him a strange look.
“Was I out of it?”
“I would say so. There’s something you’re not telling me. Is there someone else?”
Squall thought for a few moments. “I honestly don’t know. It’s just…. damn, I don’t know.”
“Do you think she’s seeing someone.”
“No, no. It’s me…. I think. Well, it’s that I’m having these feeling come up again that I thought were dead and buried, or didn’t even know existed.” Squall sighed. “I’m not explaining myself too well…”
Laguna laughed. “You sound like me!”
“Look, Dad, I don’t want to be rude, but I don’t feel like talking about it and I don’t really want to involve this other person.”
“Fine, fine. This conversation was getting depressing anyway. But before we do change the subject, I’ll just give you one piece of advice. Listen to your heart.”
“That sounds so cliché.”
“I know, but it’s tried and true.”
Laguna groaned. “You are going to run that saying into the ground, aren’t you.”
Squall shrugged absently as Laguna began chattering. He got comfortable, because he knew his father, and his chatter never ended……
Seifer collapsed on the bed, eyeing the pile of work angrily. He wasn’t in the mood to sift through moldy old files, but he also didn’t want to get fired. He slowly got up, stretching his long body. He opened the laptop, plugging in a pair of headphones. At least he could listen to music to keep things interesting. He put on his glasses and sat in front of the computer, chewing on the cord for the headphones as he read. He had always worked quickly, and after an hour or two, he was nearly through the pile.
Eventually, his mind seemed to wander. The surprise of seeing Squall here had finally hit him. He closed his eyes wearily, steepling his fingers. So, Squall and Rinoa were still together. He wasn’t surprised, so why was he disappointed? Was it because of Rinoa? Were there harbored feelings there?
“Yeah, whatever.” Seifer whispered to himself. He was hoping that things had fizzled out, and this thought made him feel bad. He didn’t want to hurt Rinoa. But hurting people was all he seemed to do.
He got up and stretched his long legs, feeling alone, lonely. He had only planned on working all night, but now his mind, his heart, were muddled with conflicting feelings. Feelings that he couldn’t control, couldn’t put a finger on. He hated being like this, but then again, he hated much of what he was.
“He’s never going to think of you the way you want him to,” he told himself as he opened the window, letting the cold air in, waking him up, snapping him back into reality. How did Seifer want Squall to think of him? Not hating him, looking down upon him, resenting him.
“You want him to love you…” Seifer trailed off, this being the first time he ever had actually said it aloud, truly admitted it to himself. Now that he said it out loud, confessed it, he wouldn’t be able to stop thinking about it. Seifer had opened Pandora’s Box. Despite the cold air flowing past the sheer drapes, he could feel the warmth of Squall’s body as they brushed together in the elevator. Could still feel the gaze of those pale eyes on him, the same pale eyes that accused him in his dreams every night. Seifer knew the tension among them was still high, and he couldn’t blame anyone. Resentment wouldn’t disappear with his apologies, no matter how sincere he made them.
He sighed, all his emotion put into it. The gesture left him exhausted. All he wanted was to feel Squall near him, just hold him, breathe him in, and feel needed by him.
“Come on, you idiot. Snap out of it.” Seifer rubbed his temples and returned to the computer, putting on his favorite depressing music. He had to try to kill these feelings, destroy them before they destroyed more than just Seifer himself. He touched his now full bottom lip. It was beginning to throb. He wasn’t going to give Zell the satisfaction of knowing that the punch had really hurt, but it had. He paused, wondering what it would feel like to have Squall’s lips brush away the pain, wondered what Squall would taste like.
“Stop it…” It barely came out as a whisper. He turned back to his work, determined not to think about it anymore. But he knew he would, knew it would consume him…….
Squall quietly opened the door, not wanting to disturb Zell or Quistis. Both were sleeping. Zell was on his stomach, his muscular back bare, rising and falling gently with his breathing. Quistis was curled in a ball, her golden hair fanning about her like artificial sunlight. Squall could see why Zell admired her so much. Squall’s mind thought about another golden-haired object of desire.
“One?” Squall questioned quietly as he checked the red digital numbers on the room’s alarm clock. Laguna sure did like to talk.
Squall got undressed to his black boxers, not caring if Quistis or Zell saw him in his underwear. He was too tired for pretenses. He thought he would fall asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow, but he just stared at the ceiling, thinking. Laguna hadn’t been much help. Squall felt so conflicted. He still loved Rinoa, or else he wouldn’t care how she felt. But was compassion and obligation all it was? He touched the scar between his eyes. How could he be thinking of the man who marred him in this way? He had so many questions that he couldn’t answer.
He closed his eyes, sleep finally coming over him. His dreams were fragmented and didn’t make sense, like Zell being Irvine and them going to some Garth Brooks concert that turned into a pie eating contest.
He suddenly could only see black as warmth pressed against the side of his body. It radiated all around him, and a gentle caress of a hand motioned in slow circles on his flat stomach. He felt balmy breath against his cheek. The breath whispered ‘Squall’ a couple of times. The voice sounded like Rinoa. He turned his head, but was looking into Seifer’s eyes, drowning in them. Squall reached up a shaky hand to lightly trace Seifer’s cheekbone, caress the swollen lip. Seifer smiled at him, kissing the palm of Squall’s hand.
He opened his mouth to speak, but stopped when he felt Seifer move on top of him, straddling his waist, the heat of his body now coursing in Squall’s veins, burning hotter than a hundred suns. Seifer leaned in and began leaving butterfly light kisses over Squall’s face, every inch except the part that Squall wanted. He wanted to have Seifer kiss him, taste him….love him. When Seifer finally reached his mouth, their lips brushed far too quickly. Seifer breathed into his mouth, which took his own away. He couldn’t take the teasing anymore, catching the swollen bottom lip in his teeth, lightly, playfully biting down, drawing it into his mouth.
For a long time, Squall had wondered what it would be like to kiss Seifer, and now that it was here, he didn’t know what to do. Seifer was doing things that Squall couldn’t have even imagined. It tasted like the sweetest honey, felt like the softest silk, burned like hell fire. Seifer’s full weight was on him now, applying delicious pressure to every inch of Squall.
It was true. Seifer was sex. His kisses were probably more pleasurable than lovemaking from anyone else. He didn’t even make a move to try anything else with Squall, just kissing him, touching his bare chest, his long, skeletal fingers brushing Squall’s erect nipples. Squall licked the seam of those honey sweet lips, parting them, tasting within Seifer’s mouth. When their tongues touched, Squall could feel electricity in all his nerves, almost debilitating him. Squall’s whole body tightened as Seifer sighed into his mouth, letting Squall taste him, run against his teeth, the ridges on the roof of his mouth.
Squall had never felt anything like this before, this much euphoria. If this was the way it was with just kissing, would he be able to stay conscious for more?
He had the feeling he was going to find out as Seifer kissed a moist trail down his throat, branding him across the collarbone, behind his earlobe. Until this point, Squall’s voice had failed him, but now a small whimper escaped his throat as he pressed his mouth to Seifer’s forehead. He threw his head against the pillow as Seifer playfully bit into his neck. It was only now that Squall realized a tear had escaped his closed eyes. He smiled. Squall had never actually cried tears of joy before. Then again, he had never felt like this before. There was a first time for everything.
“Squall? Are you okay?” Squall scowled in confusion.
“Squall?” Rinoa’s voice was coming from Seifer’s lips.
He opened his eyes to see Rinoa sitting on top of him, concern all over her angelic face. “What?”
Squall sat up, a difficult task with Rinoa on him. He looked around the room, looking for Seifer. Instead, Zell was still on his stomach, Quistis still in her ball. More tears escaped him when he realized he had been dreaming.
“Oh my god! Squall!” Rinoa was still quiet, in order not to wake the others.
“It’s okay. Just a dream.”
Rinoa looked confused as she crawled off of him. “I thought that you were awake….” She blushed slightly.
“…Oh.” That was the only thing Squall could think to say. All he wanted was to feel Seifer all over him, feel lost in Seifer’s arms.
“It’s just that…it’s never been like that before. I thought you were awake….” She was blushing furiously.
Squall looked at the clock radio. “Three? What are you doing in here at three in the morning?”
“Keep your voice down. You don’t want to wake Zell or Quistis, do you?”
Squall nodded and waited for his girlfriend to answer.
“I couldn’t sleep. I kept thinking about our fight. I came up to see if you were sleeping…. I thought that you were awake…” She blushed furiously again.
Squall suddenly felt the urge to laugh. No wonder Seifer hadn’t touched him further. It was really Rinoa. He started laughing softly.
“What’s so funny?”
Squall waved his hand, wiping the tears from his eyes. “Nothing, nothing.” He looked at Rinoa. So many emotions were passing across her face, and he could imagine what his expression was.
“Are you still angry with me?”
“No.” Squall felt he should say this regardless, but he meant it. He motioned for Rinoa to come closer. He sighed when she hesitated slightly. “Why don’t you want me?”
Rinoa just looked at him, not sure what to say.
“Is it me? Is that it? Or is it just you?”
“What do you mean?” Rinoa pulled away from him so she could meet his eyes, pulling her gray tank top out of Squall’s grip. Anger was starting to seep into her breathy voice.
“Well, I’m just wondering if I’m sexually undesirable, or if you’re just giving Shiva a run for her money.”
“What?” This single word came out too loudly, causing Zell to stir. He settled again.
“You heard me. Were you this way with all your boyfriends?”
“Any boyfriend in particular, Squall?” Her voice was dripping with wrath. “Or maybe just one…right? Are you worried that I fucked Seifer, and not you?”
He scowled. He had wondered, but didn’t think that they had. He suddenly tasted honey on his lips.
“Selphie told me he’s here. Why don’t you ask him yourself?”
“God, will you two shut the fuck up!” Zell sat up, his face firm with rage. His messy hair caused him to look like a pouting child.
“Quiet, or you’ll wake Quistis.” Squall warned.
“I’m already awake.” She slowly sat up, stretching cat-like. “Don’t mind us while you fight. Sleep isn’t that important.”
Zell stood, clutching his pillow to his chest. “I’m tired as hell, and you two assholes do nothing but fight.” He headed to the door. “Come on, Quisty.”
“Where are you going?” asked Rinoa, eyeing Squall angrily.
“Look, I’m going to ask Seifer if I can sleep in his room, so that should say how much I don’t want to talk to either of you right now.”
Quistis quietly followed, shuffling with sleep. She shook her head at both of them.
“See what you’ve done.” Rinoa spat. “If you could think with more than your cock..”
“Oh, don’t you dare blame me for everything. Oh wait, I forgot. You’re perfect!”
Rinoa crossed her arms over her chest. “I never said that!”
Squall sighed. This was going to be a long night.
Seifer looked up from the infomercial for ‘natural looking toupees’ he was watching when he heard a knock at the door. He sighed, knowing he was going to miss the part where they set the hair on fire to show its durability. That was the funniest part. Raijin had got him addicted to infomercials. They were strangely appealing in their stupidity.
“Coming, coming..” he muttered as the knocking became more persistent. He expected it to be someone he worked with, but was surprised when he saw Zell and Quistis. “What are you doing here?”
“Did we wake you?” Quistis asked sleepily as Zell pushed past Seifer into the room.
“No, I was awake. Can I help you?”
“We’re sleeping in here.”
Seifer just raised his eyebrows. “Says who?”
“Please don’t pay attention to Zell. Come on, we should stay in Selphie’s room.”
“What’s wrong with your room?”
Zell yawned, curling up on the bed. “Squall and Rinoa are fighting.”
“Oh? About what?”
“Does it matter?” Quistis sat wearily in a chair, suddenly feeling self-conscious. She was wearing a black lace nightgown, and one of the thin satin straps was down around her elbow, giving an eyeful of cleavage. However, Seifer didn’t seem interested in the least, and Zell was too tired to care. She could have been naked.
“I guess you can. But I have the right to throw you out.” Seifer sat on the bed beside Zell. “Quistis, you can have the bed.”
She shook her head. “Why, because I’m a woman?”
“It’s the polite thing to do.”
“It’s your room.” Her voice trailed off as she went to the bathroom.
“Or you two could share it, eh, Zell?” Seifer said this very quietly, so Quistis wouldn’t hear.
Zell looked up at him. “What?”
“I think you know what I’m talking about, pussy boy.”
“Squall told you, didn’t he?!”
“No. I’m not an idiot. I figured it out.”
“Don’t you dare say anything, Seifer. I’ll kill you, I swear to god!”
Seifer just laughed. “I can’t make any promises. I might talk in my sleep, you know…” He trailed off, gleefully watching Zell’s face turn red with anger.
He was too busy laughing at the situation to react when Zell pounced on him, bending his arm at an awkward, painful angle. Seifer only laughed, which infuriated Zell further. He sat on Seifer’s waist, digging his knee into his stomach.
“Ow, ow.” Seifer protested through his giggles.
“You find this funny?” Zell gave his arm a violent jerk.
Seifer cried out. “Actually, I do.” He reached his leg up, using his foot to try to push Zell off, but Zell used his legs as a vice.
“Swear that you won’t tell anyone.”
“Maybe she feels the same way, eh?” He took his breath in sharply as Zell yanked his arm again.
“You know, if you break my arm, I think that’s just cause enough to throw you out of here. But Quistis can stay…” He trailed off, laughing again. It was far too easy to bait Zell.
“Swear!” He dug his knee in farther.
“On what?” Seifer now squeezed the muscle in
Zell’s thigh, causing Zell to yelp in pain.
Zell leaned in, close enough to feel Seifer’s breath. “On Squall.”
Seifer looked as if he had been slapped in the face.
“I’m not an idiot, either. If you say anything to Quistis, I’ll tell Squall that you’re in love with him.”
Seifer just looked away.
“I swear.” Seifer whispered.
“You know,” Zell pondered, relaxing his grip on Seifer’s arm slightly. “If someone walked in on us, they’d totally get the wrong idea.”
Seifer smiled, using this opportunity to clamber out of Zell’s grip, getting the smaller man in a headlock. “I don’t think they would. Nobody who knows me would believe I would ever sleep with you.”
“Ha, ha, ha, motherfucker. Why does everyone find the idea of me having sex funny?” Zell clawed at Seifer’s hands, which only caused the thin man to laugh.
“That tickles! You probably leave hot dog buns in the covers.”
Zell gasped in mock anger. “That was only once!”
This remark caused Seifer to laugh hysterically, the vibration going into Zell’s back. He used this chance to try to get out of the headlock. He bit Seifer’s thumb.
“Ouch! What was that?!” He put his knee in Zell’s back, applying pressure. “I could break your back right now, you know.”
Zell said nothing. He was just sitting there, holding Seifer’s hand in front of him.
“Come on, pussy boy! I couldn’t have hurt you. I’ve done way worse than this…” he trailed off as Zell’s fingers touched his wrist.
“What are these?”
Seifer let go of Zell, pulling his arm away. “What’s Quistis doing in the bathroom? She’s been in there a long time…”
“Don’t avoid my question, Seifer.” He turned Seifer’s arms over, looking at the ribbon scars that crisscrossed on his pale wrists, standing out pink against the white. “When did you do these?”
“At various intervals.” Seifer pulled away, a sadness coming over him.
“How many times?” Zell asked, looking up as Quistis came out of the bathroom.
“There you are. I was about to send a search party.” Seifer said quietly.
“I think I fell asleep while I was washing my hands.”
“Standing up?” Zell asked, but he was staring at Seifer.
“Chocobos sleep standing up…”
She shrugged at Seifer, curling up on the floor. “I’m sleeping on the floor. Deal with it.”
They sat in silence for a minute. Quistis fell asleep. Seifer sighed, leaning against the headboard.
“You never answered me, Seifer.”
“Let’s just say the third time isn’t a charm.”
“You want to die? You seemed fine today…”
“I can pretend to function quite well.”
“Do you still want to?”
“What? Kill myself?”
Zell nodded, turning his body to face Seifer.
“I’d be lying if I said no.”
Zell looked at him, like he was looking at the true
Seifer for the first time. “Have you always felt like this?”
Seifer sighed. “Yes.”
“What?” Zell whispered.
“Feel sorry for me. I don’t want your pity….”
Zell smiled sadly. “At least some things remain the same.”
A small smirk graced Seifer’s lips. “Guess so…”
Zell moved towards Seifer. He opened his mouth to protest, wanting to say ‘I’m not in the mood to beat you up anymore’, but stopped when Zell wrapped his muscular arms around Seifer’s thin waist, holding him in a tight embrace.
“I can’t help feeling sorry for you.” Zell pressed his cheek to Seifer’s chest, listening to his heartbeat.
Seifer just sat there. Mostly from shock, but also because Zell had his arms pinned to his sides. He let out his breath slowly, resting his cheek on the top of Zell’s messy hair. He moved so he could use his arms. He wrapped them around Zell, pulling him closer, feeling strangely comforted. “What’s wrong with me?” He whispered this more to himself than to Zell.
He responded by holding Seifer tighter. There was nothing sexual about the hug. It was chaste, comfortable, comforting. Seifer breathed in deeply, grasping his emotions, controlling them. He knew that if he let go, he wouldn’t be able to regain his composure. He closed his eyes, Zell’s even breathing lulling him into calmness.
Seifer opened his eyes after a while, the pale gold light of the pink and mauve sunrise warming his face. He looked over to the clock, which read 6:30.
“Must have fallen asleep…” he trailed off, feeling Zell’s weight on his body. He pushed him off gently. He didn’t feel embarrassed that they had fallen asleep together, because there was nothing sexual about it.
He went into the bathroom, brushing his teeth in silence. As he washed his mouth out, he caught his eyes in the mirror, sadness reflected there. He gripped the edge of the white marble counter, his knuckles matching the ghost-like paleness. He felt the tiny thread that held all his emotions in place beginning to fray. Seifer didn’t know if he could handle letting it all out, flooding himself with the full impact of his feelings. His vision began to blur, from sheer emotion, and the tears that were beginning to form in his eyes, making them even more oceanic. He tried to hold on, but the thread finally snapped, and as it did, he let out a choked gasp, slowly lowering himself to the floor, not wanting to pass out. The bathtub was cool against Seifer’s now burning cheek. Who was he kidding? He had thought that he could pass off this ‘functional human being’ façade, but Zell’s reaction to him had been a beacon of truth. Telling him he had failed.
He silently cried, curled up pathetically on the bathroom floor, wishing for it all to end, wanting something to give, something to break. He wanted anything to numb the pain he felt. Pain about everything.
He was hurt, and he didn’t want to suffer.
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