This arc was written for Race Ulfson's birthday and she has kindly agreed to let me post them for the general public's perusal. I'd appreciate reviews if you have the time!


The Birthday Arc

Part 1 - Old Enemies, New Friends

By darksquall


Seifer set the rod down at his side slowly, the urge to toss it into the water almost proving too much for him. However, doing so would be letting them win. The universal them who he was sure all wanted to fuck Leonhart as much as he did because they always seemed to be on the leather clad brunette's side. The universal them were a bunch of fuckwads.

He put his head in his hands and sighed. Of course, if he really to prove the fish wrong, a few well placed grenades and hauling ass off the pier would do that wonderfully. That would be cheating, and while he didn't mind that occasionally, he felt he had to prove himself to the fish and the gods who were laughing at him fair and square.

"You hate fish."

Seifer froze at the voice and groaned inwardly. The quiet, husky tone belonged to angsty little ice queen who he just happened to want to bend over backwards and fuck. He was supposed to hate Squall Leonhart, but he just... couldn't. He wanted to possess him way too much for that.

He looked back over his shoulder at his old rival. The orange-red light of the late afternoon sun caught his chocolate locks and gave them the faintest red sheen, and cast a shadow along the scar and making it look deeper. He was unarmed; no gunblade junction point at his hip, but his eyes bore the glowing silvery haze that always indicated the presence of Shiva. Like that was a surprise, the guy and the goddess were inseparable. Like he and Hyperion were.

The commander was still wearing those tight leathers with six belts. Two of them carried spare ammunition for his blade and he'd more than likely put them on out of habit. He knew once the thigh belts had held a knife sheath under the leather, a back up weapon of course, but just when the quiet young man had stopped wearing that particular piece of kit he wasn't quite sure. He wasn't wearing the jacket, just a short sleeved pale silver tee-shirt that showed a glimpse of a strip of the flesh of his muscular belly.

"Not much else to do right now." Seifer gave him a half hearted smirk.

"There's always studying." Squall tipped his head and shrugged lightly, offering his old rival a small smile. "I'd like you to come back to Garden."

Seifer was somewhat taken aback, by Squall's directness as much as the offer. He shifted his position so he could see the dark haired beauty more easily. "Is this just a ploy so you'll know where I am?"

"Hardly." Squall shifted his weight and stood with one hand on his hip. Seifer half wondered if he was trying to look as attractive as he was managing or if it was all natural. "Do you know how hard it is to find a good training partner?" A half smile curled his lips and he looked almost happy for a moment.

What had happened over the last six months since the morning he'd given Squall his scar he didn't know. But here he was, pale, beautiful and almost smiling. Seifer decided he quite liked the new and improved puberty boy, and he wanted to see a full smile. "They all avoid you now, huh?"

"Sometimes. Sometimes I avoid them." He tossed his hair back out of his eyes. "Look... There's an exam in a month. I want a training partner and... I'd like a friend." Squall looked sincerely hopeful, though his expression was visible it was still barely there. "It's just not the same without you there, Almasy. Too peaceful, I guess. "

Seifer glanced down at the water of the harbour and sighed. It wasn't like he had anything to keep him there except maybe the need to prove them wrong and catch a goddamned fish. This time, he'd pass his exams. He'd prove the doubters wrong and make the press eat their words.

And he'd tell Squall how he felt. He swore that to himself. If he couldn't do anything else in whatever time he had left at garden, he'd do that much.

"I have one condition Leonhart." Seifer smirked up at him, offering a hand for Squall to help him up.

"Such as?" One coffee coloured eyebrow arced delicately over the silver-grey pool of an iris.

"You're buying dinner tonight. And no fish."

Squall gripped Seifer's wrists and hauled him easily to his feet, despite their differences in height, Squall was strong he had to be to be able to use a gunblade effectively and his junctions were there to amplify and add to that strength. "I think I can handle that."

Seifer brushed himself off. "Does this mean I have to call you commander?"

The brunette wrinkled his nose in disgust, looking unconsciously cute. "Hell no. Not while I'm off duty anyway." He shrugged lightly. "It's not like I asked for the position."

"You asked for a friend though." Seifer held onto Squall's wrist a little longer than absolutely necessary, letting his gloved fingers brush over Squall's bare wrist briefly as he finally released him. "You serious? After everything that happened? After... After D-district?"

"When's the last time you heard me joke Almasy?" Squall folded his arms over his chest and glared lightly at the taller man. As far as he was concerned that was in the past and had nothing to do with his ability as a SeeD, or as a gunblade specialist.

"...Good point." Seifer smirked.

"Ready to re-enrol?"

Seifer looked down at the fishing rod one last time and, with one steel capped toe, kicked it into the water. He watched with satisfaction as it sank quickly beneath the surface of the water then turned to Squall, spreading his arms and beaming at the brunette. "Now I am."

Squall rolled his eyes, turned on his heel and headed back for Balamb Garden, with an old enemy, but a new friend in tow. "Ever catch anything?"

"Not yet." Seifer glanced sidelong at Squall. "But I keep hoping."


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