The Redcrosse Knight

Part 4 - hero

By fyre byrd

The sun is warming the dark rock that Seifer and Squall sit on together. They sit close enough together that Seifer can feel the heat of Squallís body beside his, or thinks that he can. It feels nice since Seifer almost always feels a little cold. In the shade even on a hot day his fingers and toes go icy. Squall is stiff beside him and Seifer knows that it is because Squall is a little pissed off about something, but he canít really decide what it is. When Squall latches onto an idea he can be very tenacious and so maybe he is just annoyed that they hadnít gotten started on making up this story right away. Seifer would normally just punch Squall and start a fight. That usually makes Squall forget about whatever stupid things he is thinking inside of his thick head. But again, the bandages on his hand are in the way of a really good fight. So Seifer decides to be mature about it.

"Why shouldnít it start with ĎOnce upon a timeí?" he asks.

"This isnít going to be a fairy tale," Squall shakes his head. Squallís lips are pressed into a tight line and that is some trick because he has thick soft-looking lips. Seifer told him before that he had a girlís lips. Seifer got a black eye for that observation.

"All right then. How should it start?"

"With us," Squall replies sifting sand through his hands. "So, weíre Mrs. Kramerís knights."

"Actually," Seifer points out, frowning. "If weíre dueling with each other we must be on different sides."

"Oh, well, whose side are you on then?" Squall lays back on the rock and closes his eyes.

"Me? Iím Mrs. Kramerís knight of course, since I thought all this up. You must be another sorceressí knight." Seifer realizes that this will probably rile Squall up. He likes seeing Squall angry. Squall so seldom displays any emotion that it is fun to watch him get mad. His gray eyes narrow and spark like the sun would look striking off of a real sword probably.

Predictably, Squall sits up and raises an eyebrow. "You didnít think it all up, liar. But anyway, I guess I can be another sorceressí knight. I really donít care."

"And youíre in love with her, of course," Seifer adds. "She has, oh, dark hair and ink-black eyes and you think that she looks like an angel." Seifer flutters his eyelashes outrageously and makes kissing motions with his puckered lips. He pretends to kiss the back of his hand violently while peering surreptitiously sideways at Squall to watch his reaction. Oh and there are those blistering gray eyes glaring at Seifer through thick lowered lashes.

"I am not in love with my sorceress," Squall says through clenched teeth, smacking Seiferís hand away from his mouth.

"You have to be," Seifer responds reasonably, lacing his hands behind his head. "One of us has to be and I simply canít since Mrs. Kramer is married. It would be unethical."

"It could be courtly love, adoring your lady from afar, chastely and virtuously with a pure spiritual love brighter than the stars," Squall suggests in a deadpan tone.

"Fine, then weíre both madly in love and because of that we fight. Itís enough to start with, isnít it? Now canít we go and practice some more?" Seifer looks for confirmation, but Squall is shaking his head. He can be such a stick in the mud.

"Well, if you like we can make up the rest of the story as we go, but we canít fight now. Zell and Irvine still have to make a new sword for you - your need to conquer overcoming your intelligence or something, remember?" Seifer is almost certain that he said something like that yesterday. Only it sounded better when he said it.

"Oh, I guess youíre right." Seifer sighs deeply and topples off of the rock deliberately to lay full length in the sand.

"So, story," he says, feeling bored with the whole thing already. It is true that it was a brilliant idea, but he would much rather be doing something than messing about with stories.

"There has to be a conflict," Squall points out helpfully, leaning his forearms on his thighs so that he can peer down at Seifer.

"A conflict," Seifer mutters, convinced that perhaps his brain has come loose from his head. "I think," he says profoundly, eyes squinty to protect them from the sun, "that my brain is broken. Yes, it must be. I canít think."

"You never think," Squall toes at Seiferís head. "A conflict between the two sorceresses," he continues.

"Hey, watch it! Your big clunky boots are disarranging my thoughts." Seifer presses his fingertips to his temples and squeezes his eyes shut.

"Your thoughts are in your hair?" Squall mutters beneath his breath. "That explains so much." Seifer chooses to ignore this statement, since he is being so mature today and all.

"Wait, itís coming to me now. Mrs. Kramer decides to try and take over the universe! But then we discover that it isnít really her idea because her mind is being controlled by aliens from outer space."

"Not aliens," Squall groans. "I thought we were knights, not astronauts."

"Oh fine," Seifer says. "You always ruin my best ideas - another Sorceress then Ė from outer space," he adds artfully. Squall slides down to sit in the sand too. Perhaps that pained look on his face, Seifer thinks, is because his arse was sore, but, no, Squall is still wearing it when he nearly sits on Seiferís head.

"My sorceress?" Squall asks raising both eyebrows at once. Yet another tricky eyebrow maneuver which Seifer is incapable of duplicating. He despairs at ever besting Squallís superior eyebrow motions.

"No way," he says adamantly, shaking his head and perversely enjoying the feel of the sand shifting beneath it. "Not the angel. Someoneís gotta be the good guy, you know. I guess this sorceress will like me so much when she is controlling Mrs. Kramerís thoughts through creepy mind magic that she will adopt me for her own knight eventually."

"So youíre the bad guy then? It figures." Squall is looking out to sea, being far too serious in Seiferís opinion.

"I am not the bad guy. I am just misunderstood and if youíre going to go all brooding like a mother hen then I quit. And where will you get genius ideas for your story then?"

"Oh all right, moron," Squall says. "Iíll pay attention to you and only you, since thatís what you clearly want." Squall begins patting Seiferís head fondly like he is an old pathetic dog on its last legs. Thatís okay though, the patting feels nice, especially when Squall begins petting instead, stroking Seiferís hair gently. Anyway, Squall has always wanted a dog Ė well, a lion really, but he compromised and decided at last on a dog since he knew that Mrs. Kramer might find a large jungle cat a bit excessive. And Squall was so disappointed when he only got a stuffed lion because Mrs. Kramer said she had enough Ďanimalsí to look after already and couldnít afford to keep another. So Seifer can be Squallís dog for awhile if thatíll make him happy.

"So then, all I have to do is stop you from taking over the universe - shouldnít be too difficult." Seiferís eyes are closed and he feels warm all through and his limbs feel heavy and useless, but who needs to move when they feel like this and Seifer thinks that dogs donít have it so bad if this is what they feel like so he nearly misses that statement

"Oh no, it wonít be easy! Itíll be incredibly difficult. Iíll lock you up in the dungeon!"

Squall smirks, "But Iíll escape. My sorceress will come and bust me out."

Seifer sighs and shifts himself up on his shoulders. Squallís hand comes up off of his head while he wriggles until his head can rest in Squallís lap. Squall continues petting him. "Oh all right. As long as I get to torture you first, you can escape. But then Iíll storm your sorceressí castle." Squall twines his fingers in Seiferís hair and gives a little tug.

"Well, then Iíll hold you off." Squall threads his fingers through Seiferís hair. Itchy grains of sand spill down Seiferís face and he wrinkles his nose and brushes them off.

"Then Iíll kidnap your sorceress and mine will possess her too!" Seifer crows, triumphant. He tries to look up into Squallís face, but the sunlight is too bright. It shines behind Squallís head as if he is an otherwordly being, too radiant for Seifer to be able to see. Then Squall shoves Seiferís head off of his lap and Squallís body blocks out the sun. Through the green and purple blotches in his vision Seifer can see that he just looks like Squall when he is angry. His face goes rigid and his eyebrows draw together and his eyes glitter.

"I donít need any sorceress to kick your ass. I donít need anyone." Squall says, glittering like the crests of the waves out on the ocean.

"Ow," Seifer says belatedly, for the sake of his head. Then, in a quieter voice, that maybe will be carried away on the wind or drowned out by the steady snarl of the waves, "you need me," Seifer says.

"I donít need anyone." But Seifer knows that Squall does need him. Squall needs Seifer to rile him up. Squall needs Seifer because he is older and more experienced. Squall needs Seifer to put him in his place. Squall needs Seifer to fight with and argue with or else heíd keep everything inside of him until he became so heavy with thoughts and worries that he couldnít move. He needs Seifer to annoy him and keep him up too late at night and make him break the rules. Squall needs Seifer.

"Of course you do. Every hero needs an enemy." Seifer says.

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