Time After Time

Part Two - Heartbreaker

By J. Marie

Warning!!! This is a shounen-ai fanfiction starring Seifer Almasy and Laguna Loire from Final Fantasy VIII. It is rated PG-13. I know I'm being kinda weird so far, but what can I say? I'm having an Outer Limits moment. It'll all make sense as I get deeper in plot. Well, sort of. :) And as for Squall being OOC, well, on another fic, someone mentioned that my take on Squall was too harsh, so I'm trying to ease up a little. So, since he's a happily married man, and new father, I think even Mr. Sourpuss would be a little bit more talkative and happy. And remember he's also had two years to mature. Also, someone mentioned something about my names being too "normal". Ah, but there *were* "normal" names in the game. Edea Kramer, Raine Loire, Cid Kramer, Ward Zabac, Julia Heartilly(Rinoa's mom, the piano lady), and a few other minor characters had "normal" names. Since most of the characters with "normal" names in my story are minor characters, I decided to carry on the tradition. ^_^;; See? There *IS* a method to my madness. Bear with me as I go along deeper into my muddled romance story.....

Lying in my bed I hear the clock tick,
And think of you
Caught up in circles confusion--
Is nothing new
Flashback--warm nights--
Almost left behind
Suitcases of memories,
Time after--

Sometimes you picture me--
I'm walking too far ahead
You're calling to me, I can't hear
What you've said--
Then you say--go slow--
I fall behind--
The second hand unwinds

Chorus:
If you're lost you can look--and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall I will catch you--I'll be waiting
Time after time

After my picture fades and darkness has
Turned to gray
Watching through windows--you're wondering
If I'm OK
Secrets stolen from deep inside
The drum beats out of time--

Chorus:
If you're lost you can look--and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall I will catch you--I'll be waiting
Time after time

You said go slow--
I fall behind
The second hand unwinds--

Chorus:
If you're lost you can look--and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall I will catch you--I'll be waiting
Time after time...
...Time after time
Time after time
Time after time
Time after time

----- Lyrics to Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper

 

Ellone had mixed feelings about the whole situation.

In truth, she had desperately wanted to save her surrogate father's life. But she never consciously used her powers. It was if they came on their own, mysteriously draining out of her and coalescing around Laguna's dying form. She had wanted Laguna to live. And the thought that they could have saved him if he was a teenager kept running through her mind at the time.

But she didn't want him to be a teenager, now that he was one. She had accidentally reverted Laguna's age to thirty years ago. But now he didn't remember her. He didn't know her, and he couldn't love someone he'd never even met. To her, it was as if it was all in vain, and Laguna Loire died anyways, replaced by a pale comparison: an immature little boy.

Laguna was gone, and she had to accept that.

If he had died, she might feel better. She wouldn't feel so lost. It wouldn't hurt so much every time she saw the teenage Laguna run by her, not even noticing her. Ellone couldn't stand seeing Laguna, and not receiving the love he freely gave to her.

But Laguna was alive, and now he had a second chance to finish out a life cut short. Even at sixteen, Laguna was a beautiful soul, full of love and innocence. His boyish charm was still there and it broke her heart. She wanted Laguna to live, and to be able to finish his life, instead of dying at a mere forty-six.

She was back in Esthar now. Kiros was now the President, and he and Ward protected her now. She felt lost, and half empty without Laguna. He was her father in every way that counted. He was her Uncle Laguna.

And now he was a little boy.

Ellone sighed and sipped at a mug of cocoa, her thoughts turning to the youth. She hoped he was at least happy and safe, if nothing else.

It's best that she did not know his predicament at the moment.

Seifer was rushing at him like a madman.

Laguna gave a startled cry and grabbed the gunblade between his legs. He lifted it up in one sharp moment, his other arm lifting to brace the tip of the blade.

Seifer's heavy blade crashed hard into Laguna's gunblade, sending painful reverberations throughout Laguna's entire body. The boy used all his will, and entire upper body strength to keep Hyperion from getting past his block.

After a pulse-pounding, spark-flying moment, Seifer stepped back, and put his gunblade at the rest position. He wore an insufferable smirk on his chiseled face, which crinkled the long scar on his features.

"Very good. You do have natural talent. With one stroke, you were able to block my blow," Seifer said, his voice completely calm, the sudden ferocity in his eyes faded.

Laguna was panting heavily, and slowly lowered his gunblade, staring at Seifer with wide aquamarine eyes. His heart was still racing, and he slowly recovered from the adrenaline rush of fear. "What the hell was all that about???" Laguna cried, his bottom lip quivering.

Seifer's smirk only seemed to deepen. "The best and truest test of skill with a gunblade is by trial and error. You passed. Congratulations," he said smugly.

"So to see if I was any good, you tried to kill me???" Laguna exclaimed, his voice an octave higher and cracking.

"I wouldn't have killed you, little boy. I'd just have scarred you, like I did your cousin," Seifer said evenly.

"So I guess he failed your test then, huh?" Laguna snarled, irritated with Seifer's attitude.

"Oh no, he did better than even you. He scarred me back. Now, let's begin lessons. We'll start with the basics today, as a refresher course for you," Seifer said calmly, turning on the lights. His huge living room had been turned into a practice fighting room. What little furniture he had was pushed against the wall, leaving a space large enough to hold a duel.

Laguna managed to catch his breath, but his irritation would not fade. He could have sworn Seifer was trying to kill him. "What is wrong with you, Instructor Almasy?? I thought you were going to kill me!! Don't ever do that again!!" he said a little angrily, his temper flaring at Seifer's actions.

Seifer turned slowly towards the youth. "Little boy, as long as I am the instructor, and you my student, you will act respectfully towards me. It is not your place to question my actions, or my methods. Do so again, and I will slap you with a demerit so hard your head will spin," the harsh blonde beauty said, his voice cracking over Laguna as sure as any whip.

Laguna fell silent and sullen, his jaw working slightly. His infatuation with Seifer was all but forgotten in the face of Seifer's seemingly crazed rush. He still held his gunblade tightly and came to his feet, determined not to look afraid in front of Seifer.

Laguna was so wrapped up in trying to act tough for Seifer, and trying to impress the blonde with what little he knew of gunblading, that he didn't notice that Seifer's eyes roamed over his body. Laguna was so absorbed in learning, and trying to recover from what he mistakenly took as an attempt on his life, that he didn't notice how Seifer's fingers lingered longer on him than necessary when Seifer helped him position his gunblade properly. But then again, Laguna was never the most observant of souls.

"You have a talent for gunblading, Laguna. But you need to work on your discipline. You have none of that. You burst out with your emotions, and have no control over them at all. Same for the gunblade. Your weapon reflects you, Laguna. If you have no control over yourself, then you have no control over your weapon," Seifer said firmly as their tutoring session drew to a close.

Laguna frowned. He had recovered enough to be self-conscious around Seifer again. He pursed his lips. "I don't see the connection," he sighed after a moment of thought.

"Therein lies your problem. Once you understand what I'm saying, then you're already halfway there. Consider that your homework assignment," Seifer said calmly.

"Oh, well, alright then. Here's your gunblade back. Thanks for letting me use it," Laguna said cheerfully as he held out the gunblade Seifer had thrown at him.

"Keep it. I drew it from the armory for you. It's called Heartbreaker," Seifer said easily.

"Really?? Thanks!!" Laguna said excitedly, his smile as bright as daylight. It was infectious enough to even make Seifer smile slightly in response.

"See you in class tomorrow," Seifer said dismissively. Laguna nodded happily at him and dashed for the door, already inspecting his new blade, where as when it was just for practice, he couldn't have cared less.

"Don't forget your jacket, Laguna," Seifer said calmly, holding out the jacket Laguna had taken off during their practice.

"Oh, thanks!" Laguna smiled, and reached out to take the jacket back. As the jacket passed from Seifer's grasp to Laguna's their fingers brushed gently against each other. Laguna gave an inaudible gasp at the strange surge of sensation he got from touching Seifer. Seifer said nothing, his eyes locking momentarily with Laguna's, then breaking away.

"Um, goodbye, Instructor...." Laguna blushed awkwardly and then dashed from the room.

Heartbreaker was quite a fine weapon.

It was a little longer in blade than Lionheart, but smaller than Hyperion. It was slimmer than Lionheart, and lighter, made for someone with a lighter build. It was a weapon made for speed, capable of quick, easy jabs and thrusts. It was made of a silvery white steel, and had a heart-shaped turquoise embedded in the blade, near the gun handle. Turquoise trim decorated the ivory gunhandle, and it was a lot tougher than it looked.

Laguna was very proud of it, and kept it sharpened and neatly polished.

Three months came and went rather quickly. Laguna became very popular, making friends with most everyone in the class. His closest friends were his roommate Akira, the video-game addict, and Bethany, Akira's tall girlfriend. Laguna's stellar personality, and open friendliness won him the hearts of most of his class. And as before in his life, most people didn't have the heart to point out his occasional feminine traits, or how much like a girl he looked.

Laguna trained every day with Seifer, becoming better and better with the gunblade. With all the flurry of study, Laguna was able to leave behind the fading pain of the loss of his mother, and his old life. He couldn't exactly say he became close with Seifer, but they seemed to form a certain rapport that had little to do with their student/teacher dynamics. Laguna's bright personality almost seemed to offset Seifer's dark personality, and his students noted a slight change in Seiferís attitude for the better.

But Laguna was still very much infatuated with his instructor. Seifer was extremely handsome, and possessed a vicious intelligence that Laguna respected. Although he often became frustrated with Seifer's harsh and abrupt manner, he was slowly learning to control his emotions. Not out of any conscious effort, as most of his attention was devoted to impressing Instructor Almasy with making good grades and practicing the gunblade.

What few people understood about Laguna Loire, at any age, was that despite any traits, looks, or sexual preferences, Laguna was every inch a young man. A woman, or effeminate man, would have tried to impress the object of their crush with good looks and charm. But Laguna never gave his looks a thought, they were so unimportant to him. In truth, Laguna combed his hair free of tangles every morning, and that was the most he did in vanity. Laguna wanted to impress Seifer with skill, intelligence, and compassion.

But it wasn't working, as far as Laguna saw it.

Seifer was cold in a fiery way. He was harsh, austere, and fueled by an inner anger that Laguna couldn't fathom. Laguna was far too shy to mention anything of his emotional observations of Seifer, and had also learned that trying to make friends with Seifer Almasy was an exercise in futility. Seifer didn't seem to want any friends, other than the two SeeDs Laguna occasionally saw him with, Fujin and Raijin. As far as Laguna could understand, Seifer didn't care about anyone but himself, and possibly Fujin and Raijin. Laguna's crush was not only foolish, but hopeless, and he categorized it as such.

But still it persisted.

"Are you sure you'll be alright, Squall?"

Squall sighed at the patronizing tone in his wife's voice. "Rinoa, I've fought Sorceresses across time, and saved the whole damn world, with you and all the other's help, of course. I think I can handle one small infant," he said through gritted teeth.

Rinoa Leonhart raised a dark eyebrow, her pretty face set in an expression somewhere between bemused and concerned. "Squall, you may not believe this, but saving the world is a lot easier than watching Xavier by yourself," she smiled. She finished putting on her shoes and gave her husband and child a worried expression.

"Rinoa, you've been waiting to go out with Selphie and Quistis in Deling City for the past month. Go out, have fun, be happy. I can handle the fort over here," Squall sighed. Rinoa had complete faith in him about everything except taking care of Xavier by himself.

"I'm not worried about the fort. I'm worried about Xavier. Do you remember how to sterilize the bottles? You'll remember to put the baby powder on him when you change his diapers? Do you-" Squall cut Rinoa off with a gentle kiss on the lips.

"Rinoa. Go have fun. I'll remember. I'm not stupid. Now go," Squall smiled and literally shoved the smaller woman out the door.

"I love you, Xavier!! Goodbye, sweetie!" Rinoa called to the baby as Squall made to close the door.

"Well, I feel loved," Squall said drolly as his wife all but ignored him in exchange for the infant.

"I love you too, Squall. Behave yourself, and call me on the cell phone if you have any questions," Rinoa smiled and kissed her husband on the lips.

"Roger," Squall grinned, something he only did for his wife and son.

Rinoa cast one last worried glance before Squall closed the door and turned to the baby, who was lying in his crib, gurgling. "Geez, she must think I'm sort of idiot," Squall sighed aloud, and leaned over the crib, smiling down at his son.

A putrid stench wafted across his nose as a disgusting noise issued from his son's bowels. Squall's nose wrinkled in disgust as the baby cooed and gurgled.

"Hyne's Testicles, kid, what did your mother feed you....?" Squall gasped and lifted the baby from the crib and laid him on the diaper changing table. Squall proceeded to undo the diaper and then backpedaled at the sight of Xavier's diaper contents.

"I didn't know human beings, much less babies, could produce anything so foul...." Squall moaned, literally holding his breath. Xavier laughed.

"Think it's funny, do ya...?" Squall griped, grabbing the diapers and slowly approaching the baby again, willing himself not to pass out in revulsion.

And that's when Squall caught infant urine in the eye.

Seifer Almasy knocked politely on Squall's door, more out of respect to the baby, than to Squall himself. He heard some loud grousing from inside the living compartment, which caused a golden eyebrow to arch in response. Squall never groused out loud like that.

The door was flung open by a rather harried Squall Leonhart. His hair was damp, and his left eye looked a little red and puffy. He smelled of baby urine, and had baby powder all over his shirt. In his arm was his infant son, Xavier Leonhart, who was laughing loudly, full of baby smiles and dimples. A shock of black hair stuck out on his head, and blue eyes like his fatherís danced in delight in the baby's face. Xavier wore a diaper that was slipping off, and baby powder spilled out every time he breathed.

"The domestic life not suiting you, Squall?" Seifer asked with his famous Almasy smirk.

"Hold this," Squall growled and passed the baby into Seifer's arms. Squall stormed into the bathroom, disappearing for a few minutes before returning with his face scrubbed clean and a new shirt on. He put on a surgical mask, and rubber gloves and then proceeded to clean up the diaper changing table. When he was done, he scrubbed his hands clean and headed back to the living room, where he found a sight he wouldn't have believed if he hadn't seen it with his own two eyes.

Seifer Almasy was sitting on the couch, bouncing Xavier on his knee, and singing the baby a nursery rhyme. Xavier had a new diaper, well fitted, and with not so much powder inside. The baby laughed loudly for Seifer, and clapped his little chubby hands in delight. Squall gaped.

"I had no idea you were so good with kids," Squall commented as he reentered.

"Just because you're a little troll, doesn't mean I am. I like babies. I'd like to have one some day," Seifer shrugged, taking the bottle Squall offered and gently feeding the infant in his arms. Xavier took to the large blonde quickly.

"You sound like that will never happen. It's been over two years. Most everyone's forgotten you were ever the Sorceress' Knight, Seifer. Having kids is not impossible for you. You'll find the right person," Squall sighed.

Seifer gave a sardonic smile to his former rival. "You know, our relationship has always been funny... I always wanted to get you to be my friend when I was little, but when Sis left, you closed yourself off. It made me so mad that we always got into fights. When we got older, you still ignored me, no matter what I did to try and make you like me. We got pretty ugly with each other for a while there. But I could always make you react, make you feel. You responded to me. And when I came back, it was you who forgave me first, who accepted me back in, and made everyone else understand me. It was the first time you finally became my friend. I thought it meant something more until I saw you with Rinoa. And then I understood. She's been good for you, Squall. She's made you come out of your shell...." Seifer said softly, watching the baby the whole time.

Squall stared at his knees, blushing slightly. He wasn't stupid. He had known how Seifer felt for him for a very long time. "And I love her.... I love her a lot. She's made me realize that by closing myself off, I can never heal.... It's the same for you, Seifer. I'm not the only person in the world. You'll find someone to love, I know you will," Squall said just as softly.

"I already found someone to love. He just doesn't love me back," Seifer shrugged, removing the bottle from the sleeping baby's mouth.

"You'll find someone else. Don't ignore everyone else, because you're only cutting yourself off. You'll find someone to love who'll love you back," Squall said carefully, his blush deepening.

Seifer looked over at the smaller brunette, trying not let his heart ache at the sight of the delicate beauty Squall possessed. "Even if I did, there'd be no kids, Squall. It's physically impossible," Seifer smiled sadly.

"Adoption. Artificial insemination. It's the age of technology, Seifer. If all else fails, fill up a turkey baster, and ask Quistis for a nine-month-long favor," Squall said seriously.

Seifer stifled his laugh, not wanting to startle the baby in his arms. "I can see that one happening," he laughed softly.

"Only other girl I know who'd do it for you is Selphie, but do you really want her to breed?" Squall chuckled wickedly.

"Dear Hyne, no. Or Irvine. The day I met him I prayed he was gay, not so much because I liked him, but because the thought of him breeding frightened me so badly," Seifer chuckled.

"I'm so glad she's on the pill, and he uses condoms," Squall smiled.

The moment of tension was broken between them, and Seifer felt relieved for releasing the weight on his chest, and Squall felt better for comforting his friend, though he could never offer Seifer what he wanted most.

"How's Laguna doing?" Squall asked.

"Pretty well. Got the Leonhart talent for a gunblade. Grades are good, and he's the most popular boy in the class. I'm surprised he doesn't have a girlfriend already. Goofy as hell, though. He's always so nice and cheerful, that I thought it was an act at first. And he keeps getting these weird leg cramps around me lately, especially when we're practicing," Seifer shrugged.

"Leg cramps....?" Squall blinked. Having lived part of Laguna's life through Elle's power, he recalled that Laguna only seemed to develop leg cramps when he was nervous, particularly around someone he had a crush on.

"Yeah. I'm trying to teach the kid how to hold his blade, or helping him on his swing, because he tends to hold back, and then he'll fall down, clutching his thigh in pain. Laguna's a character, I tell you. I stand too close to him, and his leg cramps up," Seifer shook his head.

Squall blinked. "You... don't... think he has a crush on you, do you...?" Squall asked.

"A crush? On me? Why in the bloody hell for?" Seifer asked in disbelief.

"Uh... I saw him with a girl one time that he liked, and his leg would cramp up around her in nervousness.... Didn't figure him to like men, though.." Squall said thoughtfully. But he had to admit he knew nothing of Laguna's adolescence.

"But why me...?" Seifer blinked. "I'm not only his teacher, but I act nothing like him at all."

"I don't know. You're certainly not ugly, maybe he likes you for your looks. Maybe he likes you because you are nothing like him. Maybe he doesn't like you at all, and has some weird muscle thing. I can't even pretend to fathom him," Squall shrugged.

"Hmph," Seifer shrugged delicately, stroking the babyís head in his arms.

"Just don't... take advantage of him... He's kind of naive, see, and-"

"Squall, what sort of person do you think I am? I have no interest in some goofy child with musculature issues," Seifer interrupted crossly, vaguely insulted.

"I know, I know. I just... never mind. The kid's just weird. Anyways, since you're forming a rapport with my son and all, how about I go make us some lunch?" Squall asked.

"Sounds good," Seifer smiled.

Xavier yawned cutely and snuggled up closer to Seifer. Seifer smiled fondly down at the child, and for a moment he didn't feel so desperately lonely.

 

 

Ellone had a plan.

She left Esthar quietly, so not even Kiros knew of her departure. She took the earliest train to Balamb and sat quietly in a corner by herself. She knew what she had to do now.

Now that Laguna was cured, she would reverse her time reversal. Laguna would be back to his old self in no time, literally.

Ellone smiled to herself as she headed for Balamb.

"Does it hurt?"

Laguna moaned softly, clutching his thigh tightly. Seifer had come up behind him and tried to reposition his defensive stance, but the proximity and touch of the handsome blonde caused Laguna's leg to cramp and the boy had fallen down. Seifer crouched down, looking at the boy with mild bemusement.

"Um, yeah, kinda..." Laguna breathed nervously, shying away slightly from Seifer. Seifer almost looked concerned, as the boy had taken a bad spill, and it made Laguna's heart flutter.

Seifer gently touched a hand to Laguna's thigh. "I don't feel any sprains, or muscle knots. Why do you do this?" he asked with a sigh.

Laguna shrugged, blushing furiously, unable to meet Seifer's jade green gaze. Seifer was startled to discover that he was paying close attention to Laguna. True, he had admired the youth's beauty, and perhaps allowed himself to stay to close to Laguna every now and then, but Seifer had never really noticed Laguna.

Laguna was beautiful, something about him reminded Seifer of what an elf would look like. Laguna had hair as glossy and black as obsidian, and his eyes were a bright aquamarine, sparkling like gems. His skin was pale, almost white, creamy and smooth as porcelain. The boy's features were painfully delicate, prettier than most girl's Seifer had seen. He looked a lot like Squall, but he seemed even more delicate and ethereal than Squall was. Squall was the erotic dream, Laguna the romantic.

Seifer noticed those fathomless aquamarine eyes were turned on him.

Perhaps it was Seifer's loneliness. Perhaps it was Laguna's loneliness. Perhaps it was the talk Seifer had had with Squall a few days before. Perhaps it was the fact that Laguna was impulsive. Perhaps it was the moment of closeness. Perhaps it was the mutual physical attraction.

Whatever the reason or reasons, Laguna pressed his lips against Seifer's and kissed him gently.

Seifer couldn't help himself, it had been so long since anyone had touched him that he kissed back, his lips moving against Laguna's in the breathless dance of affection that was kissing. The boy tasted as sweet as he looked, the residue of the sugar cake's he had eaten still in his mouth. Laguna leaned a little closer, savoring the feel and taste of his first kiss, enjoying the moment for all it was worth.

And then Seifer pulled away abruptly, grabbing Laguna's chin roughly. A stern look of disapproval was written across Seifer's features. Laguna's eyes widened in unhappiness, knowing he would receive a stern tongue-lashing from his tutor for the breach of conduct, not to mention of decent sexuality.

"Why did you do that??" Seifer demanded, his tone snapping out like a whip to lash Laguna.

"I... I don't know...." Laguna whimpered, not liking the angry look in Seifer's eyes.

"Why?? Why would you want to kiss me??" Seifer questioned furiously, shaking the boy in frustration.

"I... I.... I like you, Instructor Almasy...." Laguna sobbed, crystal tears slipping down his elfin face.

Seifer released his harsh hold of the boy and stood up, blinking rapidly. "Why? Why would you like me? I'm harsh, strict, and mean. Not to mention a former enemy of SeeD. Why?" Seifer asked, his tone softening slightly.

"I.. I don't know, Instructor. I'm sorry, I won't ever do it again. I just... I'm so sorry," Laguna cried, wiping tears stubbornly from his face. He didn't want to show weakness to Seifer.

"I'm your teacher, Laguna. You shouldn't like me. It's unethical. And I'm not a very nice person. If you like boys, that's fine, but you should redirect your energies elsewhere," Seifer sighed, turning his back to Laguna.

Laguna blinked. Seifer was not reacting at all like Laguna imagined. The anger had drained from the blonde, and Seifer seemed almost sad about the situation. And it was at that moment that Laguna's crush feelings were solidified, when he realized Seifer was human, too.

"I.... I don't like anyone else like I like you. Not a girl or boy. I don't know why, but I like you, and I can't make it go away....." Laguna said softly, coming to his feet. It was better to confess his feelings, and just be done with it.

Seifer was laughing. A sad laugh, but a laugh no less.

"It's funny, but I've heard those words before. They came out of my mouth. Do you want to know what he told me?" Seifer asked gently, still facing away from Laguna.

Laguna blinked. "I... don't understand..." he said slowly.

"He told me he didn't care. A year later he married my ex-girlfriend," Seifer choked. Every emotion he had buried was surfacing and Seifer wanted to die from the pain he felt.

Laguna was still, his face falling. Seifer loved someone. And Seifer had his heart broken. Laguna felt jealous and sympathetic all at once. He said nothing, just letting Seifer talk.

"Look, Laguna, even if I wasn't your teacher, I'm the wrong guy for anybody to like...." Seifer said softly, then started when he felt a hand on his back. He turned and saw Laguna looking at him with concern.

"I care...." Laguna offered. It should have been Seifer offering comfort to Laguna, but somehow the tables had turned, and it was Seifer who was vulnerable. Never had Laguna seen his instructor act so human.

Seifer stared down at the boy. Naked raw emotion was plain on Laguna's face. There was sympathy and concern there. Seifer had never truly experienced compassion before. No one ever really felt sorry for him. The closest he ever got was from Squall, and that was a recent development, and in limited forms. Not even Matron understood Seifer.

"You're a sweet kid, Laguna... Forget about me. I'm a bad person," he said softly, removing Laguna's comforting hand.

"No... you're not. I've never seen you act human before, Instructor Almasy. That proves you're not a bad person. And I like you," Laguna said firmly. Everything about him was unshakable, with a compassion for people that Seifer couldn't even begin to fathom.

"How can a boy who acts so much like a child be so mature?" Seifer asked, feeling naked, though he wore his SeeD uniform.

Laguna shrugged. "I'm not a boy. You shouldn't hate yourself, Instructor. I don't know what you've done, but whatever it was, I know you didn't mean it. I know. I can tell by looking in your eyes. You're a good person. Strict, harsh, but not mean. And not bad," Laguna said gently. Every layer of emotional defense Seifer had built over his entire life was being dissected by this impossibly wise boy.

It was another strange moment, and Seifer found himself face to face with Laguna again, drawing strength from Laguna's bottomless well of compassion. In a mere second, an undeniable connection between them had been forged. It was as if it waited only for the right moment to spark. Laguna's weak, effeminate appearance was a mere facade, and Seifer instantly knew that the young man was far stronger than he.

Their faces were close together, so much that they shared the same air. Their lips almost touched and their eyes held the other's. A strange moment, that neither foresaw. Seifer pulled back reluctantly before they kissed again.

"I like you, Laguna. You're sweet. But I can't do this... You need to leave," Seifer whispered and backed away from the youth.

Laguna looked hurt, his eyes falling to the floor. His whole body trembled. "I... understand. I'm sorry...." he said softly, his voice quivering in rejection and he ran from the room.

Seifer hung his head, wanting to stop the boy, but knowing he shouldn't.

But how he wanted to....

 


Will Seifer and Laguna forever remain alone? Even if they broke the rules to be together, what obstacles would stand in their way? And will Ellone change Laguna back to normal? How will Seifer and Laguna's feelings progress through it all? All this and more in the next part of Time After Time in Part Three- Unethical Love...

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