Disclaimer: Final Fantasy VIII is property of Square Enix.
Betareader: Angel of Enigma
Warnings: Yaoi (boy love with the pairings Seifer x Squall), language, non-con (rape), self-abuse, angst, violence, fluff, AU (Alternate Universe).
Chapter Two - High Noon
"Be that way then. See what I care."
By Angry Angel
Deling City High was nicer than his old school. Much nicer. Rich parents had donated sick amounts of money to turn their children's educational facility into something that almost resembled a temple in its beauty. All buildings were freshly painted, seamed with green yards and carefully trimmed harvest fruit trees. The air smelled of cherries and apples, and a gentle bell announced the beginning of classes.
Of course, as it was with most places of its kind, Deling City High's splendor only went skin-deep. The students were no different than the ones in Balamb. Kids who had never worked a day in their lives and whose parents were loaded - Seifer could have sung a song of it. His parents were both doctors; his mother was a cosmetic surgeon, his father a specialist in internal medicine. Needless to say, Seifer had never worked for his money's worth, either.
But that wasn't the point.
He remembered his fellow students' looks only too well. Their struck faces when the rumors about his sexuality had hit even the most oblivious of them. Seifer Almasy, prince of jocks, had slept with a guy?
It had been downright outrageous.
Well, his parents had pulled the emergency brake eventually and decided to have Seifer switch schools. Of course, their choice had been an equally snobbish environment, equally prestigious - but at least it had been different.
His backpack was threatening to slide off his powerful shoulders. He adjusted its position haphazardly, semi-consciously noting the group of girls that was ogling him and Irvine. He smiled at them lazily.
The cowboy led him through a maze of hallways, up a flight of stairs and past one of the two school cafeterias.
"I don't recommend ya eat there," Irvine said, his smug grin apparently permanently attached to his face.
Seifer found himself wondering just how often the guy at his side had watched "The Good, The Bad And The Ugly."
"My buddy Zell really digs their hot dogs," the cowboy continued, "But he'd eat anything that's dead or not up on the trees by the count of three. And even then..."
He performed a vague gesture with his hand.
"Then where do you have lunch?" Seifer interrupted him. "You don't strike me as the kinda guy who'd bring a lunchbox from Mommy."
"Oh, we go to this place across the street, 'Ward's Diner.' It's decent. There's this really cute chick that works there..."
Seifer sighed. Why had he seen this coming?
"Ya don't say," he purred.
"Dude, she's really cute! She won't give me her phone number though. I've asked the ice princess to help me out, but I think he just flipped me off."
Irvine rubbed at his chin, apparently trying to revive the memory.
"Ice princess... you mean Squall?"
Seifer couldn't keep his ears from perking up. Frankly, that grumpy looking brunette had been quite on his mind, though Seifer wasn't all too happy about it. He had sworn to himself (and his parents) that he would not start anything with a guy this year. That kinda stuff would have to wait until college, when people cared less about what he did on his private time.
Still - Squall Leonhart had managed to elicit his curiosity.
"Yeah. He works at 'Ward's' after school. Don't think his folks have a whole lot of money, but I donno," Irvine explained with an abject grunt. "The chicks really like his cold ass, don't ask me why."
'Couldn't be because he's hot, could it?'
Of course he didn't voice his sarcastic thoughts, nor did he give any signs of caring much for Irvine's information on Squall. The cowboy was obviously straight like an arrow, and Seifer knew better than to hint at his own sexuality.
Vigilance was going to be his best friend this year.
Eventually, Irvine ushered him into a brightly lit room, and Seifer only assumed that this was their respective math class. He quickly let his emerald eyes screen numerous seats, most of which were already occupied. He received more than just one curious look-over, but he wasn't too bothered. He was used to those kind of gazes - dreamy, eager, provocative, jealous. He had mastered the art of handling them long ago. He'd flirt just enough to keep the girls interested and the guys on his side. Rarely ever did he take it too far.
Those times that he had, he remembered and kept as valuable lessons.
Irvine flopped down into a chair, immediately starting to chat with a curly haired blonde girl in front of him. Seifer sighed mutely and glanced around the room, scanning it for vacant seats. He spotted an empty one in the back, which suited him just fine. As his gaze swerved to the left and right of it, inspecting his prospective neighbors, he couldn't help but suck in a retched breath.
Sitting next to the window, gazing disjointedly out into the yard, was Seifer's early morning freeway encounter. The brunette had taken off his leather jacket and carefully smoothed it over the back of his chair, which he was balancing on its hind legs. His sleek helmet was resting on the window sill, never quite out of his reach. His shirt was plain; thin, long-sleeved and black.
Seifer had to hand it to him - Squall Leonhart pulled the rogue biker look off like no other.
Hoisting a self-assured grin upon his face, Seifer calmly made his way to his chosen seat. He had passed about three tables, when suddenly, something landed before his feet with a loud clatter. Seifer halted in his stride, looking down distracted and annoyed. Apparently, someone had dropped a baby blue tin pencil case to the floor, and it had spilled its contents all over the cream colored linoleum.
He kneeled and collected the various pens to sort them back into their container. As he rose back up, he could almost feel the case owner's eyes boring into him.
She was pretty, he had to give her that. A petite brunette with long hair and large, brown bambi eyes. She was beaming up at him in rapture, crossing her legs and leaning backwards so he could get a full frontal of her low-cut white summer dress.
Suppressing a sigh and forcing his irresistible smile back onto his face, he handed her the case.
"Think this is your's."
She giggled. Of course, had he expected anything else? Granted, he fancied girls too, but he had stopped caring for the air-headed barbie type a long time ago. It took him but a split-second to categorize this female specimen:
She definitely wasn't what he'd call "dating material."
"Awww," she cooed, her voice annoyingly high-pitched. "Thank you! I'm like, such a klutz. You're new, right? What's your name?"
"Seifer. Seifer Almasy," he answered, trying to keep his grin from crumpling.
"Mine's Rinoa Heartilly. Nice to meet you."
Her smile was sweeter than cotton candy.
He hated cotton candy.
"Nice meeting ya too, Rinoa."
"Call me Rinny."
'Please shoot me.'
He resisted the urge to roll his eyes and opted for a smug wink instead. No good filling the lines of his enemies just yet.
"Right, Rinny then," he said, his voice strained. "Well, I better go take my seat so I don't get yelled at right off the bat. That'd set a new record, even for me."
She gave another of those false giggles, and he was relieved that he could walk away from her without seeming like a total dick. When he re-adjusted his focus to the back of the room, he was surprised to find Squall looking at him. The brunette's features were curled with a look of faint disgust, and he didn't hold Seifer's gaze. As soon as the blonde had caught his storm grey eyes, Squall shifted to his left and resumed staring out of the window.
'Yeah, ice princess alright. This oughta be interesting.'
Seifer sank down in his hard-plastic chair with a creak and dropped his bag to the floor. Flicking his gaze to the side, he realized that Squall was still glaring out of the window. The brunette's hands were placed palm-down upon his desk, and he was tapping his right index finger ever so softly. Seifer noticed that he was wearing broad, dark brown leather wristbands with silver clasps. They looked almost like belts. He had seen similar ones in a magazine before, and he quickly decided that they fit the brunette pretty damn well.
"I like your wristbands," he declared cannily, his head rested in his hand and his green eyes fixing the other teen with a smooth grin.
Squall turned reluctantly. His eyes were cold and hard as they connected with Seifer's, and he stopped tapping his finger. His contempt was almost too obvious, and Seifer could feel how a chill settled over him like heavy mist. For just a moment, he could have sworn that Squall hated him from the very bottom of his heart.
But the moment was gone, and the brunette reeled his head to the side, out of Seifer's curious view. Before the blonde could have raised his voice again, a noise at the front of the classroom snared his attention.
A woman had entered, and judging by her stunning appearance she was the lady that Irvine had been raving about. Her hair was straight and raven black, pinned to the back of her head in a loose knot. She wore a dark purple costume that flaunted her long, ivory legs, and her eyes were swirling with the golden color of liquid amber.
Something about her was hypnotizing.
"Good morning, class."
Her voice was like a song, soft and powerful at the same time. She glanced around the room, smiling enigmatically as she placed a stack of papers on her desk.
The red-headed guy who was sitting to Seifer's right moaned longingly.
Somehow, the guttural sound tore Seifer out of his stupor, and he leaned back in his chair to assess the situation from a distance. Next to him, Squall was looking at Edea Kramer with stark disinterest, absent-mindedly fiddling with his wristband. Seifer arched an eyebrow in bewilderment.
Did anything faze that guy?
"Well, it's nice to see you all back after such a long holiday," Edea said lightly. "And, if I'm not mistaken, we even have a new addition to our class."
Seifer's head whipped around at her words, and he grinned blankly. She had set her eyes upon him and was reciprocating his smile, though in a much more subtle nature.
He started to feel like an idiot.
"Seifer Almasy, isn't it?" she asked softly.
"No need for that," a quiet laugh swayed her voice. "My class can call me Edea."
To his left, Squall gave a low-pitched snort. Seifer glanced at him questioningly, but the brunette refused to meet his eye. He had grabbed a pen and notebook and begun to draw odd shapes on a blank piece of paper, totally engrossed in his own little world.
"What?" Seifer hissed under his breath, trying to inquire further.
He thought that he saw the corner of the brunette's mouth twitch slightly, but he wasn't entirely sure. Squall merely continued doodling, and his shapes started to resemble an animal of some sort.
"What are you drawing?" the blonde whispered curiously.
He flinched at the sound of Edea's voice, which was drizzled with a faint hint of reproach. She had fixed her amber eyes upon him, her hands skimming through her papers languidly. The rest of the class had turned their heads to watch him. Irvine was giving him a thumbs-up.
"Yes?" he answered quickly, trying to sound innocent.
"Have you talked with your counselor yet?"
"Oh... yeah. She gave me a bunch of stuff for my classes... stuff I was missing, I guess."
He shrugged. Indeed, he had sat down with a counselor sometime during the summer, but he had never actually taken the time to study all the paperwork she had handed him. He much rather went running or swimming than spend his days inside brooding over notes and homework.
His grades reflected his attitude rather nicely.
"Good," she purred. "Well, let's continue then, shall we?"
Seifer could feel his attention seeping away as he tried to listen to her words and understand the diagrams she was drawing on the blackboards. Somehow, her earlier spell had lost its effect on him. She still looked ravishing, but for some reason he found the brunette to his left a lot more fascinating.
Out of the corner of his eyes, he could see how Squall's sketch had turned into the large figure of a predator of sorts - a lion, he guessed. Seifer didn't know too much about art, but he could tell that this guy had talent. His line work was smooth and defined, flawless almost. He looked like he had never used an eraser in his entire life.
Seifer's previous anger had completely ebbed away, and he was curious to talk to Squall, to get to know him. The teen seemed so different from everyone that Seifer knew, how could he possibly be any less than mesmerized? Squall never made any extraneous movements, and Seifer could find beauty in every single one of them. There was something else, too, a feeling of mystery that surrounded this boy, but it was yet beyond Seifer's understanding.
"Squall, do you know the answer?"
Seifer started when Edea Kramer cut yet again into his reverie. He had paid no attention to her whatsoever, and he was sure that neither had Squall. The dark haired youth looked up from his work to meet his teacher's gaze, but he didn't put his pen aside.
"Square root of 7921," Squall replied flatly, his voice barren and bored.
"Mh-hm. Very good."
The brunette gave neither a physical nor vocal response to that. He returned his eyes to his notebook, resuming to work on his lion's shape. Seifer's face crumpled wryly. He hadn't even heard Edea's question, let alone known the answer, and Squall had whipped it up as if it was nothing.
Who was this kid?
"That was pretty smooth," he muttered into Squall's direction, carefully shadowing the words with praise. "Considering you weren't paying any attention."
Squall's pen paused briefly on its flight over the paper, as if the brunette was actually considering to give a reply to Seifer's comment, but then he opted for fashionable silence once more.
A real people person, wasn't he just?
It slowly begun to irritate Seifer.
"Swallowed your tongue somewhere on the way to class, or what?" he snapped, the bite of sarcasm in his voice sharper than he had intended.
For some reason, that comment elicited more than just a tremor in Squall's fluid movements. The brunette's head jerked up, and he glared at Seifer with openly displayed hostility. There was something raw in those steel blue eyes of his - something that told Seifer right away that he had crossed into dangerous territory.
Why, he didn't understand.
The blonde edged back slightly, suddenly feeling uneasy. He wasn't scared by any means, but Squall's death glare had caused him to think.
Maybe this wasn't such a good idea.
The insult had come hard, rough and low. Seifer blinked. Squall hadn't spoken very loudly, but his voice had been pure acid, spiked with razors. The girl in front of him turned and frowned at them.
Seifer didn't care.
"What'd ya say?" he hissed dangerously, his body tensing.
"You heard me."
"You need a fucking attitude adjustment, bitch!" Seifer snarled, his hands crushing to fists on top of his table.
Squall set down his pen harshly, and Seifer could see that his hands were shaking.
Unfortunately, the blonde was already way beyond the point of caring.
"Now now, what's going on back here?"
Edea had walked up to their desks, her pretty features screwed into a mask of disapproval. Seifer forced himself to steady - he hadn't intended on getting into trouble on his very first day, but this stupid fuck was driving him over the edge. Why the hell had he snapped like that? Seifer had said nothing offensive, or at least he didn't believe that he had.
'Touchy little bitch.'
Next to him, the brunette was biting down hard upon his lips. He wasn't going to explain this to their teacher, Seifer understood that much. It'd be on him to fix this.
"Nothing," the blonde finally muttered, his voice grating with strain. "Sorry."
Her frown didn't fade, and she turned to look at Squall instead. The dark haired teen's eyes seemed oddly unfocused. He was staring straight through her rather than at her, but eventually, he forced himself to nod. His face was scarcely more than a mask.
"Alright..." Edea said calmly, her disbelief evident in the word. "I assume you two will actually be quiet now, then."
She turned, not waiting for an answer, knowing perfectly well that she would receive none. Seifer followed her graceful stride with his eyes, before he turned to glare at his desk neighbor. Squall had resumed drawing, but his features were like ice. He was pressing his pen down upon the paper so hard that Seifer could see the tendons of his hand gliding beneath his skin. The brunette wasn't heeding him with a single glance.
'Dumb little fuck. Be that way then. See what I care.'
He spent the rest of the class in stubborn silence, refusing to look at Squall another time. The brunette himself seemed quite content with that arrangement. Obviously, he was happiest when left alone.
It took another long and boring hour before the school bell finally heralded the end of the lesson. Seifer sighed at the merciful sound, and he leapt upon his feet to collect his notebooks and follow the other students, who were already filing out of the room. He saw the annoying girl, Rinoa, chattering with her blonde, curly haired friend, and as Seifer went to walk past them, the dark haired girl grabbed his arm.
"Hey, Seifer," she giggled and begun to play with a silver pendant laced around her slender neck. "Michelle and I were wondering whether you'd wanna go to a club with us and a few friends on Friday night?"
"Oi! Can I come?" Irvine piped up. "Please? Pretty please?"
Rinoa studied him critically for a moment, before she nodded in a gesture of approval.
"Sure Irvy, why not? Just as long as Seifer here comes along..."
The tone to her voice was seductive enough to make Seifer gag, but he kept a straight face all the same. Out of the very corner of his eyes, he could see Squall shrugging into his jacket, his face apparently carved into stone. For some weird reason, Seifer could tell that the slender youth was listening.
Immediately, his lips smoothed into a lascivious smirk.
"How could I say no to that?" he leered at Rinoa. "I'm game."
"Great!" she replied, bouncing on her heels. "Why don't you give me your phone number so I can call you?"
"Sure thing. Have a piece of paper? I know you've got plenty of pens."
She laughed falsely at his stupid joke, and Seifer could feel his insides churning. Oh well, he'd have to pull through with his, and who knew: it might just end up being fun.
Well, something like that, anyway.
He bent over slightly, scribbling his number upon a slip of pink paper that she had placed upon her desk. He caught a whiff of faintly cinnamon-scented body wash as Squall pushed past him, walked through the rows of disarrayed tables and finally out the door, not turning around once. Seifer tried to concentrate on his sloppy handwriting rather than the thought of Squall, but as he handed Rinoa the note with a weak half-smirk, he couldn't shake off the feeling that he had done everything wrong.
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