Soul of a Sinner

BY : Redrum
Category: Final Fantasy VIII > General
Dragon prints: 458
Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy VIII, nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Chapter Two: You are going to like me



Seifer came too when the first rays of dawn crept over the horizon and hit him in the eyes. Squinting, Seifer shielded the light from his eyes and took a few moments to regain his bearings. ‘Why am I on the roof?… Oh yeah.' He stretched and yawned rather loudly; enjoying the cool air of the night that still clung to the air. He never got why people always wanted to move to and/or vacation in warm places; the cold seemed a lot more inviting to him.

Shifting to crawl backwards on all fours, Seifer gingerly began to make his way back down the drain pipe. Not gingerly enough however as he acquired a nice size slash to his leg along the way. He paid it no mind however until he was inside.

Once he reached the window and slipped inside, closing it behind him, he bent down to examine the damage. Not too bad. One of those cuts that aren't too deep, but bleed a lot. He shuffled into the bathroom that came attached to their room and after washing he cut he wrapped some bandages around his leg and meandered back inside.

That was when he saw Squall. He looked awful. He was paler than seemed natural for his fair skin and shaking still from the cold even though the window was closed now. Furrowing his brow in concern, Seifer walked over to him and brushed his fingers over his forehead before pulling back sharply. He was as cold as ice! Seifer then started to feel guilty about leaving the window open, he probably could’ve gotten back in if it’d been closed...

Walking over to his trunk, one of his few actual possessions, he pulled out a thick comforter; another possession, (This one made for really cold weather.) and draped it over the lithe form of his roommate. Tipping his head to one side and studying Squall, who slowly stopped shivering, he decided he looked like the type who’d like chocolate. So for lack of anything else to do, and still feeling a little guilty about leaving the window open all night, he swung by the dining room and went to the hot chocolate dispenser and grabbed two cups.

He left Squall's on his nightstand and proceeded to drink his while sitting in a chair between their beds, not bothering to change his clothing from the night before just yet.

~*~*~

Snuggling into the warm blanket, Squall yawned, still half asleep as he slowly opened his eyes. Bringing his hand up, he rubbed the sleep out of his eye and blinked several times, trying to wake up. He sniffed and looked down, frowning at the thick blanket now covering him. Where had it come from? Yawning again, he jumped when he heard a quite chuckle. His vision finally clear, he looked over at the blondee sitting in the chair; too close to the bed for his liking. Now what the hell was this human laughing at?

Sniffling again, he frowned, attention drawn to himself for a moment. Why was his throat hurting? And what the hell was that tickling sensation in his nose? He scrunched his eyes up and automatically brought a hand to his mouth just in time to catch a rather loud sneeze (though luckily it wasn't too messy). Oh God... he was sick. Of all the...

This was definitely turning out to be a shitty day. And it was still early yet!

~*~*~

Despite how guilty Seifer might have felt about getting his roommate sick he was still grinning sheepishly; Squall had a rather cute sneeze. “I uh, seem to have gotten you sick,” he said at length. Shifting, he gently handed the hot chocolate to Squall. “Here, drink this. It should help a little. And maybe some cold medicine later,” he mused, tipping his head to one side and studying Squall. It didn’t seem like it was that bad a cold, but he probably shouldn’t get out of bed that day anyway.

Seeing Squall eyeing the cup warily he smirked but managed not to laugh. “Go on, take it. I swear I didn’t poison it or anything.”

~*~*~

Sighing to his fate, Squall scooted up until he was sitting with his back resting against the headboard, adjusting the comforter so it covered most of his cold torso. Taking the cup gingerly from the other man, tipping his head in thanks, he blew carefully, trying to cool it off. Wrapping his cold hands around the warm mug, managing to catch the relived sigh building up inside him at the warmth, he took a careful sip. Mmm...God this was good. He didn't see Seifer's eyes widen at the moan (not having realized that he had even said it out loud), he quickly took another sip, being careful not to burn his tongue with the hot, delicious liquid.

He finished the cup quickly, faster then Seifer, considering the man had started before him, he set it on the night stand beside his bed. Looking over at the human, he let a small (very small) smile curve his lips, saying quietly, "Thank you." He was still extremely hungry (considering he hadn't eaten much since he came), but he didn't really feel like getting up just yet.

He was tempted to ask the other man where he had gone to during the night, but figured that it was his business and if he wanted to share, he would. He probably just snuck out to meet some lover or something.

Squall sighed and leaned his head against the wall before he quickly righted it, discovering that tilting his head too far back made his throat hurt even more. Sniffing again, he ran a hand through his hair. A shower sounded good. Maybe even a bath... he hadn't had one of those yet. Maybe after? The idea of bathing in his own filth didn't appeal to him, so maybe after he had a shower it wouldn't be as bad.

~*~*~

'So he does smile,' Seifer mused to himself smiling back. He placed both his cup and the book he'd been reading on the nightstand. "You know it might help you relax if you took a hot shower. You might just want to stay in bed all day with that cold. How about you go shower and I'll go get us some breakfast. Sound good?"

~*~*~

The brunet snapped his head around, looking at the blondee. He didn't know humans could read minds. That could prove to be very dangerous. Maybe he just guessed? Hmm...

"Yes, it does." Sniffling again, he sighed and pulled back the sheets. At least it wasn't cold in the room anymore. Though he still felt oddly chilled. Standing up, he padded over to his duffle bag. Squatting down, he searched his clothes, trying to look for something that was decent. Finally settling on a pair of faded blue jeans, small tears in the knees from use ('who did they get to wear this until it was faded?), a navy blue tee and white athletic (why were they called athletic anyway?) socks. Standing back up, he tucked them underneath his arm and went into the bathroom.

Setting them on the hamper he grabbed a towel, set it on the clothes, and went into the shower. Adjusting the knobs and levers until he got it to the temperature he liked. Pulling off his boxers and tossing them, he turned the shower head on and gasped at the hot spray pounding on his face. Coughing, he bent his head down and let the water run over his head, soaking his hair flat against his skull.

Blindly grabbing the Pears Strawberry shampoo (he suspected it was Seifer's, since the orphanage usually just carried generic, which was donated to them) and poured a bit onto his hand before replacing the bottle back onto the tiny shelf. Lathering it up in his hair, he gave a soft smile at the pleasant smell. A sudden thought of smelling that exact same smell lingering in Seifer's hair caught him off guard. Why the hell was he thinking about him? Whatever. Shaking his head, he rinsed off the shampoo and started washing his body. Paying close attention to those... less then pleasant parts.

He shuddered again when he felt his bowels were full... ugh... Rinsing the soap off, he turned everything off and stepped out of the shower. Stopping at the toilet, he relieved himself, washed his hands thoroughly and towel dried his hair. He quickly passed it over his body, and put it in the hamper. Pulling on his clothes, he took a glance in the mirror. His hair was incredibly messy. Sighing, he looked down. Spotting a comb, he shrugged mentally and used it. It wasn't like Seifer had much hair anyway. He only needed his hands to press it back with that disgusting liquid stuff.

Finally getting his hair untangled, he set the comb on the sink again and walked out of the bathroom. Glancing around, he figured Seifer must still be at the dining hall, getting their breakfast. Sighing, he slid into bed and crossed his arms; leaning his head on the make-shift cushion. Shutting his eyes, he waited for the human to get back.

~*~*~

Seifer managed to get breakfast and some cold medicine for Squall without too much incident. Except running into that Selphie girl again. She was all hyper and shaking. 'It's a shame some people go down like that,' he thought to himself, still convinced the girl was on drugs.

Brushing those thoughts away, Seifer pushed open the door and found Squall dozing lightly. He shut the door behind him with a small smirk. 'He relaxes too it seems.' Clearing the nightstand a little, Seifer set the tray down and brushed his finger lightly over Squall's forehead to check his temperature and also to wake him.

The brunet's eyes snapped open and he made to move away, but Seifer's voice stopped him. "Chill, I just wanted to tell you breakfast is ready." He helped Squall into a sitting position and settled the tray over his lap. 'You know for the person who's looking after him, I feel oddly like a cricket under a microscope,' Seifer mused as Squall studied him. He did have a rather piercing gaze. "You're a little chilled but it doesn't seem so bad," Seifer explained, sitting down in the same chair he had a minute ago and starting in on his breakfast.

~*~*~

Squall frowned, pushing the cereal around in his bowl. Resigned to his fate, and the growling of his stomach, Squall took a few mouthfuls before he deemed himself full enough to function properly (though he hadn't even finished half of it). And picked up the strange bottle with red liquid inside. Reading the label, he discovered it to be some type of medicine that relived stuffed up noses, sneezes, and sore throats. Sighing, he put the recommended amount into the spoon and drank it. Twisting his face up at the awful taste. It said it was supposed to taste like cherries, if the label was anything to go by, but obviously it wasn't.

His frown turned into a scowl when he heard Seifer laughing. Stupid man. He needed to learn manners. Especially the respect your elders one. He was, after all, at least a hundred years older then the young man.

Setting the tray on the nightstand, he mumbled a quiet 'thanks' out of courtesy for the human for bringing him food (even if he didn't want to eat it) and medicine that was supposed to make him feel better.

Eyes flickering down to the bag near his bed he sighed and bent down slightly; randomly grabbing a book from the bag. He had to read them all eventually.

Great... this one was about human relationships. Just fucking great. Sighing, he opened the book and started to read. Though his eyelids felt extremely heavy...

~*~*~

Seifer, naturally, didn’t approve of the amount of food Squall ate, or lack thereof, but since he was sick he let it slide. He put their breakfast back on the tray and returned it to the kitchen. When he made it back to their room he made a b-line for the shower. He followed much the same routine as Squall except he kept his lose kaki’s rolled up on the leg he’d cut climbing down from the roof because he’d left the bandaging material in the other room.

Resuming the seat he’d occupied before, he bent to bandage his leg. He glanced up at Squall as he was doing so and noticed the title the book he was reading. “Relationship Troubles?” he asked in a snort of laughter, earning him another healthy glare. “What?” he asked with his usual arrogance. He straightened in his chair, being done with the bandage by then and turned to face Squall more directly. “You’re not going to learn anything about real relationship through that stupid thing.”

~*~*~

Squall frowned and glanced down at the bandaged leg. Obviously he had hurt himself sometime last night. Probably when he was getting back in the window. It didn't look serious, so Squall let it be.

He shifted his attention to the book. If a human wrote this, then shouldn't it be truth? Or did humans lie even when they publish their work? Pitiful...

Sighing, Squall looked back up at the blondee. "I told you; they're to study." He curled his upper lip slightly and said in mild disgust, "I'm not interested in a relationship anyway. And I never will be," he mumbled the last part. Even if, by some cosmic chance he was able to get into a relationship, it wouldn't be able to last long. Sooner or later, somehow, they would learn about his identity. Besides, who would ever actually like him? He wasn't 'handsome' by any human's means, and anyone he came into contact with automatically grew suspicious of him and either feared or hated him due to the damned aura around him. No, he wouldn't be getting into a relationship any time soon, or even off in the distance. That was his fate. Eternal loneliness. It wasn't so bad really, he had various things he could do to occupy himself.

He also naturally kept away from others (and that included his own kind). In general, both species were annoying and didn't seem to know what a 'comfortable silence' was. Instead, they were always trying to fill it. It could get very tedious after awhile.

~*~*~

Seifer chuckled some more. “What sense does it make to read a book to study about relationships if you never plan to be in one? And furthermore, why don’t you plan to be in one?” Seifer paused and tipped his head to one side, studying Squall. When he spoke again his tone was a little more serious, “Were you abused before or something?”

Seifer wasn’t the most elegant in dealing with people, but he made valid efforts and he didn’t sense his questions would strike any great nerve in the brunet other than mild annoyance; which was fine by him.

~*~*~

Squall frowned and looked over at Seifer. What the hell was he going on about now? Abuse? By who?

Sighing, the brunet closed the book and looked at the cover. Scowling at the bald doctor on the front. Of all the idiotic pictures. He frowned, wondering if he should even bother answering Seifer's questions. On one hand, the blondee would never shut up. On the other... the blondee would never shut up, but at least he would stop asking about that particular thing. Hmm... So many choices.

Looking up at the closed door, Squall bit his lip, trying to think of something to say. He didn't want to lie... so... Letting out a small breath between his clenched teeth, he looked down at the book in his hand. "It's not about planning to be in a relationship... it's about being able to. And I am not." Seeing Seifer's confused expression from the corner of his eye, he elaborated, ticking off his fingers at each point.

"First, I'm anti-social. Second, I'm not what hum-people would call 'handsome.' Third, people automatically think negatively of me when they first see me. Fourth, people lie, and I don't like being lied to, under any circumstance. Fifth, I have a lot of secrets, which hu-people would not be able to understand when it came time to find out. Sixth, no one would want to be around me for a long period of time because I would bring them down with my cynical and sarcastic nature." He said this all with out a trace of self-pity in his voice, or even posture. It was just matter of fact. This was what he believed, and this was the way it was meant to be. There was nothing he could do to change it.

Thinking on the human's other question, he continued, "As for being 'abused', I can honestly say that I was not. Though...” he frowned, hesitating before saying, "I guess you could say I was threatened in a way to... fit in or face the consequences. Thus, I have to study," he motioned to the books with a sweep of his hand, "to fit in with the hu- the others." He really had to stop trying to say 'humans'. Seifer seemed to pull the words right out of his mouth, without his consent even. Sighing, Squall ran a hand through his hair and tossed the book back into the bag. He'd read some other time.

~*~*~

Seifer listened to Squall, fascinated more by his mannerisms than the point of his overall speech. He was so formal, and so ready to believe all those negative things about himself. He was…different from every other person Seifer had ever met. He couldn’t put his finger on exactly what it was, but out of everyone who’s skin he had set his mind on to crawl under, this guy was the most intriguing.

He watched Squall stare at the wall for a few more moments before reaching out, grasping his chin between forefinger and thumb and turning his head to face him. He smirked at slightly surprised look that crossed the brunet's face. Like he couldn’t believe Seifer had the audacity to disobey his silent offer to go away.

“Whoever told you that you weren’t handsome lied,” he said, his tone matter-of-fact, before leaning back comfortably in his chair and cracking his knuckles, smirking at Squall's small wince. “And besides, if you’re so unlikable why am I here?”

~*~*~

Rubbing his jaw to erase the human's touch, Squall looked over at the other man. He continued to reach out and touch him, even after witnessing Squall snap another man's wrist without exerting himself. He was either very brave, or very stupid. Squall was betting on the latter.

Running a hand through his hair again, the brunet looked over at Seifer. "As of yet, no one has had the talent of being brutally honest to actually say that to my face, thus I believe it myself. But whatever." Shrugging, Squall let the issue slide. He knew the human wouldn't let it go, so he may as well give up this lost battle.

"And the reason you are here is because you're new and you don't know anyone else, so you stick to the first person you know, unfortunately, that happens to be me." Squall added, rolling his eyes. "In a few days, you will make new friends, perhaps acquire a mate, and you will happily move to another location within the orphanage, away from me." 'And I can go back to sitting on the bed, trying to read and not think about my isolation and curse.'

~*~*~

Seifer rested his hand on his chin and studied his roommate silently for a moment. Just as Squall was raising another glass of hot chocolate to his lips (something Seifer had gotten while he’d returned their trays) he said bluntly, “You know, I’m starting to think you don’t love me anymore Squall.”

Through quick reflexes he managed to avoid the spray of hot chocolate that inevitably followed his remark and started to howl with laughter. Squall gave him a healthy glare, but he didn’t pay him much attention until he’d regained the ability to breath. Still chuckling, he wiped tears from his eyes and looked up at the scowling brunet.

“You know,” he managed between chuckles, “You seem to have convinced yourself really well that you’re damned to a life of eternal loneliness, but I’m betting, “and he punctuated this point by poking Squall in the chest, “that you can be happy. Don’t deny it; I’ve seen you smile.” Seifer took a deep breath to sooth the tremors of laughter still running through him. “And ask for the ‘I’m new here,’ comment; allow me to enlighten you: I’m not exactly Mr. Sociable myself. Mostly because I refuse to put up with idiots.” There was a brief pause before he returned his gaze to Squall and raised his eyebrow in an amused fashion. “Besides, if I got a boyfriend, I’d have less time to enjoy your charming company.”

~*~*~

Squall frowned and grabbed the finger still pressing into his chest. Twisting it back, being careful not to go too far, he waited for Seifer to grimace, before pushing the finger away. "Don't touch me," he hissed. He ignored the human's surprised look and crossed his arms over the thin material of his shirt.

"I said I don't like being lied to. I don't like half-truths either. If you're going to sprout them, then just stop while you're ahead and shut the fuck up." He scowled, his eyes a dark blue-grey. He didn't see the punch before it was too late. His head knocked to the side, his cheek was throbbing as he curled his hands into fists, his short nails digging into the soft flesh there.

Standing up, he glared and he looked back at the human, incredibly close to loosing his self control. He didn't register when Seifer backed off, his eyes alit with fear, and yet anger and confusion was also hidden in their depths. He didn't even realize the picture he made. Or the sparks that almost appeared to be coming off of him. Twisting his upper lip, he resisted the urge to growl, and instead sneered, then turned and walked out.

A fucking human had hit him. Hit him for telling the god damned truth! Sure, he could see that Seifer might have been angry with him for ordering him around or whatever bullshit, but that didn't matter. At the moment, he was too pissed off to really care about anything. But if telling the truth and admitting what he thought got him in this position, with his cheek throbbing and blood running down his palms, it was going to be the last time he fucking talked. Period.

~*~*~

Seifer watched Squall go with a mix of anger, confusion, and fear. What the hell had just happened?! One minute they were talking, then that had started heaving curses at him and ordering him around and after one fucking punch. .he looked like he wanted to kill...

Seifer shuddered with uneasiness and decided to go to the one place he could think things over without interruption. Pulling on some sweats, he walked out to the small gyms provided by the orphanage. 'What the fuck is he talking about: half truths?!' Seifer grumbled inwardly as he started out with a few basic moves against the punching bag. 'Just was the hell is his problem anyway?' Seifer beat harder and harder against the bag until it was almost shaking off its hook on the ceiling.

Maybe it would've been the wiser thing to back off for more than a few hours, but Seifer was known for having a bit of a hot temper on him. As strange...and mildly frightening, as Squall's behavior was, however, there was no way in hell he was backing off that easy.

After a good two hour workout that calmed him down enough to think things over rationally, he prowled the halls looking for the frustrating brunet, but came up with nothing. With a frustrated growl, he stalked outside into the gardens Edea had built around the place and to the path beyond.

The orphanage itself wasn't at all far from the sea and it seemed fitting that Seifer found Squall there, standing alone on the beach while the sea churned violently against the dark gray clouds above.

It was going to storm.

Picking his pace up, he quickly crossed the beach, closing the distance between them. Seifer had enough sense not to touch his roommate, but to call out when he was in hearing distance. "What the hell is you problem, huh?" This got no response so Seifer walked on and kept yelling. "What the fuck were you talking about in there: half truths?! I don't know about everyone else in this place, but I don't deal with, or put out bull shit! I don't have the time." Squall still was not responding. "I've known you for less than two days and you are the most fucking frustrating person I've ever met! You go on about how no one likes you and you will inevitably live your life alone and other stupid shit like that!"

By now he was close enough to round on Squall and step into his field of vision. "I don't know if you stopped playing 'Mr. High and Mighty', long enough to realize this, but I've made every attempt to be nice to you and you seem more interested in shoving everyone away! God, the way you talk you think you'd actually like to be alone for the rest of your life! News flash: You're a human being, just like the rest of us and everyone needs some sort of companion! I don't give a damn if you don't give a fuck about me; I can live with that! But god damn it, care about something would you! And as for all that shit about people lying and what not; people are flawed! Get over it or get on with it! God! If you stopped shoving people away so much you might actually like one of them!"

Seifer finished his little rant and stood in front of Squall; sweaty, flushed, and out of breath, but damnit, he was not moving 'till he got some sort of reaction. Even if it resulted in a broken bone.

~*~*~

All he wanted was some peace and quiet to calm down, and this human showed up. Just fucking great. Squall sighed. He normally would have continued to look out into the ocean, but the blondee was too tall for him to look over his head or even over his shoulder. Stupid human.

Squall stood silent, listening to Seifer having his little tantrum, barely blinking when the other man started yelling into his face. Crossing his arms and shifting back to rest his weight on his back leg, Squall tilted his head down, thinking.

Seifer didn't know about him, and he never would. But he didn't understand that Squall really was cursed for eternal loneliness. No one would want him, and anyone who did, would be driven away when they found out his secrets. There was no hope, so why bother wishing for dreams that have no chance of becoming a reality? Besides, he didn't need anyone. True, humans are flawed. So were Squall's people. But it didn't take much to just tell the truth. He didn't care if it hurt him, he wanted the truth.

What he didn't understand was how his shoving people away had to do with Seifer. Squall didn't want anyone to be with him, he didn't want to be in a relationship of any kind, be it friend or lover. So why wouldn't Seifer just accept that and move on to someone more normal then Squall?

And Squall did care about things. He cared about nature, he cared about animals. So he wasn't totally heartless. He just knew that there was no point in caring for something that could break your heart, or stab it from behind. Squall didn't want to get to know anyone on this earth. Even if he went into the most meaningful relationship imaginable, eventually, that human would die. And Squall would be left alone. Left alone to start all over again. He didn't want that. He didn't want to have to bend down and pick up the pieces of his own heart. Now that he was human, he knew he was more vulnerable to shit like that. He had to get used to feeling out of control emotions, like the anger he had experienced. But, that didn't mean he had to like it. Just be able to accept it as part of his forsaken life.

If Seifer could just understand, then both parties would be happy. Seifer would go on his merry way to find friends and lovers. And Squall... well, he could try to find something to occupy him for the next... never ending years.

The brunet sighed and looked up, glancing around the large human. It would be nice to be amongst the storm. He'd always had to watch it from above. And while it was beautiful and safe, he'd rather be amongst the danger and beauty. Squall licked his lips in anticipation, before turning around to head back inside, ignoring Seifer who was staring at his retreating back in stunned silence. Probably surprised that his little tantrum hadn't affected Squall. Whatever. It had given him something to think about, so he could thank the blondee for that. Not that he'd actually say that to the other man. He wouldn't be saying anything to the other man for a long time.

~*~*~

Any logical person would’ve given up and cut their losses when Squall walked away. Of course, however, Seifer was rarely logical to that point; especial when dealing with the most seemingly illogical person he’d every met. Flopping down on the sand with a huff, Seifer stared up at the darkening sky, muttering under his breath. Nothing seemed to be getting through to this guy.

“I’m not even sure why I care,” Seifer spoke aloud. “I’ve only known him for two days.” He gave an exasperated sigh. “I suppose I just thirst for impossible challenges.”

That was when he felt something cool and metal across his forehead. He opened his eyes and blinked owlishly until they adjusted. At which point the was confronted with a large black dog. A dog that had his choker hanging from it’s mouth. What?! Seifer’s hand flew to his throat. When had it fallen? Or more importantly; where was that dog going with it?!

The dog had apparently lost interest in Seifer and taken off towards the orphanage; it probably belonged to someone there. Rolling to his feet, Seifer took off after it. Seifer was fast, but the dog gave good chase. They barreled through the gardens, along the halls and darted into a room that, after a mangled summersault over the discarded book bag, Seifer recognized was his own. The dog had jumped onto Squall's bed and was handing the brunet his choker as he watched. Blowing at a few errant bangs that had stolen their way onto his forehead, Seifer said breathlessly, “Oh sure; he likes you.”

The dog hopped down once Squall had the choker, gave him a parting lick and trotted merrily along the hall. Back to it’s owner no doubt. Seifer glared half heartedly after it and shut the door. Turning to Squall he asked, “May I have my choker back please?” in a much calmer voice than he’d spoken in a few minutes ago.

~*~*~

Fingering the rainbow etched into the metal, Squall seriously debated throwing it out the window just out of spite. But since the human had asked so nicely, he tossed it at the blondee. Turning back to the book he had been reading, this one about the human's thoughts on evolution (which were all wrong, but he let it go for now).

He tried to resist the urge to sneak glances at the other man as he crossed the room and sank down into his own bed. This was definitely the longest amount of time that had gone by without the blondee's words to fill up the silence. Maybe he had finally given up and had talked to Edea about getting a move?

Squall didn't like the small twist in his gut he experienced at the thought. Then again, maybe he was just hungry. Scrunching up his nose, the tickling sensation inside warning him of an on coming sneeze, he pulled a tissue from the box that he had asked Edea for and left on the night stand, and covered his mouth as a harsh sneeze, followed by two others, erupted from his mouth. Stupid sickness. Hopefully it would get better by tonight. If not, he was still going outside to watch the thunderstorm if it came.

He frowned as he scratched his itchy shoulder blades against the wall. Damn it... it had only been a week at the most, he couldn't be missing them already! He knew he could still sprout them, he just didn't know how much pain he would receive for it. They hadn't exactly told him the level of pain it would cause. He sighed and leaned his head back against the wall, closing his eyes tightly. He was damned to loneliness, was it too much to just want his wings back? Without the pain that would surely come if he decided to do it while on Earth.

~*~*~

Squall had looked mildly exhausted and it looked like his cold was working itself up so Seifer had opted to let him be and just relax a little. After going in for another shower, he picked at the fantasy novel he'd been working on, glancing up at Squall a few times as he fidgeted. There seemed to be a profoundly unhappy...for lack of a better word: aura, around him. Being the horribly curious person that he was, Seifer would not be satisfied until he found out why his roommate was the way he was.

A soft knock at the door brought him out of his thoughts. Glancing once at Squall as he rose, he murmured, "stay there, I'll get it." He trudged wearily to the door. On the other side of the door was a mildly furious Edea. She wasn't a woman to lose her temper, but she was also very strict about giving out proper judgment. His days had been too...strange for him to remember what he could've done to provoke her anger, but he braced himself for another confrontation. "Yes, Mrs. Cramer?"

"Seifer," she said tersely, "the boy you fought with yesterday is in a full arm cast now. Not only did you break his wrist, but you broke it at a vital growth point. As long as he needs that cast, that's how long you'll be confined to your room. You may come out only at meal times and if anything so drastic happens again, you'll be confined indefinitely; you will not see your swords again until you're a legal adult, and you're going in for therapy. Understood?" Seifer dealt with far more outrageous caretakers than her before so he took it all in stride. Besides there was always his nightly escapades.

"Yes Mrs. Cramer." Seifer said in a non-challenging, subdued voice. He'd learned long ago it was easier to get around punishments than to fight them head on. Edea turned and stalked down the hallway stiffly and Seifer closed the door behind her, turning to lean against the door frame. This was definitely not in his list of favourite days.

~*~*~

Wait a minute... when had Seifer gotten into a fight? Squall had basically been with him the whole day. Unless... no, the human would never have done that. Frowning, he looked at the slumped figure. Then again... he must have. Stupid human, sticking his nose into things that don't concern him. The man was new, so he shouldn't have even bothered to stick up for someone he barely knew. But it had saved Squall from punishment.

Sighing, the brunet frowned, wondering what he was going to do with this new found knowledge. He couldn't let the human take the blame for him and be punished to stay inside. If anything, it should be Squall. Hell, it wasn't like he didn't want to be confined to his room. Though he would miss the beach.

Firming his shoulders in determination, Squall got up and crossed the short distance to the door. He tried not to wince when Seifer quickly side stepped, as though expecting to get hurt. Of course, Squall was a monster. How could he have forgotten?

Eyes narrowing, the brunet opened the door and left, shutting it quietly behind him. Turning down the hall where Edea had went, he saw her just about to turn the corner. Picking up his pace, he quickly reached her and cleared his throat. She jumped, a loud gasp emitting from her lips and her frail hand pressed to her bosom in shock.

"Oh, it's you Squall. You nearly gave me a heart attack." Squall nodded and waited for her to catch her breath. When she looked up at him, he finally said,

"Seifer didn't hurt that boy, I did." Edea frowned and looked closely at him.

"You Squall? You're not just sticking up for Seifer are you?" Squall snorted and shook his head.

"Of course not. I snapped the boy's wrist after he touched me and said some vile things about Seifer's preferences." Edea's soft brown eyes creased at the corners in her concern. She folded her hands together, ringing the material of her long black dress in them.

"Oh... I just knew he would be insulted. Thank you for sticking up for him." She frowned suddenly, looking up into Squall's eyes. "As honorable as your actions were," Squall snorted silently, "I'm going to have to deal out the same punishment to you as I did to Seifer. You'll only be allowed out when the boy's cast is off, and when there are meals. Understand?"

"Yes ma'am." He said with respect. He did admire the kind hearted woman; she wasn't like the other bastards that populated the world.

She pressed a motherly hand to his cheek, Squall tried not to wince. She may have been different from the others, but that didn't mean his aversion to being touched was any different for this frail human. "Thank you for sticking up for him. But promise me something like this won't happen again?" Squall frowned, not wanting to lie. He didn't know if it would come to that or not.

"It depends ma’am." He finally said, and turned on his heels to briskly walk back to his dorm. Ignoring Edea's small cries for him to come back and explain his answer. Sooner or later, she would appreciate his honesty. Until then, Squall continued to walk until he reached the blue door with the number 13. Turning the knob, he walked in. Ignoring Seifer's questioning looks from where he was seated on the bed, Squall went and sat on his own bed, picking up his books again to begin reading.

"You're no longer under punishment. You're free to leave when you like." He said, his monotone voice even and bland. Scratching his back again, he settled down against his pillow and started reading the incredibly boring book.

~*~*~

Seifer glanced over to Squall without needing to ask what he'd done. 'Idiot,' he thought with a small smile curving on his lips. "Thank you," he replied and went back to his book; not moving from his spot. He figured both he and Squall had had enough confrontation for one day. Right now he just wanted to relax, read his book, and whether the brunet liked it or not, enjoy the presences of his confusing and infuriatingly stubborn roommate.

~*~*~

Several hours passed, thankfully silent. Though Squall kept stealing glances at the blondee, so engrossed with his reading that he didn't really notice. Squall on the other hand, was bored stiff, to use a popular teenage expression. The book he was reading was incredibly dull and inaccurate. Really, humans evolve from fish? Squall shook his head and glanced at the clock. He was surprised that it was much later then he'd thought. 8 pm to be exact. If they didn't hurry, they'd miss out on the rest of dinner. It started at 6, and was kept on the tables until 8:30. Even if it was cold by that time, it was first come, first serve.

Sighing, he set the book aside, not bothering to place a bookmark between the thin pages. Standing up, he glanced at Seifer, nose buried in the book he was reading and sighed again. He knew that blondee would be hungry and since they couldn't eat after 8:30, he figured that Seifer would want to grab something to eat. Passing by the human's bed, he kicked the wooden base lightly enough to jar the bed, before quickly making his way out, not bothering to look back to see if Seifer had followed him or even felt the bed rock.

Reaching the dining hall, went along the line and grabbed what he wanted before seating himself at a table. There was only a few people scattered about, talking quietly amongst themselves. Squall let a smile show at the quiet, and looked down at his plate. Sighing in defeat of his grumbling stomach, he finally started to eat.

~*~*~

Seifer glanced up and followed a little behind the brunet, wanting to finish his page. Once he tracked down Squall and was seated across from him he found himself the receiver of another of Squall's icy glares. He paid him no mind and said simply, “Nice to see you too.” He’d been very tempted to say, ‘Well, I love you too gorgeous.’ just to see Squall's reaction, but he decided that at this particular moment, that would mean taking his life into his hands. So instead he ate contently in relative silence with his roommate while wondering if perhaps this was a better method of getting him to talk or at least proving to him that he came in peace.

~*~*~

Squall pushed around his mashed potatoes, finally full for once, though he really hadn't eaten all that much. The blondee was surprisingly good company when his mouth was shut. But he supposed that wouldn't last for long. Squall frowned and stared down at his plate, though his attention was focused on the human across from him. When Seifer got up, he glanced up from beneath his long lashes and sighed when he saw the blondee headed towards the line again, obviously for seconds. Sighing, he picked up his paper plate and crossed the room. Tossing it in the trash can, he exited the dining hall. He had been willing to wait, but he couldn't only wait for so long without being too obvious and drawing attention to himself.

Squall hesitated at his door, tempted to ignore Edea's warnings, but he finally sighed and went inside the room. He smiled when a flash of lightning lit up the room. It was too bad he was going to miss being outside in it, but he guessed inside wasn't so bad for now. There would be plenty of time to go outside in the rain. Plenty of time... before his spirits could dampen at the thought; he crossed the medium sized room and sat on the chair. Sitting on his knees, with his chin resting on his crossed arms, which were lying on top of the window shell. His smile grew slightly when the lights went out, and the sky lit up with lightning again, followed by a loud crack of thunder. Staring out into the night sky, he sighed and rested his cheek against his arm, enjoying the silence that was occasionally broken by the cracks of thunder.

~*~*~

The lights went out just as Seifer was putting away his tray; but no one seemed greatly bothered by it. Like a well oiled clock they broke out candles and flashlights and went about business as usual. Seifer smirked and strode to his room unaided by an alternative light source. His eyes were more than used to the dark after having insomnia for so long.

Without a sound, he crept into his room and found the charming sight of Squall gazing out the window in an almost childlike way. “Beautiful isn’t it?” he asked quietly, but the brunet still jumped. Undeterred, Seifer walked over and sat on the side of his bed, looking out the window as well. He smiled briefly with no smirk or arrogance in it and lighting split the sky just long enough for it to be clear in the dim light.

~*~*~

Looking over at the blondee, Squall's eyes widened in surprise. He really did have a beautiful smile... What? No! Shaking his head, Squall turned his attention back to the sky. Sneezing again into the crook of his elbow, he sniffled and laid his cheek back down. Trying not to feel uncomfortable with the other's presence now in the room.

Even if he wasn't outside like he had intended to be, it was still the first thunderstorm he had seen from this view point. And an aerial view definitely did not do this justice. Squall sighed at the reminder of his home again, and looked up into the dark blue-gray expanse of sky, broken by incredibly dark gray clouds, almost black. A bright flash of bluish, yellowish light touched down onto the earth, and Squall was completely lost again. Not aware of the other occupant of the room, or even the hard chair under his knees. He was completely focused on the raging storm outside.

~*~*~

Seifer glanced over at Squall and smiled at the far off look in his eyes. He seemed very much in his element watching the storm. It seemed fitting with it being his name sake and his eyes kind of matched the clouds. Lightning flashed again and Seifer was able to see Squalls eyes tinted a more blue than usual. Tipping his head to one side with an unconscious smile, he decided he liked them better that way.

When the brunet realized he was being watched and turned to look at him, Seifer met his gaze steadily. “How’s your cold?” he asked quietly. Despite the storm, Seifer still intended to go outside. He was addicted to it after so long; it was the only way he felt relaxed enough to sleep. He didn’t often fall asleep when he was out, just came back at really late hours and got a few hours of really deep sleep. That was all he needed. For some reason though, he had this strange urge to see Squall out in a storm; calm like he was now. There was something oddly appealing about it and if he hadn’t been sick he might have asked outright. But Squall was sick now and he didn’t want to make him sicker. The image would definitely stay with him though.

~*~*~

Squall sighed and tore his eyes away from the beautiful scenery outside. Looking at Seifer's faint image in the dark, occasionally brought into the light when flashes of lightning went off outside, he resigned himself to speak again. "Being my first, I would have to say it's fine now." He admitted, glancing one last time at Seifer before looking outside. God... he wished he could go out there. He sighed, resting his chin on his crossed arms, not aware of the somber blue overtaking his eyes, reflecting his emotions. Though if he had been aware of it, he would have found a way to hide them somehow. He didn't need people to know what he was thinking. To know when he was sad, even when his indifferent mask was firmly in place.

He jumped at the feeling of a large, warm hand on his shoulder. He glared at the offending hand, but Seifer paid no attention to that. He was looking into Squall's eyes, making him shift uncomfortably and attempt to hide behind his long bangs. The man was too close, his presence almost over bearing. Seifer shifted, leaning against the corner of the window shill, still staring down at Squall.

~*~*~

“I know you’re dieing to get out there,” Seifer murmured glancing out the window before looking back at Squall. Squall was the most infuriatingly difficult person he’d ever met and for some reason he found himself drawn to his roommate for all he knew because of that. “Come with me.” Maybe not the most logical choice of words considering the brunet's dedication to becoming a hermit and their horrid fight this afternoon, but to hell with it. Logic was overrated anyway.

~*~*~

Frowning, Squall looked outside again. Biting his lip, he glanced up at the sky, noticing that the storm was letting up, but it was also still going quite strong. Squall had no problem with going, since he knew he couldn't die unless he used some of his powers, and even then he'd only be sent down to Hell. But Seifer... well, he was human and he could seriously be hurt. Then again, it wasn't like Squall could stop Seifer from going outside. He'd already experienced what happened when one decides to order around the large blondee.

"Where?" He finally said, standing up from the chair, letting Seifer's hand slip away from his shoulder. Not really knowing why he suddenly felt cold all of a sudden...

~*~*~

“Up on the roof. It‘s got a great view and Edea won‘t catch you there,” Seifer explained while opening the window and crawling headfirst into the raging tempest outside. One he was safely on the drainpipe (which made for easy climbing) he reached his hand through the window for Squall, “Come on; I don’t bite,” he teased with a welcoming grin; water plastering the hair to his head already. He could almost see Squall debating his choices in his head before he finally reached for Seifer’s hand. Once Seifer had closed his fingers around the brunet's slim, hand he knew he had him. Still smiling, Seifer helped Squall out of the window and they began their climb up the drainpipe. He did notice Squall stop to close the window so the rain wouldn’t get in, but open just enough so that they’d be able to get back inside. ‘Clever,’ Seifer noted, ‘very clever.’

Once they reached the top, Seifer sat in much the same place that he had the night before, sweeping his gaze out over the powerful ocean and then back to Squall. “What do you think?” He asked, leaning in to be heard over the storm.

~*~*~

Squall shivered, wrapping his arms around himself, he looked out across the large expanse of ocean, rain pelting down from the sky making little winkles across the dark surface. It was raining pretty hard, and the large, flat roof was quickly filling up with water. Though Squall could tolerate just about anything to be able to sit out here longer and enjoy the view. He was still a bit worried about Seifer, but he figured they were safe enough. The storm was moving, so the lightning was going farther away.

Rubbing his arms with his cold hands, trying to warm up, he mouthed his reply instead, knowing Seifer wouldn't be able to hear him over the noises of the wind, thunder and rain combined. "Beautiful," he slowly pronounced, giving a small smile at the blondee's idiotic grin, made worse by the flatness of his hair. At least that disgusting shiny liquid had washed out.

Squall sighed and tilted his head up, parting his lips to let the large rain droplets fall into his mouth. He knew it wasn't sanitary, hell, he'd read all the books on it, but he still had an urge to do so, so he did. Not caring that he might get even sicker.

~*~*~

Seifer kept on grinning and alternating his gaze from the ocean to Squall. He seemed so at peace in such chaos. Seifer liked storms as well, but it was more of an adrenaline rush for him. Squall seemed to be simply more relaxed then he'd seen him so far. The storm wore on; giving impressive lightning shows the whole way. It wasn't until after two hours time that the rumbling had faded into the distance, and the wind and rain had grown soft enough to be heard over, that Seifer noticed Squalls lips were turning blue. At a glance he noticed his fingertips were as well.

Without a second thought, Seifer reached over and held Squall's hands between his two larger ones; trying not to smirk at the fact that Squall didn't tense at being touched, but simply looked at him questioningly. "Can't have you freezing to death," he explained and Squall snorted as if the very idea was impossible. Seifer paid him no mind however. Instead (taking note of Squall's more pronounced shivering), Seifer leaned in just a little so he wouldn't have to raise his voice and asked, "Do you want to go in now?"

~*~*~

Squall frowned and looked away, Seifer's face was too close for comfort. He knew they should be getting in now since it was well past curfew and Seifer was probably cold. So was Squall, but he could deal with it. It wasn't like he could freeze to death, as Seifer put it. He could burn to death, of course, but that was the only way he could seriously get hurt. Other wise, everything else would just leave a scar, no matter how deep the wound. Even if he somehow lost an arm, it would grow back eventually. And if he got run over by one of those large trucks... well, he better hope that no one planned on burying him until a week had passed, by that time, he would be good enough to walk around again. He couldn't even age for fuck sakes! That's why he wouldn't be able to stick around in one place for too long. There was only so much a little grey hair dye and drawn in winkles could do.

Shaking his head to rid himself of the depressing thought of never sticking close to someone long enough to really get to know them, Squall sighed and crawled on all fours to the edge of the roof. Swinging himself over, ignoring Seifer's gasp, he grabbed the drain pipe before he could fall to the ground (they were at least three stories up, the dorms and dining hall were on the second, the recreation on the first, and the extra set of dorms were on the third floor. Though for now, there weren't enough people to need anyone to move upstairs), and opened the window with his foot. Scooting down further, he jumped in. Moving to the side, he waited for the blondee to climb in a bit more carefully.

~*~*~

Seifer scrambled to the edge just in time to see Squall grasp the drainpipe and sighed with relief. Swinging over the edge himself, Seifer scrambled down as fast as he could; closing the window behind him. "Jeez Squall, you almost gave me a heart attack," he said good naturedly, sitting in the chair between their beds and looking up at the dripping wet brunet.

Standing again, he walked to his trunk and pulled out two towels, tossing one to Squall. "So," he asked softly, "Are you speaking to me again; or are we still on the silent treatment?"

~*~*~

Catching the towel with a nod of thanks, Squall rubbed his soaking wet hair with the towel, until it was just damp and sticking up all over the place. Wrapping the towel around his neck, he ran his fingers through his hair, making it a bit neater. Grabbing the ends of the towel, he looked up at Seifer, frowning slightly. He shouldn't speak to the human... but, then again... if it wasn't for him, Squall never would have been able to go out tonight and actually be amongst his first storm. Even if he was a little cold and very wet, it had still been worth it.

"Depends if you decide to punch me again." He said, arching a brow and twisting his upper lip faintly. Turning around, he went to his bed and unzipped his bag that he still hadn't unpacked, going through the clothes there. Finally settling on dark blue drawstring, pajama bottoms, he stripped, quickly running a towel over his wet body, before pulling on the comfortable pants. Tightening the string to keep it snug around his waist, he went into the bathroom and went about his night time routine. Throwing the towel in the hamper, brushing his teeth, relieving himself (with a small amount of disgust still clinging to him at the act) and washing his hands thoroughly.

Stepping out of the bathroom, he pulled back his sheets and got underneath, pulling it up until it rested underneath his chin, still cold from the long trip outside.

~*~*~

Seifer watched Squall start his nightly routine and started his own a little bit behind him. Towel off, grab boxers, brush teeth, and all the rest. When he stepped out of the bathroom glad in only black, silk boxers, he saw Squall curled up under the covers of his bed and shivering. With a small sigh, he walked over to his roommate's bed and flicked the warm comforter he'd place over him that morning back on the bed. It must have fallen to the floor sometime through the course of the day. As he pulled it up over Squall's shoulders he said, "Just don't accuse me of lying to you anymore and we have a deal," said with a smirk, before walking back to his own bed. He could tell he wasn't going to get much sleep at all tonight, but resting helped.

~*~*~

How can he not accuse him of lying when he kept saying that Squall was beautiful and that he eventually would be living happily with someone? Sighing, the brunet pulled the comforter closer to his chin, resting his cheek sleepily against the plush pillow. Maybe he just wouldn't call him on it the next time he said something like that. Though inside he would probably continue to seethe.

Squall bit his lip and looked over at the human. Even in the dark, with the faint ray of the moon coming in through the window, he could see the jade green eyes open to the night. Maybe he couldn't sleep? Thinking back on Seifer's familiar movements out the window and up the drain pipe, Squall figured that was were he went last night. Obviously to try to get to sleep faster. He was probably an insomniac, Squall had read about them in one of the books actually. He was glad he wasn't one. Although he still found it hard to sleep.

Sighing, Squall closed his eyes, trying to ignore the other occupant of the room that was resting his head against his crossed arms and staring up at the ceiling.

After several minutes passed, he finally fell into a restless sleep. Visions of fire and blinding pain greeted his nightmares.

~*~*~

Seifer didn’t sleep. He used to be able to, but since his parents died he hadn’t really been able to very well. And if he did, not long. There was this old fable that when humans had still traveled in tribes there’s been a respected few who stayed awake the night; guarding everyone else. It was said their descendants still were night owls. If he hadn’t found that fable in his mother’s library, he probably wouldn’t have given it another glance. Still it was a nice memory to carry him through any bad nights he had. And by now he’d learned to deal.

A rustling of sheets caught his attention and he looked over to his roommate to find him in a fit that was obviously a nightmare. Silently and quickly, he slipped out of his bed sheets and shook Squall gently to wake him. “Squall wake up! You’re having a nightmare!” he whispered/yelled. Piercing gray-blue eyes shot open and slowly Squall seemed to remember where he was. Sighing in mild relief, Seifer sat down at the edge of the brunet's bed. “Man, guess I’m not the only one that doesn’t sleep well around here. What was that all about?” he asked softly, knowing it was probably a touchy subject.

~*~*~

Squall frowned and sat up. The comforter slipping down his legs as he brought them to his chest and wrapped his arms around them, resting his chin on his knees. Looking over at Seifer, he bit his lip and looked down again. He couldn't tell the human what the dream was about... not totally anyway.

He sighed and opened his eyes, staring straight ahead, not really seeing the room, but looking back on the nightmare. "Fire... pain." He finally said, still lost in his vision of red hot ambers smoldering his wings, burning them to a crisp, until the hollow bones were incinerated. Then the pain would end for a few minutes, until Squall's wings started growing back. Ebony with dark blue highlights. And each time, they grew back perfectly, no scars, no burnt feathers. Then the torture would begin all over again.

And this was his punishment if he used his powers or told a human of his identity.

~*~*~

Seifer caught the weight and familiarity of Squall's tone. The kind of intimacy people had with their worst pains that always rested at the back of their minds. The ones that stole innocence. The first wound never did quite heal. With a concerned look, Seifer scooted closer to Squall and slipped one arm lightly over his shoulders. He would’ve used both, but with Squall's adversity to being touched, he didn’t think that was wise.

Squall didn’t really tense in the sense that Seifer knew meant ‘get the hell away from me,’ but he did look strangely over at Seifer; as if he just couldn’t figure him out. Raising his free hand in mock surrender Seifer said, “Please don’t start glaring at me as though you hate me. I’m just trying to comfort you the only way I know how.”

~*~*~

Frowning, Squall looked up into Seifer's eyes, trying to find his motive behind comforting him. He only saw concern, and maybe a hint of curiosity. Sighing, Squall turned his head and rested it against Seifer's neck. Only for tonight. They'd forget about this in the morning, and would go back to the 'no touching' rule. But for now, for now, he could accept the comfort. The only comfort he'd probably ever get in his many years that he unfortunately planned to spend on the Earth.

Besides, no other human would have been bold enough to actually approach him, and not give up when he glared at them. Even his old roommate had stopped bothering to try to comfort him or wake him up when he had a nightmare. But Seifer never gave up.

Squall sighed, his breath tickling the man's flesh, making small goose bumps pop up over the skin. Smiling slightly at the reaction, he closed his eyes and was surprisingly soothed back to sleep with the gentle, small little circles being rubbed along his stomach.


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