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 3: Did it Work?



Seifer woke slowly the next morning, the kind of wakening that come after a relatively long, deep sleep. He was smiling before he even fully opened his eyes; it was rare when he got to enjoy something like that. That was when his vision focused and the warm body beside him shifted slightly in sleep. All the happenings of last night came back to him. ‘I must have fallen asleep almost as soon as he did,’ Seifer mused, watching his roommate sleep with a small smile on his lips.

This was an important victory in getting to know the mysterious creature. He was starting to trust him. Seifer knew Squall would probably die before admitting it at the moment, but it couldn’t be denied. He looked very peaceful sleeping in his arms; like that night in the storm had given him some much needed venting. Still smiling, Seifer was content to lay their holding Squall, and watch him until he woke up.

~*~*~

Yawning, Squall licked his lips and opened his eyes sleepily. Still a bit dazed. As the outside world slowly came back to him, he realized he was oddly warm and strangely comforted. Blinking owlishly, he was met with a tanned neck. A quick succession of flashbacks from last night finally filtered across his brain. Shit.

Quickly moving away, he frowned and rubbed his eyes, trying to wake up fully. Sniffling, he quickly got off the bed and rifled through his bag, trying to find some cool clothes for the hot day. After sneezing four times in a row, he pulled out a pair of dark blue, low rise jeans and a black, v-neck muscle shirt. Changing quickly, his back to the man still sitting in his bed, he slipped off his pajama bottoms, leaving him bare butt for a few seconds before he quickly shimmied into his pants. Pulling on his shirt, he all but ran into the bathroom.

Squall sighed and leaned on the closed door, taking deep breaths to calm him self. He couldn't believe he'd actually succumbed to letting the human hold him after waking up from a nightmare. It didn't matter if he had been close to tears, he shouldn't have submitted to his weakness like that. Now he wasn't going to hear the end of it from the blondee.

Sighing, he did his morning ritual, minus the shower, and went back out, pausing to take a deep breath before he opened the bathroom door. Looking at the ground, he went back to his bed, vaguely noticing that Seifer was in his own bed now, and pulled another one of his books out of the duffle bag. This one about the human illness and how they could get sick. It was too bad it was a late for that, Squall thought, sneezing into his hand.

~*~*~

Seifer took Squalls skittish reaction in stride. It probably unnerved him what had happened and Seifer knew not to push things. He waited patiently as Squall dressed and dashed into the bathroom before moving to his own bed; expertly concealing the small smirk of victory that was dieing to come out. When Squall returned he glanced up at him with a small smile and returned to reading his book, not wanting to pressure him too fast after such a big step.

He finished his chapter he made his way leisurely into the bathroom and when about his full morning routine. He emerged, as usual, with only a towel around his waist and began rifling through his cloths. He knew it was going to be a warm day, but Edea's husband, Cid, was taking a few of the kids shopping today and those stores were always so bloody cold. As temped as he was to stay with Squall, he decided it would be good to give him time to think things over. So with all this in mind, he pulled out some tight leather pants and a silvery silk shirt. Once he was dressed, he brushed his hair without bothering to gel it back; it always got annoying in the hot weather anyway.

Stretching briefly, Seifer made his way for the door, pausing at the handle. "I'm heading for the dining room. Want me to bring anything back for you Squall?"

~*~*~

Squall realized that trying really hard *not* to think about something usually resulted in him thinking about it. The same rule applied to looking at something. It was like road kill - you couldn't help but look. And glimpsing Seifer pulling on his tight leather pants without any underwear on... Well, it was doing strange things to him. For one, his penis was now filling with blood. That was *not* a good thing. No, definitely not. Especially when the man was a homosexual and would probably take advantage of it, by either teasing him mercifully (which seemed more Seifer's style), or just pouncing on him.

Squall sighed and looked up fully, trying not to look at the hard nipples peaking through the shirt (why did men have nipples anyway? Squall thought absentmindedly), he gazed into jade green eyes, dark with amusement. Scowling, he looked down, his cheeks feeling oddly warm. Maybe the blood was rushing from his penis to his cheeks? But wouldn't that make them puff out? No... that was the penis. So what did cheeks do when they were red?

Squall shook his head, clearing his very off track thoughts from his brain. "Porridge, maybe?" He finally said quietly.

~*~*~

Seifer’s expression was a cross between a smile/smirk and his eyes sparkled with amusement, but his voice remained mercifully calm. “Porridge it is then,” he said smoothly before slipping out of the room. ‘So,' Seifer thought to himself with amusement, ‘Squall might lean my way huh? That is interesting. Very interesting.’

He pushed the thought away for the moment however. Judging from the amount of blushing going on Squall's part, he was very self conscious and as sneaky as Seifer could be, he wasn’t cruel. He’d let the subject drop unnoticed. For now.

Striding elegantly into the dining room, Seifer paid no attention to the whispered reactions to this particularly attention getting outfit. Instead he paused only long enough for a tray with Apple/cinnamon porridge for Squall, an oversized chocolate chip muffin for himself and hot chocolate for them both.

Returning to their room without so much as a second glance at anyone else, Seifer slid inside with as much elegance as he had when he left and placed the tray gingerly on Squall's night stand. “Breakfast is served. Dig in,” he said quietly so as not to disturb Squall too much in his reading. Sitting down in the chair between their beds, he started in on his muffin with more tact than usual, not wanting to get his favourite outfit dirty.

~*~*~

Blending a corner as a make-shift bookmark, Squall set the book aside and scooted him, moving the tray over his lap. Taking a large bite of the steaming porridge, Squall smiled slightly at the wonderful taste. At least there were some human foods that tasted good enough to ignore the vile thing he had to do after eating.

Glancing up at Seifer, his smile widened slightly, showing a bit of white teeth. "I'm surprised you can actually eat something. And here I was thinking that you just swallowed things down without chewing and paid extra attention and effort on making a mess." He said, not really thinking before he did so, raising a brow.

~*~*~

Seifer glance up from his food raising an eyebrow to mimic Squall, a large smirk plastered over his features. “Well I happen to value these cloths a great deal. Getting them dirty would not be the wisest of choices,” he replied smoothly. His eye glistening with amusement again as he looked at Squall. It was good to see him opening up. Seifer knew it would be more than worth the effort. The harder it was to get close to a person, the more it was worth it. That was all but a proven fact in his past experiences.

~*~*~

Squall frowned and looked at the silk shirt. "Why would you value them? They're just clothes." Surely he could just get new ones? Then again, it probably cost a great deal of money. Maybe he was the type of person that took good care of his clothes and wore them until they were just threads. The ratty jeans that Squall had seen him wear were proof enough of that.

Squall didn't value any of his possessions, since none of it was really his. He didn't own a single thing, not even the clothes on his back. They just happened to come with the duffle bags handed to him by the others. He guessed if looked at it from a human's perspective, it could be viewed as sad or pitiful. But Squall didn't need a lot of possessions. It wasn't like he had any interests, so there was really no point in going out and getting something. That and he had no steady income at all. But he figured it would be hard to get a job when he was still learning the ways of the humans. Maybe after a year or so, he would try to find something. If only to pass the time.

~*~*~

Seifer smirked in Squall's general direction, tempted to comment directly on his reaction this morning, but thought better of it. “It… has certain desirable consequences,” he decided on at last, chuckling as Squall raised an eyebrow in his direction. Finishing off the last of his muffin and hot chocolate, he stood and began cleaning up his mess.

“Cid is taking a few kids to the mall today; I’ll be going with them.” Turning back to face Squall he smiled and said, “I should be back around six. Help yourself to my books if you want. No offense, but they look a lot more interesting then what you’ve got here.” He placed his hand lightly on the brunet's shoulder as he passed outside. “Later Squall.”

~*~*~

"Bye," he whispered as the door closed behind the tall blondee. Sighing, Squall looked down at his books and turned his gaze to the ones lining Seifer's shelves in his headboard. Standing up, he stretched before bending down to his books in the large duffle bag. Lining them up on the shelf in the headboard, he finished after about thirty books.

Turning around, he grabbed his clothes bag and walked over to their large closet. Pushing Seifer's clothes to the side of the closet, he grabbed the free hangers and started putting his shirts and pants on each of the metal wires.

Satisfied with his accomplishment, he closed the door and crossed the room, sitting on Seifer's warm bed (why was his so warm, yet Squall's remained cold?) he dragged a finger across the spines of the books lining the shelf. Seeing an interesting title, he pulled the book out. Looking at the back cover he read what the book was about, surprised to see that it was actually about homosexuals. Turning it back on its cover, he read, 'Rainbow Boys'. Hmm...

Opening the cover, he quickly became absorbed in the book, eventually shuffling onto the bed and lying down on his stomach, legs bent and in the air as he swung them back and forth absentmindedly.

~*~*~

‘If I have to sit through another one of those lectures I swear I’m going to steal Cid’s tie and strangle myself with it,’ Seifer thought with a sarcastic roll of his eyes and Cid finally let them off the bus. The man had wasted almost a half an hour going on and on and on about safety rules and don’t do this and don’t do that and if he had gone on for much longer, Seifer feared he would’ve gone insane and made good on that mental crack about the neck tie.

However, Cid had mercifully stopped and he was off the bus at last. He amused himself for the first three hours by going around his usual haunts: a bookstore, a music store, and of course a weapons shop. He wasn’t allowed to buy any weapons until he was a legal adult; the only reason he’d pulled it off before was because he’d looked older. As tempted as he was to attempt to do so again, he decided not to push his luck and walked out.

After grabbing lunch at the food court and catching a movie, Seifer decided to take one last round about the mall before it was time to leave. While passing by the weapons shop again, a jewelry shop on the other side of the hallway caught his attention. Moving over to it, Seifer found that this particular Jeweler specialized in a medieval kind of jewelry which intrigued him even more. He spent the rest of his time milling about the store and was just about to leave when a very unusual pendent caught his eye. It was some sort of lion with a heavy chain. The kind of pendant a guy could wear. And something about the lion reminded him of Squall. Elusive, strong and a male lion was basically a loner in its pride. Calling the sales clerk over he said, “I’ll take that one please.”

“Excellent choice Sir," said the middle aged, black haired man. “This particular lion style is called ‘Griever,’ in case you are interested,” he continued as he wrapped it up in a thin box with silver wrapping at Seifer’s request. The ride back to the orphanage was just as boring as the ride there, if not more so. However, Seifer managed to pass the time quite easily by dwelling on the subject of his roommate.

Squall was everything his name said. Unpredictable, possibly dangerous, alluring, and quite beautiful. Now that he’d by passed some walls, he was looking forward to what was behind them.

They arrived back at the orphanage at 6 as scheduled and the usual chaos of a post outing ensued. New CD’s were quickly torn open and placed in CD players, new books being read, and all over general buzz of excitement. Seifer wasn’t too thrilled with overactive crowds, so he pushed and otherwise shoved his way too his room; managing to enter relatively silently. The sight that greeted him brought another one of the completely genuine smiles to his lips. Squall was lying on his stomach, feet kicking absently in the air, and reading one of his books on his bed.

“Hey,” Seifer said softly, walking over to his bed and sitting down on the edge of it. “How was your day?”

~*~*~

Squall jumped and whipped his head around. He'd been so engrossed in the book, having almost reached the ending, that he hadn't even heard Seifer enter. Quickly shifting his body so he wasn't in such a vulnerable position, he sat up, facing the blondee, his finger inside the book; marking his spot. "Fine," he finally said. At least it hadn't been as boring as he thought it was going to be. "Quiet," he held back the small smile that tried to curve his lips when Seifer chuckled at the comment.

Frowning, he remembered proper human etiquette and asked, "And you?" Looking down at the shopping bag in Seifer's hand.

~*~*~

"Oh, besides the part where Cid went on and on about the rules and I was not-so-un-seriously considering strangling myself with his tie,” Seifer paused to appreciate the small smile that settled over his roommates lips at his comment, “I had a very productive day. I got a few more books - which you can help yourself to as well- and..." Smirking at Squalls raise eyebrow, he reached down into his shopping bag and pulled out the finely wrapped package containing the Griever pendant. "Here," he said quietly offering it to Squall, "I got something for you."

~*~*~

The brunet frowned and gingerly took the neatly wrapped box, holding it as thought it were a foreign object, although, it kind of was. He'd never received a gift before, but it wasn't even his 'birth date' or any of those other holidays that humans gave gifts. So why had Seifer given him a gift? Squall couldn't accept a gift from him. Giving someone a gift meant you were close friends, family or in a relationship. He and Seifer barely knew each other.

He frowned, slightly sad at the loss, though he would never admit it, and pushed it back towards the blondee. Shaking his head, he said, "I can't accept this." He wanted to state the reason why, but he figured Seifer wouldn't really understand. Squall didn't plan on getting to know anyone and he knew he was going to spend his very long life with deceiving others about his identity, so he couldn't accept the care that went into choosing a gift for him. He didn't deserve it.

~*~*~

Seifer patiently pushed the offered gift back in Squall's direction. He didn't know why he was so averse to forming attachments, but one way or the other he'd get him to open up more and then he would ask. "Take it," he said quietly. "I want you to have it." He added with a smirk, "I won't accept no for an answer."

He saw that look again that Squall tended to get at the oddest of times. Somewhere in between confusion, utter hopelessness, and longing. It was faint, but Seifer was damn good at reading people. Especially, although god knows why, this frustrating brunet. He always did love challenges.

~*~*~

Sighing, Squall looked down at the small gift in his hands. He didn't deserve this, but as Seifer already said, he wouldn't take no for an answer, and Squall believed him. Glancing up at the blondee, somewhat reassured by the small smile, he looked back down and carefully started peeling away the wrapping paper. Ignoring Seifer's sigh of impatience, he kept up the slow unwrapping, finally revealing a thin, black box. Running a finger across the smooth plastic case, he opened the clip and slowly opened the lid.

He gasped as he saw the lion pendent framed by the thick black cushion. Eyes wide in wonder, he gently pulled it out of the box, slightly surprised at the heavy weight. He couldn't believe that Seifer had given him something so... fitting. Surely he couldn't know that Squall was fascinated with large cats, lions in particular?

Looking up, he frowned slightly, at a loss for words. Biting his lip, he looked down, staring at the beautiful pendent. "Thank you," he said quietly, voice filled with gratitude and surprise. He still didn't think he deserved this, especially something this... beautiful. But Seifer had said he wanted him to have it, so it wasn't like he could give it back now. Besides, he really did like it, and he didn't really want to give it up now. This being his first gift. He’d definitely treasure it.

~*~*~

Seifer smiled, a genuine smile again, at Squall as he opened the box. (It was probably the longest he’d gone without smirking in years.) “You’re welcome,” he said, grinning softly, but managing not to laugh as Squall fiddled with the clasp to get it on. “Here,” he said quietly, reaching out and helping secure the pendant around the brunet’s neck. Sitting back slightly, Seifer took a good look at Squall. “I knew it’d be perfect for you," he murmured in appreciation; looking up to meet Squall’s eyes. He was almost taken back by the darker tinting of blue that had appeared in them. Yes, blue eyes suited him a lot better. “I’m glad you like it.”

~*~*~

Squall smiled shyly, looking down at the pendent resting against his chest, fingering it. Turning it over, he frowned at the inscription. "Sleeping Lion Heart...” he murmured. He looked up at the blondee, who was still watching him intently, making Squall's cheeks heat up. What the hell was that called anyway? "You had it inscribed?" He frowned, looking down at the necklace again. "What does it mean?"

~*~*~

"It's a saying from an old myth. My mother loved to read," he explained with a note of detachment. "My dad died before I could remember so I was very attached to her. Anyway, in this myth she used to tell me which had this one character, Boen, who'd lost faith in ever finding any good left in the world. His kingdom was ruled by an evil king he used to teach sword fighting to and he felt so betrayed when the king turned out to be evil. Eventually he’d find faith again and kill the evil king, but that’s not the part of the story that stuck with me the most.

"You see, when he was at his most bitter he met up with a Dragon. The first thing that Dragon ever said to him was 'you've a sleeping lion heart.' Basically that means that no matter how faithless or hopeless he saw things… somehow he still had enough in him to grasp courage and start living and caring again." Seifer paused for a deep breath making sure he remained detached from the issue of his mother; it was a really sore spot with him.

With a small smile, he continued, "You reminded me a lot of that story. You seem so averse to forming attachments, but I just can't see that being any kind of life for you." Seifer shook his head and chuckled ruefully, "I'll admit I'm something of a closet romantic, but I honestly think you deserve much better then a life of loneliness and one of these days you'll realize it and accept having friends like me isn't such a bad thing."

~*~*~

Squall frowned when Seifer told his tale. Something seemed off in his voice. Sighing, he listened to the human's last comment. He shook his head and looked down. He didn't deserve happiness or companions, but he wouldn't challenge Seifer on the fact, he didn't want a repeat of their previous fight yesterday. His cheek *still* hurt from that punch. At least it wasn't bad enough to bruise; it just left a light red mark on his cheek.

Squall frowned, fingering the pendent again, wondering what to do. He knew he should comfort his roommate... but would he get defensive and push him away? But hadn't Seifer just indirectly said he was brave? His body incredibly tense, Squall leaned forward, wrapping his arms around the man's neck. He'd read about people comforting others like this, it was supposed to help, but he'd also read that men didn't really deal well with hugs or any other big show of emotion. Yet if Seifer pushed him away now... he didn't think he'd ever get enough courage to try to comfort the man again, no matter what Seifer said about always having reserves somewhere inside of him. At the moment though, it felt right.

Though he was still tense as hell, every muscle in his body tense and ready to spring if the man pushed him away. But with the way Seifer talked indirectly about her, his mother seemed like a touchy subject. He imagined it would be hard to lose a parent when you were old enough to remember them and form a bond with them. But he would never really experience that since he technically, didn't really have any parents.

~*~*~

Seifer wasn’t used to talking about his mother (the first person he’d trusted with that information had mocked him with it. He’d basically shut up about it after that.), but there was a certain quality about Squall that made him easy to trust. Like any form of betrayal of a confidence was so far beneath him.

It took Seifer a moment to realize arms were coming around him. When he realized Squall was hugging him, he was more than slightly surprised. Slowly, not used to being the one comforted, Seifer slipped his arms around Squall’s waist and leaned into the embrace with a sigh almost like relief. “Thank you,” he murmured into Squall’s neck; not in the least bit disturbed by Squalls tenseness. He knew this was probably very new to him and that made it even more comforting that Squall wanted to comfort him.

It was nice to be comforted, he decided. It wasn’t like he was looking for an all out pity party or anything as stupid as that. It was just nice to have someone who, when he needed it, would say or communicate the message, ‘It’ll be okay,’ in one way or another. That was all he really wanted or needed. At length, Seifer’s lips curved into a small smile; partially at being comforted and partially because he found amusement in the sudden role reversal that seemed to be taking place.

~*~*~

Starting to feel slightly uncomfortable, Squall gently pulled back, but not before giving one final squeeze, trying to communicate what he couldn't say. Playing with the pendent again, Squall looked down, suddenly nervous for some reason. He didn't understand why he felt warm all over, or why his heart felt like it was being tugged, though oddly enough, it didn't hurt.

Looking down at the book by his side, he looked back up into Seifer's amused green eyes. "You have an... interesting selection of books," Squall changed the subject, though he was curious as to where the man had gotten them. They all looked to be about homosexuals and were all fairly interesting sounding. Especially the one book titled, 'Allan Stein.'

~*~*~

Seifer grinned at Squall, amused. “Thank you. I like keeping things interesting.” Glancing down, he noticed that Squall was almost done with ‘Rainbow Boys’ and ran his hand along the spines of his other books until he came to the one he was looking for. “I recommend this one next,” he said, pulling 'Boy Meets Boy' off the shelf, “if you like the genre. It’s a sweet story,” he finished holding to book out for Squall to examine.

~*~*~

Glancing at the back cover, Squall smiled slightly at the summary. It looked like it would prove to be interesting. Setting the book aside, he looked back up at Seifer. "I will read it once I'm finished the other book," pausing, he looked over at his own selection of books lining the shelf above his bed. "I have to admit though... they're a lot more interesting then the previous books I was studying." He admitted, flushing (from the book, he'd learned that it was actually called 'blushing') lightly when he thought about the scene in 'Rainbow Boys' where the two main characters kissed, he believed it was called a 'French kiss', because of the tongue. But he didn't understand why it was called, 'French kiss.' He was tempted to ask Seifer, but he figured that it was supposed to be a common word, so he would look pretty stupid to be asking that.

~*~*~

Seifer nodded in understanding as Squall set the book aside and watched his thoughtful gaze travel back to the first one. “Feel free to grab a book from here anytime, because, no offense, those other books do look a little boring.” There was a brief pause before Squall looked backed up at Seifer and Seifer tipped his head to one side and asked, “So what do you think of the book so far? First gay romance you ever read?”

~*~*~

Blushing faintly, Squall nodded. "First fiction book actually," he admitted, giving a small smile at Seifer's surprised reaction. "The characters seem realistic to real hu-people. I especially like Jason," he added, blush deepened only slightly. He'd liked how the author had described Jason's feelings towards Kyle, and the slow end to his denial about him being homosexual. It was actually all really sweet. Especially Kyle's infatuation with the other boy. His favourite part in the book was when Jason had held Kyle's hand in the theatre. It was sweet how the boy had been so nervous over something so small. Though, he guessed it was a big step for someone who had never admitted to himself that he was gay.

~*~*~

Seifer nodded, having felt much the same when he first read the book. “It’s a good book to start with for venturing into homosexual love stories,” Seifer paused, his grin widening marginally, “Or for your first time in fiction all together. Frankly a lot of characters in books are a lot more interesting and intelligent then most of the people you tend to meet.”

Seifer paused, brushing his fingertips over the cover of the book lightly. "It was my first homosexual novel too. The holding hands scene in the theater is my favourite. I’ve always thought little things in a relationship brought lots of meaning to it. Like holding hands, or just spending time together in a nice, for lack of a better word, ‘comfortable silence.’ That’s probably the ultimate test of whether or not you’re comfortable with someone, if you don’t need to fill up silence with words.” Smiling at Squall's slightly surprised expression, he tipped his head to the side and asked casually, “What do you think?”

~*~*~

'Impossible... maybe it really is possible for this human to read my mind.' Squall thought, frowning. "I think the same," he admitted, voice tinged with surprise. "But like I already said, I will never be in such a relationship." He believed in no secrets and the truth, but he couldn't tell anyone who he was. Thus, leading to secrets and lies. Something he never wanted to sink to. Even if it meant being lonely and miserable. It would be better then experiencing happiness and love and then experience heartbreak, made only worse by knowing what it felt like to be truly happy...

~*~*~

Leaning back against his headboard, Seifer looked over at Squall curiously for a bit before saying, “Well, that seems like an awful waste to me.” Seifer smirked as Squall’s head shot up from where he’d been studying the carpet with a look that demanded explanation and declared Seifer insane all at once.

Seifer smirked, but obliged by continuing, “I think you’d make someone an excellent boyfriend Squall. ….You’re infuriating at times, you're definitely frustrating, and your self esteem could use a lot of help, but whoever’s persistent enough to get passed all those walls will be anything from disappointed. …If, that is, you’re willing to take a risk on a relationship. I Mean, there’s always a chance the person could turn out differently than you expected, or that you do find someone great and (god forbid) they die before you.” Seifer shrugged nonchalantly. “I just think love’s worth having at least once in your life; whatever other shit the world puts you through before and after that time.”

~*~*~

Squall frowned, wrapping his arms around his stomach, he looked down again. "Love brings too much happiness. Once you've experienced it, you'll never feel like that again. You'll always be putting yourself out there to try to experience it again, but you never will. You'll end up lonely and heartbroken. Worse then you were before.

"Total happiness brings total sadness sooner or later. It's inevitable. I don't believe that there's any reason to go through that. I don't want to have to pick up the pieces of my own heart after it's been broken. At least if I'm alone, I can't hurt someone else directly.

"If I get into a relationship, I'll be responsible for that person's happiness, and I know eventually I'll let them down. Or they will let me down, and I'll be back to where I was before. Only now, I'll have experienced what love and true happiness feels like, and I'll always try to reach it again. Now I'll have something to compare my sadness too, to weigh against something else. And it'll just bring me down further." He finished, looking up at the other man, trying to make him understand.

He hadn't said that he'll have to carry around that feeling for eternity... the pain may get better over time, but he'll still have something to compare his sad existence to, where ever he went, he'd be eternally lonely, made worse by knowing what it feels like to be loved and to love. He didn't want to have to go through that.

~*~*~

“And a pessimist too,” Seifer mused, holding up his hands in surrender when Squall gave an indignant start. “Squall, I just happen to think there’s a reason bad things happen. I mean, how could you really appreciate any kind of light if you didn’t have darkness to compare it too? Recalling happier times doesn’t have to be bitter. When my dad first got sick, or so my mom tells me, they spent a lot of time together doing things like watching movies and reading to each other; things she could do alone afterwards to remember him.”

Seifer shrugged again. “I mean, if you want to go through life alone that’s your choice. I think all the risks involved make it more worth it.” A slow, victorious smirk crossed Seifer’s lips, making Squall look a little nervous. “And besides, you’ve already formed an attachment of friendship, however faint that is.”

~*~*~

Squall sighed and shook his head. Of course the human wouldn't understand. He was cursed to loneliness. If he formed attachments, then he would slowly grow more bitter and cynical as each person he loved died or left because they couldn't take his secrets anymore. Although... it was true that he had grown closer to Seifer. He hadn't wanted to... but the pull was just there, and he was almost helpless to stop it. He knew when it was time to move on, he would miss the human. However annoying he was, at least Seifer seemed to like him a little bit. And he was good company.

Squall sighed and shifted around until he was lying next to the blondee, flat on his stomach and head cushioned against his crossed arms. "Forget it," he said, sighing again, trying to ignore the man's closeness on the twin sized bed, his furnace-like heat was just wafting from him, chasing away Squall's usually cold temperature.

He frowned, trying to think of something to change the topic. Finally, he remembered the orphanage's outing, "Did you make any friends while you were out shopping?" He asked, generally curious. Although his stomach was twisting painfully at the thought of the blondee having another friend and wanting to move in with them...

~*~*~

Seifer smirked and amusement sparkled in his eyes at Squall's comment. “You’re jealous!” he said with a small chuckle. Squall of course opened his mouth to deny it, but Seifer cut him off. “No Squall, I stayed pretty much to myself. And even if I did find someone else here who I could be friends with, do you think I'd ignore you or move out? Like hell I could stand all those pastel rooms. Besides,” he added, brushing an errant chunk of hair, which Squall had been vainly trying to blow back into place, back where it belonged, “I like having you as a roommate. I’m not about to change that.”

~*~*~

Squall frowned, both at the accusing that he would feel anything so petty as jealousy, and that Seifer wouldn't want to move. "You only think that because I'm your first roommate in this place. If you made friends, you'd have more fun in someone else's room. And you wouldn't have to live with a..." he frowned, trying to think of the name that others had called him, both to his face and behind his back. "With an 'anal retentive bastard'." He recited, trying to forget the slight twinge of pain in his heart that he'd felt when someone had said that to his face.

~*~*~

Seifer raised an eyebrow at Squall, but he spoke patiently. It surprised him that his notorious temper and frustration didn’t make itself known at times with Squall. Again, he had to blame it on the odd quality the brunet seemed to have. “You’re hardly an ‘anal retentive bastard’ Squall. Frustrating to no ends about your insistence, which I don’t understand, to stay alone and miserable for the rest of your life yes, but not an anal retentive bastard. You’re actually quite good company once you relax a little.” Seifer paused before leaning down slightly as if to impact his next question. “Why is it so hard for you to believe that I like you?” he asked, meeting Squall's piercing gaze with his own.

~*~*~

Squall sighed and turned his face away from the blondee's, turning it towards the bed so he was breathing in the strong smell of Seifer through the sheets. Sighing, Squall mumbled, "Because I'm not likeable. There are hum-people who you would probably feel more relaxed with and would feel happier around. I will just drag you down."

He didn't want the human to be sad or frustrated because of him. Strangely enough, he only wanted the blondee to be happy. Even if it meant being away from Squall.

~*~*~

Seifer placed his hand comfortingly on Squall's back. "I won't say you haven't tried to drive me away, and maybe I haven't been persistent in a good way all the time, but didn’t you ever think that being with you makes me happy? Initially it was just the challenge of getting to know someone so illusive, but now," Seifer shrugged, "it's just you,

"As much as you persist that you're not a fun person to be around, there have been moments when I saw you let your guard down. Out in the storm, last night when you had a nightmare," Squall winced a little at that, but Seifer continued, "and when I walked in and you were reading. Not to mention, once you can get out of here, I'd love to see what you're like when you spar." Seifer paused for a moment before continuing, "I don't know how long this will take to sink through that thick skull of yours, but as you should know by now, I'm stubborn enough to wait until it does." Seifer finished with a small, non-cocky smile.

~*~*~

Turning around, Squall sighed and looked up at the down turned face of the blondee, who's hand had slid from his back to his stomach when he turned around. Frowning, he thought over the last comment. He did want to spar... it sounded like it would be... fun. But he still didn't really know the basics. From the look of things, it seemed like the boy's wrist who he had snapped, wouldn't be healing for quite a while. Maybe. Squall's lips curved in a small mischievous smile. "We could always go up on the roof. You just have to find a way to drag the equipment up."

~*~*~

Seifer looked down at Squall and slowly his smile shifted to match. "That sounds like an excellent idea," he replied. Glancing out the window, he found the sky was clear and if he remembered correctly, there was supposed to be a full moon. Turning back to Squall he asked, "Would you like to practice tonight after dinner?"

~*~*~

"Sure," Squall answered. He was starting to feel a bit... odd with the way Seifer's hand was still on his stomach, and was even now rubbing small circles where his shirt had crept up to reveal the smooth flesh above his navel (which he had been surprised to have, considering he had never needed it). Was he doing it unconsciously? Or on purpose? Squall sighed. He was acting like a damn human now; making everything more complicated then it needed to be.

~*~*~

Seifer grinned at the brunet. "Great. I get the feeling you'll catch on quickly." There was a brief moment of silence between them before lingering voices in the hall signaled the start of the dinner rush. Glancing at the door and then back at Squall, Seifer tipped his head to one side and asked, "Do you want to grab something now before it gets cold?"

~*~*~

Squall sighed. It was going to be busy now, but at least the food would be warm and there would be more there. But Squall usually liked going after most people had already left. He assumed Seifer wouldn't be up to that idea though. "I guess," the brunet sat up, looking over at his roommate when the man gasped quietly. Maybe those bumps on his stomach really were abnormal and Seifer had felt them when he sat up? Whatever.

Shaking his head, Squall crawled off the bed and stood up. Stretching out the kinks in his back and neck due to lying in one position for so long, Squall went to the bathroom (this time not *that* disgusted about what he was doing. Though he still washed his hands quite thoroughly) and walked back inside their bedroom to see Seifer standing near the door, waiting for him. Ignoring the small twist of his stomach at the thought, Squall followed Seifer out to the dining hall. Trying to ignore the amount of people passing them and the loud chatter.

~*~*~

They got their food and found a vacant table near a window in the corner in a comfortable silence. It wasn’t like they’d have been able to talk much in the midst of all that loud clatter anyway. But still Seifer found it mildly amusing that he felt no urge to fill the air between them.

Here in the corner, however, they were a little more removed from everybody else, and it was thus easier to hear each other should either of them decide to speak. Glancing out the window for a moment, Seifer looked at the ocean. It was almost mirror still, compared to the large waves of last night.

~*~*~

Squall tried not to stare at the man's profile. Tried to ignore the way the setting sun sparkled in through the window and made the blondee strands shine with different golden tints. Tried to ignore the way the tanned face was illuminate by the light, making it look even richer and more tan. Like one of those models advertising beach cologne, with their hard bodies and trickling sweat and a rich, mocha tan. He tried to ignore the way the ocean seemed to bring out tiny aqua specks in the others eyes.

Unfortunately his ignoring didn't go to well, and Seifer caught him staring. Blushing hard, Squall looked down at the cheese covered macaroni in his bowl. Trying (once again) to ignore the other's amused stare, he continued eating the surprisingly good food.

~*~*~

As much as he may have been tempted, Seifer did not say anything when he caught Squall staring at him; he just let it rest with an amused grin, before returning his attention to his meal. They ate slowly, glancing out the window or at each other with quiet conversation here and there; mostly about books or what Squall would need to know about kendo.

Some time later, while in mid sentence to Squall, Seifer felt a light tap on his shoulder. Turning around he came face to face with Edea. “Something wrong Mrs. Cramer?” he asked, tipping his head to one side.

She smiled kindly and replied, “No, there’s nothing wrong. I just thought you might be interested to know that the dining room is closing for the night soon.”

Seifer looked around him and sure enough, the room was all but deserted and it had suddenly become twilight. “Oh,” he said, surprised that time had run away with him so much. “Okay then.” Turning to Squall, he tipped his head to one side and asked. “Ready to go?”

~*~*~

The brunet nodded and they both walked to the kitchen again, dropping off their bowls on the side counter, before heading back to their dorm. Squall was surprised at the amount of time that had passed, and for once, he hadn't felt so uncomfortable in a room full of people with Seifer occasionally talking to him, or even just being there for when they didn't talk.

Reaching their room, they went inside, both sighing in relief at the less vibrant colour. Squall went to the bathroom to brush his teeth, and came back out to see Seifer bending down in his trunk, getting various things. Turning his head reluctantly, Squall looked out the window and waited for the blondee to get what he needed from the trunk.

~*~*~

Seifer rifled under all of his things until he reached the false bottom of his trunk. Once he had he pulled it back and retreated two swords no one had managed to place in 'safe keeping' for him yet. Holding both swords in one arm, he maneuvered his way through the window with the familiarity of someone who had done this so many times before; with different windows of course. He paused about halfway up; making sure Squall was following him before climbing the rest of the way to the roof.

As he reached the top, he turned to help Squall the rest of the way up and then handed him one of the swords that had a griever like charm attached to the hilt; he thought it was fitting. "Okay, I think we should start out with the basics."

Leaving his sword off to the side, Seifer walked around behind Squall and grasped his sword arm with his own hand, proceeding to demonstrate the proper way to attack, score, and defend. Once he felt he'd covered the basics, Seifer turned to face Squall again and asked, "Do you think you have all that?"

~*~*~

Squall nodded, trying to get focused on the sword in his hand, instead of the way it felt to have the other man so close behind him. Narrowing his eyes, he cursed his own foolishness at thinking that Seifer would want anything to do with him in that way, even if he was homosexual. Squall shouldn't enter a relationship because it meant leaving the other person too soon, and he didn't want to break any one else's heart. The idea of hurting Seifer... he didn't really understand it, but for some reason it made his heart ache deeply.

A sudden idea came to him at that thought. "How do you avoid hurting the other person when you train? Isn't it kind of dangerous?"

~*~*~

"A little," Seifer admitted,"But it's the only way you learn. But there is a way not to hurt someone too badly when you score a point." Seifer explained, gently taking Squall's wrist in his hand and turning it so that the blunt side of the sword was facing him. "When you go for a point, turn the sword to the blunt side so that the worst they'll get is a bruise. That's if your not actually fighting for your life of course," he added the last bit with a small smile.

~*~*~

He really hoped he didn't end up fucking up and accidentally cutting the other man. A bruise wasn't too bad, even if it hurt. But it was better then actually creating a flesh wound.

Squall backed up, watching Seifer's hand fall from where it had been placed on Squall's wrist. Looking down at the Katana, Squall took an experimental slash with it. Amazed by the light weight feel and the ease with which it moved through the air. Looking back up at the blondee, he asked, "How long have you been practicing this sport?"

~*~*~

"Seven years," Seifer replied, picking up his own sword and unsheathing it. He looked Squall over, assessing him physically for what Kendo required before declaring, "I think you'd learn better by just jumping into it." He raised his gaze to meet Squall's with a challenging grin. "Think you're ready for a sparing match? I'll go easy on you I promise. It's really the best way to get a feel for things."

~*~*~

Squall was nervous, but he nodded his agreement. He trusted Seifer not to hurt him *too* bad.

Bringing the Katana in front of him with both hands on the hilt (though Seifer said he himself used only one hand), he readied it in front of him as Seifer had shown him to do and waited for the other to strike. The blondee moved slowly at first, so Squall could easily follow his movements, and was able to block each blow easily. But the taller man quickly picked up the pace, and Squall tried to keep up.

He lasted fairly well, even managing to get four or five points, before Seifer misjudged Squall's ability and moved even faster, hitting him hard in the side with the blunt of his blade. Usually, it wouldn't have hurt that much, but with the amount of times Seifer had hit his sides, it had kind of piled up until that final blow was too much and made him bite his bottom lip hard, stopping himself from crying out, but he did stumble to the right from the hit.

Seifer quickly stopped and put his weapon down on the cement floor. Concern in his eyes, he went up to Squall and tried to check for damage. "I'm fine," the brunet hissed between clenched teeth. Hating himself for looking like a weakling.

~*~*~

"You are not fine," Seifer said, leveling Squall with a look that brooked absolutely no argument. Laying his hand very gently over the one Squall was using to hole his side he said, "Let me see. Please." There was a brief, tense pause before Squall finally relented. Letting Seifer take the blade, set it aside, and gently move his shirt up to examine the wound. Seifer ran his fingers across it gently; it was a bad bruise, but it didn't look like much more than that.

"Here," Seifer said, pausing in his examination of Squall's wound to pull a small twist off jar out of his pocket. "I thought we might need this. It'll help heal the bruise faster," he explained while rubbing the healing balm gently over Squall's side. At length he pulled back enough to meet Squall's gaze and smiled at the way the moonlight was playing over his hair. It was a really nice combination, all the dark blues of night and Squall's eyes. "Better?" he asked softly.

~*~*~

Squall gulped and nodded. Not liking the way Seifer's face was so close to his, and his large warm hand was still resting lightly on Squall's side. Backing up, he bent down to get the two katanas, trying not to wince when he bruise at his side was pulled. Standing back up, he turned to Seifer, watching him for a few moments before looking up at the moon.

Still staring into the peaceful light, Squall spoke quietly, "are you going to stay up here? I assume you come up here to help you get to sleep.” 'and I don't want to be in your way, especially since I think you think about your mother while you're up here.' Squall thought silently to himself, tearing his gaze away from the moon and the beautiful blue-grey sky, to look into Seifer's jade green eyes, which were staring at him weirdly, making Squall flush faintly.

~*~*~

Seifer stood as well and walked over to where Squall stood; trying very hard not to think of how tempted he had been to kiss him a few moments ago. He was not used to walking on eggshells around people he was interested in, in that way... but things were different with Squall. That thought brought a smile to his lips. He didn't want to scare him off.

"Yes. I've had trouble sleeping since I was 15, being outside helps," he explained. He looked steadily at Squall for a moment, resisting the urge to put his hand on Squall's shoulder as he added, "I wouldn't mind if you stayed up here though. Like I said, I like your company. The stars are not half as talkative," he added the last part with a friendly grin.

~*~*~

Squall smiled slightly and snorted, "Not like I'm much better," he admitted, ducking his head. He froze when a finger tilted his chin up, making him meet Seifer's eyes. The blondee didn't say anything, just shook his head and eventually ruffled Squall's hair, making him frown and pout as he tried to smooth the strands down with one hand.

Seifer laughed at his antics, the brunet just rolled his eyes. Finally getting his hair to lie in semi-order, he placed the Katanas carefully on the ground and sat down. The other man followed his example and sat down beside him. Facing the beautiful ocean, made even more gorgeous with the way the moon cast its luminous reflection off the water, making it sparkle. Squall smiled and crossed his arms silently, not in a defensive position as he'd done so many times before, but rather relaxed.

~*~*~

They sat there for a long time, looking out at the ocean and the night. It was very much like dinner: filled with comfortable silence and quiet conversation. During one of their pauses, Seifer looked over at Squall. Seifer had no patience for artwork; he'd killed several innocent pieces of paper in his early attempts before foregoing the activity all together. Seeing Squall looking out over the horizon though, with the moon playing on his hair and pendant like that... it made Seifer wish he could almost. No camera was sensitive enough to capture all that.

When Squall realized he was being watched and turned to look at him, Seifer smiled and said quietly. "There's supposed to be another thunderstorm at the end of this week," he said casually, "Thought you'd want to know."

~*~*~

Squall's face lit up (well, really only his eyes changed to a slightly darker blue and his lips curved into a small smile), thinking about spending another night out on the roof amongst the storm. He wasn't really worried about a cold, since he had gotten over the other one fairly quickly. He'd discovered that while he could still feel human pain and get the common cold, it healed fast. So the bruise on his side, which would normally take at least two weeks to heal, would probably be gone in a day. He'd have to make sure Seifer didn't see it. That or he could just say that cream he had given him had worked so well it healed quicker then normal.

Shaking his head slightly, Squall looked out into the dark ocean again. Why did he keep thinking about Seifer's opinion? Who the hell cared? But... fuck. Squall cared, and he couldn't help it. He could only imagine what would happen if Seifer ever found out what he was. Maybe he would react in disgust? Knowing that he had spent all that time with someone such as him? Or maybe in hatred? Finding out that Squall indirectly lied to him that whole time.

Squall sighed and ran a hand through his hair, making it look even more disorganized.

~*~*~

"Hey," Seifer said softly, putting his hand on Squall's shoulder when he saw the blue fade from his eyes and the gray start to take over, causing his roommate to start at being taken out of his thought so abruptly. "Is something wrong Squall?" Seifer watching the faint emotions play themselves across Squall's face, but the brunet remained sadly silent. "You don't have to tell me if you don't want to," Seifer said at length, before reaching over with his free hand and grasping one of Squalls. "I just don't want you to be sad," he murmured quietly.

~*~*~

'I want to, but I can't. God... how I want to.' But he couldn't. He'd end up in Hell if he told Seifer what he was. But he didn't want his friend to worry about him or be burdened with any of Squall's problems. Squall sniffled, feeling a strange prickling behind his eyes, before his vision went blurry. What the..?

A warm trail made its way down his cheek, tickling him slightly. Rubbing a hand across the cheek, he stared in wonder. He didn't know he could cry (he didn't really remember the time he had shed a few tears after the nightmare).

He heard Seifer make a small noise before he tugged Squall closer, wrapping both his arms around the slimmer man. No. No, he couldn't do this! Too close... he was growing too attached. He would hurt Seifer eventually; he didn't want the blondee to be hurt by him. He didn't want Seifer to have to pick up the pieces of his own heart. Letting out a sob, Squall wiggled out from the other's embrace and quickly ran to the drain pipe, dangerously sliding down it without really using his feet to slow himself down.

Reaching their window, he jumped in. He debated going outside, but he knew that Cid covered the halls at this time to make sure no one was up past curfew. It was around 10:30 now. Squall sniffled and climbed into his bed, clothes and all. Curling up into a ball, he held himself as he sobbed. He didn't want to be lonely anymore... he didn't want to push Seifer away. But he had to... he had to if he didn't want to hurt Seifer.

~*~*~

Seifer watched, mouth agape, as Squall rushed away on the point of doing so dangerously. He remained there, stunned for a few moments, before grasping the two swords and sliding down the drainpipe almost as fast as Squall had done. All but throwing himself through the window, Seifer slid it shut and threw the swords to the floor in one motion before crossing immediately to where Squall lay curled up under the covers.

"Squall," he said softly, reaching out to him. Squall, however only tried to move farther away. "Squall..." he was whispering almost desperately now, his arms pulling back the sheets that hid his roommate. "Squall please talk to me. What's wrong?"

~*~*~

Squall clutched his stomach harder, curling in on himself even tighter. The sheets were dragged away as Seifer sat beside him, making the mattress dip and pulled Squall towards him by gravity. His back pressed against the blondee's side, Squall shivered and continued to sob.

How could he tell him what was wrong if Squall himself didn't really know? He didn't fully know why his heart felt like it was being squeezed or why his stomach was twisting painfully. He just didn't want to lie to Seifer anymore. But he couldn't help but lie if he stayed with the other man. But then again, he didn't want to leave... It was all so fucking confusing... God damn human emotions... if Squall had been in his old body, he never would have felt like this. He never would have felt anything because he had been completely emotionless. Now... now he was *too* emotional. Extremes on both sides of the spectrum.

~*~*~

Gently, Seifer turned Squall and gathered him into his arms. He rocked him gently and whispered encouraging words until Squall's wracking sobs reduced to simple tremors and silent tears. Through it all, Seifer continued to hold him and murmur encouragements like, 'It's okay,' and, 'I'm here.' He couldn't even begin to fathom what had caused Squall's breakdown, but he was going to do everything he could to help; even if all he could do at the moment was hold him.

~*~*~

Scattered tears trickled down his cheeks, but the sobs were at last over. Though his throat was sore, along with his stomach and chest from sobbing so hard. God... he must look so weak to this human. Having nightmares, getting easily beaten in their match, and crying...

Squall sighed and wrapped his arms around his friend's waist, resting his cheek against his broad chest. He felt comforted and safe in Seifer's arms. But he also felt weak and small... so many damn contradictions.

~*~*~

"It's okay Squall," Seifer whispered softly once more, running his hands up and down Squall's back, trying to sooth him. Seifer watched Squall whimper and cling to him, at a loss of what else he could do for him. Pressing a soft kiss to the brunet's temple, Seifer repeated again, "It's okay."

~*~*~

'No it's not...' Squall thought, sighing. Crying hadn't helped his predicament, so now he just felt stupid for overreacting. At least Seifer wasn't making fun of him in anyway.

He tensed when Seifer moved, ready for him to leave, but the only thing the blondee did was get more comfortable on the bed, lying down so he was still holding Squall to his chest, but this time his head was resting comfortably on the pillow. He relaxed somewhat. He gave a weak smile when his roommate pressed a kiss to his head, and took a deep breath. Was he... *smelling* him? Feeling the man take another breath, Squall quickly spoke, "please... don't ask." Sensing that Seifer was going to protest, Squall continued, "I don't want you to ask because I don't know how to answer."

~*~*~

Seifer really wanted to protest, but there was something in Squall's voice the last time he pleaded with him that stopped him. He took in a deep sigh, but relented with a quiet, "Okay. If you ever do want to talk about it though," he paused to kiss Squall lightly on the forehead, "I'm here."

There was a long silence between them where Seifer simply held Squall, stroking his back. At length, he decided to break the silence and shift the subject to something a little less intense for the man in his arms. "You've been into my shampoo I see," he said with a small smile. "It smells good on you."

~*~*~

Squall smiled gratefully at the subject change. "The generic shampoo was wrecking my hair. I figured you wouldn't miss it since you barely have any." Seifer chuckled and bent to smell his hair again. "You look better without that shiny liquid in your hair," he spoke up without thinking. Frowning slightly when Seifer started laughing. What did he say?

~*~*~

Seifer chuckled some more, wiping tears of laughter from his eyes. Shaking his head in amusement, he reached out and cupped the side of Squall's face, gently threading his fingers into his roommates auburn hair. "You really are something else Squall," he declared, smiling down at said teen.

~*~*~

Tilting his head back to meet Seifer's amused gaze, Squall frowned. "Why do you keep saying that?" He didn't want to be something else... he just wanted to fit in and blend in enough that people over looked him. Maybe if Seifer told him why he was 'something else', then he could change that and fit in more. With the humans.

~*~*~

Seifer continued smiling down at him. "Because you are. You're so reserved and formal most of the time. But when you let your guard down you're," he groped for the right word, "perfect company. It's nice having someone to share my interests with, that's all."

~*~*~

Well... that wasn't something he could change. He couldn't help it if he didn't know a lot of the words that humans used for various things. Well, he could read. But he wasn't very tempted to. At all.

Sighing, Squall snuggled back into the warm chest. Breathing in the faint smell of Seifer's Irish soap. It was nice to finally be around someone that didn't bathe in their cologne or perfume. "You smell nice too," he mumbled out loud, Seifer chuckled softly and wrapped his arms around the other's chest.


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