Convergence [1]: Broken

BY : currie
Category: Final Fantasy VIII > Yaoi - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 727
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.

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A/N: Remember that resistance group a few chapters back? They're called 'Ebony Rapture' now, because 'Black Aces' sounds like a cheezed-out motorcycle gang. Not that the new name is any better, but at least it doesn't make me cringe when I look at it.
Aaaaanyways...


~ 5. Solitude ~

Squall spent the night on a roller coaster of pain. The intervals in which he managed to get some light sleep were interrputed each time by the churning of his stomach and pounding in his head. Time stood completely still. Only the sound of Zell's breathing beside him kept him grounded, and when that became too quiet, or the pain became too loud, he felt like he no longer existed; only hurt existed.

Zell's hand fell from his side early on in the night. On a number of occasions he considered waking him up, just to hear him ramble. Every time, however, he fought the idea-- they would likely be walking for the entirety of the next day. It would be unfair to ask Zell to stay up with him just because he was already being forced to himself. His mind kept bothering him with memories and a desire to be comforted or distracted, though, and eventually he gave in. The turn onto his other side was only a little painful, and the relief it brought was definitely worth it. He reached out carefully and placed his hand atop Zell's again, then curled his fingers beneath the blond's palm. He sighed when he found Zell's pulse in his wrist with his thumb, thankful to have the tiny beat to use when he needed to keep himself level.

He fell asleep in the absence of pain and awoke with it raging four more times. Rather than becoming used to it, his expectations fell in a different direction. He found himself hoping, upon every welcome return of normalcy, that the pain wouldn't come back again. Maybe this time, or that time, it would be over. It would have to end eventually; it would have to, or he would go completely insane. He was exhausted, and it wouldn't let him sleep, aside from a few minutes at a time that only served to tease him. How many more nights would he have to endure this? What if, once they returned home, nothing could be done for him? He knew, though it was hard to fully admit it to himself, that what he had been injected with was possibly permanent. Maybe he was doomed to spend the rest of his life in agony, an invalid, driven insane by the deprivation of sight and the inability to communicate his suffering to others.

There was also a chance they would meet a difficult pack of chimaeras and never get back home-- and if it weren't for Zell and Seifer's company, he would have found this a much more preferrable option. As easy as it to to wish death upon himself, he couldn't bear being responsible for seeing them meet the same fate.

He fell under the spell and emerged twice more, coming out of the last with a new conviction: he had to find a pen and paper. He would get them from Zell in the morning, or write with his finger in the sand if he had to. A dreadful realization had come to him-- he was slowing the others down as they tried to save his now-worthless life. The G-308 serum probably *was* permanent; that had to be the final trait to make it so valuable in the eyes of Ebony Rapture. He would kill himself upon returning anyway. How could he ask them to risk their own lives for that?

But why wait? He would ask for death now; hopefully it would come before another bout of agony. Only a few scribbles in the sand, and it would be done. He chuckled silently and cynically; Seifer would probably take great pleasure in such an opportunity. He gave Zell's wrist a light squeeze, taking a bit of comfort in the jump beneath his fingers, and let go. It would be best not to wake Zell at all. He, unlike Seifer, was too soft to handle what was coming. He got to his knees and crawled towards to doorway, feeling his way along the canvas until he came to its end, and made it out into the cool air.

Seifer straightened as Squallrgedrged and sat up, crossing his legs. "I thought I'd be the only one getting up with the sun today. Figured your romp with Zell would have you a bit more tuckered out."

Squall jumped at the sound of Seifer's voice. So, the sun was rising-- he had thought it was still night. He wanted to straighten things out and explain that no, he and Zell had not slept together in more than a literal sense, but Zell would be up soon-- there was no time for conversation. He got down to business. Reaching out, he trailed his finger through the cool grains of sand as legibly as he could. 'KILL ME NOW.'

"What the hell are you doing?" Genuinely confused, Seifer got up and crouched beside him to see the letters right side up. Once he read them, he chuckled. "Having a tough time of it, are you?"

Squall scowled. Seifer obviously didn't understand the weight of his request. With a brush of his hand he wiped out the words and replaced them with 'NOT KIDDING.' He raised his face in Seifer's direction, hoping he would see the sernessness of his expression.

Seifer shook his head, wincing at the pain of his own alcohol-induced headache. He sighed loudly to make sure Squall would hear it and flopped tiredly onto his bottom on the sand. "You've always been a coward, Squall, but when did you get *this* pitiful?"

Squall pounded his fist into his scribbled words. This was not going as he had planned. He let his head loll forwards for a few seconds and then wrote,OU WOU WANT TO.' To his dismay, Seifer laughed again.

"What, you think I want to kill you just because you piss me off?" Seifer wanted to slap him. Perhaps G-308 induced hallucinations as a side effect.

The brunette nodded. 'EASY.'

"I sure do love kicking the shit out of you in the training centre-- that's really easy-- but killing you when you're like this would give me about as much satisfaction as lopping the head off a corpse." What the hell was Squall's problem? He had to admit, this was very unlike him. He had never been under a cast of Pain himself, though he had been poisoned on a number of occasions, and the discomfort from that had never been bad enough to make him want to die. Of course, at the same time, he had never been poisoned for more than about an hour. He glanced over when Squall's hand started moving again.

'SLOW YOU DOWN.'

"So? Big deal." Seifer couldn't help feeling a bit touched by those wordqualquall was partly concerned for him? It was difficult to believe. "You're the whole reason we came on this mission in the first place. And when we get back, you'll go see Kadowaki, and probably get a nice long vacation for your trouble, and everything will be fine again. You need to chill the fuck out and--" He cut himself off. Squall was already scribbling again, moving faster so that some of his letters overlapped one another.

'INCURABLE.'

Seifer stared and swallowed. If that was true, he couldn't blame Squall for wanting to die. His voice softened. "What, you know something we don't?"

Squall shook his head. 'ITS OBVIOUS.'

Seifer scoffed, relieved, but also frustrated. "So you're just speculating? Grow a backbone, for fuck sakes. Deal with it. You're acting like you're delusional. Besides, I can't kill you anyway. In case you've forgotten, most countries would label my killing you as 'murder.' I'm not gonna go to prison for the sake of your fucking cowardice."

Squall had begun to shake, partly out of frustration, and partly because his stomach was churning again. Who the hell did Seifer think he was? If he only knew what it meant to go through this. He would have been a quivering mass of self-pity if this had been done to him instead. His finger drew squiggles in his threat, 'ILL DO IT THEN.'

"Yeah, right. One, Zell has your gunblade hidden somewhere, and two, you wouldn't have fue fucking guts."

'SO IM A COWARD IF I DO' -- he rubbed that line away to start the next-- 'AND IM GUTLESS IF I DONT?'

"Yup, that's pretty much it," Seifer dismissed, "Why don't you go back to bed and--" He cut off with a surprised choke as Squall lunged for him, knocking him onto his back. Shocked by the sudden burst of energy, he didn't fight back at first, but as Squall's hand searched hurriedly around his waist, he realized he was going for Hyperion. "Oh no you don't--" but it was too late. Squall had grasped the hilt and was already flying backwards off of him, swiftly unsheathing the blade. Seifer shot back up into a sitting position to find Squall on his back, holding it tightly to his throat.

Squall was angrier than he remembered being in a long time, and it was his fuel. *You don't think I will?* The words screamed in his head; he longed to shout them out loud. If for no other reason, he now wanted to do it simply to make Seifer regret his words-- they had stung him more deeply than he usually permitted, and the thought of causing the ruthless blond even a sliver of pain at the cost of his own life was frighteningly appealing. He was weak, and holding up the heavy blade was difficult. His hand trembled violently with the weight as gravity pulled it down against his throat. A sharp stiold old him when it broke his skin, and the hot, slow trickle of blood dthe the side of his neck confirmed that the cut was relatively deep.

Less than a second later, the blade wasn't so heavy any more. Seifer's voice fell to his ears from above him, his tone awfully soft. "Alright, fuck, I believe you. Ease up..." Squall's fingers were trembling too hard to even grasp it anymore. With a combination of relief and defeated regret, he let go.

Seifer tossed Hyperion the few necessary feet onto his bed mat, unsure if Squall would go for his waist again. He remained standing, staring down at the quivering lump of despair beneath him. He wondered if he should apologize, but quickly shot down the thought. This was Squall's doing. An apology wasn't owed.

With great effort, Squall pushed on the ground until he sat up. Whether it was just the right time, or if his outburst had brought it on early, he wasn't sure, but the pain in his head and gut was returning. He rested his elbows on his knees, curliorwaorward to cover his face with his hands as he tried to quell the horrified heaving of his chest. His face burned with embarassment and leftover anger. Daggers stabbed out from behind his eyes. Before he even had the mind to fight them, tears began to soak his hands. His breath shuddered; he choked on a sob.

It took a while for Seifer to relize that Squall was crying, as he did it so discreetly, and when he did the only thing that could escape his mouth was a chain of "Fuck... fuck fuck fuck" He" He sat down with crossed lin hin his panic, completely clueless as to how to react. He didn't have the heto cto call Squall a baby-- Squall never cried. Never, even at the worst of his injuries, or the most embarassing losses in training. A wave of realization hit him square in the chest. They weren't supposed to be competing, out there, in the middle of the desert. Not like that; not with Squall so much more physically (and now obviously emotionally) vulnerable than he was. Habit had brought out the taunts. Now he was ashamed. What was he now, twenty-two? And still acting like a disgruntled fifteen-year-old? He sighed and reached out. "C'mere."

Initially, Squall fought the sudden pressure at the back of his head. "I said fucking come *here.*" With that Seifer succeeded in pulling Squall's head to rest in his lap. Squall responded with a hiccup and turned onto his side, never removing his hands from his face. He was more embarassed than he had ever been in his life. What was he doing, letting Seifer try to comfort him this way? Although they were allies professionaly, in a personal sense, they were enemies. Always had been, always would be. Seifer would use this against him later. He knew it, even as that hand behind his head wove its fingers through his hair, petting him almost lovingly. It was a ruse; it had to be. Seifer did not act like this. Against the will of his conflicting thoughts, he turned his head and buried his face in the rough fabric covering Seifer's shins. Yes, he would use this against him, but it was worth it.

"You tired?" Seifer's voice remained rough, as if fighting off a revealing tone. Squall nodded against him, smearing tears on his pants. "You should have just asked for help, you stubborn shit. Sleep." The spell washed over Squall like a caress, absorbing into and relaxing every muscle in his body until it made its way to his head. He gave up his consciousness willingly.

When it was obvious that Squall's consciousness was lost, Seifer chuckl"Yo"You better be thankful. That was my last one." He looked up to catch the first sliver of the rising sun, and noticed something out of place by the entrance of the tent. Zell was staring with silent awe, eyes and mouth wide open. His arms hung limply at his sides. "And what do you want, Chickenshit? Or should I call you 'Chicken*slut*' now?"

Zell's mouth closed and opened, fishlike, before quinquinted, finally understanding the words. "What the hell do you mean by that?"

"Don't try to kid me, I know what went on in there last night. I know why you kicked me out."

Zell crossed his arms. "I kicked you out because you were drunk. As for what went on, we slept. Is that a frickin' crime?"

"Slept? What about those not-so-discreet little 'oohs' and 'ahs' that kept meeting my ears, hm?" He grinned knowingly.

A look of pure confusion befell Zell's face. "Uh... Seifer, there *weren't* any. Squall was sick again after I threw you out. We went. To. Sleep. You've really got to stop believing all your drunken wet dreams and start accepting them for what they are."

If it weren't for the Squall resting peacefully in his lap, Seifer would have jumped up and let him have it. "Shut the fuck up, unless you want Hyperion to find a home in your--"

"It doesn't matter anyway; I want to know what the hell I missed out here that got his head into *your* lap."

"Jealous, are we?"

"No, just really frickin' curious."

"Let's just say our favourite emo kid here got into a particularly unbearable bout of woe-is-me and tried to off himself."

Zell took a step forward, hands drawn to fists in anger. "WHAT?"

"You heard me. He asked me to kill him, I said no, he stole Hyperion from me, and this--" he pointed to Squall's throat "-- was the result. He probably would have finished it if I hadn't stopped him."

Zell came over and crouched to get a better look. "You did this," he accused darkly, angered and frightened by the bloody stain already drying across pale skin. "Squall is blind and dumb, not to mention sick. He couldn't have stolen Hyperion from you himself... unless you wanted him to."

Seifer rolled his e "O "Oh, bullshit. The last thing I want is to have Hyperion attached to a fucking murder. You think I want that on my head? As I told him earlier, I'm not going to jail. I know you don't really think I'd try to kill him."

Zell's furious stare softened as he lowered his head to look at Squall again. He sighed. "I guess not." After a pause, his voice grew louder. "I should have stayed up and watched him. I had no idea this would happen."

"Yeah, well, neither did I. Get over it."

"Why is he sleeping?"

"I figured it would be nice to put the kid out of his misery in a more humane fashion," Seifer replied. "I have a feeling he didn't sleep much last night."

Zell plopped down on the ground then and carefully turned Squall's head to get a better look at his face. He found the confirmation of what he had expected-- red, blotchy, and tear-streaked, and it dropped a stone into his stomach. "He was... crying," he obser fri frightened as he realized the full weight of the confrontation he had missed.

"Yeah... I didn't want to tell you. Don't tell him you know, okay? He might get upset again."

Zell's head jerked upwards. "Oh, and what's this? Seif's being a softy?"

"Shut the fuck up."


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Too much? I dunno... it's just so easy to get Squall lost in his thoughts and delusionally suicidal. But then, I don't think any less would have gotten Seifer's attention.

Hehe, this is a great position to be in. I can keep the boys lost together in the desert as long as I want! Fun fun fun!

~_^


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