Memories Stolen, Memories Lost

BY : uruwashiiuso
Category: Final Fantasy VIII > Yaoi - Male/Male > Seifer/Squall
Dragon prints: 590
Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy VIII or any of its characters, and do not profit from writing this in any way.

There are voices -- he can hear them, garbled and faint in the back of his mind, beneath the veil of faltering lucidity that threatens to buckle, to fold and leave him a more broken mess than he already was. His eyes flicker open, dark blue-gray rimmed in red, the bruises marking pale skin just above the too-sharp rise of his cheekbones contrasting so greatly that they almost seem painted on, the stroke of a paintbrush over once flawless cream smearing blue and purple in such a way that it should have been beautiful. A battered canvas covered in shimmering hues, reminiscient of days spent wrapped in a warmth that no longer existed. He picks himself up, runs a hand through his hair, muscles straining to regain a semblance of purpose draped over bones so tired they ache. He sighs, and looks at them -- concern draws every feature down, bright eyes now muted with worry, mouths set into firm lines so brittle he wonders how they don't break. He almost finds it funny how much they seem to care for him, when he himself can't be bothered to do the same. Not anymore.

He woke up from dreaming and put on his shoes, started making his way past two in the morning.

He hasn't been sober for days
.

He doesn't drink, but when he finds the half-empty bottle of whiskey tucked into the corner of the blond's closet, he thinks with a twisted grin that it might be a good time to start. He twists the top open and relishes the burn as he swallows, the only thing he's felt for weeks, a warmth resting in the pit of his stomach that almost feels real. He tips the bottle back again, sits down at the edge of the bed, begins going through the things left behind.

Stacks of papers, surprisingly organized, dating from the moment of his return. From when he'd finally passed the SeeD field exam, and been decorated in that sought-after uniform. Squall allows himself a small smile; he's never seen him so justifiably smug as in that moment, back straight, shoulders squared, the fabric of the jacket draping over his form as though it were meant solely for him, as though he were meant solely for it.

He drinks from the bottle again. That uniform now hangs lifeless on the back of his closet door, pressed as though never worn. He sighs, and moves forward.

The cloths and oil used to clean his gunblade, tucked neatly into the case itself. Hyperion is braced against a far wall, blade gleaming sharply even in the low light. He gets up, whiskey momentarily forgotten, and pads across the floor to ghost his fingertips over the hilt. Every swing of this blade had been carefully calculated, executed with exact precision. The scar between his eyes had always been a vivid reminder of that simple fact -- how simple it would have been to slip and cause more damage than that thin line that had since faded to a soft pink. His fingers brush over it, then over the blade again. Never again.

Back to the bed, he grabs for the bottle, drinks a fourth time. Never again.

Photographs. All matter of such, stacks of glossy squares piled neatly beneath the lid of a battered shoebox. His brows furrow briefly. He doesn't remember half of these even being taken, much less printed. They were all of him -- him sleeping, curled on his side, face half-buried beneath the pillow, pale skin bare beneath the cover of the sheet. Him sat at his desk, brows drawn above eyes so narrowed they nearly crossed, a sheaf of papers held in his hands. Him in the Training Center, body drawn tight with the strain of the fight, a moment of action caught with a muted click as Lion Heart arced and met its mark in a spray of crimson.

Squall wonders how he even managed that last one.

The latter half are ones he does remember -- ones of both of them, most of which boast a scowling brunet and a triumphant blond. There is one, however, that makes him stop. Look twice. Three times.

He's kissing him; softly, it seems, fingers entwined in soft chocolate strands, lips just barely skimming the surface. One of Squall's hands cradles the side of his face, thumb tracing a line over the sharp edge of his jaw. His breath hitches, and he forces himself to look away. It hurts too much, but it doesn't keep him from tucking the picture into a pocket on the inside of his jacket.

He will never allow himself to forget the touch of his hands, the taste of his mouth, no matter how sharp the ache at the base of his spine becomes. If he forgets everything else, names and faces, places and things -- he will always remember that.

He leaves the bottle, forgotten, and curls up in sheets that still smell like him. His heart beats, and it hurts, but he doesn't move until the room stops spinning, and even then, he feels the hollow point in his chest deepen. He sleeps, and doesn't dream.

Leaning now into the breeze, remembering Sunday, he falls to his knees. They had breakfast together, but two eggs don't last like the feeling of what he needs.

Now this place seems familiar to him
.

He's back at the orphanage, where it all began, despite his lack of recollection of detail. He sits on the edge of a crumbling stone wall, overlooking the waves as they crash against the rocks, the sand now more gray than he remembered. Their last day had been spent with no one but each other, and he thinks that even if it had been perfect, if he'd known it was going to be their last -- he would have taken more time, savored every touch, every glance, more than he already had.

Breakfast in bed, kisses stolen beneath the cover of bedclothes, soft sighs at the touch of hands and lips. Bodies entwined, fingers laced together, heartbeats matched beneath the thin stretch of skin and cage of ribs.

"I love you," he murmurs into the side of his neck as the blond traces the lines of his palm with the pad of his thumb. Seifer presses a small kiss to the inside of his wrist.

"I love you."

He falls asleep with the other's arms wrapped around him, warmth spreading to every fiber of his being, his body so laced with contentment that he doesn't feel him pulling away.

Now, feeling the coldness of the stone beneath him, he buries his face in his hands and listens to the sound of the waves in the background. It's his anchor, serving to keep him grounded, the echo sounding in the back of his mind of still more voices that he can't discern their authenticity. It's all nothing more than background noise.

I can see now that all of these clouds are following me in my desperate endeavor to find my whoever -- wherever he may be.

~_~

He watches him from his place at the brunet's desk, green eyes trained on the sleeping form draped in soft sheets, bathed in the soft glow of the desk lamp. He thinks he's never seen him so beautiful, so open as he is now, shifting to burrow a bit further into the pillow, stretching languidly and falling even deeper beneath the veil of sleep. He's needed this for so long, the kind of rest that allows him to relax, to unwind even the smallest bit.

Seifer sighs. He doesn't want to leave him, more for his own selfish reasons -- he needs him, his subtle grace, to keep him centered, keep him sane. His smile, however fleeting, was answer enough to any question he may have had, any uncertainty that ever crept beneath the surface of his composure.

He bites his lip against the wave of guilt, resists the overpowering urge to crawl back into bed with him, wrap himself around him so tightly that they wouldn't be able to tell where one ended and the other began. He bites his lip until it bleeds, finishes tying his boots, and stands.

I'm not coming back, I've done something so terrible, I'm terrified to speak -- but you'd expect that from me. I'm mixed up, I'll be blunt -- now the rain is just washing you out of my hair.

And out of my mind, keeping an eye on the world, so many thousands of feet off the ground. I'm over you now, I'm at home in the clouds, towering over your head
.

The only sound is that of the click of the lamp being switched off, muffled footsteps across the carpet, the door falling shut behind him as he leaves everything behind.

~_~

He's cold, hollow. He's forgotten his gloves, and he can't feel his fingers, though he can't bring himself to care. The waves are calm, as though sensing his descent into apathy, the clouds above him a swirling mass beneath the flash of lightning, an electric charge that fills the air and sets the tiny hairs at the back of his neck on end. He takes a breath, and his lungs protest. He's been still for too long, and as he moves off the wall and climbs back up crumbling stairs, he thinks that nothing should hurt this much.

I guess I'll go home now.

But home without you will never be home again
.


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