To Love a Cop

BY : Shehanitan
Category: Final Fantasy VIII > Yaoi - Male/Male > Seifer/Squall
Dragon prints: 948
Disclaimer: Belongs to: Squaresoft. Profits: None

Warnings: angst

Beta: No one

Notes: I’m unspeakably relieved to see I still got some people with faith in me.

So, chapter 6.


                                                                                                                     

 


6

The day came when Raijin had to go back to work. Squall had known it, just not prepared himself for his own reaction.

“I won’t be back until the middle of the night, so ya have ta make your own food and don’t bother to sit up and wait for me,” the huge man grinned.

Squall mutely nodded, head spinning. This was his chance. He could run! Run? Run where? What was he to do while Raijin was gone? There was nothing to tidy up.  The machine took care of the dishes.

“Relax, Squall. There’s stuff in the freezer ya can heat in the microwave. Ya know how it works by now,” Raijin smiled and clapped his shoulder. Squall gave another mute, stiff nod.

Raijin didn’t leave until late afternoon, but the hours flew by. Soon enough Squall stood by the window and watched the man’s car drive off. He waited until he couldn’t see it anymore. The silence in the apartment pressed down at him like a physical hand. He hadn’t realized how much noise Raijin made. The radio wasn’t on; Raijin wasn’t rummaging around while muttering to himself. The silence was… oppressive.

Then everything came at him at once. The fear seized him as if it had just been laying in wait. This was his chance to get out and disappear.

Squall rushed back to the guestroom and frantically stuffed his bags again. He hadn’t taken out that much to start with. Once they where closed he rushed out to the hall and dropped the bags at the floor. He quickly slipped on his boots and laced them with ease. He zipped his jacket too and hid the wallet with money in his inner pocket. He wasn’t so out of it this time. He shuddered to think of what could have happened to it when it was in his backpack. He shrugged on his bags and gripped the door handle. There he froze solid.

A different fear laced with panic washed over him. Where to go? What to do? He didn’t want to admit it to himself but there was dubious safety in the apartment. There was a bed, food on regular hours, no risk of freezing and a hot shower. Squall stared down at his hand and noticed it was clenching the door-handle so hard his knuckles were white. His chest ached from the strain of breathing through the constrictive panic and fear.

Squall gave a low groan and softly smacked his forehead against the cool door. His mouth was open in the need for more air but his lungs or stomach wasn’t cooperating with him. He felt clammy and sweaty. As he was able to analyze it, he could accept the dangers of the big man, but he couldn’t make himself face the fears of going outside that door into an unknown and insecure future. He was pathetic. He couldn’t take care of himself however much he wanted to.

Squall sunk down to the floor, back to the door, and hid his face in trembling hands. Hadn’t he flitted from one foster home to another? One orphanage to another? And once he’d been old enough to live on his own he had moved in with Nida. After that, it hadn’t been Squall’s choice to live on his own, Nida had gone away. Squall hadn’t done a very good job of taking care of himself either. He knew that during the time with… Seifer, his body had developed. He knew he had gained needed and healthy weight. Wasn’t it just like his pathetic self to depend on a complete stranger now?

He tasted acid in his mouth as he faced the truth. He couldn’t take care of himself. Not in this country. Whatever Raijin would want with him, he had to accept because he owed the big man that. Raijin couldn’t be worse than any previous caretaker, right? Tears prickled the corners of his eyes as hot, stinging flashes of memories passed through his head. His body started to tremble even worse.

He forcefully banished the memories and the imaginative pictures of Raijin holding him down. He would deal with it as it came. Squall had to repeatedly tell himself that Raijin wasn’t a sadist. That if it came down to them… going to bed, he would be gentle. Still Squall had to spend far too long time to make himself believe and calm down. He got his breathing back under control. His heart slowed down, the tremors eased up, the tears dried.

He slowly took off his boots and jacket before slowly returning his bags to the room. Bereft of anything to do, he went out to the sofa and sat down. He stared out through the window at the petty blue sky. Squall felt oddly tired. He started to recognize that sort of exhaustion. It was an emotional exhaustion that sapped your energy like no physical exertion could.

It was easy for him to lose himself in the pretty blue color of the sky. He should have grown alarmed at the ease but welcomed the distraction too much. He had never before seen the multitude of shades in that blue expanse. He managed to empty his head of everything except that color. Almost automatically he started to make the paint in his head. How much white he needed, what blue color he needed. It was wonderful. He felt numb and dead to the world and yet he could see so clearly.

*****

Raijin knew he might have just spent a good deal of money on a language course for naught. The box with books, cds and a player promised to teach galbadian beginners the estharian language with ease. Raijin had listened to some of the contents and he could agree. He thought Squall was a bit too advanced for some of the lessons even if the youth thought otherwise. He would find out once he got home.

Raijin was anxious to get home and had quit a bit earlier than usual. Either he would find an empty apartment or Squall would still be there. He couldn’t decide what was most likely. He had seen that look in the stormy eyes. The same look Squall got whenever he would either take flight or fight.

It was the middle of the night and the apartment looked dark from where he stood on the sidewalk. Still didn’t mean anything. Squall could have gone to bed. The door was locked which he hoped was a good sign. The keys to the apartment hung in a small locket beside the door. He didn’t think Squall would leave and lock the door with the spare-keys. The thought calmed him until he realized Squall could slip the keys back through the mail inlet.

With new apprehension he softly opened his door and stared at the floor. No keys. His heart and stomach felt easier. Squall must still be there. Silently Raijin went inside, closed and locked the door and hung up his outer clothes in the darkness. Dumping the box at the kitchen table, he then went over to Squall’s room. He couldn’t feel fully at ease until he had seen the youth. He stopped by the sofa as he found the small form. Squall was curled up by an armrest, deeply asleep. Raijin smiled a little.

Had he been waiting? Or had he just not realized he was so tired? He reached out to shake a shoulder but stopped himself mid-move. Waking the brunet like that might have painful consequences. He still remembered that panic induced struggle and no, Raijin hadn’t gone unscathed from that. He had had bruises and a bloody scratch for his trouble and he was grateful Squall was as lithe as he was. The spirits knew what those surprisingly hard fists could have done had he packed more muscles behind them.

So Raijin straightened and returned to the kitchen. He lit the lights and turned on the radio, he also didn’t try to stop the noises as he made himself something to eat. He chose something he could fry so the smells might waft into the apartment. Raijin was almost done frying the pork bits as he noticed the youth. Squall thought he was hiding in the darkness but Raijin knew he was there. He admitted the brunet was good at the hiding and sneaking part. He had almost missed the youth that first day. Raijin finished frying and had placed two plates on the table before Squall had gathered enough courage to make himself visibly known. Raijin grinned widely as if it was the first time he noticed the youth.

“Told ya not to wait for me, hungry?” he asked with the tone that didn’t make it a question. He knew Squall hadn’t eaten.

Squall shrugged but silently and obediently finished setting the table and took out something for them to drink. As they were ready to sit down for the light meal, Raijin took the box and put it by the brunet. Squall flinched at it and then warily eyed the box and then Raijin. The big man pretended he hadn’t seen the flinch and sat down opposite the youth. With a fork he gestured at the box.

“It’s a study on ya own curse. The estharian language. Since ya have a lot of time on ya hands I thought ya could put it to good use. If ya learn the language properly it’ll be easier for ya,” he explained.

Those grey-blue eyes stared at him for a while. There was a look in them he hadn’t seen before. There was suspicion, there always was, but there was also a sort of gauging look. As if Squall for the first time looked at Raijin and not what scared him about the big man. Raijin understood that his size and maybe even his color scared the youth and had no problem with it. It was nice to finally see that look in grey-blue eyes though. Squall opened the box and went through the different books and cds and as expected the brunet eyed the player with that wary look that told Raijin he had no notion of how it worked. Fortunately there was a manual in galbadia in it. The books were also written in galbadia. First in the advanced course the literature would be in estharian.

Raijin thought that it was good if he helped Squall as little as possible with everything that separated the two countries. He hoped that Squall would learn the language enough so that he could read the manuals to all the different technological things. It was small things, but he knew it would build the brunet’s confidence to manage things on his own.

“Thank you, what did it cost?” Squall asked softly and Raijin eyed him for a while.

Was it good or bad of him to take money from the youth? They had made an agreement and he intended to keep it, he had also contemplated it. Would it make the brunet feel better or worse if he wasn’t allowed to pay for himself? What was the best option for the health of the youth? The course was as important as food and a bed to sleep in but would Squall accept that answer? Raijin had no real use for the money. Perhaps he could take it and make a saving account? Later on, when Squall hopefully had healed his battered soul and when he needed it, Raijin could give the money back? With interest.

“Don’t worry about it. No more than 1500. It’s only a beginner’s course,” he said nonchalantly and kept eating as if it was no worry.

To his surprise Squall nodded and looked back down in the manual he had found. Raijin had been sure he would start demanding to return the cost. Well, well, perhaps something was finally starting to settle in that suspicious mind of his? He didn’t argue when Squall offered to take care of the dishes so Raijin could take a long sought after shower.

In the shower he allowed himself to be carefully optimistic. If Squall hadn’t bolted today, the risk was far less he would do it tomorrow. If Raijin came back home tomorrow and Squall had done the first lesson in the course, he would know the youth could heal properly. He didn’t let himself think much farther than that. Immigration right and school and job would come much later. First these baby steps had to be taken.

Raijin dressed in his sleeping pants and threw on a t-shirt before venturing out into the apartment to say goodnight. The apartment was dark except for the kitchen where a light above a bench was lit. On the bench under the light lay a neat stack of money. The big man sighed. There were almost 2200 laying there. He still picked them up and wondered what to do. Let them lay there and speak about it tomorrow? Take them and make no issue of it? What was the beast option? The youth was hard enough to figure out, what would be best for his self-esteem?

Raijin grabbed his own wallet before he walked over and knocked on the door. There was light under it but no answer. He knocked again before opening. Squall was seated with his legs crossed on the bed. His eyes were wary; there was fear in them but also a certain determination around his mouth. The determination tightened as he saw the money in Raijin’s hand. Raijin silently drew forth a high box as a makeshift table and a chair opposite it to the brunet. He laid the money on the box before opening his own wallet. He picked up a coin with the lowest value and put it at one end.

“This is the smallest coin we have. It’s a half quarter,” he began.

Fortunately he had at least one coin of each value. He didn’t have all the different values in paper, but he could draw them on a paper with some similarity. He didn’t know if this was the best way of doing things but Squall didn’t protest once. Raijin drilled him on the different coins until they could start on calculations between them he then drilled the youth on different scenarios. Squall had a good head for math. At least this kind of easy head counting.

Raijin didn’t know for how long he sat but he didn’t care either. They would sit with this until Squall felt comfortable with the foreign money. And Squall learned. At first he felt apprehensive and unsure, but as the lesson dragged on Raijin thought he saw the true character of the brunet. Once he let himself, Squall grasped the complicated system easily. They even went as far as to go over the exchange value between the two countries.

“A liter of milk is far cheaper here than in galbadia,” Squall said with a bewildered expression on his face. Raijin shrugged.

“It’s the difference in tax. Esthar has higher tax on luxury items. Such as cars or jewelry or tvs even bicycles. On the other hand there is a ridicules low tax on stuff like food, clothes, collective transportation and other things that everyone needs,” he explained.

“But sometimes that’s screwed too. Like if ya hire an apartment, yer taxfree, but if ya buy one ya get tax. Then again the tax isn’t all that much and ya get other privileges owning yer own home,” he said with a rueful smile, then he yawned.

“So, how much would ya give me for that language course?” he asked with a teasing smile.

He was surprised as the youth twitched his lips. Squall easily and quickly gathered the correct sum of money and handed it over. Raijin took them without arguing, but he smiled broadly.

“Lesson over. Goodnight and don’t ya sit up all night bent over that box,” he warned while getting up and replacing the chair and box.

“Thank you, Raijin,” Squall said softly as Raijin was to leave the room.

“Nah, don’t mention it. It’s mostly selfish anyhow. I’m not that fluent in galbadian,” Raijin grinned mischievously and was awarded a second thin smile before he closed the door.

He grinned the whole way to his bedroom. Yes, that had been the proper way to go about things.

*****

Squall didn’t follow the advice about sleep since he was far from sleepy. The language course had awakened an unrealized want in him. The actions of the dark man had surprised him. Squall had worked up a steel wall of determination to pay for at least this box of materials. Instead it had all been for naught as he had been lectured on the estharian currency instead. He had gotten a good understanding of the cd player and started the first lesson as the sun started to touch the window and he yawned widely.

His eyes felt dry and sore and his back was killing him although he had shifted his position many times. Squall sighed and reluctantly laid down the book. He switched the blinds and threw the room in semi darkness. He didn’t undress, but simply curled up with his arms around the bed covers. He had been sure he’d be asleep in minutes, but time past and instead of sinking into sleep, he felt revitalized.

His back and legs stopped aching as they got to stretch out. The soreness disappeared from his eyes. Squall sighed and burrowed down deeper, determined to get to sleep. But as always when you demanded it of yourself, sleep was impossible to gain. Squall was too excited. He hadn’t realized how bound he had been by the language barrier. This opened the world for him. If he learned the language properly, Esthar was a land he could live in. Surely Raijin wouldn’t help him like that if he intended to keep Squall in the apartment? Squall examined these feelings closely and with a shudder realized what was there. Hope. He hadn’t felt the lack of it until it was back. Yes, he felt a careful hope.

*****

The days disappeared without Squall quite knowing where the time went. With a goal, a purpose, it was easy to find a rhythm of the day. He got up with Raijin, often earlier. Their routine with the breakfast continued. After though, Squall would immerse himself with the language course. He disappeared completely into it to the point that one day when he needed to ask Raijin for an explanation, the big man had already left for work without Squall noticing. Raijin always told him goodbye. Squall had felt chagrined and guilty that he hadn’t noticed anything.

Squall jerked and sat up straight in the bed. His heart was hammering his breathing was fast and uneven. His soft pants and t-shirt was sticking to his sweaty body. A nightmare. He remembered it vaguely, but even if he hadn’t he could have guessed. There were always eyes in them. Green, cold, mad eyes. Or dead eyes. He would be running for his life, but his legs were stuck in knee deep mud and those mad green eyes would get to him. Or he would be in that room… hearing the screams, the sounds.

The brunet shuddered and shook his head as nausea churned in his stomach. There was no use though. The feeling of being dirty assaulted him. Painful guilt seized him, the terror got him again. He tugged harshly in his hair and stifled a sob. If he had done something different. If he had just played along and accepted the drug. If he hadn’t tried to flee. Squall snatched up clean clothes and ran to the bathroom. It was early morning, Raijin was still sleeping and the sun had just started to caress the windows.

He managed to get over the toilet before he threw up. Her eyes, her body, her screams. They echoed in his head. They wouldn’t leave his mind’s eye. Squall fought to keep the sobbing back but it was impossible. It racked his body with such harsh tremors he couldn’t move. Bile wanted to rise in his throat again, but he managed to keep it back. His throat started to ache with the effort of holding back the sobs. A sound from outside made him stiffen. A different fear made him completely silent and still. Raijin was up, and he shouldn’t be yet for a few hours. Squall managed, through desperation, to get up and lock the bathroom door before biting down hard in his bottom lip.

He sunk down by the door as he heard footsteps outside. He couldn’t make himself open or say something. There was only the one bathroom, but he couldn’t make himself move. Raijin walked off after a while. Thankfully, the worst of the hysteria had calmed down. He flushed the toilet and then got in the shower. This was one of those times. The water wasn’t warm enough, the soap not sharp enough, the brush not stiff enough. He wanted to weep again but forbade himself to do it. Instead he gripped the vertical iron pole that held the showerhead. He griped it as hard as he could while gritting his teeth against the torrent of emotions. It was just a nightmare. The feeling of being dirty was nothing but imagination. He smacked is head softy against the iron to get the pictures out of his head.

He forced himself to think of the pretty blue sky instead. He forced himself to start rambling estharian words from the last lessons. It took time and great effort, but Squall succeeded. The tremors stopped, the terror subsided, the pictures disappeared. It felt like he balanced an egg on his head while he finished the shower and got dressed. The monster was still lurking in the dark recess of his mind. It would jump him if he gave it the slightest opening, so he didn’t.

As he exited the bathroom the apartment smelled of coffee. The radio was on and Raijin sat by the table, bent over a newspaper. He didn’t smile when Squall entered. Squall froze solid as the dark eyes stared intently at him. He couldn’t decipher that look. All it made him want to do was run. They were like that for a long moment of silence. Squall swallowed. Was this the time? Would he be thrown out? Would Raijin make demands of him now? He could feel that need to run envelop him, but there was also the spark of fight. He’d not surrender. He’d fight with all he had to be able to run. The strong conviction surprised him. He hadn’t felt that gut warming, sparking fire of fight for a long time.

“Why don’t ya sit down Squall?” Raijin asked softly.

Squall shook his head even as his gut twisted in anguish. Not a step closer to that giant with his too long reach and too big hands. Not before Squall had deciphered that odd look in the dark eyes. Raijin frowned and straightened, he seemed a bit puzzled, but the expression soon disappeared.

“Alright… Remember I told ya ya need to speak to someone of what ya’v been through?”

Squall nodded and the anguish twisted a bit more. He was still stiff like a statue Raijin sighed.

“Ya need to do that before ya become sick. Carrying around something that hurts ya so much is like taking a little dose of poison each day. It will weaken ya and eventually it might kill ya,” the big man continued, there was stern seriousness in his face.

Squall pressed a hand to his stomach without thinking about it. His head started to throb just imagining telling Raijin anything. He shook his head in denial. It wasn’t important. He had goals to strive for. Time would make him forget like he forgot so much else. Time would make the pain subside and eventually it would be a dim memory. Raijin made a discontented twist of his mouth, the frown deepened. The expression was quite frightening. No one moved.

“I don’t mean ya have to tell me. We’ll get ya to see a professional that has an oath of silence. Sooner or later ya’ll see I’m right. Ya shouldn’t allow yerself to become sick because of some nutcase hurting ya,” Raijin said with a tone of voice that sounded like a command.

He was oddly reminding Squall of Sefer at that moment. Fear and anguish twisted his insides again. He knew Raijin worked night at a bar as bartender, now, but what had he done before? What made him get such a tone of voice and why was he so certain he could protect Squall? Because Squall didn’t think it was an empty boost. He had no wish to be surprised again. What if this giant had a criminal background and that was why he was so sure of himself? Squall grabbed the door post of the kitchen, he steeled himself.

“You have no idea what you’re speaking of. For that matter, what makes you so sure you can handle whatever’s after me?” he asked and noted with satisfaction that his voice didn’t waver.

However, the look he got from those dark eyes made him want to shrink back, look away. He didn’t though. He tensed every muscle he had to boost himself to keep looking at the man. For a long moment it seemed Raijin wasn’t going to answer the question. Then he sighed and put his hands together on the table.

“I have a long career in the estharian army. I have the training, I have the contacts. More than that I can’t tell ya, classified information,” the man said at last.

Squall took a breath when he realized he hadn’t been breathing for a while. Military. It didn’t surprise him in the least. It calmed him somewhat, but not very much. It just told him that the huge man probably had an awful lot of skill to aid those muscles. He gave a short nod. Ask the question. Ask why he was doing this for Squall. Ask it! However, he hadn’t the boldness to do so, not when those dark eyes had such a strange expression in them. Raijin sighed again and shifted in his seat. He ruffled black hair.

“Look, let’s leave this for today. Sit down and eat something, you need the energy, we need to buy more groceries,” Raijin smiled his usual warm smile.

Squall couldn’t and didn’t want to calm down, but he also knew he was being foolish because of the nightmare. Slowly he forced himself to relax and sit down. He also forced himself to make a sandwich. Raijin had made him a cup of chocolate. It was cold now but it didn’t matter.

“How about we go over those glossaries from the last lessons?” Raijin grinned and snatched up a paper with the words.

Squall gave a weary sigh as he nodded.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Author’s Note:

I’ll see if I can’t come up with the next chapter soonish ;)



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