Author's Notes: Some people who read this say this is like the Prologue to "Believe me, Squall". I don't be the judge ^__^;; Also, read the Disclaimer for some fic-tips.

Disclaimer: Let me start off first by HIGHLY recommending something. I suggest you download the song "Regret" by Gackt. If you listen to the song as you read this, it will be extremely more effective. And you'll get to hear the song Squall is playing. Major Credit goes to Camui Gackt for this beautiful song.     WARNINGS: There is some highly disturbing stuff in this fic, rape in particular, but lucky enough, this isn't a lemon (sorry!). I also, since I've never experienced it personally, tried my best to portray someone in that situation. If it's way off, sorry! ^__^; It's also, in my eyes, very depressing and I guess in some ways the characters are OOC, but hey, I try. I also want to say that I love Squall and Seifer very much, but they can't always be good guys and sweet and lovey-dovey. Life isn't always like that, you know? With that being said, if you're reading this story without the accompanying music, bring some tissues. If you are using the music like I recommended, bring a box of tissues. Like I said, it's highly more effective if you have the music. But then again, that's my opinion.     Also, just letting you know that the ending of this story was inspired by *gulp* Hana*Hana's "Sayonara Daisuki Na Hito". I hate Hana*Hana, but I love this song. I'm also thinking of writing an alternative ending to this story, so keep a look out for that. Anyway...



A song called "Regret"

By SilverWing*

Extremely soft, gentle and melancholy music floated from the large ballroom. The massive room was dimly lit by the full moon that was glowing brilliantly above the fragile glass dome. Other than the moonlight, it was dark. No one would have known that there was even anyone in the room if it wasn’t for the soft piano music.

His smooth, delicate fingers grazed the ivory piano keys fluidly. He didn’t need the light to know where the keys were; he played this song every night. It was something of a solemn, bitter lullaby. As his soft brown bangs whispered along his face, he remembered the origin of the song. He remembered the day he sat at the old, dusty piano at the orphanage and let his fingers roam the keys freely. He never took lessons, for he taught himself how to play the piano within time. After he memorized the keys and the sounds that were emitted from the instrument, he began to write songs. Mostly, they were hopeful songs. Songs that made him feel as if all was not lost.

However, every time he played the hopeful songs, he felt emptier. It wasn’t until his last day at the orphanage he let his soul play the bittersweet song. The song that spoke of his true feelings.

As he played the beautiful instrument, two eyes watched him curiously. A pair of bright, spunky green eyes that reflected concern. The boy never was the same after the battle with Ultimecia. Things with Rinoa dwindled soon after that victorious day and it didn’t take long for Rinoa to return to Timber.

The girl watched and walked towards the young boy, careful not to arouse him in anyway. She continued to listen to the beautiful music he created, deeply impressed by his skill as a pianist; it was obvious he was an avid player. The girl then sat down on one of the plush, velvet seats and listened to his music silently until she heard the last notes diminish into the night.

"Where did you learn how to play the piano like that?" The girl asked, expecting the boy to be surprised that he had an audience, yet he wasn’t.

"I taught myself."

"It’s a beautiful song."

"I suppose."

"It sounds so sad."

"It’s supposed to."

"Is that how you feel?" She asked. The boy stayed silent for a while.


"Rinoa?" She asked. She heard the boy scoff. The girl tilted her head to the side softly. "So tell me."

"I don’t want to." He replied, not sharply, but softly. She nodded and even in the darkness, she could feel he was thankful she understood and decided not to pursue it any longer.

"Seifer was looking for you." She said, obviously in the dark about himself and Seifer.

"I bet." He replied. The girl just sighed. She stood up and walked towards the boy before planting a soft kiss on his forehead.

"I’m going to bed. Goodnight, Squall." The girl smiled softly, yawning. The boy nodded and kissed the top of her head in return.

"Goodnight, Selphie." Squall said quietly. It didn’t take long for Squall to fill the room with the beautifully bitter song again. Squall closed his eyes now, allowing every movement to be controlled by his soul. Soon, he heard footsteps again. It wasn’t the footsteps of the delicate girl that was in the room not too long ago, but they were heavier.

"You play that song every night." The boy spoke.

"It’s for you." Squall replied.

"It’s sad."

"It’s how you make me feel." Squall said gently. He continued playing the piano, even as he felt the other boy’s hands wrap around his waist. Squall continued to fill the room with his sadness as he felt the other boy’s lips flutter across his neck.

"You’re doing it again." Seifer growled.

"Doing what?"

"Ignoring me."

"Don’t be stupid, Seifer."

"Stop playing that damn song." Seifer snapped.

"Stop fucking with me and I will." Squall snapped back. The music stopped abruptly to be replaced with a noise that sounded like flesh against flesh. Squall felt heat on his cheek where Seifer had just hit him.

Please not again.

"What do you want from me?" Seifer asked, for once being open to any opinion that Squall had. Yet, Squall merely stared at Seifer, his eyes heavy with hurt, insomnia, sadness and fear.

"I want you to stay out of my life." Squall answered finally, staring at Seifer’s sharp features in the dim moonlight. Seifer raised his eyebrow as if actually considering the plea.

"You know I can’t do that," Seifer grinned. "Who else is going to satisfy me?" Seifer asked, grabbing the front of Squall’s jacket and pulling him towards him before kissing Squall deeply.

Like he always did, Squall struggled, trying to get Seifer to leave him alone and remove his tongue out of his mouth and his lips off of his. Yet, like always, Seifer only brought one hand up, clutching a hand full of Squall’s soft tresses roughly to keep his head in place while the other hand was wrapped firmly around Squall’s slender waist. Squall stopped struggling; it was pointless to continue if he knew Seifer was going to get what he wanted.

As Seifer felt his body and clawed impatiently at Squall’s clothes, Squall felt helpless once again as he let Seifer use him. He didn’t know why he never stopped him. It might have been because he actually had hidden feelings for Seifer and he knew this was the closest he was ever going to be to Seifer. It might have been that after being alone for so long, he didn’t feel too alone anymore. He thought about the fact that he was afraid of Seifer, but he knew that couldn’t be it since he knew they were both equal in strength and power, yet…not in mind power. The difference there was that Seifer did have a strong mind, and Squall liked to believe he had a strong mind.

"Kiss me, dammit." Seifer hissed as he pressed his lips against Squall’s abruptly bringing him back to the present. Squall obeyed, kissing his soft, hot lips with a fabricated passion. Or was it fabricated? Squall didn’t know anymore. All he knew is that he wanted to get away. He wanted a new life. A life where he didn’t know Seifer Almasy.

I canrun away. Squall thought as he kissed Seifer fiercely. Seifer always liked that.

"Tell me you need me."

"I need you." Squall whispered, closing his eyes in disgust.

"Tell me you want me inside you." Seifer grinned, as he began to unbuckle his pants. Squall closed his eyes as his song washed over him. "Tell me!" Seifer slapped the boy beneath him for the second time that night.

"I want you inside me, Seifer." Squall spat out, trying his best not to let a sharp sob escape him; He didn’t want to give Seifer the pleasure of that. Yet, Seifer’s hand shot out and closed around his throat, threatening to tighten.

"Tell me like you mean it. Moan it, and then moan my name. I want to hear you beg." Seifer growled. Squall swallowed hard, chocking back the sobs and the shaky breaths that were desperately seeking escape, yet the only thing that showed his emotion were his tear-stained cheeks.

"Please, Seifer," Squall moaned pitifully in the dark. "I want you inside me. I need you inside me. Please, Seifer…Please."

Seifer grinned, satisfied as he ran his tongue over Squall’s lips.

"With utmost pleasure, my love." He taunted before pulling Squall’s pants off eagerly.

Squall laid there on his stomach, breathing heavily, wincing and in pain, and dissatisfied once again. He heard a zip and the soft shuffle of Seifer’s coat. Squall just closed his eyes, eagerly waiting for Seifer to leave before he dressed again. He watched Seifer straighten himself out, looking as presentable as he did when he came in.

"I’m leaving. Don’t miss me too much." Seifer chuckled as he kneeled down and ravaged Squall’s lips with his own before leaving. As soon as he heard the door close, Squall began to sob once again. Soft cries and whimpers echoed throughout the ballroom and no one heard. By the time Seifer had finished, it must have been at least two in the morning.

Squall slowly stood up, pain shooting up his spine as he placed his hand on his behind, knowing in the back of his mind that it wouldn’t ease the pain at all. He slowly gathered his clothes and put them on, not caring how presentable he looked. He sat down again, very carefully, at the piano. He winced again and waited for the pain to subside at least a little before he placed his fingers on the correct keys on the piano. He played the song again. The song that spoke his feelings for him when he couldn’t express them. He didn’t know what he felt about Seifer. On the one hand, he felt love for making him feel wanted yet he felt hate for playing with his feelings and using them to his advantage only.

Tears continued to stream down his cheeks as he played the song and when it ended. He sat there in silence for a moment before standing up, again carefully, before walking awkwardly back to his dorm. Once inside, he grabbed a duffel bag and began to pile his clothes neatly inside the bag. He packed up his gunblade and looked around the room to make sure he didn’t miss anything. He opened the door slightly and touched the heavy pendant that hung around his neck and fingered his silver ring protectively before he slung the duffel bag over his shoulder and gripped the handle to his weapon case.

He stood at the door for a moment to rethink about everything he was doing. Leaving GARDEN, leaving his friends and his life, or what remained of it, behind. However, all of that didn’t seem to matter as he thought about who else he was leaving behind: Seifer. He wanted to talk to someone, but he didn’t know how to talk about it. Squall didn’t know what words to say that would make anyone understand what he was going through. He didn’t know how to express himself or how to say what was going on. He didn’t know if he wanted to tell anyone, either, for fear that Seifer would find out and abuse him even more.

Deciding that leaving would probably be a little irrational, considering he had nowhere to go, except maybe Esthar, and no money, he set down the black case and the duffel bag next to the door. He sighed heavily before walking out of his room and closing the door behind him. As he quietly walked down the hall, he thought about how badly he wanted to leave and was almost tempted to run back to his room, grab his stuff and never return.

He finally arrived at the door and hesitated before knocking on the door softly. He was surprised when the door opened so quickly.

"You’re still up?" He asked. She nodded and took off her glasses.

"Yeah. I’ve got a thesis due and I’m just about done. You want to come in?" Selphie asked, offering a small, and tired, smile. Squall nodded, and walked into her room. He looked around her modest room as he heard the door shut softly behind him. He actually expected the room to be a little more decorated, yet all Selphie had up were pictures of her and her friends back in Trabia and some from Balamb. He looked around for a place to sit and settled on the bed as Selphie sat back down on the desk chair. Squall sat down slowly before looking up at her.

"Is there anything you wanted to talk about?" Selphie asked, placing her glasses on the desk and turning her attention completely to Squall.

"Are you sure I’m not disturbing you?" Squall asked courteously. Selphie just shook her head.

"Of course not." She responded. He nodded and sighed.

"Selphie, I just need you to listen. I don’t know how this is going to come out at all, but I’m going to try my best. Please don’t talk until I’m done, okay?" Squall spoke, his voice slightly hoarse from crying as he looked at the girl in front of him with complete trust and honesty. She returned the gaze and nodded.

"Over the past month or so, about two weeks after Rinoa left," Squall licked his suddenly dry lips nervously. "Seifer has been using me for… sexual favors and I don’t know what to do. I want him to stop, but then, I don’t. When he touches me and kisses me, he makes me feel as if I’m wanted. As if I might be worth something to someone. But then I feel so angry and dirty at the same time. I feel disgusted, used and ashamed. I don’t want to stop him when he uses me, but I don’t want him to go on. I enjoy having him touch me like that, but I don’t like how it’s affecting me, both mentally and physically. I want to leave here so badly, Selph. I have my stuffed packed right now. But I don’t know what I’d do if I leave. Go to Esthar and live with my father? And then what?" Squall sighed and rubbed his face before he looked up at Selphie for any reaction. She was concentrated on him, giving him her full, undivided attention, but her eyes held concern and surprise. Squall continued.

"I think I’m afraid of leaving because I might miss him. I might miss the daily visits I get from him and the nights we spend together. I don’t know. I just…want to feel some sort of love I guess."

"Squall, that isn’t love." Selphie whispered gently. "Nowhere near it."

"I know." Squall spoke. He heard Selphie get up and then felt her warmth next to him. She took his hand and held it.

"Squall, what he’s doing to you is wrong. He knows it, I know it and you know it. I won’t ask you why you haven’t fought him or told anyone because you’ve pretty much said it, but I will tell you that you have to stop him. You’re strong and I don’t want to see you going that weak to anyone, not to mention Seifer."

He squeezed her soft hand. "But Selphie, I can’t explain it. In some way…I’m actually scared to stop him." Selphie wrapped her arms around Squall tightly. This only made tears slide down Squall’s cheeks once more. "I don’t know what to do."

"You have to stop him. If not you then get someone to help you. Zell, Irvine, Quistis, me, anyone. I don’t want him hurting you Squall, mentally or physically. And I’m positive no one else wants that for you either."

"He’ll hurt me if anyone finds out."

"He’ll only hurt you if you let him, Squall." Selphie pulled away and looked straight into his glassy eyes. "You need to stop needing him. You need to stop wanting him and realize that he’s wrong for taking advantage and that you’re wrong for letting him!"

Squall ran his fingers through his messy hair before looking back into Selphie’s eyes with sincerity and desperation. "I want help. I want to get as much help as I can to stop this. You’re right. I need to stop needing him. I need you to help me. Will you help me?"

"God, yes, of course." Selphie whispered as she hugged Squall tightly once again. Squall returned the hug, still uncertain about everything.

"Can I sleep with you tonight? Seifer might come in and I’m not ready to stop him yet." Squall spoke quietly. Selphie nodded.

"Of course. I’ll take the floor. You can have-"

"Actually, I wanted to know if we could sleep…well…together. I don’t really feel like sleeping alone tonight. And trust me, I’m not going to try anything." Squall said, a little embarrassed. Selphie just smiled and nodded.

"Sure, Squall. No problem. I trust you." She smiled before kissing him on his forehead. "I’m proud of you."

"For what?"

"For saying something about Seifer. It takes a lot of courage to tell someone that." Selphie said, giving Squall a small smile. "And it takes even more courage to do something about it."

"Thank you, Selphie." He said, giving her a shaky smile.

"Any time." Selphie shrugged, still giving him an encouraging smile.

As the instructor announced that the class was dismissed, Squall began to gather his papers and put them neatly in a black folder before sliding his pencil behind his right ear. He decided that instead of going to the Cafeteria for lunch, Selphie might want to go to Balamb; she was always waiting for him after his fourth class. Yet, as Squall walked outside the door, expecting to see a cheery Selphie, he ran into an extremely pissed off Seifer. The color nearly drained out of his face as he looked at Seifer for the first time in about a week.

"Where have you been?" Seifer asked, or rather demanded. Squall shrugged, trying hard to be strong.

"What does it matter?" Squall retorted sounding a lot braver than he intended. Seifer only raised his eyebrow.

"Let’s go for a walk, shall we?"

"I’m waiting for Selphie."

"Selphie isn’t coming. She has test she needs to make up and she didn’t know about it." Seifer grinned as he brushed his shoulder against Squall’s. "So how about that walk?"

"So, tell me Squall," Seifer broke the silence as soon as they were out of the GARDEN and resting on the Balamb Plains. "Why all of a sudden are you Mr. Popularity?"

"What are you talking about?" Squall mumbled, tossing his folder to the side and sitting down on a grassy hill.

"Please, Squall. Whenever I see you, you’re with Zell, Selphie, Irvine, Quistis or someone else. You’re never alone. Do they wipe your ass for you, too, when you go take a shit?"

"The only reason why it bothers you is because you haven’t had a chance to use me." Squall spat, still not looking up at the blonde boy standing in front of him. Seifer stared down at Squall in rage.

"You told them, didn’t you?" Seifer growled as he grabbed the front of Squall’s jacket roughly. "You fucking told them, you stupid prick!"

"Let go of me!" Squall screamed, pushing the bigger man off of him roughly as he stood up quickly. "Listen to me-"

"No, you listen to me." Seifer hissed as he grabbed a fistful of Squall’s shirt and pulled him close to himself. "All you are, Squall, is a whore. That’s all you are. Selphie doesn’t care. Zell doesn’t care. Quistis doesn’t care. No one cares for a used up slut like you. Face it."

"Then why are they helping me?" Squall asked through clenched teeth. "Why are they helping me if I’m such a dirty whore?"

Seifer grinned. "Because they want a piece." Seifer whispered, grabbing Squall’s butt firmly. Squall shut his eyes tightly before curling his fingers into a fist and striking Seifer across the face.

"I’d rather be their whore than yours." Squall said before he grabbed is folder and started walking away and stopped abruptly when he felt cool metal press against his back.

"Undress. Now."

"Seifer-" Squall gasped softly before ten, maybe fifteen, men in uniform appeared what seemed out of nowhere.

"Put the weapon down, now!" One of the men screamed, pointing a bigger gun at Seifer. Seifer sneered at the men before putting his lips up against Squall’s ear.

"You called the cops."

"I didn’t."

"Then-" Seifer stopped talking as soon as he saw two people appear beside who looked like the lieutenant.

"Seifer. Stop, man. You need help." The bigger man seemed to plead as the smaller girl with silver hair beside him nodded.

"Please. Squall doesn’t deserve this." She spoke softly.

"Raijin? Fujin? You…you turned me in?" Seifer’s voice cracked softly as he slowly lowered his gun from Squall’s back. "How-Why?"

"When you told us you wanted to rape Squall and make him pay for everything, we thought you were kidding. Quistis talked to us and she told us Squall told everything to Selphie. Seifer, what in the hell were you thinking? What’s wrong with you, man? I mean I looked up to you." Raijin stated sadly.

"Me too." Fujin lowered her head, seeming almost ashamed at the thought.

"Fuck you both!" Seifer screamed, feeling rage, hurt and guilt as he brought up the gun to Squall’s head. Squall closed his eyes, terrified once again.

"Seifer, man, put the gun down. Get help. Don’t do anything irrational." Raijin took a step closer. "Look, Fu and I still care for you. We want to be a posse again. But we can’t be when you’re doing this! You’re raping Squall and that isn’t right!"

Seifer’s eyes seem to cloud over with more guilt and before he could respond, one of the uniformed men jumped on Seifer, knocking him to the ground and cuffing him in only a matter of seconds. Squall stood completely still, not even noticing as the black folder fell from his hands and papers scattered everywhere on the fresh grass. Instead, he only watched as Seifer was cuffed and read his rights. Seifer looked up, meeting Squall’s gaze. Seifer wanted to say so many things to the boy he raped. "I’m sorry" being one of them. Yet, with all the shame he felt for raping Squall and letting down Raijin and Fujin, the only thing Seifer did was look away from the beautiful boy as they dragged him into the police car and took him away.

"Squall. I’m sorry." Raijin said softly. "If we had any idea-"

"It’s…okay." Squall said, a little uncertain about the words he was saying. He was still in shock and in a daze that Seifer was being taken away. Maybe, hopefully, for good. As he watched the police car drive away, with Seifer in it, he felt an extremely huge weight lifted off his shoulders as well as a sense of peace that it was finally over. Squall finally turned to the bigger, chocolate skinned man and the smaller silver haired girl. He gave them a shaky smile before embracing them both.

"Thank you. Thank you so much. You don’t know how…at ease I feel now."

"It wasn’t easy, but what Seifer was doing wasn’t right, either. We both knew you did nothing to deserve that." Fujin stated as she gently kissed Squall on the forehead. A reassuring kiss.

"Mr. Leonhart?" An officer quietly spoke up, resting his hand on Squall’s shoulder. "We’re going to need a statement from you. Will you please come with us?"

"Sure." Squall said softly as he followed the officer into another car. Squall fought back the tears of sympathy and happiness with all his strength as he sat in the back of the car. He sat there wondering what made them turn in the one man they looked up to. He wondered why they just didn’t stay silent, yet he thanked them for speaking out. Squall slowly turned around and looked out the rear window of the car, watching Raijin and Fujin embrace and as they watched the car drive off, they both silently wished the very best for Seifer and Squall.

Squall sighed heavily, scratching his head as he closed his eyes for the umpteenth time, trying to concentrate on his homework. This wasn’t an easy task considering he had Zell singing at the very top of his lungs with his sound system cranked up so loud, it was making the windows vibrate.

"Zell! Please…turn…too…loud!" Squall, too, screamed at the top of his lungs, yet most of his words were drowned by the pulsating music. Zell just grinned, gave him a thumbs up and turned it up, instead of down, obviously misunderstanding him. Squall sighed, finally giving up and grabbing his jacket before walking out of the dorm room.

Living with Zell wasn’t particularly the best thing in the world, but it beat living alone in his cold dorm room, haunted with memories of Seifer six months ago. The first week after Seifer was arrested, Squall slept alone in his room, haunted by nightmares and by a fear that wouldn’t go away. He would clench his covers tightly, watching the door and expecting Seifer to knock, or barge in, at any given time. The nightmares were horrible ones of Seifer coming back for Squall and raping him worse than ever before and sometimes killing him. Squall would wake up early in the morning, tears streaking down his cheeks as he felt a mix of fear, sorrow, sympathy and loneliness hit him all at once and not giving him a chance to catch his breath.

Since that week, he had moved in with Zell. Zell always made enough noise and distracted Squall enough so that he wouldn’t even have time to think about everything Seifer put him through, or rather what he let Seifer put him through. Squall often thought that maybe it wasn’t entirely Seifer’s fault. Many nights, Squall would lie awake in bed, staring at the ceiling and concluding that Seifer would still be attending GARDEN and that life would be somewhat half decent if he had only stopped him.

Squall had finally arrived at the beach. It was a beautiful, hot, sunny day as he sat underneath a small tree, watching the children from Balamb push each other into the cool, shimmering ocean and throw sand at each other playfully. He would smile as he saw the little girls, chasing the boys who were running away from them, screaming and laughing happily. His eyes then traveled to a little blonde boy, alone, building a sandcastle. He looked so sad as he shoveled the damp sand into his bucket and then would flip it upside down, forming a tower. He watched him for a long time before he saw another boy walk up to him.

"Hey. Whatcha makin’ Merse?" A bright red-haired boy asked squatting down and smiling at blonde boy. The other boy just shrugged. "Well…whatever it is. It looks good." Merse just nodded. "Merse? Why don’t you ever talk to me? I want to be your friend!"

His. Friend… Squall thought, feeling his heartbeat slower as he watched what seemed like a reenactment of…Seifer and himself.

"I don’t need friends, Dante." He responded coolly before going back to his sandcastle project.

Was I…afraid? Was Seifer…that desperate?

"You’re wrong! Everyone needs friends!" Dante stomped his feet as his shoulder length fiery red hair swayed every which way. "You’re mean!" Dante ran off, only to stop abruptly in front of a tall blonde haired man with beautiful Emerald green eyes. The man looked sad, a little thinner too as he wore a white button up shirt that was untucked over his black slacks.

"What’s wrong, kid?" The man asked.

"Merse doesn’t want to be my friend. He’s being mean!" Dante whined, pointing to the blonde boy who was still attending to his castle. Squall stood up, his heart ready to jump into his throat.

"Is he? Maybe he doesn’t mean to be." The blonde man spoke softly. "I know…how it feels to want something, or someone, but they just won’t give you the time of day. Is that how it is with Merse? You want to be his friend so bad, but he doesn’t listen to you?"

"Yes!" The boy whined. "What can I do?"

"Don’t do anything." The man spoke before moving his eyes to Squall. "Don’t force yourself upon Merse. Before you know it…you’ll turn into a big as-meanie. And you don’t want that, do you?"

Oh God. What is he doing here? What is he saying?

"No. I want to be friends with him!" Dante said, smiling a little hopefully now.

"Then leave him alone. Don’t force him to be your friend. Just let him know that you’ll always be there if you need him…and I’m sure you’ll make friends with him the right way. Don’t do what I did: I lost the one boy I’ve always wanted to befriend.

"Okay! Thank you mister! I’ll go tell him!" Dante smiled as he ran away from Seifer Almasy, happily.

"Why are you here?" Squall spoke immediately as soon as the child was gone.

"I want to talk to you."

"Last time we had a ‘talk’ you stuck a gun against my back. How can I trust you again?" Squall snapped, taking a step back away from Seifer. Seifer sighed.

"Well talk right here if you want to. In a train during commute hour, wherever you want, I just…need to talk to you." Seifer pleaded, as he looked deep into Squalls cloudy dark blue eyes.

"Okay. Here." Squall answered as he leaned against the tree, not trusting Seifer enough to sit down. Both men stayed silent for the longest time before Seifer sighed.

"How…have you been?" Seifer asked, a little hesitantly. Squall just looked down at the floor.

"I haven’t been the same, that’s for sure." Squall mumbled. Seifer winced at that comment, guilt stabbing him in the heart. "Besides the occasional nightmare, I’ve been fine. I moved in with Zell and I’ve been meeting with a counselor every once in a while to talk about things."

"I’m sorry." Seifer looked up at Squall, locking gazes firmly with him. "I truly am sorry. I’m sorry for taking advantage of you and being the cause of you going to that counselor every once in a while to talk about things. I’m sorry for giving you nightmares during the night. I’m sorry for affecting your life in such a negative way that you’re not the same anymore. I’m sorry for making you suffer. I’m sorry for using you for my own benefit. I’m sorry pulling a gun on you. I’m sorry for being the cause of your tears after I ravaged you. I’m sorry for causing you so much pain, mentally and physically. And, I know even if I apologize a million times, it will never make up for what I did to you."

Squall knew somehow that Seifer was sincere about it all. He somehow knew that Seifer’s time in prison gave him time to think about everything that happened to him. To think about how Fujin and Raijin, his best friends, turned him into the police. To think about how wrong it was to take full advantage of Squall, knowing Squall wouldn’t do a damn thing about it, either.

"You’re right," Squall responded flatly, watching Seifer’s shoulders sag slightly as if defeated. "But while you were thinking, I was thinking too. I was thinking that maybe it wasn’t all your fault and that…I could have stopped it. You know that we’re both strong, and that I could push you off of me if I really had to. But I didn’t. I let you. I was scared to stop you, but I didn’t want you to keep going. Does that make any sense?"

"No." Seifer chuckled softly. "But no matter what you say, Squall, I should have never taken advantage of you like that. You’ve never deserved any of that. You may have been a prick sometimes, but not enough to deserve that."

Squall offered Seifer a barely visible smile.

"When you were talking to that kid…what was your hidden meaning behind those words?" Squall asked. Seifer looked down at the floor, slightly embarrassed before he sat down underneath the tree.

"Ever since that day I saw you alone, building that sandcastle, I’ve never wanted you to be alone again. You looked sad. You looked lonely and you never talked to anyone except for Ellone. I was bit jealous that you only talked to Ellone because I’ve always wanted to be as important to you as Ellone was. But you never gave me a chance to show you how much I wanted to be your friend. So the only way I could stay close to you was to be an asshole to you. So that’s what I did.

Then, as I grew up, I realized a lot of things about my sexual preferences. I think it was about five years ago I started experimenting with boys and girls, and I came up with the conclusion that I enjoy being with boys much more than girls. I also realized that the one boy I wanted to experiment with the most was you. You’re a beautiful boy, Squall. There’s no denying that." Seifer looked over at Squall who was blushing softly and looking down at the ground. Seifer turned away from Squall and smiled a little before letting it fade and continuing. "But, I knew you wouldn’t want me. You didn’t want to be my friend when I was younger, so why would you want to be my lover now? I didn’t think it was possible. So the only way I could be that close to you was to…take it. And…I did. And…I regret it."

They both stayed silent for what seemed like hours. They looked out at the ocean and the kids screaming and playing. They watched little Merse playing in the sand alone, occasionally looking up at Dante before turning his attention back to his castle.

"I enjoyed being wanted so much. That’s why I let you." Squall finally spoke softly, almost whispering. "After Rinoa left…I started questioning my sexual preference. I started asking why I turned down Quistis and then I let Rinoa leave without getting one depression spell. But when you would use me…I would miss you when you were gone. I would hate you and I would be so happy it was over, but I would just miss you wanting me so bad. That last night, when I was in the ballroom playing the piano, I slept with Selphie after you left. I didn’t even want to do anything with her. Besides the fact she’s my best friend, she is attractive. And I didn’t want to do anything and I didn’t want anyone. I just missed you." Squall paused, giving Seifer a moment to think about all of it and let it sink in along with a fresh wave of guilt and longing for what could have been.

"I’ve always been attracted to you," Squall continued. "But even as I say this…I can’t forget what happened. I’ll forgive you…but I’m not going to forget it."

"I understand. Thank you for forgiving me."

"Thank you for apologizing." Squall whispered, swallowing hard. They stayed silent for another moment before speaking up again. "So what are your plans?"

"Well," Seifer sighed sadly. "Fujin, Raijin and I are moving to Fisherman’s Horizon. New place, fresh start. I want the posse back together."

"That’s great. I hope you’re happy there." Squall said, giving Seifer another small smile.

"How about you?" Seifer asked. Squall shrugged.

"I was offered two jobs. One was to be the new Headmaster of GARDEN. The second was to be Secretary of Esthar."

"Wow." Seifer smiled. "Looks like you’ve got a good future ahead of you."

"Yeah. I suppose." Squall shrugged, smiling a little more now.

"Seifer! Let’s go! The train’s a waitin’!" Raijin called out from afar, carrying a couple of suitcases. Next to him was Fujin, smiling happily as she, too, carried a couple of suitcases. Seifer raised his hand at them before standing up next to Squall.

"Well, I need to be going." Seifer sighed.

"Yeah. You go ahead."

"Come with me?" Seifer asked, hoping for any kind of chance.

"You know I can’t. Things…aren’t the same anymore." Squall stated, almost sadly as he sighed softly. Seifer nodded.

"Could I…just kiss you? Just…once? As a goodbye?" Seifer asked as Squall looked down at the floor.

"I’m scared to." Squall said gently, suddenly finding his hands fascinating. Seifer then reached out and put one finger underneath Squall’s chin and brushed his lips ever so softly against Squall’s for a brief second before he pulled away completely.

"Good bye, Squall." Seifer said, giving him a smile.

"Good bye, Seifer." Squall replied, also giving him a small smile. Squall would have told Seifer to keep in touch, but I think this was the best way to part. Forgiven, but not forgotten. Squall watched Seifer turn around and jog towards his big bear of a friend and his smaller, frailer friend.

At that moment, as he watched Fujin and Raijin arguing and laughing while Seifer had his hands stuffed in his pockets, walking as if he was defeated, he hated Seifer Almasy. He hated Seifer for making him want to run over to the three and go with them to Fisherman’s Horizon. He hated Seifer for turning into such a sensible and humble man. He hated Seifer for admitting to him that he had feelings for Squall.

And yet, Squall loved him for all these reasons. Of course the pain and the horrible memories of rape and torture will never leave his mind for even the slightest second and all those apologies would never take away the pain that still lingered inside of him but it would help ease it.

When the three of them were out of eyeshot, Squall turned around to the two little boys that reminded him so much of Seifer and himself.

"Dante. Will you help me with my castle?" Merse asked shyly. Dante beamed as he embraced the boy before bouncing up and down.

"Of course, Merse! You know we’re friends! Friends do things for friends!" Dante smiled happily. Merse just smiled as they walked over to the unfinished castle. Squall looked at the boys, laughing softly as Dante talked non-stop while Merse listened, seeming intrigued with everything the fiery red head had to say.

Take care of him, Dante. Squall smiled as he looked towards the train depot, just in time to see the train take off into the horizon. Have a good life, Seifer. Squall thought as he began to walk towards his dorm, feeling as if he was closing the book to one phase of his life and opening the second book to the next phase with open arms.

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