Disclaimer: I do not own the characters of Final Fantasy VIII, however I do intend on using them for my own selfish amusement!

Author’s Notes: Some people have said that they noticed a bit of OOCness in some of the characters… especially Squall… but I do have to point out that this IS an AU!!!

A World Apart

Chapter 5

By Zen

The sound of dropping equipment and loud voices brought Seifer's head up with a snap. He could see people milling about on the field and it startled him, he glanced down at his watch, only to discover that school was over and they had been dozing here for a little more than three hours. He let his arm drape back across the still sleeping form he held, not really wanting to wake him, but knowing they were in mortal danger of being discovered. With a heavy sigh and a final squeeze he drew his arms to Squall's shoulders. "Psst... hey we gotta go man, wake up," he whispered as loud as he dare and gently shook him.

Squall's eyes fluttered open, he had been having the most wonderful dream. His mother held him once more and had been telling him that he wasn't alone anymore. He yawned only to have a hand clamp over his mouth. Startled he jerked forward, the yawn dying a sudden death. He turned to find that indeed someone had been holding him, but it certainly wasn't his mother. His eyes were wide and fearful but Seifer slipped a finger to his lips in a gesture of silence, and then pointed past him to the field, he glanced in the indicated direction and understood the need for silence. At least thirty boys stood before the bleachers while a coach called their names out.

Seifer crouched beside him and his warm breath tickled his ear as he whispered into it. "There is another way outta here besides the way we came in, follow me." Squall nodded his agreement. Seifer shot him a grin that said 'don't worry I know what I'm doing.' So once again Squall found himself following Seifer's lead. Stooping low to avoid the low hanging support beams, they made their way to the farthest end of the field, opposite of where they had come in at, to a gate that appeared to be locked with a heavy chain and padlock. Squall looked up at Seifer clear distress showing in those magnificent eyes. Seifer couldn't help but smirk an all knowing half smile in his direction, and produced from his pocket a set of keys. He quickly found the right one and opened the lock. Now smiling a full smile at the wonder plastered on Squall's face. He swung the gate open and allowed Squall to pass through it.

Squall found himself standing at the back end of the now empty parking lot, watching as Seifer relocked the gate. Where did he get those keys? Oh well it wasn't any of his business, besides he was beginning to feel a bit uncomfortable knowing that moments before he had been held in those arms. Not that he was complaining, he wasn't, he had needed what Seifer offered him, but now that it was over he just felt awkward. He glanced down at his shadow that was cast by the late afternoon sun, wanting to find the right words to express his gratitude without coming across as a complete idiot, but wasn't having any luck. He watched Seifer's shadow as it mingled with his, and lifted his head to try and express his feelings. Seifer's eyes were on his in a moment, and Squall couldn't help but notice how green his were, like the jungle cat in his mural. He opened his mouth to speak but was interrupted.


Squall peeled his eyes slowly from Seifer's and turned around to observe Zell speeding toward them on his skateboard.

"Hey there you are man! I have been lookin for ya ever since the last bell, Where the hell ya been bud?" He grinned and flipped up his board into his waiting hand.

Seifer folded his arms, and pulled himself up to his full height, just in case this kid meant trouble. He narrowed his eyes and smirked. Knowing full well the menacing presence he presented.

Zell's enthusiasm over finding his friend faltered for a moment when it finally dawned on him that Seifer Almasy was standing just behind Squall, and from the look on his face, he wasn't too happy about being interrupted. It stunned him for a moment, and he began to nervously fidget.

Squall took the time that Seifer's presence had bought him to compose himself, he didn't want his friend to know how upset he had been, because he would ask too many questions that he just didn't want to answer. He closed his eyes and took a couple of deep breaths before regaining his former personality.

"Hey Zell, sorry about that, got kinda caught up with somethin important."

Zell looked away from Seifer and back at his friend, "Whatcha doin with Seifer? He wasn't hurtin you was he?" He narrowed his eyes and glanced back up at Seifer, who just smirked at him.

"No Zell, he wasn't hurtin me, it's okay, we were actually having a nice conversation and I just lost track of time that's all." He looked up at Seifer silently pleading with his eyes for him to agree.

Seifer's smirk turned into a full smile, as he looked at Zell and nodded his head, not being too sure of his voice at the moment, his throat felt dry and scratchy and there was a lump he couldn't seem to swallow. Never in his entire life had someone trusted him with a secret, and that's exactly what Squall was doing. He visibly relaxed and unfolded his arms, even going so far as to extend an unsure hand in Zell's direction.

Just as unsure Zell extended his own and briefly shook Seifer's bigger hand, not really believing that he was doing this, but if Squall had been talking to him and he wasn't dead, maybe he wasn't as bad of a guy as the rumors made him out to be.

"Whatcha talk about?" he asked curiously, Squall should have seen that one coming knowing Zell the way he did, but for a moment it threw him off, he wracked his brain trying to think of a plausible sounding topic, when he heard his own lips utter, "Art, he wanted me to give him some lessons in art."

"Oh that's cool then, hey I will meet ya out front okay?"

He watched Zell speed away on his skateboard and when he was no longer visible he let out the breath he wasn't aware he had been holding. Still feeling a bit awkward and unsettled he turned around to face Seifer again, he took a deep breath and forced himself to look up, "Thanks, I uhh guess I will see ya around okay?" it was the best he could come up with and he knew it was lame, but then he was a lame kind of guy so it sort of worked, he smiled at that thought and turned to follow after his friend, not seeing the mess he left standing in the parking lot.

Seifer didn't know what in the world to do, in the space of only a few hours this kid had managed to break down his every barrier, not a single one remained, and the really funny part about it was that had been the most the kid had managed to say to him in a single sentence. He had even given him another of those beautiful smiles, not knowing in the least that he had just given Seifer more than he had ever gotten in his whole miserable life. He stood there watching in wonder as Squall turned the corner, feeling better than he had ever felt before, who knew that in helping that kid, he managed to help himself. He smiled a genuine smile and turned to head home.

His good feelings however were not meant to last, as he approached his house he could already hear his father's voice yelling ugly slurs at his mother, the sound of breaking glass and crying soon followed. Seifer hung his head, already knowing where this would lead, and where he would find himself in the morning. He stood on the porch waiting for his father to stop yelling, but was caught off guard when the door was violently flung open. Both father and son stared at each other for a moment before a hand reached out to grab him around the back of the neck and pull him inside, summarily slamming him into the wall. His father stood over him and at six feet six and nearly three hundred pounds, he was an imposing figure to be sure. Seifer slid part way down the wall, only being held up by the impossibly tight grip the man had on his shirt and coat.

"Well, it seems that Dummy here finally made it home, he sneered. Whatcha doin home so late Dummy? Huh, answer me!"

When Seifer didn't answer he drew back his fist and punched him in the stomach, knocking the wind from his lungs and making him see red and black spots before his eyes. He curled his arms around his stomach and drew up his legs, just lying there. Waiting for the inevitable to happen, which it didn't take long. A kick in the kidney brought his body off the floor about a foot, to land hard on the uncarpeted floor. He bit his lip to keep from crying out, and waited till he lost interest in him.

"God how did I get saddled with this shit?" his father screamed. " A Dummy and a Whore, hey Gloria get yer ass in here and pick up the piece of shit I found layin in the hall! Then make my dinner, MOVE IT BITCH OR ELSE!"

Seifer waited until he had stepped over him to go into the den before dragging himself into a sitting position, he didn't want his mother to touch him in any way, so he sucked up the pain and crawled up the stairs to his room. Shutting and locking the door he gingerly removed his trench coat and lowered himself onto his bed, the worst was yet to come, he knew that. He reached painfully over to the nightstand drawer and removed a brown pill bottle. He had told the doctor that it was a sports injury, that he played football, and he had prescribed him Flexaril as a muscle relaxer and Percodan for the pain. It was about the nicest thing that his mother ever did for him. He guessed that she had been feeling guilty about him so when he asked to be taken to the hospital a couple of months back, she agreed.

He fumbled with the lid and slid two pills into his hand, as he looked at them a single silver tear tracked down his cheek, at least tonight he would be able to endure what was going to happen, but what was he going to do when he ran out of these? He didn't want to think about it anymore. He tossed the pills into his mouth and dry swallowed them. When the pain had receded enough for him to think, he pulled his homework from his coat pocket and began to work. But soon his head began to nod, and it wasn't long before sleep finally took him over.

He was woken up with a slap to the face and being dragged out of bed by his hair. "Yer mother's cookin not good enough for ya huh? You wanna hide up here while I have to eat the shit she cooks? That's fine Dummy I don't mind! Just gonna be more skin off yer back not mine!"

Roughly his shirt was ripped off of him and before he could react a stinging lash hit his already sore back, the belt buckle tearing his skin. He bit his arm to keep from crying out, even through the drug-induced haze he could feel his abused flesh screaming at him.

He wasn't sure how long it went on or even if he managed to keep silent, not that it really mattered anymore. All he did know was that he hurt like hell. He tried to move but his body wouldn't respond, he could only lay there in the darkness, feeling his blood seeping from his wounds and know that this was punishment for the happiness he had felt earlier in the day. He wasn't meant to be happy he knew that now. He curled himself up tighter and allowed his consciousness to fade into the welcome darkness.

Sometime later he woke to the sound of silence, the smell of drying blood, cheap alcohol and stale cigar smoke lingered in his nostrils, he was cold and he knew he needed to get into a hot shower, if he didn't soon he wouldn't be able to make it to school tomorrow and there was no way in hell he was going to stay here with them.

After several failed attempts he finally made it to his feet, swaying slightly he turned on the bedroom light. God, so much blood. All over the floor, on the bed on the walls, he wanted to scream because he knew that it was all his, every single drop. He fumbled for the medicine bottle and dry swallowed a couple more pills before going into the bathroom. He stripped down and turned on the hot water as high as it would go, not bothering with the cold at all because with the shitty water heater they had it was going to be hot for only a short amount of time. He caught sight of himself in the full-length mirror that was hung on the door. Damn he looked bad, he turned slightly to see his back, and he wanted to be sick, there wasn't a piece of exposed skin that wasn't covered by either a bruise or a bloody cut. He was going to feel this in the morning regardless of what measures he took tonight, the only hope he had to keep his muscles from cramping up was to keep them moving, which meant staying up all night then school in the morning. Well it wasn't like he hadn't done it before, might as well get busy. He had schoolwork to do anyway.


(End Chapter Five)




A/N: Well here is a look into Seifer's little world..... I hope I wasn't too disturbing.....and for those who actually READ the authors notes, here is another example of why people should never judge someone until they know what their situations are....Any questions or comment other than feedback will be gladly answered, feel free to contact me at Praise will be put on an alter and worshipped! Flames will be sacrificed to Satan!

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