The Beginning Of Love's Truth
It was his name being said; repeated. By a voice both soft and concerned. A voice he knew well.
Seifer opened his eyes and instantly shut them again. The light was harsh; it seemed blazing to him. He raised a hand to protect his eyes, then opened them again tentatively, squinting.
His name again. He saw a shadow above him. Narrowing his eyes, he recognised a face. The voice belonged to that face. He couldn't believe he was seeing it.
"Squall...?" he asked, hoarsely, barely a whisper.
"Yes, it's me," the face replied. "Squall."
A hand was gently pulling Seifer's hand away from shielding his eyes. He let it as he felt too weak to resist.
"What-?" he coughed, couldn't finish the question.
Squall's hands were immediately on him, attentive. A glass of water hovered before his face.
"Here," Squall was saying.
He didn't seem able to lift his arm again, so Squall helped him take a sip of the cool liquid, then he rested his head back down. He noticed that he was lying in a bed, not his own. And not a hospital or doctor's either. It was a dorm room - but not his.
"Where am I?" he asked, managing to get all the words out, even if they were whispered, then completing his previous question: "What happened?"
"You don't remember?" Squall enquired. The tone was gently probing; almost hesitant.
'The Sorceress...," Seifer started, frowning slightly, his memories unclear. "I... And I.... we... Tell me I dreamt that..."
"No," now Squall's voice was a whisper.
"Tell me I didn't... hurt any of you," Seifer said, a look of fearful anticipation haunting his eyes. "I couldn't ... I didn't..."
"It's okay. You're not blamed. If you were, Edea would have to be, and Cid's not about to execute his wife. Listen," Squall reassured to Seifer's pained expression. "Don't worry about them. It's bad, but not as bad as you're thinking... It could have been worse."
"Since the... since it happened, you've been unconscious."
"Nearly a week...?"
"Doctor Kadowaki has been taking care of you."
"This is not her office."
"No... I... You're in my room. You woke up yesterday. Don't you remember?"
"Yesterday?" Seifer frowned again, trying to resurrect his fallen memory. Pieces came to him; flashes. "I sort of remember. Others were there. Selphie.. Zell..."
"Yes, that's right. Seifer?"
Seifer looked directly at Squall. The usually quiet brunette's voice had an odd inflection to it. Nervous sounding, but matter-of-fact.
"I know how you feel," Squall continued.
"You know I didn't mean to hurt any of you - not like that. It got out of hand... I didn't.."
"No, not that. I understand that...," Squall seemed to have developed a slight blush. "I know you. I wasn't talking about... what happened."
Seifer was confused now. What was the problem? Squall looked flustered, something Seifer had never seen before. It was actually rather becoming. The thought of his attraction to Squall made Seifer look away from him.
"Seifer? About how you feel about me," Squall was picking up the thread of conversation.
Seifer looked back at him again, as if Squall had just read his mind. He was silent, almost afraid for Squall to continue this line of talk.
"I know," Squall stated, then quietly repeated it, as if for confirmation. "I know."
"Know?" asked Seifer suspiciously. He didn't like to give away his feelings and what was Squall actually saying?
"I know you... how you feel about me."
This was going roundabout, not straight.
"You talked while you were semi-unconscious," Squall explained. "You kept saying my name, so Doctor Kadowaki had me stay with you, from four days ago. I did visit you before that...," he sounded flustered again. "But I stayed longer from then, and you'd say things."
"Things?" now Seifer was apprehensive.
"You said... you said you loved me. You said you were sorry," Squall spoke quickly, almost hopefully. "You said you loved me, " he repeated.
Seifer felt stunned. He'd said that in his sleep? He hadn't imagined that to be the way he'd tell Squall the truth.
"Is it true?" Squall asked, again as if he'd read Seifer's mind.
Seifer blinked, looked at Squall's yearning face. The brunette appeared as if he wanted it to be true. No point lying - he wasn't good at that anyway.
"Yes, it's true," Seifer confessed, feeling at once relieved and apprehensive as he said it.
"I feel the same, Seifer."
He hardly dared to think he'd heard Squall just say that, but the brunette's eyes were earnest. Squall's hand reached out and actually took Seifer's in a gentle grip. Seifer, still stunned and surprised, was speechless. He merely looked at Squall's pretty features as though he were seeing them for the first time. A small, reassuring smile was on Squall's lips. It looked nervous as well as relieved, just as Seifer had felt.
"I love you, too," Squall said, as if his earlier words weren't enough.
A strange sob hitched in Seifer's throat. He still felt hazy and Squall was telling him that he loved him? He was overwhelmed; thought maybe he was dreaming.
"It's all right, it's going to be all right," Squall said, a sudden arm reaching across Seifer's chest in a gesture of comfort. "If they kick you out, I'm going with you."
Seifer managed to gather himself mentally, trying to take all this in. It was too much all at once.
"I thought you'd fallen for Rinoa," were his first vocalised thoughts.
"I was taking care of her... Nothing happened... I couldn't be with someone like her..."
"Well.., you broke up with her, didn't you?"
"I realised I didn't like girls."
"...Same here, but that's not the reason - she's too... flighty. She's nice and all, but... Look, Seifer. When I thought I was going to lose you... When I thought I'd lost you...," he couldn't finish, tears were forming in his eyes. The smile was still on his lips, but it was tempered by sadness.
Seifer managed to lift up the hand that the brunette wasn't holding and touched Squall's cheek. Squall closed his eyes to it, leaning into Seifer's palm. Seifer felt tears in his own eyes. He must be dreaming. This was a dream.
But he didn't wake up.
Squall's arms were then around him, an embrace full of relief and affection. Seifer held Squall close. He was still lying down, covered by the sheets and blankets of Squall's dorm bed. Squall's bed... As if he'd never imagined being in it. Not exactly like this of course. Except for the hugging part.
"I can't believe it," Seifer murmured, it was too surreal.
Squall lifted his head off Seifer's shoulder to look at him.
"This is not a dream, and you're finally awake," Squall said, hushed, the hesitant smile on his lips again. "All this week... It's been so.. long..."
"I love you, Squall," it sounded odd to speak the words out loud.
"I know," replied Squall, clutching Seifer tighter.
Squall pulled himself away slightly to see Seifer's face again. It had taken him too long to realise what the blond meant to him and he didn't want to let him go now. After Seifer had woken up yesterday, Squall had told the doctor, he wanted to take care of the patient, seeing he was recovering. The doctor said she'd check on him and let him take Seifer back to his room, where the blond had promptly fallen asleep again, yet this time , not unconscious, merely exhausted from his injuries and illness. The Sorceress battles had taken their toll on all of them but Seifer had been in the worst condition, having been on the losing side. He'd been lost in some unconscious world for longer than Squall, having no one to pull him out. It had been Seifer's face that had brought Squall back from Time Kompression. He'd seen Rinoa too, but the thought of Seifer had been the driving force of his escape - wanting to know he had survived. Squall was grateful now that it had only taken a week for Seifer to pull himself out - he'd been so afraid it would be forever. And that would have been too much, after only just coming to terms with his own feelings and discovering how the blond felt as well.
Seifer's hand caressed Squall's cheek again, and he rose slightly. Squall could see what he wanted and, as he wanted it too, he leaned forward and they kissed. It was perfect. Seifer felt like he would swoon, not only because his head already felt light from his recent recovery. Squall's mouth was pressed to his as firmly as his own, equal in its desire. They both felt it. Squall moved his body onto the bed, to get closer and more comfortable. He lay beside Seifer, his arms encircling the blond's shoulders. Their kissing deepened. Seifer's hand was buried in Squall's lush, thick hair; the other around Squall's back, holding him close. All he's ever wanted was here now, in this kiss.
He felt a little upset when Squall broke it. But Squall was merely pulling back the sheets and getting under them so they could be even closer. Squall pressed his body against Seifer's and their kissing resumed, increasing in passion.
Squall had barely convinced Seifer he wasn't dreaming, so Seifer felt in a way he had nothing to lose here. If he was indeed dreaming, why not make the most of his fantasy, and if it was true... if this was real, then his fantasy was now no longer just a fantasy and maybe he could be happy. Or at least happier than he'd been for many years. Either way, the taste of Squall's mouth was intoxicating and he didn't want it to stop. Squall pulled Seifer so the tall blond was over him, awkwardly half-straddling his body. Seifer was kissing him and Squall had never felt so alive; so good. Over the past four days, since finding out Seifer's love for him, he'd imagined this moment; hoped for it; longed for it. Being in Seifer's arms. Realising how Seifer felt had melted him, caused him to admit his own... what? Love? Lust? Both...
"I want to make love to you," Seifer whispered into a pause in their kissing, echoing Squall's very thoughts.
"I know," was all Squall replied, realising he seemed to be repeating himself, but too enraptured to be original or elaborate.
Seifer kissed Squall's mouth hard, hands roaming down his back.
"Not tonight," the blond continued, pulling away a little.
Squall felt an incredible disappointment. Seifer's warm arms were still around him, but was he having second thoughts?
"I'm so tired," Seifer said, by way of explanation, perhaps.
Then, as if is had just appeared , Squall noticed how pale Seifer was; how weak his grip felt.
Squall held him close, burying his face in Seifer's chest, hearing his heart. It was beating very fast. Seifer's arms were loosely, yet securely, around his back and shoulders. It felt comforting to have them there.
"Sleep now. It is late."
"Didn't I just wake up?"
"You've had a hard time. The doctor said you'd probably sleep more than be awake for a while - until you fully recover... So it's to be expected."
"I feel exhausted. I wish..."
Squall looked up at Seifer's handsome features gazing upon him now with such warmth... Love...
"It's all right. Later... I'll always be with you... From now on."
Seifer's eyes were tearing again. This was just too perfect, and things never stayed perfect for long, did they. Something always went wrong. So he felt like crying because he had what he wanted but was afraid it wouldn't last.
Squall gave him another kiss. It would have been classified a peck but it lingered a little too long.
"It's okay," Squall reassured. "Everything's okay now."
And Seifer didn't just hope for that to be true - he prayed.
To be continued...
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