WARNING: boylove, shouen-ai, yaoi, explicit smut, swearing and pink carpeting.

Final Fantasy VIII belongs to Squaresoft. Bollocks.

Feedback very welcome, here or by e-mail (fanfic @ scribblemoose.co.uk)

This series, for Gwen, with love.

Blood and Sand

Chapter 2 - Lie

By scribblemoose

Irvine woke to the smell of clean sheets, his nose nuzzled into Squall's soft hair. It took him a while to register where they were; the usual hum of Garden was replaced by the absolute quiet of the Presidential palace, no windows to let in sunlight, just the muted violet glow of the night light.

He yawned, and snuggled under the covers. He felt as though he'd slept for a long time, and still it wasn't long enough.

Squall made a contented little noise, and wriggled himself comfortably into Irvine's side. It was bliss. In the fourteen mornings that Irvine had woken up next to Squall, this was the first time that they had actually managed to contemplate anything that might be called a lie-in, and Irvine intended to make full use of it, firstly with a pleasant doze, and secondly with a lazy hour or two of unhurried lovemaking.

The door chime sounded.

Irvine's plan dissolved as Squall cursed, instantly awake and already climbing out of bed.

"Babe," Irvine protested weakly. "Ignore it."

"Can't," muttered Squall, pulling on Irvine's jeans and looking confused when he realised they were inexplicably too long.

Irvine grinned, and pointed to the leather pants Squall had been wearing the night before, which had been slung carelessly over the foot of the bed. Squall glared briefly, and threw Irvine's jeans at him.

The lucky person to receive an eyefull of shirtless and rumpled Squall Leonhart at the door turned out to be one of Laguna's army of assistants, who blushed to her roots.

"Yes?" said Squall.

"Sorry to bother you, Commander, but there's someone to see Irvine Kinneas," she informed him in a somewhat trembly voice. "I was told I might find him here?"

Now it was Squall's turn to blush. Only a very little bit, but a blush nonetheless. "Yes," he said, his eyes flickering involuntarily across the apartment towards the bedroom. "He's. . . I'll tell him. Who is it?"

"She didn't leave a name, Commander. She said it was urgent. Shall I send her up or tell her to wait in the reception area?"

"Tell her to wait," said Squall, brusquely.

"Yes Commander. Anything else?" She stood straight and gave him an odd little Estharian salute.

"No." Squall remembered his manners somewhere through the fog of recent sleep that still addled his brain. "Thanks."

She nodded, and took her leave.

Squall padded back to the bedroom, trying to identify the bewildering array of feelings that were warring in his foggy mind, without much success. There were definite hints of a hangover, though: he was thirsty, and his head hurt a little.

"There's a woman downstairs for you," he told Irvine.

Irvine stretched and yawned again. "What?" he drawled, sleepily. "Who?"

"Didn't say." Squall looked about him, still a little bemused. "Time?"

Irvine peered at the clock by the bed, which was a strange contortion of pale pink plastic upon which no numbers were immediately apparent. Irvine often found Estharian technology baffling, a strange combination of astounding science and very strange aesthetics. He reached for his watch instead. "Nine," he said. "You don't have to get up. Let me deal with it, and I'll be right back."

Squall shrugged, peering into his closet for a clean shirt. "I'm up now," he said. "May as well come with you, then go to that meeting Laguna was talking about. It's a good opportunity to see how Martine's coping with Galbadia."

Irvine sighed, and dragged himself out of bed, the vision of a precious lie-in snatched away from him. "Whoever it is, it had better be important," he complained.

"She didn't want to give her name," said Squall, frowning as he did up the buttons on his soft grey shirt. "Probably one of your girlfriends," he said, and shoved his shirt-tails into his pants, blinking at them as he slowly realised that zip-up-the-side-leather trousers weren't the kind of thing that made people like Martine take a young Commander seriously.

"Hey!" Irvine protested, coming up behind him and sliding his arms around Squall's waist. "Ex girlfriend, at most." He nuzzled his nose behind Squall's ear, kissed his neck. "I'm all yours, remember."

"Hn," grunted Squall. "Get off, Irvine, I'm trying to get dressed."

"Sorry, Commander, that's not a course of action I would ever endorse," he said, tightening his hold.

"Have you been reading combat manuals again?" Squall gave up an admittedly half-hearted attempt to remove Irvine's arms from his midriff. "Because what you mean is you prefer me naked, right?"

Irvine gave a little chuckle, and pressed his groin, complete with morning wood, against Squall's butt. "Yeah. Or in leather." He ran one hand appreciatively over Squall's thigh, bringing it to rest just short of the growing bulge in his pants.

"That's a good thing, I suppose," said Squall. "If you're actually reading, I mean. You might not flunk command tactics next time."

"Ouch, that hurt," said Irvine, deftly undoing the shirt buttons Squall had just so carefully fastened. "We can't all be born leaders, you know."

Squall leaned back into Irvine's body with a resigned little moan. "Oh, I don’t think you're entirely without leadership qualities," he said. "You just lack discipline, is all."

"Is that so?" Irvine drawled, nudging Squall's hair to one side and trailing tongue and lips up his bare neck, slowly pulling the shirt off his shoulders.

"Yes," said Squall, slapping a hand firmly on each of Irvine's. "And restraint. You lack restraint, too. And," he pulled Irvine's arms off him, and shrugged his shirt back on, "there's a woman waiting for you downstairs."

"I don't want a woman," said Irvine, petulantly. "I want you."

"Hn." Squall went back to rummaging in the closet, looking for trousers this time. Possibly even underwear.

Irvine sat back on the edge of the bed, and grabbed his jeans.

"Alright then," he said. "I'll come to the meeting with you."

"No need. Commander stuff. Take Selphie shopping or something."

"Don't wanna. Wanna be with you." Irvine pouted, violet eyes twinkling, and saw a glimpse of a smile on Squall's face in response.

"Sorry," he said. "It's the job. You know how it is."

You didn't even mention any stupid meeting last night, thought Irvine. But he didn't say anything.

"Alright," he said. "We'll have time for a shower, though, after we've seen whoever this is, won't we?" he asked, brightening a little at the idea. Maybe if he distracted Squall with a little soapy fun the meeting would disappear back down the agenda and he could get his lie-in after all.

"Just a quick one," said Squall, doing up the last of his belts with a squeak of leather against the clasp. "And that would be a quick shower," he added.

Irvine pulled last night's vest shirt over his head irritably.

First some mystery woman demanding to see him, and now Squall in recalcitrant commander mode.

This wasn't Irvine's idea of a good morning at all.

Irvine didn't recognise Cass at first. She was slowly pacing the small exhibition of paintings which lined the walls of the reception area. Dressed in old jeans and an over-large button down shirt, her honey blonde hair in a neat braid down her back, and dark glasses perched on the top of her head, she looked unusually serious and respectable. Her face was pale, her eyes shadowed.

Then she noticed him striding towards her and smiled, bringing her friendly, open face to life, and he realised who it was.

"Cass," he said, warmly, kissing her lightly on both cheeks. "What're you doing here?"

"Hi," she returned his kisses, resting her hands softly on his shoulders as she did so. "Aren't you going to introduce me to your friend?" she said, looking curiously over Irvine's shoulder at a glowering Squall.

"Sorry," said Irvine. "This is Squall Leonhart. Commander of Balamb Garden. And my . . . Commander," he finished lamely, off Squall's disapproving look.

Cass gave a low whistle as she extended her hand; Squall shook it firmly, glaring at her. "Nice to meet you," she said. Her voice was deep, and husky from long hours shouting over the noise of a busy club.

Squall muttered something that might have been 'whatever'.

"I saw you at the club last night," she said, warmly. "Remember?"

"Oh." A faint blush ran up Squall's cheeks, and one corner of his mouth twitched into an almost-smile. "Oh, yeah. Hi. Um, if you want to speak to Irvine alone, I could. . ."

A shadow passed across her pretty face, her amber eyes clouded. "No, that's okay," she said. "If you're Squall Leonhart, you probably ought to hear this too."

"What's wrong, Cass?" Irvine indicated the huddle of low couches around a table in the centre of the room, and they went to sit down.

"Someone dropped by the club last night, while you were in the back room," she said, taking the sunglasses off her head and folding them neatly in her lap. "They said they had a message for you."

"Okay," said Irvine. "What was it?"

"She wouldn't tell me at first," said Cass, her voice low. "She wanted to see you personally."

"I'm glad you didn't oblige." Irvine tried to sneak a possessive arm around Squall's shoulders, but Squall shrugged it off. He still looked embarrassed, Irvine realised, and a little mad, for some reason.

"You know I wouldn't do that, Kinneas," she said, with a grin. "Not even when she offered me a thousand Gil."

"So what was the message?" asked Squall, crisply.

Cass dragged her eyes away from Irvine, and tried another smile on Squall. She didn't get any response at all this time. She sighed. "It was more of a threat, than a message, really. She said to tell you the sorceress has returned. And was. . . well, coming to get you."

Irvine laughed.

"What did she look like?" asked Squall, frowning.

"Medium height. Blonde. Beautiful, if you like the busty lipgloss look. Blue eyes. Bad attitude."

"She probably wanted to get in your pants, Squall," said Irvine. "Her and the rest of the club."

Squall shot him an annoyed look. "Shut up, Irvine."

Irvine took a deep breath. Whatever had happened this morning to put Squall into such a foul mood, it was getting old fast. "She must be a crank. We get lots of that," he explained to Cass. "Since Ultimecia. Everyone wants to test out the old Leonhart magic. See if he's as tough as he thinks he is. We had a guy the other week who swore he'd grown sorceress wings overnight." Irvine shook his head sadly. "We had to talk him down from a very tall tree."

"She gave me the creeps, that's all I know." Cass shuddered.

"Did she hurt you?" Irvine nodded towards the clean, white bandage on Cass's hand.

"This? Oh, no, I just cut myself on a glass," said Cass, with a little shrug. "Occupational hazard."

"I'm sorry you had to deal with her," said Irvine. "Whoever she is. Thanks for telling us, but don’t worry about it. I can promise you, the sorceress is definitely dead."

"No she isn't," snapped Squall. "There's more than one sorceress in the world. Did this woman say which one?"

Cass frowned. "No, she didn't. I just assumed. . ."

"Rinoa's not here," said Irvine gently. "She's off on a mission to uncover her mystic birthright, remember?"

"I know that," said Squall. "I didn't mean. . ."

"And even if she wasn't," Irvine carried on, "I don't think she'd be sending minions to harass us. That's not her style at all. Yelling and hitting is much more Rinoa's way of doing things. And besides, she's our friend," he finished. "She's no reason to hate us, or turn evil, or. . ."

"I didn't mean Rinoa," interrupted Squall. "I was just saying there's been more than one sorceress. And yes, she does have a reason, actually."

They caught each others' gaze; Irvine's soft, confused, Squall's hard and glaring.

Cass looked from one to the other of them, sensing something going on here under the surface that they probably didn't want her be witness to. "Um," she said, shuffling to the edge of her seat, "I should go. I just thought you'd want to know."

Irvine dragged his eyes from Squall's and gave her an apologetic smile. "Of course. Thanks Cass." They pulled themselves to their feet, Irvine reaching out a hand to help her up. "If she comes back, tell us, okay? We're here for a few days, at least."

Cass nodded. "I really hope she doesn't," she said. "But I'll keep in touch."

"Thanks," said Squall, his eyes fired to silver, glittering dangerously through his bangs.

"You're welcome," said Cass, cautiously. "See you at the club again, maybe?"

"I doubt it," said Squall.

Irvine ignored that, and gave Cass a swift hug goodbye. He took a few calming breaths as he watched her go, knowing that his own anger would be the last thing that would get Squall out of this mood.

"What's up, babe?" he asked, as soon as he could trust himself to speak.

"Nothing," said Squall. "I'm going to get a shower." He stalked off towards the elevator.

"You sure I can't help you with that?" Irvine strode after him.

Squall didn't answer.

"Squall, love, what's wrong?" They stood waiting for the lift; Irvine put a gentle hand on his shoulder.

"Nothing." Squall shrugged him off.

"Is it Rinoa?" Irvine suggested cautiously. "Only. . ."

"Will you shut up about Rinoa?" hissed Squall through clenched teeth, refusing to meet Irvine's gaze. "I've no idea what you're talking about. There's nothing wrong."

The lift arrived with a loud ping, and its doors swooshed open. It was an enclosed lift, unusual for Estharians, who seemed to like to transport themselves encased in semi-opaque pink plastic, for the most part. Or sometimes not encased at all. Irvine shuddered. He liked reassuring, solid walls around him, and all the privacy they afforded. Which this particular lift, for whatever reason, did. He could even forgive it the pale pink carpeted walls, at a push.

There was no-one else in it. That was another point in its favour.

As soon as the door shut, Irvine slid his arms around Squall's waist, pleased when he didn't pull away, even if his body was somewhat rigid and unyielding. "Can we start again?" he asked. "I can't get over the feeling we got out of the wrong side of bed this morning. I'm sorry if I said something stupid. I don't want to fight."

"I'm not fighting," said Squall, and to Irvine's relief, he hugged him back, albeit a little stiffly.

"That's good," said Irvine, nuzzling into Squall's neck. "You smell good."

"I need a shower," grumped Squall, but his body started to relax under Irvine's touch.

"I can still smell the shampoo from last night," said Irvine, smiling to himself at the memory of soaping down Squall's pale and willing body on their return from the club. He flicked his tongue at Squall's earlobe. "You taste good, too."

Squall hmphed, but he also slid one hand inside Irvine's shirt, pressing fingers into the strong muscles of his lower back.

"Oh babe," murmured Irvine, and claimed Squall's mouth for a kiss.

He reached behind him, and surreptitiously pressed the stop button. The elevator shook to a halt.

"What the. . ." Squall's eyes flashed open and he glared at the control panel.

"Damn elevators," muttered Irvine, once again undoing Squall's shirt buttons. "Must be stuck."

"Stuck?" Squall's eyes narrowed. "What d'you mean, stuck?"

Irvine pointed to the little dial that indicated which floor they were on. The needle flickered, half way between two and three. "Stuck. There's a phone, shall I see how long they're gonna be?"

Irvine turned to the elevator controls, without waiting for an answer. As he staged a conversation with a mythical engineer on the other end of the undialled phone, he checked over his shoulder to make sure Squall wasn't watching too closely, then punched a series of numbers into the keypad.

He owed Selphie for many things, and teaching him how to hack an Estharian elevator was, thankfully, one of them. Having disabled the intercom, among other things, Irvine hung up the phone and turned back to Squall.

"He says it could be an hour," he said. "Sorry, babe. Looks like you're gonna miss that meeting after all."

"Crap." Squall rested his shoulders against the pinkly-carpeted wall, hair falling into his smouldering eyes, his shirt half undone and pulled out of his uniform pants. The sight of him took Irvine's breath away. "Stupid fucking pink technology."

"Yeah, it's a shame," said Irvine unconvincingly, standing in front of him, leaning on one arm braced on the wall by Squall's head. "Just think, you could be at some boring meeting with Martine, when actually you're stuck in this nice, warm elevator with me."

Squall blew a strand of hair out of his eyes, only for it to flop back down again. He still looked pissed off, but there was a different kind of spark there too. One that Irvine liked the look of a whole lot more.

"What d'you say?" Irvine brushed his lips lightly over the sensitive, freshly-shaved skin of Squall's jaw. "Fancy something to make the time go quicker?"

"What, here? In public?"

"It's not public," said Irvine. "There's no-one here but us. Besides. . . oh, come on Squall," he fastened his hand to Squall's hip, pushing his lower body firmly into the wall, and nibbled his bottom lip. "It's an elevator. We have to have sex in an elevator. It's a classic."

Squall looked doubtful.

"Everyone does it," murmured Irvine, "and you're so hot, and I want you so bad. . ."

"Everyone?" queried Squall.

"Everyone." Irvine held still, watching him. "Trust me."

The pulse at Squall's throat was quick, his breathing was faster. "Then I guess you get your way after all, Kinneas," he panted, his eyes steady on Irvine's.

Irvine suppressed the smug grin that wanted to appear on his face, and moved in to resume their kiss. Squall was responding with enthusiasm now, no trace left of the moodiness he seemed to have woken up with. Irvine took full advantage of this change of affairs, pressing his thigh between Squall's legs, sweeping inside his mouth with his tongue, pushing his hair back from his face.

"Feels good," Squall informed him, sliding his fingers under the waistband of Irvine's jeans and teasing from the nub of his tailbone down between his buttocks.

Irvine sucked his breath in sharply, pushing even more firmly against the hard ridge in Squall's pants. He considered his options: he really wanted that shirt off, mostly as a matter of principle; he wanted to take Squall's cock in his mouth and suck the come out of him; he wanted to fuck him raw against this stupid pink carpet; he wanted to come all over that beautiful, pale flesh, and watch Squall rub his essence into his skin.

So many possibilities. So much Leonhart. So little time.

"Fuck me, Irvine. Want you inside. Want to feel you all day. Inside me."

Well, that made the choice a whole lot easier.

"My pleasure, babe."

Squall started to undo his belts and pants; for a minute Irvine considered slowing things down a bit. But only for a minute. The sight of Squall's strong thighs emerging from the boring uniform, and the large bulge in his underwear, were enough to persuade Irvine that the foreplay could wait for another time. Maybe as seconds.

He cupped Squall's balls through the soft cotton, weighing them appreciatively in one hand, popping the buttons of his own jeans with the other. Squall kissed him, flicking his tongue over the edge of Irvine's teeth, and helped to pull Irvine's erection free, twisting his strong fingers around it, gasping into Irvine's mouth.

"Lube," he breathed. "You got lube?"

Dammit. Irvine realised he didn't have any. Or rather, he had a tub in his room, a tube in his duster pocket, another tub in Squall's room. But none here in the elevator, at all. Not a drop.

"Hang on babe." He looked frantically around him for anything at all he could. . . ah. Just the thing.

"What?" a flicker of confusion crossed Squall's face, and Irvine moved fast, before the mood was lost altogether. He abandoned Squall for a moment, and flipped open the little door under the control panel. There, sure enough, was an emergency first aid kit.

"Irvine, what are you doing?"

"Improvising," said Irvine, pulling a little vial out of the kit. "This'll do."

"What is it?" asked Squall, curiously. He'd managed to lose his underwear while Irvine had been conducting his search, and stood leaning against the wall, one hand cupped around his erection, stroking it absently, unselfconsciously, just moving the foreskin gently back and forth. Irvine felt his own cock twitch in response, and threw himself on his knees in front of Squall, vial in hand. He kissed up one thigh, pushed Squall's hand out of the way with his nose, and took him into his mouth with a moan. There was a thud as Squall threw his head back against the wall, eyes closed, fingers clenched in Irvine's hair.

Irvine tipped a little of the contents of the vial onto his middle finger, and sought out Squall's entrance.

Squall groaned, parting his thighs and tilting his hips forwards to give Irvine better access, and then Irvine felt the whole of his body shiver as he made contact. He worked his finger steadily inside, suckling on Squall's cock all the while.

Suddenly Squall made a strangled noise, pulling Irvine's hair, jerking his cock out of his mouth.

"Irvine. . . fuck, Irvine, stop, don't want to come yet, no. . ."

Irvine obediently let him go, grinning up at him. "Good?"

"Shit, it's. . . what is that stuff?"

"Well, I thought it was elixir. But it seems to be a little stronger." He sniffed the bottle, dripped a little on his tongue. "Yep. It's megalixir."

"Irvine! That's such a. . . waste."

"Not a waste," Irvine dribbled a little over the head of Squall's cock, watching the lines of blue and purple liquid stream down the shaft, glittering and pulsing. Squall's cock twitched, the head purple and leaking, his balls clenching tight. For a moment Irvine thought he was going to come right there and then. "Looks like a damn good use of the stuff to me," he murmured.

"Now, Irvine," Squall dared to touch himself, ever so lightly, just enough to work the magical fluid into his cock, gasping at the feel of it.

Irvine slicked his own shaft with trembling hands, forcing himself to breath deeply. It felt unbelievable. Every nerve ending sprang to life, every tiny movement was magnified a thousand times, his dick felt like one huge mass of good. It all felt good. Impossibly, wonderfully good.

He picked Squall up and wedged him against the wall, lifted his legs and pushed inside him, much faster than he'd intended to.

Squall's eyes went wide as Irvine's cock spread the megalixir around his insides, and then across his prostate, and suddenly he didn't dare touch his cock any more.

"Gods, Irvine, that's. . . gods. . ."

It was too much; it was all going to be over much too fast. Irvine pumped as slowly as he could, but he was lost to sweet friction; he brushed the very tip of Squall's cock with the back of his hand by accident and that was enough. Squall clung to him as he came, sticky heat over Irvine's hand, his anus clamping down on Irvine's cock, his whole body trembling. Irvine held still, stroking and soothing Squall's pulsing shaft, his face buried in Squall's neck, until his lover had finished.

"Oh, man," he murmured, and raised his head, drew his hand to his lips and lapped the glorious mixture of come and megalixir from his skin. Squall groaned, his eyes still closed, face flushed, panting, and started to rock his hips, encouraging Irvine to move again.

Irvine obliged, thrusting in long, steady strokes, each one feeling as if it had to be the last. He counted them, every one of them a testament to his restraint; he managed ten before he lost control. He cried out, voice so raw he could feel the sound tearing at his throat; he felt Squall tickle his face with a flurry of soft kisses; he felt the slick, tingling walls of Squall's rectum rub against every single bit of his cock, from head to root. Irvine's body clenched so tight he thought for a moment he'd never be able to let it go, and then his balls fired, forcing his come up his shaft and into Squall's body. He pulled back to thrust again with each blast, the pleasure of the friction against his over-sensitive skin almost painful, exquisite. He felt Squall's arms around his neck, Squall's lips brushing his ear, heard him cry out and realised his lover was coming again, his cock hard and pulsing in Irvine's hand.

Irvine's hips jerked the last few drops of come into Squall's body, and he rested his forehead on the pink carpet by Squall's head, breathing hard. His balls were still throbbing, pushing the last few dribbles out of his cock. Every tiny movement inside Squall was a bright rasp of skin on skin so bright that he didn't think he could bear to pull out of him.

He had no choice, as it happened; Squall's back reminded him abruptly of the strain their position was putting on him, and his legs slipped from Irvine's waist with a gasp to land on the floor, ejecting Irvine from his body all at once. Irvine cried out, the sensation almost painful, and sank to his knees, resting his cheek against Squall's sticky, softening cock, feeling the pulse of blood returning to Squall's body, snaking his tongue out to taste the second sweet rush of come, thinner, sweeter than the first, still fizzing with healing potion.

He wondered if he'd ever have a coherent thought again.

"Irvine." The moment shattered at the sound of Squall's icy voice; Irvine felt the shift of his lover's body, his hips resisting Irvine's gentle clasp. Irvine rocked back to sit on his heels and looked up, confused.

Squall was staring at the elevator control panel.

"Squall? Honey?" he croaked.

"You stopped the elevator." Squall glared at him, shoved at his shoulder none to gently, pushing him away.

"Hey!" Irvine protested. He tried, in vain, to get his brain to work, and to keep his balance, and failed on both counts. He flung an arm behind him and caught himself from falling backwards; Squall ignored him, savagely pulling on his underwear with something that approached disgust. Irvine blinked at him.

"You're such a dickhead sometimes, Irvine."

"What?" Some semblance of logic started to percolate through Irvine's mind. Squall knew he'd stopped the lift on purpose. Squall was mad. Squall had called him a . . . "What?!"

"You heard me."

"You're mad at me."

Squall gave him a withering look. "You think?"


Squall zipped up his pants so fast it made Irvine's eyes water. "Well, let me think. I missed a really important meeting just so you could get your rocks off in a stupid pink elevator, and you lied to me."

"So that was just me getting off, was it?" Irvine got to his feet, stuffing his cock back into his jeans, scrubbing as the streak of drying come on his nose with the back of one hand. "Funny, I could've sworn there were two of us going at it there."

"You lied to me. About the elevator. You tricked me." Squall's fingers twitched shirt buttons into place, a muscle pulsing in one smooth cheek.

"Okay. I'm sorry, Squall. But you just need to lighten up a bit sometimes, y'know? You were so tense and. . ."

"Just get the lift moving, Kinneas," said Squall coldly.

"Okay." Irvine crossed to the control panel and tapped numbers. The panel beeped at him. "Shit. Dammit, I can't remember. . ."

"You'd better fucking remember. And clear up the med kit while you're there."

"Yes, Commander," Irvine muttered angrily, jabbing at the keypad again. It gave another beep, an altogether friendlier version this time, and the elevator lurched into life.

He left the intercom off, though. Just in case.

One look at Squall told him he was in serious trouble here. Every inch of him was looking pissed off: from his sullen pose, leaning against the wall, to the smouldering eyes, which he was keeping stubbornly averted from Irvine, fixing them grimly on the elevator doors.

Irvine carefully put the med kit back in it's little cubby hole, making a mental note to replace the megalixir at the first opportunity. The thought sent a shiver through his body, remembering the feel of the magical liquid soaking into his skin, a million harmless explosions over his sensitive flesh. . . "You have to admit, though, that shit feels real good, huh Squall?"

"It's a stupid extravagance," said Squall. "It was irresponsible." The Commander voice.

The elevator came to a smooth stop.

Irvine stared at him, surprised and hurt. "So you'd rather I'd fucked you raw, is that it? Because you were the one who wanted so badly to be fucked, if I remember."

Irvine turned back to the opening doors, to find himself face to face with another of Laguna's assistants.

"Are you okay?" she said, shifting awkwardly from foot to foot. "Did it get stuck?"

Irvine blinked.

"Yes," said Squall, pushing past Irvine and into the corridor. "But it's fine now."

"Uh. . ." Irvine gazed at Squall's rapidly retreating back in disbelief. "What?" He managed to galvanise his body into action and raced after him, grabbing one arm and pulling Squall round to face him. "Squall, what the fuck's going on here?"

Squall's eyes burned into him, his biceps clenched under Irvine's grip. "Let go of me now."

Irvine looked at him for a long moment, before he relaxed his hold and let his hand fall slowly to his side.

"What's this about, Squall? It's not just the elevator, is it?"

"It's not about anything. Leave me alone."

"Squall, don't. . ."

"What if she heard you? That girl back there, when the elevator opened? Doesn't it bother you at all, that she might have heard you say you. . . what you did?" There was genuine worry in Squall's eyes, behind the cold rage.

"What if she did?" said Irvine. "Does it matter? It's none of her business." Squall was chewing on his bottom lip, his hair in his eyes; it occurred to Irvine that maybe he was just embarrassed. "Okay. I'm sorry. And I'm sorry about your stupid meeting and all, really I am. I got carried away. It was bad of me." Irvine reached out to brush the hair back, but his hand got batted away.

"For fuck's sake, not here, Irvine," Squall hissed.

Irvine frowned. "What d'you mean, not here?"

"Exactly what I said. Someone might see us. And it's not a stupid meeting. It's my job. I'm the Commander of Balamb Garden, I have appearances to keep up."

"You don't want people to know about us." Irvine spoke slowly, as the thoughts rolled out in his mind. "You don't want me touching you in public. You want to lie about us," Irvine spoke slowly, his voice deep and soft. "You're ashamed of me," he said, horrified.

"Don't be stupid." Squall looked uncertain, uncomfortable; he couldn't look Irvine in the eye.

"You are, aren't you?" Irvine stared at Squall in disbelief. "Is it because I'm a man? You worried they'll call you names?" He tried to check the scorn in his voice, but he was too hurt, too angry, too damn confused by all of this to think straight.

"It's nothing to do with being ashamed of you, or of being bi, or gay, or whatever I am," said Squall quietly. "It's everything to do with me being the Commander of Balamb Garden and needing people to take me seriously."

"And you think they won't take you seriously if you're with me." Irvine felt sick, all of a sudden. He found himself backing away a couple of steps.

"They won't take me seriously if they think I'm behaving like a lovesick teenager," said Squall, his eyes darting up the corridor towards his rooms. Planning escape.

"I don't think there's any danger of you doing that, is there?" said Irvine, bitterly. "That would imply far more emotion than you're capable of showing."

Irvine's words hung in the air for a moment, just long enough for him to start wanting to snatch them back. Then Squall started to walk down the corridor, without another word, or gesture, or look in Irvine's direction.

"Fuck it, Squall, don't walk away from me!"

"I have a meeting," said Squall, pausing with his hand on the door to his room. "And I'm already late."

Irvine watched in disbelief as Squall opened the door and quietly went inside. It closed behind him with a soft click.

He paused for a moment, about to follow, but he stopped himself. His hands were trembling; he was furious. He felt dirty and sticky, inside and out, and the tiny part of his mind that still had some semblance of rationality to it was telling him to leave Squall until they'd both cooled off.

Irvine turned on his heel and stormed off in the direction of his own room, longing for the comforting heat of Balamb's Training Centre, and something evil to kill.

Squall tried to concentrate on Martine's droning voice, but it was proving impossible.

Damn Irvine for distracting him like this. He needed to make a good impression on Martine. The man had little enough respect for him as it was. He was a quarter-century older than Squall, and referred to the fact whenever he could.

For someone who was on a quest for redemption, thought Squall, Martine was an arrogant bastard. Squall had no idea how Irvine had put up with him for all those years. Although, from what Irvine had told him of his days at Galbadia Garden, there had been plenty of distractions, so maybe he hadn't come into contact with his Head of Garden as often as Squall had. Maybe that's why he was so damn irresponsible and had so little respect for authority. Which, Squall had to admit, was part of Irvine's charm. That mile-wide hedonistic streak that made every day a new and exciting adventure.

Squall was swiftly reminded of the elevator. It was hard to forget: it had been absolutely incredible. The feeling of the megalixir in his ass when Irvine had. . .

"So you are planning to rebuild Trabia Garden, I take it?"

Squall opened his mouth, but no sound came out. For a moment, he couldn't even remember where Trabia was.

"Of course," Laguna came to his rescue. "But we need to raise funds. The war was expensive for all of us, and Gardens don't come cheap. Without Norg's support, Cid and Edea are stumped."

"Which means? How are you going to raise that amount of cash, exactly, Squall? Jumble sales?" Martine's mouth twisted into a supercilious smile. "Or you could open Balamb as a theme park."

Squall glared at him, his dislike hardening for a moment to icy hatred. "We'll make money like we always do," he said. "We'll take missions."

"Well," Martine steepled his fingers, leaning his elbows on the table and meeting Squall's stare with one of his own, nearly as icy. "That's a fine idea, except we seem to have peace breaking out all over. No wars, no need for mercenaries. You've dug yourself a hole, Leonhart. People are so pleased about the sorceress that they can't be bothered to squabble with each other any more."

"Really?" Squall was aware of Laguna trying to catch his eye, but ignored him. "I thought there were still at least three underground factions in Galbadia trying to usurp the new President. But maybe you hadn't heard."

The sparkle went out of Martine's eyes at that, and Squall chalked himself a point. "I think you'll find I can deal with my own domestic affairs," said Martine.

"Yes," said Laguna, jumping in before Squall could reply. "I'm sure you can. But meanwhile, I have a proposition for you. For both of you."

Two steely pairs of eyes focused on him. Laguna looked like a rabbit caught in the headlights for a moment, but swiftly recovered. "I need your help," he said. "Esthar suffered, more than anywhere, from the lunar cry. The monsters can't threaten the City, but they're every damn where else, and we need to expand. I want to commission the Gardens to do an extensive clean up operation. And in return, we will build you a new Trabia."

Squall swallowed hard. His thoughts were dominated for a second by a sudden and glorious image: Selphie's face on hearing the news that her beloved Garden could, after all, be rebuilt. He actually had to stop himself from flinging his arms around Laguna's neck and yelling 'thank you, Daddy!' Well, metaphorically, at any rate.

The thought startled him completely silent for a moment.

"Keeping it in the family, then, Loire?" Martine drawled. "Nice of you to give the boy a helping hand."

Squall fought to keep his face neutral. The fact that he'd thought the same thing didn't help; the one thing he had over Martine was some kind of moral superiority, and he didn't want to lose it. "It's an interesting offer," he said. "We'll certainly think about it. Won't we, Martine?" He was careful not to look at Laguna, keeping his gaze trained on Martine. The Commander of Galbadia Garden looked right back at him, with some kind of unspoken challenge in his eyes.

"You'll be discussing it with Cid and Edea, of course," he said.

"Naturally," said Squall. Like Cid's going to be anything other than ecstatic. "I'll contact them this afternoon. I'll decide then. If you have anything to add to the discussion, I'd be glad to hear it now." At least, thanks to Balamb's superiority, he outranked Martine, even if only by the narrowest of margins.

Martine shrugged dismissively. "I'm sure you'll do what's best," he said.

"Good!" Laguna clapped his hands together. "I'll have something pulled together in writing by this afternoon. Pleased to do business with you. Now, anyone for lunch?"

"Thank you. But I have duties to attend to," said Martine, looking pointedly at Squall as he rose from his seat. "Gardens don't run themselves, do they Leonhart?"

Squall glowered at him, getting up himself. "No," he said. "They certainly don't."

Martine left them with a grim little smile, his coat tails swishing as he swept out of the room.

"That guy has a stick up his arse a mile wide," observed Laguna, shifting to sit on the shiny mahogany meeting table, propping his feet up on the padded chair.

Squall felt his shoulders drop an inch or so, just from the pure relief of not having to stare so hard any more. "Yes," he admitted. "He's a bit difficult."

"That's an understatement." Laguna hooked his hair behind his ears, watching Squall with an amused smile. "You are pleased, though?"

Squall felt a rare grin spreading across his face. "Yes," he said. "Thank you. I couldn't say. . . well, it must look like favouritism, and I don't want. . . but it's great. Everyone will be so pleased. We need Trabia, for morale, apart from anything else. And I never. . . I. . . Thank you."

"You blamed yourself," Laguna observed, gently. "You always thought you should have been able to get word to them, to save them."

Squall's eyes flickered down to the polished surface of the table, seeing a dim reflection of himself there: the mop of dark hair falling in his eyes, the slender outline of his body. Just a boy, really. No wonder Martine didn't take him seriously. "Yes," he whispered. "Of course. But I have to live with that mistake, along with all the others."

"There's nothing you could have done. You did your best, Squall, and everyone knows it."

Squall shook his head slowly. "There's always more," he said. "I've played it over a million times. There's always more I could have done, or different . . . I'm not the hero everyone thinks I am."

Laguna had to stop himself from sweeping Squall into his arms and hugging him, knowing the boy wouldn't like it. It seemed so sad, that someone so young, so fragile, and his own son, at that, should be thinking such things. Feeling such things. Knowing such things.

"It'll be better than the last one," he promised. "You can build the best Garden the world could imagine. Whatever you want, it's yours."

"It feels like you're giving me a birthday present," said Squall. His eyes darted to meet Laguna's, soft grey blinking through his thick dark lashes. "Is that what it is? A present?"

Laguna laughed, and was unable to resist ruffling his son's hair, even though Squall darted back and gave him a look of startled irritation. It was worth it. "I suppose it is," he admitted. "But not just for you. The world needs SeeD, Squall. Trabia was a huge sacrifice, but it was part of the defeat of the biggest threat we've seen since Adel. The world needs to pay SeeD back, and it needs to know that SeeD is there for the future. The threat never really goes away. There's always a new enemy round the corner."

Squall frowned, suddenly remembering Cass and her mysterious warning. There was something about that which bothered him, but he couldn't put his finger on it.

"Anyway," Laguna was saying. "How was the club last night?"

Squall's mind reeled with the sudden change in subject, and the realisation that Laguna had obviously known why he and Irvine had failed to turn up at the reception last night.

"Oh," he said, blushing. "I'm sorry. I. . . er. . ."

"It's okay," Laguna laughed at him. "It was a very boring reception. You didn't miss anything."

"I should have been there," said Squall. "I know I should. I bet Martine was there."

"Oh yes." Laguna leaned back, crossing his feet at the ankles. "He was in his element. Charming the men, flirting with the women. Fucking irritating bastard."

"Damn," said Squall. "I'm sorry. Irvine was so insistent. . ."

"Good for Irvine," said Laguna. "You know, you wouldn’t have achieved anything by going. Let Martine do the social stuff. That's what he's good at. You're not the flirting kind."

"I'm crap with people," said Squall, resignedly. He turned and leaned back on the table edge with a sigh.

"A bit," admitted Laguna. "You have other talents."

Squall was about to ask him what those might be, but something stopped him. He suddenly realised this was probably the closest to a heart-to-heart he and Laguna had ever had, and he was surprised at how good it felt. But of course, as soon as he realised how close he was to opening up, it became completely impossible to do so.

"I ought to go call Cid," he said. "He'll want to look at whatever paperwork you come up with, and. . ."

"I was thinking," Laguna interrupted. "Quistis was telling me you've not had a day off in over a year. I have a cabin in the mountains not far from here. You and Irvine would be welcome to borrow it for a vacation. Why not take a couple of days off when you're done here?"

"I don't have time," said Squall, automatically.

"Xu's more than capable of looking after Garden for a few days, and you can take the Ragnarok. That way you can be back in a couple of hours if anything happens. Not that it will. Go on. He's good for you, Squall. I was watching the two of you last night, in the restaurant. He makes you happy. Take a couple of days, enjoy yourselves."

Squall blushed at the thoughts that popped into his head as soon as he contemplated what enjoying himself with Irvine might entail, and he cringed to think he was even having this conversation with his father. Yet he couldn't work out what to say to put him off without hurting his feelings, and for all his lack of social skills, Squall knew Laguna was trying hard here to be a good father, a friend, even. "Um. . . It's just that. . . I don't think we're ready yet." He suddenly remembered the hurt in Irvine's eyes when he'd been mad at him in the elevator, and something twisted inside of him. "For the vacation thing," he added. "You know, only been together a couple of weeks and all." He tried to banish the memory of Irvine's wounded look from his mind, and fervently wished that his father would give up on the idea.

Laguna looked thoughtfully at him. "It's a big cabin," he said. "Take the whole gang, if you like. What d'you say?"

Squall bit down the refusal that sprang instantly to his lips, and forced himself to think. It was one thing to turn down a vacation for himself, but the others. . . This was one of those moments that Rinoa was always lecturing him about, he realised. When he had to remember that other people weren't as single minded as him, that they needed nurturing and taking care of, and that was part of leadership.

Damn, but he missed her sometimes.

"Think about it," said Laguna. "The offer's open."

"Thanks," muttered Squall. "I'll ask the others, maybe."

"You do that. Now, how about lunch? Unless you have plans with Irvine?"

"No." Squall shook his head, feeling suddenly sad. "No plans."

The rest of the day passed for Squall in the blink of an eye. He swiftly realised that Laguna had been planning this deal for some time; no lawyers on the planet could draw up contracts as fast as they appeared in front of him that afternoon. Squall was pleased that there were contracts: he was getting good at them, for one thing, under Xu's patient tutelage, and for another it showed the world that this was a Deal. Not a gift, however much the pleasure writ large on Laguna's face when Squall signed the piece of paper may have told him different.

The question of the vacation was a more perplexing one, but then, there wasn't so much of a hurry to make that decision just yet. Squall put that, and other things, to the back of his mind, and buried himself in work.

It was easy to keep busy, even after the Gardens and Esthar had reached their agreement. He called Xu, checked on the million and one things that needed to be done everyday in Garden. He had her email him reports, so he wouldn't get behind, and retreated to the office Laguna had, on request, provided for him. At about eight p.m. he ordered a sandwich and started on the recruitment strategy plans.

He barely looked up from the desk until the clock beeped midnight.

He looked from the clock to the stack of papers in front of him, and yawned. He couldn’t fight it any more: he was tired. Completely bone-weary. However much he was, for some reason, resisting the urge to go back to his rooms, he had to face up to the fact that he needed sleep. For a moment he eyed the couch in the corner of the office, but he realised that was a stupid idea, when he had a perfectly good bed at the other end of the palace.

So he gathered his papers into a tidy pile, put them carefully in order, resisting a strong temptation to take them with him. He returned to his quarters, and if his hand trembled slightly when he opened the door, he told himself it was because he was tired.

At first he thought Irvine wasn't there at all. The apartment was still and quiet, the lights dimmed. Then he noticed the familiar duster spread over the couch, hat balanced neatly on top, gloves on the coffee table. Squall walked slowly through to the bedroom, not realising he was holding his breath.

Irvine was curled up on the bed, fully dressed except for his boots, and fast asleep. One arm was curved around his stomach, the other hand under his cheek, his lips slightly parted. His hair was loose, falling like a river over the purple bedspread. Squall stood by the edge of the bed for a long time, watching the steady rise and fall of Irvine's chest, listening to the even measure of his breath. Eventually his own fatigue got the better of him; he slipped out of his clothes, pulling on an old t-shirt, and considered curling up next to Irvine. But he was frightened of waking him, of having to talk, because he was crap at it and he'd only make things worse. Irvine would want him to say sorry, and he wasn't even sure he was sorry. He wasn't even sure what had happened that morning. All he knew was that he wanted to put as much distance between then and the inevitable conversation as possible, and if that meant sleeping on the couch. . .

Then Irvine's eyes stuttered open, and it was too late to run.

"Hey babe," Irvine drawled, his voice thick with sleep, lips curving into a little smile. "Y're late."

"I had work to do," said Squall, heart thudding in his chest.

"C'mere," said Irvine, reaching out to grab Squall's hand and pull him down on the bed.

Squall let himself be pulled, his body spooning easily against Irvine's. He closed his eyes, felt fingers stroking his hair, and dared to breathe.

"'m sorry," Irvine murmured sleepily. "I was stupid. Didn't think. Forgive me?"

Squall froze.

A long moment passed before Irvine raised his head to look at Squall. "That was an apology," he said, carefully. "Unless you missed it."

"Yes, I know," Squall choked out. "I can't. . . I. . ."

"There's a golden rule of relationships." Irvine continued to smooth his fingers through Squall's hair in a gentle, steady rhythm. "Never go to bed mad at each other."

"I'm not mad at you," said Squall. "But I don't. . ."

"Shhhh," whispered Irvine. "That'll do. The rest'll wait 'til morning."

And with that, he tilted Squall's head a little to one side, and kissed him.

Squall's body responded instantly, every exhausted inch of himself suddenly awake and ready. Squall's mind resented it, this unquestioning desire, but there was no arguing with it. Irvine had a power over him no-one else had ever had, not Seifer, not even Rinoa. One kiss, one look could be enough to reduce Squall's brain to mush and leave him willing to do anything Irvine asked of him. It frightened him witless, that another human being should have that power.

"Let me have you," Irvine whispered. "Please? You're so damn gorgeous, and I've missed you so much today. . ."

It wasn't that Squall didn't want him too, or even that he hadn't forgiven him. It was something deeper than that, something instinctive, an old habit he hadn't unlearned. Somewhere inside him was a voice telling him he was weak for giving in to this, that he didn't deserve it, that it was a betrayal, and yet his body was so insistent, his cock instantly hard, his balls aching. Above all, it made him feel vulnerable and defenceless; he disarmed himself by allowing Irvine's affection to warm him, it broke down his barriers and he couldn't bear it. He found Irvine's gentle touch irritating, maddening; he wanted this hard and fast and over with. He couldn't get rid of the sense that he didn't deserve it, that it didn't mean anything, that if he were to let himself go and take what Irvine was offering he'd be making himself a fool. But his need was deep, balls were throbbing and his dick hard and leaking.

"Fuck me," he said, the minute Irvine touched it.

"In a while," said Irvine, and went back to licking a lazy circle around Squall's nipple.

"No. Now." Squall pulled Irvine's head up by his hair, not roughly enough to hurt, but enough to bring a startled look to Irvine's face. "Fuck me now." He knew he must have sounded desperate, but he couldn't help it.

"Okay, babe," said Irvine, doubtfully, and turned to the nightstand to retrieve the tub of lube. Squall helped Irvine to slather his cock with the stuff, and gave his lover only the barest moments to slick his entrance before he hitched up his legs and pulled Irvine on top of him.

"All at once," said Squall. "Not slow. Fast. Now."

He felt the rush as Irvine's cock surged into him, relishing the flash of pain, but careful not to show it. Irvine felt huge inside him, hard and powerful.

"You okay, love?"

"Yes. . . fuck me, Irvine. Hard. Fast. Please."

"I don't. . ."

"Shit, just fuck me, Kinneas!" Squall glared a challenge into Irvine's soft violet eyes. Irvine held still for a moment longer, as if considering, and then he shut his eyes and gave Squall what he wanted, what Squall thought he wanted, what he thought he needed, hard and fast and hurting, just a little. Squall took it, stroking himself when Irvine told him to, bracing himself against the flurry of thrusts with his feet flat on the backs of Irvine's thighs. He came quickly, balls crawled up tight, spattering over his chest, and not long after Irvine slipped out of him, gently pulled his legs back down, and kissed him.

He wanted to cry, gods, he wanted to cry. How he managed not to, he had no idea. He kept his eyes closed, afraid of the truth he might see in Irvine's gentle gaze, and welcomed the exhaustion that enveloped him.

Irvine wiped the come from his body with a soft cloth, and helped him back into his T-shirt, and didn't once ask him to open his eyes. Squall was vaguely aware of the comforter being drawn over his naked body, before he fell asleep.

Once Irvine was sure Squall was fast asleep, he carefully got off the bed, and got undressed; Squall had barely given him time to undo his pants before demanding to be fucked. He retrieved his hair tie from one pocket, chucked his jeans on a nearby chair with the rest of his clothes, and padded into the shower. He shut the door carefully behind him, and turned the lights up.

He liked Estharian showers. They were large, and tiled wall to ceiling to floor, fitted with large mirrors, and on the whole not quite as pink as their elevators.

He turned on the water, and as he waited for it to flow through to hot he watched his reflection in the mirror. He twisted his hair into a knot at the back of his head and secured it with the hair tie, wincing as he accidentally trapped the fine hair that grew at the base of his skull.

Irvine wiped a clear streak through the misted surface of the mirror, and passed his eyes critically over the image he found there. He looked tired, sad, and much cleaner than he felt, his hair shining under the soft overhead light, his skin flushed, lips faintly swollen, his cock still hard, jutting proudly from it's neat bed of auburn curls. He curved one hand around it, protectively, and gave it a few strokes. Still slick from the lube, still bright and alive from the feel of Squall's body. Still hungry and wanting to come.

He stepped under the hot jet of water, braced himself with one hand against the slick tile, and started to wank, fighting a flash of self loathing at what he was doing. He closed his eyes, tilted his head up to feel the warm spray on his face, and concentrated on the familiar sensation of his own knowing hand caressing his skin. Soothing his aching flesh as he wanted Squall to soothe it, lovingly, firmly, knowingly. He called to mind a memory of Squall in the club, dancing with him, a blissful, generous smile on his face, his hips grinding against Irvine's. He'd raised his arms above his head, trailed fingers through his dark bangs, looking at Irvine all the while, his eyes smouldering with lust and heat. His arms had come to rest on Irvine's shoulders, and he'd dipped his hips in time with the music, shimmying against Irvine's body, his erection torturing Irvine's through leather and denim.

He'd brushed kisses along Irvine's jaw, and whispered in his ear that he wanted him.

Irvine's body clenched tight and released. He squirted long streams of semen against the tile and found himself thinking of Seifer, and hating him. Then he blanked his mind, focused on the shudder of release that swept over him, functional, necessary pleasure, but pleasure nonetheless.

When he was done he pulled his foreskin carefully over the head of his cock, and reached for the soap.

A few minutes later, clean and dripping wet, he wrapped himself in a large, fluffy pink towel and returned to the bedroom. Squall was deep in sleep, one plump white pillow clutched in his arms, nose twitching against a strand of hair that tickled it. Irvine dried himself quickly, shivering against the chill of the room after with the steamy heat of the shower. He slowly pulled back the covers, and climbed into bed, gently extricating the pillow from Squall's arms.

The Commander of Balamb Garden murmured, and Irvine felt one arm slide around his middle; Squall's body was warm and toasty with sleep; he gave another mutter and fell back deeply into his dream.

Irvine cuddled Squall as close to him as he dared without waking him up, smoothing the soft dark hair from his face, dropping a kiss to his pale cheek, his heart full and aching. He wanted to wake him up, to tell him he loved him, to hold him tight, and make things feel right again, but he didn't dare.

So he just held him, instead, listening to Squall's steady breathing, and watched his sleeping face, open and young and not all that different from the boy in the orphanage that Irvine had known so long ago.

He hated himself, for giving in to Squall again, for taking him like some cheap whore he'd picked up in an alley somewhere, just because he'd asked for it. However many excuses he could call to mind: he'd been half asleep; the need had been so clear in Squall's eyes; who was he to say what his lover really needed – they all sounded flat and pathetic.

He wondered what had made Squall want it so badly.

Irvine drifted slowly to sleep, the caress of his fingers slowing to a stop in Squall's hair, a fresh promise newly forming from his sad and lonely thoughts.


A/N:If you need cheering up after all that, there are some silly out-takes I wrote for the elevator scene. You can find them on my livejournal – see my profile for the link if it doesn't appear properly below.

Return to Archive | next | previous