Notes: After darthneko mentioned that she'd like to see Parental!Squall fiction, preferably with a SquallxLaguna pairing, I was inspired to write this. Told from the point of view of Squall's adopted son, it could be a bit squicky for some given the incestuous content.

Building Blocks

By Almasy

Some people say that the view through a child's eyes isn't worth all that much.

It's an adult world and our opinions don't count until they're old enough to be given credibility. That's the way it is and there's nothing we can do about it. The sensible ones hold on to their childhood feelings like treasures, others forget them whilst they shake off every shred of immaturity about them; trying to live in a world before their time. Some remember every detail of their upbringing, some little or none at all and then there are those who will admit to neither. It's an adult world, and there isn't a place for the young of heart, the youthful mind. Memories are trodden on, dismissed and disapproved of. We are all born eighteen year olds.

Some people don't know what the hell they're talking about.

I learnt everything that I'll ever need to know when my mind was innocent enough to absorb it all. When I looked with my child eyes, my sight fell upon each and every feeling that I've ever had to put a name to. Before I aged enough to understand the complexities of adult life; the taboos, masks and emotional claustrophobia, I felt that I knew everything. I felt like a King. Though the world changes and the binds of conformity tighten, I've never forgotten that feeling of mental invincibility. There are so many memories that cannot be removed from my mind, - not by GFs, not by social pressure, not even by Hyne himself, I'd wager - and these were just the building blocks of my time. With each discovery I made, I grew up a little more; like a flower under the swell of rainfall. I'm an adult now, but my childhood was a moulding not a sordid, shameful past.

Perhaps I had a more intricate family situation than other children and maybe I have more justification for shame than most. It's not every day that you meet a boy who understands that his father is screwing his grandfather. In crude terms, yes, that was how it was. More importantly, by the time I found out that it was something I should be hanging my head over, I knew that Laguna loved Squall. I knew how much Squall reciprocated that feeling, and I knew that a family was a family. I'd never had a family. My adoptive father had been an orphan himself, or so he'd thought, and he knew what it was like to be abandoned. When he took me in, - that shy, quiet sort of man that Squall was and still is -, I didn't care whether he was old or young, I wasn't interested in his looks or background. All I wanted was stability and love, the kind of protection that a five year old is incapable of providing himself. I didn't understand 'grandfather' any more than I did 'father'; Squall and Laguna were just parents to me. They were sources of comfort, warmth and shelter. People are wrong. To a small child, blood and legal ties don't matter. Perhaps only a child's mind is open enough to see truth behind stereotypes, gossip and controversy. Squall and Laguna loved me, as much as they loved each other, and for the first years of my life the biggest worries on my mind were not falling over in the playground, maths homework and making the football team.

It was only when I fell into the adult world that I realised what a joke it was; that the world where grown-ups reside is nothing but a kindergarten itself. For an apparently superior bunch of people, adults sure do a lot of childish things. Their world is a playground, full of secret whisperings, telling tales, arguments manifested in punches and shock blows and tears, tantrums and guilt. They scorned my view on things, asking me with pursed lips why I wasn't ashamed of my very origins, sickened at the state of my home life. Their disapproval was a shock for a child so used to his own way of doing things. I knew by then that Laguna and Squall were related, and I understood the concept of their familial relationship. I'd been taught not to think of it as right and wrong, and I'd pursued it enough in my own mind to satisfy myself that it wasn't an important issue. Looking around my childhood friends, I could see none with parents as happy, secure and in love as mine were, and that was enough for me. It still is. And I couldn't understand these pestering women, the scoffing males, the taunts of other children conditioned to think in narrows ways by their ignorant parents. I wondered furiously why they couldn't see it through my eyes; that cheap view so neglected by adults the world around. I tried asking but they brushed me aside, muttering under their breath accusations against my family and threats of separating us. Eventually, I silenced my opinions and waited for the clouds to clear; confident that they'd come to see things as I did.

I was so sure that I, a child, could teach them in the same way that I had been. Those building blocks, those memories that had taught me could be used for their education, too, I was convinced of it. And now, an adult some years older, all I can is that I tried. I really tried.

I discovered that understanding was when Laguna would wait of Squall coming home from the long hours he worked and always, without fail, sense the severity of his mood from a mere glance into his eyes. I found that compassion was the way Laguna would hold him, until the tension dissolved from his body and he sighed a sigh full of demons and stress. Empathy was the painful darkness of Laguna's eyes as he watched his son, his lover, struggle on with the burdens of the world clawing into his back. It was the lightening of his face as he reciprocated Squall's grateful, contented smile. I learnt the complexities of emotional connection as I watched my parents walk together through the jungle of the world, knowing that as long as they were together, I had nothing to be afraid of.

Patience was next, learned far more quickly than riding the bike I'd been given for my eighth birthday. When I became irritated and fed-up, displaying a fiery temper only a young humiliated male can produce, I would always be faced with calm eyes waiting. Squall paused whilst I passed through the storm, not once raising his voice as a torrent of thunderous abuse was rained upon his head. When I felt no more tumult in me to give him, he would simply guide me back onto the fiendish vehicle and send me off again; words of encouragement soft yet firm with confidence. Again and again the cycle revolved, and never once did he find anger within himself to meet with mine. It was always the same strong hands pushing me off, telling me with no uncertain terms that I could do it, to keep going, that I was doing really well. When I finally managed it, I was so excited that I don't even think I thanked him as I rushed off to show my other father; Laguna. Patience was the look of pure pride in Squall's eyes when instead, he should have felt hurt by my thoughtlessness.

Fear, I soon understood, was how I felt after being too ambitious with my bike-riding skills and finding myself twisted and pained somewhere over the handlebars. The friend I was with must have been thirteen, I twelve or so and in hindsight, I shouldn't have sneaked out of school whilst my parents were working, signing papers in blissful ignorance. Fear was not the stabbing pain in my right wrist, the small sobs as I waited for my friend to return, or the feeling of numbness in my back as I tried to keep still. Fear was the apprehension of my parents' reaction when they found out all that I'd done. I didn't fear for my own body but for my heart, when I heard their frantic footsteps in the hospital corridor. Fear, I learnt, was what would give way to comfort; if only I was honest and understanding of my own wrongdoing. Fear was what would disappear as quickly as the passing of an April shower, with the inevitable, crushing embrace that Squall gave me. He'd been worried, so worried. Fear was nothing that truth and apology could not defeat. Comfort was its victory. Comfort in the arms of two parents who loved me. My broken wrist healed in no time.

I picked up humility on the evening of the first argument I can remember Squall and Laguna having. My elder father, Laguna had always had a more spirited temper than Squall's; a raging tempest to a flat, gentle sea. His anger always passed quickly, but in the midst of it, there was a certain passion to his temper that made most wary of reasoning with him. I remember being scared that my parents were going to split up, even though it must have been a fairly insignificant squabble. They've had worse since. Humility was the calming period after the shouting, the final binding of the wounds as apologies were made, understandings calved out of the fragments of the fight and warm, gentle embraces were shared. Humility was the softer tones in Laguna's voice, tinged with guilt, as he made amends for the speed of his fury. Humility was when Squall would place a kiss to Laguna's forehead; a sign of forgiveness and a signal that it was safe to breathe again. Humility was thirty minutes later; the pair of them lying together on the sofa as if nothing had even threatened their calm. Humility was when Laguna would scoop me up into his lap and Squall, silently, would reassuringly stroke my hair.

Disappointment came in my adolescent years, with more bite than these simple memories. I was just beginning to spread my wings and explore the world that was slowly coming into my view. I remember not thinking very much. I remember being distracted by the warmth of her skin and the feel of her hair against my face. The rigidity of her curves and the way her flesh cocooned against mine. The days flew past with such intoxication and I guess it was lucky that I'm a quick learner; my studies took a lesser beating than my neglect deserved. Disappointment was the look in Squall's eyes as he watched over my lax state, receiving nothing but sarcasm and barbed insults when he attempted tirelessly to guide me back to my work. Disappointment was his forced smile as my girlfriend and I took over the living room; that small, hollow laugh as he heard me from the kitchen, dismissing my parents as most teenagers are inclined to do in front of their friends. Disappointment was the day when he pretended not to care that I'd missed his birthday; out all night without a care for it, asleep the entire next day in her bed. Hurt was the sound of his voice as he told me not to worry about it. Hurt was the look on his face as he forced me through punishment, - all other options exhausted -, and grounded me for the sake of my exams. I think now that it upset him to do it more than it did me to suffer it. Disappointment was the sigh that left him, the grey that I was sure was beginning to touch his hair as I disobeyed him and crept out anyway to see my beloved girlfriend. When I returned, some three days later, I realised that it was the first time I'd seen him really angry.

Loyalty was the day Squall held me to him after she chucked me for another guy.

Determination was the months that I spent catching up with school, intent on making something out of the failure I'd become.

Pride was the day that I told my parents that I'd passed with full honours.

Contentment was the look in Squall's eyes as he and Laguna came to celebrate with me; two old war heroes, the centre of controversy and fame. Ignoring the stares of other parents and students, Laguna leaned against the car door and greeted me with a wide, congratulatory smile; forgiveness for my earlier recklessness. Squall's face was truly peaceful, eyes seeing and blue and proud. Contentment was the day that I realised how much my parents' belief meant to me. Contentment was when I looked into Squall's eyes and saw that mesmerising, carefree confidence in everything that I was; that endless love he possessed for a child whose origins he couldn't even account for. Contentment was sitting alongside Laguna in the back and being overwhelmed by their excitement; I couldn't match the sheer feeling of joy they received at my success. Contentment was suddenly knowing that it wasn't only my marks they were proud of; it was the person who'd worked for them. And that, they would have been there, in that fading black car of theirs, if I'd failed every one of my exams.

Love was every one of these things. Love was when I first fell down and Squall comforted me with cuddles and quiet, soothing noises. Love was Christmas, the way they held one another by a glowing morning fire and watched me turn the sitting room into a train-wreck of coloured wrapping paper. Love was when they made up after a fight, letting me know that I only made their relationship more solid and their love for one another stronger. Love was when I cried my eyes out in that hospital and realised that Squall just wasn't able to shout at me. Love was when I threw every horror I possibly could at my parents and they stood there and took it, then stayed around to see me through. Love was Squall putting aside his own feelings to indulge mine. Love was his strength in instructing me, when it was the last thing he wanted to do. Love was every effort they made to guide me, protect me and show me the ways of the world without crushing me. Love was their guarding me from their reputations, securing me a future without the burdens of expectation on my shoulders. Love was the minimising of every one of their achievements so that I could be free to make my own. Love was the fact that they probably gained more happiness out of mine than their own. I used to think love was when I went into their bedroom in the middle of their night, and found Laguna's arms wrapped so completely around Squall that my father seemed to disappear into the embrace. Love was when I'd stand unsure, at the foot of the bed, and whisper into the darkness that a nightmare had made me cry. Love was when they would hold me together, trapped between them in where demons, trolls and witches couldn't find me. Love was when I'd wake up in the morning and not remember why I was in my parents' bed, just that it was warm and that I was happy. That was love.

And happiness? Happiness was the learning of all of these things. Happiness is taking my elder father out for a drink on a Sunday afternoon and listening to him tell silly stories of the times he and Squall spent together, so many years ago. Happiness is relating them to Squall and watching him roll contented eyes alight with his own memories. Happiness is watching love etch in his features as I ask him whether Laguna really declared a full inspection of Balamb Garden's students by all of the Instructors, just to get Squall an afternoon off. Happiness is the laugh in his eyes as he slowly, smiling, nods.

Happiness is what I hope to have when I'm their age.

Happiness is why I don't care what others think and never will.

I don't know if they were ever convinced, but I doubt it. Prejudice isn't easy to remove with words or actions and I suspect that in their hearts, Squall, Laguna and their adopted son is nothing but a sick, twisted scene without a right to exist.

But I'm that same son, and I know different.


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