Coming Out Party
Chapter Five - The Mouse That Roared
(or Seifer Speaks Up)
Kiros Deir’el Raja Seagill, a former Captain in the Galbadian Army, current Vice President, and life-long friend and companion to President Laguna Loire of Esthar, grinned as he watched Laguna fumble with the napkin tucked into his neck. He couldn’t help it… Laguna made quite a sight. The slender President, who was bedecked in loose-fitting khakis and sandals, had almost a beatific expression on his face as he bit into the frankfurter and chewed with obvious enthusiasm.
“It won’t work,” Kiros said almost casually, crossing his arms.
Laguna paused only briefly to make a face at him before taking another bite from one of the twelve Balamb Garden hotdogs on a china plate set on the table, mumbling with pleasure. “Zell was right! Mmmm. Boy, oh boy, these things are great… And will too!”
“Won’t!” The sinewy black man stuck out his tongue, not particularly ashamed of the act. He had come to realize long ago that something inside of him inevitably reverted to childhood whenever he was with the slender president. Ward’s resistance was a lot better; in fact, if he’d been sitting around with them, the large man probably would have long since taken them both over his knee for a spanking. Thank Hyne he’d stayed in Esthar.
“Will too, will too, will too!” Laguna laughed and stamped his feet.
Kiros shook his head. “Laguna, there. Is. No. Way.”
“And I’m tellin’ you it will work, Kiros,” the slender president replied. Taking another bite from his hotdog, Laguna held up a hand as he munched. “It’ll work! They’ll see each other and fall in love all over again!”
“You don’t know that. Hyne’s sake, ‘Guna.” Kiros pulled up one of the cushy chairs that were scattered all around the Headmaster’s office complex, not thinking for the first time as he sat that Squall had great taste in furniture. Everything was soft and snug. Kiros’ ass sank a good foot into his armchair’s cushion before he came to a stop. A well-used couch in the corner looked especially comfy, like a nice place to cuddle with someone special for hours on end, and Kiros was sorely tempted to try and get Laguna over there.
But then again, he’d been trying that kind of stuff for 30 years, and he’d had no luck to speak of so far.
Kiros sighed. “You don’t even know why they split up.”
Laguna looked at Kiros with a serious expression, his aqua eyes blinking solemnly. “I know I don’t need to know to know how to fix it.”
Thank Hyne he’d had so much practice with Laguna-isms over the years, Kiros thought. That one would’ve given anyone else a nosebleed. “Well, excuse me, Dr. Know.”
“I’m being serious!” Laguna frowned.
“Laguna,” Kiros began patiently. “They had to break up for a reason.”
“And that reason may have been a perfectly good one.”
“In fact,” the braided man continued sternly, “it had to be something pretty big, to shake things up after all the crap they went through.”
“And if that’s the case,” Kiros held up a finger, in the home stretch, “then it is not –not– a good idea to get involved.”
“But-! But-!” Laguna hung his head and Kiros flinched, watching with growing dread as the slender President’s lower lip turned down and began to tremble. Crap, anything else he could handle, major disaster, earthquake, natch. But one unhappy look from those deep aquamarine eyes and he was toast.
“BUT HE’S ALL ALONE!” the willowy president wailed, and Kiros winced, already reaching for the phone.
“Fine, Laguna,” he sighed, handing over the receiver to his eager friend. “Call her up. But don’t tell me I didn’t warn you.”
“Hello, is this the Caraway residence? I’d like to speak to Ms. Rinoa Heartilly, please. Yup, you can say it’s President Laguna Loire on the line…. Nope, not a joke. Yup. Yup. Yup, really. Uh-huh. Oh! You’ve seen my movie? Wow, why thank you! Yes, that dragon did look awfully real, didn’t it? Yes. Well, thank you very much, and it was nice talking to you, too. Yes, I’ll hold… Hello? Rinoa? This is Laguna. Hi! The reason I’m calling? Well, I’m holding a fête for Squall as kind of a coming out, and I was wondering if you’d like to attend. You would? That’s great! No, actually it’s at Balamb G. Yes, in three days. 7:00PM. Yes, it is formal. Er, I don’t know, is Angelo well behaved? Well, then I guess it’s ok. Yep, can’t wait to see you, too. Bye!”
“Would you buy temporary insanity?”
“How about heat stroke?”
“Exhaustion?” Said hopefully, but met with no reply.
Oh hell. He was dead meat.
Seifer ran a hand through his hair as Squall’s lustrous eyes narrowed at him, suddenly sure that he knew just how a chocobo caught in sink-sand must feel, and he didn’t like the feeling one bit. The unconscious ‘Lion’ had made a complete recovery.
In fact, Squall, now gracefully pushing himself off the floor to loom like the Headmaster he was, was lookin’ less and less like the beloved boy he’d blown bubbles on not a half-hour ago and every inch the great Commander, and damn if he, Seifer Almasy, Sorceress’ Knight and almost Conqueror of the World, wasn’t the recalcitrant seven-year old who’d gotten caught toilet-papering the lavatory. It was like déja vu all over again.
It was freakin’ ridiculous, really, considering the fact that he was older, bigger and stronger. Absurd, since he was almost 20 years old. Nevertheless, or perhaps in spite of it all, a large part of him simply wanted to slink into a corner and cry.
“Um. I love you, Squall?”
Seifer gave Squall a weak smile. “You know, dehydration can be a bitch.”
The Commander of Balamb closed his eyes. “I should have known better,” he muttered. Hectic spots of red stained his cheeks, his raggedly cut hair flying into his face as he slowly shook his head. “Should know better by now-”
In a flash, Seifer shot from the floor, extending his arms in an eloquent motion that managed to be both a shrug and a plea. “Aw, c’mon! What was I supposed to do while you were out like a light? I had no one but the Chicken here to work with-”
“Hey!” came an indignant voice from the door. “I helped a little!”
Seifer glanced at Zell.
The tattooed martial artist crossed his arms. “I gave moral support!”
“Hmph,” Seifer snorted. “If you’d left when you were supposed to instead of hiding in the closet, you wouldn’t have needed to do squat.”
“And what about what you did, Seifer?”
Squall glared, his fingers circling the pulse point of each temple and gaining speed. “You weren’t supposed to send Zell out with orders to tell everyone in sight about us! And don’t try to come up with an excuse,” he warned when Seifer opened his mouth to speak, “I heard you.”
Crap. The scarred blond winced; too much to hope that Squall had missed that part. “Alright, I admit it,” he murmured, attempting to look appropriately contrite. “I did it, and it was a rotten, underhanded thing to do, but it didn’t happen. Chickenwuss never got out the door. So nobody knows about us except for Zell, and he’s not gonna tell. Wild horses couldn’t drag it outta him. Right, Chicken?”
Zell gaped at him. “But you… When I… While Squall was out of it you were just sayin’ what a big mouth I had… and don’t call me that!”
Well, don’t go knockin’ yourself out to help me there, Chicken.
“Don’t be ridiculous, Chi… er, Zell,” Seifer said through clenched teeth. “Whatever you want, I’ll call you Hyne if you’d like. The point is that you’re not gonna talk and I’m not gonna talk, so the secret doesn’t leave this room and no one’s the wiser. No harm done.”
“…‘No harm done’?” Squall blinked in disbelief. “You want me to act like nothing happened? Like you never did anything wrong?”
“What? There’s no use dwelling on it, is there?”
“Can I go now?” Zell called plaintively from the door.
“…I give up,” the SeeD Commander moaned into his hands, “I give up. I should know better.”
“Good, cause I wanna tell you what else happened while you were zonked. It was pandemonium! The minute you hit the ground I was on the floor with you- and don’t ever scare me like that again, Leonhart. Almost gave me a heart attack-”
“Should know better by now,” Squall repeated, not really listening, “then to think you’d respect how I feel.”
“-So there I was with your head in my lap and that batty librarian comes bangin’ down the door with some snot-nosed brat who wouldn’t know common courtesy if he got hit in the face with it, when the Chicken decides -should know better then to think I’d respect what?”
Seifer snapped his arms against his sides as if struck. And, in a way, he thought, heart constricting painfully, he just had been. “What did you say?”
“For as long as I’ve known you, it’s always been full speed ahead. Damn the torpedoes and the consequences,” Squall shook his head ruefully. “And I’m left with the mess to clean up.”
Seifer fought to keep his voice even. “Is that so?”
“Because you never think about anyone else but yourself, Seifer,” Squall continued irritably to himself, rubbing furiously at the bridge of his nose. “No consideration for others. Not a single thought.”
From the corner of his eye, Seifer watched Zell throw a confused look his way and take a step forward. “Hey, um, Squall,” the small blond squared his shoulders, “actually-”
“No, Zell, let me handle this, ok?”
As he spoke the words, Seifer almost smiled. He sounded so rational. There was absolutely no indication that he was about to go psycho kamikaze Almasy all-out majorly ballistic.
Zell blinked, taking a step back.
Seifer cleared his throat. “So, let me get this straight. Basically, Leonhart, you’re sayin’ I’m thoughtless. Is that what you think?”
Squall lowered his hand to stare at Seifer. He blinked as if just becoming aware the tall blond had been listening. “Yes.”
“You’re sure about that?”
Squall frowned. “Seifer, I believe I already made that clear-”
Seifer smiled and nodded congenially. “Just answer the question, please.”
“All right,” Squall replied slowly, obviously unaware he was walking through a proverbial mine field. “Yes. I think you are thoughtless.”
“Fair enough.” Seifer clapped his hands together. “And shall I tell you what I think?”
Squall’s brow furrowed. “I don’t understand what-”
“I think,” Seifer interrupted, “that you don’t have the first idea about what thoughtlessness is. In fact,” he began to stride towards the brunet, blue-green eyes sparking with fury, “I think you are completely and totally out of your fucking mind!”
Squall’s jaw dropped.
Heart pounding and with fury beating a war path in his chest, Seifer stopped less than a foot in front of his lover, leaning in to him as Squall bent backwards. “And do you wanna know why you’re off your god-damned rocker?” He shoved a finger into Squall’s chest, poking none too lightly. “Because for the past 10 months, I’ve been sneaking around to spend time with you on your terms.
“For 10 months, I’ve been pretendin’ I can’t stand you every time we’re in public! For 10 months,” another poke sent Squall stumbling back a step, “I’ve had to deal with you sticking your nose in the air every time I walk by, and it kills me every single time. But I deal with it.
“And do you know why I deal with it, Leonhart? I do it because I love you! I love everything about you, you stupid twat! I’m only keepin’ this quiet because of you and because every time I try to work this out with you, you get paranoid on me.”
In the midst of this big blast of emotion, Seifer grabbed Squall by the collar of his coat and shook him until his teeth chattered.
“I love bein’ with you, Squall! I love seein’ you, holding you, kissing you! Love talkin’ to you when you actually talk, but whenever I see you in the hall I have to pretend like I don’t, and I’m fucking dying inside. But I do it for you. Everything for the past 10 months, 13 days is for you, so,” Seifer abruptly let go of Squall and turned in a whirl of trench coat, heading across the room toward the door, “don’t go talking to me about thoughtless.”
And stepping briskly past the gaping Zell without a second glance, far too steamed to catch Squall’s reaction as he turned the doorknob, Seifer exited into the hall and shut the door behind him with a resounding SLAM.
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