DISCLAIMER: STILL haven't managed to do a hostile takeover of Squaresoft, so the characters still don't belong to me. If they did, I would rewrite the ending - guess who would be necking with Squall on the balcony?

WARNING: This chapter contains frank descriptions of non-gratuitous male/male sex. The story behind the rerating: when I started the fic I knew there were going to be at least three sex scenes involved. By the time I got to chapter 3 or 4 I realised there was no way I was going to be able to gloss over the details so the rating was going to have to rise. If any children or yaoi-haters did make it this far, please leave now, or at any rate please stop reading halfway down the page.

Gah. Lemons are hard to write.

Darkened Sunrise

Chapter Six - The Night Song

By Persephone

"Squall!" yelled Selphie, clenching her fists and almost literally bristling in fury.

"Watch where you're going!" Seifer fired back, trying to reach round her to the Ragnarok's controls, at least as far as the autopilot switch. She kneed him in the thigh, turned round, flicked on the autopilot and went back to glaring at Squall.

"How could you not invite Irvine?" she continued like there hadn't been an interruption. Squall didn't answer, just gave her a chilly stare. She ignored it.

"Selphie," Seifer tried, "stop it. Now."

"No! Irvy's one of us too. Why didn't he get to come?"

"Have you asked whether Squall was allowed to ask more than two of us?" he demanded, drawing up to his full height. She glared up at him. If she went on like that she would get a crick in her neck. She seemed to realise that too; after a few seconds she drew back a little so her head wasn't quite at a ninety-degree angle.

"Squall," she said in a dangerous tone, still staring out Seifer, "could you have asked more than two of us?"


"Then -"

"Shut up." Squall took a deep breath. "He's Galbadian."

"So? I'm Trabian!"

"I don't know everything about his past. Or his friends."

"If you think he'd betray us -"

"It's not about betrayal!" Now Squall was getting angry. Seifer could see in his eyes how much he hated this. "Officially, we aren't doing this. We can't even discuss it amongst ourselves unless we're either alone on the Ragnarok or outside in the middle of nowhere or three rooms away from anyone else. We can't mention it to anyone who's going to breathe a word of it to anybody else. And I don't mean mission details; I mean the fact that we're on the mission in the first place. Nobody must know what we're investigating." She still looked cross; Squall added, "I wanted Zell to come too. He's not here because he doesn't always think before he speaks. Irvine wouldn't talk out of line, but he's out because he might trust an untrustworthy person."

"I'm still cross with you," Selphie admitted after a moment, "but I'll forgive you."

"Thanks," Seifer muttered. "Listening to you two argue for however long would drive me crazy - how long are we here for anyway, Squall?"

"Till we identify the traitors."

Was he mad, or something? "That could take months -"

"I know. Live with it."

"OK," sighed Selphie, "you've tied us up for goodness knows how long doing something we've got to lie about. Do we get to find out what we're doing?"

"Sure." He looked over to check that the autopilot was on, then gestured to them both to sit down so he could do the mission briefing. "There's a leak somewhere in Esthar Intelligence."

"Great start," Seifer applauded him.

Squall glared and continued, "The only evidence we have is the trouble it's caused. Laguna noticed it when a carefully planned ambush of troublemakers from the Tears' Point area failed to work because the troublemakers didn't show up. Infiltrators had confirmed that the group would walk into the ambush half an hour before they were due to do so. We have a list of the people who knew about the ambush -"

"Or the people Sir Laguna thinks knew about it," corrected Selphie.

"- and the details of the infiltration team themselves. Once it was established that there was a problem, certain events of the past year were reanalysed and it became obvious that something has been going on for at least thirteen or fourteen months. Nobody in the spy corps can be ruled out as the source of trouble, with the probable exception of its leader, who reported the extent of the problem."

"What other kind of stuff have they done?" Selphie demanded, sitting up higher on her chair. She loved counter-espionage work.

"Various enemy groups, mainly rebel factions both in the Protectorates and in Esthar, have cracked the frequency coding of the army and the EIC's radio signals. This kind of suggests the Galbadians aren't behind it, because they've never taken advantage of it, but that could be wrong. Extra bugs and phone taps leading to nowhere in particular have been found all over the Palace - just about the only places where we'll be able to talk in complete privacy are the bathrooms and a few bedrooms. Too many Intelligence operations have failed because the enemy found out what was going on; the casualty rate in the Esthar Intelligence Corps has doubled over the past year. That's just about it, but it's a lot to be thinking about."

"You can say that again," muttered Seifer. "Why are we officially in Esthar?"

"Countering a death threat on Laguna and Ellone."

"So we'll have to go about in public with them? That's going to suck if we're really meant to be investigating."

"We won't have to do much. One of us'll have to stay around Laguna's office at all times, but that's not too much hassle because he can help us work on this." He scowled, then suddenly relaxed so much that Seifer almost believed he was holding back a smile. "Selphie, I've got a special job for you. It requires maturity and responsibility."

"Oh, Squall, I'm so pleased! What is it!"

"Protecting my little brother from the non-existent people who're going to try and kidnap him. He's two and three quarters. You'll get along just fine."

"You know what makes me mad about you, Squall?"


"It's the way I can't tell whether you're complimenting me or teasing me." He gave her a suspicious look. "Hyne, I'm teasing you, Squall!" she giggled. "You're so serious. Loosen up."

"Whatever." He passed Seifer and Selphie a document wallet each. "Most of what you need to know's in there." Seifer took out the wad of papers. Most were files written in some obscure cipher; the other looked ominously like a vocabulary list. "Memorise the codes and destroy the list - preferably before we get to Esthar."

Seifer stared at his list of ciphers. It was basically a whole new alphabet, interspersed with a couple of dozen word-replacement codes. "Hey, Squall," he said slowly, "what are you going to do during the six years it takes us to learn this stuff?"

"Look after the Ragnarok." He bodily lifted Selphie out of the pilot's seat, sat down and leant back like he was expecting a nice relaxing evening. The other two SeeDs looked at each other, then settled back to learn their alphabet.

After a little while Seifer found his attention wandering. As so often when that happened he started thinking about Squall. He sneaked a glance at the dark-haired boy reclining in the pilot's seat. In anyone else that pose would have indicated contentment. Seifer's angel was never content.

He wanted to know why. He wanted to know what thoughts Squall kept locked away in that private place that even Seifer could not visit. When he'd thought Squall would be gone from him for at least a month, he wasn't surprised at how much he immediately started missing him but he was definitely surprised at how much he started worrying about him. In the past few weeks he'd seen a change for the better in Squall's psychological condition; when he'd needed to let off steam he'd sought out Seifer and the two of them would talk it all out or spar until the endorphins had helped Squall back onto an even keel. He'd been so afraid that Squall wouldn't be able to find an alternative outlet for his emotions.

And now he didn't have to. Because Seifer could be with him every minute of every day, if they so wished. Working had never seemed so attractive.

He forced his attention back to the pile of papers in his lap. The absolute last thing he wanted to happen was for Squall to distract him so much that he couldn't concentrate on the mission. Cid would never let them work together again if that happened.

He'd got a handle on the encrypt code and had worked halfway down the stack of files before Esthar became more than a gleam on the horizon. Most of them were bios of Intelligence agents; a couple were reports on botched missions. He could see how the leak had gone undetected for so long. Almost all of the problems could have been caused by misfortune rather than tampering. It was only when taken together with things that definitely couldn't be explained in any other way that it all started to look suspicious.

Squall looked up from gaining clearance to land at the Airstation. "Hope you've almost done." Seifer was about to retort when he saw the tiny glint in Squall's eyes and realised that he was being sarcastic.

"Can't we keep the code sheets, for just a little while?" he asked instead.

Squall frowned. "Bedtime reading only. Sleep with the list under your pillow and keep it beneath your clothing when you're awake. And destroy it ASAP."

"You're paranoid," Selphie scoffed.

"Most people in Intelligence don't understand this," he rebuked her. "If one of you loses the sheet, the whole thing'll have to be changed. You want to volunteer to translate all the files from old code to new?"

Selphie grimaced. "I'll be careful."

The Ragnarok swept onto the airstrip. Seifer and Squall went to collect the baggage while Selphie locked down the controls: when she'd finished they set off in convoy towards the Presidential Palace.

Seifer never tired of travelling through Esthar at night. The city glowed, not just in the obvious physical sense but in other ways. The pubs and clubs and eating places radiated warmth and neon colour onto the highways and byways. Cars and hovercars and lifters zoomed past the slow-moving SeeD party, taking their occupants to new adventures in a life where the only thing sought was the next thrill. Strangers met in the moonlight: lovers kissed on rooftops. The city breathed.

The Palace was probably the only darkened building in the city centre. When the party reached the gate the cyborg guards, who stayed alert at any hour they were called upon to do so, ceremonially unlocked the doors for the President's son. Squall barely acknowledged the gesture, but Selphie made up for it by cheerily thanking the men. They scarcely seemed to hear her; they were single-minded bastards who thought nothing of doing any duty.

The thought made the flame of Seifer's anger begin to burn in the back of his mind. So many people wanted to turn his Squall into that. They'd never even met the boy who couldn't sleep the night through because of what he'd been forced to do with his life. They'd never seen the frightened child who looked up at Seifer with big blue eyes as if he could forgive him for all the deaths. They couldn't know the depths of depression into which they'd pushed him. If they did, the devil would surely take their souls.

Squall led Seifer and Selphie through the deserted corridors to the Palace's private area. Someone, probably Laguna, had left a note pinned on his bedroom door; after a brief read he aimed Selphie at the room next door to his. "Be up by nine-thirty," he warned her, "we're seeing Laguna at ten." She bade the men goodnight, looking way more cheerful than she should after being told she was going to get only six hours' sleep.

Seifer and Squall were left looking at each other.

"Seifer," Squall said awkwardly after a moment, "I - well..."

Seifer wrapped his arms around the younger man. "What is it?"

"I wasn't sure - do you want to share my room?"

The thundercloud eyes peered up at him, displaying such an air of childish vulnerability that Seifer knew he was no longer holding Squall Leonhart, hero of a hundred battlefields, but the person behind the mask. "Bed's big enough for two?" he murmured.

"Yes," Squall answered in the same undertone. Seifer leant down and answered him with a kiss.

The body in his arms trembled slightly, and he became afraid that if he dropped the boy he would shatter. Seifer gently drew Squall towards the door, fumbling with the control for a second before Squall broke off the kiss to help him.

The second that the door slid shut behind them Seifer caught Squall up in a passionate embrace, lifting him clean off the floor. Squall moaned into his mouth and twined his legs through Seifer's, locking them together body and soul. But almost before they had had a chance to touch and ignite each other, Squall hopped backwards and drew Seifer towards the bed.

Seifer kicked off his boots and tossed his trenchcoat to one side. "Come to me, Squall," he said hoarsely. "Let me feel you, let me touch you..."

Squall's eyes glowed almost silver in the half-light from the street lamps outside. He slid his jacket off his shoulders and then wrapped his arms back round Seifer, digging his hands into the folds of his lover's shirt. Seifer raised his arms and let Squall tug the shirt over his head before reversing the process. One of Squall's hands slid down the back of Seifer's trousers and the other opened his fly. Seifer lowered his head and took Squall's left earlobe into his mouth, sucking at the earring. Squall growled and dropped his mouth to Seifer's collarbone. Seifer hissed in surprise as the brunet nibbled on his skin.

Squall stopped long enough to say, "I'll quit teasing if you do."

"Not a chance," and Seifer dropped his hand down the front of Squall's pants and tickled. Squall doubled up; a sound suspiciously like laughter floated from him. Seifer took the opportunity to whisk Squall's belts aside and fiddle with the button fly. Before he'd got it open Squall retaliated. Seifer squeaked as his lover's hand tightened round his hardness. He pulled away automatically; Squall curled his leg round Seifer's and tipped him over onto the bed, jumping on top of him.

Seifer's hands were trapped at the waistband of Squall's trousers. He pulled the things open while Squall occupied himself running his hands and mouth all over Seifer's torso. Seifer tried to push Squall back; the smaller man fought him, kept him pinned down. Wants to play rough, does he? Seifer eased off, faking submission, awaiting his chance. He didn't have to lie there for long: in less than a minute Squall relaxed his legs enough for them both to finish undressing. The second that Squall's ankles were securely tied up by his trousers Seifer flung a leg over Squall's body and turned over, pinning the boy underneath him. "Do you - yield?" he panted.

"Not a - not a chance - oh, Seifer..." moaned Squall, closing his eyes and shuddering as they ground against each other. Seifer locked his lips to the pouting pair below his as he felt Squall's surrender.

He muttered a curse. "Back in a second," he told Squall, leaning over the side of the bed, looking for his trenchcoat and the vial of lubricant in its pocket. Behind him the bedsprings squeaked as Squall sat up, breathing heavily. Seifer cried out in triumph as he finally found the bottle, something that changed to a yelp of surprise as Squall tipped him off the bed. He rolled to his feet, holding the lube bottle out in front of him like it was his gunblade. "You're going to be sorry you did that," he threatened.

Squall smiled his sunrise smile. "Says who?"

"Says the guy who's going to fuck you senseless in under a minute's time." He dived at his lover, metaphorically preparing for the kill.

"You've got to catch me first," and Squall rolled out of the way. But Seifer saw the movement and turned with him, trapping him face down with his body. "Mmph!" Squall protested through a mouthful of sheet. Seifer wasn't having any of it. He held down the writhing brunet, slid further up his body and firmly sat on his torso, turning round and stroking the wriggling ass almost teasingly.

"You surrender yet?" he asked, poking a finger into Squall's crack.

Squall finally spat out the bedcover. "Can't breathe," he gasped. Seifer shifted his weight just a little before slicking his fingers and sliding them inside Squall. He felt so hot and tight that Seifer felt a surge of pleasure just thinking about what he was going to do to the younger man.

Squall whimpered and tried to move into the invading hand; Seifer, eager to oblige him, turned round and sank his hips down between Squall's splayed legs, keeping his weight on his lover's back. He rubbed the remainder of the handful of lubricant over his erection and then slid his hand beneath Squall, pulling him into a crouch and gently pleasuring him. Squall was still caught up in their power game, trying to wriggle out of the submissive position despite the hand playing around his groin. Seifer scowled. "Stop it - can't aim right..." Squall didn't respond. Neither did he stop squirming. At least he was fully relaxed. Seifer held him as still as possible and slid inside him.

If they remained lovers for fifty years Seifer would never cease to be amazed at how good it felt to be buried up to the hilt in Squall. Surrounded by him. Held by him. Lost in that place where neither one of them could control or thought of controlling the other.

The grip on his penis was so hard that it verged on being painful. Seifer withdrew and then pushed back into Squall, moaning at the renewal of the ecstatic sensation. Squall was starting to find the rhythm, beginning to move with him. "Squa-aall," Seifer almost sobbed, moving his hands up Squall's body, searching for the sensitive nipples. Squall answered with a wordless cry that ceased along with his movements when Seifer's hand lingered just below his pectoral muscles. Damn. Hit a bruise. Or an old scar; he keeps wincing when I touch him there. Have to remember that.

Seifer shifted his grip as quickly as possible, finding what he sought almost immediately; he gently rolled the flesh under his fingers and was rewarded when Squall's panting recommenced. The younger man arched his back, pressing up closer to the spot where Seifer was impaling him. Seifer rode him harder in response. His unoccupied hand tightened round his lover's thigh. The pleasure that sparked through him was starting to make him light-headed. He stared down at the expanse of translucent white skin in front of him. So pale. Like a snow blanket, or fine china. "You - so beautiful," he panted, driving his full length into Squall's body and shuddering with his release.

He collapsed on top of Squall for a few seconds, helplessly drinking in the afterglow, then realised that Squall hadn't come and roused himself accordingly. He sat up and pulled out; Squall didn't move when he was released but lay there like he couldn't move any more than Seifer could. "You've got a problem down there, sweetheart," he managed, tucking his hand under Squall's abdomen to feel his still-swollen erection. Squall didn't resist as Seifer turned him over. He lay there with his eyes shut just like he really was lost in the aftermath of orgasm. Seifer smirked, bent down and licked Squall's shaft from base to tip, wrapping his lips round Squall's head, tasting the stickiness already there.

The brunet moved at that, pushing himself half-upright. "If you don't want to, don't bother," he said hoarsely. "It's OK."

"Uh-uh. I want to. So lie back and take it easy." Squall fell back, like he couldn't be bothered arguing but had no enthusiasm for the process. Typical. Well, I am going to melt the ice cube this time. Watch this, Leonhart. He braced his hands on the inside of Squall's thighs and slowly lowered his head, taking his lover's full length inside his mouth.

Squall gasped in shock as Seifer tightened his throat round him. "Seifer..." As he was otherwise occupied Seifer couldn't answer directly, but he did his best to respond in the only manner he could, by working his tongue and lips around Squall's erection, silently inviting him to finish. Squall cried out, his hands automatically drifting to Seifer's head. Seifer sucked on him for only a couple more seconds before he came.

Seifer straightened up, licking the last of Squall's semen off his lips. The young man in question had collapsed again, one arm thrown over his face, breathing hard. There were a million things Seifer could have said; he settled for, "That the door to the bathroom?"

"Yeah." He wondered for a second at the half-hearted tone of the response, but decided Squall was probably exhausted. He squeezed Squall's hand and went off to fetch a wet towel. By the time he got back Squall was trying to get up; Seifer bit back a laugh at the way he was moving. "You look like a hooked fish. Stay there; I can do it." He started wiping the residue from Squall's backside and his own penis.

"You wind up doing everything."

Seifer started at the touch of bitterness in the response. "What's up?"

He opened one eye, then the other, fixing his gaze on Seifer. "I don't do enough for you, in bed or out of it. I'm sorry."

"There's nothing to be sorry about." Seifer threw the towel round the corner into the bathroom and settled down on the bed, teasing the covers out from under Squall and over the pair of them. "I like giving head - and you must be the only man on the planet who doesn't like getting it."

"It was OK - more than OK," Squall admitted, tucking his head under Seifer's chin. "But I don't feel right getting it when I don't want to give it back, because really I don't."

"I - don't - mind," Seifer said, punctuating the sentence with light squeezes.

"You're too good to me."

Seifer sighed in pleasure as he felt the boy relax into him. "Everybody needs somebody to make them feel good. You run around faster than Doomtrain trying to make everyone's lives better. You deserve it when I pamper you. And don't say 'whatever'."

"Whatever," Squall disobeyed, his voice fading. "'Night, Seif."

"Goodnight, beautiful." Squall made a purring noise in his throat and tucked himself tighter into Seifer's side. He fell asleep almost immediately; he often did after sex. Seifer liked to spend a few moments dozing with Squall's weight pressing down on his chest and Squall's scent filling his nostrils. He pressed himself down into the unfamiliar bed, sleepy and content with his arms full of Squall.

Before he dozed off he glanced at the digital on the bedside table. He smiled to himself. Three-thirty in the morning. They were well past the hour when Squall regularly roused for a few minutes. With luck the SeeD Commander would get a night's unbroken sleep for once. He closed his eyes and drifted into the clouds; and when he felt Squall turn over a little too violently, and opened his eyes to see the clock reading seven-thirteen, he was so deeply involved with his dream that he soon dropped off again.


(to be continued...)

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