By Yuri Nagisa


Slick, inky, shiny vinyl black.


Salty, dripping, fluid ecstasy sweat.

Strobes cut on and off, framing the club in a stop-frame motion capture frenzy. The haze of the smoke machine mingled with the blue-gray clove cigarette smoke, creating lithe undulating bodies out of vapor. No longer sure which hands were his and which hands on his body belonged to others, Seifer surrendered to the sheer power of the room. There were enough drugs in his system to qualify him as a human pharmacopia, and that was exactly the way he wanted it - pushed back past that little barrier and into the realm where only three things mattered.

A beating heart, breathing, and forgetting...

Cloaked in anonymity through sheer numbers where nobody cared, and nobody wanted to know more than the color of your cash, he pressed through the crowd, ignoring rough limbs and harsh stares. Forcing his bulky frame into a space that hadn't been intended for his size, he marked out his territory on the wall facing the dance floor, his look daring anyone to challenge his space. The last remenants of whatever he had snorted dripped back into his throat, the harsh taste echoing across his tastebuds. It made him wince and reach for the small flask in his pocket to both wash the taste away and amplify the effect of the narcotic when a small hand found its way to his and deftly took the flask away, the hand raising it to pouty lips for a healthy drink before returning it to his sweating palm. He growled low in his throat, glaring at the insolent little slut who obviously didn't have enough brains to know where she wasn't wanted.

"Goddamned bitch," he said.

She turned her face toward his and leaned close to his ear, "Well, at least you got the goddamned part right."

Seifer's eyes darted downward and his vision struggled into focus as he willed his consciousness into the present. "Fucking hell," was all he could manage. Crystal gray eyes darted up to capture his emerald green eyes, locking Seifer's gaze unwillingly as his gaze focused on a scar. "Squally boy." It was statement, derision, and dismissal all in two words.

"Seifer, honestly, I'd expect more from you than that." Squall crossed leather clad arms across his exposed chest, upturned face dusted with translucent powder, a hint of color at the lips, and eyes lined sharply in liquid black. Squall didn't look upset, quite the contrary, he looked amused. Seifer scowled as Squall had the audacity to actually laugh in his face.

"What the fuck do you want? Wasn't enough for you before? Goddamn it, just leave me alone." Seifer raised a hand to push Squall away. Catching Seifer's hand deftly, Squall's lithe fingers traced a maddening contour across Seifer's palm. "Get off me, Leonhart," Seifer ordered, yet Squall would not let go. Somehow he had entwined his fingers with Seifer's and was pulling him off the wall and back out onto the floor. "What the hell are you doing?" Seifer demanded, following because he lacked the better sense to balk Squall's will at the present moment.

"Nothing that didn't need doing years ago," was Squall's simple reply.

Seifer didn't want to feel Squall's arms reach around his neck, drawing him into full body contact, but the sensation as Squall's hands glided across his neck was maddening. Unwillingly his eyes closed and he reveled in the silky electric impulses that ran up his spine and made his tense shoulders jump. He didn't know how or when but he felt the hot, sweat slicked small of Squall's back under his hands, hands he didn't know he had wrapped around the man who was undulating against him. Seifer wanted to break away but his body and mind were not in accordance. "Why?" was the only word he could muster from his lips.

"Youth, stupidity," Squall whispered against Seifer's ear. "All those other things I never realized until I saw what the end of time looked like without you."

Seifer suddenly wished he were sober for the moment, wished that he could face the moment with a clear head but the demands of his body were too insistant and he found that he was pressing his face down to Squall's, firm lips meeting soft ones, tongues battling against one another in pure lust. Trailing his hands up Squall's arms, he took Squall's hands from around his neck and lifted them up, forcing Squall's arms back behind Squall's back. Seifer's arms pinned Squall's arms behind him and they stopped moving, unheeding of the intruding bodies that were resentful of the lack of movement on the dance floor.

The kiss broke as fast as it had begun and Seifer found himself staring down at Squall, at those lips he had kissed, pouty and red and flushed full of blood, then back up to those eyes that seemed to reach through the haze in his mind to some place that he had sworn nothing could or would ever get to. "No," he said, turning, nearly running in his haste to get away.

Squall only stared at his retreating back, his look one of both acceptance and determination.

Seifer burst from the club and into the dead haze of the allyway, illuminated by a single streetlight at the far end. He bent over, palms braced against his thighs as his blood surged through his veins, pounding through his head, breath coming in ragged gulps. Maybe, perhaps years before such contact would have given him everything he needed... but now... now he was a man haunted by the years of his past, living as he could to get by, running when the past got too close. He had been here far too long. The past, always a shadow at his back, had finally caught up to him. Seifer stood up and made his way toward the light, back into the world he had to leave once again. It would only be a matter of minutes as he made his way home to collect his belongings before he headed out to the train station and...

"Yes," said a voice as he turned the corner. "No more running, Seifer. It ends tonight." There stood Squall, skin still slick with sweat, eyes glowing in anticipation of something only he was privy to.

"Don't get in my way," Seifer said in a low voice. "You don't want my life. It isn't worth destroying yourself over."

"You don't understand, do you? Three years, everytime you turn up, I turn up in time to find you're gone again."

"I don't care." But he did care, cared far too much. He turned to leave yet again and suddenly found his hands held firmly behind his back in a grip of desparation. "Let go," he said, his voice empty, dead, and found that he was pressed back against the wall, hands roughly braced against the brick facade. Squall faced him, imposing somehow, despite the sheer difference in size between them, a barrier Seifer didn't have the fortitute to break.

"No. You may not care, but I do," Squall hissed. "You saved me, why? Why save me and abandon me? You think I didn't know? That I'd never know?"

"You ask too many questions and the answers are none of your business," Seifer spat back. "Why? Just be grateful that you're alive and go, that's why."

"You should have left me there to die. Instead, you get me to the one place I can be found and you abandon me!"

"That was your life, this is not. Go back to it, take my advice - get on the next train and forget I'm here." Memories flooded Seifer's mind, unbidden - Time Compression was like staring Hell in the face and spitting on the flames to put them out. He had chosen sides for his own reasons, in the beginning, and again at the end. Time Compression had re-altered the world, created a world without magic, without sorcery, a world where only humanity dwelled anymore, structured to the strong desire of someone, and that someone had been Seifer. Dreams changed.

"I know what you did, dammit." Squall wouldn't leave, wouldn't take his answers, drawing him in with a passion Seifer had only seen glimpses of in the past, when Squall had been pushed to his breaking point, a point Seifer knew how to manipulate exquisitly in the past, but now ignited unintentionally.

"Then say 'thank you' and leave."

"Make me," Squall said, and at that moment Seifer knew he lacked the power to make him go. "You can't, Seifer. I've seen you and I see through you to the places you can't even find anymore."

"Maybe I don't want to find them. That life is over, past. Don't you get it? It doesn't exist anymore Leonhart. That Seifer is gone, dead."

"A true shame then." Squall ducked his head, eyes cast downward to the cold pavement beneath his feet, releasing his hold on Seifer.

"And why is that?" Seifer asked, wishing he didn't want to know out of sheer morbid curiosity.

"Because he took something that I haven't been able to find since," Squall replied softly, "and if he's dead, I'll never get that back."

"And that would be...?" Again, Seifer cursed inwardly for staying even this long. The longer he stood here, so close to Squall, the harder it would be to leave.

"My soul."

Taking the decision from Seifer's hands Squall turned, defeated, and walked away, his form disappating as he left the light. Each step hit Seifer like a sledgehammer, inflicting trauma on an already battered soul. He sank down to the ground, his legs unwilling to hold him anymore. The past, so readily held at bay for so long, rushed through him with the force of a tidal wave, destroying what was left of his reserve. Burying his head in his hands, a sob tore itself from his throat, his voice broken and distraught as he whispered to the empty night, "Stay..."

But the past was gone forever.


Dammit, I really hate it when muses don't cooperate. Then again, poor Seifer's felt so deprived these past couple months that I can't say I blame him. This was supposed to be a hot'n'heavy fic full of all sorts of wonderfully raunchy things and what do I get? Angst and heartbreak. *GLARES* Damn muses...

<Seifer> And you're blaming me, why? Is it my fault I was abandoned and neglected for so long? Noooo, didn't think so! Serves you right.

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