By llamajoy

disarm you with a smile
and cut you like you want me to
cut that little child
inside of me and such a part of you
what i choose is my choice
what's a boy supposed to do?
the killer in me is the killer in you
my love, i send this smile over to you
--smashing pumpkins

He was dreaming, but he was awake. At least, he thought he was awake. He’d never known so much pain and stayed conscious, so he wasn’t quite sure.

He became aware of wind-- a hungry wind, clutching fingers of it worrying at his hair, his jacket. An invisible empty maw howling greedily in the night-- a wide open wind, thirsty to drink him dry. Was it wind, or was it only pain?

He remembered the disbelieving grief on Rinoa’s face, flinging out an arm, too slim, too late, to grab him--


How far had he fallen?

God, he had to concentrate. Where was he? Something was terrifically important. That’s why he was here. Wasn’t it?

Slowly, slowly, he centered himself, each heartbeat a thundering chaos in itself, exploding like stars in his chest. The wind turned to pulses of electricity, rollicking mad, wave after wave, through his body. And now he could hear the sound of a soft laughing voice.

He knew the voice, before he even opened his eyes.

Oh. Suddenly the focus he’d achieved didn’t seem like such a triumph.

Maybe that’s why he kept his eyes closed, hearing that familiar bitter timber of a voice he’d never thought he’d hear again.

Or was it that he hoped he’d never hear it--

Or feared not to?

He couldn’t remember, but the words sent tremors through him. He could swallow the anger-- enough months of practice making that easier-- but he could not quite stop himself from shaking.

Seifer spoke quietly, voice low in his throat. "Balamb Garden’s finest SeeD. Leonhart-- you don’t know how beautiful you are when you’re broken."

No use rising to such bait, lifted high and bound vulnerable to the wall, every bit of himself unprotected. Exposed. Worse than lying naked and spread beneath the other’s ferocious devotion; Squall had learned a sort of dignity in being taken. But never this-- helplessness. His mouth was dry as desert, but he was unable to hold his tongue. "I-- I’m not the one who’s cracked, Seifer."

Silence, and it dawned on Squall that he’d interrupted a developing soliloquy-- Seifer hadn’t realized he was listening. Seifer would get off on making speeches before an unconscious enemy.

Then, a soft chuckle. "The sleeping lion heart awakes?"

He forced his eyes to open slowly, his breathing to remain steady. Seifer was pacing below him, heavy steel-toed boots sounding hollowly on the grated metal floor. But the first thing that Squall saw was the other’s scar. As if it had always been there, underneath the pale skin, Squall couldn’t remember what he’d looked like without it.

That felt a million years ago, back before the ending of the world. He'd put that scar there. Bile twisted in his stomach. He hadn't always been so powerless. Now he couldn't even feel his hands, much less wield a blade to do any damage-- or even to free himself.

As if he were realizing just what Squall was seeing, Seifer smiled.

So disturbingly the same smile. Not only had the world not ended, but even the brightness in those eyes was no different. That cold, indulgent, greedy, tender smile.

"What do you want?" Squall bit out, his mouth dry.

Seifer’s icepale eyes narrowed, granting Squall that favor, one question answered. "You," he said slowly. Both his hands were held behind his back, and Squall thought miserably that all the odds were in Seifer’s favor and yet he still played his hand one card at a time. "I’d like you." He kicked a lever and the platform he stood on started to rise. His smile turned-- if possible-- even more dangerous. "I take it you’d like me to get straight to the point?"

Squall wanted to close his eyes again, wanted the pain to overwhelm him into unconsciousness again-- anything that he might not have to see that edged grin coming nearer.

"You never were one for formalities, Leonhart." He switched off the elevator, leveling it off so he stood eye-to-eye with him. "Something I could never teach you." Squall shivered, the misplaced benevolence making his face too young, hard to look at. "So," Seifer inclined his head, indicating the whole gruesome apparatus and the dim greymetal room beyond. "Do you like?" Proud as a little boy with a new plaything.

Something inside Squall was not as well buried as he had thought, and his mouth produced words that his better sense would have forestalled. Would have, perhaps, had he not been suspended and terrified before an ex-teammate. One he had fought against, one he had fought beside. One who had been his lover--

Squall cocked an eyebrow. "Yes, Captain."

With a motion quicker than thought Seifer swung his hands from behind his back, and Squall felt a dim burst of panic behind his eyes, recognizing the silvered blur as it rushed toward him--

"I thought so," Seifer said, his voice sounding ragged as if he’d been running a long way. Squall swallowed, feeling his throat rising against the clean deadly line of a gunblade.

His own gunblade.

With the same frightening gentleness as his smile, Seifer ran the edge of it against his neck, with such delicacy that Squall felt not pain, but only a dull sweet sort of ache, and then the trickling warmth down his collarbone. "Need a lesson in manners, Leonhart?"

He kept his voice normal though his lungs felt tight. "Not today, no." The tide of shame that pulsed through him was the worst of it, that he should have him thus. He felt naïve and ridiculous that he'd even considered that Seifer Almasy might be dead. Fuujin had been right. There was no rumor strong enough to kill such a slippery bastard. And now Squall was out of options, a SeeD trapped. Nothing he could do.

"Good," Seifer said, cradling the gunblade in his hands with alarming tenderness, running one gloved finger over the stock. "I can think of so many more... pleasant ways to spend the afternoon."

Feeling surreal, Squall watched entranced as those familiar gloves caressed his blade. Seifer didn't look up, shining the smooth metal beneath his leather-clad touch. "The idiot guards wanted to keep your weapon in the storehouse," he said, as if he were explaining battle strategy to his second-in-command. "I didn't think you'd want that, nee? So I brought it back to you."

Squall worried briefly that insanity might be catching. He said simply, "Thank you."

Seifer cocked his head, his eyes thirsty as they looked at Squall, drinking his submission like wine. He lifted his other hand, as if to brush his knuckles across Squall's cheek, but stopped just short. Squall tried not to hold his breath. "I've been waiting for you to come to, Leonhart," he murmured, his voice frightening in its quietness. "To talk to you."

Leaning ever so slightly into the familiar edge of his own weapon, Squall relaxed. "To talk to me," he echoed numbly. Not to kill me.

When Seifer laughed, Squall had to hold his face like steel to keep from flinching. He hadn’t thought much could be more gut-wrenching than Seifer’s manic silence, but the skirling soft rise of his chuckle just proved him very wrong.

"You thought I'd kill you?" Seifer prowled in a little arc around him, his trenchcoat swirling around Squall’s bound legs. "Oh, Leonhart." He sounded genuinely hurt. "How little you trust me. And how little you know of our plans! I need information from you."

Squall's tongue burned with the unspoken retort, but Seifer didn't seem to notice, advancing deliberately. "Can you imagine how happy I was when She told me to take you? But first..." He let the pause grow till Squall felt the stillness might eat him alive. "I wanted to enjoy your-- welcome. With open arms." He swept out a hand, smiled a possessive smile. "You look terribly dramatic, Leonhart."

If Squall could have felt his hands, he would have clenched his fists. "Only for you," he breathed through gritted teeth, or rather he tried to. Seifer’s head tilted so near he could feel the warmth of his breath, and his defiant sentence died. "Yes," Seifer murmured to his lips, as if granting permission. And Seifer kissed him, one hand cupping the back of his head, fingers sliding through his hair-- and the other hand, still to bear on his jugular.

With nowhere to go, Squall kissed him back.

It was slow and terrible and sweet, and so familiar it ached, as if there had always been a knife to his neck when Seifer touched him. Squall found himself leaning into it, though at the same time he wanted to bite, or struggle and push himself away. Those hot greedy lips, and the sharp nimble tongue that had always found ways through his defenses--

Seifer, his eyelids heavy, looked so angry and self-satisfied-- so very Seifer-- that Squall couldn't close his eyes.

I thought you were dead, you asshole. I never thought to see you again.

Sudden comprehension ran chilly through his blood like green sorceress ice-- the others thought that he was dead. His mind spun. What would they say of him? What were they saying, now?


Rinoa might not believe, but someone had to know he wasn’t dead.


Seifer must have felt the change, for he broke away, dragging a hand across his mouth as if he’d been forced to do something unpleasant. "You know what this is, Leonhart?" he asked suddenly. "Coming true?"

Squall knew the answer before Seifer even finished asking. "Your dream," he said wearily.

"Of course." Squall watched his eyes, flecks of frozen blue in that finely wrought face. His words were level, as if they were yet only rivals, talking of their latest spar. "The Sorceress’ knight, standing brave against the cold heartless mercenary." He lowered his mouth to Squall’s ear, breath warm and promising like a lover’s, echoing words spoken not so long ago. "How... romantic."

Odd, out of that whole Almasy spiel, just which words stung. "You think yourself brave--?" he began, but Seifer silenced him with a hot leather glove across his lips.

"Don’t," he warned, eyebrows lowering. "Don’t start. Hell, Leonhart, you always were an odd one." His lower lip softened a little in what might have been a pout, on a different face. It only served to make his smile look hungrier. In his steady hands, the gunblade shivered with slicing promise, so sharp the air whispered around it. "I thought maybe you’d object to being ‘cold’ and ‘mercenary’?" He brought himself scar-to-scar with Squall, daring him with his eyes. "’Heartless’?"

Squall didn’t blink. He’d certainly been called names before. His mind-- coherent as if nothing were unusual about being strung against a grate-metal torture device with an ex-lover breathing down his neck-- volunteered just such an instance.

Loud-mouthed Zell, shouting across the cafeteria for Iceberg Leonhart. And how everyone heard-- so obvious in the stiffening faces, trying not to laugh-- and pretended not to. He remembered how furious and grateful he had been, that it hadn’t been some more humiliating term of endearment. But even more so he remembered the honest victory in Zell’s skybright eyes, pale eyebrows lifted, elbowing him unsubtly in the side. "Nee?" Wink. They all knew anyway. "Yeah, baby, told you so."


Oh, fuck.

Too well Seifer read his face, the thinnest crease between his brows. "Now you’re wondering about that rather underwhelming team of yours." He traced one elegant gloved finger over Squall’s scar, lingering between his eyes. Under that touch, Squall merely wanted to dissolve, to scatter shame and desire all at once to the crosswinds and not have to feel any longer.

"I have all of your friends," he drawled the word, "Yes. But as for this--?" He took in the room with a mere flick of his eyes. "Just for you, Leonhart. Especially you." He kissed the flat of the gunblade, kissed the thin blossoming cut he’d painted on Squall’s throat. "None of them are what you are to me."

In Squall’s heart, a rage of helpless mad desire beat wildly against fragile hope, and he didn’t feel much reassured.

Seifer was planting tiny kisses like flowerseeds up Squall's neck, smiling as the flesh shivered beneath him. He watched Squall's face a moment longer before speaking, as if something had just occurred to him. "Well... yet," he considered, his lips at the corner of Squall's mouth. "Don’t you think the hyperactive little blonde one might look nice, tied--"

"No." It was out before Squall could help it, the pressure against his chest now more than just the strain of having his arms spread and bound. "Seifer, don’t."

Seifer laughed again, a throaty purr into his neck that set Squall’s skin to trembling. "Oh?" His voice was dark to match his laughter. "How would you know he wouldn’t enjoy it, Leonhart?" He moved closer in little half-feints and steps, as if he were teasing an opponent. "You enjoy it." One muscled leg slid between Squall’s tense thighs, seeking proof, pretending that he couldn’t read the desperate burn in Squall’s ice-grey eyes. "Yeah." One hand idly fingered the still-aching slash on Squall’s forehead. "Like this love-mark I left you with. You like the way I can touch you."

Squall was silent, feeling alone with the thunder in his blood. What to say? Seifer was right, about that at least-- and he knew it.

Seifer’s touch stilled. "You seem surprised, Leonhart. That I can be... gentle? Hm. Such a pity, really, that someone so fine as you will only know this sort of gentleness." And the thigh pressed between his legs became a seeking hand, too knowing in its greediness.

Trying to ignore the budding heat within him, not responding to any semblance of reason, Squall bit his lip. Someone else had been-- gentle. And curious and overeager and thoroughly different from the man facing him now. Squall flinched away, sword biting further into his skin, because he wanted to deny Seifer’s words but could not, because he would not mention Zell. "Not everyone is like you--"

Seifer started, mouth a warning pressure against Squall’s temple, hand stiffening dangerously. He stepped back too quickly, his eyes furious. "You are, Leonhart." Tugging at his vest to straighten it, he turned away. There was a rage on his face that Squall had never seen.

Blinking at Seifer's inscrutable profile, Squall tried to follow this unstable train of thought across the muddied landscape of his mind.

"You’ll pass on what I taught you, won’t you." Seifer’s voice was so startling that Squall leaned into the gunblade, just to better discern his expression. "You'll force your next lover the way--" his eyes glittered, beautiful like Shiva was beautiful, deadly and lovely and cold-- "you forced me."

Squall’s mind whirled, but no sound happened when he opened his mouth.

Seifer looked almost regretful. "I guess I taught you too well, brat." He looked down, considering the length of the weapon in his hands. Squall heard the too-familiar click of the hammer pulled back--

For a flicker of an instant, he imagined the swift fine death that his gunblade promised would be the most marvelous thing in the world--

At Seifer’s hands.

Counting heartbeats to measure out the unnerving quiet, Squall thought, or maybe hoped, that he was going to die, and so he set his eyes on Seifer's face. Determined that they wouldn’t find him with coward eyes shut.

Seifer lowered Squall’s gunblade gently to the floor.

And Squall felt more afraid, facing a Seifer with two free hands.

But the fear was laced with anger, and he clung to it, more desperately than he would have liked to admit. "Fuck you, Seifer," he whispered. "You know you liked it. You could have-- stopped me."

As if he weren’t interrupted, Seifer was still talking. "You think I don’t remember how it felt, at your mercy?" he said, almost sweetly. "Forehead pressed against the wall of your room-- cool wall, against an itchy scar," he explained, lifting a hand to his nose, as if that confirmed all of Squall’s offenses. "Violated." He rolled the word off his tongue, making love to the air with his voice.

Squall’s temper flared, raising defiant stormgrey eyes to his opponent. "You were always good at getting what you wanted, Almasy," he spat.

Lethal smile, as Seifer moved close again. He maneuvered the platform so that Squall’s boots hit the grating, careful of Squall’s ankles as he readjusted the setting of his bindings. "Yes." His fingers worked with agonizing slowness at the buckles at Squall’s hips. "Flatter yourself, Leonhart, to think I wanted you."

Squall’s eyes darkened, his jaw tightening. "Seifer--" And still his body responded to Seifer’s touch, remembering with intensity the agonizing hot tightness of a lover's surrender. Why the fuck should it matter?-- that was Seifer! He hadn't hurt him! Had he?

"You will thank me, prettyboy. I taught you everything you know--" Squall made an indignant noise but Seifer was not to be stopped, not now. The first belt dropped through the elevated platform, clattering all the way to the ground. "In the training yard." The second followed, and Squall could feel the chill air on his exposed hips. "On the battlefield." Seifer raised an eyebrow speculatively, bringing his still-clothed body nearer to Squall’s-- never quite touching-- that Squall could feel the captive heat of him, that hardness to answer his own. Seifer smirked. "And in that bed..."

Squall had to close his eyes. That lumpy dorm mattress-- our bed. Bared now, and speechless, he stilled completely beneath Seifer’s touch. Nothing left to lose.

Anger flashed like dry lightning in Seifer’s eyes. "Well, Leonhart? One last time?" Though his voice was rough, the leather caress of his hands was almost tender, as if he thought to memorize the ridges of Squall’s chest, the fine muscled lines of his hips. "Or do you want me to..." He licked his lips. "Vent my frustrations elsewhere?"

Squall’s mind raced but he could not stiffen, he had no feeling left in half his body. Getting no reaction, Seifer growled, hands no longer gentle. "Maybe I want fresh spoils--"

"Seifer!" His hips bucked and he did not bite his tongue against the exclamation.

"Ah." Satisfaction seeped across Seifer’s features, and he moved more slowly, as if he had to bother to seduce the captive before him. Squall could hear the soft rustle of pants unbuckled. "Yeah, Leonhart. You liked it like I gave it to you. And you learned so well... Not everyone would be so nice as I was."

No, no, Squall wanted to shout, anger muddled with fear and wild-edged longing. That is yours, where desire is so fucking dark, and gentleness means pain--

So fast, so quietly deadly, that Squall barely had time to swallow a gasp. Scenting his pulse like a bloodhound, homing on the aching raw center of him, Seifer moved in for his kill, hard and deep.

But if it was warfare, it was not like pillaging enemy territory, not any longer. It was the siege on the castle keep, the last to fall. Squall felt the world melting into pain and tried to close his eyes. Nothing Seifer hadn’t taken before, nothing--.

Everything. Between the press of their bodies, vest slick with sweat, Squall felt a hand, moving like a lover’s hand, to ease the screaming ache of his sex. Surprised, he glanced up--

"That’s right, I’ll make you look at me, Leonhart." Seifer was close to the edge already, buried to the hilt, his breathing rapid. But his gaze was clear, face inches from Squall’s. He kissed him, tasting thin and biting, like raw cinnamon and steel. "I’ll make you see who-- who does this-- to--"

Feeling the suddenness of the rush inside him, watching Seifer’s eyelashes flutter closed, was like déjà vu. No fair using magic in a fight-- no fair, coming so terribly sweet and hot and so far inside him--

Seifer’s hand didn’t still till he, too, had come.

"Enough." Squall gulped air, speaking what he thought Seifer wanted to hear. "I surrender."

And oddly enough, Squall he found himself thinking of Zell. Thinking of a sort of straightforwardness that did not mean injury, of a giving without stripping away-- of a surrender that didn’t mean-- this.

Seifer thought he understood, and brought his hand down to cradle Squall’s hipbone, keeping the bound and sated body into the radius of his own. "Finally. You finally want to do as I ask? Oh, Leonhart, such perfect irony--"

"Maybe I wanted to." He almost smiled, and it almost didn’t hurt. Confusion flickered in Seifer’s eyes, his face unguarded. Squall went on, "But you see, I’m a cold heartless--" and though he wanted to say ‘mercenary,’ what his mouth produced was-- "iceberg."

The laugh fell awkwardly from his lips. He met Seifer’s eyes recklessly, offering a challenge of his own. He had lost, and he was left defenseless. But he was still alive. He whispered, "You were right. Every battle you survive gets you one step closer to your dream," and meant it.

Seifer, who had won, had been disarmed.


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