Dedicated to: Kitty's fic
Notes: This is the chapter that I lost. Restored, but not the way it was... *sigh*
Disclaimer: I don't own FF8, FF7 or any of the characters in this fic... except Mr. Spider. ^-^
Don't Make Him Cry
Chapter Ten - One Step Closer
"We'll rest here for the evening." Tseng stated abruptly.
Reno let out a little relieved sigh. The last place he wanted to was into those trees. He glanced at the sky, "Geez, I didn't realize how late it was." He commented, with a quirky smile.
"We've been walking all day." Elena whined, stamping her sore feet.
"Don't be such a baby Puss." Reno clucked his tongue disapprovingly, "How did you 'ever' become a Turk?"
"The same way you did. I just fucked the right people." Elena snapped.
"Ouch." Reno winced, "You had to fuck? Geez girl, I just did a few artfully executed blow-"
"C'mon Vegas, let's set up camp." Tseng interrupted loudly.
/He loves me.../ Squall closed his eyes, a shiver passing through his body, /All this time.. and I didn't notice./
/Why didn't I notice? It was so obvious. He never outright came and tried to... well, kiss me or anything but .. it was always there. In his eyes. In his actions.../
"Squall? Are you all right? You look... so pale."
"You knew. Didn't you?" He turned his eyes on her, and for once his roiling emotions were clear in his gaze.
"Knew? Knew what?" She asked, with a worried frown.
"His feelings..." He pulled his hand away from her grasp and got to his feet. With an angry growl he buried his hands deep into his hair.
"S-seifer's feelings.. but Squall... I thought you knew."
"You thought I... how could I know!?" He dropped his hands and paced to the window, "No one ever told me!"
He placed both his hands against the cool glass. "DAMMIT! Why wasn't I told?!"
"How? How couldn't you see? Why did you need to be told?" Rinoa responded fiercely, "He laid his heart on the ground before your feet, and what did you do? You didn't notice!"
He curled his hands into fists and banged them against the glass, hard. "HOW COULD I NOTICE?!!!"
Rinoa flinched, surprised by Squall's outburst, "Squall...?"
"I should have been told." He whispered, pressing his forehead against the glass. He gazed out, seeing only Seifer's eyes. Full of .. love.
"Tell me more about yourself."
Seifer stiffened and turned his gaze to Rufus, "What?"
"I'm just curious to know where you came from. How come you don't know who Sephiroth is? Why does the name Shinra mean nothing to you?"
Rufus blinked, and continued to look at Seifer with a little frown. "Huh?"
"That's where I'm from."
/They don't know Balamb./
//Because this isn't your planet.//
Seifer let out a little sigh, /I suspected as much./
"Oh." Rufus shrugged, "I've never.. heard of it."
"It's small." Seifer responded, looking at the fire they had built together, "I'm an orphan. I spent most of my childhood years in school, so I didn't have much contact with anything beyond the orphanage."
"Ah." Rufus nodded, "That's why you've never heard of Sephiroth. But what about Shinra? Mako was everywhere when Shinra ruled. You must have heard of them."
Seifer shrugged, "No. I didn't. We led an old-fashioned sort of life."
"When did your... parents die? Do you remember them?"
Seifer sighed, "When I was very young. I don't.. remember much about them. Mama ..." A small smile tilted his lips, "Mama used to smell of daffodils and spices. And Papa... I remember his voice."
"I don't remember my mother." Rufus admitted reluctantly, "But my father was... not a very demonstrative man."
"Your parents are dead?"
"Yes." Rufus nodded, "Well, my father is. I don't know about my mother. She left when I was a child."
"So you're an orphan also."
Rufus nodded again, "That's right."
"How old were you when your father died?" Seifer asked quietly.
"I was... seventeen." Rufus laid his hands in his lap, "You know what's horrible? I didn't cry when he died. Actually, I was happy he was dead. I really hated him."
"Better to have a father you hate, then no father at all."
"I suppose. I mean, I hated my father, but there were times I was glad he was around. It didn't happen often, but sometimes.. sometimes he was half decent to me."
"Better to focus on those times, then the times you hated him."
Rufus smiled, "You're right."
Irvine turned, automatically leaning against the railing. He had no idea the picture of grace he presented. "Hey there kiddo." He smiled easily, flicking his cigarette over the balcony.
"Irvine... I .." She paused, a faint flush pinking her cheeks.
He held out his hands, "C'mere kiddo."
She rushed forward, grabbing his hands and squeezing. "Just relax. Tell Uncle Irvy all your troubles." Irvine murmured, his voice silky smooth.
She giggled and moved forward to wrap her arms around his waist. She pressed her face to his shirt, "Uncle Irvy?"
"Only to you kid."
"I need to talk to you."
"I guessed that." Irvine responded, placing his hands on her hips and lowering his head so he could kiss the top of her head.
"Irvine... I.... I think I'm in love."
"Hey, that's great kid!"
"B-but, there's a bit of a p-problem." She continued, her cheeks so warm she was sure Irvine could feel the heat, even through his shirt.
"Oh? What could be the problem? Too shy to tell him?"
"No... she's in love with someone else..."
Irvine choked, then sputtered, then choked again. When he recovered from his shock he laughed, "Ah! I see. So you came down here to ask me to take him out?"
She was startled. She wasn't expecting him to accept it so easily. She smiled, laughing softly and hugging him closer. "Yes! Can you?"
"Sorry babe. No can do. With great power comes great responsibility." He quoted, his smile clear in his tone.
She shrugged, "Ah well... what should I do Irvine?"
"Tell her how you feel." Irvine responded immediately, "Even if she is in love with someone else she does have a right to know how you feel. And you'll feel better once you've told her and it's not secret."
"Sure." He paused a moment, then asked quietly, "Can I ask you who she is?"
She was quiet for a long time, "Quistis."
"Q!" Irvine gasped with a surprised laugh, "But.. but then who's she in love with?"
Selphie tilted her head back so she could meet his questioning gaze, "You."
"Tseng." Reno sighed, walking to Tseng side and watching as the man loaded his weapon, "Rude and Elena are busy communing with nature, Rufus and Seifer are busy courting and I'm left all alone with nothing to do."
"So." Tseng responded, clicking the gun closed and raising it. He took careful aim on a tree several feet away.
"Will you be my friend?" The plea was plaintive and full of mischief.
Tseng's eyes narrowed. He turned his head in Reno's direction just as the Turk leaned his face close. "You and I. Elena's idea isn't so bad I think." Reno murmured before capturing Tseng's lips with his own in a kiss that made his knees shake.
He expected to be pushed away, or shot, instead his kiss was returned with fevor. He moaned, a smile tilting his lips as Tseng's tongue pushed it's way into his mouth. He reached out and grabbed the edge of Tseng's pants.
Just as his eyes were closing, the sound of gunfire snapped him out of heaven and right into hell. He heard it first, then he felt it. A strange burning in his side. He pulled away from Tseng, feeling as if he were in a dream. Then he pressed his fingers against his side. Something wet and warm touched them. He pulled his hand away and raised it. Blood.
Reno smiled mirthlessly, his sense of the ironic outweighing his fear of death, "I knew it was too good to be true." He murmured before passing out from the sudden and fierce pain that gripped his body.
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