Chapter Eighteen - The Death of Two Lovers
"I need to get back," Seifer said after a glance to the clock. He’d been with Fujin and Raijin for some time now.
"No one’ll miss you, ya know?" Raijin frowned. He had regretted not having the whole gang together these last few years.
"I’m sure someone’ll miss me," Seifer snapped, standing and crossing his arms over his chest.
Fujin glared to Raijin, coming back to sit on the bed after getting a drink from the mini fridge "SQUALL."
"I‘m sure other people miss me," Seifer frowned, making his way to the door.
A smug, albeit innocent look was thrown his way "Kittens don’t count, ya know."
"Who asked you!...Wait...how do you know about the kitten?" he shook his head "Forget it, I’ll see you two later," he slammed the door but couldn’t help smiling to himself as he made his way down the hall. Things were going to change between Squall and he. It was late at night now. The streets were pitch black and Seifer could see his breath, crystalline before him. Hugging his trench coat closer he made his way to where the airship was docked. He wouldn’t have to hide things anymore. Perhaps, after others got over the initial shock, he would even be treated differently. Not that it mattered as long as he had Squall.
He was coming closer to the airship when a light came from the door. It faded quickly as whatever had opened it rushed towards him. Once the figure came close enough Seifer realized who it was "What’s up with you?" he asked as the young man grabbed his arm, attempting to pull him back towards the town "The hell are you doing?"
"You really don’t want to be in there," Zell said, doing his best to tred carefully around the bad news for now. He didn’t want Seifer to do anything rash "I mean there was just a funeral and...ah...it’s really a family thing."
Seifer didn’t buy that for a minute of course. He dug his heels into the ground, refusing to go any further "I’m sure half the ship is asleep by now. I’ll just go to bed," he started forward again but the door opened again, staying open to reveal Selphie’s silhouette "Zell hurry up!" he shouted, jumping from foot to foot with excitement "You’re missing the party!"
"Party?" Seifer echoed under his breath, a confused and somewhat annoyed look on his face "They’re having a party after a funeral?" had Squall told Rinoa what he had promised he would? "Is Squall even in there?"
"Yeah," Zell said slowly then looking up to Selphie "I’ll be back in a little while! Go on all right?" Selphie hesitated but bobbed her head once before the door shut again. The shorter man beside Seifer swallowed. He knew that the other wasn’t going anywhere until he had an explanation but an explanation would only cause him to charge in there like an idiot "Why don’t you stay with Fujin and Rajin for the night?"
"I want to see Squall," Seifer countered quickly, giving Zell a warning look before walking towards the airship once more.
"They’re getting married!" his voice was rushed. Seifer paused to decipher the words and it took even longer for them to completely register. He was frozen for a solid minute before he faced Zell again.
"No," he shook his head, a nervous smile on his face "Squall was going to tell Rinoa about us. He wouldn’t have asked her to marry him," though he had of course had his reservations about this before Squall wouldn’t be so cruel as to go and do something like that. It didn’t make sense. He didn’t love Rinoa.
"He popped the question after the funeral," Zell allowed his eyes to stray away from Seifer’s "They’re engaged now....Seifer!..."
Seifer had taken off towards the airship. He wouldn’t believe a word of it until Squall told him himself. The door opened as he approached and he began to shout long before his eyes adjusted to the light "Squall! Where the hell are you!" the ship became deathly silent. There had been laughter before but now everyone looked up, surprised. Laguna was sitting with Kiros, Ward not far behind. Irvine was beside Petunia and Quistis with one arm draped over her boyfriend’s shoulders. Selphie was standing beside Rinoa who had been showing off her ring before Seifer had entered. Squall was nowhere to be found.
He didn’t pause long for his eyes adjusted enough to catch Rinoa and the ring on her finger. Marching forward he snatched the young woman’s wrist before she could react "That’s-" the ring was his. He had given that to Squall! Why did she have it now?
"Let go!" Rinoa shrieked, attempting to pull her arm free "You’re hurting me!"
Seifer didn’t release her but he did look to the side as Squall came into the room. He caught sight of the other from the corner of his eye and now that he looked at him directly he realized the shock on his face. Perhaps regret as well? He didn’t get a chance to look long as Rinoa struck him with her free hand. There was force behind that blow and it certainly brought Seifer back to his senses...somewhat...Remembering he still had hold of the girl’s wrist he released her. She wasn’t the one he was angry with "What the hell’s going on Squall!" he crossed the room, closing the distance between he and his lover.
Squall’s eyes were wide as he was slammed into the wall, Seifer’s arms pinning his shoulders against it "You’re marrying her? You don’t fucking love her!" The rest came as something of a blur. Squall never got a chance to answer as Seifer felt several hands pull him back. He struggled of course, pulling away "Let go of me! This is between me and Squall!" he growled and lashed out, feeling his fist connect with someone. He was slammed to the ground then. Gloved hands flattened themselves against the cold floor and pressed upwards. He did his best to stand but that proved useless as he was struck down. Within minutes he had stopped his struggling, curling up on the ground instinctively. He was too sore to struggle anymore. His nose and mouth were bleeding, his ears were ringing, and at the moment all he wanted to do was catch his breath.
There was the vague, muffled sound of people talking in the background. He wished Rinoa would stop screaming at him. He was in enough pain already.
“What’s the matter with him?” he recognized the voice as Irvine’s.
“You used to date him Rini didn’t ya?” Selphie now “It’s obvious he’s jealous right?”
Jealous? Ha! He’d had Rinoa and he hadn’t missed her once since they’d parted ways. He had been jealous when she became involved with Squall but that was a different matter all together.
“Not much of a man to go about that sort of thing this way.” He wished that Irvine would just stay the hell out of this. He didn’t know the first thing about what was going on. No one ever would.
“Is that it?” at least Rinoa had lowered her voice “Squall, is that what’s going on?” Rinoa was piecing it all together in her mind. Of course! It was all so obvious now. Squall and Seifer had been together to battle it out over her “Squall?”
Seifer curled up tighter. Part of him didn’t want to listen to his response. Silence was all that filled the room however. Several metallic rings and nothing more for some time. Would Squall even answer? Just as Seifer began to relax a familiar voice spoke up “Mm hmm,” an unseen nod went with the voice. Seifer didn’t need to see the motion to know it was present.
“Fucking bastard,” he growled, spitting out blood and climbing to his knees. He wavered slightly and though there was some blood blocking his vision he did make out Irvine pulling back a punch. One hand rose to catch it though the force knocked him off balance “I’m trying to leave,” he managed after falling back against the Ragnorak’s wall. He saw the crowd around him step back after his words. Though he couldn’t make out any particular faces at this distance he was sure Squall wasn’t among them. He was certainly close by though. Seifer pushed up against the wall in his attempt to stand. Someone grabbed his shoulders, helping him to his feet. Recognizing the man as Zell he shoved him away once he was standing and braced against the wall.
“Zell!” Selphie grabbed her boyfriend’s arm, pulling him back.
Seifer managed a smirk as he moved slowly towards the door. He had always been feared or hated and now he was being treated like some wounded animal that shouldn’t be helped for fear it would turn. Of course he had already attacked hadn’t he? Seifer laughed mirthlessly, leaning against the doorframe as he waited for it to open completely “You can have the traitor Rinoa,” was all he said before moving out the door and vanishing back into the night.
He wanted to tell them to stop. This wasn’t Seifer’s fault. He wanted to tell Seifer to calm down. There was no chance of that. The entire room seemed to be closing in on him along with everyone in it. Laguna had pulled Seifer away with the aide of Rinoa and Irvine. In retaliation Seifer had struck out, hitting Laguna. Though Laguna remained calm everyone else certainly didn’t. Irvine and James made sure he stayed down as Rinoa ordered him to stop. He had ‘ruined’ the best night of her life, the least he could do was let them be now. Squall doubted Seifer heard a word of it and when the beaten man curled up and stilled he feared the worst.
James delievered one last kick for good measure but it was clear Seifer had had enough.
“Will all of you back off!” Quistis scolded , grabbing her boyfriend’s collar and pulling him back.
Selphie crept forward ever so slightly, looking him over “Is he alive?”
Squall held his breath at the question. Of course he was, right?
The cowboy nodded “Yeah, he’ll be fine, sore for a good while but fine.”
Squall came a few steps closer but that was as far as he dared go. The room soon buzzed with conversation, all of which he blocked out. He wanted to tell them all the truth before this was taken any further. His mouth opened as if he were going to speak but only his breath caught as he came to his senses in time to catch the current conversation.
“You used to date him Rini didn’t ya?” Selphie still wore a worried look upon her face “It’s obvious he’s jealous right?”
“Not much of a man to go about that sort of thing this way.”
“Is that it?” Rinoa looked to her fiancé “Squall, is that what’s going on?”
Hyne, no. Squall’s eyes were still wide, he was still pressed up against the wall, and his mouth was still open. He hadn’t even managed a breath for some time now. What was he to say? No, it wasn’t true. Seifer loved him. He was sure he could care less about Rinoa. But it he said yes...If he said yes there would be some explaining to do...If he explained that would be taking back his proposal. Though he had never meant to do such a thing in the first place it wasn’t appropriate to break that now. Not with his friends and father so happy “Squall?”
Squall lowered his eyes. You don’t love Seifer, you don’t. It would be a dissapointment to everyone if you did. It was lust, not love. You only stayed with him for pleasure, some hedonistic impulse. To error is human Seifer took advantage of you. No one need know that you were that weak once. There are more important matters at hand “Mm hmm,” he nodded.
His eyes widened again as he saw Seifer rise. He wasn’t in any shape to get far but he still had his instincts and caught the punch Irvine threw at him. Squall watched as his former lover slid down against the wall “I’m trying to leave.”
Squall watched him struggle from a distance as the others backed away towards him. Zell had been watching helplessly from the door until now. He was sure Squall would have intervened earlier and now he waited for the same man to help Seifer up. Zell could only stare at Squall in shock. Within moments the other had met his friend’s gaze but quickly looked way. The blonde only shook his head and moved forward himself. As gently as he could he helped Seifer to his feet, wincing as Seifer grimiced and leaned against the wall. It didn’t take long for some sort of recognition to come and for Zell to be shoved away. Zell didn’t dare aide him again, not that he could once Selphie took a hold of his arm. “You can have the traitor Rinoa.”
It felt as if his heart had stopped beating beneath his breast. He’d given up. It was really that easy wasn’t it? Squall pressed himself up against the wall again. Seifer had probably never loved him at all. Maybe he just wanted an occasional fuck, some respect, his name cleared. Maybe it was easier to believe that. Regardless Squall rushed back to the bedrooms. The kitten mewed as he entered but he didn’t notice. He threw himself down on the bed and buried his face in a pillow.
He was crying as Rinoa came quickly to sit beside him but she didn’t notice “He didn’t hurt you did he?”
“I’m fine...I just need to think...” came his muffled reply. He was shocked he could form words at all right now.
Rinoa nodded “All right,” she said slowly, sure something was wrong “I only love you, you know. I would never choose a jerk like Seifer over you,” when that didn’t seem to coax him up she merely kissed the back of his head “I’ll be along soon, all right?”
Hours came and passed, slowly everyone retired, and still Squall remained awake. Rinoa came to lie beside him, staying close and willing him to embrace her before she soon drifted off. Squall cried until he fell asleep. He had gone to bed while the night was young and finally been claimed by sleep when it had long since died. Sometime between then he decided that he hated Seifer Almasy.
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