By Sapfarah

"The most exciting part of the Adventure is the Tale that has never been told... "

Envy... it suffocated him as its sticky tendrils squeezed around his body, oozing venomous poison that drenched him and filled him with heaviness that weighted him on the rock he was sitting. He kept his feelings hidden very well from others but not from himself. Irvine politely stood up to escort Selphie safely back to their tent, after they were done admiring the heart warming colours of the sunset over the cliff. This was love. Although she had for a little fallen under Rinoa’s spell, Irvine was there when she woke up and now they could still share a sunset... Them, on the other hand could never share still moments together. Whenever they met, it was intense and nearly always violent, even though that wasn’t the only reason. It just couldn't be otherwise. They couldn't be together in peace. It was the reason everyone tried to separate them. It was the reason he never walked away from his challenges. Quistis would then admonish him, pointing out the wounds he got from those conflicts, reminding him how he could easily have avoided them. She was wrong.

There was only an orange and pink sunset in the distance before him and precious drops of pure golden leaving sun in the glittering ocean far in the horizon. Squall was pretty sure he was alone by himself. He sighed.

From somewhere lower along the cliff, he heard Selphie telling them they hadn't seen him... Love really made one blind. The rock on which he had been sitting was less than ten feet away from them when they stood before the cliff, daring themselves to go further ahead and laughed as they looked the sea, deceitfully calm licking the brink, when Irvine attempted to pass his arm around her and Selphie didn't pull herself from it. They stood a while in silence and looked at the lovely colors. He was looking at them and envied them. He breathed with difficulty from the depth of his lounges and wished for the feeling of Seifer's strong arms around his middle and his shoulder offering comfort to his head, making him again a helpless child, seeking protection.

«There comes a time... when you have to make a choice. It’s not always easy and it’s not always the best. But you have to follow it all the way, no matter the consequences, if only to be true to yourself... rather fail the world but not yourself... remember that.»

It had happened a long time ago but that was one of the things he would never forget, even if he used ten GFs concurrently, from day to night, until his last moment on earth. It was the day when Squall had for once been swifter and smarter and there was a permanent mark on Seifer's forehead to remind of that moment, a deep scar spanning his nose evenly among his blonde, haughty brows. The next year, that mark found its match on Squall's face and that was their single unquestioned similarity. Yet, it was what happened after that fight which scarred Squall for ever, even though there were no visible wheals to tell of it.

For Squall, Seifer was more than a rival. In truth, he never saw him as such. He could never deem to compete against him. To him, he was an idol. Barely one year older than him, he encompassed all that he wanted to become in strength and independence. Very much like Squall, he never settled to be considered less than prime, although to say they were similar would be wrong. They had the same objectives and ambitions but they were far from alike. Both were proud, although for Squall it was as means of defence and dignity whereas for Seifer it was arrogance and belief in his vastly accredited superiority. Squall chose to be left alone, Seifer chose to be selective in whom he would entitle friends and though he could sway the public, he chose to keep himself distant to the masses. Squall never smiled. Seifer did, but his smile was never true. It showed his belief on his excellence, it was a straight forward dare and derision. It put Squall in flames when he saw it, shamefully longing for it, shamefully fearing it and wanting to fear it, afraid to show he liked it. Seifer’s smirk was beautiful and offensive. So very him...

Their attraction was neither a case of the opposites, for that diverse they weren't. But their opposition was so strong, they had fused into one state. It couldn't be one without the other, even though together they couldn't exist. And yet they had been, in one night that left its memory for ever.

Squall remembered the anxiety he had during their fight. Facing Seifer never was simple. Seifer was only one year older than him, but that wasn't the reason of his superiority. His fighting skills touched perfection and to Squall, Seifer was perfection. Some fighters had either strength or grace - Seifer had it both. Seemingly without effort he swung his gunblade to perfect aim, relentlessly slicing past his enemy, mesmerising with each of his full of strength motions. Squall kept trying to reach that balance hoping to one day be strong enough to stand beyond him, yet every time Seifer was stronger, every time his strikes were confusingly perfect and well aimed, better than his. He was progressing too in his own way. He was growing stronger and faster, mastering the fighting patterns with ease. But still, he lacked Seifer’s naturalness and when comparing himself with him, he always found him no better than a plain soldier. Seifer was a perfect swordsman.

In his silent way, Squall feared and admired Seifer and he was pleased to see that he too regarded him as a potent rival. He knew it because each time he fought him as equal, showing that he was pushing him to the limit of his skills, but he never surpassed him yet. He enjoyed seeing him grit his teeth in effort, revelled to know he was an opponent considered but he knew he could never win...

And yet, there was one moment when Seifer was so full of himself he left himself open, even so little but enough for Squall to gain an advantage. For a short instant, Seifer showed fear and barely saved his nose by deflecting, but Squall's gunblade managed to carve a path on his skin. Seifer shouted in rage as a crimson tide poured on him and he squeezed his eyes to prevent the blood seeping in. Squall held back, dreading his own success and saw Seifer looking up at him in doubt and anger, which only one feeling could ever bring... Fear. He had succeeded to shake his rival, for the first time. His counterattacks were rushed and less deadly, frenzied but not threatening. The fight was discontinued to tend to the bleeding student but in Seifer's sparking eyes, Squall found his award that day.

He sat on his bed later that afternoon, staring at his desk where his books lay open, far less attractive than usual. He couldn’t bring himself to concentrate, even with the threat of exams nearing. He would do well, as ever.

He wasn’t basking in his glory, for he knew it was short lived. Seifer had been enraged by his blemished record and he was an fervent rival. He knew it would be soon that he would get even. He just didn’t know it would have been that soon.

The door of his room burst open without prior request. Squall never locked his door, very few students did anyway and those were being indicated and derisively whispered behind hands as they passed. Somehow, as a rule, the harder one tried to seclude oneself, the more attention was drawn upon the luckless being. Squall attracted lots of the unwanted attention, even though he didn’t lock his door. And for that once he wondered if he should have broken this principle. Seifer stormed into his room and glared over at him for an instant before slamming the door behind him. He had a bandage strapped from temple to cheek across his face and he looked especially weak with it on.

"Look at me..." he incited, sounding especially angered. Squall did so, even though he hadn’t needed encouragement. And he also started to shiver. His guts were warning him against something.

Seifer dragged his steps nearer.

"How am I going to walk out with this?" Seifer demanded, gesturing with all his fingers at it.

Squall looked up at him querulously. He passed for unsociable but in truth, he was a very reserved person, easily confused by others. Naturally reclusive, not wanting to open up in fear of trusting and losing the support he would grow accustomed to, as the past had so many times taught him, he chose to avoid expressing himself, rather than risking going through the same sorrow again. Like, when Elle was gone, the only one who didn’t think him weird and stuck around with him.

But Seifer, like most, couldn’t understand this. Unlike most however, he bombarded his defence walls persistently. Somehow the more he tried to intrude into his mind, the easier Squall found it to ignore him. However, he felt he couldn’t do it this time.

Seifer bent his face closer to his. Through his irate expression, signs of his sneer surfaced. He wasn’t as intimidating with the bandage however. Squall felt tempted to laugh at him.

“Playing cool, eh Lionheart?” he growled.

Squall considered standing up and pushing him back but he knew this would only result in a fight and he wasn’t particularly interested in a brawl.

“You’re not good at playing victim,” he stated, averting his grey blue eyes over to the window. He considered too much devotion of interest forcing Seifer out of his room, so he let him take a hint. Seifer however didn’t. And he didn’t spare energy to seize both his shoulders and shake him angrily, forcing him to look at his face.

Squall’s widened eyes met Seifer’s keen stare.

“Don’t you talk this way at me!” Seifer snarled. Only then Squall decided to struggle and free himself. He grabbed Seifer’s arms and fought against him.

Fighting off Seifer wasn’t easy however. Seifer’s construction was bigger than his, His strength was more. And his fighting had more spirit. One constrained is constrained at whatever one does.

Seifer grasped both of Squall’s wrists and removed them from his lapels, shaking him wildly again.

“Pride is washed with blood,” he spat at his face.

Squall stared back at him with frustration on his face as well. He had no idea what Seifer was talking about. If he intended to kill him, he must have planned to do it by strangulation, because he didn’t have his gunblade or any weapon with him. Somehow though, he couldn’t imagine Seifer dealing things with bare hands...

“What do you want?” he decided to ratify some breath in hope of finding out.

Instead of an answer, Seifer sneered an unwelcome promise and Squall wondered if he hid a knife in his pocket to scar him with. That smile only meant he intended to let him live with a marking too much to bare. An idea passed through his mind. A possibility he thought unlikely but suddenly it seemed too real to ignore...

Seifer chortled under his smiling lips. He pushed Squall's body in his hands right on the bed and climbed on top of him, forcing him under his weight.

Squall struggled to release himself but failed.

"The hell are you doing?" he protested in racing anxiety.

“Something I should have done a long time ago,” Seifer grinned with a dangerous glower. Pushing his hands on Squall’s throat, he choked him and to keep all air from entering his lounges, he forced a kiss upon his lips.

Squall weakly struggled, not having expected that of all the things to happen. He pushed against Seifer but the kiss was to stay in his mouth and he was losing his consciousness from lack of breath. When Seifer stopped kissing him, he straddled him and started yanking his clothes of him, beginning with his jacket and shirt.

He couldn’t believe Seifer was intending to do That. Suddenly he wasn’t thinking and he only struggled to push away and once Seifer realised he couldn’t strip him if he continued like this, he bolted him under his weight again. Their eyes met intensely. Seifer was grinning.

“Squall, Squall...” he purred. “Why must you make it so hard?”

Squall felt his hands crawling under his waist, covering his hips, fondling him over the trousers. Seifer smiled at his silence and bent slowly over his lips. He touched them in a soft kiss, embracing him, persistent as ever.

Squall closed his eyes in resignation and didn’t resist when Seifer begun kissing him. His lips pushed themselves on his neck, all over his throat, painfully kissing his sensitive skin. He pulled his soft flesh in his mouth, pressing it with his hungry lips, making Squall groan harder each time. He plainly wanted to hurt him; and he did.

“If you had to humiliate me why must it be like this?” he cracked in a voice nearly tearful. He wanted so much to let go and cry. This was too much to handle. Seifer stopped. When Squall looked at him, he found him staring at his eyes.

“Is that what you believe?”

He was unpretending in the way he stared at him, which made him wonder for a while. But then, the smile returned, yet it wasn’t as malevolent as it usually was.

“If I wanted to ridicule you, I’d send Fujin and Raijin at you. You wouldn’t know where to stand...”

Squall stared Seifer as he sighed looking at him in something very keen to fondness...

“You’re not the one who’s being humbled right now...” he surprised him by saying. His hands went under his head and held his face engagedly. There was something that appealed to him on his face...

“Squall...” he softly said. “I’ve never begged.”

Squall didn’t speak but he understood what he was being told. He had been feeling intensely about Seifer. He knew there was mutuality at this. Indeed sometimes he thought so much of Seifer and he noticed it didn’t annoy him. He was rather enjoying thinking of him... Admiring him and begrudge his uncompromising attitude. It wasn’t just Seifer who tried to dominate Squall. In his way, Squall was hoping to break him in return. He wanted to spoil his ever phenomenally cheerful milieu which oppressed him so much... but he now knew it wasn’t just him who acted differently than what he longed for and that, even this secret emotion found its response to where it was aimed...

I haven’t even asked...” he heard Seifer sigh as he was kissing next to his ear and closed his eyes in absolute confidence. Seifer’s hand lay heavy along his body as he discovered his crotch and entwined his fingers around it, clutching him on and off. Squall pressed back a sigh and squeezed his eyes. But his hands slid over Seifer’s shoulders and embraced him. He turned his face hopefully and Seifer’s lips searching for his, met him eagerly.

Squall helped Seifer remove his clothes, while he was undressing him. He wasn’t sure why he was doing it. He didn’t want the stimulation but he needed an embrace. He needed to feel close to somebody, be special to someone. He never thought this one would have been Seifer but once he found him, he was glad.

The door wasn’t locked but no one would barge into the room in the middle of the day for no reason. He expected nobody. Seifer’s visit was a vast surprise, chances of a similar event were minimal. Squall embraced his rival and took him as his lover. He expected Seifer would be rough with him but he had been very cautious, keeping his rush, holding him closely in his fiery embrace, running his hands over his thighs in an expert way, hard to resist. It was his first time but not Seifer’s. He had heard of his many conquests and he became jealous of each and every one of them. But right as he kissed his lips, he belonged to him only as his body rocked responsively, heated from the lovely friction.

Sweat run on his skin and he circled his hand’s around Seifer’s neck in a grip of distress. He looked into his eyes and saw surprise there too. Neither was he believing they could come that close, be so intimate and match with each other so well... Agony mixed with excitement and ardour on his face.

They kissed and their hands moved over each other’s face. Squall’s fingers explored the bandage and that seemed to annoy Seifer. He broke off their kiss and yanked off the bandage, tossing it aside. Squall took a good look at the freshly sealing wound of reddish flesh and closed his eyes, shivering with delight, directing his tongue to it. He licked across the eroded path of the scald, taking the slightly salty, metallic taste of slick tissue. Seifer mewled then bit back his voice but accepted that kiss.

In this way the scar was resolved. The blemish he had received was paid and the whole event was mended. Their rivalry didn’t perish however. It was still there. Only now it had a different colour and another taste. It had to stay. They had to have something intense between them.

Squall became more distant afterwards, if that were possible. He didn’t neglect his schedule. But he avoided even looking at others, attracting that more, unwanted attention. Everyone knew he was hiding something besides the usual. No one knew what.

No one but Seifer.

That day, after what happened, Seifer had been polite but had talked little. Squall assumed he did it out of respect to his preference towards seclusion but then he wondered whether Seifer didn’t want to talk to him?

But Seifer tried to attract his attention, as ever. Only his challenges were less open. He would joust him if their paths crossed and would take the chance to grope him briefly. He would then look back at him with a sneer that puzzled him more than ever... In the classroom, he would no longer challenge him verbally but if he glanced towards him, he always found him staring at him. As always. Only now he would hitch his brows suggestively, in a totally indifferent face and then he would sneer, after he had engaged his puzzled look for long enough. In the cafeteria, he winked at him. But Fujin and Raijin never stared at him when that happened. So he hadn’t bragged about this... he hadn’t used it to boast...

It was their secret. And Squall wanted it to happen again.

Seifer visited him again in his dormitory. Muffling their voices as best as they could with hands and kissing, they made love, enjoying moments of hurried togetherness, where they didn’t have to fight and wouldn’t attract unnecessary attention by everyone observing they were in terms. Squall wasn’t completely pleased from the way he depended on those nights. But he felt Seifer sincerely enjoyed his company and what he offered to him. Besides, he now had a good reason not to lock his door.

And he was once again depending on someone. He had found a hideout, a shelter from the world no one knew of and once again, he let himself rely on it. And it had to end.

Secretly, Squall knew it wouldn’t last for ever, he didn’t nurture false hopes that it would. But it came to end in a way unexpected.

Seifer’s feelings didn’t change about him. But something got into his mind and he wouldn’t share it. Squall felt threatened by his new obsession. Some romantic dream he was talking about. He didn’t ask, he never interfered. But he was dying to know...

Seifer didn’t show annoyance that Squall would no longer go out of his way to embrace him when alone, so engrossed he was at this... He had found something that would need his skill, his endowment, a perfect cause to channel his efforts and receive the glory he craved for.

He was chosen to be the Witch’s knight...

And he was once again his ultimate rival.

How Fate had brought their positions this way, Squall fathomed. There was no possibility for them to exist together in peace. He was going to defeat the witch at all costs. Seifer was too intent to his own dream, he remembered. He had said he was willing to go to all lengths for it. It was an indirect way to say goodbye... but on one last duel they had, while fighting, the tip of his gunblade scarred Squall across the face. Above his nose, squarely between his eyes. Just like he had scarred him first.

Now they shared a sign... Their unity was firmed.

So similar, so close, so far apart...

Seifer left to join the Witch shortly afterwards, to accomplish his dream... and yet why didn’t he feel that he was happy with his choice? He had recently met his two closest friends, Fujin and Raijin and they expressed worry about him. Squall wanted to be by his side and help him, but if he was going to be the enemy, he had no alternative. However, he knew it wasn't just Fujin and Raijin who wanted the old Seifer back...

He couldn’t change things and he knew Seifer wouldn’t either. He was that kind of person. Too proud to admit that he was wrong and even so, too dignified to back off his decision. Squall would do the same. He had promised Rinoa to be her knight, even if the whole world went against her. He had to follow his own taken choice.

In this resolution he had come, few comfort he had found, because this would mean, fighting against Seifer to the end, but he also found a sort of support. Because he loved Rinoa. He loved her with every breath he took, because she had touched his body, or so he presumed. He couldn’t believe otherwise. She had loved him in a way he never could. Completely, utterly devoted, in tranquillity. Without having to hide it or be ashamed of it. Without pretending not to need him. Loved him even when he wasn’t the one she knew anymore, perhaps now more with her persistence to hate him. Therefore he loved her, so he wouldn’t have to hate her. Hate her for having what he could never gain.

All those controversies, he forced them to turn into succour, so he wouldn’t break. He supported them to fight against his real longing. He invented love to supply an emptiness residing within him, aimed to the one whom he hated for having what he could not. But even if he hid it from the others, he couldn’t fool himself. That what in fact he was thinking wasn’t exactly right. It wasn’t what he called it and unlike them, he couldn’t be honest and to avoid showing that, he stayed distant. They didn’t understand but he did. He knew what it was that crawled inside him and ate his spirit away. It had a name and he knew it. Envy...

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