For His Love

Chapter 19

By Pixie158

The day dawned bright with promise for some; the sun's invasive rays serving as punishment to those others who had passed the night in excess. Quistis stretched languidly, almost purring as she rolled to one side. She sighed with contentment when her gaze rested on him. It was still so hard to believe he was hers. Last night had seemed like a dream, something only her most secret yearnings could call up. But here he was, in her bed, resting his head on her pillow, smiling slightly in repose. Quistis had awakened several times during the night to touch him, to make sure he was still there.

After they'd made love, Seifer had bundled her into his coat and led her back to the car. He'd told her that he'd spent the night on the beach plenty of times in his life, and there was nothing quite like waking in the morning to find people staring down at you. And he hadn't wanted the chill in the sea air getting to Quistis. She hadn't been dressed to spend the night outside, and so he'd taken her back to Garden, well after curfew, and sneaked the two of them back into her room where he'd made love to her yet again. She sighed again remembering the events of the previous night and she tried to ignore the niggling doubts that plagued her. Does he really love me? Can I really be enough for him?

In her mind, Seifer Almasy was larger than life, unattainable even. To think he could belong to her was something Quistis never dared to hope for. Not even in her own private thoughts.

He stirred, stretched out his long legs, pulling the sheets down. His bare chest was revealed causing her breath to slow. He was so beautiful. Golden and muscled and impossibly male. If only he would open his eyes…

As if he could read her thoughts, he licked his lips once and his lashes lifted slowly. It was like watching the sun rise and her heart constricted in her chest. He caught her wistful expression and his lips quirked up in a little smile.

"Good morning beautiful." His voice was raspy with sleep, sending chills along the nerves in her spine.

"I was just thinking the same thing." She whispered shyly, never taking her eyes from him. He raised up on one elbow and leaned closer to her, reaching one hand out to tangle in her hair.

"I love it when you wear your hair like this. It's like silk. Golden silk. I want you to always wear your hair like this when we're alone."

She nodded, transfixed by his words.

"So does that mean we might be alone often?" He didn’t miss the uncertain tone.

"I'd planned on it." His words were delivered in a casual tone, but she understood his meaning.

"I love having you with me." She blushed slightly at her forwardness. He only smiled again and stroked her cheek.

"Then maybe I'll stay."

Selphie blinked her eyes rapidly, the sunlight like daggers in her eyes. She rolled onto her stomach and grunted. Aw man, it still hurts…She tried to rationalize her indulgence last night. Had it only been last night? Time crawls when you're miserable. And Irvine…he'd treated her very casually when he'd delivered her to her room. Like she'd thrown up all over him on purpose. Jeez. He'd acted like the whole thing was her fault! Well, she thought, rising slowly out of bed and clutching her stomach, I'll just have to set him straight today. And Seifer, he was pretty crabby too, come to think of it. The only one who'd been nice to her had been Quistis and she hadn't even bothered to stick around to help Selphie into bed last night. She and Seifer had taken off as soon as she and Irvine were out of the car. Real nice.

Selphie's thoughts froze as her stomach made an awful noise. Oh no! Not again!!

Zell awoke to the sound of pans clanging and his mother singing loudly in the kitchen. Italian Opera, her favorite. Too bad she had about as much singing ability as a caterwauling tomcat. He glanced over to see if Squall was enjoying the serenade and he frowned at the expanse of unoccupied bed beside him. He thought back to last night, trying to recall if Squall had joined him in bed. All he could really remember was the absolute agony of his churning stomach. Way to go, glutton. Squall must really be impressed now.

Zell buried his face in his hands and groaned. He was never eating again. Ever. Unless, of course, that smell wafting up the stairs was his mother's famous blueberry pancakes. He wasn't really hungry, not after last night. But he could eat. Thoughts of food aside, he pondered Squall's absence. He vaguely remembered Squall helping him out of his clothes and into his bed, but not much else. He must have fallen asleep immediately. Unconsciousness would have been very welcome in the state he was in last night. He just couldn't help himself. Everything had been so very tasty.

He shook his head, clearing his thoughts again. He wasn't sure what to think right now. He began to picture the different scenarios that could have played out between Squall and Ma after he'd fell asleep. Zell hadn't lied when he'd told Squall that his mother knew how he felt about Squall. She knew where Zell's heart lay, so he was sure she wouldn't have done anything to make Squall uncomfortable. But Squall was so jumpy sometimes. He was like a deer at times, sniffing the air for any kind of disturbance. If he felt threatened, he'd be off before you realized he'd even been there. But he was only like that with his personal life. In battle, he'd face down anyone, stand by whoever needed him. Zell's heart softened at the thought of him. He was so noble, so honorable. Zell closed his eyes, not wanting to consider the obvious. What if he'd left? He'd made his discomfort about staying in Ma's house known yesterday. He could very easily picture him offering a polite goodbye to Ma Dincht and heading back to Garden. No, he promised he wouldn't run anymore. He promised! Zell glanced around the room for a sign of him. His jacket, his shoes, anything. Zell didn't feel him in here. His essence wasn't present. Dammit.

"Zell!" His mother's voice drifted up the stairs to him. Well, actually, it was more like it tore up the steps and hammered on his door.

"Get you out of that bed and come down to breakfast!" No mistaking that one. It clearly wasn't an invitation. Zell grinned. He loved his mother, no matter how bossy she was. He got up and began to pull on his clothes, refusing to let his thoughts turn dark, refusing to imagine that Squall would have left him already.

He bounded down the stairs and rounded the corner, afraid to look at the table and not see Squall there.

"Mornin' Ma." He stood at the entrance of the kitchen and watched her bustling about at the sink.

"About time, I say. You and your lazy self! Sleeping the entire day away…" Her voice trailed off and Zell checked the clock.

"Ma, it's only 8 o'clock." He reminded her. She snorted at him and waved her hand in the air.

"Bah. That is no matter. You know what I meant." She turned to the oven, peering into it, dismissing Zell. He took the hint and slowly moved his gaze to the table. No Squall. His heart sank and it was all he could do not to howl his anguish for the whole village to hear.

"I suppose you are wondering what I have done with your young man." His mother stated lightly.

"Well," he began.

"He is in the sitting room, getting himself ready for breakfast, without being told, I might add."

Zell was heading into the sitting room before she even finished her sentence. Ma Dincht turned to glance at the empty doorway and smiled. Her son was in love.

He found him sitting on the sofa lacing his boots, his hair falling over his eyes. Zell was by his side in three long strides and Squall looked up in surprise. At the sight of Zell, he smiled.

"How're you feeling today?" He asked playfully. Zell moved in beside him and rested his hands on Squall's neck.

"I feel fine. Especially since I realized that you were still here." Zell's voice dropped to a whisper.

"I thought you'd gone."

Squall lifted his stormy eyes to Zell's and gazed at him questioningly.

"Why would I do that?" He asked.

Zell shrugged as he lowered his head to Squall's, pausing with his lips inches from Squall's.

"Don't ever leave me alone, Squall. Not even for the night." His voice was intense; all playfulness vanished as he tentatively touched his lips to Squall's. His eyelashes fluttered once before his eyelids closed softly. He lost himself in this kiss once more. It seemed he always would.

"Boys! Come in here and eat!" Her voice broke the spell and Squall pulled away reluctantly.

"You know we have to go home today." He reminded Zell regretfully. Zell sighed and stroked the back of Squall's neck slowly.

"I know, but I'm ready. I'm not afraid." He was resolved to the inevitable. Squall didn't respond.

"Squall?" Zell prompted and was rewarded with a smile.

"It's okay Zell. I'll be all right. I'm not afraid either. Not anymore." He smiled again and Zell felt his heart melt for about the zillionth time since he'd first laid eyes on Squall Lionheart, all those years ago.


Author's Notes: * Okay guys, I'm almost finished. One more chapter to go! Thanks for all the encouragement, it's been a big help. Sorry this has taken so long to update, and sorry again for the length, but I had to get going one way or another, right Nakiko?

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