Warning: This story contains yaoi/shounen-ai material. If you do not know what the terms 'yaoi' or 'shounen-ai' mean, then you probably have no business being here. If you are uncomfortable with boyxboy love, then you probably shouldn't be here. You have been warned. This story takes place after the game's end, so if you haven't finished it, you probably shouldn't read it as it does contain spoilers.
From the Beginning
Chapter Two - Unexpected Meeting
"...This is stupid."
"Nonsense. It's a great idea! You never go out anymore and it's a great way to loosen up, something you drastically need to do." Rinoa informed her boyfriend, clinging happily to his arm as they followed Selphie's lead towards the club she'd found while exploring the city earlier that day.
Laguna shook his head, clasping his son's shoulder and laughing easily. "C'mon Squall, lighten up. It'll be fun!"
Squall turned his attention from his smiling girlfriend to his overly-enthusiastic father. "Aren't you supposed to be running a country rather than playing around?"
"Ah, c'mon, I haven't been to a club in years..."
"One would usually call it months." Kiros corrected, grinning widely at the president's pouting expression. "Actually, not even months. You dragged me here with you about two weeks ago, remember?"
"Ah, Kiros... I work hard. Don't I deserve to go out once in a while?" Laguna retorted, practically skipping in his haste to reach the club.
"Do I have to answer that?"
"Shud up. You're not funny, Kiros."
"C'mon, guys! We're almost there! Hurry up! Hurry up! I wanna dance!" Selphie crowed, snagging Irvine's arm and dragging the beleagured cowboy along with her as she jogged towards the club's entrance.
"Selphie's right. C'mon, Squall!" Rinoa called, releasing her boyfriend's arm and hurrying after Selphie alone when it became obvious that Squall had no intention of running to reach a club that he didn't really want to go to in the first place.
"Don't you find that exhausting?" Quistis asked, stepping up next to Squall as Rinoa hurried away.
"Her. She's so... damn... energetic. I get tired just watching her." Zell added, falling into step with Squall and Quistis as Laguna snatched Kiros' arm and hurried ahead, disappearing through the club's entrance.
"Well, that's like the pot calling the kettle black." Quistis commented, rolling her eyes and smiling fondly at the blond man.
"Hey, now. I'm bad... but she's worse."
"...Whatever." Squall answered, feeling more at ease now that his father and girlfriend had finally realized he wasn't as happy about going out as they were.
"So what's the matter with you? You've been off in la-la land all day." Quistis murmured, catching Squall's arm and stopping him just outside the club's entrance.
"Nothing. I... I just didn't get much sleep last night."
"Me either, man. Irvine snores louder than a fucking T-Rexuar." Zell, complained, wincing at the memory.
"I somehow doubt Rinoa's SNORING was the cause of Squall's lack of sleep." Quistis teased, winking at the blushing brunette.
"It wasn't that. Rinoa and I... we haven't..."
"What?!" Quistis and Zell answered at once, starring at Squall in wide-eyed shock.
"You've been together for-e-ver!" Zell hollored, rolling his eyes heavenward. "You sleep in the same room every single damn night. Tell me you at LEAST share a bed."
"You're kidding, right? Tell me you're kidding. Please, please, please, tell me you're kidding." Zell pleaded, still shaking his head in disbelief.
"Squall doesn't know how to kid around about stuff like THAT."
"She wants to wait. I told her that was fine." Squall said finally, his cheeks still slightly reddened with embarressment. Fidgeting nervously, Squall drew a pack of cigarettes from his back pocket and shook one out.
"Ah, I should have known that was the problem." Quistis sighed, patting Squall's shoulder gently. "Well, things could be worse.... Are you still smoking those? Somehow I doubt Princess Rinoa approves."
"That's why I waited until she ran off into the club." Squall answered darkly, dropping to sit on a nearby bench.
"Heh. I knew there had to be a reason you were lagging behind beside the obvious." Zell exclaimed, plopping down on the bench beside Squall. "So, can I have one?"
"You don't smoke, Zell. I've seen you try. We've both seen you try. You look ridiculous." Quistis laughed, seating herself on the other side of Squall and pulling a small gold lighter from her purse which she used to light the cigarette now dangling from Squall's lip.
"She's right." Squall commented, taking a long drag from his cigarette before turning to look at Zell. "You almost threw up the last time I gave you one."
"You said you would never mention that again." Zell grumbled, pulling his knees up to his chest and wrapping his long arms around them. "Hey, Quisty? Have I told you how hot you look tonight?"
Quistis laughed softly, a light blush dusting her cheeks as she glanced down at the outfit she'd let Selphie pick out for her. A long black skirt over her tradmark ankle boots and a dark blue top which showed off an impressive amount of cleavage. "Thank you, Zell, but this is the last time I'll be letting Selphie dress me. I feel like I'm going to fall out of this blouse."
"I'm not complaining." Zell chuckled, reaching across Squall to give Quistis' cleavage a light smack, a dopey grin lighting up his face.
Squall laughed, dodging as Quistis promptly knocked the dopey grin off Zell's face, sending the blond man sprawling.
"Ow! Damn! Quistis, I'm sorry! Jeus!" Zell grumbled, rubbing his chin but wisely remaining seated on the pavement where he had landed.
Quistis smiled benignly, "I forgive you. So, Squall, you never did tell me why you didn't sleep last night. Did you have a dirty dream about Rinoa?"
"No. It was... that nightmare again."
Zell nodded, still rubbing his chin as he spoke. "The time compression nightmare?"
"Yeah. Only... I wasn't the one lost in it. If you laugh at me now, I swear I'll kill you both. I dreamt Seifer was the one lost in that stupid field..."
"Seifer? As in, Seifer Almasy?" Zell questioned, frowning.
"Don't be an idoit, Zell. How many other Seifers do we know?" Quistis commented, before turning her gaze back to Squall. "It's been a while since I've even heard you mention his name, Squall."
"I didn't see much point in talking about him before. He's gone. One way or the other."
"You miss him, don't you?" Quistis asked softly, her gaze intent.
Squall took the last drag off his cigarette before crushing it out beneath his boot. "I guess I do."
"Even with everything he did?" Zell added, his brow furrowing.
"Even with. He had his reasons for what he did, just like we had our reasons, I guess."
"Rats. We're caught. It's Selphie." Zell grumbled, standing up irritably and turning towards the hyper-brunette, who was bouncing up and down just outside the club's entrance. "We're comin'!"
Selphie bounded over to them, sticking her tongue out in Zell's direction as she arrived. "I know that trick! You say your coming, I go back in and tell Rinoa and then you take forever and I get in trouble. I've had that girl yell at me before and I am SO not going through THAT again. So, get up. Let's go."
Quistis squeezed Squall's hand gently as they stood, "We'll talk about this more later, okay?"
"Yeah." Squall remarked, giving Quistis a crooked smile as the pretty blond ushered Selphie and Zell towards the club's
entrance.Quistis and Zell had become his best friends during the last year. In truth, it was Quistis who had convinced him to leave the Garden, rather than Rinoa. In fact, if he were to be completely truthful with himself, Rinoa had had very little to do with convincing him to do much of anything during the last few months. But, it was probably best not to dwell on that and, with a reluctant sigh, Squall followed Zell and Quistis into the club.
The club was already in full swing when Squall entered. The music was pumping so loud that he could barely hear himself think and the colored lights made it impossible to focus on anything more than a few feet in front of him. A swarm of dancing couples crowded the club, forcing him to take refuge against a wall near the entrance. He'd never seen anything like it before. It was at once inticing and nausiating.
"First time to a club?" A sympathic voice asked and Squall turned to find Kiros standing at his side. He nodded in reposne, unable to form a coherent answer with the music pounding through his head as it was. Kiros gave him an understanding smile. "Thought so. Go boy yourself a strong drink. That should help you out a little."
"Where's the bar?" Squall managed, his head beginning to thump restlessly.
"Straight through the throbbing, pulsing mob. If you don't need a drink yet, you'll need a couple by the time you manage to find the bar."
"I see your point." Squall mumbled, launching himself into the mob with only a moment of hesitation. It took perhaps five minutes of getting felt up by complete strangers before Squall managed to make it through the crowd to the surprisingly empty bar.
"A double shot of the strongest alcohol you have back there!" Squall called to the bartender, who gave him the sympathatic nod he reserved for obvious club virgins and set down a tall shot glass filed with some unidentifiable blue liguid.
Alcohol was a fast worker as Squall soon found out, four glasses later, when the lights had become a little more bearable and the people a bit fuzzier. With a quick thank you to the bartender, Squall slipped back into the throng. Suddenly dancing wasn't so much of a challenge and Squall found himself dancing with complete strangers, not particularly caring enough to so much as glance at their faces. The music was fast and he found it was easy to move with the pulsing rhythm, matching his various partners' steps with ease.
One moment he was dancing with Quistis, the next with Zell. Then he was dancing with one stranger after another: A girl in a plaid mini-skirt, a boy in electric blue plastic pants, a girl in a black velvet jumper and, finally, a boy in leather pants who seemed as oblivious as he to anything but the rhythm of the music. It was only when Squall felt his latest partner's hand settle against his waist that he realized he'd been so in synch with his partner's moves that he hadn't even bothered to keep his eyes open. But it wasn't a bad thing, not at all actually. The hand was warm, almost comforting, and he allowed his partner to pull him closer. Yet when their bodies touched, Squall felt his partner tense, stilling suddenly.
Squall's eyes fluttered open, a question on his lips, but that question was lost as he looked up into his partner's face and he suddenly focused on something beyond the blur of blonde hair and glasses. Hidden beneath the sweat-soaked bangs that clung to his forehead and those clever glasses was a single jagged scar, virtually identical to the one Squall saw every time he looked in a
mirror.For a moment, Squall found himself gazing into blue eyes the color of ocean waves as the glasses slipped down his partner's nose. He saw the shock of recognition hidden in their depths. He couldn't hear the music anymore, all he could hear was the sound of the blond man's harsh breathing and his own heart beat. Time seemed to slow to a crawl as his partner lingered against him for a long moment, almost as if he were reluctant to move. Squall felt as if the gentle pressure of their bodies was burning itself into his skin, branding him with it's warmth. Then the moment was over and his partner was gone. Disappearing into the crowd from which he had appeared with such speed and precision that it was difficult to even follow his movements.
"Seifer..." Squall murmured, too stunned to even bother attempting to pursue his former rival. Instead, he merely starred after him as the crowd swallowed up any trace that he'd ever been there at all.
"Squall...? Hey, man, you okay?" Zell's voice reached him through the din and Squall turned slowly to set wide eyes on the shorter man.
"Yeah. I think so... I.... Did you see me dancing with someone just now?"
Zell laughed, clapping on Squall's shoulder. "I think you had too much to drink. Let's grab Quisty and get out of here."
"Yeah, that's... probably a good idea." Squall murmured, glancing over his shoulder one last time as he allowed Zell to lead him out of the throbbing mass of humanity.
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