Author's Note: Final Fantasy VIII does not belong to me. It, its characters, its items, its spells, and all other aspects of it is Square’s property. Please don’t sue me, big companies, cause I have nothing for you to get. This fic does contain some yaoi. Comments and Critique are welcome. Flames are not asked for, but I’d take them anyways, just so I know SOMEONE read my fic.

Frozen Lion Heart

By Malachite

Squall Leonhart bolted upright in his bed, his blue-gray eyes wide with fright. Breathing in pants, he closed his eyes and tried to relax, his bare chest slick with sweat. “ was only a nightmare...just a bad dream...” A shudder swept through his body as he remembered a slight bit of the feelings of that horrid experience...

There was pain, great pain. He was bleeding, his body torn. And there was the brutal cold, an unexplainable freezing of his whole being.

The next day, Squall made his way to Quistis’ class, yawning tiredly. He knew he looked a wreck. His hair was mussed even more than usual and dark bags hung beneath his eyes. Last night had truly sapped him, and all he wanted to do was get back into his warm bed and go back to sleep. But he couldn’t, not when today was...

“Field Exam!” Zell bounded past Squall, doing a flip into the classroom, Squall walking in normally after the hyper young

man.Quistis smiled at the two and opened her mouth to start the instructions. “Today...” A loud crash interrupted her, the door banging open to reveal the edge of a silver trenchcoat.

Seifer smirked as he walked into the room, long coat swinging around his form. He sprawled into a chair behind Squall and closed his eyes, feigning sleep.

Quistis cleared her throat and started again. “Today is one of your field exams. The Garden staff has set up a special training site for the exam. It consists of the northern mountains, complete with blizzards and ice elemental monsters. Be VERY careful! There is a chance for avalanches and a high chance of freezing to death or pneumonia if you get stuck in the snow. If you don't wish to participate in the exam, you will be docked a full grade and have to take three extra written tests. Everyone participating, meet me at the front gate in exactly ten minutes.” With that, she marched out the room in a clack of high heels, students filing after her.Seifer, Squall, and Zell were the last to get out. As Squall stood up to follow Zell out the room, a black-gloved hand gripped his shoulder. Squall clenched his teeth as his body tensed.

“So, Leonhart, gonna skip out with the rest of the cowards? Bet you Chicken Wuss is hiding in him room, cryin’ like a baby...”

Squall ignored him and tried to shrug Seifer’s hand off. “...Whatever.”

The muscular blonde shoved the smaller young man forward roughly. “Watch yer back, Squall.”

A rather loud female voice screamed from the doorway. “SEIFER! COME! TALK!” Fujin tapped her foot impatiently, her shuriken drawn and her lone eye gazing coldly at Squall.

“Seifer, we need to talk about this exam, ya know.” Raijin motioned Seifer to hurry as he and the silver-haired girl rushed off, no doubt to cause trouble.

Squall glared at the retreating trench coat as he made his way to the front gate. ‘What’s with him anyways? Well, not my problem.’ He arrived there early, noticing that Zell was interestingly not present. ‘Maybe Seifer was right.’

Quistis made her way through the crowd of students, handing out small packs of supplies they’d use. Squall accepted his silently and looked inside. ‘Three Potions, a Phoenix Down, a Remedy, and some dried rations. Standard, I guess.’ He stowed his in the inner pocket of his jacket.

Seifer waltzed up a minute after Squall, his usual smirk plastered on his handsome face.

He received a glare from Quistis as she handed him his supplies. “Why thank you, Instructor!” He smiled falsely, causing the blonde woman to walk away from him in disgust.

The Instructors took count of who was present, mumbling names to themselves, stopping to call out for someone who wasn’t present. “Dincht? Zell Dincht, are you present?” Squall looked around the crowd of students, but couldn’t find the hyper blonde anywhere.

Seifer walked up behind Squall and whispered in the smaller boy’s ear, his breath uncomfortably hot. “Chicken Wuss was smart. He knew he’d fail. Why don’t you just stay too? You know you’re not gonna to pass this.”

Squall brushed Seifer away as Quistis motioned for the group to head out. “...Whatever.” Everyone piled into a large airship and sped off to the training site. They arrived in no time at all. Huge snow covered peaks rose up out of the ground, towering towards the sky in icy splendor. The students gazed at them in awe.

Quistis walked to the front and got everyone’s attention again. “The exam officially starts now. Most monsters you fight will be ice or water elemental, along with some earth ones. Remember that! Also, there are hidden Cure, Esuna, and Fire draw points all through the mountains. They are all carefully disguised, so it is rare you will find one. And one more thing! This whole area has a force field preventing Guardian Force summoning! All attacks must be made with weapons or hand-to-hand and magic. Also, if you have brought any spells here, they will not work due to the force field. Only spells from draw points at this mountain will function. In addition, the Draw command does not work here. Don’t even try it. That is all. Good luck.” Quistis stepped back and pointed to several mountain paths. “Ten students per path. Do not stray too far off the trail, it can be dangerous. The field exam starts now!” She clicked on a stopwatch and looked up expectantly. “Everyone must get to the top within four hours. That’s plenty of time. After that, we will send out search parties to find those stranded.”

Groups of students were making their way towards the paths. Everyone shivered as cold air washed off the huge cliffs, several students pulling their jackets closer around them. Squall noticed Seifer and his two pals on the right most path. He chose the left most one, carefully treading through the snow. After a couple minutes, he couldn’t see or hear any other people. Everywhere he looked there was just snow and rocks. And, of course, there were the monsters.

The first battle Squall engaged in was at the sign saying he had made it a quarter of the way to the top. He wasn’t feeling worn out yet, so he luckily still had all his healing items. Two glacial eyes popped out from behind the corner and immediately lunged towards him. Parrying their clumsy tackles was no problem with his gunblade, and he cut one of the two down in his first strike. With unnatural speed, the second swerved backwards and released a Blizzara spell at him. The large pillar of ice smashed into Squall hard, but he managed to keep standing up, jumping and slashing down hard at the glacial eye. It shrieked horribly then vanished. Squall collapsed on the snow, accidentally finding a hidden cure draw point. Panting heavily, he cast the single cure spell it held on himself. The fierce icy pain faded, but he wasn’t fully healed. ‘But I need to save my supplies. I can manage a little pain.’

Getting shakily to his feet and tugging his bomber jacket closer around his slender frame, the brunette made his way back up the path, his boots trudging through the icy slush. Strangely, he didn’t encounter any more battles as he made his way past the half way mark. ‘What is with this? I get into a high level fight and then don’t get any encounters afterwards. This is not good...’ The answer lay around the next corner. There, directly in the center of the path, lay the most giant glacial eye Squall had ever seen. But it wasn’t just huge, it was grossly misshapen, and its body was radiating an ethereal blue glow. Apparently it was a mutant or some sort of strange hybrid. Raising his gunblade, he charged forward with a brutal slash, a small explosion hitting the glacial eye squarely. The ugly mutant just shrugged it off and glowed with a green sparkling light, signifying a spell. Squall braced himself as huge shards of ice exploded around him, throwing him on to the ground and slashing through his clothes to bite into his skin. The monster kept recasting Blizzaga over and over, as the blood from Squall’s wounds trickled into the white snow. The brunette was beginning to feel lightheaded from the pain, and the brutal cold was freezing him through the shredded ribbons of what remained of his clothes. ‘So numb...I can’t even get a grip on my gunblade...If only I could use my Renzokuken...if only I had found a fire spell...’The ice shards suddenly stopped as the glacial eye was enveloped in a blazing tornado of flames, a Fira spell. Squall tried to lift his head up to see his savior, but he was too weak. All he saw through hazy pain-filled eyes was a silver trenchcoat. Too tired to stay conscious, he collapsed from the pain, the blood loss, and the cold.

Seifer Almasy snarled, his jade eyes blazing with the fire of hate. A golden aura erupted around him as he invoked his Fire Cross limit break: No Mercy. A small explosion of a fire spell flared over the blue mutant, as Seifer spun Hyperion in his hand. The spinning blade gathered beams of pale green energy, gathering more and more power in its deadly revolution. Hunching forward, he swung Hyperion in a wide arc, releasing the energy sphere as a ring of glowing green light. The glacial eye screeched inhumanely one time as the final explosion tore through it, before it finally fell silent. The blonde growled as its body vanished into nothingness.

He turned his attention to the fallen boy, his breath catching momentarily. Even with torn clothes and blood all around him, Squall was beautiful. ‘Hell, he looks even sexier than usual like that.’ He got to his knees and checked the boy for a pulse, finding it faint. “Damn Squall, you better not die on me here.” Wincing at the shattered remains of Squall’s supplies strewn about, he dug out his single Phoenix Down and last potion, carefully administering them to the unconscious brunette. The wounds stopped their bleeding, but they still showed and looked extremely painful.

Squall groaned, his stormy blue eyes fluttering open to look into Seifer’s concerned jade ones. “Wh...What? Seifer? What are YOU doing here?”

Seifer smirked, but there wasn’t any true cruelty in it. “I’m just savin’ yer ass, Leonhart.”

Squall blinked confusedly, frowning slightly. “...thought you hated me.”

The blonde’s smirk grew wider. “Hated you? Naw. Annoyed the heck outta you for fun? Yeah. But all that aside, we gotta get you outta this cold.” Bending down, he picked the surprised brunette in his muscular arms, lifting him easily. “I saw a cave just ahead. We’ll hole up there until the search parties come.”

“’ll fail the exam too. Why are you doing this for me?” ‘It’s nice being carried by him...What in the world am I thinking!?’

“Hmph. Just doin’ it so you don’t die on me. And to show you I’m not a total bastard.”

Squall cracked a rare smile. “Why Seifer, I didn’t know you cared!” His teeth were chattering and he was shivering as the cold mountain air seeped through the many tears in his jacket, shirt, and pants.

Seifer gave a short barking laugh, his chest rumbling pleasantly against Squall’s side. “Well, ya know now, Leonhart.” He frowned as Squall began to shiver more violently. “There’s the cave.” It was a hole in the side of the mountain path, the entrance half covered with snow. Seifer stepped in carefully, clutching Squall’s body close to his for warmth. The inside of the cave was a nice large room, and noticeably less chilly than outside. He carefully placed Squall on the ground and then backed up and crossed his arms. “Strip.”

The slender brunette’s eyes widened at the command. “WHAT!?”

“You heard me. Strip. Now. You’re gonna just get sick with those soaked clothes.” Seifer started to advance meaningfully. “Now, do it. Or I’ll help.”

Squall swallowed nervously. He was too weak to protest, so he stripped off his ruined jacket, followed by his shirt. Stripping off his boots, he unbuckled his many belts skillfully, tossed his gunblade down carefully, and then pulled off his torn pants. Clad in only his black boxers, he piled his clothing and weapon in a small heap in the center of the cave, shivering the whole time.

Seifer nodded and took off his beloved trenchcoat, handing it to Squall. The freezing boy accepted it graciously, wrapping himself in it. Blissful warmth spread through him, the coat giving him some of Seifer’s body heat. ‘It smells like him even...’

The muscular blonde placed Hyperion against the wall for easy retrieval. Walking slowly up to Squall, he stood in front of him, looking uncharacteristically thoughtful. His handsome face was impassive, unreadable.

“What is it? Do you want something?” Squall clutched the coat to his shivering body, wishing he didn’t seem so weak in front of his so-called rival right now.

Seifer smirked in reply. “Oh, I want somethin’. But I’ll wait for THAT. I was just wonderin’ how to warm you up more.” He was unbuttoning his vest for some strange reason.

‘What does that mean?’ “...Whatever.” Squall turned away, sighing softly to himself. He jumped as strong arms encircled him from behind, pulling him back against a firm muscular chest. Heat flowed through his body, and he almost moaned as the torturous cold began to leave his body. “Seifer? What do you think you’re doing?” ‘God, he smells good...’

“Keepin’ you warm of course.” He kept the smaller boy pressed against him, as he turned Squall around to face him. “Better?”

Squall resisted the urge to snuggle into the handsome blonde’s muscled chest and nodded, his head somehow getting tucked underneath Seifer’s chin now, his face against Seifer’s throat and his bare chest pressed against the golden-haired young man’s own chest. ‘I can feel his heartbeat...’

Seifer chuckled and absently ran his fingertips through Squall’s eternally messy chocolate hair. “Never figured you were one for snuggling with another guy...”

The brunette snorted softly. “I’m cold, you’re warm. I’m just doing what I have to so I don’t freeze to death.”

The larger man chuckled again, the vibrations passing through to Squall. “Come on Squall. Don’t play stupid with me.” He pulled his head back, meeting the smaller boy’s gaze squarely. “I’m not as dumb as take me as.” And with that, he pressed his lips to Squall’s in a brutally hard kiss, forcing his tongue into the brunette’s mouth.

Squall froze, his mind overloading with a million different thoughts. But the foremost was that Seifer’s warm tongue felt good, as did the heat emanating from the blonde. Seifer was now being almost gentle, seeming to be trying to softly memorize the taste of Squall’s mouth. The blonde finally pulled back, leaving Squall breathless and panting for air.

“Get the idea Leonhart?” Seifer was smirking more than ever at the shocked look on Squall’s flushed face.

“But...” Squall was silenced by another passionate kiss from Seifer. The heat from it rushed through his body again, seeming to melt away his cold demeanor. The blonde broke the kiss, but his face remained scant inches from Squall’s. “Seifer...You have me more confused than ever.”

“Oh really? Good. Gotta teach you that you don’t know everything, Leonhart.” Seifer softly stroked the smaller boy’s cheek, his tone oddly quiet and subdued.

The brunette smiled another rare smile, and leaned against Seifer’s body. “Mm...I can’t think straight. I think I have brain freeze, literally.”

Seifer held Squall close to him, chuckling and shaking his head. “Well, how about you and I have a nice little talk when we get back to the Garden?”

Squall looked up and winked. “Your room or mine?”

“Yours, definitely. You can barely get in to mine, the junk is piled so high.” The handsome man closed his eyes and sighed softly. “I just hope you don’t go back to your normal cold self when we leave here.” Squall shook his head, and Seifer continued. “And, I don’t want you chickening out if I try take things further.”

The brunette blinked, then snickered. “Whatever. I can take anything you dish out Seifer, and so much more.”

“We’ll see about that when we get back. You’re gonna have to prove yourself Leonhart.” Seifer amused himself with playing in Squall’s hair, his mind already plotting the many things he had in plan for the slender boy.

And so that was the end of the Frozen Lion Heart. Indeed, it seems to have melted. Melted almost as much as the ice cream on the Squall Sundae Seifer made the night they got back from the exam.

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