Chapter Eight

By Scarlet Fever

Two days later, we were sitting in a hotel room in Deling City, discussing what we should do next. We meant Seifer, myself, Zell, Quistis, Tifa and Sephiroth. We were sitting around a large table, our attentions focused on Sephiroth. It was hard not to focus on the statuesque, steely haired man. He had a presence that was hard to ignore. His aqua eyes commanded attention. Our mission had seemed to be successful so far, but a resurgence of our target had caused us to change our plans. The point of this assignment was to stop a group of individuals who seemed to be preying on humans. Not much else was known about them, or at least, we weren’t being told. I had a feeling that Sephiroth, and even Tifa, knew more than they were letting on. I didn’t trust Sephiroth, and despite the fact that I liked Tifa, I didn’t really trust her, either.

The first day of our mission had been pretty straight forward. We had taken the first train to Deling City in order to stop the first wave of ‘creatures’ that had been hunting people down at night. At first, we had just assumed that we were getting in the middle of a gang war or something that didn’t really involve SeeD, but then again, people like Tifa and Sephiroth didn’t call in the elite military force of the world for piddly gang wars. After we had seen the bodies of the victims, we quickly lost our boredom concerning this mission. Each had been drained of most of their blood, their jugulars ripped out. Zell had first suggested that it was the work of Geezers from the nearby desert, and it had seemed that it was the most logical answer, but Seifer didn’t seem convinced, and the fact that there were too many victims for any Geezer to have done it kind of threw that theory out the window. The assaults also seemed to be happening only at night, and Geezers were traditionally not nocturnal creatures.

I now looked over at Seifer. He seemed preoccupied, thinking about something other than what Sephiroth was speaking to us about. I made a mental note to ask him about it when we were alone in our room. We had gotten a double, but the spare bed had not been touched.

"Excuse me, Sephiroth...." Seifer piped up. "I don’t mean to interrupt, but I really think that you’re keeping something from us."

Sephiroth sort of looked at my lover. It didn’t seem that the lithe man was used to being second guessed or contradicted. However, he seemed to take it, which made me frown. Our client had seemed to take quite the shining to Seifer, for some reason that was only known to him. I knew it was sexual, based solely on the fact that Sephiroth oozed sex. Seifer had brushed it off when I had mentioned it the night before, but I couldn’t help but doubt any of Sephiroth’s intentions.

"Why do you say that, Seifer?"

The tall blonde frowned. "Because you wouldn’t call in SeeD for Geezers, or whatever the hell you are trying to convince us did this...."

Tifa raised her eyebrows, obviously not used to people talking back to her companion. Her large brown eyes shifted over to me.

Sephiroth sighed. "Okay. We honestly don’t know who’s doing this."

"Who?" Quistis asked. "How are you sure that it’s a who and not a what?"

"We know. It’s people trying to cover up what they’re doing." He almost spat this out, resentment oozing from his fluid voice. Why was he so resentful?

Zell scoffed. "Why didn’t you just tell us that from the start?"

Sephiroth almost laughed. "Zell Dincht, your exuberance is enlightening."

"Don’t skirt the issue!" The tattooed man replied.

"Fine. It’s a secretive issue, if you will. We’re trying to keep this under wraps, and we had to be sure that you could be trusted."

"We’re SeeD, we’re professionals." Quistis frowned at Sephiroth’s obvious doubt of our integrity.

"I apologize, but this is a rather delicate matter...." He trailed off as there was a knock at the door. "Enter."

A slight, pale man came in. "They’re starting."

Sephiroth nodded, giving an ambiguous look to Tifa. She frowned. The strange aqua eyes traveled back to Seifer. My lover was Sephiroth’s favorite target, it seemed.

"Shall we go?" Tifa stood. She seemed nervous.

Zell gave me a confused look. I nodded. None of us seemed to know what was going on. I raised an eyebrow to Seifer, who shrugged. He still seemed preoccupied. We got into a waiting car, which seemed a bit lavish, considering what we were doing. It wasn’t exactly a limosine, but its shiny black paint and expensive ivory interior, which seemed like it had come off the cow only the night before, screamed out ‘luxury’. Quistis sat up front beside the driver, wanting to mentally track any routes that we were taking, trying to gain any upper hand that we could. Seifer sat with his back to the driver, myself and Zell flanking him. Tifa and Sephiroth sat across from us. I frowned. Everything about this mission felt off, wrong. Most of it was probably stemming from Sephiroth, but there was also an ambiguity that surrounded everything. Why did it all have to be so cloak and dagger? Why weren’t our clients be up front about our mission? My questioning train of thought was interrupted when Seifer’s thigh brushed against mine. I couldn’t help but blush. I then chastised myself for it. I had to stop blushing whenever I was around Seifer.......

I looked up, sensing that I was being watched. It was the same sort of feeling I had gotten the night of the SeeD ball, when Seifer and I had fucked, when I felt like I was being watched. My gaze met Sephiroth’s. His alien-like eyes were on me, watching me, watching my reaction to Seifer. There was a strange look in his eyes, and it freaked me out because the look in his eyes was even stranger than his eyes themselves. It was a mixture of amusement, arousal, disappointment, and.... Hunger?

"Can you please tell us why you asked for SeeD for this assignment?"

Sephiroth shrugged at Zell’s question. "Who better than an elite military force?" His gazed passed across the three of us, stopping on Seifer again. I was curious as to why he was so intrigued with Seifer. "Besides, this isn’t a matter for the police. They would just brush it off, and not open their eyes to anything beyond the tangible world. Honestly, if I’m correct, only fighters such as yourselves would be able to deal with our current enemy."

"You speak in riddles," Seifer said.

"Do I?" An amused smile played across Sephiroth’s pale lips.

Seifer just raised an eyebrow. He didn’t seem as amused as Sephiroth did.

"So, what sort of weapons should we use? Since you’ve kept us in the dark, we probably aren’t that well prepared...." I muttered.

"You’ll be fine." Tifa smiled, trying to be reassuring. She reached over, patting my knee in a friendly manner. As she did, I could feel Seifer tense up slightly beside me. It exhilarated me, Seifer’s jealousy. I liked him being jealous over me. It made me feel wanted. Tifa noticed, and pulled away, giving Seifer a somewhat frightened look. I shook my head. Things had become so confusing in such a short amount of time. I didn’t know what was going on, who our enemy was, where our clients intentions were, what they felt..... What they were. I almost thought that they weren’t.... Human.

We suddenly stopped. I looked out the window, but it didn’t do any good. The windows were completely dark. We were obviously out of the city. The driver got out and opened the door beside Sephiroth, who slowly, fluidly got out. Tifa followed directly behind. Zell eyed her ass before getting out as well.

"Seifer...." I trailed off. "What’s going on here?"

He sighed, offering me his hand so I could get out of the car. "I wish I knew, La Mer, I wish I knew."

I sighed, not really happy with his response. I looked around. We were parked on the edge of some dense woods. There wasn’t anything around, so I couldn’t gauge our location. I felt a chill in the air that was from more than just a cool breeze. I wrapped my arms around myself, hugging my black leather bomber jacket against my body. I wanted Seifer to wrap his arms around me, make this inhuman feeling all around me disappear. I shook that feeling away, not wanting lust to make me lose any professionalism I had.

Quistis shivered, obviously feeling the same unnatural chill that I was. "Something’s wrong."

"I feel it, too." Zell was slowly turning, looking around anxiously.

"Sephiroth...." There was an angry note in Seifer’s voice.

"Yes, Seifer?" Sephiroth almost said Seifer’s name with affection.

"What are you doing?"

"I don’t know what you mean." Sephiroth was dead serious. His attention was diverted in an instant. "I hear something."

Seifer blinked. "I hear it, too." He walked towards the trees, disappearing into the dark foliage.

"Seifer!" Zell cried, rushing after him. "Wait!"

I sighed, annoyed at the fact that both Seifer and Zell just kind of rushed in. I motioned to Quistis, to back me up. She nodded, pulling her whip out. I looked at Tifa and Sephiroth. "You two just stay here."

"No problem..." Sephiroth whispered. "La Mer."

I blinked, barely hearing him. It was disturbing that he knew Seifer’s pet name for me. He must have heard it when Seifer called me La Mer in the car. I slowly entered the woods, Quistis following closely behind me, watching for any unusual movement. "Seifer?" I called out, wanting to know where both he and Zell were.

"Yes?" His voice sounded close, but I couldn’t see him. It was too dark. "Where are you?"

I walked towards the smooth sound of his voice. I saw his pale skin standing out against the inky darkness of both his clothes and the surrounding environment.

"What the fuck is going on?" Zell whispered harshly. "I don’t really appreciate being led around by my nose...."

"Shut up, Zell..." Seifer whispered back, his eyes darting around. "There’s something here...." He stopped as there was motion to the left of us. It was too fast for any of us to make out what it was.

Seifer motioned for Zell and me to go to the other side of where the movement had been. We nodded, moving as quickly and as quietly as we could. I looked back to gauge our distance from Seifer and Quistis, but I couldn’t see them.

"What the fuck?" I exclaimed.

"What?" Zell put a hand on my shoulder. I could tell by his shaking fingers that he was getting scared.

"I can’t see them!"

I heard Zell breathe in deeply, nervously. He was about to say something, but fast motion caught both our attentions. It was a person. At least one person. There were suddenly three people around us, appearing too quickly for us to even respond. Zell instinctively got into a battle stance, quicker on his toes than I was. I unsheathed the Lionheart, but felt like lead, my motions too slow. I felt a hard blow is my cheek. It was like a fist, but too strong, too hard. I felt blood fill my mouth, but before I had time to react, another fist made heavy contact with my jaw. I heard Zell cry out, and a mass of limbs tangle with his. I growled angrily in the back of my throat, lashing out with my gunblade, cutting through the darkness. I heard an angry scream. For a moment, my heart constricted in fear, afraid that I had hit Zell, deathly frightened that I had killed him.

"Squall!!?" Zell cried. "Are you okay?"

I would have sighed in relief if I wasn’t still scared shitless. I felt a body fall at my feet, making a gurgling noise all the way down. There was warmth splattered across my cheeks and neck, which, without a doubt, was blood. I spit out my own blood, which had pooled in my mouth, between my gums and bottom lip. I felt the weight at my feet move, almost too quickly for my tastes. I brought the blade of the Lionheart down quickly, blindly, not really caring what I hit, just as long as I stopped whomever, whatever it was. I hit something hard, bone. There was an agonized scream ripped from the darkness below me. I only stopped slicing when I hit ground again. I couldn’t be sure, but I was almost positive that I had decapitated the mystery, which was now bleeding on the ground.

"Zell?" I turned to see if I could see him, see if he was alive, if he was alright. Before I could fully turn around, a flailing, angry body jumped on my back. I cried out as the Lionheart clattered away from my grip, landing on the forest floor meters away from me. I screamed angrily as a strong arm wound around my neck, choking me in an iron grip. I began to flail in fear and panic. I knew that it wasn’t the way that a SeeD should act in a tense situation, but panic was the only thing that I could feel. It screamed in my brain. For a moment, reason made my thought process clear. I got my bearings, and backed into a tree as hard as I could. I heard a sickening snapping sound, and felt the wind being knocked out of me. I stumbled, gagging desperately, trying to get my breath back. The figure on my back coughed something up on my back and shoulder. I looked into the dark, desperately trying to find my gunblade in the pitch black. A flash of metal caught my eye a few feet away.

I moaned in pain as I reached for it. I must have strained a muscle or bruised a rib. The body on my back was getting its bearings back, and beginning to struggle again. I reached as far as I humanly could, screaming as I felt something rip. My now shaking fingers curled around the Lionheart’s hilt. I grabbed it desperately, wanting more than anything to get out of this situation. As bad as it was, I had a feeling that it was only going to get worse. I used the tip of the blade to dig into my attacker’s shoulder. They, obviously a female, screamed, loosening her grip on me. I grunted rolling away from her hands, slicing out defensively. She got her bearings again and reached out for my legs, grabbing me around the ankles. I screamed out, desperate to stop her, desperate to save myself. I resolved myself, getting a good grip on the hilt of my gunblade. I reached back, throwing it towards her. I must have hit my mark, because she toppled over, not even screaming.

"Dammit!" I muttered, holding my ribcage. Pain was radiating throughout my entire abdomen. I breathed out, the air ragged through my parted lips. I then realized that I had forgotten about Zell. I slowly turned, my reaction time severely slowed due to my injury. I heard grunting and growling from both people. I could see Zell fighting against a man who was much larger than he was, in hand to hand combat. I tried to get up, to aid him in some way, but felt hot pain shoot through my entire body.

"Fuck..." I pressed my head into the earthy ground, feeling useless. Zell cried out, and I heard a snapping. It was sickening. I looked up quickly, cursing again as my quick movements caused me extreme discomfort. Zell was breathing heavily, standing almost victoriously over his fallen opponent. He stumbled, leaning against a tree, catching his breath.

He looked down at me. "Are you okay, Squall?"

"I’ll live." I winced in pain, suddenly aware that I didn’t know where Seifer was. I wondered if he and Quistis were having the same problems that we had.

"You sound like you’re in pain." Zell sounded concerned. He moved over quickly, kneeling beside me.


"I’m sure he’s fine." Zell placed a hand on my shoulder, comforting me.

I moaned. It even hurt to breathe. Zell gingerly wrapped a powerful arm around my waist, helping me to a kneeling position. I cried out, stifling it as soon as it escaped my lips. I didn’t want to give us away to any other enemies.

"What’s going on? Are you guys okay?"

We looked up as Quistis appeared out of the darkness. Her hair had fallen out, and was now a golden curtain behind her, shining against the night. She had a darkening bruise on her cheek, the purple radiating to her throat. Her black shirt was missing a sleeve and a couple of the lower buttons.

"Quistis!?" Zell cried, relief echoing through the trees. He noticed a large gash on her knee, which was oozing blood and a clear fluid. "Are you alright?"

"Nothing a Cura won’t fix. How’s Squall?"

I sighed, my vision blurring. "Don’t talk about me like I’m not here." I suddenly looked around. "Where’s Seifer?"

Quistis frowned deeply. "You mean he isn’t with you?"

"What?" Zell’s voice sounded calm, but his hand was squeezing my shoulder tightly.

"We got separated…." She trailed off. "What the hell is going on?"

I frowned deeply, thinking of Sephiroth’s blank eyes. I shook my head, using Zell’s compact body as leverage, to gain my bearings. I moaned in pain, taking my breath in noisily through my clenched teeth. I used trees to hold myself up. "We have to find him…." I gasped. I was more hurt than I had originally thought.

"Squall, you’re hurt. Just stay here…"

"No!" I growled, holding my ribs. "Seifer…."

As if answering me, I heard a low cry from somewhere in the forest. I knew without a doubt that it was Seifer. I whipped my head around, facing both Zell and Quistis. "Do you have any Cure spells?"

"All I have is a Cure. Look," Zell came towards me. "You should just stay here…"

I was about to protest, but I suddenly became very lightheaded. I had to lean against a tree to catch my breath, and to prevent passing out. I quickly became lucid again when I heard a lot of scuffling and sounds of a struggle. I then began running blindly through the branches, their hard surface whipping both my face and body as I ran. I didn’t know where I was finding the strength to do this, how I was staying conscious, but I knew I couldn’t stop. I began to think of what it would be like without Seifer, what life would be like alone…. Again. I felt a pain in my chest, which came from something other than my injury. It came from fear. I continued running, my breathing becoming labored. That’s when I realized that I had left my gunblade back with Zell and Quistis, that it was still sticking out of a dead body. But I didn’t really care. I just had to find Seifer, see that he was alright, that he didn’t fall to the same fate as our attackers. I stopped when I saw motion in front of me. I tensed my body, readying my injured frame in case somebody jumped me, but saw that it was Seifer and someone else. I would have jumped in and helped him, but knew I would just get in the way.

"Fuck…" I trailed off, my heart beating painfully fast. I coughed, spitting up a rather large amount of blood. I looked up quickly when I heard Seifer scream lowly, almost a growl. His opponent had him by the shoulder, their face buried in his throat. They toppled to the ground, a mass of limbs. I could see dark fluid splatter across Seifer’s pale flesh. He used his legs to kick the opponent away. He stood quickly. I was amazed that he could move so quickly. It almost was like an optical illusion. I tried to move forward to help him, but the pain in my ribs was debilitating. All I could do was lean against a tree, watching, feeling helpless. Seifer swung his gunblade in a clear arc, cutting through the attacker’s throat like it was butter. My eyes stopped on Seifer’s face. He looked like he was almost enjoying this. It was slightly reminiscent of the Ultimecia days.

"Shit," I whispered as my vision went blurry again. When my eyes focused, Seifer’s face was calm, standing over his victim, inspecting it. I saw him reach up to his throat, checking his wound. He flung some blood away, the crimson fluid making a splattering noise against a tree trunk. My vision went totally black as extreme agony shot throughout my body. I swayed, my body slamming against a tree trunk. I slowly sank to my knees, thrusting my hands out instinctively, preventing me from falling on my face. I heard footsteps approaching me, stopping beside me. I looked up as my vision began to come back. I could see Seifer sink down to his knees beside me. His face was blurry to me, but I could tell he was concerned. He stroked his thumb across a bruise on my face. I winced as he did.

"Are you okay, La Mer?"

I groaned, pitching forward. I didn’t know how much longer I would be able to stay conscious.

"Squall?!" Seifer caught me in his strong arms, holding me up.

"Fuck!" I screamed. My ribs hurt like hell.

"Jesus, we’ve got to get out of here…." Seifer gingerly wrapped his arms around me, pulling me into a standing position.

"Seifer! Squall!?" Zell cried from somewhere.

"Yeah!?" Seifer answered.

I heard footsteps, but felt too weak to look up. I rested my head on Seifer’s shoulder, feeling so weak. I felt the blood from his wound trickle into my hair and down the side of my face.

"What the fuck was that?!" Quistis exclaimed, coming out of the darkness. "Are you okay?"

"I’m fine. It’s just a flesh wound. We need to get Squall some help…" Seifer trailed off. I felt him kiss my temple. "Still conscious?"

I moaned in response, coughing up some more blood.

"Shit!" Zell cried. "What if we can’t find our way out?!"

"Calm down." Seifer’s voice sounded so soothing. I breathed deeply, trying to wake myself up. I gripped Seifer’s coat, using it to help with my balance. We walked slowly, mainly because I was so injured. Seifer whispered incoherent things into my ear, just soothing me with his voice. I heard Zell sigh in relief as we made it back to where Tifa and Sephiroth were supposed to be waiting for us.

"What happened?" I heard Tifa ask. She sounded worried.

"You’re injured." Sephiroth had directed that comment at all of us.

"Of course we’re injured!" Seifer spat. I could tell that he was really angry. "How dare you act all innocent, when you knew what we were up against!? How dare you fucking keep us in the dark?"

I looked up. Sephiroth seemed somewhat surprised, but also amused. He just looked at Seifer, willingly and easily meeting his eyes, aqua to aqua. I felt Seifer’s body tense beside me, and let out a soft, pained gasp as his grip got tighter. Sephiroth blinked a few times, a look passing across his face. The tall, steel haired man recoiled slightly, but regained his composure in an instant. I tried to look up so I could see Seifer’s face, but it hurt too much to move. I bit my lip as a few tears escaped, running down Seifer’s throat.

"Squall?" I heard Tifa ask.

"Do either of you have any Cure spells?" Seifer asked. He had loosened his grip again, and now stroked my back, comforting me.

"Bring him in the car," Tifa suggested quietly. She opened the door for Seifer, who ushered me in. I kept a firm grip on his jacket, practically pulling him on top of me. Sephiroth was still staring at Seifer, wonderment swimming in his irises. I closed my eyes, feeling almost feverish. I felt Tifa put a hand on my knee. The gesture itself was warm, but her hand was cold. I sighed as she cast a low-level cure on me. It felt good, having a bit of the pain wiped away. However, I had an uneasy feeling as Tifa tended to me. I had been cured by magic many, many times, but this time felt different, strange. I shook it off, thankful just to have some of my agony eased. I threw my head back, wearily, against the soft ivory interior, which was now streaking with crimson.

"Fuck…." Zell trailed off, rubbing the back of his head. "How do we know that there aren’t any more out there?" He gave Sephiroth a look.

"You do not need to look at me that way, Zell Dincht." Sephiroth looked at him sternly. "You have completed your mission successfully. We don’t have to worry about those certain individuals anymore…." He trailed off, becoming distant.

I sighed, a wave of pain washing over me. A lower cure spell wasn’t going to cut it, but at least I could move a little better. I looked over at Seifer, who was holding his neck, trying to stop the flow. He looked over at me, feeling my gaze on him. He smiled sadly at me.

"Are you okay?"

I sighed. "I just want to lay down……"

I heard Sephiroth make a small noise in the back of his throat. It was almost jealous. Our client had so many layers to him. When I thought I had gotten him pegged a little, he did something to throw me off again.

"Fuck…" I winced, holding my ribs, which were now throbbing again, as we made a short stop. Tifa looked out the window. "The sun should be up soon…."

Sephiroth blinked a few times. His composure remained cool. "Yes." His laser-like gaze shot over to Seifer again. Sephiroth’s eyes weren’t on my lover’s sensual face anymore, but were now focused on his neck, and the now slowing paths of blood that ran down his collarbone and under to collar of his black tank top. Seifer just glared at him, less than pleased with the lithe man right now.

I looked over at Zell. "You look like shit."

He frowned at me. "Really?"

I winced as I laughed. "Don’t get so defensive. We’re all covered in shit."

"Well, not literally, of course," Seifer muttered, dryly.

"That would have to be the worst mission ever…" Zell rolled his eyes, tracing a bruise on his cheek with his fingertips.

I scoffed, holding my side again. "And this isn’t?"

Sephiroth raised his eyebrows at us in an elegant manner. "I’m glad that you can now find amusement in this."

"You seem to find amusement in it, Sephiroth." Seifer’s voice sounded so dark, sensual. He hissed out the last word.

Sephiroth just stared. "You’re mocking me?"

"I am."

Zell raised his eyebrows at me. I felt the same, that Seifer sure did have a lot of balls to talk back to Seifer. It wasn’t like I was afraid, but I really felt uneasy around him. I sighed in relief as the car stopped in front of the Galbadia Hotel. The pain was starting to return to my abdomen, and I just wanted to lay down, to be with Seifer, to be away from Sephiroth. Both Zell and my lover helped me out of the car, which made me feel useless and embarrassed. I had to rest my body against Seifer’s, using him to hold myself up. It wasn’t like it was a bad situation, except for the blinding pain.

Tifa leaned out the window. "Squall, Seifer…….. I’m so sorry." She waved as the car disappeared down the road.

"Okay, let’s see how many people gawk at us…" Quistis began scanning the crowd.

"Well, we are covered in blood, you know…" Zell muttered, sauntering into the hotel lobby. A few people, including the desk clerk, stared, but then averted their eyes, almost afraid of us.

I breathed out heavily. "Seifer…." The pain was getting really bad.

"Okay, darling, okay," he whispered in my ear as we got in the elevator. Zell grabbed my other arm, noticing that my dead weight was becoming uncomfortable for only Seifer to carry.

"What the fuck is with all this secrecy?" Quistis asked angrily, hitting the wall of the elevator with a clenched fist. "I don’t really appreciate being led around in some sort of stupid game…"

"He paid us a lot of money…." Zell trailed off, trying to find the bright side of things.

We all just remained silent, trying to let it all sink in, trying to untangle the mess of information in our heads. When the elevator stopped, Seifer and Zell practically dragged me to our room. Once inside, I flopped on the bed, pain shooting up my spine.

"Are you sure you’re going to be okay?" Quistis asked, hovering in the doorway.

I waved my hand feebly. "I’ll be fine."

Zell stroked my hair before letting me go. He turned to Seifer. "So, what should we do about this assignment?"

"Go back to the Garden. It’s over."

"But…" Zell began to protest, but stopped when Seifer put a hand on his shoulder.

"It’s over…"

Zell sighed, not pleased with the taller man’s answer. "Ugh. Your neck looks pretty bad…."

Seifer reached up, touching it. I could see from my position on the bed that it was a jagged cut that looked inflamed. "I’ll live. I’m more worried about Squall…." He looked over at me, smiling sadly.

"Well, we’ll come get you in the morning…" Quistis waved, leaving.

Zell nodded. "If you need any help or anything, come get me…" He reached up, touching the wound on Seifer’s throat. My lover whimpered with pain. Zell then held Seifer tightly against his body, pressing his tattooed cheek to Seifer’s chest. Seifer just kind of stood there.

"I’m glad you’re okay…." Zell trailed off, his voice muffled in Seifer’s shirt.

My lover remained silent, his hands at his side. He looked like he didn’t know what to do. "… Thank you…. I guess…."

Zell kissed Seifer’s lips quickly. "I love you."

I looked up, gasping in surprise. "What?"

Seifer blinked a few times. "I love you, too."

I made a shocked noise. Zell pulled away from Seifer, shaking his head at me, a small smile on his lips. He reached out, grazing my cheek with his fingertips. "I love you, too." He turned around, leaving.

I looked at Seifer angrily. "Why did you tell him you love him?!"

"Because I do." He sat on the bed beside me. "He doesn’t mean it that way. Neither do I. I love Zell, but I’m in love with you…" He trailed off, helping me out of my jacket.

I thought about that for a moment. "I guess I feel the same way. I guess I do love Zell, but not the same way as I love you."

Seifer nodded, kneeling on the floor beside me, removing my shoes and socks. He then moved up, sitting beside me on the bed. I closed my eyes as he removed my belt, wincing in pain as he shifted my weight, pulling the studded leather belt away from my broken body. I couldn’t help but whimper, sounding like a small child or something. He began to undress me fully, which caused me both pain and arousal. I couldn’t believe that I was getting turned on by this, by Seifer undressing me, that I felt like I was dying, and I still wanted to mess around.

I closed my eyes again, my mind wandering. Despite the fact that I was in more physical pain than I had been in a long time, it was nothing compared to the emotional pain that I had endured in that forest, how much it emotionally hurt when I had thought that something had happened to Seifer. I still felt a pain in my chest, and compounded with my rib injury, I was surprised that I was even conscious. I began to think of what it would be like without Seifer, what it would feel like to know that he was gone, that I wouldn’t be able to lay beside him anymore, to feel his body next to mine, to talk to him, to hear him call me La Mer….. I felt a few tears pool in my eyes, threatening to escape.

"Put your arms up…" Seifer commanded gently. I did as I was asked, and he removed my bloodstained shirt as quickly as possible, in order to prevent any further discomfort. I felt a hot jolt of pain go up my spine, which caused my tears to fall down my cheeks. I heard Seifer sigh in concern as he got up. I would have sat up to see where he went, but my body prevented it. I didn’t care that I was sprawled naked on the bed, for I was glad to have my clothes off. They felt heavy against my sore, tender skin. I heard Seifer come back in, and I smiled. Even having him in the room was making me feel better.

I gasped as I felt something cool against my face. It was a moist face cloth. I opened my eyes slowly, quizzically. Seifer was gently wiping dried blood off my face and body. He noticed me looking at him, and he smiled sadly at me, inspecting the bruises on my face. I silently pleaded with him with my eyes, pleaded for more. I reached up, stroking the side of his face, moving my fingertips over his jagged, swollen would. He winced, biting his lip in pain, but continued to wipe away the now browning streaks of blood on my body.

"There," he whispered, pressing his lips to mine. "You look much better."

I said nothing, reaching my hand under his shirt, ripping it off. He sort of laughed in surprise, smiling broadly. I noticed that he had scratch marks across his collarbone and chest. I aimlessly reached for the same face cloth, wiping away the splatters of blood that stood up so dark against Seifer’s flesh. I only realized now how pale he was, how delicate. He smiled, but pain lines etched the corners of his eyes when I reached his throat. I tossed the cloth away, pulling his face down to mine, kissing along his forehead and cheekbones. I tilted his head, running my tongue along the swollen cut. He gasped, pressing his face to my shoulder. I used my hands to remove his pants, tossing them across the room.

"I want you…."

He looked at me, questioningly. "What?"

"I want you…." I repeated, trailing off. I wrapped my legs around his waist, using my feet to remove his boxers. I moaned loudly as his weight came on top of me, putting agonizing, delicious pressure on my ribs. I opened my mouth against his throat, sucking gently, massaging the bumpy, scabbed flesh with my tongue, and used one of my hands to trail down the front of his body, cupping his hardening genitals. Seifer sighed, stroking my body gently. I knew that he was afraid of hurting me, and this thought made me smile, because I actually wanted him to hurt me. I caressed him slowly, smiling against his wound as he sighed. I used my unoccupied hand to move past the small of his back. I gripped the back of his thigh, almost a little too roughly, and slung his thigh over my hips, so he was straddling me. He made a small, hitching gasp as my hardness poked against his scrotum. I continued to work his cock, while I began to make use of my other hand. I used one finger to gently massage his opening, thrusting it in. My actions caught Seifer off guard, and he let out a low gasp.


I looked up at him. "Yes?"

"Are you sure? You’re kind of hurt…."

I responded by inserting a second finger, somewhat roughly. He moaned, rocking his hips against me. I then removed my fingers, and stopped my caressed. I shifted his weight on me, then pushed myself in. He moaned loudly, throwing his head back. He moved his hips against me, almost violently, which sent nauseating shots of pain through me. The only thing that kept me from passing out was my desire for release, for complete sexual and emotional gratification. The pain in my ribs was adding bite to my pleasure, making it the most thrilling sexual experience I had ever had. When had I turned into such a masochist?

Seifer bent his body as he rocked his hips in a circular motion, pressing his lips to mine. I pulled my mouth away from his, moving it back to the large cut on his neck. His internal muscles clamped down on me, which caused me to make a high pitched moan. I tried to suppress it, but ended up biting into the cut, which caused blood to splatter against my teeth as I reopened the wound. Seifer cried out in pain, gripping my hips hard, bruising me. His thighs created a vice around my torso, which pulled at my already torn muscles. I screamed, low in my throat, the pain making my entire body hot.

"Oh, fuck…" Seifer trailed off, pausing any motion. "I’m hurting you…"

"I don’t care!" I cried, thrusting my hips up, burying myself in him. I choked back a sob. My sudden movements were really doing a number on my injury. Right now, all I knew was that I wanted release, and wanted it badly. I needed to, before I completely lost consciousness. Seifer must have sensed my urgency, because he quickened the pace, our fucking becoming painful, furious. Each thrust sent pain across my chest. I slowly opened my eyes, feeling tears fall out again. Seifer’s body was arched in what looked like a painful angle on my body, blood pouring down his chest from the now open wound on his neck. It was making a bright red trail down his chest, over his nipple. I reached my hand up, smearing the crimson fluid over the rest of his chest, coating my hand.

"La Mer…." Seifer trailed off. He arched his back further. His muscles coiled tightly around me, crushing me within his body. I licked my fingers, tasting his blood. When that wasn’t enough, I pulled his upper body down, suckling at his nipple, lapping up the blood that traveled into my mouth as I did. I used my tongue to pull on the metal hoops, ripping moans from Seifer’s throat.

I moaned as I felt all my muscles tighten. It was excruciating, agonizing. My entire body screamed for release, and all I could do was sigh as it came. I released within Seifer, relief washing over me. The orgasm lulled the pain away, leaving me content, weary. Seifer continued to thrust against me as my body came down from my dizzying high. I whimpered, the pain starting to come back in weak waves. I liked a little bit of pain in sex, but I was hoping that Seifer would be done soon, so I wouldn’t pass out on him, or in him…..

"Squall…" Seifer whispered, arching his back as far as it would go. Some blood dripped from his chest onto mine, which then became mingled with semen as Seifer released onto my belly. I sighed as it splattered around my navel and on my stomach, reaching up all the way to my nipples, mixing with the dark, dark red blood. I squeezed my eyes shut, waiting for a fresh wave of pain to pass. When it did, I sighed. My breath was still coming out ragged, and my heart was pounding, almost painfully. I smiled weakly as I felt Seifer’s lips press against my now sweaty cheek. I winced as his hand ran down my ribcage.

"I’m sorry, La Mer." He climbed off of me, getting up. He came out of the bathroom with some tissue and what looked like gauze. He used the tissue to wipe away the warm mixture of fluid from my stomach, and the gauze to cover his now weeping wound. He curled up beside me, kissing me again. "I hurt you, didn’t I?"

I sighed wearily, lazily. "Yeah, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing…"

He gingerly wrapped his arms around me. I cradled against his broad chest, feeling physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. I sighed as he threw the blanket over us. I pressed my cheek to his collarbone.

"I love you, Squall." Seifer sounded sad. "You know that, right?"

"Yeah. I love you, too." I could tell that he was thinking the same things that I was, thinking about how close we came to being killed, how fucked up this mission had become, how we still didn’t know what the hell was going on.

I sighed again, the pain numbing my whole body, and I pushed all thoughts out of my mind. I forgot about the mission, forgot about Sephiroth and his strange, alien eyes, forgot about everything, everyone, everything except Seifer…..

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