By Scarlet Fever
I heard a soft knock on the door. I didn’t even bother to look up. I was laying on my back in Seifer’s room, staring at the ceiling. The lights were out and they had been for as long as I had been here, avoiding everyone, avoiding life. Seifer’s funeral had been today, and had killed me even further. For the past two days, I hadn’t spoken more that twenty or thirty words to anyone, just spending my time alone, usually in Seifer’s room, laying in the bed that I had shared with him countless times, the bed that he had whispered my name in as we made love. Now, it just felt empty, empty like my heart, my soul.
"Squall?" I heard someone softy say.
My eyes slowly looked over. My father was standing in the doorway, a concerned look on his face. His eyes were sad. I would have said that they never resembled mine more than they did at that moment, but at least his carried emotions. Seifer had taken all mine to the grave with him.
"Squall?" Laguna asked again. "So, this is where you’ve been."
I made a slight grunting noise in response, sitting up as the slowly perched himself on the edge of the mattress.
"Squall, do you really think Seifer would have approved of you doing this to yourself?"
I sighed. "I’m allowed to mourn." I closed my eyes, thinking of the way Seifer had looked, laying so still in his coffin. I pressed my fingertips to my lips, remembering the way he tasted: cold, like death. He had been wearing the same high-necked black coat that I had dreamed about months and months ago, with the small dragon buttons. I had to admit that I was actually a little disappointed when his cut hadn’t started to bubble, when he hadn’t reached for my throat, crushing my windpipe.
"Squall, do you want to talk…. About anything?" Laguna asked. The small wrinkles at the corners of his eyes deepened as he looked at me with sadness. He tucked a lock of salt and pepper hair behind his ear.
"What’s there to talk about?" I grumbled, running my palm along the bed sheet, wishing so badly that it was Seifer’s flesh.
"Don’t do this to yourself. You’re shutting yourself away. Do you really want to be void of all human emotions?"
"It’s easier this way…."
Laguna slowly stroked my hair. "Well, I know it hurts, but you had good times, too. You don’t want to forget those, do you?"
I looked up at my father. He had a wistful look in his eyes.
"You’re thinking about Mom, aren’t you?"
Laguna smiled. It was a genuine smile, not sad in the least. "Yes, I was."
"Doesn’t it hurt?" I asked, shakily.
"It does sometimes, but that’s only natural. Instead of dwelling on the pain, I just think of happier things. Your mother used to be so good with flowers. White Lilies were her favorite."
My eyes became watery as I thought of the handful of white lily that I had placed in Seifer’s ice cold hands, knowing that it would just wilt, die like everything in my life. I took in a shaky breath as I felt a tear slip down my face, landing silently on the sheets. Laguna sighed, collecting me in his arms. I gripped the front of my father’s shirt, trying desperately to hold it all in. I failed miserably, my tears coming out fast, wetting Laguna’s pale blue shirt. He stroked my hair, rocking me gently. I heard him whisper incoherent words of comfort in my ear, holding me tightly against his still muscular chest.
"Why did he leave me?" I whimpered into his shirt. "Why did he leave me?"
"He didn’t, Squall, he didn’t. He may be dead, but he’ll always be with you…"
I snorted angrily. "That’s a bunch of bullshit!" I pulled away from him, drying my eyes. "Seifer’s fucking DEAD, Dad."
Laguna frowned at me. "Maybe so, but he’ll never be really gone." He squeezed my shoulder.
"Why did this have to happen??!" I cried, more to myself than to Laguna. "It seems like…. I don’t know. It seems so planned."
Laguna cocked his head. "What do you mean?"
"I don’t know…" I answered wearily, placing my fingertips to my temple. I felt so tired.
"It’s been a trying day. You should probably get some rest." He ruffled my hair affectionately before bringing me into another embrace. I pressed my ear to his chest. It seemed weird to listen to a heartbeat besides Seifer’s. I choked back a sob, knowing that I would never hear Seifer’s heart again.
Laguna got up slowly. "If you need anything, you know that I’m here, or Zell, or Quistis…."
I became distant, thinking about Zell. He hadn’t moved from his spot at the funeral, not even to view the body. He seemed as detached as I did, numb, broken. His feelings for Seifer ran deeper than even Zell himself knew, and Seifer’s death had destroyed the tattooed blonde on a level that he couldn’t comprehend. I stared out the window, totally oblivious to time of day.
"Are you going to stay in here?" Laguna asked, heading for the door.
I nodded. At least this way, I could be surrounded by Seifer’s things, his clothes, the sheer memory of him. I had already decided that I would keep a lot of it, just to have it around me. I yawned, feeling empty, tired. I kicked off my shoes and socks, curling up in a fetal position. I closed my eyes, which felt heavy and sore, almost praying to a god I didn’t even believe in, to take me away, kill me. Even if there wasn’t an afterlife, even if I didn’t get to be with Seifer in a new realm, it would have been better to die than to live like this. The last thing on my mind before I fell asleep was the way the sheets smelled, how Seifer’s scent still clung to the dark fabric.
I curled up in a tighter ball as I heard Seifer’s gentle, throaty laugh echoing in my eardrums. I slowly opened one eye. Seifer was leaning against the wall, the back of his head resting against the window. His arms were folded against his broad chest in his usual arrogant, yet protective manner. He was wearing the same jacket that he had worn for his funeral.
"I thought I’d find you here."
I sat up slowly, looking at him strangely. "What are you doing here?"
Seifer frowned slightly, making him look beautiful. I looked at his face, noticing that something was different about him. He looked the same as he always had: utterly beautiful. But something was new. He had always been able to entrance me, but now, looking at him, something in me died just looking at him. It almost hurt, he was so lovely. His facial structure looked the same, but now it had an ageless quality, he now possessed a feral beauty that no living creature could ever possibly hope to attain. "I’m here to see you, La Mer," he answered. His voice was as clear and commanding as ever. It reverberated in my chest, rattling my bones.
I melted as he used my pet name. Any apprehension I had felt about seeing Seifer flew out the window. I blinked a few times, wondering if he was just an apparition. He slowly walked towards me. "Why are you in here?"
"It’s the only thing that gives me comfort…."
He sat beside me. I was expecting to feel his warmth against my arm, but he was cold, as cold as when I kissed his marble lips. "Comfort from what?"
"Loneliness." I looked at him, almost angrily. I turned to face him. "How could you do this to me?!"
Seifer just looked at me, his eyes looking blank. "Do what?"
I grumbled, angry. I clenched my fist, pounding him in the chest. "You broke your promise to me!!" I hit him harder. "You promised that you would never leave me!"
Seifer sighed, grasping my wrists in what seemed to be a gentle grip, but I could tell that if he applied some pressure, he could easily snap my wrists. I sighed, frustrated, pressing my cheek to his throat. He felt so cold. I ran my fingertips across his scar, which was beginning to disappear.
"I’m so sorry…" I whispered, hugging him against me as tightly as I could.
"It’s my fault."
Seifer ran his cold hands down my back. "What is?"
He laughed sadly. "Why do you think that, Squall?"
"I shouldn’t have let us split up. I was in charge. One stupid mistake, and you had to pay for it… I had to pay for it."
He kissed me gently. It was the same as the kiss that I had placed on his cold, pale lips at the funeral. "I don’t think that…." His words were soft as he rubbed his forehead against my neck, seeming to smell me. His grip on my wrists became stronger. I let out a small cry of pain as I felt bruises forming on the insides of my wrists.
That seemed to snap Seifer out of it. He released me, looking into my eyes. His gaze was now very distant, alien. The aqua colour of his eyes seemed false, strange. For a moment, I thought of Sephiroth, his mysterious, never ending eyes. Seifer blinked a few times, seeming to suppress something, some emotion or desire hidden beneath his skin. When he opened his eyes, they were the same as the always had been, clear, drowning, beautiful.
"Squall….." Seifer pulled me against him again. I sighed, crumpling into his chest. I felt his lips press to my neck, and felt him breathe in sharply, like he was smelling me again. I closed my eyes dreamily, letting him do as he pleased.
Seifer’s almost icy mouth continued to move across my throat, paying particular attention to the large jugular vein that ran under my skin. His tongue flicked out, tasting me. I shivered as he licked me. His tongue was cool, moist, electrifying. I furrowed my brow slightly as I felt his teeth against my skin. They seemed different than before, but I ignored it, losing myself in the feeling of being in Seifer’s arms again, having his arms around me, his mouth on my skin.
"Seifer…." I trailed off. "Please don’t leave me again……" I could barely find my voice as I felt Seifer press the front of his teeth against my neck. I felt like I was going to release right then and there. I couldn’t remember the last time I had been so aroused.
He responded to my plea by biting into my flesh. I gasped. His teeth were much sharper than I remembered, digging into the delicate flesh like razors. I felt all my muscles tighten as he began to suckle at the wound, using his tongue to work my skin, draw the blood into his mouth. I clung to his shoulders, lust washing through my veins, clouding my mind. All I really knew was that I felt whole again, having Seifer with me like this gave me my life back. And I had missed it. I couldn’t help but smile as I began to feel dizzy. Seifer’s tongue was not burning hot, its searing surface pressing against the wound, drawing out more blood.
"Seifer…." I moaned weakly as my vision began to go black.
He held me against his chest gently, lovingly. I balled my fists, gripping the heavy fabric of his coat, feeling pure euphoria, heightened ecstasy in his arms as he drank from me. When I closed my eyes again, I slipped into a soupy blackness.
I stretched my body, coming out of my slumber.
I moaned quietly in response as I heard my name.
"Squall?" The voice repeated.
I smiled dreamily, feeling Seifer’s arms around me, his lips on my throat. I rolled over, facing where the voice was coming from. I opened my eyes, sort of. I just lazily lifted my lids, my vision blurry from sleep. A lazy smile passed over my face as I was greeted with a blurry view of golden blonde hair and beautiful blue eyes.
I closed my eyes, my lids feeling heavy. I smiled wider, grabbing Seifer by the side of the neck, pulling his face down. I hastily captured his lips with mine, thrusting my tongue into his slack mouth. His mouth felt warmer than it had earlier, more alive. I felt him try to struggle away from my grip, away from my mouth, but I held him tightly, moving my tongue all across his mouth. He moaned, almost protesting, into my mouth.
"Seifer….." I whimpered as he pulled away. I opened my eyes, wondering why he was resisting me. The golden hair and sea coloured eyes came into focus, and that’s when I noticed the creeping tattoo, the gravity defying hair, the eyes that were closer to sky blue than aqua.
"Zell?" I sat up, looking around.
He looked at me sadly. "You were probably dreaming…."
I sighed, tracing my jugular with a shaky fingertip. I winced. It felt tender, sore. I looked up at Zell. "I’m sorry…."
He blushed slightly in embarrassment. "It’s alright….." He turned. "Your father’s going back to Esthar soon. I just figured you would want to wake up so you could say goodbye to him…." He made his way to the door.
"Zell, wait," I gently commanded.
He pivoted on the spot, raising his eyebrows. "Yes?"
"Can I ask you something? Honestly?"
Zell cocked his head, coming closer. "What?"
"How did you honestly feel about Seifer?" I asked. "And tell me the truth."
He sighed, slowly lowering his small, muscular body on to the bed. "Honestly? I don’t know."
I raised an eyebrow. "Don’t give me that. If you think I’m going to get mad…."
"It’s not that. I really don’t know…. I mean, I know that I loved him, but I’m not really sure in what kind of capacity that I loved him. As a friend, like a brother, like a lover….?" He seemed to be asking himself more than asking me.
"Did you want him as a lover?" My mind wandered, thinking to the saddened expression on his face on the ship to Trabia.
Zell shrugged his powerful shoulders. "Maybe… I’m not sure. I know that he was….. The first man I ever thought about in that way, and honestly, if he hadn’t been so head over heels in love with you, I probably would have gotten him in bed. But, he loved you, and only you….." Zell trailed off, trying to organize his thoughts. "Squall, don’t ever think that I wanted to come between you guys. I mean, I wasn’t in love with Seifer. I’m more in love with Selphie than I was with him. I guess everyone’s allowed to have an object of lust."
I tilted my head, remaining silent, not wanting to interrupt him.
"I know that you saw me on the ship deck. It wasn’t like I was spying on you. I just happened to come out, and there you guys were…."
"You looked so forlorn…."
"Yeah. I think that the biggest thing isn’t about wanting Seifer, it was about wanting companionship, wanting the same thing that Seifer had with you……" He sighed deeply. "Well, I guess it doesn’t matter anymore…." His voice sounded shaky.
I breathed out slowly, resting my head against his shoulder. "You’ll be okay…."
"What about you?" Zell asked, concerned.
I blinked a few times. "I don’t think I’ll ever be okay again, or at least, not the same as before."
Zell nodded, stroking the side of my face absently. "Are you going to come say goodbye to Laguna?"
I nodded wearily, thinking back to the happiness I had felt in Seifer’s arms, surprised that it was only a dream.
Zell softly kissed my forehead before standing. "Thanks, Squall. I actually feel a little better."
I tried to smile, but my heart wasn’t in it. I wished that I could make myself feel better, but how could I feel better or worse when I couldn’t seem to feel at all? The only thing that had peaked my emotions was the false feeling of touching Seifer, being touched by Seifer.
Zell opened the door, gasping as he came face to face with someone. I cocked my head, looking to see who it was.
"Squall, can I come in?" Rinoa asked, peering over Zell’s shoulder.
I nodded absently. "Will it take long? I want to have a shower before I have to see my dad off."
"No, no…" She trailed off as Zell left, closing the door behind him.
I looked at her. Rinoa seemed nervous. She kept fiddling with the hem of her lavender cashmere sweater. "Squall, I just wanted to say that I’m really sorry about Seifer….." She paused. "I didn’t know that you two were lovers."
"We didn’t want a lot of people to know."
She cocked her head, her raven hair cascading down one shoulder. "How long were you… together?"
"Just over eight months."
She smiled absently. "No wonder you were so happy."
I blinked, trying to stop an onslaught of happy memories. They hurt too much.
Rinoa’s dark eyes clouded over. "Squall, you’re not going to go back in your shell, are you?"
I sighed heavily. "Rinoa…. Please. I’m not in the mood."
She nodded in response. "Okay, okay. I’m just worried about you, that’s all." A small smile appeared on her heart shaped mouth. "I’ll leave you to your shower." She slowly left.
I shook my head and went to the bathroom. Why did everyone think that I was reverting to the way I was? I was allowed to grieve, to mourn for the only person whom I could ever truly love. I removed my clothes, feeling slightly dirty. I hated sleeping in clothes. Actually, that had been the first time in a long time that I had slept in anything at all. Both Seifer and I had just usually slept in the nude. As I removed my clothes, I sharply took in my breath, my neck throbbing with pain. My mind was painted with the thoughts of Seifer drinking from me, his teeth buried within my vein, but shook it off as wishful thinking, a dream that felt all too real, all too wonderful. I looked down at my chest, at my Griever pendant, which hung, shining against my pale, narrow chest. That’s why my neck must have hurt. My pendant must have been digging into my neck, one of its sharp edges imitating Seifer’s teeth.
I closed my eyes sadly, pressing my fingers to my forehead, weary. I just wanted to forget, because even though any memory I had of Seifer filled me with warmth, life, it hurt far too much. Each thought, each memory destroyed me, slowly killed me. I sighed heavily, letting all my emotions seep away. If I was void of them, it was easier to function.
I slowly made my way towards the front gate, where I was told Laguna was. I noticed that some of the students that I passed along the way were giving me either pitying looks, or strange ones, probably due to the fact that my gayness was out of the bag, so to speak. I just crossed my arms across my chest as I walked, not really giving a flying fuck what anyone else thought of me. I squinted my eyes when I stepped out into the warm sunlight. There was a cool breeze coming from the not too distant ocean, which caused the soft gray fabric of Seifer’s cross blazon trenchcoat to billow around me. That might have been another reason that people were staring at me. Seifer’s coat was too big for me, and the fact that it was so decidedly Seifer probably looked odd to people who hadn’t known about us. I could hear hushed voices as I approached. They were talking about me, because I heard my name uttered softly.
The conversation stopped as soon as I approached. I frowned, knowing that they were ‘concerned’ about me reverting into the same heartless bastard I had been before. I really hated when people talked about me behind my back, even if it was meant in a helpful way. At least, when Seifer and I had been fighting, he had had the guts to tell me exactly what he thought, right to my face. I closed my eyes, trying to forget the playful glint that Seifer’s eyes got when he had teased me.
Laguna raised his eyebrows as he saw me approaching. His eyes took in the coat, but he remained silent. I knew he would rather leave on a somewhat high note, and my father probably knew that a comment on what I was wearing would only piss me off. Zell’s shoulders just shrugged in a sad, silent sigh, Selphie cocked her head, and Quistis raised her eyebrows. I just locked my arms around myself tighter, liking the way the soft fabric rubbed against my bare arms.
"Squall…." Laguna trailed off, reaching out to gently stroke my face. "You know, if you feel like taking some time off, I’ll be more than happy to take you back to Esthar…."
I shook my head. "No. It’s fine. Besides, this is where my work is….."
Laguna ruffled my hair. "Are you sure?"
I nodded stiffly, titling my head slightly, the morning sunlight hurting my eyes. The collar of Seifer’s coat brushed my cheek, almost stinging me. I continued to hold my arms around myself as Laguna pulled my body towards his, warmly hugging me. Even though my father’s body was warm, I felt cold. He pulled away as a honk from his driver signaled that they had to go. He gave me one last sad look, waving to Zell and the others before getting in the car. I just watched as the luxurious black car drove away. I didn’t know what kind it was, I wasn’t really a car person. I realized that I neither felt happy nor sad. I didn’t really feel anything.
I turned, heading back towards the Garden. I suddenly wanted to find the Headmaster. I really felt like throwing myself into missions, losing myself in everyone else’s problems so I wouldn’t have to think about my own. I felt a slight tug on my arm as I walked. I turned, my vacant eyes meeting Selphie’s.
"Don’t start," I commanded. "I’m not in the mood for a lecture on how to feel."
"No, I wasn’t going to give you one. I wanted to talk to you…. About something." She motioned for me to walk over to a more secluded area with her.
"About what?" I asked, quietly.
"Seifer….." She trailed off, trying to find her words. "You’re probably going to think this is stupid…"
I gave her a slightly annoyed look, motioning for her to continue.
"I could have sworn that I saw him last night…."
I tilted my head. I blinked a few times, thinking of Seifer’s cold body next to mine.
"See, I told you it was dumb….." She looked down at the ground, dragging the tip of her boot in the dirt. "It was probably a dream, but it felt so real…." Her eyes got misty.
"I know. I thought about him, too."
She met my eyes. Hers looked watery as she tried to hold in her tears. "He was wearing the same thing he was buried in….. And there was something different about him. He looked the same, but I couldn’t really place my finger on it…."
I sighed. "They were only dreams." I turned, walking into the Garden. For a moment, I forgot what I had planned to do, but then remembered that I wanted to talk to Cid. I shook my head, trying to stop thinking about my highly realistic dream. I almost was angry with Selphie for bringing it up.
"Fuck…." I whispered to myself, massaging the back of my neck with my palm, wincing as my fingers brushed the tender spot on my neck. I sighed heavily. I was hoping that this sore spot would disappear soon, because it was a constant reminder of the dream that I had so wished was true, a constant reminder of the pure joy I felt in Seifer’s arms.
Stop thinking about it…. I mentally chastised myself. I began to walk to the elevator with purpose, my neck still throbbing dully.
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