Disclaimer: I do not own anything related to the Final Fantasy series. They belong to Squaresoft.
Let Me Make It Alright
Chapter 38: Dressed for Success
By Angry Angel
The moment that Squall had left their apartment, Seifer was head first inside his closet, madly pulling out shirts, pants and underwear. Soon enough, the floor to his feet was covered in clothes and intriguing accessories, all efficiently heaped to about knee-height. His eyebrows converged critically as he struggled free from the jumbled pile and took a step back to assess the situation.
He had always paid very close attention to his own appearance and style, but even so, most of his clothes were of practical rather than fashionable nature. There was, however, one outfit that he had worn a fair year ago, at the Garden's SeeD inauguration ball. Unlike Squall, Seifer hadn't been admitted into the ranks of SeeD, and thus he had passed the party in civilian clothes rather than a preppy uniform.
While he was half-heartedly screening the disarranged content of his closet, Seifer vividly recalled that particular glamorous evening in the facility's ball room. He had been fairly busy drinking wine and socializing with Fujin, Raijin and some other random party guests that had been of no noteworthy importance, except for his least favorite ex-girlfriend Rinoa, perhaps. Nevertheless, he had found ample time to rave in silence over the image of Squall in his extravagant SeeD uniform. The brunette had spent most of that night alone and leaning against a wall, his frosty gaze glowering bleakly at every little thing around him. Then eventually Squall had disappeared, and shortly after, Seifer had been far too occupied with Rinoa, who had popped up out of nowhere, to pay much more attention to the object of his secret longings.
'And here we are, one year later, and for Hyne's sake, I have nothing to wear.'
Fortunately, that thought proved to be quite incorrect. After a few minutes of further planless searching, Seifer successfully retrieved a black, matt silk collared shirt, as well as a set of black formal pants. They needed to go into the laundry without a doubt, but there was plenty of time to be taking care of that. Seifer tossed them across the back of a chair and carelessly hurled the rest of his clothes back into the closet.
'Well, that's that.'
Considering that he hadn't had any issues with his other old clothes, Seifer was in no way worried about the fit of the ensemble. He'd be fine as long as they would make it out of the dryer in time.
He hung about just a little bit longer before boredom caught up with him at last. He had spent the major part of the prior week in their small apartment, and without Squall's presence that place was certainly lacking any sort of enticement. Thus, he gathered his key card, his gunblade and his dirty dinner outfit to swing by the laundry facility before he'd probably spend some more or less fulfilling hours in the training grounds.
One way or another, he really didn't have much else to do.
As expected, Seifer had spent the greater part of that day without any significant excitement. He had washed his clothes, hung around the apartment and the orchard for a while in the vain hope to run into Squall, then returned to transfer the laundry into a dryer and passed the rest of the afternoon in the training center decimating the Garden's vast supply of grats and t-rexaurs.
It was almost 4pm when he decided to best go back and meet up with Squall to prepare for their night out. It was a Friday, and many students liked to rent Garden vehicles to drive downtown, unless that had changed during his months of absence, of course. They'd have to be quick if they didn't want Squall to have to pull rank on some random cadet or a flustered vehicle officer. Most thoughtfully, Seifer came to the conclusion that his humble friend probably wouldn't enjoy such a precarious scenario very much.
After he had picked up his dried outfit and returned to their apartment, Seifer was rather astonished to find it as deserted as he had left it. Squall wasn't exactly one to procrastinate if he had a time schedule to attend to, so where was he?
'Did he change his mind? Not that I'd be surprised or anything.'
Indeed, Seifer suddenly saw a slip of paper atop their dining table that looked perfidiously like a "sorry, can't make it"-note. Sourly, he dropped his fresh clothes and picked up the letter to read it, immediately recognizing Squall's narrow, meticulous handwriting.
I had to run downtown. I'll pick you up outside the gate at 5:30pm.
Seifer blinked and read the sparse lines again.
'Bring sunglasses? The hell?'
Apparently, Squall wasn't ditching him after all. That cognition was relieving to a large extent, even if Squall's note had been rather stingy with information on what exactly the brunette was concocting.
'Guess he thinks it's none of my business. Well, whatever floats his boat, I guess.'
Shrugging, Seifer absent-mindedly folded the paper into a simple origami airplane, without actually turning around to launch it. From the look of things, he'd be all alone in his preparations. He was somewhat disappointed, but the fact that Squall was going to pick him up intensified the impression of an actual date over a simple dinner together.
Gently, the blonde placed his paper airplane onto the table and proceeded to retrieve Squall's board and iron from the bathroom. Entangled in his thoughts and his ever-increasing nervousness, Seifer ended up ironing his shirt and his pants much too leisurely, and when he glanced again at his clock, he almost exploded in a mad fit.
'Four fucking fourty-five?! Fuck, I'm gonna be late!'
Haphazardly stowing away the tools, Seifer racily stripped down to his skin in the living room and darted for the shower. He managed to wash himself and his hair, shave, dress and brush his teeth in what seemed like a personal all-time record. By 5:15pm his mirror image was staring back at a tall athletic blonde with carefully smoothed back hair, a bright white smile and a saucy glint in his emerald green orbs. The coal black silk of his shirt stretched just perfectly over his well developed torso and was contrasting exotically against his tanned skin. He had left the topmost buttons open, revealing just a little bit of collar bone and a short, thin leather necklace. He had tucked the shirt into his dress pants, which were held in place by a smooth black belt with a silver buckle. Overall, it was a deeply satisfying sight, and even his favorite pair of boots went well with his roguishly stylish look.
After a final critical check-up, Seifer sucked in a jagged breath of air.
Ready or not, it was time to go.
Rumbling through some drawers, he whipped up a pair of reflective sunglasses that Zell hadn't managed to break during their move. He slipped them into his shirt pocket along with his key card, before throwing a last doubtful look into the mirror.
'Don't fuck up this time.'
Rolling his eyes at himself, he spun around sharply and trudged out of their apartment without losing any more time or risking to crest new levels of insecurity. After all, if bearing in mind how minutious Squall was, the brunette was most likely already waiting for him.
Seifer walked fast, without actually falling into a sprint, and when he stepped outside he silently thanked Squall for the written hint about the sunglasses. The sun was low and bright on the horizon, cutting into his eyes rather painfully until he slipped the shades over his head.
Some students were on their way out of the Garden as well, and more than just one curious or frightful glance brushed Seifer's form. Fortunately, Seifer was much too busy with his own anticipation to notice any of it; in fact, he almost didn't even become aware of Squall's slim figure just a few feet ahead of him. When his mind finally did process the image, his heart skipped a series of beats inside his chest.
The brunette was leaning with his back against a car, that much Seifer's jade eyes had taken in, before they had been magically snared by the sight of Squall Leonhart himself. The SeeD was standing casually, his arms crossed loosely before his body, and what a body it was. Seifer's jaw dropped open, and he didn't even care.
Thin black fabric clung closely to aesthetically curved long legs, while a fitted, steel blue collared shirt shimmered softly in the sunlight and accentuated a supple upper body and strong swordfighter's arms. A simple black belt did everything to stress Squall's enticingly narrow waist and his flexible stance. Futuristically smooth, silverish reflective sunglasses obscured his eyes from view and completed a look that Seifer could only describe as 'outrageously fucking hot.'
Trying to hide his thoughts seemed superfluous somehow.
"Fuck, Squall. You're hot."
Even though he couldn't see it, he knew that Squall was arching his eyebrows as Seifer slowly stepped closer to him. The brunette's face expressed no emotion whatsoever, he was the perfect personification of utter coolness. Inside though, he was bubbling like a volcano.
Seifer looked like some male model that had bounced right out of a magazine cover; why ever he had said that Squall was hot was really beyond the younger gunblader's understanding. Apparently, Seifer hadn't checked himself in the mirror before he had left, why else would he be assessing at such low standards?
"You ready?" he finally asked, ignoring Seifer's comment.
"Not so sure I can sit next to ya without melting."
"Don't be ridiculous."
"I'm not fucking kidding, Squall!" Seifer gasped, abandoning all former untypical shyness and restraint, "Do you have any idea just how fine you are?"
Squall wasn't sure whether he should frown or blush. He couldn't image Seifer to actually be serious about his comments. Of course, Squall did pay some sort of attention to the way that he dressed, but he never actually fussed over it, either. He usually wore things that visually appealed to him in either style or color, whether he actually looked good in them or not was hardly something that he'd be able to judge properly.
Seifer did a pretty decent job at guessing Squall's silly thoughts, and he grunted in disapproval.
"Clueless, I swear."
'How can anyone be so oblivious? I knew he was too modest about his looks, but this is absurd. That really has to stop.'
He gave Squall another long, thorough look that was radiating praise even through the glass of his shades, before shifting his attention to the car at Squall's rear. His jaw dropped another inch.
A convertible indeed. To be exact, it was a sleek black sports car, one of the really high performance and expensive kinds that, to Seifer's information, were only manufactured in the capital of Esthar.
"Is that your's?" he stuttered.
Squall merely shrugged and nodded curtly.
"Damn," Seifer whistled acknowledgingly, while his eyes roamed the jet black lacquer and the off white leather interior, "I didn't know you had a car like this."
"I never drive it," Squall waved vaguely, "It's useless."
Seifer glanced back and forth between the convertible and Squall. A hot car, an even hotter guy; chances were, he was dreaming, and he'd be bound to wake up shortly.
"You ready or what?" Squall interrupted him with a slightly annoyed, or rather uncomfortable undertone to his voice.
"Yeaaah," the blonde merely drawled dreamily.
Elegantly, Squall pushed himself off the hood of the car and pulled Seifer's door open. He didn't wait for the blonde to get in; instead, he walked to the driver's side and slid into the seat smoothly, all the while carefully followed by the blonde's lusting eyes.
"Get in," he growled, loud enough for Seifer to snap out of his trance and finally swing himself into his creamy leather seat.
"Damn," Seifer repeated, "This is quite the ride."
Needless to say, Seifer knew that Squall hadn't bought the car for himself. It was more likely than not a gift from his rich father, and a pretty spendy one at that. Then again, it wasn't like Laguna couldn't afford it with ease. Still, Squall was handling the car almost like a foreign object as he turned the key and started the engine, his luminous face fixed to an unemotional frown. Seifer found it sweet somehow that Squall had taken the car for their little evening out, even if he apparently passionately despised every wire and bolt of that machine. It was so typically Squall to loathe a generous present like that that it made Seifer laugh out loud.
"What's so funny?" Squall glared, his hands curled firmly around the steering wheel even though the car was still at a full stop.
"This was a gift from your old man, wasn't it?"
Squall's face twitched. Seifer had been too enraptured to consider that maybe, bringing up Squall's father wasn't such a brilliant idea, but the brunette remained awfully cool.
"For my 18th birthday," Squall added indifferently.
"Damn, what did you get for Christmas?"
Squall floored the gas pedal so abruptly that Seifer was thrown back into his seat as the car took off with a deafeningly loud screech of the tires and at neck-breaking speed. Gulping, the blonde stared at his brunette driver, who was stubbornly staring straight ahead as he guided the car down the slopes of Balamb Garden's hill.
"You trying to kill me?" Seifer groaned.
"You don't want to know."
Surprisingly enough, Squall switched moods again and his face brightened up distinctly. His lips smoothed into a smile, but his eyes never left the road ahead of him.
'He's so dutiful, it's funny. Quite the hotheaded driver though, geez.'
"We going straight to Balamb?"
"That'll only take us like five minutes though in this rocket cruiser. The reservations aren't until 6pm."
Apparently, Squall wasn't realizing that Seifer was waiting for a more in-depth explanation, or he was simply ignoring him. Seifer suspected the latter. Overall, it didn't matter much, though. He liked surprises, and the only form of entertainment he really needed was to be able to look at Squall – which he did very, very thoroughly.
A few minutes into the trip over the vast green plains of Balamb, Squall's face flicked to the right and cast a quick glance at Seifer, who was bluntly checking him out.
"What you looking at?" he huffed.
"What do you think?" Seifer replied with an astute grin.
"I asked you," Squall bit back.
"I'm looking at you."
Seifer saw how Squall started to subconsciously knead the steering wheel in his hands. He refused to turn his head again, but the blonde knew that Squall was thinking. Oh yes. He was and always had been too humble for his own good.
"Why?" Squall finally asked blankly.
"You're quite the eye candy. As in, extremely nice to look at."
The blonde gunblader didn't quite know why he was being so deliberately blunt, but he was aware of the effect it was having on Squall. It was most definitely unsettling the shorter brunette and his daft façade of plain frigidity, which was quite a desirable achievement in Seifer's books. He was so sick of Squall's lack of self-esteem and the fact that apparently, nobody had ever bothered to make the SeeD feel any better about himself. Seifer had no problems voicing his opinion if it would help Squall's confidence any.
"Very funny," Squall hissed.
"Do you see me laughing?"
Again, Squall fell quiet. He was starting to run out of snappy remarks. What the hell did Seifer think he was accomplishing with those comments? As if Squall would really believe that the other was being serious.
"You can ignore it all you want, Squall, you're really fucking good-looking and people are attracted to you. You can't change that."
Immediately after that sentence had left Seifer's mouth, he realized that despite his good intentions, he had said just a little too much. And of course, Squall had picked up on the implied statement with acute attentiveness. His eyes widened behind his glasses and left the road as he turned towards Seifer.
"Whoa, hey, look at the road!"
Seifer pointed ahead frantically, blatantly trying to change the subject. He didn't necessarily mind so much that Squall could possibly find out the truth, or at least parts of it, but the back of a sports car that was howling ass across the plains of Balamb just didn't seem like the perfect place for chancy revelations. He'd tell Squall, definitely, but he much preferred to choose time and location on his own.
"Too bad your old man didn't know what a kamikaze driver you are."
'Why is he changing the subject? He said that 'people' were attracted to me... what the hell was he talking about exactly? Whatever. I'm probably reading too much into it.'
"We're almost there," Squall remarked, without real particular reason.
"And we're early," Seifer added smugly.
"You'll see. Be patient, princess."
Seifer was openly startled at the comeback that he himself had used quite a number of times. Squall had never called him 'princess', or any other mock nickname for that matter. It was most certainly intriguing, if not appealing.
"Sure. If you want me to, babe."
If Squall was taking this further, so could he. He had used a variety of names for Squall, but none of them had been of the real insinuating kind. There was no way he was just going to hand this to the brunette, though.
The young SeeD was definitely surprised at the new level of impudence, but he was fully aware of the fact that Seifer was, at least partly, only toying with him.
"Hope you did my laundry while I was gone, wife," he drawled in mock astringency.
"Anything for you, sexy."
"That's a good girl."
"Thanks, hot stuff."
Suddenly, Seifer's face changed and lit up with his characteristical impertinence. He would have flung himself at Squall, hadn't it been for the fact that the brunette was driving.
That didn't hurt his performance the least bit.
"Ohhh, oh yeah, make hot monkey love to me now, baby! Ravage me in the moonlight!" he roared dramatically and with the queerest fervency he could muster, while he was gyrating his hips in his seat.
Squall snorted across the steering wheel at the unexpected comment, and his body was shaken by sudden suppressed laughter. Seifer's theatrical expression smoothed into a satisfied smirk as he watched his younger rival wholly enjoying himself.
"You're nuts," Squall finally chuckled after he had managed to catch his breath.
"Yeah, but you started it, baby."
The last pet name hadn't quite been intended, and Seifer was almost astonished by the natural ease with which it had spilled from his lips. Luckily or not, Squall didn't go into it. Seifer was almost disappointed, since, intented or not, he had been pretty provocative. Maybe the brunette had simply blamed it on his silliness, and thus decided to ignore it.
Even so... the blonde couldn't shake off the feeling that the evening would maybe take an entirely different course than he had originally anticipated.
Secretly, he was crossing his fingers.
=To be continued!=
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