Little Black Book

Chapter Nine

By Alexis Logain

It was almost one in the morning when Seifer slipped quietly into the Commander's quarters, located next to his office. Squall was up and awake, much to Seifer's surprise. However, the brunette was sitting on the couch, hugging his knees to his chest, while tears streamed down his face.

"Squall?" Seifer voiced quietly, causing the brunette to jump. He wiped violently at his eyes. "What's wrong?" Squall shook his head, biting his lip to keep from crying. Seifer swallowed, not know what to do. Hyne, what were you supposed to do when you walked in on the man who used to be your best friend - who turned into your rival, then into your arch nemesis, and then into a complete stranger - while he was crying? Seifer wanted nothing more than to make it all stop. There were faint bruises along Squall's throat and more along his arms where Dante had handled him. How could you just make the bruises disappear? "Squall…?"

There was a sharp intake of breath followed by Squall rubbing at his eyes again. Seifer wasn't sure if hit heart could take anymore of this.

"What do you want?" Squall demanded. To kiss you, to hug you, to love you…

"I…I want to help." Maybe that was the wrong answer…maybe what he wanted to say was the wrong answer. Maybe it was the right answer. Maybe…maybe it was so right it was wrong.

Or maybe it was so wrong it was right.

"You've helped more than enough," Squall snapped. "Go away."

"You seem to be saying that an awful lot lately," Seifer retorted and instantly wished he hadn't said that. "Hyne, I'm sorry. That was uncalled for."

"You're right," he whispered. Gods, he sounded broken.

"What happened to you, Squall? You used to be so…"

"Pathetic?" he grumbled.

"No, strong. Brave. Perfect…" Seifer moved from the door and settled on the couch next to Squall. "I wanted to be like you so much…you were what everyone wanted or wanted to be. Smart, strong, calm. You thought things through and were dependable. And I was…I was reckless and irresponsible and independent and irrational and stupid."

"No," Squall smiled through his tears. "You knew what you wanted. You had a dream and would do anything to achieve it."

"And in the process of trying to get it, I lost it." Seifer mentally kicked himself. Want to help Squall, not scare him off by hitting on him.


"Nothing. It's nothing - just some stupid childhood thing. Why don't you get some sleep."

"Can't." Oh. Okay…uh, well then.

"Why not?"

"The nightmares'll come back. He'll come for me," Squall whispered. "I've tried running before and the only place he couldn't ever find me was at the orphanage."

"Are you scared of him?" Squall shrugged.

"I wasn't, before all this shit happened…but he's strong, Seifer. Very strong. And he's not stable…I'm sorry. I didn't mean to dump all this on you. Maybe sleep would be a good idea." He started to get up when Seifer leaned over and compulsively wrapped his arms around the brunette.

"This is awkward for me too, Squall," he told him. "But I want to help you. I've been where you are…sorta."

"How so?" The question was muffled against Seifer's shoulder.

"When I came back…after you left, it was like a free-for-all. Everyone had to get their barbs in and hurt me as much as possible. And I took it all. And it chipped away at me. Quisty noticed it first and she enlisted Zell in helping me out. They looked out for me, listened to me...and, when I needed it, held me. Let me be here for you." Please? Squall relaxed into Seifer's hold and wrapped his arms around the blonde.

"I'm sorry I left…I couldn't deal then. I was tired of being a hero - I never wanted to do any of it…but for some reason, everyone turned to me to lead them." Squall snorted.

"You're a good leader, Squall," Seifer told him. "You think things through. You think of things that other people would just forget and leave for later."

"I guess."

"Tell me about what you've been doing while you were gone," Seifer smiled. "With the whole research thing…"

"Umm…well, I worked a lot with Dr. Odine and with Eric. That's how I met Pandora and Eric. They're both professors at Esthar University and do some research for Laguna every now and then." Squall drew in a deep breath. "Well, they were all interested in how much I knew about the GFs and since I have the strongest GF known to man, they figured I might be able to help. I went to school, tested out of most of the classes I needed, and did research with them on the side."

"What'd you research?" This was kind of interesting…

"Well, specifically…" Squall's voice hitched and his body rocked against Seifer's while he struggled to control his breathing. "Specifically, we looked at the effects of GF Junctioning on the human brain. Memory loss…that sort of thing. Once we found the correlation between the two, we were able to focus on preventing it and still use the additional power of the GF."

"Cid went to some random meeting last year and he came back with…" Seifer's skin prickled as Squall nodded.

"With ways to protect his SeeDs. Since there's still so much that's unknown, we decided it'd be safer if we banned the use of GFs. However…I had a breakthrough in the lab while working with Dr. Odine and came up with some pendants to help protect anyone using a GF. They work kind of like the Sorcery Regulating items that Odine invented, like that bracelet that he put on Rinoa so she can't ever reach her magic. The first one made…I altered my Griever pendent and I use that. I still have Griever…but I haven't junctioned to him in the longest time."


"Because we're in the middle of trying to reverse the memory loss effects." Squall yawned and snuggled against Seifer's shoulder sleepily.

"Is it working?"

"Yeah…" Squall drew in a sharp breath and yawned again. Seifer smiled at how adorable Squall was when he was tired. Just like when they were little… "But…it's taking longer…that I would like."

"Do you remember being little?"

"Sorta…I remember how Matron would sing us to sleep. And how…how Ellone looked out for us all. And how you and Zell always fought…I had to keep breaking up your fights." Seifer waited for Squall to add on to his memories and grinned when he saw that the brunette had fallen asleep against him. He leaned back a little, turning and stretching out on the couch, keeping Squall's body against his. This could very well be the only chance he got to snuggle with the brunette and wanted to spend every second he could doing that.

When dawn hit, Seifer was so far gone that he didn't even notice when Squall jerked away, startled by another nightmare, then curled on Seifer's body, his head resting against the blonde's neck.

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