Chapter Ten - Plug In Baby
Crucifies my enemies…when I’m tired of giving…
Through the forbidding iron door lay a hallway whose splendor eclipsed even the Presidential Palace. The carpeting was a rich, deep red, the walls were colored gold, though whether or not it was paint, Squall couldn’t tell. For all he knew the walls were gold all the way through. The inside of the palace was a direct contradiction of its outside façade. It was bright, the lights that hung suspended from the ceiling and clung to the walls shone like amplified candlelight, soft, yet casting no shadows.
"Nice, eh?" Kato asked, his teasing voice faint with the underlying hint of apprehension. Squall could feel it within himself and he glanced at Kiros to see if there was any indication of the older man’s feelings written on his face. There wasn’t.
"No, it’s not nice. It’s opulent and tacky." Squall told him flatly.
Kato favored him with a small grin. "Well don’t say it like you want to wound me, I’m not the decorator around here."
They continued down the corridor, Squall wishing only that this little impromptu drama would end soon and he could do what he had come to do.
"So who is?" He asked as they rounded the corner, not really caring, just wanting to hear something other than the eerie stillness of the room.
"I did." The voice was sweet and silky and sure as hell didn’t belong to either Kato or Kiros.
Squall turned his head sharply to the left and was stunned by the sight that greeted him. What, or rather, who, stood in the doorway was enough to stop a man’s heart. She was tall, close to six feet if Squall’s guess was correct. She had a long curtain of red hair that shimmered to her waist. So heavy and straight that it didn’t lay over her shoulders delicately, but instead spilled down her back in one long straight line, lending her a severe appearance that warred strangely with the delicate perfection of her face. She smiled at Squall, her lips promising all sorts of unearthly delights without a single word passing through them. Her eyes sparkled as she took him in, long-lashed and the color of finely aged whiskey. High cheekbones, sculpted features, she was unnaturally beautiful and Squall discovered that he was not immune to her lure.
She wore a short gold colored dress that did little to hide the shape of her body, another study in perfection. Long-limbed, lithe and she moved with the grace of a feline. She knew very well what kind of effect she had on men and she was not averse to using their weaknesses to her advantage. Squall wasn’t sure how he knew all this about her, perhaps it was the challenge that sparked in her eyes. It was unmistakable. And then she began to speak.
"So very nice to see you again, Kiros."
Kiros nodded a greeting, clearly unimpressed. "As always, Sanura, it is a pleasure." His tone left no doubt as to just how pleased he was. His sarcasm was biting.
"And who is this delightful little morsel you’ve brought me?" She teased, her body swaying seductively as she drew nearer to Squall’s side. He tensed.
"I wouldn’t get too close, Sanura, he’s not quite as harmless as he appears." Kato warned, obviously enjoying the game. Sanura met his gaze directly; all traces of smile gone.
"Why have you come?" Her direct stare was meant to unnerve him, but Squall met her gaze head on.
"Restitution." He told her in a low voice.
She paused, one long red nail resting on her chin as she pretended to ponder deeply what such a cryptic remark could mean. And as suddenly as her smile had faded, it had returned, and she laughed delightedly. The sound of her laughter brought images to mind that had little to do with humor and everything to do with sex.
"Ah, so the Commander has come at last." She managed.
Squall felt Kiros tense beside him, which had him leveling his gunblade higher and focusing his attention on the woman.
"So happy that I can amuse you." Squall drawled sardonically, surprising Kiros with the easy way he countered Sanura.
"Amuse me? Not quite, Lionheart. Wonder, perhaps, and incredulity that you would be so very stupid." And she shot a venomous look at Kato, her catlike eyes narrowing warningly.
"And you, Kato, you will die for this." She told him easily. He shrugged, casually, unruffled, pulling a low husky laugh from her.
"Gotta die sometime, right? Besides, I was getting tired of the scenery."
Squall wanted to lower his eyes and bite his lip. Kato had an indecent amount of disrespect for everything. He didn’t want to like him, and he struggled to hide his amusement. He had a feeling that Sanura would not appreciate being laughed at.
"Indeed, we all die sometime." She grew silent, her warm gaze raking him from head to toe. "It’s too bad your death will come so soon. I will miss the feel of your skin, Kato, throughout eternity I will miss it."
Kato said nothing, but Squall felt his discomfort. She was baiting him, but to what end, Squall wasn’t sure.
"I will miss it as well." A low silky voice added, sounding strangely like Sanura’s, whose lips hadn’t moved. Squall took a step back and looked around quickly, not wanting to take his eyes off Sanura.
The woman who stepped out of the shadows was the mirror image of Sanura right down to the tiny dimple in her chin that made itself known only when she was smirking, which she did easily and many times a day, it seemed.
"Who the fuck are you?" Squall asked, almost growling. The woman laughed, irritatingly condescending, like Sanura.
She moved to stand beside her twin, wrapping her arms around her waist and resting her chin on her sister’s shoulder. As she met his eyes, she placed small nibbling kisses along the line of her twin’s neck, smiling deviously all the while.
"Do you really have to ask?" She asked him teasingly. "Can’t you guess?" She practically purred when she spoke and Squall struggled against the urge to reach out and touch the curtain of her hair.
"I can guess, but I’d rather you tell me." He said as he moved to one side, placing himself opposite the two women and beside Kato. He didn’t like the boy standing at his back.
"All will be revealed, Lion of Balamb, in due time." She purred.
Squall took a step in their direction, no hint of amusement on his face.
"Don’t play games with me, I’ll kill you where you stand." He told her, and he caught Kato’s snicker from beside him.
"What’s so funny?" He asked, wanting nothing more than to knock Kato unconscious for a few hours.
"They won’t fight you, Squall." Kiros told him in a low voice, hesitant and…afraid?
He turned back to the two women, who were standing close enough to appear one person. Sanura angled her head to allow her sister better access to her neck. He steeled himself against blinking and breaking eye contact.
"I’m not here to play games." He told them, backing up a step when Sanura’s twin moved away from her and advanced in Squall’s direction. He wanted to keep backing up, but knew his pride wouldn’t allow it.
"You just got here," She murmured silkily, "It’s a bit too early to be declaring your intentions, don’t you think?"
"No. Now get the fuck out of my way."
Kiros had never heard that tone of voice from Squall before and he began to feel decidedly uncomfortable. Kato moved to stand beside him and they watched Squall attempt to hold his ground against such an unfamiliar enemy. The girls hadn’t made any real threats…yet, but the unspoken ones remained.
Sanura’s twin stood belly to belly with Squall and he had to lift his chin to meet her eyes. She tilted her head, smiling down at him, her eyes most probably capable of inducing trance-like states of consciousness, but still he stared.
"My name is Vema." She told him politely and he shook his head. This whole thing was too bizarre. He was going into the next room to eviscerate someone and yet here he was, shaking hands with an amazon like they were going to sit down to tea. He shook his head again.
"I didn’t come here to exchange pleasantries."
Kato grinned. "I can vouch for that."
Squall turned on him. "Shut up. I don’t need your help."
Kato simply grinned and leaned back against the wall, crossing his arms over his bare chest.
Squall turned back to Vema just in time to see her slide gracefully to her knees to rest at his feet. She looked up at him and licked her lips slowly. Squall felt his chest tighten. Dammit.
"I have no interest in either you or your sister, now get out of my way or I’ll move you myself." He warned her. Vema smiled at him, her eyes alight with real pleasure.
"You move me now, Commander, can you not feel it?" She moved to rub her cheek against the soft leather that covered his thigh and he repressed a shudder. He knew that this was all an act for his benefit, designed to throw his concentration.
"Get up." He growled. Her lips twisted into a sultry pout before she tipped her chin up and ran her tongue up the length of Squall’s thigh, her eyes challenging him all the while. Squall swallowed once, wavering briefly, the temptation very, very real. Her tongue left a visible trail on his shiny leather and he fought the urge to knock her down with his boot.
"I’m not going to warn you again." He ground out, his voice catching on the last word. She heard it and grinned.
"You say you don’t want me." A slow perusal up the line of his body. "Your body speaks quite differently."
Squall’s eyes narrowed and he stepped back forcefully, shaking her loose. He leveled his gunblade at her and sneered.
"I can resist you, bitch, and quite easily at that. Now take us to Seb before I lose my patience."
Vema stood with all the same dignity she’d employed before, looking unruffled and strangely satisfied.
"You are a worthy opponent. I will enjoy watching Seb take you apart." She purred as she moved to stand at her sister’s side, her eyes sliding shut as their lips met in one final display of forbidden delights. Sanura moaned softly when her twin’s tongue invaded her mouth and Vema drew back, glancing at Squall triumphantly.
"You have no idea what you’ve missed." She told him smugly as Sanura’s arm slipped around her waist possessively.
Squall sneered, unable to resist the need to drive his rejection home.
"Oh, I do." He assured her. "It wasn’t a difficult choice. At all."
Kato grinned, admiration building steadily for the Lion of Balamb. He’d never been able to tell the devil sisters no. Weakness on his part, he guessed. Ah, well. He’d had many an illicit fantasy fulfilled while in under the spell of the twins.
Vena grinned. "Go then, I dare you to face him in his chamber. He’s waiting for you, you know."
Squall looked at Kiros, choosing to ignore the taunting women. "You ready?" He questioned him without glancing at Kato. Kiros nodded.
"As I’ll ever be. Let the blood shed be quick, we’ve wasted enough daylight as it is."
Squall nodded and as an afterthought, glanced over at Kato. "You coming?" He asked just a trifle too hostile. Kato grinned.
"I know you want me. You don’t have to be so sweet, Commander."
Kiros snickered once before Squall quelled him with an icy stare. He’d had about all he could take today.
"I’m done playing with you, slut. Kiros, come on." He demanded before spinning on his heel and advancing toward the door, confident that the twins would not hinder him.
Kato sauntered along behind him, amazingly calm for one who was supposedly near to meeting his doom. He nudged Kiros gently, flashing his grin when Kiros turned to glare at him.
"What is it, now?" He asked quietly.
Kato grinned. "You always let him order you around like that?"
Kiros shoved him aside with his elbow and glared.
"Don’t you ever shut up?" He hissed.
Kato shrugged. "Sometimes."
They heard Squall cursing loudly down the long corridor and when they came upon him he turned to face Kato.
"Another fucking iron door." He glared accusingly at Kato, who shrugged.
"Open it. It’s not locked."
Squall stared at him for a second, not really wanting to turn the knob to find it locked and have to suffer through another bout of Kato’s giggling.
However, he was beginning to feel the stress of the day and was growing angry, which always made him careless.
Ignoring Kato’s knowing smile, he turned the doorknob and let the door open of its own accord. The chamber that lay beyond it was a direct contrast of the rest of the palace. Dark, squalid and purposefully despairing, the chamber held one piece of furniture. A large iron throne. Squall groaned.
"Oh, give me a break. A throne?"
It was then that Seb chose to make his presence known. He moved into the center of the room fluidly, languidly, knowing smirk firmly on his face.
"Your insolence is amusing, little one. And you may be assured, the throne was not placed there for your benefit." So saying, he eased himself into it, folding his long body into the impressive structure effortlessly.
It seemed that beauty was a common thread here because Seb possessed much of it. His golden hair lay in silky waves around his shoulders and down his arms and his eyes were so dark they could have been black. His stature was impressive, regal, assured and Squall suddenly knew why he’d wanted Seifer so badly. They shared many similarities and Seb had probably fed his own ego just by laying eyes on Seifer. His arrogance far surpassed Seifer’s and the dominance rolled off him like perfume. Squall felt a little sick.
"I’ve had enough mind-fucking outside in the hall, thanks a bunch." Squall told him derisively. "Your whores didn’t impress me and neither do you."
Kato bit his lip to stifle his chuckle. It didn’t work. Seb’s gaze flickered to Kato evenly.
"And you, my pet. You have forsaken me for this boy?" He laughed quietly, his voice warm and inviting.
"I’m an opportunist Seb, you know that." He shrugged.
Seb’s smile vanished. "You will die this time. There is no punishment I could deliver that would help you learn your place."
Kato grinned. "S’okay. If you knew how many times I’d fucked your twins, you’d have killed me a long time ago." He winked. "So I’ll try not to take it personally."
Seb’s eyes flickered once, the rage appearing only briefly before it vanished behind that false veil of good humor.
"As you wish." He turned to Kiros. "I thought I’d seen the last of you, General. It was stupid indeed for you to return here."
Kiros shrugged. "Won’t argue with that."
Squall moved forward aggressively. "Enough showboating, you sick fuck, you know why I’m here, let’s do this."
Seb grinned. "Do you honestly believe that I fear you, little lion? I have even dismissed my guards for this meeting in the hope that there will be no bloodshed."
Squall laughed, a short biting sound. "You know better. And I know that you welcome it. But you’ve underestimated me, Seb. I don’t care about territorial disputes or old world manners. I came to make you understood that you crossed the line when you touched what was mine."
"And it is understood, I assure you. But despite your disregard of my rules, your father respects them and it would indeed be a shame if he were to suffer for your indescretions."
The threat was there, not merely implied and certainly not imagined.
"Don’t bring Laguna into this. He’s done nothing to you." Squall warned him, the anger in his voice a surprise even to himself and he realized that he’d kill to keep Laguna safe, just as he’d kill for Seifer.
Great time for a revelation, Leonhart.
"What a dilemma you face, Commander." He tilted his head in mock consideration. "You kill me, Seifer’s honor will have been avenged. But then, Laguna will be the one to receive your just desserts. What will you do?" He grinned.
Squall tightened his grip on his gunblade. "I’ll take my chances."
Seb shook his head slowly and Kiros moved to touch Squall’s arm.
"Don’t be stupid, Squall. You cut off his head and another will only sprout in its place. And Laguna will suffer for it."
Squall glared at him. "Can’t you protect him?"
Kiros frowned. "I’m only one man, Squall, think before you act. Is it worth it?"
Squall hesitated only a second before he looked at Seb resignedly. "No."
Seb grinned triumphantly and slid his gaze to Kato who stood looking disinterested and confident.
"I won’t kill you." He began. Seb smiled, relaxing.
"Smart boy." He said.
Squall shook his head. "Don’t look so smug. Just because I agree to let you live doesn’t mean you’ll be walking out of here."
Seb narrowed his eyes and Kiros groaned into his hand.
"Are you threatening me?" Seb asked, voice dangerously quiet.
Squall shook his head, eyes innocent.
"You tried to break him, you almost succeeded. You deserve to suffer a little for it."
"Why do you care so much about his pain?" Seb demanded, angry now. "He tried to kill you. Are you so forgiving, Leonhart? It would appear not."
Squall shook his head. "Seifer is mine, is one of us. I will not let his mistreatment go unanswered. You chose this when you tried to take his spirit for your own. I’m here to get it back."
Seb stood gracefully. "Well, then, Commander. If you feel ready, you may attempt to carry out your threat. I dare you."
Squall moved toward him, gunblade raised. "I hope you have a doctor around here somewhere." He said.
Seb smiled. "I do. But I’m afraid he won’t try to heal you, little one."
"I won’t be needing his services." Squall promised.
Something caught his eye then and he turned, briefly, but it was the opening Seb needed. As a second man moved in behind Kato, Seb’s blade cleared its sheath with barely a hiss.
"One point for me." He crowed happily as Kato was swept up in an iron grip, his bangs falling into his eyes, his eyes showing the tiniest hint of fear.
"Kiros, help him." Squall ordered as he kept his gaze trained on Seb.
"Nice trick, you bastard. Too bad it won’t help you." And then he narrowed his eyes at the weapon Seb held. It was a gunblade and the cross that was etched into it made Squall’s blood run cold. Seb laughed.
"If you get out of here alive, I want you to ask your lover how I came to be in possession of his weapon. Or better yet, ask Kato. He was there." He paused. "Of course, he’s a little busy being asphyxiated at the moment, but perhaps later…"
Kiros had unsheathed his knives and was about to do some serious ribbon slicing when Kato slowly drew two daggers from the waistband of his pants and released his hold on his captor’s arms to plunge both blades deep into the big man’s stomach.
As expected, Kato was released, quite unceremoniously onto the stone floor while Seb’s guard attempted to pull the knives from his body. Kiros growled low in his throat and advanced on the man practically snarling.
One slice and then one more and the man was toppling, his head falling in quite another direction. He moved to Kato’s side, where he lay near the fallen man, and wrapped an arm around him.
"You okay, Kato?" He asked urgently, eager to be at Squall’s back again. Kato nodded, touching his neck gingerly.
"Yeah, I’ll live. You go help Squall, I’m okay."
Kiros hesitated briefly before Kato squinted up at him and grinned. Kiros shook his head. He’d be fine. Touching the boy’s arm once, Kiros leaned to wipe his blades on the dead man’s pants and then turned to discover how Squall was faring.
He almost took Kiros’ breath he was so magnificent. Grace and beauty and visual poetry that rivaled any rendition of Heaven. When he moved, Kiros saw Laguna. From all those years ago, he saw him and it made his heart ache a little. The feeling intensified as Squall continued the dance and he knew he’d move galaxies to keep that boy alive. For Laguna, he would give his own life, if only to secure his happiness.
"Squall, careful." Kato called from his place on the floor.
Squall nodded without looking at him, not wanting to take his eyes from the man who circled him hungrily. Seb saw Kiros’ advancing and he growled at him.
"Stay back, Kiros, I’ll run him through." He warned. Squall laughed arrogantly.
"You can try."
Seb knew his tricks weren’t going to work on this boy, he simply had no fear, and so he chose a different tactic.
"Even as you seek to kill me, know that your lover once clung to me in every way imaginable." His voice was smug and his eyes pained pictures that his words could not. Squall tamped down his anger and managed a smirk.
"That might be so, but you probably need to be reminded that you took him in when he had nothing, and so I don’t give you much credit for that. He was alone and probably scared, he had no choice."
Seb laughed delightedly. He seemed to really enjoy the sound of his own laughter. It merely irritated Squall.
"Seifer Almasy fears nothing, Commander. You know that as well as I do. Your lover was born to kill, born to lead, it is all he knows."
Squall angled his blade, ready to strike sideways if the man made one wrong move.
"He’s not my lover, you twisted fuck and if you truly thought he was born to lead, you’d never have kept him under your thumb the way you did."
Seb considered his words and shifted his eyes briefly. When he met Squall’s gaze again, he was surprised to see the amusement lurking in those icy depths.
"See something that amuses you?" He snarled, not accustomed to being the object of someone’s mirth.
Squall smiled then, his beautiful, traffic stopping, breath-taking smile that actually reached his eyes.
"You’re afraid of him." He said, and it wasn’t a question. It was a statement. Seb was livid.
"You don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about. I owned him, boy. He was mine; he will always be mine. No matter where he goes, he will remember me forever, for I owned his soul. And if you could only take a moment to admit it to yourself, you’d know it for the truth."
Seb lowered his gunblade then, laughing as the triumphant gleam faded from Squall’s eyes and his rage became more than apparent.
"You know it, don’t you? He’s shown you his scars, all of his hidden ones. They’re not pretty are they, Leonhart?" Seb taunted him; blissfully unaware that he’d just signed his own death warrant.
Squall smiled once, chillingly polite, before he spun to the right, took two steps and vaulted himself up onto the huge chair’s armrest. Seb barely had time to turn his head before Squall was bringing his blade down in one quick graceful arc, cleaving him from neck to ribcage in one clean diagonal swipe.
Squall let him slide from his blade heavily, silenced forever, before he hopped down easily. Kiros was staring at him in abject horror and Kato was grinning openly.
"Squall…" Kiros began, his voice choked and hesitant.
Squall looked up sharply, the anger still hovering over his skin. "What?" He shot out, the word barely a syllable.
Kiros bowed his head. "You promised. You promised you wouldn’t. You know what this means?"
Squall waited until Kiros raised his eyes to his once more.
"Yeah. I lied."
Seifer stood at the window, watching dusk fall silently, as it always did in Esthar, with no warning whatsoever. His anxiety was growing in leaps and bounds and he was two seconds away from grabbing a weapon, any weapon and heading out to search for Squall and Kiros. How dare they take off and keep him in the dark, not tell him anything.
"Seifer?" Laguna called from the sitting room. Seifer straightened and let the curtain fall back into place as he turned to face Laguna.
"Yeah?" He called, his voice sounding forced even to his own ears. Laguna, Hyne bless him, would notice nothing amiss and would probably enter the room grinning and gnawing on something sweet.
"Just checking. Did I already ask you where Squall and Kiros went?" He asked around a mouthful of chocolate bar. Seifer smiled faintly, amused in spite of his inner conflict.
"Yeah, Laguna, you did. I have no idea where they went. I guess that they’ll…"
His sentence trailed off as Kiros entered the room looking tired and dirty, but not really any worse for the wear. He glanced from Seifer to Laguna and then back to Seifer again.
"Sorry we stayed away so long. We had…business."
Laguna moved to rest his elbow on Seifer’s shoulder, a stretch, even for him, but he grinned happily anyway when Seifer looked down on him kindly.
"So where were you?" He asked, biting into the apple that he held in his other hand.
Kiros watched him in confusion. "Chocolate and Fruit, Laguna?"
Laguna nodded, "Oh, yeah. Discovered it purely by chance. Forgot I was already eating the chocolate when I saw the apples sitting in a basket on the table. Pretty damn good together, actually."
Kato entered the room on the wings of his explanation and Seifer felt his chest hollow out. Oh, fuck…
He was hit with a barrage of memories in that very moment and none of them were chaste. From the tips of Kato’s burnished bangs to the sun-darkened expanse of skin that he revealed so naturally, Seifer could feel him, almost taste him. The images were frightening and unwelcome and still strangely comforting in their familiarity. How did he…?
Squall rounded the corner and paused at Kato’s side, the two of them so dangerously beautiful that Seifer felt his breath catch. Squall looked briefly at Kato, who promptly blew him a kiss, directly to Seifer where his gaze stopped. He hadn’t yet glanced at Laguna; his desires betrayed him in that one instant. His control had apparently shrugged and handed the reins over to his heart, which was still full with the triumph of his victory.
He moved directly to Seifer and stopped when he stood nose to nose with him. Seifer’s eyelids fluttered once, awash with relief, apprehension and overwhelming lust all at the same time. He tried for words; they came out a husky whisper.
"Where were you all day?" Quiet, halting.
Squall eased a strap over his shoulder and pressed the object against Seifer’s chest, never taking his eyes from Seifer’s face.
"I found something that belongs to you." He told him quietly and Seifer glanced down, his eyes widening in shock. Dragging his gaze back to Squall’s he swallowed around the lump in his throat.
"My gunblade?" He whispered incredulously and Squall shook his head as he gripped the back of Seifer’s neck and pulled down into a searing kiss. Not caring that he had three witnesses to his unspoken admission, Squall sucked on Seifer’s lips, stroked his tongue, helped himself to Seifer’s emotions, so neatly laid out for his pleasure and kissed him like he’d always dreamed he would. Deep, possessive, unrelenting and unchallenged.
When he pulled back, the look in Seifer’s eyes made him eager to slay some more dragons, but he settled instead for a soul-searching look and an easy smile.
Author’s note: The name Seb is Egyptian in origin and means God of the Earth, Sanura’s name is also Egyptian and means Kitten. Vema is Indian (not Native-American) and means Goddess of Sex. Notice that I left the twins alive *devious grin* . Hope you’re still with me! The characters belong to Square, the title belongs to Muse…but the story is all mine.
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