Disclaimer: I only wish Seifer belonged to me. Maybe if I'm lucky, I'll one day own a pretty little Seifer figurine. ^^ But until then, I'll have to be content with the Seifer bunnies I have running rampant in my room.

Warnings: Shounen-ai (Seifer+Squall, to be precise ^^), language, OOC-ness, especially on Squall's part, and, um . . . first person POV (switching once. ^^' Should be fairly easy to follow who's who, though) and the present tense again. I'm a bad, bad girl. Oh, and pretty much everyone other than Squall and Seifer come out of this looking bad. ^^'

The Moment I Saw You Cry

By Balinese no Neko

Well, here I am, out in the Secret Area again. No Quistis, no students, just . . . me. And the roars of angry T-Rexaurs echoing through the Training Center. My, sounds like someone was in a bit of a snit. I glance down and brush at the dirt on my clothes. Right, it's me that was in a bit of a snit.

I force my mind away from its pointless meandering and bring it back to bear on the problem that had me waking up T-Rexaurs in the middle of the night, looking for a fight. Somehow, it's not working out between us. Us being Seifer and myself. For the life of me, I can't figure out why, either. One of the reasons I'm in the Secret Area right now and not still terrorizing the poor monsters that, in turn, terrorize just about everyone else. I need some time, some space to think about this, and it's neither time nor space I'll get in our shared quarters, not with Seifer simmering over whatever new thing annoyed him today.

He seems to be annoyed with me, more often than not lately. So I take a look back over the past few weeks and try to figure out if maybe I've changed, if there's something new I'm doing that's the cause of some of the anger he's projecting. I honestly can't find anything I'm doing different. Sure, I'm quiet, but let's face it, I'm still the master of the soliloquy. And . . . he said he loved me, no matter what . . . .

Next logical thought is that maybe it's his fault. Maybe he's changed and that's what's causing the tension between us. But . . . . He hasn't changed. Everything I fell in love with is still there. His sense of humour, the way he can understand me without me having to say one word, the way he fights, the way he moves . . . . I still love all of those, and if they're still there, I still love him. Right?

I shake my head. Maybe I'm seeing things through the eyes of love. I hear a lot of people do that. If that's true, then I don't have reliable information to base my decisions on. Solution? Get that reliable information. I make up my mind to get the information that I need. I can't stand to live like this anymore, not knowing why he's angry at me all the time, not knowing what's happening to us. I need to know.

Accordingly, over the next few days, I watch him covertly, trying to see him objectively, as hard as it is. But objectivity isn't really helping all; all I'm finding out is all the little things that made me fall for him in the first place. But . . . if that's true . . . . Then it really must be me causing the problems. And if it's my fault and I can't see where that fault is, then I can't fix it. And if I can't fix it, then . . . . Maybe he's better off without me.

"What the hell you staring at me for, Leonhart?" he grunts, startling me out of my introspection. He doesn't look like he's watching me, but he's just as able as I am to pick up what's going on around him without letting anyone else know. "You've been watching me like a hawk for the past week or so. 'Smatter, you think I'm doing something wrong?" I catch my breath imperceptibly at the question and shake my head. The tone he's using, he must really be angry. "Then stop doing it. Some of us have important things we have to do, Leonhart. We can't afford to be bothered by petty concerns."

My ears burn as I get up and walk away. Leonhart, huh? He only calls me that when he's mad, when he wants a fight. But I'll not fight him tonight; I have too much to do. If it's not his fault, then it's my fault. And if it's my fault, I can't stay with him like this anymore. I can't keep on making him unhappy, I can't stand to see it. If I'm not around, maybe . . . maybe he'll find somebody to be happy with. Somebody who can make him happier than me. Maybe the others are right after all . . . .

As for myself, well, leaving will hurt. Hell, it hurts already. But better to leave. If I'm going to be miserable either way, much, much better to make sure that the only one who hurts is me.

Finally, I sigh and stand up, stretching muscles stiff from sitting too long. "You coming to bed?" I ask gruffly. When there's no answer, I glance over to see him still standing in front of the window, even though the sun is long gone. I frown slightly; if I didn't know better, I'd say he was brooding over something again. Heck, maybe I don't know better. He's been acting . . . off for about a week now and I'm starting to get worried. "Squall, didn't you hear me?" He jumps a bit at my tone; I hadn't meant for it to sound like that, honest.

"I'm sorry," he whispers, looking down at his arms, crossed over his chest.

Forget about "starting", I'm in full worry-mode now. And . . . if I'm honest with myself, I admit that I've been in full worry-mode for longer than I like to admit. What's he have to be sorry for, anyway? I dismiss it and head towards the bedroom. Tomorrow's another long day of jeers and cheers—precious few of the latter and more than I can really handle of the former—and I'll need all the rest I can get. It's not really the names I've been hearing that's bothering me, it's the source. Sure, it's all right for Quistis and them to acknowledge and support me when I said I was brainwashed, but it's another thing entirely when I start sleeping with the Commander. I snort, shucking my clothes over to the hamper. Naw, I'm not the evil Sorceress' Knight, but it doesn't mean they'll approve when Garden's two greatest rivals start making googily eyes at each other. It . . . bites, you know? That they'll forgive me for what I did under her orders but they still won't accept me even when the one person I've hurt the most forgives me and takes me into his life. And I won't get him involved in this; he shouldn't have to chose between me and his friends and I'll do my level best to see that he doesn't have to.

I get ready for bed, mildly surprised that Squall hasn't followed me yet. "Hey, Squall, you coming some time tonight?" Ah, there he is, drifting along as if he's in a dream. Or brooding again. The little frown on my face gets a whole lot bigger and I think I see him flinch. I instantly tone it down. Fuck, it isn't me that's been bringing him down all week is it? I guess I've been a little touchy lately, but . . . he'd talk to me if it bothered him . . . wouldn't he? I bite my lip. No, he wouldn't. He's Squall Leonhart, walking wall, and he doesn't talk to anyone unless they poke him and prod him and generally make him. Even if it's the best way to find out something, if it's the only way to know, he won't say anything. He'd rather watch and make his decisions based on what he sees. I rapidly run through the past week, seeing his actions in a different light. Maybe he thinks he's done something wrong . . . ?

I slide into bed and hold the covers up so he can too. Silently drawing them over us, I take him into my arms and just hold him. His arms creep around me and he rests his face in the space between my shoulder and my neck, nuzzling into it slightly. Whatever the problem is, it surely won't hurt to wait until morning to talk it over . . . .

I'm not quite sure how much time has passed when I feel him stir again. I know I'm more than half-asleep and I tighten my arms around him in protest. I know I grumble a bit when he persists in extracting himself.

"Go back to sleep," he whispers and I feel his hand smooth over my forehead and down my cheek, followed by soft kisses. I sigh and nuzzle into the hand, only just content to wait until he does whatever the hell it is that's possessing him to get up in the middle of the night and comes back to bed. It takes almost all of my none too plentiful concentration just to stay awake for him, something I bet he doesn't even know I do. I always wake up when he leaves the bed, and if I think there's the slightest chance he's coming back, I always stay awake until he does. I'm sure he thinks he's just waking me up again when he slips back in, but there you go. It makes for a few sleepless nights for me, but I don't really sleep well anyway without a warm Squall to wrap myself around.

The rustling noises and soft thumps don't really register and I reach eagerly for him when I hear him at the bedside again. My arms, however, are nimbly evaded and he caresses my face again before leaning forward and just touching my lips with his in the gentlest kiss imaginable. "Go back to sleep," he whispers again, sounding . . . odd. Sad, maybe. There's a soft rustle beside my pillow and soft footsteps walking away again. With the sound of the closing door, I finally wake up fully and lie on my back, frowning at the ceiling. Something doesn't feel quite right. Maybe he wants to get some training in, that's why he left. Maybe he needs some time to think over whatever the hell's bothering him. I curl up on my side again, wistfully wishing he was already back here with me. I shift over to lie on his spot to keep it warm. No doubt he'll shove and complain at me when he gets back for being a bed hog, but the point is, he won't be climbing into a cold bed. And I'll have all the excuse I need to cuddle up to him to warm up again. Except for the fact that Seifer Almasy does not cuddle. Be cuddled with, sure, but I never initiate the cuddling. Honest.

My cheek encounters a piece of crinkling paper and I squash it resentfully before beginning to wonder just why there's a piece of paper on Squall's side of the bed. I push myself into a sitting position and bring the piece of paper around before me. I squint at it in the pale light creeping in through the window and rub at my eyes. Writing. Good, now I know it's a note of some sort. Light writing; looks like he used a pencil or something, I can't make out what it says. Giving into the inevitable, I heave a sigh and reach over to flick on the bedside light, growling a curse with the abrupt difference between the soft night time and the glaring illumination that would allow me to properly read whatever little love note Squall left for me. Maybe he wants to play treasure hunt, with him as the treasure. I dismiss that thought, although not without a wistful regret. Squall wasn't much for thinking up mischief. I stare at the words, wishing my eyes would focus. I'm awake, but my eyes don't seem to have heard the word. I blink hard and then attempt another re-focus on the cramped scribbles that was Squall's attempts at writing. Endearing as hell to tease him about, but frustrating when I'm trying to decipher.

        I love you. But you'll find someone better to love. I'm sorry.

I yawned. Short, terse, and directly to the point. One of the many, many things I . . . love about . . . him. I re-read the note rapidly. The hell? What the hell's he trying to say here? A cold feeling grows within me. He's not . . . leaving me, is he? But he loves me, he said so himself! Does he think I don't love . . . him?

I scramble out of bed, heading for the door. Little questions like "why" can wait until I've found him. On the verge of opening the door, I chance to look down and decide that, yes, clothes are a wonderful thing and maybe I should go put some on before tearing around Garden like a maniac.

Clothes on, I'm out the door and heading to the one place I think he is. But just as I round the corner into the Parking Lot proper, I see one of Garden's cars tearing out of it, brown hair flying in the wind. I sag against the wall, unable to believe that I could lose him this easily. I cover my face with my hands, trying to deepen my gasping breaths and calm my heart. It's not the end of the world. I'll . . . just track him down, that's all. Eventually. It's no biggie, really.

Who the hell am I trying to fool? It is a big deal, if not quite the end of the world. Very nearly the end of my own personal world, but the only one who cares about that just drove off in a cloud of dust. Dammit, this is not fair! I thump the wall halfheartedly. Hell, what do I know? Maybe it is fair. I slide myself down the wall, looping my arms around my knees and thumping my head down on them. I can just see it, too; in return for my coldness and anger, the one thing that makes my life here livable is taken away from me. That'll teach you to take Squall for granted, you bad boy, Seifer. Except . . . it won't, because if he's gone, then he's not going to come back to me and I won't have a chance to show him I learnt my lesson.

A hand touches my shoulder gently and I reflexively jerk away. One, nobody but Squall touches me unless I let them. Two, anyone touching me right now is touching me because of the Hyne bedamned picture I'm making; I'd rather not be smirked at or, conversely, pitied at the moment. Either reaction is liable to get a good punch in the face.

"Hey, Seifer . . . ." Oh, yes, this is just what I need. It's Irvine standing over me, and while he isn't the worst with the veiled insults, I'd much rather tap dance over curse spikes than have him see me like this. "If you really need to talk to Selphie, I have her cell number." Selphie? I raise my head to see the brunet smiling gently at me, a sort of understanding in his eyes. Suspicious, I wait for the punch line.

"No, it's okay," I mutter thickly, deciding that staring fixedly at my knees is preferable to withdrawing into myself in anticipation of yet more pain. I clear my throat discreetly. "What's Selphie doing tearing out of here in the middle of the night?" I figure it's a harmless enough topic to talk about and hopefully it'll keep the conversation off of me.

He looked away, a faraway look of pain in his eyes. "We . . . had a disagreement about something that happened tonight," he said, pressing his lips together tightly. "I thought we should mind our own business and she thought we should get right in the middle of it and make it worse." My eyes widen slightly. No way is he talking about what I think he's talking about. He took a stand against Selphie for me?

"I'm . . . sorry to hear that," I murmur, finding, against all expectation, that I am. Yeah, I wanted someone, anyone, to stand up for me, but not like this.

He shrugs. "It was bound to happen sooner or later," he told me easily and grinned. "In case you haven't noticed, I'm not exactly the most . . . faithful boyfriend a girl could have."

I snort and grin back hesitantly. "Only if that girl can't see what she gets." Harmless flirting and faithfulness should never be confused with each other as far as I'm concerned. He laughs outright at that and pushes himself upright before extending a hand to help me up. I stare at it for a long moment before taking it. I clear my throat again, just a little uncomfortable. "You haven't seen Squall, have you?" I blurted out. He raises an eyebrow at the question, but slowly shakes his head and my heart sinks. The prospect of searching the entire Garden for a highly elusive SeeD Commander never seemed so daunting as it does now.

"Haven't seen him all night," he confirms and presses his mouth into a thin line again. "Believe me, I would have." Hope rises in me again. Surely Squall would have taken a car or something if he was going to leave Garden in the middle of the night, wouldn't he? "Have you checked the Training Center yet?" I shake my head. He gives me a slight push. "Then what're you waiting for? Go on and find him!" He tosses me a violently yellow cell phone and lifts his own in a lazy salute. "I'll keep you posted if I see him first." A suspicion grows in my mind as I stare at the small rectangle in my hand and I glance up to see a slightly malicious glint in his eye. I slip the phone into my pocket and smirk back at him before leaving the Parking Lot and heading for the Training Center.

Twenty minutes later finds me cursing my bloody absent-mindedness; I'd left Hyperion in our rooms like the idiot I am and while I do have Shiva junctioned, I'm still none too eager to meet up with any T-Rexaurs out for a midnight snack. I manage to make my way to the Secret Area deep within the Center without encountering anything more impressive than a Grat or two. Just outside the door, I pause to catch my breath after that slightly harrowing adventure of mine. Never again will I decide to go for a midnight stroll through the Training Center with nothing other than a GF and a handful of magic. Unless, of course, that GF is Diablos. Vain hope. I take one last deep breath and push through the entrance of the Secret Area. I don't know that he'll be in here. Hell, he's more likely to be out creating chaos for the T-Rexaurs to enjoy than staying still and silent, isn't he? Then again . . . . I think of that note and sweep the Secret Area for a silhouette I know as well as my gunblade. He's not like me, he doesn't work out his problems physically most of the time. He broods.

There he is, leaning against the wall that doubles as a handy ledge to keep us from tumbling off the edge of the small platform that is the Secret Area. My breath catches and my heart breaks a bit more to see the small bag resting by his feet. He really is leaving me. "Squall . . . ?" If he tells me to go, I will, but I might just as well stay here and throw myself over that ledge. Without him in my life, I don't think I have a life anymore. I don't think he hears and I step closer, opening my mouth to try again. But I shut it without saying a word when a glittering something slipped down his cheek. He's crying? My throat closes itself and I'm having trouble remembering how to breath. I did this to him. He never cries for himself, always saving his tears for someone else.

My fault.

Before I know what I'm going to do, I step forward and wrap my arms around his waist, hugging him tightly to my chest. I burrow my head into his shoulder and just breathe him in for a moment. I know he's startled, but I don't let him go. "I'm sorry," I say into his ear, as loud as I can force myself to be. Luckily for him, I can't get much louder than a whisper.

"Seifer?" He stiffens in my embrace and I loosen my arms slightly, although by no means do I let him go. He turns around carefully and looks up to try to see my face. I stubbornly bury it again. I need some time to get a grip on myself. I mean, imagine the damage to my reputation if it got out that Seifer Almasy was turning weepy. Then I think about how it would feel to not have Squall in my life anymore and I decide my reputation can go to hell.

"Why are you leaving me?" I'm getting better. Instead of a soft whisper, it's now a gruff whisper. A sad, pleading sort of whisper, but a lot closer to how I usually talk. I feel Squall sigh against me and his arms hesitantly wrap around my waist in return. "Please, Squall, what did I do wrong?" His arms tighten around me slightly.

"I . . . You weren't . . . happy." I can barely hear what he says, not with the way his head is nestled in my chest in return.

I choke back a disbelieving laugh. "And you think leaving would make me any happier?" He somehow manages to get even closer to me and I feel more than hear the small whimper he ruthlessly suppresses.         "I—I thought . . . ."

"Squall, I love you. Nothing makes me happier than being with you."

"You were . . . angry. I thought you were angry at . . . me." My conscience smites me harder than ever and my arms tense around him. I'm not quite squeezing him, but he's going to find it very, very hard to move away from me now.

"I was angry," I admit, hearing his breath catch. "But not at you." Never at you. "I'm sorry I took it out on you." I take a deep breath and force myself to let go of him; I have no right to plead with him to stay with me when it's my fault in the first place that he was going to leave. "I—I can't ask you to stay, Squall, not when I hurt you like this." Funny how easily honesty is coming to me. I'm trembling and I hope he doesn't notice. He keeps his arms around me and I take hope from that.

"Why were you mad?" I wince. He would ask that. Let's see, standard response would be, "It doesn't matter." Like hell it doesn't matter. It's only the reason this whole scene is playing out. Or maybe I could come out with, "I have it under control." And whom am I trying to convince here? Me or him? I settle for a compromise.

"It's . . . complicated." Yeah, I could say that, couldn't I? Complicated and liable to put him straight into a situation I had worked very hard to keep him out of.

He turns his head and rubs his cheek against my shoulder gently. "Please tell me? I . . . I want to help you." My heart melts and I gather him up in my arms again, my eyes burning. He lets out a little contented sigh.

"I will," I say into his hair, defeated. "But . . . tomorrow? I promise I'll tell you . . . ." Yeah, and I want to spend the night cuddling him without a care in the world. Or at least no more than my usual cares.

"Tomorrow," he agrees. I guess he wants this happy moment to stretch out a bit longer before we have to let reality back into our life and I have no problem with that whatsoever. Our own little world is much nicer than the real one.

I clear my throat after a little while. "We should probably be getting back to bed," I say softly, but I make no move to leave and neither does he. The moment is still upon us and it's still just as perfect.


Author's Note:
Okay, the notes. One, there will be a sequel. *coughs* Eventually. ^^' And a prequel, giving some actual substance to the sketchy background I kinda taped into this fic. ^^' Two . . . yeah. *squirms* I know, I wasn't very nice to the other characters in here. ^^' Gimme some time to come up with some better justification for all that and I'll stick it in both the sequel and the prequel. Other than that . . . . Nope, gots nuthin' t'say. ^^'

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