Author's Notes:

This was written in a state of boredom on New Year’s Eve 2002 when my bad-ass self was at home huddled over my keyboard and sipping Hawaiian Punch. (Of course, I’m telling my friends that I had a usual night involving wine coolers, ritual animal slaughtering, and drug-induced orgies, so don’t let the pathetic truth out, kay?)

Um… it’s not very good. There are no written sex scenes, just implied, so indulge in your individual S/S fantasies before reading. I just wanted to attempt writing angst again. The last time I wrote angst was when I wrote "Back to Balamb." "Grrr or How I Broke Up with Rinoa" and "Inherited Traits" are both humorous PWPs, so it’s been about five months of light writing.

The POV switches twice: Squall, Quistis, and Seifer. Don’t know if I’ll write a second chapter or prequel or sequel yet. Email me with your opinion, por favor.

And please forgive me for the crappy title. I am very bad at naming things. Even as I child I un-creatively named my stuffed bear "Bear."

I also do not own the Final Fantasy characters, world, or Squaresoft Empire. If I did, everything would be named horribly and sales would be horrible ‘cuz no one would buy any products from a company with such a horrible name. So maybe we’re all just better off enslaved to Squaresoft.


By Kaerith

I stood and pulled my clothes on in the dark, skipping the process of showering until I was in safer territory. I was loosely buckling my last belt as I walked to the door.


I stopped and sighed, not bothering to turn around. "No." I could feel him struggling to control his emotions from across the small room. Without looking back I opened the door and left. It was the same conversation, the same actions, the same routine that had been occurring for the past few months.

"Seifer," I greeted the blond man as I took the empty chair across the table.

"Morning, Quistis." He met my gaze briefly before returning his gaze back into his coffee.

I cocked an eyebrow. "Same thing again last night?" I noticed that his hands were tightening their grip on his mug in a silent expression of frustration. That is clearly a ‘yes.’ I waited for the usual aloof mask to slip on, but to my slight surprise he raised his face to look at me. I saw hurt concern lurking there.

"Hyne, why does he do this?!" I lifted both mugs from the table a split second before his gloved fist thumped down, before returning to comb restlessly through his hair.

Settling the wobbling tabletop with my elbows, I replaced the cups and sighed. "I don’t know. I’ve given you all my hypotheses already, but no one but him knows what he’s thinking." After a couple weeks of feeding him placating words, I finally sensed he wasn’t going to settle for bullshit anymore.

"Well, that’s just the problem! No one is allowed to know what he’s thinking and feeling!" Seifer’s breath whooshed out as he gave vent to his anger.

I assessed him critically, noting the bags under his eyes and the frown wrinkles deepening in his face. "Seifer-" I hesitated, "Maybe it would be the best thing for you if you stopped letting him use you like this. Get over him and move on to a healthier relationship."

"I can’t! Quisty… you know how it’s been between me and Squall for pretty much our whole lives. You know how we… feel about each other. I can’t just ‘move on’ to some other guy or woman."

I patted his hand sympathetically, knowing firsthand how hard wanting somebody who didn’t want you was. I carefully kept all emotion from my voice as I replied, "I do know. But, please, at least make him hear how you feel. That might just make him change."

Just how am I supposed to make him listen? I silently challenged Quistis as I felt Squall roll over and sit up so he could make his usual quick getaway. I roughly grabbed his arm and pulled him back down.

"No. Don’t," Squall said.

A low growl started in my throat. "Can’t you even say my name, Squall?" Not once in our couple-nights-a-week, behind-closed-doors relationship had he said my name when we were alone in the dark.

"Let me go," he commanded in a threatening tone.

"No," I mocked the word that Squall had used as a shield for so long. He tore his arm from my grip and stood, hastily moving to the other side of the room where our clothes had been tossed. I sat up.

"I am not just a quick fuck, Squall, and you know that!" My snarled words were loud enough to make him visibly flinch.

"Shut up, Almasy!" His voice wasn’t as loud as mine, but were hissed vehemently.

"No!" I said again. "I am tired of all this shameful-secrecy bullshit! You can’t just covertly use me, keeping the loud noises and your fucking exclusive thoughts in check so the neighbors won’t suspect anything!"

I watched his eyes widen then narrow dangerously as he violently fastened his pants and then threw his shirt over his head. Bundling up his arsenal of belts and chains in his fur-lined jacket, he glared at me before silently whirling around and stalking for the door.

"If you walk out of here now you’re even more of a coward than I thought you were."

Squall halted in his tracks and turned, giving me a damn good imitation of Quistis’ Laser Eye. "I… am… not… a… coward." He spoke lowly and venomously.

I snorted. "Go and run away again, Lionheartless." I gave him a mocking wagging of my fingers before pretending to dismiss him entirely. I sat choked with rage and strained to hear his movements over the loud thudding of my heart. After a few long minutes I heard the door shut.

I took a shower before tearing all the bedding from my bed. I threw myself down on the bare mattress, pillowing my head in my palms, and stared at the shadowy blank ceiling. Despite the simmering residue of anger, I shivered. It’s too cold to sleep in just flannel pants. I grudgingly pulled a blanket from the heap on the floor; carefully selecting one that hadn’t had direct contact with him. I returned to my previous position, this time under the woolen commissary blanket, lying on the mattress and frowning at the ceiling.

The glowing green numerals on my clock read 2:58 when, yawning, I eventually glanced at it. Nearly four hours since he had left. My eyelids were struggling to close when a faint bar of light grew on the tile. I sat up as the intruder closed the door and finally focused on him. "Squall?" I asked, far more confused and tired than I was angry.

He stood by the door fidgeting, something I don’t remember ever seeing him do. "I… I’m sorry," he said after a long uncomfortable pause. I stayed still, afraid that if I moved his mood would be broken. Also, weary though I was, I stubbornly wanted more than a simple apology.

"I shouldn’t have treated you like that." More, I thought. "Shouldn’t have used you for sex and then left. Especially for three months." Not quite enough.

He took a couple small steps forward, head bent down as he nervously studied his hands. "I am a coward. And I don’t like opening myself up to people… letting them know my thoughts and feelings."

I continued waiting. And waiting. The quiet stretched even longer. "Seifer… I do care for you…. I am sorry." It was spoken softly and timidly, and was accompanied with a rejected movement toward the door.

"You finally said my name," I whispered immediately before the door closed behind him. I wasn’t sure if I could forgive him or not, and was even more uncertain about continuing a relationship with him.

"Seifer… I do care for you…. I am sorry." I decided that was enough for now.

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