The two lovers lay nude against the dome in the pre-morning hours, nuzzling each otherís faces and watching the sky gradually lighten from black to gray, the moon sinking as dawn approached.
"Your lip is bleeding again, you know."
"Hmm? Is it?" Seifer unwrapped an arm from around Squallís waist to touch his swollen lip gingerly, grimacing slightly as it came away sticky and wet. "Charming. And Iím sure itís making me look like hell, too."
"No," Squall disagreed softly. "Itís not."
Squallís hand came up to gently cup Seiferís face.
"Well, youíre biased," Seifer murmured, turning his head to kiss the warm palm against his cheek. "It mustíve reopened while you were kissiní me...or when I was kissiní you..." Kissing him, or licking him, Seifer thought. Sucking on him. Holding him in his arms.
When heíd been making love to him.
The blond looked down and away from Squallís intense gaze, suddenly shy. "Squall, what about you? Did I--? I mean, are you--?"
"Iím all right," Squall replied. Seifer could just catch Squallís lips curl into a smile from his field of vision. "A little sore... My arm hurts more than anything else." In the glow of Squallís smile, Seifer smiled unconsciously in return, wincing in pain as his lip twinged at the pull; he swiped again at his mouth. Damn it all, why was it that only now that he knew it was bleeding did it actually hurt?
"Want a Cure for that?" Squall asked suddenly.
"Nah, itíd be a total waste-"
Squallís other hand came up to capture his chin. "Iím gonna waste you," Squall said firmly, touching the wound with a fingertip, "if you donít hold still."
"Who am I to argue with that?" Seifer murmured, wincing again as Squall tapped his mouth once.
"Real nice, Leonhart. You know, just because youíre the Headmaster around here-" Seifer began, abruptly cutting off what he was going to say when the green glow of Cure was proceeded swiftly by the blue of Esuna. He froze. The curative magic was blue... Blue and magical, Seifer thought raptly, like Squallís eyes. Warmth jumped from Squallís finger to his mouth, and even as the cells of his lip rebuilt themselves, a wind swept through the corners of his mind to clear away the fog and the remnants of last nightís drunken binge.
His eyes flew to Squallís face.
His lover looked back at him steadily, brushing his fingertips against the sensitive line of Seiferís jaw. "How does it feel to be sober?"
Seifer leaned into the touch. Like Iím lost and naked in the dark and youíre the only light left. "I donít know yet," he replied slowly. "But I know that turn around is only fair..." Seifer held Squallís glance as he reached out a tentative hand, laying it on the brunetteís injured arm. "Cure," he whispered.
"Mmm," Squall exhaled a breath of green, almost groaning in relief.
Heíd almost forgotten how strong the shiver of healing magic in his veins felt; all of his bodyís aches and pains and fever melted away in an instant, and he was drowning in the tingling rush as his infected cut dried and tightened into just another thin, white line on his arm-
-Itís just another scar. Thatís all it is-
"Squall?" Seifer insisted gently, running his palm up the length of his bicep. "Are you ok?"
"I..." he paused. "Seifer, I donít know yet."
Squall opened his eyes, staring down in disbelief at the sharp streak of scar tissue; he was not quite sure why he was shaking like a leaf... Why he was terrified, to be exact, and why exactly this particular line out of so many made him so...so damned afraid. Seiferís grip tightened reassuringly on his arm. "Iím shaking. Why?"
The answer came unbidden in his thoughts:
Because maybe, this time, itís your last scar...if he stays.
He lifted his eyes to Seiferís blue-green.
Are you strong enough? Now that Iíve given you everything, will you stay?
"Seifer...Iím scared," he admitted quietly.
Seifer leaned forward, nudging Squallís nose with his own. "Me too," he breathed, "but I wonít leave, no matter what." Squall moaned softly as soft lips mouthed his cheeks, his chin, coaxing him into sweet kisses, Seiferís weight shifting over him like living armor. "No matter what."
It had been some time since theyíd last made love, and Squall yawned, cocking an eyebrow as the tall blond pulled himself upward onto his forearms. "...Seifer? What are you doing?"
"Reading," came the reply. "You know, I think every couple thatís ever been at Garden has scribbled somethiní on this dome... Hmm... B.L. + N.K.... Mary loves Mark. J+G. Andy + Amy, Jerry and Tina forever... Letís see, what else? Hereís some commentary on our fine faculty... Professor T. can kiss my ass." He paused. "Oooh, or how about this? I love hot dogs-Z.D. I wonder who that could possibly be," Seifer chuckled.
Squall laughed with him, brushing his bangs out of his face. "Well, thatís one definite pink slip for destruction of public property, anyway."
"Letís see, what else do we have here...? Aw... Look at this one, Leonhart." Seifer pointed to one of the older graffito sprawling a good foot across the dome, consisting of a single word written in a childís shaky but determined hand.
"Always?" Squall frowned and craned his neck curiously. His eyes narrowed thoughtfully on the word carved into the glass. "Always what?" he asked after a moment.
"Always...together? I donít know. Probably Ďalways be friendsí, or something like that, I assume."
"God, thatís corny."
"Hmph," Seifer shrugged and sank down again, tugging Squall gently on top of him. "Well, I think itís kind of sweet."
"...Whatever," Squall smiled. He planted several small kisses on Seiferís chest, sighing at the blondeís rumble of appreciation before he brought his gaze back up to his face. "What now, do you think?" he asked softly.
"Now...we sleep. For a little while, anyway, until the sun comes up." Seiferís hands brushed against his face to move his ragged bangs out of the way. "And in the morning, weíll decide."
"In the morning," Squall repeated. He settled into Seiferís armpit, closing his eyes. "Promise you wonít leave...?"
"Cross my heart, Squall," Seifer murmured as his own lids fluttered shut. "Iíll never leave you."
Do we hold on to what weíve got?
Can we make this thing last?
Do we exist in present day,
Or is it future-past?
"Aw, come on! Canít I come up?"
"..." The small, brown haired boy maintained his stony silence, which was to say he pointedly ignored the source of the voice.
"I didnít mean it! Honest!"
"Iím not leaving until you say something."
"Iím just gonna sit here, swear. Even though itís dark and there are probably black widows or poisonous snakes or somethiní and the stairs hurt my butt, and Iím starving and Iím probably gonna pass out soon, and-"
The brown haired boy gave a silent, long-suffering sigh and pushed himself up. "What do you want?" Walking across the rooftop to the stairwell, he swung the door open and frowned into the face of another young boy.
The boy, tall for his eight years, thin and blond with a sweet face and blue-green eyes, stood on the topmost step before the door, hesitating. "To talk to you," he said finally.
"Cause I wanted to."
The blond haired boy squared his shoulders and took a deep breath.
"Cause I wantedtoapologizeok? SocanIcomeupnow?"
"Why are you shakiní? Are you cold again?" At the smaller boyís nod, he shook his head, whipped his own uniformís coat off, and placed it around shivering shoulders, pointing a finger at him. "Why donít you get a jacket?" he asked, frowning sternly.
"Yeah, I guess."
Stretching his arms out, the blond haired boy began to spin lazily around the rooftop. "Iíve always kinda liked those bomber jackets, you know? The leather ones?"
"Really?" The smaller boy frowned. "I was thinking maybe a trench coat or something like that. Theyíre cool."
The taller boy stopped spinning to gape at him. "No way! Youíre too short, itíd look dumb."
"Would too!" The taller boy nodded emphatically, scowling and crossing his arms.
The two stared at each other for a moment before the brown haired boy muttered something unintelligible and sank cross-legged to the ground with a sigh. "What color then, do you think?"
The tall boy flashed him a grin, uncrossing his arms. Shaking his blond head slightly, he settled beside the younger boy and stretched his long legs straight out in front of him. "Brown or black. Definitely. That way," he lowered his voice conspiratorially, "if it gets dirty no oneís gonna notice, and you wonít have to clean it."
Hmm. The smaller boy considered. It was sound advice...he hated doing laundry, hated the piles of school-issued uniforms on the floor in the corner of his room. It was such a waste of time washing each thing by hand only to have it get dirty again. Bad enough he had to do it once. When he was grown up, he decided, heíd have just one thing to wear, over and over-
But his friend was speaking again. "Trench coat, huh?" he murmured, blue-green eyes thoughtful. "You really think theyíre cool?"
"Yeah..." The brown haired boy admitted, "I could see you in one."
"So what were you doiní up here anyway?"
Looking at the tall boy, the small boy scuffed at the ground with the heel of his shoe. "Do you," he asked slowly, "ever get scared?"
"Nope, never," the blond answered immediately, proud blue-green eyes flying to meet intense gray-blue ones. "Well," he amended, fidgeting slightly under the gaze, "sometimes I guess." His lips suddenly twitched upward. "Quistis kissed me once, and that was kind of scary."
The smaller boyís jaw dropped, and giggling, he wrinkled his nose in horrified sympathy. "Ew...Girls."
"Got that right," the taller boy briefly looked disgusted before dissolving into laughter.
"Do you ever wonder," the smaller boy asked when their giggle fit had subsided, "about what itís gonna be like? When we grow up?"
"Yeah!" was the enthusiastic response. "Itíll be great! Iím gonna be a knight. I saw one once on TV fighting a Red Dragon," the blond boy danced about, waving his arm as if in the battle of his life, "it was great! Iíll go around being brave and noble, protectiní people and stuff..."
"Donít you have to rescue girls?"
The taller boy stopped cold. "Well," he replied slowly, "I guess I would rescue them too...but I wouldnít let them kiss me!" His face scrunched into a fierce frown, which earned him another giggle from his friend. "What about you?"
Brown hair flopped forward as the small boy looked down. "I donít know. Be a SeeD I guess..." he trailed off with a sigh, making the blond look sharply at him with concern.
"Itís just that..." the boy closed his eyes, "...Sis left. And if you become a knight, youíll leave too. Iíll be alone." His chin trembled slightly.
"No you wonít! I wonít leave you alone!" the blond shouted defiantly, grabbing his friendís small arm with an iron grip. "We can be SeeDs and weíll go everywhere together killiní monsters and stuff."
The brown haired boy blinked furiously and swiped at his face with the back of his hand. "Really?" He sniffled, "I thought you were going to be a knight."
The blond boy looked triumphant. "Iíll be a SeeD knight!"
"But what if you decide not to be my friend anymore?"
"Thatís not gonna happen."
"But what if it does?"
"It wonít," the blond shook his head stubbornly, "and youíre not gonna be alone. Iíll be there with ya." He frowned, silent for a moment as he regarded the miserable form in front of him. "I have an idea!" Tugging the younger boyís arm, he dragged him toward the central dome. "Weíre gonna make a pact!"
"A what? Where are we going?"
The smaller boy peered impatiently over his shoulder. "Is it done yet?"
There was silence, save for the steady chipping of glass.
"What about now?"
The blond haired boy blew out his breath noisily, throwing a look behind him. "Look, you wanna do this? Cause if you do, donít let me stop you cause itís harder then it looks..."
With a frustrated Ďharumphí he turned back to his work, blue-green eyes serious and narrowed as he carved, the little pink tip of his tongue poking out from between his lips in his concentration. Glass in chips and chunks fell to the ground; after a few more minutes, he swiped a hand across his forehead.
The two boys eagerly surveyed the handiwork.
"Whatís it say?"
The blond boy smiled smugly. "ALWAYS. I figure the A and the L cause-" he glanced at the smaller boy to gauge his reaction, "What?" He frowned. "Whatís that look for?"
"...Well..." the younger boyís brows knitted as he looked down at the carving, "isnít that kind of corny?" A sharp elbow dug into his side, "Ow! Ok, ok, itís nice. Fine. Whatever."
"Itís better than nice! Itís perfect," the taller boy smirked, nodding to emphasize the last word, "because itíll be up here, always. Weíll be friends, always. And whenever we come up here," his face grew earnest as he looked into wide blue eyes, "weíll always know. Weíll know, no matter what. Got it now?"
"Got it." Hands clasped, heads nodded solemnly, and the pact was sealed. The small boy breathed a sigh of relief.
"So, what are ya gonna do now?"
"Got to go to class. Monster Habitats," the small boy made a face.
"Booooooorrrrrrrriiiiiinnnnnnnnnggggg," sang the taller boy, rolling his eyes. "I had it last year. It sucked. The Bite Bug is a woodland creature..." he mimicked, deepening his voice.
"But they live in the plains!"
"...preferring tropical temperatures..."
"And they like the cold."
The taller boy waved a hand nonchalantly, "Who cares? Iím sick of that stuff, and anyway," he grinned suddenly, eyes lighting up, "we both start GFs tomorrow. Thatíll be cool."
"Yeah?" the younger boy blinked at the excitement in his friendís voice. "You think?"
"Heck yeah!" the blond boy enthused and began walking toward the door to the rooftop, nudging the small, brown haired boy. "Just wait! I canít wait to see what you get..."
"Itíll be something stupid," the smaller boy sighed as the taller boy wrapped an arm around his shoulder, pulling him along. He really didnít want to go to class.
"No it wonít...and if it is, Iíll let you use mine. Promise."
"Ok," the young boy muttered as they began the trek down the stairs. The stomp of small, booted feet grew softer as they neared the bottom, voices faint as they echoed through the stairwell. "See you later?"
"Course! Gíbye, Squall."
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