So here is the beginning of possibly several little sequels to The Bleakest Silence. This story became an epic without my meaning it to. I hope no one thinks it's dragging out too long, although I am open to that suggestion if it's true. Enjoy!
Something In Between
By fyre byrd
A few weeks later Doctor Kadowaki recommended that Seifer be allowed to resume light duty. With the doctor's guidance and Squall's continued quiet presence Seifer's eyes had learned to refocus on the world after his illness. He began to see other people more clearly and was slowly learning to value himself again. Both Seifer and Squall had started to train in hand to hand combat with Zell as a way to distract Seifer from his perceived deficiencies and help him to focus on something positive.
Squall heard about Seifer's reinstatement first and with mixed feelings when he ran into the doctor on his way back from taking a shower.
"You'll be allowed to resume full duties of course," the doctor told Squall brusquely. "However I think we can still keep you nearby, nothing that will take longer than twenty four hours for a little while I think." Fixing Squall with a knowing gray gaze Dr. Kadowaki smiled so that fine lines sprouted on either side of her thin lips. "I think you do Seifer a great deal of good," she said.
Squall frowned a little, "Do you think Cid would mind if I kept my current accommodations?"
The doctor blinked and her smile grew a bit broader, "ask him and see what he says," she suggested. Squall noted the wicked look in the doctor's eye and blushed wondering what that canny older woman was imagining between Seifer and himself. Squall rather wished that there was something scandalous going on between them, but in reality they were simply sharing a bed for sleep and nothing more. Squall had no desire to lose the small amount of intimacy he'd gained with Seifer so he made no move to change their relationship in any way. "I think I'll go ask him now," Squall said walking briskly away from the doctor's calculating gaze as quickly as he could.
Cid smiled broadly at Squall's request. He seemed to smile at everything Squall ever said, possibly because the SeeD was quite a source of revenue for the Garden.
"Are you sure that you want to continue sharing a room?" The balding headmaster asked, twirling a pen between his plump fingers. Squall watched the clear plastic pen catch the light of the sun and make scattered rainbows on Cid's desk.
"Yes, that is my request."
"There's really no need for you to give up having your own room," Cid said reasonably. "It's generous of you, but . . ."
"I'd really prefer it this way," Squall said patiently. He'd found that firm simple repetition worked best in cases like these. Cid was really unable to think of anything happening between Seifer and himself and for that at least Squall must be grateful, even if it did mean he had to hammer every point through the man's thick skull.
"That will be fine, if you're sure ." Cid said doubtfully squinting at Squall through his round glasses. Squall personally thought that they gave the headmaster the same slightly mad look at a caterchipillar, but he kept his observation to himself and merely saluted Cid and thanked him. He left the headmaster's office feeling slightly lightheaded with relief.
Squall told Seifer about his reinstatement to SeeD duties as soon as he returned from Cid's office. Of course he carefully omitted any references to their relationship made by Kadowaki and left out his inquiries about their continued sharing of this room. Squall didn't want to scare his roommate away and he was even a little afraid that given the choice Seifer might want him to move out.
"Man, light duties," Seifer said, shaking his head. "That means I get to monitor grats, shuffle paperwork, run errands for Cid and baby sit misbehaving students." Squall grinned, happy to hear Seifer back in his usual humour. "Well, bring it on," the blonde said with a chuckle, running his hand through his hair.
The next day Squall got called away to a mission in Balamb. He was basically just supposed to be security for a fancy party at the hotel. As he gathered a few essential items and his weapon from his room, Seifer was seated at his desk checking Cid's accounts for him.
"By the time you get back I'll be dreaming in numbers, probably speaking in 'em too," Seifer muttered, watching Squall sheathe his gunblade.
"I hope not. Well, see ya," Squall said and ruffled Seifer's hair before walking out the door. Seifer glared at him and tried to smooth his short hair back into place, then he bent his head back to the columns of expenditures. Five hundred fifty four dollars and fifteen cents, hot dogs, he read and added that to forty five dollars, ninety nine cent, stationary. Seifer could feel his head beginning to ache as the little black numbers taunted him, marching across the page. He's done about fifteen sheets already and still had a substantial stack of paper in front of him. Seifer just knew it was a beautiful day outside. While he ate lunch in the cafeteria he'd watched the fat white clouds drift by the skylight through a blue sky. As if that weren't enough, Squall was gone on a twenty four hour mission, meaning that this would be the first time in nearly a month that Seifer slept without him. He scowled at himself for his dependency on Squall even if he did have an adorable way of curling his arm around Seifer's back while they slept and even if he stretched like a kitten when he woke up. It was only one night after all. The rows of numbers staring him in the face almost became a comforting distraction at that point, almost.
After hours of this increasingly dull work Seifer checked the red electronic readout on his alarm clock and shifted in his chair, stretching his arms back as far as they would go and extending his long legs beneath his desk till his toes touched the wall. It was about time for dinner. No more numbers today. Seifer collected a sheaf of finished accounts and gratefully walked out of his room. No wonder Cid was such an idiot, doing this kind of work on a regular basis could drive anyone nuts.
After returning the accounts to Cid, Seifer headed to the cafeteria to get some of what passed for dinner there. This evening it was steak of some sort. Seifer didn't even want to consider what kind of beast it had originated from either. He picked a seat in the corner of the brightly lit white room beside a potted palm. He was forced to stab at the meat with a butter knife since no sharp cutlery was allowed in the cafeteria. Seifer found this rather ironic since he spent most of his life working with what might be considered by the uneducated to be nothing more than an oversized steak knife. The cafeteria's determination to protect him from slicing his fingers while cutting his food seemed ridiculous. It was no mean feat to cut the stuff up with such a dull knife either. The meat was stringy and tough as hell and had to be chewed for about five minutes before it reached a consistency that wouldn't choke a T- Rexaur. In the midst of Seifer's struggles with his dinner Zell plopped down in the seat across from him, eyeing him dubiously. "Looks like yours is still alive," the little martial artist observed, poking at his own steak with a fork.
"Naw, but I wish they'd never gone to the trouble of killing it, if you know what I mean," Seifer said, throwing down his knife in disgust and beginning on his salad. Even the cafeteria didn't manage to destroy salad too badly although some of the lettuce had seen better days. Zell was a fount of gossip while they ate, managing to tell Seifer everything that he'd never wanted to know about people he was barely acquainted with, all while putting away every bit of food on his plate.
"That poor beast never stood a chance against you," Seifer said, gesturing towards the bones. His own dinner remained only half mangled. Zell just grinned brightly at him and suggested that they train for awhile unless Seifer had anything better to do.
"I'm game," Seifer replied, eager for the diversion. He actually found himself enjoying hand to hand combat training with Zell who for all his flakiness was a good teacher.
"So, kept yourself busy today?" Zell asked as they walked towards the Training Centre.
"Yeah, doing Cid's paperwork. It really sucked." Seifer grunted looking down at the man walking beside him.
"Oh yeah, you're back on duty. I almost forgot," Zell replied as they both turned together down the hallway, Seifer shortening his strides unconsciously to keep in step with the shorter man.
"Yeah, Squall's off on a mission today and tomorrow," Seifer added.
"Yep, you guys are still sharing a room, eh?" Zell asked with an impish grin as Seifer opened the heavy door of the Training Centre for him.
"That's right," he said, feeling slightly puzzled by the teasing tone in Zell's voice.
"You lucky bastard," Zell said, still grinning and showing his slightly pointed teeth.
"Well, I mean, you and Squall. Man I never would've thought it of you two. So hey," here Zell looking around at the other people using the training facilities lowered his voice conspiratorially. "How is he is bed, eh?"
"What?" Seifer, forgetting they had an audience, gathered Zell's shirt in both of his fists and lifted the shorter man against the wall so that his feet dangled.
"Aww shit, Seifer. I'm sorry man, it's none of my business I know." Zell's blue eyes were flickering around the room, taking in the many watching eyes that had followed the overwhelming silence that had fallen on the training centre like lightning follows thunder. Seifer quickly releases him , realizing he'd overreacted and quiet whispers and conversations resumed with the sounds of students sparring, slowly and gradually like a storm building again to a steady pitch.
"Listen, nothing like that is going on between me and Squall." Zell's pure blue eyes widened and his eyebrows rose so high that distorted the weird black tattoo on his face.
"Seriously? Gods, then I bet it's not from a lack of trying on Squall's part."
"What? What do you mean by that?" Seifer demanded urgently.
"Oh, well, man I shouldn't be telling you of all people, but I guess you already know by now that Squall really has a thing for you." "A thing? And what makes you think that?" Seifer was still standing close to Zell, questioning him with an intense light in his green eyes which he bent to Zell almost prayerfully he was so attentive. "Well, he told me for one thing, but I mean just the other day he asked Cid for permission to keep on sharing a room with you, so naturally I assumed that something was going on."
Seifer slammed a fist against the wall and Zell winced.
"He did? He didn't bother asking me about it."
"So he rooms with you and all and he still hasn't hit on you or anything?" Zell asked curiously.
"Well, you know Squall, he never says much. We haven't done anything more than share a bed."
"Man! He's slept with you without, y'know sleeping with you? He's a better man than I am," Zell shook his head.
"Yeah, I know," Seifer observed, amused, "and don't you forget it, Chicken Wuss."
Zell was still too abstracted to be insulted. "I mean, not even a come on all this time?"
Seifer narrowed his eyes, "well, maybe a little," he said recalling hazily the kiss he'd received from Squall and all of the times he'd just held Seifer and how they slept entangled together. Seifer felt his face go hot. Zell grinned at this development, which he of course noticed at once.
"More than a little I bet. I bet you've got to be really slow on the uptake Seifer. I'll bet he's been all but throwing himself at you . . ."
"Yes, well, that'll be enough speculation on your part," Seifer said, throwing up a hand to forestall any more clever comments from the Chicken, or what passed for cleverness coming from him. "I'm going to take a rain check on this combat training if you don't mind."
Zell was watching him carefully now, perhaps finally realizing the full impact his careless words might have had on Seifer. "Well, are you going to be okay?"
"Yeah, I just need to think," Seifer said, rubbing his forehead. He pushed at the metal door and turned on his way out.
"Oh and Zell, just to let you know, I'm hoping that if I was a gossip I'd be in a position to answer that personal question you asked me earlier, soon." Seifer let the door close on Zell's knit brow. As Seifer strode quickly down the hall he had every confidence that the spikey haired blonde would get it, eventually.
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