Something's Burning

By Scarlet Fever

The monsters were falling again. Falling from the moon, the horrible Lunar Cry. There were endless waves of them, falling towards us, endangering us. The monsters that existed in our world now were remnants of the last Lunar Cry. When would it end? It seemed that whenever the monsters would thin out, whenever people felt safe, something would come and stop it. Monsters, Sorceresses, Tyrants. When the monsters fell into Esthar, I knew that it wouldn’t end, that I would have to do everything, anything to stop Adel. I knew she was back. I knew I would have to rely on a child I’d never seen. My child. Raine’s child.

Squall hadn’t disappointed me. He’d done more than even I’d expected. I wasn’t disappointed with Squall as a soldier, or Squall as a man. He was a little cold with me, but it was to be expected. I actually expected him to totally shun me, but he hadn’t. I still think we’re both getting used to each other. Squall is to come visit me in three weeks. I’m looking forward to it. In fact, I can’t wait. I want to try and get closer with my son. I’ve missed so much of his life. I want to know how things are going at Garden, how things are going with Rinoa. I wonder if they’ll get married. She looks a lot like Julia. And, he looks a lot like Raine.


I look up. Kiros is standing in the doorway, his arms folded across his chest, giving me ’the look.’ He gives me the look all the time. Usually when I’m staring off into space instead of doing the paperwork that comes with being President of Esthar. Ward gives me ’the look’ a lot, too. I think they should lighten up.

“What?” I yawn, stretching in my chair. I wince, flinching as it falls backwards. Sometimes, I forget that my chair can lean back. I give my old friend a breezy smile. “What’s up?”

“Obviously not you doing work...” Kiros muttered. “If the citizens of Esthar knew that you just sit around playing Minesweeper on your computer, I think they’d be a little upset...”

“I don’t only play Minesweeper!” I shot back. “Sometimes I play Solitaire, too.” I gave him a lopsided grin. “What is it?”

“Some patrollers say they’ve captured someone.. suspicious.”

I furrowed my brow. “And, this is being told to me, because...?”

“That something suspicious is the Sorceress’s Knight.”

I blinked a few times. The Sorceress’s Knight? Seifer Almasy? Squall had told me that Seifer had gotten lost in Time Compression. I wondered if Squall wished Seifer Almasy to be lost in the time vacuum that Ultimecia had created. But, I didn’t think Squall was that vindictive. Time Compression had only been a week or two earlier, and I sometimes still felt like time was standing still. Since the day where Ultimecia and Adel had been defeated at Squall’s hands, with the help of his classmates and friends, there had almost been a bounty put out on Seifer Almasy’s head. I didn’t really care for the word ’bounty’. It sounded really ugly.

I exhaled, only realizing now that I’d been holding my breath. I gave Kiros a sheepish look. “Well, what should I do?”

“The people of Esthar would like to see him strung up in the center of the city.”

I nodded distantly. That was a situation I was desperately hoping wouldn’t show itself. I didn’t know how I felt about a man that gave Julia Heartilly’s daughter willingly to Adel, but I knew that I didn’t want the citizens of my city working themselves into an ugly frenzy.

“You feel differently?” Kiros asked, somewhat shocked.

“I don’t know..” I mused. “One part of me hates him for what he did... But, what if he wasn’t a willing participant like everyone thinks he is?” I sighed deeply, slumping in my chair, jumping slightly when it reclined further.

Kiros snorted at me. “You always were too soft. Come on... They want to bring Almasy to you. I guess you can take him to imprisonment or something...”

I nodded absently, tying my long hair at the nape of my neck. It was starting to go grey in a few spots. Did that mean I was old? I shook my head, following Kiros. One of my attendants gave me my coat. It was winter in Esthar. There were a few cold fronts coming in from Trabia, but it wasn’t anything, really. There were some heavy snowflakes falling slowly to the ground. The perfect snow to catch on your tongue. I looked up into the grey sky, glad for some fresh air. My office was very stuffy. I shot a look to my old friend. Kiros was stuffy, too.

“President Loire!” A few guards saluted. I waved the formality away. No matter how many times I told them, they wouldn’t stop saluting me. Soldiers were very stubborn. Maybe that’s why I’d been so bad at it.

We slowly walked towards a crowd of people, who were angrily screaming. I brought the wool of my coat around my body, keeping out a sudden chill, and it wasn’t all from the gently falling snow. I’d hate to be the man on the receiving end of all this anger. The crowd parted for us, mainly because of my guards.

“President Loire, here is the captor!” One shouted. I could hear the satisfaction in his voice.

I nodded. “Fine, fine...” I looked down at the kneeling man. I was staring at the top of his head, his hair blonde, so blonde that it looked like a sun in the middle of the crisp winter afternoon. His clothes were torn, and stained with blood, all of which I was guessing was his own. I crossed my arms over my chest, regarding him. His face was cast downward, and he stared at the ground. He still looked like a little boy, and his slumped body made him look dejected. It was hard to believe that someone Squall’s age could wreak havoc on so many people. A good little puppet.

“Seifer Almasy?” I asked quietly. I didn’t really like staring at the top of his head.

Slowly, his face tilted upwards to me. The snow was falling around him, catching in the folds of his ruined trenchcoat. A few of the thick, soft flakes fell into his golden hair, and caught on his eyelashes, which fluttered against the touch. His sea coloured eyes seemed to stare right through me, not really seeing me, or seeing anyone. His lips, which were frozen in an unemotional line, were cut and swollen, and there were bruised on his face and neck. I could only guess what the rest of his body looked like. His face may have looked like a child’s at that moment, but his body gave away his maturity. Broad shoulders and hard muscles. At the peak of life. A life stolen away from him.

“We caught him out by the Airstation!” The guard stated, glowering down at the almost catatonic blonde.

“Was he all bruised like this when you found him?” I asked, gesturing at his wounds with one finger.

There was a pause. “Yes, sir.”

I gave him a look. He was lying so bad. But, he lied to me because he knew it was against the law to assault someone like this. At least, in Esthar laws. Laws I’d set up to protect people like Seifer Almasy, like people that Seifer and the Sorceress had hurt. I looked back at Seifer. I then noticed some wet trails on his face and body that didn’t come from any sort of precipitation. Spit. The crowd had spit on him. How degrading.

“What shall we do with him, President Loire?” Kiros asked quietly.

I almost flinched. I hated it when Kiros was so formal with me. I hated it when perfect strangers were formal with me, let alone my best friend.

“Bring him to my office...” I muttered. “I have a few questions that I would like answered...” I turned towards the Palace, but not before shooting the Patrollers a few glares. “And, I’d like him in one piece...” I went back into the foyer of the Palace, dusting some snowflakes off my coat and hair.

“What sort of questions?” Kiros whispered harshly as we took the telepod to my office.

“Questions about Adel, questions about Ultimecia...” I muttered. “I want to know more.”

“I’m sure he’ll just lie...” Kiros paused. “If he can even talk..”

“Well,” I shrugged. “We’ll see, won’t we?”

Kiros sighed to himself. I knew he just wanted to tuck Almasy away, and forget about him. It would bring order back to Esthar’s citizens. I knew he had a point, but I’d always been a curious person. I knew one thing, though. As long as Seifer Almasy was in my city, I would keep him out of the public. I didn’t want a lynch mob to start.

“Sir!” A guard greeted. “The prisoner.”

I shook my head at the word ‘prisoner’. It was very ugly sounding. “Send him in...” I rubbed my eyes wearily. Time Compression hadn’t worked its way out of my body yet.

The tall blonde was shoved into my office. He stumbled on his long legs, falling into a heap on the carpet. His body hit the floor with a loud thud, his hands still bound behind him. He couldn’t catch his body, and his face hit the rug. He breathed out upon impact. I could tell he was biting back a groan. He tried to stand, but his legs were wobbly under him, and he collapsed again.

I looked to the guard that had thrown him in. “He’s restrained. You don’t have to be so rough...”

The guard nodded distantly. He obeyed my orders, but I knew he thought I was sort of a pussy, or a faggot, or whatever insulting words he used for compassion. Was it compassion, or was it just that I wasn’t a violence hungry Neanderthal, and at least respected other human beings.

“Leave us,” I murmured softly, not taking my eyes off of Seifer Almasy, who was looking down at the carpet, panting slightly and swaying. I wondered if he had a concussion.

The guard scoffed, looking at Almasy like he wasn’t even human. Like he was a rat that would scurry between the walls of your house, and you’d frown and bitch and moan about having to buy traps, and the black plague, and then Kiros would make fun of you for being afraid of one rodent. He loved to rub it in. I did not scream like a girl. It was a big rat.

“I said leave us!” I commanded, using a commanding tone that I didn’t use often. The guard looked at me, surprised. He turned and left, and I was glad of it. I didn’t even understand why I needed guards. I could take care of myself. I was in the Galbadian Army, for fuck’s sake. Just because I was a little older now didn’t mean that I was some feeble old fart who talked about the good old days and couldn’t remember anyone’s names.

I tilted my head, looking down at Seifer’s wilted form. “Well, I guess it’s just you and me, kiddo.”

He cocked his head slightly, looking up at me. It seemed that he sounded more surprised by my voice than insulted by being called kiddo. His eyes looked right through me, like he wasn’t really there. I could see some of the spit of the Esthar citizens sort of drying on his cheek. I shook my head, reaching to my desk for some tissues. After than, I stepped behind him, releasing his restraints. “I don’t think you’ll hurt me.”

He didn’t even really seem to notice that I’d released him. He still kneeled on the carpet, staring into space.

“Hey...!!” I called, bending at the waist so I was eye level with him. I snapped my fingers close to his face a couple of times. He blinked. At least he could hear me. “Are you alright. Did you hit your head really hard on the floor?”

He was silent.

I sighed. “Aren’t you going to say anything?”

He blinked a few times. He pursed his lips and looked at my face, like he was trying to figure something out.

I sighed again and went over to my desk. I sat in the chair, careful to not let it recline. I rested my chin on my hand and just looked at him. “I can’t really do anything with you if you’re a zombie, kid.” I gestured lazily to a chair. “You can have a seat, if you want.”

A full minute or so passed where neither of us said anything. I wondered if Seifer was brain damaged, or if he was on drugs, or just totally fucked up. I’d totally gotten used to the thick silence in the air, that I gasped, flinching noticeably when he finally spoke.

“What time is it?”

I scrunched my face up, scowling in confusion. “Huh?”

“What time is it?” He asked, his voice sounding almost cracked, like he hadn’t used it in a long time.

“About three thirty...” I asked, my voice laced with total confusion. “Does it matter?”

“What day is it?”

I narrowed my eyes. “November 22nd.”

He sighed, processing what I’d told him. I blinked, my mouth opening in realization. He was still disoriented from Time Compression. He’d been at ground zero, his mind melded with Ultimecia. He must have felt the imploding of time a lot worse than any of us had.

“Time Compression is over,” I stated. “You’re in regular time.”

He nodded distantly, looking at me from his slumped spot on the floor. “You’re Squall’s father.”

I cocked my head. I knew Seifer and Squall had grown up together. But, I wouldn’t call them childhood friends. Maybe they were. My son was a strange guy sometimes. “That obvious?”

“You’re nothing like Squall. Your facial structure is the same.”

I sighed, smiling slightly. “Will you please sit in a chair? Your kneeling is making me uncomfortable...” I kind of smirked at the base sexual humour in my statement. “Please...”

He slowly moved to a chair. “You were the one who put Adel in space...”

“That’s right...” I peered into his face. His eyes were averted away from me as he examined his surroundings, as if for the first time. “I guess you know as much about Adel as I do, huh?” I chuckled. “At least I never had to share her mind...”

He flinched, looking down at his gloved hands. The leather was torn, and there were small drops of dried blood, caked on the surface. A few of his long fingers were poking through the fingers, cut and caked in blood.

“What were you doing here when they caught you?” I asked.

He didn’t seem to understand the question. He sighed. “I don’t know... I don’t really remember. The last thing I remember is...” He paused. “A castle....”

I nodded. Squall had told me about Ultimecia’s castle. “That was more than a week ago, Seifer Almasy.”

His eyes rose to meet mine, so bright and blue against his face, which was dirty and cut. He just stared at me. “Time doesn’t matter.”

That statement send shivers up my spine. It sounded like something Ultimecia or Adel would have said. I wondered if he was still being controlled by them, that as long as this stoic blonde sitting in front of me was alive, the Sorceresses would control us all.

“Well, I hope you believe that...” I muttered distantly. “Because, you’re going to be in prison for a while...”

“Prison?” Seifer asked hollowly, cocking an eyebrow at me.

“It’s actually safer for you,” I pointed out. “Seeing as how you’ve committed war crimes, it’s either jail or execution.” I gave him a sympathetic gaze. “I don’t believe in the death penalty, so you’re going to stay in the Presidential Prison for a while.”

He frowned at me, showing his displeasure without saying a word.

“Frown all you want, kid. It’s safer for you there. I can’t promise the guards won’t rough you up, but if I send you back out there...” I pointed out one of my windows, my finger jabbing towards the endless buildings of Esthar. “They’ll eat you alive, you know...” I titled my head. “They all want you dead. And, I’m sure the citizens of Esthar aren’t the only ones...”

“I’m sure your son would be leading the mob to claim my head,” he muttered bitterly, talking more to himself than to me. There was also a hint of sadness in his voice. He seemed to be putting up a brave front, but he was still a kid. He must have been a little scared at the prospect of people fighting over who would kill him.

“I’ll keep you under special watch. Actually, Dr. Odine is eager to test you and ask you questions about Adel, Edea and Ultimecia.”

“I’m more valuable as a test subject...” He spat, his split lip turning up into a sneer. Whenever I’d seen him, that sneer had been pasted on his face. It made him look very commanding and authoritative, his regal features curling in disdain. I could see under the grime and blood that he was very fair in his features, still youthful, almost pretty with it. I felt envious. I could never look elegant when I sneered. I tried a few times, and Kiros had just laughed at me.

“You shouldn’t speak so harshly of the Doctor,” I stated. “Sure, he’s weird, and strange, and creeps the Hell out of me, and I think he has a thing for little girls, but he could save your life, you know?”

“Meaning?” Seifer asked. I could tell by the tone of his voice that he was trying to sound angry, but he was actually interested in what I had to say.

“Dr. Odine is one of the lead researchers in Sorceresses. He wants to talk to you, to find out how exactly the Sorceresses controlled you, and why you. Did you have some sort of brainwave pattern, or was it fluke, and that sort of thing. We’ve already contacted Edea Kramer, and she’s coming to Esthar tomorrow morning. Maybe with her help, as well as Odine’s, we can clear your name of guilt for what you’ve done...”

“Why do you care?” He crossed his arms over his chest. I saw huge ribboned bruises on his wrists.

“Holy fuck!” My eyebrows shot up. “Are you okay?”

Seifer looked down at his wrists, smirking again. “You aren’t very dignified, are you?”

I scowled at him. “I’m just trying to be nice!” I narrowed my eyes at him. “You should take any friends that you can get, kid.”

He frowned at me, his glare shooting through me like an icy laser. “Don’t call me a kid. I’m not a little boy...” He trailed off.

I saw the cold look momentarily disappear from his eyes. It was like he was lost in his own memory for a moment, staring off into the past, into something that I couldn’t see. Even though he’d protested being a child, he looked so lost, like a little boy at that moment, like he was going to break down right there in front of me. It passed, and he looked at me coldly again.

“Speaking of which,” Seifer began lowly. “Why do you really give a fuck?”

I became angry with him. I was just trying to be nice with this brat, and he was being a totally ungrateful prick! “Gee, thanks. Is this the way you show your gratitude for people who are willing to save your worthless life?” I leaned forward, running a fingertip over the scar between his eyes, not too gently. He winced slightly under my touch. “You’re lucky this is the only thing Squall gave you.”

At that remark, he flinched away from my touch as if I was on fire. There was that look in his eyes again. That lost, little boy look. I regretted what had come out of my mouth.

“Look, man...” I sighed. What was the point of apologizing. “Get up. I’ll take you to your cell.”

He stood dully, as comatose as he’d been when he’d first come into my office. As soon as we stepped out of my office, that same dumb guard rushed over, roughly grabbing Seifer by the wrists. I heard him take in his breath, gasping slightly in pain.

“Shut up, murderer!” The guard yelled, cracking Seifer across the back of his broad shoulders with a riot baton.

“Is that really necessary?” I asked, raising an upset eyebrow. “Just follow me.”

We walked to a telepod in silence. The only noise was Seifer panting slightly, and the shackles around his bruised wrists jangling slightly. As we went to the living quarters of the Palace, I looked at Seifer. I knew the guard was watching him like a hawk, waiting for him to slip up in any way, looking for a window to beat the already broken blonde. I looked at his profile, which remained stony. He was very elegant looking, despite being covered with cuts and dried blood. He looked just like what a Sorceress’s Knight should look like. I smirked to myself, remembering the movie I made in Trabia, where I had to fight all those Red Dragons. He suited the position much more that I had. The single eye that I could see moved over to me, sensing me watching him.

“I’ve seen that movie you were in...” Seifer murmured softly. He laughed darkly. “When I was a child, I always wanted to meet you...”

“Shut up..” The guard muttered, smacking him in the back of the head.

I glared at him. “He wasn’t doing anything! I want to talk to you after this.”

He looked at the ground sheepishly, like I was his father, berating him in front of his friends. I hated when people did that. It made me feel guilty. Was Kiros right? Was I soft?

I smiled slightly at him. “Thanks, I guess... Man, that was so long ago...” I sighed sheepishly. “It makes me feel really old.”

“And, it makes me feel like a disgrace...” Seifer whispered, looking down at his lap.

I slowly exhaled, not really knowing what to say to something like that. I stood when the telepod stopped. “Okay, kid, let’s go.”

His cell wasn’t a cell per se. It was a room, much like any of the other guest rooms. However, all the other guest rooms didn’t have guards watching them, or no windows.

We stopped in front of a heavy door. “Okay, here we are..”

Seifer looked at the door, slightly confused. “What? I thought I was a prisoner...”

“You are. However, Odine didn’t think it would be best to put you behind bars. He thinks it would put you under great mental strain. And, I don’t think it’s a good idea, because you’re still a kid, and the other prisoners would eat you alive, after breaking you in two for helping the Sorceress.”

Seifer narrowed his oceanic eyes at me. “No matter what the surroundings, being denied my freedom is still a mental strain.”

I bit the inside of my cheek. “At least you’ll have a bed and shower and stuff...” I looked at him. “I know you could use some cleaning up.” I unlocked the door, looking up the hall. There were some guards posted, probably under Kiros’s orders. I was slightly disturbed by the way they were looking at him. Some looked like they wanted to rip his spine out and beat him to death with it, while others were looking at him with almost lustful interest, their eyes moving up and down his body like he was a common whore.

I placed a hand on Seifer’s broad back, pushing him gently into the room. When that same asshole guard moved to follow, I gave him a deadly look. “Wait outside.”

Inside the simply decorated room, I removed Seifer’s restraints once more. “Dr. Odine and Edea should probably come for you in the morning. I suggest getting some rest...” I paused. “Watch yourself, okay?”

Seifer massaged his wrists, removing his gloves. “Why aren’t you afraid of me?”

I gave him a look. “What do you mean?”

“You always take off my shackles. Why aren’t you gunning for my throat like everyone else?”

I shrugged. “I can take care of myself.” I smirked, knowing that if he wanted to, Seifer could rip me apart. He was younger, bigger, and stronger than I was. “Besides, I don’t think you’re dangerous.”

“You’re probably the only one,” he conceded sadly.

I shuffled my feet nervously, toeing the rug. “Well, I’ll leave you to rest...” I trailed off. “I’ll come and get you in the morning.”

Seifer remained silent as I left. When I stepped back out into the hallway, I glared at the guards. “If one hair is out of place on his head, you’re all fired. Odine wants him healthy.”

One of them snorted, and I crossed my arms over my chest. “If you disagree, we can discuss it while I give you a pink slip...” I muttered, openly threatening him.

If any of them had opinions, which I knew they did, they wisely kept it to themselves. I turned to the guard that had been abusing Seifer. “I wish to see you in my office in one hour.”

I quickly walked back up to my office, groaning when I saw another guard standing outside my door.

“What now?” I asked wearily, rubbing my hands over my face.

“Sir?” The guard asked meekly, not sure what I was talking about.

“Sorry...” I hastily apologized. “What is it?”

“Someone delivered the Sorceress’s Knight’s weapon to you. I was wondering what we should do with it?”

“Oh...” I trailed off. I gave him a tired smile. “I’ll deal with it.”

He saluted me and scurried away. I went into my office, and like he said, Seifer’s gunblade was sitting on my desk. I raised my eyebrows. It was pretty big. The metal was slightly tarnished, but I could tell that it was in excellent condition. Seifer must have taken good care of it. I ran a palm over it. I honestly didn’t know what I was going to do with it. I didn’t have the heart to just throw it away. This weapon probably meant the world to Seifer, just like my machine gun meant the world to me. I picked it up, or tried to. It was fucking heavy. A lot heavier than any gunblade I’d ever used. Well, it’s not like I was around them all the time. I’d used one in training, and that one for the movie that Seifer had mentioned. Both were light as plastic compared to this one. I grunted, having to lower it down again.

“Man, he really could tear me apart if he can easily use that thing...” I muttered, rubbing my shoulder. I sighed heavily, slumping in my chair. I gasped when it reclined backwards too quickly. It was going to be a loooongggg day.

The next morning, I greeted Dr. Odine with the same distant pleasantries that I always greeted him with. I thought the guy was a parasite. He had a creepy air about him, and I was almost reluctant to hand over Seifer to him. But, I trusted Edea, so I figured that Odine couldn’t do anything weird.

“Hello, President Loire,” Edea greeted, kissing my cheek.

“Please, don’t call me that.... It’s Laguna.” I waved my hand. “How are you?”

She smiled sadly. “A little nervous. I haven’t seen Seifer in a while, not since we were both under Ultimecia’s control.”

“Do you think he’ll react badly?” I asked.

“No, no... I think it’s my own fears. I honestly don’t know how he’ll react....” She sighed deeply. “I know how the people feel about him...”

I nodded darkly. “I’m having a press conference this afternoon. I’m hoping to make them see... He was just as much of a victim as you were... It’s just he hasn’t really shown any signs of being repentant.”

“I know he’s repentant,” Edea mused. “Knowing Seifer, as I have most of his life, he’ll bury his feelings about this. Let them eat him up.”

“I think ze most important thing iz why Ultimezia deczided to use Zeifer as her Knight.”

“Probably because he was there,” I muttered, following the outlandishly dressed Odine down the hall.

Edea sighed sadly. Her beautiful face then turned up into a smile. “Squall says hello.”

I grinned. “How is he?”

“Actually, he’s very well. He smiles a lot more now. I think Rinoa Heartilly is good for him. He actually said he may come to Esthar to visit you sooner than he planned. He’s got some vacation coming up... And, a well deserved one, I might add.”

“I’m sure you had a little to do with Cid’s decision on that one, no?” I asked her teasingly.

Her pale cheeks stained a slight pink. “I also think Seifer has a little to do with it. Squall wants to see him.”

“Oh...” I trailed off. “Do you think that’s such a good idea?”

Edea gave me a look. “It’s not like your son plans to strangle Seifer. He just wants to see him. They have known each other their entire lives. I think he just wants to see with his own eyes... To make peace with Seifer.”

I nodded distantly as we stopped in front of the guarded door to Seifer’s glorified prison cell. “I hope you’re right, Edea.”

“I think things will probably be a lot different after your press conference. The people love you.”

I laughed, blushing and fidgeting under her compliment. I opened the door. Seifer was sitting on the edge of the bed, staring off into space. I’d sent for some clothes for him, so he was dressed simply in a black shirt and pants. His face was now clean, but there were still a few cuts, paling red against his snowy flesh. For a brief second, I thought back to the moment when my eyes first met Seifer Almasy’s, in the snow, the thick, soft snowflakes catching in his hair, landing on his long, lush eyelashes, how blue his eyes were against the white of his flesh and the white of the snow. The moment passed, and I looked at his face now. He almost looked dead, his face and eyes void of emotion. I knew that he was feeling something, and I figured Edea was right. He was just hiding it.

“Seifer?” I called.

He turned his head, looking at me. His gaze moved to Edea, and when he saw her, emotion definitely passed over his regal face. He practically jumped off the bed, taking a few steps away from us. It looked like he was going to fall over from shock and fear. I noticed his whole body was trembling.

“Seifer...” Edea whispered.

“Matron...” He looked like he was trying to catch his breath, trying to get control of his emotions. He closed his eyes, grasping his restraint. “It’s been a while.”

“Hello, Zeifer. I am Dr. Odine. Vill you pleaze come vith uz?”

He looked at the doctor. I could tell he was slightly taken aback by the ridiculousness of Odine’s appearance. Seifer’s pouty mouth became a thin line, like he was trying to hold back some sort of mirthful laughter. I knew that look because I was sure it was on my face at least once a week as long as I’d known Dr. Odine.

“I presume you’re Dr. Odine...” He asked, his aquatic gaze moving from me to Edea to Odine, then back again. I held his gaze.

“Yes. They’ll be asking you questions about the Sorceress. Don’t worry, they aren’t going to give you a lobotomy or anything...”

He nodded. I knew he wasn’t too sure about going with them, but he would anyway. He walked past me, and I got a faint smell of him, the way the shampoo he used smelled, the way his skin smelled. It smelled nice. I couldn’t put a finger on exactly what Seifer Almasy smelled like, but I liked it. It was very dark and mysterious, much like him. He also made me lose my feeling of authority. He was taller than I was. I had to raise my eyes to meet his own when he walked past. But, I was used to it. He was shorter than both Kiros and Ward.

Edea gave me a thankful look before she followed her former Knight and the ridiculous doctor. I crossed my arms over my chest, not really knowing how to feel about Seifer Almasy, not really knowing how to feel about this whole situation. I still hadn’t really prepared my speech. I knew there would be press from Galbadia, Balamb, Timber, Dollet and Winhill, as well as representatives from Balamb, Galbadia and Trabia Gardens. So, basically, the whole world would be listening to me talk. I slowly walked around the Palace, wanting to avoid my office. What was I going to say? Public speaking always made me really nervous. And, considering the situation I was talking about, I was extra nervous. I just hoped my leg cramp wouldn’t act up.


I turned, seeing Kiros walking towards me. He gave me a look. “What’s wrong? I called you like four times...”

“Oh...” I sighed, slumping my shoulders. “I’m sorry.” I smiled at him. “Just thinking...”

“About the press conference?”

“Do you really think he’s a horrible person?”


“Seifer Almasy...”

Kiros remained silent for a few moments. “I don’t know. From what I’ve heard from Squall and his friends, Seifer was a bit of a prick.”

I shrugged. “Maybe it was defensive. Some people act like assholes because they feel inadequate as humans, and they want to push people away because they’re too afraid of being rejected.”

“I’m not a psychologist,” Kiros stated. “I can’t say what goes on in his mind. What, are you feeling little paternal inklings to him, or something?”

“Maybe...” I sighed. “I just don’t think he’s the horrible monster that everyone else does.” I thought of the scared look in his eyes when Seifer saw Edea. How much his eyes looked like the ocean around Balamb, endless and clear. How it almost looked like he was wearing mascara. Not the black clumpy garbage that most women wore, but the clear stuff. His lashes looked full and long. How his face was youthful and fair, almost that of a child, but his body was definitely that of a grown man. Was that was Seifer was like? Always teetering between childhood and maturity?


I felt a hand smack my shoulder. I turned. Kiros was looking at me, his coffee eyes nearly black with annoyance.

“Oh, sorry. Did I go to bye bye land again?”

Kiros made a noise in the back of his throat. “Look, stop fantasizing about him and plan your goddamn speech already.”

I scoffed. “I am not fantasizing about him!”

“What colour are his eyes?”

“Ocean blue,” I answered instantly. I cast a sidelong glance to Kiros, who had a self-satisfied smirk on his exotic features. “Shut up...” I muttered.

“Just remember one thing... He’s young enough to be your son.”

I shook my head. “The thought never crossed my mind.” I shook my head at my friend again, walking to my office. Just because I thought of Seifer’s appearance didn’t mean I wanted to fuck him. He was a very attractive man. Very attractive. I was allowed to appreciate physical beauty. And, Seifer definitely had that. I wondered if deep down, Ultimecia wanted Seifer as her Knight because he was hot. But, I knew Kiros was right about one thing. I should have been working on my speech.

I bit the inside of my lips, praying to Hyne that I wouldn’t get a leg cramp. There were soooo many people. And, I knew, all of them would be paying attention like their lives depended on it. This wasn’t some boring bulletin about fiscal responsibility or some sort of tariff agreement with Galbadia. This was about the Sorceress’s Knight, and Seifer Almasy’s life. For a moment, I wondered if he was watching? I hoped he was. This was about him. I knew he was in one of the rooms in the palace. Maybe he and Edea would be looking out at the conference, Knight and Sorceress together again, both shamed and ashamed.

I sighed. I was still terrified of public speaking. But, I’d spoken to Squall on the phone, and I felt a lot better. He had a way of putting things in perspective. I was also glad he agreed to my idea of an official investigation into the Ultimecia situation. He would come to Esthar to look into what Ultimecia had done to gain control of Seifer and Edea, as well as his own girlfriend, Rinoa, all to represent SeeD. I was already feeling better. Even if I hadn’t known Squall his whole life, like I should have, I loved him dearly. He was my only child. The only child I would probably ever have. It wasn’t like there were any new potential Mrs. Loire’s out there.

The MC was going on with some stupid introduction about something to do with the public works committee. I really should have been paying attention, but all I wanted to do was run screaming from the square. Who’s brilliant idea was it to hold this conference outside?? I made a mental note to punch Kiros when I next saw him. Speaking of Kiros, I turned my head, glaring at him. He had that damn smirk on his face. But, I knew he had confidence in me. He would have looked worried if he thought that I couldn’t handle it. I was just really, really, really nervous. Really nervous.

“And now, to take the floor, the President of Esthar, Laguna Loire.”

I took in one deep breath as I heard the audience applaud. It was deafening, and I felt like shitting my pants. Some President I was.

“Hello, citizens of Esthar, as well as International audiences watching us from the other countries, such as Galbadia, Balamb, Trabia, Dollet, Timber and Winhill...” I paused, collecting my thoughts. My eyes raked over the crowd, which was basically surrounding me and the platform, going all the way around like a horseshoe. As I looked, my eye caught a fluttering of curtain from one of the rooms in the palace. Within that velvet flutter, I saw black and blonde. Seifer. At least he was taking an interest in his own future.

“Look,” I began, dropping any facade of politics that I’d mustered in my pre-speech preparations. I held my eyes on the room for a brief moment. I knew Seifer knew I saw him. “I’m just going to say it. There’s no point in bullshitting. We’re all here because everyone wants to know what sort of charges Seifer Almasy is going to be lain with.” I gripped the sides of the podium. “I’ve heard rumblings of war crimes, and of a public execution. These rumblings are worldwide, and not just from the citizens of Esthar. However, I pose this question to you. Why not kill every Esthar soldier, every man in the Galbadian Army, every student of the three Gardens, every SeeD member, as well as myself, and Sorceress Edea? Why just lay blame on Seifer Almasy?”

I looked around the crowd, catching my breath. The silence was louder than the applause I’d received. “Citizens of Esthar, may I use you as an example? For those of you who were old enough to remember, Adel used to run this country. Yes, Adel, I said her name. She was a tyrant, and ruled us all with an iron fist. She made us do horrible things in the name of research. She made the soldiers of the Esthar army search for children who could have been Sorcerers or Sorceresses. Esthar was basically committing genocide. Are these war crimes? Should I arrest every man and woman who was afraid for their lives, and obeyed Adel to keep their own children, their own lives safe? People do horrible things in war, this I agree with, but I do not agree with the almost disgusting manner that Mr. Almasy has been treated. He’s a human being, just like the rest of us, just like the people around the world who had to do things in the name of self survival. Should I arrest my own son because he had to kill a few Galbadian soldiers? I will not let one person be the scapegoat for an big mass of hurt. One person should never have to suffer that sort of unfair treatment.”

I took in a breath again, my words just coming out in a rush. “I know more than a few of you will be wondering about Seifer Almasy, or any of the participants in this war, coming to responsibility for their actions. There will be an official inquisition into the actions Mr. Almasy took under the control of the Sorceresses Edea, Adel and Ultimecia. My office will lead this investigation. The people participating will be myself, Kiros Seagill, Ward Zabac, Dr. Odine, all representing Esthar, as well as the faction that sealed Adel’s power, and Edea Kramer and Squall Leonhart to represent the Gardens that dispatched SeeD to fight against the Sorceresses. Along with Seifer Almasy, we will all look into what exactly happened to the participants in this Neo-Sorceress War, and find ways to prevent such actions that you all blame entirely on Almasy from ever coming to light again. I will now field questions.”

There were a few moments of silence. “What if Almasy is still taking orders from the Sorceress?!”

“Doctor Odine performed some tests on Mr. Almasy this morning. As you know, Dr. Odine is an expert in the field of Sorceresses, and Edea Kramer also foresaw the examination. The test results will be on display for public record in Odine’s laboratory. The results, which measured brainwave anomalies, were negative.”

“Seifer Almasy killed many people. Do you think it’s responsible to let him out to do the same thing again?!”

I narrowed my eyes. “I’ve killed people in the course of my life. As a member of the Galbadian Army, I killed too many people, and yet, I’m still allowed to live. I think if Mr. Almasy can live with himself over his actions, then I’m sure you can live with it, too. No matter how much we punish other people, it’s not going to change what happened. Violence and brutality will only make us as bad as Adel, as bad as Ultimecia.”

“Will Mr. Almasy remain in Esthar during the Presidential investigation?”

“Yes. He will remain in the Palace, and participate in the discussions. I think it best that he stays in the safety of the palace walls, for there are still those of you out there who would kill him in an instant. Only together, through discussion and rational thought, can we put the pieces of ourselves back together, and put this war behind us.” I smiled bitterly. “The one that the lynch mob should be looking for is Ultimecia.”

“Will Seifer Almasy still be in custody?”

“No. I am releasing him, and dropping any sort of ridiculous war crime charges against him. He’s been a prisoner of circumstance for far too long. I don’t want to take his freedom away from him again.”

“How can you be so diplomatic when he tried to kill your son?!”

I glared down at the reporter from my place at the podium. “I think that if Mr. Leonhart can be diplomatic about it, then everyone else can. Now, are there any more real questions?”

“When will the results of Odine’s tests on Almasy be available for public viewing?”

“In the morning. Dr. Odine will also make himself available for questions that have to do with the Sorceresses themselves, and how someone like Adel can affect brainwaves. Now, we don’t want to use this as fodder for mass hysteria about the Sorceresses. Don’t let a couple of bad apples spoil the whole barrel. Any other questions?”

“How will this investigation be financed? With tax money?”

“No, no... From my own wallet. Don’t worry about taxes. Any other financial discussions will be held in next week’s finance conference, held by Mr. Kiros Seagill.” I smiled crisply. “If there are no further questions, this concludes my statement. Thanks for your time, everyone.” I stepped away from the podium, holding my breath. I hadn’t prepared any of those statements, and had just said what I felt like saying. How would it go over? There were a few scattered claps that turned into a sea of applause. I couldn’t help but smile to myself. At least I hadn’t made a total moron of myself.

I heard a few questions about Seifer, mostly by tabloid reporters being screeched at me. I didn’t even turn around.

“Nice...” Kiros commented. “I’m actually surprised.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Huh?”

Kiros rolled his eyes. “I was just going to compliment you on the way you handled yourself, and then you go and make yourself an idiot again..” He muttered as we walked back into the Palace.

“Do you think that the public will settle for this?” I asked, somewhat unsure.

“It will take time...” Kiros patted my shoulder. “You did the right thing, you know. Seifer’s a human, just like the rest of us. Your softness actually has merit.”

I glared at him. “Oh, I owe you a punch in the face for making that fucking outside, Kiros.”

“You know,” a voice said from behind us. “You actually sounded like you knew what you were talking about...” The familiar voice sounded like it was right behind me.

I turned quickly, meeting a pair of eyes that matched my own. “Squall!” My face lit up. “I wasn’t expecting you until the morning!”

He gave me a small smile. “I wanted to hear the conference in person.” He stood in front of me, almost uncertainly. I bridged the gap between us, trapping him in a hug. He sort of laughed, hugging me back lightly. I guessed he still wasn’t used to being hugged by me.

“Sorry,” I hastily apologized, looking him up and down. “So, I didn’t make a total ass of myself? You look so much like your mother.”

He cocked his head. “No, you didn’t make a total ass out of yourself.”

“Good, because that speech was totally unplanned.”

“Why am I not surprised?” My son asked wryly, giving a look to Kiros. “If you had prepared it, you would have sounded stupid.” His eyes narrowed. “I’m sure Seifer is thankful to you.”

I pursed my lips as we walked towards the telepod. “Are you sure about this?”

“Laguna, I’m going to discuss the budget with Ward. I’ll leave you two to chat.” His eyes twinkled as he left.

“I’m sure you’re going to be doing a lot of ‘discussing’,” I muttered after him, my tone teasing. I laughed when he shook his head at me, his expression saying ‘You’re 44. Grow up.’

Squall laughed slightly. “Are they still... you know....”

“A couple?” I asked. “Does that embarrass you? Homosexuality, I mean?”

Squall shook his head. “No, not at all. I guess I’m not used to discussing people’s sexual relations with my father...”

“Don’t worry. I was never used to discussing sex with my dad. It doesn’t go away.”

“Great,” Squall muttered.

“How’s Rinoa? Did she come with you?”

Squall shook his head, blowing up into his shaggy bangs. “No.” He rolled his eyes slightly.

“What?” I asked, my concern rising. “Are you two fighting already?”

“Well, we’ve spend the last week entirely in each other’s company. I think I just need to be by myself, or away from her, for a few days. Even true love needs a rest...” He muttered darkly. “Besides, she pussied out on the idea of seeing Odine. I think she’s afraid of being possessed again.”

“Is she afraid of seeing Seifer?”

“No, I don’t think so. I think she actually wanted to see Seifer. She was a prisoner, just like he was. But, I assume that it was worse for him. But, she would say she had it worst off. She’s a drama queen like that...” He trailed off. “Sorry. Just venting.” He looked at me. “You don’t have to look at me like that. I still care about her. All couples have things like this.”

“True...” I muttered. “Your mother sometimes did stuff that drove me insane.” I sighed. “She said whatever a lot...” I gave him a sidelong glance.

“Ha, ha, ha, Dad. Very funny.”

I smiled distantly. Squall looked at me as we walked down a lavishly carpeted hallway. “What?”

“You called me Dad...” I trailed off. “I like it when you do that.”

He sighed. “I actually like saying it.”

We remained in happy silence for a few moments. I was the first to break it. “Are you hungry?”

“Actually, very much so.”

“We can eat in the conservatory if you want.”

“Sounds great,” He said. “A conservatory, huh? Living in the lap of luxury...”

“I’m surprised I’m not fatter...” I patted my stomach teasingly. I knew that I was in good shape, better shape than some men Squall’s age. “Or lazier.” I teased at myself as we walked into the conservatory.

Squall chuckled to himself. “No, then you’d be Zell.”

We both looked up as we heard a laugh. The tall, black clad figure was standing in front of one of the large windows, looking out over plants and flowers, butterflies and ferns. The laugh died down as Seifer’s eyes met Squall’s. They just looked at each other for a while. I noticed that Seifer’s face held some uncertainty. I was used to seeing him stony, emotionless. The nervousness made him look fragile.

“Squall..” Seifer whispered. He then looked to me. “I’m sorry. I’ll leave you two alone.” He gave a half smile. “Thanks for cheering me up with a Zell jab.” He began to walk past us.

I wanted to ask him to stay, but remained silent. I wanted to eat with him, get to know him better, just like I wanted to get to know my son better. Seifer Almasy fascinated me. But, I wouldn’t say anything, because I was sure that Squall wouldn’t want to have a meal with his former rival.

“Wait,” Squall commanded gently. “You don’t have to leave. Me and Laguna were just going to eat something. You can join us, if you want....Dad, that’s okay, right?” He looked at me.

“It’s more than alright. I’d like to get to know you a little better, Seifer.”

Squall cocked his head, crossing his arms. “And, we have a lot to discuss.”

Seifer looked at us, almost sadly. “Why do you want to eat with me? I tried to fucking kill you...” He trailed off, his voice shaking slightly. He looked at me. “I tried to destroy you all...”

“Ultimecia did that,” Squall protested. “I have no hard feelings towards you, Seifer.”

He snorted. “What, did Time Compression erase your memory? I was a fucking bastard.”

“It didn’t erase my memory,” Squall said solemnly. “But, it did give me a new perspective on you.” He frowned. “Someone could have helped you with your self-hatred, you know.”

Seifer took his breath in. His eyes narrowed, almost in a challenge. “Someone could have also helped you with your anti-social skills.”

Squall laughed slightly. “That’s more like it. So, are you staying?”

Seifer cocked his head, looking at us. “Sure.” He shrugged one of his shoulders slightly.

I smiled, glad. “Hurray.”

Squall rolled his eyes. “You were so eloquent before...”

Seifer sighed, sitting down at one of the circular tables. I sat sort of beside him, and sort of across from Squall. It’s hard to sit across from people at a circular table. “Thank you, President Loire.”

“For what?” I asked, surprised. I tucked some of my hair behind my ears. “And, please, never call me President Loire again. Just Laguna is fine.”

“I want to thank you... Laguna... for what you said about me at the press conference. It was very kind of you, even if I don’t deserve it.”

“Of course you deserve it. You’ve been through Hell, and it’s not fair that they want to judge you. If they had to go through half of what you did, I think they’d change their tunes pretty fucking fast.”

Seifer smiled distantly at me. I found myself smiling back, staring into his eyes. Squall was busy watching a butterfly, in his own little world, so he didn’t notice us. Quite frankly, I found myself forgetting about my son. Seifer’s eyes were like a riptide, sucking me in, until his eyes were the only thing I could see. He didn’t break gaze with me, and just stared at me calmly. I found that I was staring with awe at his face. The more I looked at it, the more I liked it. At first appearance, Seifer probably looked severe to people, but he was actually very pretty, beautiful, handsome, elegant, sensual, sexy, all those adjectives to describe physical beauty. He was sensational.

Squall cleared his throat. “What just happened there?” He asked, his gaze darting from me to Seifer.

I shook my head. “Sorry... Must have gotten lost in space there...”

Squall rolled his eyes, pointing beside us. One of the Palace servants was standing beside the table, looking at me with slight impatience.

“Oh!” I exclaimed, running my hands through my hair. I hadn’t even noticed him. “Uh, can we have...” I trailed off. “What do you guys want?”

“I’m not very picky,” Seifer murmured, still looking at me. He was actually making me a little nervous. I almost wanted to blush.

“Neither am I,” Squall echoed, rummaging in one of the pockets of his bomber coat.

“How about ginger chicken in orange sauce, and some water chestnut soup.”

Seifer raised his pale, arched eyebrows. “Sounds fine.”

“To drink, Sir?”

I shrugged. “I’ll have some wine. Uh, you guys?”

“Water’s good,” Seifer simply said.

“... Whatever...” Squall muttered, frowning as he looked in another pocket of his coat.

“I guess that’s two waters.”

The servant nodded, bustling away.

“Are you okay?” I asked, looking at my son.

“Fine...” Squall muttered, pulling out a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. “Do you mind if I smoke here?”

Seifer’s beautiful face scrunched up. “Since when do you smoke?”

“Since just before Time Compression...” He looked at us. “So, can I or not?”

I waved a hand, not caring. I wasn’t as surprised as Seifer was. I’d seen Squall smoking before. Seifer shrugged.

“It’s a free country. But, you have to admit it’s a gross habit. What made you start?”

Squall lit one up. “I would sneak one or two when I was thirteen or fourteen. And, just before Time Compression, I found myself buying a pack.” He sighed, exhaling smoke. “I know it’s gross. But, this is my way of coping with what I’ve done in the name of war.” He narrowed his eyes, and I saw Squall’s gaze moving to Seifer’s hands. “I don’t have the mindset to slit my wrists, so I kill myself slowly.”

Seifer looked down at the table. “What do you mean?”

I raised my eyebrows, looking at the blonde.

Squall snorted. “Come on, Seifer. I can see the scars through the bruises. Fuck, I could see the scars when I was fifteen. I can also see that one of them is fresh. Third time not a charm?”

I felt my lips parting in surprise. Seifer tried to kill himself, and recently? Did he think he was as terrible as the public thought he was?

“You’re much more open than you used to be...” Seifer muttered, clenching his hands into fists.

“I guess that’s Rinoa’s influence. We’ve all changed.” He sighed. “You’ve finally stopped pretending.” Squall flicked some ash into an ashtray. “I can see it in your eyes.”

“I think I liked it better when you kept your mouth shut..” Seifer whispered.

“Seifer..” I whispered. “Look, I don’t know you that well, or anything, but you can’t honestly believe that you’re worthless....”

He looked at me sadly. “I have to learn my worth all over again. Ultimecia stole it from me.”

Squall stubbed out his cigarette. “Excuse me, gentlemen. I should use the bathroom, and maybe call Rinoa. I bet she thinks that the Ragnarok is embedded in the side of a mountain or something.” He smiled, leaving the warm conservatory.

Seifer remained silent, training his gaze on the plants.

“You’re not worthless...” My own voice surprised me. It sounded very soft and unsure. I felt like a teenager around him. No, not a teenager. A stupid teenager.

He remained silent. “How can one person judge worth, anyway?”

“How can one person judge worthlessness?” I shot back. “How can you so easily want to throw away your own life?!” I gripped one of his bruised wrists, turning it over. “Do you honestly think that the world would be better without you?”

“Yes...” Seifer muttered. “Maybe I’m not so morose on all days, but I’m nobody special...”

I just stared at him, my fingers still digging into his wrist. He flinched slightly, but didn’t pull his wrist away.

“If you weren’t somebody special,” I muttered lowly. “Then I would have just thrown you to the mob like a piece of meat to starving dogs.”

Seifer blinked a few times, his sensual lips parted in slight surprise.

“Do I surprise you?” I asked, finally pulling my hand away from his wrist.

“Yes. That sort of angered passion isn’t an emotion I’d place with you...”

I shrugged. “I get passionate about the things I feel strongly about.”

“Does that mean you feel strongly about me?”

I snapped my mouth shut, not sure how to answer that. It sounded like a trick question.

Seifer suddenly laughed, a hollow, false sound. “You don’t have to answer that. How could you feel anything for me except humanitarian feelings. You’ve only known me a day.”

I nodded. “But, I feel like I know you more. I’ve heard about you. Your reputations precedes you.”

“I don’t know if that’s such a good thing.”

I sighed, flipping my hair over my shoulder. “Maybe part of me feels strongly for you....”

He looked at me, studying my face and body movements with his oceanic eyes, that stretched for all eternity. It was like Time Compression still existed within his eyes. Minutes and seconds, moments and hours seemed lost, insignificant.

“Is our food here yet?” Squall asked, coming into the room. “Rinoa says hello to you both.”

“Oh... That’s nice,” I muttered, turning away from Seifer, looking down at the table to hide the slight blush that had crept into my cheeks. I noticed Squall studying me, just as Seifer had. I felt like I was under a microscope.

“I think I’ll go see where our food is!” I exclaimed hastily, practically running from the room. As I left, I heard Squall ask “What’s with him?”

I purposely took my time going back to the conservatory. I didn’t want to have to face Seifer again. It seemed that whenever he was around, I got all tongue tied. I’d only known him for a day, for Christ’s sake. What was there to be nervous about? I was older than him. I was the fucking President of Esthar. Why was I letting someone young enough to be my son get to me? Was Kiros right? Was I fantasizing, infatuated by him? I had to admit that he was extremely handsome. More than handsome. Beautiful. But, he was so young. Maybe it would be better if I was thinking about Kiros or someone closer to my age.

I sighed, rubbing my palms over my face. What was I doing?! Actually, why was I beating myself up? It was natural to fantasize. And, Seifer was a very good looking man. Guys my age fantasized about young girls, or boys, all the time. It’s not like anything would happen. I nodded, deciding I was satisfied with that train of thought. And, it wasn’t Seifer’s fault that his eyes were endless, and that he had the body of a god, his legs going forever, or that his face was the kind that people would kill for, the kind that you thought of when you were fucking your husband or wife. I sighed, crossing my arms over my chest as I felt a warm wave pass over me. I cursed my body as I almost walked into the conservatory. But, I stopped when I heard laughter. Strange laughter. It was the combined laughs of Squall and Seifer, two men who weren’t known for laughing.

“Glad to see Zell’s still my good little Chicken-Wuss...” Seifer mused.

“Nobody’s called him that in a while. I guess he needs someone who hates him around more often.”

“I didn’t hate Zell. I liked him. He at least acknowledged my existence. He was pretty funny. I just liked teasing him. He always gave me the reaction I wanted.” There was a pause, and I heard a chair creak. “I actually thought he was pretty cute.”

There was a long pause.

“Don’t look at me like that...” Seifer muttered. “What? So I thought Zell was attractive...”

“You’re gay?” Squall asked, his voice low. “But, what about Rinoa?”

Seifer snorted. “What about her? I wouldn’t be the only fag to fuck a chick.”

I pursed my lips. So much for my resolve about Seifer. It was different when I thought he was straight. But, knowing that he was into men, it left this ugly, warm light of hope. If I was this bad thinking he was straight, how would I react around him knowing there was a minute chance... I shook my head. He was young enough to be my son.

“But, you always seemed so straight.”

“Please don’t tell me you buy into that swishy stereotype, Squall. You’re smarter than that.”

“Well... Thank you... I guess.”

“Besides. They aren’t real men. They’re just women with dicks.”

Squall snorted. I heard a lighter click. I couldn’t say I was pleased with Squall’s habit, but I figured it was better than Seifer’s penchant for cutting himself.

“Where’s Laguna? He’s been gone a while...”

I closed my eyes, leaning against the wall. The way he said my name... Laguna never sounded sexier. I sighed. What was I doing?! I was eavesdropping! I’m Laguna Loire, President of Esthar, not some bubbly schoolgirl. I’m Laguna Loire, fool around men and women alike.

“Who knows with my Dad. I’m sure he could get lost in a closet...”

Oh, thanks a lot, son. I muttered mentally. I knew that Squall said it with affection, though.

“Speaking of my father... What’s going on with you two?”

“What do you mean?” Seifer asked, his voice deadpan as it wafted into the hallway.

“I mean the way I’ve caught you two staring at each other... I think if you say “I think your dad’s hot”, I might end up eating this pack of cigarettes.”

“What, your father is a very attractive man. Most guys our age don’t look that good.”

I heard Squall made a rude noise. “I don’t see it. He’s my father, Seifer.”

There was a pause. “I know that. I think Laguna’s pretty amusing. For the leader of the most powerful country in the world, he’s...”

“Scatterbrained?” Squall offered.

“Laid back,” Seifer replied. “He actually kind of reminds me of Zell... But, more intelligent and less likely to have a hyperactive stroke.”

I shook my head, deciding to come into the room now. “The food will be ready soon,” I announced, deciding instantly to pretend that I hadn’t heard any of their conversation. “So, not at each other’s throats yet?”

“Hardly. When we aren’t classmates, we get along swimmingly,” Seifer muttered, smirking at Squall.

My son’s eyes darted between me and Seifer. I frowned at him. “What are you looking at, Squall?”

He puffed on a cigarette. “Nothing, Dad... Nothing.”

There were breezes coming in from the open windows along the grand hallway. I couldn’t sleep, and decided to walk around the Palace. At this time of night, everyone was sleeping. It was the darkest part of night. The only noise was the slight noise my bare feet made in the carpet. I couldn’t sleep because I couldn’t stop thinking about Seifer. Part of me wanted nothing more than to fuck his brains out, to lock us in a room, and have my way with him, to be fucked by him, to talk to him endlessly just to hear the sound of his voice.

I looked out the windows. It was never really pitch black in Esthar. There was always a technological glow around things. It was like an artificial moon. The glare wasn’t like the harsh lights of Deling City, but soft, almost singing. On my solitary walk, I noticed a figure ahead of me. Thinking it was a guard, I continued, not caring if I was half dressed, or if my hair was slightly sleep tousled. As I passed the figure, which was shadowed, he spoke to me.

“Nice to see that I’m not the only one who can’t sleep,” he murmured, his melodic voice cutting right through me.

I almost gasped, looking at the other man. Seifer’s beautiful, glittering eyes stared back at me. He was only wearing a pair of pyjama pants, and I couldn’t help but look at his bared chest. He must have known I was ogling him, because my eyes weren’t leaving the perfect planes of his chest. Every muscle was well-developed, but not overly so. He was just perfect. My eyes looked at his navel, at his nipples, and the muscles of his groin that disappeared into the loose waistband of his black pyjama pants. I began to find it difficult to breathe.

“You like looking at me, don’t you?” He asked, his voice barely a whisper. I suddenly noticed that he was standing directly in front of me. His breath washed over the curl of my ear as he spoke. “Do you think I’m attractive?”

My breath caught in my throat. I looked at the steel collar that wound around his throat. “You’re young enough to be my son...” I whispered.

“Is that how you see me? Merely age?” I gasped as his fingers touched my shoulders. “I don’t see you that way, Laguna. Who cares how old you are? You’re still very attractive. More so than most guys my age.”

I finally met his eyes, and any sort of restraint that I’d been harbouring disappeared. He was right. Age didn’t matter. All that mattered is how much I wanted him, and how warm he made me feel. Some sort of inkling in the back of my mind told me that I barely knew Seifer Almasy. But, there was time for that, right? He seemed very willing, and I knew that I was more than willing. All my mental dilemmas flew out the open windows as Seifer’s mouth covered mine. His teeth raked over my bottom lip as he parted my lips, pushing his tongue inside my mouth.

I just sort of stood there, taken by surprise. When his hands moved into my hair, I cursed myself for not reacting. Immediately, I crushed my lips to his, our teeth clashing together. I ran my hands down his chest, my fingers digging into his skin as my hands moved their way down the muscled plains of his beautiful body. When my fingers pinched his nipples, almost too roughly, he hissed into my mouth, pushing me up against the wall. My head snapped back with the force, and before I could recoil away from the wall, Seifer’s body was pressing me against the wall, my back fully against the cold, hard surface. It was so cold compared to the warmth of his body. I couldn’t even really see straight at this point, so I closed my eyes, winding my arms around Seifer’s trim waist. His muscles were so hard and taut under my palms and fingertips. That wasn’t the only thing that was hard. I could feel an erection stirring in my pants, and I could feel Seifer’s hardness against my leg. When had I last been this aroused? It had been a long time. Too long. And, Seifer was just what I needed. He was so different from any of the men or women I’d been interested in prior to meeting him, and that’s what made it better. He was so alive, so passionate, yet, so tinged with frailty, like he was glass about to shatter if not handled gently.

I wound my tongue around his, wanting to taste him fully. His mouth was like his scent. It was Heavenly, but it was hard to distinguish what made it so wonderful. It was dark and mysterious, and I found myself licking the surface of his tongue, his lips, the roof of his mouth, his teeth, to figure out what it was. Seifer moaned gently into my mouth. Well, to call it a moan was a bit hasty. It was a soft sigh, only the barest hint of noise escaping his lips, and entering my mouth. I finally moved my hands away from his now hard nipples, and began to search for more hard things. When my fingertips moved beneath the waistband of his pants, Seifer groaned, grinding his hips against mine. He moved his mouth away from mine as my hands teasingly, slowly moved down towards his genitals, the softness of his pyjama pants tickling the backs of my hands.

Seifer’s lips began to press against my jaw line and my throat, barely applying pressure. It tickled me to the point of whimpering gently, and when my hand finally touched the blood engorged flesh of his penis, Seifer bit into my neck, a low whine bit back. I slowly caressed him, and he writhed against my body, throwing his head back, a slow exhaling of breath passing his lips, which were moist from a mixture of our saliva.

“Fuck me, Laguna...” He panted, lolling his head forward again, looking at me under heavy lids. He was the sexiest thing I’d ever seen.

I woke up, tangled in my sheets, which were damp from my own sweat. I sighed, rubbing the sleep out of my eyes. I looked around my room, disoriented. The clock by my bed said it was four in the morning. I was dreaming. And, what a fucking dream it was.

I sat up, curling up slightly. I still had an erection from my imagined encounter with Seifer, and my skin was covered with a sheen of sweat that felt like an afterglow. I shook my head, pushing my long hair out of my eyes. I was severely disappointed that I wasn’t really feeling up Seifer, but I was also sort of relieved. I shouldn’t have wanted him so badly. He was Squall’s age. He was Squall’s... friend... I guess was the best word for it. He was the former Sorceress’s Knight. He was celestial. He was perfect.

I slowly got out of bed, my erection now gone. I decided that a walk would be good. I needed to clear my head. At this point, I forgot that I was only wearing a pair of boxers. My mind was too muddled to think of my own non-existent modesty. I walked down the same hall in my dream, rubbing my temple to wake myself up, and to try and push the echoing sound of Seifer’s voice out of my mind.

Fuck me, Laguna.

I softly groaned. I was going insane. I’m sure Kiros would have a field day with me if he caught me like this, totally disoriented from the best sex dream I’d ever had, and about a man half my age, for Christ’s sake. As I walked, I noticed a figure standing near the windows. My heart leapt into my throat as I realized it was Seifer. This time, however, he was wearing a pair of black pyjama pants and a tight wifebeater. I was the one that was half naked.

He looked up when he saw me approaching. “Oh, President... I mean, Laguna...” He smiled sadly. “I didn’t wake you or anything, did I?”

I shook my head, blinking a few times as I looked out to the Esthar skyline. “No. You probably could have moaned and screamed all you wanted, and not waken anyone.” I pursed my lips, thinking of the way his moans sounded in my dream.

“Oh...” He trailed off, crossing his arms over his chest. “Why can’t you sleep?”

“A... uh... A dream woke me...” I stammered.

He sighed. “I’m nervous. Scared, actually.”

“Scared?” I leaned against the wall, regarding him. “Why are you scared?”

“About tomorrow. I’m going to be discussing things that I would rather forget, things that I don’t want to admit happened.”

I reached up, patting him gently on one of his muscled shoulders. His skin was so warm and soft. “It’s okay. It’s all confidential.”

He gave me a sad smile in the dark, huffing slightly. “I’m not questioning that. I’m questioning myself. What does it mean when I admit all the things that Ultimecia, Adel and Edea made me do? Edea knows some of it, but Ultimecia made me do worse things, did worse things to me. If I utter them...” He sighed. “I don’t know. It just makes it more real, I guess.”

I took my hand away from his chest. “That’s the whole point of tomorrow. We want to find out how Ultimecia controlled you, and prevent it from ever happening again.” I paused. “None of it was your fault, you know...” I began fidgeting, and I was beginning to feel a leg cramp coming on. I played with the dog tags that always hung around my neck.

The clanking of my tags caused Seifer to look over, his eyes raking over my half naked body. I suddenly felt very self conscious. I was getting old. I still kept myself in shape, but my body was nowhere near as nice as his. His eyes looked up to my face.

“Thank you for being so kind to me, Laguna. Most people would want something in return...” He stared out at Esthar darkly.

“A smile would be nice..” I murmured.

He looked at me, surprised. A smile broke out over his face, and it was like the sun was rising hours before it should have. Something curled tightly within my chest, and it felt like my heart was on fire, burning me like the sun of his smile. Burning me from the inside out.

He pushed his body off the wall. “Thanks for listening, Laguna. I’ll see you in the morning...” He made a waving gesture as he walked towards his room. After dropping the war crime charges against him, I’d moved Seifer to a much nicer room, with large windows and a lavishly planted balcony. I couldn’t hear the door to his room click. All I could hear was the roaring of my own blood in my ears, all I could see was the beautiful brightness of his smile, all I could feel was the burning deep in my chest, all I could taste is what I’d imagined he would taste like. And, his voice wouldn’t stop echoing in my mind as I sighed, looking out over the city that I ruled, and I felt ruled by a god with a smile warmer than the sun.

“I remembered going to Timber to help the Forest Owls. Well, I thought it was helping, but I’d just fucked up again...” Seifer trailed off, looking at his hands. “But, that’s neither here nor there.” He looked up at us, his gaze holding mine for a moment longer than the others. “I took President Deling to the room beside the broadcast stage. There was a big platform in it, and suddenly, I could feel energy. It was like there had been some sort of static charge in the room, and as soon as I would touch something, it would crackle. I couldn’t tell where it was coming from. I think it was coming from everywhere, from everything in the room.” He looked up to Edea.

“I used a teleportation skill that Ultimecia embedded in me, and came into the room. I can’t really remember much of it, because I wasn’t in my right mind, but I remember feeling energy, much like Seifer said. It was coming from everything, from him and Deling. I could sense Seifer on a molecular level. It was like I could read his mind. As a Sorceress, I wasn’t gifted with telepathy.”

“Ultimecia had telepathy,” Squall interjected. “But, I assume that she couldn’t use it to her fullest capabilities because you did not have that inherit power. Is that right, Matron?”

She smiled at Squall. “Very much so. I could feel Seifer’s thoughts, rather than read them. It was more like empathy.”

“I was highly confused, and all the energy seemed to get stronger. It was like I could feel everything on a molecular level, like Edea said. I don’t know why I could feel that, because I’m not a Sorcerer. Maybe it was something dormant in my brainwaves that drew Ultimecia to me.”

“I vill have to agree vith you, Zeifer. If you hadn’t had any Sorcery knowledge, you couldn’t have velt the kinetic energies that Ultimezia was giving off through Edea.” Odine eyed Seifer with interest, which sent disgusted shivers up my spine. I still remembered what he did with Ellone.

Squall cleared his throat. “What I have a big question about is how Ultimecia controlled you after Edea was gone. She could use Matron’s Sorcery as a conduit, but you’re not a Sorcerer...”

Seifer sighed, trying to find his words. “True, Squall, true. Actually, when Edea began to control me in Timber, I remember her voice, her eyes. That’s all I really remember. I know that the electrical energy surrounding everything was used. Ultimecia, through Edea, kinetically changed the pattern of the neutrons, protons and electrons, basically changing my brainwaves.”

“Hypnosis?” I asked.

“It started out that way...” His gaze locked with mine. “All Ultimecia needed was a few days with me under her control, and she began to use mental tricks and subliminal messages against me. In a weakened mental state, I was easily convinced that what she was saying was true.”

“What exactly was she saying?” I asked. “How did she convince you to work for her?”

“She showed me things, that to my mind, were truth. My own fears about myself, as well as images conjured up by her, images of people like Squall and Matron, and I thought it all to be true.”

“What did she make you do?” Kiros asked. “Besides all that we’ve documented...?”

Seifer remained silent, his hands clenched in tight fists. “Terrible things.” He refused to look at any of us. “She made me torture people...” he cast a sidelong glance to Squall. “One of the Galbadian Soldiers tried to come here, to Esthar, to see Dr. Odine about neutralizing her powers, and it was my job to punish him...” Seifer trailed off. “She made me....” He sighed. “She made me castrate him, and then burn him alive.” His voice became soft and shaky. “There were a lot more deaths that nobody knew about.....” I saw him bite back some tears. His already aquatic eyes looked even more like an ocean now that they were almost spilling with tears. “And, if I didn’t follow her, she punished me.”

“Punished?” Squall asked. “Worse than what you gave?”

“I was the whore of the Galbadian Army, used for their pleasure whenever I would disobey. Edea knows some of this...”

She nodded sadly. “Unfortunately, I do....” She gave Seifer a sympathetic look.

“The mental images were the worst. She would invent the worst kinds of Hell for me to exist in when I was bad. Things like ripping out my own eyes, being slowly impaled, infected with horrible parasites and diseases, being ripped apart and tortured in the worst humanly ways. Beyond human cruelty. I would wake up every night, swearing it was real...” He couldn’t stop a couple of tears from falling down his cheeks. “But, I knew that some of the things I saw were real. Every time I showered, I couldn’t fully get rid of the dirty feeling...”

“Okay, okay,” I said quietly, holding up my hands. My heart went out to Seifer, who wiped his tears away, keeping his eyes on his hands. I just wanted to wrap my arms around him. Maybe this was a bad idea. I wanted to try and prevent anything like this from happening again, and I knew we were learning things about the way Ultimecia used mind control, and how Sorceresses like her could do this, but it was taking its toll on Seifer, and I felt guilty and responsible. “Maybe we should end for today. I think we’ve made a lot of headway, and it’s getting late.”

Squall looked at his watch. “Wow, it’s already supper time...” He looked at Seifer, cocking his head. He remained silent.

“I vill go back to ze lab to process what ve have learned.” Odine gave me a thin smile and left. He knew I hated him, and I knew he disliked me. He had hoped to be President of Esthar, and still did.

Kiros and Ward nodded, giving Seifer a sympathetic look. Kiros then looked at me. I couldn’t read the look in his coffee eyes.

“I think I will contact Cid,” Edea stood. She stroked Seifer’s hair. “Hopefully, in time, you will find the happiness needed to forget such dark times.” She ran a finger over one of his still damp cheeks, and left on silent feet.

Squall sighed. “No wonder you tried to kill yourself...”

“Squall!!” I exclaimed.

“It’s alright...” Seifer whispered. “He’s right. Admitting some of this, reliving the brainwashing... It’s just made it more real...” He stood up, clasping his arms around his torso. “I’m going to go to my room. I’ll be there if you need me.”

When I was alone with my son, he stood, stretching his legs. “You really care about him, don’t you?”

I flushed. “What do you mean?”

“I mean what I said, Dad. You care about Seifer... And more than just feeling sorry for him, or paternal feelings because he reminds you of me or some bullshit like that...”

I scoffed, looking at my desk. “You’re deluded.”

“Am I?” He caught my gaze. “You’re not the best sleuth in the world.”

I frowned deeply at him. “Don’t you have to call Rinoa or something?”

He just rolled his eyes at me. “Whatever...” He quickly left.

I slumped down at my chair, groaning angrily when it tipped back. All I could think about was the shaky sound of Seifer’s voice as he admitted horrible things he’d experienced. I could only think about the tears that fell from his eyes, splashing on the hands that were fisted so tightly in his lap. I stood, deciding that I should check on him. Maybe being alone wasn’t good for him now, considering he’d tried to kill himself before. I quickly walked to his room. Was Squall right? Kiros seemed to think the same thing. Had I begun to care about Seifer, cared about him since the first moment I saw him? Or, was I just horny and taken with his looks?

I knocked on the door. When there was silence, I let myself in. He was sitting on a window seat, staring out at the city, much like he’d been doing the night before.

“I’m surprised you even want to see me now...” He muttered.

“Why would you say that, Seifer?” I asked, lowering my body down beside his. I looked at his profile, trying desperately to catch his eyes.

“Because of the horrible things I’ve done...” He looked at me. “After admitting to burning people alive?! After admitting to mutilating people?! After finding out I’m nothing more than a common whore...”

“Stop that!” I cried. “I don’t think that at all!!”

His bottom lip trembled. “But, I think it...” As he spoke, more tears fell from his eyes, and he was crying in front of me. He bowed his head, ashamed.

I sighed, wrapping my arms around him, pulling him against my chest. He was hesitant to my embrace, but he welcomed it, openly crying as he wrapped shaking arms around my waist. He buried his face against my shirt as his body was racked with silent sobs. I could feel his wet tears falling on my shirt, dampening the fabric. I stroked his hair, letting him cry. He needed to let go some of his emotions.

He let out a sob that went straight to my heart as his arms tightened around me. I soothingly whispered comfort in his ear, pressing his body close to mine, letting him cry, letting myself comfort him. I felt his breath against my neck as he moved his head, his cheek now resting against my neck. He moved his head again, looking at me. His eyes looked like pure water, shining in the limited light of his room. Before I knew what he was doing, Seifer’s lips were on mine. He gently kissed me, lips merely pressed to lips. His mouth was trembling against mine, like flower petals, rustled by a breeze. My hand cupped one of his wet cheeks, and I kissed him back. The kiss was chaste in nature, nothing like the one I’d dreamed about, but this one was so much better.

He tasted just as good as I imagined he would have, except that I could also taste his fragile state, his broken heart. When his tongue snaked past my lips, the tip of the hot, wet, velvety flesh touching my own tongue, I gasped. What was I doing? I was taking advantage of him in his vulnerable state. I pulled away.

He blinked at me, sadness coming over his eyes. “You don’t want me?”

I sighed, kissing his forehead. “I shouldn’t be taking advantage of you in this state...”

He sobbed. “I kissed you....”

I bit my lip, which still tasted like him.

“Nobody wants me...”

I opened my mouth to protest, but he stood swiftly. “I think you should go. I want to be alone.”

I slowly rose, reluctant to leave. “Seifer...”

“Please...” He begged softly.

I nodded, fulfilling his request. Had I really done the right thing? Now he thought that I was abandoning him, that I thought less of him because of what Ultimecia did to him. That was so far from the truth that it was ridiculous. I cursed myself as I walked to my room. I thought more highly of him for surviving something so horrible. Maybe he’d wanted to die, but he was still alive, and he’d won against her. But, what was the cost? A better question was what was the cost of my now stupid restraint?

It had been two days since the meeting about Seifer. I hadn’t really seen him since our kiss. I knew he was probably avoiding a lot of human contact now. Squall seemed to be the only person he really talked to. I would ask my son how my blonde god was doing. Squall would always look at me sadly, not really giving me an answer. I knew that Seifer hadn’t told Squall about our kiss, because my son would have told me that right away.

I sighed, drinking some of my green tea. I was sitting in the same conservatory that Seifer, Squall and myself had eaten in the day Squall had first come to Esthar. Squall had decided to stay for a little while longer. He was enjoying his time away from the military lifestyle of Garden, and he wanted to be near Seifer, who he said needed him. I think he also wanted to be away from Rinoa for a while, to take a breather. Squall wasn’t used to being around people a lot, especially one like Rinoa, who was a social butterfly, and everything that Squall wasn’t.

I knew that Squall and Seifer were in one of the entertainment rooms watching television or a movie or something. Even if I’d decided to give Seifer his space like he’d asked, I still liked to know where he was in the Palace. It gave me piece of mind. I looked at the paper. I was reading a paper from Deling City. I liked to keep up on International news. It was my stupid job, after all. When I got to a certain article, I coughed noisily, my tea going down the wrong way.

Staring back at me was a picture of Seifer, his sad eyes looking beyond the camera. The picture looked like it was taken in Balamb. I could see the ocean behind him, as endless as his eyes. The headline caused my blood to run cold.

Almasy Repeatedly Raped Under Sorceress’s Control

Seifer Almasy, the former ‘Sorceress’s Knight’ was allegedly raped while under the control of Sorceresses Ultimecia, Edea and Adel, according to a source in Esthar.
This information was revealed at the Sorceress Investigation, being held by the office of President Laguna Loire of Esthar. The investigation is being held to discover the means that Ultimecia controlled the eighteen year old Balamb resident. Almasy also divulged information of clients who paid for sexual favours from Ultimecia, Almasy being the prize.
Information about torture of political prisoners at the hands of Galbadian officials, under the control of Almasy was also brought to light. No charges will be laid by either President Loire or President Deling, due to the psychic nature of the Sorceress’s control of the men in question.
Almasy, once hunted for his crimes against the residents of countries around the world while under control of Ultimecia, is now staying in the Esthar Presidential Palace. Allegedly, human rights groups are eager to speak with Almasy about the rapes, hoping he’ll speak out against rape and sexual crimes.

I held the paper tightly, just staring at the article. How did they know?! My breath quickened. Someone had leaked that information. And, such personal information. It was almost like rape all over again. I stood, knocking my tea over. I quickly went to find Seifer and Squall. I jogged down the halls, going into a television room. The set was on, but the room was dark.


I saw a figured rise from a reclined position on a couch. “Laguna...?” He turned on a lamp, putting the television on mute. “What’s wrong?”

“Where’s Squall?” I looked around.

“Talking to Rinoa on the phone...” He trailed off, raising his eyebrows at my expression. “What happened?”

I sat beside him slowly. “Seifer... I have some bad news...”

He pursed his lips, sitting up fully. Without another word, I handed him the paper. He took it, confused. I’d had it open to the correct page, and I saw his body stiffen when he saw his own face, mirrored in smudgy ink. He quickly read the article, the paper slightly shaking in his hands.

“How did they find out?” He asked, looking at me with wide eyes.

“I... I don’t know... Someone must have leaked it...”

“But... Who?” He looked at me again. “Oh, God...”

“I’m so sorry, sweetie...” I whispered. “I’ll find out who.” I put a hand on his shoulder.

He shrugged away from my touch. “I don’t know which is worse...” He whispered. “Being hated or being pitied...”

“Seifer...” I whispered, touching him again. “Please... We’ll find out what happened.”

He quickly stood, causing my arm to drop from his shoulder. “Don’t...” He muttered. “It doesn’t matter....” He didn’t even look at me again before he left. I followed him out into the hallway. All I could see was the door of his room closing. I stood in spot for a few minutes, angrily clutching the paper in my hand.


I turned, looking into Squall’s eyes. They were full of concern. I handed him the paper, pointing out the article.

“Shit!” Squall hissed. “Is he okay?”

“I tried to say something to him... And, he just walked away...” I sighed deeply.

“That honestly surprises me. Did he get angry with you for something?” He frowned. “Besides this, I mean?”

I sighed deeply. “Squall, I have to tell you something...”

He cocked his head. “What, do you know who leaked this shit?”

I sighed again, running my hands nervously through my hair. “I have an idea of who it was. But, this is about Seifer...” I looked at my feet. “I don’t know how you’re going to react to this...”

“Just spit it out,” Squall commanded impatiently, his hands on his hips.

“Two days ago, Seifer kissed me. And, I kissed him back. And, I liked it, and want to do it again.”

Squall just looked at me, like he hadn’t heard me correctly. He crossed his arms over his tight white T-shirt. “You kissed Seifer?”

“And, he kissed me.”

His eyes narrowed. “Then, why isn’t he letting you comfort him?”

“Because I pulled away from him. I think he thinks I don’t want him. I mean, I didn’t know what to do. He surprised me. It was after the meeting, and he was upset, and I didn’t want to take advantage of him...”

Squall breathed out slowly. “This is the fucking strangest thing I’ve heard, but it doesn’t matter right now. I’ll talk to Seifer...” He trailed off, his eyes softening slightly. “You really do care. I told you...” He patted my shoulder. “I’ll talk to him about it, Dad.”

I opened my mouth to say something, but closed it again, only nodding. I watched Squall go into Seifer’s room. I slowly walked to my office, my resolve and anger rising.

I sat behind my desk, as I had been for over an hour. I hadn’t even bothered to turn on all the lights. The light of Esthar herself, as well as a desk lamp were all I needed. I was waiting, resting my chin on my steepled fingers. I looked up when the door opened.

“Vhat iz it?” Odine asked, shuffling into the room. He made a motion to sit.

“You won’t be staying long enough to warrant sitting...” I muttered darkly. I stood up, glaring at the doctor. “Tell me something, Odine. Are you happy with yourself?”

“Vhat do you mean?” He looked at me uncertainly.

“I did some research, Doc. Why were you seen talking with representatives of the press from Galbadia?”

He opened his mouth, but I continued. “And, what about the reporter from Fisherman’s Horizon? And, Dollet, and Balamb, Timber and Winhill. Oh, and the Gardens. You were seen paying particular attention to Garden reporters.”

He looked at me nervously, knowing he’d been caught.

“What did you have to gain?” I asked angrily. “What was the point of humiliating him?”

Odine laughed. “It iz my job to rezearch ze Sorcerezzez. Zeifer Almazy has much to do vith them.”

“You didn’t answer my question, you old fucking fool!” I yelled. “You just like to fuck people over. You did it with Ellone, you tried to do it with Rinoa, and now Seifer. What are you trying to find out...?” I trailed off, my eyes narrowing. “You’re trying to find out what transformed them into Sorcerers or Sorceresses, or in Seifer’s case, a host body for a Sorceress, aren’t you? You’re hoping to totally disgrace Seifer, so he’ll agree to whatever experiments you have planned...”

Odine scoffed, but I could see the realization in his eyes.

I narrowed my eyes further. I never usually got angry, but I was angry now. “I should have gotten rid of you when I had the chance. You could have killed Ellone, and you’re trying to destroy Seifer?”

“Vhat doez he matter to you?” Odine laughed. “And, ze only reazon you care about such a boy is becauze of your own horomonez. At least my interest iz zientific.”

I growled low in my throat. “What about Rinoa Heartilly. You knowingly sent her to space, knowing she would release Adel’s lock...” I sneered at him. “You want to use Seifer to try and get a Sorceress back in control of Esthar?!”

“Zis cannot be proven.”

“No, it can’t...” I laughed. “But, it can be proven that you release classified information of this office, which is an indictable offence.” I smirked at him, pressing a button on my desk. I knew it was summoning the guards from the lower levels of the Palace. “You know, I never liked you.”

“And you are a buffoon.”

“I may be a buffoon, but I’m still President...” I muttered. Without really thinking, I decked him, right in his stupid old face. When he went down like a ton of bricks, I couldn’t help but laugh.

A few moments later, the door opened. I expected it to be the guards, but it was Seifer, staring at me and Odine with a shocked look on his face.

“What...?” He trailed off, interrupted by the guards I’d called for.

“Sir, what shall we do with him?”

“Put him under arrest for treason or whatever...”

One of the guards narrowed his eyes slightly. “Uh... yes, Sir.” They dragged Odine’s unconscious form out of my office. I was hoping it would be the last time that stupid doctor would be here again.

“What’s going on?” Seifer asked, turning to me when the guards closed the door.

“Odine was the one who went to the press. He wanted to disgrace you, and then convince you to let him perform experiments on you, or something. I think he wanted to get a Sorceress back in control of Esthar....” I paused, leaning against my desk. “We’ll search his lab in the morning.”

Seifer sighed. “Squall talked to me... About...” He paused. “He told me that he knew about our kiss...”

“I told him.”


I looked at him. He had his arms crossed over his chest, looking at me with uncertainty.

“Because he’s my son.... I don’t want to lie to him about my feelings...”

He sighed. “He told me that you care for me...” He met my eyes. “Again, why?”

“I think you’re beautiful..” I blurted out. I was glad that it was pretty dark in my office, for I knew I was blushing like crazy.

“Physical beauty doesn’t last, you know...” He muttered. I could tell he didn’t really agree with me on his physical beauty.

“I know. If I thought you were merely hot, I probably would have done something about it that first day. But, I respect you.”

“I’m more than half your age.”

“So?” I turned to face him. “You kissed me, Seifer. You must have done it for a reason...” I was hoping, begging that he wouldn’t say ’It was a mistake’.

He sighed. “You’re the only person who cares about me.”

“I don’t think that’s true...” I murmured, looking at him in the limited light. “Squall cares, Edea cares.”

He took a few steps closer. “Squall asked me how I felt about you.”

I snorted. “I’m sure this isn’t a topic of discussion that my son enjoys.”

Seifer nodded slightly. “Yeah, he thinks it’s really weird that a guy he’s grown up with wants his Dad, and vice versa. I’m young enough to be your son.”

“I know...” I mused. “I’ve beaten myself over the head with that little gem of knowledge.”

“Does it bother you that I’m eighteen?”

“No...” I breathed, reaching out in the dark, touching the side of his face. I heard him breathe in deeply as my fingertips moved over his flesh. Much to my pleasant surprise, he nuzzled into my touch. his lips grazing my open palm.

I stepped closer to him, going slowly, afraid he would suddenly run away.

“Aren’t you afraid of what people will say if they find out?” I asked.

Seifer snorted, stepping closer to me. Our chests were now touching. “People say far worse things about me, and will continue to say worse things. Besides...” He whispered, his face now inches from mine. “What’s to be afraid of when I know you care about me?”

I sighed, kissing him. This time, I knew I wouldn’t pull away. Not ever. I felt some sort of residual fear that he would pull away, remembering our age difference. But, his tongue pushed into my mouth, filling it. His tongue was touching every surface of my mouth as his hands moved into my hair. He whimpered against my lips, and I felt his heart pounding against my chest. He was kissing me with more than desire. He was kissing me with pure need. He needed me. He needed to feel wanted. And, I wanted him. I couldn’t remember wanting anything as much as I wanted him.

“Seifer...” I panted, gripping his body against mine. As I held him, he gripped my body fiercely, stealing my breath. I groaned, because he was strong, and he was holding me so tightly. He pulled away slightly, looking at me in the dark, his eyes shining in the pale blue glow of Esthar.

“Tell me you need me...” He whispered, his voice sounding small and desperate.

I craned his neck down so his head was against my shoulder, so my face was pressed to his throat. I held him as tightly as he’d been holding me. “I need you, Seifer....” I sighed, running my hands up and down his back, feeling the muscles underneath. “I wanted you since the first moment I saw you, broken and bleeding, snow falling on your eyelashes.” I smiled into his neck. “You’re so beautiful.”

He whimpered against me. “Laguna...” He rose to full height, cupping the sides of his face with trembling hands. “I want you,” He whispered. “I want you,” Seifer repeated, his voice low, husky. “Is it wrong to want you to fuck me?”

I gaped at him. The echoing sound of his voice from my dream now materialized into real life. “Why is it wrong?” I asked him, pressing my body against his. I knew he could feel the hard desire for him.

“Because we just met...” He panted, his hips slowly rocking against mine.

“So...” I asked him, beginning to k iss him again. Between small kisses, I continued. “People have one night stands that mean nothing... This means something...” I snaked my tongue over his pouting lips. “Besides... We have time... to get to know... each... other...” My last few words were muffled against his lips, which were becoming urgent against my own.

He moaned gutturally, then pushed us towards the edge of the desk. The hard edge banged against my ass, and he turned us around, so that he was the one pinned to my desk.

I opened my eyes, my vision sort of blurry, as Seifer leaned back. He wound his legs around my waist, looking at me with a beckoning stare.

I ran my hands over his hips, which rocked up to my touch. I could now see a noticeable bulge in his pants. A very noticeable bulge. My whole body curled with desire. I paused, a flash of realization hitting me. “Are you sure it doesn’t bother you that Squall’s father is going to be fucking you?”

He gripped the front of my shirt, pulling me on top of him. A cup of pens and pencils toppled over, falling on the floor. “It only bothers me if you would rather me be Squall...” He panted, groaning as my thigh rubbed against the bulge in his pants. “Fuck me, Laguna. I want you to need me...”

I silenced anything else he was going to say by ramming my tongue in his mouth. I spread his legs further, and pushed his body up further on the desk. My hands were working their way up his shirt, touching his chest. Then, those same hands were pulling that shirt off, and my eyes raked over his chest. He really was beautiful. I gently ran my palms over his skin, skirting over the muscles. He panted softly, his body slowly arching to my hands. He gasped as I touched his nipples, which were hardened from exposure to the cool night air. The gentle blue light that came from everything in this city played off his pale flesh, tracing the lines of his muscles. His hands ran over my torso, pulling the buttons of my shirt away from the eyelets. He smiled up at me, mirthfully pinching my nipples.

“Hey!” I exclaimed, reciprocating the action. He moaned, and I couldn’t help but kiss him again. I smiled into his mouth as I felt his feet moving up to my waist. He used his toes to begin pulling down my pants. I was so glad I wasn’t a fan of tight pants.

“I’m glad you have agile feet...” I whispered, nipping his lips as I pulled away.

He didn’t say anything. He didn’t have to. The look in his eyes was more than enough. As my tongue moved down his chest, he arched his body off the desk, pulling his own pants down, kicking them to the floor. I whirled my tongue against his nipple, taking the hard peak into my mouth. My teeth dug in as I felt his nude flesh against my abdomen. As I suckled at him, I moved my hands over his thighs, his hips, exploring the lines of his body. When my questing hands touched his penis, we both groaned. He panted loudly, and I bit into his nipple again.

“Laguna...” He whispered, his voice so quiet. But, I heard him as loud as a scream. I quickly got rid of my own clothing, so that I was standing between his legs, his long limbs around my waist. I looked down at him, and we just stared at each other, looking into each other’s eyes for any sort of hesitation. I saw none in those oceanic irises, and I knew he would find none with me.

“Tell me you nee...” He trailed off, his voice hitched as I pressed myself to him, the head of my cock brushing the sensitive flesh between his ass cheeks. “Oh, God...”

I ran my hand up his thighs, up the muscular globes of his ass. I gripped his ass with my palms, my fingers tracing between his thighs, tracing that line, finding the puckered opening to his body. He shivered at my ministrations, rocking his hips urgently against my hands. I took one hand away, sucking on my finger to get some sort of lubrication, and then returned to his opening, massaging it with my now wet finger. I teased the muscle into relaxation, then pushed my way past the tightly closed ring, inserting a single finger. He moaned lowly, pushing his hips against my hand, causing my finger to slide in as far as it would go. I smiled at his eagerness. It made me feel good about myself. I began to work in a second finger, and he grabbed the dog tags that were hanging from my throat. He pulled me down towards him, his lips mashing against mine as my second finger pushed into his rectum, joining the first.

“Fuck me...” He panted, his breath washing against my lips. “Fuck me.... Fuck me, Laguna.”

I laughed softly. Far be it for me to deny him anything. I pulled my fingers out, which caused him to whimper in disappointment. I was pretty disappointed, too. My fingers felt cold in the air. His body was so hot from within. I moved my body so that I was pressed against his now stretched opening. “Ready?” I asked breathlessly, placing my hands on his hips.

He nodded, his head thrown back against the desk. I started slowly, not wanting to hurt him. When the head of my shaft pushed into him, stretching his anus further, he took his breath in noisily, a whine escaping his lips. I heard some things clattering off my desk as his arms flailed out, gripping the edges of the wood. I pushed in slowly, ready to pull out if he asked me to. I watched his face as I continued to enter him. His brow was furrowed in pain, but there was a small smile of pleasure dancing on his lips. When I was fully in, my balls pressed against his ass, he moaned lowly, his chest rapidly rising and falling. I didn’t move for a few moments, letting him get used to the invasion.

He slowly began to rotate his hips against me, the flesh of his ass massaging my testicles. I whimpered. He was very tight, and so hot around me. His muscles clamped down on my cock, and he slammed his hips against mine, trying to push me in deeper. I smirked at his eagerness, kissing him gently as I slowly pulled out. As my cock brushed against his prostate, his body jarred off the desk, and he clamped down harder on my penis, so hard that I couldn’t really pull out all the way. When I did pull out, his cry of displeasure echoed in the office. He was panting and shivering, his body trembling beneath me.

His hard cock was pressing against my abdomen, weeping some precum on my stomach. I circled my fingers around his cock, the hot flesh almost burning me. I could feel the blood pumping in the vein running on the underside of his shaft. I looked between his legs, taking in the sight of his large cock, my fingers tightly wrapped around it. I knew I couldn’t wait until he fucked my brains out. I ran a fingernail over the stretched entry to his body, and he moaned softly. My own cock was throbbing, and I pushed it into him again, much quicker than I had before. I began to thrust into him, and he began to rock his hips into mine, welcoming me inside his body. The head of my cock hit his A spot again and again, his body jerking and arching towards me each time it did. One of my hands was now swiftly jerking him off, the precum flowing out of his cock. My other hand was stroking his hip in a loving way. As I fucked him, I looked at him. His head was thrown back and to the side, his eyes closed in bliss. He was panting, and he had a sheen of sweat on his skin, making him glow. I leaned in, capturing his mouth with my own. He moaned happily into my mouth, his breathing hitched.

I suddenly felt wetness coating my moving hand, and splattering against my stomach. He breathed heavily, his body shuddering and shivering under me. I thrust into his spasming body again and again, my own pinnacle finally reached. I exploded within his ass, my body collapsing on his. We panted. My heart was racing against his chest, and I could feel his heartbeat pounding with my own. I felt his hands moving off the desk, touching my back, wrapping around me.

We lay like that for countless moments, his arms around me, my head against his chest, my cock still inside him. It could have been moments, it could have been an hour. I didn’t really know or care. We just held each other as our bodies were still joined.

“I need you,” I whispered. And, I totally meant it.

The next morning, I walked happily down the hall, away from my office. All during my meeting about Odine, I could only see Seifer’s body, hear his moans. I could have sworn I could still smell the scent of sex in the air. I went into the room that I knew Seifer and my son were in. They were sitting at a table, playing a board game.

“This is sooo not fair!” Squall wailed, looking at his chances. They were playing Star Wars Trivial Pursuit. Squall looked up when he saw me coming into the room. “Dad!! Make Seifer stop picking on me!!”

“Well, maybe you should watch Star Wars more often...” He muttered.

Squall raised his eyebrows. “You look like you’re in a good mood.” He narrowed his eyes. “What’s going on?”

“What do you mean?” I asked breezily, casting Seifer a sidelong glance.

“That’s what I mean...” He muttered. “Seifer’s got the same sex glow, and you’re staring at him...” He trailed off. “No, wait, please don’t tell me. My head might explode if I have to picture anything.”

“Fine...” I said, smiling brightly. “I have good news...”

“Please don’t say it’s about Seifer’s big dick or something...” Squall cried, burying his face in his hands.

“No....” I muttered. “It’s about Odine. He’s been officially indicted.”

Seifer looked up at me. “Thank you, Laguna.”

“It was nothing.” I winked at him. “You can repay me later.”

Squall groaned. “And, on that note, I’m going to puke all over myself.” He stood. “I’m going to call Rinoa. If I find out she’s banging Matron, I’ll officially eat my gunblade.” He left the room, but not before giving me and Seifer a look. I knew he was a little weirded out by our situation, but he also sort of looked like he was happy for us. It was hard to tell.

Seifer stood. “Would you like my thank you on your desk again?” He asked, raising an eyebrow. I noticed his eyes clouded over.


“What now?” He asked me. “We fucked. And? Is that the end of it, or is there more?”

I leaned in, kissing him gently. “I’m hoping it can be something more. Actually, I was wondering if you would like to have dinner with me tonight. Out. Away from the Palace.”

“What, like a date?” He asked, giving me another quick kiss.

“Yeah, like a date...” I trailed off, running my palms down his chest. “I want to get to know you better, and then get my brains fucked out.” I kissed him again.

“Oh, God...”

We both turned. Squall was standing in the doorway, his hands on his hips, a cigarette dangling from his lips. “I knew I shouldn’t have come back in here...”

I laughed. “What? Is there something unappealing about hearing your father say the phrase “Get my brains fucked out”?”

“Very much so...” He sighed. “But, I guess I’ll have to live with it.” He lit the cigarette. “You know, I’ll end up teasing you and making sickened jokes, but I really am happy for you, if you’ve found happiness or whatever....” He smiled softly around the cigarette. “You do make a cute couple... And, you’ll never hear that phrase leave my mouth again.” He sauntered into the room. “Rinoa wasn’t home.”

“Well, I’ll leave you to your trouncing, Seifer...” I said, my voice light. I ran a hand down his arm, and smiled at Squall. “Later.”

“I hate playing Trivial Pursuit with you, Seifer.”

“Maybe someday, you’ll call me Dad...” He teased.

Squall snorted, slumping in a chair. I laughed, closing the door behind me.

The taste of ejaculate exploded on my tongue as Seifer came into my mouth. I swirled the thick, bitter fluid around in my mouth before swallowing, coating all the surfaces of my mouth with it. I wanted to still taste it in an hour.

Seifer panted slightly, staring up at the ceiling. He ran his hands through his hair. “That was quite the debriefing, Mr. President...”

I rolled my eyes, crawling off him, sitting on the bed beside him. I reached for him, pulling his body against my chest. “Just repaying the favour...” I trailed off, kissing him, still tasting myself on his lips.

The last year had been the best of my life. Well, as far as Seifer went. I was sort of concerned about Squall. He was spending more time in Esthar, and away from Rinoa. He was coming back to Esthar for the second time that month in the morning. He was also bringing Zell to see Seifer. My son and Seifer were very close friends, and I had the feeling that Squall was telling Seifer about feelings he was having for other people. I noticed that my son mentioned Zell a lot. Seifer wouldn’t tell me, though, and I wouldn’t ask. What Squall said to Seifer was in confidence.

As far as my relationship with Seifer Almasy, well, I was hopelessly in love with him. I didn’t know how the public felt about me fucking the former Sorceress’s Knight on a regular basis, but I honestly didn’t give a fuck. Seifer made me happy, and I knew I made Seifer happy. He now lived in Esthar, and he was working his way up the ranks of my Security office. He was rather good at surveillance. At first, everyone was sore about him working with my guards, but he’d earned their respect. In the back on my mind, I wondered if they were being nice to him just because he was my lover.

I buried my face in the crook of Seifer’s neck. “Make it so I don’t have to go to Dollet tomorrow. The fiscal conference is going to be sooo boring.”

Seifer groaned. “It’s only a couple of days. And, you have to go.”

“Will you come?”

“You know I can’t, and quite frankly, I don’t want to.” He kissed me. “Besides, Squall and Zell are coming tomorrow. I haven’t seen Zell in a while.”

“Do you think there’s something going on between Squall and Zell?”

Seifer remained silent for a few moments. “I don’t want to talk about them.” He turned to me. “I’ll miss you.. And, I can’t wait for Kiros to tell me a million embarrassing stories about you.”

“How do you know I’m going to embarrass myself?” I asked, blowing my hair off my face.

He just gave me a look, which caused me to scowl, gripping his hair hard. I kissed him deeply, my tongue lashing around in his mouth.

When I pulled away, he gave me a look, mischief shining in his blue eyes. “That was quite the tongue-lashing...”

I snorted. “You’re not funny...”

He playfully pouted. “I love you.”

I melted. “That always works...” I kissed him gently, holding him tightly.

He laughed against my lips. “I know.”

“I love you, too...” I purred, needing him more than he could ever know.


Return to Archive | sequel