*standard I don't own FFVIII, Squaresoft, characters, etc. applies from now until whenever I decide I'm done*

Stealth

Chapter XXI

By Yuri Nigasa

[Squall]

"You did what?"  I couldn't believe it.  First, he puts me to sleep with pills, then goes and calls Elle like she's going to be the cure-all to my problem.

"Don't do this.  Don't."  Seifer had backed up against the wall, arms folded defensively across his chest.  "I figured you'd be pissed but what the hell else am I supposed to do?  Watch you disintegrate before my eyes?"  He was frowning, the line between his eyes bleeding into the scar I had given him.  It made his scowl look all the more vicious.

I wasn't intentionally lashing out at him.  Unfortunately, he just happened to be the nearest target.  I guess our personalities have bled off on each other to the point where he's gotten a little less agitated and I've gotten a little more so.  I wondered if ten years from now we'd be indistinguishable from each other except in body and voice.  'Ten years from now?' that little voice echoed inside my head.  I was assuming an awful lot.  Like he'd want to stay around ten years.  I walked over to him and folded my arms on top of his, leaning close to him.  I looked up at him, my voice unwilling to form those two little words I knew he needed to hear from me.  His expression softened as he looked into my eyes and he moved one hand up to brush those strands that seemed forever in the way from my eyes.  "I just worry, alright?" he said.

"I know.  Just let me worry for both of us right now."  I gazed at him, hoping that somehow he could read everything he needed to know from my eyes.

His arms were strong around me as he crushed me to his chest.  I gave up all pretenses and just let myself meld into him.  There was still that part of me, the part of me they had trained for years, which rebelled against this feeling of dependency.  Weakness was vulnerability, and vulnerability could be exploited; exploitation of flaws... was fatal.  Moreover, if what I believed was true, Seifer had already proven to be my liability against this creature that claimed to be Immamiel.  I would do what it said, because to do otherwise would mean forfeit of Seifer's life, and I would rather lead a damned existence with him than a life without him. 

"Squall," he whispered as his hands rubbed my back through the soft cotton of my shirt.  "I won't lose you.  I nearly did that once, and I don't care what it takes, it won't happen again."

How he could be so tender was amazing to me.  Just to look at him, nobody would ever peg him as the type for such behavior.  He was all muscle and arrogance, headstrong and reckless.  Yet, here he stood with his arms around me whispering to me like I was a lost child he had to save.  There was nothing in him that ever suggested he harbored feelings like this.  It continually shocked and amazed me to be the recipient of such warmth and acceptance.  Me, who as an abandoned child, stood in the rain for hours on end, only in the rain, the better to hide tears I had promised not to cry.

I wrapped my arms around his neck, my fingers stroking the back of his neck, feeling the muscles knotted and warped from stress.  His hands, still around my back, worked their way up the back of my shirt and I could feel the warmth of his palms and the calluses that lined them across the delicate skin.  I wanted him.  I lifted my lips to his, gently teasing him with feather light touches against them.  The sheer press of my body against his intoxicated me, a heady sensation that made me all at once both light and heavy, and eager for more.  I heard him groan and he moved his mouth forward to possessively capture mine, making my pulse race.  My nails raked the back of his skull, eliciting another feral noise from him as I felt his teeth bite down on my lower lip, pulling it outward before releasing it.  Looking up at him through a haze of desire, I opened my mouth to allow him access.  His tongue plundered my mouth, teasing, tasting, tempting.  It was a war of seduction as our mouths moved against one another in a battle where surrender was as much a victory as winning.

Seifer forced his knee between my legs, spreading them so I fell into him, his leg moving between mine to stimulate my rapidly building erection.  I thrust my hips against his thigh, and then I felt his hands against my ass, lifting me up.  I wrapped my legs around his waist and he turned to pin me to the wall.  I felt the solid heat of his arousal against mine as he ground into me, a predator I didn't want to escape.  I tugged at his shirt as I kissed him fiercely, only breaking the kiss to toss the worthless fabric in some unknown corner of the room.  I moved my hands against his chest, tweaking his nipples and making his breath hitch.  Languidly, in sharp contrast to the way our bodies moved against one another, I ran my hands softly over his chest, shoulders, and back.  I pulled back, my head against the wall, to stare intently at him.  His cheeks appeared flushed, his lips swollen, and his eyes a deep green filled with naked desire.  I leaned forward to suckle his earlobe, my breath hot in his ear.

"Do you know what you do to me?" I asked him, my voice thick with need.  "Do you know what I want you to do to me?"

He groaned and looked down at me.  This wasn't about love, forgiveness, or desperation.  This was about pure, unadulterated, desire.  "I know what I'm going to do to you," he growled, nipping at my throat.

I unwrapped my legs from around him, sliding down until my feet found purchase and I stood, pressed solidly between Seifer and the wall.  I quickly lifted my shirt over my head, dropping it beside me even as his hands worked to undo the button and zipper on my pants, shoving them down.  I looked up at him, standing brazenly naked before him, taunting him to come and get me.  I felt his hand reach down to wrap around my erection, the movement of his hand rough and fast as he jerked me off.  I felt my knees buckle and I wrapped my hands behind his neck to hold myself up.  I whimpered, lunging my hips forward, feeling the delicious friction of his rough palm against me.  I vaguely recall hearing his pants hit the floor, but I was too absorbed in what he was doing to my body to care until I felt him release me and move his hands under me, lifting me up again.  I clung to him desperately, feeling the length of his sex pressed against my ass.

His mouth ravaged every bit of my naked skin he could touch, arousing me with the reckless abandon of his actions.  I felt his finger probing between my cheeks, felt his finger slipping in even as I let my weight shift, impaling myself on the solitary digit. Without preamble, he stretched me quickly, recklessly, as eager to be in me as I was eager to feel him in me.

"Seifer," I moaned as his fingers left me and I felt the head of his shaft pressing against my opening.  "What are you going to do to me?" I taunted.

Words and actions were simultaneous.  I gasped as his engorged sex impaled me, forcing me against the wall.  "I'm going to fuck you," he snarled.

"Then quit talking about it and do it," I purred, releasing my grip from around his neck, forcing a gasp of surprise from him as I felt him slide in me to the hilt, feeling his balls pressing against my ass as he used his body weight to hold me to the wall.  I wriggled against him, my erection pressing between us, undeniable proof of the desire he created in me.  My movements elicited shivers from his body, delicious little echoes of exhilaration that ran through him and into me.  I wrapped my arms around his shoulders, pulling myself up against him.  As if he had been waiting for some unknown cue, he began thrusting into me, each shove sending my back against the wall.  Our mouths were hot against each other, his mouth wet and tasting of sweet lust to my fervently exploring tongue. 

His hands splayed beside my arms, bracing against the wall.  I moved one arm to wrap around his neck and trailed the other hand from his shoulder up to his hand, taking it in mine and moving it between us, wrapping his hand around my already weeping sex.  I felt the pad of his thumb travel across the head of my shaft, slipping through the slick precum as he trailed his thumb in slow circles around the tip.  As he plunged into me, it forced my hips up, sending my erection slipping through his hand.  He grasped me tightly, encircling me.  I reached my free hand down below his, my fingers tangling through the curls of hair to cup against my rapidly constricting balls.  He gasped, and opened his eyes, looking down at me.

His voice choked with passion he said, "You don't know how much it turns me on when you do that."

I smiled up at him, meeting his eyes with a coy gaze, my lashes half lowered.  "Maybe," I whispered, "I do."

Our movements became frenzied, animalistic.  I whimpered every time I felt him withdraw, only cry out as he forced his way back into me.  He was sweating with the force of his exertion, his grunting timed with his thrusting.  I was breathless, my arousal sweeping away every hope of cognizant thought.  All I knew was that my universe began and ended with every wave of pleasure that coursed through my cells.  I rolled my head back as Seifer's mouth suckled at the pulse in my neck, the tripwire that sent my orgasm exploding from my body and over our hands and chests.  Wave after wave shook my body.  I lifted my semen-coated fingers to his lips and he suckled at them greedily as I drew his lips closer to mine, our tongues entwining through my fingers and the taste of my seed on both his lips and mine.  I drew my hand down across his chest, smearing cum across the hard muscles.  He pounded into me, faster than before, until I felt him shove me roughly against the wall, my head making a dull thump as it hit the metal plating.  I felt his seed pour into me and he released me only to thrust in again, another spurt of his liquid heat filling my body.  Slowly his thrusting came to and end and he wrapped his arms around my waist, pulling me away from the wall as I wrapped my arms around his neck.  With my body, still impaled on his softening cock, he carried me to the bed and we collapsed as one, my leg pinned beneath his body and my other leg sprawled over his hip. 

I rolled us over and lay against his chest, my legs straddling his hips.  His hands were gently stroking my hair, his lips pressed to my sweat-covered forehead.  I felt that strange feeling of intimacy well up in my chest, despite the fact that our sex had been rough and nothing short of pure physical drive.  I nuzzled his neck gently and whispered softly, "Seifer, I love you, never forget that.  Never question it, no matter what happens."

His strong arms squeezed the air from my lungs, and I gasped when he released me.  I didn't need to look up to know his eyes were hazed with tears.  "I won't," he replied.

We fell asleep like that, blind and deaf to everything but each other.

[Seifer]

Autopilot was a godsend, if one believed in gods.  Squall and I were in the Ragnarok, about fifteen minutes outside of Balamb, heading to see Elle.  It had taken her less than a day and a half to arrive at Balamb Garden.  We had left the rest of the group in Centra, sent on our way with promises that they would have the chamber opened by the time we got back.  Squall was uneasy about leaving them there alone, but as I pointed out, they were probably safer there without us than with us.  The six of them unloaded some tents and temperature regulation units and swore they would make due until we got back.  That had been several hours ago.  I reached over, disengaged the autopilot, and worked on lowering our altitude.  Swinging in east of Balamb Harbor, I gently set the ship down just slightly southeast of Garden.  Hitting the com button, I called "We're down."

"So I figured from the view of Garden outside the window," Squall replied, deadpan.

"Smartass," I growled.  "I'll be down in a minute, just going to move everything to standby."

"Copy that."

I heard the hatch opening somewhere below and the various gears and parts moving to lower the stairs.  Flicking switches and hitting buttons, I shut down all the nonessentials.  I gathered my knapsack and headed for the lift, feeling that slightly disorienting twinge when it set down.  I walked out to the hangar and down the steps where Squall stood waiting, bags in hand, a look of utter complacency on his face.  I didn't trust that look.  I swung my gaze around to the imposing structure before me.  It seemed years more than weeks since I'd left here to go on what was supposed to be a routine field exam on a routine mission.  Surprisingly, my stomach gave a nervous little flutter at the prospect of stepping back inside as not only a member of SeeD, but according to Elle, a hero.  I swallowed, pushing the feeling out of my gut.  I lifted my free hand and put it behind Squall's neck, running it lazily through the baby-soft strands of hair that tangled against my fingers.  I kissed him quickly on the forehead, a move that, predictably, earned me the glare of reproach for inferred condescension, overprotection, or just plain moodiness.

I followed beside him at an easy pace as we walked up the road that, modified in our absence, now included a graduated ramp, allowed for easier access in and out of the Garden without sacrificing the mobility of the building.  A retractable gangway of sorts bridged the gap between the ramp and the entranceway.  It swayed just slightly as we crossed, our footsteps ringing out with the sound of boots on aluminum.  It was strange, not having to cross the courtyard to get inside anymore.  How many years ago I did I first walk through those old gates, now assuredly obliterated, if not by the initial movement of Garden, then by the subsequent missile impact?  Now, no gates - just a ramp and a walkway.  Walking on board Garden for the first time is an experience, a strange sensation unmatched by any other.  Some quasi-rocking sensation as the stabilizer below constantly made minute adjustments in an attempt to keep the structure level.  Previously, I hadn't really thought enough about it to notice it.  Now, several weeks later, with, for the most part, all those weeks being quite on terra firma, I noticed it enough that it occasionally teased at my equilibrium.

Whispers preceded us, falling silent as we passed, replaced by the sharp sound of salutes and echoes of "Sir! and resuming to whispers behind us.  We headed toward the Senior Staff quarters, bags in hand.  Reaching the door, I realized I still had no idea what the code was to get in.  I looked over at Squall, who smirked, dropped the bag in his hand, and reached up to punch in the numbers.  "Four-seven-two-two-one-two," he said, looking down at his feet, suddenly quite interested in picking up his bag.

I quirked an eyebrow.  "You're kidding, right?"  It was too much of a coincidence.  The numbers were the year, day, and month of my birth.

"No," he blushed furiously, a haze of crimson that spread up his cheeks like flame.

Go figure.  Maybe the Commander of Garden is a romantic at heart after all.  I wonder if any of the others ever puzzled that one together for however long they'd used this code.  Probably not.  Selphie didn't know how to keep a secret that good for that long.

I opened the door to Squall's - our - I corrected myself mentally, room.  Tossing the bags on the couch, Squall walked in to the study, and turned on the terminal.  I dropped my bag on the floor and walked up behind him, putting my hands gently on his shoulders, resting my chin on the top of his head.  He tilted his head up and I obligingly kissed his proffered lips.  "So where's our guest?" I asked.

"Second floor SeeD quarters," he said.  "Why they didn't put her in here I don't understand."  He hit the com button and paged the room.  "Elle?" he asked.

"Squall?  Is that you?" she responded.

"Yeah, it's me.  Why'd they put you way up there?"

"Oh, you know me.  I didn't want to be a bother so I just took an empty room."

"You should have just stayed in here, you know," he sighed.

I suppressed a snicker, knowing for certain what she would say back.

"Not when I know what's been going on in that bed, thank you," she said.

I love it when I'm right.  "Aww, come on Elle, we washed the sheets," I interrupted.

"And the mattress?" she asked.  I could only laugh in response.  "I thought so, Seifer.  I'd feel better staying in Zell's room, if that tells you anything!"

"I don't see how that would be any better," I replied.  "Anyway, get up here and quit being so antisocial.  That's Squ-... A hand clamped down firmly over my mouth before I could finish my sentence.  I found myself on the receiving end of a cool stare.  Winking at Squall, I succeeded in opening my mouth wide enough to force my tongue out and lick his palm.

"Seifer!  That's disgusting!" he exclaimed, reaching out to wipe his palm on the sleeve of my shirt, which I quickly dodged.

"Guys, hello, guys?  That's not encouraging me to visit you," Elle's voice came through the com link.

"Don't worry, I promise Squall will keep his pants on."  I had to run out of the room quickly for that comment.  Squall was not pleased.

"Don't pay attention to him Elle," Squall said with just a hint of exasperation.  "We'll see you when you get down here. Out."

"Okay!" Elle's voice came through cheerfully, before the link was cut.

[Squall]

I couldn't truthfully say I wasn't worried.  Closer to downright scared, terrified in a way I'd never been before.  I look over to my left, seeing Seifer beside me.  To my right, Elle sat in a chair beside the bed.  I suppose I shouldn't worry, because it's all in the past, right?  Yeah, not very reassuring.  Seifer's hand is warm, larger than mine, rough palm covering my hand and long fingers entwined in mine.  He refused to let me go alone.  Elle's not even sure she can send me into my own past.  It might fall into the realm of paradox.  If that proves to be the case, Seifer's going alone.  I don't like that idea at all.  It's not that I have anything to hide, well, I can think of a few things I'd rather Seifer not know, but I don't know.  All my worries are probably baseless.

"Ready?" she asks me, and I look over at her.  I can't say a word, just look at her; I'm sure she knows what I can't say as I nod affirmatively.

I feel that strange sensation - half sleep, half paralysis - overtake me.  My eyes are shutting involuntarily.

Squall?  Squall, can you hear me? 

Elle?  I hear you.  

Seifer?

I'm here. 

Okay, I'm going to try.  Get ready.

-flash-


"Dammit, Rinoa, you don't understand.  I'm not like you; I don't want to be like you.  I can't be what you want, and you can't make me into what you need!"

Ugh, she actually put you through this too?

What the?  Not good, Squall, not good.  You're hearing things.  Soon you'll be as bad as Laguna and his faeries.  At least he had a reason to hear things.

Not far enough.  Back.

-flash-

Sight of a gray trench coat, ragged and bloodstained, retreating out the door.

"Fuujin?"

"Yes, Squall?"

"Do what I can't.  Take care of him.  Both of you."

Catch of breath.

"We will."

Further.

-flash-

 

Alive?  Oh hell, he's alive.  Heart pounding, racing.  This isn't like it was.  Oh hell oh hell.  Junctions are in place I don't want to do this.  He'll die.  I won't kill him, I won't.  Not like this not ever no no.

Strange conflicts for one of your type.  He is an enemy, no?

What the, oh Shiva, no Shiva.  Not enemy, no.  I can't describe it; it's like...

love?

Love?  I... Seifer... Do I?

Say no more.  I know. (impression of a smile)

She can't smile can she?  You can't smile can you?

(impression of laughter) Worry not.  No harm will befall him that he will not recover from.

Almost.  Just a little ahead from here.

 

-flash-

Fallingfallingfallingohfuck...  it burns!  I'msorrysosorryeveryone...  Seifer... I'm sorry.

SQUALL!!!!!!!!

-black-

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