Authorís Notes:

Finally the fourth chapter appears before your very eyes! Complete with a scene that is - whoops, don't want to spoil it for ya! This chapter picks up where the previous ended - with Seifer remembering the Dollet mission.

I donít own the characters or the world or the game storyline. I do, however, own this particular storyline, and the others Iíve written, but that doesnít amount to very much. Maybe a few rusty bottlecaps or clamshells, depending on the local currency. And believe you me, the people at 7-Eleven get pretty mad and start yelling insults in Hindi at me if I try to barter twisty-ties for a Slurpee. ~Kaerith

Tainted Memories

Chapter 4

By Kaerith


We ran up towards the Dollet communications tower, defeating the next couplía soldiers easily. I was hiding from some Galbadians when Leonhart and Dincht caught up.

"The generator is up and running!" One soldier said.

"No problem with the boosters!" Another replied.

"...the hell they doing?" I muttered.

A third soldier chimed in. "Cable disconnection confirmed! Begin exchange process!"


"Repairs...?" Squall asked as the soldiers entered the communications tower.

The sight of him unconsciously licking his lips brought back that unexpected rush of warmth shooting through my chest and downwards. I shifted my position and wondered if that particular action of his was a nervous gesture. "Who cares," I said gruffly, forcing the inconvenient emotions and sensations aside. "This must be your first real battle. You scared?"

I had to wait awhile for him to respond. He changed his position and wetted his lips again. "...I don't know. I try not to think about it," he concluded finally.

"I love battles. I fear nothing." After the words were spoken I berated myself for saying them. In reality, they were far from the truth. Well, itís true while Iím fighting, I clarified. The adrenaline would fill me up like a vessel leaving no room for emotions in my calculating fury. But afterward... and before.... "The way I look at it, as long as you make it out of a battle alive, you're one step closer to fulfilling your dream."

I had not meant to say that either. Squall gave me a skeptical and surprised look. "What!? Your dream?"

Caught off guard, -- Damn mouth! Always runniní off ífore my brain -- I stalled. "You have one too, don't you?"

He turned away from me. "...Sorry, but I'm gonna pass on that subject." For a moment I stared at the back of his head, thinking absently, I really do wonder what his dream is.

My moment of introspection was interrupted when Zell piped up. "Yo! Let me on it, too!"

"Mind your own business," I retorted.

The smaller blond swung at me, mumbling something along the lines of "Frickin' hell..."

"What's the matter, Zell? Swatting flies?" I asked innocently.

"Damn you...!" By the time he responded I was already running toward the tower. The same thoughtless impulse that had gotten me into my previous discourse with the Iceberg prompted another unwilling sentence a few minutes later. "One of these days, I'm gonna tell ya 'bout my ROMANTIC dream!"

~~~end flashback~~~

I inhaled the sweet, musky scent of Squall. By the sounds and feel of his breathing he was deep asleep. My lips curved in a small smile. Whatever my Ďromantic dreamí was then it sure canít compare to this reality! I really hadnít had a romantic dream at the time. It was probably just the unprecedented lust for Squall that had urged the remark.

For the second time that morning, I gently removed myself from the sleeping brunetís embrace. This time I escaped with only a few quiet murmurs of protest. Overcome with a feeling of tenderness, I swept his hair from his face and lightly brushed his forehead with my lips. Then, pulling a T-shirt over my drawstring pants, I stepped out the door.

I walked up one of the nearby sand dunes and sat, noticing our footprints from the night before. When I tried to leave, I recalled. Now, with the guilt of fucking up Squallís life resting a little bit lighter on my shoulders, I felt an intense flood of relief that he had wanted me to stay. I donít know what Iíd do without him. I know that this dependence isnít healthy for either of us, and I really do want him to happy! I didnít really care about my own happiness. Before the Sorceress War I was the only one I cared about. Well, I cared about Rai and Fu, of course. Still do. But I had only acted in my own interest, bullying and manipulating everyone to get my own way.

"I will not be a self-centered bastard anymore," I whispered into the morning breeze. "From now on Squallís needs come before my own." The resolution comforted me, and I felt a rush of strength and confidence return as my load of guilt lessened a bit more. A small rush, admittedly, but it was a beginning. And I prayed that it was only the beginning of my healing, and that I would eventually become my old self again. A nicer and more considerate old self, because I now... now I have Squall. And I smiled, the joy and hope in my soul beginning to tear through the shadows of doubts, blame, and helplessness that had tainted my heart.

I was still smiling a while later when Squallís voice brought me back. "Seifer? Seifer?!" Hearing the near panic, I jumped up and ran inside.


"Seifer?" I left the bed and began walking through the house. Did he leave? I felt a rising sense of anxiety when I did not find him in any of the rooms. "Seifer?!" I called again. There was a threatening lump in my throat. Iím not gonna cry, Iím not gonna cry... I covered my face with my hands. Seifer...

I heard the front door slam open. He had burst through the door. Spotting me he ran up and wrapped his arms around me. "Shh. Shh, baby. Iím still here."

"I thought youíd left me for good." My arms circled his waist and I squeezed. His arms tightened in response, and I felt some subtle change in him: the willingness to be this close, and his protectiveness, and the unconscious inherent strength in those muscles that I hadnít seen since before Ultimecia. Something has changed in him since last night. It was unexpected, and mysterious, but I felt a rising hope that maybe things would get better. For him and for me.

Seifer held me closer and I could feel the vibrations in his chest and neck as he made comforting sounds, felt his hands smoothing my hair. "I wonít leave you again, Squall, I wonít ever leave you again."

Enveloped in warmth, I finally calmed and lifted my chin to look into his eyes. He smiled gently down on me and used his thumbs to wipe tears that I hadnít noticed from my cheeks. "Mmm?" He hummed questioningly.

"Would you kiss me? Please?"

"Aícourse," he replied, his smile widening before he bent his head down. I was surprised when the chaste close-lipped touch (all that he had been comfortable with since returning to the Garden) turned into something deeper and more passionate. Half in shock, I reacted automatically at first when his tongue begged entrance into my mouth, letting him part my lips. The heat, the taste, made me ecstatic! I allowed my mouth to do what it had craved to do these past months: explore, taste, nibble, caress, and I moaned against the softness and wetness and desire. My body liquefied everywhere, and only his embrace kept me on my feet. My heart was pounding, my breathing came in ragged gasps, and molten pleasure seared through key points of my body.

"Oh god," I panted when the kiss broke. "Oh Seifer!" I collapsed against him, weak in the knees and hard in... other places.

"Squall," he said dazedly, clutching me to him. I felt his arousal and mine responded to the new knowledge. Tentatively, I slid my hand down, praying to whatever powers existed that I wasnít crossing this new line of his limits.

"Squall, no." He grasped my wrist gently. I looked up at him and my confused hurt mustíve shown in my eyes. He brushed his lips across my forehead before explaining. "Iím sorry, Squall, but... not yet."

I read the slight shame and concern and fear in his eyes and nodded wordlessly. After one last fierce squeeze I let go and stepped back. I smiled reassuringly at him before turning and entering the bathroom, locking the door as quietly as I could behind me. Itís not his fault, I repeated over and over, trying to dispel my dashed hopes, insecurities, despair, unsated lust, and a million other things. I closed my eyes. Itís not his fault.





Wow, that's the most detailed I've written about kissing. And I even acknowledged "naughty bits" several times! Just for you all, who have waited so long for this next installment. I promise, the last and final chapter is a few paragraphs away from being completed. Sometime this week, so keep an eye out for it!

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