Time After Time

Part Three - Unethical Love

By J. Marie

Warning!!! This is a shounen-ai fanfiction starring Seifer Almasy and Laguna Loire from Final Fantasy VIII. It is rated PG-13. Well, I know that Seifer and Laguna are more than a little unorthodox, but I pride myself on making unorthodox couples work. I put these two together a long time ago in "A Midsummer's Knight's Dream", but now that I have over a year's worth of fanfic experience and some feedback (not all of it what I wanted to hear, but needed to), I know that "A Midsummer's Knight's Dream" wasn't what it could be, or what I meant it to be. It wound up a little cheesy. I think I was the only one who even thought of Seifer and Laguna for a long time, but now a few people have shown up on the Seifer and Laguna scene, and they showed me up, I'm not ashamed to say. But I hope here I can make up for the disappointment I wrote before and show everyone why *I* think Seifer and Laguna make a cute couple.

Lying in my bed I hear the clock tick,
And think of you
Caught up in circles confusion--
Is nothing new
Flashback--warm nights--
Almost left behind
Suitcases of memories,
Time after--

Sometimes you picture me--
I'm walking too far ahead
You're calling to me, I can't hear
What you've said--
Then you say--go slow--
I fall behind--
The second hand unwinds

If you're lost you can look--and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall I will catch you--I'll be waiting
Time after time

After my picture fades and darkness has
Turned to gray
Watching through windows--you're wondering
If I'm OK
Secrets stolen from deep inside
The drum beats out of time--

If you're lost you can look--and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall I will catch you--I'll be waiting
Time after time

You said go slow--
I fall behind
The second hand unwinds--

If you're lost you can look--and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall I will catch you--I'll be waiting
Time after time...
...Time after time
Time after time
Time after time
Time after time

----- Lyrics to Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper


Laguna didn't show up to class the next day.

Seifer wasn't surprised, and he made no mention of the boy's absence. His students noted that Instructor Almasy was in rare form that day, harsher and more critical than ever. One girl that he dressed down in front of the class ran home in tears.

Come 7pm, Laguna didn't show up for his tutoring in Instructor Almasy's quarters, either. Seifer was even less surprised.

Seifer found himself eating dinner by himself at 9, a cold plate of leftovers that Rinoa had thoughtfully brought him the night before, extras from her dinner with Squall. He didn't feel like heating it up, so he ate the roast beef and mashed potatoes cold.

It was odd, he thought as he ate his dinner, how his relationships wound up. Rinoa had been his girlfriend for a summer, a bright, happy young woman with a dream he could respect. If she was a bit childish, he didn't notice at the time. She was exactly what he wanted in a woman.

Of course, once he realized he wasn't attracted to women, he realized that Rinoa was everything he wanted in a mother. They had loved each other, if even a little, but it had been the sort of love a brother and sister would have, only they didn't realize it until Rinoa fell for Squall, and Seifer realized that he was also in love with Squall.

Or more likely, admitted it to himself.

Squall seemed to be the catalyst for everything important in Seifer's life. He was Seifer's whole world for a very long time. Which was one of the reasons they had been rivals. But he and Squall had made their peace, and become close friends, best friends even. Without even speaking about it, he and Rinoa knew their relationship had changed. Or not changed, but been seen for what it was. He remained friends with the petite Asian girl, and he never had to explain himself. She still thought of him as a brother, and would even think to bring him food. Not only had Squall and Seifer grown up in two years, but Rinoa had as well. Being a wife and mother had put a sense of maturity in her that she never possessed before.

Seifer finished his cold meal and washed his plates. He sat down in his recliner and pulled out a science fiction paperback to read until bedtime. But his thoughts kept returning to the night before, when he had rejected Laguna.

His day had been the worse for the lack of Laguna's presence. In the few months he knew the boy, his life had already been touched by him. There was something special about Laguna. When Seifer would walk into the classroom, to be greeted by Laguna's brilliant smile, and adoring gaze, Seifer felt worthwhile. For too long since Ultimecia had seduced him to follow her, had Seifer felt guilt, remorse, self-loathing, and a sense of worthlessness. But Seifer could forget all that when confronted by Laguna's stellar personality.

Now that he thought about it, Laguna had tried so hard to impress him. Not with looks, but with skill. The boy was a bit clumsy, and though talented with a gunblade, he was nowhere near the warrior class of his cousin, Squall. But Laguna tried so hard to do good, and to complete any task Seifer set in front of him. Laguna was not the type to give up. Seifer had to respect that.

And Laguna was optimistic, a contrast to Seifer's constant pessimism. Laguna could see the bright side of every tarnished coin. Laguna inspired his classmates to do better, his every word, his very presence a booster to morale. Laguna thought of his fellow classmates, and even if he couldn't do exactly what they needed, Laguna would pour his heart and soul into trying to help anyone, be it with homework or girlfriend troubles. Seifer felt his attitude improving around the boy, his intolerance of others fading. Laguna could make even someone as bull-headed and austere as Seifer lighten up, and have sympathy for others.

And Laguna liked him. He liked Seifer. He offered comfort to Seifer, and Seifer rejected him. Laguna was not only a minor, but Seifer's student. It was unethical to form any sort of relationship with a pupil. Not only that, but Seifer could lose his teaching license and be kicked out of SeeD. Not to mention how angry he would make Squall by taking advantage of Squall's young, naive cousin. To be with Laguna was wrong on so many levels.

But Seifer knew he wanted to be with Laguna, and he couldn't make the feeling go away.

It wasn't about sex, really. Laguna was adorable, and as beautiful as Squall, if not so sultry. But looks meant nothing to Seifer anymore. It was Laguna's personality that Seifer wanted. He wanted the comfort of Laguna's strange sort of wisdom, and youthful optimism. He wanted to laugh at Laguna's goofier moments, and share in Laguna's good humors. Seifer wanted to drown in Laguna's compassion, to feel wanted, needed, and understood. Seifer didn't want to be alone, and he wanted Laguna to be his company.

But it was wrong.

But touching Laguna, kissing him, talking to him....

It was wrong.

But when Laguna smiled at him, his aquamarine eyes crinkling at the corners....

It was unethical.

And when Laguna said he cared....

It was so wrong.

But it felt so right.

Seifer put the book aside, and sighed. He couldn't get the boy out of his head. Laguna persisted to be with him, if only in his mind. But the mental image of Laguna was poor substitute for the real Laguna. Seifer put on his shoes and left his room.

If nothing else, he needed to talk to Laguna.

Laguna had hid in his room all day. He ignored Akira's query's, and Bethany's knocks. He ignored people's calls, and just hid in his room.

Rejection is a hard thing, especially for someone you like, and start to care about. Rejection is hard on anyone, especially on emotionally sensitive, sexually insecure, and innocent sixteen-year-old boys.

It hurt when Seifer told him to leave. It felt like Seifer had stuck a knife in his heart and twisted. Laguna had felt Seifer's pain, had wanted to comfort Seifer, and even get a little comfort in return. But Seifer pushed him away, and Laguna was deeply wounded.

It drove home the fact that he was lost and alone. Things were so different now, and Laguna, despite all his friends, felt no real connection to any of them. They were all acquaintances. But in Seifer, Laguna felt a connection. There was something real about him. His pain was real, his strength was real. And Laguna had wanted to latch onto him, had felt the chance, the merest hint of a moment where he wouldn't feel lost, alone and disconnected, but it was taken away....

And then there were moments where Laguna didn't feel quite himself. He saw things differently than he had before he his age got reversed. Differently from even his world perspective as a sixteen-year-old. He saw things as an adult, and as a child, all at once. Time felt unreal at times, and Laguna felt a depth to his personality that no teenager could possess. He was more mature than he ever was, wiser, and more sensitive. He understood what no sixteen-year-old could.

The confusion of his perception, the warped sense of maturity led to his disconnection form things.

He covered it well. Laguna was always able to cover his pain with a smile, and try to hide from his loneliness with multitudes of friends. But they were all so unreal to Laguna. But Seifer was some sort of odd focus, because Laguna could relate to him.

But now he was alone again.

Another knock came at his door, but Laguna ignored it. It was probably Bethany again, trying to make him come out of his room. Laguna lay on his bed, his pillow stuffed over his head, trying to block out the world, and wishing yet again that he could go back home.

The knock came again, and again Laguna ignored it, sure that Bethany would the hint after another couple tries. She was certainly insistent if nothing else.

Then Laguna heard a few beeps, and he blinked. Someone was overriding his lock! He half-sat up, wondering how Bethany could get an override code.

It wasn't Bethany that walked into his room.

Laguna blinked as Seifer calmly walked towards the bed, and without ceremony, stripped the sheet off Laguna's body, and dragged the boy up.

"Depression doesn't suit you. Go take a shower. You have fifteen minutes to be out and dressed for dinner," Seifer ordered, his tone commanding, but not harsh.

"Huh.....?" Laguna blinked, blushing to be found in his pajamas by Seifer.

"I know you're not stupid. You heard me. Now go," Seifer said firmly, and shoved Laguna in the direction of his shower.

Laguna turned and blinked at Seifer again, but did as he was told. Within fifteen minutes, he was showered and dressed, wearing a pair of baggy blue cargo pants, a gray shirt and blue vest. He came out shyly, scratching his ear and looking at the floor.

"Wh-why... Why are you here....?" Laguna stammered.

"Officially? Seeing to well-being of my student. Unofficially? Taking you out to dinner," Seifer said calmly, though he felt as nervous as a teenager inside.

Laguna blinked, a slow smile spreading across his face. "Me...? Why?" he pressed.

Seifer turned his face abruptly, and Laguna almost fell over when realized Seifer was actually blushing. "You like me. I like you. And it's gonna drive us both crazy if we don't do something about that. There's nothing in the rules that say I can't take you to dinner. And you haven't left your room; your roommate told me. I know you're hungry. And I had cold leftovers, so Hyne only knows I need some decent grub," Seifer said evenly, keeping the nervousness out of his voice.

Laguna grinned happily, a faint blush on his cheeks. "Oh goody! Where to?" he exclaimed, feeling vindicated. He was liked back, and that thought made him incredibly warm. All thoughts of rejection faded from his mind, as if they had never existed.

Laguna's smile was infectious. Seifer felt a ghost of it spread over his lips. "Like burgers?" he asked calmly.

It was late when Seifer returned Laguna to his dorm.

They had found a burger place open in Balamb, and made pigs of themselves. Seifer found out that Laguna could out-eat a man twice his size when it came to French fries.

Seifer found himself whistling softly to himself as he made his way back to his quarters. There was a soft smile on his face, as if Laguna's smiles left traces on him. Seifer felt refreshed, like his soul had been bathed in pure water.

They had talked for hours. About their pasts, their childhoods, their family. Laguna was occasionally vague and hesitant about his past, but Seifer thought nothing of it. Everyone had their secrets, and Seifer kept a few to himself, especially the one about his feelings for Laguna's cousin.

Some people who are filled with joy express it in perkiness, or obnoxious cheerfulness. Laguna was not perky, but exuberant. He not obnoxiously cheerful, merely optimistic. Laguna expressed joy in the simplest terms, by actions. His sympathy and compassion astounded Seifer.

They had done nothing but talk. There were no kisses, no invitations to stay the night. It was a night to get to know the other. And both young men found they enjoyed the other's personality as much as their appearance. Laguna enjoyed Seifer's intelligence, and respected Seifer's discipline. Laguna accepted Seifer the way he was, and made no judgments.

And as Seifer prepared for bed that evening, he realized that his gloomy loneliness had faded. He felt spiritually refreshed and happy for the first time in years. And before he closed his eyes he made his decision.

He didn't care how unethical it was.


Laguna pouted, glaring at Seifer. "You cheated," he accused.

"No, I paid attention to the whole board. When you play chess, Laguna, you have to think of future moves, as well as past moves. Don't focus on the present. Watch your opponent, see how they play, then plan a strategy that exploits their weakness. It's like gunblade fighting," Seifer shrugged.

Laguna sighed, blowing ebony bangs from his face. "You still cheated," he accused again.

"Prove it," Seifer grinned.

Laguna narrowed his eyes. "It's not fair, you always win," he complained.

"That's because I'm better at chess than you are," Seifer shrugged.

"Couldn't you let me win at least once??" Laguna whined.

"Nope, sorry. Against my personal code. It's like cheating myself. Learn to get better at the game."

Laguna sighed again, and Seifer watched in amusement as the bangs were blown again. He found the action adorable. But then again, almost everything about Laguna was adorable.

"Alright, then let's play a game I'm better at," Laguna suggested.

"Oh, like strip poker?" Seifer teased, his jade eyes sparkling in mischief.

Laguna's eyes widened, and he blushed furiously. "Um... no..." he squeaked. "I was thinking of Monopoly...."

Seifer laughed and got up to get the board. Laguna fiddled with his fingers for a minute, staring at Seifer in adoration. It was odd, but Laguna seemed to almost worship Seifer. Intelligence and strength of bearing was something that Laguna respected in a person. And Seifer had both in abundance.

Seifer set up the Monopoly board, handing Laguna his favorite piece, the dog. Seifer took the car and sat back down, designating himself as banker. Laguna forgot his moment of embarrassment quickly as he was forced to try and match financial wits against Seifer.

Their relationship hadn't really changed, and yet changed drastically. In the month since Seifer had taken Laguna to dinner, everything in their lives had changed, yet stayed the same. Since the first kiss, they hadn't touched since. There'd been no kisses at all, and the subject of sexuality was not brought up. Seifer sensed that Laguna was still uncomfortable about the whole idea, and Laguna was far too shy.

But instead, they had formed and incredible friendship. Most of their spare time was spent together. Watching movies, taking walks, playing games, or sometimes just spending time together quietly. Laguna would study while sprawled out across Seifer's couch, and Seifer would sit in his recliner, reading a book thicker than the bible. It was the time together that they enjoyed, the time not being alone.

"Now you're hogging all the property!!" Laguna complained after a while.

"If you want to win something, maybe you should play Solitaire," Seifer retorted.

"Jerk!!" Laguna cried, throwing houses and hotels at Seifer's head.

Seifer laughed and threw the money at Laguna. Laguna grinned, and soon the monopoly game was all over the place. When they ran out of ammunition, Laguna took to running around the room screeching, while Seifer chased him. Seifer eventually caught him, and took to mercilessly tickling the youth.

Laguna giggled and squealed, squirming in Seifer's arms. The blonde refused to let his prize go, holding onto him. Laguna turned in his arms, facing Seifer with a grin still on his face.

"Cheater," Laguna said happily, his aquamarine eyes sparkling, his face only inches from Seifer's.

"Sore loser," Seifer retorted with a small grin, leaning closer to Laguna's face.

With that endearment, Laguna grew bold and kissed the tall blonde on the lips. Seifer took charge of the kiss almost as soon as it started, leading Laguna with his lips, his tongue playing against Laguna's skillfully.

Seifer pulled away breathlessly, finding himself immersed in aquamarine orbs. "If we go to the couch, we can do this longer..." Seifer offered. How long it had been since he'd been able to kiss anyone, much less someone as sweet and desirable as Laguna.

A flicker of doubt crossed Laguna's eyes, but Seifer caught it. "It's all we'll do," he soothed.

Laguna nodded, and Seifer led him to the couch, gently bringing the smaller youth onto his lap. Laguna was suddenly shy, almost as if the acknowledgement of what they were doing was what caused him to be embarrassed. Seifer gently guided the boy's lips back to his own, savoring the feel, the affection that poured out between them in the touch of their mouths.

A flicker of passion passed between them, but neither acted on it, choosing to remain on the safer road of kissing each other.

They had kept their growing friendship a secret, but it seemed the friendship refused to remain as such. There was an attraction, and desires that fueled them. The step up from mere friends made their relationship all the more unethical, but neither cared. They liked each other too much to stay apart. Apart was misery, but together they both felt happy and fulfilled. Laguna no longer suffered from his skewed sense of time, and Seifer no longer allowed himself to wallow in remorse and self-loathing.

Laguna pulled away, glancing at the time. "Aren't we suppose to go to dinner with Squall and Rinoa...?" Laguna giggled.

Seifer sighed and glanced at his clock with irritation. It was a Saturday, which meant no school, but Squall and Rinoa had invited both Seifer and Laguna to dinner for the evening, separately of course.

"Yeah, I suppose we better get ready. Wouldn't want to arouse suspicions," Seifer sighed, gently removing Laguna from his lap.

"We can always finish this later..." Laguna giggled shyly and stretched up to kiss Seifer one last time.

"See ya at dinner, kid," Seifer smiled, watching Laguna head back to his dorm to get ready.

Seifer was exhilarated like he'd never been before in his life.

She'd been waiting for a month.

When Ellone had arrived in Balamb, she found out that the Garden had taken for a month long tour across the world. So she hid out in the town, waiting for Balamb Garden to return.

When it finally landed, Ellone rushed to the Garden, only to discover that Laguna had gone to dinner with Squall in Balamb. She was very frustrated, and felt like time was working against her.

She didn't stop to think of why that was.

Ellone had become rather pathetic since Laguna had reverted to 16. Her skin was pale and drawn, her brown hair limp and lacking it's luster. Her clothes hung off her painfully thin form. She was a ghost of what she was. The gentle, vibrant young woman was gone, replaced by an obsessed woman, bound and determined to restore Laguna to his proper age.

She found Laguna in a seafood restaurant off the pier, eating dinner with Squall, Rinoa, and Seifer of all people. She had eyes only for him. Her only thoughts were of the hurt she suffered since he couldn't remember her. She could only think of the pain of not having her Uncle Laguna.

Laguna paused with a fork full of lobster midway. He stared at the woman approaching him, and felt his blood drain. Squall caught the glance and blinked, realizing his Sis looked like a ghost. Rinoa gasped, not recognizing Ellone at all. Seifer stood up, his face full of concern for the woman he considered to be his big sister.

"Uncle Laguna..." she cried softly, tears running down her face. She couldn't accept what happened. She refused to accept what happened.

"Do... I... know you...?" Laguna asked in confusion. It was as if his skewed sense of time was enveloping him full force. The girl was dear to him, yet he had no clue who she was.

"It's time, Uncle Laguna," Ellone said simply and raised her hand.

Eternity stretched out in the space of a second, and Squall had the feeling it wasn't just a sense of perception, but reality. A bluish-white glow emerged from Ellone's palm, and then coalesced around Laguna. The boy screamed, the scream of having your body and soul torn apart.

Squall was closest to Laguna, and dove to the boy's side, wondering why Ellone would attack him. This wasn't real, it couldn't be happening. Laguna continued to scream, and it was if time was tearing him apart. One moment he was forty-six, the next, sixteen.

Seifer was closest to Elle, and he dove for the woman, tackling her like a linebacker. She gave a weak cry, her body like a blade of grass before someone as big and strong as Seifer. The fell to the floor as one, Seifer grabbing her glowing hand, screaming at her to stop hurting Laguna. Seifer felt his heart clench, and he glanced at Laguna in desperation.

Despite the physical pain, Ellone didn't stop, her eyes fixed on her Uncle Laguna. On the way he was suppose to be.

It was Rinoa who saved Laguna's life, much to everyone's surprise. Two years ago, Rinoa would have fainted, and begged Squall to help her. Two years ago, Rinoa was incapable of taking care of herself. But Rinoa was now a wife, a mother, and a Sorceress.

She cast Aura on herself and angel wings sprouted from Rinoa's back. She lifted into the air, and her brown eyes began to burn. Seifer gaped and rolled off Ellone, just in time. Spell after spell was flung at Ellone. None were meant to harm her, but to prevent her from doing further harm. The spells were meant so none but a Sorceress could cast. After several mysterious spells that neither Seifer or Squall could recognize flew at Ellone, the girl gave a cry and collapsed, the bluish-white glow stopping abruptly.

The angel wings faded, and but Rinoa's eyes continued to burn. Squall gaped at his wife. Rinoa's full sorcerous potential was unexplored, and he had no idea she could any of what he just saw. Squall ran to Ellone in concern, checking on the young woman. Ellone was unharmed, merely unconscious. Seifer ran over to Laguna, his face stricken. What had Ellone done to him?

His body twitched, and it seemed his age kept changing. Laguna's entire form was blurry, and it hurt Seifer's eyes to look at him. Seifer gave a small, cry, and he felt his world darken. Laguna was going to die..... He reached out a hand to touch the boy, but Rinoa stopped him.

"Don't touch him. He is trapped in temporal flux," Rinoa commanded, and Seifer stared at the petite woman. He never thought Rinoa had it in her to give a command in that tone.

Rinoa reached out, her hand glowing white. Angel feathers fluttered from them, and surrounded Laguna's blurry form. Laguna's body went still, and he seemed as he always was, youthful and innocent. Seifer's heart stopped beating, and he feared Laguna had died, but Rinoa was smiling as she stood up.

Laguna was asleep.

Ellone stirred and stared in horror at Rinoa and Laguna. The madness in her eyes had departed, and she came upon the realization of what she had just done.

Rinoa turned to Ellone, her brows creased in anger. "You almost killed Laguna, Ellone Loire. He almost died again, but this time, because of you. To return him to the way he was would kill him. A body cannot live through more than one temporal change. I have restored him, and saved his life. Accept his loss, Ellone. We all must move on," Rinoa said, her voice carrying a timber that reminded Seifer of Matron.

Ellone burst into tears, and Squall held her, staring at his wife nervously. As burst of white energy returned Rinoa to normal, and she glanced about the scene in concern. Seifer reached out and picked Laguna up as gently as a child, looking sadly at Ellone.

"I'm not going to pretend I understand what's going on. In fact, I'm as confused as confused can get. But I'm taking him to Dr. Kadowaki," Seifer said, giving Ellone an angry glance and storming from the restaurant, Laguna in his arms.

"Elle, Elle..... Why, Elle?" Squall whispered. The other customers in the restaurant had either fled or were hiding under their tables. Slowly, they came out, assuring themselves it was safe now.

"He doesn't remember me. He doesn't love me. I just wanted him back, Squall...... I just wanted my Uncle Laguna back......." Ellone cried.

Squall cradled his Sis, Rinoa came and knelt next to him. "It's time you let him go, Elle. He's gone. But you gave him a second chance at life. Don't' forget that," Rinoa said gently, comforting the other woman.

"I... I want to go home. I want to go home to my Uncle Kiros, and my Uncle Ward...." Ellone said softly. She was still like a little girl in so many ways. She had been sheltered and taken care of her whole life, and never given a chance to grow up. Her whole world revolved around Laguna. And losing him shattered her world. Now she had to rebuild, and learn to grow up.

"It's gonna be alright, Sis. I'll call Kiros, and let him know to come get you. You'll be home in no time," Squall soothed. As children, Ellone had comforted him, taken care of him. Now their positions had reversed.

Squall had had to learn to accept Ellone's loss, and now she had to accept Laguna's.

Seifer sat patiently beside Laguna's bedside, waiting for Laguna to wake up.

Though Laguna's body was as youthful as ever, Seifer found strands of gray mixed in with his ebon hair, and he wondered at them. In the brief flashes of an instant when he had seen Laguna aged, he got the nagging feeling he had seen him somewhere before. And what was the youth's connection to Ellone?

But Seifer did not dwell on those thoughts much. He was still far too upset. There were moments where he thought Laguna was gone, and it made Seifer's heart ache. Over the past few months, Seifer had grown extremely attached to the youth. To lose him would be unbearable.

Seifer realized how very much he wanted Laguna to be part of his life.

Laguna stirred, blinking his aquamarine eyes and focusing them on the blonde. He smiled gently at Seifer.

"Good morning, sunshine," Seifer smiled.

"Morning......? How did it get morning?" Laguna asked in confusion, sitting up and finding himself confronted by sunlight.

"What's the last thing you remember?" Seifer asked gently.

Laguna blinked, mulling over that thought. His memories were hazy, and unformed. Everything was a blur. "I was trying to eat my lobster. And a girl came.... I knew her somehow, though I don't know how....." he said slowly, unable to bring up even the memories of her after his age reversal.

"Her name is Ellone..... Why would she want to change your age?" Seifer pressed.

"I... don't know..." Laguna answered, drawing his knees up to his chest. He finally placed her as the girl who had changed his age to begin with, but he was still left with the nagging feeling that he knew her.

The only thing he did know for sure was that he couldn't tell Seifer who he really was. It would mess up everything, he knew it for sure.

Laguna looked up at Seifer when he felt the blonde's warm hand on his arm. He blinked silently at the handsome man, looking impossibly old and young at the same time. But Seifer recognized the lost, alone look on Laguna's face.

"I thought I lost you...." Seifer said quietly, looking deeply into Laguna's bottomless eyes.

"I'm here," Laguna offered, watching the blonde in concern. Seifer looked like he was going to bare his heart.

"Let me finish, Laguna. I've only known you for four months. I've only gotten to know you over the past month. But you're very important to me. I'm an outcast, a loser here at the Headmaster's mercy. But you make me feel wanted, and worthwhile. You make me feel like there's a reason to get up in the morning......"

Laguna watched Seifer with those large bedroom eyes of his, very still while he let Seifer pour his heart out.

"I guess what I'm trying to say is... Well, see last night, when I thought I might never be able to see you again... I felt like.... I love you, Laguna," Seifer finished, his jaw working slightly in anxiety. The last time he'd revealed emotions like that, at the age of sixteen, Squall had given him a cold rejection.

A slow smile spread across Laguna's beautiful face, and Seifer thought the room exploded in sunlight. The smile spread across his face in answer to Laguna's. The youth reached over and hugged the blonde fiercely.

"I love you, too, Seifer...." Laguna whispered, and Seifer thought his heart would explode in response to the sunlight. Happiness washed over him, and Seifer experienced joy like few human beings ever do.

"I have some vacation coming to me, Laguna... I want to go away with you for a little while. I don't care what they say, or what happens. I just want to be with you," Seifer whispered, holding the youth in his arms.

"Boy, do we sound like an episode of Days of Our Lives or what?" Laguna giggled. "So when do we go?"

Seifer's face split into a grin, and Laguna noted the blonde had dimples that appeared only in when he grinned. "Right now. Let's pack," he said in excitement, like a little boy.

Laguna returned the grin and grabbed Seifer's hand. "Then what are we still here for?" Laguna giggled.

Kiros Seagill gently laid Ellone's prone form onto one of the couches of his air transport. Squall stood off to the side, watching in concern.

"You'll take care of her, right? She's like a little girl, still," Squall pointed out.

Kiros smiled sadly, a brief flash of startling white on mocha skin. He was a very handsome man, with a calm bearing Squall could only admire. "Yes, Squall. Now that I know what's wrong with her, I'll help her on the road to recovery. I let my job interfere, and I ignored her for too long, letting her emotions fester. I should have known, as obsessed as she was a couple years ago, that her whole world revolved around Laguna. She moved heaven and earth, literally, to find out Laguna really loved her, and she moved it again to save his life, and she'd do it again to bring him back to her. She lost Raine, and now him. Her fragile psyche couldn't take the blow.... But she'll be alright. I'll see to it. I'm retiring from presidency, and handing the reigns over to a younger man," Kiros said gently, tucking Elle in with the care of a father. In a sense, he was as much her father as Laguna or her own real father.

Squall nodded, Kiros' confident assurance comforting him.

"Now, how fairs the young one?" Kiros asked, his voice soft, but able to be heard across the room. There was as much power behind his words, as behind his katal.

"Seifer took Laguna to Dr. Kadowaki. I called over there, and he's fine. He just needed to sleep it off. Rinoa healed him from most of his damage. I'm going to go check on him personally now," Squall answered.

"Give him my regards," Kiros said with a small smile. "And take care of him"

"I will," Squall promised and stepped over to his Sis, kissing her gently on the forehead as she slept. "Please be better soon, Sis."

With that whisper, Squall stepped off the transport and waved to Kiros as the tall black man took off. Squall found his thoughts turning to his youthened father, and his former childhood rival. The strange expression of desperation on Seifer's face when Laguna was attacked stuck in Squall's mind.

He walked back to the Garden, the thought refusing to leave. Seifer handled Laguna as gently as he would a child, or a lover. His face was stricken, and Seifer seemed more upset than anyone else there over Laguna's plight. It struck Squall oddly, especially when he thought of how close Seifer and Laguna had grown over the past month. Since Squall had mentioned Laguna might like him.

It made him suspicious.

Squall Leonhart-Loire was a very smart young man. So it was no great surprise when he reached the infirmary, and was informed by Dr. Kadowaki that Laguna had recovered and left with Seifer soon after. It was also not a great surprise to visit both Laguna and Seifer's rooms, and discover them gone. Full of quiet rage, Squall stormed to his office, and found a note about Seifer cashing in on his vacation time on his desk.

Squall was not happy. In fact, if there was point on a line that defined happiness, Squall would be so far from it, he would enter a new dimension entirely.

And he planned on doing something about it.


What will Squall do, now that he knows Seifer is having and affair with Laguna? How will Seifer and Laguna's vacation go? Will their newfound love stand up to Squall's interference? All this and more in the next part of Time After Time in Part Four- Forever Ended Yesterday...

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