Author's Notes: Also includes original characters by me! This story is set in a world like the one in FF8, but everything is *a lot* bigger(and more spread out!) Hope it isn't *too* confusing!!

Yaoi in Cities of Desire

Part 1

By SamuraiCooly47

"My darling," Seifer Almasy whispered huskily as he gestured across the room with a sweep of his arm.

"One day all this will be yours."

Squall Leonhart giggled, "If this all you've got to offer, I'll have to start looking for a new boyfriend."

"Ouch!" Seifer exclaimed. "Too cold. You wound me!" He placed his hand over his heart dramatically and staggered backward as if his words had knocked the wind out of him. But his green eyes twinkled mischievously, and a sly grin spread across his face.

Smiling, Squall glanced around the modest, furnished one-room apartment that would be Seifer's summer home. The place was small and a little run-down, but it was clean and cozy. Glass sliding doors spanned the entire back wall. A folded-out sofa bed and a dresser took up the right side of the room. In the middle of the room an ancient cabinet-style TV faced an overstuffed armchair. Other than a small kitchenette on the left and a few half-unpacked cardboard boxes strewn across the floor, the rest of the apartment was bare.

"I understand you're just looking out for the bottom line, Leonhart," Tom growled. He wrapped his muscular arms around Squall, making his skin tingle at his nearness. "Give me another chance-I have some other assets that'll sweeten the deal."

"Well, I might reconsider," Squall allowed. "But only if I get an advance on some of those.... assets." He planted an affectionate kiss on his cheek.

"Mmmmm, nice," Seifer moaned. "You can liquidate as many of *those* assets as you want." He leaned forward and brushed the nape of his neck with his lips.

When Squall reached up to run his fingers through Seifer's thick blond hair, he lowered his face to his for another lingering kiss. He felt a delicious shudder run down his spine. For a moment he was transported away from the little apartment... away from everything but the feeling of Seifer's lips on his.

When the paused for breath, Squall reluctantly shook himself back to reality. It scared her sometimes how easily he could get lost in Seifer's kisses. Even though they'd been dating for ages, the electricity between them was as powerful as it had been the day they'd met.

Squall and Seifer were both students at Balamb University, and they'd gotten to know each other through BUKS (Balamb University Knights Society). Over time their shared passion for fighting and admiration for each other's work had evolved into head-over-heels love. They'd been planning to spend the summer together for months, and Squall had been overjoyed when Seifer found an apartment just a few blocks from his parents' house on Galbadian Drive.

"I'm just kidding about the apartment, of course," he said lightly. "This place isn't bad at all- especially for what you're paying."

"And I get to be near *you*." Seifer tenderly traced the line of his jaw with his fingertip. "We're going to have the most awesome summer together, Squall. My intership is really going to help me a lot, and you and I are going to have a blast."

Squall flinched slightly at the mention of Seifer's internship. "I'm sure we will." he responded, giving Seifer a tight smile.

Seifer's the one who's going to have the awesome summer, not me, he lamented as he shrugged off Seifer's embrace. After all, he's the one with a great job and his own place while I'm stuck with my parents and a lame summer job. He's living an adult life- I might as well be back in high school!

Seifer had landed a summer internship at Galbadian Cross Elite Corp, a major network in Galbadia, Squall had been planning to intern for the Trabia Knight Association, a syndicated group of elite fighters. But, stats had shown that less people were joining and just as Squall was finishing up his final exams, he'd gotten a call from the commander saying their budget for summer internships no longer existed.

Of course, it was too late to apply for another internship, so Squall had had to settle for a job at Tonberry's, a local bookstore. Squall had always loved to read, but being a store clerk wasn't actually the summer job he'd had in mind. He been looking forward to mastering his skills in swordsmanship, the career path he'd dreamed of taking all his life. And he hated being reminded of how Seifer's summer job would look a *lot* better on a resume than his.

"I am so psyched," Seifer went on. "Can you even believe I start tomorrow? I totally lost track of time. I guess it's better this way- I haven't had time to get nervous."

Squall turned to his beaming boyfriend and wished he could push his jealousy aside. You're not being fair, he told himself . You should be happy for Seifer, not felling sorry for yourself.

"Why should I be nervous anyway?" Seifer continued obliviously. "They're lucky to have someone with my experience on their team."

Still, it would be nice if he could show a *little* understanding, Squall amended. In fact, why doesn't he stop rubbing it in already?

"Squall, is everything okay?" Seifer asked. "You seem preoccupied."

Squall shook his head. "I'm sorry, Seifer. I'm just tired. I had a really long day."

"Oh, right- it was your first day at Tonberry's wasn't it?" Seifer mentally kicked himself in the ass for rattling on about his job without asking Squall about his. "How'd it go?"

Squall shrugged. "OK, I guess."

"That good, huh?" Seifer studied his downcast face. He knew Squall was disappointed about losing his internship, but now he looked downright depressed.

Wait till he sees the surprise I have for him, he thought, grinning with anticipation. He'll cheer up for sure!

Seifer held out his arm. "Squall, close your eyes and take my hand," he instructed. "I want to show you something."

Squall looked up in surprise.

"Go ahead," Seifer urged him.

He accepted his hand and shut his eyes.

"What's going on?"

"You'll see," Seifer said mysteriously as he led him through the glass doors and into his backyard. His heart was doing flip-flops as they made their way down a path that led to the bank of a bubbling stream. "OK, you can look now," he announced, watching Squall closely as he opened his eyes. When his features lit up in delight, Seifer felt his heart soar.

By the bank Seifer had spread out an old lace tablecloth and set it like a formal dinner table. A large picnic basket in the center overflowed with a couple of baguettes, a bottle of sparkling water, several bunches of grapes, and wedges of Brie.

"Oh, Seifer, it's so wonderful!" Squall exclaimed. He threw his arms around him and planted a moist kiss on his lips. "This is *exactly* what I needed. Thank you."

Seifer beamed. "I'm glad you like it," he said as he watched him sit down. In a sliver silk shirt and long black slacks that hugged his softly curving hips, Squall looked so radiantly beautiful that his heart ached.

"It's so romantic," Squall sighed. "You shouldn't have gone to all this trouble."

"Are you kidding?' Seifer shook his head in disbelief as he knelt down across from him. "Squall, don't you know that you're everything to me? This is the *least* I can do to show you how much I love you."

Seifer felt as if he hadn't known what love was before Squall came into his life. For a long time after his family had tragically died in a car accident, Squall had been a loner, keeping all his emotions locked away. But Squall made him feel whole again– - not to mention incredibly lucky. Not a day went by that he didn't wonder what he had done to deserve a boyfriend who was not only gorgeous but sweet, intelligent, and caring as well.

"Why don't we dig in," Seifer suggested gently, his heart pounding in anticipation of another surprise that was yet to come.

"Seifer, what's this?" Squall breathed, his eyes wide as he held up the small black velvet box.

"Open it."

"So I looked her right in her eye and I said, ‘Excuse me, but are those Armani shoes? With a Versace dress? Do you by any chance have a multiple-personality disorder?"

"Rinoa, you did *not*." Yumi Motsuwa clapped a manicured hand to her mouth while Ellone Leonhart and Chi Kokubunji shook their heads in disbelief. "So what did she say?'

"What *could* she say?" Rinoa Heartilly set her cup of espresso on the table outside the chic ocean-side café, an expression of smug triumph on her face. "Obviously *we* got the table at Chez Fira."

"Your terrible, Ri." Chi laughed, her wavy brown hair shimmering in the afternoon sunlight. "Sometimes I can't get over actually knowing someone like you."

Rinoa shrugged and patted her immaculate chignon. "Well, all's fair when it comes to love and dinner reservations. When my blood sugar is low, the claws come out. I'm only human."

Ellone took a sip from her mug of cappuccino and willed herself not to roll her eyes. OK, so Rinoa may be my best friend and all, she acknowledged silently, but sometimes she really needs to get over herself.

While Ellone had been looking forward to enjoying one last lunch with her sorority sisters before they left Balamb for the summer, she was more than a little tired of hearing Rinoa monopolize the conversation. I haven't even gotten to talk about my plans yet! She thought with a pout.

"I'll have to get a few tips from you before I leave for Timber, Ri," Chi said. "I'm sure that attitude will come in handy when I'm interning for Zero Henson. Supposedly he has this sixth sense for fashion anxieties. I read in Ice that his last personal assistant had a nervous breakdown after he called her hairstyle passe."

‘Helping a young British hunk design cutting edge fashions-that would have been my dream job a year ago, Ellone reflected, setting down her mug and inspecting her light green and light blue mini-dress for coffee stains. ‘I would never have believed I'd find an even more glamorous way to spend the summer!'

"So Elle." Chi speared a forkful of lemon meringue pie. "Yumi's going to Centra, Rinoa's going to Galbadia, and I'm heading up to the North Balamb Culinary Institute. What's your secret destination?"

"Yeah, spill!" Yumi exclaimed.

Ellone straightened up proudly in her chair. "I'm going to the Deling City Specialized Security Academy!"

"Your kidding," Rinoa said flatly.

"Are you serious?" Yumi chimed in. "They accepted you?"

Elllone's face fell slightly. "Um......... yeah. I got the letter just the other day."

‘Ok, so I haven't exactly received the letter yet, she clarified in her mind. But I'm not lying-more like.... predicting! The police academy is definitely going to want me. It's practically a done deal.

"Elle, the police are around to protect and serve, not to pull over hot guys in fast cars," Rinoa reminded her. "Are you sure you're cut out for the force?"

"Of course I am!" Ellone retorted hotly. "I happen to be very serious about this. And I'm totally qualified. This is going to be the most exciting summer of my life."

She couldn't believe her friends were being so unsupportive. She'd expected this kind of skeptism from her brother, Squall; even though they looked identical, everyone knew the Leonhart twins knew that Ellone was the fun, adventurous one while Squall was a cautious, predictable bookworm. But Ellone's Beta sisters usually backed Ellone up when her own twin was a stick-in-the-mud.

Why doesn't anyone think I can handle this? Ellone wondered, glowering. She tried to console herself by smiling flirtatiously at a cute blond guy who was hanging around their table, but her heart sank when he frowned at her and pulled up the hood of his navy sweatshirt, hiding his face.

"Well, good luck, Elle." Chi shook her head. "I have to say, I'm glad I'll be baking souffles instead of chasing bad guys."

Suddenly, before anyone had time to react, Sweatshirt Boy whisked Rinoa's purse off the back of her chair.

"My purse!" Rinoa screamed. "Stop, thief!"

In an instant Ellone was on her feet, propelled by sheer instinct. By the time she realized what she was doing, she was halfway down the block.

As she pounded down the pavement, every in of her body pumping with adrenaline, Ellone saw the distance between herself and the thief closing rapidly. Thank goodness I left my stilettos at home today, Ellone cheered mentally. These platform sneakers put a lot of bounce in my sprint!

Up ahead the guy turned a corner. Ellone kept running, ignoring the tightness in her chest. It wasn't as if Rinoa couldn't afford twenty replacement purses, but Ellone was determined to prove to herself, her friends, and the scumbag she was chasing that she was police academy material.

Ellone suddenly found herself in an alleyway lined with trash cans. The thief stopped dead in his tracks, obviously realizing he was cornered.

"Hold it right there, punk!" Ellone shouted. "Your ass is mine!!"

The guy snorted reached into his jacket, and pulled out a switchblade. Ellone glared as he waved the knife menacingly. Think! She told herself, racking her brain. What would a cop do in this situation?

Ellone jumped into a crouching position and tripped the male with a low kick, which sent him down to his knees. She then grabbed two trash can lids as he got up and with all her might, brought them crashing down on his head. He let out an animal moan and toppled to his knees, dropping the knife.

"That'll teach you to mess with *me*," Ellone crowed, kicking the knife away and scooping up Rinoa's purse. She heard a noise behind her and whirled around to see three police officers.

"Nice work, miss," one of them called as the other two hurried over to cuff the guy. "That was a very brave act. But you really shouldn't take the law into your own hands like that. Next time leave it to the professionals."

Ellone smiled. "Pretty soon I'll be one of the professionals!" she said giddily.

Squall bit his lip as he opened the small black velvet box. Inside, nestled into neat folds of black satin, lay a slender silver bangle engraved with delicate, vinelike work.

"Look on the inside," Seifer urged softly.

Squall lifted the bracelet from the box and held it up in the palm of his hand. On the underside were inscribed the words ‘Squall, I love you forever, Seifer.

Tears welled up in Squall's eyes. "Seifer, it's... it's...," he gasped, unable to get the words out. Staring at the inscription, he felt a stab of guilt for bieng jealous of Seifer's internship.

"Do you like it?" Seifer asked, sounding almost shy. Squall tore his eyes from the bangle and gazed up at Seifer, his heart full. In the soft glow of twilight his tanned face looked angelic. "Seifer, it's so beautiful," he breathed. "I don't know what to say."

Seifer reached out and took the bangle from Squall's hand. "I'm sorry I went on and on about my internship before," he said as he unhooked the clasp. "I should have realized how it would make you feel."

Squall held out his arm, and Seifer fastened the bangle on his wrist. "I know your summer isn't going exactly the way you planned," he went on, "but I'm here for you, Squall. And I'm going to do whatever I can to make this the best summer of out lives."

A tear slid down Squall's cheek. "Thank you– for everything," he whispered. "It means so much to know you understand."

Seifer reached out and gently brushed away his tears with the side of his finger. Then he took both of Squall's hands and laced his fingers through hers. "You're my world," he confessed, looking intently into his eyes. "Internship or no internship, I vow to you that nothing's going to keep us from having a great summer together. I'm going to make you as happy as you make me- that's a promise."

"Oh, Seifer, you already *have* made me happy," Squall insisted. "And I know you're right-I'll get over losing the internship. As long as we're together we *will* have a wonderful summer."

For a moment he flashed on that day's hectic shift at the bookstore. At nine-thirty he'd already been counting the minutes until five. Is looking forward to time with Seifer really going to get me through the day? Squall wondered anxiously. Through the whole summer?

He pushed the thought firmly out of his mind as he leaned forward so his face was barley inches from Seifer's. If I really hate it, I can look for another job, he reasoned. In the meantime I should enjoy the here and now.

As his lips met Seifer's for a heart-stopping kiss, that suddenly didn't seem so hard.

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