Author's Note -- My imagery of elves fits more so the 'Lord of the Rings' where the ears are about an inch or two higher than "normal" ears and have a rather rounded point. The elven ears that can poke an eye out in 'Record of Lodoss War' cannot really apply to this story. ^_-
Out of My Control
Not even attempting grace, I sit down on the ground to lean against the tree that I just stole a couple pieces of fruit from. There is only a mild sweetness to the green fruit, but it is the juice itself that is nice to quench my thirst in this heated day. Glancing up, I notice my elf frowning at me, which would imply that I'm doing something wrong. Almost a month now we've been together, and I think I've gotten many of his primary expressions down. A necessary skill since the idiot doesn't speak enough to let me know want he wants.
"What am I doing wrong this time, elf?"
"You're not eating the fruit right."
"Should I be jamming it up my nose instead? Or perhaps my ear?" I take another bite to spite him.
He just shakes his head at my tone. I can't help it. Over the last couple weeks that I've let him out of bed, Squall has been constantly correcting practically everything I do. If I were a better man, I'd admit out loud that he has taught me a lot. As it is, I'm annoyed with being treated like a child by him. ...No, that's not entirely true. He isn't condescending enough to be insulting in that way, but I just wish there was one freaking thing I could do which wouldn't result in a lesson from him.
Using a small knife, Squall cuts a piece of branch from the tree and then hands it to me. "Take a few deep breaths of the flowers' aroma and then try the fruit."
Looking skeptically at the small white flowers on the stick, I decide that there is nothing better to do at the moment than humor the elf. The fragrance is nice with an odd spicy edge to the scent. Feeling only mildly a fool for sniffing flowers in the middle of the day, I take a bite of the fruit, rich sweetness instantly covering my tongue.
"Well damn, I didn't know these things could actually taste good."
A glance to his face and I can tell he is pleased. Sure, there is only a neutral line to his lips, but by the way his eyes narrow just so with his thick eyelashes lowered coyly, I know he is smiling somewhere inside. While he seems determined to never physically smile, I'll have to disappoint him one of these days.
I throw a piece of fruit at him. "Eat. Light weight or not, I don't want to end up carrying you home because you've passed out from hunger."
He plucks one of the flowers, closing his eyes while inhaling the aroma. Watching him bite into the fruit, I think for the hundredth time this week that I'm in trouble with this elf. He does everything with that unnatural grace of his, enhancing his physical beauty in a way that demands attention. Even now seeing a bit of juice escape his lips, I'm tempted to lick the small trail, curious of its taste when mixed with his flavor. Belying the neutral expression, his lengthy ears twitch in pleasure, and also appear rather appetizing. With an inner growl, I tear my eyes from the distracting view. I can't let these damned affections for him go further than my imagination. He's only around because of some curse binding himself to me. I have too much respect for the fey thing to treat him like a slave, no matter what he may think of himself.
"Squall, I'm going to head into town tonight. Do me a favor and keep out of sight in the house."
His mood sours beneath his base expression. "You wish me to hide."
"Damn it, I'm not saying you can't handle yourself, but I don't need the whole town coming after you."
"I'll be back in the morning. It won't even be enough time for you to miss me."
He drops the half eaten fruit and turns around. "Whatever."
Well, it's not like I can explain to him that I'm leaving for town to relieve some bodily stress that he has been causing me. I have to wonder if he would understand what I'd be talking about. No matter. One night of pure bliss should be able to lighten the tension in me a bit, and maybe I can regain some focus when he saunters around with that tight ass of his.
The sun hangs a short distance above the horizon by the time I make it to town. It's decently sized with various merchants on the street, most of which are starting to pack up for the night. Walking down the main street, one display catches my eye. Fingering material of a dark blue color, I decide to purchase a small piece of the cloth for the offended elf. Perhaps by covering his most noticeable features, he can come out in the open bit more. And there is the chance that we could be traveling soon. It's been half a year and I still haven't decide about whether to return home or not. This situation with Squall, however, may make the decision for me.
After bargaining for a small length of the soft material, I make way to the tavern. Not seeing the person I am most interested in, I order an ale for the hopefully momentary wait. The ale is of course horrid, but at least it gives a pleasant lightheadedness. Turning at a tap to my shoulder, my mood gets even better.
"Quisty. Lovely as ever."
The blonde beauty frowns at me. "I hate it when you call me that. Where have you been all these weeks?"
"Just keeping myself busy," I say while giving her a look over. The black dress with deep blue designs looks good on her, the light complexion almost glowing in the dim bar.
"I hear that you've been giving aid to some elves."
"So the rumors have spread to more than one elf. My, I guess I've been busier than I thought."
"Seifer, are they true?"
"Please, what reason would I have to help out a horde of elves that would only skewer me the moment they felt like it."
"You're not giving a straight answer.."
"Because I see no benefit in answering. Either way I reply, it's still your decision whether to believe me or not. And..." I run a finger down a lightly flushed cheek. "I have other plans than talking for tonight."
She smiles at me, her blue eyes glinting with a hint of shrewdness. The woman knows I'm hiding something, but she trusts me enough to not do anything that would threaten the town. Quistis is the only one I care for here, finding a bit of comfort with her higher intellect as compared to the dimwits roaming the lands. Though it doesn't help her personality much in that she knows how much smarter she is than everyone else.
Offering my arm, she hooks her into mine as we leave the growing crowd of the tavern. Walking to her place, I attempt to flatter the lovely woman and by her giggles I assume I'm doing a decent job of it, but it's a half hearted attempt. The further we go, the more unease settles into my chest. Abruptly with single step, there is the sensation of being jerked backwards though I continue forward easily to finish the stride, then stand in place.
"Seifer? What's wrong?" she asks at my sudden stop.
"Quisty, I'm sorry. I've got to go." Looking into concerned eyes, I realize it was certainly a mistake to come here. She isn't what I want. "Listen, I wouldn't bother waiting for me anymore, well, if you were that is. I'm leaving soon."
She breaks eye contact for a brief moment before forcing a smile. "Well, I can't say that you never warned me of that possibility. I guess I just thought, or hoped..."
My continued silence is enough to tell her I won't offer to take her with me. Forgetting the definite risks traveling with the woman, it wouldn't be fair to her when my interests have gone elsewhere. Quistis has enough fans in this area to find someone better suited to her.
"Then this is goodbye?"
I kiss the corner of her lips. "You're gorgeous and amazing, Quisty. Don't ever settle for someone less than you deserve."
While I had planned for a smoother ending to our causal relationship, I don't like the feeling in my chest. Forcing myself to not run like an idiot out of the town, my strides are long and quick as I sense unhappy sapphire eyes watch my retreating back. Even once I reach the path into the forest, I try to keep the same pace. I can't let foolish worries like this overcome common sense, though I probably could get the elf to laugh at me for running back home to check up on him.
The moon shining dim light from its high position, I finally reach my home of the past months. Finding the entrance still bearing a door that lacked large holes relieves a bit of the tension that I had built up during the rush here. All still seems well as I walk inside, no furniture overturned or broken. Taking the stairs two at a time, I quickly reach the attic turned bedroom. When I don't find Squall where he should be, I push back the returning worry. The fool probably decided to spend the night outdoors with me away, thus unable to force him back into the safety of the cabin.
The night ruined, I take my time to the bedroom on the ground floor while muttering random curses that specifically involve the elven race. After removing the shirt clinging to me with dirt and some sweat, I open the door and stop after a couple steps inside.
"Well, what the hell are you doing in here?"
The still form on the bed doesn't stir at my voice. Knowing the heighten senses of the elf, he must have been awaked when I first entered the building but probably decided to feign sleep in his continued anger at me. Why can't this guy just let a grudge go?
"Come on, unless you want to share that bed, get to your own." I reach in the dark for his arm to pull the temptation out of my bed, immediately jerking my hand away at the feel of warm liquid. "What the hell?"
After wiping off of my hand onto my trousers, I fumble a few moments to light the lamp on the nightstand. Flickering light fills the room, my first sight being the remaining redness on my hand. Turning back to the elf, I can clearly see the source of blood - his wrists and neck are coated in the thick liquid as if wires were used on him.
Taking his head gently into my hands, I try to wake him. "Squall, got to open those eyes for me. Come on." Blue manages to crack through his eyelids, eventually looking at my face. "That's a boy. Tell me what happened here. Did someone attack you? Are they coming back?"
"No," he croaks out.
"Then what the fuck happened? You couldn't have done this yourself, did you?"
"No. You did." He coughs in what look likes a painful manner, a dribble of blood coming from the corner of his mouth.
Either the elf has been hallucinating or he didn't tell me something about this curse of his. I thumb away the dark liquid. "Alright, questions can wait. You rest here while I go get some rags and bandaging."
Some time later, Squall is sitting on the edge of the bed as I finish wrapping the second wrist. His eyes are still a bit hazy while he follows my movements, but not as glassy as before. Though tired, he doesn't seem in much pain. As always, he remains silent during the cleaning and bandaging while lost in some other world of his. Getting up from kneeling on the floor, I point to his bloodied shirt.
"Take that thing off. You can get a fresh one upstairs."
He complies, leaving the shirt on stained sheets. After I wipe off the remaining blood I had missed under the cloth, he stands up from the bed for a few seconds before slumping into my chest. Sighing, I bend down and lean forward while bracing his legs to force the elf onto my shoulder. He groans a minor complaint, but nothing after that. I carry the light weight upstairs, rolling him directly on the bed. I take a step to the side towards the trunk that contains a few sets of clothing for the elf, but a hand gripping my wrist stops me.
"Trust me, I'm not going anywhere until you explain this. Just want to get you a clean shirt."
Hesitantly Squall lets go, the action worrying me more than his words. I quickly grab a shirt and toss it at him to put on himself. Moving the chair that was left up here weeks ago, I sit right up next to the bedside. He first tries to avoid my eyes, but then changes his mind to face me directly, stormy eyes dark in the lack of light beyond moonlight from the window. Crossing my arms, I nod for him to begin an explanation.
"You cannot see it, but I am chained to you. I had forgotten that when a certain distance has been placed between us, the chains go taunt and cut into me." He massages a wrist as he speaks with a rough voice.
"You had forgotten? How could you forget something like that?"
I can feel his glare in the darkness. "I was told this as a child and hadn't exactly planned to need to know the rules of being a slave."
"You aren't some damn slave. And what else have you forgotten? Can I fucking kill you if we are separated too far?"
"Yes." Said with such ease as if it didn't matter, as if I shouldn't care.
I sigh, too drained and frustrated to bother amending his thoughts. "Go to sleep. We'll argue this out in the morning."
After watching him lie back into the pillow, I stand up from the chair and turn to leave. Again, a hand goes instantly to my wrist.
"Squall, I'm not going to sit here all night just for you. I'm tired and my bed is soaked through with blood. It's going to take me a while to clean enough off so I can get sleep myself."
"Take this bed. I'll sleep on the floor."
"You're fucking injured. I'm not going to kick you on the floor and like hell I'm going to sleep on wood tonight, so just deal with it."
"Don't go." His voice is muted, barely heard in the quiet night.
All I can think is that I'll regret this, but... "Can you handle sharing the bed, then?"
His hold tightens as he tenses. "Do you mind?"
The question is almost amusing since I believed him the one with issues of human foulness and the like. The only problem I have with this situation is keeping myself under control, but with him bleeding half his life away tonight, I don't think it'll be a difficult case to restrain my libido. Anyhow, I'm perfectly aware that he wants me near right now only because it was our brief separation that caused him so much pain. It must have been bad for him to fear that more than contact with me.
He releases my hand. "I've heard you."
Smirking, I sit on the small bed as he moves closer to the wall. Turning his back to me, Squall sets the limits for this night. I'd be a fool to think he would give me the chance to hold him and soothe his worries away. Lying on my side, sleep evades me for a long time. His life is completely within my control, and I'm not certain if I care for that responsibility. Protecting him will only result in hurting him. His life bound to mine, he has a mere human lifespan in this world. And now, he can never escape me or else be choked to death by an invisible chain that I placed around his neck. How the fucking hell can I screw up something so simple and good as saving a life, turning it into a living nightmare for him.
The bed shifts slightly before I feel weight against my naked back. A satisfied sigh sounds from behind me as Squall gets comfortable in the new position. I can't help but smile widely at his action, the elf probably thinking I was asleep. It may be a foolish hope, but perhaps there is a slim chance that I can change this into something better for him. If he would actually want me, that is.
Waking to sunlight on my face disorientates me before vague flashes of the night previous come to mind. Brief glances from rolling my head to both sides and I discover the elf's absence. Not too surprising. I'm still amazed that he wanted me in his bed at all. Swinging around to place feet on the floor, I stand up and stretch with some painful sounding cracks.
Once downstairs, I head for my room to get a change of clothes. The sight of my bed stripped and the exposed padding cleaned as best it probably could amuses me somewhat. The fool must have woken up far too early to accomplish this already. Undoing my pants, I suddenly remember the piece of fabric I purchased in town. I take it from my pocket, smiling vaguely as I finger the soft material. Quickly changing into fresh clothes, I go outside in search of Squall.
The hunt is a fast one, the elf already hanging wet sheets on a line to the side of the cabin. He flinches at the sound of my approach then turns to face me.
"I couldn't get all of it out."
Examining the dark sheets, I can barely see lines of the stains. "It's fine. I get wounded enough that I've learned to buy dark material for my bed. Don't even stress about it. Here, I got this for you yesterday."
He eyes the item in my hand with a confused expression.
"I thought you could wear it around your head to cover your ears. For an elf, you could pass as human if it weren't for that one main feature."
With a small frown he takes the cloth from my hand, and after feeling the material, he places it against his forehead, tying it such that the tail ends of the cloth hang a little off to the right of his face. The blue in his eyes seem to shine brighter with the contrast of the dark material just above. Not thinking, I take the loose cloth gently between my fingers and draw downward, soon trailing the back of those fingers against his cheek. He jerks away from the touch, eyes wide.
"Got to be more specific than that, fey one."
"How can you touch me like that?"
"How could I not? If it bothers you, though, I can try to restrain myself."
He stares at me without reply, but his look is of bewilderment, not revulsion.
"Squall, if you don't want this, you have to end it now before my imagination gets too creative."
"You think of me?"
Tilting up his chin, I lean forward. "I can show you exactly what I've been thinking of lately."
At his continued silence, I decide to take a leap of faith and press my lips against his. He stiffens immediately, but I choose to ignore the fact as I taste the soft sweetness. Just as the fruit before, his flavor becomes more intense as I breath in his scent being so close to him. When the mouth parts with a bare opening, I slip my tongue in to skim the inside of his upper lip, and then pull back from him.
Closed eyelids open cautiously. "What was that?"
Though I fear to offend him, I have to laugh. "If you're looking for the term, it's called a kiss."
Deep in thought, his eyebrows come together.
"Just how old are you to not know what a kiss is?"
Finally, I earn a scowl. "Eighteen summers, and I do know what a kiss is, but I've never had one like that."
"What, only a mother's kiss for you?"
His scowl darkens before he turns on his heels to stalk off. Shit, don't tell me I hit truth with that basic of insults. How could a beauty like him still be untouched and this innocent? Without wasting much time on thought, I grab his arm while careful of his wrist and force him to face me again. This close, I can see hidden sorrow in those stormy eyes.
"Let go of me." More a childish plea than an order.
"Have you truly been with no one?"
After a brief icy glare, he closes his eyes as if to consult with himself about the answer to give. "I'm only half elf."
I straighten at his statement, the few words being more than enough of an explanation. A rare child of two races, wanted by neither. Humans would kill him on sight due to his features, while elves would recognize his tainted blood and shun him from their society, only using him when it suited their purposes. No wonder something as simple as a tender touch confuses him.
Even now he stands before me, his eyes still closed, waiting for some kind of judgment or rejection. Instead I take the half-step forward to bring our bodies together, my free hand going to the back of his head. I don't speak as I hold him. Any words I could think of to say would be meaningless, and an apology for his life is out of the question. It's selfish of me, but I'm thankful he is here alive within my hold.
I hear his quiet sigh before he amazingly buries his head under my chin, hands hesitantly clutching my shirt sides. He whispers against my chest, but despite the muffled words and use of the elven language, I hear it clearly.
"What are you apologizing for?"
He jerks back from me, surprise plain on his face. "You understand?" he asks in the same melodic language.
"I only know the simple stuff, and don't even ask me to speak it. Elves were howling in pain for miles the one time I tried. Now, tell me why were you apologizing."
He returns to common speak. "Because, you didn't want me."
"No, I didn't want a slave. You are a different matter."
"Then you saved me--"
"Stop trying to find reason when there isn't any. You should know by now that I react on instinct."
Bit by bit his expression changes as eyes narrow in amusement, then lips following suit in a true smile. "I told you to leave that bear alone."
"Damn it, I finally get you to smile and it's because of my suffering. I told you already, hell will freeze over before I let some giant furball take my rightfully caught fish."
The grin widens. "He chased you up a tree."
"I got my fish back."
"There was a hornets' nest."
"I survived, didn't I? And that fish was damn good."
Squall laughs, the unexpected sound making my breath stall. I'm hugging him tightly before I can consider a possible negative response to the action, but he only tries contain his laughter while pressed up against my chest. This is right. In a strange way, we react each other. He's the only one I know that can get away with ordering me around, and I wouldn't doubt it if I'm the first in a long time to hear him laugh out loud. This is more than right, and I won't easily let it go.
The lean body shudders within my grasp, the chill of ice transferring into my chest. He leans back as far as I'll let him, eyes blinking in puzzlement.
"I'm not sure."
He places his hands on my chest, focusing on his bandaged wrists. The blue-gray of his irises swirl inward as dark pupils shrink into nothing. The unusual display bothers me somewhat despite it being the second time I've witnessed him doing it. I know he is concentrating on some elven power to view magic. I've seen Ellone do much the same, though the storm quality of Squall's eyes creates a more stunning effect.
"The chains binding me to you. They were golden before, but now they are dark gray as if made of iron."
"Is that bad?"
"I've never heard of this. I don't know what it means." He looks up to me, eyes returned to normal.
"Well, don't ask me. I didn't know about this slave shit from the very beginning. Do you think it is something to worry over?"
He ponders a moment. "Can't see a reason why. ...But."
I raise an eyebrow at the suggestive tone of his final word. "But?"
The hint of aggressiveness retreats instantly as he glances to the side.
Smirking, I place a finger on his jawbone to regain his attention. "But you would like some comforting, perhaps?"
Through thick eyelashes, I discover that the angle of his sight has aligned with my mouth. I close the distance between us, but don't make the final move. His stormy eyes waver in uncertainty, wishing for me to take control of this. I refuse the silent plea with the decision that I've already taken too much control from him. The waiting game ends quickly when he lifts up onto the balls of his feet to delicately press cool lips against mine. The action is all I need as permission to start his lessons in how to open up to me. Everyone else who dares can find their own way inside of him.
Author's Whining -- Another chapter done and still rather clueless where to take the story. For once, I think Seifer may be taking a more leading role in this AU while Squall tags along as support. He is the man with the control after all. ^_- Yes, little confusing references to the past will be explained in future chapters. Thank you tons for the reviews. Glad this idea doesn't sound too silly. *shrug* AU's are my excuse to play around with characters in anyway I please, and I like elves. =P