+ Chapter 17: The Date +


October 23 -- Nine years ago...

Halloween was coming. But Squall wasn't going to go out. Not this year. Sister had picked out a pretty little princess dress; pink with a skirt like a ballerina, and those big, puffy shoulders. Squall had a blue prince outfit to match, but he wasn't going to wear it.

A month and a half ago was when things had started to get weird. Mama cried a lot. Daddy tried to smile. Squall thought Daddy was trying to hard; pretending to be happy like he was. Mama would smiled those smiles that hid tears. Not very well either, because Squall could still see the glaze of water gathering at the bottom of her eyes sometimes -- most times.

Sitting in his bedroom today, Squall thought of nothing. About a week ago was when it started to be like this -- inside his mind. This nothing, this void.

He never thought about things. Couldn't think about things because, sometimes when stray thoughts came to him, his breath left. Then there was a choking feeling, his throat getting all tight, and then his vision blurred and nothing was clear.

Mommy, the most important person in his life, was dying. How was he supposed to react? Daddy said that the doctors would find a cure, those big men in those big white coats with their big pads of paper and those fake smiles. They were going to fix what was wrong with Mommy. Squall knew better, though. He knew better than to be hopeful, because of Mommy's eyes, she knew better.

Before this week, Squall had tried like Daddy. They'd try together, with Ellone, all three of them trying to make things better. They'd laugh and pretend to forget that soon they wouldn't be whole. Soon Raine would be gone. Gone.

Squall decided he didn't like the look in Mommy's eyes when he tried. She looked so sad underneath those smiles. It gave Squall a sick feeling, most of the time when Mama looked at him his stomach would go so crazy that he'd feel like throwing up.

If Squall didn't try, what else was there to do? Give up on hope? He couldn't do that. Though he knew better, he couldn't give up completely on hope for Mommy. Daddy with his pretend laughter and Mama with her sad eyes. Ellone seemed to be the least affected. Some nights Squall could hear her crying. But during the day she played her role: laughter and smiles, everything expected from a happy little girl.

Squall was supposed to be a happy little boy. He wasn't and didn't want to be.

So how was he supposed to react to everything? How was he supposed to act?

There seemed to be nothing he could do. He wasn't any help. Whenever he said something supportive, Mommy would cry. When he pretended to laugh, plastered on those fake smiles that he'd been learning to make so well, when he acted like that happy little boy, Mama would cry.

Squall couldn't cry himself. Daddy made him promise not to -- not in front of Mommy. Daddy said it would make Mama's heart break, and Squall couldn't do something like that to Mommy.

No matter what, Squall wasn't good enough. He tried, but nothing he said would make Mommy happy. None of the jokes worked, none of his child smiles, none of his laughter. Because, underneath all those smiles his Mama made, she always looked so sad.

Knowing that, knowing that everything he did made Mommy sad and hurt her so deep, Squall decided he's just stop. He didn't want to make Mommy cry anymore, not because of him. All he seemed to do was hurt her. So he'd stop. Stop laughing, stop smiling, stop crying, stop speaking, stop everything.

A week ago, it all began to stop. He'd started to numb out the pain, numb out the emotion, but it was difficult. He tried, but it was so difficult. He'd allow a few silent tears to leave his eyes while he fell asleep; Mama wouldn't see.

He'd stayed out of the way this week. Mommy would laugh with Laguna and Ellone; Squall keeping quiet, going unnoticed. Everything seemed to be working well. Mama wasn't crying because of Squall anymore.

It was the only thing left that he could think of to do.


"Skipped school again today, huh?" Laguna said.

Squall blinked. He was sitting at his desk, and had been staring blankly down at the closed book in front of him. He hadn't heard Laguna open the bedroom door. The man stood leaning in the doorway, one eyebrow arched as he looked at his young teenage son.

The two stared at each other in silence a few moments longer until Laguna spoke.

"Were you at school today?" he asked. He knew the answer, and perhaps it was futile to try to get Squall to speak, but he tried.

Squall looked at Laguna with an empty expression.

"I got a call from the school," Laguna said. "They wanted to know if you were okay, since you haven't been to school in almost a month."

Lowering his gaze, Squall shifted and placed in his chin onto his palm, eyes glazing over in a locked gaze at the wall in front of him.

Laguna stepped further into the room. "Damn it, Squall! I don't mind that you have a boyfriend," Laguna leaned his hip against the desk, "but you still have to go to school. You can't skip to go see him."

Squall hadn't heard anything Laguna said.

Putting his hand onto Squall's shoulder, Laguna forced the boy to look up at him. Seeing his son's immaculately empty expression, Laguna felt part of his heart crack. Beautiful Squall carved in stone.

"Squall," Laguna said, pleading. "You've got to go to school. You can't skip to hang out with Seifer."

"Seifer?" Squall said almost airily.

"T-that's where you go, isn't it?" Laguna asked, taking his hand back and laying it on his lap.

Squall looked away, back down to the school book in front of him. "No."

"Oh? Well," Laguna said. "Then where?"

Squall raised his eyes back to Laguna's face, letting silence fill the room as he thought. No answer came to him so he didn't speak.

"Where do you go?" Laguna asked again.

"Walking," Squall said without blinking.

Laguna felt words tripping over his tongue. He'd been prepared to talk to Squall about the importance of dividing time between school and boyfriend, but Squall went... walking?

"Y-you.... You need to go to school!" Laguna said. It was the only sentence from the lecture that would work.

Squall's gaze lowered again.

"You need an education," Laguna said, trying a different approach to his point. "You need to graduate high school!"

"Why?" Squall asked, his lips hardly moving, eyes glazed over at the desk top.

"To go to college!" Laguna answered.

"After that?" Squall said, letting the words have a few seconds of silence after before turning back up to see his father's face.

"Get a job," Laguna said, his tone unsure and sounding almost mousy.

If Squall ever laughed, Laguna had a feeling the boy would have at his words. But Squall didn't ever laugh, and the blank expression on the boy's face stayed strong.

"So what," Laguna said, "you don't want to go to high school anymore?"

The grey-blue eyes stared without emotion at Laguna.

"You just want to hang out with your boyfriend?" Laguna asked. "Is that it?"

Laguna felt desperate. He could always assign a man to follow Squall around, make Squall go to school, but his son's grades were dropping. Even if Squall was there, Laguna knew that the boy's grades would completely drop out of the bottom. Never mind graduating high school, Squall wouldn't make it through the semester.

But he couldn't have Squall not go to school, school was important.

"Do you want to go to a public school?" Laguna said. "Maybe the one Seifer goes to?"

The eyes tore from Laguna, returning to the desk.

"Does that sound like a good idea?" Laguna asked. He was trying.

"It isn't Seifer," Squall said softly.

"Then what is it?" Laguna asked.

Squall tried to think. It was difficult. Nothing made sense, except maybe it was Seifer. School left no impression on Squall, the days there droned on and Squall never remembered a moment. But with Seifer, Squall remembered every moment. Squall would see Seifer this Saturday, he hadn't seen Seifer since last Friday.

Seifer didn't have a place to live. He'd crash in his car or sleep over at a friend's house. He hadn't returned home since the night his father took a bat to his ribs. Seifer swore he wouldn't go back, and he didn't. Instead, he lived in his car. He didn't go to school, showered whenever he was at a friend's house, and spent most of his time trying to get an apartment.

He rarely saw Squall. Part of it was the lack of money, part of it was shame and embarrassment, and part of it was he didn't want charity.

It had been a month since they'd made love for the first time, and they'd had sex a few more times since: whenever they saw each other. But Seifer hadn't been around much.

So maybe it was Seifer. Not in that Squall was worried about Seifer, because Squall wasn't. Squall didn't pity Seifer, never offered charity, and seemed oblivious to Seifer's situation when the were together.

Before Seifer left his house, Squall had been with Seifer. They'd spent almost every night together, and all weekend. Squall was used to being around Seifer, getting calls from Seifer in class, having a boyfriend. Homeless, Seifer made sure he stayed away from Squall. Maybe on some level, Squall noticed the difference, just like he'd noticed the difference of having Seifer around.

So maybe Squall didn't go to school because his day wouldn't end right. Seifer would be pulling up in his old 4x4 to pick Squall up and take him somewhere fun. There wasn't conversations of Blood Kiss and Seifer's dreams of Stardom. Squall wouldn't be silently listening to Seifer's ideas on stage-performances and music videos. No Thoran or Hazen or Gregory calling Squall "Griever." And no dirty looks and blushes from Victor.

School was just another droning event in Squall's droning life. Walking, as thoughtless as it was for Squall, wasn't droning.

Laguna watched his son stare blankly at the white wall. He stood, careful not to rock the desk. His eyes felt like they were watering. Pulling his eyes up from watching his beautiful son, Laguna looking around the room. Everything was a blasting white color. It almost blinded Laguna yet at the same moment it was dreary in its brightness.

Stepping backwards, Laguna turned down to his son. Squall hadn't moved.

His heart had sped up. Nothing was working. His son wasn't getting better. Ever since Raine....

Laguna slipped out of the room, closing the door behind him. He knew his son wouldn't notice he'd gone.

What was he going to do? School didn't work for Squall. Maybe he should just have that Seifer boy move into the Palace, maybe that would make things better with Squall. Seifer had seemed like a nice boy. Angry, but it looked liked the boy had been through a lot. A lot of domestic problems with his father, and perhaps his mother.

Laguna had to do something for Squall. He couldn't let his son live his life like he was. Maybe when Seifer showed up to pick Squall up for a date, Laguna would speak to the boy.

Seifer sat on the couch, hunched over with his hands laced together on the back of his neck. His eyes were closed, lips parted as breath filled his lungs.

"Does that mean you're going to cancel?" Thoran asked. He had a beer in his hand, sitting in a chair next to where Seifer sat.

"I don't know," Seifer mumbled. He didn't look up. "Maybe."

"You're going to screw it up with Squall," Gregory said, "just 'cause you're embarrassed."

"Hey!" Seifer snapped, sitting up to glare at the drummer who was standing with his hands in his pockets. "Fuck you. You don't fucking know."

"Yeah, I do, Seifer," Gregory replied. "You won't even accept my offer for you to stay at my place a couple nights."

"I don't accept charity," Seifer said, leaning back into the sofa cushion, keeping his glare at Gregory.

"Your boyfriend just wants to see you," Thoran said.

Holding his hands up, Seifer made a 'no' gesture. "I told you guys to stop talking about shit you don't know about."

"You think he doesn't want to see you?" Thoran said before taking a sip off his full beer can.

Seifer started to speak, but he didn't have an answer, not even a bullshit answer. Squall was a mystery, always doing things that surprised Seifer. Seifer didn't have a clue what Squall wanted from him. Why the hell was Squall with him?!

"Griever's with you for the same reason all your other boy- and girlfriends dated you," Gregory said. He crossed is arms. "He wants to get laid."

A half-smile formed on Seifer's lips. He looked up to Gregory before turning away to shake his head. "Wonderful. So I'm his white-trash whore."

"Who's also in a band," Gregory added. "You sex-a thang!"

Thoran laughed quietly while Seifer chuckled.

"What the fuck?" Seifer said, smirking up at the drummer. "You doing drugs that I don't know about?"

"I'm just saying," Gregory said with a shrug, "Griever doesn't think of you as some lowlife. You're his hot boyfriend, who's in a band." Gregory smiled. "Why should his leather-butt think of you differently? Just 'cause you've got some problems at home. We've all got problems."

Seifer groaned as he leaned heavily into the cushion of the sofa, tilting his head up to the ceiling while pressing his palms against his brow.

"Sei," Gregory continued, "you should really ask yourself what problems Griever has."

"Yeah!" Thoran said. His brow wrinkled. "Why the fuck doesn't he talk?! And the way he stares off into space. Man, he's weird."

Seifer lowered his arms so he could frown at Thoran.

"He's got some problems," Thoran said with a nod before taking another drink off his beer.

"He probably loves having a boyfriend who plays the guitar in some band," Gregory said. He looked over to Thoran, saying in a softer tone, "I know the chicks think I'm cool for it."

Thoran smiled, nodding in agreement.

"I'm living on the street!" Seifer said. "I don't have anything aside from my beat-up truck and my guitar."

"Why're you pushing this, man?" Thoran asked. "You really think Griever cares about money?"

Seifer sighed heavily. "No."

"Then stop being so whiney," Gregory said.

Seifer frowned at him.

"You going to break up with Griever?" Thoran asked.

"No," Seifer said.

"Then shut up about it!" Thoran said before pushing out of his chair. He started to walk to the kitchen. "Go out with him Saturday like you promised. Hyne."

Seifer sat in the sofa, a glare on his face.

"Seifer," Gregory said, watching the guitarist.

"I can't stop thinking about him!" Seifer said loudly. He jumped up from his seat and shoved his hands into his pockets.

Thoran, new beer in hand, stopped walking next to Gregory, putting an arm on Gregory's shoulder. They looked at each other.

"He's depressing to be around," Thoran said to Gregory.

The drummer nodded in agreement, smiling.

There was a knock on the front door before it opened and Hazen followed by Victor entered.

With the two came the news that Blood Kiss didn't get the job they were hoping for. They'd tried to get a club to pay them to play, perhaps overlook their age, but the club decided on a no.

Hazen then suggested they go out and get drunk. There was a party down at Vanessa's house. There would be a lot of girls, lesbians, but at least they would get out of the house.

45 minutes later, the band was at the party. Seifer was nursing down a bottle of Southern Comfort, knowing tomorrow he'd wake up with a hangover so bad he'd think a sledgehammer caved in the right side of his brain.

It was Friday night when Laguna looked up from where he was sitting. The ringing continued as Laguna saw where it was coming from: Squall's cellphone. Darting his eyes around the room, Laguna checked for Squall, but the boy wasn't to be found.

After sliding a bookmark into place, Laguna closed his book and set it on the small table next to his chair. Standing, Laguna walked over and answered the phone.

"Hello?" Laguna said.

"Um... Is... Squall there?" a male voice asked. Laguna thought the voice was easy enough to recognize.


"Yeah," the voice replied.

"Hold on," Laguna said. "Let me go find him."

"Kay," Seifer said.

Laguna could feel the relief in Seifer's voice. The boy hadn't wanted to speak with him. Not that it bothered Laguna, he could understand the strain of dating the President's son.

Since Seifer walked out that morning two weeks ago, Laguna hadn't seen the boy but twice when Seifer picked Squall up for the night. Squall hadn't shared much about Seifer. Three days ago during the conversation with Squall about skipping school had told Laguna that Squall didn't see much of Seifer anymore. And in Squall's own way, Laguna could tell the boy missed Seifer.

"How're things going?" Laguna asked. He was walking out of the room, heading upstairs to Squall's bedroom: the only place that came to mind on where his son would be.

"Oh, they're okay," Seifer said, his voice stalling for a moment before he'd coughed out the reply.

"I don't know what plans you have for this weekend," Laguna said, "but if you'd like to come over and to have dinner, you're more than welcome."

There was silence on the other end of the line until, "Oh, huh, no thanks."

"Aw, well," Laguna said, reaching the top of the stairs. "Guess you're busy with that band of yours... Blood Kiss, right?"

"Yeah, Blood Kiss," Seifer muttered.

"How're things going with that?" Laguna asked. "I heard you're really good! Written a lot of songs and stuff?"

"I guess," Seifer answered.

Laguna was pushing the conversation. The boy might hang up soon, just from the stress of talking to him. Laguna wanted to ask the deeper question of "how are you?" in the father-bat-potion syringe way. But Laguna let the boy keep that secret.

"I think Squall might be looking forward to this weekend," Laguna offered. Squall, after a while of having his language skills choked by Laguna, had said something about seeing Seifer Saturday. Squall remembered it, so Laguna figured he might be looking forward. Maybe?

"Might be?" Seifer said.

"Oh you know Squall," Laguna said with a small laugh. He'd reached Squall's bedroom door. Raising a fist, Laguna knocked before moving to open the door. Squall didn't give a reply to knocks.

"I guess...." Seifer's muttered reply came as Laguna walked in.

Squall was laying on his bed, eyes opened and glazed over at the ceiling. He was completely dressed, save for his boots which sat on the floor at the foot of the bed.

"Squall," Laguna said away from the phone.

The boy slowly blinked away the dryness and turned his head to look at his father. His expression stayed blank.

"Here he is," Laguna said to Seifer before handing the phone to his lying son.

Squall took the phone without word, continuing to lie down. Bringing the phone to his ear, he managed out an "Um?"

"Hey Cub," Seifer said, relieved that Squall had come to the phone. Laguna was stressful. Hyne knew what that man thought of Seifer.

Laguna smiled down at his son before turning to give the boy his privacy. He shut the door after exiting. Although he hadn't been able to speak to Seifer about what he wanted to know, Laguna was happy the boy called. Hopefully not to cancel the date.... Laguna shook his head. No, Seifer probably just wanted to hear from Squall.

"My band didn't get a gig for tonight," Seifer said, trying to make his words sound casual. No big deal. "I wanted to know if you want to hang out?"

"Okay," Squall's soft voice answered.

"I'll pick you up in an hour or so?" Seifer said.

Squall nodded a wordless answer.

"Bye-bye, Cub," Seifer purred.

A click sounded which signaled Squall to hang up himself.

Pushing himself up, Squall let his feet hang off the bed as he stared blankly down at the screen of his phone. Past his phone, Squall saw his feet in black socks. Scanning the room, Squall tried to remember where his boots were.

Seifer turned onto the road to Squall's Palace home. Damn to fucking hell Gregory. What the hell did that stupid boy know?!

Seifer's eyes flickered down to the stereo as he turned the volume up even louder. His truck was vibrating with the bass, "Anthem of Losers" by Chimera Three blasting. It was calming, listing to the music pounding into his head. Breathe. Just breathe.

Why had he listened to Gregory to ask Squall out tonight? He was supposed to go out tomorrow with Squall. And now he was supposed to take Squall out somewhere and he hadn't a clue where to go. Where was he going to go? He had 200 Gil in his wallet. That was all the money he had left.

The truck pulled up to the gates of the Palace. They swung open without word or press of a button from Seifer. He cringed to himself. They knew he was here.

Rolling backwards, Seifer paused with the clutch in before pressing down on the gas and continuing into the circular courtyard. The truck came to a stop in front of the Palace entry doors. A few moments later, Squall stepped out followed by Laguna.

Seifer waved back to the man before quickly reaching down to turn his volume to a non-deafening level. The truck door opened and Squall stepped in. It was then that Seifer remembered he'd always opened the door for Squall. But the brunette didn't say anything about it, not that Seifer thought the Ice Prince remembered that small detail.

"I'll see you later," Laguna said to Squall. The man always said Goodbye to his son before Squall left with Seifer.

Seifer avoided eye contact until the President spoke directly to him.

"You planning on keeping Squall out the whole weekend?" Laguna asked.

Seifer's eyes darted up to Laguna's face, surprised at the happy, pleased-sounding tone from the President. It was almost like Laguna expected and wanted Seifer to answer yes.

"I don't know," Seifer said. "I actually don't really know where we're going right now."

"If you want to come back here and spend a night or two, we'd love to have you." Laguna smiled an honest smile at Seifer.

"Maybe." It was an answer close to what Laguna wanted to here and at the same moment more the truth of "Not really" that Seifer said to himself.

"Okay. I hope you decide to come back," Laguna said, his ever-present smile fading slightly. He looked to his son. "You have money?"

Squall stared blankly at his father. Then his eyes blinked and he slowly, rigidly turned down to look at himself. Silence came until Squall raised his head back to Laguna and said, "Uh-hum."

"Alright." Laguna leaned up to kiss Squall's cheek. "Buh bye, Squallie."

"No," Squall said quickly. So quickly, Seifer was surprised at the reaction, considering Squall looked tried. Squall functioned like an aged drone when he was tired.

Laguna laughed. "I'm sorry, Squall."

Squall's lips parted, mouth moving like he was speaking except nothing came out.

"Bye," Laguna said after which he stepped back and shut the truck door.

Seifer let the truck roll forward before pressing the gas petal down and steering the truck fast to get out of the caged-Palace. There was a bump from drive-way to road, then the truck was free.

"So," Seifer said after a heavy breath.

He turned to Squall. The boy's eyes were glazed over, looking beautiful in the twilight glow as the sun's last lights glimmered into darkness off the horizon. Squall's pale skin looked so soft, his hair hanging into his eyes and ruffled slightly messy but sexy. Leather pants and a white t-shirt with the black leather jacket. The ratty side-bag lay on Squall's lap, the two hands laying on it.

As much as Seifer hated the idea of letting Squall see him, Seifer reveled in being able to see Squall. He loved being with the odd boy that didn't speak. Perfect Squall, even with all the boy's faults.

That thought lead Seifer to a small moment of wonder on Thoran's words a few days earlier. What problems did Squall have that were so awful that he didn't speak?

Stealing a glance at the dazed brunette, Seifer felt a sudden moment of dread. He didn't want to know. Not right now. Not with how fucked up things were in his own life. He needed to get things straight in his life. He was a mess right now. He didn't even have a home.

Not right now! Seifer didn't want to be thinking about those things right now.

"Where do you want to go?" Seifer asked.

The brunette slowly turned his head to Seifer, eyes full of life as they studied Seifer's face.

"Um," Squall said. He was trying to speak. He hadn't seen Seifer since last Friday. It was a week since Squall really tried to speak for someone, so his voice was fairly willing. "Somewhere?"

Seifer laughed. "Sounds good to me. But where is this somewhere?" He smirked at Squall.

Squall was watching Seifer. His eyes lowered to Seifer's lips, to the God's beautiful smile. So happy. Always.

Scooting over, Squall slid into the middle seat. One hand to Seifer's shoulder, the other to Seifer's thigh. The second hand slowly caressed the jean material then began to creep up the leg.

"Is that all you think about?" Seifer said, a grin on his face.

"You like it," Squall replied seriously.

Quickly, Seifer glanced to Squall then back to the road.

"Well, you don't have to do it," Seifer said, reaching his hand down to push Squall's hand away.

Squall took that hand back, but moved his other hand to caress the bottom of Seifer's hair.

Seifer shook his head, trying to wordlessly tell Squall to stop. Squall did after which he paused a moment before sliding back over to his passenger seat.

"Where do you want to go?" Seifer asked, trying to push away the guilt he suddenly felt rushing at him.

Squall didn't reply. His hands had returned to his lap, his eyes back in their glazed over state.

Breath left Seifer's mouth, his chest lowering before rising again. He couldn't push away the stupid guilt feeling.

"I'm sorry," he said softly.

Turning to look at Seifer, the blank expression stayed formed on Squall's features. Silence thickened the air.

Seifer figured Squall might be slightly mad at him. They hadn't been spending much time together, and Seifer had been the one to introduce sex into Squall's life, now suddenly Seifer told Squall to get off of him? Seifer hadn't wanted Squall to stop, but he couldn't ignore the "white-trash whore" words from repeating in his head. And he didn't even know where he was driving.

"Sorry?" Squall's word rang in the truck cabin.

"Y-yeah," Seifer said, turning to see Squall's expressionless eyes. "You know, I told you to stop."

Squall had to let that process, his mind turning over a few times before he ended up in the same place. "Huh?" Confusion.

"Well, you know," Seifer said, trying again. "You were feeling me up and I pushed you away."

"...Oh," Squall said. He then shifted back into the seat, hands lightly laying on his lap as he gazed out of the window. The sunlight was fading away, its light almost completely gone behind the buildings.

Seifer sighed. God damn it. He so wasn't in the mood to attempt to entertain Squall. He wanted to be. He loved it around Squall. Having Squall sitting there, next to him, was relaxing and it felt good to have his boyfriend with him. But Seifer didn't feel like putting energy into being happy and pretending life was good.

About to just ask Squall to put his hand back between his legs, Seifer saw Squall reach forward to the glove-compartment. He frowned as Squall opened it, a thoughtless joke on parking-tickets falling out flashed through Seifer's vision. But there weren't parking-tickets, he'd never gotten one.

Out of the glove-box, Squall pulled a pack of cigarettes. Seifer's last. There were five cigarettes were left in the pack. It was weird to watch Squall noiselessly put a cigarette to his lips and light it. The brunette took a deep breath that was followed by a few light coughs.

"What the hell are you doing?" Seifer asked, although his words were laced with laughter.

Squall gave Seifer a blank glance before blowing smoke from his mouth.

"How... about," Squall started to say.

"Yeah?" Seifer said, still amused.

"Somewhere that, um," Squall said.

Squall was still trying to think of somewhere that they could go together. Seifer almost laughed.

"No one is at," Squall said, finishing his thought. He took another drag from his cigarette and looked to Seifer.

"Sounds great," Seifer replied. His eyes were on the road ahead, a small smile on his lips. "Perfect, actually."

He paused for a moment, trying to think of somewhere that no one else would be at. Too bad he didn't have a room the two of them could go and lay on his bed together. Listening to music, having Squall laying next to him, smelling the boy's sweet scent, listening to the boy attempt to speak for Seifer's sake. Yeah, somewhere that no one else was at sounded perfect.

"I know this one place, slightly outside the city," Seifer suggested. "It's a two hour drive.... We'd have to sleep out there?" Seifer normally slept in his truck. Behind his seat he had a pillow and a couple blankets, courtesy of Thoran.

"Great," Squall said.

The word sounded odd on Squall's tongue.

Seifer glanced to Squall with a frown on his face while saying, "When did that word enter your vocabulary?"

"Blood Kiss is great," Squall answered, almost indignantly.

Seifer laughed, smiling happily. He turned to look at Squall, letting his smile form into more than happy. Squall was looking at him with almost a smug expression: the brunette eyebrows just slightly raised, almost like in Squall's viewpoint Blood Kiss automatically came with the word great.

I love you. The words entered Seifer's mind before he realized what he'd just thought. A natural siren went off for a second before Seifer allowed himself to think those three words over. Then, slowly as he looked at Squall's now dazed expression as the boy smoked the cigarette, Seifer let the words repeat. I love you. You're amazing, I love you. The words sounded close to surprised in Seifer's thoughts at first, then the third time they echoed in his mind, the words sounded serious and endearing.

Seifer knew Squall hadn't noticed his long gaze over, but he still turned away fast. Giving his heart a moment to know how it felt, his chest rose and fell with breath. Then a strong smile formed on Seifer's lips.

"Come back over here," Seifer said, motioning with his head for Squall to scoot over.

Squall stared a Seifer before tossing the cigarette out the open window, rolling the window up, and moving over.

"Put your hand in my crotch," Seifer said when Squall was pressed against him.

The hand gently clasped the jean material over the cock between Seifer's legs, while Squall's other arm wrapped around Seifer's shoulders.

Seifer smiled, turning to Squall and kissing him quickly before returning his attention back to the road ahead.

"You like?" Seifer asked, opening the passenger door for Squall to step out.

They were in a field, about an hour outside city limits. Night had come, the cabin light of the truck glowing like a single star in a black sky. The field would have been seen as a deep green color if it had been day time. It looked black at night. There were no trees. The city lights polluted the western horizon. All other directions were pitch.

Squall jumped onto the ground his hand clasped in Seifer's. After looking around, Squall nodded.

"Let me get the blankets," Seifer said, letting go of Squall's hand. "Then we can lay back in the truck bed."

Time passed as Squall blankly looked around at the serene countryside. It was nice out here without anyone else to bother them. Just him and Seifer.

"Cub?" Seifer called.

Squall turned from his stare at the lights on the western horizon.

Seifer had finished already.

Squall walked up to the truck, Seifer's hand outreached to Squall. The brunette accepted the hand then climbed up into the truck. After wiggling around in the blankets, situating themselves, the two were finally laying comfortably next to each other, staring up at the twinkling stars. Squall was lying against Seifer, the blonde's arm around his younger lover.

Seifer's guitar case was in the back of the truck as well, sitting up against the passenger side. The blankets weren't thick, and the bumps in the truck bed made the makeshift bed less-than comfortable. But Squall didn't notice. His bed at home always had an empty feeling. The hug-pillow never felt comfortable. Seifer was comfortable. That's what Squall noticed.

Slowly closing his eyes, Seifer was about to let himself drift to sleep. But Squall sat up abruptly, jolting Seifer from his peaceful moment.

Frowning at the boy, Seifer watched Squall lean forward. Then he noticed Squall was taking off his boots. Seifer forced himself to sit up and copy Squall, removing his own shoes. A minute later their shoes and coats were off and they were laying back in each other's arms again.

Squall's finger was lightly caressing over Seifer's shirt. Seifer smiled to himself at the touch, eyes closed as he listened to Squall's breathing. Then he felt a light kiss from Squall on his neck. Then chin. Then on the side of his mouth. Another kiss, light still. And then firmer on his lips. Seifer kissed back, keeping his eyes closed. Another kiss, gentle with the added caress of Squall's tongue....

AUTHOR NOTE: Here was an NC 17 sex scene that has been cut out. If you'd like to read the whole chapter go to

...Squall's arms were still wrapped around Seifer. The blonde lied against the brunette's check, Squall's chin against Seifer's forehead. Gentle fingers caressed Seifer's blonde locks, a light kiss was given to Seifer's temple before the chin returned to Seifer's forehead.

They stayed quiet, only their breaths filling the black silence.

Seifer felt himself lulling to sleep, warm in Squall's embrace.

Squall, careful of how he moved, reached to Seifer's trench coat to pull it over them along with the blankets. With the coat up, Squall slid his left arm into the right-sleeve. He moved his left hand to reach into Seifer's pocket, looking for cigarettes. His fingers didn't find what he was looking for, instead brushing against a thick piece of paper. Pulling it out of the pocket, Squall brought it up so he could see.

It was the picture Squall had given Seifer. The school picture where Squall looked just as empty as always. Mr. Barren Wasteland himself. Seifer still had the picture. Kept it with him.

Turning cautiously, Squall looked down to Seifer's slumbering face.

After replacing the picture into the pocket, Squall removed his arm from the sleeve and brought it to wrap over Seifer's shoulders. He placed a light kiss on Seifer's forehead before pushing his body to snuggle close with his lover. Fire.