Title: A Fate Worse Than Death

Author: Legowen

Genre: Romance

Pairing: Seifer/Squall

Note: This is shounen-ai, which means yaoi, slash, homosexual pairings, gay people (or bi) or whatever else you want to call it. DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU ARE HOMOPHOBIC. Thank you. This is also my first attempt at anything yaoi. Wish me luck. There will also be POV changes (they should be obvious), and, naturally, I only own a copy of Final Fantasy VIII, and the soundtrack, but nothing in the way of rights or anything. So yeah. No me suey. This is AU, the whole Sorceress thing never happened here. This is sort of a 'what if'. Obviously.

Dedication: The authoress Firemoon, who inspired me to write this with her fic Love or Hate: What's the Difference?, (go read it now!) and also for not killing me for using the whole 'close proximity requirement' (or whatever you want to call it) idea.

A Fate Worse Than Death

Squall

Fading sunlight glinted off a silver blade, and I caught a glimpse of storm clouds reflected back at me like some twisted omen as the sword descended. In one brief, lightning-illuminated moment, I saw for the last time my unscarred face, staring out at me with wide blue-grey eyes from the flat of the gunblade. Then everything went black, and when I opened my eyes, I saw only red.

3rd Person

Thunder rumbled overhead, drowning out the soft whistle of hewn air, and it began to rain. The droplets cascaded silently down upon the two men, alone among the boulders, and ran through dark hair and over darkened eyes to drip crimson on the ground.

Blood cast monstrous shadows on his face, disfiguring the too-pretty features and dripping from his lips, creating an all-too-believable impression that he was a vampire when combined with his icy glare.

"Bastard," Squall whispered, staring up through ragged bangs at his opponent as he struggled to climb to his feet. The older man simply smirked, and offered a half-bow in mocking apology, lips pulled tight in a feral grin.

            "So sorry, dear heart," His voice was lilting as he watched his rival, and his eyes danced with a sort of primal glee. "You may consider it a souvenir of time spent getting your ass well-kicked." The blonde man paused, and a gloved hand reached forward in a fine imitation of help, had Squall not known better.

"Here's another, from my vacation in Esthar." The hand curled, and darkened, and the voice grew deeper as well, stumbling unsurely over the arcane incantation.

Thunder rumbled ominously again, rain running in rivulets over the younger man's face, drawn into the creases formed by his worried frown. That was no regulation spell. Fury boiled within the young brunette; at the Fire spell that stunned him, the wound on his face, the blood in his eyes, and now the arrogance of his longtime rival, Seifer Almasy.

Squall looked down at his Revolver, his reflection on the blade blurred by red rain. An eye for an eye, and he smiled slightly, blade swinging up in a silver arc to kiss his sparring partner's forehead, just as the spell was released.

For the second time in fifteen minutes, Squall had the sickening sensation of being knocked out, but this time it lasted considerably longer.

"Humph." Seifer peeled off his leather gloves, dropping it to the ground, heedless of the rain that still poured from the sky. He dragged his bare hand across his forehead, wincing as dirt worked its way into the open wound, almost identical to the one that Squall now sported. He narrowed sea-green eyes at the figure that lay limp among the rocks, nudging it with the toe of his boot.

Squall didn't move, didn't make a sound, and Seifer dropped to his knees with a sigh, digging in his blood-spattered overcoat for a Potion. Once he found it, he rolled Squall over, prying open his jaws and none-too-gently shoving half the contents of the vial of cool liquid down his throat, taking the rest himself. There was a slight gurgling sound before Squall unconsciously swallowed, and Seifer watched in satisfaction as the cut on his forehead sluggishly healed, turning the angry red of an aggravated scar.

Putting the cap back on the glass tube, he dropped it next to his rival and walked towards Garden, boots crunching on the wet stone.

He'd only made it a few feet before an insistent tug pulled at the back of his mind, telling him he's forgotten something.

My glove, he sighed mentally, and walked back to retrieve it, shoving it into his pocket so as not to get blood on it. With a small backward glance at Squall, Seifer resumed his walk back to Balamb, ignoring the insistent tug that still pulled at him.

Seifer

            "Totally irresponsible! You're lucky to still be here, I can't see why the Headmaster allowed to you stay on the Discipline Committee after an act like that! Honestly, Seifer, I thought you were mature, I mean, everyone has to grow up eventually, but Hyne! And all you've got to say for yourself is; 'I lost control over my temper.' Like some 4 year-old child, and …."

            That was what I'd been listening to for the last two hours. I had actually listened for the first fifteen minutes, honestly, but then she started to repeat herself, and I've got better things to do than listen to little Quisty mope over the current state of her not-so-secret crush. At least it wasn't a secret to me. Squall probably didn't even realize it, probably walked around with that ado-annoying 'I hate the world' sulk thing he always had going on, oblivious to everything else as always. 

            "-used an illegal spell, as well! And just left him out there in the rain after casting a doom spell with a head wound! Seifer are you listening to me?!"

            Hyne, she was annoying sometimes. I sighed, and leaned back in the chair, giving her my best 'shut up because Seifer is speaking now' look.

            "Look, Quisty-"

            "Instructor. Trepe." She said firmly, lips crushed into a white line. I decided to give her this one.

            "Instructor Trepe," I began again, flashing a smile that would melt the heart of Shiva herself. "First; I used a potion on him, second; he agreed to the spar, third; I sent someone out to get him, and fourth; well, okay, so I used a Fire spell, but the other spell I cast was a spell that doesn't exist-" Quistis narrowed her eyes, crossing her arms against her chest.

            "You said the wrong words, Seifer. You screwed up an already existing spell, with Hyne knows what results, and the only way we will know for sure that Squall isn't permanently damaged would be if he ever wakes up-"

"Question:" I interjected, earning a glare that sent even my junctions running for cover. I never was one for tact, though, "How would you be able to tell if something were wrong with our dear Squally-boy? It's not like everything isn't wrong with him already."

The blonde just took a deep breath, and continued her sentence where she had left off;

"-which he has yet to do!" Her arms, still crossed over her chest, tightened with anger, coming dangerously close to a push-up bra effect, and I gulped.

            Don't look at her boobs, don't look at her boobs…c'mon, Seifer, focus on the face....It was a losing battle, perhaps one of the few I could lose, and I knew it. Luckily, just as my will crumbled, she relaxed and I held back a sigh of relief, able to listen again.

            "-just go apologize to him, a formal apology, mind you, and help Dr. Kadowaki with whatever she needs to help him, in addition to your punishment." She was now massaging her temples with a pained expression on her face, and I took this as my cue to leave.

Yep, the ol' Almasy Charm never fails!

3rd Person:

The electronic doors of the clinic slid open with a soft whirr, revealing a somewhat less-than-happy Seifer. I've really got better things to do with my time than play nurse to our resident Ice Prince, he brooded, settling down into one of the blindingly white and thoroughly sterile waiting room chairs. A tall blonde with pretty blue eyes and a somewhat vacant expression traipsed by, flashing him a shiny smile.

Her, for instance, a smirk settled itself onto his face, falling easily in place due to long practice, and the girl giggled, almost running into a young man with what appeared to be a broken arm on her way out of the door. Fortunately for himself, the brunette jumped out of the way, panic and pain written in deep lines on his face.

Maybe him, too, if he'd loosen up a bit. Seifer pondered, leering suggestively at the young man, who turned away with an even more panicked look on his face. Or perhaps not.

Dr. Kadowaki, a short Asian woman[1] in a white coat, stepped out of one of the far rooms, door opening and closing with a soft hiss of pressurized air. Silent due to years in the battlefield, she managed to stand behind Seifer for a full minute before he realized she was there, and eliciting a small start of surprise when he did notice.

Neither one chose to comment on it.

"I assume you came to see Squall," She said cheerfully, and Seifer pushed himself up from his chair, groaning.

"Not like it's by choice," He muttered, shoving his hands in his pocket and trying to ignore the tug in the back of his mind that seemed to have resurfaced. The dark-haired woman smiled, and led him to the door she had just emerged from.

"Well, it's not like it matters either way. Mister Leonhart is still unconscious, and you're here until he's better, which may be awhile by the way he's breathing, so you might as well talk to him for a bit. It can't hurt." She paused then, opening the door and letting Seifer walk in.

"I am quite disappointed in you, Mister Almasy. You of all people should know that Squall here would rather just fade into the background, but you have to go and single him out. He has enough trouble just dealing with life, from the look of things. It isn't really my place, but I'd like to ask you to leave him be for awhile." Seifer just stared at her, unused to this new Dr. Kadowaki, so different from the ever-cheerful woman everyone knew. She looked almost…depressed.

But it was over in a heartbeat, and then she was smiling her maddening smile again, and she put her hand on the outside door lock.

"I'll leave you two alone now," She said with a grin, and the door slid quickly shut with a hiss and a thud, followed by the click of a lock.

"Oh, wonderful!" Seifer told the door, "Because we all know I've always wanted alone time with Squall fucking Leonhart!" Luckily, the door didn't answer, and Seifer hissed with annoyance at the world as he turned to face He Who Might as Well Be Dead on the cot.

He stayed a safe distance of ten feet away from the bed, watching the erratic rise and fall of its occupant's chest. His eyes strayed to the scar, smirking in satisfaction at the angry red that he knew mirrored his own, and then to the strange silver-brown hair, blackened by fire at the tips, and the soft pink lips, smudged with blood. Squall really was kind of pretty.

Too bad he's such an ass. Seifer hypo-criticized, and sat in the nearest chair. The small room was eerily quiet but for the rasp of uneasy breathing and the occasional breathless cough coming from the cot, and Seifer began to speak to try to cover the unsettling noise.

"Well, since you're unconscious, I might as well apologize, so that I don't actually have to do it to you. Because, personally, I see no reason to apologize. Just the damn instructors insisting all the little boys and girls play nice and don't get in fights." He laughed, then, more to cover up the fact that Squall was emitting small choking sobs than anything else.

"What do they know? We've been fighting long as I can remember, and no one else seems to be able to get any sort of response out of your stupid 'don't talk to me, I'm brooding' personality. If not for me, no one would even know you exist!" The blonde stood up from the chair, taking a step towards the small bed and its occupant.

"You owe me!" Seifer hissed angrily. Another step. "I don't need to apologize to you." Another step. He was only about five feet from the bed now, and the room seemed suddenly quiet. Seifer's voice grew frantic.

            "You." Another step. "Are nothing." Another step. "Without me!" One last step, and he was practically on the bed, staring down at Squall with fiery emerald eyes. The silence stretched on, and it was then that Seifer realized the smaller brunette had stopped wheezing, and actually seemed to be breathing better. Weird.

Leaning forward a bit, he stared hard at the younger man, wondering if his ears and eyes had joined forced to deceive him. He was a mere two feet away from Squall's face when the cot's occupant sat bolt upright, blue eyes wide and unseeing as he gasped for breath.

Seifer fainted.

End Chapter 1

[1] Dear lord, I hope Dr. Kadowaki was a woman.

Wee-ha! That was fun. It may or may not be awhile before I update, I'm usually quite inconsistent with these things. This will probably get lime-y, maybe even a dash of lemon, God help us all.

Read? Review!