Chapter Fifty

Our Lives Have Just Begun

"I can really ask questions?" Laguna questioned, leaning forward excitedly with his elbows propped on the square metal table.

"Within reason," Squall replied. The brunet didn't want a repeat of his conversation with Irvine. Too many inappropriate questions all at once, and the gunman had even made an outrageous offer.

In the dimly lit diner, Laguna and Squall sat across from each other while waiting on their food. It would take ten minutes or so, considering the cook wasn't able to read minds like a certain barman they knew. After finding a place to stay for the night, they'd laundered their clothes while discussing the incident with Selphie and the cameraman. Once they weren't salty and wet, they'd gone out again and found a decent diner.

Laguna was excited. His son had come to him for approval on a relationship, and now they got to spend the night together. How great was that? This was the type of thing normal dads did.

"So, you're dating Seifer Almasy?" the longhaired man began stating the obvious and hoping he didn't have a limited number he could ask.

Brows furrowed Squall gave his father an odd look, but he nodded in answer.

"What about Rinoa?" Caraway's daughter was a sweet girl. He remembered her well. She was very pretty, a lot like Julia. Maybe a little too much like Julia, for that matter. The President always had this freaky sense of being in some dream when he saw Squall and Rinoa together. It was like the two women he'd fallen in love with had suddenly decided to date each other.

"She left," Squall stated vaguely.

With an exaggerated nod of understanding, Laguna considered that particular matter resolved without any details. "You mentioned that it started when he returned. Why now? And, how serious are you after only a week?"

Crossing his arms, Squall sat back into the cushioned bench of their booth. After a moment of thought, the brunet replied sincerely, "I don't know. It hasn't made any sense. But, I have my theories."

This time, the vague answer was not enough for the older man. "Like what?" he pressed.

"It's like that saying, 'you never know what you have, until you lose it.'" It was obvious that Squall was speaking about the war.

"That's just like something straight out of a romance novel, except the part where you're both guys," Laguna commented.

Squall scowled at the reference. His relationship with Seifer was anything but the clichéd dramas Rinoa read all the time. "Seifer's no knight in shining armor, and I wouldn't slay a dragon to rescue his sorry ass," the brunet retorted.

Laguna began laughing, his hand slapping the tabletop. As much as he wanted to tell his son how adorable he was being, he knew that would end their conversation immediately. The scowl looked like a pout, making it seem like the Commander was shy about topic. "No, I can't say you're the damsel in distress, and I don't think he fits that part either."

Scoffing, Squall replied, "I think he'd rather become a knight again than wear a dress."

The older man stopped laughing abruptly. Leaning across the table he whispered, "You don't wear dresses, do you?"

Pinching the bridge of his nose, Squall stated coldly, "No"

With a sigh, Laguna shrugged his shoulders. "Well, it is odd that you're with another man."

"Is it so odd?" Squall questioned seriously, wondering if the public would focus on that aspect solely. Laguna was the first person to find out that wasn't a close member of their tightly knit group. Though, the older man obviously had a bias, it was a step closer to seeing how the general public might react.

Hazel-green eyes sharpened at the heavy tone in the young man's voice. "I suppose not," Laguna mumbled. "Considering the life you've had, growing up in a Garden, things are bound to be different."

The evenly spoken words caught Squall's attention. This was the man who ran Esthar, the more serious and capable side of the President. It was the one side of Laguna that Squall both disliked and liked the most. As far as political matters went, he couldn't stand his father. Bargaining like an expert, Laguna was a very persuasive politician, thus establishing the Esthar-Balamb Treaty. However, Squall also found that if it wasn't discussing economic and political relations, he quite enjoyed the wiser side of the man.

Intrigued, Squall humored the idea that his father might actually be able to give him a few helpful words. "How so?" he questioned. How was he different from a normal person? Everyone he knew was normal, and in comparison, they weren't so different from him.

With a sigh, Laguna looked regretfully at his son. All grown up, the boy hadn't needed him for anything. "You were raised as a mercenary." When he spoke these words he couldn't hide the sadness he felt over such a fact. "SeeD are not normal people. And, someone who has known nothing beyond the life of a fighter is going to be very different than a civilian. You seek power and strength, that is your goal each time you train."

Bowed lips, that had remained relaxed while the longhaired man spoke, frowned as the words set in deeper. It almost sounded like Laguna didn't like him being a SeeD. What was wrong with wanting to become stronger? Power came with responsibility, and he knew that. However, if he didn't become stronger, then he wouldn't be able to protect the people around him. "You make it sound like a bad thing. Ultimecia's dead because of SeeD and what we stand for."

With a breathy sigh, Laguna apologized, "Sorry, that's not what I was trying to get at." His tone implied that while Squall had considered the wrong aspect to his words, what the brunet perceived was still true. He didn't like the idea of his son growing up surrounded by weapons and learning how to fight and kill. "It'd be pretty hypocritical if I said I didn't like that you're a soldier."

Gray-blue eyes narrowed as Squall's frown deepened. Since when did Laguna disapprove of his lifestyle? "Yeah, it would," he remarked defensively.

Laguna knew well enough which subjects were out of bounds. Right now, the only thing on the table for discussion was the ex-knight. "What I meant was that unlike an ordinary person, your attraction to something might come from its power."

"You mean Seifer?" Squall asked incredulously, momentarily sidetracked by the abrupt change in topic.

The older man nodded, sending tendrils of hair forward that had been trying to escape. "Is he strong?" the President prompted.

Squall thought about his father's words. Nodding, the brunet added on to his answer, "We trained together. He was the only other gunbladist."

"So, he was your equal?"

"Still is," Squall corrected.

With an unpracticed frown that didn't look right on the goofy man's face, Laguna took a moment to reflect on everything he'd been told. "I don't like it," he announced after a bit.

From Laguna's previous outburst over the matter of Seifer taking precedence in the brunet's memories, Squall hadn't completely ruled out the possibility of his father's disapproval. "Why?" he asked, wanting to at least know that much.

"He's a sorceress' knight. To me, that's a very big problem. You know about Esthar. A sorceress isn't half as powerful without the help of her knight. Adel would have fallen years earlier if Haden hadn't been by her side. And Ultimecia wouldn't have caused nearly as much destruction and death without Seifer."

"Adel had a knight?" the Commander questioned.

"He died early on, before I helped out," Laguna dismissed the fact, "Seifer's a knight. Something like that can't be forgiven."

Angrily, Squall pointed out, "You didn't seem too upset with him this morning."

If the sharp eyed Commander hadn't specifically stated that it was okay to be honest in his opinions and feelings on this matter, then Laguna wouldn't have dared express his view. However, this was what the boy had wanted from him, so in fairness he wouldn't lie. "I don't think he's a bad person, and I don't harbor any ill will toward him. However, I don't want him dating my son."

In anger, Squall forgot that he'd told Laguna in order to include the man and obtain support. Instead, all he registered was that the older man was viewing his relationship with Seifer negatively. "And whose son am I supposed to be?" he bit out coldly. "Seifer played a bigger part in raising me than you did, and you still look down on him?"

Laguna nearly flinched under the icy glare he received. Clenching his jaw, the President backed down while nursing reopened wounds of guilt over never being there for the Commander. "He raised you?" the older man questioned at length, curiosity over the brunet's words stirring within.

Squall broke his glare, blinking and sitting back further in his seat. He hadn't really thought about what he'd said. The stupid knight always made him say things without thinking, even if his blond ass wasn't there. "In a manner of speaking," the Commander smoothed over. "I was weak when I came to Garden, and the upper classmen didn't like me. Seifer's confessed to watching out for me. He's the one who kept me at my training and studying, if only to be better than him."

"Give me one good reason why he's the best person for you, when you every person in the world wanting to know you?" Laguna asked. "If being your childhood buddy was enough, then you'd be dating Zell or Irvine."

Fierce gray eyes pinned the older man to the seat across the table. Squall hated how defensive he felt. But, in a way it might have been a good thing to finally have someone opposed. "I can give you more than one," the brunet growled out. "First of all, I'm not into guys, Seifer is in a separate category all together. It's not about gender. And, it's not about childhood friends either." Squall's eyes narrowed, "I forgot about everyone else. They might as well not have ever existed to me. They left my life, Seifer didn't." Leaning forward slightly, he emphasized his next words, "I don't know about having a family, but I do know about having at least one person in my life who I've always known would be there, even if he went off to become my enemy in the war. I've never doubted him, not even when he was a knight, which he isn't now."

The President's mixed green eyes widened at the last comment.

"He's the best person for me, because he understands me and because I love him," Squall stated heavily, his words almost sounding like a warning, daring the older man to refute it.

Late night in Balamb Garden, three friends sat around a small round card table.

Raijin slouched in his chair, nearly falling off it in order to rest his head back. The bulky man was continually dozing off until Fujin or Seifer knocked him awake to show his cards.

When the silver haired woman yawned, she finished it with a growling note of annoyance. Throwing her hand that only had a pair of threes into the center of the table, she flopped down on crossed forearms. "TIRED," she announced, her voice muffled.

"You guys are no fun," Seifer said, giving a jolting kick to the black haired man who'd fallen asleep again.

Jerking awake, Raijin sent an angry glare towards their blond leader. "We have to get up early, ya know. Why are we doing this now?"

"Cause I can't sleep, that's why," Seifer answered. Scratching his chin, he smoothed over the growing stubble. He hadn't shaved just for the purpose of annoying Squall. "Let's go to the Training Center," the ex-knight suggested with no hint of tiring any time soon.

"Here's an idea," Fujin began sarcastically, "How about we go to sleep and you go cuddle with Leonhart's clothes or something."

"Yeah, like, we get that your whipped and can't go a night without the Commander, but why do we have to suffer for it?" the large fighter yawned out.

Clenching his teeth, Seifer gave a swift kick to Raijin's shin, causing the man to howl in pain. "I'm not whipped," he hissed out defensively.

"Then go to sleep like normal people," the silver haired woman countered. Raising her head up she goaded the blond with a daring looking.

"Tch," the blond knight sounded in defeat, "Fine" Standing up, Seifer stalked from his friends' apartment.

As the door slid shut behind the sulking knight, the remaining two members of the trio both looked at each other in exasperation.

"I never thought I'd see the day when our leader became a lapdog," Raijin whined.

"AFFIRMATIVE," Fujin agreed.

"Still, it's, like, good to see him happy. But I have a feeling this is going to be, like, a really long year, ya know?"

The silver haired woman responded with a resounding thud as her forehead made contact with the table. "Leonhart," she grumbled out.

Squall lay on his back, arms propped behind his head. The blanket beneath him was untouched, since he knew very well he wouldn't be getting any sleep that night. With a glance to the snoring man on the bed nearby, he knew that was pointless to even try and rest his eyes.

Shifting to his side, the brunet curled up and stared off vacantly, his pensive gaze not really seeing the cream colored wall that faced him. Shutting his eyes from the darkened room around him, he sought out Shiva. If nothing else could be accomplished that day, he'd at least yell at his Guardian for her previous actions.

Before he could even manage the short bit of concentration it took, his mind lost focus as his thoughts again wandered to the blond knight he was so fixated with. He missed that spicy scented aftershave, which no longer lingered in faint traces on the hoodie he wore.

"Stupid knight," he whispered. His voice broke the stillness, as the President's breathing had quieted.

Rolling to the other side of the bed, the Commander unfurled his lithe form and stood up. Crossing the room with silent steps, he patted his way to the door before making ready to leave.

The brunet hesitated for a moment, debating whether or not to leave a note of some sort incase he didn't return by the time the ex-soldier woke up. With a small shake of choppy hair, the Commander quietly shut the door behind himself and walked softly with thudded clicks down the hallway.

Within the double room, which now contained a single person, darkened hazel-green eyes gleamed with the faint rays of moonlight that swam in through the window.

Such actions from the Commander would have concerned the older man, had the boy not looked significantly healthier than when they last met. It seemed impossible for those shaded circles under sleepless eyes to be nothing but faint traces, especially when the Commander didn't show any signs of having changed his sleeping pattern after leaving their hotel room in the middle of the night.

With a scoff, the longhaired man turned on his side and conceded that it was probably the knight's doing. As President of Esthar, he could never forgive the blond. As a father, he felt instinctively protective of the son he hardly knew, and didn't want Squall anywhere near Seifer Almasy. But, as a man, who was too kind for his own good, he couldn't help but be happy that the Commander had found someone so suiting.

"Where've you been?" Irvine drawled lazily from Selphie's couch.

The gunman's long legs were crossed and set on one armrest while his head was on the other. Having finally found a suitable replacement for his ruined hat, his face was hidden beneath the black leather headdress.

Selphie nearly yelped in surprise, one hand halfway to grabbing her nunchaku. With her other hand behind her back, she crept along the backside of the couch. "I didn't know you were here," she said nervously.

Violet eyes narrowed in suspicion. "I live here," the auburn haired gunman pointed out. "What's behind your back?" he questioned, seeing the obvious manner in which the energetic woman tried to hide something.

"Nothing," Selphie assured. In a mad dash she sprinted to her room. The sound of Irvine getting up from the couch spurred an instinctive feel of excited adrenaline.

Slamming the door behind her, she cursed that there were no locks on the inner bedrooms. Green eyes darted around quickly. As her gaze fell upon each area she automatically deemed it unfit for hiding her camera bag. From the dresser and the closet, to the nightstand and the beanbag chair in the corner.

At the calm and unobtrusive knocking on her door, she gave a small squeak and hastily unzipped the black camera bag she held. Grabbing the rolls of film and digital memory card, she stuffed them down her jumper. Zipper her outer sweat jacket up, she pat her chest to try and smooth it over.

"Darlin'" the gunman's voice drawled form the other side of the door, "What're you up to?"

"Um," the copper haired girl floundered for an excuse. "I have to go see Seifer," she stated, opening the door.

Irvine's tall form filled the doorway. Passively, he stepped aside to let her leave. "You didn't blow anything up, did you?" he asked seriously. If he had to put out another fire or explain to Squall how he'd let her out of his sight again, he'd rather get it over with as soon as possible.

Grinning impishly, Selphie spoke quickly and kept her back to the tall sharpshooter, lest he notice the odd lumps protruding from her chest. "I went to Fisherman's Horizon to follow Squall and Laguna," she admitted.

The last thing she wanted was for Irvine to see the pictures she'd taken. She was trying to be patient and wait for his little crush to run its course, but if she went around showing him soft-core porn of the Commander, then she'd never get married.

"Why do you have to see Almasy?" Irvine asked a bit coldly, possessively placing two hands on the young woman's shoulders.

Frowning, Selphie pursed her lips. "Just cause he's dating Squall doesn't mean you can suddenly dislike him," she defended. As odd as the crossroads of affections were running these days, she couldn't help but uphold her sound judgment of right and wrong. Besides, she was an avid fan of the relationship, which meant she didn't like to hear bad things about it.

Violet eyes hardened. With a reassuring squeeze to the small girl's slender shoulders, he said, "I know, but you also know how I feel about it all."

"Yeah," Selphie whispered with a faint note of the sadness she felt. "You like Squall," she stated.

"Hey," the gunman cooed, leaning down and wrapping his arms around the cheerful girl. "It's like you said, I'm just jealous. We both know you're the only one for me."

A pained expression crossed the copper haired woman's face. It was a good thing her back was turned. Reaching up, she smoothed over the material of Irvine's dark purple shirt. "I know," she chirped happily. She even managed to force a believable giggle.

"What's this?" Irvine questioned while groping Selphie's breasts and the odd objects hidden nearby.

With a hard slap to the back of the gunman's hand, Selphie pulled free. "Lecher!" she cried.

"What've you got hidden in there?" he asked, a small smirk spreading across his lips.

"Nothing," Selphie stated, turning around and backing away carefully.

Grinning now, Irvine followed her. "Should I open it up and see?"

"It's just some pictures."

"Of?" the gunman pressed. Upon seeing green eyes dart around the room, he added, "You can't lie to me."

With a heavy sigh, Selphie gave in. "Squall and Laguna," she said lamely.

"Any why aren't I allowed to see?" Irvine asked with confusion.

"Cause his nipples were showing," Selphie whined, "And they were holding each other, and he was wet, and you'll have a bigger crush."

Confused beyond even trying to understand the girl, Irvine declared, "Darlin' you're makin' no sense."

Selphie groaned, expressing her want to drop the matter.

With a dismissive shrug, the gunman changed the subject. "I'm surprised you haven't asked why I was waiting for you."

"Eh?" Selphie intoned with curiosity, her green eyes going a bit wider. "Why were you waiting for me?" Checking her watch, she realized that it was nearly ten o'clock. They had early classes on Mondays, so they usually turned in around nine.

With a knowing grin, Irvine said, "Because you've been gone all day, and I've got some news."

"News, what news?" Selphie asked, looking around as though the news was some person standing in the corner.

Unable to hide a broader smile, the gunman could already picture the energetic girl bouncing off the walls. "Zell got married," he stated evenly.

Dumbly, green eyes stared at the cowboy. After a few moments, those same eyes widened. Selphie's mouth fell open before shutting and then repeating the same action. "Is this a joke?" she finally spoke.

"His weekend with Greta in Balamb was so they could elope," the gunman stated. Laughing at the small girl's reaction, he waited with anticipation for everything to set in.

Selphie blinked several times, her mind churning all the information over. Zell had been talking about the head chef a lot lately, but the blond haired fighter had never mentioned they were dating. Since when did he keep secrets? Though, spending a weekend together probably should have created some suspicion of a relationship, especially when he said it was to bring her home to his mother.

With a joyous squeal, Selphie jumped up and down. "Where is he?" she cried.

"Honeymoon," Irvine said. "He came by to let us know and to say goodbye. He was a little bummed that no one was around, but it wasn't like he gave us any warning. He said he'd be back for the festival and all that jazz.

Selphie stopped bouncing abruptly. "Oh no!" the cried in dismay. "Greta was our head chef. How will we make all the food? I have cakes and pie and cookies and chocolates and more cakes and brownies and… and… all the food," she spouted off quickly. "I'll kill 'em," she announced, pushing her sleeves up and making to stomp to the door.

Irvine watched in amusement as Selphie realized that Zell was nowhere to be found. "He's in Deling City. That's where Greta's family is."

"I don't even know her last name," Selphie pouted.

"It's Menavich," Irvine supplied.

"I didn't know they were dating," Selphie continued to pout.

With a thoughtful hand on his chin, Irvine admitted, "Neither did I. But, I think it was just one of those things that happen really fast. If they were together any longer than a couple weeks, I would have noticed, I'm sure of it."

"I need to develop my pictures," she stated. She needed a pick-me-up. Printing hard copies of a wet t-shirt wearing Squall and showing them to Seifer was exactly what would help.

Numbly, Selphie walked to the door. Zell was married. That was just bizarre. And, he hadn't included any of them. He'd pay for that dearly when he came back. Then again, if they were really as close as she would like to believe, how hadn't any of them known?

"Can I come with?" Irvine asked.

"No," Selphie said, half heartedly raising a hand in goodbye.

Grumbling, Irvine called after her, "I'm sleeping in your bed tonight."

Selphie's mood had brightened a bit after showing Seifer the pictures. The blond knight had stared at them before demanding to know when the Commander was coming back. After she relayed the message that Squall was spending the night away, the ex-knight had grumbled about how Sundays were his least favorite day and stalked off.

Next on her agenda was to seek out Quistis. It didn't matter that it was getting late or that she had work the next day. After hearing about Zell, she had to ask everyone for details and see who knew the most.

However, the Head Instructor didn't appreciate being woken up by Selphie jumping up and down on her bed, so she was thrown out.

Resigned to going back to her apartment, the energetic girl wondered if being with Irvine in such an unrequited manner was okay. Would she slowly deteriorate if the gunman never looked her way? Was seeking his comforting arms during the night right, when she knew his eyes weren't settled solely on her?

It was a heavy burden that was weighing heavier on her heart each time she saw violet eyes follow the Commander. Still, the only relief came when the handsome ladies' man held her. It was a vicious cycle that she'd have to find some way to break.

But, she had faith. Irvine had already changed so much just for her. The gunman could have continued to chase every pretty girl in sight, but he didn't. Instead, it was a well-known fact that they doubled up together and that she was number one in the renowned pretty-boy's eyes. Even if that was no longer true, she had faith that it would be with time.

Her love was not misplaced. One of these days, they would definitely settle down together. She just had to remind herself that these struggling moments were what made the end result worth it.

Clear starry skies made for a perfect viewing of the half moon nearing the horizon. It was chilly, but that just served to keep the Commander awake.

As a lone figure in the silent night, Squall stood on the far end of the long dock that stretched a fair distance out over the shifting waves. With his hands buried deep within the front pocket of the borrowed gray hoodie, he stared off into the dark waters and pale moonlight.

There was a constant sea breeze, the nighttime bringing wind inland. FH wasn't much of an island, but surrounded by water, the effect was not lost.

The brunet's thoughts were consumed by the events of the past week.

This time, one week ago, he'd been returning to his apartment after a night of investigating rumors about Rinoa's presence in Winhill.

He'd been foolish not to know why she'd suddenly left. But, she'd been a greater fool for not knowing the panic it would cause him.

Seifer was right, the raven-haired girl was just a child in comparison to himself. There was no way he could have ever been happy with her. He should have suspected his own feelings instead of repressing them and pretending like they didn't exist. Those lonely nights when they'd slept beside one another, and he'd held her, he was just searching for something. The fact that he retained a hollow feeling of longing inside should have clued him onto the fact that he obviously wasn't finding what he needed with her.

Laguna might be right about him being different. Maybe Rinoa wasn't a child, but he was just too different from the civilians that made up most the populace. Perhaps, the only people he could even be comfortable around were people just like him, mercenaries and fighters.

He'd also been a fool not to realize the true depth his relationship with Seifer had always held. Now that he looked back, it was so obvious.

So great was this feeling of fulfillment that he'd finally found that he couldn't rest without it. It wasn't some distant emptiness that he could ignore during the night anymore. Now that he knew what that feeling of loss was, his body wouldn't quite until it received what it wanted. A warm touch and comforting arms.

Squall wondered if the world would condemn Seifer for being a knight now. Certainly, the post war affair had been settled, no actions taken against the blond. But, that was only because most people were under the impression that Seifer had been controlled by Ultimecia. The people of Esthar knew better, but they were living like hermits and took no part in casting judgment.

Yet, once their relationship went public, Seifer's background would be brought up again and scrutinized under a magnifying glass. There was no possible way of keeping things a secret. It was a miracle they'd lasted this long. The media and press were constantly lurking in every corner, and the two of them couldn't seem to keep their hands off each other.

Even if they followed strict rules and talked in code, it would eventually leak. Besides, he didn't want to hide it. Though, he also didn't want to make any announcements. Good or bad, he honestly didn't care how the world perceived it. The opinions of others didn't matter.

So much had happened in such a short period of time. But, if they had truly been pining for each other, deep within their subconscious, then they'd been waiting a lifetime.

Squall gave a small smile at the irony involved in their relationship prior to the war. He hated to admit it, but it truly was clichéd. Rivals harboring feelings of want for one another, the thin line between love and hate. Not realizing any of it until their eyes were opened by being separated.

Stubborn to the end, the Commander hadn't realized the true depth of his feelings until his Guardian had shown him the ultimate vision of loss.

On some level, had he always been waiting for Seifer? With no previous relationships before Rinoa, he'd remained an eighteen-year-old virgin. While he hadn't put much weight on the little fact, it was suspicious how his body was suddenly so eager once it received the gruff and strong touch of his former rival. Only around Seifer, he acted with emotion and the feelings that everyone else thought he should show more of, laughing and smiling. He wondered if it was somehow a fated coupling. It was beyond annoying to reveal his thoughts and feelings to others. But, with Seifer, it wasn't so bad. The blond knight changed him, turned his mind about and made his body lose control. No one else could ever do that to him.

There were still so many unanswered questions. Just as many as from the start. The only difference was that now he didn't need answers. During empty hours he might ponder over them, but he no longer needed to have closure for every little detail in his life.

Footsteps sounded from behind. The slow and steady pace was unmistakable. Squall continued to stare off at the horizon, his outer demeanor unchanged. However as the steps drew nearer and his mind filled with images, a small shiver ran through his body.

His heart began to beat faster and he had to force himself not to turn around.

When the new arrival came within a few steps from him, the brunet let out a small gasp of air. Anticipation flowed through him. He wanted to be touched, to be held, and to wrap his arms around Seifer's broader form. He wanted to burrow his face close to the blond's warm neck and inhale that spicy scent. He wanted to kiss the man, and to be filled within the throws of lustful sex.

The thudded steps stopped, and Squall could feel the heat radiating off the newcomer. Another shiver wracked his body, this time making him shutter as a heat began to stir within.

A strong breeze picked up. The sound of fluttering fabric reached the brunet's ears. It was no doubt the long black trench coat flapping in the wind. Unable to contain himself, Squall took a small step and was about to turn around. He was stopped, however, as strong arms suddenly encircled him.

Pulled flush against the knight's body, Squall tore his hands from his front pocket and gripped the arms across his chest in a returned action. After a moment, he let one hand release the hold on Seifer's forearm and trail up. Reaching back, he let delicate fingers trail over the rough and unshaven cheek of the blond. With a small smirk, he relished in the feel, but also knew the arrogant man had done it to annoy him. The stubble tickled him, something the knight would no doubt use against him.

As a breathy sigh was released from the tall man behind him, he drew a line across Seifer's cheek.

Seifer leaned forward and pressed his forehead to the brunet's shoulder. "Couldn't sleep?" the baritone voice asked.

"I'm not the only one," Squall replied softly, gently entwining his fingers in soft blond hair.

"Squall," Seifer breathed out longingly, turning to trail his lips across the pale flesh of a smooth and slender neck.

Squall let his eyes close for a moment while tilting his head to the side and giving Seifer more room to work. Wanting more, he retracted his hand and stirred within the blond's hold.

The ex-knight loosened his grip, stepping forward as the Commander began to turn. He wanted to see Squall clearly, in the moonlight. Reaching out, he tilted the pale man's chin upwards, studying the delicate features. Running a thumb across an inviting bottom lip, he let his green eyes search enchanting blue irises.

The blond had been restless until he spotted the brunet's slender figure silhouetted in against the night sky. With each step that had brought him closer, the urge to sprint ahead had consumed him.

Eyebrows drawn in concern, Seifer abruptly took hold of the Commander's attractive face and spoke solemnly, "You'll stay with me?"

Bright blue eyes searched the knight's for some hidden meaning. However, Squall found the answer came much easier if he didn't think about it. "Forever," he whispered. Turning his head, he gave a soft kiss to Seifer's palm. It was a sentiment that he never thought he'd utter, but felt so right when he said it.

Seifer dipped his head to capture Squall's lips. His arms returned to holding that smaller form which fit so perfectly against his own.

Drawn out and lustful, they kissed for some time. Considering it was not the place to be jumping each other, they satisfied themselves with feverish kisses and touches. Gentle and gruff, they couldn't bear to lose contact. It felt too good to let go.

After so many years of being right in front of each other, they'd finally found each other.


A/N I hope you enjoyed the story. I know I had a lot of fun writing it. There is a sequel, called Strings Attached