The Bloodcross Key: Arc 1: Shattered Knight

Disclaimer: FF8 and it's characters are owned by Squaresoft and whoever else has legal claim. This story was written for entertainment only and I gain no profit from it.

Author's notes: This story is inspired by the Key-game, a writing challenge started on the ysml (yaoi/slash mailing list). The stories produced are usually yaoi/shounen ai and original in nature, but fanfic (and non-yaoi variants) have been written. The consistent theme that never varies is of Master/Slave, the slave being represented by the 'Key', and the Key is always male.

The following story was my first fanfic, started over a year ago. Although the original premise was very basic, holding to Key-game themes, it has grown to 'epic' proportions and continues into a second arc, Reversals, which is now complete, and an eventual third.

Also, I take characterization very seriously and have made every attempt to keep at least the primary characters in-character while maintaining the concept of the story. Feedback regarding my success, or failure, is welcomed.

However, rude comments stating that Seifer and Squall are not 'gay' are a waste of time and will serve only to amuse me, not change my mind, nor even gasp> offend me. Obvious subtext of some sort of chemistry between Seifer and Squall does exist within the game, and I have chosen to interpret it as romantic. Yet, I am open to intelligent discussion of opposing ideas in the interest of debate.

Warning: This fic is extremely dark, with heavy angst, foul language, graphic violence, non-consensual male/male sexual content, and shounen ai (male/male romance) (Seifer/Squall).

Spoilers: Takes place after the end of the game.


The Bloodcross Key: Arc 1: Shattered Knight
by Lady Tempest


Part 1:

Seifer sat quietly at the edge of the pier, watching the sky. The sun was slowly setting. The subtle pinks, purples and blues contrasted his golden hair glimmering in the last rays of sunlight.

He was grateful to be alive, free, after all he had done while the Sorceress' Knight. He deserved far less than the gift he had been given. Far less. Imprisonment at the least. Execution, far more. But he wouldn't squander the mercy he had been shown. He would try again to finally become a SeeD, and do whatever it took to earn it. Anything, so he could atone his past evils.

" SEIFER. OK?"

Seifer turned to the silver-haired girl suddenly behind him. Her one scarlet eye softened with concern. For him. He sighed and forced a smile. " I'm fine, Fujin. Just thinking."

Her eye narrowed, as she clasped her hands at her back. She didn't seem convinced.

"Be careful you don't hurt yourself, ya know," the dark, burly youth that appeared beside her chuckled, fishing gear and a few fish on lines slung over his broad shoulders.

"If I suspected you were familiar with the process, I might take your advice," Seifer smirked.

Fujin. Raijin. His friends. His only friends. Ever. Sad, pitiful, if he were to think about it. So he usually didn't. It wasn't from lack of trying, in his own way. But it never got him anywhere. Not as a small child, not at Garden, not now.

But at least they cared. He knew that now. The loyalty they had shown him while he was at his worst proved that to him. They even tried to convince him that it wasn't his fault, that he hadn't been himself, he had been controlled, or some such pathetic attempt at consoling his guilt. But he wouldn't believe them, even if it was true. It was always his fault and, if it wasn't, then he was weak. He'd rather take the blame.

"It's getting late, ya know."

"GOING," Fujin added, her eye watching the blond expectantly.

"I'd like to stay here a little longer. You go without me." A sad, wistful smile crept across his handsome face.

" SURE?"

" Yeah, ya sure? It's a long walk back to Garden. We can stay a bit longer, ya know." Raijin shrugged.

Seifer chuckled. " Surely, you two aren't worried about me?!" he smirked.

" Seifer," Fujin said quietly, " ... don't like to see you sad."

" Geez, I'm fine. Don't get all mushy on me." Turning away toward the endless sea of blue, he added, " I just wanted to enjoy this a while more. That's all." He leaned back slightly, braced by his straight-locked arms. Lifting his face to the pastel sky, he closed his aquamarine eyes and absorbed the presence of the ocean, the salty, cool air, the fading warmth of the sun.

" SAFE?"

" Doubt that I can handle myself?" Cracking open one pale blue eye, he tilted his golden head to gaze over his shoulder, the ever-present smirk firmly on his lips. " I promise to stay on the road. Okay, mommy?" he said with a light-hearted chuckle.

" RAGE," Fujin growled, her hands clenching into fists at her side.

Seifer threw his head back as his amused chuckle broke into full laughter. Raijin's joined snicker was quickly rewarded with a swift kick to his ankle.

" Ow! That hurt, ya know!"

Fujin ignored him. " Seifer..." her voice was low, the softness of it strange from the steely young woman.

The blond stifled his laughter and smiled warmly. " I promise. Besides..." Smirking, he patted, with a black leather gloved hand, the gunblade laying next to him on the worn wooden dock. "Hyperion's with me."

Fujin sighed and nodded. Then she turned and walked from the pier.

Raijin looked at Seifer and shrugged. "Well, see ya later, ya know."

" Later." Seifer waved absently. " I won't be too long."

Raijin shrugged again, then followed the quickly disappearing Fujin.

Seifer turned his handsome face back to the sea. The sky reflected its darkening purples and pinks on the deep blue water. So peaceful. A light tangy breeze brushed through his short golden hair and ruffled the sleeves of his pale gray trenchcoat.

He should have done this more often. But quiet had never really suited him for long. Alone with one's thoughts, one's feelings, one's sins. And sometimes they were all the same thing. Even more so now. However, now he chose to let the quiet bring the punishment he deserved and the redemption he didn't.

How could he ever atone for all he had done? For all the pain he caused? He didn't want, didn't expect, forgiveness from those he hurt. He just wanted a chance to make right what he could and bear the guilt for what he couldn't. That was all. All he lived for now. No more romantic dreams. No more foolishness. They were all illusions anyway. Unattainable or soul-damning fantasies. Or both. He would be like Squall: all duty. Only duty. That was the least he could do for penance.

Squall. Seifer closed his glittering blue eyes and sighed. He was a fool to even think of him. Nothing could atone for those sins. How could he have done the things he did? How could he have lost control so easily? He had been such a monster. And to him. The last person he would ever want to hurt. But he did and there was nothing that could undo that. And that was his greatest shame. And his greatest punishment.

The rumbling of footsteps on the wooden dock shook him from his thoughts. He glanced over his shoulder. A group of men, at least twenty, easily more, approached warily but like a hunter afraid of startling his prey.

Seifer rose slowly, his pale trenchcoat swaying about his tall, slender body. " Yes? You want something?"

"You the Sorceress' Knight, boy?" a burly, suspendered man snarled.

Seifer raised a golden brow curiously. "I'm not anymore."

The small crowd of men moved slowly towards him. Seifer unconsciously took a step back but a slip of the heel of his black boot against the edge of the dock reminded him he had no where to go. He slid to the side, a safer distance from the end of the pier.

" So you were the Sorceress' Knight?" another man hissed, anxiously fingering a rusted pipe.

Seifer narrowed his pale blue eyes nervously. Yet, whatever their intentions may be, he owed them the truth. He nodded. " Yes, I was. I'm very sorry."

" Sorry isn't good enough, boy!" the first man growled.

" Yeah," the crowd cried.

" We're here to get revenge for what you did!"

He lowered his blond head, his arms hanging limply at his side. Surrendered. " I understand."

" I don't think you do!"

They swarmed on him, grabbing him, forcing him to the ground. But he didn't resist. He owed them this. Clubs, wooden sticks, metal pipes, fists, beat his body relentlessly. Each blow rattled his body, the pain sharp at first. then it merged into a throbbing ache, a numbness, as he felt, heard, bone snap, grinding a piercing torment through every fragment of his being.

He instinctively curled into himself from the pain. Blow after blow after blow battered his body into blinding, burning agony. He owed them. He owed them. He owed them. He repeated to himself, in a distraction from the pain.

Through the haze of burning, and throbbing, and ache, Seifer heard someone yell.

"Careful not to get his face. He's no good to the buyer deformed, or to us!"

Buyer? But he hurt too much to think of anything other than...he owed them.

(tbc)