Untitled Document
Author's notes: This is a continuation of the storyline started in The Bloodcross Key: Shattered Knight, and the second in a planned story-arc of three. As you can see the simple premise has grown into a far larger saga. I have made a sincere effort to explore the ramifications of the events of Shattered Knight and their effect on the characters involved. Reversals deals with the latter, while the third Arc will focus on the external effects.

That said, Reversals is far, far darker than Shattered Knight and contains scenes some may find very disturbing, beyond even those of the First Arc.

Also, I still take a very serious outlook on characterization, and Reversals has been a real challenge in keeping the characters in-character while transforming them to the effects of the events in Shattered Knight. All changes to their character have been made with how I think they would react in mind. I hope I have been successful and believeable.

Disclaimer: Square owns FF8 and it's characters. I do not and am only using them for my entertainment and the only profit I gain from it is hopefully having entertained others.

Warnings: Dark and disturbing content (Please take this warning seriously, to reveal it's exact nature will spoiler the story.), extreme angst, foul language, graphic violence, implied non-consensual sexual situations, shounen ai (male/male) with some sexual themes.

Comments and criticism are welcomed.

The Bloodcross Key ~ Arc 2 : Reversals
By Lady Tempest

***** Part 1:

The glow from the computer screen tinted Squall's already pale face to a ghastly shade of blue-green. His eyes narrowed at the scrolling text, his trembling lips a blue-pink line of tension. Suddenly, he slammed his hand on his computer's keyboard, and leaned forward, his expression darkening as his skinned paled even more.

"Oh, Seifer," he muttered, his eyes swelling with glints of reflected light from the monitor. He blinked and a sparkle of blue-silver trailed down his cheek..

How had the blond endured so much? Over three hundred, mostly men. One press of a key and he scrolled to the top of the account list. Over three hundred men for almost the full three weeks he had been missing.

Squall jabbed the power switch, dousing the room into only faint silver light, the moon shining through the large window of Cid's office. Snatching the disk Fujin had recovered during Seifer's rescue from the diskdrive, with a shaking hand, he stuffed it in an inner pocket of his black leather jacket. He couldn't take pouring over the data any more, not tonight. It was all to much, too overwhelming, to discover what Seifer had been through.

Some of the accounts detailed requests the `clients' had and reading only several of those had been enough to rush him to the bathroom earlier and empty his sparse lunch into the toilet. He had lost track of how much time passed before he had been able to even think about looking at more of the files. Part of him wished he hadn't managed to return to the leather chair and the horrible truth of Seifer's imprisonment. But he owed it to Seifer to find everyone who had harmed him and to make them pay for further shattering an already guilt-shattered young man.

He stalked from his, Cid's, office to the elevator. If only he had found Seifer sooner. If only he hadn't been so paralyzed with fear of losing someone he hadn't realized he could no longer bear to lose, maybe he could have saved Seifer some of the agony and humiliation. Maybe he could have saved Seifer from any of it. Instead, his former rival lay in the infirmary, still unconscious under Sleep, with wounds it made him sick just thinking about.

Doctor Kadowaki had repeatedly informed him there was nothing he could do for Seifer until he was recovered enough to be wakened, and it wasn't necessary for Squall to visit until then. Yet he had to be at Seifer's side, to be a familiar presence. To let Seifer know he was finally safe. No matter what Kadowaki said, Seifer needed him. If nothing else, to calm his nightmares, so the blond could actually rest. And, Squall realized, he needed it too.

*******

Squall awoke with a start. His head jolted from it's nest of his arms and the edge of Seifer's infirmary bed, jerking from under the strong hand lightly touching his shoulder. He collapsed into his chair, sleep-tousled auburn hair dangling in his eyes. Heart pounding so fast it almost hurt, he gulped several breaths and lifted wide blue eyes to the bulky shadow looming over him.

Raijin. He should have known. What, did the guy have something against letting Squall get any sleep?

"Uh, sorry, man," Raijin said meekly. "I didn't mean to scare ya."

Squall sighed, mostly to gather a little more air to calm himself, but no one needed to know that. "...whatever."

Raijin chuckled, a deep, but faintly forced sound. As their eyes met, Squall also noticed the humor didn't reach there either. Both their gazes wandered to the bed and the sleeping blond. A wrinkle spread across Seifer's brow as he moaned, his arms twitching.

Squall grasped his hand. "Seifer, it's okay now. You're home. With your... friends."

Seifer calmed, his features relaxing. Slender fingers brushed aside sweat damp golden hair from Seifer's pale face, the face of a handsome prince from the stories Seifer liked so much. Squall looked up to the other side of Seifer`s bed, catching a tear-bright scarlet eye before Fujin had time to not only pull her hand away but shutter her emotions behind silver lashes.

"Okay?" she asked with her same stilted speech pattern but at the level of a whisper.

It was hard on all of them. Perhaps for Fujin the most, seeing the young man she admired so much for his strength and confidence, for just the presence that radiated from him like the sun, laying, unconscious, battered and broken in more ways then they probably would ever know. Or would ever want to know. Sometimes the truth is best kept hidden. How would Seifer feel knowing what they had uncovered, little though it was? He was proud and strong. It had to devastate him to be used as he had been. Would he even be the same hurting young man from before? Or, as Squall had seen in Seifer's prison, would the blond be broken beyond repair? So shattered nothing would return the light to his eyes or the smirk to his beautiful lips?

"Squall?"

He blinked, something soft and wet spattering his hand.

"Squall, you okay?" Fujin said quietly.

Of course he was okay. He wasn't unconscious in an infirmary bed healing from injuries so numerous and horrible it made one sick. He hadn't been raped and abused and brutalized for a few thousand gil an hour, by three-hundred and forty-two people, and a monster or ten, just for kicks and an extra fee, over eighteen days, for nineteen hours a day, give or take, mostly give, five hours. He hadn't been whipped, and kicked, and chained, and burned, and...

Squall choked, and buried his face in his hand, his other tightening on Seifer's, as if to reassure him the blond was still there. How could any of what those bastards had done to Seifer be remotely justified by what Seifer had done during the war? Even if Seifer had been of his own mind, it was a punishment no one deserved, except those bastards that did it!

A strong, warm hand rested on his shoulder and another on his and Seifer's. Nothing needed to be said. It was so nice not being forced to say what he felt, to just be. No demands. No words. Just be...

"I'm okay," he finally said, raising his head to meet a concerned scarlet eye. Fujin nodded.

"Seifer?"

He took a deep breath. "Doctor Kadowaki said he'll be fine. He needs time to heal. I guess his body is so worn out Cures will only work so far. He needs to rest so they have energy to draw from to heal." He shrugged. "At least that's more or less how she explained it." He paused, squeezing Seifer's hand. They had to be prepared for the Seifer he had seen in that terrible room. But he couldn't tell them. If he were an optimist like Zell or Selphie, he could hope it wouldn't be necessary, that Seifer would be Seifer when he woke up. However, optimism was as much a part of his nature as being the life of the party. No matter how much you wish something were one way, it always was the worst way instead. Easier to ignore it altogether, and block the pain of disappointment before it can occur. But then, ignoring had only made the problem worse.

"I didn't tell her what happened to him. Though she has an idea from his injuries. She said physically he'll be okay in a few days, but emotionally, mentally, there was no way to know." He glanced between Seifer's two friends, his 'posse', then darted his glimmering blue eyes to his and Seifer's hands. " With the nightmares he's having even under such a deep sleep..."

He couldn't continue. Seifer's dead blue eyes haunted him, and the once proud face broken to defeat, a whimpering voice begging to be left in the very place destroying him because he believed he deserved it, had some debt to pay to people who probably only knew there had been a war because their servants whispered about it in the halls of their huge homes or overheard their chauffeur griping about the rising cost of fuel for their limo.

"He'll be okay," Fujin whispered. "He's Seifer Alamsy. And no one defeats Seifer. No one."

It was a good thing Fujin hadn't seen those files. Well, he figured she hadn't. He doubted she could remain is such control if she had. Probably would be out taking on armies if necessary to get to those on the list and exact some revenge. But there would be time for that. Now, Seifer needed them, needed him. Squall sighed.

"Hey, Squall. Go get some sleep. You look like you need it, ya know," Raijin said as he gently squeezed Squall's shoulder.

Sleep? First the big guy constantly interrupts his sleep, then he wants him to get some? Can't he make up his mind? But Squall was tired. He started to pull his chair closer to Seifer's bed.

"No. Not here. You need real rest, ya know, without some bum like me wandering in an waking you up."

But, he couldn't leave Seifer. He already had been away too long today drowning under his duties as acting headmaster and examining the files Fujin had given him. He opened his mouth to protest.

But Raijin interrupted, "We'll stay with him. Just get some damn sleep. You won't be any use to anyone, ya know." He crossed his muscular arms defiantly, as if `no' would never be accepted as an answer. Stubborn bastard.

Squall finally nodded. "Let me know if anything happens," he said as he rose from the chair. His entire body ached, like he had slept in an uncomfortable chair for several hours. He hated it when other people were right.

"Sure thing," Raijin replied, patting him on the shoulder.

Grunting, Squall shuffled out of the infirmary, taking a final backward glance at Seifer. The moonlight through the high, paneled windows and the soft, artificial glow of the infirmary lights mingled on the sleeping young man, casting unnaturally onto his pale skin and pale hair. He was beautiful, even with the fading bruises on his face. A storybook prince, or knight, or an angel, waiting to be wakened by true-love`s kiss...

Squall clenched his teeth, his storm blue eyes narrowing. He had to stop such ridiculous ideas. He wanted to be Seifer's friend, nothing more. And Seifer probably wanted the same. Thinking about another guy, about Seifer, like he would Rinoa was absurd. Yet, it wasn't at all like he thought about her. He never felt for her what he felt for Seifer. Nor had he felt anything so deeply for her, friendship or otherwise. He rubbed his temples, trying to ease away the tight ache behind his eyes and with a scowl, he turned on his heel and left.

End Part 1
(tbc)
~~~~~~~