When Seifer and Squall flirt, which they invariably do—it's just that no one knows the telltale signs, they both are extremely stupid, or sorely romantic.

Seifer, surprisingly, is not the impatient one in the relationship: Oh, no, he isn't—throwing the rebellious lion against the wall and snogging him senseless is less menacing than having a jackknife snuggled against his groin; he knows: he's done this and that with the commander of Balamb Garden, more likely during brunch hours or afternoon debriefing. Still, it's him who always makes the first move, and he prides himself in that.

It starts off with his hand clapping that sexy ass; hell, like anyone could resist a nice, satisfactory grope when the other male's bending over to retrieve files. Just the thought of a surprised expression plastered onto that gorgeous face makes his devilish appendage shoot out automatically, which he does, and then he grins in a way that boosts the conceit of sharks.

Of course, Squall, being the professional leader that he is, does not betray a single emotion while Quistis chokes on her coffee and Rinoa bitches at him for leaving her beautiful—fugly, wugly, duckly, whatever—presence for a pushover who couldn't even catch a damn plecos. He doesn't care, obviously, so he sends in his bodyguards to get rid of her, as he wishes for a wide crowbar to smack off the bastard's smug leer.

The midmorning passes peacefully.

Seifer does not grin, anymore.

He feels more uncomfortable than triumphant at the perfect nonchalance of the younger man—perhaps he had pushed it too far, he would confusedly think, and now he was to receive the silent treatment: in which Leonhart was quieter than a dead fool under his blade. So he soon tries to conjure a short apology …

Squall retaliates in two hours, forty-three minutes, and fifty-nine seconds.

When Seifer finally makes up his mind to go buy a box of chocolates as a truce, he feels a weird hunch in the air—but, since stupidity made up 68% of his sorry self, he ignores the bad feeling, and instead, whistles lightly as he walks over the parking lot. If there was one thing he loved more than kicking Chickie's flat behind, it was the new crimson LFE-5351 convertible he had scored from his recent victory in maintaining the order of Timber. A shit-eating grin manifests him before he jogs to his lot number—

And he freezes.

There, in the parking space opposite from his,

Stood the same automobile.

In lightning blue.

His furious reaction was instantaneous.

As a boy, and continuing as a man, he found that he was never competitive in the way people thought he was—he simply hated the jackasses who copied his fucking shit and put it on public display.

Like this little whoremonger.

He storms off to his dorm room after he wrenches a cursed explanation from a nearby staff; apparently, the commander of Balamb Garden thought it was a great idea to buy the same customized model, just for fun.

Fun—fucking fun.

Oh, it was on.

Later on, Seifer sends his reply through a channel of women.

And as the amused blonde stands against the door to the deck, he fights to swallow a dark chuckle at the rampant sneezes and stuffy voice of one angry lion; there was no guilt—nope, none at all.

Okay, maybe a little, but this was a battlefield, and Squall had to understand that—even if it meant Seifer had taken advantage of his seasonal allergies and sent him a bouquet of red roses through other girls, and finally Selphie, who thought it was awfully cute and lovey-dovey.

Not.

He too gets surprised after an hour.

He learns the hard way that stage fright was in everyone, including the top baddies and heroes of the world—perhaps it was the way he walked into the cafeteria, confused at all the laughs and guffaws; perhaps it was the way Fujin's lips twitched to Raijin's monstrous blush; perhaps it was the way the projector had been set up with a movie.

With a footage.

Of him.

Fishing.

In vain.

Plain, absolute failure.

He gets a bill at 2 a.m. for the hole in the drywall.

The next day passes with more ridiculous onslaughts—such as where-the-hell-did-Squall-Leonhart's-underpants-go, Seifer-is-now-broke-for-the-month-because-his-pay-was-severed, Oh-my-Hyne-Squall-your-hair-is-blue, and HA-HA-HA-HA-that-dick-just-got-sent-to-Trabia-for-Marlboro-duty. Seifer found that the stakes were climbing higher and higher without a stall or drop—this was plain war, deceitful, dangerous, so alike to everything he feels for his silent adversary who recently towed his OFE-R3455 motorcycle for "unnecessary gear violations". It gets more exciting and treacherous by each millisecond …

And then, he loses the edge.

Squall was not here.

Squall was not there.

Squall was not next to him, brooding, silent, moody.

Never had he missed the ocean so much.

He has no chance of kissing him breathless in the morning, no opportunity to roll with him on the bed to the sound of Scrawny meowing, no moment to show Squall that pancakes were not supposed to be green with tentacles. There were boundaries in this fray, boundaries that meant he was thwarted of his right to stride up and coax a warm hug without getting a fucking cream pie slung at his face. Rivalry and ambition had driven him throughout this ordeal, yet he found himself wishing that he'd never smacked that fine piece of derriere in the first place, thinking about how he should've simply dragged him to the nearest storage room for some naughty intimacy. He was sick, all right, sick with the need to bring forth childish reactions, all alone on the cliff that overlooked the churning sea.

The sea that was now looking at him with a hesistant frown on his face.

But Seifer doesn't care, because he's tired, because he can be a damn idiot if he wants to, because this tumult had dragged on long enough. He flings himself haphazardly at the other male and envelops him in lung-crushing hug that was met with no stiffness, no cool indifference or a charge of fighting spirit. By the looks of it, Squall too had grown weary of this encounter, but his streak of challenge and determination had not let his pride descend to giving up.

Yet he does.

And Seifer smiles, because Squall does it also, because the impatient one in their bond reaches up for a much needed kiss, because he sees a box of chocolates tucked behind a slim back.

Because he felt like an idiot.

And claps his buttocks.

He finds out later on that the sting in his own ass was so worth it in the bedroom.