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  We always overcomplicate things, don't we?

  Those were the words hounding Squall's brain as he sat in his office, clenching a pen, staring mindlessly at a small stack of applications.  His thoughts began to drift towards another subject and he immediately stopped himself.

  "Dammit," he cursed under his breath.

  The lithe brunette tried to get back to work and focus on less confusing matters but his mind wouldn't let him.  It was later in the day and he wasn't behind so he decided to just call it quits and get some dinner.

  A hot dog sounds pretty good right now, actually, the gunblade-wielding Garden commander thought as his stomach rumbled from hours of inattentiveness.

  Squall made his way down to the cafeteria, hoping to avoid anyone who would interact with him along the way.  Alas, being thrust into the position of Balamb Garden's commander afforded him less and less privacy, even though there were no major threats bearing down on them and their world at the moment.  They'd defeated Ultimecia, thank the gods, and things were starting to get back to normal around the mobile military installation.  One might even say things were beginning to look up, but not the icy Squall Leonhart.  No, his life had possibly become more complicated than it was before the sorceress incident.  But no one knew that, of course.  He kept it to himself the way he always did and everyone just assumed his demeanor was due to his usual detachment.  If only that was all.

  Along the way, Squall and Quistis passed each other.  Squall grew even tenser upon noticing her but, much to his relief, she only nodded in his direction and kept going wherever she was going.  He was thankful his former instructor knew him well enough to know when she should give him space.  Though, he'd probably hear about it later from Selphie.  God knows the two girls seemed to gossip all the time.  Though, he couldn't really blame them.  Their travails before and during the battle with Ultimecia had basically made them a family.  A bit dysfunctional, granted, but a family nonetheless.

  All this thinking was increasingly knotting up his neck and upper back muscles and his fists clenched subconsciously while he waited for a couple of hot dogs to be put on his tray by the cafeteria workers.

  Thank the gods Zell didn't eat all of them again.  I'd throw him off the observation deck if he had this time.

  The thought caused a hint of a wry smile to curl a corner of the brunette's lips, one of the few times such a scene might ever be witnessed.  He sat down and leaned back against the chair for a moment, trying to let go of some of his tension.

  I'd kill for a massage right now.  No one I can really ask, except…

  He chided himself once again and had to resist slamming his gloved fist down on the table.  He didn't need to draw more attention to himself than he already had, after all.

  His efforts to will away his stress and muscle tension were effectively squashed when the tall blonde he'd known since they were little walked through the cafeteria entrance.  His slightly gray trench coat and firecross emblems that were immediately recognizable to any resident of Balamb Garden fluttered a bit behind him as he strode in, confident as ever.  Squall dipped his head and brought a hand to his forehead as he ate, hoping his former rival wouldn't notice his presence.  He didn't favor his fortune that much, though.

  The smaller of the two gunbladers was beginning to think he might get away with avoiding the infamous Seifer Almasy when he heard the chair across from him slide back and a tray set down on the table.  He groaned inwardly, even though he hadn't yet looked up.

  "Heya, Leonhart."

  Those two simple words did all manner of things to Squall.  Fear, adrenaline, a rush of other emotions that scared the hell out of him – they all hit him just by Seifer saying hello.  Now that he knew who it was who had sat down across from him, he wasn't sure how to respond.

  "Seifer," he said evenly, hoping his voice didn't betray him.

  Nice.  Very eloquent, Squall.

  "Not feeling very talkative today?"

  Seifer chuckled and sat back in his chair, taking a swig of his drink.  Of course he wasn't.  It was Squall Leonhart, after all.

  "I guess that's standard operating procedure for you, though."

  The tall blonde with a scar to match Squall's own laughed at his little joke and Squall felt his ears begin to flush hot with blood.

  "Oh, come on, Squall.  You know me.  Just fucking with you.  What's up?  Haven't talked with you in a while."

  Squall fidgeted and his mind raced for a response.

  "Um," he said, immediately irked at himself for sounding like Selphie when she was building up to ask for something.

  "I…just work, training, you know the drill."

  He might as well have had LIAR tattooed onto his forehead but he kept his cool.  Outwardly, anyway.  But Seifer and he had known each other for a long time.  The former sorceress' knight wasn't buying it.

  "Uh-huh.  Squall, you think I don't notice things but I do.  You've been avoiding me specifically and I can tell you're more irritated than usual.  You don't have to tell me anything, obviously, but I thought you could use a friend."

  That's odd, Squall thought.  For Seifer, anyway.  Maybe recent events had changed his childhood acquaintance more than he realized.

  "I don't think it'd be a good idea to talk about it," Squall said quietly, his tone having changed markedly.  It surprised both of them – the brunette wasn't usually forthright in that manner.  It made him feel vulnerable and he hated that with a burning passion.  Ever since Sis left when he was little – whatever her reasons – it had left a lasting impression.

  "Suit yourself, Squall.  You know where to find me if you need me."

  As the blonde was getting up to leave, Squall visibly winced at those words.

  Need you…

  "No, Seifer, stay.  I…ugh, I'm sorry."

  The brunette got up and hurriedly took his tray with a half-eaten hot dog left on it to the disposal unit and practically bolted from the cafeteria.  His flight response was screaming and, though he hated himself for it, he was letting it direct his actions for the time being.

  I'm such a fucking coward, he thought while his legs continued their fast shuffle away.

  "Well, so much for that," Seifer muttered, sitting back down, shrugging and eating his dinner.  He would normally be with his posse but he had told them to do some training for the night and then just to do whatever they wanted.  He wanted to be alone for a while, surprisingly.  That was usually Squall's MO.  Fujin and Raijin had questioned if he was okay but his glare quickly silenced them.

  Squall's ears still felt hot as they always did when he was embarrassed or really frustrated and angry.  He stomped to his quarters - ignoring anyone who dared to nod his way - grabbed his gunblade out of its case, and nearly ran down to the training center.  He didn't care that his skills were far above anything he would usually encounter in there – he just needed to work out his frustration.

  Grats fell in his wake like they weren't even there.  So much pent up emotion was bubbling out that even the T-Rexaur he encountered barely broke his stride.  The brunette found himself yelling – no, screaming as he slashed through another group of monsters.  It was actually beginning to be somewhat therapeutic for him…until he heard another gunblade fire behind him.  Squall clenched his porcelain jaw and cut down the last grat in his way before turning to visually confirm what he already knew.

  There stood Seifer, tall and strong, showing that he hadn't lost his touch either as he too sliced through monster after monster.

  While continuing to fight and without turning, he grinned that devilish grin of his and said above the growls and shots, "Hey, Leonhart.  Fancy meeting you here.  Thought I'd get a little workout before heading out tonight."

  Shit.  It's Friday, isn't it.

  Squall had managed to forget the weekend was approaching.  And, with no current assignments for the SeeD members of Balamb Garden, he was actually free for once.  Then, however, the prospect of free time with nothing to fill it filled him with dread.

  "Sounds good," Squall replied uneasily as he turned to eliminate another creature that tried to get the jump on him.  He took some small measure of comfort in the fact that he hadn't lost his touch, either.

  "Squall, level with me.  What's bothering you?"

  The tallest of the pair continued to fight but his attention was focused on Garden's commander.  Squall sighed and grunted as he thrust his gunblade through another monster – perhaps a little too violently.

  "Seifer…you…you don't want to know."

  He figured that was as accurate as he could be to still honor the truth without giving too much away.  He found himself in an infuriatingly ridiculous position.  Someone else might've found it funny in a morbid sort of way, but not him.

  The ice queen reduced to a confused teenager because of one guy.  I hope this isn't what I've become.

  Squall shook his chocolate bangs out of his vision and wiped off his gunblade.  He was finished – no peace would be found in the training center that evening.  Not for him, anyway.  Fearing it a bit rude, Squall grunted in mounting frustration and stormed off to the "secret spot" that was frequented by some of the more adventurous SeeD members.

  Seifer shook his head in a similar fit of frustration.

  "That damned Leonhart.  Still an ice queen."

  It actually hurt Seifer inside a little to say that but he would, of course, never admit that to anyone.  Not without killing them afterwards.  The blonde, determined to get an answer, stomped off after the recalcitrant commander.

  He ducked through the small opening and found Squall hunched over the bulkhead, head hanging down.  In a rare moment, Seifer stopped to look out over the horizon.  It was dusk and the lights of Balamb where they were moored shown beautifully into the approaching night sky.  A cool breeze blew by and he reflexively pulled his trench coat tighter around him.  Squall was either ignoring the taller male or was oblivious to him.  Or afraid of him.  Whatever the case, Seifer set his gunblade carefully down on a soft spot of grass and strode over to stand next to Squall, leaning on the bulkhead's edge and joining his former rival.

  "If I hadn't made it apparent, Squally, I'm not leaving you alone until you tell me what's going on."

  Seifer knew calling the brunette "Squally" would get to him – and that's precisely what he intended.  He wanted to provoke just enough of a rise out of his fellow gunblader to get him to drop his shields for a moment and tell him what was going on.  It was a risk, he knew, but he wasn't sure what else to do if he wanted to find out what was going on.

  The commander sighed and kicked the base of the wall, dropping his gaze to the ground below.

  "I told you, Seifer.  You don't want to know."

  How could you?

  "I'm standing here asking, Squall."

  Seifer meant business whenever he used the shorter male's given name.

  "You know full well I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't…care.  And I do.  So spill it."

  The brunette looked up at the blonde, tears beginning to well in his eyes.  His jaw was clenched tightly so as not to quiver and appear weak before his…friend?  He didn't even know what to call Seifer anymore.  The sorceress mess just brought it all out, really – nothing that hadn't been there since they were kids playing together at Matron's orphanage.

  Seeing the infamous ice queen's frosty exterior melting this much was unheard of and it caught Seifer off guard.  His own jaw fell slack and he was suddenly unsure of himself.  Something that rarely happened to him, either.  And then, Squall did something neither of them thought would happen in a millennium.  Squall moved towards Seifer and slipped his arms around him, quietly crying and leaning his head against the blonde's purple and white-vested chest.

  So strong, Squall thought bittersweetly.

  "Squall…what…umm…what are you doing?"

  Not quite the response the shorter of the two was hoping for.  He pulled away, looking a little dejected.

  Sighing, Squall said, trying desperately to keep his voice from quaking, "Oh, come on, Seifer.  I love you.  Dammit to hell, I love you.  Fucking…"

  Seifer could only stand there dumbfounded.  And maybe a little freaked out.

  "What…?  Love…me?  Dude…that's…"  

  The recently graduated SeeD fidgeted with his beloved trench coat while his face twisted uncomfortably.  For once, it was his mind that was racing.

  Unfortunately for Squall, the only response Seifer could muster to finish his initial thought was, "That's…kinda…gay, Squall."

  It almost sounded more like a question than a statement but it didn't matter that much to the man who'd just shown his entire hand.  Squall clenched his eyes shut as he felt tears begin to flow.

  "That's what I thought," he said, mad and hurt.

  The wounded brunette grabbed his gunblade and ran.  He was functioning purely on instinct at that point. Needing to get away from everything that was hurting him, he bolted for Garden's exit and out into the fields surrounding.  In a fit of raging frustration, he hurled his gunblade down into the ground, its Griever chain clinking as the blade stuck into the soil.  Squall screamed.  He screamed his heart out.  Screamed until his throat hurt and he couldn't make another sound.  Feeling utterly defeated and like there was nowhere to turn anymore, he sank to the ground, trying desperately not to feel anything ever again.  A few tears streaked down his delicate cheeks and he just stared at the night sky.  He wished he could enjoy it – it was rather beautiful that night.

  He realized Seifer was the one he wanted.  Squall tried with Rinoa – it just didn't work.  He couldn't put his finger on why at the time when they decided to just be friends but he knew why now.  He had to kick himself for not having realized it earlier even though, honestly, he'd always known.  Seifer'd always been there from the beginning.  They fought constantly but he knew why, at least for his part.  He was wrong about Seifer's, though, it seemed.

  "Well, I guess that's that.  I'm done," the brunette muttered to no one in particular, his sobs having died down to the occasional quiet gasp.

  "Done with what?" Seifer asked, scaring the hell out of Squall, making him jump up from the ground.

  "Thought you were freaked out by the fact that someone with a dick likes you," Squall said, just a bit more venom in his voice than he intended.

  "Easy, Squall.  I…you just caught me off guard, alright?  Ugh."

  The blonde ran his gloved hand back through his hair - that one stubborn lock springing back out as it always did.  One of the little things Squall loved about his former rival.  Seifer sighed and kicked at the ground, idly looking back at his gunblade.  He'd quietly stuck it into the dirt alongside Squall's.  It could almost be a romantic picture, actually.  But he turned his attention back to the brunette's tear-stained face.

  "You know, Squall, I…" he trailed off, brow furrowed in frustration.  He stomped his foot, trying to articulate what he wanted to say.

  "Ah, fuck it."

  Seifer moved swiftly to Squall and grabbed his face, kissing him firmly for a moment and then letting go.

  Squall just stood there, staring up at Seifer, frozen in place.  He didn't have the slightest idea what to do.  Seifer had effectively cast Stop on him with his lips.

  "Huh," Seifer said, looking like he was confused about something he'd just discovered.

  "Alright, Squall, I'll level with you now.  Remember our mission in Dollet when I said one day I'd tell you about my romantic dream?  I was feeling a little funny then because of the sorceress and that's why I mentioned it at all – especially in front of the others.  But what I was thinking is still true.  You.  You're my romantic dream.  I was just…eh, never comfortable with the idea of being with another guy.  Hyne knows you've always been pretty.  Fuck, Squall, I want you.  I think I always have.  I can't imagine any other reason for me always picking on you.  I'm not that much of a bastard."

  He took a deep breath, the fact that he was telling all this to the ice queen, of all people, making his footing a bit unsure.

  "I don't know a gods damned thing about love, Squall.  I don't think I've ever really experienced it.  With Rinoa it was just…well, you know."

  The blonde cleared his throat, not liking to bring up his past relationship with the girl around Squall – it was just weird for them both.

  "Sorry.  But you're the only one who's ever made me feel much of anything genuine at all.  So, if you'll work with me on getting comfortable with the idea of being with another guy, I'll give you my all."

  He moved back in front of Squall and stretched out both arms, finishing, "Deal?"

  Squall laughed awkwardly, some of his tension easing.  He looked up at Seifer, tears still in his eyes…but tears of hope and a little bit of happiness.

  "You better not be messing with me, Seifer."

  The brunette tentatively moved against the taller male and put his arms around Seifer's waist.  He sighed heavily, a lot of muscle tension finally melting away, and nuzzled against the warm chest.  Seifer smelled masculine.  Not unclean, but definitely all male.  It was intoxicating.

  "I could definitely get used to this," Seifer said quietly, bringing up a hand in his own awkward manner to brush Squall's chocolate locks.

  So could I, the smaller male thought hopefully.

  Squall squeezed Seifer a little tighter and rubbed against his neck and chin.

  "Definitely," the former sorceress' knight said, squeezing the brunette closer to him, finding that he didn't want to let him go.

  "I hope this isn't creepy but, uhh, you smell really good, Squall.  I never noticed before, I guess."

  "Mmm," Squall practically purred.  "The feeling's mutual."

  "Where do we go from here," Seifer asked, an odd mix of trepidation and his trademark cavalierist attitude coming through.

  "I don't know…but wherever it is, go with me."

  Seifer smiled.  He found he liked hearing that, much to his surprise.  Squall pulled away for a moment and looked up into Seifer's piercing green eyes.

  "Now that you know, Seifer, I'm not going to hold anything back.  I've waited too long to hold back anymore.  I don't want to overwhelm you – you're still adjusting to the idea – but I want you to know that I'm not gonna hold back."

  Seifer thought a moment and a corner of his lip curled in his typical smarmy smile.

  "I'd expect nothing less, Squall.  I don't think we'll have any problems," he said, smiling earnestly.

  "Hey," he said, tilting up Squall's head to show his stormy blue eyes, "come here."

  Seifer leaned down, gently cupping Squall's cheeks this time and kissing him longer and deeper than before.  He couldn't describe the way in which Squall's body tickled all his senses but he definitely liked it – and he wanted more.

  If I finally have found a good thing, I'm not going to fuck it up, Seifer thought, squeezing the surprisingly warm brunette tighter.

  Definitely want to get used to this, they both thought.

  "We are going to get so many weird looks around Garden," Seifer said, snickering.

  Squall chuckled and nodded, saying in a happy voice Seifer hadn't heard in a very long time, "And if any of them have a problem with it, the lion's claws are coming out."

  The brunette pulled back and grinned wickedly at the male he held in his arms and laughed.

  "Please, Squall.  If anyone dares to try and fuck with you, they'll be getting intimately acquainted with my gunblade.  I might not be able to say…that word yet, but I definitely like you, Squall.  A lot.  And I haven't seen you smile like that since we were little.  I wanna keep that."

  "Stay with me and you will," Squall whispered quietly but with conviction.

  "And I promise I'll do everything I can to make you smile, too, Seifer," he finished, reaching up to steal another kiss.

  "By the way, what were you going out to do tonight?" he asked, taking in more of the comforting scent of Seifer.

  "Heh," Seifer chuckled, "well, I was gonna go drinking with Irvine but he had to cancel because you-know-who cooked up another harebrained scheme of hers.  But I have something far better to focus on now.  You wanna go anywhere?"

  Squall thought a moment and smiled warmly.  It was a sight Seifer was not used to by any means, but one he cherished greatly whenever it happened.

  They had many years of repression and unrequited longing to work through (and that would, no doubt, result in some noise complaints from Garden's residents in the future) but they would work through it.  They had to.  You don't let go of a good thing, no matter how complicated surrounding circumstances might be.  And if ever there were two determined fighters, Squall Leonhart and Seifer Almasy were it.
:iconchasef:

Complicated by chasef

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I dunno - I was trying something different while attempting to vent some emo. Maybe you'll like it. If you do read it, tell me what you think. I haven't written in a while.

Mature for language. Might add sexy times later :D
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