Chapter 3: Eyes of Desperation
Warning! This story contains language, violence and GRAPHIC descriptions of yaoi (sexual acts between two men), as well as some bondage and non-consensual stuff. If you are not 18 or if you are offended easily, please do not read this! If you chose to ignore this warning, I will not be held responsible for any psychiatric care you require. ^_^ I will also ignore any flames that you send because you feel that Squall and Zell do not make a cute couple or because you hate yaoi. (Face it: there's a LOT of us yaoi fic-writers out there who do what we like, and this IS on a yaoi site, after all! At least, it SHOULD be, unless someone else put it where it doesn't belong.) This fic is a MAJOR what-if; don't be surprised if almost nothing in here fits into the FFVIII storyline. Thanks to Miracle Shining for her inspiration on this one, too. You just rock, Miracle-san! Thanks also to Serdar for his inspiration; a little of the blackness of Dark Age got in here, I think! ^_^
Zell groaned and sat up, rubbing at his stiff neck with one hand. It took him a few seconds to get his bearings, and he frowned when he realized he was sprawled on a couch in the back of the Cursed Gaze's main room. He leaned forward and rested his forehead on his knees.
Damn it, what happened to me last night?
Then he caught a familiar scent, and it came flooding back to him.
He stood up on wobbly legs, wondering why he felt weak as a kitten. He rubbed his neck again; it was sore, probably from sleeping on the couch. For a moment, he panicked. What if the boss really had come in last night and seen his new bartender passed out like a drunk?
Damn! That bastard Squall is gonna get it!
The moment he thought about the exotic young man, he felt a hot flash pass through his gut, strong enough to make his knees shake. He had enough experience under his belt-- literally-- to know what it was.
No no no! I am not gettin' turned on by....
He stopped in mid-thought and sighed. There was no denying what he was feeling, but there had to be a reason for it. He frowned as he considered the possibility that he'd been drugged or worse, and the frown turned into an expression of horror as something else occurred to him.
I know somethin' made me come... what if that freak... oh shit... I don't swing that way...!
"I can assure you that you weren't molested in any way."
Zell whirled, his eyes narrowing. "You little shit! What the hell did you do to me last night?!"
Squall leaned against the wall and folded his arms, his expression calm. He looked the same as he always did, except that his eyes were shielded by mirrored sunglasses. "Everything you wanted me to do. If you'd asked me to take it further, I would have."
"Wanted?! I didn't want any of that! I don't like guys, and I sure as hell didn't ask one to jerk me off in the middle of a crowded dance floor!"
"If you were truly disgusted at the thought of my hands on you, then you wouldn't have come all over my hand." The ghost of a smile flitted across Squall's face. "As I said last night, it was well worth it, too. You have a good flavor."
Zell howled in humiliation and darted forward, snapping a fast kick at Squall's chest. There was a blur of black and white, and Squall held Zell's ankle in a firm grip... with one hand
Zell struggled furiously, but the black-haired boy's grip was unyielding. One of Squall's brows arched above the rim of his shades, and he twisted his wrist a little, effortlessly bringing Zell to the ground. "Now will you calm down?"
Zell snarled. "I'll kill you, I swear! You probably cost me this job!"
"I can assure you, you are not going to lose your job."
"How the fuck do you know?!"
"Because I wouldn't fire you after the fun we had last night."
Zell blinked, the rage draining out of him like water from a sieve. "What?"
"I'm not going to fire you, Zell. If anything, I came here to offer you... a promotion of sorts."
"You're the owner?!"
Squall slid his shades up onto the top of his head. "Surprised? How else could I have gotten in at this time of day?"
Zell got up and dusted himself off, fixing Squall with a narrow-eyed, incredulous glare. "Aren't you a little young for this?"
Something odd flickered through Squall's eyes. Then he chuckled. "This isn't prostitution. Besides, you should be honored that you know who I am, not to mention that you intrigued me enough to invite you to dance when you're not a member of my usual... circles. Very few people can claim either of those, and no one but you can claim both."
"Is that supposed to make me feel important?" Zell's voice dripped with sarcasm. "And what about the guy and the chick from two nights ago? The ones you left with?"
Squall stiffened visibly, all traces of humor gone in an instant. "What about them?"
"I haven't seen them. I hear there were two murders that night, right in that alley. A guy and a girl. Care to explain that?"
The next thing Zell knew, Squall had him pinned to the wall, well off the floor. He was holding him by the throat. Zell choked, his eyes wide from the lack of air and the burning rage he saw in Squall's eyes, whose irises had taken on a pronounced burgundy tint.
"I had nothing to do with it," Squall hissed between clenched teeth. "Since I like you and I'm about to make you a rather good offer, I'll forget you said that. But bring it up again...." He opened his hand and let Zell drop to the floor. Zell grunted and rubbed at his bruised tailbone, not looking up until Squall knelt before him and held his chin firmly with one hand, forcing his gaze up to his face. His eyes were back to their normal laser-blue. "If I were you, I'd consider myself fortunate. I'm going to make you an offer that I think you'll like. But first, I want you to think about something. Don't give me your answer now, but rather when I come back tonight."
"Just listen. What if you never had to worry about anything ever again? Money, shelter, necessities, luxuries... all of it right at your fingertips. All because you promised to help out a single person for a certain period of time. And the tasks that are required of you are simple, usually pleasurable. Would you sign a contract to that kind of life, a contract you could never violate under any circumstance... not that you'd want to?"
"I... I'll think about it."
"Good. Why don't you go for a walk?"
Zell nodded. Squall stood and helped him to his feet. Without another word, Zell breezed past him and out the door. Squall watched the doors swing shut behind him.
And he smiled.
Zell froze the moment the sun struck his eyes. He flung up an arm to shield them, squinting into the late morning light with a moan of distress. If he had been drugged last night, it was playing serious games with his eyes. The bright light even felt like it was unnaturally hot on his skin. With a cry, he darted for the shade of the club's overhang, blinking rapidly to clear the greenish afterimage from his vision. When it finally died away, he stared down at his tingling arms in shock.
The skin was pink and felt feverish, like a mild sunburn.
"What the hell...?!"
He ran back into the club. Squall, sitting at the bar and nursing a glass of red wine, looked up at him with a curious frown.
"What's wrong? Didn't enjoy the walk?"
"What the hell's wrong with my skin? I just stepped out for a second, and look!" He thrust his burned arms out to Squall. "My eyes are all screwed up, too!"
Squall stood and gently took Zell by the wrists, turning his arms over and seeing the extent of the burns. "Shit...," he whispered. "I forgot...."
"Wait here. I'll get you something for that." Squall vanished into the stairwell behind the bar.
The wine cellar? What's down there to help me?
Squall came back a few minutes later with a shot glass filled with something clear, which he handed to Zell. "Drink this."
"What is it?"
"Do you really want to know? Trust me, it's nothing disgusting."
Zell tossed back the shot in one swallow. He couldn't place what it was, but he knew it wasn't water. It was weak, just a little salty and metallic, with a tinge of bitter herbs. He set the glass on the bar and mockingly licked his lips. "Yummy. Serve that to the customers and watch 'em run."
"You can knock it, but look at your arms."
Zell glanced down and saw that his skin had faded back to normal, and the burning tingle was totally gone. "Wow...!"
Squall frowned. "Maybe you should just stay here for the day. I'll keep you company."
"Oh no... forget it! I'll stay here, but I know your idea of company."
Squall sighed. "Zell, when are you going to learn that I don't take people against their will? And if you do choose to let me pleasure you, you won't regret it."
Zell blew a frustrated breath up through his bangs. "You don't give up, do you? Is there anythin' you think about besides sex?"
Squall's face was grave. "Survival."
While Zell spent the afternoon busying himself with little tasks around the club, Squall locked himself in the back room with the phone. He dialed a number he knew by heart and heard it pick up after the fifth ring.
"Crossroads Liquors. If you're placing an order for a catered party, please leave a message after the tone. All other business, please press 1."
Squall waited for the tone, and then spoke two words: "Black Chablis."
There was a click, and then a female voice spoke. "Hello, Squall."
"Angelique, I need a favor."
The woman gave a low chuckle. "Anything for my boy."
"I need a contract for tonight."
"Tonight? Well, that's rather short order, considering that the candidate needs to be briefed and processed before the council can even begin making sure he's suitable for Claret status...."
"He's not a Claret."
"Oh?" Her voice pitched up slightly. Squall knew she was curious now.
"I want him for Absinthe status."
He winced as the woman dropped her receiver, then scrambled to pick it up. "What did you say?"
"You heard me, Angelique. And I need it for tonight."
There was a long pause. "So you finally decided to turn mono, huh? I've known you a long time, and I never thought I'd see the night."
"Please. I need you to pull some strings for me, before something happens. I've got a really bad feeling about this."
"Dove and Ifrit?"
"Yeah." He sighed, biting back the urge to cry. As it was, he had to press a hand to his eyes. "I have to find him before he does this again. Dove was new, and Ifrit... god, he was my best friend."
"We'll find him, Squall. I assume you want this done to keep better track of your new... friend?"
"I can't risk losing him."
"Falling in love, Squall? Remember what happened last time you did that?" Her voice was gentle.
"I remember waking up with your teeth in my neck." He paused. "Please, Angelique."
"Does he even know yet?"
Squall said nothing.
"You never do anything the easy way, do you? You'll owe me for this one."
"Not that much, dear. After all, what kind of mother would I be to demand that from my son?"
"Thank you, Angelique."
"Ah, dear... I still don't regret the day I brought you over."
"I'll just have to make sure I don't give you a reason to."
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