Chapter 8: Eyes Blinded
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! ^_^
Squall opened his eyes to see tints of rose and gold and the curved edge of a forge-light sun on the horizon.
Squall pushed himself to his feet, ignoring the throbbing pain in his left shoulder. He raced down the street, feeling the light of the rising sun penetrate his cloak, burning hot on his skin....
I'll never make it....
He saw the old club about fifty yards away and poured on a fresh burst of speed, praying that Cerberus had remembered to leave the doors unlocked. He put out his hands and hit the doors running, falling inside as they swung into the dimly lit room beyond. His skin smoked faintly from his brief contact with the sun.
A groan of pain echoed through the room, and it took Squall a few seconds to realize it wasn't his.
He got to his feet slowly, his eyes scanning the room. They widened as his gaze fell upon the crumpled, nude boy half-suspended by his bound wrists.
The blond raised his head for a moment, enough for Squall to see the bruises on his face. Squall rushed to his side, snapping the ropes with his bare hands. Zell slumped into his arms, and Squall caught the scent of blood, mingled with the tang of spilled semen.
"Don't look at me...," Zell moaned.
Squall ran his hands lightly over Zell's body, feeling for internal injuries. That was when he saw the trails of dried blood twisting down Zell's inner thighs.
"Don't look at me... please...!"
"No... oh god, no...!" Squall hugged the boy to him, rocking him as Zell wept and pushed feebly at him. "How could he do this...?"
"Because that little worm is beneath me."
Squall's head snapped up, his fangs bared and his eyes blazing garnet. Cerberus smirked at him from across the room.
Cerberus laughed. "Actually, I'm quite sane. Only a sane man would know to punish you for your betrayal."
"I'll kill you for this!" Squall bellowed, laying Zell down and leaping to his feet.
"When will you learn, Ash? I own you. And if you insist on creating competition for me, I'll just keep killing them."
Squall's eyes narrowed. "Is that why you killed Dove and Ifrit? Because you thought I was sleeping with them?"
"Screwing them, feeding from them... it's all betrayal!" Cerberus screamed. "You love me!"
"I hate you!" Squall snarled. "You killed Linden just because he looked like Zell, and now... now you rape my soulmate?! And you expect me to come back to you?! I'll sooner hang your head on my wall!"
Cerberus frowned. "It's not nice to talk to your master that way." Fast as lightning, he flung something slender and sharp at Squall. The dart struck him in the stomach, piercing deeply. Squall gasped and pulled it out, sinking to his knees as he stared in horror at the long metal needle cradled in his hands. Just from the contact with his skin, it was branding his palms.
He dropped the needle and glanced up. The last thing he saw was Cerberus, who raced forward with an inhuman flash of speed and kicked Squall under the chin, hard. Squall's head snapped back and he sagged to the floor, unconscious.
"Squall... Squall, wake up!"
Squall groaned and opened his eyes. The first thing he saw was a broad expanse of pre-dawn sky. He turned his head toward his lover's voice. Zell was chained down to the earth across his chest, arms, waist, and legs, just out of the reach of Squall's outstretched hand.
"Can you move?"
Squall struggled briefly, but his own chains held him down firmly. "No. I'm too weak to break these."
"Where the hell are we? The desert?"
Squall nodded. "The Koluna desert, hundreds of miles outside of the city. This is where they execute vampires who've broken the laws. We must've been out all day and most of the night while Cerberus brought us here."
"These chains are always here. They tie the vamps down and leave us for the sun."
"What?! But... what happens to me if you burst into flame?"
You probably will, too," Squall replied softly.
Cerberus stepped into view, smirking. Squall bared his fangs with a snarl, for which Cerberus knelt and cuffed him sharply across the face.
"I told you not to do that. Now, I have a question for you, Ash. Are you ready to renounce this trash as your Chalice and come back to me?"
"Even if I wanted to, I couldn't!" Squall hissed. "You know the Absinthe Chalice binding is unbreakable!"
"This... this insect couldn't possibly be your Chalice! You're mine, Ash. You've always been mine." He bent over and kissed Squall roughly. Squall's face scrunched up in disgust. Suddenly, Cerberus moaned; Zell could tell he was forcing his tongue deeper into Squall's mouth. The vampire gagged, and Cerberus drew back in surprise as Squall turned his head and coughed up the blood from Cerberus's bitten tongue.
"If you didn't want it, you shouldn't have bitten me," Cerberus giggled.
"He can't drink from you!" Zell snapped. "He's bonded to me now!"
Cerberus's face took on a half-saddened, half-enraged expression. "Then you'll have to die, won't you?"
"Kill me and Squall dies, too!"
Cerberus ran a hand down Squall's cheek. "It'll be so much better for you, Ash. I'll set you free."
"You're crazy!" Zell cried.
"No... no, I just love my Ash and I want him to be happy," Cerberus whimpered. He drew four long silver spikes from his belt. "I'm sorry, Ash, but this is the only way."
Zell watched, horrified, as Cerberus drove the first spike through Squall's outstretched palm with the force of his bare hands. There was a terrible bubbling hiss as the flesh around the silver sizzled and smoked instantly, but it was drowned out by Squall's screams.
Zell bit down the flash of sympathetic agony in his own hand, which curled into a fist of its own accord like an impaled beetle. "Stop it! You're hurtin' him!"
Cerberus spoke calmly to his former lover as if he'd been the one to protest. "Purity through pain, Ash. It'll all be over soon."
He stabbed the other spikes into Squall's other hand and through his knees. Squall wailed until his voice cracked and broke, leaving him with a grating sob. His blood-tears stained his skin and hair, dripping down to vanish into the sand. The stench of burned flesh was horrible. Slowly, his eyes filled with something that might have been pain if not for his madness, Cerberus rose and backed away. "Farewell, Ash. I'll see you again someday."
Zell closed his eyes and waited until he couldn't sense the black swirl of insanity anymore. Only then did he open his eyes and turn to see the pain-wracked form of his lover.
"Oh god... Squall...," he choked softly.
Squall's skin was practically gray, his chest heaving with shallow breaths and his fingers twitching. His head fell to the side, his eyes bright with agony. "Zell... it hurts...," he whimpered.
Zell arched up with a roar, straining against his bonds until his pale face was red with exertion. "We've gotta get free! The sun's comin' up!"
"I can't move," Squall gasped. "The silver's in my blood... it's making me weak. And even if we could get free, the sun would get us before we could find shelter."
Zell fell back, panting. "Shit... it's startin' to affect me through the link."
"I'm sorry, Zell. I should never have bonded with you." Squall began to sob again.
"Stop that!" Zell barked. "If we die, we die." His voice softened. "I'd rather die with you than alone, Squall."
"I love you, Zell...." One more ruby tear slid down Squall face and soaked into the white sand.
"I love you, too. Now let's get the hell outta here!"
Squall could only stare as the boy gritted his teeth and pulled upward. For a moment, it seemed like he would cut himself to pieces on his bindings, but then he heard the sounds of metal snapping and straining. With a scream of rage, Zell suddenly sat up, the chains on his arms, chest, and waist falling free. His lip curled into a snarl as he reached down and tore the chains holding his legs away.
"How...?" Squall whispered.
Zell immediately ripped away Squall's chains and pulled out the silver spikes. Squall groaned in pain as Zell cradled him with one arm, pressing his other wrist to Squall's mouth. "Drink."
Squall couldn't extend his fangs, but they were still sharp enough to slice open the skin. He sucked at the wound, feeling his wounds closing and strength flooding back into his body. It was hard for him to pull away when he'd had enough-- Zell's blood was sweet with emotion-- but he finally licked the wound closed and relaxed with a sigh.
"Squall, don't go to sleep! We have to move!" Zell pulled Squall to his feet, helping him stagger along. He could see the colors growing brighter on the horizon.
Oh god, no.... Zell realized that he'd never been so afraid of seeing the sunrise.
"Zell, we're too late...." Squall was right. The nearest sheltered outcropping of rocks was a pinprick on the horizon. Zell picked up Squall and ran for it.
The sun finally broke over the horizon, flooding its light over them.
Zell heard Squall scream in terror; he closed his eyes and kept running, even as he waited for the pain to hit. But there was nothing except the fading echo of Squall's fear. Zell opened his eyes and was almost blinded by the sun.
We're still alive...!
He kept running, hoping that if this was just a delay in the reaction, that it would last just a little longer.
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