Chapter 10: Eyes Closing
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. This chapter also contains implications of incest. 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! ^_^
"I knew you'd come, Ash." Cerberus smiled calmly. "I could feel in my heart that you'd find a way to cheat death just to return to my arms."
Squall drew the gleaming katana from its sheath on his back. "Remember this, Cerberus?"
Cerberus's calm smile never wavered; if anything, it grew even more serene. "I remember that you vowed to pierce my heart with it one day, just as you once did with your love, my dear Ash."
"I hunted down the cache I hid this in, just so I could keep my promise to slay you with it." Squall stepped into the circle of light that the streetlamp cast. His irises shone with a strong, golden light.
"Slay me if that's what you wish. It will never change what I am... what I am to you."
"You are nothing to me," Squall hissed, his eyes narrowing. "You are a perversion... a monster that should never have existed."
"Come now, Ash... after all these years, you still don't forgive yourself for giving in to your passions that one glorious night?"
Cerberus stepped forward, and Squall raised his weapon with trembling hands. Cerberus saw the tremors and closed the distance between them, gently pushing the blade aside and wrapping his arms around Squall's waist. Squall tensed, the katana falling from his hand, as Cerberus laid his head on Squall's chest, nuzzling into him like Zell always did.
"Let me go...," Squall rasped.
"You need to forgive yourself, Ash... Llewellyn. After all, you tried to Remake me when you were young. I know you meant to wait, but I just couldn't bear the thought of losing you."
"Cerberus... Ronan... it... it wasn't meant to happen... none of it should've happened...." Squall's voice broke, and he closed his eyes against the sight of the other man's face.
"But it did, Llewellyn." Cerberus's lips roamed over Squall's throat, tasting the salt of the other man's skin. "I am the elder, the wiser of us both, and I knew what you were afraid to know. I knew that if I came to you that night, if I climbed into your bed and wrapped myself around you, that you would take me... that you would make us belong to one another."
"No...," Squall whispered.
"I won't blame you for what happened. It's not your fault you didn't know how to bond us properly." Cerberus smiled gently. "Half-changed as I am, I know you can finish what you started."
"I was drunk... you seduced me...," Squall moaned, pushing half-heartedly at Cerberus. "It's unnatural...!"
Cerberus gazed up at Squall, his eyes shining with mindless joy. His fingertips brushed Squall's lips before he brought his own close enough for Squall to feel his cool breath, to feel his whisper before Cerberus kissed him deeply, invading his mouth with his tongue.
"There's nothing unnatural about such a deep love between brothers."
Celeste was a good driver, even at such high speeds. They were lucky there was no one on the streets in the early hours of pre-dawn. Angelique sat in the back seat of the black car, cradling Zell in her lap.
"Angelique glanced down at her charge. "Yes, sweetie?"
"Who... who is Cerberus, really?" Zell seemed to be getting a little stronger; they were closer to Squall.
Angelique shifted uneasily. "Zell...."
"Please... I could sense somethin's wrong... Squall's ashamed of him...."
She sighed. "I guess we do owe you the truth, sweetie. Cerberus's real name is Ronan. He's a freak amongst our circles... what human stories would call a dhampir or half-vampire. The person who started to Remake him realized their mistake halfway through, and because they stopped the process, Ronan was only changed partway. He's as immune to the sun as a Chalice, he needs blood to survive, but he has no fangs."
"I know... he bit me with a pair of fake metal fangs. But who changed him?"
"Haven't you figured it out, dear?"
Zell's eyes widened.
"It was a terrible mistake. He somehow got Squall drunk and seduced him. My poor son was in such a stupor that he started the process of Remaking Ronan. He came out of his daze just as Ronan started to drink from him, so Ronan only got a mouthful or two, not enough to change him fully."
"So Squall's ashamed because his ex tricked him into changin' him?"
Angelique stroked Zell's hair. "I'm afraid it goes much deeper than that. Ronan is a very sick man...." She hesitated.
"Please... I gotta know...."
"Ronan is...." Angelique licked her lips nervously, her voice dropping to a whisper. "... Squall's older half-brother. And I mean that by their human bloodlines."
"I never loved you, Ronan... not like that...!" Squall whispered sickly, finally pushing away. His borrowed strength was fading rapidly, and he fought to keep from sagging to his knees. "How could you do that to your own brother?!"
"Because I love you, Llewellyn! I want you... I know I'm your soulmate, not that blond child! Why else would we have been born brothers?" Cerberus clung to him desperately.
"Y-- you're sick!" Squall ripped free and snatched up his katana, whipping it up to trap the point under Cerberus's chin.
Cerberus grabbed the blade, and Squall watched his half-brother's blood trickle down the razor edge. Cerberus's eyes met Squall's, quiet madness simmering in them. "Take me, please... change me, brother...."
Hearing the eerie echo of Zell's earlier plea caused something to snap in Squall. With a scream, he ripped the blade free of Cerberus's hand, almost severing his fingers, and sliced downward. Cerberus took the hit in his left shoulder, the weapon's edge sinking deep into the bone, and he didn't make a sound. Instead, he wrenched free and swept Squall's legs out from under him with a swift kick. Squall went down with a cry, his weapon clattering away for a second time. Cerberus straddled his stomach, holding his wrists to the street.
"Why can't you just do this for me, brother? For us?" Cerberus pleaded. "Don't you love me anymore?"
"Get off me!" Squall roared, struggling for all his fading strength was worth.
Cerberus bent down and sank his fangs into Squall's throat. The vampire screamed and thrashed enough to dislodge Cerberus's fangs from his flesh, but the dhampir continued to lap at the blood desperately. Squall tried to strike out at him, but Cerberus held him firm and shifted his weight, crushing the breath from Squall's body. "Just let me... you'll feel better if you just let me do this...," he panted, fastening his mouth to the punctures again.
"Stop...!" Squall sobbed, blood tears running freely down his face.
Zell felt two things as Celeste pulled the car to a screeching stop: a wash of terror and a draining feeling, both from Squall. Biting down his own weakness, he flung himself at the door, bursting out of the car and breaking into a stumbling run towards Squall.
Ignoring Angelique's warning, Zell pounced, slamming into Cerberus and knocking him off Squall. The Chalice and the dhampir went tolling away, Zell tearing at his opponent with savage fury. Cerberus snarled and bit deeply into Zell's arm. Zell snarled in pain and kicked away from the older man; Cerberus leaped to his feet and backed away. Zell remained in a crouch, his narrowed eyes blazing as golden as Squall's.
"I'm gonna kill you, bitch...," Zell growled, baring a set of deadly fangs.
Cerberus's eyes widened as shock shone through his madness. "Impossible... you're a Chalice...!"
With a screaming roar, Zell threw himself into a flurry of kicks, his rage swelling in his heart each time he felt his feet strike home. He saw Cerberus stagger, blood dripping from his lips, his pale face bruised and battered, and still he struck at the dhampir, too lost in his rage to stop.
Then Cerberus looked up at him, laughing hysterically as true fangs pushed out his false ones, and his eyes took on a sinister ruby glow. "Too late, child!" he mocked. "Llewellyn and I are one now!" With a snarl like a rabid wolf, he charged Zell.
Zell bared his own fangs in a sneer and flung out his arms, the right one angled up and the left angled down, fingers reaching for sky and earth. Between them, a shimmering ball of blue light flared, formed of pure will. Cerberus struck the light, still screaming in challenge, with Zell echoing the terrible sound.
And Squall, Angelique, and Celeste watched the body of Squall's brother burn in that sapphire flame.
Cerberus stumbled back, wailing and thrashing as he tried to douse the fire. Zell dropped from his stance; his eyes lost their golden light and rolled back into his head, and he fainted dead away with a weak moan. Angelique and Celeste both crouched beside the boy, trying their best to see if he was still alive. Neither saw that Squall was on his feet, fighting fatigue and the agony of his fallen Chalice. He retrieved his katana and walked calmly over to his dying brother.
"Llewellyn... help me...," Cerberus grated, reaching out for his brother. "I love you...."
Expressionless, Squall gripped the hilt of his weapon in both hands and drove the point into his brother's heart until he felt the silver-coated tempered steel pierce the street below. Cerberus shuddered, a look of shock crossing his features. Squall ripped the blade free, swung it up over his head, and with an eerie cry, brought it down on Cerberus' neck.
Zell felt Cerberus die; it was a cold shiver that passed into him through his link with Squall.
//You killed your brother... for me, Squall....// He shivered; he felt so cold. //I'm sorry... I love you....//
It was the last thing he thought before blackness claimed him.
Squall tossed the sword aside and gathered the body of his lover into his arms, sobbing real tears for the first time in almost sixty years.
"Squall... he gave his life for you," Celeste whispered. "He wanted to free you from your brother so badly...."
"What is my freedom without him?!" Squall wailed. "Nothing... nothing at all... except waiting for death to claim me, too."
"Squall...." Angelique laid a hand on his shoulder.
"Leave me alone!" he screamed, the grief in his words enough to make both women shrink away. "I want to die in peace...!"
"I said leave me be!" He'd never bared his fangs at either woman before, but he did so now, the crimson of his eyes clouded by tears. Breaking into an even more fierce stream of sobbing, he slumped over Zell's form and let his tears soak into the boy's clothes, then into his neck as he pressed his face there, smelling the sweetness of his Chalice's skin....
Oh god... he's still warm...!
Squall sat, up, clinging in desperation to his lover, brushing the ruined spikes of his bangs from the boy's eyes. "Zell? Zell, open your eyes... please!"
Zell groaned softly.
"By the heavens... he's alive....!" Celeste gasped.
"But how?" Angelique stared as the blond boy's eyes fluttered open, their clouded blue-gray color clearing as he focused on Squall's face.
"Squall...?" he whispered hoarsely.
With a hysterical laugh of joy, Squall kissed him fiercely, wondering why he was still sobbing, though the tears were rapidly turning to blood again. Zell kissed back for a few moments before breaking away. Squall sniffled and forced a smile as Zell touched his face.
"Yeah?" Squall asked softly.
"Can we go home?" Zell whimpered. "I've gotta vicious headache."
Squall was still laughing as he swept Zell into his arms and carried him to the car.
A week later, Squall was closing the club up for the night, watching Zell sitting on a stool on the small stage. The boy was strumming an acoustic guitar with no small measure of skill, and he looked absolutely beautiful under the twinkling lights that played off the metal rings in his nipples, ears, and navel, as well as the platinum band around the ring finger of his left hand. His hair was streaked with black, his spiked bangs dyed to look like leaping flames, and he wore leathers similar to Squall's. Squall gave the bar one more wipedown with a soft cloth before tossing the rag into a basket under the bar. Zell didn't look up from his playing as Squall crept up behind him. The vampire wrapped his arms around his lover, smiling as he felt the blond lean back against his chest, his nimble fingers still plucking at the strings.
"You never told me you played."
"A little," Zell admitted, closing his eyes and sighing contentedly as he felt Squall nibble at his earlobe. "You're tryin' to make me put this thing down, aren't you?"
"Maybe...," Squall mumbled as he moved down to Zell's neck.
Zell shivered. "Okay, you win." He set the guitar aside and felt a dizzying rush as Squall scooped him up and carried him to the same couch he'd laid him on the night they danced. "Feelin' nostalgic?" he teased.
"Maybe...." Squall pinned him under his body and resumed sucking at the boy's neck, his hands skillfully undoing Zell's pants.
"Am I gonna be up all day?" Zell whispered.
And then there was no more need for words.
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