Author's Notes: Slight AU, set before the seed exam but Selphie and Irvine are there and Quistis is still an instructor.
Chained to you
By Purple Penguin
The cowboy wiped his forehead with the back of his hand, he replaced his hat. Selphie stood on the cliff looking back at him with a worried expression.
A cadet walked up, placing the two buckets in front of him and a few blue dragon fangs.
“Blue dragons? But no one has some much as heard one in all the time we’re been here.”
“That doesn’t mean there are none.” Selphie said as she walked up to the two of them.
The cowboy gazed over the cliff edge. “I hope they’re okay.”
My leg throbbed badly and I opened my eyes slowly, I was aware of the spray on my face, light and wet. My whole body felt wet, very wet and soggy. My limbs felt heavy and pain screamed up my spine from my right leg. I blinked slowly and held my hands up in front of my face to make sure I was alive. I sighed in relief. I remembered the cliff, the dragon and Seifer. I snapped my eyes open and sat up quickly but pain shot up through me causing me wince and my sight to darken. I slowly went back down to lie down again not wanting to black out again.
Someone groaned from somewhere nearby.
“Seifer?” I asked.
I saw movement from out of the corner of my eye and the shirtless blonde slowly sat up he didn’t look at pained as I had been but his naked torso was littered with bruises, stretches and little trickles of blood seeped out of him from various places.
He looked up through the mist trying to see the cliffs.
He looked in my direction and rose to hands and knees to crawl towards me. I may have been wrong but I’m sure he looked concerned for me for a second, he knelt beside me letting his eyes scan me to survey the damage I guess. He didn’t look happy, I propped myself up on my elbows or tried to.
“Y-You’re a little-um-”
I managed to see my leg and I knew why it hurt so much, there was blood, a lot of blood. I groaned and let my head fall back to the ground with defeated sound.
The blonde’s eyes switched between my leg and my face. “I-I’m not junctioned so-”
I had never heard Seifer stutter and stumble over his words like that, I was fairly sure I wasn’t dying just in some pain, make that a lot of pain.
“I just have no potions o-or curas or anything like that.”
I managed to shuffle into a sitting position with Seifer’s help. “S-okay we’re not that far away from camp so-” I paused as I saw Seifer’s arm move independently from mine.
“What- What happened to the cuffs?”
He held up his wrist that still had the metal ring and chain hanging from it. “Fall was good for something huh?” I smiled slightly and again I was shocked not to see the familiar smirk.
Great I wasn’t chained to Seifer anymore but yet I still had no choice but to stay with him, I didn’t think I could stand let alone walk, as much as I hated to admit it I was dependent on him.
“Seifer I’m not dying am I?”
“You’re being- nice. It’s scary.”
He smirked. “Don’t get used to it chickie.” He put an arm under my legs and lifted me into his arms in one movement. He winced.
“Think it’s you cut back on the hotdogs.”
“Are you calling me fat?”
He chuckled and started to go up and around to get back to the camp.
The cowboy swallowed hard at the scene at the foot of the waterfall. They had found Zell’s shoe and that’s all they found, it was blooded and shredded. Bloody splattered on the shore making the cowboy think maybe they were alive but the expert Seeds with their little gadgets said it was unlikely, there were blood traces in the water and on the rocks at the foot of the fall. a couple of cadets had been sent into the woods but they hadn’t come back yet.
Selphie surfaced out of the water, she had been looking for clues. “No bodies, or -you-know- parts.” He wrinkled her nose at the thought.
“What about clothing?”
“No, nothing.” She paused. “That’s good right?”
Her boyfriend hesitated. “I don’t know.”
She cocked her head. “Irvine?”
“This is my fault.”
“YES!” He turned to her quickly. “It is.” He started to pace up and down. “Handcuffed them together. It’s my fault they were together on that cliff.”
She gave him a sympathetic look. “Oh sweetie unless you can control all the blue dragons in these woods it’s not your fault, you didn’t know this was going to happen.”
He offered her a smile, genuinely glad she was there.
There was a yell from the woods and a cadets ran out, one of them calloused half way. Selphie pulled herself from the water and Irvine ran to pull the cadet to his feet, getting him to Selphie before running into the woods. The petite girl stood by the water, her pigtails drooping and sticking to her shoulders with the water.
“What happened?” She asked him. “Are you okay?”
“Blue dragons, two of them attacked us.”
She looked nervously towards the woods. “Dragons? Really?”
She heard a gunshot then another, a dragons roared from the trees.
“So Seifer and Zell-”
“Looks like it.” The cadet agreed.
There was another shot and a roar of pain before the cowboy ran back out of the wood with a female cadet armed with a sword. “We got ourselves a blue dragons, big bugger too.”
“But that means-”
“Yeah, it doesn’t look too good for Seifer and Zell does it?”
“We should tell Instructor Trepe.”
He nodded and wrapped an arm around the injured cadet to help him walk.
The blonde woman paced back and forth in the camp. It didn’t look like they were alive though she didn’t want to abandon them she had a responsibly to the rest of the group to get them home in one piece. They were all due back at garden the next day too, she so wanted to saw Cid she could do this, but there was still no sign of them and what else could she do?
Blue dragons were in the area and it was dangerous to send anyone else in there to search the area now.
She turned to Irvine who had asked to go back into the woods. “No, no it’s too dangerous now to go back in there, blue dragons are everywhere and I don’t want anyone else to die.”
“We’ll give them till tomorrow morning to make it back, if they are alive then that should be plenty of time.”
He opened his mouth to protest but she turned to leave and he knew it was unless. He only hoped, prayed that they would show up.
“I’ll be fine when we get back to the camp.” Seifer being strangely nice to me and it was scary, I thought maybe there really was something wrong with me. I was gently placed on the ground and he sat down beside me, head leaned back on the tree trunk, eyes closed. “We won’t make it back tonight.”
“But it’s still light.”
“That’s okay we can get a head-start tomorrow then can’t we?”
I watched him panting and wincing in pain. We hadn’t come that far though he did have to carry me.
“Are you okay?”
“Just tired, you’re heavy chickie.”
I opened my mouth to respond with something bitchy but he turned his head towards me and smiled at me, gently, a real smile. I suddenly wished he would do it more often, he had a nice smile, made him look less of a bully.
I moved my legs a little, wincing as I did it in pain and again he looked at me with concern.
“I didn’t know you cared.” I said with smile.
“We should stay here tonight.”
“But shouldn’t we get a bit farther before it’s gets dark?”
Seifer just shivered, both of us were still soaking wet and he was half naked. I watched as he started to take over the rest of his clothing.
“What are you doing?”
He smirked. “Don’t get any ideas chickie?” He hung his socks and pants on a low branch. “Now those will be dry by first light.” He gave me a look. “You should get out of them.”
I frowned. Practical Seifer? Things were getting stranger and stranger. He undid my shirt buttons and helped me out of my shirt.
“B-But-” I shivered, not only from the cold but Seifer’s hands were warm on my skin as they brushed against me. I didn’t know whether I wanted to push him away and say I could do it myself or lean into it. It confused me, I’ve never wanted Seifer, checked him out or thought it was hot. Must be the situation, I decided being stuck out in the wilderness with Seifer was affecting my brain. Being injured and near naked and dependent on him, that’s what it was.
“B-But we’ll freeze to death.”
“No we won’t.” He took my shirt and put it with his clothes, waiting for me to get my trousers past my hips before he helped me. He very gently moved them past my injured leg, kneeling beside me, again surprising me by being so gentle, didn’t think he had it in him.
He bit my lip hard, it still hard a lot no matter how careful he was. I panted in pain, curling up my non wounded leg to try and get comfortable. He curled up beside me and wrapped his arms around me, my head falling to his shoulder but only because it was more comfortable. I moved an arm to wrap around him but he winced in pain. I stared at him. I knew he was injured, stupid arrogant ass.
“Are you hurt?”
I frowned. “Don’t be such an idiot!” I lightly ran my fingers over his ribs. “Does this hurt?”
He seemed to be holding his breath though I didn’t know why. He hissed in pain as I touched a certain rib.
I stared at him. “You could have broken a rib, why the hell don’t you say so earlier? I could have tried to walk.”
He shook his head. “That would have taken forever.”
“Tell me if this hurts.” I ran my fingers farther up his chest. He felt warm underneath my fingers and I found myself start to trace the muscles in his chest then realized what I was doing, I froze and looked up at him to see him staring at me intently. His eyes stared into mine, my hand now flat to his chest, my body slightly leaning against his. I suddenly more aware that his hands were on my skin, one at the small of my back and the other behind my head, fingers stroking my skin in small circles. He sighed, looking down suddenly and leaned back from me a little.
“I think we should try to get some sleep.”
I nodded hurriedly along with him, desperate to get out of whatever that was.
He pulled me closer and my head found his shoulder again and he leant his chin against my temple.
Notes: I was planned on holding off on any awkwardness or tension between them for a few more chapter but oh well, stupid Nine Inch Nails that I was listening to at the time. Had Closer on repeat for a few hours, it affects my brain.
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