Coming Out Party
Part 4 - So Close, Yet So Far
He probably should have been a lot more upset than he was…
After all, he’d had a report forced on him through subterfuge of the Quistis kind (Gah, and still 43 pages left to write! And those dumb drawings! ARGH!). Then Seifer had showed up, unexpectedly forcing him into a small closet the size of…well, a small closet, and although he’d (foolishly) expected a reprieve when Squall had arrived, he’d heard and found out some things instead that would probably scar him for life (ACK!) and send him running home to his mom (just because she was his mom and therefore absolutely, positively did not know anything about sex).
Furthermore, he’d also been discovered and had become closely acquainted with all four walls of the study room at the back of the Library as a result.
Still it was a sight to behold, and Zell couldn’t hold back a shit-eating grin as he watched the scene set before him… Seifer Almasy, his lifetime bully and the purveyor of all sorts of nasty remarks and insults, was hovering anxiously over the unconscious Squall like a mother chocobo over a newly hatched chicobo…
The blond was practically cooing.
"Maybe you should give him mouth to mouth," Zell suggested as Seifer lightly patted Squall’s cheeks.
"Maybe I should give you a kick in the ass," came the endearing response. "Besides, he’s breathing."
"So?" Glancing up from Squall’s prone figure, Seifer rolled his eyes. "Can I ask you somethin’?"
"How in the hell did you manage to become a SeeD?"
"Umm… Through incredible skill and prowess?"
"Uh-huh. I gotta be honest here, Chicken, I woulda thought you got enough of that kind of action while you were busy spying on us in the closet!"
Ouch, apparently the momma chocobo still had a damned sharp set of claws. Zell grimaced. "For your information, I wasn’t spying. I was hiding," he jerked his spiky head toward the closet to accentuate the difference. "I just happened to be in the study room when I heard you coming, and I didn’t wanna deal with your crap."
"Yes, really. Come on! How was I supposed to know that when Squall showed up, you two were gonna go at it? I thought you’d be trying to kill each other. I mean, every time I see you guys passing in the halls, he’s ignoring you and you’re-"
"Yeah, well." Seifer suddenly scowled down at the fallen brunette. "Now you know better."
Zell stared. Was it his imagination, or was Seifer slapping Squall’s cheeks just a little bit harder?
"Ummm. So, how long have you been a couple?"
"10 months, and 13 days. Almost a year," Seifer muttered.
"That long?! Oh my gosh, I never woulda known! Wow! Uh…" Zell faltered when Seifer’s scowl darkened to storm cloud proportions. Nope, it was definitely not his imagination. It didn’t take brain surgery to look at the ferociously frowning blonde and see that he’d tapped into some hostility here. "That’s…great!"
"No, really!" Zell thought for a moment. "Listen, I know a lot of couples that don’t even last through the day, let alone a year. Plus look at all you guys have been through in the past! You went through the whole Ultimecia thing, and not only are you and Squall over all the bad stuff, you’re going out! You’ve obviously got something really special... Congratulations," Zell said, and meant it.
After a moment, Seifer gave a grudging smile. "…Thanks, Chicken. That actually means a lot."
"No sweat. You can buy me a hotdog later."
"Ha-ha, in your dreams, dumb cluck. But seriously…I know what everyone else around Garden thinks, and they’re wrong. There’s never been anyone else for me. Just Sleeping Beauty, here…" Leaving off trying to wake him for the moment (or give him a really sore face, Zell wasn’t sure which), Seifer gave Squall’s head a proprietary pat. "Even when we were younger, I can remember pickin’ fights with him just to get him to say three words together for me."
"Like what? ‘Leave me alone’?"
Seifer grinned. "Usually… Although sometimes I’d hear ‘Seifer, you’re dead!’ when I really got to him."
"Well that just sounds rewarding," Zell laughed.
"Yeah it was," was Seifer’s reply. "I was just a kid, you know? But even then I knew it went deep. It’s kind of funny now, but I’d watch him mopin’ around all the time and somehow got this…this crazy idea…that sometimes he’d go so far into himself that he’d get lost, and that it was my job to get him when he got stuck. That he needed my help. Silly, huh?"
The martial artist considered. He’d never particularly thought of provoking Squall into a fistfight as ‘helping’ him per say…but then again. "Nah," Zell murmured, "it makes a lot of sense now. Pickin’ fights with him was kind of like a public service."
"Oh hell, it was a lot more than that… I was head over freakin’ heels, and he didn’t even know I was alive except when we were punching each other in the mouth. Used to drive me crazy," the scarred blond reached down and ruffled Squall’s shaggy brown hair, "that of all the nut-jobs to fall for, I had to pick Mr. ‘Go-talk-to-a-wall’."
"Mmm…" A thought occurred to Zell. "Hey! So what’s your excuse for picking on me?" The tattooed martial artist blinked hopefully. Maybe it’d be somethin’ all deep and meaningful-
"You, Chickenwuss?" Seifer smirked. "I pick on you just because it’s fun."
Zell groaned; or it might be something like that. "Thought so."
"Then why’d you ask?"
"Eh, had to be sure…" Zell cocked his head, glancing down at Squall before meeting Seifer’s eyes. "What are we gonna do about everything, do ya think?"
Seifer sighed. "Beats me."
"I’ll keep it to myself if that’s what you want, but what I don’t understand is why it’s such a big secret in the first place! From what I can tell, you guys are all over each other-"
"-Er, yeah. So, what’s the problem?"
To Zell’s surprise, a curiously desperate expression crossed Seifer’s face before the blonde’s features eased into a look of displeasure. "Don’t look at me," the scarred blonde growled, turning away. "It’s not my idea."
"Squall doesn’t wanna tell?" Zell blinked incredulously at Seifer’s terse nod. "But everyone at Garden loves Squall. Is he afraid people won’t like him anymore if they know? Hell, after all that he did, I can’t see that they would stop just cause he’s dating a guy." Zell paused. "Even if the guy is you."
Seifer scowled, frown lines creasing the smooth skin of his forehead. "Cute. You really don’t think people would freak if they knew he was goin’ out with me?"
"Nah… Ultimecia wasn’t your fault. Everyone knows that now."
"Yeah?" Seifer asked doubtfully.
"Yeah," the martial artist asserted. "You may be an ass, but you’re no traitor."
"Gee, you’re turning into a regular feel-good kind of guy, you know that, Chicken? Maybe I’ll give you a break and stop teasin’ ya…"
Seifer rolled his eyes. "Yeah, right. Now, back to Sleeping Beauty here…"
"Oh…um… Hey, maybe he’s worried that he’ll lose his job?"
"Lose his job?" Seifer repeated in disbelief. "He’s the friggin’ Headmaster! What’s he gonna do, fire himself?"
"Oh yeah… Uh… Well damn," Zell blew out his breath noisily, "I can’t come up with anything else! Why aren’t you guys out?"
"See, that’s what I said to him-"
"And what’d he say?"
"He didn’t say anything!"
"Well, if he didn’t say anything, then how do you know he doesn’t want people to know?"
Seifer gave a long-suffering sigh. "I could tell by the way he was lookin’ at me."
"But if he didn’t actually say anything, then it’s not like you actually heard it from his own lips, now is it…?"
Zell trailed off, backing away slightly. Suddenly Seifer was looking at him the way a dehydrated desert nomad might look at a bottle of water, and it was making the small blonde understandably nervous. What had he said? Zell quickly rewound the conversation, gaping when he realized exactly what had just come out of his mouth.
They both looked at the unconscious Squall. "Uh, Seifer? I didn’t mean that-"
"You know, you may just have somethin’ there, Dincht!" Seifer muttered. "Wouldn’t take much of a stretch for you to play dumb and let something slide…. It’s what you’d do normally anyway."
"What?! Me?! Now wait a minute-"
"I’ll just let you walk outta here before he wakes up, and you go and open your yap to the first person you see-"
"Maybe you should tell a few more people to be on the safe side…" Seifer nodded thoughtfully. "Ten or twenty should do it."
"Ten or twenty-"
"Yeah, you’re right, not enough. Go for an even fifty."
"Seifer," Zell interrupted. "Squall is my friend. What makes you think I’m gonna just run off and possibly betray his trust by telling the world that I caught you having sex with him in the study room?"
"Well," Seifer drawled, eyes narrowing and mouth drawing up into a smirk. "I’ll give you five good reasons." He held up a hand and curled his fingers one by one into a fist.
Ask a stupid question… "Oh. Well, then," Zell stood, turning to go, "I guess I’ll just be on my-"
"Freeze, Zell. Don’t you dare take a step toward that door!"
A familiar cool tenor voice rang out from the floor, stopping the martial artist in his tracks. There was simply no disobeying that tone… He turned on one sneakered heel, blinking as Squall sat up, and seeing the look on Squall’s face, Zell almost felt bad for Seifer; the irate Commander of Balamb Garden glowered at his blond lover, his delicate nostrils flaring slightly as he crossed his arms.
"Squall… I’m so glad you’re awake, because we have to figure out what we’re gonna do, and would ya believe Dincht here was getting impatient and wanted to leave, so, you see, it’s like… I had to… Well… Um… Oh hell."
Author’s Note: Ok, I promise that not only will they get out of the damn study room next chapter, but there’ll be some more ‘Coming Out’ going on! Woo-hoo!!!
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