Warning! This story contains language and GRAPHIC descriptions of yaoi (sexual acts between two men), as well as some mild nonconsensual 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.) Thanks to Miracle Shining for her inspiration on this one... I just hope she doesn't think I stole her idea for the nonconsensual scene! ^_^;;;;

Downtime in the Garden

Chapter 3: Heated Noon

By Dark Ki

Zell felt a little better now that he was back in his own room, but it was a small consolation. He knew that the news of his beating at Seifer's hands would spread through GARDEN as fast as Dalen's word-of-mouth could carry it. Worse still was that Squall had seen him in his moment of weakness. That alone was enough to make him pull the covers over his head.

Squall sighed. "I can't put this medicine on your bruises if you do that, and I don't have much choice since you wouldn't let the nurse do it. You wanna be able to walk tomorrow?"

"Where the hell am I gonna walk to? I ain't leavin' my room."

Squall closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose; he could feel a headache starting up behind his eyes. "Would you please just cooperate for five minutes?"

"Fine," Zell growled, kicking the blankets away. He pulled off his black shirt and flung it to the floor, glaring at Squall. "Go ahead and do what you need to. Then you can leave so I can get some sleep."

Squall started dabbing the watery concoction onto the massive purplish bruise that spread across Zell's muscled stomach. "Seifer did this, didn't he?" Zell said nothing, and Squall continued his ministrations. "What did he say to make you attack him?"

Zell closed his eyes, trying to ignore the feeling of Squall's hands on his belly as he concentrated on keeping himself calm. Please just go away.

"He was teasing you about the Red String, wasn't he? Well, you and I both know nothing happened." Squall noticed the bruise on Zell's neck and started applying the medicine there, but Zell grabbed his hand, pulling it away. Squall blinked. "What? What is it?"

Zell opened his eyes and looked at Squall with a gaze that was suddenly gentle. "Please... leave that one alone."

"Why?" Now Squall looked really confused..

"I... I wish I could tell you...."

Squall stared at him for several long moments, but then he nodded and set the medicine aside. "You're all done. Just take it easy, okay?"

"Thanks, Squall."

Squall nodded, then frowned. "Do you hear thunder?"

"Nah, it's just a bunch of people runnin' down the hall. Somethin's goin' on." Zell slowly got up and retrieved his shirt. "Let's check it out."

They followed the flood of people out to the main lobby of the dorms, where there was already a large crowd gathered around the board where notices were posted. Several people around the fringes of the group noticed Squall and Zell and started snickering or pointing fingers.

"I'm getting a really bad feeling about this," Squall said softly.

"You're not the only one!" Zell started muscling his way through the crowd to the board. Suddenly, he was there, staring in horror at the eight-by-ten glossy color photo plastered right in front of him. He recognized it instantly, and it made him stagger back, sick to his stomach.

Oh no... please tell me this is a nightmare...! Where did he get this?!

"Zell, what is... what the hell...?" Squall froze when he saw the rather graphic shot of a boy he didn't know, sprawled across a messy bed with an expression of total ecstasy on his face. Another young man lay on his belly between the first boy's legs, swallowing his length down to the hilt. The second boy's spiked blond bangs and the signature tribal tattoo covering the left side of his face were all too familiar. Squall turned to meet Zell's gaze. To his surprise, he saw tears start to spill over in the blond boy's eyes as Zell turned and bolted, vanishing down the hall to his room.

"Looks like Chicken-boy's secret is out," Seifer laughed.

Squall spun around to face him, murder in his eyes. "How could you?! This is low, even for you! God, you are so immature!"

"I just thought you'd like to know about your little friend, since he's got quite a crush on you. After all, Dalen tells me that he was rather eager to take you out. So... how was he, Squall? Big enough for you?"

Squall clenched his teeth, snarling. "Nothing happened! He didn't even know where we were going, and when we found out, we tried to leave. No one touched us!"

"Sure, Squall," Dalen sneered. "Hey, maybe you should go check on lover-boy. He might need some attention!"

Squall wanted nothing more than to beat the two boys into bloody smears on the floor, but he knew they were just needling him so he'd attack. He wasn't about to be expelled for fighting, especially not because of Seifer. "I'll deal with you later, Seifer," he hissed, turning and chasing after Zell. The taunts of the crowd followed him.

Squall knocked gingerly on Zell's door.

"Go away!" Zell sobbed.

Squall keyed in the door code, grateful that he'd paid attention all those times he'd seen Zell do it. The door slid open, and Squall entered the dim room. "Zell...," he began softly.

"Just leave me alone!" Zell's voice was muffled; he had his face buried in a pillow.

Squall sat on the bed next to him, laying a reassuring hand on Zell's shoulder. "Zell, please listen to me. I don't mind that you're gay. I really don't. It just came as a surprise, that's all...."

"I'm not gay!" Zell exploded, suddenly turning his head to fix Squall with a fierce, pained gaze. Then his eyes dropped and the anger was gone, leaving only the lingering sadness. "I'm bi, okay?"

"Does it really matter?"

"No, I guess it doesn't," Zell admitted with a sigh.

Something suddenly occurred to Squall. "Zell, that bruise on your neck... did you get that at the club?"

Zell sat up, nodding miserably.

"Did... did I do that to you?" Squall asked softly. Zell shook his head emphatically, but Squall knew he was lying.. "I did, didn't I? I thought what I remembered was a dream until I saw that. It's okay, you can tell me the truth."

Fresh tears spilled down Zell's cheeks. "Yeah," he whispered. "It was that stupid poison."

"Did I do... anything else?"

Zell hid his face in his hands. "You started to, but I... I wouldn't let you."


When Zell looked back at him, Squall knew..

"You like me, don't you? That's why you wanted to keep that mark I gave you."

Zell nodded again. "Have for a long time," he sniffled.

"Zell, look at me."

The melancholy blond tilted his face up, flinching when Squall held it there with the lightest touch of his fingers.

"Squall, don't be mad at me. I still wanna be friends."

Squall smiled gently. "I wish you'd said something to me earlier."

Zell opened his mouth to say something, and that was the moment Squall leaned forward and brushed his lips over Zell's. Zell's eyes widened and he pushed Squall away, breathing fast. "Squall, don't. Not for my benefit, please...."

Squall shook his head. "Zell, do you really think I'd be doing this if I didn't want to?"

"Wha... you... you mean...?" For the first time in his life, Zell was totally thrown by what he was hearing.

"You never asked me about these kinds of things. If you had, you might've known sooner."

"B--but what about Kella...?"

Squall winked and grinned. "What about Virri?"

"Don't you care what everyone'll say about you? That picture...."

"I don't care about the picture or them."

Zell squeaked when Squall captured his mouth again, more forcefully this time, nudging his tongue past Zell's unresisting lips. Zell slid his arms around Squall's shoulders, letting the younger boy tip him back onto his bed and pin him there. His whimpers became moans when he felt Squall's hardness pressing against his own. How many times had he dreamed about this? And now that it was happening, he almost couldn't believe it, even though he was all too aware of Squall trying to pull off his shirt. Zell broke the kiss and struggled out from under Squall, quickly stripping away his clothes, shivering as the cool air hit his lightly tanned skin. Squall followed suit, tossing his own clothes onto the pile by the bed. The two boys stared at each other, wide-eyed and suddenly a little nervous, until Zell reached out and ran his hands down Squall's chest and stomach. Squall shivered and closed his eyes, mimicking Zell's touch. Where Zell was compact and powerfully muscled, Squall was slender, his musculature more understated but no less refined.

"You're... beautiful...."

"Is that why I caught you checking me out at the pool all those times?"

Zell blushed. "I didn't think you noticed."

"I was flattered." Squall embraced his friend, pulling the older boy against him. "I always thought the same thing about you. I just didn't know you could be this gentle."

Zell settled Squall onto his back, brushing his hair from his eyes. Squall sighed and shifted on the bed, a little gasp escaping him as Zell's lips found a sensitive spot on his neck. Zell drew the skin into his mouth, nipping gently to mark Squall as he'd done, as his hands worked their way along Squall's spine. Squall cried out, arching into Zell at the feeling of the boy's fingers caressing the small of his back.

Zell chuckled. "So... that's sensitive, huh?"

He rolled Squall onto his stomach and began a torturous line of kisses down Squall's back. Squall wriggled more and more as Zell get closer to the spot, grinding his erection into the bed and whimpering Zell's name. Zell found the little spot and massaged his tongue against it, making Squall grip the sheets and sob with pleasure. Zell ran his short nails over Squall's hips, growling into his flesh.

"Oh god... please stop!"

Zell sat up, a frown creasing his brows. "Shit, did I hurt you?"

Squall rolled onto his back, grinning wickedly. "Nope. I just wanted to do this!" He pounced on Zell, drawing a startled yelp from the blond. "Now, what did I do to you at the club?"

Zell blushed. "Uh... well... you started... well...." He made the motion with his hand.

"Ah." Squall chuckled. "I have a better idea." With that, he pushed himself back enough to touch his lips to the tip of Zell's shaft, letting just a fraction of his length slip slowly into his mouth. Zell's eyes rolled back and he gave a quavering moan, tangling his hands in Squall's ruffled hair. Squall teased him with soft little flicks of his tongue, pulling back each time Zell tried to thrust up into him. Sweat shone on Zell's skin, making his tattoo glisten like fresh ink.

"Tease...!" Zell gasped. "No... fair...!"

Squall couldn't resist chucking before he pushed his mouth the rest of the way down Zell's length. Zell's eyes stared mindlessly at the ceiling as he arched off his bed, a long wordless cry pouring from his throat. Squall pressed his nails into the tight curves of Zell's ass, making the blond buck his hips wildly. His tongue rubbed lightly along the underside of Zell's shaft as he finally let Zell thrust up into him at his own pace, learning how his friend best enjoyed himself. Zell tightened his grip on Squall's hair, making strangled sounds through his gritted teeth as he rammed himself in deep and fast, until Squall stopped him in mid-stroke, backing off and pushing Zell down onto the bed. Zell growled in frustration, but the growl became a shuddering wail as Squall suckled at his head, using the soft tip of his tongue to trace the edge. Squall felt him start to shiver, his nectar leaving a slick trail over Squall's tongue. The blond struggled, trying to bury himself in Squall's mouth, but Squall held him still, focusing on the his sensitive tip. Zell's cries pitched up into a strangled scream of lust as he arched up. Only then did Squall let him go.

Zell collapsed back onto the bed, panting for breath. "Damn...," he sighed. "You're not gonna just leave me like this...!"

"Of course not." Squall laughed and pressed himself against Zell's side, slowly stroking the older boy's shaft. "Now the fun really starts...."

Zell rested quietly for the next few hours with Squall curled up against his back. Squall's face was buried in his short golden hair, his breath soft and soothing. Zell still couldn't believe what he'd just done, but the memory of Squall gasping under him, the feeling of his younger friend spasming around him, was all too clear in his mind. He rolled over in Squall's arms, shifting to hold his sleeping friend's head against the curve between his neck and his chest. Squall made a soft sound, like a dreaming child, and unconsciously planted a feather-light kiss on Zell's collarbone. Zell sighed and let his sudden tears soak into Squall's silky hair.

I wish I could keep you, Squall....

Reluctantly he freed himself from Squall's embrace and slipped out of the bed, gathering up his discarded clothes and dressing quickly. He cast one more lingering glance at Squall's peaceful face, running his fingers over Squall's cheek before he placed a whisper of a kiss in his lips. Then he bolted from his room before he could lose his nerve.

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