Never count your money when you're sitting at the table...

Menage a Triad

By Tenshi no Korin

"C'mon, just one more game." Irvine was a terrible loser.

"For Hyne's sake, Irvine, it's three a.m. already." Zell had one arm flung across the resort's card table, narrowly avoiding being part of the playing field. He lifted his head wearily, and blinked hopefully at Squall, who was contemplating his stack of cards. "Can we just go to bed?"

The girls had long since surrendered (Quistis graciously accepting her winnings of five or six of the boys' best cards), and gone to their room to sleep. Spring break was really just set up for the Garden students, not for the chain of command, but any excuse to find some sun was more than welcome. Selphie had booked two rooms in a bed and breakfast on Galbadia's popular south coast, and informed the others in no uncertain terms that they were going, like it or not. They'd put up surprising little protest; it had been a very wet sort of winter in Balamb.

"Squall," Zell pleaded, leaning back limply in his chair. "My head's gonna fall off." He'd lost all his best cards some time before, otherwise he would have played till dawn like the rest of them.

"What stakes?" Squall asked Irvine after a moment's consideration, ignoring Zell's wail of protest.

Irvine shrugged thoughtfully, looking around their room. "What about... Zell?"

"Huh?" Zell's head came up, and he blinked dizzily. "what about me?"

"You mean, as stakes?" Squall was being magnificent at ignoring his lover this evening. "Sure. But what do I get if YOU lose?"


"Hmmm..." Irvine tapped his fingers on the table. "Would you be agreeable to me?"


"Maybe." Squall said, shuffling his deck as he considered. "Yeah, I think that'll work."


The other two obediently turned to Zell, who wasn't sure what to do with their attention now that he had it.

"If that's all okay with Zell, that is," Irvine was suddenly very considerate as he cracked open a soda from the cooler. "Wouldn't dream of imposing."

"Oh, of course." Squall echoed Irvine's smile, faintly. "Is that okay with you, Zell?"

Zell flushed under the double scrutiny, and finally folded his arms with a scowl. "Oh do whatever the hell you want."

"All right then." Irvine dealt out his hand and so did Squall, and the umpteenth triad game of the evening began. If Zell had watched his own matches as intently as this one, he might still have some of his cards left.

It started out ugly, both of them had some hefty rares and neither Squall nor Irvine was about to piddle around with geezards and belhemels. It looked for a long time like Squall would have it, but both of them were dodging the center square. Squall played his best card in the top corner, and waited to see what Irvine would do with it.

"Ah, well, nothing for it." Irvine tried to keep neutral, but his inability to hold a poker face was why Quistis had come away with nearly half his deck. "S'all I got."

And he plunked Quezecotl down in the center square.

"That's MY card!" Zell protested, standing. "You win the game with a card you took offa me?" Zell stopped, and looked hard at the board again. Holy Alexander, Squall had lost. "Um. Wait just a minute."

"Bet's a bet, Zell." Squall lifted one shoulder. "Sorry."

"You haven't lost all evening, and you lose NOW?"

Irvine was mulling over which of Squall's cards to add to his deck. "C'mon, is it so bad?" He picked up Carbuncle, raising an eyebrow, and Squall let it go with a wave.


"We're all in the same room, Zell," Squall reminded him.

"What do you mean, we're all in the-" Zell frowned at the three beds. "then that means-" It didn't matter who lost. "Is this a setup?"

"Maybe." Squall folded up the card table, leaning it against one wall. "Maybe you're just paranoid. When do you want your winnings, Irvine?"

The sharpshooter drained the last of his drink and crumpled the can, tossing it in the wastebasket. "Oh, now would be fine."

"You heard him, Zell." Squall sat down on the middle of the three beds, and tucked one knee under his chin, bare toes dangling towards the floorboards.

"You're just gonna sit there?" The small room seemed rather warm to Zell, even with the two windows open to let in the night breeze.

"For now." Squall no doubt had the best poker face of all of them, and he wore it all the time.

"Fine." Zell squared his shoulders and turned to Irvine, sitting on the left-side bed, casually waiting for his prize.

"Been a while, huh, Zell?" Irvine winked up at him. "You know you don't hafta."

"Nahh. Bet's a bet, right?" Zell found himself smiling. Hard not to, with Irvine giving him that look. The mattress was soft on his knees as he straddled Irvine's lap, smug at the surprised look that crossed Irvine's features.

"I hope that's not the only reason." Irvine reached up to slide his hand down Zell's cheek, trigger finger rough on the ink-black lines of tattoo.

"Nuh-uh." Zell's fingers fumbled with Irvine's ponytail and finally freed it, tangling his hands in the amber waterfall. For a long time Zell concentrated on touch, studiously running fingertips over the curve of lower lip and the soft arch of eyebrow. Irvine ruffled Zell's bangs until the blond strands fell loose over his eyes, making him look older.

"Least you're not dripping wet."

Irvine's long hands wrapped around Zell's waist with an air of protectiveness. "Least you aren't half-drowned."

"I still say it's your fault." Zell cupped Irvine's face, leaning down.

"Shuttup, Zell." Irvine's arms wound around the fighter, pulling him in closer.

"You first." Zell's mouth closed over Irvine's, tasting warm-sweet of vanilla cream soda. Irvine was an expert at the art of kissing but he was happy to let Zell have his way, parting his lips for the quick flicker of curious tongue, followed by a more lingering investigation. Irvine leaned back against the wall, a low noise of contentment in his throat. Zell used the opportunity to press in closer, square fingers deft on the buttons of Irvine's vest, ending the kiss when he found something unexpected.

"When'd you get these?" Heavy gold rings flashed up under Zell's inspection, strung through each honey-colored nipple.

"Ah..." Irvine looked briefly cornered. From the other bed there was a rustle of motion as Squall shifted his weight to see better. "Sometime in December when I got bored. Thought I'd show 'em off at the beach this summer."

"They're sexy." Zell tugged on one gently. "Do they hurt?"

"N-no." Irvine bit his lip.

Zell arched a knowing eyebrow, bending down. "Oh, really?"

"Um!" Irvine squeezed his eyes shut as Zell drew the small bit of jewelry into his mouth, hot tongue stabbing through the gold hoop until he felt Irvine squirm underneath him.

"Sensitive, huh?" Zell said, triumphant as he rocked on Irvine's lap.

"Bastard," Irvine panted, sitting up and holding Zell down, both hands firm on the martial artist's hipbones. "Thought I was supposed to have my way with you, not the other way around."

"You don't like your winnings?" Zell scraped blunt fingernails down Irvine's sides, muscle and rib shivering under his touch as Irvine arched upwards. "Rather have me flat on my back?"

"I like you where you are," Irvine growled, and Zell let out a breathless laugh as Irvine bucked underneath him. "But in less clothes."

"Yes, Sir." Zell peeled out of his white tank top with smug slowness, twisting as Irvine's palms slid up his chest, greedy as a cat under the caress. He flung the shirt aside, blond crest of hair fallen beyond hope of redemption. Irvine's fingers danced down Zell's button fly, peeling his shorts back over the smooth golden rise of his hips. Zell's navel was a tempting half-moon on his flat stomach, dusted with the very faintest line of almost invisible blond hairs. Irvine heard Squall make a noise of appreciation at the view presented him. The sharpshooter reached out, wanting to give both Squall and himself a more natural vista.

"Nuh-uh," Zell said, wiggling back out of Irvine's range. "Not yet."

"What?" Irvine was smiling, Zell was almost unbearably cute as he teased, if cute could be combined with the predatory motion of his body and the heat in his summerblue eyes.

"I'm surprised," Zell grinned. "Thought you'd want to enjoy your winnings."

"Who says I'm not?" Irvine reached for his own belt, but his hand was deflected with a motion skilled at disarming.

"I like these," Zell said, running one finger down the strap of Irvine's leather chaps. "Buckles, on the leather. Leave 'em on for me, why don't you?" Zell's hand slid gracefully lower, into the gap between their bodies and the warm denim heat between Irvine's legs. "Please?"

"Nuh-" Irvine managed. "Uh-huh, sure, whatever you want."

Zell kissed his parted lips, the tip of his tongue flickering lightly at the corners of Irvine's mouth, his small sturdy hands splayed possessively over Irvine's chest. Irvine sank back, the wall cool on his bare shoulders, and let Zell have his way. Zell kissed him everywhere, hands never still, hips shifting slowly against the warm metal of Irvine's belt buckle. Irvine slid his hands down Zell's back and into the gap at the back of his jeans, curving underneath him and lifting him up.

"Off." He said, in no uncertain terms, and Zell chuckled into his ear.

"You got no patience, Irvine," he said, his voice rather muffled since he still had Irvine's earring between his teeth.

"Who does, with a tease like you?" Squall had silently come up behind Zell while he was otherwise engaged, and tugged on Zell's pants with his usual direct approach. "Do what you're told, Zell. You are the winnings."

Zell answered that with an insolent wiggle and got a broad-palmed swat across his backside for his trouble, not to mention his shorts shucked roughly down to his knees. "You gonna behave, or not?" Squall slipped his hand into the inviting warmth between Zell's legs. Zell answered with a low moan into Irvine's neck, as the sharpshooter freed Zell's legs from his shorts, one at a time.

"He'll behave," Irvine purred, tossing the jeans aside and lifting both hands to meet Squall's, underneath Zell. "Won'tcha, Zell?

Zell made a sort of choked gasp. "I will if you'll-ungh." He arched up, blue eyes flickering over his shoulder at Squall. "Geez. You trying to make my legs give out?"

Squall shrugged, looking vaguely smug, and Zell threw him off with a practiced wiggle. Squall obligingly went to rummage in his duffel bag, while Zell settled back on Irvine's lap to pay some serious attention to the fly of Irvine's jeans. Irvine lifted his hips, raising both of them off the bed so Zell could slide his pants down the barely required two or so inches, warm fingers finding slick hard heat and easing it out. Irvine let out his breath slowly, through his teeth.

"You realize," Zell said, both hands busy between Irvine's legs, "that I'll want my Quezacotl card back after this."

Irvine's blue eyes narrowed. "We'll just have to see about that."

Zell tilted his head, nose to nose with the Galbadian. "Really?" He ran his thumb down the length of Irvine's sex, and grinned as Irvine's eyes half-closed and his breath shuddered in his chest. "Oh, I think it'll be the least you'll want to do."

Irvine, moaning, was in no position to argue.

Squall found what he'd been looking for and dropped his bag with a satisfied noise, crossing the room and dragging his nails down Zell's back to get his attention. "Present yourself for inspection, Dincht."

Zell braced himself on Irvine's shoulders and obediently lifted his hindquarters, wincing as Squall was more thorough than gentle. "Dammit, Squall, that shit is cold!"

Irvine could see Squall's grin over Zell's shoulder. "You'll warm it up fast enough," Squall said, but he slowed down, moving with deliberate rhythm. Zell exhaled, a low noise in his throat, hips rocking back onto Squall's hand. "There," Squall said, and his voice had a different tone than Irvine had ever heard before, free hand affectionately mussing Zell's already tousled hair, "that's better, right?"

Zell's only response was a breathless moan that broke off as Irvine lifted his hands to cup Zell between his warm gunsure palms, stroking gently. "Neh, Zell," he murmured, into one flushed-pink ear, "I left my chaps on."

Zell opened his eyes, and they were rich blue like the lapis pendant Irvine wore strung at his throat. "Irvine."

Squall must have known the roughness of Zell's voice, because he pulled his hand away and pressed gently on the small of Zell's back, making a wordless encouraging sound as Zell folded his legs underneath him and settled into Irvine's lap. Irvine hissed a little, throat tightening as Zell groaned mingled relief and pleasure, thighs tensing as Irvine slid into him.

They were still for a long moment, breathing raggedly, Zell murmuring incoherent phrases as his body adjusted to the invasion of Irvine's, their fingers weaving together in the heavy nighttime silence.

"Okay?" Irvine asked, raising his eyebrows.

Zell nodded, rocking slowly into Irvine's lap, grinning wolfishly at the pressure of warm metal and worn-smooth leather pressing against his backside. "nnn, feels good." He ground himself harder into Irvine, spine curving as he freed a hand to wrap around his sex. "Don't mind me," he said, eyes squeezing shut. "Just... greedy."

"Hell, yeah," Irvine managed, moving up as Zell pushed down, rewarded with a gasp and Zell's slick inside going even tighter around him. "Zell."

"ah - harder," Zell whispered, both hands occupied now and Irvine's arms wound around him to keep him from falling off. Irvine was more than happy to oblige, wondering dimly in some corner of his mind if Zell liked Squall doing him with those studded leather belts still on, bruising his ass. The notion was more than a bit inspiring, and Irvine buried his face in the damp warmth of Zell's neck, tasting faint traces of citrus on the tense tendons of his throat. He heard the bed creak as Squall shifted his weight, but it was drowned out by Zell's unsteady breathing and thready words of pleasure, a low mantra of "UnngodsogoodnnndeepyesIrvineIrvineIrvine..." Zell's voice was right in Irvine's ear, as if he needed any encouragement to push up into Zell's too hot to be real body, the strength in Zell's legs almost painful as Zell gripped Irvine with his thighs. Irvine's hands couldn't get enough, god but Zell was slick skin and hard muscle and bone all over, shaking and sobbing with relief as he came. He cried out, only once, as Irvine lost any pretense of gentility underneath him and ricocheted up into the spasmodic aftershocks of Zell's release.

"nnn - fuck - Zell..." For several seconds Irvine was completely off the mattress, snapping his hips up, Zell practically purring as he felt Irvine rush into him, tightening around Irvine on purpose to make it last as long as he could.

The bed made a loud squeak of protest as they slumped back onto it, Irvine inhaling as if he'd just escaped drowning, Zell laughing breathlessly without noise. He rolled off Irvine with more grace than anyone should have in such a situation, and flopped back on the cool sheets, chest rising steadily as he struggled to even his breathing.

Irvine blinked, feeling a bit dazed. "where'd Squall go?"

Zell pointed vaguely at the bathroom. "Went to clean himself up."

It took a second for Irvine to put this bit of information into a useful light. "You mean he-"

Zell nodded, propping himself up on his elbows. "Yup."

"And I MISSED it?"

A cold, wet towel smacked into Irvine's face, slithering down to land in a blissful cool pile in his lap. "You should pay more attention to your surroundings, Kinneas," Squall said, as if used to shirtlessly dispensing orders from the bathroom doorway. He flung another towel to Zell, who caught it mid-air. "Although," he continued, glancing at Zell, "I don't blame you."

"I'm gonna have marks in the morning," Zell muttered, lurching to his feet and squinting to examine his backside in the mirror.

"You wanted them on," Irvine grumbled, too happy to slide out of the damp leather jeans now and run the blessed wet terry-cloth over his sticky chest and the inside of his thighs.

Zell made a pleased sound, as if he didn't mind sporting bruises in the exact size and shape of Irvine's buckles. Squall ran a hand along the flushed-red curve of one buttock. "He's had worse," he said, but didn't elaborate further.

Zell swatted at Squall with the towel and ran his fingers through his hair, stopping long enough to kiss his commander before walking into the bathroom. He stepped under the showerhead without bothering to close either the curtain or the door. Irvine and Squall watched him for a moment, slicking his hair back under the stream of water.

"Why?" Irvine asked, over the sound of Zell humming in the shower. "Why'd you lose that game, Squall?"

"Think you're the only kink in Balamb, Irvine?" Squall had not taken his eyes off Zell.

Irvine frowned, folding his towel over the unused radiator. "He would have done it if you asked, you know."

Squall nodded, just barely. "Yeah," He flashed a smile at Irvine. "Trouble is, I didn't mean to lose."

Irvine hesitated, retrieving Zell's pants from the floor. "What?"

Squall looked rather surprisingly sheepish. "I forgot about the Quez card. I thought sure you'd play the Adamantoise in the middle instead, so I'd win." He grinned. "I wanted you for myself."

The shower shut off, Zell singing surprisingly on key as he squidged onto the bathmat.

Irvine struggled to shut his mouth. "You... you're kidding."

Squall lifted one shoulder, looking indifferent once again. "If you say so." He crossed the room, fingers winding in Irvine's necklace, pulling him down to look him in the eye. "I'll expect a rematch tomorrow evening, Irvine Kinneas. And I never lose twice." And Squall kissed him, hot and aloof and vaguely threatening, letting him go with an arched eyebrow and his taste mixing with Zell's in Irvine's mouth.

Zell wandered out of the bathroom, hair combed back and yawning hugely, flopping belly first onto his bed. He had marks all right, two perfect rectangles on either side of his ass. Squall ran a fingertip over them and up Zell's spine, bending down to murmur something in the martial artist's ear. Zell chuckled.

Irvine made for the shower, wanting to do something about the sweaty strands of copper hair sticking to his back, and to manage to think away from the cloudy heat of Squall's grey eyes. He wondered if he could manage to convince Quistis to give him back some of his cards, and after a moment's consideration, if he cared that she wouldn't.

Irvine grinned into the cold jet of water, drowning out the sounds of Squall and Zell in the next room. Nothing made a vacation more fun than a good running bet.


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