Copyrights: Story is by and © Nicole Cheung (AKA tenka_no_tenshi, or Pygmalion Princess) 2002, Final Fantasy 8 and all characters portrayed are © Squaresoft.
Warnings: Vague sexual innuendo, bad words, violence, shonen-ai, slight angst, [black humor?].
Soundtrack: P.O.D. -- "Satellite", The Pillows -- "Beautiful Morning With You", Incubus -- "Just A Phase"
By Pygmalion Princess
Zell's briefs made the quietest snap against the caramel curve of his ass. If the soft gray fabric hadn't complimented the sleeping boy's ass so nicely, Seifer would have given in to jealousy some time ago. When Seifer's hand came in direct contact with the toned aft, the punk growled, squirmed, blushed and invariably hit things, but he slept on soundly when the man busied himself ruining the elastic lining of the underwear in question.
In other words, the underwear was getting all the goddamn fun.
However, irritation was not forthcoming while Zell was asleep. He could be an amazingly obnoxious runt while awake, and once upon a time, he'd also been something of a hazard even while unconscious. In his sleep, Zell would kick and roll around constantly. "Pre-drumstick nerves" Seifer had called it, before effectively solving the problem by rolling onto Zell and converting his hyperactive lover into a second mattress. Zell had acclimated to the weight quicker than some might have predicted. Their bodies had fit together well, and still did, flopped one atop another. The smaller blond's tousled head would emerge just above Seifer's right shoulder, butt rising rounded into Seifer's hard stomach whenever the bigger blond didn't need it for other things, and twitchy limbs stilled under the heavy solidity of his lover's 6'3" body. Perhaps surprisingly, the small punk did not compress.
Nor did he awaken when a certain gunblader blew experimentally into his ear. Oh, well.
Seifer dimly recalled waking alone, some billion years ago. There was a time when he would have gotten straight up and headed straight to the Training Center, keeping an appointment with a sullen leather-clad brat, who now no longer needed him.
Then there had been this other time when his appointments hadn't taken place in the Training Center. In those days, Seifer would rise with images of winged women and limbs divided by Hyperion behind his eyes, and watched his own smirk reflected coolly in the wide eyes of those who would oppose him. In those times, the oddest dreams and nightmares had been transformed to daily agenda, and it had felt pretty damn good.
Perhaps more disturbing yet, they still did.
This morning his gut had felt heavy, and not from a lack of bladder movement either. Between the dark slashes of crookedly closed blinds, the sky had still looked like the slushy, gray, thoroughly diluted atmospheric porridge of early winter dawn. He had awaken half-expecting a weird accent to greet him. He could have recognized that voice from across his bedroom, across sprawling military complexes, squelched nations, and even through the likeness of death that had done them part. There was a calling to his bones. That much was still the same.
But back then, the Hyperion wouldn't have been groomed quite as perfectly as it was now, because he would have understood how perfectly terrifying, and beautiful he looked by his Sorceress' side, more so when skin combusted, metal flew, and he defied Death — true death and not some wan parody in memory — in the name of the only one who had ever given him what he'd wanted. Or thought he'd wanted, anyway. It was all the same.
Nowadays the evidence was polished off for publicity purposes, even Grat goop from training practice. Nowadays, the tabloids knew his mind better than he did. All it took was the solid curve of warmth under his belly to soothe the thirsty butterflies in his stomach. Dreams and ambitions were still there, but they'd become pale, washed out ghosts of what they had been. More pathetic still because he still liked it. Some called it 'maturity', long overdue. Hah, and fie upon that.
Nowadays, Zell's underwear was just about enough.
The crack rang out through the room, smooth palm on veiled ass. Unsurprisingly, Seifer spontaneously acquired an elbow in the jaw and executed one aerial revolution prior to slamming the sheets and mattress askew on landing. By the time acid green stars had wilted out of his eyes, he had a bare Zell-leg coiled across his equally naked ribs, a gray-clothed Zell-crotch close to that, and a supremely irked Zell-face filled his vision. The eyes were too narrowed and intensely aquamarine to reflect Seifer's sneer properly, but the annoyance with which the punk regarded him was thrice as rewarding as the terror of any dreamland wraiths. Rather stunned just then, Seifer could barely feel the forefinger that attempted to put holes into his Adam's apple.
"That freaking HURT, you shithead!"
"Well duh." His jaw was working somewhat slowly, but he numbly twisted his scarred features into... something, which was hopefully identifiable as an appropriately lewd leer. "It should. All events considered. Good morning to you too, Zell."
The perched boy rolled his eyes, although there was some sort of twitch going on with one corner of his mouth, then flopped backward to lean on one of his apparently nude lover's legs. Short nails ran down the length of one scarred shin, fingers latching on as he propped himself up with all the foppish grace of a prematurely roused teenager. There were now small Zell-feet planted on the mattress on either side of his torso, toes sinking into smooth white linen. "How are you feeling? You need to cut your damn toenails, by the way. See? Look at mine," and, beside Seifer's ribs, he felt them wiggle. Zell's irritation dissolved with the sigh that rustled fallen bangs, and words streamed from the punk's lips with little thought. "Do you want chocolate for breakfast? It's good with toast. I bet you forgot to feed the aquarium. You had a bad dream, didn't you? — If you lie, I'll hurt you."
The return of feeling to Seifer's face and body was gradual, although it wasn't too long before Seifer could feel the subtle rift between Zell's thigh muscle and bone with a wandering fingertip. Being sat on wasn't entirely unpleasant. Although his jaw felt marginally tenderer than he cared to admit, he decided to employ other means for vengeance.
"Yeah. It was about ligaments." He could still taste his dream on the back of his tongue. "Wings too, but mostly ligaments. There were a lot of ligaments. It was pretty awful. You probably would have fainted."
He remembered. The wings had been his own, elegant span rooted into his own back, and he had used them to carry himself aloft. Or perhaps he had belonged to the wings, but that was a little more abstract than Seifer cared for. Under the ragged shadows thrown out under his spread pinions, the Hyperion had flashed again and again and the hacked meat had flown, severed or partially so, most often the arms from his hapless victims. Brimstone had been entirely unnecessary for this angel, for he had chopped them down like so many shrieking, squirting trees. A man without both arms looked far more awkward than a sentimentally tragic, homecoming soldier in a wheelchair. Opposable thumbs were what made men Men, if you believed in science, so naturally one without them (and the body parts attached) looked a bit silly.
According to society, a man with a buxom female fan-backed purpose could not be held accountable for his actions. Right? Heh.
When her memory had faded, or at least for the moment, Zell was regarding him out of eyes the same color as the newly brightened sky barred outside the window. The boy was not at a loss of words, of course, for the punk was easily capable of maintaining dialogues with greater conversation killers than Seifer. It wasn't an uncomfortable silence. Seifer decided to change the subject.
"I'll get over it. Chocolate for breakfast is disgusting, and it's the fish that you feed not the aquarium — Chicken-wuss — and you killed my nail clippers after I flushed your hair gel down the toilet, remember?"
Zell looked cute with his hair down. His money was under threat of theft as well, should he ever decide to proposition a fresh supply.
The light punch that landed on Seifer's thigh hurt a little more than the theatrical collapse of his lover onto his chest. The smaller boy's head hovered above his chest, tattooed jaw supported by one hand and an elbow on the bed.
"I had a dream with ligaments in it, once," the younger boy told him. "They were pink and shiny."
"Are you serious?" At this proximity, Seifer's words blew Zell's hair around raggedly; he hoped his breath didn't stink. "I thought you didn't dream anymore."
"It was just once, a couple years back. No wings, though. And don't you effing dare say chi —"
"—s, by and large, have nothing on your ass," Seifer finished triumphantly, moving his head slightly when a particularly ambitious ray of morning light attempt to put his eye out. He could feel his hair scrunching up into something absolutely horrifying between his skull and the coverlet, and found it odd to feel relieved that the Chicken-wuss was the only one there to see it. If Seifer wasn't holding most of the world in a thrall of pure terror due to his prior years of teenaged delinquency, he probably would have had the grace to feel embarrassed about it.
Zell's head was suddenly resting on his chest, absurdly warm and fluffy. Seifer inwardly congratulated himself on the successful disposal of the rooster hairdo, and lifted one hand to pet the disheveled strands strewn across his collarbone.
"You got off light," Zell announced while tugging at the crumpled sheets. There were calluses rough and heavy on the martial artist's knuckles — he didn't wear Ehrgeiz for pain reduction anymore. "'Cause you had a nightmare."
Seifer couldn't help but bristle, though he inwardly perceived, wryly, that his revenge for the chin shot had been significantly below par. "It's just dreams, Zell."
—Squall's gunblade was covered with his blood. His blood was everywhere. It reddened the ground, pickled his tongue, and reminded him of her fingernails. He had always been used to blood. It was just the fact that it was HIS blood, dammit, HIS life—
"Huh. They're coming out of your pretty little head, my dear, that's what makes it matter, Hyne knows why. Dickhead," Zell replied.
—but a Knight was selfless, or at least should have been. When her castle fell, he should have gone with her—
"Are you saying I'm insane?" Seifer couldn't keep the derision out of his voice as he folded a muscled arm loosely around Zell's shoulder's, cuddled up to the punk's neck. Threateningly. Not really.
—but he hadn't. A real Knight would have swallowed pride, at least enough to forsake life for her. But he had found himself seeking out the enemy for redemption that wasn't supposed to mean anything, apologizing for exploits he should have defended, facing the curses of many without breaking the stupid, ignorant little heads that spoke them. Seifer had sworn his life to THEM now, and this time, he would do it. Unfortunately, the insufficiency of this oath did not escape him. It was fucking retarded, really, his pitiful repeat performances: he was always one step behind, just short of standard, unable to meet one last qualification, always too stubborn to give the only last thing that would change his world. Worse yet, it was now too late to do it. His life was now worth less than his death, and once that point was reached, so much for turning back. He had truly realized it that first time, the instant—
"No. Dude. Do not hyperventilate. The fuck?" and there was an added grip to the weight on his chest, lithe fingers clutching his biceps. The actual palms of Zell's hands felt almost as soft as Seifer's own, but then again, Seifer's gloves were designed to withstand the constant punishment of the gunblade's hilt, and there was quite a lot of punishment involved there. Seifer's hands grasped at empty air that rushed wildly in and out of his lungs, and Zell sort of hung onto him.
—his boot had connected heavily with the smaller SeeD's back, some snotty teenager in a black uniform who was obviously WAY out of his league. Seifer had glanced into the crowd. The boy's friends had looked on afraid and amazed at the sheer nerve and they had been unwilling to step forward, and the girlfriend had caught his eye with angry tears greasing her eyelids. Popular suspicion had been confirmed at that moment. The SeeD's broad had spat, "Don't you dare touch him again!" and yanked on her boyfriend's arm, although the runt had insisted that he was all right. The boy had reminded Seifer vaguely of something he himself had been once, or more uncomfortably still, of something he could have been. He was an ass. Monster this, monster that. Didn't he feel—
"Oh, shit." The last time Seifer's voice had broken had been years ago.
"Don't FAINT. Seifer, don't faint." Out of mounting difficulty in breathing, Seifer was unable to assure the younger boy that he was in no danger of passing out, although he sort of saw Zell's point. That would have been rather embarrassing, wouldn't it? As if hyperventilating wasn't stupid enough. Hell, it wasn't like they let him fucking work enough to be under stress or anything...
—guilt? No. But perhaps regret. Would it have fucking helped if it was the other way around? Hyne's CRAP, woman, Seifer had thought as he glared at her accusing little face when she finally managed to pull her grumbling boyfriend to his feet. At least Seifer hadn't tried to KILL either of them, or anything, although he had been sorely tempted. He had unwisely chosen to respond with, "Shut the fuck UP," or some such gem of wit, and even then he couldn't deny the truth in the unconsciously memorized taunts that had followed. How beautifully ironic that the only image that could drown them out had been—
"Shit," he squeaked again, but just around the edges. His resonant bass was mostly back into place beneath the surge of shortened breath, although his vision was fast fading, starting from the big black hole that was crumbling its way out from the center. Blinking rapidly did nothing. He felt that obnoxious wave relief again, that there was no one to see him wheezing and squeaking like some green-skinned geek during a physical examination except this one clingy blond blanket. He would have said that love had made him pathetic, if he could speak that much.
"Seifer, don't faint," Zell repeated, voice booming unusually loud into the atmosphere around Seifer's ear. Big baby blue eyes loomed up under the onslaught of sunlight from the window, on the edge of the big black splotch warping behind his eyelids. "Hey! Will you breathe already?"
—wings, razor-feathered darkness cutting the fetid breath of carrion as—
Zell looked upset. When Zell became upset, he either babbled or damaged things. "Oh, shit! It was — um. Health class. I mean the—"
—black metal split skin open. When ripped free, it left garishly rouged mouths lolling pink tongues — ripped ligaments. They WERE rather shiny, to be perfectly honest, though bleeding, opened meat was nothing compared to his erstwhile Sorceress'—
"—I MEAN the LIGAMENTS, you know. Seifer, just — breathe or something, for Hyne's sake! Is that too much to ask? Fuck! It was a video. Me — and nearly half the stupid class nearly freaking SHAT OURSELVES, it was so gross."
—nails, like vermillion claws, tearing at the air like the Hyperion. Or maybe his hands, right now, at the air-conditioned air. It had all been very eloquent, except when she screamed, because when she screamed, blood ran while cold, and the flailing of slender-fingered hands and sharp nails looked almost helpless. Chickens had claws too, didn't they? And—
"I think Squall was the only one who didn't AT LEAST turn green. Oh that's right, come on. Breathe." and he did. Grappling with the bucking organs trapped in the cage of his ribs, Seifer's hands came together, tangling into each other in a rather crude mockery of prayer; his plea sounded too harsh, quite incomprehensible, in addition to the fact that they were uttered to a blank ceiling that honestly didn't give a damn.
—wings, fluffy blond feathers, and ligaments, and—
Behind his eyes, the theater had finally gone black. Molten orange circles crept into view, looped around pieces of halted darkness, squeezing it into nothing, and left behind blazing trails of green that took their time separating into yellow and blue, blond hair and the wide cerulean eyes.
"Dickhead," was the first thing out of Zell's mouth, a few inches away, volume fairly normal now.
Zell was the only person that Seifer knew who would attempt to help a hyperventilating person by sitting on their chest while swearing at them.
"That totally sucked," the punk continued, scowling at him half-heartedly. "Are you okay? Fuck, dude, that was so awful — I think you're under too much stress, or something, yeah yeah I know but honestly — there's this other thing where people are supposed to hyperventilate when they get too excited, and then they just start boo bah pant pant and so on, but I think that's just stupid I mean think about it — you get happy and start gasping like a FISH — how does that make sense? I mean fuck that. You need stress-relief. You so need breakfast. I can count your ribs — ow, or I could when you were DOWN THERE you kn — OOMPH! HEY! STOP SQUEEZING! HEY! Argh! I CAN'T BREATHE! OW! I am going to blow chunks! Nobody LIKES it when I blow chunks! I am SO, SO serious! Seif—mmf."
Author's Notes: Actually, "Satellite" goes kind of creepy with this thing.
A billion thanks to the Yahoo! Seifer x Zell freaks, and most specifically the bestest beta reader in the world, M. Without her, this fic would have been quite a great deal more incoherent, and a lot less browser-friendly for a lot of people. *waves little M flags!* ^_^ James Bond cracks are welcome.
So that was my first FF8/SeifxZell fic, and I hope no one was too disappointed. Heh. Glomps to the people above. Everyone else can settle for reviewing/feedback. The guestbook's up there, to the right. Pretty please?
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