One Moment, And A Year

Chapter 8 - Metal Fire And Coffee Cups

By Akare

Monday, 22nd December

Seifer stretched lazily, curling his arms above his head, and yawned. That was another thing he'd have to add to his list of reasons to keep this thing up with Zell. Sex made him sleepy, therefore he slept better, and didn't have so many irritating dreams. He hated dreams, they were never nightmares, yet, and for some reason never involved Her but he was always expecting Her to arrive in them sometime, somewhere. He hated waking up every two hours expecting to be told to do something by either an insane bitch sorceress or an insane bitch headmaster.

He looked over to see whether Zell was being as cute this morning as he usually was and noticed the smaller boy wasn't beside him. "Huh?" he queried aloud.

The martial artist stuck his head around the door frame to Seifer's bedroom. "Mornin'," he said cheerfully.

Up and dressed before him? Seifer frowned. As usual, damn chirpy morning people. "What are you doing?" he asked suspiciously. Zell usually lay in bed with him until he got up, even if Seifer was still asleep. Just one of those cute things he liked to do.

"Makin' breakfast, birthday boy," Zell replied, he beamed at Seifer until the gunblader swore his eyes began to hurt with the brightness of it.

So Zell actually remembered when his birthday was, how nice. "What are you making?" Surely Zell would make something atrocious. He wouldn't realise Seifer hated eggs--

"Pancakes, French toast, bacon, tomato, hash browns, onion, mushrooms... regular old fry up." He counted the items on his fingers then looked to Seifer for approval. "That OK?"

"You making eggs?"


Hallelujah, the boy wasn't as dumb as he seemed.

"You didn't have any," Zell smiled at the unsuccessfully hidden look of disappointment on Seifer's face. "And you don't like them anyway so what's the point?"

Seifer grinned. Strange that Zell would pick up on that, but good. It showed he was paying attention to Seifer's brilliant personality traits and personal preferences. "Do I have time to have a shower?"

"Course," Zell replied, and headed back to the kitchen.

The gunblader smiled happily as he slid under the warm spray, it was turning out to be an alright birthday. Usually Hyne decreed that Seifer would be sent on some horrible mission to the back of beyond with a bunch of horrible fellow SeeDs who would irritate him until he hit one of them, and then Squall would reprimand him and put him on probation because he expected better of someone so well trained, especially since he'd only just recently passed the SeeD exam... At least that was what had happened last year.

The year before he'd spent the day with Raijin and Fujin in Timber, that birthday had been interesting. He'd sat with them by the railway line and drunk sake, remembering how things used to be back at Garden, until a pack of idiots showed up and began hassling them, or more to the point, hassling Seifer. He'd spent that night in a prison cell -grievous bodily harm or some shit- wrapped in an old grey blanket and wondering if he'd ever be able to escape the future She had so carefully destroyed for him.

The year before that had been a month after the end of the Sorceress War. A month after Her. That was a birthday he would rather forget. He hadn't known where Raijin and Fujin were at that point; though it turned they were looking for him. He hadn't any family to go back to; there was always Edea but he hadn't been sure he could look at her, still couldn't sometimes. She had changed so completely with Ultimecia inside her. And she felt horrible about it too. It racked her with guilt knowing one of her children would go through such a thing at, essentially, her hands- that they would turn out like Seifer. But whether that was Ultimecia's fault or if it were just Seifer's normal personality, the gunblader was sure she didn't know. Maybe she liked to think he was 'adversely affected' by having a Sorceress in his head and therefore... what? That explained all the mean things he'd done before Her? In truth he was an arsehole before Her and he was just more of an arsehole when She was in his head.

He turned the shower off and shook the water out of his hair. It did make him feel like he was shaking his brain around in there and it kind of gave him a headache but when he took three deep breaths all that went away. Today he would have a good birthday... Maybe... So long as Squall didn't call him.

'Dumbarse Commander.'

Zell was still bustling around in the kitchen when Seifer emerged dressed completely in black. The martial artist raised one eyebrow but said nothing. Instead Seifer did it for him.

"Yeah, I'm going to a funeral," he said dryly, filling one of his small cups with coffee.

"Whose?" Zell ventured to ask.

"My own," Seifer replied. "Though I've had so many now I've lost count."

Zell frowned and looked up at him. Seifer being poetic? Albeit a depressed poet, but then weren't most of them? He felt concern ripple through him and an ache somewhere in his chest. Was it his heart? Doubtful. He knew how he felt most of the time and right now he knew he didn't love Seifer, but he was fast becoming a friend. A friend he didn't love, unlike his other friends that he did love... Zell frowned, sometimes he hated the way his mind went around in circles and wouldn't co-operate when he wanted it too.

"You're thinking again," Seifer commented, sipping him coffee. "And burning stuff."

Zell looked up. "Huh? Wha-? Oh shit!!" He lifted the frying pan from the stove as Seifer started laughing. "Dammit Seif, shut up and help me."

Seifer held up his hands. "Can't, it's my birthday." He grinned as Zell shot a scowl his way. "I'll go sit down and let you get on with it."

Zell frowned some more but luckily breakfast went without any further hitches, the onion hadn't been that burnt anyway, some people liked it caramelised like that.

When they'd finished eating Zell sighed and sipped his tea. "Will you be OK today? I've gotta go help Squall."

Seifer frowned. "I thought everyone was on holiday."

"Not me," Zell shook his head. "Paper pushing. Yay," he forced a small smile. He really had tried to argue with Squall to let him off but the work had to be done so he figured Seifer would be alright. He probably had a whole day of fun planned. "I'll come by later tonight with your present ok?"

"You got me a present?" Seifer sounded genuinely shocked.

"Of course," Zell beamed happily again. "Without you who would I have to fuck? Irvine?"

Seifer grinned. "He's no where near as good."

"How would *you* know?" Zell replied, clearing the plates. "Though you're right."

A look of bemusement crossed Seifer's face followed by one of irritation. "You and Irvine?" That bastard cowboy! Was there no one he hadn't had? Besides Seifer's regal self of course.

"I was drunk," Zell replied. "I don't want to think about it."

Seifer sat back and thought about this little development for a second. He was very angry about this... why? Because Zell was his? Yep. That was it. Bloody Irvine, he should keep his hands off other people's things.

"Fucking cowboy," he muttered under his breath.

Zell, now with his jacket on, stood by the door, his head tilted like a curious bird. "You jealous?"

Seifer looked up. "No, pissed off 'cause you're my fucking property."

The martial artist sighed, in some ways that was flattering, in others it was demeaning. But it was Seifer's birthday so the little blond gave him the benefit of the doubt. "Nice to know you care," he replied, and strangely enough it *was* nice, though he didn't know why. "Well, I gotta go. I'll see you tonight. You gunna be around?"

Seifer nodded and picked up the book he was reading. "I guess, if I'm not you can let yourself in."

Zell headed out the door. Pausing for a moment when he realised the enormity of that statement. He could ‘let himself in'. Woah, that meant something almost serious was going on between them, that meant an element of commitment or continuation... Knowing a key code was like having an actual key... An actual *key*. How bizarre.

Seifer tried not to let Zell notice that he was checking out the line of the smaller boy's body as he headed out the door. The clear curve of his arse, the strength in his shoulders. Those dumbarse sneakers. Weird boy. Zell was completely insane and irrational... Though hadn't Quistis once referred to *him* like that? Never mind. He had just got his mind back on his book when the door opened again and Zell walked in.

"Forgot this," the martial artist explained as he approached Seifer. He shocked the older boy by pressing a quick but forceful (and tongueful) kiss to his lips then grinned cheekily as he headed out the door. "Happy Birthday."

Seifer smiled, tongue darting out to lick the taste of Zell from his lips, then stopped and replaced that look with a frown when he realised he was actually genuinely smiling. That wasn't on. He was Seifer, bad arse extraordinaire. Hell yeah, he was! He grinned and went back to the book.

Soon after lunch there was a knock at his door. He frowned and debated whether or not he should answer it. Generally he wouldn't but then today was his birthday so there was a higher chance of it being someone with a present for him. Sighing he stopped studying the native wildlife of Grandidi Forest and went to look through the peep-hole. There was no one there, he almost assumed whoever it was had gone away but realised it was more likely a prank. He could play along, he thought, grinning wickedly. He opened the door. On the doorstep was a small dark green package tied with a light green ribbon. He looked down the hallway. No one to his right and to his left, only some strangely familiar girl watching with a shy smile. Seifer stared. That was the girl from Irvine's birthday party, the bar maid. He frowned then forced a weak smile onto his lips to test her intentions. She beamed back at him then ran off.

'You've got to be kidding,' Seifer thought. 'She was smiling at me. *Me*. What the hell is wrong with her?'

He picked up the package carefully, kicked the door shut then placed it gently on his dining room table. It could still be a trick. He got a pair of scissors from his desk and cut the ribbon, then the paper. What was it going to do? Explode? Did it contain Centrarian Biting Beetles? Or maybe just some typical dog shit? The paper finally came off. There was a box, and black one. Seifer scowled. Was this girl obsessed with wrapping or what?

He lifted the lid carefully and saw, lying nestled in white tissue paper, a band of silver. Golden eyebrows arched in surprise. A present? For him? He considered casting scan on it to see if it were cursed or something else strange but decided it was not worth wasting the spell. If something were wrong with it she wouldn't want him to know it was from her. Instead he lifted it from its wrapping and held it up to the light. It was pure silver, 925 was engraved on the inside of it in really small numbers. The gunblader twisted the object this way and that. It was a bracelet, flat it would look like a silver flame but now it was curled with a gap that would just fit his wrist through.

'It's kinda nice,' he thought. 'Expensive too by the looks of it. More like something Zell would wear.'

He considered, for a moment, giving it to the smaller boy but then if the bar maid ever saw it she would begin to suspect something was going on between them. And besides, it was a gift, for him, on his birthday. A smirk spread across his face. So he had a groupie after all. Who knew? He put it on, twisting his wrist so he could see what it looked like, when this proved useless he headed into the bathroom to see in the mirror. He was still there at 3.30 when Selphie and Rinoa showed up on his doorstep.

"Hi!" Selphie said. "Happy Birthday!"

Seifer groaned. "Who told you?" If Chicken Wuss had blabbed he was going to have to kill him. Good fuck or not.

"Quistis!" Selphie smiled and began bouncing. Any minute now she'd break into song.

Rinoa grinned cheekily. "I knew already. We used to date... or had you forgotten?"

'I wish.' Seifer scowled at them both but they weren't perturbed.

"Can we come in?!"

Seifer looked down at the baskets they both were carrying. It was official, Hyne had cursed him. His birthdays would forever be crowded with horrible people; idiots, policemen, SeeD cadets, girls. So he sighed. "Why?"

"We're here to make you dinner, Seifer," Rinoa replied too cheerfully. "So stand aside."

"How is it polite to barge into my place, on my birthday, and demand I let you in my kitchen so you can make a mess?" Seifer queried. Besides, there was still a mess in there from when Zell made breakfast. "And since when do people start making dinner at..." he looked at his watch. "Three thirty!!! How the hell did that happen? Half the fucking day's gone!"

"Were you too busy gazing adoringly at yourself in a mirror Seifer?"

Seifer narrowed his eyes. 'OK that was *way* too close to the truth. Was she spying on me?'

"Piss off, Rinoa," he began. "I couldn't ca--"

The Sorceress and her hyperactive friend pushed past him. "Sure thing Seifer," Rinoa replied. "We're making a roast so we need time." She dumped her basket on the counter top. "You still love roasts huh?"

She was good, way too good. How did she remember all these things? He couldn't even remember her favourite colour, but then he hadn't really cared to begin with, maybe that was the important factor. He suspected it was blue.

"I forgot the extra baking tray!" Selphie exclaimed. "Back in a sec." She ran out off the room so quickly Seifer suspected he would still have been staring at the door she left through if Rinoa hadn't spoken to him.

"Looks like you had a nice breakfast," she commented, running some hot water to do the washing up. "I thought you couldn't cook."

"I can't," Seifer replied instinctively before he realised how stupid that was. Now she would suspect.

"So who cooked you all this?" Rinoa raised one eyebrow and smiled slightly mischievously.

'Does she know?' Seifer wondered.

"None of your Hynedamn business. She--" he stopped. "Fuck off." He figured that 'she' would put her off the truth... hopefully.

But he hadn't accounted for Rinoa the Sorceress. "Who is he?"

"Rinoa!" Seifer advanced on her. "None. Of your. Business! It's my damn birthday now leave me alone!"

The dark haired girl smiled. "I know you're gay now, Seif. I can tell."

"I don't care. You can bloody well--"

"Have you already started being mean?" Selphie asked from the doorway; hands on hips, tray balanced on her head. "You can just go sit on the couch and read your book. We can sort out everything in the kitchen."

Seifer growled. "I don't want you fucking people--"

"Here," Selphie interrupted. "I brought you another book in case you finish that one." She handed over 'The Viscount Who Loved Me', a historical romance novel with a scantily clad man and woman on the cover. "You'll love it."

The gunblader threw the book across the room. "Out. Now. Both of you!"

"Settle down Seifer," Rinoa wagged her hand at him. "We're not going anywhere. And if you try to physically throw us out I'll set Angelo on you."

"But Angelo likes me," Seifer argued.

"Can't think why, the way you treat me." Rinoa started putting the glasses in the sink.

"I'm a dog person," Seifer replied with a wicked grin. "That's why I went out with you."

Selphie had to physically restrain the Sorceress before she could explode Seifer in his own dorm. "Seifer! That was mean. Now sit down, shut up and let us get on with things."

The gunblader sighed. He wasn't going to win this one, but at least he could cope with them now he'd gotten that excellent insult in. It had come to him so quickly and yet was so true. He congratulated himself on a job well done as he sank into the sofa. He could read, so long as Selphie didn't play any music.

The two girls bustled in his kitchen for an hour or so (making tea and gossiping Seifer suspected) before Irvine showed up.

"Hi Seif," he slid silently to the gunblader's side. "Happy Birthday darlin'"

Seifer's grip on his book tightened. "Fuck off cowboy."

Half the fun of being around Seifer was the way he reacted. The Galbadian wasn't exactly sure he was brave enough to actually fuck Seifer but he loved the look he got when he was angry. The pinched frown, the way it wrinkled that perfect scar. Narrowed eyes until they looked almost black. He smirked suggestively.

"Shall we leave the ladies to their thing and go do ours in your room?"

"I'd've thought you'd want to watch them," Seifer muttered. "Go away. Go put on a frilly apron and help cook."

Irvine sighed. "Cooking is not only for girls you know, Seifer."

The gunblader tried not to think of Zell and the breakfast he had cooked for him this morning. That was a valid point. From Irvine? What a surprise. How long had Zell been able to cook? Well, he couldn't keep it a secret any longer. Seifer wanted to know what else he could make. He was so deep in thought about all the other household things Zell might be able to do he didn't notice when the gunslinger slunk off to the kitchen but he was very relieved when he found out.

Grinning cheerily he wriggled a little before he settled again. He could ignore the squeals of delight from Selphie in the kitchen and then it might turn out to be a very good birthday indeed...

The doorbell rang.

... If people stopped interrupting his reading with their visiting. He violently placed his bookmark in the novel and got up. This had better be good. He scowled, if Selphie, Irvine and Rinoa were going to be in his dorm they could at least do a few things for him. Like open the door. Idiots. He peered through the peephole and smiled when the only thing he could see was a crest of golden hair.

"Hey Chickie," he growled when he opened the door.

The smaller boy nearly leapt into his arms at the sound of his voice but as there were cadets going by he settled for squeezing past Seifer into the dorm and whispering in his ear, "Your voice 'as got me so fuckin' horny."

The gunblader grinned, he seemed to be doing a lot of that this birthday. "Well, I'd invite you into my bedroom but I have guests."

"Guests?" Zell looked puzzled until he heard another excited squeal from Selphie in the kitchen. "What are they doin'?"

"Making me dinner apparently," Seifer smiled. He kept his voice low, maybe they wouldn't hear. "I was going to ask you to do it, to show me what else you can cook, but they beat you to it. I suppose it's a good thing, I was thinking you should do it naked."

Zell rolled his eyes and went to hit the taller boy playfully on the arm but realised his hands were full of present. "I got you this," he said belatedly.

"For me?" Seifer batted his eyelashes sarcastically as he took the offered parcel. "Why thank you!"

The martial artist bounced happily. "I hope you like it. It's only half your present. The rest'll come later."

A sleazy smile spread across Seifer's face. "How later?"

"Tomorrow," Zell replied sticking out his tongue. "But I might be persuaded to let you have what you want tonight."

The gunblader dragged the present and Zell into his bedroom dumped one on the bed and slammed the other up against the wall and kissed him passionately. "Zell..." he whispered throatily.

"Present..." Zell got out between kisses. "Open."

Seifer released the martial artist's lips but kept him pressed to the wall with his body. He leant behind him to reach the box but it was quite heavy so he couldn't lift it leaning backwards as he was. Instead Zell pushed him back until he sat on the bed then the smaller boy straddled his lap.

"Open," Zell ordered.

The gunblader was about to refuse, he didn't take orders remember? But figured it *was* a birthday present and he was curious, so he ripped the wrapping off and found himself face to face with a box full of large coffee cups. He smiled. "That definitely deserves a good fuck later tonight."

Zell laughed and got off the gunblader's lap as he took off his hoodie, it was too hot now with all that fooling around. "I figured you could have somethin' you wanted and somethin' you needed."

"Which one's this?"

"You'll have to wait for the other half to find out," the little blond bared his teeth in a mischievous smile. "Now come and kiss me again."

Seifer lunged at the other boy and had him on the floor before he realised he was following orders again -but this time he didn't care. What did it matter to him so long as he was getting what he wanted? It was a selfish kind of feeling that kept them both together- and a possessive kind that had him biting Zell's neck again in-between sucks. He pressed onto the smaller body beneath him, hitching up Zell's shirt and running his fingernails over the side of his ribs. Zell's mouth tasted like the orange soft drink he'd just had but his teeth were smooth and his tongue warm, moist and fighting his own for its invasion of his mouth.

Zell moaned softly into him. "Happy birthday."

The gunblader pulled his mouth away, laughed and pulled Zell up by the front of his shirt. He latched back onto Zell's lips pushing and probing, tongue fucking his mouth happily as the martial artist climbed onto his lap again. Seifer tried to pull up Zell's shirt but the other boy's hands were busy undoing Seifer's trousers so it was hard.

"Bedroom door's open," Seifer breathed.

"Neh," Zell leaned back and was about to push it shut with his hand when Seifer slid his own hand under Zell's shirt and up the middle of his torso then darted quickly to the side and pinched a nipple.

This body was practically laid out before him like an offering, pity it was still wrapped. Zell wriggled and tightened his legs around Seifer's hips. He was just reaching above his head to push the door shut when they heard someone knock on the front door. The martial artist rolled his eyes.

"We couldn't really fuck anyway," Seifer sighed. "Not with Selphie, Rin and Irvine in the kitchen. They'd wonder where I got to."

The martial artist stood up and straightened his shirt. "Will they answer it? Or do we have to?"

Seifer lay back flat on the floor. "They'll leave it for us. Or me, they don't know you're here yet."

Whoever was at the door knocked again so Zell moved to open it finally but Seifer grabbed his hand. "You'd better cover up that hickey," he commented with a smirk and left to greet his visitors.

The little martial artist glared. What was with Seifer and biting his neck? He pulled his hoodie back on. Was it because he wanted to brand his property? Was that all he was?

"Happy Birthday." Quistis put on her shiniest smile.

Seifer rolled his eyes. "So you took note of Zell's reminder on the Ragnorak, did you?"

"I know when your birthday is Seifer." The Instructor put her hands on her hips and shook her head at him. "I remember everyone else's birthday why wouldn't I remem--"

"Because you don't like me? You never have," Seifer interrupted bluntly. "But you may as well come in. Everyone else has."

As Quistis opened her mouth to argue, the gunblader noticed Squall lurking in the shadows behind her.

"I should have known you'd show up. Couldn't leave Rin here with me without your Knight-like protection?" Seifer glowered. "How sweet."

Squall scowled back. "Don't make this harder than it already is, jackass."

There was that donkey reference again. Did he bray or something? The gunblader wondered whether he should check to see if he had big ears sticking out the top of his head. "Harder?" Seifer queried. "The only reason you're here is for Rin and, seeing that's the case, fuck off. It's my birthday and, as everyone else seems to be here to celebrate it, I may as well exploit the moment. You, however, are a gatecrasher, so you can't fucking come in." He grinned victoriously.

"I brought you a present," Squall replied and held out a small box.

Seifer flinched. 'Damn, I didn't account for that.' He folded his arms and scowled down at the little box. It was very small. Squall probably wasn't into giving extravagant presents but then he hadn't thought he was into giving presents at all. Better let him in then. "Fine," he held the door open. "Come in."

"See?" Squall muttered to Quistis. "I said he could be tamed with a present."

Seifer almost hit him over the head but decided maybe he should wait until *after* he'd opened the small box.

Inside Selphie and Rinoa were hassling Zell as per usual. They'd seen him emerge from Seifer's room and were wondering how the hell he'd got inside without them realising.

"Seifer answered the door," Zell explained. "Then I gave him his present. And wished him Happy Birthday, then I used the bathroom..." He frowned at the two girls. "Where's the problem?"

Selphie put her hands on her hips and frowned back. "You shouldn't have given him his present. You're not supposed to until after dinner. See?" She pointed to a small pile of wrapped things that Irvine was poking at. "They've got to be surprises. He opens them all together."

Zell shrugged. "Neh, I can wrap it up again if you like."

"Never mind," Rinoa flung her hair over her shoulder and wagged a knife at him. "Was it Squall at the door?"

"Yes," her boyfriend replied. He had that same frown on his face. Zell smiled at it, and at Rin as she shouted at Irvine to leave Seifer's presents alone. Once Squall coaxingly had got her to lower the knife and go back to peeling the potatoes Zell hunted for Seifer's eyes in the quickly maddening room. When he found them he grinned happily knowing Seifer wasn't too angry at all these uninvited guests. He went to help Rinoa, though she probably wouldn't let him, most girls had the belief men couldn't cook.

Back on the sofa Seifer picked up his book, trying to ignore the screeches, scolds, giggles, and whispers that were going on around him. They were all insane, none of them had any idea how to act properly. Squall was mean, Irvine was a flirt, Selphie was mad, Rinoa was giggly, Quistis was depressed, Zell was... Zell. Hyper-active, too cheerful, too kind, and sexy. The gunblader smirked. Now that was one present that would be fun to unwrap as *well* as enjoy what was inside.

He had just got back to where he'd left off and was about to discover what was going on with Thursday and his friends (1) when Quistis approached. She still felt like an Instructor, like *his* Instructor. He had to resist the urge to stand up and be polite. Instead he kept reading and pretended to be aloof.

"Seifer, I..."

She sounded upset. The ex-Knight sighed. Why? It was his *birthday* for Hyne's sake. He didn't need to have to cheer people up.

"What's wrong?" he asked wearily.

"I feel bad that you would think I've never liked you and I *knew* today was your birthday. I've written it in my diary every year since we left the orphanage. Even when I forgot why--"

"Hyne Quistis," he rubbed his temple. She really did sound worried. Like she was truly hurt that he would think such things about her. Like she really gave a shit. "I know. I say these things to irritate you. Same as I say stuff to Squall and Zell to irritate them."


"But nothing." Seifer turned back to his book like that was the end of the conversation, though he half expected Quistis to continue on, she was never the sort to let something go when she hadn't fully explained it. But to his surprise she just changed the subject.

"Did Zell get you that?" She was pointing to the metal fire bracelet around his wrist.

"Huh?" Seifer looked at it. "No, he got me something I actually wanted."

The Instructor smiled gently. "I'm glad you two aren't arguing so much anymore. It used to give me a headache."

"You've always got headaches."

His old Instructor gave him a shy smile, that one she usually reserved for Squall. Seifer started as something horrid occurred to him. She didn't have a thing for *him* now did she? Maybe she liked gunblade specialists and now Squall was taken her affections had moved on. He suppressed a shudder, Quistis was alright in her place but that thought was just a bit too scary.

"I've noticed you thinking a lot more than you used to," Quistis observed. "You were so impulsive before, now you're actually becoming thoughtful."

"I'll take that as a compliment," Seifer replied. He focussed his eyes back on his book. Would she go away now and frolic with the rest of the party?

"It is. I'm glad everything's going OK for you--"

"Is it?" Seifer looked up at her again and she realigned her glasses. "So because I'm sitting here putting up with a bunch of idiots who've never bothered to be at all pleasant to me before, you assume that everything's going OK?"

Quistis frowned. "The only reason we've never done this before is because we didn't think you'd let us stay more than thirty seconds. You've never accepted any kindness any of us have given you, you're still not now, you're just putting up with us. You've gone from being actively negative about us to being totally passive."

Seifer snarled at her. "Great Quistis, thanks. Now will you go away so I can finish my book?"

To his surprise (the second time this evening, maybe he was slipping) Quistis laughed a little as she stood up, she'd never been the type to giggle. "That response just proves my point."

He was given time to consider this turn of events, and Quistis' 'enlightened' views, before Nida showed up at about 7- panting in the doorway. Seifer waited patiently, leaning in his usual arrogant fashion on the door frame, until the pilot got his breath back.

"Happy..." he got a lungful of air. "Birthday."

"Thank you," Seifer's voice practically oozed sweetener, he was being *that* sarcastic. "Did you want something else?"

"Come in!" Rinoa called from the kitchen. "We're making enough for 10!"

The pilot smiled weakly at Seifer. "I got you... this." He handed over a flat, squishy present about the size of A4 paper, just fatter.

With a deep sigh the gunblader took it and was about to close the door behind them when Nida spoke again.

"Xu shouldn't be long. She was just chucking some paper work in a file. I ran ahead so we wouldn't be late." The pilot had that same shy look on his face and for a second Seifer wondered what it meant but then Xu arrived with a large square present.

'How interesting,' Seifer thought. 'For me? These people are pathetic, as if any one of them bothered to even say hello to me on my birthday before...except Zell and that was only because he's nice to everyone. Bloody idiot.'

Then he realised Xu was holding the box out to him, so he took it, without a word and put it on the table with the rest. It was going to be a long night. All these people were going to stay for ages and ages, and get drunk and undoubtedly break something. Yay. He could barely contain his excitement.


Half way through dinner, while Seifer was distracted with his rosemary potatoes, Zell snuck out of the dorm, a large metal thing under his arm. Luckily Quistis was on side and helped Seifer look in the wrong direction. When Zell returned the ex-Knight was opening presents. Zell's were already in the kitchen and Quistis' stack of books was on the floor by his feet. Seifer found it highly bizarre that she knew what kind of books he liked but he guessed that followed on from writing his name in her diary beside December 22nd year after year.

Nida had given him a t-shirt of his favourite band, apparently the pilot liked them too, which scared Seifer though he wasn't about to admit it. From Xu a set of PlayStation games, good ones he was surprised to note. Zell would probably tell him he needed to get an X-Box and then he could play better games but Seifer liked his hatred of them. It was fun. It got people riled up with loyalties to gaming consoles. Idiots. Then there was Squall and Rinoa's present; a small black box with a red ribbon. He frowned.

"Oooooopen iiiiiiit~ !!" Selphie squealed. "Come ooonnnnnn~!"

Seifer deliberately took his time; undoing the bow perfectly, folding up the ribbon, carefully laying it aside. Then he lifted the box and shook it a little, it made a small sound as though whatever it was inside could move around a little, but was mainly kept in place. He held it close to his nose and lifted the lid a little. "Ooo," he said, unable to see what was in it but sounding believable enough that Selphie almost ripped it from his hands.

"Lemme see!!! Lemme see!!" she cried and Seifer took pity on her- or his own ear drums, it was difficult to tell.

Inside the box was a set of twelve bullets, each carefully engraved with the same cross that adorned his trench coat, and inked in red. Like it was his symbol or something. He supposed it was considering he'd worn that coat almost everyday for nigh on 5 years. Still wore it now in fact. He stared for a moment, this was remarkably... thoughtful, especially for Squall. Then he realised it was probably Rinoa's idea.

"It was all Squall's doing," Rinoa said. "I don't like giving people weapons as presents but he said you'd like it so..."

Seifer looked up and for the first time thought maybe Squall wasn't such a dumbarse... it didn't last long. He had been a complete twat his entire life, as if one little present was going to make a difference. Though it was a pretty damn cool present.

"Thanks," he said quietly. 'Hope none of them heard that.'

Squall shrugged. "Whatever."

The ex-Knight was almost going to chuck him out for that irritating and almost clichéd line but then Selphie squealed.

"Now our present!! It's from Irvy and me!! You'll love it!!!"

"I'm sure I will," Seifer replied with no enthusiasm.

"Here." Irvine handed him a small package a little bigger than a shoe box with puncture marks in the lid. The hyper girl kept bounding up and down.

Seifer lifted the lid of this box slowly too. Inside it smelt like some strange animal. He scowled, it was probably herbal bath salts or something awful, hair products were one of the things Selphie and Irvine both had a passion for. But when he heard a pitiful mew he realised these two weren't that kind, at least not to him. It was a kitten, a small black thing already with a scar between its eyes, exactly the same as his.

"You..." he stopped as a practicality came to him. "Did you consider who would feed it when I'm away on missions?"

"I will!!" Selphie bounded up and down again.

"And what if, Hyne forbid, we're away on a mission together?" Seifer demanded.

"I'll do it," Zell said, taking the pathetic creature from the box. "She's cute."

Seifer rolled his eyes. "As if I can take care of a cat."

"He can barely take care of himself," Zell muttered.

"Shut up, Chicken."

"Don't call me that," Zell replied with little feeling. It was becoming boring to react to Seifer's taunts all the time. Now that they spent so much time together it was exhausting.

Seifer scowled up at the boy standing next to him, the kitten looked very content in his arms, scratching, mewing and exploring as they are wont to do. A kitten? What the fuck was he going to do with a kitten? The damn thing wouldn't be able to put up with him. Animals had never liked him, especially cats, and especially not after Her, they could probably sense something She had left behind. To his surprise though when Zell put the cat down on his lap it pushed its head into his stomach and tried to wriggle underneath his jumper. It was probably cold.

"He likes you!!!" Selphie squealed.

The kitten and Seifer both flinched. 'With friends like these,' Seifer thought. 'Who needs enemies?'

But Seifer gave up, the kitten would stay. What it needed now was a name. He thought about calling it Chicken Wuss but he just knew Zell would leave him without sex for a week if he did that so he figured he'd think about it a bit more.

While everyone else was clearing up the royal mess they'd made of his dorm Seifer watched the small animal explore. It crawled under the furniture and was lying in wait, ready to pounce when Zell walked past. Seifer laughed uproariously when it attacked Zell's shoes. The martial artist shrieked a little but when he realised it was the kitten with its claws in his ankle he knelt down and played with it. Soon though it got tired of chasing Zell's hands and never catching them so it wandered away to get something else. As soon as Zell's back was turned it pounced on him again from under Seifer's chair.

The gunblader laughed, he would have to call it Hunter. Lowering his hand to the floor he clicked his fingers gently and Hunter came over to investigate. She sniffed them a little then nuzzled the side of her head against them, she wanted a pat. To Zell's surprise Seifer was almost affectionate with her. She clambered up the chair and sat on his lap, purring happily as the gunblader scratched her under the chin. Maybe the kitten would be good for him after all.

Once everyone but Zell was gone Seifer stripped off the black t-shirt he had been wearing and kneeled at the younger boy's feet. "Wanna go to bed?" he whispered seductively, leaning over to place a kiss in his ear.

Zell wriggled and the cat that was now playing on his lap dug in her claws. "Oww!" the martial artist complained. "She's put her claws into my leg."

Seifer snarled at the cat. Where the hell was he going to put the damn thing? That was a practicality those two idiots had never considered. Damn Selphie and Irvine. If he had to get a cat flap installed... and besides weren't pets banned at Garden? How the hell had they managed to get it past Squall? Then he realised why no one but Zell seemed surprised at all, they were all in on it. The cat would be a therapy companion animal, she was his psychiatrist.

"We can put her in the bathroom, that way if she makes a mess outside of the kitty litter tray it'll be easy to clean up," Zell smiled up at him and held up the kitten. "You gunna help birthday boy?"

By the time it was set up in the bathroom it was 2am, Zell needed sleep and Seifer wanted sex. After a few moments of fighting him off Zell gave in. He always did. Besides it was Seifer's birthday and if he wanted to run his tongue across Zell's ribs like that then he could. The martial artist wriggled a little, Seifer had lessened the pressure of his tongue and it was beginning to tickle.

"Seif..." he whispered.

The gunblader looked up. "Mmm?"

"'M tired, hurry up with the sexin'... please?" Zell arched his back against the older boy as one of Seifer's hands pressed an aching muscle the small of his back. "Hyne damn... want." He reached for the gunblader, grabbing an ear gently and pulling his mouth closer. Seifer tasted nice too, the older boy was always going on about the flavour of his skin but Seifer's wasn't so bad himself. For some reason it felt like a forest, like somewhere deep and cool, and secret.

Zell grinned around the mouth attached to his own and licked his tongue along Seifer's. Their kisses had become comfortable over the two and a half months they'd been doing this. Zell had begun to know what kind of sex would follow what kind of kiss. A gentle kiss would mean tender and often long lasting sex, filled with gentle presses of his lips against Zell's body. A violent tongue fuck would mean sex just the same, passionate, maybe a little painful. Sex all about control and power. A pleasant French kiss followed by a nip near the ear would mean play time, tickling, pretend fighting, laughter. That was the kind Zell enjoyed the most. But this comfortable kiss, full of tongue and presses down his neck meant sex; good, clean sex. A murmur of his name as Seifer came, no blow job, no fucking him roughly against the head board, just face to face, their arms around each other and Seifer's cock hard and deep inside him.

Zell sighed happily as Seifer slid one lubricated finger inside of him. Their relationship needed this moment in order to keep itself alive. It needed them to satisfy each other's physical desires, their sex kept it burning. Zell tightened his grip on Seifer's shoulder so the gunblader stretched him further with another finger, then a third before biting his earlobe and pushing himself inside.

Even if they did this everyday (which they did) Seifer didn't think they'd get tired of one another. It felt too damn good to give up, even if it were like this all the time, the gentle and comfortable fucking, almost following a plan there were little things they both did to make it different. The way Zell moved, the place they were, what Seifer did with his hands, what Zell did with his. The only pattern they followed was prepping Zell, Seifer inside him, then one of them coming followed by the other. Everything else would change and grow. Like now the tight press of Seifer's lips over his throat burnt a hot feeling that flowed into his ribs and down into his stomach. The gunblader's kisses didn't always feel like that but tonight Zell wanted that arrogant smirk against his skin, he wanted to know that the old bully now wanted him, he wanted the hatred they had once possessed for each other to be the fuel for this fuck.

"Zell..." Seifer whispered huskily in his ear.

"Mmm," Zell wrapped his arms around Seifer's shoulders and bucked his hips forward to impale himself deeper.

"Hyne damn," Seifer almost toppled forward onto him. Fucking Zell sometimes did make him go weak at the knees. He threw himself into it full throttle, like he did almost everything else. Zell wouldn't let his mind wander, he wouldn't get distracted, he wouldn't want it to finish so he could go to sleep, he'd live in the moment, he succumbed to the emotion, he let Seifer take him, but by doing so took Seifer somewhere else as well. "Zell..." he breathed again.

The martial artist moaned softly into his ear. "Seif..." he panted. "Hyne... make me come... please... "

Without really thinking about it Seifer took Zell's erect cock in his hand and began pumping it, he barely even realised he was doing something for someone else. He'd get just as much pleasure out of this situation if Zell didn't come... or so he thought. Then he remembered the way Zell clenched around him in their final moments of sex, the way he would throw his head back, the harsh, ragged pants as he regained his breath, his closed eyes and slightly open mouth. That was a damn turn on.

So he picked up the pace in both his hips and hand, biting and sucking Zell's neck until he was sure another mark would adorn him. Then with one firm thrust came inside the smaller boy, his sexual need gratified.

Zell responded just the way the gunblader suspected with a slight addition made all the more beautiful by Zell's mouth uttering it. His hands gripped him tighter, the muscles in his arse contracted, his head threw back and he let out a little hiccuping breath, followed by a gentle sigh.

"Happy Birthday."

Seifer laughed against his neck and buried his face in the soft blond hair beneath him. "Thank you."

They lay together, as they always did, coated in sweat, their stomachs splashed with come, and simply got their breath back in one another's arms. Seifer suspected Zell was almost asleep but then remembered something he'd meant to bring up.

"You knocked."


"Tonight. I told you you could let yourself in."

Zell grinned. "Guess I'm not used to it. 'Sides, I figured it was more polite my way."

The ex-Knight placed a kiss on the corner of his mouth and pulled himself out of the smaller boy. Staying inside him always made him feel like there was something more between them, maybe a little friendship but he knew really they didn't even have that. They were hanging onto a thread that, if tested, would break. Too much compromise was needed and neither of them wanted to put in the extra work.

So instead he looked over the naked body beside him, basking in the central heated warmth, and wiped them both down with a wetted tissue. It was strange but for a second, despite his love of winter he wanted to see Zell bathed in sunlight. When they'd got together it was coming into winter, and now he was wondering how he would cope when summer came around, when Zell started wearing clothes that did not entirely cover his skin. Would Seifer have to drag him into a storage cupboard in between classes just so he could taste all that delicious exposed flesh?

Behind Zell he suddenly noticed Hyperion's case was undone. A frown appeared on his face but was wiped away when hot lips brushed at his and a tongue licked into his mouth.

"Was that the other half of my present?"

Zell laughed. "No, you'll get it when it's delivered."

"Delivered?" He settled his hands around Zell's waist. All the better to tickle him with when he teased. "Something big?"

"No, just another kitten."

Seifer attacked his ribs with merciless hands. "I don't want another kitten and if you dare I *will* call it Chicken Wuss."

Under him Zell writhed and giggled. "But wouldn't..." he sucked in some air and it escaped him again almost immediately as he laughed. "Someone suspect then?"

"It'd be worth it," Seifer let him up. "Then I could tell people Chicken Wuss was my pet. Imagine the rumours."

"You're evil," Zell replied.

"I know." Seifer gave him a wicked smile. "So what is it?"

"You really want to know?"

"I hate surprises," Seifer lay beside him and watched as Zell wrestled with his decision.

"It's for Hyperion."

Seifer's eyes narrowed instinctively, then darted over to the unlocked case. He was very precious about his weapon. "What do you mean?"

"I gave it to Sydney Arshova."

"You what?!" Seifer's eyes almost fell out of his head. Sydney Arshova was the best gunblade specialist on the planet, albeit one of the only ones. His work was extraordinary... and very, very expensive. "That would cost a fortune."

"Not really," Zell looked a little sheepish and tried to snuggle deeper under the covers but in doing so he just ended up even closer to Seifer. "Half birthday, half Hynemas present."

"So where's the other half of my Hynemas present?"

Zell smiled. "I lied. You just got it."

"Can we do that again on Christmas Day?" Seifer asked with a grin.

"Of course, and the two days in between as well."

The ex-Knight kissed him forcefully. "Now that's a much better present than a kitten."

After a moment or two, as they lay together drifting into sleep, Zell spoke. The smaller boy had begun picking at the loose strand of cotton on Seifer's dark blue sheets. "Why did they get you a cat anyway?" he asked quietly.

"Maybe they thought I needed something cute and fluffy to look after," Seifer smiled gently. "Guess they didn't realise I already have you."





Author's Note

Not much plot, not much sex, not much point. But it was fun to write. Longest Chapter so far too, hope that makes up for its lateness.

And for those of you wondering, 'The Viscount Who Loved Me' is a real book, by Julia Quinn. My friend is obsessed with romance novels and she has this one *shudders* Personally I find them scary but there you go, to each their own.

(1) 'The Man Who Was Thursday' by G.K. Chesterton. Very awesome novel. I've been wondering for a little while what Seifer was reading and I figured anarchy and humour would appeal to him. So it was either this or 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas'. Rest In Peace Hunter. (Yes, the cat is really named after Hunter S. Thompson.) Don't ask me how Seifer got a copy of 'The Man Who Was Thursday' at Balamb Garden suffice to say a Sorceress has her sources. Ultimecia probably got him all sorts of good things to read while he worked for her, I'm sure he had heaps of spare time after killing a bunch of SeeD soldiers, I mean they're not that great :D... and I'm rambling. I'll go now...

Oh yeah and thanks for reviews they make me write faster XD.

Up Next: A gratuitous sex chapter. Oh the joy of PWP! I look forward to finishing it.

Return to Archive | next | previous