Warning: You guys are gunna hate me for this one. Sorry.

One Moment, And A Year

Chapter 18 - To Wish Impossible Things

By Akare

Saturday, 13th June


//Remember how it used to be
When the sun would fill the sky
Remember how we used to feel
Those days would never end//

Seifer glared at the light that peeked around the edges of his black curtains. There was nothing more irritating than having to get up in the morning. Beside him Zell was still asleep. The martial artist was often a morning person but he'd had a late night, they both had but Zell had done most of the work. After exhibiting his skills in that area one night in the bathtub Seifer was more than willing when he was a little sleepy to have his energetic little partner ride him. He grinned at the thought.

And it was to that expression that Zell woke. He scowled as he felt his mind waking and decided he didn't want to. Seifer's bed was comfortable, and warm. The stupid summer sun was already shining at this Hyne awful hour of the morning. He didn't need this shit.

"Nhh," he growled.

"Heh, Chickie not happy this morning?"

"No," Zell rolled over to nuzzle closer to his partner. "Don't wanna get up."

"You don't have to," Seifer smiled and combed out the tangles in Zell's hair with his fingers. "It's Saturday, remember?"

"Mmm," Zell smiled. "I didn't actually."

"Stupid Chicken."

"Shut up," Zell turned his face away from Seifer's. "'S'not my fault my brain doesn't work."

"Whose fault is it then?" Seifer chuckled and blew softly down the back of his partner's neck. "C'mon. Up."

"Nah." Zell shook his head and tried to burrow under the blankets again but Seifer grabbed hold of him and bundled the smaller boy up in his arms. Zell struggled a little as he was lifted from the bed. "Where are you taking me?"


"Bath," Zell argued. "Showers require more energy. I'd have ta stand up."

Seifer laughed but deposited his armful in the bathtub anyway then turned the hot water on. The little martial artist flinched as his bare skin came in contact with cold porcelain and then cold water but as it turned to hot he smiled and closed his eyes, relaxing against the side of the bath.

While Seifer fiddled around with the temperature Zell felt himself drifting back to sleep. He didn't want to sleep, what he wanted was for Seifer to hurry up and get in the bath with him. It was big enough and it wasn't like they hadn't been squished up together before. As he snuggled deeper into his pillow made of his forearm he heard Seifer laugh softly. It was a sound he was becoming increasingly used to but it also unnerved him some of the time.

"Neh," Zell complained, reaching out a hand for him without raising his head.

The gunblader slid into the tub behind him, one leg either side of the smaller boy. Slipping one hand around Zell's ribs Seifer pulled him back to rest against the older boy's chest.

"Yer comf'table, 'n' warm... D'you 'member when we 'ad ta go ta Trabia--"

"Has anyone ever told you you talk too much, Chicken?"

Zell lifted his head from his pillow and scowled at the gunblader. Suddenly awake now, his voice sounded more grown up. "Yeah, dumbarse, you."

Seifer grinned and pulled Zell back down towards him as he reclined against the end of the bath. Sometimes Chicken was way too cute for his own good. He really did act like a child, the gunblader was amused that he hadn't started splashing water at Seifer for insulting him. "Hush up." He lay one finger gently across the smaller blond's lips and stroked the other hand down his smooth chest. Slowly, so as not to let on what he was really aiming for, the gunblader slid his fingers from Zell's mouth to his jaw. He gently pushed the other boy's head to one side, baring that slender neck to Seifer's mouth, and kissed him there softly. Zell murmured appreciatively and snuggled backwards against him.

When Zell was half-asleep it was much easier to get him to do things. He lay there, cuddling one of Seifer's arms to his chest and drifting back into sleep as the gunblader watched him. Drawing a bath had been a stupid idea. Because of it, Seifer knew, he would be half-asleep for the rest of the day and Zell would probably never wake up. The smaller boy was supposed to be meeting Irvine somewhere that night for a drink so Seifer probably wouldn't see him, which was why the gunblader had decided he needed his fix in the morning. But now they were in the bath, a suitable place for a quick shag, Zell was asleep and he felt... snuggly. He wanted to just lie back, with Zell using his shoulder as a pillow, and just have a quick nap before he had to do anything. Trouble was Zell kept wriggling a little and that got Little Seifer interested in the... developing situation.

It was times like these that Seifer realised, again, how lucky he was. There was no reason in the world that he could see for why he should be happy, especially not with Chicken Wuss. He'd been wondering since visiting Raijin and Fujin whether it was just the situation that made him happy or if it was because of Zell. Would he be content with someone else? In some ways he knew it was Zell. If he was lying naked in a bath with Squall a) the water would have turned to ice and b) he'd have to be incapacitated (drunk, unconscious, dead etc.) to allow it. And Irvine, well, the cowboy would have to be gagged for a start... Seifer grinned at the thought. He liked the noises Zell made too much to gag him but a little collar around the boy's neck wouldn't go astray.

While he chuckled softly at the thought Zell let Seifer's arm drop into his lap and turned to look at the older boy. "What are you laughin' about?"

"Just thinking," Seifer flexed his fingers against the soft skin of Zell's thigh. "'Bout you in a collar."

Sky blue eyes narrowed swiftly. The martial artist looked for a second as though he were considering something. "I should hit you for that," he muttered. "But it'd be too easy for you to get me back."

"Oh come now," Seifer sat up, pressing himself much closer to Zell in the process. "Can't you just imagine all the fun we'd have?" Seifer smirked."...Pet"

Before Zell could snap a response Seifer curled a lock of Zell's hair around his finger and pulled the other boy's head back gently. While kissing him softly on the cheek, Seifer reached for a nipple. Once he had one between thumb and forefinger he pinched and trailed his mouth up to Zell's ear. As he slid his tongue smoothly over and across the smaller boy's ear lobe Zell whimpered softly in the back of his throat. That was what Seifer had been waiting for. That sound was a sign that now he had control. When he was in this state Zell would put up with a lot of things if Seifer would just make him feel good.

"Seif?" Zell pulled away slightly and tried to regain lucidity. Seifer always did this to him; he knew Zell's neck was sensitive to kisses. Maybe that was why the older boy gave him so many hickies, maybe that was why he loved to suck and bite there, because it made Zell almost defenceless if he did it right. Damn bastard.

"Hush baby," Seifer curled his tongue over Zell's collarbone and smiled.

Zell sighed and relaxed against him, a gentle curve of his lips Seifer's sign that he should continue. So he did. The gunblader wrapped his arms around the smaller blond and squeezed him tightly once. He then rose from the tub, the water was cooling and that irritated him, so he flipped on the shower tap. Beneath him, Zell scowled and woke up fully. Seifer was so annoying. How was he supposed to nap with water spray all over him?


"Are you *still* sleepy?"

The little martial artist rolled his eyes. "Yeah, can I go back to bed now?" He got up and was stepping out of the tub when Seifer chuckled softly behind him.

"Since when did you need my permission?"

"Screw you," Zell snapped. But the gunblader grabbed his elbow and tugged him backwards. He landed in Seifer's waiting arms.

"If you stay here we can have a little fun..."

Zell tried to ignore the smirk. He did his best to ignore his own desires too. But he was fighting a losing battle, Zell's body wanted Seifer's and to be honest Zell wouldn't mind cuddling up in those arms again. "Seif..."

"You keep saying that," the other boy teased. He lifted Zell back to stand in the tub, pressing him face first against the wall at the end. "If you wait a moment I can get you screaming it."

Zell laughed softly despite himself. "You should work on your charm. That ain't winnin' anyone over."

"Oh yeah?" Seifer reached for Zell's semi-erect cock and stroked it teasingly. "I beg to differ."

The little martial artist laughed and tossed his head back, leaning it on his partner's shoulder. Seifer kissed and sucked on the neck bared to him. A little bit of extra charm would be required to make Zell putty in his hands again, so he pulled Zell's chin toward him and kissed his soft lips, slipping his tongue inside the warm cavity while his hand pursued a similar invasion.

Zell flinched, his head falling forward and forearm holding him up as Seifer slid a water slick finger deep inside him. The gunblader wasted no time inserting another. He quickly prepared himself before curling one arm around the martial artist's waist and pushing inside him. Zell spread his legs a little further and pushed his shoulders back to press himself more fully against the gunblader. Seifer felt beautiful, sliding along his body like a sinuous snake, arms tight around his waist, and breathing hot air down his spine.

"Yes..." Seifer panted softly in his ear, so quiet Zell almost didn't hear. "Nnm..." The gunblader thrust his hips gently against the other boy, pressing him into the wall. He loved the way Zell arched his back, it gave him better access to that smooth expanse of throat, tanned like weak tea. When the smaller boy suddenly slammed his hips back against his Seifer had to use one arm to prop himself up on the wall. "Ahh... " He caught his breath sharply, panting over Zell's shoulder. "Baby..."

Smiling smugly Zell dug his nails into the back of one of Seifer's hands and bared his throat for the other boy's perusal. He giggled softly when Seifer curled his tongue over his Adam's apple.

"You do realise..." Seifer breathed. "In the animal world... the throat is your most vulnerable part..." He bit gently on a fold of skin. "You're letting your guard down... Chickie."

Zell smiled slightly. Typical Seifer to turn this into an act of submission. "Well... I reckon letting you stick your cock... up my arse kinda proves that." The little martial artist let out a groan as Seifer's grip around his hip tightened and the gunblader pulled him back viciously to meet him. "Aw, fuck Seify... Nhh..."

The gunblader in question smirked and bit Zell's neck. At the rate he was going the martial artist was going to have a permanent bruise there but Seifer kind of figured it was a small price to pay for the pleasure of being fucked by a God. He grinned at thought and, taking a hold of both of Zell's wrists in one hand, wrapped both their arms around the smaller boy. Using his remaining free hand Seifer held them upright as he thrust deeper inside Zell.

The smaller boy felt his knees getting weak and knew he would come soon, but both his hands were tied. As good as it felt having Seifer's arm around him, cuddled up to the boy sweetly as though they weren't just trying to get off, it would be better to have a little stimulation on his cock as well. "Seif?"

The gunblader silenced him with a forceful, sloppy kiss- running his mouth along Zell's jaw then his tongue across Zell's lips to gain entrance. He fossicked in the other boy's mouth as though hunting for gold, or chocolate. Although the martial artist desperately wanted to touch himself this invasion, coupled with the feeling Seifer's hard flesh thrusting inside him, practically begged him to push back against the older boy- which he did.

When Zell began rubbing back towards him Seifer let go both of the other boy's wrists. That beautiful, smooth curve wriggling up against him caused him to forget all about proving something and reminded him what he wanted was to fuck. As he breathed deeply into Zell's ear the gunblader slid his hand around to stroke Zell's erection as quickly as he was slamming into the smaller boy.

Now Zell's arms were free the martial artist used one to hold himself up and the other to wrap about Seifer's neck, tugging him close as their mouths met in another slick kiss. As three hard, successive strokes met with his sweet spot Zell tensed his muscles and came against the tiled wall. Seifer was not far behind him. (1)

After a few short moments Seifer pulled back from the body he clutched against his chest. "Baby..." he breathed, and stopped. "Fuck..." he smirked softly in appreciation. "Breakfast?"

"Work up an appetite?" Zell mumbled cheerfully.

"Don't you know it," Seifer replied. He pulled Zell closer to him as he removed his cock from the smaller boy. It was warm inside Zell, close, safe, and with the other boy in his arms Seifer felt so much more... happy. The gunblader grinned and set about cleaning up. He was halfway through cleaning them both when Zell slipped his arms around the taller boy's neck again and kissed him gently. Seifer almost flinched at the nature of the contact. It was so... kind. "Zell?"

The other boy just grinned his usual grin and stepped out of the tub. Seifer watched as his little martial artist dried himself. He was really damn sexy when he bent over naked like that.

When Seifer emerged from the bathroom Zell was already dressed and cooking breakfast. So the gunblader set to making tea for Zell and coffee for him. He set the kettle on and busied himself with tea bags and coffee plungers as Zell tried not to burn things.

"It scares me, you know."

Seifer looked up at this sudden declaration of weakness.

"I think you might know me better than anyone."

The gunblader grinned and stepped up behind the smaller boy, placing his hands on his hips and watching over his shoulder as he cooked. "How do you figure?"

"You know all my closely guarded secrets." Zell turned and looked at him while Seifer snaked an arm around his waist. "You know I can cook, you know I passed the SeeD written exam with little sleep and less study, you can tell when I'm thinking, you know I'm gay... do I need to go on?"

Seifer smiled and kissed him gently. "No."


//Remember how it used to be
When the stars would fill the sky
Remember how we used to dream
Those nights would never end//

"Is he always late?"

"Who? Irvine?" Zell nodded. "He'll arrive after he's made sure his hair is perfect."

"Hmph," Seifer glared around the bar. It was very crowded and there wasn't anyone he knew. All the better to blend in. All the better for people not to cast a second glance at him and Zell standing together near the back entrance. "Speaking of the back entrance," the gunblader muttered and grabbed Zell's elbow. When he had successfully dragged the smaller boy outside Seifer pressed him against the wall.

"What are you--?" Zell was cut off as the other boy pressed a firm kiss against his lips. "Ahh, that's what you're--"

Seifer smirked and cut him off again. "Shut up."

The little martial artist mock saluted, clicking his heels together and grinning as Seifer ran his hands under the smaller boy's shirt.

Seifer had Zell's legs around his hips and the smaller boy slammed up against the wall when Irvine arrived. Zell was the first to notice him. Seifer was busy rubbing their clothed arousals together as his tongue ran over the other blond's, their mouths parted from each other for a moment while Seifer hunted down the spot on Zell's neck that would make him gasp and moan and thrust against him.

The cowboy hardly dared interrupt, they did look super damn cute, but maybe that was the three beers he'd already had talking. Still, he wouldn't say no to either of them if pressed. Selphie would understand, they were a cute couple after all, and if they were in need of his expertise, who was Selphie to--

"Irvine?" Zell suddenly noticed him.

Seifer froze, his tongue half out and running along Zell's neck. A low growl rumbled from his throat. Stupid fucking cowboy. Trust him to ruin the mood.

"Hi." Irvine waved sheepishly.

At least the idiot had the decency to look embarrassed, Seifer thought. He drew a deep breath and pulled away from Zell, dropping the kid to the ground and glaring over his shoulder at the gunslinger. When Irvine didn't appear to notice his death stare Seifer turned back to Zell. "Later, Chicken." It occurred to him after a second that he was waiting for a response. Generally Seifer Almasy would not care about what other people had to say about his departures. Evidently things had changed. He growled and turned on his heel. Farewelled by a belated "K" from Zell.

Irvine smiled as Seifer walked away. Time to filch as much information as he could from the little martial artist while he was drunk. It could be useful to use against him later. Zell may have been the victim of bullying when he was younger but he was now the king of the subtle tease. He could say what sounded like the most innocent thing to everyone else, but it would mean something seriously dirty to one listener. It wasn't done in spite though; there was no malice involved. Just a little fun to keep people on their toes, and to remind them that Zell Dincht was *not* as blond as he looked.

The two of them headed for the nearest bottle shop to pilfer some booze and then headed for the harbour. During the day they would be crowded with the Balamb Markets but at night all the stalls were gone and all that remained was the red tarp. Zell and Irvine made their way to the sea and sat perched on the edge of the dock watching the stars.

"Squall?" Zell asked suddenly.

"Finished. Fun while it lasted," Irvine grinned. "Much like another cute little fighter I know."

Zell rolled his eyes. Sometimes Irvine was insufferable, it was bordering on one of those times now. "Irvy, we were drunk, remember? Doesn't mean I'm gunna do the same thing *every* time I'm drunk."

"I know, much the same as I'm not gunna go 'round flirtin' with every cute little thing... anymore," he flung a mischievous smirk Zell's way. "Selphie's enough and everythin' to me. Squall was... helping out a friend, an experiment. I don't need any of that now. I'm a-hangin' up my flirtin' hat and headin' for Selphie Town. Population: ME!"

Zell laughed despite himself. That was so stupid. "You're so stupid."

"I know," Irvine laughed and handed the smaller boy the now open bottle of vodka. "I got orange juice too..." He began hunting the shopping bags. "Somewhere... Why did we buy cookie dough?"

"For Ma, she wants me to make cookies," Zell stuck out his tongue in disgust. In all honesty the little martial artist was perfectly fine with making cookies, and quite good at it too, but if Irvine saw him tomorrow with a freshly baked tray of them he might get suspicious. As Irvine rummaged a thought occurred to Zell. "Hey? If Selphie's your everythin' and Squall was an experiment... What was I?"

Irvine looked up. Ahhh, Zell had a good point. What had he been?

"A mistake?"

"Nah," Irvine shook his head. "I don't think so. You were..." The gunslinger screwed up his nose in thought. "You were inevitable."

"Oh," Zell nodded slowly. That made sense... Hold on a minute. "What? What's that supposed to mean?! Inevitable?!!"

The cowboy laughed merrily, covering his face with his hat. "Darlin'..." He paused a moment to catch his breath. "I mean, think about it. There I am, Selphie's away on a mission and I'm crawling into your bed 'cause I'm lonely. And there you are, lettin' me do it 'cause *you're* lonely. One night we get drunk and drown our sorrows. You're mainly gay, I'm... well, bi I s'pose..."

"Just because we're both attracted to men does not mean we'll end up in bed together!!"

"Hyne, Zelly, calm down. Do you wanna wake everyone in the Balamb Hotel?" Irvine reached out an arm to calm the martial artist. Zell, cranky, tipsy and wearing his gloves, was not a good combination. "What I meant was: I'm gorgeous, you're cute. There was some attraction there before we did the deed, wasn't there?" The cowboy watched quietly, an amused smile on his face, as the martial artist considered this.

"How come..." Zell began. "How come *I'm* not gorgeous?"

Irvine would have laughed if Zell hadn't looked quite so serious. "Darlin', you *are* gorgeous. I told ya, if I didn't have Selphie and Seifer were... well, more of a pushover I'd've jumped in with you no questions asked."

"What about Squall?"

A wicked gleam emerged in Irvine's eye. "Mmm, threesome."

As Zell narrowed his eyes, prepared to sock the cowboy if he kept that up Irvine realised that Zell's question hadn't been properly dealt with. The little blond had been being serious. He wanted to know why Irvine hadn't called him gorgeous. Truth be told the cowboy hadn't really thought about it. The incident between the two of them had been sort of brushed off under the weight of other things and now Irvine was suffering the consequences. He should have gone to see Zell, crawled into his bed for a cuddle one more time, told him he was fucking gorgeous and any man would be lucky to have him. But the day after Irvine had been sent on a mission for a week and two days after that he and Selphie had a Discussion about where the two of them were headed. Once the cowboy knew Selphie loved him completely the cowboy hadn't had time for other people. He only wanted to be with his beautiful, divine, gorgeous, hyper-active, loud and just damn *fine* woman. As a result he felt he'd abandoned Zell. In those two months between him and Seifer Zell had had no one to confide in, no one to talk to, and no one to look after him. Hyne, Irvine felt really fucking guilty all of a sudden.

"I've been terrible to you, Zell," he began.

"Huh?" the martial artist looked up from the packet of chips he was destroying.

"I left you on your own," Irvine took off his hat and ran and hand through his hair. "I just kinda ran off with Selphie and didn't even think how you were doing. I mean, you were on your own, no one to talk to until..."

Zell shrugged and offered Irvine a chip. "I was OK. There were people around."

"Who? Selph and I were always together. Your Ma was in Dollet, Quistis was on a mission, Rin was in Esthar. Zell, I totally fucking abandoned you after fucking seducing you! How can you even--"

"Irvine? Shut up," Zell smiled cheekily at him. "I still had Squall."

"Squall?" Irvine cocked an eyebrow. "But... He's *Squall*."

"Yeah, he's a really good listener. He doesn't say much but when he does... well, it means something."

Slowly the cogs in Irvine's brain started working. "Hold on... You told him? About us?"

"Uh-huh," Zell nodded. "Like you said, there wasn't anyone else to talk to--"

"He knew?!!" Irvine's eyes were as big as hubcaps. "And he *still* slept with me? OH YEAH!!!!" A gigantic grin spread across his face. "Am I that irresistible? I must be the bee's fucking knees! I mean how could he, after all that, still--"

"Maybe you're just that trustworthy."

"...Sleep with me? Because I'm gorgeous, refined..." Irvine turned suddenly to his blond friend. "Huh? Trustworthy? How d'ya figure?"

"Well," Zell began the hunt for the orange juice again. "Consider. Two good friends. One, gay-ish and single- that's me. The other, in a steady relationship but needy for human contact- that's you. So we shack up together when your girl's away, provide friendship in a crazy, messed up world," Zell grinned cheekily and handed Irvine the vodka. "And we become more comfortable around each other. I let you sleep in my bed in only yer boxers, your help me gel my hair when I'm late, and sometimes we cuddle. So we get drunk, one thing leads to another..." Zell waved his hand dismissively. They both knew that part rather well. "And afterwards we're still friends. Maybe you don't come sleep in my bed anymore but we're OK around each other. *Now* consider you're curious, wanna experiment but you're in a relationship with a woman you love and what other guy would be willing to have a fling with you when there was absolutely no chance of staying together if he wasn't someone who was going to tell everyone or *any*one that he'd got into the pants of Garden's Commander? You, that's who."

"So Squall gave in to me because I was nice to you?" Irvine shook his head. "But I was horrible to you. I left you alone to get nabbed by Seifer!!"

"I didn't get nabbed," Zell scowled. "I got... even." The little blond smirked wickedly. "I got him wrapped around my little finger."

Irvine scoffed. "You do not."

"Do so, he made me tea this morning," Zell grinned triumphantly. Tea *after* sex, not before as an incentive. With anyone else that feat would be expected, with Seifer it did actually mean a little something.

Although Irvine smiled back inside he worried about his little friend. Sure physically Zell could take out any opponent you care to name but emotionally, he wasn't fragile per se. He was... something you'd want to protect. A being so happy and positive in a world that had seen such horror and inhumanity was a being to be treasured and guarded. If Zell were ever hurt Irvine would never forgive himself. He deserved a love that was flawless, someone to guard and respect him; someone to make sure that smile never left his face. Irvine felt that Zell deserved it more than he did. Zell's beauty of character was the only reason Irvine was ever sorry the other man was gay; with Zell as a role model no child could be brought up anything less than perfect. They would be happy, lively and adorable. Irvine grinned, other people might not be able to see in Zell what he did but that didn't matter. Zell was the one member of the Orphanage Gang who was genuinely happy. Even Selphie had bouts of sadness but Zell was either cranky or hyper and Irvine reckoned no one who'd ever met him would have him any other way... except Seifer. And that was where the problem lay.

Irvine had spent the past few months preaching to anyone who knew, i.e. himself, that Zell and Seifer were gorgeous together and *belonged* together. But the more he thought about it, the more he worried that maybe Zell was good for Seifer, but Seifer couldn't be good for Zell. What did he have to offer? Zell gave Seifer relief, probably emotional as well as physical. He'd help Seifer with his research work, he'd make Seifer laugh and give him someone to boss around, he'd make Seifer more like the old Seifer again instead of the husk that had walked through the gates of Garden over two years ago. What did Seifer give in return but anger, uncertainty, and suffering?


//It was the sweetness of your skin
It was the hope of all we might have been
That filled me with the hope to wish
Impossible things//

It was strange to be spending time alone with a male friend who wasn't Seifer. Zell had to constantly stop himself from absent mindedly leaning against his cowboy friend, or curling an arm around his waist. It would never do to start doing that sort of thing with Irvine... not again. Sure last time had been fun and... drunk. The little martial artist grinned at the thought.

"What do you think he wants?"

"Huh?" Zell frowned at his friend. That was totally out of left field.

"Seifer. What do you think he wants from you?"

"Umm," Zell shrugged. "I dunno." The little martial artist looked away, Irvine was being scarily serious. Maybe if he buried his head in a shopping bag--

"Is it just because you're the only one around? Or do you think it's you in particular?"

"Ahh," Zell bit his bottom lip and shrugged again. How was he supposed to know for Hynes sake?

"Why *you*?" Irvine pursed his lips in thought and lifted the vodka bottle.

"Why do you think it's so weird someone would want to fuck me?"

Irvine laughed. "Baby, *I* can see the appeal but why would Seifer?" The cowboy scratched his head and lay back on the concrete of the docks. "What does he see in you? What does he *want* from you? He's only ever done things for himself before so why would he stop now?"

Zell got the impression Irvine was just thinking out loud but the cowboy had a good point so he figured he might as well join in on the conversation. "Maybe he's changed?"

"Seifer? Naw, don't think so. He's the same old Seifer. Rude, self-centred..."

'Yeah,' Zell thought. 'But he also does things like making me tea, buying me birthday presents...'


'...Holding me all night even though he gets a numb arm... though he does whinge about that one a lot...'

"...A bully..."

'...Letting me sleep in his bed just 'cause I missed having someone next to me...'

In the shadows of Balamb Hotel walked a tall, handsome man; black trench coat slung over one arm even though the cool sea breeze caused goose bumps up and down his skin. Sometimes the gunblader felt stupid wandering about Balamb like a homeless vagabond, in truth he didn't really have a home, at least he didn't have a place he belonged... Unless it was fucking Zell senseless. Seifer smirked at the thought.

He rested scarred arms against the railing and looked down over the docks where the markets he had once visited with Ma had been. He could see shadows down under the maroon tarp and wondered who would be down there at this time of night. He hoped it wasn't anyone vandalising or stealing from the old vending carts. Maybe he should go check it out...

Moving stealthily down the path Seifer snuck close to the people. They didn't seem to be making much noise. He could only hear one voice talking; maybe it was just a drunk taking shelter where it could be found.


'...Being nice to my mother...'


'...Coming to parties if I ask him nicely... (And give him a blow job but then the old Seifer would have demanded one and still not come to the party)...'

"Do I need to go on?"

Suddenly Zell realised Irvine was looking at him expectantly. "Ahh, no. You've made your point."

The cowboy sighed and edged closer to his friend. "So why are you with him?"

"I dunno," Zell suddenly lurched sideways. "I mean, I s'pose I like him. But he's such a... I dunno." The little martial artist rested his head on Irvine's shoulder and decided there wasn't much point baring his heart to Irvine. "We've always hated each other. I reckon this thing's just physical."

"Is it?" Irvine passed the bottle back to his tipsy friend. "You don't love him?"

"Nah," Zell shook his head, but he was still unsure if he was doing it because he didn't actually like Seifer or because he didn't want to put his heart on the line when Seifer didn't like him. "Yeah, we help each other relax. And 'sides he's got no one else."

Irvine started a little at this. "You feel sorry for him? For Seifer?"

"Well...ahh, kinda," Zell scratched the back of his head. "It's just..."

"It is kinda pathetic."

"Huh?" the little martial artist lifted his head from his friend's shoulder and took the bottle back. "Seifer?"

"Yeah, the world's biggest badarse and he's fuckin' *lonely*," Irvine shook his head. "Serves him right for being such an arsehole before I s'pose. Now he don't have any friends."

Zell bit his lip. He felt a little like he should defend Seifer but he had been an arsehole before and now was suffering the repercussions for that. It was kind of pathetic and Seifer would kill him if he heard him say it. But then it wasn't like he was friends with Seifer either.

"Poor bastard." Irvine took another swig of vodka, following it with a mouthful of orange juice. Sometimes just straight vodka got a little boring; even for a hollow-legged Veteran of the Bar like Irvine.

Lonely... Pathetic... Pity. Lonely he could deal with. He was now Raijin and Fujin were gone; they had been his constant companions almost since they entered Garden. Without them he was even more likely to make enemies because people saw him as a target now. And pathetic? Even that he could deal with, if Irvine wanted to see him as pathetic that was fine, he'd just slice open the cowboy's face and see how he felt about the Ex-Knight then.

But *pity*? He *was* master of his own destiny dammit. He always had been. He had designed his future, he had planned. To think that he would lose control was something he hated and that people now pitied him because he lost control to Her, well, that made him... angry, hurt. That Zell would think... The arrogant little shit, thinking he had the right to pity Seifer. And not just to pity but to use him as well. As if it weren't bad enough feeling sorry for him but to use the person he was feeling sorry for...

He watched silently as the gunslinger slid one hand over the nape of Zell's neck. Even now Seifer could taste the smaller boy's flesh on his tongue. But he shook the feeling away with a quick jerk of his head. So *that* was how Zell felt about him... The truth comes out, as it were.

Seifer shook his head. He was slightly more relaxed now thanks to the few drinks he'd already had, but how would he take this news in the morning? Maybe it would be best if he went home, had a good night's sleep and didn't think about it. He'd feel better in the morning. Zell wasn't really being cruel. The kid was just an idiot. Yeah, that's right. An idiot. He should go home and sleep.


//Now the sun shines cold
And all the sky is grey
The stars have dimmed by clouds and tears
And all I wish is gone away//

Sunday, 14th June

Zell awoke to a furry mouth and a slightly curdled feeling in his stomach, although he hadn't drunk that much (he'd learnt that lesson eight months ago). He'd almost made it, staggering, to the bathroom when a knock came at the door.

"Neh, whozit?"


How definitive. But Zell recognised the voice anyway. How could he not when just over twelve hours ago he'd practically had his tongue in that voice box? When he opened the door Seifer just waltzed straight in, the gunblader seemed a little irritated. Why else would he show up on Zell's doorstep at this early hour of the morning? Actually, Zell noticed, looking at a clock, it was 7am, Seifer was risking being spotted.

"Seif, what's this a--"

The martial artist was cut off as Seifer grabbed him by the collar and slammed him against the wall. Zell might have thought it was sexual aggression had Seifer not actually hurt him.

"Oww, what's your problem? What are you doin' here at--?"

"Well, I've got no one else to turn to, do I, Zell?"

Zell frowned. There was something in Seifer's tone that seemed familiar... Mockery, that's what it was. Seifer was mimicking someone the same way he used to mimic Zell. Then he realised, he was *still* mimicking Zell. "You were *spyin'* on me?!!

"Turns out to be a good thing I was, I might never have known about your *pity*," Seifer practically spat the word out, so thick was his disgust.

Zell wriggled a little under the older boy's hold. "Seif... don't be stupid. I never said I pitied you."

The gunblader snarled and shoved the other boy away from him into the wall. "You never said you didn't either."

Zell stepped forward, curious. "You wanted me to defend you against Irvine? It's not like you to be needy, Sei--"

The gunblader shoved him back against the wall. "You don't fucking get it, do you?!"

"What's there to get?!" Zell snarled. "And quit shovin' me around." He pushed back against the taller boy. "For Hyne's sake what's your problem?"

"Us... You... This..." Seifer ran a hand through his closely cropped hair, growling in frustration. "Fuck!"

Obviously this was going to require some careful thought and questioning. "Well, how did you want me to feel?"

"I didn't know... just," Seifer shook his head. "Not that. Not *pity*."

"It ain't pity, Seifer." Zell sighed and considered moving closer, maybe bridging the physical gap between them would help them both calm down. "Yeah, so I think you got dealt a shitty hand. You know that."

"Maybe I just didn't need to hear you telling some slutty cowboy that the only reason you and I fuck is because you feel fucking *sorry* for me," Seifer narrowed his eyes at the smaller boy.

"Don't insult my friends, Seifer. And you wouldn't've had to hear it if you weren't fuckin' stalkin' me."

"I wasn't stalking you, I heard voices and--"

Zell took a few quick steps forward and pointed angrily at the gunblader. "The question you gotta ask yourself Seifer is not why I'm with you but why you're with *me*."


//And all I wish//

Seifer paused a moment, taking time out to consider was not something he did usually but if Zell wanted an answer he'd give him one, at the cost of whatever the fuck they had or not. What Seifer had thought Zell was it was obvious now he wasn't. Zell was just like the rest of them, accusatory and selfish. He wanted Seifer to stay beaten, he wanted to be able to look down on and pity Seifer, he wanted to use him the way She had used him; for himself.

Zell waited, watching him carefully. Seifer was acting like a wild animal again, scared and dangerous. Slowly (though Irvine seemed to think Zell was helping the older boy) it was now beginning to appear that he was actually helping Seifer become the old Seifer again; the one Zell really didn't like. The new, post-Her Seifer was bearable, he was softer and less... insulting. But it appeared maybe things had changed for the worse. Maybe they had been right to call this off months ago; maybe they were no good.

The little martial artist took a deep breath, preparing himself to just dive right in. "Look, I want us to be friends but--"

"Oh you want to be friends now?" Seifer sneered. "How nice."

"Don't be such an arsehole."

"Well, don't be such a self-centred little shit."

"That's rich coming from you," Zell snapped, folding his arms in annoyance. "When was the last time you did anything for anyone?"

Seifer scowled. The last person he did anything for was Zell and it turned out that had been a big mistake. That was the last time he made anyone a cup of tea. "Fuck you."

The martial artist declined from rolling his eyes at that line; sometimes he really did think Seifer acted like he was still a teenager. It was interesting to note though that Seifer hadn't brought up something like making him tea yesterday morning. So far as Zell was concerned this was an extremely good thing. He had also said then that Seifer knew him better than anyone... Ha! What a mistake that had turned out to be.

Seifer drew a deep breath and looked away from the other boy. "I don't want this, Zell. I don't want to have to put up with your shit."

"Maybe we just need to calm down and stop treating each other--"

"For fucks sake, stop trying to pacify everything! We don't work, you know that!" Seifer turned and snarled at him. "Not as friends, not as fuck buddies, not as anything!"


//Is gone away//

Zell leant back against the wall, staring the floor before his bare feet. "You want it over? You want it ended?" He bit his lip. "You don't even want to... be friendly?"

Suddenly Seifer's voice softened. "But you said it yourself, Zell. We're not friends. You don't even like me, do you?"

"Oh come on. That's not what I meant and you know it. It's just weird--"

"Quit making excuses," Seifer snapped. He still couldn't work out why it made him so angry. For some reason he wanted now to hurt Zell, to be cruel and make him feel cut and hurt the same way Seifer was.

"But you don't like me, do you?"

Well, Matron had always told them 'honesty is the best policy,' so Zell would get what he deserved. "No, Zell, I don't like you. I've never liked you." Too bad Seifer had forgotten *how* to be honest.





Author's Note

Song: 'To Wish Impossible Things' by The Cure

(1) AHA! A pun!! (Or double-entendre) I couldn't help myself.

I feel so evil. I know some of you will be prepared to kill me for this chapter but it had to be done. Sorry.

Ahh, the angst. Now this one *is* a cliffhanger. Fortunately I have only 2 things to do in the next 2 weeks (although they are exams) so the next chapter should be soon... With luck XD

Oh yeah and next chapter (no. 19: Black Cats And Sorceress') CONTAINS PLOT!!!! (And not just in the SeiferxZell sense) In fact, really huge ginormous important plot thingumy *nods* Be there!

And QueenAdreena? I answered your question in my lj 'cause I type too much and filled up a lot of room.

Thank you all very much for the reviews. Again. XD

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