A bit late but...

--A gift in honour of your birth--

One Moment, And A Year

Chapter 20 - How Much Hope I've Placed In You

By Akare

Saturday, 20th June

Zell scowled and rolled over again. He was angry and cold and fed up. A week later and he was still getting pissed off about it. It was stupid for him to be at all concerned. That dumbarse didn't deserve it. He was the one who'd said mean things, he was the one who deserved to be ignored and hated and... The little martial artist growled at himself. Yet he still couldn't bring himself to hate Seifer. He'd never been able to before and he couldn't now. He hoped it wasn't their brief sexual fling that caused it. Knowing the gunblader if it was he'd use that against Zell for the rest of forever.

"What? You thought it actually meant something?" he asked himself. Well, somewhere in the recesses of his stupid bird brain, yeah, he had. Stupid. He was lying curled on one side, clenching his jaw shut, fists in tight little balls, infuriated with himself when he heard the dorm door slide softly open. He let the tension go a little, but kept enough to be able to throw a punch if the need arose. Something told him, however, that this would not get down to fisticuffs. Who knew the pass code to his room? Irvine, Quistis 'cause she was so nosey, Squall... and Seifer. And who would come visiting at 2am, slinking silently like a thief? Only one.

He felt the mattress dip, and the weight of another crawl across the bed behind him. He waited until he felt them settle, until they were secure in their thinking that he was asleep before he spoke.

"Piss off."

An arm slid around his waist, tugging him back softly to rest against a broad chest.

"Get your fucking hands off me," he snapped. He expected the hand to clench against his ribs. He expected hot breath down the back of his neck. He expected a sleazy remark. He did not expect a softly spoken, fragile apology.

"I'm sorry."

"What?" Zell twisted to look over his shoulder at the other boy, pushing the arm off him. "What for?" he asked, narrowing his eyes suspiciously. It wasn't like Seifer to apologise for what he *should* be apologising for. In fact it wasn't like him to apologise at all.

"I just... I need you."

An interesting development. Seifer Almasy rarely admitted to needing anything, let alone any*one*. "Well I don't care." If Seifer could be an arsehole so could he. He turned away again.

"I was wrong. I do care for you. I do like you... I need you," the gunblader buried his nose in the crook of Zell's shoulder. He couldn't bring himself to look at the other boy. How could he when he'd just destroyed everything that had taken him a lifetime to create? Every wall, every shelter, every defence. He was sacrificing it all just to have someone to hold... just to have someone hold him.

Zell sighed. Well what was he supposed to say to that? "It took you a week to work that out?"

Hyne this was painful. For a moment Seifer wondered if Zell were being purposely inquisitive so it hurt him more than it should but Zell was nothing if not fair. "No, it took... It took Her... to make me realise."

OK now that was confusing. "Isn't She dead?" Maybe the gunblader was having nightmares.

"I..." Seifer shifted a little, turning his head so Zell's hair was no longer in his mouth. He pushed closer. "Rinoa came to see me today."

"Did she?" Zell asked dryly, making it perfectly clear he didn't care. He wasn't entirely sure if Seifer were up to something or not but nothing gave him the feeling of being tricked as much as the gunblader in a nice mood.

"She said... She said she could still sense Her whenever she's around me," the gunblader closed his eyes and silently begged Zell would understand.

"When she's around you?" What the fuck? Sense Her? That was bad and... wrong. The little martial artist rolled over to face the other boy. "What? Like Her power? Or Her?"

"Her power," Seifer considered burying his face in the pillow so Zell wouldn't look at him like that. Maybe he was wrong and the questions he could handle, but his look was so unfriendly, so unlike the Zell he thought he knew. "Apparently my... stats and... stuff are... higher or something."

Zell bit his lower lip and considered. Ultimecia affecting his stats? Affecting his magic? Well it explained a lot of the idiosyncrasies Seifer had.... He'd thought maybe the older boy had them before Her also but they hadn't been as ... 'close' then so he didn't know. But even if She wasn't still alive this proved She'd left a little of herself behind. What else had She done? Was there anything else they didn't know about? The little martial artist glared at Seifer, observing the way the other boy avoided his eyes. Obviously, Seifer really was in serious need of some comfort and with a soft sigh Zell realised not only was he effectively the only one who could give it but he also actually wanted to. He couldn't say that out loud though, one thing he'd learnt over the years was never to let Seifer see a weakness, and he wasn't letting go of that lesson in a hurry. "So that's why you're stronger..."

"Am I?" Seifer looked up at him but could only hold the smaller man's gaze for a few seconds before he gave in, surrendering to look back at his twisting hands.

"Yeah, that's why it hurt so much when you hit me."

Seifer flinched. But he deserved that one. "Can I... Can I stay?"

"You better not--"

"I won't try anything," Seifer interrupted. "I promise. It's just... There's a comfort knowing you're beside me." He looked the other boy in the eye again as he shook his head lightly. "I don't want sex. I want you."

"Hmm," Zell narrowed his eyes suspiciously, pursing his lips. "All right," he conceeded warily. He rolled over again, letting Seifer curl up behind him. "But if you fuckin' dare..."

"I won't," Seifer smiled gratefully. "You're a body I like to fuck but we're more than that, aren't we?"

"I dunno," Zell pondered. "You said we weren't friends. You said you didn't like me, you didn't care about me."

"I lied, Zell, or else I didn't know. Maybe it was a little bit of both," Seifer breathed in the scent of Zell's skin, content now he had it back. "I didn't realise how much hope I'd placed in you."

"Hope?" Zell asked sleepily.

"Yeah," Seifer paused a moment, listening to Zell breathe. "That maybe you could save me."

Yes, well. He *had* said Seifer was an arsehole and deserved everything he got but he'd also said if Seifer came snivelling back to him he might be able to forgive him... Of course that was the last thing he had ever expected Seifer to do. But here he was curled up in Zell's bed, fully clothed thankfully, the martial artist wasn't sure if he would have managed to be quite so frosty last night with the gunblader's naked chest against him... In fact he still couldn't. Despite how angry, irritated, hurt and just downright pissed off he'd been the sound of Seifer so... beaten was enough to awake Empathetic and Forgiving Zell and make him just want to bundle Seifer up in a hug.

Now though, watching Seifer snooze in his bed at 9.30 in the morning he felt the familiar anger he'd always had against him well up inside. It was challenged by the sympathy and affection that had grown in him for the other boy but it was still there and it was enough to make him leave the room to shower and have breakfast before he woke Seifer up to tell him how pissed off he still was or, worse, jump him and demand a quick shag. It irritated him that it irritated him and that no matter what happened he would always possess some lust for the other boy. Maybe he should just go and jerk off in the shower.

Morning had never been a good time for Seifer. The only concession was that it wasn't a week day. When he woke Zell was already up and eating something that smelt really good. Strangely, although things had not worked out the way he normally would have wanted them (i.e. with both of them naked and more than a little sweaty), he still felt somewhat satisfied. Sure Zell had left him alone in the bed as though he were no more than a regretted one night stand but they were at least on speaking terms again.

After a week of practically being alone Seifer had been almost desperate for some human company, being able to tolerate Rinoa's presence, he felt, was testimony to this. Zell, however, was a step further, it was the company of someone he actually liked. He'd had difficulty admitting that to himself but now he'd said it out loud, confessed, as it were, his admiration and affection for the smaller boy he felt braver.

Things had taken yet another step in their relationship. They were not just people who fucked one another, they were not just people who slept together and let their relationship develop into whatever it wanted, they were... well, not people who fucked at this stage as Zell was still angry and deservedly so... But they were people who cared for one another. Even if they never went back to fucking (Seifer didn't even want to think about that) they, with luck, would maintain that element of friendship and compassion that had appeared between them the night before. With that happy thought in mind Seifer felt awake enough to greet Morning Person Zell without getting a headache.

Seifer emerged rubbing at the back of his head, trying to muss up the flatness of his bed hair. He noticed Zell barely looked up when he made show of clearing his throat.

"I was going to cook you some... but then I remembered you're an arsehole and don't deserve it..." Zell looked steadily at Seifer and noticed, seeing him in the light for the first time, that he really didn't look very well. "You OK?"

"I thought I was an arsehole."

"You are but..." the martial artist shrugged. "Whatever."

Great, he'd been taking lessons from Squall. Seifer really didn't want his.. friend... thing to turn into Squall Leonhart... Wanker. "Umm, I'm gunna have a shower. Is that OK?"

"Yeah," Zell poked at his breakfast and frowned at the other boy.

When the gunblader left Zell munched on the last rind of his bacon and frowned some more. Sometimes life was just really fucking irritating. That word kept going around and around in his head but the whole damn situation was... irritating. Seifer needed someone, it was as simple as that and not only was no one else going to give it but Seifer wasn't going to accept it from anyone else if they tried. So it effectively fell to him to help the gunblader out. He felt responsible for it and that pissed him off. Why the fuck should it fall to him? Because he'd been fucking Seifer... Stupid Seifer. He headed into the kitchen anyway and before he knew it was preparing to make another breakfast, despite his best efforts not to do anything for Seifer. As he did so he stomped, swore and slammed things. It might be his responsibility but that didn't mean he had to be happy about it.

He was furiously beating some pancake batter when he realised that he hadn't considered how much She had affected Seifer's life. He hadn't thought about it because he didn't want to know. Considering Seifer's welfare wasn't something that came naturally to him, until now, when he happened to be fucking him. Stupid Seifer. But She had fucked him around, he was such a different person now, so much more... pleasant and so much less... of an arsehole. Whoever Seifer would have become no longer existed. Whatever he may have achieved, and whoever may have loved him would probably never happen and would probably never meet him. He was alone and thanks to Her altering his life so drastically he probably always would be.... Or would be without Zell.

The little martial artist carefully placed his spatula down on the bench top. Once again it fell to him. He was responsible for Seifer's happiness... Bugger.

In the shower Seifer was smiling softly. He tried not to but couldn't help himself. Everything appeared to be returning to the stage where things felt good. Sure, so much was missing, there were so many little things that he missed from just two weeks ago, from before Her, even from back at the Orphanage but the past week that he had spent alone and miserable was fading away as quickly as the sun on a Winter's eve. Now everything could be snugly and warm again. He ran fingers through his hair, scrubbing at his scalp and massaging it.

Where they were now was not a comfortable position to be in. Zell was evidently still very angry and resentful and Seifer felt... vulnerable. He'd always hated that feeling, he'd always hated the idea that anyone else could make him do anything, that was why he never did as he was told and why he hated Her so much... ignoring the brain-washing and possessing him and everything that followed because of that as well as trying to destroy the entire planet and everyone on it business. The gunblader had only realised about two years ago that Time Compression would have effectively killed him too, destroying everything except Her included killing him, the little part She had evidently left behind in his brain could not be enough to prevent that. She had tried to kill him, that added fuel to the fire of his hatred, that made him want to... But he shouldn't be thinking things like that, he shouldn't be thinking about Her when really, his life was not that bad, not anymore, not with a hyper-active little Chicken around to entertain and... well, to look after him.

Although part of Seifer- the secretive, romantic Capricorn part of him- wanted he and Zell to be cuddling up together again, almost wanted them to actually love one another he knew that was a little... overzealous. He liked Zell, he didn't love him. All he really knew was that he wanted to be with Zell and for Zell to be with him. Love was a whole other matter entirely.

He was just finishing up when he heard someone knock on the door to Zell's rooms. Quickly he silenced the shower and got dressed as quietly as he could. It wouldn't be any good for someone to know who was taking a shower at Zell's house. Even if they didn't know it was Seifer they'd still ask the martial artist all sorts of embarrassing questions about this person who stayed over.

Zell was scowling at the pancakes when he heard the knock followed quickly by the silence from the bathroom. With luck it was because Seifer had heard the visitor as well. He padded over to the door and opened it, expecting Squall or Quistis with a mission statement, or Irvine and Selphie with a picnic basket. But it wasn't any of the Orphanage Gang.


He was greeted by a swift kick to the shins. "BASTARD."

"What?!" Zell hopped around holding his abused limb. "What did I do?"

"SEIFER. HURT. BASTARD." She made as if to kick him again but Zell managed to dodge.

"No, wait, you've got it all wrong!!" The martial artist spotted a few people rounding the corner into the hallway and grabbed Fujin's arm, dragging her and hopefully this embarrassing scene inside. As he slammed the door behind her he tried to salvage his innocence. "Seif and I... we're..."

"FUCKING." Fujin raised one eyebrow.

"How did you..."


"I didn't!! It was a misunderstanding. Ask him!!"

As if on cue Seifer emerged from the bathroom rubbing his hair dry with a towel. He'd heard the noise and now knew it was safe. At the sight of Zell worked up and rubbing his shin a slow smile appeared. "Hi Fu."

The martial artist was almost as surprised as Fujin at Seifer's honest and almost beautiful smile.

"It's nice to see you still live out your threats."

"He didn't hurt you?" Fujin asked softly.

"No, not really. I think I hurt him more," the gunblader looked apologetically at Zell, then his eyes travelled to the kitchen where he saw breakfast being made. In a few short steps he had his arms around the smaller boy's shoulders. "Thanks Chicken."

"Don't call me that," Zell muttered, pushing away. He still wasn't quite sure about Seifer, surely he should dump his sorry arse but... well, he liked him. Stupid Seifer, making him like him. Grr.

Fujin, watching the exchange between them, saw the patching up of a rift. They'd fought, Seifer had called her, things had sorted themselves out, the time line was evident now. She glared at Zell again, grinning internally at the skittish look the martial artist gave her. "If you hurt him again..." she left the threat open. She did live out her threats but didn't want to commit herself to one form of killing Zell at this early stage, she might think of something better later on.

"I didn't hurt him," Zell snapped. "He's an idiot." The smaller blond turned to Seifer who was currently perusing the maple syrup. "So you told Fujin and Raijin then did you?"

"So you told Irvine?" Seifer replied idly, he wasn't in the mood for another argument. Unfortunately that statement did not make the situation seem more fair, it made it seem petty.

"I did not! He found out for himself," Zell scowled at the other boy again.

"He still gets worked up easily then," Fujin noted.

"I do not!!"

"Not really," Seifer replied, ignoring the other boy as he gave up and went to make tea. "He's pissed off this morning anyway so you're not making it any better."

"Don't blame Fujin," Zell snapped, slamming a tea cup on the bench. "At least she has the guts to tell someone what she thinks of them, or to *ask* instead of being a wanker."

Seifer looked up from his breakfast, his face was unreadable but the precision of his actions implied he was forcing control. Zell wondered if he'd just made Seifer mad again... Not that the bastard didn't deserve it.

"You're not my favourite person in the world, Zell," the gunblader began quietly. "That would have to be Fujin, because she understands me and will always be loyal to me." He smiled softly, glancing at the one eyed girl before turning back to Zell. "But I do like you.... I don't know what else I feel but that much I know." With a calm and precise grace, the gunblader returned to his breakfast.

In the kitchenette watching him carefully, Zell placed his tea softly on the bench. "I hate you," he muttered unconvincingly. "Just as soon as I think you're the biggest fuckhead ever to walk the face of the earth you go and do something nice." He scowled at the gunblader. "Are you trying to make me confused or something?"

"Not really," Seifer offered a little half smile, almost a smirk... but not quite. "I just think you're cute when you stomp your foot like that."

As Zell rolled his eyes Fujin took a seat beside her friend. Certainly her trip had been a waste of time but she was happy it was, happy to come across Seifer OK instead of in need of some serious looking after- and it appeared Zell fed him well too. Now she wouldn't have to fuss over his eating habits like a mother hen, she hated it when she got all maternal with Seifer and Raijin.

"Did you want tea or coffee, Fujin?"

The girl looked up. How strange to be imposing on Zell's hospitality, and how strange to find he was quite good playing host. "Yes, coffee, thank you. Black with one."

Zell nodded, scowled at Seifer again and went to boil the kettle. Fujin noticed Seifer watching his every move, a soft smile curling his lips. Evidently they'd be all right again, she felt. They were both still a little tetchy but things could be smoothed over. They'd be happy together. She could head back to Timber and tell Raijin that Seifer was fine... not that the doofus would know anything about him having been un-fine, or even that Fujin had disappeared for a day. She smiled as Zell set down her coffee and wondered idly, and aloud, if Seifer was the one who'd trained Zell to be such a good little housewife. She giggled in a very un-Fujin like manner as Zell stood up violently, kicking over his chair and stomped off to sulk in his room. It looked like Seifer's relationship with the Chicken could be fun for her too.


The ruby-eyed girl left late in the evening. She'd spent most of the day with Seifer while Zell 'got some work done' in his room. Fujin suspected he was still sulking about being called a housewife but she was perfectly happy with that, it meant she didn't have to put up with his company.

Seifer returned to Zell's room at about 9. The stack of plates on the sink made it evident he'd already eaten, but he wasn't in the lounge room or the bathroom, the gunblader frowned. Had Zell already gone to bed? He felt a little stab of disappointment, he'd wanted to talk to Zell again, to see if there was anyway he could get more of the affection he craved from the smaller boy. But Zell hadn't even waited up for him. For a moment Seifer considered just heading back to his room and sleeping there, but he still felt that nagging in his brain, that tightness at the base of his skull indicating an oncoming headache, and he still didn't know what to do about Her.

So he pushed the bedroom door open softly. The little light by Zell's bed was on, and curled under the covers lay the martial artist himself, reading a book.

"I wondered when you'd show up," he muttered, not taking his eyes from the manual he was looking at.

"I wasn't sure if you wanted me here or not," Seifer replied. He closed the door behind him and made his way to the bed. When he sat down on it Zell closed "Bennett's Guide To Sorceresses: The Power of Hyne Through The Ages" and turned to look at him.

"Well," he held Seifer's gaze as long as the gunblader could bare and was surprised when Seifer looked away from him, the pained expression back in his eyes. "We do have things to... " he grimaced. "Talk about, don't we?"

Seifer nodded softly. "We've changed a lot."

"Of course we have," Zell frowned at him. "You think we'd be in this situation if we hadn't?"

The gunblader offered a small unamused laugh. He looked down at the bed again then over at Zell. "Do you mind if I..."

To his surprise Zell smiled sweetly and threw back the covers. "Get in."

When Seifer had divested himself of most of his clothing they lay together, face to face as they each wondered where to start. Seifer thought an apology might be needed, Zell wanted some answers. After a moment, Zell reached over to lift the older boy's chin, he wanted to see those clear, blue-green eyes burn with some of their old anger.


"I'm sorry... but I need you."

Zell smiled again. "You don't need to be sorry for that, dumbarse." He snuggled closer, sliding an arm over Seifer's ribs and pressing an ear to his chest, listening absently for other boy's heart. "We've turned into a right pair of sooks," he muttered. "I wouldn't hire us to protect anyone."

"What we do in the bedroom doesn't reflect on our expertise in the field," Seifer grinned. "I sound just like Quistis."

"Except she'd say that we had to conduct ourselves with decorum in all instances blah blah blah." Zell rolled over pressing his back against Seifer and cuddling his arm to his chest. "I've been wondering... Does Squall know about...?"

"No, I ran into Rin today and she said she wasn't going to tell anyone- not until I was ready... which I'm not."

"You'll be all right, Seif. Just think, you'll be a better SeeD than the rest of us; stronger, faster, more magically inclined," he grinned looking over his shoulder slightly at the other boy. "You could challenge Squall to a spar and kick his arse... again."

Seifer smiled softly back. "Yeah, I s'pose I could." He sighed, looking away from the smaller boy again.

"Seif, you gotta let me in," Zell clutched his arm tighter. "I can't help you if you don't tell me anything."

"What do you want?" Seifer rested his chin on the martial artist's shoulder, breathing in his ear.

"I dunno... a little bit of trust."

Seifer paused a moment. He wriggled closer and whispered softly, "I'd let you in if I knew you wouldn't leave me."

A promise, that was what he was after. A commitment. Zell wasn't sure if he even had that to give. Could he promise to stand by Seifer? Especially when the older boy was so unpredictable. Could he say 'yes' now to put him at ease and then take it back later? Or should he say 'no' now and risk whatever Seifer might do?

As he considered he felt soft, shaky breaths against his shoulder blades; as though Seifer were struggling to keep his breathing even, as though he were close to tears. And Zell knew his answer.

He turned around and tugged Seifer closer. "OK I won't leave. So long as next time you fucking well listen to me. I never said I didn't like you, I just said I didn't love you." He bent his head to look into Seifer's eyes. "I don't even know who you are Seifer." The little martial artist sighed. "I give in too easily."

"No, you don't. You listen, you believe me..." The gunblader was looking at him now and through his dark lashes Zell saw a little tear welling up in his eye. "I can't tell you how much that means to me." No way was Seifer going to let that fall though. No way.

When Zell felt a little drop of water on his cheek he hugged the taller man closer. "All right, fine," he slid one leg between Seifer's and looked up at him. "But you better play nice."

"Dumbarse," Seifer grinned, kissing the tip of Zell's nose. "I always play nice... except when I'm being an arsehole."

After a shake of his head Zell captured the older boy's lips with his own. After a week of absence, a week of just touches and dreams it was nice to finally feel the other, to act with them not against them. To kiss and hold and taste them and remember, and know that together they were more complete.

Seifer's hands were more careful than usual, his touch almost nervous. But something quickly overrode all the insecurities about one another, about their relationship, about themselves, and they forgot to worry about what would come of this, how they would change and what it meant.

After a few moments of careful caresses Zell gave up, certainly he wanted to feel secure, and it felt nice to be wrapped in a man he knew and who, it seemed now, knew him, but the lust and desire to just let go and have all the anger and sadness of the past few days disappear was stronger. Seifer was startled for a second when Zell suddenly pushed him over and straddled his waist.

"You get this straight, dumbarse," Zell ordered, poking the older boy in the chest with one finger. "One time," he touched his cheek where a bruise had been a few months ago. "It's arrogance. Second time," he scowled softly. "It's a misunderstanding. Third time," he tapped Seifer's chest. "Third time and I'll kick your arse. Got it?"

Beneath him Seifer smiled and nodded. "Got it." He ran his hands up Zell's ribs until they reached his shoulder blades, once there he pulled the martial artist down toward him and kissed him gently. "Goes for you too. From now on we'll ask... and tell." He frowned softly, smiling when Zell tightened the grip of his knees. "Now can we shut up and fuck?"

Zell grinned, rolling over again and pulling Seifer over on top of him. "That's my boy."

The gunblader chuckled softly, curling his arms around Zell's shoulders and sliding his tongue along the curl of his ear. When Zell arched his back, shivering up against the older boy Seifer swore he was reacting like it was his first time. But truth be told he reacted much the same way, he'd missed Zell's body too, ached for it even. The familiarity of having the same body almost every night, finding release with a person who knew all the right places to touch and kiss was beautiful. To then lose it, especially in anger, made everything so tense only to make it so much better when they were together again. The built up need for each other would dissipate when their energies were thoroughly and well spent.

Seifer rid Zell of the last of his clothing quickly, there was no point in making it soft and seductive; they didn't want love-making, they didn't want sex, they wanted each other... minus those irritating clothes. So the gunblader's hands turned rough, not forceful or painful but possessive, clutching Zell against his body even as one hand hunted in Zell's beside table for some lube. In return Zell's hands calmed him, stroking his hair, and he kissed him softly and slowly, even when Seifer tried to liven it up. After a moment the gunblader realised Zell wasn't letting him have complete control, he felt a little smile emerge at that, somewhere along the line their sex had become equal, he could no longer make Zell give in to his demands, Zell had some of his own.

And so he did. Once Seifer had coated his fingers Zell snatched the tube off him, if the older boy could tease him with gentle, long-lasting strokes then he could tease back. As one of his fingers entered Zell slowly the smaller boy slicked one hand up Seifer's erect cock, squeezing tightly at the base then the tip and running his fingers softly over the appendage. Seifer almost fell on him.

"Don't do that now," he ordered, suddenly short of breath.

Zell ignored him, offering the other boy a mischievous grin and kissing him softly on the corner of his mouth. "What's up?"

Seifer replied by adding another finger and thrusting them both up to hit Zell right where it pleasured. The martial artist arched his back, letting out a long, deep moan.

"Bastard," he hissed.

"Uh-huh," Seifer replied, stretching his fingers apart. "But I said I'd play nice so so will you."

"Mmm," Zell nodded his head absently. "Just fuck me Seifer. I be'n waitin' a whole fuckin' week."

Seifer laughed and kissed Zell's mouth, he slipped his tongue in, fossicking while extracting his fingers and readying his cock. He ripped his spit slick mouth from his partner and with a jolt of his hips thrust inside the smaller boy. He'd been waiting a whole week for that feeling too.

When Zell's ankles locked behind Seifer's back the taller boy rested his weight on his forehead beside Zell on the pillow. He gripped one of Zell's muscled thighs and slammed into the body beneath him. It might have started as a experiment, as just sex, but it had become an emotional release. Zell's breath was hot in his ear, sending shivers along his spine as his own breath puffed over the younger boy's shoulder. He felt more at ease there, maybe even safer, than he'd ever felt. Curled in this other boy's arms he wasn't a Knight, he wasn't a SeeD, he wasn't Seifer. Nothing he'd ever fought for mattered because the arms that clutched around his neck, the skin beneath his mouth, the tongue that ran along his jaw, all this was all that he wanted. And he was happy.

Zell's steady moan in his ear and that distracting tongue that found its way to places it had never been before felt devine. As the martial artist licked behind the top of his ear Seifer let out a low groan, thrusting deep inside his partner. Zell arched his back again against him, crushing his own hardened penis between their bodies, letting violent bursts of air escape his lungs as he pushed himself down to meet the older boy's hips.

They moved together, slamming against each other with a furious lust that had taken only a week in the making. So used to each other, so used to escape and with so much to say. Their fucking, fast in their breath and its pace; intense in their clutches and need for release- it was filled with apologies, reassurances, and promises of what was to come. Zell's limbs wrapped tightly, monkey-like around his partner assured that this time he would not let go, he would fight and argue and prove that he needed this other boy more than he ever thought he would. Love needed more work, but affection and friendship had formed itself between them in their weeks absence.

As Seifer slid careful fingers between their bodies to find Zell's arousal the martial artist captured his partner's mouth in a sloppy, badly aimed and affectionate pash. His tongue curled beautifully around Seifer's, especially when the gunblader touched his cock. They moved, thrusting and kissing and stroking until they collided sharply, hips slamming toward each other as they came.

The gunblader lay atop his partner, one hand beneath his body, the other smearing come across Zell's hip as it reached for him. He drew a few deep breaths and sat up, propping himself up on one elbow and looking down at that gentle, sleepy and softly smiling face. "Fuck me you're gorgeous," he whispered.

Zell's smiled broadened. "You're not too bad yourself."

"Thank you," Seifer replied, pushing his nose against the martial artist's jaw. "For everything." He let out a heavy sigh as his eyes flickered shut. "I never thought I'd feel so at ease with you. But you're almost bloody perfect."

"Whaddyou mean *almost*?" Zell joked.

Seifer laughed. "Suck me off and I might amend that statement."

"Bah," Zell nuzzled against him, sighing softly when Seifer pulled out and cleaned them with a damp cloth from the bathroom.

When he slid back into bed the only really warm part was where Zell lay. Grinning he climbed toward the smaller boy and lay over him again. Zell snuggled closer, whimpering softly a moment later when Seifer pulled away to look at him. The older boy's smile became almost a mimicry of Zell's- soft and innocent. Seifer grinned, he'd always thought he preferred the quiet, passive side of Zell- the bit that only showed itself when the martial artist was ashamed or guilty or had just woken up but now he was realising that side and the hyper-active blabber-mouth were just two of the multitude of possible Zells and, as he went through the list in his head, he realised he liked them all... Damn, was Zell turning him soppy or what?





Author's Note

"Capricorns are... secret romantics who want a perfect and secure love in their lives... The typical Capricorn man rarely smiles, has very strong white teeth, is conscious of his appearance, dislikes removing his clothes in public..." (The Little Giant Encyclopaedia of the Zodiac, Sterling) Anyone else spot, Seifer?? Ever wonder why he never takes that damn trench coat off? (Despite trying to save himself the hassle of fighting off a plethora of fan girls. Who me?! Never!!)

Happy now? :P *glomps them both* They is sooo~ cute when they're happy and together!!! Squeeee~!!

Oh yeah, and ahhh, I wrote this chapter under the influence of a bottle of champagne and AC/DC. Oh yeah!! Hence why Seifer turned into a sook (with AC/DC? I'm weird, go figure. It must have been the champers). Sorry kids. It feels so strange to have Seifer being needy and Zell being cranky but... well they're cute like that too XD Things get back on familiar ground next chapter... Kinda. Maybe Chapter 22...

Happy Birthday again, Lady Fiend... I did intend to have this done for your birthday but then I got distracted by caves, black outs, best friend's 21st and manga shops. Ooops, sorry.

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