Rescue by the Book
By Tenshi no Korin
In a time of crisis it is sometimes necessary for one SeeD to sacrifice himself for the sake of the mission. Should this happen, every attempt should be made to save all team members. However, the success of the mission is the first priority for any SeeD or group of SeeDs.
Run. Just run.
His sneakers were next to soundless on the corrugated metal floor, body used to darting fast and quietly despite accusations that silence was beyond him.
Now, though, his chatterbox tendencies were forgotten.
They were free and he had stayed, had been the only one who could stay, who could once again open the door for them. It wasn't like getting the weapons, though. This time he was being left behind. And if he made it out it would have to be on his own. It had hurt at first, stung like a terminal velocity leather glove across his face-- until Squall had looked up at him, and nodded.
There was trust and even respect in those grey eyes. From Squall. From Squall Leonhart! Zell could fly.
"The SeeDs have escaped! Get 'em!"
Or he had better learn to real fucking fast.
He hopped the wall blocking the stairwell and jumped to the second flight of stairs, grinning over his shoulder at the commotion of guards behind him. Heh. Clumsy idiots. How did they expect to hold onto-
Zell looked up, and up.
He really HATED being short.
"Going someplace, runt?" the armored guard chuckled, to the escapee that came almost to his sternum.
Zell's entire body blurred with motion, and the guard wobbled over.
"Don't call me a runt, shithead." Zell growled, vaulting over his prone form. He glanced around the bewildering floor, wondering which level he was on. They all looked the same. This one, unfortunately, must've housed the personnel lounge.
Zell muttered something about the better part of valor, turned tail and ran.
Tch! Too many, I'm outta here...
Not that he expected to get out. Zell may not have always lived by the regulation book but he knew what was expected of him. He'd long since figured that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the Zell and if Squall looked at Zell and said die it would simply be a matter of which method he might prefer.
The particularly hard butt of a rifle chose that moment to disagree violently with the back of his head, and Zell stumbled, thinking that beaned on the skull with a large heavy object would not be his first choice.
Zell's hackles rose, the hated sneer of the warden made his insides clench in rage. In his peripheral vision he could see the gun muzzle held execution-style to his head, and swallowed back the sudden instinctive fear. Zell was fast, but there was no way he could outrun a bullet that close.
At least he knew he wouldn't have to go back to the cell again.
The sound of a gunshot echoed in the hollow structure of the prison, and Zell summoned some pride that he hadn't jumped. Funny, being dead. He could swear it was just the same as-
"Huh. Didn't figure he'd go down so easy."
The gunblade-weilding SeeD cadet blinked up just in time to see Zell go to his knees and fling grateful arms around his waist, pressing his face into the warmth of Squall's side.
"Wha- What?" Squall had clearly not expected to be thanked in this matter, and cast a quick glance around them. "Zell, let me go."
Zell said something unclear into Squall's hipbone, all Squall managed to interpret was 'came back.'
He pushed a bit on Zell's head, trying to dislodge him. The sound of two pairs of light boots coming up the stairs struck a different chord of fear in him. "I said let me go." He added a tap with his gunblade hilt for emphasis, and hissed in an anguished whisper, "Zell, for god's sakes the GIRLS are coming." And Selphie is never gonna let me live THIS one down...
Zell pulled away with remarkable slowness , trying to hide his relived grin in his gloves, but Quistis pulled up short at the top of the stairs and some sort of understanding flickered in her eyes as she smiled at Zell.
"Thank goodness you’re alright!" She winked at Zell, who was turning a conspicuous shade of carnation.
"Ugh, I never want to see STAIRS again." Selphie bounced up the remaining steps. "Whew! Squall! Why did you go off on your own? Is Zell that important to you?"
"Not one WORD." Squall exhaled, pretending his gunblade needed inspection as Zell looked abashedly thrilled.
Gunfire stalled the conversation from dipping to a level of Leonhart mortification as they hit the deck to avoid the rain of bullets.
"Squall-" Zell began, tucked against the inner wall in the shadow of Squall's shoulder, Quistis and Selphie out of hearing range. "You guys are stuck back here because of me. You know you aren’t supposed to—"
"You're welcome, okay?" Squall shot back as loudly as he dared, as if Zell had accused him of murder. "Fuck the Rules. Nobody dies for me."
Zell pressed his cheek to the cold metal, smiling in the thunder of gunfire. There was no way out, not really. Trapped, outnumbered, weakened from days of captivity and Seifer's unique forms of torture. Unless they got a miracle, they weren't leaving here alive.
And Zell couldn't come up with a time when he'd been near so happy. Squall had come back for him, so screw it if he said it was for his honor or whatever. They were all together again, and somehow things were going to be alright.
And with perfect timing, the crossfire ceased.
If other SeeDs from any Garden are in danger or in need of assistance you are required to offer your aid, as long as it does not interfere with or directly go against your present mission.
Irvine smirked, blowing smoke from the end of his rifle. He’d always aced those damn regulation quizzes.
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