Seifer's Little Secret

Zell's Story

By fyre byrd

It was a hot, humid day at Balamb Garden and the air conditioning was on the blitz. The Fisherman's Horizon technicians had been working on repairing it for a day and a half now, but in the meantime I was so hot and sticky that I wanted to crawl out of my skin and Squall was asking for the impossible.

"Zell, I know that Quistis usually checks up on him, but she's taking a much deserved vacation and you're one of the few people I trust." I stood at Squall's imposing oak desk and frowned.

"I'm glad someone trusts my temper `cause I sure don't. That guy really gets under my skin, Squall."

The headmaster gave me a hopeless look and shrugged. "Well if you won't do it then I guess I'll find the time, somehow . . ."

"Oh, all right," I sighed in exasperation. "I'll check out Seifer's progress this week, but only this week."

Squall brushed his unruly hair from his eyes and smiled particularly disarmingly. "Thanks Zell, I appreciate it."

"All right, all right, just gimme the forms and let me get this over with," I scuffed my sneakers against the floor while Squall unlocked a drawer in his beige filing cabinet and pulled out a stack of forms and handed them to me.

"I really do appreciate this, you know. I owe you one, Zell."

I kicked at a desk leg and cleared my throat, "naw it's not such a big deal. I guess I would have run into him eventually anyway." I saluted Squall with my usual grin back in place and left the headmaster's office.

Seifer had been readmitted to Garden as a student, but his involvement in the actions surrounding the Sorceress made it necessary for him to be admitted on probation. As such his progress had to be checked daily by a high ranking SeeD. I remembered Quistis telling me that Seifer had changed, but I didn't buy it. As I walked along the central fountain and headed to the dormitories I thought about Seifer's incredible ego and reflected that no one that arrogant could ever be totally reformed. I bet myself that when I walked into that room Seifer was as rude and nasty as ever. My gloved knuckles made a muffled thud against Seifer's door. He'd been given his own room as a part of probation and probably also because no one would have him as a room mate I imagined.

Seifer opened the door after the first knock and a familiar sneer slid across his face, surfacing like crude oil over his clean features.

"My, my Chicken Wuss, I wish I could say how you've grown, but . . ." Seifer chuckled and stood away from the door allowing me to enter his room as though it were a palace and not a dorm. I could feel my hands clench into fists, but I tried not to let on how that nick name still annoyed me so much, even after so long.

"I'm just here to write up your progress," I said blandly.

"Oh? And here I thought this was a social call. I always knew you had the hots for me, Zelly." Seifer breathed, standing less than a foot away from me so that he loomed over me menacingly. He was always making stupid remarks like this. I sort of wished sometimes that he wasn't so damned good at being sarcastic.

"Fuck off Seifer. Do you want me to write you up as insubordinate?" I asked, teeth gritted, the thin veneer of my patience already worn away. Seifer just smiled flippantly and squeezed my shoulder, hard.

"Now, now Chicken. I know you'd never do that to me. It'd ruin your chances of getting into my pants and we both know how long you've wanted my ass." I shrugged off Seifer's touch and said nothing. I couldn't trust myself to say anything because the worst thing was that Seifer was right. I'd never be the one to get him kicked out. Seifer scraped his desk chair back and flopped down in it preparing to be courteous now that he'd re-established the ground rules of our relationship. "Here are my assignments and my instructor's signatures." Seifer said, thrusting some papers out towards me, making me walk over to him in order to get them. I shuffled through the papers, checking them against his form and signing it.

"Everything seems to be in order," I said coolly then checked myself as I noticed the breath of relief that escaped Seifer's thin lips. "I doubt this will be necessary for much longer Seifer and

good luck in the mean time, eh?" I smiled at the puzzled look on Seifer's face. It seemed to be saying, 'wait a minute, this isn't how things are supposed to happen.' I already regretted having blown up over Seifer's comment. It had been pretty stupid and definitely not worth such a volatile reaction. I closed the door of Seifer's room behind me as I left with the pleasant knowledge that I'd thrown the formidable Seifer off his guard, if only for a moment.

Most of the week went by fairly quickly despite the fact that my only current assignment was to look after Seifer. In my spare time I practiced in the training centre and caught up on some of my studies. As I walked down the featureless dormitory corridor towards Seifer's room I was almost looking forward to hearing what new heights of offensiveness Seifer would achieve during this meeting. I knocked on Seifer's door sharply, but got no reply for several seconds. Usually Seifer opened the door instantly as though he were crouching behind the door like a predator awaiting his prey. I knocked again, then tried the handle. The door swung open slowly to reveal Seifer lying on his bed, asleep with a book on his chest. I could scarcely believe that Seifer was ever this tranquil, but there he lay, snoring lightly with a book rising and falling gently with his breaths. Seifer's hands were resting loosely across the worn paperback jacket which was a lurid shade of pink. I sneaked quietly over to the bed, carefully placing my clipboard on Seifer's desk on his way. It was funny, but with his eyes closed, his face relaxed and his lips slack with sleep, Seifer was a whole different person than when he was confronting me with that lopsided grin on his face. Breathing slowly from my mouth I leaned over and slid the book out from beneath Seifer's hands. The tall blonde man caught his breath and his eyelids fluttered. I snatched the book away and examined the cover.

"A romance novel?"

Seifer was up in an instant, his green eyes keen as lightning. He tried to grab the book away from me, but I hid it behind my back.

"What the hell are you doing in here, Zell?" Seifer shouted.

"You didn't answer the door when I knocked so I just opened it and you were so cute sleeping there, that I . . ." I flung a hand over my mouth, luckily not the one which was clutching Seifer's book.

"Cute? You thought I was cute?" Seifer grinned lecherously. "Oh Chicken Wuss, you do love me, don't you?"

I was prepared for Seifer this time, however. "Very clever, did you get that line from here?" I asked pointing at the pink book with its brilliant gold foil letters.

"I knew I couldn't distract you for long," Seifer admitted, his face completely blank. Walking over to me he stretched out his hand eagerly and said, "C'mon Zell, give it here."

"Not yet," I said, backing away from the taller blonde. "I want to know what the almighty Seifer Almasy is doing reading the . . ." I paused dramatically, then put a hand over my heart and pretended to swoon, "Gilded Ribbon," I finished, eyelashes fluttering.

"Very funny," Seifer said flatly, withdrawing his hand and collapsing onto his bed. "If I tell you why, then this stays between you and me, all right?" he sighed and folded his hands in his lap. "When we were kids at the orphanage, Matron always forbade us to go in her room. Well, she couldn't be there all the time. She was off running an errand somewhere or taking care of one of the other kids one day and I got into her room and started reading a romance novel that was sitting on her nightstand. She caught me of course and she was furious. That only made me more curious naturally, but she started locking her room after that. So, anyway to make the story short when I was older I was still curious about what was so forbidden about a romance novel. I picked up a few and pretty soon I was hooked." Seifer shrugged, his eyes downcast.

I could feel my mouth hanging open and closed it quickly. "You mean you have more than one of these? Oh wait till I tell . . ."

"Chicken, you wouldn't! You can't tell anyone!" Seifer said, green eyes widening. "Listen Zell, I'll do anything you want, just give me back my book and don't tell anyone, please."

"All right," I said wickedly, "now we're getting somewhere." Grabbing a pen from Seifer's desk, I held the book jacket open towards him and handed him the pen. Seifer just looked at me without comprehension. "Sign it and I promise that while it's in my possession I won't tell anyone. Come by my room tonight and I'll decide what your punishment will be. Once you've completed it, I'll return your book and never breathe a word of it again."

"Why you little . . ." Seifer sputtered angrily. Just as suddenly a wry smile stretched his lips. Seifer scrawled his name across the page. "Okay Chicken Wuss, I have to respect your absolute deviousness here. That was a good plan you thought up on the spur of the moment. You're better than I thought." Seifer's face was a bit paler than usual, but he appeared to be honest in his grudging respect of my blackmail.

I just took the book back and began leafing through Seifer's assignments and writing up his report. Dashing off a signature of my own, I checked off the boxes on his list and smiled. "Be that as it may, I'm still not going to let you off easy, baby," winking at the chastened young man, I put the book in one of my many huge pockets and flounced out of Seifer's room, whistling.

The elevator doors opened on the second floor to let Selphie on. "My, you're in a good mood today!" she said cocking her head to one side. Her hair was full of heart barrettes today, nearly the same colour as the jacket of Seifer's book. I decided to take this as a sign from the gods that Seifer was due for a pay back.

"What brings you to the headmaster's office this afternoon, Selphie?" As usual the perky little brunette was only too happy to discuss her plans.

"Well, we're going to be putting on a play before half term this year. I'm going up to talk to Squall about the drama society I've gotten together so that he can approve our choice of play. We're going to do, Romeo and Juliet!" Selphie struck what she must have thought was a dramatic pose and clapped her hands delightedly. "Won't that be exciting?"

"Sounds like it will," I agreed as we both approached Squall's desk. I was busy thinking up an interesting way to get revenge on Seifer as I handed the reports to Squall and I admit I only listened with half my attention to the rest of Selphie's eager monologue on her play.

When I reached my own room, I closed and locked the door behind me, flopped down on my bed and drew the shiny pink romance novel out of my pocket. Flipping through the pages rapidly, I skipped to the sex scenes and read them over thoroughly, giggling like a school girl. "Oh, this shows promise," I said out loud. I grabbed a soda from my fridge and turned on my radio, then settled down on my bed to wait for Seifer to arrive.

It wasn't long before there was a knock on my door. I got up and opened it. As expected, Seifer was filling the doorway. "All right, Chicken," he said resignedly, "what have you decided on, you little closet sadist?"

"Well, you seem eager to be punished, don't you. I guess that'd make you a big closet masochist." I replied calmly. Since I had the upper hand here, I could afford to be calm.

"So, maybe I am," Seifer shrugged and settled down on my bed.

"Well I do have an idea," I said. "Here's the deal. You're going to act out a scene from this book of yours for me. You're to be the heroine and I want you to convince me, Seifer."

Seifer had started up and glared at me the moment I began speaking. He seemed to be rather suspicious. "Is that all?" Seifer sneered. "You're only going to humiliate me then I guess. Well, let's get this over with. We'll do it at my place tomorrow."

"Want something to drink, Seifer?" I offered graciously.

"No thanks, Chicken. I've got to get my act together if I want to be a convincing girl by tomorrow. I think I'll be going now." Seifer stood up and opened the door, raising a hand as he left. I'd have thought that Seifer would have been more insulted by my suggestion. I'd certainly expected him to make some sort of snide comment about it, but nothing. It was odd, but I wasn't going to let it ruin my enjoyment of tomorrow's festivities.

The next day as I walked to Seifer's room I took the time to consider his actions over the past week. Seifer's insults and rude comments weren't meant to be taken so seriously anymore I began to realize. It was almost as if it was just his way of talking to a person, by making fun of them. None of his remarks were really all that offensive, unless you were terribly narrow minded and dull. Quistis must have noticed that about him too. Seifer answered his door as himself and I was really disappointed. Before I could protest at all, however, Seifer said, "Zell, I'm ready for your little game. You're to come here at seven. Don't be late now, a real woman would get really pissed off at you for that. Oh, and don't eat before because I'm going to have dinner here. I'm hoping it'll soften you up so you won't make too much of a fool out of me." Seifer handed his assignments to me to peruse and once I'd signed his forms he nearly shoved me out the door. "I've got to get ready now, so get lost." I felt as though I'd been tossed around by a tornado spell, but I did as I was told feeling rather puzzled that Seifer was putting such a concerted effort into his own punishment. If I thought about it though, I could see that everything Seifer did, he did seriously. As a matter of fact, Seifer was being a model student for all that I could see and he was trying his best to be really decent. It was remarkable that he could be so resilient. As I handed over Seifer's reports to Squall I paused for a moment in front of his desk, biting my lip and thinking.

"Squall, I'd like to recommend that Seifer Almasy be taken off of probation and registered as a full student."

Squall's head came up from where he'd been attending to some papers on his desk. "You want to recommend that?" Squall asked, closing the file folder he'd been looking through and crossing his arms over it, giving me his full attention.

"Well, I've been observing Almasy's behaviour these seven days and I believe that he is doing what he can to comply with the rules of his probation, but I think that he might be feeling unnecessary strain from these arrangements. I think he deserves to be taken off of probation." I finished, feeling in my gut that what I said was true.

"All right," Squall said, clicking his pen and writing something down in a day book at his side. "I'll be reinstating Seifer Almasy as a full student formally on Monday. If you're willing to vouch for him Zell, well I respect your judgement. I used to respect his too, you know." Squall had turned back to study the contents of the file folder again when I left.

I knocked on Seifer's door promptly at seven o'clock. Seifer's deep voice invited me to "come on in" so I opened the door and walked inside to a whole different atmosphere. There was candlelight and a fancy dinner set out at Seifer's little breakfast bar. There were even flowers in a pretty crystal vase that caught the light and sent it dancing out of its element. I could sympathize with the reflected flames myself. Finally my gaze fell on Seifer and I'm afraid I gasped out loud. I don't know what I expected. I thought that maybe Seifer would have thrown on a dress and called the terms of the punishment fulfilled. Seifer wore only a little make up, just enough to widen his eyes, darken his lashes, fill out his lips and make his face appear more delicate and elfin. He'd spiked his slightly curly hair so that it wreathed his face in springy licks. He wore an extremely tight green tank top with a v-cut at the bottom so that only little tantalizing glimpses of his well-muscled torso were revealed. I had never seen a skirt as short as the one that he was wearing in a deeper shade of green to match the top and make his eyes glow. The whole picture was completed by gold bracelets and glittery sandals. The confusion that this vision stirred in me was considerable. Seifer could not be mistaken for a woman at all, the tightness of his clothing made that a surety. He was disturbingly sexy all the same though.

"Zell? Zell?" Seifer placed a hand on my arm and I nearly jumped out of my skin. He was suddenly close enough that I could smell his cologne which was not at all feminine.

"Aren't you hungry?" Seifer asked raising an eyebrow. He'd made no effort to cover up his scar either, something that oddly enough had my heart racing in confused desire suddenly.

"Ahhh, yeah, I'm sorry, must have zoned out for a moment there." This wasn't going at all the way I had planned. Indeed, I was the only one here humiliating myself as I stumbled trying to climb onto Seifer's stool and nearly fell off. I'd been mesmerized by the sight of Seifer's ass in that tight little skirt as he turned to take dinner off of the stove. As Seifer spooned some pasta onto my plate I realized that my tormentor had even gone to the trouble of painting his nails gold. I wondered how he'd get the polish off in time for Monday's class and then thought about him leaving it on. Again, this errant thought had my body tingling slightly.

"Do you like it?" Seifer asked after I'd dazedly swallowed several forkfuls of pasta.

"Yes, it's very good," I said weakly, watching as a particularly long noodle was sucked past Seifer's berry stained lips.

"I'm glad you like it. I made it, you know."

"I didn't know you could cook," I said, a bit surprised.

"There's a lot of things you don't know about me," Seifer said, his voice deepening slightly. Watching the candlelight flicker across Seifer's kohl darkened eyelids I was rather inclined to agree.

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