Stitch In Time

Chapter Three

By Scarlet Fever

The sound of a car outside his window stirred Zell from his slumber. He moaned in protest, not wanting to get up. His head was killing him, and the last thing he wanted to think about was getting out of his warm bed, which seemed warmer than usual. He reached up to rub his eyes of sleep before opening, but stopped motion when he felt the sensation of silken flesh pressing against him. Zell slowly opened his pale blue eyes. He saw that his body was draped across a pale, defined chest. He looked up, his eyebrows raising dramatically when he saw Seifer sleeping beside him, as nude as Zell himself was.

"Oh, right…" Zell trailed off, his brain slowly mulling through the alcohol soaked events of the previous night. Zell sat up slowly, which caused Seifer to stir. When Seifer opened his sky-coloured eyes, he had the same look of surprise on his face that Zell had had as well. The recognition sunk in quickly, and Seifer half smiled.

"What time is it?" Seifer asked.

"Uh, around five." Zell blushed as his cock brushed against Seifer’s hip. He pulled away slightly. "We should probably get back…"

Seifer nodded, holding a palm to his forehead. "Oh, fuck. I’m never drinking again… But I’ll go back on that. I’ve said it before…" He blinked a few times.

Zell sat silently. He couldn’t believe that he and Seifer had fucked, and so hastily for that matter. It just seemed to happen so quickly. Zell couldn’t believe that his first had been Seifer, and that Seifer had given his body so willingly to Zell. He looked down at the clenched fists in his lap as Seifer got up and began to get dressed.

"What?" Seifer asked as he pulled on his pants. Zell looked so far away, so troubled.

"I…." Zell concentrated on looking at the tattoo that covered Seifer’s back. It was a black dragon, whose tail wound around Seifer’s arm. It was in an old style, how Bahamut had always been depicted on old Ming vases, and was a work of art. It was ornate, but not gaudy. Zell kept looking at it, for he would rather study the black ink than meet Seifer’s eyes.

"Spit it out, Zell," Seifer muttered, looking for his mesh shirt. As he pulled it over his head, he looked over at Zell.

The small blonde remained silent. Seifer’s heart softened as he sat on the edge of the bed. He leaned over to kiss Zell, who turned his head away just as their lips brushed.

"What?" Seifer asked again, frowning.

"Do you think that this was a mistake?" Zell asked quietly.

Seifer looked at him, confused. "What do you mean, ‘a mistake’?"

Zell just looked at his hands, then up into Seifer’s eyes. "I mean, that it was wrong for us to have sex…"

Seifer felt his lips part in surprise, and he felt like Zell had slapped him across the face. Zell looked into Seifer’s eyes, seeing the momentary look of pain that flashed across his sky blue irises. It was quickly replaced by defensive anger.

"Well, why am I not surprised. You chicken out of everything you ever do…" Seifer stood up, angrily shrugging into his red shirt.

"That was uncalled for!" Zell spat angrily, shooting blue lasers at Seifer.

"Well, I guess so was fucking you…"

"Seifer…" Zell trailed off, trying to ignore the pain tugging in his chest. "Can’t we talk about this?"

"What’s to talk about?" Seifer grabbed his coat and gloves, heading for the door. "You obviously aren’t capable of discussing this maturely."

"Fuck you, Seifer."

The tall man scoffed. "Well, too late. You already did that."

"Sure, get angry. You won’t even hear me out!" Zell kneeled on the bed, still holding the blanket in front of him.

"What could you possibly say?! You just basically told me that it was a mistake to have sex with me. I guess I should have expected this. You aren’t the first to say it…" Seifer muttered, opening the door. "So, was this the biggest regret of your life?"

Zell looked away, finding it impossible to meet Seifer’s gaze now. His heart was beating fast at the realization that he had fucked another man, Seifer, his nemesis, a man that he had hated for so long… What had he done? He wasn’t gay. What would his parents say? What would his friends think?

Seifer sighed, his anger slipping, leaving hollow anguish. He spun on the heel of his combat boot, storming out the door, out of Zell’s house, away from Zell, from his warm embrace, his soft mouth, away from the pure happiness he had felt in Zell’s bed. He practically ran down the deserted streets of Balamb, wanting to be as far away as possible, not wanting anyone to see him. When Seifer ran out of town limits, flanked on both sides by the misty dark of the fields between the town and the Garden. He was glad that there was nobody around, because Seifer didn’t know if he would be able to hold up a strong face right now. He shakily sighed, almost whimpered as a tear escaped from his eye, falling quickly from his cheek, landing unceremoniously on the toe of his boot. How could he have been so stupid? He shouldn’t have let himself get so drunk, he shouldn’t have broken down that barrier that he had spend so much time building up. He had crossed a line that he shouldn’t have. Now, it could never go back to the way things were.

"Fuck…" Seifer whispered, stopping altogether as a wave of sadness overpowered him. He had never felt so betrayed. Betrayed by Zell, by himself. Seifer thought back to the way he had felt under Zell, how he had never felt like he belonged more than he did at that moment, how complete he had felt when Zell brought him to orgasm. And now…

"You’re so stupid…" Seifer chastised, more tears sliding down his face. It had only briefly entered his mind that this wasn’t anything more than a drunker error on Zell’s part, but he had ignored it, pushed it out of his mind, wanting it to be more so badly, wanting to be desired, needed by the one person he desired… Needed. He had never actually admitted it before, but he needed Zell. And now that he had had a taste of him, Seifer didn’t know how he would deal with never being able to taste him again.

He continued walking quickly, wanting to get away faster and faster, wanting to be as far away from Zell as he could get. Actually, he wanted to run away from himself, from the dirty feeling that was starting to encase him. He had given his body to Zell, willingly offered more than just flesh, and to have it spit back in his face, thrown away like garbage, tore at Seifer’s heart. But, honestly, Seifer figured he got what he deserved. He had trampled all over Zell so many times in the past, so he deserved to have his heart and soul ripped out of his chest and handed back to him. He had just hoped it would be different, that Zell would take him at face value, looking past all the major flaws he existed with, and for a few hours, it had happened. But a few hours of hedonistic bliss couldn’t fill the empty pit in his soul that was now eating away at everything he was, everything he pretended to be.

When the Garden came into hazy view, Seifer hastily wiped his cheeks, breathing in as steadily as he could. He wanted to maintain the last thread of dignity that he possessed, not wanting that delicate string to snap, unraveling everything Seifer was. Seifer looked around the Garden exterior, watching for prowling faculty. He went around back to the dorms, glad he had remembered to keep his window unlatched. He opened the screen hastily boosting himself in. He fell in a heap on his floor beside the bed, his coat spread about him like broken wings, drooping off his back. Seifer didn’t bother moving, feeling like a crumpled pile of trash on his floor, and it was what he deserved. He wrapped his coat around himself, trying to stay warm as his body shivered from more than a lack of heat. Seifer sobbed quietly as the scent of Zell’s shampoo and laundry detergent gently wafted from the fabric of his coat. He ripped the jacket off, tossing it across the room.

"How could you do this to me?" Seifer asked aloud as fresh tears ran down his face. He had meant the comment for Zell, but it was directed at himself…

Zell frowned as he stepped out of the shower, wrapping a towel around his body, which was shivering. He had been much warmer when he had also had Seifer’s body heat to rely on. Zell pushed that thought out of his head. He didn’t know what to think, how to feel. Everything was just sort of numb. The predominant emotion was shock over what had happened. Shock over what he had done, what he and Seifer had done.

Zell dried himself off, the ghostly feeling of flesh pressed against flesh haunting him. Did Zell actually regret it? He didn’t really know. He was so confused… Seifer’s reaction hadn’t helped, either. That anger, the defensive rage, using the wall of cruelty to hide his real feelings, his pain. Zell felt a trail of water run down his cheek. He pushed his hair off his face, squeezing it dry, but the water still trailed down his face, tracing his tattoo. It was a tear.

"I didn’t mean to hurt you…" Zell whispered. He wished he could say that now to Seifer. No matter how confused or regretful he felt, he didn’t want to hurt Seifer, especially after what they shared. As Zell pulled on a pair of black silk boxers, he wondered if he himself was actually regretful, or if it was the societal self he pasted for himself, the projected Zell that he thought he should be. There were sides to the small blonde that he never showed anyone, not even himself. The exception had been when he had let one of his masks fall to Seifer last night…

"Damn…" Zell trailed off angrily, pulling on a black tank top. He hated thinking so deeply about himself, because it never seemed to wind up with a clear-cut path of thought. Zell would just wind up more confused, mired with self-doubts and questions about himself. Was he more worried about what others would think of him, ignoring his own feelings? Zell couldn’t tell, the two different worlds of emotions mulling together. Zell pulled on his denim shorts, determined that he would at least try to talk to Seifer again. When he sat on the bed to put on his socks and red sneakers, he frowned sadly. The sheets still felt warm from their bodies. Zell hurried, finishing getting dressed as soon as possible. He wanted to find Seifer, not leave all that hostility between them. He didn’t know what to expect from the rangy blonde, or what their relationship would be, but he knew he’d feel terrible if things were left this way forever. Zell practically tumbled down the stairs, groaning as his headache sent waves of pain down his spine.

"Fuck," Zell whispered, locking up his mother’s house. What would his mother say to him if she knew what he had done? Would she be angry, hurt? Zell didn’t know. Besides, when did he stop caring about what he wanted? Zell himself actually didn’t know what he wanted. As he jogged past the soccer field, Zell’s face became warm under a thin blanket of crimson blush sweeping across his cheeks. Seifer’s mouth had been so warm, so gentle….

Zell shook his head, hurrying on. He began to feel regret gnawing at his chest, but it wasn’t the same feeling of regret that he had had when he had woken. It was regret for pushing Seifer away, causing the momentary flicker of pain in his sky blue eyes. Zell began to have a dirty feeling crawl across his skin. How could he have turned away a man who had so willingly given his body to Zell? The only person to ever have done it. And it had felt so good, so right… Zell ran faster, not knowing exactly what he was running to, but he knew he couldn't leave things as they were. When the small blonde finally reached the Garden, the sun was just beginning to peek over the horizon. The pale mauve and fiery pinks, reds and yellows gently glowed against the navy remnants of night, and it was breathtaking. He wondered if Seifer was watching the sunrise, too. Zell jogged to the backside of the school, going in through his window. Zell quietly opened his door, heading for Seifer’s room. He hoped that his lover was there…

My lover? Zell mentally asked. It seemed like such a strange thing to call Seifer, seeing as how they weren’t exactly that. One time having sex didn’t qualify two people as being lovers.

What if it was more? He asked of himself again. Would Zell be willing to become lovers with Seifer? He didn’t know. There were so many arguments against it, and Zell was beyond befuddled. He didn’t think it was fair to jump into anything, let alone a serious, sexual relationship, in his state of mind. Just because he was apologizing, or at least straightening things out with Seifer didn’t mean that they would become a couple. Zell smirked at his mental use of the word ‘straighten’.

The small martial artist stopped in front of Seifer’s door. He wondered for a moment if he would catch the taller man dressing. The thought sent a quick wave of heat through Zell’s body. He pushed it away, using his knuckle to rap gently on the door. He waited, shifting his weight from foot to foot as he heard motion from behind the thick wooden door.

"What?" Seifer asked as he opened the door, creating a breeze that washed gently over Zell’s flushed face. Seifer had a tired look on his face, but it was replaced with a mix of shamed shock and anger at the sight of Zell.

"Hi… Seifer…"

"What?" Seifer asked again, his voice quieter this time.

Zell looked down at his crimson sneakers, embarrassed to meet Seifer’s gaze. "Can we talk?"

"About what? You made yourself crystal clear." Seifer made his voice sound hard, but inside he felt like jelly. He didn’t want to show Zell that the rejection had phased him so greatly, that he was wounded from it, that Zell had made him openly cry…


Seifer sighed. "Don’t you have to get ready for your first mission? You ship out early, you know…"

"I know!" Zell muttered quietly. "I just wanted to clear the air."

"Uh huh. Does that mean that you want me to keep my big mouth shut? Don’t worry, Princess, your reputation will go unscathed…"

"That’s unfair, Seifer."

"Is it?" Seifer glared down at Zell.

"Yes. I’m trying to…"

"What? What exactly are you trying to do?!" Seifer asked, his voice raising slightly, and beginning to shake. "If you’re trying to tell me that it was a mistake and it sure as hell won’t happen again, don’t worry, you pounded that message into my head pretty hard, Zell."

Zell hated the angry way Seifer said his name. It had sounded so nice last night, but now it tore at Zell’s heart, and riled his anger, as well.

"There you go again. You won’t even hear me out. You like being the victim, don’t you?"

Seifer said nothing, glaring at Zell again. But, the small blonde caught the flicker of anguish hidden behind that wrathful wall.

"Seifer…" Zell whispered.

The tall blonde responded by slamming the door in Zell’s tattooed face. Zell gaped for a few moments, surprised. He then felt the hot rush of anger seep through his veins.

"Fine," Zell muttered. "Be that way, you prick." Zell stormed off, heading back to his room. Before he got there, he rapidly changed the direction in which he was walking. He decided to get a work out before having to get briefed on their mission. The anger began to slowly leave his body as he headed for the training center, and that gnawing regret appeared again.

"Seifer doesn’t deserve your sympathy," Zell chastised himself quietly, turning a corner, trying to forget the lonely pang in his soul.

No, Seifer doesn’t deserve your sympathy… Seifer muttered mentally, leaning against a wall. He had felt bad about treating Zell so coldly before, and had begun to go after the small blonde. He sighed, almost sinking to the floor. You really blew it, stupid, Seifer cursed himself, realizing he had most definitely pushed Zell away for good, that the small blonde would never want him again. That thought left Seifer feeling torn apart, the atrophied edges of his soul curling painfully, creating a tangible empty ache in his heart.

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