Convergence [1]: Broken

BY : currie
Category: Final Fantasy VIII > Yaoi - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 727
Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy VIII, nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

~ 13. Sweet Dreams ~

Squall's hands fell from his ears within minutes, as soon as he realized he had been straining to listen through them, but the move was in vain-- he only found silence. He chewed the inside of his cheek in contemplation, his back tight with suspense. He was already regretting the subtle act of vengeance he had burdened Seifer with. At the time, he relished the idea of putting him through a hell of arousal with no one to turn to for satisfaction-- Zell would be angry, probably as much as Squall was himself, if not more so. Neither of them would be giving anything up. He hoped to put Seifer in the position to beg, to use kind words and an honest explanation to gain Zell's trust, even if his goal was to get in his pants. Perhaps Seifer's attempt would even work, and if it did, Squall couldn't find it in himself to mind. He just wanted them to grow up and find peace with one another-- and stop burdening him with their childish rivaliries in the process.

He was getting scared, however, after a few more minutes of contemplation. Seifer was terribly aggressive when faced with only his *natural* urges. The additional effects Squall had placed upon him could have been too much for him to fight, even if Zell denied him. The more he thought about it, the more frightening such a possibility became. Zell was at risk of being raped-- and Squall would own a portion of the blame if he was. At that thought he was on his feet, dashing quietly to crouch beside the tent's doorway, a hand resting atop the holster of his gunblade. He would wait and listen instead of barging in, as his suspicions were only that. The squabbling pair still deserved a chance to fix this.

He heard the rustle of vinyl, then a mumble, then Seifer's voice, "You always get like this when you're stressed. Cleaning, folding. Perfecting." Squall expelled a quiet whoosh of held breath. Seifer was calm, any need he felt disguised beneath a topic of converation unrelated to sex. He hadn't known Seifer was aware of Zell's tendency to calm inner turmoil by calming the turmoil of disarray around himerhaerhaps he hadn't given him enough credit.

Squall listened carefully to the following conversation, surprise growing steadily at the claim that Zell had reached out for Seifer's affections in his sleep. Seifer's apology had him nearly falling over as he sputtered into a muffling hand-- it was the first honest-sounding apology he had ever heard Seifer give anyone. This was working out perfectly-- they were talking, getting along without his interference or even his presence. *Yes.* It looked like he hadn't screwed up after all.

But then, maybe they were getting along *because* of his absence.

"Wooah, hold on a sec there--"

"I'm trying to ignore it, Chickie, but it doesn't help to have you staring."

Squall's heart began to race, hand tightening around his weapon, as he listened to Seifer's explanation and Zell's confused utterances, waiting for either Zell's compliance or --more likely-- his heated denial. Damn it, Zell had never felt the effects of what Seifer was going through right now. Squall should have known he wouldn't, as he had always been such a sickeningly obedient student and professional. Seifer wouldn't be able to help but tarnish Zell's innocence of the darker side of the spell, and goosebumps crept out to his fingers as his mood darkened with self-reproach. His chin fell forward at the low rumbling cast, "Curaga."

Squall didn't know whether this unpredicted consequence would be a good or bad thing. It could go either way, right now. Zell's long whispery moan sent him a m a memory of his own first-- and only-- experience with the same feeling. Rinoa had accidentally cast it on him at the same time he did himself when they were alone in space, trying to exterminate the creatures that had made their home in the Ragnarok, more than two years ago. He flushed as he embarassed himself with the memory of how he had lusted after her. Hiding it was torturous as they fought together, but he succeeded, and she remained completely innocent of how her accident affected him.

His memories brought him certainty-- Zell would not be able to find the will to fight off the willing body so near to him.

"If I hadn't volunteered you would have been too curious not to ask me anyw--" A muted thud and another groan from Zell followed, a little louder than the first. Squall leaned sideways and peered in through the angled crack of their doorway. Their passionate embrace, their kiss so desperate in a way he had never expected to see between them and obviously initiated by Zell had him tightening the grip of his teeth on the inside of his cheek. They had filled him with desire the last time they did this, and were already starting to do it again. He fell back from the view just as Seifer tore Zell's shirt over his head, suddenly very afraid in his new twitch of aal tal that they might see him.

"Just *fuck* me already."

Squall drew in a sharp gasp, his torso filling with heat. He leaned forward for a final glimpse after the proceeding thump to find that Seifer had thrown Zell down beneath him, and stood up.

He crept quietly around to the back of the tent and sat down right behind them. They were bickering again, over who would get to top, and for a moment it sounded like they were wrestling. Squall didn't worry about it;y woy would never fully abandon their desire to compete with one another. Zell's victorious claim and Seifer's breathy compliance had him gasping again, served by the picture he had of them in his mind. He carefully removed his belts and gunblade with trembling fingers, unfastened the fabric that bound him, sighing silently as heat met cool air. Seifer and Zell would never find out about this, he promised himself, forcing embarassment away.

Zell made it no secret when Seifer filled him, the echoing cry forcing Squall to take throbbing flesh into his hand. He almost moaned with him, then flushith ith self-consciousness at Zell's strained words, "Shhhit, bet Squall heard that."

"Don't tell me you thought we'd get all the way through this without him figuring it out."

Squall might have chuckled had Seifer not made him so heavily aware of what he was doing. He paused the slow strokes of his hand, but couldn't make himself let go.

"Hadn't... thought about it. 'Sokay though, I don't care. He'll understand."

"I'll *make* him understand-- made *you* understand, didn't I?"

Squall's eyes clenched shut at Zell's permissive purr. He couldn't help but give in to his own caress again. He thought of Seifer forcing more desire upon him, making him needy enough to beg in a frenzy of lust that he couldn't control. Maybe he would pretend to be angry at them later. Just to get Seifer to try it. He didn't notice he was surrounded by silence until Seifer's voice broke it. "There's no doubt he knows what we're doing now. I'll bet he's just outside, straining his ears to hear you. Won't you give him what he wants?"

Squall fell forward, his free arm bracing as he leaned into the sand. They were thinking about him. Seifer was using him to get Zell to talk. He drew his lip from between his teeth at the taste of blood just when Zell whimpered, sending a bolt up to his throat, and held his breath to clamp down on his own moan. He could hear them moving, rustling the vinyl beneath them, punctuated by the little slaps that sounded when their bodies met. Moving with them came unconsciously, and a need to feel so many things he immediately couldn't had his hand drenched with far more wetness than he required.

"Bet he's got his hand around his cock right now. Pumping in time with us. Won't come in 'cause he's shy."

The words nearly made Squall wonder if Seifer could see him, then had him wishing he could for a second before he squashed the idea. Even if Seifer and Zell were bonding over a fantasy of him, they were bonding nonetheless, and still Squall would not interrupt it. They may have been enjoying the thought of him-- but if he joined them, he didn't doubt they would return to bickering, this time over who got to do what. Before, Zell hadn't been in the position to make any requests by the time Squall joined them, and then was left too worn out to want much more. Now they both stood in an equally frenzied state. Squall would be satisfied to stay alone for their benefit.

Zell moaned again, a sound filled with enough yearning to convince misguided ears that he may have been nearing tears. "Shouldn't be...shy..."

".... His hand's got to be slick, soaked, he's so damn turned on..."

Squall's struggles with his own voice became exhausting as Zell's leapt into a flurry of groans and his. Ws. With no help, he would likey either rl hil his position to them or bite his own lips clean off. He sat back and trailed that free hand around to his side until he found one of his discarded belts, then thrust the edge of it hurriedly between his jaws so he could return his concentration to where he wanted it. It brought him the cool relief he had hoped for, thick leather providing just enough give to satisfy as he sunk his teeth into it.

He heard Zell yelp and was momentarily confused at the pause in their movements, then fell into a dream when they started again, the sound of harder, faster thrusts (no doubt controlled by Seifer now) cutting ofery ery new noise Zell made with timed perfection. Squall ached with sudden fervor to be between them. He fell forward to lean on his hand again and drew himself up onto his knees. Zell, beneath him. He wanted that. And Seifer, above, behind, that too. Filling and being filled simultaneously, being the one to draw all those sounds from between the firey petals of Zell's lips and mingling his own with them as Seifer puffed hot breath into his ear, a threatening weight on his back as he deliciously split him in two...

Zell came loudly, a mere few feet away past the thin canvas cover. Squall leaned back again, the amount of empathy Zell filled him with barely allowing him the piece of mind to brush the sand off his free hand before he hastily tore his pants down his behind. He entered himself with a single dry finger, the shove of slight pain drawing perfect contrast with too much bliss as he thrust hard and fast into his fist. A final vision of the imagined Seifer behind him taking hold of his belt and tugging his head back with with it flashed into his mind on the wings of relief. His throat begged him to allow a scream when his breath stilled, throat flexing desperately as his eyes flew open to stare blind at the lightening sky. The wash of his release seemed to draw itself from every end of his body before it spilled hot down his fingers, leaving him taut and lost for many seconds more in the involuntary flexes around his finger. He had managed, somehow, to continue the thrusts of that single digit into him throughout, and only stilled now as he tried to regain his connection with his surroundings and re-open his ears. Red leather fell from his mouth to his lap as he left himself empty.

"... ever even hit you?" Wow, they were already in the middle of some kind of conversation. Squall had lost himself longer than he thought.

"'Course, you.... Yeah, back when... you... er......No way, 's gotta be the GF..."

"Nope. I have never hit you. Not once."

Squall blinked a few timHis His limbs felt wrung dry. He was exhausted, left with a deep ache that only seemed stronger as he became starkly aware that he was alone out in that desolate expanse, and would have to remain so. Quivering, he brought his trousers back up over his bottom and fastened them silently, then lowered himself onto his side in the sand, shifting to lay close along the tent's wall.

"Aw hell, make me feel guilty again why don'cha..."

"I thought you knew already."

Their voices were right near his ear, soft with afterglow and more comforting than he would have expected. It was easy to fall asleep next to the near-slient sounds of their breathing after they quieted.


"No shit." Seifer whispered as he squinted at the rumpled sleeping body before his bare feet.

"What?" Zell returned loudly as he hopped around their tent's final corner, struggling into the last leg of his jeans.

"Shut up, don't wake him! Look. I was right."

Zell peeked around the shadow of Seifer's shoulder, then promptly lost his balance and toppled just before he had gotten his foot past the cuff. Squall lay cuddled quite close to the wall, head pillowed on an arm-- with both belts and holster on the ground beside him to give him away. Zell propped himself up, but didn't bother trying to stand again. "He did it, out here? Then he heard everything! And he liked it! And he knew we wanted him to come in! The hell--"

"Seems he had a pretty good time, too," Seifer knelt behind him, picked up a belt and tossed it to Zell with a knowing grin.

Zell snatched it from the air and had to inspect it for a few seconds before noticing the trace of tooth marks on it. His feelings of rejection melted away into a flutter in his chest. "Oh man...that is so *hot*..." He swallowed hard and looked up to find that Seifer had turned Squall onto his back, somehow managing not to wake the terribly light sleeper.

"What's wrong with you?" Seifer asked quietly, the softness in his voice revealing it to be a genuine question. He shook his head in exasperated disappointment while brushing a few grains of sand from Squall's cheek. "I can't believe you hid that from me."

"You? It's not like I got to see anything either," Zell grumbled.

Seifer held up a silencing hand for Zell to scowl at as Squall's lashes began to flutter. They flew open within another second, making it obvious that he was startled. His eyes were still murky with sleep, dazed, beautiful. "What... do you want?"

"Mmm, nothing. Much. You."

Squin in in the new sun, Squall lowered his gaze from Seifer's face and found him still nude before jerking back up to glare at him. "Put some clothes on."

"Why? I'll just have to take 'em off again in a minute." Seifer leaned forward for a kiss, but Squall was already backing away from him. Zell interrupted just before he could ask Squall what the hell his problem was.

"Uh... guys..." His voice was oddly quiet, laced with shock.

"*What?*" Seifer asked hastily, annoyed by him. Ah, just like old times.

"L-look... lookit!" Zell began pointing with a wildly quivering finger.

Seifer spun around to follow the gesture, and almost collapsed with disappointment. A dark dot was tarnishing the horizon, a veh of of some kind. He turned back away from it to grumble, "Hynedammit, not now... any time but now..." He had a needy Squall lying before him at the moment (Seifer was convinced that Squall was needy, even as he continued to creep away), one who had just obviously been fantasizing about him while certainly doing some rather naughty things to himself. This was *not* the perfect time to be rescued. "Zell... stay here, I'm going to go take Squall's advice..."

He reluctantly stood to find that Zell wasn't close enough to hear him-- the blond had finished fastening his jeans and was now at least fifty feet away, arms waving excitedly as he kicked up sand behind him and dodged from side to side, likely to avoid the small tufted cactuses that spotted the ground. "HEEEEEEYYY.... !"

Seifer couldn't help but chuckle before he made his way back inside, purposely keeping his eyes off of Squall to avoid jumping him in view of their rescuers and earning himself a broken neck. Once back in the inclosure's comfortably cool shadows, he threw on his vest and pants, stepped into his boots without bothering with his socks, and tossed his trenchcoat over his shoulder. Their trip had worn it out, he noticed. It would need to be cleaned (it was coated with dust and spotted with blood in a few places) as well as stitched up where seams had begun to split. He wished there was someone to take it out on-- his favourite damn coat, he'd had it for years-- but alas, only the weather was at fault. With a final thought he picked up Squall's jacket as well before going back outside.

He found Squall standing with his arms crossed, belts and weapon back in place, staring out at the speck that had become a truck, and the other speck, once Zell, that neared it. "He doesn't even know who he's running to," he observed quietly, "It's dangerous."

"We both know Chickie can take care of himself." Seifer dropped Squall's jacket over his shoulders. Squall straightened at the fall of fluff against his neck and the knowledge that Seifer remained standing close beside him, but stayed where he was. Zell swung himself into the nearing truck before it slowed. A dash of yellow emerged from the roof and began waving its arms wildy about-- Selphie. Squall raised a hand in acknowledgement just as one of Seifer's fell warm and heavy upon the small of his back. "Is everything over now?"

"Yes," Squall replied as he watched them aproach, statue-still, unblinking. The word made his heart sink, but it had to be said. A tidal wave of work awaited him, and the realization hit him just like one. Action would have to be taken against Ebony Rapture. He didn't even know where to start. There would be no time for play.

Seifer smiled as he glanced quickly to the side of Squall's stubborn mask and back out into the sun, anticipating the challenge. "Why?" he asked, trying to sound serious as he humored him. He slid his hand beneath Squall's shirt to subtly meet the warmth of smooth skin, an attempt at coaxing words from him. Anyone who looked head-on at them, as Selphie and a few others probably were, would be unable to tell that they touched. Maybe that was why Squall didn't order him to back off.

"I have work to do. And I'm your superior, don't forget."

"Don't give me that bullshit," Seifer growled, fingers digging lightly into Squall's spine. "Pff. Superior. My ass."

"A relationship wouldn't be appropriate."

"Who the hell said anything about a relationship? I'll just fuck you once in a while. Or every day, more likely. Pure stress relief."

"I don't need your 'stress relief.' I can take care of myself."

Seifer almost laughed as he struggled to contain it in another smile. "I noticed. You'll need to go shopping for a new belt once we're back," he replied, "Wink." Seeing Squall's face flush dark was quite satisfying. "So you're planning on breaking it off with Zell too, are you?"

"There isn't much to break off. He's my friend, and will remain so. You are not."

"I'm not your friend?"


Seifer clutched at his chest in mock-hurt, "Ouch."

The armored truck was within hearing distance, now. "Squall! Squall, are you okay?" Selphie asked as she jumped out while it was still moving. She ran to them, and Squall stepped forward, out of Seifer's reach. "I saw you on the ground...Thought you passed out or something." She came to a stop just in front of him and hastily saluted. Although her voice was filled with worry, it didn't show in her broad smile.

Squall returned the salute. "I'm fine."

"He was still asleep," Seifer explained.

Selphie saluted him too, lowering brown lashes as he returned it. "On the ground outside?"

"Small tent. I toss and turn a lot," Seifer replied cooly, "He got sick of it, I suppose." A student and two young SeeDs emerged from the truck behind her to stand in a line.

"Ahh." Selphie regarded him knowingly through the corner of her gaze (confusing both Squall and Seifer), before turning back to Squall. "So, sir, everything's alright? Getting stuck back in D-District couldn't have been fun..." She turned and waved over the three young women, "Pack it up."

"Careful!" Zell's voice called from somewhere in the truck, "Cactus prickles in there! Don't touch 'em, kids!"

"Yes sir!" one returned as they made their way over.

"Ah... Air Conditioning..." Zell's lazy voice continued, "Nothing greater in the whole effing world, I swear... I'd help you but... Aaahmm.... y'know..."

One of the girls giggled before she followed her companions into the tent, then another piped up quietly, "It smells... *weird* in here."

Squall straighted, eyes bulging just a little. Now would be a great time to answer Selphie's question. "I was injected with G-308 while improsoned, on top of a Pain spell."

It was Selphie's turn to widen her eyes. "What? Why the heck didn't you tell me earlier?" She took his arm and began tugging him back to the truck, but he fought her, so she let go. "Dr. Kadowaki will want to see you right away."

"Dammit... Selphie, I'm *fine.* It wore off after two days."

"Yeah, I'm sure Zell and Seifer took good care of you while you were sick, but--" She cut herself off to stare at Seifer in confusion. He had turned around, and was coughing very loudly while clutching at his stomach. "You okay?"

"Just... peachy," Seifer replied hoarsely, trying to be as subtle as possible as he wiped tears of amusement from his eyes.

"Seifer got pricked and poisoned!" Zell called, "You should have Kadowaki take a look at *him.*"

"Goodness!" Selphie dodged forward and took Seifer's arm as well, spinning him around, then wound her other arm back around Squall's. "Come on, get in there. Cool air should do you both some good." She shoved them forward and they complied, Seifer throwing Zell's legs off the seat before sliding in.

"Fuckin' rat," he hissed as Squall sat down on his other side and closed the door.

"Whaat? I'm worried 'bout your welfare, that's all."

"Eat me."

"Maybe I *will.*" Seifer made a double take at that. Zell grinned mischeviously at him. "Yeah, that shutchya up, eh?" Seifer raised a fist at him, shaking his head in warning with a smiling bottom lip between his teeth. Zell fell back, satisfied and still shirtless, reaching an arm back behind Seifer to lay it across the top of their seatback. "Aaaghhhh.... I can't believe how frickin' *nice* it is in here... Man, I can't wait to get back to Trabia, nice an' cool up there..."

Squall leaned against the door, shifting away from the brush of Seifer's hips. Those two were actually managing to be cute together-- it was satisfying to hear. He leaned his forehead against cool bulletproof glass, relaxing into the seat. He hadn't realized how much he had missed sitting on something other than the ground; now he wondered if he would ever be able to get up again.

"All done!" Selphie called as she slid into the front passenger seat. One of the girls, the student, hopped behind the steering wheel as the other two sat down in the row of seats behind them, tossing their battered pack into the empty space at the end. "We left your shoes, Zell. Those things are like... death-bundles."

"Glad you did. I'll get new ones."

All three open doors were shut in near unison; their driver started the engine and turned the truck around. "Winhill-ho!" Selphie shouted, shrill and excited, sounding more like a student than the professor/SeeD she was. "Ooo! Better make a call, let 'em know we found you guys."

"How many others were searching for us?" Squall asked, speaking for the first time since sitting down.

"Every truck we could get on short notice and fill with kids... Seven or eight, I think." Selphie plucked the radio from the dashboard, turning for a second to send Squall a cute wink. "There's just one I've gotta know about, though. He'll take care of telling the others." She pushed one of the many buttons on its side, "B.G. truck two, come in! This is truck one!"

It crackled for a moment before replying with a familiar drawl, "Sorry kiddo... no sign yet."

"Guess what, Irvy!"

The tone of Irvine's voice lightened significantly at the joy in hers, "Hmm... sounds good, whatever it is... Did you find an oasis? I need a bath."

Selphie giggled. "Nopers, sorry love. You'll have to wait for me to give you one when we get back."

The girls in the back giggled in turn, and Squall stared at Selphie. She glanced over and waved him off, apparently not caring that she was speaking in such an inappropriate way in the presence of a student.

"So, shall we turn around and meet at tridgridge, then?" Irvine asked as he finally managed to shush the cheers of congratulation (and likely back-pats) from his young male companions.

"Of course!"

"Can't wait, mydear. I'll spread the word. Out."

"Byebye hun." Selphie released the button and put the radio back in its holder. "You've got to lighten up. Sir."

"Whatever. I won't discuss this now."

Selphie let out a whoosh of breath and flopped back into her seat, deflated by Squall's favourite catchphrase.

"Y'know what I'm frickin' *craving* right now? A *salad.* Never thought you'd hear that outta me, Balamb-G's resident meateater, didja?"

"Aw, Zelly's finally gotten tired of his usual diet of shit-stuffed entrails?"

"Seifer!" Squall exclaimed over the new eruption of laughs from behind them, whipping his head around with eyes of daggers.

Seifer was unaffected by this, as usual. He smirked as he replied. "Come on, these girls slaughter people and monsters for a living. I'm sure they can handle 'shit.'" He turned and looked them over; they seemed to shrink beneath his gaze. "Right, girls?"

"Yes, sir!" said one from behind a hand.

"Yup," the other confirmed, seeming to hide beneath the long locks of her bushy brown hair.

"We swear all the time, actually," explained their driver, sounding much braver despite being younger than the other two. Selphie laughed, and Squall leaned back against the window.

"That isn't the point." Defeated by his subordinates. This happened far too often. Besides, Seifer's words hadn't even been completely true-- Squall doubted any of the three had killed anything more dangerous than a grat. "What's our travel plan after Winhill?" he asked, glad to have thought of an appropriate change of subject.

"Sir Laguna's waiting for us there," Selphie revealed carefully, "With Ragnarok."

Squall closed his eyes, puffing his breath onto the window. He decided to skip commenting on the statement about Esthar's President. "Why wasn't Ragnarok used instead of these trucks?" It was no surprise that with one came the other-- Laguna had taken the ship lovingly into his care to have it repaired after the Final Battle, and now used it as his personal armored transportation any time he felt like taking a vacation.

"Yeah, what the hell?" Zell added, "If you'd used that you coulda found us in, like, three hours! Coulda seen the whole damn desert!"

"Well... we figured, if that Ebony Rapture group was looking out for us, they could have located it more easily. We don't know how strong they are, or what the heck they think they're getting into. Didn't want any of their people popping up to attack when we f you you."

"Right. Best not to risk it," Squall agreed.

"Of course, it took us about three hours to convince Sir Laguna not to take it and go tearing up the desert after you by himself. Almost had to lock him up. I would've hated to do that. Thank Hyne he finally listened to his friends." Squall answered that with a wince. "Anyway, after that we're back to Balamb-G," Selphie finished. "Sorry to say it, but they've got a ton of paperwork waiting. The whole place almost went out of business without you. We left Quistis in charge, and she's... welllll.... not the best leader. You know?"

"Damn dingbat, if you ask me," Seifer offered.

"No one *did* ask you," Squall replied haughtily, resisting the urge to smack him. "If you're looking to have your pay suspended, keep going,"

"Heh. Pardon me, *Sir.*" Seifer had been instructed along with the others who were more closely acquainted with Squall to use the formaily whenever talking to him in the presence of students and other SeeDs. On the rare occasions when he complied, he always managed to turn it into a jeer. This was nothing new. Squall turned away to ignore him.

"You can be a real asshole, Seifer, you know that?" Selphie injected, turning quickly in her seat.

"Of course I do." Seifer smiled at her. Such a cute little thing. "And thank you."

Selphie was not amused. She narrowed her eyes at him, fingers digging deep into the of of her seat. "Grow up."

"What, you want to take me on, little girl? I'm sure our driver would have no problem stopping the vehicle to let us out."

"Yeah. I'll back you up, Selph," Zell added, clenching his fists in Seifer's view.

"If you peope don't shut the fuck up I'll kick you *all* out!!" Screamed said driver, knuckles white on the steering wheel.

Selphie stared at her, lips parted in shock. "Nina..."

"I'm sorry... oh shit... I mean... Sorry..." Nina winced, looking as shocked as everyone else by her words. A few straight black locks, having escaped from the tie of her pontyail, dusted over her face. "I can't believe I said that... I--"

"It's okay." Squall interrupted, trying to sound assuring while hiding the pure embarassment brought by the supposed adults around him. "You're not to blame. Just... everyone, let's just try to finish the ride in peace. Agreed?"

"Thank you, sir," Nina squeaked, "Thank you."

Seifer sulked in the following silence. *This* was why Squall had needed to hire him as their Garden's official disciplinarian. He hadn't much liked the idea of playing Vice Principal to a bunch of idiot kids, but the job proved somewhat rewarding-- because if he wasn't there to do it, it wouldn't get done. He wondered if Squall knew how soft he was. If he were in charge now, Seifer would have put this 'Nina' girl in at least a day of solitary for her outburst once they returned, and taken great pleasure in it. *No one* spoke to him that way, even if he was merely being included in a group, and especially if the speaker was a student.

"Aw... c'mon, don't cry an' stuff..." Zell said quietly, leaning forward as he watched Nina's face, looking scared an uncomfortable himself.

Nina hiccupped, blinking continuously as she stared out the windshield. "I'm... sorry. Don't worry 'bout me, sir... just being a little wussy girl right now... dammit..." She cursed her tears and attempted to throw them away with a shake of her head.

Zell reached over Seifer's lap to place what he hoped was a comforting hand on her shoulder. "He said it's fine... You're not in trouble...You've gotta dry those eyes, 'k?"

Seifer heard a little beh behind him and turned to find both young women looking like they were seriously considering making themselves cry so they could have a turn. He shook head ead at them before relaxing back against the seat to watch Nina's sickening display. Was this what Balamb-G's students had become? Slobbering little babies? He would have to toughen them up.

"Cuz I mean, if you don't, you might not be able to see an' then you could crash into... um..."

Nina smiled. "A sand dune?"

"Yeah. Something like that." Zell fell back with a grin. Job well done.

Nina wiped the heel of a hand over her eyes, and no new tears fell. "Wow, well, *that* was embarassing."

"Natural reaction to panic. Aftershock. Happens to me too, sometimes," Selphie assured.

Seifer leaned close to Squall's ear. Squall's eyes shot open at the puff of warm breath on his cheek. "They're getting soft," Seifer whispered. Squall just nodded, silent. He knew it already-- and he hoped Seifer wouldn't offer any suggestions to fix the problem. To his relief, the blond backed off so he could foon ron returning his heartbeat to its normal pace.

The drive continued in practical silence. Irvine checked up on them a few times, the back-seat girls engaged in a few whispered conversations, and that was it. After trying to keep their minds sharp for an hour or so, all three rescuees gave into the plush comfort of of their seats and thederfderfully cool air-conditioning that rushed their faces. If any time was a good one in which to nap, this was it.



(heeeheee... I again finished a chapter with people falling's so *easy*...)
And I bet you're saying... "Whaaat? 'END??'"
Yeah, yeah. The title doesn't fit anymore, as Squall's been fixed (in a physical sense, at least), and the story's heading into a rather different stage next chapter (OMG, one with a plot!o, Io, I'm breaking it up into two parts. Squall still needs to get his revenge... *evil grin*...and he needs to learn to quit pushing away his objects of lust...*eviler grin* The first chapter of the next fic, which doesn't have a name yet, shouldn't take too long to complete.

Thank you for more reviews, though they've been coming a bit less frequently of late... come on, step it up, my peeps. Today's even my birthday! Well... not technically, as it's 4am now and officially May 4th... but still! A chapter usually takes me about 5 hours to finish, so you must take 5 minutes to review. ^_^ Give me presents!

Special thanks go out to Hope, especialspecialspecially. She is my oracle. I call her 'sensei' now. And she reviewed every single chapter, too.
*glomp for her*
*glomp for everyone*

EDIT:: The sequel ([2]: Blood Roses) is now up. ^_^

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