Convergence [1]: Broken

BY : currie
Category: Final Fantasy VIII > Yaoi - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 728
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.

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~ 3. The Journey Begins ~


"Of all the stupid shit that could happen, I can't believe you ran out of gas."

"*I* ran out of gas? Why is it suddenly *my* responsibility?" Zell squinted into the setting sun, a few drops of sweat running down the back of his neck when he lifted his face. "*You* were the one that filled the tank, remember?"

Seifer wiped at his forehead with the back of his free hand as the pair trudged on, feet sinking and slipping in so much loose sand. "You were supposed to put an extra canister in the back," he replied, too tired by now from carrying both Squall's and his own weight to raise his voice.

"Says who?"

"If I remember correctly, you volunteered."

Zell shook his head, causing a few extra strands of hair to fall down over his forehead. The gel was giving away quickly. "I don't remember that." His tone faltered, however, unable to disguise a pang of guilt. It was true that he didn't remember, which meant that it was possible he *had* taken on the responsibility.

"Yeah, figures you wouldn't."

"So, how's Squall doing?" Zell asked tentatively, hoping to change the subject.

"Like a big bag of rocks."

"No, I mean, is he still out?" He grinned a little as a leather hand raised from behind Seifer's back in response and flopped back down. "Oh, good then. Try the Dispel again. We should be far enough away for it to work."

Seifer half-shrugged, too glad for the chace to give his shoulder a break. When laying Squall down in the sand this time, he wasn't so careful. The jolt had Squall gagging again.

"Jeez, will you be careful?"

"No. If this doesn't work, it's your turn to carry him."

"What the hell? I'm already carrying the pack that, I might add, *you* forgot to take out of the back seat before they blew up the truck."

"Then we'll trade. Esuna."

Nothing happened. Squall remained sprawled on his back, fingers lacing themselves in the sand.

"Did it work?" Zell asked anyway, working hard to maintain a shred of hope.

Squall shook his head and winced, then rolled himself over to his side. To the surprise of his companions, he began pointing at his behind.

Seifer let out a short laugh. "What the hell are you doing?"

Squall's only reply was to tense up his pointing arm. Zell tugged at his hair in thought for a second before his eyes widened in horror. "Oh... fuck..." He knelt, dumping his backpack beside him, and inspected what turned out to be a small tear in the fabric that revealed a spot of blood beneath. "Seifer... thay gave him a shot."

"What do you mean?" Seifer knelt beside Zell, squinting, before the realization came to him as well. "Shit, well, that explains it."

"You really think..." Zell swallowed. "You think it was *that*?"

"What the hell else would it be? The whole reason he went to that stupid conference in the first place was to talk the bastards into retiring it." He shoved the brunette back over his shoulder and began walking again. "Looks like they didn't want his opinion."

Zell paused, lips parted, before he stood and jogged to catch up with Seifer's long strides. "Serum G-306," he whispered absently as it sank in, then raised his voice, "But... but we don't even know what the hell it does!"

"It keeps all spells cast before the injection from being removed afterwards," he recited, rolling his eyes. "It's only been Squall's single concern since the leak *three weeks ago.* Miss the memo or something?"

"No! I mean, how long does it last? What about side effects? What if it kills him? They *said* it was still getting developed."

"Now *that* we don't know. As for development, seems I'm carrying their most recent test subject."

Zell swallowed again, his throat scratchy and aching. He resisted the urge to reach out and touch Squall's hair as a wave of pity came over him. He wondered how Seifer could be so indifferent.

"What I'd like to know," Seifer continued, "Is why they called the Garden to let us know where he was before they were finished with him."

"Maybe they *were* finished with him," Zell mumbled absently as he watched the last sliver of sunlight disappear behind the horizon.

Seifer took a fewondsonds to reply. "You think they wanted to show us exactly what the stuff does?"

"I dunno."

"It would make sense; sure is a good way to get across the message that they won't back down. And it would explain the disappointing number of guards they had trying to stop us." He then pulled out Hyperion and thrashed it about a few times at the memory.

Zell just shrugged. It was true; only about fifteen had been waiting for them at the exit.

"They probably wanted us to get away."

"Why'd they blow up our truck, then?"

"Hell, I don't know. It's just a theory. Think you can do better?"

"We should set up camp." Zell changed the subject again, realizing suddenly that it was really starting to get dark. He shifted and dumped his pack on the ground. "I got a tent in here."

"Sounds good. Got any food in there?"

"Yeah."

~*~*~*~

~ Three Days Prior: ~

"As I'm sure you are aware, the news of your recent development has Balamb Garden greatly concerned." Always one to get right down to business, Squall was the first to speak after cold introductions made their way around the room. His gaze shifted from one shadowed face to another: two women and one man sat across from him at a wide table in the center of an otherwise empty, silver-walled room, but beyond their genders, he was unable to learn anything of their identities. An uneasy feeling, accompanied by one of regret for not having expected it, told him that this was exactly how they wanted things to stay.

"I don't see why any of our activities should concern you in the least," replied the woman on the right, a shift in her chair revealing her hair to be inky black.

Squall shifted as well, turning his eyes to the file folder on the desk before him. He opened it and began rustling through the few sheets of paper -- every bit of information he had managed to gather about an infamous Galbadian resistance group who called themselves "Ebony Rapture." He didn't know why he bothered even to bring the folder at all, as he had already memorized its shallow contents-- it was amazing how many people could know of the group without knowing the slightest bit about them. He had truly expected them to have fallen beneath the radar, perhaps even disbanded, after the end of Ultimecia. The world was now at peace. Why couldn't they let it remain that way? "You obviously don't understand the Garden's position, ma'am. Mercenaries don't have the luxury of choosing their enemies, which means, of course, that there is a chance we could end up fighting you."

"You have the option to ally with us," the raven-haired woman replied. "Money isn't a concern for us; name your price. By means of confidential ties, we are also able to rent space in D-Distrist prison when the need arises. Such an asset would be quite valuable to you, would it not? Most importantly, we would no longer be a..." she paused, "*burden* to you," she finished, her voice strangely deep.

Squall balled his hands into fists. "Is that a threat?"

"Of course not." The second woman, a blonde, shot her partner what looked like a warning glance from the left side of the table. Her voice was much higher. "We are simply reminding you of your options."

*I don't need to be reminded of my options,* Squall thought. Instead of voicing his disdain, he made himself relax. "Another concern is that you may sell your newfound technology to other groups, increasing the risk of it being used."

"Are you looking to buy?" Inquired the ink-haired woman, regaining her position as spokesperson.

"No."

"Then what is it that you want us to do?"

"Discontinue your research and destroy what information and materials you have gathered." Squall released the words as though they were a bomb. "We will pay you generously for signing this contract--" he pulled a paper from the folder and placed it alone on the table "--which states that you will immediately discontinue developing G-306."

The man in the centre laughed, his voice echoing off the walls for the first time since introducing himself as 'Job.' "Surely you don't expect to buy us out of pursuing the greatest bio-technological development the world has seen in more than a century? I'm sorry if we have mislead you, but although we may seem in dire needs of cash, we are not stupid."

Squall's sliver of hope fell apart. "I would appreciate it if you would take a few days to consider--"

"Our greatest mode of defense will not be sold for any price-- even for ownership of your Garden itself," the man closed. "If you are still bent on pursuing this, we have other ways to to persuade you."

"I don't take well to threats." Heat rose in Squall's face. "Neither does Balamb Garden or its associates. I *will* be pursuing this. You can't convince me to do otherwise." He gathered his papers and stood. "If you'll excuse me."

Squall turned his back on them, realizing a moment before the blonde muttered "Confuse" that it was one of the biggest mistakes he had ever made in his life.


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AN: Thanks for the reviews-- that's what got me back into Wordpad to continue this today. ^_^


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