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.

~ 4. d Gad Game ~

“I knew I shouldn’t have let you pack.”

Squall stirred at the muffled words and opened his eyes, muscles tensing as it only served to remind him of his predicament. He took a deep breath and tried to relax, easing his head back onto his pillow. *Pillow?* Lifting a hand above his shoulders, he found leather and fuzz: his jacket. He sighed at the comfort of familiarity it brought and rubbed his cheek against it.

"Sorry I couldn't find any vacuum-sealed caviar or lobster tails for your highness." It was Zell's voice now, dripping with sarcasm. "It's not like I had much choice."

The sound was definitely muffled, distant. Squall crept a hand across the smooth ground and didn't have to stretch far before it pressed into taut canvas. So, they packed a tent. He congratulated them silently.

"Shut the fuck up, chicken. I know for a fact that your dumb ass could have found more than shriveled-up hot dogs if you'd looked."

Seifer had remained a potty-mouthed child after being accepted back into Garden. Unfortunately (not to mention surprisingly), he was an excellent leader when heading training lessons, as long as Zell didn't come along. Seifer would remain among SeeDs; would probably make his way to the top of the ranks eventually. And, he'd just rescued Squall from certain molestation and torture in the bowels of D-District. Squall promised silently that if they did manage to get back to Balamb, his rival's salary would be raised in repayment. As much as he despised Seifer's personality, he wouldn't allow it to get in the way of obvious duty, even though the biggest part of his reason for planning the raise was simply to keep Seifer from claiming to have an upper hand in being owed a favour.

He wondered what time it was. Had he slept through the night to find the others rested and already awake, or was it merely evening? There were no day or night sounds in the desert to help him sense past his blindness. The was was maddeningly hot either way, and he sat up tmovemove his tee in response. Sweat trickled down his torso, leaving itchy trails in its wake. His shirt was soaked; he tossed it to the side and lay back down, finding less relief in its absense than he had hoped for.

Sickness rose in his stomach, bringing to his attention the fact that he had been feeling relatively well when he awoke. It seemed that the intervals between pain and its disapearance were lengthening. The intensity, however, hadn't dwindled in the slightest. His head started to throb mercilessly again; he rolled to his side and pulled up his knees instinctively as an invisible hand began jumbling his insides. He ached to let out a groan and release some of his misery into the air, but nothing but laboured breath could escape his throat. A sympathetic twich in his mind reminded him that Shiva was still there, watching over him-- not that it made much difference. She made him practically immune to the cold, but could do nothing to protect him from the desert's heat or his current illness.

"Hey," came Zell's voice from the direction of Squall's feet. Fabric rustled as he entered the small canvas enclosure. "I thought you'd sleep longer than this."

Squall cringed as he realized he'd be unable to tell Zell to shut up once he began to blabber for Hyne knew how long. He did not want to hear voices, or any sound at all, for that matter.

Zell cringed also-- his was directed at the miserable sight of Balamb Garden's fearless commander scrunched up and trembling helplessly in the fetal position, ghostly pale, his hair plastered to his forehead with sweat. "Geez, you look like hell."

*Thanks,* Squall thought, becoming more bitter by the second. The hand in his gut had grown claws and hadn't lost any of its ruthlessness. He begged his body to let him pass out again, or for Zell to shut up so he could attempt to revert into his mind to dull the pain.

But, no such luck.

Zell sat down cross-legged beside him, facing his back. He placed the few items he had carried in with him on the floor of the tent, switching on their only flashlight and positioning it to point upwards. Squall would be curious about their werabouts, he decided. "It's only about nine o'clock. We stopped when the sun set and set up the tent, and you were already asleep, so we just put you in here so you could rest. I brought you some leftovers in case you're up for it. They're cold and kinda shriveled-- actually, they look more like big pink raisins than hotdogs, but they taste the same..." He nervously combed his fingers through the now-limp crest of his hair when Squall didn't respond. "You really should eat, y'know."

Squall wanted to lash out at him for bringing up the idea of food. The thought alone had him ready to throw up again, something he wanted to avoid at all costs, as he'd need to manage his way out of the tent (probably on all fours) to do so.

"At least have some water. We've got plenty; I hoarded Water spells before we left." Squall still didn't move, so he urged further. "With all the puking you've been doing, you've got to be dehydrated."

Truthfully, Squall's mouth felt like it was full of sand and tasted of bile. He rolled over carefully to face the direction of Zell's voice, propped himself up on an elbow, and waited. The mouth of a canteen was soon pressed to his lips; at the delicious dampness his thirst became almost overwhelming, and he had to fight hard not to gulp down every drop. He sipped carefully as not to choke, welcoming the cleansing of that horrid taste from his mouth. After only three swallows he leaned back. His stomach disagreed with the cool splash.

Zell's chest tightened with sympathy; partly for the pain Squall was likely in but more for his pitiful, needy position. "This must be like hell for you," he mumbled, not yet taking back the bottle in case Squall wanted more. "Having to depend on me so much..."

*It could have been worse. It could have been Seifer instead of you.* Oh, was that ever the truth. It was relatively easy to accept help from someone like Zell, who had accepted it from him in turn on enough occasions. But if Seifer had come alone... he didn't want to think about the blows that would have befallen the segment of his pride that still remained if that had been the case.

"Don't worry; he's not coming in here tonight," Zell assured, as if he had read Squall's mind. "He hid a flask of Sylkis in the pack before we left. Since I remembered to stock up on Waters and he doesn't have to worry about dehydrating himself, he figures it's okay to drink himself retarded. Wants to 'share a toast with the moon' or some shit. I don't know what he was talking about. The guy's a psycho, I swear."

Squall was startled when Zell's last sentence ended. He had stopped hearing what he was saying half way through his speech, finding the simple sounds of his voice rather soothing. It helped him ground himself by providing a way to stay attached to his surroundings in the absence of his sight. The pain in his head and stomach was slowly dying now, giving way to an even stronger thirst. He leaned forward for the canteen but misjudged the distance; it graced the side of his face, leaving a trail of droplets across his cheek.

"Crap, s." ." Zell smiled a little, readjusting his arm and carefully tipping the bottle to Squall's lips again. He reached out with his other hand and wiped the drops from Squall's cheek with his thumb, an affectionate gesture that he acted upon before considering it. Squall's swallows paused at the touch but began again shortly, the desire to drink far stronger than his surprise. "Feels like you're on fire," Zell remarked as he pulled his hand away. "You've got a mad feveere.ere. Prob'ly past a hundred."

Squall finished drinking and fell back, relaxing against his jacket's fluff. He shrugged-- it didn't matter. Nothing could be done to change it, and night would be cooling the air soon anyway. His headache had dulled to a low pulse, his stomach still uneasy but thankful for being quenched. He took a deep breath and reveled in the lack of discomfort, wondering how long he would have to wait before it returned.

The harsh sound of tearing fabric filled the tent, making Squall tense with confusion. "Hold on." Zell assured just as the ripping stopped. What the hell was he doing? Water sloshed in the canteen. A second later, pure bliss fell upon Squall's forehead.

"This should help," Zell mumbled, hovering over him as he ran the now-soaked chunk of his shirt across Squall's forehead. Squall reached up to take the piece of fabric from him, but the blond pressed his wrist back down with his free hand. "You, chill the hell out," he commanded with a little grin as he dragged the dripping cloth across Squall's forhead, lifting and wetting his bangs with it. "Relax and enjoy, 'cause you can bet your ass I won't be doing this when Seifer's around."

Squall fought him for a second before giving in and letting his hand fall, obviously weak from the torrents of misery his body had been enduring. It was a great idea, he admitted, and very generous of Zell to destroy whatever piece of clothing he had to do this, but Squall could have continued cooling himself off on his own.

Zell brougt dot down his temple. A slight flush returned to Squall's cheeks as he ran it across them, and he lifted his chin voluntarily as the cool therapy was wiped down his throat. Zell paused to re-wet it as an excuse to watch a few droplets slide down the side of his neck-- then shook his head in an attempt to clear it. *This isn't the time,* he reminded himself, feeling a little embaed bed by his sudden fascination. He shifted uncomfortably, but just as he was about to continue, he made a mistake and glanced at Squall's face. He had become gorgeous, his illness barely evident. Needles of dark copper contrasted starkly with his skin as they fell over one of his closed eyes and graced a pink cheek, lips glistening below in the flashlight's soft reflected glow. Squall had always been attractive, of course, as Zell had first noticed when they joined in battle under Seifer's direction in Dollet. Attraction had fallen by the wayside of friendship some time ago. But now, Squall was striking, and he was sure any idiot who could have seen him at that moment would have agreed. Even Seifer... he frowned at the reminder of the man outside and strained his ears. He heard a soft 'hic' but no movement, a good sign. The last thing he wanted was for Seifer to come in and see this. *Shit, now I'm being territorial,* Zell sighed and brought a hand to his forehead. Still, he couldn't deny it. He wanted this vision completely for himself.

Squall shifted, bringing him out of thoughts and startling him into squeezing the soaked cloth. Droplets splashed to Squall's stomach, spreading like small sunflowers across old scars and shallow curves that reacted by twitching, tightening inviluntarily at the jolt. Zell blinked and quickly wiped the sun patterns away, blushing at the feel of taut abdominal muscles beneath the thin formality of cloth. He cleared his throat and mumbled "So..".." To his surprise, the edges of Squall's lips turned up.

Nervousness, or possibly embarassment, was obvious in the quiver of Zell's voice, and Squall couldn't help but allow himself to grin. The blond had never been very good at concealing emotions. And what was he sorry for? But it didn't matter now, as he was covering Squall's torso with cold water and keeping him from thinking in straighnes.nes. This was so nice of him. So very, very nice. He felt like falling asleep-- and peacefully this time, rather than the pain-induced fainting that he was getting accustomed to.

Zell chewed at the corner of his lip, drawing a spot of blood when Squall's nipples tightened to hard buds. He blinked tightly and decided to go for a safer route. Slowly he took Squall's nearest hand and peeled away the leather glove, not realizing until he had set it aside and saw the Griever ring shining on his middle finger that he had never before seen Squall's hands. Slender and almost feminine, this part of his body was completely devoid of callouses and unscarred by battle. He gulped. Maybe this hadn't been a safer route after all.

Squall almost jerked his hand away at the cold touch that befell his fingers. Years of wearing gloves almost contantly had made them sensitive to temperature (his showers were always comfortably lukewarm), and even more sensitive to the touch of another human being. He had held hands gloveless with Rinoa once-- where was she now? Probably back in Deling, but he wasn't sure-- and that was all. It had been an intimate gesture, one for which he had reluctantly volunteered, that had taken place in the throes of a passion he preferred not to remember. After that single night, he had lost all feeling for her, and without an explanation to himself or anyone else, he ended their relationship. He knhat hat they were never supposed to be together, that he had been seventeen and horny and curious, and when his urges were finally satiated, they disappeared with his supposed love.

Yet still, the warm touch of Zell's hand on his, magnified by the contrasting cool water, reminded him of physical sensations in a way that few other people would understand. He mely fly fought the heat now beginning to build up in his groin, feeling somewhat ashamed at his compelled reacton and hoping Zell wouldn't notice. He wanted to take his hand back, but found himself fighting that urge as well. The blond had begun paying individual attention to each of his fingers, drawing the cloth around and between them, not missing a spot. A few drops tickled their way down his arm and he shivered.

Although Squall's expression had returned to it's usstatstatuesque blankness, the blush on his cheeks had become quite dark. Zell paused for a second to stare, incredulous at the involuntary reaction to his touches. Curious about how Squall was handling this, he asked quietly, "Like that?" His eyes turned to saucers when Squall responded by letting his head fall to the side and taking a deep, shuddery breath. His eyelids tightened and relaxed once--that was an affirmative if Zell had ever seen one. He bared tiny fangs in a grin and hoped to Hyne he wouldn't be hit for whe wae was about to do.

Squall's eyes flashed open uselessly as the tip of his index finger was suddenly enveloped by soft heat. He lifted his head and tried to jerk his hand back, but Zell was already tightly gripping his wrist. Rough fingers began massaging his palm as that finger was taken all the way into Zell's mouth, tastebuds tickling along it-- he gave up and let his head fall back, swallowing a few times and trying to clear his head. This, Rinoa hadn't done. It was new, it was suggestive, it was wonderfully distracting.

Relieved at thlaxelaxed permission of Squall's arm, Zell switched to the next water-slick finger and began sucking ruthlessly, drinking up every drop of water and sighing when Squall twitched within his mouth. He felt hiself stir as Squall's expression became more revealing, the pale blue of his eyes rolled blindly upwards, lips parted. He caught startling but subtle movement in the corner of his eye, the shift of his gaze revealing a second minute upwards thrust of Squall's hips, marked by an obvious bulge. He smiled around him and playfully tugged at his ring with his teeth.

"What th'eck isthis?" Zell dropped Squall's hand and spun around to face the tent's entrance. Seifer's head was poking through, his eyes glazed, a strange dopey grin on his face. "Youhavin' fun wuthout me?"

Zell scowled at him. Give it to Seifer to be a whiny drunk. "Get the hell back outside. You're plastered." It was incredibly satisg tog to be so commanding of him.

"But I'm tiiired..." Seifer whined comically, slowly crawling his way back into the tent. "I wanna go ta bed now."

"Then sleep out there. I'm not staying up all night to make sure you dt put puke all over the tent." He picked up Seifer's bedroll and threw it at him just as the drunken man was trying to stand up. The force of it hitting his chest tipped him backwards, so that he landed sprawled on his back, half inside and half outside the tent. "Ow..."

Zell couldn't help but laugh. He wished he'd brought a comcorder a-- n-- no amount of gil could be placed on the vaule of such a blackmailing tool. "I'll be right back," he mumbled to Squall, patting his arm and standing. He took hold of Seifer's feet and flipped them out the doorway, then exited into the cool night air-- it was quite warm inside the tent, he realized-- and unrolled sleesleeping bag on top of the sand. "There. Go to sleep. And you better not bitch about your hangover in the morning."

"Wh'ever," Seifer mumbled as he crawled over to his makeshift bed. He flopped down onto his back, crossed his arms, and sulked.

"And don't move from that spot, or else I'll take your flask and hide it so you won't be able to have any more."

A quiet "Asshole," was the response. Seifer's head was already lolling to the side. He'd be asleep within minutes. Zell smiled triumphantly and ducked back into the tent. Instantly, his stomach dropped into his shoes-- Squall was curled up on his side again, his back and shoulders tense.

"Aw, shit." He had almost forgotten that the fury Squall's ailment would return, and it made him feel guilty. "You alright?"

Squall nodded, denying the obvious. He kept trying to tell himself to get used to this, that it would be returning for days now until they got back home. On the wake of Zell's attention, however, the pain only seemed magnified.

"Here..." Zell unrolled his own sleeping mat behind him and lay on it, ng hng his back, and switched off the flashlight. He couldn't risk falling asleep with it left on, as they had only brought one extra set of batteries. He reached around Squall's waist and lightly pressed his hand to his stomach, feeling him relax almost instantly beneath his fingers. "Concentrate on me instead," he advised softly as he started to play soft circles with his fingers. He rested his forehead against the back of Squall's neck as the brunette's breath quickened to short laboured gasps and cringed sympathetically at the sound, hating his inability to do more. After a few minutes, Squall's bare hand met the back of his, pressing it tighter against him and keeping it still. His grip didn't falter until the pain subsided, and Zell had already fallen into deep sleep.

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Squeeeeeeeeeeee! Zell's the sweetest.


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