Mind Games

BY : danihouse
Category: Final Fantasy VIII > Yaoi - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 715
Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy or any of the characters represented in the story, and I make no profit from it.

Took me a while, but I'm finally getting something up here.

~

The boisterous sounds of the party he had just escaped from were fading in Seifer’s ears as he wandered unsteadily down the corridor away from the Quad, ambling along in the swaying, faltering manner of one who is sauced out of their mind - which, at that moment, Seifer was. He had stayed at the graduation banquet just long enough to get shitfaced, totter across the stage, and make a hasty exit out the back door before Squall or any of his harebrained lackeys could figure out he was MIA. Commander Crabass had been particularly crotchety concerning the matter of Seifer’s attending the banquet; no one wanted to see him there, of course, but it was tradition for second year SeeDs to attend the commencement of the new class, and Seifer, therefore, had done so for as long as was obligatory, which, in his own opinion, was far longer than his presence was needed. As it was, the continual whispers and stares that accompanied him everywhere he went within the Garden - which were, of course, not a new occurrence, but no less an annoying one - were made no more bearable by the stiff drink he had managed to acquisition within moments of entering the banquet hall, and he had made his flight from the party not even two hours after it began, which was quite long enough a time for him to get adequately tanked.

He reeled around a corner and, looking blearily around at the grey-washed walls of the dormitories, ventured off into the nearest corridor, his sense of direction slightly impaired by the way the floor seemed to be spinning out from underneath him. He couldn’t seem to remember where it was he wanted to go, although finding a bed to collapse in seemed like a splendid idea, given that anything involving any more movement than it took to clutch his head in pain and curl up into the fetal position was going to be out of the question in not too long. Seifer had never been one to tolerate hard liquor well, a weakness that he was fairly able to keep under wraps for the most part, as he rarely drank at all. It wasn’t the whispering, or the sneers, or the general dislike that the majority of the population of the Garden seemed to harbour for him that made him want to get pissed out of his gourd this particular night; those things were all familiar after having endured them for nigh on three years now, and as irksome as having to deal with all that on a daily basis was for Seifer, it wasn’t anything that troubled him overmuch. No, this particular bout of dipsomania was brought on by a certain stubborn headmaster and his inability to treat Seifer like a normal SeeD, which is really all the blonde wanted at this point; instead, he, Squall, spent most of his time (Seifer was convinced) creating stupid, pointless rules and requirements that applied to Seifer only and whose sole purpose was to irritate the fuck out of him. Therefore, Seifer considered it his duty to get absolutely blotto at the most important event of the year just because he knew how much it would piss everyone’s beloved commander off. Petty? Seifer didn’t know the meaning of the word.

He tumbled into a closed door, losing his train of thought. A bed, that’s right; he was looking for a bed. Not necessarily his own bed - any flat, relatively comfortable surface would do provided he not be disturbed for the next twelve hours or so until his hangover became bearable. He was beginning to feel it now; the pressure that squeezed like a fist around his eyes as he attempted to focus on a stationary object (which happened to be a potted plant, not that Seifer could distinguish anything more than its relative shape and colour through the cloud of drunkenness he was wandering around in,) the way his stomach heaved as though trying to buck itself right out of his body with each lurching step he took forward. He prayed in his mind that anyone who wasn’t at the banquet would be tucked safely in their beds by now; he couldn’t bear thinking what would become of his reputation if he were seen hobbling drunkenly around the hallways like a loon. Although, in truth, there wasn’t much damage that could conceivably be done - he was already held in the lowest regard by 99.9% of the Garden’s student population, and the remainder of them - Squall and the group of idiots he called friends - only managed to put up with him to prove to themselves that they weren’t so petty as to cast off someone they used to call family just because he’d made one little mistake and tried to help a schizophrenic megalomaniac of a sorceress take over the world. And after all that he’d been through, Seifer reasoned to himself, didn’t he deserve the occasional bout of total inebriation?

He fell backwards against the door he had moments ago crashed into, slumping down to the floor. He slammed his fist against the wall as a spark of anger flared inside him momentarily. What the fuck was even the point of staying here? He had returned to Garden a few months after the end of the war simply because he had had nowhere else to go, and Squall had accepted him back under Cid’s creed that no one seeking education be turned away, but no one pretended that he belonged here. He had studied and kept his head down, keeping the bullying to a minimum mainly because no one paid him any attention anymore and trying to rile anybody up usually only ended up with Squall threatening to chuck him out if he caused any trouble. Chicken-wuss was the only target worth aiming at lately - he could always be counted on to want to start something - but his feathers were so easy to ruffle that it was hardly a challenge.

A wave of nausea suddenly hit Seifer like a sledgehammer in the gut, and he pulled himself to his feet as he struggled not to blow chunks right there in the hallway. That fifth - was it five or six? - martini had probably not been the best idea. Not after those first couple gin and tonics, at least. Seifer couldn’t even remember how much liquor he’d downed before deciding to bunk it out of that lame-ass party, but he had a feeling if he didn’t find somewhere to get horizontal soon, it was all going to be coming back to revisit him. He turned to the door behind him and mashed buttons on the keypad, but he couldn’t seem to correctly input his code, although he knew it by heart even when trashed - it was the same as Quistis’ birthday; he’d chosen it because he knew no one would ever suspect him of using a friend’s birthday as his passcode and because it was the only one he could ever remember, mostly due to the fact that the instructor advertised it extensively to him for weeks preceding the date every year as though she thought he cared. Unless her aim was merely to make sure he remembered it, in which case she had quite succeeded. His fingers fumbled to jab at the correct numbers, but the small blinking light on the keypad continued to wink red at him, denying him access to his room. Frustrated, he pounded a fist against the door - and, to his complete surprise, it suddenly and inexplicably slid open, sending Seifer, now without a surface to support himself against, careening back to the floor.

“‘Oo the fuck is banging around out ‘ere?” A person appeared in the doorway, rubbing their eyes sleepily. That didn’t seem quite right. Seifer didn’t have a roommate - he was a SeeD, after all, and therefore had been in a single dorm for quite some time, not that he’d had a roommate before then when he was just a cadet, either; other students had always been hard put to tolerate him, and as a result he had been alone in a double dorm before he graduated, and even before the war, back when he was still a student. He peered up at the person standing before him, staring down at him, as if trying to figure out why in the hell he was laying sprawled across the hallway outside their room.

Well, speak of the devil. “Dincht,” Seifer mumbled grumpily, trying to haul himself swiftly and gracefully to his feet so that he could beat a quick retreat before Zell realized he was sloshed out of his mind. He pushed himself up, tripping on the hem of the grey trenchcoat he wore faithfully at all times, and went hurtling forward through the doorway - or, he would have if Zell hadn’t been standing in the line of fire and broken his fall. Oh, way to not be obviously drunk, Seifer, he thought blearily to himself as he lay on top of the other boy, who was clearly too stunned and confused to make haste in shoving him away - oops, spoke too soon, he thought as Zell pushed him roughly off, leaping away from the gunblader in shock. Seifer merely rolled over lethargically, staring up at the ceiling and making no effort to move further. Zell gaped down at him, half-asleep and half pissed as hell, from what the other boy could make out of his face in the dark.

“Fuck are you doin’ here, Almasy?” He growled, nudging the prone boy on the floor with his bare foot. Seifer grunted.

“Was just leaving, as it so happens,” He slurred, but still didn’t stir. Zell waited for a few moments, and then kicked him again, although with a good deal more force than before.

“You drunk, Seifer?”

Seifer sat up quickly, feeling rather offended by the accusation. “Never been drunk a day in my life, chicken-wuss,” He declared loudly, before a swell of queasiness threatened to suddenly overthrow him, and he leapt to his feet, dashing for the nearest door inside Zell’s dorm, which, luckily, happened to be the loo. He heard Zell’s groan of displeasure as he lost his lunch - which had been that of the liquid sort anyway - but he couldn’t bring himself to care much if he annoyed the martial artist; it wasn’t as if they were friends or anything. In fact, considering how much Zell had irritated the fuck out of him for years, ralphing all over his (scrupulously neat and clean, Seifer noticed) bathroom seemed like a very tame revenge. Fortunately for the younger SeeD, however, he was able to make it to the toilet, where he collapsed on the tiled floor, clutching the porcelain bowl and fighting the urge to black out.

“For fuck’s sake,” Zell griped under his breath, standing in the doorway to the bathroom and mercilessly flipping the light on. Seifer shouted out loudly, feebly raising one arm to shield his eyes from the brightness.

“The fuck did you do that for, arsehole?!”

“You wanna peel y’self off my toilet and piss off out of here?” Zell asked coldly, folding his arms over his chest as he glared down at the drunken blonde. He stretched out a leg and prodded his unwelcome guest with a toe; Seifer, in response, merely released his hold on the toilet and slumped down to the floor. Zell went to prod him again, but thought better of it; he didn’t particularly feel like spending the morning cleaning up Seifer’s vomit if he upchucked all over the place. He grabbed the elder boy by the sleeve of his coat and dragged him a few feet across the floor before giving up.

“Damnit, Almasy, I was sleeping. Would you get the fuck out of my dorm?” He snarled, sweeping sleep-mussed hair out of his eyes as he squinted down at the drunkard on the floor.

“No, I don’t think I shall, thanks,” Seifer muttered in reply, groaning quietly as he clutched his head, which was beginning to throb terribly. Truthfully, he didn’t feel as though he could move even if he wanted to, although he wasn’t going to admit that to Zell of all people. He opted, instead, for his usual method of runabout - being an arsehole. “Now shut that fucking light off before I slice your head off.”

“Get the hell out of here, Almasy!” Zell yelled. Christ, the chicken was a cranky boy when he was woken early, Seifer thought to himself with a little smirk. He cracked open one eye to glare up at the smaller boy, trying to instill death in his stare, but as he was still too impaired to even be sure what he was focusing on was indeed Zell, he couldn’t be entirely certain his implied threat went through. He decided on adding a verbal acknowledgment to his unspoken warning.

“You yell like that again, chicken-wuss, and I’ll carve you a new goddamn mouth to yell with. Turn off that light and go back to sleep and I’ll be gone in the fucking morning.”

“So, what, I’m s’posed to let you fucking sleep on the bathroom floor?”

“If you would be so kind.”

Zell was speechless, staring, mouth agape, at Seifer, who now seemed to be comatose on the cold bathroom floor. Hesitantly, the martial artist nudged him again with his foot. No response. Seifer seemed to be well and truly zonked out, his mouth hanging open as he snored softly; he looked more like a boy than the twenty-two year old, arrogant, cold-hearted mercenary he was supposed to be. Zell sighed, grumbling noncommittally to himself under his breath as he flipped the lights off and shut the bathroom door, leaving Seifer to snooze on the tile inside. He didn’t have it in him to be angry at someone who wasn’t even conscious enough to realize it, and he was hardly awake enough to pursue an argument with his obviously sauced enemy. With another heavy sigh, he stumbled his way through the dark room back to his bed in the corner, throwing himself onto the pile of soft, comfy blankets he’d been loathe to abandon when Seifer had come pounding on his door.

I hope he wakes up with a damn migraine in the morning, Zell thought vindictively to himself as he snuggled down into the bed, trying to fall back to sleep and not to think about the poor sot laying in his bathroom, It would serve the drunk bastard right.

Seifer awoke with a pounding in his ears. Upon scrutiny, it seemed to be the sound of his brain trying to escape his skull, and he clutched his head in pain. He was hot, his back and shoulders were aching almost as much as the throbbing in his head, and his mouth seemed to be filled with cotton. He realized quite suddenly that he had no idea where he was, and he sat up, instantly regretting the hurried movement as every organ in his body seemed to lurch upward. He groaned, focusing on what he did know, which was upsettingly little. He was uncomfortable in every sense of the word, and that situation had to be remedied before any further thinking could be done.

He rose slowly to his feet and felt around in the darkness, groping along what seemed to be a countertop and then a wall until he found a light switch. He flipped it on, ignoring the burst of pain that erupted behind his eyes as if a small sun had suddenly alighted in the room rather than a fairly-dim seventy watt bulb. He was in a bathroom. It wasn’t his own; it was noticeably larger in size and a great deal tidier. Sleeping on the floor explained why his back felt like a grendel had stomped on it, and being drunk - or rather, he was just heading into what he could already predict was going to be a monster hangover - explained why he felt like five kinds of shit. And also, he supposed, why he had been sleeping on someone’s bathroom floor. He slid open the door and stumbled out into the dark bedroom beyond, his head still spinning with the dregs of his drunkenness.

The room was dim, only the faintest glow of the coming sunrise peeking over the horizon and filtering through the gauzy curtains on the window. The darkness was a welcome relief to the pulsing pain behind his eyes, and he took a few pitchy steps forward, shrugging off the trenchcoat he’d only just realized he was still wearing and giving a small shiver as the cool air of the room hit his damp skin. He rubbed the back of his aching neck, peering around in order to try and figure out whose room he was in. Although he couldn’t distinguish much through the murkiness, it didn’t seem to be anyone’s that he knew - not that he’d been in a great many other students’ dorm rooms, being enormously disliked by the rest of the population as he was.

Seifer moved slowly across the room, reaching out his hands like a blind man to feel for any obstacles, and was a little proud of himself that he didn’t trip over anything, before realizing that that was because there was nothing on the floor for him to trip over. His knees hit something soft and bouncy and his legs buckled as he went tumbling gracelessly to the floor. A bed, he thought to himself matter-of-factly, What a coincidence, that’s exactly what I was looking for…


The sudden dip of the mattress as a weight settled onto the bed stirred Zell from the dream he’d been deeply engulfed in; however, it wasn’t until an arm snaked itself around his waist that he fully grasped the fact that there was someone else beside him in the bed. Immediately wide awake, he leapt up, staring down in horror as he realized just who had crawled into bed with him, and shook Seifer by the shoulder until the older boy began to show signs of consciousness.

“Seifer! What the hell do you think you’re doing?!”

Seifer looked blearily up at him. “Dincht? Fuck’re you doing ‘ere?”

“I was sleeping,” Zell replied angrily, shoving the gunblader to the edge of the bed. “This is my bed, after all!”

“Hum?” Seifer made a noise of comprehension in the back of his throat, but it was clear to Zell that he wasn’t grasping anything the younger blonde was saying. Zell gritted his teeth in frustration as he watched his unwanted bedmate hiding his head under a pillow.

“I don’t care how drunk you are, you’re not sleeping in my bed,” He snarled as Seifer, who didn’t appear to be listening to a word he was saying, wriggled his way back toward the center of the mattress. Zell pushed him away again. “Get the hell out of here, arsehole-”

“Dincht,” Seifer interrupted suddenly, his face screwed up in discomfort as he clasped the pillow around his head. “If you never do me another favor in your life, chicken-wuss, shut up right the fuck now. I think I’m going to be sick.”

“I swear to Hyne, Seifer, if you puke in my bed-!”

“If you shut your yap and let me lay here peacefully, that won’t be a risk.”

Zell could only stare at the older boy - who had, apparently, promptly fallen asleep after this declaration - in complete disbelief that bordered on denial that Seifer, his lifelong adversary, had just crawled into his bed and was proceeding to nestle right up to him. Well, well… who’d have thought Seifer was a cuddler? If he hadn’t been so ticked off at the moment, Zell would have found it pretty hilarious. As it was, though, he was only growing more and more irritated with the gunblader, who had not only stolen his pillow but had now commandeered the comforter as well and was sprawled out in the center of the bed, forcing Zell into the corner. His expression was crumpled and pained, as though he was having an unpleasant dream - And I damn well hope he is! Zell thought spitefully to himself - but, despite the enmity he felt toward Seifer, Zell just couldn’t bring himself to kick the slumbering boy out of bed.

“I’m too damn nice for my own good,” He sighed as he fought for a corner of the blanket, grumbling to himself and settling uneasily down into the bed, but he was no longer the least bit drowsy. How was he supposed to sleep with that blasted drunkard right behind him, constantly tossing and turning and breathing down his neck, his body radiating heat…

Zell clambered out of the bed, accidentally (or perhaps not) jostling the other boy - not that Seifer would have noticed; he was clearly down for the count - in his haste to escape. What the fuck was wrong with him all of a sudden? Just because it had been months… well, okay, it was closer to a year now… since he’d had a bedmate didn’t mean he should be freaking out at the first press of a warm body against his, especially since that body happened to belong to the one person on the planet that he would never, under any circumstances, consider sleeping with, even if he were at all interested in sleeping with guys. He retreated to the bathroom, tripping over Seifer’s abandoned coat on the way and kicking the item aside frustratedly.

He flipped the light and turned on the tap to splash cold water over his face. “Too goddamn nice,” He repeated to no one, patting his face dry. Of course, he knew what it was like to wake up somewhere unfamiliar, hungover, with no recollection of how he got there, and feeling like absolute shite, and he wouldn’t have wished that even on his worst enemy - particularly since he knew just where Seifer had been and what he had been up to earlier that night; the only place Zell had ever known the older boy to get noticeably drunk was at a Garden event, and as the big graduation banquet had been last night, he could put two and two together. Squall was going to give Seifer hell when he found out what he’d done - the headmaster always did - and perhaps Zell felt sorry for his rival. He did, after all, take a lot of crap from the other residents of the school (although he brought some of it upon himself, being an arsehole as he was.)

That, however, didn’t mean Zell couldn’t be a prick to him once he awoke - and he fully planned to. For now, though, he could allow Seifer a few more hours of peace; Hyne knows he didn’t get much of it in his life. He gave a weary sigh, rubbing his eyes. A glance at the clock confirmed it was still far too fucking early to be awake - it was barely six. Well, he thought indifferently to himself, stretching his arms and shoulders as he tried to wake up, I guess it’s not too late for a run…

Seifer awoke, again, to the sound of pounding - although this time the sound seemed to be coming from somewhere nearby, not from within his head… someone was stomping around close by. He groaned, the low, irritated sound morphing into a cry of pain as he cracked one eyelid and sat up and was assaulted by a bright, happy ray of sunlight directly in his eyes. He clamped a hand over his face and rolled back over into the mattress.

Footsteps approached, and Seifer thought he heard a quiet chuckle, as if someone was amused at his expense, but he could think of very few people who would dare to be. “Morning, princess,” A voice said - a very familiar voice, he thought, but he couldn’t quite place it… which was not surprising, considering that the state of his brain was comparable to vanilla pudding. “Cuppa?”

“Please,” Seifer replied softly, attempting to sound sharp but - if the snort he heard in response was any indication - falling flat in his efforts. It was just too much work to be snarky and his brain simply didn’t have the capacity for it at the moment.

“Milk or sugar?”

“Neither.” He could faintly hear the sounds of someone making tea in the next room. And who the hell had come into his room, anyway? The few people who knew his passcode or possessed a keycard that would gain them entry would hardly be inclined to stay and make him a cup of tea, even if he was feeling shit-awful and, presumably, looking the part as well. He rolled to the left, and was unpleasantly surprised to find himself rolling right onto the floor, the collision sending waves of pain rolling through his skull.

That was definitely not right. There should have been a wall there. Feeling suddenly very apprehensive, Seifer sat up and peeled his eyelids open to find himself staring at a bedroom that was not his. The bed, on which he’d just moments ago been soundly snoring - not his. The walls, the bookshelves opposite, the posters tacked up, that punching bag hanging in the corner - none of it his. Well, there was one thing here that was his; he stood shakily and shuffled over to snatch his trenchcoat off the floor where it lay in a crumpled pile, and he slipped it on, still looking around and racking his brain to find something familiar in this room, but after a couple of minutes he was certain he had never been here before. Moreover, it didn’t seem to be another student’s room - the layout was different from his own, and it was larger, it could almost have been an instructor’s…

Seifer’s entire body stiffened as he contemplated the thought. He couldn’t have spent the night in a teacher’s room… no, what teacher would have taken him in, drunk as he was? Even Quistis, who was only slightly more tolerant of him than any of the other instructors, would have quicker turned him in to Squall than allow him to sleep off his inebriation in her dorm. In fact, Seifer couldn’t think of a single person within Garden who would take him in like that, except Fuujin or Raijin, (and Fuu only if she was in an exceptionally good mood; if not, she’d be more likely to kick him to the curb than anyone else,)… but that was beside the point anyway, because neither of them were currently here; they had both been deployed to Esthar as representatives of Garden for the annual conference on the other country’s ever-advancing technology. Squall had taken to sending the pair of them to Esthar often, which he claimed was because Fuujin did exceptional work as an ambassador for the Garden, but everyone knew was only because he didn’t want to go himself. And who would want to, with a father like that? Seifer mused to himself. In any case, he didn’t see much of either of them anymore, which (although he wouldn’t admit it, even to himself,) made him a little depressed.

Not that that really mattered at the moment… he still hadn’t figured out just who the fuck’s room he was in.

He turned around and wandered slowly toward the kitchenette, not entirely certain that he wanted to know who was sitting in there. There wasn’t a long list of people it could be… Perhaps he could just leave without finding out who it was. There was no reason, after all, that he couldn’t just turn and walk right out the door… except that he was Seifer Almasy, damnit, not some kind of coward who would run away to avoid embarrassment. Think of what would happen to his reputation if that got out. No, the better option was to make sure that whoever’s hospitality he had imposed on for the night was going to keep their mouth shut about the whole event… and with that thought in mind, he peeked around the kitchen door.

“Dincht?!” He growled, shocked. Zell looked calmly up from the news feed he was reading on his laptop, taking a bite of his fried egg on toast.

“How’s your hangover, Almasy?” He asked chipperly, and Seifer wanted to chop his head off. Chipperness should not be allowed so bloody early in the morning. (It was actually nearly ten already, he noted with a glance to the digital display over the microwave, but as he’d been up into the wee hours of the morning, it was still too early for him to be properly awake.) The martial artist rose from the table and poured a steaming mug of tea from the kettle, offering it out to Seifer, who accepted it only hesitantly. “Y’look like shit, by the way.”

“Uh…” Seifer said stupidly, standing in the doorway with his mug as Zell returned to his seat and chomped on his breakfast. The smell of it was making Seifer slightly queasy, and he sipped his tea, feeling completely clueless. What was Zell up to?

“Breakfast?”

Seifer shook his head, and his brain throbbed. Why couldn’t Zell offer him some damn aspirin?

“Well.” The other boy chewed on a corner of toast, his casualness irritating Seifer. “If there’s nothing else you need, why don’t you get the fuck out of my room.”

“Don’t give me fuckin’ orders, chicken-wuss!” Seifer barked, but was silenced by the unusually sharp glare he received in response. Looked like Zell had more fire in him than he would have thought. He stood in the doorway awkwardly, cradling the mug of tea in his hands, and at length moved over to sit at the table.

Zell was masterfully ignoring his presence, displaying a rare nonchalance where Seifer was concerned… Picked a fine fucking time to start acting mature, the elder boy thought. He shifted uncomfortably in the kitchen chair and drank some of his tea, feeling a bit refreshed. Christ, wouldn’t a smoke taste fantastic right about then… His pack was still in the pocket of his coat, he could feel it as he slipped his hand in unconsciously to grab it before realizing where he was… No, in the mood he was currently in, Zell would probably start breaking his fingers if he tried to put a cigarette between them. He turned the pack over in his pocket, running his fingers over the edges of the box. Zell watched him passively before leaning back in his chair to rummage through a drawer behind him, producing an object which he placed in the center of the table… a glass ashtray.

Well, fuck me, Seifer thought to himself, even as he pulled the dish toward him and lit up, The chicken’s just full of surprises this fine morning. “You a smoker?”

Zell simply shook his head, typing on his computer with one hand as he slurped egg off of his now-soggy toast. Seifer smoked, discretely watching the other boy - he looked utterly serene as he stared at the computer screen and finished his breakfast, tossing his head to remove the damp locks of golden hair that were hanging in his eyes. Without that stupid crest, his hair was actually quite long; he looked older, more mature, like the instructor he was, and not like the little kid he still acted like. A silence stretched between them. Seifer found himself becoming seriously aggravated; it figured that the one time he actually wanted Zell to talk, to say something, any kind of explanation - even just to tell him to piss off - the blue-eyed boy was keeping mum. He sucked in lungfuls of smoke and then stabbed the last bit of his cigarette out in the ashtray.

“What am…” He began, stalling as the younger boy looked up at him. Oh, fuck it, what do I care what Dincht thinks of me? “What am I doing here?” He plunged on, frowning and hoping that putting on his “angry face” would intimidate Zell enough to keep him from making any smart-assed remarks. He wasn’t honestly surprised that it didn’t work, either.

Zell closed his laptop and put down his toast, dusting the crumbs from his hands as he gave the gunblader the most serious look he’d ever seen the boy make. “You don’t… remember?” He asked quietly, gravely, and Seifer felt his stomach lurch.

“Don’t fuckin’ play games, Dincht,” He snarled, standing from his seat and slamming his mug of tea down on the table, but Zell wasn’t to be cowed by his show of aggression. Even without weapons or magic, Zell could beat Seifer in a physical fight any day of the week, and they both knew it. Moreover, Zell had something on Seifer - that smirk, that look in his eyes, both said clearly that he did - and Seifer would be damned if he was going to go without finding out what it was. “Answer my question.”

“You were drunk,” Zell began - a bit unnecessarily, Seifer thought, as it was obvious to him that he’d been trashed last night - and paused for a moment, as though he was thinking on how to phrase something delicately. He went on, “You came into my room. Forced yourself into my bed. You tried…” He stopped again, as if for effect, casting a nervous glance Seifer’s way. “…To take me. You begged when I refused.”

“No fuckin’ way I did that,” Seifer said immediately, clenching a fist on the table, but he couldn’t pretend that the slight shifting of his voice - a subtle and brief rise in timbre - was unnoticeable… and it certainly hadn’t gone unnoticed by Zell, who was now smirking again, clearly aware that he had the upper hand simply because he had knowledge of what had happened the night before, whatever that was. It wasn’t as if Seifer really thought he could have done such a thing - hell, this was the chicken-wuss! Suicide was more appealing than the thought of coming on to Dincht - but just the fact that he had hesitated, that somewhere in the back of his mind, some part of his brain didn’t find the thought of it completely and utterly impossible, gave Zell far too much leverage for Seifer’s liking.

“No,” The martial artist agreed, rising from his seat slowly, “But that don’t mean I can’t tell everyone that if you don’t get the hell out of my dorm right now.”

“You wouldn’t dare-!”

“If you don’t piss off right now, I won’t have to dare. In ‘bout five minutes, that corridor’s going to be full of students.”

Seifer wanted to retort, but he knew full well that was the truth - he had a very small window of time in which to escape unseen from the instructor’s room, and that window was coming to a close. Furthermore… just what the hell was up with Zell this morning? Maybe it was just because in his hungover state, Seifer possessed the approximate IQ of a potted plant, but Zell seemed to be getting the better of him at every turn this morning. He was completely cool and collected, while Seifer was caught unawares and agape, unable to come up with even one witty, snarky rejoinder to defend himself. Had the world gone mad, or was he finally losing his finesse when it came to dealing with the chicken?

He snarled under his breath, but Zell wasn’t fazed by his hostility. He had returned to his seat and was now staring at Seifer, almost… expectantly? Like he was waiting for something? Oh, right, he’s waiting for me to run away, Seifer thought testily.

So, for the first time in his life, Seifer did just that.


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