Salvation's End

BY : Grieving Leon
Category: Final Fantasy VIII > Yaoi - Male/Male > Squall/Zell
Dragon prints: 1179
Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy VIII, nor the characters therein. I don't make money off this story.

Salvation’s End

Chapter 31: Mission Advancement II

Fynt’s two men were being brutalized in front of Zell’s eyes.  Nymphic himself had stepped forward in some muddled rage after a brief conversation with Micho and Clout: The Snuff Lord screamed slurs of anger that Zell was honestly surprised to be witness to.

Of course, Zell hadn’t said anything, had forced himself quiet, to placidly stand by while buckets of blood splattered around.

“Bastian, too!” Nymphic screamed as he heaved up and down the spiked hammer -- the first thing he’d grabbed after turning away from Micho and Clout.

Clout watched Nymphic, the traitorous general occasionally turning his head slightly to fend off the splattering blood.  The traitor general turned to Micho and whispered “Do you think there’s anything left to learn from these men?”

“Maybe,” Micho whispered back, his Estharian accent as thick as Yavianne’s Trabian one.  “But we got enough information to have an idea of places to look for Fynt.”

“How?!” Nymphic grunted, standing tall and breathing heavy, the spiked hammer lifelessly held at his side, dripping thick droplets of blood.  At the caved in face, Nymphic screamed “How the fuck could you get to Bastian?!”  He breathed a few more heavy breaths before turning around to Clout and Micho.

“Honestly, how did Fynt get to Lorelei?” Micho asked, expression plain except for a half raised eyebrow.

Nymphic angrily hurled the spiked hammer to the side, against the wall and then said “...Bastian had twice as many guards as I do.  He was paranoid about it.”

“Cassidy and Tain just took that group of men to look into those warehouse locations,” Clout said, his arms crossed at his chest.  He knew he had to redirect the conversation away from Fynt’s amazing access to Lorelei and Bastian -- a conversation that was ultimately about Clout himself.  “We’ll get answers then.  We can raid those warehouses, find Lorelei and Bastian, and kill that fucker Fynt.”

Taking slow, deliberate steps forward, Nymphic crossed over to his two generals.  “Yes....”  His nostrils flared as he nodded his head to himself, looking at Clout and Micho, then to the other men standing throughout the room.  “Yes,” he muttered again.  Then Nymphic’s beady gaze suddenly settled on Zell.

A few seconds passed as Zell watched Nymphic stare at him.

“Zell,” Nymphic said.  He lifted up his left hand, blood dripping from his fingertips as he motioned for the blonde SeeD to go over to him.

Behind Nymphic, Micho nodded to his own employees: The group of torturers moved to Life and Cure Fynt’s men and strap both to torture tables.

Staring at Nymphic, seeing the movement behind the Snuff Lord, Zell began to step forward, through pools of blood that were turning into grey dust.

Once Zell was standing in front him, Nymphic dusted his hands off and said “These are the men who attacked Cain.”

Zell nodded, watching behind Nymphic while one of the two Fynt’s-men was having toothpick sized spikes shoved into his eyes.  A frown briefly flinched on Zell’s forehead.

“They could even,” Nymphic said without moving his eyes from the tattooed face, “have been the men who attacked your condo.”

The sapphire eyes turned back to Nymphic, all sympathy drained from Zell’s expression.  His lips parted as he considered that.  

“Mind you,” Nymphic said, “they haven’t admitted to even knowing who you are.  But they were trained to withstand torture.”

The repulsion in Zell’s stomach for what Nymphic had been doing began to wane away.

“However, I doubt,” General Micho said, the words difficult to understand through the Estharian accent, “they were the ones who went to your condo.  After a day of torture they seem to be spilling all their secrets.”

No doubt, Zell knew, some of Fynt’s men probably had been responsible.  Zell had enough time to think over who might have had reason, and the level of destruction done to Ken and the other guards at the condo seemed to indicate Fynt, far more so than Denrick.  Zell had also concluded that Dommy’s friendship with Squall probably meant Nymphic coveted Squall similarly to how he coveted Cain -- so Nymphic probably didn’t attack the condo.

“Do you think Fynt attacked your condo?” Nymphic asked Zell.

“I don’t know why he would,” Zell replied, forcing himself to be K’Oz even though his mind was almost swimming. “I mean, other than the fact that I work for you.  Even then, that’s just fucking weird.”

“Fufu’s dead,” Nymphic said suddenly.

Zell’s brow pinched as he looked down.  He knew Fufu was dead: Squall had killed the sadomasochist.  But did K’Oz know Fufu was dead?  Zell tried desperately to remember.

“Fynt attacked him,” Nymphic said.  “I know Fufu was a friend of yours.”

The blonde SeeD turned his sapphire gaze back up, wondering if his lack of a reply had been appropriate or at least acceptable and without suspicion.

“Denrick resurrected him,” Nymphic said.  He crossed his arms.  “Unfortunately, Fufu’s brain was fried: He could only blabber nonsensical things.  Some of those things were about Squall.”

“What?” Zell said quickly.  His hand immediately reacted by touching the LD-Chip.  If Nymphic turned on him at that moment, the blonde SeeD knew he’d have to do everything he could to get back upstairs to his lover.  Zell would do anything to keep his lover safe.  Squall had made promises about going home, and Zell was going to do whatever it took to make it back to Balamb and that perfect life, so that he could raise Enabran with Squall.

The thought of Enabran hit Zell so hard the blonde SeeD felt as though a veil had been lifted: Men like Nymphic could go after Enabran, hurt Zell and Squall’s child in ways Zell didn’t dare think of.  

It was that moment that Zell understood a little more why Squall was so adamant about not using his God-like abilities to dictate behavior across the world.  Understanding this organization, bringing it down completely, stopping the leaders and middle men and all the dredges was necessary.

“What did Fufu say about Squall?” asked Zell.  He could feel the weight of eyes on him from behind, of Gaff, Archon, and Kevin watching him.

“Just... ‘Squall!’” Nymphic said, saying the brunette SeeD’s name in an awkward high-pitched cry.  The Snuff Lord raised his hands up to his chest, palms pointed outwards, and cried out again “‘Squall!’”

Zell sneered.

Nymphic cracked a smile.  He dropped his hands and said “You know Fufu was spying on you and Squall?  He had cameras in your house.”

“What the fuck?” Zell immediately said, and was inwardly relieved at that faux shock.  He’d stumbled through a few of these questions and was on edge.  “He was what?  That nasty bitch-”

“I think that’s how Fynt found out about you two,” Nymphic explained.  He stepped closer to Zell, staring down at the now silent short blonde man.  “And maybe when Fynt learned about you attacking Denrick, he considered hiring you.”

“That was because Denrick touched Squall,” Zell said quickly, using his K’Oz anger as best he could.  “That ain’t have anything to do with anything else.”

“Well, Fynt’s attack means he changed his mind about you,” Nymphic said sternly.

“That’s fucking fine with me,” Zell said, still glaring.  “Fuck Fynt, that cunt ass prick better pray I never get my hands on him.  And Fufu put Cameras in my apartment?!  I might have killed Fufu had I known his nasty ass was a voyeur, spying on Squall with cameras.”

“Cassidy and Tain killed Fufu,” Nymphic said with such nonchalance that Zell almost didn’t catch the sentence properly.  “So Fufu got his.”  After a pause to stare at Zell’s glare, Nymphic asked “Why do you think your condo was attacked?”

“I don’t know!” Zell growled back.  “If I did, I’d be beating the life out of someone right now!  And when I find out who did it,” Zell said, pausing to look over to the two Fynt-men, then the blonde SeeD spoke more softly than normal “I’ll kill the mother fuckers.”  The sapphire eyes then turned back to Nymphic.

The Snuff Lord smiled at that.  He slid an arm around Zell’s shoulders and leaned close to the undercover blonde SeeD, then softly said “I do think it was Fynt who went after Squall at your condo.  He did so to try to hurt Dommy, because he couldn’t hurt Cain.  Fynt must have been watching Squall and you after the attack on Fufu.”

Zell wordlessly stared at Nymphic.  Zell knew not to trust Nymphic, so his fingers were still caressing the LD-Chip, body tensely waiting for the briefest twinge of pain from an attack.

“I made sure your condo has the best guards possible,” Nymphic said, still leaning close to Zell who stared back at him, “so those dreadful circumstances won’t happen again.  Dommy wouldn’t survive anything happening to Squall.  My son loves your boyfriend.”

Zell’s lips parted then he said “Thanks.”

Nymphic stood a little taller but kept his arm over Zell’s shoulders.  “When Cassidy and Tain report back, we’ll have a better idea of Fynt’s location.  At the very least, we can dispatch some of Fynt’s men and property.”

Zell nodded.

“I was having you work the day shifts,” Nymphic said.  “But with recent circumstances, I figure you’d like come.”

With a small frown, Zell said “I am your bodyguard.  I should go with you.”

“And what if we find out Fynt tried to kill Squall?” asked Nymphic, poorly hiding his amusement.

“Then I’ll fucking kill the bastard,” Zell snapped, the frown turning into rage as he stared up at Nymphic’s growing smile.  “Over and over again.  Use up all my Life Spells just to watch the life drain over and over from that son of a bitch’s eyes.  How dare that cunt even go near Squall!”

“You’ll get your chance,” Nymphic said, very pleased.  “Now then,” he said, moving a hand to roughly rub Zell’s chest, his arm still over the blonde man’s shoulders.  “Go upstairs, check to see if Cain can come over today.  Then come back down and tell me.”

“Whoa, when did I suddenly become your fucking messenger boy?” Zell said with a sneer.

The Snuff Lord pat Zell on the chest, and with a small laugh, said “Don’t think I don’t know how badly you want to go upstairs and check on Squall right now.”  Nymphic pulled his arm and hand away from Zell and stepped back, looking at the blonde man’s face.  “The allure of your boyfriend cost General Denrick his position in my organization, has seduced my son’s affections, and beguiled my closest bodyguard.”

Zell stared at Nymphic.  The blonde SeeD knew he should say something, but he didn’t have a reply.  Squall had done all of that.

“Go now,” Nymphic said.  “I need to know Dommy and Cain’s plans so I can decide when to move on those warehouses.”

After taking a moment to stare at Nymphic, Zell finally nodded and stepped backwards.  Before he turned, the blonde SeeD remembered the rings in his pocket.  He pulled them out and stepped to Nymphic, holding out his right hand, palm-up, with Lorelei’s jewelry.  

The amusement on Nymphic’s face vanished.  He sneered down at the two glittering rings, letting seconds tick by before he reached forward and took the jewelry from Zell.  The Snuff Lord stared at the rings a while longer before balling his hand into a fist and then shoving the rings into his pocket.  

After nodding respectfully once to Nymphic, Zell turned and caught Gaff’s eye, who glared at him with unabashed loathing.  The blonde SeeD took that moment to glare back.  Then Zell turned and headed out of the room.

As Zell shut the torture room door, he glanced down to his shoes, seeing the grey dust on them from the dissipated blood he’d been walking in.  As he stepped, he shook off his shoes, going through the dungeon office and making his way back upstairs.

With Zell gone, Nymphic turned to Gaff.  The old bodyguard silently watched Nymphic who watched him.

“You sure like that one,” Micho said in his thick accent.

Nymphic pulled his beady eyes from Gaff and turned to look at his blood-loving general.  Nymphic said “He’s the one who tore through Denrick’s bodyguards.”

“Meh,” Micho replied with an absent shrug.  “Denrick liked the pretty, young male bodyguards more than talented ones.”

Nymphic smiled.  He then glanced to Fynt’s two men, eyeing them briefly before he looked back to Micho.  “Begin again, see if there’s anything else those two want to confess to.  I need to call Yavianne, tell her to reinforce her security.”

“Zenith?” Clout asked, stepping forward to follow Nymphic back to the dungeon office.

“He’s on a vacation with his family,” Nymphic mumbled as he walked.  “I’ll give him a call, too, but no one knows where his vacation house is except his closest men.”

Clout nodded: Jiece, Fynt’s assistant, had been ordered to go after one of those “closest men”, Mitchell Fealt.  With Alexander’s Kiss, Jiece would easily learn where Zenith was and Fynt could take that general out before Nymphic even expected him back from vacation.  It was so easy, too easy, and Clout knew, with the way things had developed, he’d picked the right crazy fucker for a boss.


Cain stared up at the ceiling in his bedroom as he counted the seconds ticking by.  It had been almost 30 minutes since he spoke with Dommy on the phone, and now Cain waited impatiently for his best friend’s limo to show up.  It had taken a lot of begging and reinforcing the fact that Dommy was surrounded by numerous guards in a stronghold of a mansion, but eventually Cain got his parents to cave and the teenager got permission to go spend at least one night with Dommy.

Perhaps Cain should have been in a much different state of mine, traumatized from the shooting at the school yesterday -- others had been -- but Cain was not.  The teenager’s mind was plagued, but not by the blood or murders: It was the threat regarding Dommy (“Come with us or I’ll slit Dommy’s throat ear-to-ear.”) that worried Cain.

Being back at Dommy’s side again, having the sugary sweet boy within eyesight, being able to touch the boy was the only way Cain could think to soothe his fears.  He needed to be with Dommy.  Desperately.

Another roar of a car’s engine snapped Cain out of his plagued thoughts and he sat up on the bed to glance out his bedroom window.  Unlike the numerous disappointments from before, this car was Dommy’s limo.

Cain leapt out of his bed and snagged the backpack he’d packed with a change of clothes and miscellaneous items.  Cain then dashed out of the bedroom to run down the stairs.

“Cain,” the boy’s mother said, standing at the entry with her arms folded at her chest.  She looked worried, which Cain knew was sweet but it annoyed him anyway.

“Mom,” Cain replied as he slowed his mad-dash and instead walked down the last few stairs until his sneakers hit tile.  

Cain’s father walked up from wherever he’d been in the back of the large three story house.  

“I’ll be fine,” Cain said, looking from mother to father and back again.  “Dommy’s got so much security.  The mansion is a fortress, you both know that.”

As the teenager shifted the backpack strap higher up onto his shoulder, his father crossed the tiled entry over to him.  The man put a hand on Cain’s shoulder and said “You’ll call us.”

“Yes,” Cain replied, trying not to sound too annoyed.

“When you get there and before you go to sleep,” Cain’s father said, his hand gently squeezing Cain’s shoulder.  “And when you wake up tomorrow.”

“And every so often after that,” said Cain.

The father then stepped to Cain and pulled the boy into his arms, holding his exasperated teenager.  After that hug ended, Cain had to hug his mother, which lasted longer and the teenager had to put up with a few kisses on his temple and forehead and put up with her hugging him again.

By the time Cain’s mother let him go, the front door had been opened by Cain’s father, and Dommy’s regular limo driver was standing outside staring in, waiting.  

“I love you!” the mother said desperately as Cain walked to the door.

The teenager turned and frowned with soft amusement at her.  “I love you, too, Mom,” he said.  He pushed the frown away and smiled.  “I’ll be fine.  And I will call.”  The mother nodded as Cain turned his father and said “I love you.”

“I love you, too,” the father replied.

With the parental lovey-dovey stuff done with, Cain was finally able to head out of his mansion-house with Dommy’s limo driver.  

“Cain,” Archon said with a smile and a nod.  The bodyguard had been standing with the limo driver on the front porch.  

The teenager was surprised to see the bodyguard but smiled and nodded back.  Then Cain saw two more men standing next to the limo, appearing on-edge as they looked around the housing block.

“A lot of bodyguards,” Cain mumbled as he followed Archon and the limo driver.

“Nymphic wanted to make sure you felt comfortable,” Archon replied.  “Dommy’s waiting at home.”

Cain knew it was probably more than about how comfortable he felt, though.  Nymphic might even have other people in hiding while watching the house, just incase.  It was plausible that someone might attempt to abduct him again.

The drive over to Dommy’s mansion was short enough and soon Cain was inside the stronghold-like home, handing off his backpack to one of the many servants.

“Dommy’s in the main living room,” the servant said.  

Archon and the other bodyguards vanished into the woodworks, the men all but utterly forgot as Cain quickly headed to the TV living room to find Dommy.

When Cain walked into the room he was thrown off.  Daniel was sitting on one end of the couch, but next to Dommy was a beautiful and captivating brunette man who had an arm wrapped around the sugary teenager.  Dommy was leaning against that super model man who had his cheek pressed against Dommy’s forehead as they watched TV together.

“Dommy,” Cain said, using a far softer voice than he ever usually did.  Jealousy swirled through Cain’s heart.

Dommy’s light blue eyes darted from the TV to Cain and a burst of jubilation almost exploded from the sweet boy’s sudden smile.  Dommy leapt from the couch, out of Squall’s arms, almost tripping over himself as he ran across the room and threw himself into Cain’s arms.

After recovering from staggering backwards a step, Cain felt a rush of relief.  He wrapped his arms around Dommy and hugged the sugary teenager who was squeezing him.  The hug lasted a long while but Cain did not mind as he ate up his best friend’s affections.

When the hug broke, Cain looked down to smile at Dommy’s normally innocent exuberance.  At that moment, the sugary teenager’s hands moved up to Cain’s face and gently pulled Cain down into a kiss.  It was short and sweet, very much like a child kissing their brother or sister, but it startled Cain: Dommy only ever kissed Cain on the cheek or forehead, never on the lips.

When the short kiss broke, Dommy’s hands moved to Cain’s chest and the sweet boy’s light blue eyes shimmered as he looked up.  Cain felt flush.

“I missed you so much!” Dommy said sweetly.

“...I missed you, too,” Cain said slowly.  

Dommy smiled a wide, closed lipped smile.  “I’m so glad your parents let your come over.”

Cain half smiled and let out a weak, airy laugh.  “Yeah. Me too.”

“I love you, Cain,” Dommy said.

“I love you, too, Dommy,” said Cain, smiling at his best friend.

Of course, Dommy swooned from those words -- which were words Cain and he exchanged often.  But after the conversation with Squall and the images of tongue-kissing Cain and even the few images of sex with Cain, Dommy felt a new sensation, a type of giddiness from those words that felt like butterflies swarming around his heart.  

Their hands locked together and Cain turned his gaze over to the beautiful brunette man who was now standing and smiling at them.

“Oh!” Dommy said with excitement as he too looked over.  “That’s Squall.”  Dommy smiled at Cain: The sugary teenager had already told Cain about Squall prior to the school shooting.

The beautiful brunette man smiled at Cain as Dommy gently led the older teenager over.

“Hi,” Cain said, smiling once while feeling awkward.  He was never good at small talk -- perhaps because Dommy was overwhelmingly good at it so Cain rarely had the opportunity to lead conversations.

“Hello,” Squall said and his voice was soothing and very sexy, surprising Cain further.

As the two stared at each other, the undercover SeeD smiling at the blushing teenager, Dommy squeaked.  Still holding Cain’s hand, Dommy reached his second hand forward to gently take Little Zell from Squall’s right hand.

“See this?!” Dommy said with excitement, holding up the toy for Cain to see.

Cain could barely tear his eyes off Squall to look down at the stuffed animal lion with floppy legs and a zipper on its belly.

“Squall named it after his fiancé,” Dommy said, speaking softer but his tone was still bursting with excitement.  “Li’le Zell!”

Cain glanced up to the beautiful grey-eyes again to see Squall slightly blushing.

“It protects him while Zell is away,” said Dommy as he leaned closer to Cain, pressing his cheek against Cain’s shoulder.

“I brought it,” Squall said, using that sexy and soothing tone, smiling slightly, “so that Dommy and I could be safe while Zell and you were away.”

An embarrassed smile enveloped Cain’s lips as he attempted to discern if Squall was insinuating a boyfriend-boyfriend relationship between Dommy and him similar to Squall and Zell.  Before Cain could think of a response, Dommy leaned harder against him, still holding his hand, and the sugary teenager gently nuzzled Cain’s shoulder.

Squall delicately took Little Zell from Dommy who stood up tall again and looked up to focus his light blue eyes onto Squall’s face.

With a tender smile, Squall said to Nymphic’s son “You can go.”  He nodded towards one of the TV living room’s exits.  “I’ll wait for Zell.”

“...I don’t want you to leave,” Dommy said softly.

With his free hand, Squall caressed Dommy’s cheek.  “You decorated all those chocolate truffles for Cain.  Go.  Show him.  You can call me later.”

Cain’s heart thundered with jealousy, and his heart’s pace doubled as he watched Dommy reach forward and place a hand on the beautiful man’s chest.

“I promise, Dommy,” Squall said, smiling at the boy, using every droplet of his Amyst persona, which was almost used up after playing the role so vehemently for the past 24 hours, “everything will be fine.  And I’ll come back when you need me.”

“Hey!” Zell’s very perky voice said as the blonde SeeD walked into the TV living room.  Zell had been up here earlier, when Dommy called Cain about coming over.  

The blonde man gave a quick nod to Daniel, who still sat on the couch, then the sapphire eyes turned to watch Dommy step back from Squall and turn.  The boy was holding hands with a second teenager, whom Zell reasoned was Cain.

As the short blonde man crossed over, Cain couldn’t take his eyes off the facial tattoo -- at least until Zell was standing beside Squall, who leaned over and tenderly kissed the blonde man on the lips.

The kiss was longer than Dommy’s short peck on Cain’s lips, and both SeeD closed their eyes to revel in the one second that their lips met.  The sapphire eyes opened as the two men parted and Zell whispered “Archon told me Cain was here and Nymphic said that we could take off.  Were you ready to leave?”

Squall gave Zell a slow nod, smiling at those beautiful swirling sapphire eyes.  The brunette man adored those eyes.

After the affirming nod, Zell slipped his hand into Squall’s and then turned to the two teenagers.  Dommy felt giddy seeing the two men kiss, and he squeezed Cain’s hand.  

As Cain took a quick glance to Dommy, Zell said “I’m Zell.  Maybe Dommy mentioned me -- I’m one of his dad’s new bodyguards.”  With Cain’s eyes back on him, Zell asked with sincerity that was rare in this house of horrors “How are you feeling after yesterday?”

Cain let out a relieved breath of air as he shook his head once.  “I’m just happy to be back here.  It was torture,” he glanced to Dommy who smiled back, “being away from Dommy.”  Cain then looked back to Zell and said “I need to learn how to fight or something so that I can protect him.”

Zell’s smile was bright, happy, and also had that sincerity that Cain rarely saw outside of Dommy’s smiles.  The blonde SeeD happily said “I’ll teach you a couple things sometime.”

“That’d be awesome!” Dommy said.

“Yea, actually,” Cain said, with seriousness instead of excitement like Dommy.  “Would you really?”

“Sure,” Zell said with a shrug.  “We’ll see what Nymphic’s got me doing the rest of the week.  If I’m just hanging around the mansion, I’m sure Nymphic wouldn’t mind me showing you some stuff in the backyard.”  

“Dude, that’d be so cool,” said Cain.

“Well, we’d better get going,” Zell said, smiling at the two teenagers.  He glanced over his shoulder to where Daniel was on the couch.  “See ya tomorrow!” the blonde SeeD said with a wave.

Daniel stood up, his green eyes focusing on Squall.  The brunette SeeD smiled at Daniel, who looked rather serious but Zell could see the desperation hidden in the man’s gaze.

“Goodbye, Daniel,” Squall said softly.

“Goodbye,” Daniel said.  He held in the “sir” because he didn’t want to say it in front of others at that moment.  Daniel was still trying to understand why he felt so enthralled by Squall, so he didn’t want to openly admit to the feeling.

Squall watched Daniel a moment longer, acknowledging the desperation without reply, then Squall turned back to the two teenagers as Zell said “See you two tomorrow.”

Dommy stepped forward and, without letting go of Cain’s hand, wrapped one arm around Squall’s shoulders in a tight half-hug.  Squall half-hugged back with the hand that clutched Little Zell.  

After saying “Nice meeting you,” to Cain, Squall followed Zell to retrieve their personal belongings and head back to their condo.

“Man!” Cain said once the two lovers had slipped out of the room.  The teenager was smiling at Dommy.  “You think Zell will really teach me some stuff?”

Dommy nodded with a wide grin.

“You know,” Daniel said sternly, gaining the two boy’s attention.  “I could... show you both some things.”

“Wow, really?!” asked Dommy.

Daniel nodded.  While he wasn’t sure what Nymphic’s reaction would be initially to the idea of Dommy and Cain learning to fight -- after all, Dommy had that line drawn around him to protect his innocence -- ultimately, Daniel figured Nymphic would like the idea of Cain becoming some sort of pseudo-guard.

“C’mon,” Daniel said, walking around the couch.  “I’ll show you both some basic throws and defense moves in the backyard.”


When Squall sat down in the passenger seat of the Galbadia Charge, a tiredness hit him like a collapsing brick wall.  Immediately his eyelids felt heavy and as he rocked his head back against the seat’s headrest, Squall was certain he’d be asleep before Zell had finished driving the fifteen minutes back to their condo.

Zell put their duffle bag into the backseat then climbed into the driver’s side chair.  After the car roared on, Zell slowly began to drive around the large mansion driveway towards those large automatic gates.  Once through them and onto the main road, Zell said “Squall.”

“Um?” Squall mumbled, eyes still closed.  He felt utterly drained from being so perky and happy, and the relief of just being able to not have to say anything was nice.

“I was below the mansion today,” Zell said.

“Below?” Squall replied, still mumbling, eyes still closed.

“Nymphic’s secret torture chamber,” Zell said seriously.

That forced Squall’s cloudy eyes open and he lifted his head off the headrest to look over at Zell as the blonde man drove.

“He’s got two of Fynt’s men,” said Zell.  “The two that attacked Cain.  General Micho was down there with a team of torturers.  They were doing some... really fucked up things.”

“Nymphic let you see that already?” Squall asked, the tiredness washing away.  

“I guess because our condo was attacked,” Zell explained.  He gripped the steering-wheel tighter.  “Nymphic thinks Fynt did it.  Something to do with the video feed in Fufu’s apartment, since Fynt was the one who attacked Fufu.”  Zell glanced to Squall then back to the road.  “Oh, Fufu was resurrected by Denrick -- before Denrick switch sides.  Nymphic’s trying to have Denrick killed, I think.  At least, Cassidy and Tain went out and killed all of Denrick’s people that they could -- including Fufu.  But... my point is, Fufu was talking about you during his insane rambling.”

Squall’s heartbeat quickened.  With a small frown, he asked “What did Fufu say about me?”

“Nymphic wasn’t very clear about it,” Zell said softly.  “But apparently just your name.  Though... I think Fufu sounded scared.  At least that was how Nymphic sounded when he mimicked Fufu.”

“He was probably scared because I was there when he was being tortured.”  Squall stared down at Little Zell on his lap.  “Because I was the one who killed him.”  The brunette man closed his eyes in frustration.  “Fuck.  I should have Cast Apocalypse on him, too.  Like Jerome and the other men.  Gotten rid of the fucking body so he couldn’t be resurrected.”

“You didn’t know Denrick would find him before the Life-timer ran out,” Zell said.

Squall breathed slowly.

“He was probably resurrected him passed the normal brain-preserving time,” Zell added, eyes glued to the road ahead.  “I doubt Denrick or these people care about brain-decomposition.”

Squall opened his cloudy eyes finally and turned to look out of the passenger window to watch the buildings go by.  A few minutes of silence passed then Squall asked “Denrick’s in hiding?  Nymphic didn’t indicate he’d killed him yet?”

Zell shook his head.  “No.  Apparently after Denrick showed up to Yavianne’s last week like Seifer said, Nymphic decided to have him killed, but Nymphic hasn’t been able to find him.”  Zell paused then said “Oh! Uh... Lorelei’s been captured by Fynt and apparently Bastian’s missing.”  He eyed Squall but the brunette SeeD didn’t reply.

Squall thought over the information silently.  Again, Fynt’s appearance was frustrating: What was the point of gathering all this intelligence on Nymphic’s organization if these people were dying?

“Nymphic knows where some of Fynt’s locations are,” Zell said as he turned the car onto Siege Lane.  “Apparently Fynt has a number of warehouses throughout Dollet.  Nymphic is going to have me go with him when he hits them.”

Squall turned to look at Zell.  “He said that?”

“Yea,” Zell replied, pulling the Galbadia Charge into the condominium’s basement parking lot.  “...What should I do?” asked Zell.  He pulled the car into a parking space and turned off the engine.

The two men turned to look at each other.  Squall understood what Zell was asking -- what if Fynt and Nymphic got into a real battle with each other, what if their criminal armies started an all out physical confrontation.

“...Don’t let yourself get killed,” Squall said sternly.  He frowned at Zell’s half smile.  “Even if you’re not sure,” Squall said, “flip your level.”  Squall shifted in the seat so his torso faced Zell.  After he reached over and placed a hand on Zell’s lower arm, Squall said “You’re more important than this mission.”

Zell took a moment to smile at the stern but loving expression coming from Squall’s grey-blue eyes.  “I love you,” said Zell.

Squall squeezed Zell’s arm.  “I love you, too, Zell.”

“...I was thinking about Enabran,” Zell said softly, the smile gone.

Squall’s brow lowered as he watched the concern in Zell’s eyes.  

“About,” Zell said, “what could happen to him if we don’t properly take out this organization.”  He looked down to his own lap and softly mumbled “Me and you are off on some mission and some bastard attacks our babysitter, kidnapping Enabran....”

“I won’t let that happen,” Squall said, moving a second hand to Zell’s shoulder, watching the blonde man’s tattooed face intently.  “I promise.”

Zell looked up and he took a deep private pleasure from the intensity of the look in Squall’s grey-blue eyes.  Zell said “I won’t let it happen either.  I promise.  We’ll finish this mission, put these fuckers in D-District.  All of them.”

Moving his hand from Zell’s shoulder, Squall lightly caressed the back of his fingers over Zell’s bare cheek.  “I love you.”

“I love you, too,” Zell replied.  He took a soft breath.  “...I know our condo was just attacked but... I’m so fucking glad to be out of that mansion.  To get you out of that mansion.”  He paused then said “Micho was doing shit to those two men that I didn’t ... I hadn’t even ever heard of.”

“I’m sorry you had to see that,” Squall said, and he meant it.  He felt true regret that happy and perky Zell Dincht was the one dealing with the brunt of Nymphic’s madness.  Squall remembered the scene from Fufu’s apartment of that dead child, and the brunette SeeD could imagine what Nymphic was having done in the mansion’s cellar dungeon.  

The brunette man took his hands back from Zell and set them onto his own lap next to Little Zell.

“Let’s go upstairs,” Squall said.  The two, after all, were sitting in their parked car.  “I’ll get you a beer and you can watch TV.  I’ll make you some snacks then massage your shoulders.”

At first Zell smiled.  But the smile quickly faded and he stared at Squall as the brunette man’s features filled with mild confusion.  “Squall.  ...What do you want to do?”

“I... thought I just told you,” Squall said, trying not to frown.

“No, you didn’t,” said Zell.  “You gave me an Amyst-answer.”

Squall lowered his gaze down to Little Zell, which he delicately caressed with his fingertips.  “...I, uh, don’t... know.”

The blonde man was content to silently wait for his lover and best friend to think of something that he honestly wanted to do.

After a minute, Squall softly said “Take a bath.”  He looked up then over to Zell.  “Finish my last library book.”

Zell smiled.

“You could drag the TV down to the master bathroom,” Squall said, tightening his right hand around Little Zell.  “Get in the bath with me and watch TV while I read.”

“That sounds perfect,” Zell said.  The blonde man then pulled the keys out of the ignition and bounced out of the car.  

As Squall got out of the car, Zell retrieved the duffle bag and then skip-walked around the trunk to Squall’s side.  After remote-locking the car, Zell grabbed Squall’s wrist, pulling the brunette man against him.  Squall frowned at Zell, puzzled, but the blonde man smiled happily then leaned down and picked Squall up in that bride hold that drunk-Squall had confessed to loving.

With a light laugh, Squall smiled at Zell.  Closing his grey-blue eyes, Squall leaned against his blonde lover, wrapping both arms around those broad shoulders, and took a long, deep breath in to smell Zell’s cologne.

It was a short walk to the parking garage elevator, and Zell easily pressed the button while carrying Squall.   

With a ding the doors opened and Zell stepped into the box, nodding to the new guard who sat in a chair against a corner.  Squall opened his eyes, feeling utterly awkward about being held while this new employee tried not to stare at them.  The blonde SeeD maneuvered the key into the button panel then pressed the [8] while feeling a surge of regret for Ken and the other guards who were not only traumatized, but also had lost their jobs.

Squall was surprised when Zell didn’t start a conversation with the man, and the entire ride up to the eighth floor was silent.  The wave of tiredness began to wash over Squall again and he was relieved that Zell was there to keep a watchful eye out for danger because Squall’s energy reserves had been all but utterly drained by Dommy.

When Zell carried Squall out of the elevator and into the eighth floor hallway, Squall wondered if Enabran would similarly drain him.  That thought concerned Squall, bringing back the fact that he wasn’t a family man and certainly no father.

The grey-blue eyes turned to look down at Zell’s face as they headed to their suite.  

As he stared at his blonde lover’s beautiful features, Squall knew that he’d do his best for Zell -- because going back to Balamb Garden, to the workaholic life without Zell’s love, was no longer something Squall was capable of.

In their condo, Zell set Squall down who turned to watch the blonde man step back and locked their front door.  “Can you Scan the place, Zell?”

Zell quickly looked from the door and nodded.  “Sure, baby.”

Squall took the duffle bag from Zell while saying “Do that then... take the TV to the back.  I’ll start the water.”

After smiling at the notion of being naked with Squall -- which always made Zell smile -- the blonde man turned to his gigantic TV.  He again mentally acknowledged that he should have bought more TVs -- one for the kitchen, one for the bedroom, and now one for the master bath.

While Zell went about his mission, Squall headed to the master bedroom.  When Squall stepped into the room, he noticed a pile of grey dust just four feet from the doorway.  With a heavy sigh, Squall stepped around it and walked to the bed where he dropped off the duffle bag and Little Zell.  The brunette man eyed the dust then frowned in annoyance and walked out into the hallway to the closet where he retrieved the vacuum.

A minute later, Zell yelled “Condo is bug free,” and another minute after that the TV was in the bathroom and Squall was putting the vacuum away.

“Want me to start the bath water?” Zell called from the bathroom.

“Yes,” Squall said softly, too softly because Zell called again:


“Yes,” Squall said, raising his voice, after which he grimaced and swallowed saliva.  As he listened to the bath water start, Squall walked to the bed where he opened up the duffle bag and dumped the contents out.  He placed the dirty clothing into the hamper then carried the duffle bag to their walk-in closet.

Squall was about to toss the duffle bag into the appropriate corner when he saw a couple fat stacks of Gil.  Slowly, Squall frowned and stepped closer then knelt down.  As he picked up one of the stacks of the Gil, Squall remembered that this was the money from gambling in Deling City and the money from the Light-Box.  Zell must have been in a hurry and just dumped it out of the duffle bag yesterday.

Squall slowly placed the Gil bag into the bag -- he should have given it to Seifer when that egotistical blonde was here last week.  Maybe he’d think of something else to do with the Gil.

With that task complete, Squall slipped out of the closet.  He did not head immediately to the bathroom -- where he could hear Zell flipping through TV channels.  Squall walked out of the bedroom to the kitchen where he picked up the phone to call Seifer: Thinking about the blonde jerk reminded Squall about something he’d thought of in the car.

“Hello?” Seifer said in a sleepy voice.  It was early afternoon, probably before Seifer normally got up for his new private dancer job.

“Seifer,” Squall said, tired but sounding stern like he wanted.

“Everything alright?” Seifer asked, immediately more awake.

“Your apartment is still clean, right?” asked Squall.

“I don’t appreciate you calling me like this, Dad,” Seifer replied.  “I’ll clean my apartment when I want to.”

Squall closed his eyes: He could picture Seifer’s smirk.  “...Seifer,” Squall growled.

The egotistically blonde laughed once then said “Yea, Squall.  No bug invasions.”

While slowly opening his eyes, Squall said “Contact Quistis and tell her to find Denrick.  Nymphic is trying to kill him.”

“Doesn’t surprise me,” Seifer replied.

“Tell her to see if Denrick will testify against Nymphic for a deal,” Squall said, moving his left hand onto his hip.

“You want Trepe to offer Denrick a deal?” asked Seifer.  “The dude is probably hanging onto life by a thread.”

“It doesn’t have to be anything beyond ‘protection’,” said Squall.  “At the very least, it’ll be our first arrest and set the end of this mission into motion.”

“Things going that well?”

“Yes,” Squall said, eyes glazed over as he stared at the kitchen wall.  “Nymphic let Zell see the dungeon below the mansion.”

“...Zell okay?” asked Seifer.  He knew how sensitive Crybaby was.

“He was prepared,” Squall said.  “I should go, he is waiting for me.”

“Make sure you give his cock extra kisses while you suck him off tonight.”

Squall couldn’t help smiling even though he knew Seifer was taunting him.  And although Squall knew better, he quickly said “I’m about to have sex with him in the bath, so I’ll make sure to do just that.”  Before Seifer had a chance to do more than scoff, Squall hung up the phone.

An amused smile was on Squall’s lips as he stood there, palm resting on the receiver still.  He held in a laugh as he shook his head and stepped back then turned around and walked out of the kitchen.

Once he was in the bedroom, Squall retrieved from his nightstand the last book in the Prince’s Blood Trilogy: Unbound.  He was slightly more than halfway done with it and was looking forward to the climatic ending.

“Hey, baby,” Zell said as Squall walked into the bathroom.  “What were you doing?”

“I called Seifer,” Squall said, setting Unbound onto the bathroom counter to get undressed.  “Told him to get Quistis to pick Denrick up.”

“You know where Denrick is?” asked Zell as he shifted in the hot bathtub water.  One of his arms hung over the bathtub’s side, holding the TV remote.

“Quistis will figure it out,” Squall replied, dropping his shirt onto the tile floor.  “She’s got a Garden full of SeeD.”

Zell’s gaze lowered as he watched Squall remove the last of his clothing -- boxers.  Zell bit his lower lip as Squall’s brown pubic hair came into sight, then Squall cock and balls as the brunette leaned forward and stepped out of the clothing.

As Squall retrieved his library book, he saw the glitter in Zell’s sapphire eyes.  Squall smiled to himself and walked over to the bathtub and stepped into the steamy water.

“Holy Hyne, you’re gorgeous,” Zell said as Squall slowly sat down opposite of Zell.

“So are you, Zell,” Squall replied.

The tub was gigantic in the white and gold bathroom, easily wide enough for both to sit across from each other comfortably.  

“I mean it,” said Zell as Squall stretched his legs out on top of Zell’s, moving his ankles against Zell’s hips.  “Gorgeous beyond words.”

After smiling a while longer at Zell, Squall opened his library book and began to read.

The blonde man set down the remote onto the light gold tiled floor then slid both hands under the water onto Squall’s legs.  He gently slid his palms over Squall’s calves, smiling with lust at Squall’s face as the brunette man read.

Allowing himself to stare at Squall’s perfect features awhile longer, Zell shifted carefully -- as to not splash water onto the library book -- and got onto his knees.  As the blonde man moved forward,Squall kept his grey-blue eyes locked on the book.

When Zell lowered his face down to Squall’s chest, under the brunette’s held-up hands and book, Squall exhaled with excitement.  The brunette man continued to read -- or, well, pretend to read -- as Zell began kissing the part of his chest above water.

Finally, Squall closed his eyes and book.  “I love you,” he said, enjoying the soft texture of Zell’s lips.

“I love you, too,” Zell replied softly between kisses.

Squall very gently tossed the book onto the floor so that it slid a little ways from the tub and any upcoming splashing water.  He then wrapped his arms around Zell’s shoulders and slid further down into the water so that his mouth met Zell’s.


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