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 38: Recovery

“Go get Headmaster Trepe,” Squall said to the female SeeD who’d brought him his Lion Heart.

“Sir,” the woman said with a salute.  She then turned on her heels and left the room.

Squall knelt back down and closed the case, snapping the locks back into their appropriate places.  When he stood tall again, he held the empty case at his side and focused on Zell.

The tattooed man still stood awkwardly, arms crossed over his immaculately chiseled chest in that self-conscious manner that seemed to only make Squall ache for Zell more.

“Zell,” Squall said in that soothing Amyst tone.  He hadn’t meant to sound that way, that kind or sexual, both which Amyst resonated with, but Squall had let Zell’s name roll off his tongue like the candy it was.

Looking up from below his blonde eyelashes, Zell stared at Squall with a small pout on his gorgeous tattooed face.

After allowing himself a moment to eat up how beautiful Zell was, Squall glanced from the corner of his eye to Rinoa.  The High Commander took a small breath of air in then stepped closer to Zell, but still kept a respectable distance from the blonde SeeD.

“I’m going to ask Quistis about the Ragnarok,” Squall said to Zell.  “I’ll be taking it back to Balamb.  It’ll be faster that way.  Will you go on Ragnarok with me?”

Zell bit his lower lip as his eyes darted to Squall’s chest.  Again Zell saw the clothing the love of his life was wearing -- Daniel’s clothes.  Zell released his lower lip and frowned in sadness.

“Zell,” Squall said softly, his hand twitching at his side, wishing he could touch the tattooed face.

“Zell!” Dommy said unhappily, standing beside Cain.  “You’re not coming with us?”

The tattooed man turned to look at the two teenagers who were a few feet behind Squall, standing beside the couch.  

“Aren’t you scared of me?” Zell blurted out.

“Who’d be scared of you?” asked Rinoa with an amused frown.

“Rinoa,” Squall snapped under his breath, but loud enough for her to hear from where she stood two feet to his left.

As Rinoa turned her amused frown to Squall, Dommy said “I’d never be scared of you, Zell.  You’re-” Dommy glanced to Cain as he took the larger teenager’s hand into his, “-Squall’s Cain.”  Dommy looked back to Zell once more.  “If I had done what you did to Squall... if I had done that to Cain... I’d be devastated too.  It was that nasty drug that evil man gave you.  But Squall fixed you and you’re fine now.”

As Zell fought with the emptiness, Rinoa whispered to Squall “What did Zell do to you?”

Squall, after stealing a harsh glare at the raven-haired woman, ignored her.  Sternly, Squall said “C’mon, Zell.”  The sapphire eyes were once again on Squall’s face.  “When we get back to Balamb, you can go to your mother’s for awhile.”

“...I can?” asked Zell, though he didn’t mean the question.  

“Yes,” Squall said, no smile.  He wanted to smile, but he knew he still had to be High Commander, just for a little while longer.  “I have things to complete.”  He paused and shifted his hips, hit with the weight of his Lion Heart which made him feel powerful.  “You’re all done with this mission, Lt. Commander Dincht.”

Zell stared at Squall with despondency hidden behind his placid gaze.  He felt as though Squall had just dismissed him and rightfully so.  “Alright,” Zell said, his face beginning to dry after all those tears.  “Sir.”

Letting himself stare at Zell for a couple more seconds, Squall was relieved that Zell had a mother to go see and perky friends back at Balamb that could lift his downtrodden spirits.   The High Commander then turned to Balamb’s Sorceress and said “Rinoa.  Will you be traveling with us?”

The raven-haired woman stole a quick glance to Zell then smiled at Squall and said “Yes.  ...Unless you think I should stay here?”

After shaking his head, Squall said “There’s no reason for you to be here, Sorceress.”

Dommy squeezed Cain’s hand after hearing the title.  The sugary boy stared with amazement at the woman who kept glancing at Zell.  Dommy stole a quick glance to Cain, both exchanging knowing looks of astonishment.

“Then I’ll see to Zell,” Rinoa said with subdued happiness.  She then stepped around Squall, to the misery stricken tattooed SeeD where she tried to offer a hand.

Zell glanced at the open palm but he quickly looked back up when Squall began to walk.

“Boys,” Squall said without looking back.

Cain led Dommy forward, their hands locked in each other’s as they walked side-by-side behind Balamb Garden’s High Commander.  Cain felt a thunder in his heart as he watched the gunblade sway at Squall’s hips.

Ignoring Rinoa’s hand, Zell stepped around the woman to follow after Squall, behind the two teenagers.

“Zell?” asked Rinoa.  She took up step beside Zell, frowning at him.

“Just don’t,” Zell said.  While he wasn’t feeling angry yet, he was annoyed that she was there, She was Squall’s ex-girlfriend and one of the reasons Squall had been insistent on not having a family.

As the group walked, Zell continued to find himself lost in the plethora of questions on whether or not he and Squall would still have something once they’d returned to the Garden.  Zell wanted to believe they would, after all the promises Squall had made and the beautiful life they’d begun to plan together, including naming their child ‘Enabran’.  The tattooed SeeD, however, found it far more difficult than normal to believe things would work out.

In the mansion, SeeD saluted Squall as he passed them.  The SeeDs eyes seemed to sparkle with need at the mere sight of Squall, each excited that their High Commander was back, each hungry for that power dripping from even the way Squall walked.

Zell found his eyes fixated on Squall’s ass -- which swayed with the weight of the Lion Heart.  Even in Daniel’s jeans, Squall’s ass looked perfect and soon Zell felt himself slipping out of the reality filled with regret and into a dreamscape filled with erotic ecstasy.  How long had it been since he’d made love to Squall?

Zell’s mind filled with the flurry of images of being wrapped in Squall’s arms, in that extra-large High Commander bed in Squall’s dark dorm room; the sounds of Squall’s perfect moans and the texture of Squall’s body and erection.

“Hey,” Rinoa said.  “Zell.  It’s okay.”  She set her hand on the blonde man’s shoulder.  For Zell, her voice was like nails on a chalkboard, her touch was like molten lava.

Without thought, Zell glared with wide-eyes at her and, still following behind Dommy and Cain, Zell angrily yanked his shoulder from her and snapped “Shut the fuck up.”  He blinked, exhaled in exasperation, then turned his attention ahead to continue to follow.

‘Shocked’ was a mild word for what Rinoa felt at that moment.  She almost tripped over her own feet but quickly regained her footing as she lowered her hand back to her side.  Looking away from Zell, Rinoa frowned and felt hurt.

Squall, however, held in a smile as he led the small group through the mansion.

“Sorry for cursing, Dommy,” Zell said when the boy glanced back.  

Dommy smiled and blushed.  “It’s okay.”  He then looked forward again.

While Cain didn’t say anything, he glanced to the woman -- the Sorceress -- then looked forward and squeezed Dommy’s hand.  Cain understood the woman had been at least overly-friendly with Zell, but the older teenager doubted Dommy had caught onto that.  

“Rinoa,” Zell said suddenly.

The woman glanced to her right, half expectant for some sort of apology from the normally perky blonde man.  Zell, however, had a hard frown on his tattooed face as he stared at the floor passing before him.

Parting his lips, Zell took a small breath of air, paused, then turned to his left to look at Rinoa’s hesitant eyes.  The tattooed SeeD said “I just want to be left alone.  Okay?”

“Right,” Rinoa said.  She watched Zell gruffly turn away then she, too, looked forward.  Embarrassed at Zell’s stern behavior, Rinoa breathed slowly and her dark eyes settled on Squall as he tossed his longish hair.  Evil Burno Nymphic’s son, Dommy, had said something about Zell hurting Squall, and Rinoa wondered exactly what happened that night to cause Zell to act so harshly.

About an hour later, and after Squall had spoken with Quistis about the Ragnarok’s location, Squall and the others had located and boarded the spaceship.

Rinoa found herself smiling at Dommy and Cain’s wonder at the ship, the teenagers had their eyes wide as they looked around the large hallway that Squall led them down, heading towards the large wallless elevator.

“Zell,” Squall said, stepping onto the platform, turning about, a single hand resting on the metal bar.  Dommy and Cain boarded the elevator close behind, both standing with Squall, leaving the rest of the space for Zell and Rinoa.

“Yes?” said Zell in an uncertain tone.

“Wound you fly the ship?” asked Squall, his grey-blue eyes on Zell as the blonde SeeD gingerly stepped onto the platform.

“Sure,” Zell said.

Rinoa climbed in behind Zell, still awkward regarding Zell’s harsh behavior, but she tried to reason away the conduct.  She slipped passed Zell to stand at the back of the platform next to the teenagers.  Rinoa smiled at Dommy, whom she had discovered was a very friendly and sweet boy.  He smiled back, almost shying away as he bit his lip and pushed himself harder to Cain’s side.

Cain squeezed Dommy’s hand and softly smiled at the sugary boy who was blushing at the Sorceress, then Cain looked over to Rinoa, who turned her smile to him.

“I’d like,” Squall said to Zell as the elevator began to go up, “to talk to the boys a little during the flight.”

“Yea, of course,” Zell quickly said.  His heart beat faster.  Some of his paralyzing regret had begun to wane away in the course of the past hour, but he was still mortified and certainly still on the edge of bursting into tears -- awaiting any harsh word or look from Squall.

“Thank you,” said Squall.  He was still attempting some distance, some level of professionalism at that moment, as he figured Zell needed the space.

“Can we see the cockpit?” asked Dommy, light blue eyes on Squall now.

Glancing over his left shoulder to look at the wonder in the sugary teenager’s eyes, Squall nodded.  “Anything you want,” he said.

It was amazing to Rinoa to see Squall so wonderful with the teenagers, something that she’d never have believed if someone had described it to her.  Then as the elevator began to slow to level with the main floor, Rinoa was again surprised as Squall reached backwards and held his hand out for Dommy to take.

The sugary teenager slipped his left hand into Squall’s right then let himself be led from the elevator platform as he pulled Cain along with him.

Rinoa watched Zell slowly step out before she followed him through the main passenger seat area, up to the cockpit where Squall had taken the boys.

“This is really a spaceship?” asked Dommy.

Zell passed Squall and the boys, heading to sit in the driver’s seat, then he began the Ragnarok’s start sequence.

“Yes,” Squall said gently, standing behind Dommy, his hand caressing the back of the boy’s head.  “Esthar lost it in outer space.  During the second Sorceress War, I had to go out an airlock to save Sorceress Rinoa.”  Squall glanced behind him to Rinoa who was hovering in the doorway.  Squall smiled at her, a soft but genuine smile, then he turned forward to speak with the teenagers again.

Zell, however, hated the reminder that the Ragnarok was proof Squall leapt to his death to save Rinoa -- which in Zell’s mind had been a statement from Squall that he’d rather die with her than live without.  With hidden animosity, Zell finished the last few button-pressing sequences to start the spaceship up.

“Yea,” Rinoa said with a smile.  “I was all ready to give up, but Squall reached out to me, gave me the strength to pull through until he rescued me.”

As the Ragnarok began to hum, Cain asked “You went out an airlock?  Like into space?”

“With a spacesuit on,” Squall said with a hint of humor.  He slipped his hand down to Dommy’s neck then shoulder, then around to pat the boy’s small chest.  Leaning forward, half hugging the sugary teenager, Squall said “She was my friend.  I couldn’t just watch through a spaceship window as she floated into the abyss. ...It would have been cruel.”

The Ragnarok lifted from the field outside Dollet as Zell opened his eyes.  He wished Squall would recount his Rinoa-life in the other room.

Looking down at Zell, whose sapphire eyes were staring out the front window, Squall softly said “I would have done it for any of my friends.”

Cain watched the way Squall stared down at Zell, the soft desperation in Squall’s grey-blue eyes, the affection and devotion that poured out.  Cain wanted to look at Dommy like that, with that desire.

“Anyway,” Squall said, blinking once as he averted his gaze to attempt to look at Dommy’s innocent face.  With a meek smile, Squall said “She and I floated to this spaceship.  Balamb Garden claimed salvage rights over it, and since the President of Esthar is my father and I saved the world, Esthar didn’t argue.”

“The President of Esthar is your father?” Cain asked in a loud voice with honest surprise.

After a soft laugh, Squall said “If you met the man, you’d never believe it.  We’re fairly different. ...We should go take our seats and leave Zell to fly.”

“Okay,” Dommy said.  

Squall released his hug-hold on Dommy to step out of the cockpit, back to the main seats.  Rinoa stepped back as well to let Squall by.  Dommy paused a moment to quickly kiss Zell’s cheek and smile at Zell’s shocked sapphire eyes that stared up briefly.  Then Dommy walked out of the cockpit with Cain following behind, leaving Zell to drive the short trip back to Balamb Island.

Once Squall had led the two teenagers out of the cockpit, Rinoa hovered at the cockpit chair beside Zell, hand on the back of the headrest.  She turned from watching through the cockpit doorway as Squall sat beside Cain and Dommy sat down on Cain’s lap.

“Dommy’s a surprise,” Rinoa said to Zell.

“Yea,” Zell said sternly.

The blonde SeeD’s tone reminded Rinoa about Zell’s previous request to be left alone.  She looked away from watching Zell drive, her eyes settling on the passing sky.

The flight to Balamb Garden would only be an hour, compared to the multiple-hour ship ride it was between Balamb Harbor and Dollet Harbor.  However, Rinoa didn’t want to spend that hour away from Zell; she still had that crush on him, even if he’d be short with her, and she had begun to believe Zell’s behavior had to do with stress and all the crying he’d been doing when she’d arrived at Nymphic’s mansion.

“Zell,” Rinoa said with soft compassion.

He didn’t look away from the flight panels.

“I know,” said Rinoa, still speaking softly, “that you’re upset, and I certainly don’t expect you to talk to me, but I am here for you.”

“Squall told me,” Zell said.  His hands gripped the Ragnarok’s steering controls tighter.  “That you like me.”

“He did?” said Rinoa, her eyes lowering to the metallic floor.  Her cheeks reddened.  

“I don’t feel that way about you,” Zell said.  In previous days, Zell would have bashfully explained that, with rosy cheeks and perhaps a few fumbles over his own tongue, but today was the day he’d tried to rape Squall, and, frankly, Zell didn’t give a fuck about Rinoa even though he was desperately trying to find some thread of friendship left.

“...Oh, okay,” Rinoa whispered.

“And I’m going to be honest, Rinoa,” Zell said plainly, eyes still staring out the cockpit window.   “He told me how bad you hurt him.”

After a surprised blink, Rinoa looked up from the floor to the side of Zell’s face.  She still stood behind him, her hand still on the back of the cockpit driver’s chair.

“And it makes me not like you, even as a friend” said Zell.  “...Which I get is unfair or something, but....” He closed his eyes and loosened the white-knuckle grip he had on the steering controls.  “Listen.”  He opened his eyes again to look out the window.  “I just need some time to remember how to be Zell Dincht, okay?”

Rinoa wanted to ask what that meant, but after a few seconds of silently watching Zell harshly stare out into the sky, Rinoa said “Okay.”  She hesitated a moment but eventually added “I’m sorry.”

“There’s nothing to be sorry about,” Zell said softly.  He felt bad about how the conversation had went, but he did not want her hovering around him, touching him, or getting in the way of him trying to hover around and touch Squall.  Zell said “The mission was hard and today was probably the worst day of my life.”

Of course Rinoa wanted to ask Zell all about the day, perhaps about what Dommy had said regarding Zell being mind-controlled -- which sounded like a Sorceress, but Squall hadn’t sounded any Sorceress-alarms.  However, Rinoa bit her tongue and turned her eyes to the pleasantly blue with fluffy white clouds sky.

Behind Rinoa and Zell, Dommy’s soft voice mumble a question: “I know you and Daniel said....”  The sugary teenager stopped and frowned to himself, fumbling his hands together on his own lap.  With a soft sigh, Dommy turned his light blue eyes back to Squall’s face.  “How longs my dad going to be in jail for?”

At first Squall could only stare at the sweet boy’s innocent gaze, but finally Squall replied “Forever.”

Dommy cringed and looked down at his hands again.  He bit his lower lip to keep from crying as Cain tightened his arms around Dommy’s middle.

“You and Daniel,” Dommy said, his voice cracking with sadness, “said Daddy did bad things.”

“He did horrifying things, Dominique,” Squall said.  When the boy looked up, and with Cain watching Squall as well, Squall continued in a stern voice “Things similar to what that man Mr. Fynt was doing to Zell and me.”

“Wow,” was all Dommy could say as a few tears slipped off his eyelashes.

Cain was also surprised by Squall’s comment, but not nearly as surprised as Dommy.  Cain had always known Burno Nymphic wasn’t a regular businessman.

“He is truly an evil man,” Squall said.

From where Rinoa stood, she wanted to interject, to stop Squall from breaking Dommy’s heart any further, but she held her tongue.  She’d already been yelled at by sweetheart Zell Dincht, she could only imagine what icy Squall Leonhart might say if she intruded.

“Zell and I were in Dollet,” Squall explained, “specifically to have Nymphic arrested and shut down his business.”  Squall let a few seconds pass as Dommy softly cried and Cain hugged the boy tightly.  Then, Squall reached forward and placed his hands on Dommy’s two fumbling ones.  The teary, light blue eyes looked back up and Squall said, softer this time, “It’s okay to still love him, Dommy.  He was good -- great -- to you.  And you can visit him in prison, if that’s what you want.”

“I don’t know what I want,” Dommy blurted out.  He shook his head.  “How... could he?  Why do that?”

“I don’t know,” Squall replied softly.  

“It doesn’t matter, Dommy,” Cain said, pressing his cheek against Dommy’s shoulder.  The larger teenager wanted to hold Dommy forever, desperate to find some way to help Dommy accept what Squall was saying.  “We’re together.  In the end, we’ll get through this, okay?  It’ll be alright, because I’ll take care of you.”

Squall took his hand back as Dommy shifted on Cain’s lap, the sugary boy turning to look at his new boyfriend.  A smile twitched on Dommy’s lips despite his tear-stained cheeks and bloodshot eyes.  

“You promise?” asked Dommy sweetly.

“I more than promise,” Cain replied.  “I swear, Dommy.  I’ll never leave your side.  And I’ll make certain you have everything you want.”

After the smile fortified, Dommy leaned against Cain’s chest and closed his eyes.  It felt good to be in Cain’s arms, and while his world had just fallen apart, maybe things weren’t so bad.

“I love you,” whispered Dommy, his lips against Cain’s jaw.

“And I love you,” Cain replied.  “More than life.  ...You are my whole world.”

Dommy sat up abruptly and frowned down at Cain.  “Are you... really okay leaving your parents?”

Cain’s shocked expression wore away and he smiled wide at Dommy.  “You’re what’s important.  I can always visit them. ...I want to be with you.”

Dommy smiled in reply but after a few seconds a mild frown returned and he turned his attention to Squall.  The sugary teenager asked “Are we going to live with you at Balamb Garden?”

“You-,” Squall said, but he stopped himself.  He watched Dommy’s sweet face and Cain’s curious expression, then after quashing the negative and plaguing thoughts -- ‘Shouldn’t Dommy hate me for arresting Nymphic?’ -- Squall said “Balamb Garden isn’t a place for you two.  But you’ll stay with me until I can find someplace more appropriate.”

“‘More appropriate’?” repeated Cain.

“Than a mercenary facility,” replied Squall.

A few breaths of air passed then Dommy looked down to his hands and mumbled “I feel like crying again.”

Squall put his hand on Dommy’s shoulder, gaining the light blue eyes’ attention.  The High Commander said “I’ll find you a new place to live.  And I’ll do everything I can to get Daniel out of prison.  He helped me get evidence, he deserves some level of amnesty.  And didn’t Daniel tell you he’d come be with you when he’s done serving his time?”

“Does he really want to?” Dommy asked despondently.

Cain replied for Squall. “Of course he does!  He loves you.”

When Dommy stared into Cain’s eyes, the larger teenager moved a hand to Dommy’s back and began to rub.  

“I love you,” Cain said.

I love you, too,” replied Dommy, fighting with his emotions as he tried to smile.

In the cockpit, Rinoa turned away from watching the two teenagers exchange the verbal affection.  She looked down to Zell, who still had his sapphire eyes fixated out the front window as he flew the Ragnarok.  The angry frown that had etched over Zell’s normally exuberant features was gone; however no exuberant smile had taken its place.

“It’s surprising,” Rinoa whispered to Zell, “that Squall is taking care of those boys.”

“He loves Dommy,” Zell said without thinking.  

“Oh?” mumbled Rinoa, her brow lowering briefly.

“Yea,” Zell said, and he glanced up to Rinoa to attempt some poor smile.  “Squall’s really good with kids.”  He looked out the window again, knowing his statement had been an underhanded slap on the woman even if Rinoa hadn’t picked up on it.  “He’s gonna be an amazing father.”  The poor smile on Zell’s lips strengthened as he pictured Squall playing with a three-year-old Enabran, but unfortunately that image brought about Zell’s uncertainty again as he pictured himself in the white picket fence scene with Squall.

Seeing the smile on Zell’s lips, the first real sign of happiness from Zell that Rinoa had seen since coming to Dollet, Rinoa felt relief.  However, she understood Zell’s words and it made her glance back to see Squall again.  The High Commander was still the most gorgeous man she’d ever seen, and maybe she’d been too quick to judge him at 17.  

“You and he lived together on this mission?” asked Rinoa as she watched Squall’s soft smile at Dommy and Cain.

“Yea,” Zell mumbled, blushing.

“So you two,” Rinoa said, turning back to look down at Zell, “got really close.”

The blush on Zell’s cheeks darkened and his heart beat surged up.  “Yea.”

“It’s kinda embarrassing he told you that I liked you,” Rinoa said with a small, bashful single laugh.

“I’m still not feeling very ‘Zell Dincht’ right now, Rinoa,” Zell replied without looking up.

“How are you feeling?” asked Rinoa, and she knew she shouldn’t have said the question, but she needed to know.

At first Zell didn’t have a reply, or at least didn’t have a nice reply that excluded cruel curse words.  Finally, though, he settled on saying “I got mind-fucked, Rinny.  ...You know the LD-Chip thing?”

“Yes,” Rinoa said with caution.

“Squall was Level 3,” Zell said, gripping the steering controls until his knuckles were white.  “I was mind controlled.  ...I beat him so he couldn’t change levels.  ...I beat him really bad.”  

Rinoa glanced back to Squall but she quickly returned her attention to Zell when he spoke again.

“He probably hates me,” mumbled Zell.

“Squall’s not like that,” Rinoa replied with a smile-frown.  

Zell’s reply was sharp and laced with hate, and he look in his sapphire eyes when he glanced up to Rinoa poured disgust.  “You don’t know anything about him.”

Zell had turned back to the window and the seconds ticked by as the air in the cockpit thickened.

“I might not know much about Squall,” Rinoa said softly, “but I know he loves his job, loves being SeeD, and will do -- because he has done -- everything he can to safeguard the people he’s close to.”  She let those words sink in.  “...He’s fine and you’re safe.  I doubt he’s given what happened a second thought.”

Loosening his grip on the steering controls, Zell hated that he agreed with Rinoa.  Of course he didn’t agree completely, because he was still afraid he’d lose Squall, those lingering doubts still plagued Zell’s mind.  In the end, though, Zell hoped Squall would forgive him.


Seifer stepped off the transport ship with a duffle bag over one shoulder and the handle of the case for the Angel Guard (Hyperion-class gunblade) in a hand.  As he turned around and held out his free hand for Genix to accept, a SeeD walked up.

“Welcome home,” the SeeD said.

“Uh, thanks,” Seifer replied.  He had absolutely no interest in small talk with some douche SeeD (probably) from Selphie’s Welcome Home Party Committee!  So instead Seifer focused his sea-blue gaze on Genix as he helped the small teenager down the couple stairs.  In Genix’s other arm was Lady Seloria, who had been a very good puppy and was now asleep.

“Wow, so this is Balamb,” Genix said as he looked around the docks.

“Sorry to interrupt, Ensign,” the SeeD said, forcing Seifer to listen, “but the High Commander had requested your presence once you’re back at the Garden.”

“Mr. Fucking-High-and-Mighty needs me right the fuck now?” Seifer snapped.  He kept Genix’s hand held firmly in his even as Genix knelt down to set Lady Seloria onto the pavement.  “How the fuck is he even here already?”

“The Ragnarok, Ensign.”  The SeeD frowned at Seifer with disapproval.  “He was very specific with his orders.”

Seifer scoffed.  “Hyne damned Ragnarok.  ’Course he takes his own personal air-limo around.”  Seifer shook his head and turned to Genix.  To his boyfriend now, Seifer said “We have to....”

“I know,” Genix said, still smiling.  “I’d like to see Squall all sexy dressed up like High Commander anyway.”

Seifer frowned at Genix, though he knew the boy was teasing him.  Then Genix glanced down to Lady Seloria to watch her sitting on the pavement, looking up with dark eyes.

“C’mon, Lady Seloria,” Genix said happily to his dog.  Then he looked to Seifer, whose eyes were borderline cold, which only entertained Genix.  In a loud purr, Genix said “You, too, Teddy Bear.”  He wrinkled his nose at Seifer, letting his hazel eyes sparkle at the egotistical man briefly before turning to pick up Lady Seloria again before leading Seifer through the docks.

Seifer allowed Genix to pull him along and purposely knocked the annoying messenger SeeD to the side as he passed, and Seifer silently hoped the slam from the Angel Guard case hurt the annoying man.

The SeeD ignored the throb of pain in his thigh as he began to follow after Seifer.  “I’m supposed to drive you back to the Garden, Ensign.”

Inwardly, Seifer groaned and wondered if he had enough time to ditch the annoying SeeD; but Seifer immediately acknowledged Genix wasn’t about to walk that fast -- not with how the boy was staring around the town and happily trying to show the asleep puppy the sights.  A block later and around a corner, Seifer headed to the Official Balamb Garden Transport car that had fancy official lettering along its sides.  

After tossing the Angel Guard case in the back along with the duffle bag, Seifer slid into the back seat beside Genix, utterly ignoring the SeeD who had boarded into the driver’s seat.

“How far is Balamb Garden?” asked Genix, his beautiful hazel eyes filled with rare curiosity as he looked at Seifer.

Seifer wrapped his right arm over Genix’s shoulders, still ignoring the annoying SeeD even though the man had glanced back through the rearview mirror.  “About a 40 minute drive.”

“That’s pretty far from town,” Genix said, the rare curiosity gone.  He turned from Seifer to look out the car windows as Balamb Town began to pass by, absently petting the quiet puppy that sat on his lap.

“I’m sorry,” Seifer said.  “I know you’re tired.”

“Meh,” Genix mumbled.  He didn’t feel tired, or he did but didn’t want to admit it.  He had been up all night worrying about Seifer’s safety and well-being.

“After we see Squall and get unpacked,” Seifer said, “I can take you back here and show you around town.”  Seifer paused and smirked, remembering his younger days in Balamb Town and the trouble he used to cause, though Seifer did not want to reminisce to Genix with that fucker annoying SeeD eavesdropping.  

“Alright,” Genix replied, glancing down momentarily to see Lady Seloria falling back to sleep.  The boy then turned his hazel eyes back out the window.

Pushing the smirk away, Seifer began to fight with the rising self-consciousness inside his chest because of the annoying SeeD in the driver’s seat.  The tall egotistical blonde had never been openly gay prior to his undercover job at Kareshi where he’d been a stripper, but he knew Genix wouldn’t stand for some strange closet relationship -- and no doubt part of the boy’s attraction to Seifer was the large blonde’s ego.

Against his better judgement, or perhaps against the wishes of his ego -- which had suffered blow after blow over these years of being labeled “The White Knight” and failed conqueror of the world -- Seifer pushed against Genix’s side and said “I love you.”

The hazel eyes turned to Seifer’s face.  The spheres sparkled as the teenager smiled and said “I love you, too, Teddy Bear.”  He leaned up and kissed Seifer’s lips softly, and Seifer kissed softly back.

The SeeD driver blushed as he tried not to look into the rearview mirror at Seifer Almasy kissing the teenage boy.  It was more than shocking, but the SeeD knew better than to comment, laugh, or even react in any way -- Seifer Almasy might not have been the colossal asshole he was ten years ago, but the blonde ensign was almost Level 200 now.  So, instead, the SeeD driver kept his eyes on the road ahead during the drive to Balamb Garden.

At the Garden Seifer led Genix to the dorms and as they walked, they passed SeeD who smiled and waved, some who verbally welcomed Seifer back -- all of which Seifer was annoyed by.  Tomorrow, Seifer knew, no one would give a fuck he’d returned, as everyone would be in too much of an uproar over Hyne-Reincarnated's and Chicken Wuss’ return.  Maybe Seifer would get a few sideways glances once the news of his homosexuality spread, but nothing more.

“This place is so,” Genix said softly, still carrying the now half-asleep Lady Seloria while holding Seifer’s hand, “clean.”

Seifer laughed loudly once.  Smirking at Genix, he said “You should see Esthar.”

The hazel doe-eyes turned up to Seifer, calming the egoistical man’s smirk into a soft smile.

“Can we go to Esthar?” asked Genix.

“Sure,” Seifer said.  “We’ll take Hyne-Reincarnated’s limo, too.”

“Limo?!” Genix said, stealing a smiling glance to his puppy before returning to Seifer’s sea-blue eyes.

“The Ragnarok,” Seifer said firmly, but he was amused by Genix.

“What’s that?” asked the small teenager, the excited and expectant smile gone.

“A spaceship,” Seifer said, smiling as he knew Genix would be more interested in that compared to some dinky limo.

“Holy Hyne,” Genix mumbled.

Balamb Garden was large, almost overwhelming for Genix as he was led through the corridors and down hallways into the dorm section.  Everyone appeared nice despite the fact that Seifer had said he was a condemned man here.  But even with their smiles and nice greetings, Genix had decided that he would dislike everyone that Seifer disliked, which was probably ninety-nine percent of the people here.

As Genix’s mind raced with images of some spaceship named Ragnarok, Seifer led them around the final corner to the hallway that led to the High Commander’s dorm room -- the place to which that annoying SeeD told them Squall was waiting.

Seifer had to set down the case to his Angel Guard (instead of releasing Genix’s hand) to knock on the intimidating dorm door of Balamb Garden’s Hero.  However, all of Seifer’s trepidation vanished when Squall answered.

The High Commander was wearing the Lion Heart, dressed back in black leather pants and a white t-shirt, with black boots laced up.  His grey-blue eyes were soft and the man smiled in that gentle way Seifer recognized from Dollet.

“Good,” Squall said quietly, but Seifer could hear the relief.  The High Commander stepped back to let the two inside.

“Hey, Squall!” Genix said, smiling.  

“Hey, Puberty Boy,” Seifer said without thinking.  He picked up his gunblade case and walked into the dorm room behind Genix.

“O-M-G!” a teenager’s excited voice said -- but it wasn’t Genix.  Seifer looked passed his boyfriend to see two teenagers sitting on the High Commander’s black suede couch.  One of the two boys bounced up, his light blue eyes wide and looking at Genix with innocent hunger.

At first, Seifer frowned -- which deepened when Genix released his hand.

The dorm door closed behind Seifer as the egotistical blonde watched Genix kneel down.  Then Seifer saw Lady Seloria and he realized what was so enthralling -- not that Genix wasn’t enthralling all by himself.

“I couldn’t leave them in Dollet,” Squall whispered to Seifer.  “Not with some social worker.”

Seifer glanced over his shoulder to Squall, who was standing slightly behind him, looking passed and watching the teenagers.

“Dominique and Cain,” Squall said.  He then turned his cloudy eyes to Seifer.

“So,” Seifer said sternly, stark indignation filling his expression, “you wanted Genix to come over to have a play date?”

That sexy Amyst smile filled Squall’s lips and he reached forward to touch Seifer’s Angel Guard case.

“I ordered pizza,” Squall said as he gently took the gunblade case from Seifer.  “And some hotdogs, because... they’re a delicacy here at the Garden.”

After releasing the case to Squall, Seifer tossed off the duffle bag, letting it land against the wall near the dorm door.

“Besides, after all these months, I doubt Zell could pass up eating hotdogs,” said Seifer.

When Squall shook his head, the long brunette hair swaying slowly, Seifer was surprised.  Squall watched Seifer with a slightly lowered brow while saying “He’s at his mother’s.”

Seifer paused a second to picture Cry Baby at that Balamb Garden house with Ma Dincht.  Seifer remembered her as a kindly lady whose cooking put even world class chefs to shame.  Brushing away the image, Seifer stared harshly at Squall and said “I could be in bed at this moment.”

Setting the gunblade case down with the duffle bag, Squall ignored Seifer’s statement.  Honestly the egotistical blonde SeeD didn’t mind Genix showing off Lady Seloria to the other teenagers, who were drug free -- unlike the other people Genix used to associate with.  

“Should I see if I can order dog food from the cafeteria?” asked Squall.  “Or maybe Rinoa has something.”

“No, we got special puppy food,” Seifer said as he motioned to the duffle bag while looking back to Genix and Dominique talking.  The third teenager had crossed over and was trying to smile down, but Seifer could see the jealousy in that boy’s -- Cain’s  -- eyes.

“Puppies need special food?” asked Squall as he unzipped Seifer’s duffle bag, and the question threw Seifer off.

The tall egoistical blonde stopped his assessment of the teenagers and turned to frown at Squall.  “Didn’t you date Rinoa?  Don’t you know anything about dogs?”

Squall didn’t bother glancing back from searching through Seifer’s belongings for the puppy food.  

Seifer stepped to his old nemesis and knelt down close -- probably too close and his body pushed against Squall’s.  He let his shoulder press against Squall’s back as he reached passed the High Commander and into the duffle bag.  While the can of puppy food was easy enough to find, Seifer kept himself there, baring against Squall.

“Get some of the dog’s clothes,” Seifer said.  He could smell Squall, and the brunette SeeD had that familiar scent of leather and gunblade oil mixed with the slender man’s sexy natural odor.  It sent sparks through Seifer, and adrenaline and blood began to rush through him.

When Squall gingerly pulled out a few ruffly pieces of dog clothes, Seifer smirked but still didn’t move from his knelt position near the brunette man.

“Why are you wearing your Lion Heart?” asked Seifer softly.

Gingerly holding the girly clothes, Squall turned his gaze to Seifer, seeing the overpowering and purposeful leer.  

“You kept it oiled,” Squall whispered.

“All the better to slice sorceress’ heads off,” replied Seifer.

“You should get out your Angel Guard,” Squall whispered, his voice still that soft Amyst tone but his eyes sparkled with dominance.

With a light smirk and a chin-nod, Seifer said “You want to play with my gunblade?”

It surprised Seifer, though he didn’t show it, when those grey-blue eyes stole a quick glance down to Seifer’s crotch.  The dominance hadn’t left the cloudy spheres when Squall turned back up.  “You know how much I love gunblades.”

“I’ll get out the oil,” Seifer said, his sea-blue eyes sparkling at Squall.  His heart was beating faster.  “You can rub it all over my gunblade.”

Then Squall laughed, that light and sexy Amyst laugh that Seifer had previously desired and hated at the same moment.  Now, with Squall wearing the Lion Heart and kneeling in a Balamb Garden dorm, Seifer lusted after it while condemning it all the same.

“Seifer,” Genix grumbled.

Both gunbladists turned to look at the three teenagers sitting cross-leg with the playfully growling puppy in the center of them.  All three boys were looking over.

“Stop flirting with your brother,” Genix said while shaking his head.  

An unintentional smirk filled Seifer’s previously lecherous gaze.  He held in a laugh as he said to Genix “We were talking about rubbing oil on each other’s gunblades.”

Genix crossed his arms and narrowed those sexy hazel eyes at Seifer.  A solid second passed, then the ex-stripper teenager said “You can do it but only if I get to help.”

The image of Genix and Squall fucking filled Seifer’s mind, and while it was erotic it also send a surge of jealousy through Seifer so hard that he almost turned and punched Squall.  The only thing that stopped him was Dommy’s comment.

“I like Squall’s gunblade,” Dommy said happily, his left hand gently patting the tiny puppy.

Squall blushed as he stood, the can of puppy food in his right hand.  Seifer chuckled while standing as well, Squall stepping to the kitchen to retrieve a plate.

Cain understood the dick inference that had completely passed over Dommy’s head, and the larger teenager stole a quick glance to Genix’s knowing smirk.

“It’s so sparkly blue,” Dommy said, still happily, watching the puppy roll around.  The sugary teenager’s eyes lit up as he said “And the wings on the sides are awesome.”  Cain set his hand on Dommy’s shoulder, a passive attempt at redirecting Dommy.

“You should see my gunblade,” Seifer said, standing tall with his arms crossed.  He smirked at Genix who shook his head disapprovingly in reply but those hazel eyes were filled with laughter.

“Seifer’s gunblade,” Squall said softly from the kitchen, which was open and adjacent to the dorm’s living space, and all four of the guests turned to watch Squall’s soft smile, “is quite magnificent.”  He slowly looked up from working on dishing out Lady Seloria’s food, face stone but those cloudy eyes etched with laughter as he met Seifer’s gaze.

After enjoying Squall’s non-stuck-up behavior, Seifer turned to grab his Angel Guard case to show Dommy the metal gunblade.  As the egotistical blonde clicked the locks from their places, he slightly shook his head, amazed that Zell’s cock had dislodged the stick Seifer knew to have been previously up Squall’s ass.


Zell stared up at the ceiling in the steam filled bathroom.  The bathtub water was very hot and like a comforting blanket over Zell’s nude body.  His stomach was not full but he felt content from the dinner his mother had given him, and under normal circumstances he would have eaten more, but today was still the worst day of his life -- and his stomach reacted as such, in a tight ball of knots.

While gently caressing the top of the water with his fingertips, Zell recalled the last moment he saw Squall.  Those cloudy eyes had been desperate, or had they?  But Squall’s words were so stern, serious, giving no room for interpretation, almost ordering Zell to go visit Ma Dincht, which filled Zell with dejection, especially since Squall had taken Dommy and Cain into Balamb Garden.

The window to the outside showed only blackness, and Zell imagined it was nearing 10:00 PM.  He’d already explained to his mother he’d had a hard assignment and was still recovering, still emotionally disjointed.  She understood.  Ma Dincht was a good and kind woman.  And so after a relieved and jubilant greeting, and after making Zell a large dinner, she went to bed and let Zell have some quiet time.

Slowly, Zell pat his stomach with his non-wet hand.  His stomach muscles were hard, as were his chest muscles as he glided his hand upwards, feeling the ripples of his own body beneath his palm.

The bathtub was small, and Zell imagined that if Squall had been there with him, the brunette would have been forced to lay over Zell.  That pleased the tattooed man and he closed his sapphire eyes, imagining the weight of Squall’s perfect body against him.  

How many times over those past nine months had Squall’s weight bared down against him?  More times than Zell could remember, and he wished he could remember: Not for the sake of knowing a number, it was that Zell wished -- needed -- to be able to remember each and every instance of sex with Squall, of cuddling with Squall, of having Squall as a lover.

Making love with Squall filled Zell and he imagined the positions they had been in, the shapes their bodies had made when joined, the texture of skin on skin, and the taste of sweat, saliva, and cum.  Then the memory of Don Fynt’s shouted or laughing orders came, hitting Zell hard and his sapphire eyes opened.

Steam still billowed through the small bathroom’s air.

Zell splashed the bath water, droplets flying through the air and some landed on his bare pecks.  After a few seconds of breathing and a few more seconds of pushing down Fynt’s voice into the back of his memory, Zell’s sapphire eyes settled on his own cock.  He could still remember the throbbing, the aching as he desired Squall -- who’d been naked, held down, broken, and forced under those cameras.

The tone of Squall’s voice had been so soft, delicate, inviting.  It echoed inside Zell’s mind: “You’re going to make love to me.”

Zell’s heart ached as those words played over and over inside his head.  He’d been so aroused and Hyne knew how badly he had wanted to fuck Squall on that cement floor.  Even passed the Alexander’s Kiss, Zell had wanted to fuck Squall -- the tattooed SeeD knew it.  It made him angry and ashamed at the same moment, but he couldn’t get Squall’s face or those words out of his head: The sexy image of Squall laying exposed, looking up with hunger.

“Squall,” Zell whispered into the steamy bathroom air.  “Hyne, baby.”  He sighed softly.  “...I love you.”

The fleeting thought of killing Fynt entered Zell’s mind.  As he began to let the idea slip away, because it was foolish and no SeeD in their right mind would do something so criminal, Zell began to wonder why the fuck he shouldn’t.  Fynt deserved to die.  Hell, Nymphic and all those psycho rapists and murderers deserved to die.  

K’Oz would do it for Amyst.  And Dincht had the power to do it for Leonhart.


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