A Little Garden Mischief

BY : Darkrogue
Category: Final Fantasy VIII > Yaoi - Male/Male > Irvine/Zell
Dragon prints: 821
Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy VIII, nor Zell nor Irvine, regrettably. Not a dime is being made, here.

Dripping sweat from his latest training session, Zell Dincht sighed as he approached his dorm in vain hope he might have the place to himself for at least one evening.

It wasn’t as if he disliked his current roommate; he and Irvine had grown significantly closer over the course of the past year’s events. Fighting a war alongside another person tended to do that.

How often had he and Irvine faced danger together, helped one another, encouraged each other and healed each other’s injuries? Side by side they’d faced the most dangerous sorceress throughout all time, and defeated her together. These things tended to soften differences that had once reared their ugly little heads, and through all they’d suffered he and Irvine had grown closer, fonder—almost like the brothers they practically were.

They had grown up together, after all.

And yet nothing changed the fact that the sharpshooter annoyed all hell out of him, even now.

Zell swept into his dorm and immediately frowned at the sight that greeted him.

Irvine Kinneas lounged at his desk, his hat perched on an ear of his ladderback chair. Zell scowled further at the rakish cowboy’s booted feet, propped on his desk. Long sinewy arms rested lazily in Irvine’s lap, slim but trigger-strong hands cradling a book spread across lean, denim-clad thighs.

Hmmphh. He’d certainly made himself at home, hadn’t he?

The marksman’s lone acknowledgement of Zell’s abrupt arrival was to coolly glance up and tip him a lazy nod from beneath stray auburn locks that had slipped free of his loose, sloppy ponytail, before returning his attention to the book in his lap.

The slouching sniper had stripped off his duster (now draped over Zell’s bed), and reclined in only his jeans and that tiny purple vest, open to reveal his lean, toned chest.

Irvine’s floor pallet was sloppy, too, the sheets bundled in the middle and clothes haphazardly piled on the surface where the cowboy normally slept. That was, when he slept. More often than not Irvine would stagger in smelling of sex and booze a mere four hours before he was supposed to wake, only to collapse snoring on the makeshift bedding.

And once Irvine did pass out, he didn’t like to be roused, as Zell had learned when Exeter made quick and noisy work of his poor, defenseless alarm clock.

That little incident had jolted their entire wing of Balamb Garden wide-awake.

And now, again, Irvine’s belongings lay scattered about Zell’s formerly spotless room.

The fighter grumbled. He was a SeeD, dammit! He had classes to teach, cadets to look after! Why should he have to get stuck rooming with a cadet, and this Galbadian slacker, at that? A slacker who should have had his own classes, his own students, his own SeeD ranking by now? Why was it that he of all people had to clean up after this layabout as if he were some kind of babysitter? Squall had assured it was only temporary, and he might not have minded the company with anyone else. But this guy!

Zell scanned over the carelessly cast-off clothes littering the floor, the bottles of sickening aftershave and cologne and fruity hair products cluttering his sink. If that weren’t enough, once and awhile he’d come across one of Irvine’s seedy “reading materials,” haphazardly left open to just the right page.

Irvine was friendly enough when he wasn’t a swaggering smartass (which was rare). That might have been tolerable in itself, even if his untidy habits and questionable morals didn’t push every button Zell possessed, despite all they’d been through.

But Hyne above, did he have to be such a slob?

Stomping fully inside, Zell reached down and grabbed a black mesh shirt, tossing it in the sniper’s direction.

“Dammit, how many times have I told you to stop throwing your shit everywhere?”

“Hey, hey! Easy, now!” Irvine complained as the shirt flung across his face and settled in his lap, quickly followed by a pair of light, worn blue jeans. “And a good afternoon to you, too.” Ignoring him, Zell tore through the room like a whirlwind, pitching stray garments from his path.

“It’s ridiculous, picking up after you like this! What do I look like, your mother?”

“Sounds that way, if I had one to speak of,” Irvine smirked, his smarmy grin only fueling his roommate’s irritation as he casually dropped each launched article of clothing to the floor beside his—or rather Zell’s—chair.

“I’m glad you think it’s funny. Ohh, if only I could throw you out on your ass…”

“Relax, Dincht,” Irvine casually swiped another flying shirt out of the way. “You know you don’t wanna do that, now.”

With a huff, Zell stormed over to his bed and seized the cowboy’s duster in one fist, holding it out in demonstration. “And how many times do I have to tell you to keep your junk off my bed!” As he spoke, a deck of Triple Triad cards spilled from a pocket, followed by a fan of cash.

“Hey, now—“” Irvine protested, fully lowering his book.

“What is this?” Zell demanded, unfolding one of the notes as he dropped the coat on Irvine’s improvised bed. “You haven’t graduated, and you don’t have a SeeD rank. I know you’re not earning a salary.”

“Nope,” the cowboy confirmed with a relaxed nod.

“So what’s this? Where are you getting this?”

“Winnings. What else?” Irvine’s brow proudly cocked.

Scanning the substantial wad of bills in his hand, Zell thought a moment and spluttered.

“Winnings? You mean you’ve…you been weaseling students outta cash?”

“That’s the idea, ain’t it?” Irvine coolly smirked.

“Seriously? You know the rules: play for cards alone. No gambling!”

“Oh, lighten up.” Irvine chuckled. “Ain’t no harm in it.”

“‘Lighten up’? If I’d had any idea you were conning people…”

“You think I, like, swindled ‘em?” Irvine sang with a melodramatic swoon. “That hurts, Zell. Won it all fair and square, I did.”

“Liar,” the fighter growled.

“Nothing wrong with placin’ a wager, so long as my opponent’s willing. A little cash here, a little nookie there. Geez, Zell, ev’rybody does it.”

“N-nookie?” Zell stammered in disgust and launched into a bout of shadow boxing. “You are one depraved sicko, Kinneas.”

“Aw, get off your high horse. You could try loosin’ up now and then, you know. Do you some good. And would’ya quit bouncin’ around?” Zell’s acrobatics usually did little more than amuse him, and normally he marveled at the tattooed fighter’s energy. Now the blonde shone with sweat, his muscles alive, all packed into that small, tight body. He’d clearly been working out for the past few hours, and somehow still teemed with energy. Where does it all come from? he’d often wondered with a twist of envy. And where does he store it all in that puny, solid frame? But right now, Zell’s acrobatics were driving him up a damn wall.

“Well, it doesn’t matter how you did it. You’re breaking Garden rules.”

“Aw, rules. What good are they, Zell?” Irvine snorted. “You can’t begrudge a guy usin’ his talents to snag a little on the side, right?”

“I most certainly can.” Zell’s hands went to his sides, one fist still clutching the cash. “Oh, fuck it,” he sighed, tossing the money at his slouching roommate. “And get your feet off my desk, wouldja.”

Casually the sharpshooter dropped his boots to the floor and went back to slouching over his book.

Glowering down at the cowboy, Zell couldn’t help but experience a pang of envy. How effortlessly Irvine charmed, how casually he approached almost any situation, how smoothly he talked, how he could shrug off anything…not to mention how he managed to always look so damn sexy in spite of his careless manner. Yes, Zell could admit it. He was jealous, dammit. How was it that Irvine could get into practically anyone’s pants without even trying, while Zell couldn’t so much as speak to a girl without stumbling all over himself, cramming his foot in his mouth or otherwise looking like a dunce? And how did he make it look so easy?

Then again, considering the sniper’s academic performance, perhaps such conduct wasn’t such a good thing...

“What have you been doing, anyhow?” he prodded, suspicious. The marksman had stumbled in late every night since taking up residence in Balamb, and again Zell wondered if the Galbadian ever slept. “Don’t you have an exam in a couple days?”

“I surely do,” Irvine confirmed. “So if you wouldn’t mind zippin’ yer yap and lettin’ me study, I’d appreciate it.”

Zell snorted, glancing down at the book between Irvine’s hands.

“You? Studying? As if.” Even when Irvine was supposed to be studying, Zell had more often than not spied him gazing out a window, daydreaming, ogling some bit of skirt, or browsing a different kind of literature altogether. “All this time I’ve known you and you haven’t so much as cracked a proper book. Whatcha got there? Latest copy o’ Girl Next Door?” Without warning, he lunged down and snapped the book from Irvine’s hands, fully expecting the naughty magazine to tumble from between the pages.

“Hey-cut it out!” Irvine rose and grabbed for his book, but not before Zell moved away and a loose strip of paper spilled from the open pages and fluttered to the floor.


“What’s this?” Zell bent to pick it up. Irvine quickly moved to snap the paper out of his reach, but Zell was the quicker.

“Er-actually, that’s…” Irvine stammered before his roommate browsed the slip of paper, sky-blue eyes widening as he examined it further.

“Wha—? This can’t be…!”

“I…” Irvine spluttered an unsuccessful and unheard explanation while Zell read the contents aloud.

“‘This creature, inhabiting the continent of Trabia, provides Mystery Fluid and is known to inflict Sleep on victims: Gayla.’ ‘This large and powerful foe uses Meteor, and is a Draw source for Regen, Tornado and the powerful spell, Flare: Behemoth.’ ‘The town of Timber prospered under Galbadian occupation: False.’ ‘The T-Rexaur is the most powerful foe in the Balamb’s Training Center. True…’” Incredulous, Zell whirled on the cowboy. “An instructor’s answer key? You…where’d you get this?”

“Er…” Feeling supremely stupid, Irvine fidgeted with his ponytail. Damn. He’ll flip his pointy lid over this one, for sure. “Ahh…I…um…I just…"

"Y-you…Gahh!” Zell trailed, shocked. This was too much. A million possibilities stormed in the fighter’s mind as to how Irvine might have got his hands on such a thing, none of them “pure”. No doubt he’d ‘procured’ the information using his “charms” or some such distraction. But it didn’t matter where or how he got it. The point was, he had it, and he was making shameful use of it.

“Irvine! I can’t believe you! Cheating?”

“Hey, now!” the gunner’s voice lowered and he gestured for silence. “Why not announce it to the moon while you’re at it?”

“Really? Is that all you have to say?”

“Aw, c’mon, now,” Irvine procured his best, flirty, catlike smile. “Who’s it, like, gonna hurt?”

“Who’s it gonna…? You’re serious? This is low, Kinneas, even for you.”

“Oh, I can go far lower. Care to see how?”

Zell grumbled; he was being toyed with, and he never liked being toyed with.

“Yoouuu! Grrr--! You are askin’ for it, Kinneas.”

“Alright, alright! That’s enough,” Irvine grabbed for the paper, only to have the blonde snatch it out of his reach.

“I’ll have to report this, you know,” Zell firmly declared, clutching the offending cheat sheet in one strong, gloved palm.

“Tattletale,” the sniper pouted, tossing him that damned smarmy twinkle.

“I don’t wanna do this,” Zell returned, unfazed. “But I gotta report this to the Commander.”

“Huh?” Irvine’s brow arched as he realized Zell was serious. “C’mon, now…”

“Rules are rules, Irvine. You know that.”

“So, like, you’re really gonna rat me out?” the marksman sang, laying on the guilt with his most practiced pout. “Helluva friend you are.”

“A friend wouldn’t let you coast by though cheating, especially if he knows you’re hurting yourself doing it,” Zell asserted, arms folded.

Having nothing to say to that, Irvine faltered. Zell whirled, finished with this conversation.

“Wait! Y-you can’t!” Blue-violet eyes flashed a sudden panic. “If Squall finds out about this, he’ll never trust me again!”

“Don’t make this any harder than it has to be,” Zell huffed, starting for the door.

“No, wait, I…” The cowboy lunged forward and grabbed a strong, muscled bicep.

“Let go!” Zell spun. “I’m sorry, man…but…”

“Zell, look! I’m, like, beggin’ you, here.” Long trigger-sculpted fingers clutched him tighter. “The Commander barely trusts me as it is. This’ll wreck any chance I’ve got to make something o’ myself.  I’ll be good as gold. You won’t see it again! Honest!”

Zell hesitated, but one glance into those pleading violet pools dashed all pause. If Irvine thought those charms would work on him, he was sorely mistaken. Maybe the cowboy could play everyone else in Balamb Garden like a fiddle, but it wasn’t going to work on Zell Dincht, no sir!

Annoyed, the fighter easily shrugged his arm from Irvine’s grasp and made another move for the door, growling when a desperate hand reached out to stall him yet again.

“Wait! Hey…all right, Zell.” Irvine faltered when his roommate whirled and shot him his best reproachful frown. “Look, I…” he swallowed. “I’ll do, like, anything, man. Just…don’t report me, ‘kay? I’m on thin ice already.”

“And whose fault is that?” Zell folded his arms like a nagging mother.

“I…” Irvine’s gaze fell. “It’s mine, I know that. Just let me fix this. Really, I’ll…I’ll do whatever you say.”

For a brief moment Zell pondered the appeal of having Irvine at his command, even if just for a couple days. Hell, it might actually be the only way to get the cowboy to pick up after himself, for once. But no, blackmail only lowered him, and Zell returned instead to the more honest and practical solution and shook his head, arms still folded at his chest.

“Look, I don’t like this either. But this is bad, and you know I can’t stand by and let something like this go unpunished.”

The marksman shuffled, studying the floor at his booted feet. After a moment he thoughtfully tapped his chin.

“Why don’t you do it, then?” he awkwardly put forth.

“Do what?” Zell considered him, puzzled.

“Punish me,” Irvine managed with no small measure of humility.

Zell frowned, more annoyed than intrigued by the cowboy’s latest attempt to weasel out of trouble. Now what is he playing at?

“And how do you suggest I do that?” he asked, his hands going to his hips.

“I dunno,” the sharpshooter hopelessly shrugged. “Take a couple swings at me, or somethin’. I won’t fight.”

“Are you crazy? No way! You’re out of your mind, Kinneas.”

“Better that than have to deal with the Ice Prince,” Irvine muttered. It wasn’t only that he feared Squall’s wrath and punishment. Oh, he knew Squall would be angry, and would probably let him have it, simply because he couldn’t be perceived as showing favoritism. It would hardly be the first time the Commander had been forced to discipline him, after all.

But this was serious. Cheating was an infraction worthy of expulsion, or worse. It was his own fault, he guessed. He’d been stupid enough to get caught, and now Zell, smug as you please, had him at his mercy. Even so, this time the dread that pooled in his belly wasn’t simply a childlike fear of punishment.

No, it was more that. He’d let Squall down so many times already. Oh, Squall never said it, but Irvine could see the disappointment on his Commander’s face every time he’d come before the Disciplinary Committee. He could hear it in Squall’s sighs, could see it in the sadness in those cold gray eyes, not to mention the facepalms Squall tried to conceal at having to reprimand and chastise a friend and fellow veteran of the battle for their past, present and future.

At the end of the day, Irvine knew their leader only wanted the best for him, for all of them. Even now, Irvine remained the only one of their ‘orphanage gang’ who had yet to accomplish SeeD ranking. That he still had failed to achieve it was a humiliation unto itself, let alone the knowledge that all his childhood friends outranked him.

Worse still was knowing the blame was all his own.

At a sudden sting of regret, Irvine sighed, and Zell could see acquiescence in those violet-indigo eyes. A flood of sympathy overtook him as he looked hard at the marksman, and suddenly saw in him a life wanting of direction or support.

All at once Zell brightened, a wicked smile curling his lips as one gloved fist smacked his opposite gloved palm.

“My grandpa had a solution for correcting misbehavior. I think it might work nicely, here…”

“Hmm?” Irvine looked at him questioningly. The fighter’s grin deepened as he shrugged out of his jacket and plopped down on the bed’s edge. Cracking his knuckles, Zell patted his lap.

“Come on, then. Let’s get this over with.”

“Er…huh?” Irvine blinked, clueless.

“Oh, come on. I know you’re not that dense. Over the knee, cowboy,” Zell cheerfully proclaimed.

“Y-you gotta be kidding.” Zell heard a sharp intake of breath, like a small gasp. A blend of panic and amusement clouded the sniper’s pretty features. With inward satisfaction Zell watched Irvine shuffle and fiddle with his hair—the signature nervous tic that always surfaced when the sharpshooter’s anxiety got the better of him. “You’re kidding, right?”

“You wanna keep this little ‘incident’ between us, don’t cha?”

“You’re off your knob. Look, can’t we just, like, drop this? Forget it ever happened?”

“You know better than that.”

“Oh, man….” Irvine swallowed, a pink flush creeping over his cheeks as he struggled with Zell’s proposal. His eyes wandered absently over the fighter’s muscled arms, revealed now that he had stripped down to his black tank top. His blood tingled just thinking about what Zell was suggesting, his mind toying with dirty thoughts he doubted the fighter shared.

“So, like…you won’t tell anyone about this?”

“That’s the whole point, isn’t it? You want me to keep my mouth shut? Then drag your skinny butt over here before I change my mind.”

Zell watched the sniper’s face as his words sank in. Once more Irvine fidgeted with his long auburn ponytail.

“Gee, I dunno…”

“Take it or leave it,” the fighter declared, his tolerance waning. “Going once…”

Hesitating a second more, Irvine groaned and sauntered nearer, deliberately slow.

“I’m losing my patience, cowboy.”

At Zell’s warning, Irvine cleared the distance and stalled, and Zell could have sworn he saw the Galbadian blush.

“So like, you want me to just…flip over your lap or something?”

“Not so fast, buddy. On the bare. Pants down.”

“No way. Seriously?” Irvine nearly laughed and fired one of his one-liners (and he had a ready store of them), but one stern look from Zell cured him of that whim.

Geez, he really means it….

His gaze caught the silver knuckle-spikes of Zell’s gloves, and his stomach dropped.

Of course he could always refuse. It wasn’t too late to call this whole thing off. But then he considered the alternative.

Hesitant, Irvine’s hands fumbled with his fly, more clumsiness than usual in those long, nimble fingers. With a resigned gulp he shucked his jeans to his knees.

“Park it.”

The sharpshooter bit his lip, and to Zell’s surprise that tall, lithe frame obediently stretched across his waiting lap. For a split second, Zell found himself gazing down at those long legs and lingering over that lean ass, just asking for a good tanning...

Much to his annoyance the cowboy turned his head with a roguish smirk. “Admirin’ the view? Sure this ain’t just an excuse to take a nice, long gander at my ass?”

Coming back to himself with a spark of embarrassment, Zell growled through his teeth.

Ooohh! I’ll silence that smart mouth—or at least make it sing a different tune…

He raised a gloved palm.

“Time for some pain, Dincht-style!”

Irvine gave a startled yelp when Zell’s hand, hard and solid, connected with the flesh of his vulnerable butt. “Don’t tease me now,” the sniper joked. Scowling again, Zell landed a second swat, hard enough to make the sharpshooter gasp.

As the third and fourth blows spread a painful, tingling heat across his backside, Irvine shifted uncomfortably, dismayed at the fighter’s strength.

“Gahh…Zell! Ease up, willya? You’re really strong!”

“Nothing doin’, cowboy. You’re getting the full treatment.”

Groaning, Irvine braced himself as he began to fully understand just what he was in for. A fifth stroke heated his ass, and the marksman jolted but otherwise fought to remain stoic, unflinching, unyielding.




Irvine clenched his jaw, not about to cave in to this, but his resolve faltered with a few more well-placed palms to his tenderized buttocks. As the blaze grew hotter with every swat, he squirmed and wriggled to shift away.

“Oh, no you don’t,” chided Zell, imprisoning Irvine’s legs under one of his own.

An answering succession of blows assaulted his stinging rump. Unable to bear it, Irvine yelped, one hand straying back to protect his throbbing cheeks from further abuse.

Wordlessly Zell enclosed the bony wrist in one strong fist, using his free hand to firmly pin the wandering arm at the small of his back while his other palm worked over Irvine’s reddening buns. And as he dangled now pinned and helpless over Zell’s lap, the marksman groaned, miserably.

What the hell had he gotten himself into this time?

A series of smart swats made him jump and jolt, pert buttocks twitching and pinkening beneath Zell’s firm, steady hand. On it went, Zell peppering the cowboy’s cheeks and thighs while the errant Galbadian squirmed in his lap.



A distressed cry wrung itself from Irvine’s lips, his face blushing furiously. Here he was, so-called hero of the Neo-Sorceress War, his bare ass tipped over a knee while his friend thoroughly tanned his hide. He whimpered, and a pitiful voice he didn’t know begged aloud.


“Uh-uh, no way. Gotta be sure you remember this good.”

At the sniper’s miserable sound, a tug of sympathy pulled at Zell’s heart. He knew it had to hurt, not only judging from Irvine’s complaints, his squirming and the nice, red blush blooming across his backside. He knew his hands had considerable power in them, and that the stubborn cowboy felt each swat keenly. Irvine wouldn’t sit comfortably for several days, that much was certain. But such was the price for his mischief.

Irvine’s head spun between scattered, conflicting thoughts and hot, stinging pain. Sound and thorough, a chain of deliberately-aimed strokes scorched the lower curves of his ass and along the conjunction between his buttocks and thighs, making him gasp and writhe and inwardly rage with cresting defiance. But his pitiful struggles were no match for the stronger boy who held him pinned and mercilessly blistered his seat.

He’d been on the receiving end of Zell’s strength before, of course. Back when they’d first met, they hadn’t had the friendliest of relationships, and it was mostly his fault, he knew. Irvine’s mouth had a way of pushing buttons and getting him into trouble. And he’d known Zell to be a firecracker since the day they met; hell, he’d remembered Zell from their childhood, after all, even if Zell hadn’t initially remembered him, and more than once he’d felt the fighter’s fists after pushing Zell too far. But never had he felt so thoroughly chastened, never had he felt so helpless and trapped in another’s power. Oh, he would get Zell later, when he least expected it. He’d slip a pepper into one of the meathead’s hotdogs, or tape over his T-Board’s ground sensors, or dust his socks with itching powder, or …ooww!

The blaze of his scorched ass rippled a fire through him, and his control wavered as his voice gushed out another senseless plea.

“Oww! Z-Zell, I…ghhh!”

Sensing his errant roommate’s cockiness crumbling, Zell curbed the pace of his swats. “Now, Irvine Kinneas. I want you to answer me and answer me good.” Expertly he concentrated his spanks low in the middle, where the Galbadian would feel it when he sat. “Why are you getting your seat warmed, cadet?”

Twitching and gasping from the precise, concerted blows, Irvine groaned at the question, both impressed and dismayed by Zell’s stern approach and commanding technique.

Geez, he really knows how to hammer it in!

Jolting at the fire in his bottom and thighs, Irvine withered with humiliation at the thought of having to actually say what he’d done out loud when they both damn well knew it! Why couldn’t Zell just get this over with? He wasn’t a child, dammit!

Hell, no!

Zell frowned at the unspoken defiance, knowing the mixture of pain and the acknowledgment of misbehavior was essential for the punishment to fully sink in.

“Say it,” he warned, swats blazing hotter with the sharp sound of his gloved palm connecting with bare, quivering flesh.

Buttocks boiling, Irvine gasped, his throat tight. Finally breaking, he spluttered and choked out what Zell wanted to hear, the blush deepening on his heated face.

“I…oh, I…ow! I…I stole the instructor’s answer key…ahh!”

“And you stole it because…?” Zell prodded, the cup of his palm punishing the undercurve of his roommate’s wiggling cheeks.

“I…I was gonna …ouch! …I was gonna use it to help me…uhn…pass the exam!”

“Which is?” Zell urged, leaving no room for doubt in the sniper’s thick head as to the answer he sought.

Cheating, Zell! I know, I know! Oh…” With that, the sniper slackened and stopped fighting—a good sign, and Zell knowingly smiled.

“Uh-huh. Just you remember, if I catch you at it again—or anything of the sort, in the future—I’ll toast your butt again. Understood, Kinneas?”

“Yes! Yes, Zell!”

Zell truly didn’t feel good about this. In fact, a heavy sympathy swirled in him, along with a little guilt. But then, something in him wanted to help Irvine, not just punish him, and for a moment his mind wandered to that lighthouse on the sea where he and Irvine had spent their boyhood together. He thought of the mischief Irvine would get into even then, how he’d procured fireworks for an eager Selphie (which had got them all in trouble), how he would sweet talk his way out of a mess he’d so happily leapt into. How Irvine, ever the prankster, used to scare him—not in a cruel way, like Seifer, but all in fun, and how he’d always comfort him with a cookie pilfered from the cupboard once he realized he’d gone too far and made Zell cry. It was Irvine, of course, who was always teaching them naughty words and dirty jokes. Then there was that time he’d convinced them all to catch crabs on the beach and raise them in the bathtub…

Zell fought a smile, feeling like a jerk for entertaining himself with nostalgia while his friend suffered. But now he knew what it felt like, what the authority figures in his life felt when faced with such dilemmas. How Squall often felt when he had to discipline someone of whose actions he disapproved—even if that someone annoyed him deeply—and yet want to help.

As he jumped and twitched, Irvine was wracked with a twist of shame, much different than the simple indignity of being spanked like a child. It was a coil of disgrace at stooping so low as cheating, all for a stupid test, and getting his hide tanned somehow brought it home to him. All at once he thought of how disappointed Matron would be with him, and he saw her face, sad and frustrated, shaking her head as if to say “Irvine, my dear, what have you done, now?” He imagined Quisty’s disapproval, Sefie’s exasperation, Squall’s everpresent face-palm.

A painful pow! to his vulnerable seat brought him regrettably back to the moment, where he dangled over Zell Dincht’s knee.

“So, have you learned your lesson?” Zell prompted, his palm smartly blazing the sniper’s bare, reddened butt.

Wriggling at the fire in his ass, the Galbadian sang a mishmash of gushing apologies, pleas and promises that yes indeed he’d learned the error of his ways, and vowed to be right as rain and never, ever cheat again. Sobbing and gasping, Irvine slumped in defeat.

Delivering a final, sound swat, Zell ended the punishment. The upturned ass beneath him glowed bright red, its owner panting and whimpering his capitulation. Gingerly Zell brushed light fingers over sizzling cheeks and heard Irvine hiss, felt him twitch as he inspected his handiwork.

“Man…that’s gotta smart,” he muttered, impressed with himself in spite of it all.

“Damn right it does,” Irvine groaned, and Zell could’ve sworn he felt the marksman’s erection nudging his thigh.

Strangely Zell’s groin gave an answering twitch of arousal; he hadn’t expected that. He’d never really thought of such punishment as an erotic thing, but with this overtly sexual creature squirming in his lap, it was difficult not to.

Swallowing, he attempted to brush his more stirring thoughts aside.

Gotta stay professional about this, Dincht

It didn’t help the way Irvine twisted and writhed against him. A further fan of hair had spilled loose from his slack ponytail to drape over his flushed face.

“Whaddaya know,” Zell chuckled. “I made the heartbreaker blush. Didn’t think you were capable, Kinneas.”

Irvine couldn’t help but smile at Zell’s playful jab. The heat in his ass settled to a throb, and now that he was mercifully allowed to reflect, he felt almost grateful for the fighter’s, er, hands-on approach. More likely than not, Zell had spared him worse trouble, considering the probability that anyone other than Zell could have easily uncovered his crime. Had he been caught in the act, or his foolish answer key discovered by another instructor, well…things could have gone very badly, and he would’ve no doubt ended up in a much worse position than over his roommate’s knee.

Once more, Zell felt the throbbing heat of Irvine’s unmistakable erection, pressing into his leg.

“Er…we should probably…”

All at once Irvine smiled, catlike, and before Zell had time to think, he’d effortlessly kicked his boots aside and slithered out of his jeans. The marksman twisted his slim body until he sat straddled, long thighs spread astride Zell’s lap. Strong, slender fingers cupped the fighter’s chin, playful eyes meeting Zell’s with a dreamy, roguish gaze that could only spell trouble.

What is he up to, now?

“You know…” Irvine leaned in close, his voice low and seductive. “I didn’t tell you, but spanking makes me hotter’n hell.”

It was Zell’s turn to blush, even as he tried his damndest to maintain his composure. “You would get turned on from something that’s supposed to be punishment, Irvine Kinneas,” he scolded.

“Mmm…feels like I’m not the only one,” the cowboy drawled, shifting slyly in his lap. Zell made a sound—more like an embarrassing squeak—when long, talented fingers expertly found the humiliating bulge in his shorts and squeezed just right

“Irv…what’re you….ghh…!”

The marksman smiled again, wide and naughty, eyes gleaming with mischief. Zell gurgled when Irvine leaned in and nuzzled his neck. The softest brush of lips made a shiver rattle up his spine, and suddenly he knew how all those girls who swooned over Irvine Kinneas felt when they melted at his touch, or quivered at the sound of his voice, or went weak at the knees from but a single, smoldering glance.

But….guys, too? Somehow Zell found the wits to consider it, although it didn’t surprise him much. He’d always suspected—they’d all long suspected—that their hedonistic Galbadian friend swung both ways. But what a way to find out!

“Irv…guhh…” Zell gurgled as capable fingers traveled up and down his length, still imprisoned beneath his shorts. How the cowboy had turned this around on him he didn’t know, but then, Irvine was in his element, now. Sex was his element.

“Oh, you are baad,” the martial artist managed to breathe, his own hand unconsciously drifting upward to caress the long slender neck, now nuzzled at his throat.

What am I doing?

Shushing him with a finger to his lips, Irvine slithered down to kneel at his feet. Zell barely had time to register what he was up to before talented hands went back to his fly…

“What’re you…what’re you doin’? Ghh…!” In an instant his erection was free, and for a moment Zell could only stare, stunned.

Having liberated Zell’s arousal from constricting denim shorts, Irvine paused to admire its length, its thickness.

Mmm, nice an’ big. Prob’ly hurt a little, too. Nothin’ I can’t handle.

With a low, throaty moan, almost a growl, the sniper peeled Zell’s shorts down further, until they rested in a bunch at his knees.

“Where you been hidin’ this, Tiger?”

Zell’s jaw moved but accomplished no intelligible sound just before Irvine’s tongue snaked out and brushed his tip.

Zell shivered, and his hands shot to grip the bed at his sides.

Geez…Irvine…I...” The rest of his sentence, whatever the hell he’d planned on saying, dissolved into garbled nonsense as Irvine flattened his tongue and swallowed his cock with a naughty smirk and wag of his brow.

“Ghh!” In disbelief he watched, moaning as the sniper took his length inside his warm, wet mouth.

“Oh, nnuhh…this is wron—ooong!” Zell shot up with a reflexive thrust as a practiced tongue swirled around his head. This wasn’t exactly where he’d anticipated this scenario to go! Just as he was considering pulling the wicked Galbadian from his groin and reading him the Riot Act, Irvine’s clever tongue lapped at the sensitive flesh between his cock and balls, traveling up before those lips fully accepted him inside and began to suckle hard.

Zell jerked. “Aughhh! St—sto…!”

Letting Zell slip from his mouth, Irvine paused and glanced up.

“Really want me to stop, darlin’?” he purred, violet eyes smoldering.

Little bubbles rose and popped in Zell’s head, drowning out all rational thought. “Nuh…no….d-don’t stop….don’t you dare stop!”

Humming a smooth, knowing laugh, Irvine resumed his task, embracing Zell in the hot cavern of his mouth and throat.

Zell flailed, his hands returning to the safety of the bed beside him as Irvine settled on a rhythm, his head working back and forth. All at once, the sharpshooter’s warm throat fully encompassed him down to the root.

“Oh, Hyne…Irv…!” Zell gasped as Irvine’s eyes wickedly met his own. The cowboy’s throat opened to accommodate him deep, and he swore he could feel Irvine’s tonsils tickling him, his nose buried in the blonde nest of his pubic curls.

“Oh, man, y-you’re good at this,” Zell sighed, and one strong fighter’s fist ventured down to twine in messy auburn locks while the other curled firm fingers at the base of his neck. Irvine’s violet eyes burned with desire as he gazed up at him from where he knelt, his lips wickedly stretched around Zell’s throbbing arousal.

“Ohhh…damn, Irvine…I…I n-need…”

“Mmm-hmmm,” Irvine hummed around his cock, and Zell heard him chuckle. In seconds flat, the taller man had Zell’s shoes and shorts peeled off and tossed aside, revealing hard, unyielding muscles of the fighter’s torso and thighs. The marksman shrugged out of his own vest, already unbuttoned, and finally his hand slipped back to draw the tie from his ponytail, freeing long tresses from their binding.

Tossing the tie aside, he went back to servicing the muscled and well-hung fighter before him.

Zell’s hand returned to the base of his neck and twisted a fist in silken auburn tresses, clutching tight where the conjunction of hair to scalp was most sensitive. Tugging just enough to sting, Zell felt the man at his feet fully submit. Irvine relaxed, surrendering all control and allowing him to command the pace.

Zell sighed, his thoughts a disbelieving haze. He’d had some blowjobs from girls of course, but none as skilled as this! Somehow he had to know that Irvine would be good at such a thing, but never had he dreamed of experiencing it! The thought had never dared cross his mind, and yet now here he was, here they were, and it was so surreal he thought it surely must have been some wicked dream—if not for the talented lips, tongue and throat so skillfully attending his need.

Now Zell had begun to direct Irvine’s progress, his firm grip guiding the sharpshooter’s head in time with his mounting thrusts, and the moans and whimpers that Irvine spilled around his cock were like sweet notes that drove him faster, harder down his friend’s warm, yielding throat. Oh, yeah, Irvine had done this before. There was no way he hadn’t: he was just too good.

Sighing, Zell glanced up and realized with a dismayed thrill that they were conveniently positioned in front of his mirror.

Oh, sweet holy Hyne on a T-board….

Shivering, the fighter was presented with Irvine Kinneas’s slinky, naked and kneeling form, long locks splashed down his back, his head bobbing obediently in Zell’s lap, capable lips stretched around his hard cock—and a full view of his thoroughly reddened buttocks…

Hyne, but it was too much!

All at once Zell stopped him, all but ripping his head free by his hair.

Irvine made a disappointed sound before strong martial artist’s hands caught him under the arms and dragged him upwards.

“Get up here, you!”

Willingly Irvine crawled up and straddled Zell’s lap, knees resting at either side of his hips, buttocks spreading across his groin. Wordlessly the cowboy slid the tank top up and over his head, Zell’s arms flailing to assist. With an approving hum, he admired the taut, daunting muscles in all their glory, his hands exploring powerful abs and pectorals. Unable to resist, he bent down and teased a pink nipple with licks and light nibbles.

The contact sent flares of electricity to the fighter’s groin. Breathless, he peeled out of his gloves and reached back to grip both the marksman’s buttocks in his hands. They were hot to the touch, and at the contact he felt Irvine squirm, heard him whimper and moan.

“I….should spank you all over again,” Zell managed to rasp, his breathing husky.

“Mmmm…please?” The sniper answered with a stupid, dreamy smile.

Blue eyes hazy, Zell regarded the Galbadian with disbelief. “You…you are impossible!”

Winking, Irvine reached down and took Zell’s hand, bringing it to his mouth. Idly he thought of the lube he kept in his duster. But moving to retrieve it would spoil the moment, and he had no desire to break this contact long enough for proper preparation. It would be harder this way, more painful, but it was a sacrifice he was willing to make.

Lips parting, he slid one finger inside and sucked, slobbering and coating the digit with spit before drawing a second and then a third between his lips, repeating the process as Zell watched, dumbfounded.

“So naughty…so bad …ohh…” the fighter panted, watching him with rapidly glazing eyes and flipping pulse.

“So…” Irvine silkily hummed, letting the fingers slip free. “Teach me a lesson.”

“Don’t…uh…wanna hurt you…” Zell’s grasp on control was fast scattering.

“Why stop, now?” Irvine playfully purred, directing the saliva-soaked digits behind him.

Er, good point, Zell thought, dropping his spit-lubed fingers down between the sniper’s heated cheeks. He found the opening and gingerly tested, prodding, pulling an encouraging sound from Irvine, who shifted and lifted his hips, offering access. Oh, Hyne. Experimentally his digit nudged, poked, and Zell swallowed as one slicked finger wormed inside the marksman, past the tight drum of muscle. Irvine moaned in response, his hips rolling forward. The tight ring clutched at his fingers, and the shudder that rippled through the Galbadian’s willowy frame sent Zell into a panting delirium. His mind tumbling, Zell wriggled a second finger beside the first, spreading and stretching his friend’s innards. The cowboy responded with a groan, his hips again shifting to accommodate. Blood quickening, Zell brushed his lips against a delicate ear, his tongue lightly toying with the dangling hooped stud and making the sharpshooter purr.

By the time Zell added a third finger, Irvine was trembling and whimpering with shameless desire.

“C-c’mon, Zell,” he drawled, low and airy as the tight, warm velvet of his insides squeezed strong, invading fingers. “Don’t go gettin’ all shy on me, now.”

A flood of saliva pooled in the fighter’s mouth as he withdrew his digits from the sniper’s tight furnace.

God, Zell, what are you doing? Have you completely lost your fucking senses?

“Do it, Zell. Please…” Irvine leaned up enough to help Zell position the tip at his puckered opening and slowly lowered himself. Closing his eyes, he willed himself to relax, pushing out in anticipation of Zell’s imminent penetration.

“Gghh!” Zell felt his cock pierce the Galbadian’s back door until that snug ring of muscle just clasped his head. Irvine moaned and bit his lip, his eyes fluttering, long lashes fanning over his cheeks as he adjusted.

For an eternity it felt they remained, just like that—Zell partially buried in Irvine’s warmth, the sharpshooter moaning as he adapted to the invasion. He could feel the cowboy trembling, either from pain or lust for more. At last Irvine’s lidded violet gaze met his own and he supplied a breathy plea:

“C’mon, darlin’. Lemme feel you. Nice n’ deep.”

Zell’s breath hitched, and his hands went to the gunner’s slim hips. He paused, hesitant to hurt him. But, then, he had a feeling Irvine wanted it to hurt….

Strong hands gripped tight, and in one thrust he buried his length balls-deep in Irvine Kinneas’s heat.

Irvine tossed his auburn mane, his delicate features an enticing blend of pain and unabashed bliss as he sank down completely, taking him to the hilt.

So full…so hot…

The cowboy moaned, his fingers clutching deep into broad shoulders, and Zell could feel the heat from his warmed asscheeks as Irvine settled, fully seated on his cock. His head spun, dizzy at the tight warmth that now surrounded and caressed him.


Zell swallowed at the sensation of his roommate’s quivering inner walls massaging his dick, now buried deep within the other man.

Somehow Irvine remembered to breathe as his insides adjusted to Zell’s sudden, sharp penetration. It had been awhile since he’d felt a good, stiff cock up his ass, and the fighter’s size, so thick and hot, felt as though it were searing him open. His buttocks burned and tingled against Zell’s lap, the fire spreading from ass to his cock to his belly, up his spine and all the way to his fingertips and toes. Swallowing, he shifted astride Zell’s thighs and squirmed on his roommate’s groin.

Zell watched intently, absorbed in the sniper’s raptured expression as Irvine winced and writhed, all mewls and moans. His breath caught again on the lump in his throat, and his hips reflexively lurched up, delivering another sound lunge up his friend’s ass. For one foggy second he feared it was too much, too soon, feared it was too painful before Irvine’s wanton moan told him the marksman didn’t mind in the slightest.

A light sweat-sheen covered the cowboy’s chest, Irvine’s sultry features glowing with sexual desire as intense violet eyes met Zell’s and he uttered a panting command:

“Mmmm, c’mon. Take me, Zell…make me yours.”

Zell’s control fled, and he gripped those naughty hips and lifted, crushing the sniper back down. His arousal plunged back in to the hilt, Irvine’s ass bouncing and quivering against his lap. The moan he got in return encouraged him to repeat the action, harder, rougher. The sound that sprang from Irvine’s lips made his cock twitch inside the hot body astride him.

Holy shit, Irvine…

Zell leaned in to nibble at the sharpshooter’s neck. Moaning, Irvine tilted his head back, offering his throat in a tempting display of submission. Zell choked, his senses overwhelmed. Here was Irvine Kinneas sitting on his cock, his lean, willowy form writhing, his back arched, his neck stretched in surrender, his eyes lidded and lips parted, a light sweat glossing his smooth, toned chest...

Zell’s head spun. One moment he was scolding his naughty roommate, and now here he was, his dick buried deep up that same naughty roommate’s innards.

Irvine Kinneas, what have you done to me?

Delirious, Zell felt his breath quicken, more ragged as his hips involuntarily lunged upward to impale the sniper again and again, each thrust drawing a low, reciprocating moan from his lascivious partner. The Galbadian wound his arms around Zell’s neck, his own arousal, glistening precum, bobbing between their bellies, and Zell could feel Irvine’s thighs quivering as they worked to help lift and lower the sniper’s trim body. 

Irvine chuckled to himself, all at once feeling a little guilty for corrupting the poor, innocent fighter. Long, trigger-strong hands wandered down Zell’s back to trace powerful, compact muscles. Dizzy, he swiveled his hips and performed a steady grind that he knew would drive Zell mad, shuddering as that stiff shaft slid up his channel and probed at his innards. His thighs burned, his belly fluttering with each new penetration.

At that moment Zell grasped his hair and wheezed.

“I…oh, Irvine, I…”

“I know,” Irvine purred in his ear, making Zell shudder. “Not enough. Say, why not bend me over and screw the shit outta me?”

The words shot straight to Zell’s cock, which gave an answering leap in the marksman’s ass.

“Y-you sure?” he spluttered, feverish and knowing he couldn’t hold back if he followed his partner’s suggestion.

“Yeah…” Irvine panted and met his gaze through glazed, half-lidded eyes. “Give it to me good.”

You asked for it…

Irvine yelped in surprise when the fighter took full charge and withdrew, lifting him and flipping him over. Positioning the marksman so that he knelt at the bed’s edge on his hands and knees, Zell clutched his hips and buried his stiff shaft to the hilt in one good, rough thrust, so deep Irvine grunted with the force of it.


Oh, yeah. The licentious cowboy had felt that, all right.

Withdrawing an inch or two he thrust again, and the shameless moan it drew from Irvine’s throat was the sweetest sound Zell Dincht had ever heard. Irvine panted and shifted, easing his new lover’s access, and in earnest Zell established an intense rhythm, smoothly plunging in and out of Irvine’s slick, warm canal.

As Zell rocked him forward, Irvine rode the motion, content to feel his body propelled by the rhythmic warmth and roll of a hard, steady cock. But before long, greed took over, and he craved something worse, something less gentle. A good, rough fuck was what he needed, a pounding without mercy.

“Mmm, h-harder,” he shamelessly pleaded. “Harder, Zell! L-lemme have it!”

One hand grasping his hip, Zell pressed between Irvine’s shoulders, pushing him down and pinning his upper half to the mattress, forcing his back to bow and his ass higher. Both hands returned to Irvine’s hips and gripped tight, holding the wicked sharpshooter still for his increasingly vigorous thrusts.

The Galbadian’s whimpers and moans rose to an obscene pitch, and he shuddered each time Zell’s cock struck that tender spot inside him that reduced him to jelly.

“Ooohh-oh! Right there, Zell…”

Panting, Irvine clutched at the covers beneath him and braced himself, the brunt of Zell’s pounding meeting him full-force, the fighter’s hips smacking tender cheeks of his sore ass with each jarring stroke.

“Th-that’s it. Harder. Ohhh, give it to me, c’mon!”

“So naughty…” Zell murmured, hoarse.

Without warning the fighter’s palm connected sharply with his raw behind, making him yelp, his asshole squeezing Zell’s pistoning cock even tighter in response. Giddy, Irvine let go of what limited inhibitions he possessed and moaned with abandon. Each thrust surprised him, sent a shudder of pain and lust through him until he was almost sorry for baiting the fighter, and vaguely wondered how he’d found himself on his hands and knees with poor, innocent Zell giving him the pounding of his life.

Zell’s ability to rationalize anything had long since fled, and he threw his all into the single-minded pursuit of gratification. It was as if he were possessed by something, and he could only blame the cowboy beneath him, so delicious, so made of sin.

Violent strokes knocked Irvine’s breath from him in short gasps, and the fire between them drove them deeper into a libidinous oblivion, neither caring about the racket they were making, and that no doubt all of Balamb Garden must have now known what was going on in Zell’s dorm.

The fighter’s blood boiled in his veins, and his hand came down again, spanking the marksman sharply. Irvine rewarded him with a choked cry and more filthy encouragement.

Yeeahhh! There you go, Zell. Muh-make me…feel it. Fuuck, ooohh shiit!”

His thighs spread wide, that strong, slender back arching deeper as his body trembled, helpless beneath punishing thrusts.

Mesmerized, Zell skimmed his hands across the reddened globes of Irvine’s ass, the skin hot and trembling beneath his touch, and separated them with his thumbs, offering him a full view of his engorged member, obscenely splitting them apart.

“G-ghh…so hot…”

The sharpshooter moaned, dizzy with the sensation of his asshole excruciatingly stretched around the searing shaft so mercilessly pounding his innards. Through the fog of his lust, Irvine’s fist wandered towards his own bobbing arousal.

“Yeah,” Zell gruffly panted encouragement, words he couldn’t believe were from his own lips reaching his ears in a muffled stupor. “Touch yourself. Bring yourself off, you slut.”

Zell’s undignified command, so removed from the fighter’s typical innocence, sent a hot, shivering thrill through Irvine’s veins, and he obeyed—hell, he couldn’t have denied it had he wished it. His world slipped away, and he surrendered fully to the abandon of feeling so thoroughly under another, stronger man’s power. Long fingers curled around his own neglected length and caressed in synch with Zell’s battering strokes.

Sweating and heaving, both became entangled in a blind, hazy desire that melted away everything they knew. Past, present and future slipped from their thoughts until nothing existed but their bodies, their lust.

Seizing a fistful of auburn hair, Zell pulled tight, making the slinky form beneath him arch further and forcing more of those delectable sounds from his friend’s lips.

“Yeah, that’s it,” Irvine panted. “Pound my ass. Pound me good. M-make me…feel it…into next week.”

Fuuck!” Zell, dripping sweat, answered with a husky moan. “You keep talking like that and I’m gonna …”

“Gimme your load, Zell.” Irvine read his mind, twisting his neck to look back at the fighter with dreamy, hooded eyes. “Fill me up. Fire it deep and fill my belly, babe.”

Irvine’s naughty words spun streaks of raw, carnal, animal-like need through Zell’s loins, and he responded in kind.

“Hyne…god-damn. Ohhh, take it, you whore!” Blood pulsing hot, Zell abandoned everything he knew and pounded the cowboy fast and hard.

Irvine’s senses sparked, his body pliant and trembling beneath the martial artist’s deep, pummeling strokes. His moans melted into low, senseless cries, his fingers stroking his cock in time with Zell’s unrestrained thrusts. A few frantic jerks of his wrist were all it took before his climax crashed through him. He came with a crippling shudder, his body jolting and his voice crying Zell’s name with his release, his own spunk spilling over his pumping fist.

Zell felt Irvine quiver, felt the spasms of the sniper’s peak ripple along his driving cock. His balls drew tight, his muscles constricted.

“Ohhh shiiit!” Gripping Irvine’s hips, he crushed them to him and cried out, thrusting with abandon as he emptied his seed deep inside the marksman’s guts.

Both men fell against the mattress. Zell collapsed on Irvine’s back, still firmly planted in his roommate’s twitching channel.

Thus they remained for several minutes, heaving and basking in the afterglow of the most incredible sex either had experienced. Gradually they came to their senses, what had happened fully settling over them.

A breathless Zell was the first to speak.

“You’re hotter than hell, Kinneas.”

“I know.” Irvine replied with a smooth laugh.

At length Zell withdrew, pulling Irvine after him to lie back on the bed. The contented marksman settled next to him, lewdly licking a stream of his own cum from his fingers. Zell’s cock twitched again as he suddenly wondered what that tasted like, and realized the rest of Irvine's release had spilled onto the bed.

No matter. He’d change the sheets later.

For a long time they lay, catching their breath.

“I…I can’t believe we just…I can’t believe I…” Zell panted, his blue eyes wide and fixed on the ceiling.

“Nothin’ to be ashamed of,” Irvine shifted and chuckled, flashing him a dreamy, stupid smile that was so charming Zell literally melted beneath it. “So…” Turning up on an elbow, the sharpshooter faced him and fixed the fighter with a seductive look, lifting a finger to idly trace the muscles of Zell’s chest. “Ever taken anyone in the ass before?”

Zell blushed. “No.”

“Not even a girl?” Irvine purred, flirty as his finger flicked at a lone nipple.

“No,” Zell confessed, flushing again. “You’re my first---that way.”

Irvine smiled. Zell’s innocence was so charming, so cute. “Well, you was good.”


Real good,” the sniper purred. “Made me holler, anyway.”

“I was afraid I took it too rough,” the shorter man admitted, with a little regret. “I didn’t want to…I was afraid I’d hurt you.”

“Hardly. Well…might’a been a little much for a lady on her first time. But this cowboy likes a rough ride.” He chuckled deep. “Especially after you wore my ass out like that.” He sniggered again, his shoulders quivering with satisfied laughter. “You enjoy it?”

“Yeah,” Zell breathed. “Hell yeah!”

Irvine smiled at his enthusiasm. “Ever wanna do it again?”

“Sure!” Zell answered quickly and then paused, licking his lips. “Sure, only…I’m not…I’m just not….am I? I still like girls…I mean….”

“And that’s fine,” Irvine reassured. “So do I. You don’t have to be anything you ain’t comfy with, Zell. Just do what feels nice n’ right for you. It ain’t so simple as likin’ guys or likin’ girls or somewhere in the middle. It’s more complicated than all that. Hell, people are more complicated than that. Sex is more complicated than all that. There’s a whole spectrum of possibilities out there. You just gotta find your niche.”

“And what’s your niche?” Zell shifted against the marksman.

“Mine? Er, I’m not even sure, really.” To be honest, Irvine was hesitant to define himself when it came to sex. He liked everything, and that in itself was difficult to define, let alone explain. “‘S’not easy to put in plain words…”

“What, that you’re a depraved louse?” Zell playfully whapped his shoulder.

“Hey, now!” Irvine chuckled back, wrapping willowy arms protectively around the fighter’s muscled shoulders and settling against the pillows.

“I called you some—not-so-nice names,” Zell confessed, suddenly feeling awkward and guilty from being so swept up in the moment. “Sorry.”

Irvine only hugged him tight. “No apology needed. That’s sex for ya. And there wasn’t nothin’ you said what wasn’t true, really. I s’pose I do have a…bit of a reputation…”

“And does that not bother you?” Zell reached up and smoothed a stray auburn lock from the assassin’s forehead.

Irvine thought, shrugged. “Not anymore, so much. You get used to it, after all. It’s part o’ me, who I am, I guess.” Trailing, he lapsed into silent introspection. It wasn’t the most honest answer. Truthfully, it used to bother him. Still did, honestly. Absently his mind wandered through the countless lovers he’d taken--always sex, never commitment. It was just the way he’d always dealt with pain, burying his sorrows and loneliness beneath a sweltering haze of fleeting carnal romps. Even with Selphie, it had never been serious, more awkward than anything. More often than not, even among friends he’d known forever, he still felt alone…

Sighing, he kept his gloomier thoughts to himself. No sense in complicating things, after all. Why spoil it? Better to bask in the moment and cherish the intimacy he craved while he could.

For a few minutes they nuzzled, the strangeness of the situation no longer occurring to either of them and simply enjoyed the physical contact and the comfort of one another’s company.

At length Zell stirred and nodded to the floor.

“So, what are we gonna do about that?” he asked, his eyes on the answer key, which had fallen to rest near the bed.

Looking down, Irvine seemed to entertain several thoughts before peeling himself from Zell’s embrace. On wobbly legs he stood and bent down, snapping up the offending slip of paper in one hand. Zell watched, curious and disappointed at the loss of his friend’s warmth, as Irvine marched with casual, dedicated purpose to grab his duster, deposited on his floor pallet, and plucked a cigarette lighter from one of the coat’s many deep pockets. Dangling the cheat sheet in full view, the marksman flicked the lighter and held the flame to the paper’s edge.

Zell balked and sat up.

“Yoouu--what’re you doin’!?”

The fire licked up the paper and grew, until the tongues of flame fully engulfed the length of the answer key. Striding confidently to the wastebasket beside Zell’s desk, Irvine dropped the flaming paper inside. The fire spluttered a moment and spread, igniting wads of tissue and discarded, balled paper in its wake, until a small bonfire flickered from the lip of the metal trashcan.

“Y-you…you set my wastebasket on fire!” a wide-eyed Zell exclaimed as he hung over the side of his bed, his mouth open in disbelief.

Irvine turned and shot him a clueless blink and a shrug.

“It’s destroyed, ain’t it?”

Zell only glared at him for a moment before he laughed, shaking his head.

“What am I gonna do with you, Kinneas?”

“Tell me how I’m gonna pass this thing,” Irvine miserably sighed and sat on the bed’s edge with a visible wince. “I—I know I did a damn fool thing. I shouldn’ta done it,” he confessed, head bowing as he rested his elbows on his knees. “I know it was wrong, and I’m sorry, I really am. But D’s aren’t gonna cut it anymore.” His voice then faded to a low, sad confession, his eyes distant and thoughtful. “I just don’t…take tests well.”

Zell nodded in sympathy. Of course. His friend had never handled pressure well.

“I’m just tired of failing. Disappointing everyone. Disappointing myself.” Another hopeless sigh heaved the sniper’s willowy shoulders, auburn silk curtaining his shamefaced and sorrowful frown. “I’m sorry I’m such a pain in the ass, Zell.”

“Whaddaya mean?” Zell crawled over near him.

“I know you don’t like this. You’re a SeeD. You should have your privacy. You shouldn’t have to shack up with a scrub like me. I got no right to be here.”

“Hey, it’s okay, buddy,” Zell lightly rubbed at his roommate’s shoulders, surprised at how tense they felt. “Don’t be so down on yourself, man. You can do it. You just gotta apply yourself. All it takes is a little discipline.”

“That’s, like, not exactly my strong department,” Irvine admitted with a sigh. Zell nodded, one strong hand massaging the marksman’s shoulder as he watched Irvine, lost in thought, gaze wistfully into blank space. Both were silent as the fire in the wastebasket gradually played itself out.

All at once Zell stood, snapping a finger as a thought came to him.

“I know!” Irvine looked up with a little dread. “How ‘bout I help you!”

“What, you gonna spank me into shape?” the gunslinger snorted. “With that kind o’ distraction I’d never get anything done.”

“No, stupid!” Zell tilted his head in exasperation. “I mean I’ll help you study! We can work together. I’ll help you through!”

Irvine blinked, surprised. “You’d do that?”

“Well, sure! Why not?” Zell sat next to him. “We’ll get you up to snuff in no time. Before you know it, you’ll be a SeeD, like the rest of us. I’ll make sure of it! Anyway, someone’s gotta keep you in line, cowboy.”

 “I think I can handle that,” Irvine brightened and chuckled, ruffling a hand through Zell’s mussed, gel-caked chocobo-like hair. “As long as we can, like…do this…more often…” he whispered seductively, nuzzling the fighter’s ear.

Zell shivered. “Naughty. Don’t make me blister your buns again. But then, you’d like that, wouldn’t’cha?”

“Not yet!” Irvine laughed, throwing his arms up in surrender. “Give my hide a little time to recover, eh?” Or maybe a cure spell. Ha. For a moment he had to wonder what their Commander would think, if he knew what his subordinates were up to.

“So it’s settled, then?” Zell prompted. “We do this together?”

“I reckon I can handle that. Only on one condition.”

“C-condition?” Zell shivered as the sniper fixed him with a roguish smile before leaning in to purr in his ear.

“I catch you misbehavin’…I get to spank you.”

“Er…” Zell swallowed, his belly tingling. “Wha--? I, I dunno…”

“C’mon, now.” Irvine traced a finger from Zell’s abs to his naval. “Turnabout’s fair play, y’know.”

Shuddering, Zell salvaged his senses and firmly moved the marksman’s hands away. “I—I guess you’re right. Okay, fine!” He said at last, with a haughty smile. “But you won’t find me breakin’ the rules, Kinneas. I am a pillar of respectability!”

Irvine laughed. “Fair enough. We’ll see about that.”

Giggling like schoolboys, they collapsed back on Zell’s bed for a well-needed rest, each with the unspoken agreement that, whatever the coming days held for them, things would be much different between the two of them moving forward.

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