Convergence [1]: Broken

BY : currie
Category: Final Fantasy VIII > Yaoi - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 744
Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy VIII, nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

~ 10. State of Emergency ~

All these accidents
That happen,
Follow the dots.
Makes sense
Only with you.
You don't have to speak,
I feel.

-- Bjork (Joga)


Squall restlessly wiped sweat from his brow, squinting forward into the bright sunlight that his eyes still hadn't gotten completely accustomed to. He could only see the dark brushstroke of blue that was Zell, walking quite a distance ahead of him-- that was his focus, as he was unable to see anything else through the slits of his eyes. He hadn't approached the sulking blond all morning, and Seifer hadn't spoken to either of them.

He had to catch up to Zell now, however. His mouth felt full of sand, and he was already exhausted. He had planned to go without drinking all afternoon, to avoid having to say a word to Zell and get the canteen from their pack himself when they stopped to camp that evening. Now, with the sun having passed its halfway mark in the sky and replaced the water in his hair with sweat long ago, he knew he would likely pass out first.

Squall kept his steps quiet, halfaid aid Zell would run if he heard him coming. He didn't-- didn't even recognize that Squall was there when he finally came up beside him. Squall swallowed around the sandpaper that was his throat and explained hoarsely, "I need to drink."

Zell thrust out the canteen, which he was already carrying in his hand, without shifting his eyes from where the sky met the mirage-puddled ground. Squall drained it quickly, and re-cast a Water spell of his own on it before draining that too and casting another.

"You'll make yourself sick." At the sound of Seifer's nearing voice Squall would have squinted with frustration had his eyes not been already so nearly closed. He handed back the canteen and stopped walking to let Zell redraw their distance, and as he had hoped, Seifer stopped with him.

"I'm fine. What about you?" Squall asked the question more out of curiosity than caring for Seifer's likely dehydration. They started walking again.

"I've got my own." From a large pocket in the trenchcoat thrown over his shoulder, Seifer drew out a canteen bigger than Zell's. "You could have asked me."

Hours passed. The sun set. And still, as the last remnants of daylight drained from the sky, Zell didn't stop walking. Squall spent a lot of time deliberating over whether he should call out to him, and regretted his procrastination as Seifer took the task unto himself. "Hey, chickie, time to set up camp," he called, more loudly than Squall felt was necessary. Immediately Zell dumped the pack into a short skid in the sand and began rifling through it.

Zell dug for the bottom of the bag, past the bundle of the tent, to get the sleeping bag that was his, the red one-- the one that had covered them last night. Just as he thought he had it, he felt cool metal brush the back of his hand. He grasped it with curious fingers, lifted it to find with a jolt of miserable excitement that it was Seifer's flask. By the feel of it, it was still only half empty. Glancing up to find the others still barely visible in the dark, he stuffed it into the pocket of his jeans, and continued drawing out what he would need-- his bed and one packet of food. He wasn't the slightest bit hungry, but he wouldn't let Squall or Seifer know it. He left the pack and unrolled his sleeping bag a good distance away, then flopped down on it with his back to his companions just as they arrived.

"When are you going to explain things to him?" Seifer whispered as they drew out the tent, "Chickie's no fun when he's all pissy like this."

"As soon as I figure it out myself," Squall replied dryly. He was getting a headache. It seemed the effects of the Pain spell still hadn't completely worn off. *Damn it.* An aftershock was the last thing he was preparo deo deal with right now.

"What the hell do you mean? Just tell him what a good fuck I am. You don't want anything else. He's had my cock in him too, so he'll understand-- actually, I think it'll tie things up nicely."

Squall tore the tent bundle from Seifer's grip, resisting the urge to hit him.ou'ou're the *only* person that's ever..." he trailed off, shaking his head, "Just... get the hell over yourself."

"I find that pretty difficult to do when just this morning I was--"

"It's not about *you,*" Squall hissed, scowling dangerously. "Things don't always have to be about *you.*"

The taller blond took back the tent, the motion leaving Squall unfazed despite being more violent than Zell's earlier. "I'll do it myself. You'll slow me down."

"Go ahead." Squall turned away with a dismissing half-wave. It seemed he had managed to strike some sort of nerve. If he had, he didn't care how, as long as it shut Seifer up.

His eyes fell on Zell's barely visible outline. He lay on his side, his torso a dead lump of black, his head out of view. Squall sighed and sat down as his stomach slowly turned-- probably a combination of overexertion and dehydration on top of the magic that lingered in him. And guilt.

Seifer pissed him off. Constantly. Zell had been the one to really take care of him, and never once had he complained-- he even did it eagerly. Somehow, from those facts, Squall would have to draw an explanation for actions that, under logic's rule, completely contradicted them. The task would bke tke taking gil from thin air, but he mulled over the events of the last twenty-four hours anyway. Maybe he would be able to pick up something he'd missed.

His thoughts were interrupted as that ant ant form shifted. Zell was staring at him. He wanted to duck away, but instead stared right back. The tension was broken as Seifer called in a sickeningly fake-sweet tone from behind him, "Tent's set. Anyone coming?" Squall stood, positive that Zell would want to be alone-- he prly wly wouldn't be able to sleep while being watched, and sleep was what they all needed most.

Inside, Squall found that Seifer had only spread out one sleeping bag from the pack that now sat beside him. He was about to reach for the last one when some of his frustration fell from his face. The other was... messy, and he had no one to specifically curse thatthat fact. He already felt like he had never taken that morning's shower with all the sweat and filth that clung beneath his clothes, so he wasn't about to add to it by bunking down in day-old ejaculate.

Seifer patted the fabric beside him, and Squall felt his stomach churn again at the invitation. He turned away and lay himself down on his side by the opposide edge. The floor was lumpy and scratchy, but right now it was better than any other option presented to him. He untied the sleeves of his jacket from where they twined around his waist and folded it for use as a pillow.

"Aw, come on, don't be like that," Seifer whined quietly. Squall could hear the smirk in his voice. He didn't respond.

For a while, it looked like Seifer would leave him alone. He had almost made his way into a sleepy daze when he had to bat away a hand that fell upon his bottom to tug teasingly at one of his belts. He felt stupid for thinking that ignorSeifSeifer would make him give up. His silence always egged the blond on. "I won't hesitate to relieve you of your larynx if you try to touch me again," he threatened tonelessly. Frustration shut his eyes as he felt Seifer's breath in his ear.

"Ooo, dirty talk. I like that."

Hoping he wouldn't be killed for what he was about to do, and finding his reason in the pure desperation that came from his lack of options, he swung his arm up and clocked Seifer square in the chin. Seifer fell back with a choked groan and a heavy thump. Only when certain that his rival wouldn't advance on him again did Squall roll over to look at him.

A drop of blood was making its way from beneath the fingers that covered Seifer's mouth aslay lay propped on an elbow, eyelids crunched closed beneath stressed brows that nearly touched each other. Squall kept his gaze darkly smug as he noticed that Seifer was trying to cast a Cure on himself. His attempts came out in muffled sounds, mispronounced by what was likely a bitten tongue and thus innefectual. He was probably in a lot of pain. This was good.

Then he noticed the pleading in Seifer's eyes as that drop fell to the fabric below and another swelled in preparation to follow it. "You want me to Cure you," he observed, his voice much lower than Seifer's pleading grunts. Seifer nodded at him. "Promise to leave me alone tonight." As soon as he made the command, he wished he had waited longer to let Seifer really feel the consequences of his advances. Seifer nodded again, a bit more anxiously. "And tomorrow, be civil to Zell. He can't deal with you right now." Nodnodnod. "Fine." Squall leaned forward and covered Seifer's red-spotted hand with his own. "Cura."

The slash across Seifer's cheek melted away as well as he fell onto his back in blissful relief. "I think you loosened a tooth, you fuck."

Squall just rolled back over silently, prepared to get as good a night's sleep as he could after the hour or so he would allow himself to think.


Zell scoffed as he watched Squall disappear into the tent and likely into Seifer's awaiting embrace. "Figures," he grumbled as he drew the flask from his pocket, relieved to feel the tin against his fingers instead of where it had been teasing his thigh. Did he feel guilty for taking Seifer's liquor? "No fucking chance," he replied to his thoughts beneath his breath. If any time was a good one to drink, this was it. Taking his relief from a flask that belonged to Seifer only sweetened his misery with revenge. With a twist of the cap he was engulfed in a smell reminiscent of Sylkis, but stronger. Taking a more exploratory whiff, he found it to likely be moonshine. Shit, no wonder Seifer had gotten smashed on less than half of it. His revealing 'toast to the moon' comment now made too much sense.

He took a large gulp before he could change his mind, and nearly regretted it as his eyes started burning with tears. He shook his head hard and coughed a few times around the fire in his throat, blinking furoiusly. Ohyes, this would do the job in no time. He kept his mind clear of thought until a light slap to his cheek told him his face was already getting numb. The next two swallows went down easier, despite the lurching protest his belly made.

"Mmmkay, that's enough for now," Zell advised into the night, and found himself overtaken with giggles at how slurred his words already sounded. The hint of a cloud-covered moon overhead was spreading in two. He smiled again, thoroughly glad he had decided to do this. A sudden urge to move around had him on his feet before he even finished the thought, and that same move threw him right back down onto his ass within a second. Liquid spilled onto his chest. With a quiet curse he opted to finish what drink was left before he managed to spill the rest. This time, he barely tasted it, barely noticed his body's reaction as embers raged and died within him.

He tossed the flask down onto his blankets and stood more carefully, easing onto his hands and knees before making the final cautious stretch to stand. A cool breeze tugged at his bangs and soothed his face. Soon he found himself lazily hopping about, shadowboxing. Watching the habitual thrusts and waves of his own numb fists made him dizzy, so he closed his eyes and just felt the sand slide under the soft thuds of his shoes, felt the air dancing right along with him. He hadn't felt so relaxed in days. No, wait, it had only been one day. He hadn't felt so relaxed since Squall held him, since before Seifer had taken it upon himself to wake him up.

A loud groan met his ears. He spun around to face the sound (almost falling over in the process), eyes flashing open to regard the shadows of two blurred tents. Fuck, that was Seifer's voice. They were in there together, with one sleeping bag to share... A wave of grief knocked him back down to sit, shaking, on the ground. He couldn't shift his eyes from the canvas structure as he swore it was moving. How could he have forgotten? He wanted to hit something-- a wall, a door, a tree, anything. All he had was the ground, and suddenly he was leaning forward on his knees, muted thumps placing craters beneath his fists. Sand was too soft. He didn't want that, he wanted damage, pain, and if that meant it had to be inflicted upon himself, fine. His next hit fell harder, and it wasn't enough.

Another series of quieter muffled sounds reached him, making his imagination sharpen ironically in its drunken state: Sq, wi, wilfully riding Seifer's hips, his expression etched with an ecstacy Zell knew he could never give him himself.

That was it, he had to get out of there. He couldn't take this shit. He was running, stumbling, running and tripping again before his steps found rhythm. He couldn't really see, but it didn't matter. The desert was a big flat thing anyway. Nothing to run into.

His breaths began to puff harshly as he ran, his muscles aching. He hadn't eaten before walking all day-- his body wouldn't be able to handle supporting such a mad dash. He pushed on through the discomfort, letting the cramp in his side frustrate him until he plastered the emotion back onto Squall-- betrayal had him imagining Squall's face beneath his blows for the first time in his life. He felt the crack of Squall's jaw beneath his fist, a twisted half-flashback to so many Galbadian soldiers he had leveled with the same shot; saw the light spray of blood and cried out with conflicting guilt. A final stumble planted his face in the sand.

He didn't get up, just pillowed his face in his arms as he realized why it had been so hard for him to see. Hell, he was lost now. No one would see him cry. He let himself shake with sobs, knowing once they started he wouldn't be able to make them stop. He roughly wiped away the sand that stuck to his cheeks, and hoped darkly that an abyss worm would come up and swallow him.


Squall groaned and winced-- his stomach was doing flip-flops strong enough to wake him up. He opened his eyes to find canvas just an inch away and became very aware of the way it reflected his breaths back onto his face. Struck with sudden claustrophobia, he rolled on his back. Cold sweat dripped from his temples, and his heart throbbed as if he'd just had a nightmare. The tent's low ceiling was *too* low right now. Seifer's heavy breaths were too loud, too close. He had to get out.

When he stepped into the night air and took in a deep breath, its mind-clearing effects had him kicking himself. He overexerted himself during the day and then didn't eat when they got back. Going more than twenty-four hours without food had a habit of making him queasy. He kicked himself again, shivered, then looked up to check on Zell and was comforted by the lump he saw in his bed. He grabbed the pack quickly from in the tent and tossed it into the sand; snatched up a package of hotdogs and tore it open. He wasn't hungry at all-- his stomach felt ready to refuse food outright. He wanted to just go back to bed and wait for the feeling to go away, but he knew from experience that it wouldn't.

He ate the first two wrinkly things quickly, as they tasted terrible when cold, and stared down at the third just as the moon reappeared from behind a cloud. Zell had given him his last one the night before. Maybe... a peace offering? It might work. He swallowed hard and approached the sleeping form. He would just wake him, hand the thing to him, and go. Squall wouldn't push too hard with conversation, as he sure did hate it when others did that to him.

But... something wasn't right. The lump was too small. He walked faster, then froze. There was no lump in Zell's bed-- the lump *was* the bed. It was scrunched in a mess, with something glinting on top. He lunged to pick it up, and that last hotdog fell into the sand as he stared at the flask in his hand. The smell of very harsh Sylkis slammed into his nostrils in an instant, its strength nearly knocking him over, and he dropped the tin too.

"Zell?" he called out, fighting for volume around the bowling ball that had grown in his throat. "Oh fuck... No, no..." He jumped back and turned in a choppy circle, frantic for evidence. A group of footprints were bunched a few feet from the tent-- no, those were his and Seifer's. "Where are you?" A line of them made its way, parallel to the ones he had just made himself, over to Zell's sleeping bag. Another bunch of them were grouped a couple feet to the left. Running-shoe prints, swirly and wide, unlike the thin zigzags of the bottoms of his and Seifer's boots. As soon as he found the ones that disappeared further left, he sprinted. "Zell!"

Squall followed the prints carefully, dread only building as he watched them skip erratically and waver from side to side beneath his own strides. "Zell!" The moon disappeared behind another cloud only a handful of seconds later, and they disappeared with it. He found himself begging out loud as he slowed, eyes still darting frantically, "No no, don't... fucking don't!" but they were gone, leaving himsingsing his terrible night vision. He fell to his knees and tore off his gloves, throwing them carelessly to the side-- he would *feel* his way to Zell's location if he had to. It didn't matter if it took all night.

A hiccough. To the right. Squall's head shot up as he tried to force his eyes to accomplish what they couldn't. "Zell?"

"I tried t'ate him, but I can't, not for this."

Oh, thank Hyne. Zell was slurring, but he was alive. Squall let himself relax a little as he remained still. "Are you hurt?"

A scoff, sarcastic and stained with tears. "You c'say that."

Squall felt his chest tighten with instant regret for the double edge of his words. "I mean injured," he forced out. He had to make sure. Zell didn't answer, but it didn't matter-- their light source poked its way through a hole in the clouds. Zell was sitting not ten feet away with his knees pulled up to his chest, his arms wrapped around his shins. He ducked his head low, preventing Squall from seeing his face. He looked unharmed aside from a few minor scratches.

"I mean," Zell continued, "I *should* hate 'im right now..."


"Him. Seifer. He shoulda never got in the way, and he did anyway like it was to *me* on purpose."

Squall shook his head as he tried to understand. "You... you think he got involved with us to hurt you?"

"Well 'e wants you too, 'course. Who wouldn't? Fssh!" Zell threw out one of his hands in a slicing sort of motion, making Squall jump, and raised his voice. "Like that. Two birds witthun stone."

Startled, Squall reached a hand out in his direction. "Zell--"

"Buh no. No, cuz I know one thing about 'im. It's whoie is. He always wanned to hurt me. 'S what he does."

"Zell... just... just listen to me--"

"But you!" Zell's head jerked up, and Squall found him staring right at him with pale blue daggers. His voice turned to a growl, his eyes, though reddened, looking suddenly lucid. "You never did! You 'trayed me, he didn't, I shoulda 'spected it from *him.*" He fell back down to rest his forehead on one knee, deflated. "I hafta hate *you.*" His shoulders started to quiver. Within a few seconds they were jostling, silently, up and down. Then he disappeared behind a cloud.

The return of blackness leant Squall new energy. He shuffled over to where he remembered Zell was, reached out until he touched his leg. He trailed down until his hand met Zell's glove, covered it with his palm without trying to grasp it. He cringed as even harsher trembles flowed across to him and almost jerked back. He wasn't worthy of touching him, not after this. He hadn't realized the magnitude of what he had done. It was his fault that Zell was drunk, his fault he had almost been lost, maybe killed, out there, "My fault--"

"" Zell coldly shook off the touch, and Squall didn't lift his hand from where it fell in the sand. "'Sokay, you don't hafta try n'explain."

"I should. I owe you that, at least, if you won't take anything else." Squall could feel himself shaking now. Explanation? He hadn't managed to come up with one of those yet. His midnight snack gathered into a heavy lump of dread-- he could feel their friendship ending because of his own clueless dead end, could hear it crashing down around his head. Reality was smacking him, hard and repeatedly.

"You chose him. Makes sense, anyway. You got everythin' in common an' all. I'll just hafta--" Zell paused to take in a shuddery breath, "--I'll just hafta get over it." He had tried to sound flippant, but his voice cracked.

Light returned again. Squall tilted his head in an attempt to search Zell's hidden face, confused. "I didn't *choose* anyone, Zell. I was... wasn't thinking. I don't have an excuse to give you for that, but if I'd taken the time to consider choosing, it wouldn't have happened."

"An' tonight? Whaddabout that?"


"I heard you, st-stupid. You think *I'm* stupid. No. I'm not."

Oh, no. Zell didn't even call him bad names in jest, and now he was doing it seriously. Squall reminded himself that he was drunk, but that didn't allow him to dismiss it. He had seen Zell drunk before-- usually, the drink made him happy. Sappy, but happy. "I punched him tonight. That's what happened."

Zell jumped to his feet, the explosion managing to knock Squall onto his back without physically touching him. "You fuckin' liar! Lemme guess, it was cuz he tore your ass bein' too rough. Whazzat it?" The now-furious blond wavered while he loomed, but remained incredibly threatening. Squall glanced at Zell's hands and found them still gloved, bunched into tight fists. Zell could kill him right now if he wanted to.

"I'm not lying to you," he assured quietly, feeling his own voice crack this time, "but... if you want to hit me..." He let his hands fall back to rest beside his head and closed his eyes to emphasize his submission. "I won't stop you." Zell's shadow fell between himself and the moon, and he braced for the martial artist's worst. A heavy thud sent a jolt through his body. It took him a whole second to realize he wasn't in pain. He turned his head to find Zell on his stomach beside him, his elbows and fingers digging deep in the sand.

"I... almost... did it," Zell whispered after a very long minute, quietly enough to be talking to himself. He tore off his gloves in a sudden rush of anger and dropped them. "I can't believe I almost..." The words trailed off into a swallow as he took handfuls of sand and let the grains fall from between his fingers, watching like it was the most horrific display he had ever seen. "... I'm sorry."

Squall clenched his eyes shut for a second around the burning sensation Zell's words gave them, then rolled onto his side, pillowing his head on his arm as he stretched it upwards. "You know you shouldn't be."

"I know you diddin' lie. You don't... lie to me." Zell sniffed as his eyes shone with new tears. These ones fell silently to plunk in the sand. "That means you didn't... do anythin' with 'im tonight?"

"It means I split his tongue in half for trying to touch me. Then I made him promise not to bother either of us for the rest of the night-- and you tomorrow-- before I cast a Cura on him."

Zell smiled, or at least made his best attempt. "B'then like... like what's going on?" His finger trailed lazy circles in the sand he had displaced as he waited for an answer. "You're mad at him?"

Squall cleared his throat. Yes, he sure was, especially now. "We both made you feel like this... and he thinks it's funny."


"... but I don't."

Zell sniffed again. "I know." A blank stare crossed his face for a long while before he turned his head to meet Squall's eyes. Squall almost turned away beneath the weight of innocence in them. He looked like a kid. "Why'd you turn me down, though?"

Shit, now he had to look somewhere else. He followed Zell's loopy drawn trail with his own hand, sparks of panic making it impossible to think when that was what he needed to do most.

"Tell me why. Look at me n'tell me. C'mon." Zell's hand met his chin, tilting his gaze, too similar to what Seifer had done before but still Zell, still gentle. Something in Squall's brain snapped beneath that crystalline stare, and since he had never questioned whether he would say the words once he knew them, they spilled from his mouth right away.

"You'd be good to me." He slammed his eyelids shut, but it didn't matter. The pair found themselves sheathed in blackness again. "With him it's just fucking, it really is. Mostly. With you, in control, it wouldn't be. It would be anything but that."

The pads of Zell's fingertips released his chin to brush over his bottom lip and rest holding his cheek. "That's why you were s'posed to say 'yes.'"

Squall shuddered and bit down on that lip, trying to urge away the tingle left in Zell's wake. The caress felt too right to accept from someone he had hurt so much. "It's not... it's not something I want. I'm sorry. For all of it, I'm sorry."

"Why don' you want me to make you feel good?"

"I don't know." Stress had long ago turned Squall's heartbeat to thunder, and now it rumbled in his ears. That wasn't a good answer. It was true, sure, but it was a terrible one. Mixed flattery and self-loathing had him flushing. Zellted ted to give him everything-- he could feel it in the light stroking against his cheek, and it was terrifying.

Yet, his answer seemed good enough for Zell. His lips pressed lightly to Squall's for only a second, leaving a subtle taste of alcohol behind them. "It felt good last night, didn' it? With... with me? Just me?" he asked timidly, dusting bitter breath across Squall's mouth.

"Of course it did," Squall answered, caught unawares by the admission of so much insecurity. Entwining their fingers, he pulled Zell's hand from his face to kiss his palm. "And... and I hope it'll happen again."

Zell kissed him again right after he finished speaking, pressed forward and wound an arm around Squall's waist. Squall leaned into him, thankful for this familiar body that didn't approach him with aggression; pulled him closer to deepen the dance of their mouths. Zell was fragile right now. Squall knew that if he wanted to (and a part of him did), he could take him for his own comfort as he had the night before, out in the middle of nowhere, and not be asked a single question about it. He was forced to break away and voice his reluctance when Zell began tugging on one of his belts. "Not tonight. I won't do anything to you when you're like this."

"I prob'ly won't remember anyway."

Squall brushed thegingging hand away. "That's not the point, Zell."


Squall sighed as he felt his will breakinneatneath Zell's plea. Hardness against his thigh made it obvious that Zell was aroused; he couldn't just leave him to feel rejected again. "There's one thing I can do..." He dusted his hand off on his pants and reached for the front of Zell's, felt a rush of air just past his face as his subject sucked in a gasp.

"Yeah, umm... 'kay, do that," Zell whispered, hinting at a squeak.

"You don't even know what I'm planning yet." With the words Squall's fingers worked quickly to unbutton and spread the two flaps of denim.

"Who needs details? Not mee, noo sir." Zell's voice was fluttering already, and the lighthearted sound relieved some of Squall's tension.

"I want to make it up to you," Squall explained as his hand sank into the warmth now exposed and drew Zell's erection into his hand. Zell moaned as he started moving, his head falling forward to rest against Squall's shoulder. "If you could forgive me for what I can't let you do..."

"I already forgave you for that.... but that doesn't mean I'm givin' up."

Squall just nodded in response. He didn't blame Zell for persistence-- he wouldn't be leaving *himself* alone. He intensified his caresses, using every drop of liquid Zell gave him for assistance, and prepared to let his mind wander as he listened to the soft pants in his ear, each random hitch making him bite down harder on his tongue. If it was nessecary to torture himself with images of what he feared to understand why he feared them, he'd do it. It wasn't too hard now anyway, with those sounds so close to him and Zell's stressed fingers digging into his side. What if he just did it, stopped questioning, stopped being such a coward?

The vividity of the image he created made him gasp-- the two of them back in Zell's dorm, strangely; Zell above him, caressing him everywhere at once and giving him somewhere to be. The flesh currently within his grasp would make him its home painlessly, but Zell would dote over him anyway. He knew he would, and the thought made his chest swell with an overload of guilt for not being better. A joining like that wouldn't be bad, not at all, once he managed to make himself worthy of it. Someday he'd let it happen, when they weren't surrounded by sand and nothingness, both sober and clean and unhindered by exhaustion. A day when he could manage to take it as more than just physical sensation as he knew Zell would.

Zell startled him when he came, as he had expected it to take longer with the blond still under the drink's influence. He only made two quiet whimpers before tensing completely and spilling onto the sand, probably bruising Squall's side with his grasp. Squall didn't mind. He pushed on Zell's shoulder, kissed dry, quivering lips. "The wind's picking up. We should get back before our tracks blow away." He hadn't noticed when the moon reappeared again, but now it was shining quite bright upon them.

"I wanna stay here."

"Wouldn't you rather have something to lay on?"

"I got you."

Squall's head fell forward, a smile itching at the corners of his mouth. Zell was too sweet. "How's this-- we'll share your sleeping bag, outside."

"With Seif far away?"

"Far away. He won't bother us."

Zell grinned at him, his voice hopeful. "... Naked?"

Squall chuckled and shook his head, then buttoned Zell's pants back up. "Not tonight." The body beside him deflated, so he assured, "Another time."

"'Kay." Satisfied, Zell stood on wobbly legs and wavered, bringing a hand to his forehead. "Woah..."

Squall jumped up just in time for Zell to crash into him, his shoulder pressing into Squall's chest as he held him upright. "Can you walk?"

"Yeah... think so. Just reeeeally fuckin tired..." Zell righted himself with quiet thanks, and Squall took his hand. He kept slow as he started walking, watching Zell carefully as if expecting him to topple at any moment. "'Sokay, I'm fine, we just gotta go back so I can lay down."

Squall nodded and turned away from him to follow their own footprints with more speed. Zell's sleeping bag appeared before them in no time, and he left Zell sitting down to straighten it out, then removed Zell's shoes before doing the same with his own. Zell immediately collapsed onto the warm fleece and lay still for a few seconds before remembering that he had to make room for another body. He cuddled up to Squall's side and yawned as soon as the weight pressed beside him. "Sorry I din't get ta do somethin to pay ya back for that... too tired now..." He yawned again, jaw flexing against Squall's bicep, and ended it with a light sigh.

"You don't owe me anything," Squall replied, staring upwards. A few seconds passed without an answer, so he looked down, and found Zell already passed out.


"Emotional landscapes,
They puzzle me - confuse,
Then the riddle gets solved,
And you push me up to this
State of emergency."


Agh, that took *forever*.... hope it doesn't suck... Thanks go out to Bjork for inspiration. She's the best.

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