By Tenshi no Korin
"I know you really love me,
But you see my hands were tied
I know it must have hurt you, it must have hurt your pride..."
-Waiting for the Miracle
"Crybaby." So gently spoken, like an affectionate nickname. Gloved fingertips brushed at the crystalline tears tracking down one tattooed cheek. He'd fought so very hard not to spill them, but fury had always been a volatile force in Seifer's captive.
"Shuddup," Zell snarled back, spattering minute flecks of his blood on Seifer's cheek. "Fucking bastard, whaddya want from me, 'uh?"
Seifer tsked, running his thumb under the slightly swollen lower lip, removing the faint trickle of blood. "Oops, wiped it all off." His opposite fist collided hard with Zell's right cheekbone, making the martial artist's head snap back, his body struggling to maintain balance with his feet manacled to the floor and arms bound tightly behind his back. Seifer nodded approval. "Oh good, its back now."
Zell's jaw twitched, the tiny thread of blood tickling down his chin. "You call this a fucking interrogation?" He wondered if he was clenching his fists, they'd gone numb long before.
"No actually I don't." Seifer smiled. "I call it breaking your pitiful excuse for a spirit."
Zell, to prove otherwise, spat in the scar-tainted perfection of his face.
Seifer found this delightfully amusing, producing a handkerchief from his coat pocket and fastidiously removing the blood-tinged spittle, reaching over to dry the silently welling tears and tenderly pat at the cut his fist had made on Zell's lip. "There there, I understand. You're just in shock. I suppose I shouldn't tell you HOW he died?"
"I. Don't. Believe. A. Thing. You. Say, you psychotic SHITHEAD." Zell's shoulders tensed, the paramage binders crackled protest in credit of his strength but they did not yield.
"Such a good little Boy Scout." Seifer strolled around him, admiring the sweeping curve of his spine, the perfect triangle of his upper body, flaunted by the black tank top and usually concealed by the now-absent jacket. He wound one arm around Zell from behind, gloating in the advantage of his height, leaning over to murmur in his ear. "My blade slid right into his heart like a dream, his blood washed so hot over my hands, he whispered my name- it was just like Sex." He pressed his cheek to Zell's, the heat of his tears wet against Seifer's skin. "But then, you wouldn’t know that, would you? It's something he never gave you." His hand dipped down between Zell's tense thighs, finding what he had hoped to.
Zell thrashed violently but he couldn't even begin to shake Seifer off him; the bindings on his legs were too well designed to offer him enough purchase. All he managed to do was make Seifer laugh quietly, then pat his hair like he was commiserating. "So hard, little crybaby. You want him even now, don't you?" Sharp teeth bit into one soft lobe, inspiring a yelp that Zell muffled before he could give Seifer the satisfaction of hearing it. "I suppose I could let you have what's left..." Seifer mused, ambling around to face him.
Zell swallowed hard against the choking thickness of his fury, pushing it down into his center and trying what he had so much trouble doing: controlling the emotion that fueled him. He thought of Squall the last time he'd seen him, offering a quick narrowing of eyes and nod to him before melting into the crowd with Irvine. He hadn't touched him. Cool. Unruffled. In control.
Zell lifted his head, and did what seemed impossible to him under the circumstances. He looked Seifer in the eye-
And laughed at him.
Seifer's eyebrows went together in an expression of extreme displeasure. "What do you find so amusing, shrimp?"
"You really don't know shit, do ya man?" Zell tossed his head to move falling bangs out of his eyes. "If you killed Squall like you SAY you did then Galbadia just did the worlds fucking fastest dry-cleaning job ever on that coat of yours. But you didn't kill Squall. You need Squall. Without him you ain't got a challenge, you've got nothing to fight for, no rival. Without him to define you you don't exist. Kill Squall Leonhart and there won't be a Seifer Almasy." It was a risk, Zell could have his bluff called, Squall's eviscerated form could be drug out as proof, but he'd hit home and he knew it. Rage flared white-blue-hot in Seifer's eyes; Zell's ears rang with the sound of tearing air as Seifer struck him over and over, right left right left.
Zell's eyes barely focused by the time it was over; Seifer gripped his face hard, snarling at him so closely that Zell could see the ring of deeper blue at the center of Seifer's irises. "You're smarter than I thought, Chicken-wuss. I think you might have my number."
Zell was frozen, like a hart entranced by a swaying viper.
"But guess what, crybaby. I got yours." And Seifer kissed him, brutal in his gentleness and mindful of Zell's injured lip, his mouth a hot mockery of a lover. One hand kneaded the ache between Zell's legs until it flared hungrily, the other combing gently through blond hair. Zell tried briefly to fight it but there was nowhere to go, and even though he knew Squall was alive he felt the tears burning behind his lashes again.
"Fine." Seifer crossed easily to the chair by the control panel where he'd left his gunblade, setting booted heels on the console and resting Hyperion across his lap, the very picture of unchallenged insolence. "Have it your way. I was only trying to offer some measure of... comfort." He lifted his weapon, checked his teeth in the sheen.
"Comfort." Zell spat the word as if it were poisoned sugar. "From you? Really, Seifer. Only you would think I would find comfort in believing Squall was dead."
Seifer was quiet, one gloved hand caressing the stock of his gunblade, fingers closing around it one at a time. Zell shivered, for some reason it made him think Seifer was touching himself. The corners of Seifer's mouth tightened in a near smile that was alarming. "I have no interest in dead lovers," He purred, conversationally.
Zell went cold. He knew too well what Squall and Seifer had been. But now, after those scars- "you- you wouldn't."
"Wouldn’t I?" Seifer sat forward over his weapon, hands dangling between his knees as if he were lording over the cafeteria back in Balamb. "You strike me as the romantic sort, Dincht. C'mon, picture it." Seifer leaned back, holding up his hands as if sighting a film frame. "Old lovers from childhood, driven apart by the tides of war, forced to duel because of their contradictory alliances, finding each other after a climatic battle... what a reunion scene, huh? Just like the movies."
"This is reality Seifer, and you're nuts. I really doubt Squall welcomed you with open arms."
Seifer sniffed. "I haven't reintroduced myself yet but he might." A low chuckle. "Provided he could use them." He reached up to smooth his hair, flashing a smile as he gained his feet. "Well. I really can't afford to waste any more time on you, I have a date to keep."
Zell's eyes narrowed. "What are you going to do to him?"
Seifer shouldered his gunblade, on hand on his hip. "Whatever I want."
"Wait!" It was out before Zell knew what to do with it, and Seifer paused in the doorway, one eyebrow raised.
"This had better be something original, you're starting to be even more boring than usual."
Zell wet lips that had suddenly gone dry, for once grateful that he rarely had to think before he spoke. If he thought about what he was doing, he wouldn't be able to. "I want to make a deal. For Squall."
Seifer slowly lowered his gunblade and leaned on it. "You?" He laughed softly, amused. "You, chicken-shrimp? What do you have that I could possibly want?"
Zell straightened as best he could, it hurt his legs to be completely upright, and lifted his face to look Seifer in the eye. "Me."
Seifer blinked bafflement. "You're...offering yourself in his place, is that it?"
"If you swear to leave him alone. You can do whatever you want with me."
Seifer snorted, but he'd stepped closer. "You're assuming a great deal. What makes you think I'd want you?"
"Because you haven't had me." Zell dared to hope it might work, Seifer had lifted his chin and was looking at him appraisingly.
"Neither has anyone else, I'll bet." He turned Zell's face side to side, admiring the fine bone structure, eyes following the path of the tattoo.
"No," Zell returned honestly. Who knew? For a creep like Seifer it might be a turn-on.
Seifer released Zell's face, scrutinizing him as if for motive. "I could just take you both, you know. You are in no position to negotiate."
"I'm hoping that you have some shred of honor left, Seifer." And even if you don't, time you spend with me you won't be doing anything to Squall, he added silently to himself.
Seifer appeared to be considering; he reached out and ran his hand down Zell's chest, feeling the sculpted muscle under the skintight tank top. "You aren't ENTIRELY unattractive, I suppose. Not when you're quiet." He deftly undid the belt securing Zell's oversized shorts; they slid down easily to his knees, stopping when the spread of his manacled legs was too wide to go further. Zell struggled not to flinch, not to close his eyes as warm leather glove folded around his sex, so potently reminiscent of another touch that he could almost smell the hothouse flowers of the training center.
"Do we have a deal?" he gritted out, teeth clenched.
Seifer leaned over him, bending down for a kiss that was investigative, plundering Zell's mouth in a way he hadn't before. Zell heard the faint moan and then swore mentally when he realized he'd been the one to make it, that his hips were betraying him, rocking into Seifer's hand. It's all right, he told himself. It's for Squall. Do whatever Seifer wants, just remember why and you can do it.
Seifer's lips traced near-invisible blond eyebrows, the puzzling path of Zell's tattoo. He squeezed the reaction he held testingly, and smiled when Zell tossed his head, fighting not to cry out.
"Seifer! Is it a deal or not?"
Seifer sighed. "Well. We'll just have to see how you do on the first time, won't we? Then I'll consider it."
Zell nodded, wearily. "I don't have much choice, do I?"
"I wonder where you learned your honor." Seifer had crossed behind him again; leather palm warm as it cupped one buttock. "It wasn't at the garden."
"I learned it from Squall, Seifer." Zell bit his lip, wondering if he was going to be hit again. He wasn't afraid of the pain, just that he might have lost his bargain by being rebellious. But Seifer was silent, and Zell wondered if he might be smiling.
"You know I think I understand now, Shrimp! I've really been kinda clueless, haven't I?" He pressed in close, the fabric of his pants soft against Zell's backside, hand rubbing over the ridges of his abdomen.
"You're in love with him, aren't you? That's really something. Kinda gets ya right here, doesn’t it?" He tapped Zell's chest.
Zell could say nothing, hope and fear choking him silent. Seifer pulled up the tank top, over Zell's head and down his arms until it bound him as surely as the magical cuffs on his wrists. He carefully set his gunblade down, wanting to use both hands on this new plaything presented to him. "I wonder if he loves you back? I doubt it, but you ARE his TEAMMATE after all and I can't think of any sweeter torment than to tell him all about what I'm going to do to you. His honor, you know. It would cause him no measure of anguish to know what you suffered for him. Or maybe I won't tell him at all? I really have to thank you, Zell. You've made this afternoon so much more fun than I thought."
Zell closed his eyes; a gloved fingertip had intruded between his legs and was investigating. He tried with everything in him to keep silent but his strength was nearly gone, and a sharp broken sound found its way out of him as Seifer pushed in teasingly.
"Beautiful. I must admit I never noticed you had potential, Chicken-wuss." His hand moved in deeper, petting, and Zell's breath caught. "And it seems you told the truth after all. No one's been here."
"Our Deal?" Zell managed, hoping it wasn't a whimper.
Seifer took his hand away, his clothing rustled. "Patience."
In Zell's field of vision, Seifer's arm reached out to detach a metal bar from the wall, pivoting it out to press it cold against Zell's abdomen. He was bent over it neatly, equilibrium off already and abruptly aware that he was terrified, more afraid than he'd ever been.
"I'll give you a present, pet. Since you love him so much and I'm such a romantic at heart, Just this once, I'll let you say his name. I don't even mind if you pretend it's him. It's as close as you'll ever get to Squall doing you, anyway." And Zell was forced roughly against the bar as Seifer's body thrust hard into his, invasive pain radiating in a quick flare before Zell quelled it, forcing himself to yield, to relax and do what he could to protect Squall.
"Nnn." Seifer's hand tangled in his hair, petting it roughly. "His -nnnhuh- loss. Sweet."
Zell said nothing, biting his lip to keep from screaming.
"So quiet, Shrimp?" Seifer shifted, making Zell's ankles protest at the thrusts put strain on his bonds. The warmth of Seifer's mostly clothed body folded over his, his shoulders were kissed. "Say his name for me, and I won't tell him this happened."
Zell closed his eyes, mouth moving in a silent exhalation. ~Squall~
Seifer reached underneath his prisoner, pumping Zell in time with his motion. "Can't hear you, Zell." He was getting breathless. "C'mon. I'm sure we're a lot alike- I taught him everything he knows. Say it."
"Squall." Zell whispered, tears spattering on the metal floor. For Squall. I'm sparing him this. "Squall." Louder this time, and Seifer sped up.
"That’s it, you're learning."
The hand on his sex was faster and Zell was moving back into it, suddenly welcoming each penetration. The pain was changing and Zell no longer heard Seifer's voice, remembering the frailty of Squall's eyes when he came in the danger and sunlight of the training center, the warmth of his kiss. And engraved on his eyelids was the image of him turning away in a crowded Deling City square, going on a mission he knew was next to impossible but showing no fear, no reservations no matter what he felt. Proud. Like a lion.
"Squall." For you, he mouthed silently. For you.
"Nnn.…..That’s it..." Seifer rocked violently into it as Zell clamped hard around him, still working Zell in his slick glove, head thrown back and neck tendons straining briefly against his metal choker as he flooded his willing captive.
For a moment there was nothing but the sound of labored breathing, and Zell shivered in the cold air, something warm tricking down his legs. Blood? Probably. Seifer left him without warning, and Zell struggled to calm his heartbeat as his former team captain rearranged his clothing.
"Well?" Zell forced himself off the pole, wincing at the burning pain Seifer had left behind. "Do we have a deal?"
Seifer's fingertip, still wet with Zell's release, traced over the tattoo thoughtfully. "Yes."
Zell couldn't hide the relief in his face, and waited for Seifer's ridicule. Instead he got a puzzled frown. "What's it like, I wonder?" Seifer asked suddenly, as if to himself. He lifted his gunblade to Zell's throat and keyed the buttons that would release his bonds. "Get dressed. Don't try anything, or those oh so lethal hands of yours will be on the floor, some considerable distance from your wrists." He tossed him his handkerchief, smile mocking. "And clean yourself up."
Zell slowly refastened his pants, fixing his tangled tank top, aching to attack but knowing he stood no chance against four feet of armed steel. "What's what like?" He asked, not expecting an answer. Seifer waved a hand vaguely, gunblade unwavering.
"To care that much for somebody. It's pointless. All it does it make you weak."
Zell held out his hands, letting the binders reattach themselves as Seifer tapped in the code. "Guess you just don't know any different, do you?"
Seifer shrugged, smiling. "Guess not." He flipped a switch on the console. "Take this one back, will you?"Seifer said into the mic. He stripped off his gloves, and ruffled Zell's hair. "But I still think you're a fool, chicken wuss."
The guard entered, face perpetually impassive as he took Zell roughly by the elbow. "Move it." Zell was shoved to the door, gun muzzle comfortably pressed to his spine.
Zell didn't turn, hearing the predatory note in Seifer's voice.
"Bring him back in an hour."
The warden chuckled. "Yes sir."
Zell let himself be prodded back towards his cell, smoothing his features so that the girls would just think he'd been beaten.
The door vented open and Zell’s restraints were released as he was shoved through, gratefully landing in Quistis’s arms. His hands slowly began to tingle with returned blood, but he wouldn’t have been able to catch himself.
"God, Zell, what happened to you?" Quistis’s sueded gloves gingerly touched the dark purple bruise underneath the tattoo. Something about Zell’s expression must have been telling, her eyebrows went up in suspicious horror but Zell shook his head quickly to stall her exclamation.
"Don’t scare Selphie," He murmured, fingers twitching towards the spunky girl who was still yelling an impressive array of epithets after the retreating guards.
"Seifer?" Quistis asked quietly, helping Zell down to the floor. He’d left his jacket to cover Selphie’s cold shoulders, but Selphie had arranged it to make the flooring a little more comfortable when they brought Zell back.
"Yeah." Zell closed his eyes, the satin lining of his jacket cool and soft against his injured cheekbone.
"Zell, I-" Quistis fell silent abruptly as Zell’s face shut like a tower preparing for siege, and fumbled for something else to say. "Did you...find out anything about Squall?"
"He’s alive," Zell murmured, and looked up to see relief and then trepidation on Quistis’s face.
"Oh, oh no." Quistis put her hand on her lips, shaking her head.
"Seifer." Quistis said through her fingertips, blue eyes bright. "If he has Squall-"
"Don’t." Zell reached up to squeeze her hand, offering a bitter smile. She knew Seifer and Squall too well. "I made a bargain. Maybe Seifer will keep it."
"What did you-" she stopped, as familiar with Zell’s personality as with the other two, still remembering when he first came to the Garden. Quistis reached out and gathered Zell up to her, cradling his head on her lap and smoothing the wild blond hair. "Oh, Zell. Zell you didn’t."
"Didn’t what?" Selphie appeared over Quistis’s shoulder, curious and sympathetic. "Wow, they really beat you up, didn’t they? Jerks." She sat down next to Quistis and sighed. "Any idea who’s doing this, Zell?"
Zell and Quistis traded a quick glance, and then Zell focused his eyes on the ceiling. "No."
"Hmm." Selphie put her chin in her hands. "Don’t worry, Zell, we’ll get out of here. We’re the good guys, right? Besides, we don’t know where Rinoa and Irvine are, they might have Squall already."
Quistis squared her shoulders, and Zell recognized her teaching tone of voice. "Of course, Selphie. We need to you keep us hopeful. Let Zell get some rest now, okay?"
"Okay." Selphie returned to her corner of the cell, hugged her knees, and daydreamed, of being rescued by a particularly smooth-talking sharpshooter, no doubt.
"Instructor." Zell still had Quistis’s hand, and his serious expression was disturbing. "Promise me something."
"Only if you quit calling me that." Quistis’s smile was forced.
"Promise me that if we all get out of here alive, you’ll never tell Squall."
"Swear!" Zell hissed, desperation in his voice. "He can never know, it would kill his pride to think of it. You know him as well as I do. Promise me, Quistis."
She nodded, though it obviously cost a lot to do so. "I swear." She pushed him back down in her lap, and tugged off her gloves to wet her fingers with some of the water provided for them. "Go to sleep now, Zell." She touched careful fingertips to the cut on his lip and the bruises he wore like warpaint, and kept petting his hair. "You’ll need it."
Zell relaxed wearily against her, soothed by a touch that reminded him oddly of being very very small, but he couldn’t place where. Still disoriented, he fell into slumber, and into the Dream.
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