Disclaimer: They Aint MineÖ.nuff said.

For His Love

Chapter 10

By Pixie158

Zell opened his eyes slowly, the sunlight streaming through the windows arcing across the bed and right into his face. He grimaced, unhappy at having been awakened so abruptly. Then he rememberedÖ

Fragments of last night washed over him, leaving him breathless all over again. He reached for Squall, wanting to feel his warmth against him, but all he felt was the cold expanse of sheets beside him. He sat up suddenly, the blankets pooling around his hips. Where the hell is he?

He was about to bound out of bed, hunt his lover down and drag him right back to bed when he heard the bathroom door squeak open. Zell paused, waiting for him to appear.

Squall stepped out of the bathroom, steam rolling out behind him. He had a very small towel wrapped low on his hips and his wet hair hung into his eyes, droplets falling from the ends of his hair and rolling down his shoulders. He offered Zell a shy smile, his eyes downcast. Zell felt the familiar stirring begin and he smiled back.

"Good morning." He hoped the tone of his voice conveyed all that was in his heart. He was unsure of what to say to Squall, other than to fall to his knees and pledge his undying love, but he knew that moving so fast would be the best way to scare Squall away. Iíll never let him go.

Squall ducked his head again, his cheeks turning just the slightest shade of pink. Zell thanked Hyne that he was still sitting, because at that moment, Squallís appearance would have brought Zell right to his knees.

Squall made no move toward Zell; he simply stood there, seemingly examining the carpet.

"Squall?" Zellís voice was gentle.

Squall raised his eyes a fraction, still feeling a little awkward. Zell offered him a reassuring smile.

"Címere." He motioned for Squall to sit beside him.

Squall moved slowly, easing himself down onto the bed. Zell turned to face him, lifting his chin with his finger. Squall gazed into his eyes, clearly needing something from Zell to put him at ease.

"You didnít wake meÖare youÖis everything okay?"

Squallís hesitation was apparent. Zell caressed his cheek before he leaned over to kiss him softly on the lips.

"Thank you for last night. It was the best gift anyone has ever given me. I will cherish it always."

Squall flushed a dull red. This was obviously not going to be easy. Zell continued, "Iíve never felt like that in my life, Squall, please donít shut me out."

Squall ran a hand down Zellís shoulder to rest his hand on his arm. He was silent for several seconds before he spoke, his voice very controlled.

"Iím going to try not to, Zell. This is just very hard for me, please understand that."

Zell nodded, not taking his eyes away from Squallís mouth.

"I understand completely. This is not going to be easy for either of us. Or for everyone else for that matter. And we do have your position to think about." His voice grew hushed then, and his blue eyes blazed intensely.

"Just donít take this away from me. I need this, I need you. You donít know how long Iíve lovÖ" He broke off, more than a little embarrassed to have almost uttered those words. But it was too late; heíd come too close to hide it.

Squall grabbed his hand and squeezed it tightly.

"Itís alright Zell. I wouldnít have allowed last night to happen if I didnít know in my heart that there was something between us. I just need to come to terms with this in my own way."

Zell sat beside him, stunned. Heíd never heard so many words come out of Squall before. But he wasnít complaining, not in the least. Squall lifted his stormy eyes to Zellís and searched his face forÖwhat? Why do I think everyone has an ulterior motive? Why canít I just be?

Zell read the indecision is Squallís eyes. His smile faded. No more teasing, he needs to know exactly how serious I am about this.

Zell leaned in closer to Squall, sliding his hand around to the back of his neck, pulling his head down, capturing his lips in a slow drugging kiss.

Squall moaned his pleasure against Zellís lips, feeling more than a little lightheaded when Zellís tongue began to trace the lines of Squallís mouth. Oh, Hyne, ZellÖ

After a few seconds, Zell pulled away and stroked Squallís cheek gently.

"All right, love. Youíre going to have to make an appearance downstairs eventually. So go ahead and do whatever it is you do first thing in the morning."

Squallís eyebrows drew together in a thoughtful frown.

"Where will you be?" His voice was casual, but Zell heard the note of possessiveness behind it and it sent a thrill through him.

"Iíll be around. Tell you what, why donít you meet me in the woods near the fire cavern around noon? Iíll bring lunch," he added with a little grin.

Squall nodded and rose from the bed, headed to the bathroom to change. Zell watched him walking away and felt his belly tighten. I canít believe heís mine.

While Squall dressed in the bathroom, obviously not comfortable dressing in front of ZellÖyet, he thought with a secret smile, Zell rose from the bed, still naked, and moved toward his closet. He dressed quickly, not wanting to be occupied when Squall came out of the bathroom.

Squall reentered the room, running a hand through his hair. Zell stood in the kitchen, opening a bottle of juice. Squall spotted him and crossed the hall and into the kitchen.

"WellÖ" he began awkwardly. He stood there, waiting forÖsomething. Zell set his bottle down on the counter and crossed over to Squall, who was making his way to the door. Upon reaching it, he turned slowly, and almost bumped noses with Zell.

Zell wasted no time in wrapping his strong arms around Squallís waist and leaning against his body. Head rested on his chest, he closed his eyes and sighed.

"Iíll miss you." He said simply.

Squall brought his arms up slowly and closed them around Zell. He felt so good, so solid, but he didnít respond. He just held Zell, pressing his lips to the side of his head. And then he stepped back.

"Noon, right?"

Zell flashed his famous grin.

"You got it baby. Donít be late, or Iíll be forced to come and find you. We donít want that do we?"

Squall raised an eyebrow at that.

"Donít we?" And with that, he took his leave. Zell stood where he was even after the door closed behind Squall. Iím in love.

Seifer made his way across the quad, headed for the cafeteria, hunching his shoulders in an attempt to ward off the pelting rain. I wonder where our favorite Commissioner is this wonderful morningÖ Seifer knew without a doubt that Squall was somewhere putting the finishing touches on the formal letter of reprimand he was sure to deliver. Little bastard.

As luck would have it, he spotted Squall up ahead, apparently heading to the elevator. As he began to ascend the stairs, Seifer put his fingers to his lips and whistled. Squall jumped, spinning around to see where the sound had come from.

He spied Seifer advancing on him, that self-assured stride a giveaway even at such a distance. Judging by his rapid gait, he was headed Squallís way, so Squall paused by the elevator and waited.

As Seifer approached, he nodded his head in mock deference.

"Commissioner." He drew the word out, his tone slightly mocking. Squall frowned.

"What is it, Seifer?" He wasted no time in getting right to the point. Since when did Seifer just want to exchange pleasantries anyway?

"Iíve been looking for you since yesterday. I figured youÖwellÖthat you had something to give me." His face reddened slightly, embarrassed to be on the receiving end of a reprimand. Particularly when the one giving it was not only younger than he, but who also had at one time been under his command.

Squall sighed. He didnít relish this aspect of his job. Sometimes he wanted to give it all up to someone who really cared.

"Come on up to Cidís office, we can talk there." Pushing the third floor button, he waited for the doors to open.

"Actually, itís your office now, Commissioner. Cidís only a figurehead here now, why pretend differently?" Seifer pressed his gunblade closer to his hip as he entered the elevator. Squall glanced at him briefly as the doors closed.

"Cidís still the headmaster." He said it matter-of-factly and Seifer knew he didnít want to talk about it. Too bad.

"Youíre in charge, Squall. Why canít you handle it? I know itís not the responsibility. You donít hesitate when it matters. People trust you, they depend on you."

Seifer noticed the subtle change in Squall as he spoke, and he realized heíd struck a nerve.

"You donít like all the attention." It was a statement, not a question.

Squall shrugged. He was reluctant to elaborate, and the elevator was stopping, the bell signaling that they had reached their destination.

Squall stepped out first, glancing at Seifer once before he opened the door to Cidís office.

Iím right behind ya wonder boy. Donít worry. Seifer looked around the office as Squall closed the door behind them. It was precisely as Cid had left it. Squall hadnít changed a thing.

"Unbelievable." Seiferís voice held a hint of amusement. Squall took immediate offense.

"What?" He glared at Seifer from his seat.

"You think Cidís gonna step in and take it all back, so you donít want to get too cozy." Seifer sat in one of the two leather wingback chairs situated before the massive desk and propped his feet up on the edge of it, one ankle crossed lazily over the other.

Squall shot him a disbelieving look.

"Thatís ridiculous, Seifer. Do you ever think before you open your mouth?" He shook his head ruefully and began flipping through a stack of papers on the desk.

Seifer smiled irritatingly at him.

"Sometimes."

"Like yesterday when you were talking to Rinoa in the library?" Damn, whyíd I have to say that?

Seiferís grin suddenly transformed into the most genuine smile he could ever recall seeing on his face.

"I was wondering when you were going to get around to mentioning that. What were you waiting for?"

Squall frowned again.

"I just want to know what you were up to. I could care less what the two of you were talking about."

"Sure you do. Hey, arenít you afraid I might be interested in winning her back? The thought never crossed your mind? Or donít you think I can do it if I really wanted to?" The last sentence was spoken as a challenge. Squall didnít bite.

"Seifer, to be honest, it never occurred to me. Itís not something I would dwell on anyway. Now, about yesterday. The little altercation between you and Zell DinchtÖ"

Seifer narrowed his eyes at Squall.

"I knew youíd get around to this sometime or another. Okay, whatís it gonna be, Commissioner. You gonna kick me out? Or maybe send me on some bullshit mission? Or maybeÖ"

Squall interrupted him. Something Seifer absolutely hated.

"I donít feel right punishing you, Seifer. Even after all youíve done, youíre still one of us. You used to be proud of who you were, youíre not anymore. I want the old Seifer back, minus the troublemaking."

Seifer held back a smile, afraid to hope that Squall could actually be offering him a fair shake.

"What are you saying, Squall? You really want me here?" The disbelief was evident in his tone.

"Yes, I want you here, Seifer. You made one hell of an enemy. Iíd like to know what it feels like to have you on my side for once. We could be invincible-if weíre a team."

Seifer took his feet off of the desk and leaned forward, elbows on his knees.

"Are you going to treat me like I deserve to be here and not like one of your charity cases?" His voice was low, but hopeful. Squall nodded.

"You do deserve to be here. I want you to succeed. I want us to succeed. You can do this Seifer, I know you can." Seifer was still apprehensive.

"What about the others?"

Squall threw the pile of papers into a trashcan beside the desk.

"We would like nothing more than to know we can count on you. And I speak for everyone when I say that."

Seifer gazed levelly at Squall; the disdainful look gone from his face for once.

"I want that too. Iíve always wanted it. I was just afraid that after time comÖ"

Squall stood up, cutting off his words.

"Thatís in the past and thatís where it will stay. Whatís done is done, we need to start over. Never speak of it again, and I promise you that no one else will either."

Seifer rose from his seat and offered his hand to Squall, who promptly grasped it tightly and shook it.

"Thank you for believing in me. I didnít think anyone ever would again."

Squall smiled, walking toward the door and motioning for Seifer to follow him out.

"Iím not the only one, you know." Squall said with a little smile. "Who believes in you."

"Well, it sure isnít anyone Iíve come into contact with lately." Seifer said with a laugh.

As they entered the elevator, Squall glanced slyly over at Seifer.

"Donít bet on it."

 

Author's Notes: *Thanks for all the positive reviews you guys. I really appreciate the feedback. Requests, anyone? Anyone? Zell and Squall will haveÖahemÖlunch in the next chapter. (nudge, nudge)

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