Author’s notes: Okay the story changes a little in this chapter. There is no humour its mostly angst and romance. Plus I’ve added another pairing.
Disclaimer: All the characters belong to squaresoft. I own nothing.
Notes:The < > marks mean someone’s thinking. This chapter’s better than the last one.
By Purple Penguin
As the sun is setting the girls were gathered around the campfire chattering happily. Zell stood over looking the lake as the sun set into it, a half drunk bottle of vodka in his hand. He sighed tiredly taking a swig from the bottle.
He snorted. <Everyone else is so fucking happy so why aren’t I? Oh yeah my love life’s fucked up.>
It was tough sharing your lover with a girl who sings campfire songs and wakes you up at five in the morning. He didn’t like to admit it, but he was jealous of Squall and Seifer. They were both happy and in love. Zell often thought Irvine was using both himself and Selphie for sex, although he knew Selphie and Irvine hadn’t had sex in quite a while. Irvine had told him the only reason he was still with Selphie was because he didn’t want to lose her as his best friend. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. He hadn’t mean to fall for Irvine of all people.
It had all started one lonely night. After the Christmas ball Zell had left early felting a little left out. All the couples had been dancing a few girls had asked him but he wasn’t interested in them. Sure, he was faltered and it was better than if he came out then he’d get no offers from either sex then. He walked to the parking lot figuring there wouldn’t be anyone around so he could be alone. He was surprised to see Irvine leaning on the wall smoking his way through a pack of cigarettes.
“What are you doing out here?” the cowboy asked.
“Didn’t think anyone would be out here, came out for some peace and quiet.” He sat leaning on the wall opposite Irvine.
“...Thought you’d have enjoyed the ball.” Irvine said after a while.
“Nah, boring. No one to dance with.”
“Don’t tell me you didn’t get any offers?”
“Yeah but I’m not interested.”
“Got someone else in mind?”
“No I’m just not interested. They weren’t my type.”
Irvine narrowed his eyes. Being bi himself he thought either Zell was frigid which he didn’t think was likely or he was gay.
“What are you gay or something?” He said not worrying about tact.
Zell’s eyes widened he looked horrified.
“Hey don’t panic I’m bi so I’m not gonna freak on ya. Don’t worry I won’t tell anyone.”
Zell leaned back against the wall removing a bottle of Vodka from his jacket pocket taking a swig then offered it to Irvine who already smelled of alcohol. It didn’t take long for them to get pissed and Zell said he had more drink back at his dorm. Of course it was the sex obsessed Irvine who started it. At first Zell accepted that it was just sex until Irvine started spending more time with Zell than Selphie. So now Zell had to face the fact that he loved Irvine who was probably in love with Selphie.
He took a last swig of the bottle before angrily hurling it off the cliff into the lake below and sat cross-legged on the ground shoulders slouched. He tensed when he felt a pair of warm hands land on his shoulders but he relaxed as they gently started to gently massage his tense muscles. Zell unconsciously closed his eyes and leaned back into the hands. His anger disappearing instantly. He had planned to shout at Irvine the next time he’d seen him although technically he hadn’t seen him yet.
Why could Irvine always do this to him? Without saying a word he had the power to change whatever mood he was in and make him feel safe and relaxed.
“What’s wrong? You’re so tense.”
“You’re a bad liar Zell.”
With a sigh Zell shrugged the hands off his shoulders and turned to face his lover.
“Are you gonna break up with Selphie?”
Irvine looked down slightly in a guilty way.
“Oh...that again... you know I can’t.”
Zell’s face fell.
“I think... we should break up.” Zell said very reluctantly.
“It’s pretty clear that you love Selphie as you two are public and we aren’t...”
“I told you I don’t love her I love you.”
“Then FINISH with her!”
Zell stood and backed away from his lover.
“Either you break up with her or we’re finished.” He shouted with more confidence than he felt.
Zell ran through the trees with no idea where he was going he was almost certain Irvine would choose Selphie over him. She was his childhood sweetheart how could he compete with that. He ran until he was too exhausted and calloused against a large oak tree crying his heart.
Irvine paced around just outside the main clearing. He could hear Selphie laughing with the others. She was happy, he didn’t want to change that, but he definitely couldn’t lose Zell. Selphie had always been has best friend. Even as a couple, really, they were just friends. He didn’t love her that way. He just hoped she saw it that way, too, so he would have to lose her completely.
<How the hell can I do this? Think for Hyne’s sake. Somehow I don’t think ‘Hey Selphie sorry but I’m tired of fucking you, I’d rather go fuck someone else.’ was really going to cut it. >
“Irvine? What are you doing hovering around over there?”
Irvine cringed inwardly, trust Quistis to spot him. He swallowed hard and walked into the clearing smiling thinly.
“Hey Irvy,” Selphie called cheerfully.
“...Um Selphie... can we talk?”
“Yeah sure what is it?”
“Okay we can go to my tent.”
“So what do you want to talk about?” Selphie said as she sat on her sleeping bag. Irvine sat on Ellone side of the tent.
“Selphie we’ve been friends for a long time. Even now as a couple we’re more like friends right?”
“Yeah, we’re friends who have casually sex.” She said with a smile.
“Irvine, are you trying to break up with me?”
She smiled. “Found someone better have you,” she joked.
“Look you don’t have to be jumpy around me. You always were and always will be like a brother to me.”
Irvine grinned. “Thanks, Selphie.”
“So tell me. Who have you dumped me for?” She was practically bobbing up and down with excitement.
Irvine looked uncomfortable again.
Selphie’s eyes widened and she raised her eyebrows.
“Really I excepted it to be a girl. Not that I’m not happy for you both. Does he know how you feel?”
“Sort of. I told him but I’m not sure if he believes me. He seemed to think I’d stay with you rather than be he.”
“Then what are you sitting around here for?” She pointed to the door. “Go find him put it right.”
“I would but he ran off. I figured he’d come back eventually.”
“You guys are useless. What the hell did you say to him to make him run off like that?!”
Selphie sighed. “That was probably the problem.” She muttered.
“Well come on then.” She walked out of the tent and Irvine followed her.
“What? What’s that mean?”
“It means I’m in charge now. So I want you to go to your tent check if Zell’s there if he isn’t come straight back here. Got it?”
“Yes sir.” Irvine gave her a salute before heading off.
“And don’t give me that this is serious.”
Zell sat up on his knees rubbing his eyes. He’d been there for about half an hour now and he had decided he couldn’t stay there all night he had to be brave and go back to the camp to get his stuff.
<If Irvine wants Selphie he can have her. But I can’t stay here and share a tent with him. I’ll walk to the nearest train station and go back to Balamb. >
Zell stood up for the first time realizing he had no idea where he was or how to get back. He glanced around, his surroundings looked the same on either side. In the end he picked a direction and decided to see where that took him.
Zell shivered wishing he’d brought a jacket or a sweater. He’s been walking for a while and still everything looked the same. He started to face the fact that he was lost and no one would miss him until morning except Irvine but he didn’t care. The sun was completely gone now and with all the trees blocking out the moon it was so dark Zell could barely see his own feet let alone what was in front of him. He tripped and stumbled many times before finally giving up. He curled into a ball trying in vain to conserve heat. He only wore a navy plain T-shirt and a pair of long shorts and he was freezing. He closed his eyes trying to sleep when a loud roar broke the silence. Zell froze and his eyes snapped open he instantly recognized that noise to be from a T-Rexaur. As he heard the unmistakeable heavy footsteps the panic started to sink in.
<Oh Hyne, not a T-Rexaur I haven’t got any magic or G.F’s. Selphie and her fucking back to nature trip, this is all her fault. >
Zell carefully crawled away from the sound. He crouched behind a tree hoping against hope that the T-Rexaur would think he was too worthless and pathetic to bother with.
“He’s not there.” Irvine shouted as he entered the clearing.
“Right we need to split up to look for him.” Selphie called to the other two girls.
“Do you think we should get the lovebirds to help us? I mean 6 are better than 4 right?” Quistis asked.
“Er... yeah okay... you’re right, I’ll go.” Selphie replied. “You guys wait here.”
Selphie crouched outside Squall and Seifer’s tent.
“Knock, Knock... Guys we have an emergency.” She called.
The tent flap opened and Squall looked out. He was naked from the waist up. She couldn’t see the rest of him so he could have been completely naked for all she knew.
“Hey, what’s going on?” He asked.
“Zell ran off earlier and now he’s probably lost so we need you guys to help find him.”
“Oh, he’ll turn up sooner or later, don’t worry about him.”
“Well Irvine’s worried about him and I don’t want him going off on his own. Are you coming or not? Or should I say do you care about Zell or not?”
Squall groaned. “Okay, Okay I’m coming.”
“Great. I’ll meet you in the clearing in ten minutes.” She smiled. She knew Squall would agree if she accused him of not caring about his friends.
Finally they were all ready and they left, Irvine leading the way. Selphie had suggested splitting end, but they couldn’t get Squall and Seifer to separate and Quistis and Ellone both agreed that if they got paired with these two and had to watch them tongue wrestle each other then they’d probably go crazy.
They walked through the trees mostly in silence. Selphie was trying to comfort Irvine who was starting to think he’s lost Zell for good. Squall and Seifer were busy playing tonsil hockey and the other two held the torches.
“Zell,” Selphie called yet again.
“He’s not gonna hear that. I can barely hear that.” Squall managed to say as he pried his mouth away from Seifer.
“ZELL!” She yelled grinning from ear to ear when Ellone who stood beside her winced.
“This is a waste of time and there are other things I could be doing,” Seifer said giving Squall a playful smile.
“Seifer can you please stop thinking with your dick for five min...” A T-rexaur roar cut off Irvine.
They all froze.
“Where the hell is it?!” Irvine whispered as he tried to follow the light of the torch.
This time the sound was followed by a male scream coming from the left.
Irvine broke into a sprint.
All six of them ran towards the sound.
Zell lay wounded on the ground, the T-Rexaur had slammed it’s tail straight into his side sending him flying. He struggled to sit up clutching the big gash in his side.
<Great this is it. I’ve got no magic or G.F’s and I’m alone in the middle of the forest. I’m going to die.>
The T’Rexaur began it’s final charge when Shiva appeared from above the treetops. Zell slowly looked up.
<Shiva? I thought the guys didn’t have any G.F’s. Who has Shiva junctioned anyway?>
Shiva finished her attack and disappeared. The T-Rexaur whirled angrily around to face the intruder.
<What the HELL is he doing here?! Not that I’m not grateful.>
Irvine stood his ground. He was on triple so he cast Blizzaga x 3 followed by Demi x2 and a curaga on Zell.
“Guys, hurry I don’t have a weapon!”
“Irvine you got any auras?” Seifer asked.
“Squall’s got a good limit, cast one on him.”
“But I don’t have Lionheart on me.”
“Here.” Seifer passed him Hyperion.
Squall did Renzokuken followed by No Mercy, as he couldn’t do his limit ending without his gunblade.
The Rex fell dead.
Irvine rushed over to Zell as he carefully tried to get to his feet.
“You okay?” He asked his voice full of concern. He placed his hand on Zell’s shoulder.
“What are you doing here?” Zell’s voice was cold.
“What do you think? I was looking for you.”
Irvine put his hand down to where Zell had got injured checking to see if it had healed up.
“Are you sure you’re okay?”
“What do you care?”
“I dumped Selphie...”
Zell’s eyes widened. “But I thought you...”
“I told you I don’t want her I want you.”
The blonde smiled slightly.
Irvine returned it before pressing his lips to Zell’s gently. Zell hungrily kissed back wrapping his arms around the neck of his new lover.
“Aww...” Selphie said. “Sweet.”
“Disgusting, absolutely revolting.” Seifer said remembering the fuss Zell had made when he’d seen Squall and himself flirting.
The way back to the camp was peaceful, Seifer and Squall kept stopping to kiss and touch each other until Seifer complained about having to bend down so often so he picked Squall up in his arms. Zell and Irvine held hands, they walked in silence but it was a comfortable silence.
At the main clearing Zell looked over at Selphie she seemed happy enough but Zell wasn’t sure if he could still consider her a friend. He figured he should talk to her.
Irvine tugged on him hand. “You coming?”
“Yeah in a minute.”
He walked over to the group of girls.
“Selphie, can I have a word?”
She beckoned him over to sit on a log.
“So what can I do for you?”
"Selphie... Do you... hate me?”
Selphie’s mouth fell open. “WHAT? Of course I don’t hate you. Why would I?”
“Well I did steal your boyfriend.”
She giggled. “You talk like he’s a piece of property.”
She smiled. "Zell, Irvine and I were never in love. I love him as a brother and it’s pretty obvious he loves you.”
He returned her smile.
She stood up giving him a gentle shove. “Now go. He’ll be missing you.”
Okay, so this is nearly the end. There’s only the Epilogue to go which I’ve already started so hopefully it shouldn’t take too long.
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