The Secret

Chapter Five

By Kuttner

Zell couldn't sleep that night. He lay in his bed with the light off, staring at the blackness. He didn't even feel tired. He'd been doing a lot of thinking, mainly about Seifer and what had happened. The SeeD test was far back in his mind now. He'd begun to think that accusing Seifer of torturing someone else in the training centre had been a mistake. He clicked on his light - maybe he could read... or study... He didn't know what time it was when there was a quiet knocking on his door, and an even quieter voice:

"Zell? Are you awake?"

Even though it was unusually quiet, Zell recognised the voice as Seifer's. He got out of bed, opened the door an inch.

"Can I come in?" Seifer asked politely. He looked more humble then Zell had ever seen him.

Zell's hesitated. It was very late - students weren't supposed to be wandering around after hours.

"Can't it wait?" Zell replied, feeling slightly guilty as he said it.

"Just for a minute. I don't want anyone seeing me being nice to you, chicken wuss."

Zell sighed at Seifer's use of that term, and the discriminatory words but he opened the door further saying:

"Come in, I guess..."

Seifer closed the door behind him. Zell saw the remnants of bruises on Seifer face, the curagas doing their job. Why had he been so worried that Seifer would die?

"I... I just want to apologise," Seifer began. "You saved my life, I should be grateful... And I've been so mean to you for... years. All this time..."

"It's all right," Zell said, though he was surprised at Seifer's apology. He never heard anything close to the word sorry from the tall blond ever before.

"Really, I mean it," Seifer said sincerely, sensing Zell's disbelief.

"Okay," Zell's said, feeling rather dazed, nearly embarrassed by Seifer actually being nice for once. Seifer's eyes had taken on that the sorrowful look again.

"Uh, I guess that's all I wanted to say...," Seifer finished, turning to go.

"Wait," Zell stopped him. Seifer half looked at him, seeming not to want to meet his gaze.

"Tell me something. In the training centre - just before I... It was you crying, wasn't it? There was no one else there."

Seifer's lips pressed together in an expression of annoyance or possibly embarrassment. After the day's events though it seemed stupid to deny things now, so he said:

"Yes, that was me you heard. I... get depressed sometimes... I can't seem to help it... Don't tell anyone, okay?" he said the last in a rather threatening manner, sounding the most like the Seifer Zell knew than he had all day.

"I won't tell," Zell said softly, not one to tease others himself. He didn't like to hurt other people's feelings - even Seifer's.

"You promise" Seifer insisted, gripping Zell's shoulder with a strong hand for added impact.

"Yes. I'm not a liar, Seifer."

Seifer looked at Zell's eyes. They looked both genuine and a little scared. They were also a lovely shade of blue which Seifer only just noticed. He put his other hand on Zell's other shoulder, a strong feeling coming over him as he gazed at Zell's face; his eyes; his pert nose; rosebud lips. He couldn't help himself. Seifer pulled Zell to him firmly and kissed those lips before Zell had a chance to protest. His arms around Zell's shoulders held the kiss for an instant then Zell's struggles succeeded in knocking Seifer back.

"What do you think you're doing?" Zell gasped in shock. A hand up to defend himself, the other touching his own lips as though he hadn't known they were there.

Seifer flushed and bowed his head.

"I'm really sorry, Zell," he breathed out and departed before Zell could respond further.

Zell stood for a moment, staring at the door Seifer had practically run through, then he gently closed it.

What had just happened? Had Seifer kissed him? What did that mean? Seifer liked guys and girls? His mind swam.

Now Zell really wouldn't be able to sleep.

The tears were coming again. They were coming so frequently now. Seifer managed to hold them off until he locked his own door, leant against it and was safely alone. What the hell had he just done - not only had he showed weakness in front of Zell, he'd cried and now he'd just kissed another man - and of all people - Zell. If Zell was any kind of gossip Seifer's reputation would be at an all-time low this time tomorrow. He bit back a sob, but the tears were running down his cheeks uncontrolled. Seifer banged his fist on the door in frustration. It hadn't always been this bad. He used to be okay. This depression that gripped him at times was devastating and he couldn't stop the tears, and he wanted to cry because of the tears as well, not wanting to be seen weak and weeping.

Why had he kissed Zell? Well, he knew why... it's just why couldn't he control it? He'd kept those feelings not for Zell anyway. His crush was on Squall Leonhart. Their heated rivalry a veritable hotbed of sexual tension, at least on Seifer's side. He had no idea how the quiet brunette felt but he doubted Squall felt the same kind of electricity when they fought or even exchanged words. Then he hadn't expected Zell to be so nice to him after all that had happened either. Why did he kiss him? The question kept running through his mind. Desperation? Or just the fact that Zell was suddenly becoming more attractive to him. Why, he didn't know. It wasn't because of the rescue, Seifer hadn't wanted to be rescued. At that moment, he'd wanted the T-Rexaur to finish him off - better to die by a giant monster's claw than kill himself like a coward. He'd given the T-Rexaur a fairly fair fight, but always restraining himself enough so the monster would have the final fatal blow. Then Zell had come along, ruining everything. True, the beating had fed his depression into a suicide bid, so Zell's had actually restored Seifer's state of mind back to square one after damaging it in the first place. Again, Seifer felt he could cope, though he still felt deeply depressed and the crying didn't help. It made it worse that he couldn't stop. His body ached from the double beating he'd received but the medications were doing their job well and he was rapidly healing. They couldn't touch his mind though. Did he want Zell? He didn't know. By Zell's reaction there wasn't any hope anyway so why bother even thinking about it. He didn't need two crushes. It was bad enough Squall ignored him - the only way to get the brunette's attention was to challenge him to a gunblade duel in the form of training. He couldn't stand picking on Zell just to get him to react, so he could see him. It was getting too ridiculous. But those blue eyes and rosebud lips wouldn't leave his mind. As Seifer undressed for bed he remembered the taste of Zell's soft mouth. His first kiss. He wasn't sure if he would want to remember it or not. He'd practically forced himself on Zell, taking him by surprise. Somehow he didn't regret it though. Zell had tasted good, he just wished it had been more; longer. He wished Zell had returned the kiss, or at least smiled at him. But what did he expect? Zell to tearfully confess he'd been in love with Seifer for years? Unlikely. Seifer couldn't even return that if it had happened that way - he wasn't in love with Zell. So why couldn't he now stop thinking about the spidery tattoo and the large sparkling blue eyes and soft round lips; even the muscular curves of Zell's forearms. Oh, Seifer, stop thinking, he chastised himself, my God what was he thinking? His thoughts were arousing himself.

He doubted he would sleep tonight.



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