On the floor, Seifer opened his eyes to see Squall standing over him, a gunblade pointing menacingly at his throat. The cold steel approached him, resting dangerously against his skin, one move and...
"No! Squall!" Zell screamed from the bed.
Squall's mask of anger faltered and his eyes glanced at Zell whose face was full of pleas.
"He was going to rape you," Squall said, but his tone was not as certain as his set face.
"No," Zell stated. "No, leave him alone, Squall."
Squall's eyes went from Seifer, briefly running over the blond's nakedness with no trace of anything sexual in his look, then went to Zell in part anger; part confusion.
"He tried to do it to me!" Squall growled, gunblade still hard against Seifer's throat.
Zell's face registered shock. Seifer had said he'd seen Squall this morning, he never said... Zell looked at Seifer and saw the guilt instantly in his face. Did Seifer...? Zell suddenly felt very used. After all the talk, did Seifer still only just have sex with him as second-best and because he'd been willing?
"Did he force you, Zell?" Squall now asked.
"No...," Zell breathed, barely a whisper, his mind was in turmoil.
Seifer moved his gaze from Squall and the gunblade to his recent lover at Zell's betrayed sounding voice. He realised at once what Zell was thinking and it hurt him that there were so little trust already. Everyone thought he was just a bully who took what he wanted and had no feelings or sensitivity. He could almost cry from the unfairness of fate but instead he hardened against it.
"No," Zell continued, repeating the affirmation, sounding stronger again. "I let him," he locked eyes with Seifer, almost daring him to contradict the truth. Had Seifer tried to rape Squall? How far had it gone? Zell felt jealousy suddenly along with the hurt of betrayal. He saw in Seifer's eyes an apology but underlying that the steely hardness of his pride trying to preserve his dignity. What should he believe?
Zell felt no shame at being naked in front of Squall, maybe because he wasn't attracted to the brunette so it didn't matter. He stood up from the bed, not bothering to even pull on pants, and put a restraining hand on Squall's gunblade arm. Squall turned to him, a little disgusted by Zell boldness as he saw the short blond was still naked, but he lowered the blade. Seifer let out a loud breath, coughed and scrambled, with his back against the wall, to its feet with as much dignity as possible under the circumstances. He was surprisingly graceful in regaining his feet and composure.
Squall pointed his gunblade back at Seifer's bare chest.
"This isn't finished," he said. "Meet me at the back of Garden and bring your weapon."
He then whipped the blade away and swept angrily out of the room.
An awkward silence followed his departure. Finally Seifer spoke, looking at Zell who was still standing but avoiding any eye contact.
"I'm sorry, Zell... Ha! Seems that's all I say to you nowadays..."
Neither of them moved. Seifer didn't know what else to say. Nothing had really happened with Squall, he wanted to tell Zell , but he couldn't form the words. Then Zell spoke quietly:
"Did you... really...?" he couldn't finish the question, didn't want to hear the answer.
"I saw Squall this morning. I... I kissed him. It... really didn't go any further than that," Seifer held back on the details, he wouldn't have let it get much further so why compound the damage to his and Zell's potential? "Squall got so upset, he threatened me, like he just did it, and I left."
"We were... in his room... Just getting his gunblade... for a duel."
"It seems you've got your duel now."
Seifer realised this wasn't going to be easy. Zell wouldn't trust him too quickly. After a lifetime of teasing what did he expect... He could still feel the pleasant sensations of Zell inside him as they'd made love, would that be the only time Zell would allow him to be with him? He didn't want so abrupt an end.
But Squall was waiting.
Seifer reached for his clothes, pulling up his pants, zipping his trousers. Zell watched him silently, tears in his eyes but not falling. As Seifer reached for his vest with a set jaw and a pained look in his eyes, Zell couldn't be quiet any longer.
He threw himself into Seifer's arms, clutching him bodily.
"I was so scared! I thought Squall was going to...," he started to sob.
Seifer, startled, didn't know where to put his hands for a moment but then he dropped his vest back on the bed and encircled the sobbing boy with his arms. The feel of Zell's smooth, naked skin under his fingers and still bare arms reawakened the still fresh but now seemingly so distant memories of their recent lovemaking. Seifer breathed him in, as if he'd never breathe again.
"We can't do this," he finally said, his heart paining him as he spoke the words.
Zell look up at him with big, tearstained eyes.
"Don't say that."
"Admit it, Zell. It's not going to work out...," he felt his defences slamming back up their walls, his hardness overriding his guilt; his new found love; overriding everything - and leaving him with only the rage.
He backed quickly away from Zell's embrace, letting his embarrassment and insecurity well up and turn into anger.
"Get away from me, okay!"
"Seifer?" Zell's voice was small, he felt as naked emotionally as he was physically.
"You're so pathetic," Seifer said, his eyes as hard as his voice, they roamed down Zell's body and there was nothing there now but contempt. The sudden change confounded Zell and upset him.
"Seifer?" he repeated.
"Cover yourself up, I'm done with you."
"Seifer?" Zell touched his brief lover's arm.
Seifer grabbed it and twisted roughly. It really hurt. It wasn't a playful move.
"Ow, Seifer!! You're hurting me!"
"I'll always hurt you," Seifer hissed in his ear with venom and shoved Zell so he went sprawling ungraciously across the floor.
Zell felt his old anger and frustration returning at the memories of Seifer's old taunts. His fists balled but he felt too weak to stand. He wanted to cry but his anger choked it back
"You're too easy, chicken wuss," Seifer sounded so mocking and spiteful Zell couldn't look up at him. Had it all been a game; a set up for the tall blond? Had he just been used? Mere moments ago Seifer had let Zell touch him; intimately; lovingly. Zell refused to believe it had all been an act to humiliate him. He couldn't speak, couldn't ask for the truth. Then Seifer laughed. It was a harsh sound.
"You really thought I wanted you? Get dressed, get out of my room."
Zell didn't move. Seifer pulled him up violently by the arm, so roughly it would leave a bruise later. Seifer grabbed his face in a vice grip. Then he echoed an earlier threat.
"You tell nobody, you hear me. Like I said before - our secret - or I'll kill you, Zell, I swear."
Zell held back tears at Seifer's tone, at his words, at his terribly hard face.
"You bastard," Zell whispered.
Seifer's face became an uneasy mix of fury and amusement as his smirked at the abusive name calling.
"You remember that, you'll be all right." he stated.
"Seifer-," Zell's words were cut short by Seifer's hand, slapping his face. He shoved him away again, letting him go.
Zell stumbled and fell, tears stung his eyes. The blow had hurt, but not as much as Seifer's callous eyes.
"Get out," Seifer said threateningly.
Zell quickly pulled on his shorts; threw his top on. Seifer watched him silently, glaring. Zell slipped out of the room without another word. tears were trailing down his round cheeks but he wasn't really crying.
Seifer watched the door close then he slumped, sitting resolutely on his bed. He wouldn't cry - he'd had to do it. He'd be bad for Zell; for anybody. Best Zell hated him now before he broke the boy's heart worse. He should never have slept with him. Should never have let it go so far, letting Zell... He wouldn't think of it. The anger Squall had built up in him... It was scary - he'd nearly believed his own anger. He wouldn't cry this time, he held onto the anger. He spied his gunblade across the room focusing only on the rage. He needed to be ready for Squall. Roughly, he shrugged into his vest, swung his coat around him, picked up his gun blade and went to meet his rival.
To be continued...
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