Disclaimer: Watashi no dewa arimasen.
Notes: Rinoa bashing (yah!), cussing! Really bad jokes! Have fun!

Time after Time

Chapter 2 - Mizu (water)

By WanderingTonberry

"You little shit, get back here!" Seifer Almasy bellowed loudly. Zell danced away from him, and leapt up onto the stone benches that were littered around the main halls. Zell grinned widely as his sneakers thumped against the solid surface. Sky-blue eyes flitted back over his jacketed shoulder to see how much he had gained on the man who wanted to skin him alive. Those very same eyes widened in slight surprise as he noticed he hadn't really gained any distance on him, but in fact was losing it. He threw himself from the well-used seating areas and landed back onto the waxed tile. His eyes went wide as he started to slide, but used the slickness of the tile to his advantage.

"I said stop running like the little chicken shit you are and face me like a man!" Seifer tracked the tattooed martial artist like a predator on the prowl. Zell basically stood as much of a chance of escaping from the Head of the Disciplinary Committee as did a fresh pack of Twinkies facing a hungry Tonberry.

Zell stopped suddenly, whirling to face the running young man. His red sneakers slid farther apart as he positioned himself in a defensive posture. He was going to take down Seifer once and for all and get him to stop calling him that Hyne awful name for good! Gloved fists tightened, making the leather creak under the pressure. Oh yes.

"That's it Asshole, come and get me!" Zell launched himself into the air above his attacker, aiming his foot at the handsome blonde's head. As the air whistled around him, Seifer's eyes narrowed. He smirked. Suddenly Zell was wondering if this was such a good idea after all...

While the two golden-haired boys had been chasing each other around the Garden, they had gained an audience. Students and Instructors alike had gathered on the outcroppings on the upper levels to watch the latest fight between them. A few more ingenious students were not only watching, but also running a little ticket booth where anyone who was interested could try their hand at winning some money on the bets being placed.

"Irvine! Get your ass back here! The fight's gonna climax!" someone yelled. The cowboy in question turned his body to face the speaker. He smiled charmingly, tipping his hat up so that his warm violet eyes could be seen.

"Oh, I'm quite aware of that. I was just countin' to see how much I was gonna make off today's match." He tossed his money pouch into the air and caught it. He smiled widely. Ah...Nothing like the satisfying clink of a pouch full of gil. He shifted his attention to watch the remainder of the fight. The other boy had been right. It was drawing to a close. Zell had just launched himself at Seifer and it would take only one move on each combatant's side to end this. But who would it be? Irvine leaned over the railing to get a closer look.

"My, deciding to fight back now?" Seifer's smirk turned oily as he caught hold of Zell's foot, twisting it. Zell gave a sharp cry of surprise and anger and he tumbled to the ground, his foot captured by his enemy.

"Let go, dammit!"

"Not on your life. You just tried to bash my skull in with these tacky sneakers of yours!"

"Do. Not. Diss. My. Shoes!!!!" Zell growled, seething with fury. He grunted, throwing his leg back, aiming to toss the bastard into the fountain. Sadly, Seifer held on...

"Woah! Did you see that??? Dincht just threw them both into the fountain!"

"I think he was just trying to toss Seifer in..." Irvine shook his head, pulling his cowboy hat further down over his face. Sometimes he wished he really didn't know those two.

Seifer surfaced, sputtering. "You fucking little bastard!" He blinked the cold aqua out of his eyes. He shook his blonde head, trying to dislodge some of the water from his hair. With a snarl, he launched himself at the other boy, eyes shining rage red.

"Hey! You dragged me in with you, you prick!" He pushed himself forward as well, meeting him halfway from where they both had landed.

"I'm gonna have to kick your ass for this one, Chicken Wuss! You ruined my fucking trench! Do you know how much this coat cost me??"

"Shut up! You just totally ruined my gloves! Thanks 'ta you, they're gonna rust!!!" Zell threw a punch, missing by a hair's width. Seifer grabbed his arms and they rolled under the waves of the fountain.

Zell opened his eyes to glare at Seifer as they struggled beneath the surface. He also shut his eyes as suddenly as he had opened them. Damn chlorine. Zell aimed a kick for Seifer's groin, but the slowing motions of the water prevented its full effectiveness. Nevertheless, the Aryan-looking man grunted as his favorite body part met red combat sneaker.

He glared mentally, already having met the painful vengeance of the fountain's chemical protector. Blindly he felt around, finding one of Zell's feet. With a determined tug, he pulled that horribly evil sneaker from his foot as he resurfaced.

"Hey, give that back!"

"Like hell. Not on your life!"

"I said, give me back my sneaker!"

They tumbled back underwater, fighting without sense. The battle continued, water splashing over the edge of the watery display and onto the waxed tile. Boy, that was going to be a health hazard. One Garden facility member placed a 'wet floor' sign near the puddle, then scurried away as not to be drenched by the splashing boys.

The intercom speakers fuzzed slightly as the system buzzed to life. Someone coughed slightly. A clearing of the throat, then a sigh. "Seifer Almasy. Zell Dincht...." Silence. "In my office. Now." The intercom clicked off.

The two drenched blondes surfaced and looked at each other. They blinked, then chorused together, "This is all your fault!!"

Squall sat in his office on the third floor of the Garden, elbows leaning on the hard mahogany desk beneath the upper half of his body. He sighed, rubbing his temples. Why did this always happen to him? Why was it that those two idiots never fought on his days off, but the days he actually worked?? He rubbed the bridge of his nose, a headache blooming nicely in his temples. A pale hand traveled down to the desk drawer, flinging it open in search of aspirin. Long fingers curled around the familiar plastic container and he pulled it free from its loyal place next to his little metal tray of paperclips. He paused. Squall held the bottle up to his gray eyes, then closed them. Empty.

Squall leaned forward over his desk and pressed the button that would connect him to his secretary. "Rinoa?" He waited for the annoying voice that always made him wince. Why he had hired her as his secretary was beyond him. It actually scared him how interested she seemed in him.

"Yes...?" Ugh. The attempt-at-seduction tone today? A shiver of disgust and terror rolled down his spine. He coughed slightly, trying to ignore how much the violent pounding in his head had increased at the sound of her voice.

"I need a bottle of aspirin, please."

"No problem, sir..." He choked. She had practically purred that last word. He buried his face in his hands and tried not to puke all over the tax forms for the Garden facilities.

"Thank you, Rinoa." He clicked off the intercom before she could respond, not trusting himself to keep his stomach in check. Great, now he was beginning to think he needed some indigestion medicine to go alongside his pills. He sighed again. Why had he agreed to take this job??

Squall lifted his pale face as the large wooden doors to his office opened. He felt himself pale to a rather unhealthy shade as his secretary marched into office wearing the most scandalous skirt he had seen outside of Esthar fashion shows. That's it...Just focus on the little white bottle...clenched prisoner within those manicured fingers...He wanted to whimper for the sake of it all. He snatched the bottle from her grasp, then shooed her out of his office. "Send Mr. Almasy and Mr. Dincht into my office as soon as they arrive." With that, he shut the door and rushed back to his desk. He crawled under, gulping down 4 aspirin tablets with about a half of his bottled water.

Squall closed his eyes and leaned back. He pressed his cheek against the cool wood, sighing. Oh, he needed a vacation. And some sleep. And a decent meal. And a -...

"Look who's playing hide and find the commander!"

Squall cracked open an eye and found himself face to face with a grinning mass of silky butterscotch hair. "Irvine." Said cowboy smiled sweetly, an impossibly fake innocent look plastered to his face.

"Why're ya hiding under your workspace, Stormy? The wicked woman painting her nails for the fifth time today getting under your collar and attempting to dive into your leathers?" Squall groaned and nodded. "I thought as much."

Irvine crawled under the desk beside Squall and pressed his lips firmly against his moody commander's. "As much as I'd love to hide under this desk and ride you like a yearling, I have a class to teach." A cough was heard from somewhere in front of the desk. "And you have guests. I'll catch you later, alright?" Irvine smiled and crawled out and stood.

"You just couldn't resist could you?"

"Nope! Well, he's all yours gentlemen."

Seifer rolled his eyes, running a large hand through his soggy mass of gold-spun locks. He hated being wet. It really just wasn't all that comfortable to sit in your clothes and be soggy. He shifted in his seat, wincing as the leather beneath him squelched unhappily.

The other blonde in the room pouted. Why was he here? Seifer started this whole stupid mess...He shouldn't have to be here! He stuck out his full lower lip, frowning as water droplets from his once-proud crest dripped down into his face.

Squall crawled out slowly from beneath his desk, composure calm and cold as any iceberg floating up near Trabia. He settled himself in his large leather chair, then shuffled the papers on his desk into a neat pile.

"You know, it always amazes me how you manage to keep that icy composure of yours after being thoroughly embarrassed." Seifer grinned, clapping his hands softly. He stopped when Squall shot him a glare, turning his attention back to staring at the shoe in his grasp.

"Seifer? Why do you have Zell's sneaker in your hand?"

Seifer looked up and shrugged. "I was doing the Garden a service by removing any eyesores from our lovely campus." Seifer's evil smirk emerged in its full glory as he tossed the soggy shoe up into the air and caught it.

Zell snarled, getting ready to throw himself at the taller blonde and beat him till he returned his beloved sneaker. But before he could set his plan into action, Squall lifted up hand and stopped him.

"Seifer, give him back his shoe."

Zell grinned triumphantly. "Yah, Asshole. You heard the commander. Shoe. Now~!"

Seifer's expression darkened, reluctant to part with the ugly piece of footwear.

"Yes, I know it's horrendous, but just give it back to him."


"Zell, just shut it. I'm tired of you two constantly disrupting everyone in the Garden with your childish fights." He paused, waiting for Seifer to hand the red sneaker back to Zell. He sat there with a mildly bewildered expression on his delicate features as Zell kissed his beloved sneaker and put it back on happily.

"I wouldn't be kissin' that, Chicken. Who knows what you've stepped in." Zell just glared. Squall continued.

"As I was saying...You two seem to be the main cause of disruption within the Garden. Now, instead of expelling you and saving myself a life-time of agony, I've decided on a different course of action."

"What, you gonna give us a couple months worth of detentions or something?"


"Well, than what are you gonna do??"

"If you'll just stop talking I'll tell you." He waited, eyeing Seifer. "I'm sending you two on a bonding retreat." He allowed himself to crack a smile at the completely horrified looks upon the two young men's faces. Seifer's deep aqua eyes widened and he looked like he would end up choking with anger. Zell's face was one of complete shock. He sort of just sat there, unable to speak. Seifer was the first to utter his unhappiness with this arrangement.

"You've gotta be fucking kidding me! You're sending me and this dork on a little happy bonding trip! Have you been inhaling Rinoa's nail polish fumes again??"

"No. We fixed the ventilation system last month."

Zell spoke up. "Common Squall! You're being cruel! How can you send your best friend through this kind of punishment?? Send him by himself! It's all his fault we fell into the fountain anyway!"

"Oh hell no. You are NOT blaming that on me! You kicked me in, you little shit! If I had to get wet, you sure as hell were coming with me!"


Seifer and Zell turned to look at Squall who was leaning back in his chair with a smile on his face.

"This is what I'm talking about. You two can't even sit in the same room with each other without lashing out. How will this prove useful if the Garden is ever attacked, or if I sent you two on a mission? You'd be so caught up in trying to kill each other, an enemy could just take you out..." Squall snapped his fingers. "Like that."

Seifer grumbled under his breath, running a hand through his hair again to slick it back. "Alright. So how long do we have to go through this creepy little retreat of yours? A couple days? I whole damn fucking shit ass week?"

Zell nodded, wanting to know the length of his sentence with Seifer. He scooted to the edge of his chair, resting his palms on the edge of Squall's desk.

"I'm leaving that up to your chaperone."

Silence. "Our WHAT????" Seifer barked. Zell nodded frantically in agreement with the taller blonde.

"I'm sending you on this little 'vacation' with Selphie." Seifer's eyes rolled into the back of his head and he slumped against the chair in mock faint. He cracked an eye open. "You do know she's crazy and on drugs, right?"

"No, she isn't. We test her every so often."

Zell whimpered. He really didn't want to be out in the middle of nowhere with his worst enemy and his excessively energetic friend. She was nice and all, but yaoi fangirls really just weren't entirely safe to be around. Especially not when the only other male that would be around for miles was as handsome as Seifer was. He shook his head. Bad, bad thoughts...

"As I was saying, you will meet her in her dorm room this evening at 7 p.m."

The two blondes groaned and looked at each other. Squall narrowed his eyes. "Till then, I want you two to shower. You smell horrible." Seifer and Zell looked at each other, each sporting a bizarre expression on his face. Squall almost snickered. "Dismissed!"

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