Disclaimer: Ze are not mine. However, I do own the band Tonberry Decay! That's right! They are a real band!...Inside my head. ^_^

Time after Time

Chapter 3 - Omoide (memory)

By WanderingTonberry

"First off, I'd like to welcome you both to what I like to call Selphie's Bonding Retreat!" Seifer rolled his eyes, trying to disappear into the lavender leather couch he had been seated rather forcefully upon. How to escape? So many ways...He could save himself so much pain and agony just by killing her...But then he'd be in jail...That plan was out. Damn it all. Why did they have to post guards outside the door??

"How very creative of you, Selphie."

"I know! Anyway, I thought I'd start off by filling you guys in on the objectives of my training mission!" She flipped a hand through her hair, smiling widely. "The commander wanted me to make sure that you two could reach a point of understanding and become friends."

The taller blonde really couldn't believe how dense this girl could be! She didn't respond to his sarcasm at all! Hyne, this could be difficult...Maybe if things got heated enough between himself and the Chicken she'd give up and let them go...Judging them a hopeless cause...Well you get the point.

"You've gotta be kiddin' me, Selphie! You want me to become friends with this pompous asshole? Like, che!"

Zell slid into the deep seat of the armchair he had been steered to. Friends? With Seifer? Somebody save him...Anyone...Okay, anyone but Rinoa. She was evil and smelled like cheap perfume. The kind that made your nose itch and your eyes water. Or Raijin. The dude was scary...He could snap a steel bar in half between his pecs!

"What? Not good enough for you, Fairy Boy? I don't see why you're even worth my time! Who would want to be friends with a little pansy ass like you??"

"Uh...Guys...?" Selphie raised a hand, waving it frantically. Damn. They tuned her out...This wasn't good. She needed a way to grab their attention. She spotted her officially patented attention go-getter. Perfect!

"Oh, like what else do you actually do? Aside from making my life hell? Need more time to jerk off alone in your room, thinking about me?" Zell stuck his tongue out. "You ain't ever touchin' this!"

Seifer gave him the finger. How dare that little brat...He was going down! "Now explain this to me...Why wou-"

"SHUT UP!!!!"

Both boys turned to look at the yellow jumper-clad girl. Had she just yelled at them? Wait, how did she get their attention...? Selphie brandished her bullhorn, standing imposingly on her coffee table. Now that was better! Attention received, she lowered the fearful instrument. Sure, it looked harmless on it's own...But in the possession of a very loud young lady? Head for hills, for your eardrums were in danger!

"That's enough, guys! This is what Squall wants me to work on with you two! But I feel pretty confident that you'll be the best of friends by the time we return to the Garden!"

They both blinked, then Zell spoke up. "Um...Exactly how long are we gonna be on this retreat? I have a mission coming up in about a week..." He prayed silently to any deity that would listen to him. He did NOT want to go on some psycho camping trip. Retreat, whatever, with Seifer!

"All missions cancelled! Irvine will be filling in for you! And the commander said as long as it takes! So don't even bother about stalling! I have enough funds for a year's worth of supplies!" She beamed, they groaned.

Seifer snorted. "I bet the only reason our cowboy signed up was so he could ride Squall's lap in that leather chair of his..."

"No kidding! I can't even count how many episodes of sickenin' displays I've seen involving those two!"

Selphie watched the exchange quietly, curled hair whipping back and forth as she observed. Amazing. They were actually conversing on an almost normal level of topics. Well, the commander's sex life actually was a common topic. After all, how many could make Mr. Iceberg blush quite like Irvine could?

Seifer leaned further back, getting comfortable. He ran his slender fingers through his hair, relishing the silky feeling of his freshly washed locks. "I mean, it's disgusting! It's almost like they don't have any shame. Whatsoever!" He waved his hand to emphasize on his words.

Zell nodded in agreement, also getting more comfortable in his armchair. He bounced a little in excitement. "I know what you mean! I had to kick them out of MY bed for Hyne's sake!"

Selphie squealed. "This is wonderful!!!"

Two blonde heads turned to look at her. "That Squall's getting laid?"

"No, silly! You guys are actually agreeing on something! This is a breakthrough already!" Before they could react, she continued. "So I would like you guys to pack your clothes in a small bag and meet me in the garage in about 20 minutes! Clear? Good!"

Zell shouldered his navy blue duffel bag with a sigh. What did he do to deserve this? Was this because had he giggled that time in mass when he was 7? If it was, he could just kick himself in the ass. Had he known, he would have actually paid attention in church. Hell, he woulda been a little altar boy. Little white robes and all! Staggering under that heavy bible... He shook his head. Nevermind.

He stared at the white marble tile of the hallway floors as he reluctantly headed toward the garage. He could still run for it...Hide himself in his room and barricade himself inside...But no. That all too familiar voice in his head was telling him to go on this trip. Telling him he WANTED to be with Seifer, away from the prying eyes of the Garden. Conscience? Naw. Hormones.

He whimpered, walking faster. Nothing worse than when your sex drive was fucking with your mind... Zell lifted his head, catching a glimpse of Seifer emerging from a hall ahead of him. He paused in his steps, taking a moment to watch the way he moved. Such grace...Seifer walked with such determination and purpose. His whole aura called for respect. Hell, it demanded it! And the way his butt cheeks clenched as he moved...Zell closed his eyes and shuddered.

Zell pressed his cheek against the cool metal of the wall beside to him. This couldn't be happening...He begged his body to calm down before continuing toward the agreed meeting place. He couldn't show up with a massive tent in his shorts. He'd never hear the end of it. The mere thought of all the possible disgust upon Seifer's chiseled features made his firm manhood wilt in mere seconds. He heaved a sigh of relief, adjusting himself a little just to be sure. Then he ran the rest of the way to meet his crazed retreat leader.

Selphie jumped up and down and waved Zell toward them as if she were directing an aircraft. Her arms flailed and her boots clacked loudly as her total 92 pounds landed on the tile below her. "Zell!!! Over here!" She did a somersault, trying to get his attention. As if she hadn't...Seifer shook his head. This was going to be a long, long, very long trip.

"Pile into the van, everyone!" Selphie bounced into the front seat, revving the engine. "Oh yeah! Feel that power baby! Yeeeehaaaa!" She threw her hands into the air, vehicle screeching out of the garage at a highly dangerous speed. Yes, only Selphie could get a Garden vehicle to reach speeds of well over 80 in 2 seconds flat...

Seifer closed his eyes, pinching the bridge of his nose. He was developing a headache very quickly...Not to mention he had to grip his seat to keep himself from flying through the windshield and onto the road. The only good part about that would be the escape from this horrific journey. But then again, he'd be nothing more than a person-shaped smear on the pavement after being smooshed by Selphie's tires. "So, where, exactly, are we going for this little trip of yours?" He leaned on his elbow, gazing out the passenger seat's window. He sighed, watching the darkness roll by. They just HAD to leave at 9 o'clock at night...

Selphie hummed happily, digging through her CD case. Zell yelled to get her attention as they started to swerve. "Hmm? What? Oh, we're going to the Centra continent!" She went back to looking for something to listen to as Seifer grabbed the wheel. "Thanks!"

"For Hyne's sake, watch the road! Do you even KNOW how many Fastitocalons we almost ran over??"

"Um, Selphie? Why don't you give me that..." Zell took the case from her, reading off the titles so she could drive. "How about Tonberry Decay?" Seifer lifted an eyebrow. Tonberry Decay? That was his favorite rock group. The crazy girl actually had some decent taste in music! Amazing.

"Nope, keep going Zell!"

"Okay...Robby Reno?" Zell made a face. He HATED Robby Reno. He couldn't even express the cringe the name produced! Pop idols were the true evils of the world, and not just in the music industry...

"Yah! Good choice, Zell!" Oh dear Gods... Zell released an audible whimper, fearfully holding the CD out on his fingertip. Seifer didn't even bother to hide his disgust as he popped the little plastic disk into the CD player. That bit about her having good taste in music? He took it all back. He shook his head as she began to sing along with the sappy lyrics.

"I was made for you, as you were for meeeeeeeeeeeee!!!" Both male members of the party winced. Zell couldn't take it anymore. He reclined to lay full-length on the back seat, curling up. He stuffed his head under the nearest article his hands closed around, trying to block out the song.

His muffled voice drifted out from beneath his bundled up jacket. "I'm gonna sleep...Night..."

Seifer pressed his forehead to the glass of the window at his side. He didn't know how much more crap music his system would be able to handle...This was torture...Severe torture. Thankfully, he felt his eyelids grow heavy and sleep beckoned him into its comforting arms, drawing him back to betters times long forgotten.

"Seifwa!" The small blonde boy ducked behind a large cardboard box, smothering a giggle in his tiny hands. The owner of the name looked around the room, trying to find the young boy who had called him.

"I'm gonna find ya, Zelly!" Seifer smiled playfully, lifting the edge of his quilt to look for his friend.

"Not!!!" Zell popped up from behind his hiding place, a cross look on his adorable face. His hands flew over his mouth as he realized that he had just given away his location. Seifer rushed over and tackled him into a pile of blankets, giggling.

"Found ya!"

"No feiwer."

"You told me where ya were!"


The boys lay within the soft mound of blankets, talking quietly. The fingertips of sunshine that managed to find them deep within the depths of their hiding place was welcomed by soft sighs of happiness and the sweet songs of laughter.

Zell tucked his head under Seifer's chin, smiling softly. He liked Seifer. The older boy was always willing to play with him or comfort him when he felt scared or sad. Matron said friends were important and he agreed whole-heartedly. Seifer was his favorite friend.

The older blonde boy ruffled his smaller companion's soft locks with his fingers. Zell's honeyed hair kind of reminded him of rabbit fur. So soft and fine...The orphanage had had a rabbit. That was until Selphie decided that Mr. Bunny needed to run like the wind and let him out of his cage. Needless to say, Mr. Bunny wasn't coming back. He was 'adopted' by a roaming wolf. Matron didn't have the heart to tell the children exactly why their pet rabbit wouldn't be returning.

"Ya like my hewar?" Zell's large blue eyes smiled softly, conveying everything he felt without hesitation. Seifer nodded, snuffling the sweet smelling hair. He locked his arms around his friend, hugging him close.


"I like yours better..." Zell lifted a delicate hand, petting Seifer's golden hair as gently as if it were a new born baby chick. The older boy smiled, pressing a kiss to his forehead.


Zell smiled. "Welcome."

As morning became afternoon, and soon to night, the two children discussed the adventures they'd experience tomorrow. Their caretaker leaned against the doorframe of the small room, a smile on her crimson lips. She smoothed out the wrinkles on her simple black dress, turning and walking down the steps that would lead her back to the garden. She paused and plucked a fragile blossom from where it hung above her head and tucked it behind her ear. They were just too precious...Perhaps one day they would realize what she knew would bloom and flourish from the very day they had laid eyes upon each other...

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