Jan '05'

Disclaimer: All the Final Fantasy characters in this series of ficlets and/or short stories belong to those talented people at Square/Enix or whatever they are called now.

This is a series of Valentine's Day fics. Not all of them will contain smut, but they all are from the FF8 fandom, and the main pairing is, of course, Irvine and Squall. This will also be generally silly, have sappy moments and will hopefully be fun for you to read and fun for me to write. Enjoy.

This is YAOI - boys with boys, caring, desiring, kissing, hugging, groping…um, yeah…but that’s why you’re reading this, yes?

Book of Love: Voucher 10
By Garden's Gnome

Seifer frowned as the elevator pinged and its doors silently slid open. He had just been given a mission that would take him away from Garden for at least a week, maybe two.

The mission would take him away from Zell.

Walking towards the library to get something to read while he was away, Seifer tried not to sneer at the pairs of students that passed him, some just hanging out as friends, others happy couples in love. He really wanted to hit something.

Ignoring the librarian who smiled at him as he walked past the desk, Seifer thought back to their bike ride on the Galbadian continent. It had been exciting to speed up the road on Zell’s bike, the other blonde pressed against his back, trusting him to keep them safe. It had been fun, ending with them spending the night at Zell’s house, sitting up half the night with Ma Dincht before passing out on a made up cot in Zell’s old room. Seifer had felt eyes watching him closely and whenever he’d looked at Zell, the blue eyes seemed puzzled, as if trying to figure out what was going on.

Seifer knew what was going on. He was falling in love with his blonde friend all over again.

He’d first felt something towards the Zell just before he had taken his initial SeeD test. His failure had crushed him, leaving the green-eyed blonde lashing out at anyone who told him it’d be better next time. Three missions later he was still failing, unable to keep his eagerness to fight under control. He cruelly teased and hassled Zell and even injured Squall in a duel.

But now that was all behind him, he was SeeD and once again friends with Squall and Zell and the others from the orphanage gang. All he had to do was tell the martial artist how he felt and his life would be perfect. He was sure the blonde felt something for him too, after all he’d let Seifer ride his precious bike, taken him home to meet Ma and had not flinched away when Seifer had touched him. Seifer remembered the warm skin under his fingers. He saw something in those blue eyes before Zell had hidden his face and now had to decide if he should wait till Zell came to him or find the other blonde and tell him.

“Hey, Seifer. Whatcha doing?” Zell asked.

Seifer jumped and spun around. He had not heard the tattooed blonde approach so deep in thought he’d been.

“I’m getting some books to read while I’m away,” Seifer said, walking over to the counter and handing over the books he’d selected.

“Away?” Zell asked.

“I’ve been given a mission,” Seifer said, looking down at his companion. Surely he’d imagined that Zell sounded worried.

“Where?”

“A week or two in Winhill. Fuujin is going with me and Raijin will be teaching the weapon combat classes by himself while I’m gone,” Seifer said as they left the library and headed towards the dorms.

“When do you leave?” Zell asked, keeping pace with Seifer’s longer strides.

“In about an hour,” Seifer said with a sigh as he entered his room and tossed the books on the desk.

“That’s rather quick,” Zell said, sitting at the desk and watching Seifer move around packing some clothes and his gunblade.

“It is but there’s nothing I can do but follow orders.”

For a minute Zell watched Seifer fiddle with things in his case, looking like he wanted to say something but couldn’t. Reaching into a pocket, Zell pulled out a piece of paper and tossed it as the other blonde.

“Something is obviously bothering you. Talk to me, Seifer.”

Seifer opened the folded page and read the words three times before looking up at the man sitting at his desk. Seifer read the words again before tossing the sheet of paper onto the bed.

Love Voucher: A Deep And Meaningful

“You never said you had more of these,” Seifer said, glancing at the blonde.

“Why are you being so nice to me?” Zell asked in a quiet voice, ignoring Seifer‘s words. “After years of teasing and putting me down, why are you being so kind? And don‘t tell me it‘s because I was on the winning team.”

Seifer looked at the words on the page until they were burned into his mind, a small sad smile gracing his lips. He had been looking for a way to tell Zell how he felt and the other blonde had given it to him.

“I…When you came to Garden, you didn’t remember me,” Seifer began quietly, tidying up his mission bag so he could close it. “I remembered everything. You, Squall, the orphanage, but you’d forgotten us. We were all close when we lived at the orphanage, even when you were a cry baby,” he said, smiling at the other man‘s scowl.

“You came and started making friends. I wanted to be your friend but you were always wary of me.”

“You and your posse were rather scary,” Zell said quietly.

“Yeah, we were. But after some time passed, we did become friends. Then I got my first GF, in preparation for my SeeD test.”

“I kinda remember that,” Zell whispered. “I remember you coming back wide-eyed and not talking to anyone.”

“I was drunk on the power and mad that I hadn’t passed the test. I was angry at myself and the system.”

“So you struck out.”

“Yeah,” Seifer agreed, recalling the heated arguments he’d had with Cid or the faculty and how he’d hassled other students for the power it gave him over them.

“Why did you hate me after that?” Zell asked.

“I didn’t hate you,” Seifer said with a sigh as he sat heavily on his bed. “I liked you. I liked you a lot, Zell. I still do.”

“Then why?”

“I…there were rumours about the GFs eating away at our memories the stronger they got. I was scared that I would forget you and what you meant to me,” Seifer whispered.

Zell watched Seifer wrap his arms around himself as if he was warding off a chill. The tattooed blonde got up from the desk chair and moved the bag so he could sit next to his friend.

“I needed to make new memories, any memories so I wouldn’t forget you. Ever. By then I was so used to attacking everything around me and it was the only way I could be sure you were paying attention to me.”

Zell sighed as he wrapped an arm about the other blonde’s shoulders. Seifer immediately rested his head on top of Zell’s, breathing out a sigh of relief as he was held.

“I’m sorry,” Seifer whispered.

“What do I mean to you, Seifer?” Zell asked quietly.

“You mean a lot,” Seifer said as he reached out for Zell’s other hand and laced their fingers together.

Looking down at the long fingers intertwined with his, Zell shivered a little at the implications of the touch.

“Seifer Almasy, please report to the front gate. I repeat: Seifer Almasy…”

“I’ve got to go,” Seifer said with a loud sigh, standing up from the bed but still holding onto Zell’s hand.

Zell said nothing as the other blonde grabbed up his bag and gunblade and headed for the door.

“Seifer…”

Seifer turned and looked back at the blonde who stood in the middle of his room.

“I like you too…a lot.”

Two strides and Seifer was gathering Zell into his arms, relieved when Zell wrapped his arms around him as well. They stood together in silence, just listening to the other breathe until they heard Seifer’s name announced again.

“I’ll be back as soon as I can,” Seifer promised, stroking a thumb across Zell’s tattoo as he held the held the other man close.

“I know,” Zell said, giving Seifer a squeeze before stepping back out of reach and taking Seifer’s mission bag.

“Let’s go. The sooner you head out, the sooner you’ll be back,” Zell said with a grin, leading the way out into the Garden.

To be continued…

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