Disclaimer: (See Part I.)
A/N: Chayn is a character that I made up, along with Buzz and Garold, and anyone else that I throw into this story who have nothing to do with FF8 whatsoever; I own nothing else but the plot of this story.
To my readers: Here it is:drumroll: The final chappy! I'm so proud that we've made it this far together. Hope you've had as much fun reading this as I've had writing it. I've actually been having thoughts about a sequal so let me know if anyone is interested in that. I think it would be darker than this and much more serious, or it could go completely the other way be all cute fluffiness. Or it could just not happen. Anyway, thanks for all the support. Luv!
After having proven Zell's innocence the excitement at Balamb Garden leveled out and things returned to what was releatively normal. Chayn had admitted to attempting to claim the Life regenerator items for himself, and was awaiting a trial date in which he would undoubtably receive a lenghty sentence.
Garold was questioned and released back into the Garden community as no one could find any evidence against him in regards to the Life regenerator.
Headmaster Cid admitted that he had been worng not to believe Irvine from the start, and had withdrew any previous orders for Irvine and Zell to be ban from the Garden.
Irvine's pre-lunch class was released a few minutes early. He went to the cafeteria early in hopes to get there before the usual line had formed. He planned on surprising Zell by bringing some hotdogs to his dorm room where he was hiding out.
The first time that Zell had been released from the Infirmary, after having extensive work done to repair his hand, Selphie had threatened to kill him anyway, and Squall had acted strange around him, perhaps because he had shot at Zell with his Gunblade. Zell didn't want to be faced with the maniac or the mopey SeeD, so he made like his condition was worse than it was and got Dr. Kadowaki to write him a note allowing him to stay out of class for a while. He didn't see the point in going anyway; he couldn't use his hand to take notes while it was healing.
While Irvine waited in the line of three students that had gotten there before him for their hotdogs, he glanced around the cafeteria. There weren't many people there, but he did notice Selphie at one of the tables working on some homework with a female Trepe Groupie whose back was turned to him.
Selphie looked up from her papers to the groupie, and noticed Irvine over her study partner's shoulder.
Their eyes met for a split second; Irvine was the first one to look away. He didn't want her thinking that he had been watching her, but he couldn't help himself. He looked back.
Selphie, to Irvine's surprise, smiled and waved to him.
Irvine blinked before holding up a hand giving a quick wave back.
"Hey man, the line's moving." A SeeD poked Irvine in the back.
Irvine bought the hotdogs for Zell and went to his dorm room. He knocked on the door.
"It's open," Zell muttered, barely loud enough to be heard.
Irvine walked into the messy dorm and saw Zell sitting at his window mournfully looking out on the world. His chin was resting on his good hand, and he appeared not to have bothered putting on his shirt as he was only wearing his vest that was not even buttoned up at that. Judging from the growing piles of laundry on the floor, Irvine assumed that he was wearing only the vest because none of his other clothes were clean.
"With all this junk on the floor, you might fall and break your arm. Then what would you do?" Irvine tried to cheer him up, but his teasing was met with a heavy sigh.
Irvine took a step into the room. "I have something for you..." he coaxed.
"Just leave it on the table." Zell's gaze remained out the window.
Irvine chuckled. "Not even a thank you or a greeting for your buddy, but the gift! ... That you'll take."
"Sorry... Hi Irvine, thanks." Zell's voice was monotone.
Irvine placed the paper bag containing the hotdogs on the only clear space on a small table and walked over to the window. "What's the matter?"
Zell glanced up at Irvine, then to his bandaged hand that was wrapped to about the size of a small cantaloupe. "Look at it! It's nearly the size of a beachball!" he exaggerated.
"Aww..." Irvine pouted in mock sympathy. "Would it feel better if I kissed it?" he asked in a baby voice. He leaned over and kissed the top of the bandage.
Zell looked up at the taller man like he had gone nuts. He sniffed the air and his eyes lit up. "Did you bring me HOTDOGS!"
Irvine grinned and watched as Zell raced to the table and tore open the paper bag with one hand, not even bothering to sit down. He forced two hotdogs into his mouth at the same time. Then he looked back at his friend. "You don't want one, do you?"
Irvine laughed at the question that obviously had a prefered answer. "No, you go ahead." Irvine sat down on the squeaky couch opposite to Zell, and watched as he gobbled up all five of the hotdogs that he had brought him.
Zell felt like he could probably down a few more. "Those were delicious!" he announced, finally finding a moment to sit down on the couch next to Irvine.
"It seems so. They made you forget about your hand pretty fast."
"My what?" he squinted at Irvine in confusion. "Oh yeah..."
Irvine rolled his eyes. "And you wanted people to believe that you're in extreme agony so that you can stay this dump and laze around all day?"
Zell grinned widely.
"You goon." Irvine grabbed the nearest dirty shirt belonging to Zell that had been strewn over the arm rest of the couch and threw it at Zell. It hit him in the face and fell into his lap. He looked stunned for a second.
"Hey man! That's not cool," he whinned.
"What's not cool is you getting to miss class while I have to suffer. I'm the one who's in real pain here."
Being caught guilty, Zell looked downward and smiled.
Irvine watched the shorter boy in a voyeuristic fashion, taking in every visual aspect of him. The top of his messed up spikey head, the tip of his nose, and his bare chest beneath his unbuttoned vest.
Returning his eyes to Irvine who hadn't yet noticed that he was being watched, Zell stared back.
Irvine looked up to Zell's face and reddened slightly having been caught staring. "Anyway," he began, putting a hand into the pocket of his pants, "the instructor asked me to give you some page numbers to read from the..." Irvine paused and watched Zell reposition himself to better face the tall boy, noticing that he had become particularily interested in what Irvine was saying.
The shorter boy leaned in closer to Irvine, so close that Irvine felt like he might have something stuck to his face. Zell removed Irvine's cowboy hat from his head and stared deeply into his confused blue eyes. Then he threw the hat carelessly to the left like a frisbee, cupped Irvine's jaw in his good hand, and kissed him fircely on the lips.
"...text book," Irvine breathed the rest of his sentence. He pulled a small paper out of his pocket with several page numbers on it that Zell was supposed to read.
There was a moment of silence between the two.
Not taking his eyes off of Zell for a second, Irvine crumpled up the paper and tossed it over his shoulder before leaping at Zell. The springs of the couch squeaked under their weight as they went down together.
Zell was sprinkled across his face with a shower of kisses. Irvine planted them all the day down his throat and chest, causing Zell to arch his neck. He hastily pushed Zell's vest aside to continue the trail. Zell yelped as his injured hand was squished between Irvine's shoulder and the couch.
Irvine immediately pulled back, breathing heavily. "What's wrong?"
"You squished my hand!" He made it sound as if Irvine had run over his favourite dog.
"I'm so sorry," Irvine spoke only half concerned. He moved Zell's hand out of the way and continued where he had previously left off.
A few moments later, Zell was wearing only his hotdog-print boxers, and Irvine was down to his pants, and if it weren't for the loud squeaks of the couch, they would have heard the knocking on the door.
"Hello? Zell? I'm coming in." Rinoa strode into the room as if she'd been there a million times before.
Zell ceased undoing Irvine's belt with his teeth and stared, horrified, at Rinoa standing in the room.
She blinked a few times.
Zell turned a ripe tomato red.
"This is awkward..." Irvine commented.
"Well, don't let me stop you." She waved her hand at them to show that they could continue. "I just came by to give Zell this 'Get Well Soon' gift." She held up an unidentifiable object made of metal that looked somewhat dangerous and like she had handcrafted it herself in a welding class. She put it on the table. "Not that he needs it anymore." She winked at the two boys before leaving with a laugh.
Zell jumped up and locked the door behind her before any more intrusions could occur. He turned back to the room and made a face at the gift on his table. It was ugly in an intriguing sort of way. He couldn't take his eyes off of it.
"What IS that?" Irvine voiced the question that they had both been wondering.
Irvine pat the couch between his legs, inviting Zell to come back and sit with him.
Zell complied and curled up in Irvine's lap like a small child.
Irvine wrapped his arms around the boy. "There's something I've been wanting to say to you for a long time."
Zell raised his eyebrows in question. "Hm?"
"I've wanted to say that, that day at the cliff... I was really worried about you. I don't know what I would have done if I'd lost you. I haven't had the chance yet to tell you."
"What's that?" asked Zell.
"How much you mean to me." Irvine lowered his voice. "I love you, and I'd do anything for you. Just, don't go falling off any more cliffs, okay?"
Zell smiled and looked up at Irvine. "What do you mean? I thought you liked being my big, strong protector?"
"I do," stated Irvine, "when I can do it while you're on solid ground."
Zell nestled his head into Irvine's chest. "Don't worry, I promise I won't do it again."
"Good." Irvine kissed the top of Zell's spikey head.
Meanwhile, in a prision located a far distance away from Balamb Garden, Chayn sat in a windowless cell, writing a name in the dust gathered on the floor.
Someone in a cell down the row moaned, while another shouted and cursed at no one in particular.
Chayn focused on the dust. His back was to the barred door so he didn't notice the guard approaching.
The guard tapped on the bars. "You, what are you doing?" he asked suspiciously.
Chayn ignored the guard and continued to doodle.
"Hey, I asked you a question." The guard unlocked the door and stepped into the cell. He violently pushed Chayn aside, knocking him into the wall. He looked down at the floor, not noticing the name in the dust. He kicked the dust around madly causing it to look like a small explosion had gone off in the small space.
Chayn looked up at the guard with annoyance as he left the cell and locked the door behind him. He waited until the guard walked further down the row to check on the hysterical screamer before he pushed himself off of the wall and crouched back in the place where he had been writing in the dust.
The dust had settled quickly and Chayn retraced the name in the dust, whispering it to himself. "Zell."