A/N: Man, I'm losing it! Writers block sucks some serious ass and I'm in search of my muse to write things well!! For those of you who are eagerly waiting for the next chapter of "Underneath this Pressure," the next chapter is finally done! I just need to go over it and edit it a bit before posting. Sorry for the long wait. I hope this makes up for it until I do update.

Pairing: Squall x Zell

Warnings: sorry for any misspellings. No matter how much I look things over I always seem to miss things. Uhm, lust and kissing and one F bomb.


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Snow Angels

a fiction by Crimson Vixen

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Squall idly fingered his trademark scar, pinching the bridge of his fine nose to rub away the migraine that was sprouting from behind his eyes. Then he slid a gloved hand down his face, trying to remove the uncomfortable wetness that coated his skin, making the cool winter air even cooler when it kissed his sensitive flesh. He spun around sharply on his heels, spraying a small shower of soft snow in his rotation, and gave a well practiced glare at his lover. It hardly needed to be said but…

Damn, that snowball had been cold!!

"You had that one coming…" the blonde teased, flashing a wolfish grin and laughing through it. The energetic boy bounced from foot to foot in his excitement, unfazed by Squall's steady eyes.

"It's freezing, Zell," Squall said flatly, adjusting his scarf, scoffing at the bitter weather and the snowball and the young man who had wielded it.

Zell rolled his eyes with a somewhat sarcastic grin. "Well duh…" he drawled, bending over to scoop up a fresh bundle of white power, very compactable that evening, a mischievous glint devouring his eyes. "It's a little thing called winter."

Squall sighed, looking the blonde over. His heavy yet flexible winter clothes hid his beautifully sculpted muscles and sun-kissed skin tone. For some odd reason, Squall felt that Zell would be more laid-back once the white flakes blanketed the ground; like he needed a season to hibernate all of that electric energy, but the winter wonderland only seemed to heighten his hyperactive nature.

An endless amount of energy. Somehow, Squall didn't mind.

Only…

"Don't you dare," the brunette warned, eying the new-born snowball in Zell's all too eager hands. When the boy showed no sign of backing down, Squall took an unconscious step back. Zell marred his features into an uncharacteristic expression of apathy as he shrugged, smile waning.

"Fine."

Breathing a sigh of relief, Squall turned his back and began his tread back to the Garden; the area was deserted and dead and therefore, boring. He didn't understand what Zell saw in this place, and saw no reason to 'hang back a bit' but when he tried to convince him otherwise… well the ending result was… cold.

But during his walk back, a sudden smack of icy fluff splattered against the back of his retreating head, and he shot an equally icy glare back at Zell, who had the most dangerously challenging look on his face, rosy from being bitten by the cold. There was a long, lingering moment where stormy blue orbs and pure sky blue ones locked, exchanged in a silent dare for the other to make a move. When neither faltered, Zell took up the risk and decided to take the next course of action.

Bending down, he took a handful of snow, patting it down to form a nice ball.

"You're asking for it…" the brunette seethed so quietly – to himself more than Zell – that Zell probably didn't even hear it. But as he churned, he became confused as to why the corners of his mouth were curling up when he was supposed to be angry. As if hearing his thoughts, Zell looked attentive as he tossed the snowball from hand to hand, little sprinkles of feathery fluff skittering to the ground when it cuffed against his palm.

"You take all the fun out of being a kid," he said. "You're letting your life slip away, you know."

Squall wrinkled his nose; he wasn't here to be lectured on maturity levels, by Zell of all people. They had a report to make and here the blonde was wasting their time. "We're hardly kids. And we have responsibilities to take care of. So come on, we're heading back."

Squall tossed a thumb over his shoulder towards the silhouetted Garden, foggy with its lengthy distance, and watched as Zell disappointedly let the snowball drop to his feet. Feeling safe again, the stoic teenager started to make his way back, predicting that Zell would undoubtedly follow like the loyal comrade he was.

And sure enough, he heard the panting that came from running in the cool winds, and the squeal of snow crunching under thick boots.

What he wasn't expecting, however, was to be tackled from behind. Not until he was stumbling forward, rolling along the flurry with Zell's limbs tangled in his own. Trying to gain control of the situation, his hands quickly seized Zell's broad shoulders, and ceased their rolling, pinning Zell breathless beneath him.

Squall tried to hide his attraction to the heavily breathing blonde with half-lidded eyes and tinted cheeks. His bangs drooped forward and created a soft and lovely curtain over his eyes, which Squall gently blew to the side for him. He didn't always understand the games that Zell played, but he always found himself retaliating, something he would have never done a few months ago, during the war. Never during the war… Not with all that was going on, and all that was being shoved onto his shoulders. Not with anyone, not even with Rinoa.

For some reason, his well-built defenses were worthless when it came to Zell. The funny part was… Zell didn't even try.

Zell made no attempt to move from his spot, allowing Squall to straddle his hips and hold him down. The snow was deep and walled Zell in, and the brunette took advantage of this and grabbed a fistful of snow, revenge in mind. He knew that Zell would win when it came to brute strength so before Zell's quick reflexes had the time to react, Squall hurriedly shoved the chilly substance through Zell's slightly parted lips.

But the reaction he got was not what he expected. Zell did not struggle against the action, but grinned instead. And in one swift, fluid motion, he flipped them around and reversed their positions. The martial artist sloshed the snow around in his mouth once and swallowed, diving down to brush his gentle pink lips against Squall's. It was soft and tender, then strong and forceful as Zell demanded entrance with his tongue, swirling and devouring, hungry once he had gotten what he wanted.

Squall shuddered. Zell's lusciously succulent mouth was so deliciously freezing, his own sweet and juicy taste mixing with the watery snow, making contact with his own warm mouth all the more enjoyable. Zell was so good at granting him new and exciting experiences with his little spontaneous experiments.

…Where did Zell learn these little tricks..?

Stuff he spontaneously thought of at the top of his head? Probably…

When Zell pulled away, leaving Squall's lips puckered and bruised, they stared at one another. A small but noticeable wind blew, and Zell turned his head to the side, pretty light colored lashes fluttering as he eyed their trail in the snow; the one they had made in their scuttle. Squall looked, too.

"Those are the ugliest snow angels I've ever seen."

"Tch," Zell sniggered, his luminous brows rising. "Did my ears hear correctly? Did Squall Leonhart just crack a joke?" The shorter boy lifted a gloved hand to cup it lovingly over Squall's ear, but his face still bore the humor he was feeling. "I don't even think angels would do what we just did."

With that, Zell rolled off, joining his lover in looking up at the winter stars. The sun had set and the chill had increased, so he scooted himself close enough to Squall to brush his arm against his jacket sleeve. Zell enjoyed stargazing, but his mind often wondered, never one to be able to handle the stillness Squall could. He could think of no words as he stared blankly at the moon, and he stiffened his spine, spreading and closing his arms and legs.

Swish swish. Swish swish.

"Zell..?"

Swish swish. Swish swish.

"Hm?"

"…What are you doing?"

"Making a snow angel. A good one."

Swish swish. Swish swish.

Squall didn't respond, only kept his eyes glued to Zell and his graceful movements. Almost everything Zell did was graceful. Squall gave a lazy, rare grin.

"Squall?" Zell's soft voice broke the heavy night. Squall still said nothing, but Zell knew he was listening. "Squall, do you love me?"

Silence, still. Squall had to ready himself; Zell often needed reassurance, to know that he what he was feeling in his delicate heart was indeed mutual, and Squall had to overcome his uneasiness with being openly sentimental in order to give that to him. Anything for him.

"Of course I do. You know that."

Zell audibly smiled, pillowing the back of his head with his hands. "Why?"

"…what do you mean, 'why'?"

"You know," Zell hummed warily. "Why do you love me?"

Squall nestled his back further into the blanketed earth, knowing the answers were literally endless, but the ways to word those reasons… were near impossible; they always escaped him. But Zell didn't need reasons. Because the blonde knew him better than he did himself. He opened his mouth to speak but didn't know what was meant to sound. Zell had interrupted him before he even had the chance.

"Or rather… you're not afraid?"

"Hm?"

"I know you've been hurt a lot in the past," Zell said sadly, eyes going unfocused for a moment. These things made him uncomfortable, but he felt the need to say it, even if he didn't like the abrupt candor in which it came. "How do you know that I won't hurt you, too?"

Squall didn't know where any of this was coming from, but he didn't like it, nor did he want to hear it. He knew Zell, trusted him, enough to know that the boy could never hurt him. Never. And if by some small chance that pigs started to fly and people could breath underwater, and that ever did happen, he would have no regrets.

"If I ever got hurt, it wouldn't be because of you," was the brunette's solid answer, and somehow, it sounded like it would be enough. He was usually never one to hold something back for the sake of protecting someone else's feelings, so Zell felt a small urge of relief when Squall swiftly answered, straightforward and confident. But that one pestering sentiment from before was far from gone.

"You can't say that," Zell found himself shifting awkwardly. "You have no way of knowing what's gonna happen."

Squall crinkled his nose; "It's not like you to think so negatively."

"…There's a thought that's been nagging me, way in the back of my head," Zell mumbled lightly, and Squall's closed lids twitched vaguely. When Squall did not speak, Zell wondered briefly if his lover had drifted off to sleep. He took a steady breath, continuing anyway. "I know you love me, even if no one else understands your expressionism. But…"

Squall was listening intently behind his lids, entranced by Zell's open moments and his uncanny ability to understand him so clearly without ever needing to be told a thing. It was… one of the reasons he had fallen head over heals for the kid.

"What if, you know? What if you do get hurt? And what if it is because of me?" His voice had grown quiet, soft-spoken, nearly afraid of the sound emitting form his own mouth. He shuddered slightly from the cold and the mood, seemingly lost in his own mindscape, and worriedly closed his eyes, letting the fresh falling flakes perch and melt upon his defined face.

Squall looked at Zell through slit eyes. The night sky and the moon cast a bluish white outline on Zell's features, and probably his as well.

"I said that won't happen," Squall replied suddenly, and Zell slightly jumped.

"But…"

"Listen to yourself. You're being ridiculous." Squall said in a flat tone, concerned for Zell's out of character train of thought, and confused about the whole thing in general. This could easily be his boyfriend's way of getting him to be romantic and tell him sweet nothings and spill about how and why he loved him so. On the other hand, Zell could be as distressed as he was coming across.

"I know you love me," Zell repeated, as if emphasizing the significance that one statement held. "But so do others. The world is cold, Squall, you know that. There are people out there who could try to use that against us. Against you."

The snow crinkled under his weight as Zell sat up and pulled his legs to his chest, mainly to keep himself warm. His arms draped lazily around them, his chin lowering to rest on top of his boney knees. He was lost in thought, and so Squall sat up next to him to hear him better.

"That won't happen," Squall reassured, reiterating only to engrave it into the blonde's head, as much as his own. He wanted more than anything to show this to Zell, but he didn't know how to prove it. He couldn't even prove it to himself.

"There are a lot of people who resent SeeD," Zell went on, his voice making Squall shiver more than the nipping winds ever could. "…A lot of people who are against those who killed the sorceress; people who were for the war."

From the sounds of things, the thought had been eating away at the blonde for some time now. Squall wanted to tell Zell just how foolish he was being, but there was just too much truth in what he was saying. Young and able, they lived a very dangerous profession, where they would occasionally put their lives on the line. After the war, Squall and the friends that had helped him through it had become both idolized and loathed. And the loathing half of the world contained people who were motivated enough to do something about it.

There were people who were willing to take the lives of the SeeDs that defeated the sorceress. People who were against SeeD in the first place, and were ignorant enough to kill because of it.

And people were dirty. So dirty that they would resort to risking other people just to get what they wanted.

So naturally, Zell couldn't help but ponder the possibility of someone seeking revenge on Squall, the one most responsible for the result of the war. His hero. Zell wasn't very good at letting go, especially when it came to his heroes.

"So if anyone ever wanted to hurt you…" Zell whispered, somewhat mirroring the gunblade wielder's train of thought, and Squall prepared himself for what he knew was next. "…they could do so through me."

The SeeD commander forced himself to laugh, but it sounded odd from his throat. It came out more pungent than he wanted. "I don't think I have anything to worry about. You're pretty damn capable of taking care of yourself."

Zell's eyes grew glossy. He knew the truth in that, but…

"No, really!" He threw his arms into the air and plopped back down into the snow. His brows arched in worry as he vented to the sky. Squall settled himself down next to him. "What if someone conks me from behind and then drags me away. Next thing you know you get a threatening phone call and—"

"Stop it," Squall broke in, wearily. "Now you're just sounding impractical. Don't be so unreasonable; I think you might be thinking too hard about this…"

"I mean it. What if someone did? What if someone tried to take me away from you?"

Squall flinched. Zell had a rather inquisitive nature and was simply being honest, as he always was, but hearing words like that, about how someone could always come and just… take Zell away from him, were just too hard to handle, especially when they were coming from the very object of his desires. It sent a twinge to his heart, how Zell could say such things so freely while it bothered him just to hear it. Squall wasn't used to people being so blunt about these things, even though Zell could be a blunt person.

And frankly, the stoic teen wasn't sure he could hear much more of it. If someone did strip him of Zell, he would crumble, simple as that. His bond to the blonde had grown too strong to stay standing on his own.

"No one is going to touch you," Squall stated as a-matter-of-factly. He felt his face growing hot, somehow, in the wave of passion that was making him feel flighty and forcing him to act so unreasonably strange. He wasn't used to such a feeling, but he liked it. His hand floated over to Zell's cheek and rested there. Zell closed his eyes at the contact, even if it was a gloved one, and nuzzled his nose into Squall's open palm as the brunette finished his tacit promise; "I won't ever give anyone the chance."

Baby blue eyes grew wide as they looked into Squall's, glittered with reflections from the sky and longing with love and lust.

A still moment passed right through them until Zell rolled onto his side, curling into a fetal position and burying himself into Squall's chest. His face dug into Squall's heavy coat and his hands tried to grab a decent handful of the material through his thick winter gloves. Squall's arms awkwardly found their way around the now quaking body in an embrace, and held him tight, his head bowing to huddle his lips into sunshine-yellow hair. Zell had obviously given this a lot of thought.

It was hard for him to say, yet he repeated it over and over, softly, barely audible, in between small and soft kisses to the blonde's scalp. "…love you…"

And the words only made him cling tighter, and if he was sobbing (Squall wasn't sure if he was or not…) and he was probably doing so harder now, only because he knew that if the words came straight from Squall's mouth… they had to be true.

Zell's nose twitched when he brought his head back up to look at Squall's scarred face. Their faces hovered next to one another's, noses brushing and eyes never wavering. Then in one sudden flash, Zell's lips crashed ferociously into Squall's, teeth chomping carefully at his lower lip and slick tongue sliding over his teeth and intertwining with his. Both sets of eyes desperately closed, they pulled at each other, needy and hopelessly.

Never breaking the profound kiss, Squall swung a leg over Zell's thighs and tightly straddled the youth's bucking hips. Their lower bodies grinded and Zell's hands lustfully, roughly discarded their gloves and slid up and under Squall's coat and massaged the sleek and toned skin that lay dormant underneath. Squall grunted with every thrust of his body, silently cursing the weather and the heavy clothing it forced him to wear, doing whatever he could to pull himself closer, closer to Zell's energetic adrenaline and hidden silky flesh.

Squall removed his own gloves, a need to feel Zell's velvety skin becoming too much to ignore, and he held Zell's face roughly but gently, tugging his lover's head towards him to deepen the fevered kiss. His fingers ran sloppily through Zell's blonde hair and it must have felt agonizingly good, because Zell's pace was quickening, and he whimpered in pleasure.

Careful not to expose too much of that rippling skin to the cool night air, Squall tore open the top button of Zell's button up winter coat and slid the zipper down a couple of inches, sliding one eager hand down to teasingly play with his chest and collar bone and neck, keeping the other hand cradled behind Zell's head. Zell's hands became pleading, pulling, prying at Squall's body and clothes, and the kiss, if at all possible, grew even more frantic and manic. Squall's lips demolished Zell's entire mouth, crushing and dominating, and his excitement was only heightened when he heard Zell pant and moan, quick spurts of air rushing out of his nose in attempt to breathe.

Every exhalation was practically mewled, and Zell could not stop, too wrapped up in an immense sensation. A sensation that Squall, and only Squall could give him. Was giving to him. But the cold was nipping at their noses and soon they inevitably broke apart. Zell was left heaving through his mouth, Squall through his nose, both powerful chests heaving, wallowing in the feel of tingling lips and franticly thrashing heartbeats.

Their eyes never left their hold, hazy with exhaustion. Squall's hand kept combing gently through Zell's tangled spikes, savoring their soft texture and the sigh that escaped the blonde when he closed his eyes to the tender touch.

In the crisp air, Zell breathed the only word that was on both of their minds, the only word that could describe what they were feeling.

"…wow…"

Ecstasy was overwhelming and Squall rolled off of Zell's gradually relaxing frame. He shuddered in satisfaction and laced his fingers between the shorter boys, squeezing amiably.

And maybe Zell was just hearing things in his deliriously dizzy state, high on zeal and fervor, or maybe the gentle sounds of the night were playing tricks on his sensitive ears. Because he could barely hear it, not even sure if it was there at all. The sound that was too difficult to ignore, that airy whispered resonance that was so fragile, carried away lightly by the breeze in the tone of Squall's voice.

"…I love you…"

He suddenly felt very content and would have hugged himself if it didn't mean summoning up the energy to do so, letting flakes lick his skin, and securely holding Squall's calloused hand. He was blissfully spent.

A cold touch of wetness graced the bridge of his nose and Zell pinched his eyes shut, letting a hot tear roll down his face. Squall gave a glance in his direction. Zell did not – could not – form the words he wanted to express so badly, of how happy he was and Squall made him, but Squall could easily read those four, sincere, very Zell words that the blonde mouthed…

'Fuck I love you.'

And as he rolled to the side to cling to Squall in another embrace, he found his voice.

"...so, so much…"

The words became a chant as he kept shaking his head devotedly into Squall's jacket, a mantra of his soul that he could never convey thoroughly enough. But he knew that his words meant something, for he could still feel Squall's hand curled around his back and pulling him tighter, a gesture that didn't seem to suit the brunette yet in the sense that he knew him, did so perfectly.

"It's cold," Squall mono-toned, and Zell laughed instantly, sniffing with his suddenly runny nose, and he nodded into the younger boy's jacket.

"You state the obvious a lot, you know that?"

"Obvious or not, you were planning on staying here, weren't you?" the chestnut haired youth questioned seriously, and he received a blank stare. "That's what I thought. So I figured it was worth saying. You'll catch a cold if you stay out here."

"Wow, I'm flattered," Zell giggled, and Squall never knew that such a sweet sound could emit from someone so wild. "Worried about me?" He cooed, poking Squall's nose with his stiff finger. Squall pulled his face away slightly, shaking his head at the childish yet appealing behavior.

"Come on, let's head back," he insisted.

"Well you were the one who tried to unbutton me!" Zell retorted, smiling playfully as Squall looped his arms tighter around the smaller boy's frame. Zell glanced up just enough to touch his nose to Squall's and he fluttered his thick lashes in surprise. "But alright," he whispered, and touched Squall's lips in a quick peck.

Squall stood up first, quickly, and helped Zell rise to his feet as well. The martial artist, clingy in his nature, leaned into Squall's taller self, humming contently, able to feel the strong build under that jacket with his cheek.

Zell snuck a hand into Squall's palm, scissoring his fingers in between the longer, lithe ones, and held tightly. The brunette looked around, as if there would be someone there to judge them, but they were alone. And once he had confirmed this, he closed his eyes and bowed his head in the direction they wanted to go, walking with Zell as his guide, finally returning the grip and squeezing Zell's hand equally.

Neither boy looked back at the winter playground, and so they never saw the imprints that were molded in the snow. Two snow angels, grasping at each other for warmth and comfort, keeping sacred the only one that either craved, the very thing that held them together as one. Whole, pure, reflective…

Complete.