Our little secret.

Seifer frowned in annoyance, as his best female friend was laughing and talking with.... the enemy. Well Quistis maybe wasn't the real enemy but she was close to it. He tried to ignore them and turned his attention back to his books. He was going to pass the exam this year, this was his last shot. Fujin wasn't taking it again she was just working for garden, whatever they needed her to do. Library assistant one week, back up muscle the next week. He got the feeling she hung around just to be near him and Raijin. His other friend was retaking the exam, not that he thought the dark man had a chance but on the other hand Raijin was good at following orders, and that was what good Seeds or good sheep, as Seifer put it, were made of. At least it gave him someone to study with. Seifer sat in the library with a selection of books spread out across the table in front of him. He glanced moodily over to his right as he heard a sharp laugh from the girls. They glanced at him then turned away again. He frowned, not that he was overly paranoid but he couldn't help but think they were talking about him.

This had been starting to happen for a while now, his friends making other friends with certain 'people'. He had glared at Raijin for hanging around with the cowboy and his yellow ball of energy, the dark man had scurried back to Seifer's side looking guilty and sheepish. Sadly Fujin seemed immune to the glares that he sent her. After another couple of glances from the girls, he got up, packing up his books and walked out into the halls. He stretched his neck slightly, he had been sitting there for hours, working or at least trying to work or, okay pretending to work. It was getting late and dark outside now. He clicked his neck. Time for a quick shower, he decided.

Last year after the war, garden, especially Balamb garden had suddenly got very busy, suddenly everyone wanted to be a Seed. So that meant they needed more space. Everyone was double bunked, except his highness of course, and the dreaded communal showers were back as everyone, Seed or not, had to give up on their bathrooms. Living with Raijin was an... experience, the guy was a slob really. He'd shed his clothes all over the room before bed, his books lived everywhere. Seifer wasn't anywhere near a neat freak but he was tidy... ish. He'd have rather lived with Fujin but stupid garden rules had the girls in one wing and the boys in another. It wasn't like he was ever going to date Fujin he had tried to explain that when he was trying to get out of rooming with Raijin. For one thing he might not swing her way, he was at least bisexual. He wasn't sure if women still did it for him. Bad experiences Fujin put it down to, that didn't necessary mean he was gay. But hey, he was still a teenager for christ's sake. Secondly Fujin was like.... a guy, a guy type of guy like Raijin not one he would everbe attracted to and no he was never going to say that to her face. It wasn't late yet so the showers should be pretty quiet. Seifer pushed open the door and walked through the little maze like entrance, probably there to avoid people looking in, and seeing someone naked in the changing area.

He heard this sound like laboured breathing. He paused, then slowly peered into the next room. His eyebrows knitted together as he stopped in the doorway and stared at the little Chickie, who had yet to notice that he was there. The guy looked rough, well beaten up and not by a person, judging from the large claw marks on his left side, the t shirt was ripped and bloody. The blonde struggled to get out of his clothes, his left arm freed from the shirt but he couldn't get his other arm up long enough to free it. He clutched at his side, the non bloody side, maybe a cracked rib or two.

Seifer pushed off the wall and cleared his throat as he walked to the other side of the room towards the lockers there.

Zell jumped, his head shooting up and groaned as he moved too quickly.

"Seifer." He said quietly.

The taller man looked over his shoulder, as he rid himself of his coat and shirt, folding them neatly and putting them into one of the lockers. He never bothered to lock them unless it was really busy, he used to leave one of the crosses on his coat showing as a do not disturb sign. Everyone knew that was his coat and it wasn't wise to touch Seifer Almasy's stuff.

"What happened to you?" He asked, not that he cared but it looked like Zell was waiting for him to ask.

He shrugged. "Went out hunting."

"T- Rex?"

He scoffed. "No." He sat down and managed to kick off his shoes and one of his socks. "Some big cat thing out on the plains, it attacked a few of the locals." He looked up at Seifer through his bloody bangs. "Squall told me not to go after it."

Seifer smirked slightly. "And you disobeyed orders? Tut tut." He waved a finger at him.

The shorter blonde grinned sheepish. "Heh yeah."

"Did you kill it?"

"No."

"Hmm." Seifer said, turned back to the lockers. He added his shoes, socks and trousers to the pile.

"What hmmm?" Zell said. "I could have killed it, you know, if i wanted to."

"Hmm." Seifer said again, his lips turning up into an amused look, standing there in just his boxers now. He picked up a towel and moved it to a bench closest to the shower room.

"So why haven't you just cured yourself?"

Zell gave him a guilty look.

Seifer nodded knowingly. "You don't want anyone to know.... about this."

Now that garden was all upgraded they had magic detectors and sensors everywhere, Rinoa being a sorceress set them off on the daily basis, Zell thought it was funny.

"You could go into Balamb first and....

"Then I'd have to walk through the halls like this." He gestured to himself.

Seifer chuckled. "That is a problem." He said.

"It's not funny. I'll get into more trouble if Squall or Quistis or Xu or..."

Seifer held up a hand to stop him. "I get the picture."

"I can't get into any more trouble, Squall's already annoyed with me about crashing the Ragnarok and accidently punching the Deling representative."

Seifer laughed. "How do you accidentally punch someone?"

Zell looked down and then back up into Seifer's eyes. "It wasn't really an accident but i said it was, the guy was a creep and a prevert and he keep leering at me and stuff." He shrugged. "You won't tell Squall will you?"

Seifer scoffed. "Me? Go out of my way to talk to the ice prince?" He rolled his eyes and headed for the shower room, he stopped just on the edge and looked back at Zell who had his head half way out of his shirt. He groaned and stopped, panting for breath as if removing his clothes was too much effort.

He sighed and went back, he stopped into front of the blonde. Zell looked up at him with a frown.

"Arms up." Seifer said gesturing to the blonde.

"Huh?"

Seifer took Zell's shirt in his hands and tugged it up and over the other man's head, down his right arm and off. He tossed the ripped cloth to the side.

"Stand up." He said.

Zell complied, his eyes widening as the other man unbuttoned his pants and unzipped them.

"Don't get any ideas Chickie." Seifer smirked at him as he dropped onto one knee to tug Zell's pants off.

"Me?" He blushed. "Don't you get any ideas!"

As soon as he was out of his pants he jumped up painfully, his face red. "I- I can manage the rest." He said, holding the waistband of his boxers with one hand.

Seifer was smirked at him as he rose to his feet and threw a towel at him before he disappeared into the shower room.

Zell sighed in relief as the sound of a shower started up. He carefully bent at the waist and pushed off his boxers wincing as he straightened and walked towards the shower room with his towel. Seifer's towel was on the floor right outside the other room, he put his own next to it. As he walked in he glanced at Seifer on his left, the taller blonde pretended not to notice him. Another shower was already going one gap away from Seifer. He stepped under the spray, running his hands up and through his hair washing out the blood. He winced as he rubbed a hand over his claw marks. Three large gashes over his rib cage on the left.

He glanced to his left, Seifer was watched him again. The blonde's eyes were staring at his injuries.

"That thing really did a number on you huh?" He said over the noise of the spray.

Zell shrugged. "It's nothing, I've had worse." He looked away to face front. "You've given me worse." He added quietly but Seifer heard him. "It's not the outside injuries that hurt the most anyway, pretty sure I busted a couple of ribs."

They washed up in silence for a few minutes before Seifer finished up and turned off his shower. On the way past he stopped next to Zell.

"How are you going to cover those?"

"Huh?" Zell asked.

Fingers brushed his forehead and then a thumb touched his lower lip, making the little blonde wince, his own hand going to his split lip, not realizing he had hurt it. "Err-" He looked down, his fingers running back and forth over his cut lip. "I err I'll think of something." He looked up at Seifer, who was still standing next to him completely naked, he glanced down as if just realising that the older man was naked. That seemed to snap Seifer out of his trance and he walked towards the changing area, picking up his towel on the way. Zell looked over his shoulder watching him go. He quickly finished up and followed the tall blonde, grabbing his towel. He stepped up to the sinks on the other side of the lockers and peered into the mirrors. He rubbed at the steamed up glass, looking at his lip, his bruised forehead, which at the moment looked a pink colour, but tomorrow, would be much more noticeable. He moved to the bench with his clothes on and sat down carefully, patting himself dry around his wounds and sore ribs. The black pants he wore were fine, a bit torn; but no blood. He could say he ripped them or something, but the shirt? He held it up. The front left side had three large rips where the claws had gone through, and it was covered in blood, mostly his. He didn't have a jacket or anything. Maybe he could wear the towel or something, it wasn't that far to the dorms maybe he could get there before someone saw him.

He was debating this with himself when he suddenly looked up and noticed that Seifer was dressed and running his hands through his hair, pushing it back from his face. He had his trench coat on and done up for once. He nodded to Zell as he paused at the door and he threw something at the blonde before heading out.

Zell caught whatever it was, holding the grey button up shirt in front of him. Seifer's shirt. Suddenly realising that the taller man was wearing just the trench coat now. He carefully put it on and did the buttons up, okay so the arms were a little long but he was bruise free on both arms from the elbow down so he rolled the sleeves up. He left it untucked, hanging over the waistband of his black pants. Bending to put his socks on was too painfully so he left them off, slipping his feet into his shoes and held his socks and ruined rolled up t shirt in hand. He left the changing room carefully there was no one in the hallway so he managed to limp to his dorm without incident. He dumped his ruined shirt in the rubbish bin and threw his socks on the bed. He dug a shirt out of his drawer and lay it on the bed for putting on then he'd go and thank Seifer and return the shirt. He had two buttons undone when someone knocked on the door. He did them back up and answered it.

Selphie stood there grinning at him. "Hey I-" The smile slid from her face. "What happened?" She asked, reaching to touch his head just as Seifer had earlier.

He leaned back and out of her touch. "Nothing." He shrugged. "You know me I walked into something that's all."

She didn't look convinced but he shrugged it off so she did too. "They're showing old movies on the screen in the quad, you want to come with?"

They had set up a cinema type thing in the quad with a large screen and a load of chairs, sometimes they had movie marathons and things.

He winced. "Not right now I'm not really in the mood." His sides ached, all he wanted was to stick some cream on them and go to bed early.

She made a face. "You, not in the mood for popcorn and old movies?"

"Got a bit of a headache so-"

She frowned. "I bet with a bruise like that." She reached for him again.

He leaned back again. "You know what? A movie sounds good actually."

"Yeah?" She grinned, forgetting about the bruises.

"Yeah, just err- let me change and err-"

She scoffed. "What do you need to change for? You look better than you usually do, is that a new shirt?"

Zell frowned. Better than usual? So Seifer dressed better than he did? He mentally scoffed. "No." He answered. "Not new just -err- i never wear it that's all."

"I think you're good to go." She said, pulling him forward by the hand and out of the door.

The quad was packed but it was Friday evening so it was to be expected. A movie was on when they walked in. Zell got a good look of Squall rolling his eyes at the scene with Laguna in it. Everyone seemed to be having a good laugh at the president of Esthar fighting the 'dragon'. The younger new cadets whispered amongst themselves making the 'father, son' connection, they kept glancing back at Squall and then back to the screen.

The bored looking brunette stood next to Irvine and Quistis. "I thought someone mentioned fun." He said.

Irvine nudged him. "This is fun."

"For who?" He asked.

The cowboy gave him a look. "Light up sweetheart, they're going to show some old cowboy movies soon."

"Oh joy." Squall said sarcastically.

His lover rubbed his hand over the small of Squall's back with a grin.

"Hey." Selphie said as she and Zell joined the group.

"Hey." Quistis looked at Zell. "Is this a new shirt? Looks good on you."

The light blonde sighed, looking down at Seifer's shirt. "No, not new." He repeated.

Irvine squinted at Zell. "What happened to your face?"

"Oh err-" Zell rubbed at the bruise as if he could make it vanish or something. "Nothing I err fell down that's all."

Selphie gave him a look.

"What?" He asked.

"You said you ran into something."

"What? Oh! Err yeah i did, i err ran into something but then i err fell over it." He did some gestures with his hands as he glanced nervously amongst his friends. None of them looking convinced.

"Okay well-" Irvine said. "Time to go sit down, the movies will start soon." Squall and Quistis walked off ahead. Selphie was rambling on about- something. Zell wasn't sure what because Seifer had just walked in with his posse. He tried to catch Seifer's eye, which wasn't difficult the blonde looked right at him. They just sort of stared at each other across the room until Irvine broke the trance.

"Zell?"

"Huh?"

"We're going to sit over here, come on." He thumped the blonde on the back. Zell's doubled over in pain.

Irvine paused. "Did I hurt you? I didn't hit you that hard."

Selphie was still there, she leaned down next to him. "Are you okay?" She tugged at the edge of the borrowed shirt, the blonde managed to keep most of his wounds covered but she saw a corner of one nasty bruise.

"Christ Zell what happened to you? That must have been some fall."

"Yeah." He stood straight-ish holding his right side heavily, breathing a little heavily again. "I err was training and err I wasn't paying enough attention that's all."

"Training? When? Who with?"

"Err- Well- I was training by my-"

"With me." Another voice interrupted.

The blonde turned and stared at Seifer who had bailed him out.... again.

"You did this to him?!" Selphie asked, sounding annoyed for such a little girl.

"No!" Zell said, shaking his head. "It- It-It was an accident." He met Seifer's green eyes. "W-W-We were training and i wasn't paying attention."

"Yeah." Seifer joined in. "Zell got up beaten up by these.... grats." He grinned.

Zell frowned hard at him. Grats?!

"I thought the Chicken could handle himself himself but-" He shrugged. "Guess I was wrong." He smirked at Zell who was glaring at him now.

Zell was gonna kill Seifer, forget the saving his ass bit. He did not want people thinking he was beaten up by pathetic waving insects.

"So you weren't fighting each other?" Irvine asked.

"No we were fighting monsters." Seifer said. "You know how puffed up the Chickie gets, he didn't notice these monsters creep up on his that's all."

"Oh." Selphie said, seeming to accept that.

She accepted that he was taken out by Grats?! People must think he was more pathetic than he thought.

"I had to save him." Seifer said with a grin.

"Well thanks." Selphie said, looking a little doubtful still.

"Don't mention it." He grinned and walked off to his own seat.

"What was that about?" Fujin asked as Seifer sat beside her still chuckling to himself.

He glanced across the room where Zell sat glaring at him.

He grinned at the blonde. "Nothing." He said.