Breath of Fresh Air

by llamajoy

It's hot. The summer took its sweet time coming, this year, with the chilly damp of springtime lasting well into May. But it's July now, truly summer: hot and humid and sticky. Nobody in Garden can remember what it felt like to be too cold.

Especially not here in the infirmary. Seems that Kadowaki keeps the place warm on the best of days, but with most students home for the mid-year break, it's as though she forgets to turn up the A/C. Or maybe it's that Cid thinks he's saving money, some shit like that.

Seifer's here, of course.

That is: here in Garden; Garden is home, as much as any place is. And here in the infirmary--where else, on a boring Tuesday morning, but bleeding and vindicated, cross-legged on the rumpled paper of the examination table. He's here, and he's hot in all senses of the word: sweltering, triumphant, and burning.

He won't take off his coat, though; not unless the doc needs to stitch him up, and he's not been hurt that badly, not yet. Leonhart can't get that close to him, after all. God, if he could, Seifer wouldn't be half so uncomfortable.

Kadowaki sure is taking her damn time in seeing him, isn't she?

Seifer lights a cigarette, knowing it won't ease the burn, but daring the doc to catch him at it. Hell, he's seventeen and already he's qualified for three SeeD exams; he figures he's earned it. (He's seventeen and spent the morning pressed arm to arm and thigh to thigh against a perfectly-matched opponent; no wonder his pants feel too tight and his skin feels stretched taut over his bones.)

The door opens (great timing, he thinks), but it's not Kadowaki-- it's Fuujin.

Surely it was misguided optimism to call it a "breezeway;" there's never been that much actual moving air between here and there. But Fuujin... carries the wind with her. The air moves around her when she opens the door, a little too eagerly.

Seifer watches. Considers. It's only a few seconds before he makes up his mind; he wonders how long it'll take to make hers up for her.

She (she!) breaks the heavy silence: "Don't."

His heartbeat kicks up the tempo, but she's just talking about the cigarette. He licks his lips, takes another slow, deliberate drag. She's perforating him with her glare, but he doesn't look away. He can't. "You say something, Fuu?"

Fuujin sighs, in her eloquent vocabulary of frustration. She's wondering, he knows, just why he breaks so many rules. But she says: "Stinks."

Seifer realizes with an electric sort of tingle that he doesn't know what to expect, this afternoon. Used to be that Fuujin's moods were pretty predictable, in that they were uniformly irritable. But she hasn't spoken to him today, not since he went out to spar. Raijin was there in the Training Area when Seifer fought; Raijin was the one who held the bloody towel to his side and walked him, all solicitous, to the infirmary. Fuujin was nowhere to be found.

(Seifer had won, of course. Again. Pretty sure everyone knew it, too, this time.)

"Oh, this? Does it bother you?" He's still smoking it, though, grinning-- like he's smoking her, watching the anger kindling in her small frame until her eye is hot as a burning ember.

Another sigh. This one's more complicated. The colorless hair lifts from the back of her neck, stirred by no breeze he can feel. The eddies of his smoke curl and drift unpredictably around her face. How close now, to the breaking point? He shivers lightly, under his coat. Ha, they say he's the mercurial one.

He's played with this fire before. It's just a game. Still. He has to swallow before he can speak again. He aims for teasing, but his voice is rough. "What's the matter, you afraid I'll get caught?"

Aero. It falls from her lips and into the air, magic spilling from her fingertips with all the subtlety of a tiny tornado. The cigarette goes out, extinguished in a swirl of pure air. (A little more concentrated blast of that power could flay the skin from his bones, wrest the soul from him.) His every nerve is lit and smoldering like the ill-fated cigarette, and its not tobacco he's jonesing for now.

He flicks the butt into the trashcan, misses, and shrugs. She's standing right in front of him now, so close he can feel the energy she holds in check. So close he smells her hair. The room gets warmer. "Thanks for looking out for my health, Fuu."

She twitches at the nickname; she always does. But she's seen the red-stained towel under his vest, and her voice changes. "Idiot."

His eyes slide closed--Fuujin's small cold hands are pushing up his vest, sliding along his skin like unspoken promises. He keeps his voice level, somehow. "Nah, it's nothing." She pokes at his wound and it hurts like hell, and the fact that she's still touching him, that she's hurting him, only turns him on harder. Hyne, so fucked up. "Leonhart got what was coming to him, though."

"Leonhart, unhurt," she says, not even a question. Seems word's traveling fast today.

"Yeah but he lost," he explains, the simplest thing in the world. "Fair and square. Just ask Raijin."

Third time's a charm, this last sigh is the best one yet: she's worried and impressed and--and she's standing so near that he feels the air moving from her mouth. He doesn't remember speaking but he must have made a sound; she's looking at him quizzically.

"So," he says casually, putting his hand over hers, feeling his own pulse through her skin. "You come here to cure me up?"

"Negative." But she sounds unsure--and even better, she hasn't shied away from his touch. "Inappropriate."

"What the Doc doesn't know won't hurt her, Fuu. And nobody's good with magic the way you are."

She's leveled her gaze at him, and he has no idea what she's thinking, none at all. He can guess what her hands are thinking, though, because they're both on him, trailing tentative circles from his navel to the small of his back. As though he needed any more encouragement.

Fuujin nods. As if she were ever so obedient.

When she whispers magic too late he realizes it's wind magic, still: colorless and sharp, stinging every sense into wakefulness. He groans in the back of his throat. Hyne, so good. "Again," he says, and she--smiles. It sparkles across his veins with the next wave of pain. Her breath and her aura taste of air, flavored like Pandemona, ever-turning hurricane.

He lets her kiss him, draws her up into his lap. His pants and her shirt are undone before she speaks again. "Kadowaki," she says, warning, or pleading.

"Not here," he counters, rocking his hips and toppling her forward, her small breasts bumping against his chest, barely any clothing left between. "Maybe if you make enough noise, she'll check up on me at last, right?"

Fuujin is breathless but silent, her uneven gasps noiseless against the hollow of his throat. She says, "Noisy-- you."

And she's right, of course, it's too damn good to keep quiet. For all her spite, Fuujin is good at this--marvelous, even. She straddles him, welcoming him in, holding him hotly sweetly tightly, and Seifer thinks the whole damn morning was worth it just for this moment.

It must be written on his face, because she says, "Romantic dream." A curse, a plea, mocking and envious all at once. The only anger left in her is directed inward; she's holding to him and it's coming hard and fast now, difficult to tell just who's fucking whom.

Right at the edge of his climax, his vision shattering into starbursts, he feels another blast of magic sear his skin--but this one's not elemental magic, not this time. He is a knight victorious, yearning for a boon from this tiny, furious sorceress. She graces him with a blessing; her hands are cold but the rest of her is warm--so warm. Under her breath she's singing: cure, cure, cura~


Fuujin still has one hand pushed up under Seifer's vest; she tries to extricate her fingers but he holds her fast.

The room smells nothing of tobacco smoke, not even of sex. If anything, it's pleasantly ventilated. Taking in the scene, Kadowaki blinks in surprise. "Raijin told me you were badly hurt--"

Still holding Fuujin's hand, Seifer slides up his vest, halfway up his chest, slow and dramatic like a strip tease. Fuujin's holding her breath; he finds it hard not to laugh. There along his ribcage is a long, thin, pink line. Fresh scar tissue.

Kadowaki frowns. "Young man, if you are just wasting my time--"

He interrupts again, blithely letting his clothes fall back down. "Sorry, doc. You know Raijin, he gets pretty excited sometimes. Fuu, too, rushed here to check up on me. But you can see it's no big deal. Don't be too hard on them, okay?"

Fuujin coughs. She's trying hard to be furious, he can tell, but it felt too good. He knows it felt too good. Then he realizes he's still holding her hand, hungry for the residual crackle of magic on her skin.


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