From Here to the Fire Cavern
Irvine Kinneas was hot, and not in the usual way he liked. He was hot in a wilted-ponytail, clothes-clinging-to-skin, perpetual persperation kind of way that he usually associated with some kind of sauna. Only in a sauna, he'd be wearing a towel, and there would be a general atmosphere of relaxation around.
There was nothing relaxing about Balamb's forests in August.
"Okay, tell you the truth," Irvine said, leaning against the nearest tree and wiping his sweaty forehead against an equally sweaty arm, "I think I'm actually going to die."
Zell, clad in shorts and tank top, was as fresh as the proverbial daisy. He had nothing but a faint healthy sheen of exhertion on his skin, and his indomitable hair was as crisp as an autumn morning. "You okay?" he asked.
"No," Irvine answered, more annoyed now, "which is why I think I said I'm going to die. I didn't mean of fucking happiness. Is it always this hot here?"
Zell glanced around the forest. The limp leaves of the trees were punctured here and there by the stabbing beams of hot sunlight, and the air was full of the incessant drone of locusts. "I guess it is kinda humid," he admitted.
"Kinda?" Irvine put his hands on his knees. "Zell, if you could wring this air out we'd be able to swimto the fire cavern. Which, I might add, can't be as goddamn hot as it is here."
"You're from Galbadia," Zell reminded him, as though IRvine had forgotten. "It's a desert. It's way hotter than--"
"Dry" heat," Irvine countered, fanning himself with his hat. "Dry, you know, like, the opposite of this? I swear to Odin my fingers are pruning up just from being out here. Look, I realize come fall I'll have to be faculty support for SeeD tests at the Fire Cavern but couldn't we drive there? In a car? With air conditioning?"
"If you come here with a student you'll be walking," Zell said, folding his arms. "So you need to know the forest trail. C'mon, man. Get it together."
Irvine tried to come up with a defiant answer, but all he managed was a defeated wheeze. Talking just sucked more hot, heavy air into his lungs. He gathered his damp ponytail in both hands and redid the tie, pulling his hair up higher than usual in the hopes of getting it off his neck.
"Hey." Zell was suddenly closer, his hand on Irvine's shoulder. "It's only like ten more minutes to the cavern. You can make that."
Irvine was slumped over enough that he had to look up at Zell, but he didn't even care. "If I don't make it back, tell Quistis I love her."
Zell rolled his eyes. "Tell her yourself; I don't do matchmaking anymore." He started off down the trail, not waiting for Irvine to follow.
"You got a spare Blizzaga spell?" Irvine called after him.
"Gut it out, Kinneas."
Irvine squashed his hat back on his head and staggered after.
They were not actually going in the Fire Cavern, which was the smallest mercy. Even at the end of the trail leading to Ifrit's den, the glowing mouth of the cave belched forth heat enough to scorch the already brown grass, shimmering on the flat surface of the trail.
"So, there it is," Zell said, as Irvine upended his water bottle in his mouth. "Too hot to go in this time of year, of course, but it's easy enough to--you know you should save some of that for the way back."
Irvine eyed the quarter-inch of water left in the bottle. "I'll probably die on the way back anyway," he said, and finished it.
"No, you won't." Zell turned his back on the fire cavern, heading down the path past the cavern trail. "Come on."
Irvine looked back at the forest, and then at Zell. He was heading further away from Garden, not towards it. "Hey, where're you--"
"Scenic route," Zell answered, and vanished behind a rocky outcropping, sending Irvine scrambling after.
"Wait, slow the hell down--" Irvine did not have Zell's nimble advantage on the narrow trail, and his long legs were more of a hinderance than usual. Zell eased through razor-thin gaps in the rock like a whisp of mist, leaving Irvine grunting and swearing in his wake. He was so caught up in squeezing through the cliffs that he didn't realize Zell had stopped, and he was still swearing when the first cool breeze slapped into him with the shock of Shiva's kiss.
"Worth the hike?" Zell asked, already smugly aware of his answer. Irvine's mouth was hanging open. Behind the mountainous rise of the Fire Cavern, the ocean had carved a deep path into the heart of Balamb's cliffs. Below them, down a steep little trail, lay a pristine half-moon of white sand, with the sea rushing greedily over it.
"Don't think anyone else knows about it," Zell said, peeling out of his shirt. "Race you to the water?"
Irvine's vest was already off, his boots scattering sand as he shot towards the cove below. "Oh don't you think for a second that you're going to beat me, Dincht!"
They hit the water at more or less the same time, gasping aloud at the first cold shock of the water, kicking great sparkling arcs of it into the air. Irvine took two handfuls of it and let it fall down on both of them, little cold kisses on his face and shoulders. Zell tried to pull him down in a half-hearted throw, Irvine scrambled to escape it, and without quite knowing how their mouths had met in a laughing kiss, thirsty for something more than water.
While the surf roared unheeded around them, Irvine's lips left Zell's to travel instead along the winding lines of his tattoo, down the taut cord of his neck, and into the hollow of his collarbone. Zell's skin tasted like seawater and sweat and oranges, and the latent power in his compact frame was now a shivering restraint under Irvine's tongue. They had both stopped laughing. The dull burn in Irvine's groin flared into searing need, and with one shared look they tumbled into the wet sand together, unable to get out of their clothes fast enough.
"You're sure nobody else knows about this place?" Irvine asked, working the wasitband of Zell's shorts down over his hips, revealing the black flames of tattoo weaving through a fine trail of golden hair below his navel.
"Do you care?" Zell retorted, his hands finding the hot silver rings in Irvine's nipples, his knee pressed to the straining shape of Irvine's cock against his jeans.
"No," Irvine gasped, as he got Zell's shorts off and sent them somewhere in the direction of the beach, rolling onto his back to get his own clothes off faster. It was decidedly more difficult than usual, and not because they were drenched with seawater. Finally freed from confining fabric, his cock jutted up towards the sky, flushed and eager. It only had a moment's escape before Zell had captured it again, and Irvine gave up on getting any further with his clothes. Jeans down to his thighs, he arched up moaning from the sand, his hands in Zell's hair, his hips thrusting into the greedy constriction of Zell's mouth.
A wave crashed into them, foaming around their knees, and Zell's free hand was between his legs. Irvine thought about that hidden tattoo, and his jaw ached.
"Get up here," he gasped, pulling at Zell's shoulders. "Get your cock in my mouth before you make me come."
Zell glanced up at him, winked an answer. He swung up and over Irvine without missing a beat, his movements full of the innate grace of a fighter and the teasing ease of a man used to mid-fuck acrobatics.
The shift in angle sent new ripples of sensation down Irvine's cock, and he pulled Zell's into his mouth to stifle the noise he made. Irvine's fingers found their way between the curve of Zell's buttocks, trigger-tip callous rubbing against the clenched ring of Zell's asshole, then pushing inside. Zell made a gratifying moan around Irvine's cock, his hips pushing down hard onto Irvine's hand, and a moment later Irvine felt the pressure and stretch of a similar invasion.
The pleasure began to block out all else; somewhere far away Irvine felt the cold spill of another wave encircling his ankles, the heat of the hot sun blazing down on them with one wide eye, the call of the gulls--but none of it quite made it past Zell. It had built too high, the break was inevitable. Another wave came, but this one was inside of Irvine, shivering down his spine until it shattered in a swelling tide of ecstasy. Zell's cock throbbed against Irvine's tongue and suddenly his mouth was full of the taste of saltwater and sex.
They drank deep until the shock subsided, half-in, half-out of the surf, lungs heaving for air. Zell slipped from Irvine's grasp only to wind up right back in it again, right-side up. Irvine had a glimpse of a waterlogged blond spike and a mischevious grin before Zell was kissing him, his lean weight pressing them both into the sand, tongues tangling with the taste of each other.
They lay there a long time, kissing until they got hard again, then stroking themselves together until they came in one last rush, spilling over their entwined hands and into the waves that now reached their shoulders. The tide was coming in, the sun beginning its slow, summertime glide towards the horizon. Both of them knew it was time to go.
Zell fell back with a splash and arched into a contented stretch. "So," he said, with an air of conclusion. "Know your way to the Fire Cavern now?"
Irvine let his gaze linger on Zell, at the sand glittering on his skin and the way his sated cock rested against his thigh, and he felt a dull pulse of response from his own. He didn't know where his hat was. He didn't give a damn.
"I think you might have to show me again tomorrow."