So, I know I said one fic at a time, but technically, typing up fics that I've already written doesn't count as writing more than one fic at a time, so :-p. *grins* (There's always a loophole. . .always.)

And now, I shall christen the fandom of Laguna/Irvine fics!!!!! I know, I know, I'm warped, twisted, generally sadistic and insane. . . .

But I'm fun that way.

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"Gun smoke and Roses"

by: Banshee Puppet

a Laguna/Irvine fic

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'What do you say to a gorgeous guy twice your age when you first meet? "Nice gun," is the phrase that came out of my mouth. Oh so smooth. Yep, that's me, Irvine Kinneas, smooth as all hell. . .around the ladies, but when you get me within five feet of a gorgeous man, I'm all about the feet getting stuck in my mouth. And now that I think of it, that "gun" comment can be taken soooo many ways. Good thing my charmingly oblivious crush is, well, charmingly oblivious, as it were.'

Irvine couldn't tear his eyes away from Selphie's beloved "Sir Laguna", having no more questions about why she was so obsessed with him. 'I mean, hot damn! Look at the guy! He's friggin' gorgeous!'

"Ah, uh, thanks," Laguna looked down at his machine gun and blushed a bit, toeing the carpet. "You too," he added, noting the shotgun Irvine carried. "Hobby or occupation?"

"Huh?" Irvine asked. He had been too busy ogling to listen, really.

"Guns," Laguna clarified, pointing at the weapon in Irvine's hand with the one he held in his own.

"Oh! Ah, well, lil' bit o'both, I s'pose," Irvine drawled, fighting down the heat he felt rising to his cheeks. This was SO embarrassing.

Selphie nudged her best friend in the ribs, covering her mouth to ill- conceal a snicker at his expense. "Careful cowboy, or you'll start drooling," she whispered teasingly. She was the only one who knew that Irvine's supposed antics with the female population were all exactly that, supposed. A clever cover for a self-conscious young man who wasn't quite ready yet to let the world know that he was gay. She felt bad for him, she really did, it had to be hard. After all, it had taken him weeks to even tell her, and she was the person closest to him in all the world.

'I don't want the guys lookin' at me funny, ya know?' he'd said. 'I mean, you tell a guy that you're, ya know, inta guys, and all of a sudden you're not safe ta be around, all of a sudden they're all worried that you're inta them, that you want ta jump their bones, or whatever. It ain't like that. Ya know, I don't see the guys that way, not ta say they ain't attractive. I mean hells, you ladies are attractive too, in that, I know what attractive is when I see it way, but that doesn't mean I wanna get in their pants any more than I wanna get inta yours. . .well, maybe if I was drunk, and you wouldn't kick my ass for "accidentally" boinking your Squall, but I mean, pure one-night stand material, if anything, ya know. They're my friends, that's all there is to it. But I've been down that road before, and I don't want things to change like that again,' he'd sighed at the memory. 'Sufficed to say, I was glad to get out of Galbadia, and to present day, have no desire to return.'

And now, Irvine graced the little sunflower at his side with his most winning. . .scowl.

'If I was a younger man, I could fall for this kid, hard,' Laguna thought as he continued to toe the rug, now playing with his machine gun to divert his attention a bit. Irvine Kinneas. What could you say about Irvine Kinneas? He was handsome. No. Laguna corrected himself in his mind, 'beautiful. He's really an extremely beautiful man. Beautiful, like stupid beautiful, fall over yourself just to get a look at him beautiful, beautiful like 'he's gonna be the death of me' beautiful. Gah! Laguna Loire! Stop thinking about that RIGHT THIS INSTANT!' he chided himself. He was a kid, young enough to be his son, and speaking of his son, he was standing right there, for cryin' out loud! And all of his son's friends, including the oh so beautiful Mr. Kinneas.

Laguna took a seat at his desk as casually as he could manage, because he could feel a leg cramp coming on and did NOT want to have to explain THAT particular phenomenon. Unfortunately, he tossed himself too quickly and absently into the chair, which had a tendency for spinning and leaning backwards, and before he knew it, he was ass-first on the floor, blinking upwards, disoriented.

"Gyah!" the word had escaped Laguna's lips almost the instant his subconscious had registered falling and Irvine found himself reaching out a hand to help the other man up, smirking at how totally adorable he was. "You okay?" he snickered.

Laguna was so cute. A little hyperactive, but not nearly as bubbly as Selphie or as openly aggrevateable as Zell. He was more. . .awkward. Like he never quite figured out what to do about certain portions of normal conversation. He was just so open that you couldn't help but like him, a little. 'And this is Squall's dad,' Irvine reminded himself. If it was anyone else's dad, he probably wouldn't have thought about it, but it was Squall's dad, and what would Squall think about Irvine wanting to get to know his father better.

Well, whatever, no one had to know. They DID have guns in common, after all, so he could at least have that excuse to be near the guy. And being near him would just have to be enough.

Laguna reached up and let Irvine yank him up to his feet, blushing, "Uh, th- thanks," he said, taking more care with sitting down this time, his heart thudding in his chest over only that instant of contact.

Irvine's breath hitched slightly at the same instant and he tried to say, "no problem," but it came out with a slight cracking on the "problem" portion of it. He coughed slightly, clearing his throat, only just realizing he still had Laguna's hand and letting go quickly, retrieving the machine gun, which had been knocked off the desk in Laguna's haste to have a seat. 'Wow. Heavier than I'd've thought,' Irvine noted the weapon, anything to drag his attention away from the current object of his affections. And he DID like guns, after all.

'Ow, shit,' Laguna thought as he felt all the muscles in his leg tighten into knots, biting his lower lip slightly to prevent the yelp of pain that was just dying to escape.

"Is that all we had to cover for now?" Squall asked exhaustively, noting Zell's yawn. It WAS getting late, and whatever was going on with Irvine and his father was DEFINITELY something he didn't want to think about, pretty much. . .well, ever. He just wanted to find a quiet place, preferably with a bed, where he could curl up with the little yellow bundle of energy that he'd grown to be completely infatuated with and fall asleep, let the world disappear for a little while.

Laguna waved his hand dismissively. "Yeah yeah. You must all be pretty tired, Kiros and Ward'll show you to your rooms."

Kiros gave Laguna an odd, knowing look and shook his head before nodding. "Sure man, this way," he said, "come on."

"Ah, here. Didn't know it'd be so heavy," Irvine said, handing Laguna his gun before rushing out after his friends.

"Ah. . .thanks. Sleep well," Laguna returned vaguely, caught for a moment in those amazing violet eyes before breaking the glance and watching as his infatuation disappeared beyond office doors. He let out a heavy sigh and whimpered, getting up to work the cramps out of his leg. This was going to be a LONG night.

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Irvine lie in another borrowed bed, staring at the ceiling with his fingers laced behind his head. He knew one thing with more certainty than he'd had in a very long time. He was going to have a VERY good dream tonight, and that is precisely why he was holding off on sleep as long as his body permitted. Because he knew, in waking, it would leave him wanting. But he was exhausted, couldn't help it. And all he really wanted was love. But he had wanted an uncomplicated love. Boy meets girl, boy falls for girl, they have 2.5 kids and a house with one of those stupid ass white fences and live happily ever after. Yeah right, like that was really possible. Even still, after he admitted he was gay he thought, maybe. . .maybe if no one knows, maybe I'll find a girl that I can fall in love with. . .maybe. But it was no use now, dreaming up such delusions. Because now there was Laguna. It was love at first sight, really. He'd never believed in it before, but. . .he just wanted to be near Laguna all the time, wanted to be wrapped up in those strong arms. He didn't want to think about how impossible it was, because he was still far too young, and far to male, and Laguna was far too much the President of Esthar, and far too straight, as far as he knew. He had to be straight, right? After all, he was married, had a son. . .Squall.

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"I mean, what WAS that!" Squall paced in aggrevation, all but pulling his hair out. "It was so. . .weird!" he shivered at the very thought. It was really bugging him, the odd chemistry between Irvine and his father earlier this evening.

Selphie chuckled, even though in some respect, she really wanted to frown. Taking on an unusually serious tone, Selphie said, "Squall, sit down and stop pacing."

He blinked at her for a moment, but then obliged, sitting beside her on the bed. She placed a palm over his gloved hand, and he squeezed her tiny digits affectionately. 'I really love this woman more than anything,' he thought in awe. He hadn't gotten used to that emotion yet, and there were still moments when it surprised him.

"This is really bothering you," Selphie said. "What about it do you find so horrible?" she asked. She didn't really have any right to say, even if, when they'd started seeing one another some weeks ago, they had promised-no secrets. So she thought if she just. . .pointed him in the right direction she wouldn't have to break any promises to either her friend, or her lover.

"Didn't you notice the odd chemistry in the air between them, Selph?" he asked, looking haggard. "It was almost physical, chemical even. It was. . ."

"It was. . ." Selphie urged him to continue his line of thought. 'Don't you dare get lost in that over-used brain of yours and lock me out Squall Leonheart. I'll be really mad if you do,' she thought at him, not that he could hear her, but he seemed to get the message from her static eyes and set jaw.

"It seemed sexual," he mumbled, a blush rushing to his cheeks as he looked down towards his toes, embarrassed about thinking such a thing. Of course it wasn't sexual. Irvine was this big ladies' man, and Laguna only had eyes for Raine, right? That's what he always believed.

"Would it bother you so much if it was?" Selphie asked. "I mean, them both being, you know, guys?"

"Huh?" Squall blinked up from his ruminations. "What's that got to do with anything?"

Selphie almost wanted to tackle him right there, loving the man he was and that his concern had nothing to do with sexual preference, that he was just the sort of guy who didn't think about it.

"So, then, it wouldn't bother you?"

"Well, I mean, come on Selph, Irvine is at least half Laguna's age. And plus. . .President of Esthar. . .and Irvine is SeeD. It just screams complications. They'd only end up hurting each other, even if it were true, which seems doubtful. I can't believe I even thought about it actually. Sorry for saying anything, I mean, Irvine loves women more than any other guy I know, right? But there's DEFINITELY something going on, and it's really weirding me out," Squall commented exhaustively, tossing himself back onto the bed.

"But, Squall, if either of them were, you know, gay, it REALLY wouldn't bother you?" she asked, her legs swinging off the side of the bed. She HAD to ask, needed to know, really.

"Well, why should it? You know, I wouldn't really have any room to talk anyway. I uh, well, ya know. Whatever," he mumbled and shifted over onto his side, away from her, the blush rising almost to his ears.

"What's with the secrets, Commander Leonheart? I thought we made a promise," she scolded, leaning on his shoulder slightly.

He sat up again, still with crimson dashing his face, which Selphie found completely adorable. "Well, y'see, I've uh," he cleared his throat. "Experimented, a few times. I'm not really into guys so much, but, given that, I don't really think I'm someone who has any right to be judging anyone else for something stupid like what gets them off."

"You have!" Selphie gasped to hold back the giggle.

Squall nodded.

"With who? Ooo! Tell me! Tell me!" she bounced excitedly.

Squall cleared his throat.

"Seifer?" she asked.

"Ugh! Hyne no! You should know I have better taste then that Selphie!"

Selphie laughed. "Okay okay. Good point. So who was it?" she asked, mellowing only slightly.

He turned that bright shade of red again. "Well, uh, it was. . ." he whispered the last part so she didn't hear it.

"Come again?" she asked.

And now, more loudly, he admitted it to her. "It was Zell."

Selphie gasped. 'Zell!!' All sorts of confused warning lights went off in her head as her jaw gaped.

"Y-you knew he was bi, right? I thought everyone knew that. He doesn't really make it much of a secret."

"Uh," now it was Selphie's turn to blush. "It. . .never came up, I guess."

"Are you mad?"

"Are you still fooling around with him?"

"Of course not!"

"Then why should I be mad? You're mine now, stupid."

Squall took off his left glove and brushed his fingers through her hair, over her cheek, pulling up her chin slightly to lay a gentle kiss on her lips. "I am," he whispered, leaning his forehead against her own. "I'm yours, Selphie."

"When are you going to tell Rinoa?" Selphie asked softly and Squall tensed. That's right, he hadn't officially broken the news to Rinoa yet, not that they were actually going out, or anything, even if the young sorceress seemed to think so. He liked Rinoa though, in that "annoying kid sister" sorta way.

"When we get back. I didn't have the chance before we left. But don't change the subject. Why are you so interested in my opinion of sexual preference?"

'Busted,' Selphie thought. She knew as well as he did that she wasn't really concerned much about Rinoa. Fact was, Rinoa had been slipping away from Squall for some time now, and she knew the girl would be fine.

"Well. . .uh. . ." Selphie couldn't find thoughts quick enough for her big mouth's liking.

"You're keeping secrets," he pouted slightly and sighed, taking off his other glove and his jacket. He really was exhausted.

"I'm sorry Squall, but uh. . ." Selphie took a deep breath. "Alright, listen, if I tell you, you gotta PROMISE not to tell anyone else. I sorta promised Irvine I wouldn't tell anybody, but. . .I don't wanna keep secrets from you either. . ."

Squall nodded, some vague hint forming in the back of his mind behind the part of him that was thinking about how totally adorable Selphie was, the part that was actually registering the conversation they were having started to get a little suspicious. He nodded curtly. "Just tell me already."

"Right." Selphie gave a determined nod and took a deep breath, which was let out all at once, as she said, "Irvinesinthecloset."

Squall blinked. "Selphie. This time, breathe when you say whatever that was. You know I love you, but if I can't understand a word you're saying, we're at a bit of a standstill," he chided.

Selphie gulped. "Uh. Sorry. Squall, Irvine's gay, but he doesn't want anyone to know because he's afraid it'll change things with you guys. He had some sorta trauma at Galbadia Garden. I don't know exactly, but he doesn't talk about it. Don't tell him I told you, 'kay? I think he's gotta come around on his own."

"And you think he has the hots for Laguna, don't you?" 'Since when did I start saying things like 'has the hots'?' Squall wondered. Next thing you knew he'd be telling people to 'blow it to smithereens' and making 'wohoo' noises.

"Oh, I know Irvine pretty well. And he's DEFINITELY into your dad. You're related to him, so I guess you don't see it, but Sir Laguna IS a good- looking guy, not as cute as my Squally, but, ya know, I could tell that Irvy liked what he saw," Selphie informed him, cuddling up against his chest. "Sleep now?"

"Alright," Squall answered, letting the new information cycle around in his brain as he lay back on the bed, Selphie curled into his side. He thought about it a long time before finding it in himself to try to sleep. And the only thing he could come up with was telling his father, President Laguna Loire, to stay away from his friends. And yes, Irvine was his friend, that's why he didn't want him to get hurt. 'Of all the people to fall for, Irvine, for cryin' out loud!' Squall grumbled mentally before noting the shifting against his side. He pulled the girl more tightly to him. 'I guess I understand though. You can't help it any more than I can.'

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Laguna pressed his hands to his temples. Kiros had been lecturing him for, like, two hours, at least.

Finally, the normally jubilant man slammed his fists into his desk, unable to take anymore. "Geez! Enough already! I know Kiros. I KNOW! Okay so just. . .get off my back!" Laguna cursed under his breath as he stalked past his friends and slammed the office door behind him.

'I know,' he told himself as he headed down the hall to Hyne only knows where. 'I know! But damnit! I don't need to be reminded at every turn. I'm so lost without you Raine. You always told me what I was supposed to do. I loved you more than anything, but. . .that was a long time ago. What am I supposed to do now? What would you tell me to do. Would you tell me to forget it, like Kiros did? To not think about him at all, as if it's that easy. Hyne! I hate this. I know I can never have him, never be with him, for a million reasons, and plus, we only just met but I. . .damnit, Raine, I think I'm falling in love with that boy. Just tell me. Tell me how to forget about him. Tell me how to get him out of my mind.' He found himself standing in the presidential gardens, the one place that always calmed him, no wonder he ended up here. "Just tell me what to do. I hate this!"

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Irvine awoke suddenly and with a disgruntled groan. He knew it was love, because in his dream, all they did was kiss and cuddle, and now, in the cold air of his lonely bedroom, he wanted nothing more than to be wrapped up in those strong arms again.

He sat up with a sigh and rested his head in his hands. "Laguna," he whispered. "Why did it have to be you? What am I supposed to do now?" he wondered when there was a knock on the door.

"Coming," he groaned.

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"It's awfully late for you to be up and about, isn't it, President Loire?" she asked, her voice it's usual satiny monotone, as if it didn't matter to her one way or the other, really. She had one of those voices, one of those expressions that you get when nothing seems to matter at all, only, she was like that all the time.

Laguna looked up. "Oh, are you on the graveyard shift tonight, Jynx?" Laguna asked, standing.

Jynx, she was a young woman, no older than his son, or the boy he'd been pining over for the past three hours, at least. She wore her hair back in a short, neat bob of a ponytail, pulled dramatically away from her oval face, and garments of solid black. Her sunglasses she wore now atop her head, though as often as not, they rested loosely on her nose, covering over the haunted look in her eyes. An oriental style top with a high neck and frogs running down the right side, open at the stomach and sleeveless with a gentle curve and length that flowed silkily to the backs of her knees, loose pants that were held to her hips with a silver chain belt and black combat-style boots beneath them. On her right arm, she wore a long black, fingerless glove, and on the other hand, a dark metal glove, sharply pointed at the fingertips and with lessons in brutal force all over its surface. She called it a gauntlet, but Laguna only ever thought of it as a claw, her weapon of choice, though she was proficient in most standard weapons. "It comes with the territory," she had said in the interview.

Jynx was a one of the three heads of his security department, but in truth, he had hired her because she was a soldier to the core, and without a war to fight, Jynx just didn't really have anywhere to go. It was either this, or SeeD, and she didn't really seem to give SeeD much credit, for some reason or other. And here she was now, right hand resting casually in her pocket, looking at him vaguely with that blank expression that made him so uneasy, and so comfortable at the same time.

"I work all the shifts, Mr. Loire. You know that as well as anyone."

"You work too hard."

"I was under the impression that it was a requirement of the position. And besides, you don't have any room to talk. Up with your papers all night again? The world can wait an extra hour if it has to, you know. You try to do too much." No, there was no concern on her voice, but as always, her words rang true to him.

"Thanks."

"Not what's bothering you though. I'm right, aren't I? Anyway, since it's my job to see to your well being, I suppose if you wanted to get something off your chest, it would be my duty to listen to you ramble for a while," Jynx informed him.

"Your job, huh? Don't you ever do anything because you WANT to, Jynx?"

Her haunted, sad eyes flickered for a moment with only the vaguest recognition. But he knew, for all intents and purposes, she didn't understand what he was talking about. He stopped pretending that she did. It was like having a highly developed security robot working for him. She was just a completely programmed individual, but once in a while, some flicker of a person shone through.

"Want? People talk about that a lot. Things they want. Dreams they have. Some of those things can be accomplished, and others can't. It really seems to me to be a pretty useless thing to waste one's time with, worrying about what you want and what you can't have. If a person wants something, they ought to just get up and take it, and stop wasting their time dwelling on the inevitable. It's totally counterproductive to do anything else."

"I don't know if that's entirely true, in all situations, you know, Jynx," Laguna said. "Sometimes you don't go after what you want because you know what the repercussions are, or could be."

"And that is where regret comes in, correct?" Jynx elucidated. With her sad expression and emotionless voice, she almost sounded like she was giving a history lesson. "So down the road a person thinks about the repercussions of the actions they did not take and thinks, 'it would have been worth it.' Is that what you want? Does anyone want that? I don't really understand why people insist on wasting their time on such trivial things, really."

"So, there's nothing you want at all? No dreams? Nothing that you'd like to see? That's so sad," Laguna sighed. But he had to admit, in some tragic way, she made sense. She made a lot of sense.

"I suppose it would be nice to see a world in which people like myself, and organizations like SeeD, are no longer necessary, but I am not fool enough to believe that I will live to see that day. It doesn't matter, anyway. A long time ago, I made myself a promise, and I refuse to break it."

"A promise?"

"To live a life without regrets. Is that a 'want', a desire? Can a person want something that they have already attained? I don't know the answer to that question. I only really know one thing."

Jynx stared out at the skyline, enunciating her point by striking a finger against the air.

"What one thing is that?" Laguna asked. She always seemed to amaze him with her viewpoints and thoughts, when he managed to get her to say something that wasn't work related.

"Life is too short to worry about might-have-beens," she answered. Letting it sink in a moment, she turned to face him again. "Allow me to give you some advice, President Loire, from one human being to another. If there's something you 'want', you should stop worrying so much and go after it. Because life is just way too short." She turned her back on him and faced the door, ready now to leave, which he knew because he had grown accustomed to her mannerisms, her periods of speaking and silence. A bit nostalgically, she whispered, "life is just way too short to waste it on useless things. You should get some rest. It isn't healthy to get so little sleep."

And she left him alone in his garden with an echo of her words and a lingering memory of violet eyes and the most charming smile he had ever seen. He had a feeling that, one of these days, Jynx's particular world view was going to get him into a whole heap of trouble.

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Irvine blinked and wiped the sleep out of his eyes with three fingers. "Squall?" he asked, confusion edging his voice. "What're ya doin' here at. . ." he glances at the wall clock. "Two a.m. I thought you'd be with Seffie. . ."

His groggy mind tried to process what Squall could want outside his door at two o'clock in the morning, and not coming up with any reasonable answers.

"She's asleep. Can I come in or not?" Squall asked.

"Uh, sure, okay," Irvine stepped out of the way to let Squall in. He hadn't actually been sleeping anyway, but still. This was. . .odd.

'So, I'm inside. What now?' Squall wondered. This was really uncomfortable, but Squall really needed to find out, first hand, what was going on. And it wasn't really good for Irvine either, keeping things all bottled up the way Squall himself would. Unfortunately, he hadn't planned out what to say. He'd just woken up and impulsively went to Irvine's door. He didn't even have his jacket or gloves on, he realized on second thought, and this made him a bit uncomfortable as well. 'Man, Selph is really wearing off on me. I'd NEVER have done something like this a few weeks ago.'

Irvine sat on the edge of his bed and watched Squall pace whilst scowling to himself for a few minutes before the Commander dropped himself into the chair by the desk with a sigh and, pinching the bridge of his nose, and leaned forward, resting elbows on knees. "Listen," he said slowly, only now looking up at Irvine again. "Uh. . .sorry if I woke you."

Irvine blinked. "You didn't. Is this about Selphie?"

"No. No, Selphie's fine. . .great really. Couldn't be happier," Squall mumbled. "It's about. . ." Squall chewed his lip. 'How do I say this without sounding too harsh? Selphie's been trying to get me to be a little less blunt, but. . .I don't know how I'm supposed to phrase this one.'

Seeing Squall's trouble, Irvine chuckled slightly. "Why don't you just spit it out the way you always do, Commander. I'm well used to it by now. You won't hurt my tender feelings, promise."

Squall scowled up at Irvine, who just smirked. The tension in the air was lifted, at least, as Squall shook his head at the cowboy. He leaned back in the chair, tired, but a little more relaxed, and nodded slightly.

"You're attracted to my father, aren't you, Irvine?"

Irvine's face went slack with the implication, his mind hissing. 'H-he knows! Squall knows, oh Hyne!' He swallowed, hard, his throat feeling suddenly very dry.

Realizing he wasn't going to speak, Squall decided to continue. "I thought so, after what went on between you in the office earlier. It's okay if you are, you know. A little odd maybe, but, okay. He's. . .a lot older than you, but he acts like a stupid kid sometimes. . . .Whatever. I guess, if you felt like talking to someone, I'll, ya know, be around. That's really all I wanted to say, I think."

Irvine just blinked at him. What the hell was going on? Was Irvine having some weird dream, or what?

Squall got up and decided to leave, when Irvine didn't seem to feel like talking.

"Squall. . .is it. . .? Is it really. . .okay?" Irvine asked softly. "That I. . .That I'm. . ." his voice cracked and he swallowed hard. "That I'm g-gay? It doesn't bother you?"

Squall turned to face him and leaned against the door, arms crossing his chest. He rolled his eyes. "Please, with a best friend like Zell? I've seen pretty much everything," he smirked. Zell really WAS a piece of work, when he wanted to be. 'I will NEVER EVER bring him drinking again!' Squall reminded himself mentally.

Irvine blinked. He HAD heard a rumor about Zell, but he'd assumed it was just that, a rumor.

"You mean, Zell, he's really. . ."

Squall nodded with a small smile and shook his head. "You should see some of the stuff I've walked in on," he said bemusedly. "I think I'm traumatized for life," he couldn't help the joke. But looking back, a naked Zell sandwiched between Quistis and Seifer was a LITTLE amusing.

'Zell! I'm going to the training center, you coming or not?' Squall had asked before he managed to open the door, and blushed crimson at what he saw. 'Uh guess not!' he had said and slammed the door behind him. He NEVER entered Zell's room without knocking after that. Never. But looking back, the expression on their faces, especially Seifer's, made it all totally worth it! He chuckled to himself, and that's when Irvine realized it really was completely fine with Squall--his being gay--and he smiled. 'Squall really is a good friend. He doesn't judge me for it at all.'

"You're going to have to share some of these stories at another time," Irvine teased.

"Whenever you want them, Irvine. So, what are you going to do?"

They were back on the serious subject now. "I dunno. I'm totally falling for him, Squall. Laguna, he's just. . .he's totally adorable, but there's a lot in the way. Not to mention I don't even know if he thinks about me at all. So, I guess, for now, nothing."

Squall nodded gravely.

"Go back to Seffie, huh? She'll get worried if she wakes up and you're not there."

"Hn. I guess you're right," he said, opening the door.

"Don't you go breaking her heart either, or you'll have me 'n my shotgun to deal with," he warned with a friendly smile.

"It'll never happen, Irvine."

"You really love her, don't you Squall."

Squall thought a moment before speaking. "SeeD was the only thing that was important to me for a long time," he said slowly. "I never thought about the future, about marriage, about kids. . .but I look at Selph, and I think, maybe. . .someday. As long as it's her. But can you imagine a bunch of little Selphie clones running around? It's a pretty scary thought, huh?"

Irvine grinned. "Hyne!" he laughed. "Daddy Squall, haha. I can see it all now. Man, I feel sorry for you! A bunch o'lil Seffies, maybe a lil' Squall or two. Haha. You're gonna have your hands full."

"Goodnight Irvine."

"G'night. And. . .thanks Squall. It meant a lot, ya know. Coming from you."

Squall shrugged and said "whatever" before closing the door between them.

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In his own little world Squall walked, thinking about what he should say to his father, if anything, in Irvine's regard. He shook his head at himself. 'I can't believe I'm actually thinking about hooking my father up with one of my friends. The world is such a strange place. But I could swear. . .I think he likes Irvine too.' He didn't even notice when he almost walked into her, until she said, "I would've expected more out of the Commander of SeeD, and a guy who saved the world, if I heard things correctly."

Her voice was such a shivering, soft monotone that his eyes shot up. A young woman dressed all in black with sunglasses covering her eyes and some sort of claw on her left hand, a katana at her right hip.

"You'll get yourself in trouble by not paying attention to your surroundings, Mr. Leonheart," she informed him flatly.

"Sorry. I was just. . ."

"Thinking? Seems to be going around. Tragic really, since it doesn't come at all naturally to your father."

Squall blinked. "Who are you."

"My name is Jynx. Presidental security," she explained. "Pre-dawn patrol."

"You said my father was thinking?"

"Yes. And going about things entirely the wrong way, as usual. He doesn't seem to understand that the reason the people of Esthar love him so much, and keep reelecting him, is because he acts based on his emotions. He's a kind person, so he ends up making the right decisions about the country by just doing things that way. It doesn't make any sense to me, but. . .that's the way it is. People are just illogical, I suppose. But he's trying to put his head above his heart again, and that never works out well when he's involved."

"He's putting his head above his heart?" Squall asked. There was something about this girl that was a little creepy. She was. . .frosty and tragic, and it sent shivers up his spine. That added to the fact that she didn't even bother to look at you as you spoke gave her a very aloof quality. She was more like a robot than any kind of person.

"Yes, he is," Jynx answered, tilting her chin slightly and pushing her sunglasses atop her head once again. "The beloved President, Laguna Loire, is falling in love. He doesn't understand that whatever he does, they'll forgive him. Why wouldn't they? The people of Esthar worship him like a god."

"And you?" Squall couldn't help but ask, even though she'd just confirmed something for him and his mind was registering the new data, even as words came out of his mouth.

"It is my duty to see that no harm comes to him, until my death, or the termination of my employment contract. I know my job, Mr. Leonheart, and it is about time that I get back to it. Excuse me."

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Squall returned to the room where Selphie still slept and wrote a note so that she wouldn't worry. But. . .there was something he really needed to do. He brushed her hair from her eyes and kissed her forehead sweetly, ready now to go.

"Mmn, Squall?" she asked blearily, rubbing her eye with the back of her fist and opening it blearily.

"I'm just going to go talk to Laguna for a bit. Go back to sleep."

"Going to ta. . .mm. . .okay," she yawned and closed her eyes, cuddling deeper into the pillow.

"Love you, Selph," he whispered as he closed the door behind him.

"Wah! Going to talk to Laguna?!?" Selphie shot up with a start, remembering the conversation they had had earlier. "Cripes, Squall, what are you trying to do?"

And then, she saw the note.

'Selphie,

I didn't want you to worry too much when you woke up, so I left this note. Awfully considerate of me, right? . . .'

She chuckled. 'My Squally is so cute!' she thought giddily, bouncing slightly on the bed before returning to his letter and his meticulous handwriting.

'. . . I went to talk to Irvine tonight. It was sort of an impulse. Anyway, don't worry, he doesn't know that you told me anything. But when I was talking to him, I thought, 'you know, we've all been through a lot. He deserves to be happy as much as any of the rest of us. . . .well, maybe not as happy as Zell. Nobody should be that happy. It's. . . frightening.' Selphie chuckled again. Her Squally just cracked a joke. Sure, he only did it for her, and when they were alone, but that only made it all the more adorable. 'You were right. He DOES like Laguna. And as weird as that is, if it works out, then I guess I'm happy for them. So next, I bumped into this scary girl, you know, like Fujin scary, only not as mean and violent, or whatever. Apparently she works in the security division or something and was doing a patrol of the grounds. Doesn't matter, what does matter, is that she said some things that led me to believe that my father might actually harbor the same feelings towards Irvine! So, I'm going now to find out. Not really sure what I'll say, but, I guess I'll just. . .figure it out when I get there. You're a really bad influence on me, you know. I can't believe I'm trying to hook one of my best friends up with my father, the President of Esthar. It's just too weird. I feel like I'm in a deranged soap opera, or something. Well, whatever.

See you later,

Squall'

Selphie fell back onto the bed with a grin and kissed the letter, hugging it to her chest and squealing happily. "You're gonna get a big wet one when I see you again too!" she announced. "My sweet beau! I love you best!" she giggled, kicking her legs happily before jumping up. "Well, I can't sleep now! Shooowweerr Tiimmme!!"

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"Squall?" Laguna asked, blinking in much the same fashion as Irvine had when the young Commander knocked on the door in the middle of the night. He was standing there, a little blearily, hair down and tousled about his shoulders, a little longer than it used to be, barefoot and wearing nothing but black satin chicobo pajama pants, which were a little too big for him, tumbling and dragging on the ground around the ankles. "It's. . .almost three in the morning," Laguna stated, unsure of what the moody teen could possibly want.

"I realize that. Did I wake you?"

"No. Come in," Laguna answered, stepping aside.

Squall entered, looked around the neat, yet cluttered room, and leaned against the wall, arms crossing his chest. "I've recently been informed that you're thinking too much," he stated.

"About?"

"I have my suspicions," Squall stated cryptically. "The weird girl who told me probably has some suspicions of her own, I'd bet."

"Ah. So you've met Jynx then," Laguna understood now. Jynx had a way of inspiring bizarre behavior in people.

He sat down on the edge of his bed.

"She's creepy," Squall stated matter-of-factly, but Laguna couldn't help but chuckle. The word "creepy" coming out of his son's mouth was just a little amusing.

"Selphie is wearing off on you," he teased.

"Shut up. You're trying to change the subject," Squall scowled at him.

"What was the subject again?" Laguna asked in that, 'I honestly have no clue. What were we just talking about?' sort of way. "Oh! I remember! Jynx! She's a little. . .static, but she's really good at what she does. That's why she's one of the three heads of security for Esthar. Technically, I shouldn't have hired her, what with the criminal record and all, but a soldier doesn't really have very many places to go when there isn't a war. She's a good kid, whatever the case."

"This isn't about her, Laguna," Squall said exhaustively to stop his father's rambling.

"Oh, right, she told you I was thinking. Is that REALLY such a scary thought?"

Squall sighed. Forget this around the bush approach, it would never work with Laguna--he should have known. "Whatever. Irvine is a good guy, and a friend of mine, so. . .don't go breaking his heart. If you do, I'll be pissed," he stated blandly.

Laguna's eyes shot open. Ah. Now they were on the same page.

"Wh-wha. . .?!?" Laguna started to stutter.

"He's into you. Didn't you notice? I got the impression you felt the same way. I just came to tell you to. . .you know, do whatever you want, but don't hurt him. It's a little weird, but he deserves to be happy too."

"Squall. . ."

"I'm going back to my room to get some sleep, since I've been up all night because of you two idiots. If you're going to sweep him off his feet, or whatever, do it right, would you? You such a dolt that you're bound to screw it up if you aren't careful. Selphie says roses are never a bad idea. I don't know if he likes flowers but, it couldn't hurt. Goodnight."

And the door closed between them.

Laguna blinked. "Roses, huh?"

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Laguna knew he was asking for trouble, but he couldn't help it. It was Irvine's smile, beyond all else, that haunted him. He would give anything for that smile. He would give his heart for a handshake. He would give his soul for a kiss. Laguna couldn't help it-he was a man in love.

So, he straightened his bow tie and picked the dozen sweetly scented roses off of his dresser, taking a deep breath as the phone rang.

"Yes?"

"All clear, Mr. President," the soft voice said. "He's in his room, and your son has the others. . .occupied."

"Thank you, Jynx. Everything according to plan," he reflected.

"Yes sir. Everything according to plan. Enjoy yourself tonight."

"I intend to. Get some rest, would you please."

"Fine."

~CLICK~

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It was late, just a hair before midnight, and Irvine, with little else to do, was about to settle in for some much deserved sleep. He stood by the window in chaps alone, pulling a brush through ling, sun-goldened hair when there was a knock at the door. He put the brush down.

"Coming," he said, only moments before opening it. He gasped, seeing Laguna in a tuxedo, holding a dozen roses in his left hand, and he looked extremely. . .anxious? No. Nervous. He looked nervous. Definitely.

Laguna's breath caught in his throat. In the dim glow, shirtless, with his hair tumbling over his shoulders, Irvine seemed so much like a negligent angel. He coughed and cleared his throat, pulling on his collar and shifting his weight, trying not to whimper in pain as his leg started to tense up and his heart started to pound, a blush rising to his pale cheeks.

"I-I've come to. . .woo you," Laguna stumbled over his words, holding out the roses on second thought.

Irvine's eyes roved over the tux and he chuckled. Laguna looked gorgeous, sure, in that insanely uncomfortable sort of way. And then, there were the roses. He couldn't help a little bit of amusement. "For me," he asked liquidly, accepting the boquet and fighting down a blush of his own. "You shouldn't have." The smirk on his voice was apparent. 'And he's come to woo me,' a stupid grin bubbled up from his stomach and outwards.

"Come inside," he offered.

Laguan took a step, having forgotten his leg and winced. "Owowowowowow!" he whined.

Irvine laughed. "I guess I'll just have to sweep you off your feet then," he teased.

"Huh?"

Laguna gasped as he found himself in Irvine's arms, like a bride, before he knew what was happening, and unceremoniously deposited on the bed.

Irvine leaned over him playfully and gave him a soft kiss on the nose. "You didn't have to try so hard, you know," he whispered softly. "The tux looks nice, but it doesn't suit you."

"Well, I didn't want to ask you out on a date looking like a bum, you know."

"Hmn. Where were you planning to take me?"

"Quiet dinner and a walk in the garden?" Laguna said, hoping it was the sort of thing Irvine would enjoy.

"And me, with not a thing to wear!" Irvine sighed dramatically, earning a soft chuckle for his efforts. More seriously now, he said, "Laguna. I know we just met, but I really do love you. So. . .please, don't break my heart."

Laguna smirked. "I already got that warning, thank you very much!" Laguna announced with a sweet smile, sitting up. "I would NEVER hurt you, Irvine. I swear. I just want to be near you, for as long as you'll have an old man like me."

"Not old," Irvine insisted. "Distinguished.

Laguna rolled his eyes. "Whatever."

"Now you sound like Squall."

Laguna sighed dramatically. "Geez! Haven't even had our first kiss and already you're talking about other men!" He mock scowled.

"I can change that, love," Irvine said sweetly, and leaned in for a kiss.

~The End~

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So, technically, this can go on and on, but I wanted a one-shot so :-P! R&R.

A/N: In regards to the OC, Jynx. Jynx is what I like to call a "cameo character". She's an OC who shows up in unrelated fics, in unrelated roles, as a minor character who exists for the purpose of moving the plot along, looking at things from an unbiased perspective that none of the regular characters would have, or letting the reader know about things none of the main characters know, and a multitude of other reasons. Through her appearances, more about her will become known, but don't try putting her into a timeline-it'll only drive you nuts. She is not a major character and should not be taken as such, playing no major role, but her appearances should not be ignored, as, most often, important things happen or key information is revealed. In short, she is always there for a reason. So, now that that's explained, if you read future fics of mine and come across her, you'll understand why. Cheers!

Until next time, Happy Haunting,

~Banshee Puppet~