Chapter 1: "Frozen Concerns"
Warning: This story is centered around the "relationship" between two boys (also called yaoi or shounen-ai). Yes, omigod, it means they're gay. Gay as the night's black - in my lil world, anyway. I have no way to check whether you're old enough/allowed to read this, so please proceed at your own risk. Don't come to me crying I didn't warn you and how you're scarred for life now. So, I'll say it again, this is about two male Final Fantasy 8 characters being in love (please don't make me repeat it...) - namely Squall Leonhart and Seifer Almasy. Don't like it or aren't allowed to read it? Then please do us both a favor and move along.
Now, on with the show.
"Hyne, could it be any fucking colder? Brrr!"
Rubbing his Ehrgeiz-gloved hands against his bare tanned arms, a teenager with eccentrically spiked blonde hair and an unusual tattoo adorning his youthful, charming features, shifted his weight in the ankle-deep snow of the Trabia plains from one foot onto the other. Next to him, a young woman with the same ravishing crop-colored hair and intent cobalt blue eyes was sighing with barely masked exasperation. Her tall, slim figure was clad in knee-high leather boots, a cozy orange wool dress and a long, light brown woolen coat, which she had wrapped around her body snugly.
"... And here I was thinking that men never get cold."
She slowly shook her head from side to side, a bemused smile curling her lips that were chafed from the cold despite frequent treatment with chapstick.
"Not this man, I tell ya. I'm freezing!" the young man growled, shivering in demonstration.
"You know, I told you to bring your coat from Ragnarok, but you said you wouldn't need it. Perhaps you should have listened to me."
"Well, uh... I wasn't cold yet."
The young woman couldn't help but laugh in response. She cared deeply for the spunky young man by her side, and both of them knew only too well that his careless behavior often got him into trouble. Still, his happy-go-lucky attitude and almost childish humor were definitely some of the reasons why she loved him as much as she did.
"Hey, whatcha laughing at, Quisty?"
Her smile softened.
Her answer provoked one of those dashing smirks that always melted her stern heart and sometimes frosty temper in the matter of an instant. Zell Dincht was not a person anyone could carry hard feelings for, least of all Quistis Trepe, his girlfriend of almost one year. They were both SeeDs, stationed at the Garden of Balamb, and they had gone through the roughest of times at each other's side.
Preventing the end of the world together isn't something that passes a person by lightly.
"How much further is it, anyway? We really shouldn't have to walk at all, what's the point of us turning into damned icicles?"
"Actually, we did have to walk. Remember, Squall told us to get some of these."
She pointed at the bag slung over Zell's shoulder, which contained a couple of mesmerize blades that they had acquired from two slain Mesmerizes along their way.
"Oh. Right. What does he need those for, do you know?"
Quistis shrugged her slender shoulders, still smiling.
"I think he needs them for some of the students. He didn't tell me."
Suddenly, her smile fell.
"... He hasn't told me much of anything lately."
Her boyfriend nodded thoughtfully and scratched his head, or as much as his numb fingers would allow, anyway.
"I know," he agreed uncomfortably. "He isn't the same anymore. I was kinda hoping he'd thaw out after the whole Ultimecia thing, but that was certainly a wish wasted."
"Well, he did get better for a while, I guess, but ever since Rinoa left he's been more anti-social than ever," she murmured. "He doesn't even talk to Laguna anymore, and I thought they were doing so well. It hurts me to see him like this."
"I know, sunshine. Me, too."
"Maybe Selphie and Irvine can help. We haven't seen them in months. I told Squall that we'd only check in at Trabia and say hi to them, but he's got no idea that they'll come to Balamb with us."
"Heck, he'd flip if he found out, even though I think he misses them. It's been so long since we all hung out together. Man, had I known that saving the world would keep us so busy these days, I would've thought it all over twice before we went to kick Ultimecia's butt!"
Zell managed to make the smile return to his girlfriend's face, and quietly, she thanked him for that. The fact that their friend and High Commander of Balamb Garden, Squall Leonhart, had totally shut himself off from his friends over a period of months had troubled them all. They cared for the introverted, quiet teenager like a brother, but his callousness and tendency to be slow to trust made it difficult to be close to him.
Quistis shook her head, clearing her thoughts of the brooding shadows in the hope that their friends Irvine Kinneas and Selphie Tilmitt would be able to ring in a turn of the tides.
"We should really get going."
Her boyfriend let out a guttural sound somewhere between a groan and a whine, before he nodded a reluctant affirmative. Longingly, his light green eyes screened the horizon once more, in the vain hope that Trabia Garden would suddenly appear out of the vast plains of ice and snow.
"You know..." he started, his voice swaying with humor, "If I don't make it, just drag my frozen ass along and douse me in some hot chocolate once we get there! That'd make for perfect resuscitation! Actually, a long, sloppy smooch would do, too. Or a hot dog. Or..."
Heaving a long contained sigh of exasperation, Quistis rolled her eyes towards the snow-clouded sky in silent plea.
"Alright, Zell. I'll do that. Then again, maybe I'll just leave you right here and have the cocoa and hot dog all for myself."
Smirking in an unusually playful manner, Quistis waved good-bye to her stunned boyfriend and started to make for the general direction of Trabia Garden. Zell shook his head in a subtly respectful manner, secured the bag on his shoulder and charged after her disappearing figure.
"Agh, hey, wait up! C'mon Quisty! Wait for meeeee!"
To be continued!