Disclaimer: I don't own Final Fantasy VIII or the computer, or the truck I drive. What do I own? *Looks around* I own the cat.

Author's Note: This is the second story in the series I'm trying to create. It conjoins with my first story: Darkened Ice. You don't have to read one to understand the storyline of the other. Having said that; there are some things in Darkened Ice and this story that you will only understand if you read the other stories. I don't know how well you guys will like it. I just wanted to try it. All the stories will take place around the same time and all of the main characters will be included.

Leather-bound Secret

He gazed out at the moonlight reflecting off of the ocean's waves. The beach was a beautiful place to be on a nice night. Of course having a beautiful girl as company made it all the better. The wind blew a few strands of her hair into her face as he watched her stare at Balamb Garden. She snuggled in closer to him for warmth. He wrapped his arms around her bare shoulders and leaned on her for support. The garden that now sat before them was beautiful. She'd done a good job in helping to decorate it for the SeeD inauguration ball. She'd done a good job of dressing herself up too. She was stunning in her strapless blue evening gown. He leaned on her a little more, causing her to stumble a bit.

"Irvy!" She squealed as he leaned on her further.

"What?" He laughed at her innocently.

"You're gonna squish me!" She laughed as her thin little legs began to give under both of their weight. He continued laughing when they both tumbled down onto the cool sand. He rolled over to face her. She brushed her hair out of her face brushed the strands out of his. "You could've squished me!" She played as she tossed a handful of sand at his chest. "I'm not that strong." The smile on her face spread from ear to ear.

"Ya didn't have a problem holdin' me up last night," He teased as he raised up to a sitting position and pulled her up as well.

"Irvine Kinneas!" She squealed. "Someone might've heard that!"

"So what babe? I'm not worried about it," He leaned towards her and pulled her into a deep kiss. He could feel her wrapping her arms around his neck as she tried to close as much of the distance between them as possible. She smelled of vanilla; that was new. She normally wore white musk. Then, as quickly as he'd initiated the kiss, she broke it and stood up. He remained where he sat and watched her dust the sand off of her dress.

"You said you wanted to talk?" She stated as she waited for him to stand up and join her.

"Yeah, I do," He hesitated. "Just not out here." He wrapped an arm around her shoulders and walked with her back towards the garden's front gates. They stopped and sat down on a bench just inside Garden. Irvine took her hands in his and looked at her intently. She smiled back at him, emerald eyes dancing. He felt her pull away a hand and straighten something up on his uniform. He wasn't suprised. She'd been doing that all night. Part of him thought that she was more excited that he was a SeeD than he was. He sat silent for a moment while he gathered his thoughts. "Sefie," He whispered shakily. "I don't know really how to say this. I guess mainly because I don't know how you'll react to it." Her face grew a little concerned and he realized that she probably thought he was going to propose to her. 'Great,' He thought. 'Now she'll be upset about two things.'

"You can tell me anything," She said as her eyes searched his face.

"I know, and I always have," Irvine looked down at the pavement before he brought his gaze back up to her. "I've never lied to ya about anything. And I've never mislead ya to believe somethin' that wasn't true." He grew silent again. "I know I come off as a flirt or ladies man to some people, I used to be. Or at least I used to make people believe I was." Selphie now looked utterly confused as to where the conversation was going. "I know some people still think I'm usin' ya but I'm not.....I'm not really gettin' to my point either."

"Just say it," Selphie encouraged him. He looked down at the ground again but this time her hand caught his chin and raised it back up. She was now staring into his eyes. "Why's it so hard for you to tell me?" She had at first thought she was seeing things, but soon realized that his eyes were tearing up.

"Because Sefie, I've looked for ya ever since we were separated at the orphanage and I don't want to loose ya now," He answered. She grew silent but still held his chin.

"Is it that bad?"

"I don't know. It depends on which way you look at it," He was beginning to feel sick to his stomach. "I shoulda told ya a long time ago but I didn't." He pulled a hand back and reached inside his jacket to produce a small leather-bound book. She took it from him gingerly as if it would crumble between her fingers and looked up at him.

"Is this a journal?" She asked.

"In a way," He answered and took a deep breath. "It's also got some pictures in it." He pulled the thin leather strap that held it closed away so she could open it. "You're the only person that knows about this. I figured it was your right to know first." He pulled his hands back and placed them in his lap. For the first time in his life he was nervous about being with her.

She stood up and walked over to the nearest lamp in the landscaping and turned to the first page. He involuntarily looked down at the ground as he waited for her to respond. Part of him wanted to snatch the book away and pretend it was nothing important, but she deserved to know. He inhaled deeply as he waited for her response. He managed to work up enough courage to look up, but she just stood still, staring at the book's pages. Irvine willed his legs to walk over to her even though they felt as if they were made of lead. He leaned on the lip of the landscaping wall beside her and waited quietly.

"Toby Kinneas," She said softly. "I know that that's not your name," Her voice seemed to be a little uneasy. "And judging by the date below the name, he either died right before you turned seventeen or he was born then." Her voice became very silent.

"He's a year, three months, and twelve days old if ya want to be exact." Irvine bit his lower lip. "He's my son." Selphie didn't even look up. She just continued to stare at the book in her hands. "I made a lot of mistakes when I was sixteen, but keepin' him was one of the few things I did right." Selphie looked up at him for a long moment before she spoke.

"So where's his mother?" He could tell the words were hard for her to form.

"I dunno. She didn't want him, and although I was only sixteen, it didn't seem right to just ..." Irvine quit talking, unable to complete the sentence. "Let's just say adoption wasn't somethin' she was willin' to wait around for."

"What happened then?" Selphie asked.

"I managed to talk her into lettin' me have him so long as I didn't press her for any money or anything later on down the road. That's why I'm a SeeD. I mean I want to be here with you, but I have to have a steady job so that can support him as well."

Selphie stood silent for a moment as she closed the book and examined it's exterior. "Can I take this and look through it?"

"Sure," Irvine answered. Selphie just nodded in thanks and then hurried inside before Irvine had a chance to try and escort her. She ran all the way to her dorm room on the verge of tears and fumbled with the key card to get in. After what felt like an eternity, the door slid open. She hurried inside and fell onto her bed; the leather-bound book held securely to her chest.


It's just a start and I promise it will get better. Please be kind and review, and no flames please. Irvine may have seemed a little OOC, but think about what he had to let Selphie know. I'm sure that's no easy task.