Disclaimer: I still don't any of the characters except Jem. Even though I would love to have Squall…but anyhow, I still don't own Square-Enix. I am not, nor will I ever be, rich enough to do so.

- - -

Chapter 10: Friendly Games of Truth or Dare

A warning sign
I missed the good part then I realised
I started looking and the bubble burst
I started looking for excuses

Come on in
I've gotta tell you what a state I'm in
I've gotta tell you in my loudest tones
That I started looking for a warning sign

When the truth is
I miss you
Yeah the truth is
That I miss you so

- - Warning Sign (Coldplay)


As they made their way back to the house, no words were said. Occasionally their hands would brush, sending a shiver up Rinoa's back and making Squall smile. Rinoa, too, smiled, glancing every few seconds at Squall fleetingly, too shy to say anything to him. For an instant, she let her mind wander.

I think I'm starting to like Squall...

She smiled once more, only to stop upon realisation.

I'm beginning to like Squall…

Rinoa suddenly began to regret agreeing to his idea. She felt the heat rise in her cheeks and paused in her stride, panicking to get out of the situation she'd gotten herself into.

Just because he has a nice smile, it doesn't mean I can just let my brain turn into mush!

Squall frowned slightly as she stopped beside him. Turning to face her, he put on his characteristic smile. "Hey, are you alright?" his smile slightly broadening when he saw the blush in her cheeks.

Oh gosh my cheeks are getting all hot…crap! He's so going to get the wrong idea. Closing her eyes and placing one hand on her forehead in her art of faking sick, she allowed herself to speak in a slightly broken way. "I'm…my head is feeling all hot. I think I've been…you know, I spent too much time in the sun."

"Oh, yeah…probably sunstroke. Hey you should go and take a shower and lie down or something," he started, trying to not to sound overly concerned, or disappointed as she nodded slowly in concurrence. "Come on, we're almost at the house." Going along with her little act, he subconsciously took her empty hand, her other occupied with the plate that had carried her sandwich, and put his arm around her waist, helping her back to the house.

Squall felt her stiffen at his touch, and smiled knowingly. Sunstroke, eh? What 'strenuous' activity were you doing to cause it? I don't think reading in the sun is enough to cause sunstroke. I'm not that stupid Rin.

Oh God, Rinoa's eyes shot open, did my plan just backfire into an invitation for him to touch me! It's okay…he's just helping me 'cause he thinks I'm really not feeling well. Right…yeah, that's why. No need to be alarmed…or enjoy it. Her pace quickened to match his, shortly approaching the wooden panelled stairs that lead to the beach house's verandah.

"Uh…thanks Squall. I'll be fine from here," she said with a smile, hastily removing herself from his hold and moving inside.

I'll let it go for now… "Yeah, okay." He smirked as he stared after her. Could it be that she's nervous about being alone with me? Now that would be interesting.

Quickly passing the kitchen to place the plate on one of the benches, and skilfully avoiding conversation with the parental units, Rinoa made her way upstairs, nervously hugging herself as she closed the room door behind her. Pressing her back against the door she blinked, trying desperately to calm herself down. Not only was she annoyed at what had just transpired, Rinoa was also angry with herself for not being able to handle things better. Dropping her bag to the floor, she followed in suit, hugging her knees to her chest while her back remained touching the door, a pout and frown forming on her face. Her thoughts remembering the conversation she'd had with him the previous afternoon.

Best friends. Of course I remembered. Anger towards you was the only way I could deal the fact that two of the most important people had left me in the span of a month – my father…and you. I never really blamed you for his death…it just happened that that was the only way I could deal with you being gone. That whole stupid cake story - talk about making a mountain out of a molehill. I pushed away my feelings of missing you by replacing them with feelings of hate…and that made it easier for me to let go. You know what they say: if you keep saying it, you start to believe it.

And so I believed that I hated you…and I stopped needing you.

But now you're back. And while a part of me still hoped you would, I started to believe that you'd never come back. How could you possibly understand, even if I did tell you…

Feeling a real headache form, she took the elastic from her hair and shook the thoughts from her head. Rinoa felt her ponytail fall onto her shoulders, combing her dark locks with her fingers as she stood up from her sitting position and grabbed a towel and some clothes from the bag beside her bed. Rubbing her forehead in attempts to banish the oncoming headache she made her way down the hall, towards the bathroom and opened the door. Eyes narrowed, she nonchalantly opened the door and stepped in.

"Do you always just barge in on people in the bathroom?" Squall asked with a smirk as he stood at the sink, shaking his wet hands. "I guess you're lucky then."

With her eyes now widened, Rinoa was at a loss of words, a previously unknown state for her that was beginning to be more and more familiar, especially of late. Gee…way to get rid of a headache. "Excuse me? Lucky?" was all she could think up to say, mentally chastising herself.

"Lucky that you didn't wander on in on me thirty seconds ago. Unless of course, you actually were intending to, in which case you'd be then unfortunate."

An instinctive glare quickly formed at his comment. "Who the hell leaves a bathroom door unlocked when they're using it, anyway? I was just going to take a shower to get rid of my headache. I don't think of you all the time."

"But you do think of me?"

Touché. Her mouth opened momentarily, shocked at his question. Rinoa racked her brain, trying desperately to retaliate cleverly, failing miserably with the monosyllabic answer, "No."

Amusement showed on his face. Gotcha! "Sorry…in my house a closed door is as good as it being locked. But, who enters a room with a closed without knocking?" he asked as he walked passed her and closed the door as he exited.

Rinoa couldn't help but smile slyly, now that she was out of danger of being caught. Unfortunate indeed.

- - -

Rinoa glanced at her watch with a sigh. She and Squall were sitting silent on either side of the couch watching cartoons, Squall occasionally flicking through the channels.

9.03…we've been silent for an hour and a half. And I'm hungry.

Rinoa pouted, glancing momentarily at the boy beside her. "I'm guessing your overly enthusiastic dad still hasn't caught some fish for dinner."

"Well, at least they finally got out of the house. I swear I've never seen them act so juvenile before. Even you are behaving more maturely," he said with a smirk, receiving a poked out tongue. "I never realised they were such good friends. I mean, I don't think my parents even kept contact with your mum while we were in Esthar."

"I can't recall them keeping up contacteither. That's probably why then - they've got heaps to catch up on. And I've known my mum to be pretty in love with 'Scrabble', but I've never seen her, or anyone, play for more than two hours," Rinoa laughed as she observed the numerous 'Scrabble' scoresheets laying on the coffee table.

"Yeah I know what you mean. Hey…you hungry?"

Rinoa rolled her eyes at the obviousness of the answer. "Of course I am. What do you propose we do?"

"Eat, smart ass," he laughed as he tossed the television remote control onto the couch, and stood to move in the direction of the kitchen. "I saw mum pack away some stuff from lunch, so I'm assuming there'll be enough for us to eat. Something tells me they won't be back for a while. I don't think my dad knows how to fish."

Rinoa stood and followed him. "Why the hell didn't you say so before? If I'd known that their little expedition would be unsuccessful I wouldn't have waited."

"So I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. Does that make me a horrible person?" he shrugged.

"Yes."

Squall let out another laugh as he opened the fridge and started pulling out plastic containers from the fridge. "Whatever."

"What are my options then?"

"Well…there's cold cuts in the fridge, as well as bread if you want another sandwich. But here you have the choice of either a pasta salad or a potato salad."

Her eyes narrowed. "There was a pasta salad at lunch and I got a measly sandwich?"

"Fine, have the pasta salad then. Geez…that's gratitude for you. Not my fault you just so happened to be on the beach when we were eating." Squall opened one of the draws and pulled out two forks, giving one of them to her as she opened the containers. "By the way. You're pretty crappy at faking sickness."

Ah shit. He caught me. Okay…if all else fails: feign innocence. "What do you mean?" Heat once again crept into her cheeks.

Nothing went passed Squall. "You not feeling well again?"

Rinoa busied herself with the task at hand: eating. Trying to make it look like something not to be distracted from. "I'm feeling just fine."

"So earlier you were just…?"

"Genuinely not feeling well," she lied through her teeth. Great answer.

"Truth or Dare, Rin?" Squall asked cunningly.

Her gaze narrowed as she met his, knowing precisely what he was trying to do. Okay then…this could be interesting - more interesting than just silence anyway. "Dare."

Eyes still trained on her's he proceeded to share his request. "I dare you to take your top off-"

"Truth."

Thought so. "Fine. Why are you avoiding being alone with me?"

"I'm not. I'm here alone with you right now, aren't I?" she lifted an eyebrow, challenging him.

"But that's out of your control. You wouldn't be left alone with me if you had a choice would you?"

"I do believe the game 'Truth or Dare' consists of one question or dare at a time," she retaliated, popping another bit of salad into her mouth.

"Fair enough. I choose truth."

Rinoa bit her lip in contemplation. "Why are you so intent on getting to know me?"

"Because I like you."

Rinoa blinked at his answer. What!

"Just kidding," Squall laughed upon seeing her face. Gotcha. Interesting reaction, Rin. "I'm not intent on knowing you. I already do know you." Well…that's true too. "I'm just trying to reacquaint myself with you."

"You don't already know me. I've changed."

"Not really."

"Prove it then. What-"

"Uh uh, I do believe you would be a hypocrite if I let you continue. Truth or dare?"

"You do realise I'm never going to choose dare, so we may as well just play 'Truth'."

Squall finished chewing before he replied, "Alright. Did you really hate me that much?"

She cocked her head as she thought, stabbing the fork into bits of pasta remaining in the container. "Honestly…I'd have to say yes." But for reasons I shan't disclose to you…

"No elaboration?" he smirked

"That's another question I believe, and no. You asked a yes or no question. If you had said 'Explain…well then I would've been obligated to explain."

"Smart ass. Go ahead then," he sighed with a roll of the eyes, placing the empty containers and forks into the sink. While she thought, he made his way back to the fridge, pulling out two cans of lemonade, giving one to Rinoa, who had hoisted herself on top of the kitchen bench top opposite Squall, who was now leaning against the fridge.

"Thanks. Let me see. At my house you said you'd rather not have moved, but that's because I was being annoying. If you had your choice, would you rather be in Esthar or here?" she asked as she opened the can and took a sip.

"Here, without having left of course." Then you might've ended up with me. "Who was your first crush?"

Once again her eyes narrowed. "If you claim to know me so well then you should know that it was Seifer…though if you tell him or Quistis, I will hurt you."

"Oh trust me, he knew. Besides, that was ages ago. He wouldn't care anyway. It'd just feed his ego," he laughed.

"Then who was your first crush? It had to be one of the gang."

"You're right it was. It was you."

WHAT! Once again Rinoa blinked in shock. With a small shake of her head a smile twisted on her lips. "Liar. It was Quistis."

Yeah, that's what I told you. "Why ask if you already knew the answer?"

"Why lie when the name of the game is clearly 'truth'?" Rinoa bit back.

"You can't answer a question with another question."

"Yes I can, andI did. Besides,I was just testing you."

"Same here. Gotta say, Rin, loved your reaction."

Rinoa shrugged, expertly continuing her indifferent facade. "What can I say, I aim to please. Anyway…I'm thinking I'm going to go hit the sack early." With that she jumped off the bench top, throwing the empty can in the bin.

"It's a Saturday. Why?"

"I intend to wake up early. I haven't seen a beach sunrise in years."

"Oh I see. Well maybe I'll join you," he said slowly, waiting for her reaction, surprised when she turned back in his direction from the doorway, smiling genuinely at him before promptly turning back around towards the stairs that lead to their bedrooms.

"Yeah." That'd be nice…

Squall smiled to himself as she left him alone in the kitchen. 9.34, he observed as he glanced at the oven clock. Where the hell are those three? As if on cue, the three parents stepped into the kitchen, having entered from the beach side entrance.

"Hi Squall, has Rinoa gone to bed?" Julia asked, receiving a nod. "Though she's probably just going to talk to Jem until the early hours of the morning."

"Guess what, Squall," Laguna chimed in, a goofy smile present.

He raised an eyebrow in response, partially in annoyance. "You caught no fish and decided to eat out instead, not telling either of us thinking we'd be intuitive enough to figure it out."

"Ah, your son knows you too well," Raine chirped as the three adults broke out into laughter. "You should've come Squall. Watching your dad struggle with the fish was so much fun."

"I've seen it before. Well, I'm gonna go to bed now too." There isn't much else I can do here anyway. "'Night."

-"-"-

Rinoa glanced at her door as she heard faint laughter. "Looks like the parentals are back in the house now. I've never seen my mum so weird before."

"Weird?"

"Okay then, not weird, but you know…really happy. There's something different in her eyes now."

"Well wouldn't that be a good thing then?"

"I guess. I never realised how close my parents were with Squall's."

"Squall's a really good guy, Rin. You should give him a chance."

"I know that, Jem." I know that better than anyone…

"Oh really?"

Rinoa turned on her bed to face the wall that separated her room from Squall's, having heard the door close. "Yeah. I don't know if he ever told you, but we used to be really good friends…"

"Then if you used to be such good friends what happened?"

Rinoa sighed as she rolled again onto her back. "He went away."

- - -

5.42

Rinoa glanced at her cell phone, looking back at the house from where she sat on the beach. Sighing, she let herself fall back onto the sand, staring up at the stars still present in the sky, listening to the waves continuing in their tidal movements. She allowed herself to close her eyes for a few seconds as nearing footsteps sinking into the sand sounded. Nice of you to join me, Squall.

"You know, you'll miss the sunrise if you fall asleep. God your alarm is loud," Squall whispered as he stood looking over her.

"Good morning to you, too. You exaggerate. I had my phone's alarm on the lowest volume and I turned it off after it alarmed five times," Rinoa's volume matching his.

Squall sat himself down next to her. "You only heard it alarm five times? I heard it go on for about three minutes."

"Well its not my fault you have extra sensitive hearing."

"Nah I couldn't sleep."

"Oh really? I could've sworn I heard you snoring through the wall." Rinoa smirked.

"Isn't it a bit too early for sarcasm?"

She sat up, brushing the sand from her hair with her fingers. "It's never too early. Shuttup now or you'll ruin it."

The sky had begun to brighten, and the two of them sat quietly watching as the dark shades of night slowly disappeared, overtaken by the mixing of orange and yellow, illuminating the world. Some clouds that had appeared on the horizon slowly moved out of the way to reveal the rising sun's rays. As the rays of light touched her face she smiled, breaking the silence that had encompassed the two for ten minutes. "Squall," she swallowed nervously as she placed a hand on his. "I'm sorry."

The look in her eyes told him not to question the apology, as if asking would spoil the moment they were sharing. Although he had a feeling that he already knew the answer.

"I know."


A/N: -hides behind a stone wall- Okay, first off…I'm really, really, really, really sorry for taking so long to update. As I've said numerous times before…school took priority this year and I'm sure you all understand. But now! I'm out of Highschool, I've graduated and I'm just waiting for my results and all that jazz…and although it's a year late, here is the chapter. I know a lot of you have waited a very long time for this and I truly hope I haven't disappointed too much. Not writing for a year can really take its toll on a writer. So I hope you will all accept my apology. I can't guarantee continuous updates, but can however guarantee that there won't be another gap between chapters quite as long as the past year. I hope you all still find interest in this story. And if you review I would be eternally grateful! I don't know how much my writing skills have deteriorated over the year and I really would love some comments. Thanks for sticking with me! Also...to those of you who reviewed last chapter all those months ago, my responses to you can be found on my homepage which you'll find on my profile page. I'm pretty sure how to get there is self explanatory, just look for "For Reviewers" in the navigation. Alright! That's me signing off!

-huggliez-

PLEASE R&R!

- e. t