My second fic in a day… who's proud of me? >wants a hug> Anyways… hope ya like. Squffie is good. And so is fluff following tragedy. XD
Enjoy! And no I DON'T own it…
"Come on, Squall! Um, Leon. Come on already! I'll shout you a beer tonight if you'll just hurry up so I can beat you!"
Squall- um, Leon, scowled as he watched the 'Greatest Ninja in the World' run circles around him in her impatience to be off and training. "I don't have to go, remember?" he reminded her. "I never actually promised you that I'd come and train."
"You didn't?" She paused momentarily, looking at him quizzically from under black bangs. "I could have sworn you said 'Yuffie, I'll train with you if you'll just get away from me for two minutes so I can get dressed.' I know you did."
"No, I didn't. The whole thing is just a product of your hallucinations, induced by the three blocks of chocolate you ate for breakfast."
She grinned. "But they were so good, Squallie! Best thing in the world for a starving, growing, active and did I mention hungry girl to eat for her first meal of the day."
Leon, wielder of the Gunblade and the one and only Tall, Dark and Brooding, sighed. He picked up his Gunblade and walked out into the lengthening shadows, Yuffie running ahead of him and whooping. At least one of us is excited.
"Mwah ha ha ha ha! I win again!" Yuffie crowed. Leon looked at her, silhouetted against the sun motif on the wall of the Waterway, and she blinked innocently at him. "What did I do?"
"I wouldn't call pushing someone into the water to win a fair way to fight, Yuffie. You did it three times." He pointed out.
"I didn't push you! You tripped! I swear, you could have killed that poor little Dalmatian puppy, Leon, you bully."
"There was no puppy. That was your foot. I've never seen a Dalmatian that was all brown."
"Then you haven't looked hard enough. Maybe Pongo and Perdita are expanding their family to include different breeds or something."
"Yuffie…" Leon said threateningly. Yuffie stuck her tongue out at him and ran. Leon stood quietly, thinking, when the ninja's loud voice broke into his thoughts.
"I think I'll leave you down here overnight, Leon. You need to cool off." Yuffie called down to him from the stairs to Merlin's house. There was a rumble of protesting stones shifting, then darkness as the sun motif changed to a moon.
"Yuffie!" He yelled, shivering. "I swear, I'll kill you when I get out of here! There is no way I'm going to swim!" Leon was furious. The only reply he got was a faint giggle. I can't believe she's doing this to me. Hasn't she ever heard of hypothermia? I'll freeze! It's not like I know the spell for Fira or anything… the Gunblade's out of ammo for the fireball mechanism… oh, I'm going to kill that girl. Leon slumped down into the water lapping against his legs, and settled down to wait out the night.
"Yuffie!" Aerith cried in shock. "How could you do that to Leon? Haven't you ever heard of hypothermia?"
The little black-haired ninja actually had tears of horror in her eyes as she cringed at the brunette's words. "I never thought about it, Aerith. I thought he'd be warm enough, and-"
"It's not enough!" Aerith exclaimed, worry etched on her face as she continued to berate the mischevious girl. "Yuffie, it's dangerous to leave anyone in the cold after they've been wet! And he was exhausted from your training, too- don't give me that look, Yuffie, you know you always train your hardest, and he really does feel it after. Cloud actually had to carry him back to the Hotel this morning!"
The onslaught and feeling of guilt Yuffie was experiencing was too much for her. She burst into tears, her usually happy self crumbling away. "Aerith, I didn't know! I'm so sorry! I'll help look after him, I promise!"
Aerith's hard front vanished instantly at the sight of her friend's tears, her maternal side taking over. "Shhh, Yuffie. I didn't mean to yell. I suppose… if you help he might forgive you…"
Big indigo eyes looked up at her. "Squall's mad at me?" Yuffie asked, looking horrified. "He can't be! No! That's not fair!"
She grinned as she walked into the room. "Hola, Squ-eon!" she announced brightly, carefully setting a tray down.
"Get out. Now."
She paused in her business-like bustling to look at him from under her black bangs. "That wasn't nice, Squ-eon." Yuffie tried to ignore him as she continued "You've got a fever, you're temperature's seriously like ouch-"
The sick man groaned. "And you leaving me in water overnight- freezing water- without any kind of heat was? Yuffie?"
He hardly noticed her flush. "I've already apologies to Aerith for that, and-"
"To Aerith. Aerith. Not to me, the person who actually suffered…"
"If looking after you is just going to make us fight, then I guess I'd better find another way to make it up!" Yuffie hissed, growing irritated. "Gawd, Squall, you'd think a sick person couldn't have the energy to go off at a person like that, but then some things never change, do they?"
Oh-ho. So she's doing this to make up for it, is she? "Well then, I guess you should just hurry up and finish so I can actually rest."
The small ninja scowled at him. "Gladly, Squall. But if you fight with me again, I'll hire whatsername from down the hall to look after you. That chick in the green dress who practically falls over every time she sees you."
She heard a gasp of horror, and knew that her threat had stuck. "You wouldn't."
"Try me, Squall, try me." She passed him a glass of liquid which he downed without comment, still staring at her in shock, and walked out of the room.
An uneasy truce developed between them, one that grew into habit after three days of Yuffie tending to the ill man. She would walk in, they'd exchange barbs, she'd administer the potion Aerith had taught her to make, and leave with a few choice words. She'd also comment on how hot he was each day, without noticing that his forehead was warmer with each visit. And he never realized how she felt.
He never actually got better, either…
"Squall... sorry, Leon," He lifted his head to watch the ninja waltz into the room as though she had not a care in the world, and winced. Even the slightest movement of his head caused sharp pain to lance through his already aching skull like bolts of fire.
"Leon, you look bloody awful." Yuffie set down a pale blue tray down on the bedside table, nearly knocking the lamp off. She rescued it deftly and looked down at him. Her nearly black eyes were expressionless, but her tone seemed laced with- was it worry? Leon was too tired to care.
"Who's fault is that?" he tried to whisper. His throat felt sore and dry, and all that issued from it was a dry croak.
"-you're to drink this." He was going to ask her to repeat herself, she spoke too fast for him to understand, but before his mind could coax his mouth into forming the words (cookies, his mind was telling his mouth for some strange reason, you get cookies for each word you say,) the black-haired girl had tilted his head back and was in the process of pouring a vile white mixture down his throat that tasted twice as bad as it smelt.
"Yearghhh!" With strength he didn't even know he possessed right then, Leon had pinned Yuffie's arms to her side and crushed her hard against his chest. "Poison," he hissed into her ear. "You tried to poison me!"
Stung to the quick by his words, Yuffie tried to twist out of his grasp. "Never, Squall! Why would I try to poison you?" she struggled against him again, without success, and froze suddenly as his hand crept up suddenly and stroked her ebony hair.
"Squall?" she whispered, unsure. Don't melt, Yuffie. You have to stay strong. "Squall, Aerith made that for you. She spent all morning on it, so you have to drink it or you'll make Aery sad."
"It tastes like poison," he murmured against the back of her head, his sickness-addled mind refusing to register her words. "It tastes like the poison I tried, the poison I took when Rin- Rinoa died, when Rinoa's heart was taken. Where is she? Rinoa?" Squall's voice climbed in pitch and volume with each phrase.
Yuffie felt hot tears well up in her indigo eyes as a warm wetness soaked into her hair. First he accuses me of trying to poison him, then he calls me Rinoa! She attempted to pry herself from his grip once again- either her emotions gave her actions power or Squall's strength had suddenly dissolved, for Yuffie was free of his arms easily this time. Squall sank back onto his pillows, plainly exhausted and apparently unaware of the liquid tears running down his face. "Leon, Rinoa's gone. You said it yourself." She fought hard to keep tone gentle, to prevent him from hearing the bitterness in her voice. She grabbed the rest of Aerith's concoction and tipped it into a glass of sleeping potion. "Now, drink up for Aerith."
The sick Leon drank without complaint, eyes closed, and Yuffie picked the tray up and silently disappeared out the door.
The ninja flew down the stairs and stumbled into the kitchen, dropping the tray and losing her composure at the sight of Aerith. "I can't do this any more!" she sobbed, dashing blindly into the brunette woman's embrace. "I just can't! He called me Rinoa! Aer, he took poison after Rinoa's death!" the girl's slim body was wracked with sobs.
Aerith's touch was comforting as she pulled the girl down to sit on the floor. "Hush, hush," she crooned softly to Yuffie. "I know, it's hard when loved ones get hurt."
"But he didn't just get hurt! He tried to hurt himself! As though he was already hurt so much he couldn't feel anything more, and just wanted to end it!"
Aerith looked down at the distraught girl in her arms for a long moment. At last she sighed and placed a gentle hand on Yuffie's forehead. A few whispered words and a brief flash of light, and the little ninja slumped into her arms.
"Come on, Yuffie. You need to rest. You have to be strong." Aerith picked the small form up, displaying more strength than most would have thought possible from her, and gently laid the slumbering girl down on the couch in the kitchen.
Yuffie stirred, and moaned. Squall… "What's the time, Aer?" she queried, eyes still closed. When no one replied, she opened them. The small digital display on her Hello Kitty clock read 3:23 AM.
A yawn preceded several attempts to untangle herself from the sheets- Aerith's, she realized- and she padded out and down the hallway to check her room. "No Aerith there," she muttered to herself, and grinned as she realized Cloud's room was the only one left.
"Okay… well, it's early…" a muffled thump surprised her, and a short strangled cry. The black-haired ninja shot off up the hallway. Squall?
Yuffie poked her pale face around the doorframe, worried. "Squall?" she whispered, unsure. "I mean, Leon? Are you okay?"
Sobs answered her.
She slipped in through the partly opened door, and paused to close it again, then padded across the floor to the sickbed.
"Leon?" Reaching out a slender hand, she touched the sheets clustered around his head. There was an audible choking gasp as the blue-eyed man realized someone had heard him.
"Go away," he whispered, holding back the tears Yuffie was sure were there.
She made a decision, and sat on the edge of the bed, right next to his arm. It was almost comical when he shuffled away, still under the white sheets.
"Squall, or Leon, whatever, I don't really care-" she began. A twitch in the sheets caused her to hesitate, but when nothing was said she continued.
"Anyway… you can't just think about Rinoa all the time, you know." She nearly jumped as his head popped out of the sheets, disheveled and impossible to read in the scant moonlight.
"I told you to go away," he muttered with a weak pathetic cough.
Yuffie continued as if she hadn't heard him.
"You said yourself Rinoa's dead. So shut up about her already! The dead don't come back to life just because you want them to- I know it as well as you do. Get over it, Squall. It's in the past. She's in the past." She looked at him softly then, illuminated by the moonlight alone but glowing and sure of herself. "You still have a lot of life to live. Get used to it. And you'd better learn to tolerate me more, too… because I've decidedI'm gonna be around you a helluva lot in the future, Squall," she added under her breath.
She rose, and turned to go. Her moonlight-whitened skin contrasted starkly with her jet black hair, and a shine in her dark eyes wasn't entirely from the moon. Wiping the tears from his eyes, Squall cleared his throat before she reached the door, and Yuffie turned.
"Um… Yuffie… can you come here please?"
Yuffie nearly rolled her eyes, but did as he asked. "Yeah?" she said again, by his side.
In the dark room she couldn't see his desperate, pleading expression. "Can…"
"Leon, please spit it out. It's three in the morning."
He coughed, and whispered something so quietly she wasn't sure if even her sharp ears had heard him correctly. "Squall…"
A heavy sigh was heard. "Fine. I said, 'could you stay the night in here?'" he muttered, obviously embarrassed.
The little ninja very nearly smirked. "If you want me to, Squallie," she said sweetly, and yanked the sheets off him.
"Well, if I'm going to stay in here, I want to be warm… your bed's a single."
"I know that!"
Yuffie did smirk. "So…"
"Do I sleep on the floor? You asked me to sleep in here, didn't you?"
Leon nearly tore his hair out in frustration. "Just hop in, dammit," he snarled through clenched teeth.
Yuffie giggled and did as he said, making herself comfortable. Leon just squeezed his eyes shut, wondering why he'd done it.
"Squall, open your eyes for a minute."
He obeyed. I'll never hear the end of this…
She leaned in a kissed him very quickly, on the lips. "Good night," she beamed at him, and turned and snuggled into him, pulling the sheets over the both of them. Leon scrunched up his face at the blush he felt coming on, and wrapped his arm over her stomach. Her only response was a yawn, and to snuggle in closer.
Was it tragic enough? And then fluffy enough? Well, hope y'all liked it… this was supposed to be for the Squffie Sick Fic contest at the SquffieLove Community. Trouble was, when I was planning to finish it, I had a look at the calendar and I'd lost two days somewhere along the way… it wasn't my fault I swear. It just happened. And it really sucked.
But anyways. Here it is now! Dedicated to all Squffie lovers, in particular:
Skippinsunday, October Breeze, Tairako, KDeo
Some of the awesome people who love Squffie, and who have been there always! Great buddies, all of 'em… hope you all enjoy this! Think of this as my personal Christmas prezzie to you!
Love from Tally