Hangman

Written by Doggiegal

Squall Leonhart gazed incredulously at his girlfriend of about two years now. He didn't mind playing Triple Triad every once in a while to pass the time, maybe even a good ole game of poker, but hangman? Wasn't that a childish game? He vaguely remembered playing it with the other kids at the orphanage, but he'd never been really interested in what the others did. It didn't really matter what he thought, though. Despite his feelings on the matter, Rinoa Heartilly wanted to play hangman, so hangman they would play. Squall'd indulge her, as nothing made him more pleased than seeing the gleam of happiness in her eyes. He'd heard a quote before, something about people doing crazy things when in love, and wondered if this would fit in that category.

Her smile brightened when he agreed, reminding Squall why he participated in her crazy ideas. He was definitely in love, as his actions clearly proved. She eagerly announced that she'd go first, and Squall agreed. Why give someone staples without giving them the stapler as well? Plus, as mentioned earlier, it'd make her happy and subsequently make Squall happy. She grabbed a piece of paper from Squall's desk (she'd barged in and interrupted his work a few minutes ago, declaring her infinite boredom), and wrote out the blanks.

--- ---- ----- --- ----- ---- --- ---- ---.

Squall arched an eyebrow. "Why so long, Rinny?" She simply winked at him, reminding him that the puzzle wasn't going to solve itself. Squall, of course, put a lot of thought into his guess, much like he would a battle strategy. They'd been taught about how to solve various logic problems as part of the SeeD training, so he knew the six most common letters in the English language: E, R, S, T, N, and L.

T-E ----- -R--N --- ----S --ER T-E L--- ---.

H, as there appeared to be two THEs there.

THE ----- -R--N --- ----S --ER THE L--- ---.

A and O, maybe. There should be a few more vowels.

THE ----- -RO-N -O- ----S O-ER THE LA-- -O-.

I, possibly?

THE --I-- -RO-N -O- ----S O-ER THE LA-- -O-.

U, then. Not all words had vowels.

THE -UI-- -RO-N -O- -U--S O-ER THE LA-- -O-.

Rinoa, he realized, had picked something strange that he wouldn't know, but he supposed he honestly should have expected something like that from her. She was, at times, the personification of strange. Maybe a D…

This was a stupid, spur-of-the-moment idea. Granted, it would save him the hassle of planning out some fancy romantic dinner, but he was afraid that she'd take it the wrong way. What if she thought he was joking? What if she thought he didn't care because it wasn't romantic enough for her standards? He loved her dearly, and never wanted her to think otherwise. He fingering the cause of his anxiety, knowing that there was no going back now.

-I--A --A--I---, -I-- --- -A--- --?

One thing he'd noticed over the course of their last couple of games was that she always guessed at all the vowels first.

-I-OA -EA--I---, -I-- -OU -A--- -E?

She would then guess their initials (R, H, C, S, and L), probably because she thought they'd bring her luck or something.

RI-OA HEAR-ILL- ,-ILL -OU -ARR- -E?(S, C)

He saw some sort of recognition flash behind her eyes.

RINOA HEARTILLY, -ILL YOU -ARRY -E?(S, C)

Her eyes widen, and he fills in the rest of the sentence to make sure that she hasn't misunderstood. He knows she's probably thinking that there's some other explanation, as he wasn't the type of guy who did things like this. But she's changed him for the better; he'd do anything for her.

RINOA HEARTILLY, WILL YOU MARRY ME?

By the time he's down on one knee, a beautiful diamond ring in his hands, she's nodding and crying with joy.

Author's Note: Happy belated (and I mean belated) birthday, Squall Leonhart! This was a fluffy/mushy story inspired by a rp a friend of mine and I are doing on Neopets. Unfortunately, fanfiction killed my underscores, so it's much more difficult to read. Feedback would be greatly appreciated. Toodles!

-Doggiegal