a bullet with (your name) on it


There's bullshit, and then there's bullshit, and after the war, Squall finally thinks he can tell the difference. This is turning out to be one of the latter times.

He sets down his mug, where it hits an uneven spot on the bar and sends beer splashing onto his hand. He glances for a napkin, but he doesn't expect to find one that's remotely clean, so he just wipes the liquid away on his pants and waits for Quistis to continue.

"It's logical," she says with calm assertion, the mark of the Instructor that she used to be. "There's no way someone could survive that."

"You're drunk."

"I am not. I'm perfectly sober. Besides, I'm not the one who's drank three of those so far."

Squall contemplates the condensation on his glass, and then takes a long pull of the drink. It's bitter and too heavy on the hops for his taste, but it's half-price tonight for SeeDs in uniform, and he thinks he can handle it. Manly beer, and all that.

Quistis pushes her glasses back up. They haven't sat right since their last visit to Deling City, where some Galbadian asshole had resisted arrest and fractured her nose in the process. She had made pretty damn certain that the man wouldn't be procreating any time soon in return, though. It hadn't been pretty to watch. Forget the whip; she ought to register her boots as deadly weapons.

Right now, though, she's arranging a battle formation on the bar with some bar nuts. "The Ensley maneuver," she elaborates, setting a macadamia nut in its place at the head of the pack. "Brilliant theory, guaranteed to fail."

"Yeah, but--"

Damn. Out of beer. He orders a fresh one and swaps the macadamia with half of a cashew.

"If you group them like this, it'll work."

"It could, in theory. It depends on what role this one," she explains, tapping the cashew with a manicured nail, "played."

He scowls, and picks up the fresh glass. "It was a Mini Mog."

"See, that's why it didn't work. You can't just put a little card like that into this pattern." Quistis pushes the nuts around with her finger, and then rearranges them into a neat little pile to clean up her mess. Squall's reminded that she isn't the Card Queen of Balamb for nothing.

He drinks more beer and feels his skin pull tight along his forearm, where the flesh is scraped raw and red and hurts like a son of a bitch. If he hadn't ducked and rolled, they would all be playing harps right now.

Quistis lifts her glass, still mostly full and clinks it against his, an unanticipated kiss of glass. He raises his eyebrow.

"To dodging bullets," she toasts solemnly.

"To dodging bullets," he echoes. Why not? It's true. The beer still sucks, though.

"And to people having lousy aim," Quistis adds, laughing as the rim of her mug touches her lips. He'll drink to that.