Disclaimer: I own only the obvious, the rest belongs to JK Rowling and Square Enix.
Author's Note: I haven't played the FFviii game through completely. This plot bunny bit me and I couldn't get rid of it, so you will simply have to torture yourself through it.
Crossover: Harry Potter & Final Fantasy VIII
Warnings: The horizontal tango with our two boys and a disregard to most of the FFviii plot since I haven't exactly played the game.
This is not beta-read!
One-shot #11: Dawn of a New Century
In a world where only women could have magical powers without extra help like Guardian Forces, Harry was an anomaly and he soon knew it. It was a good thing that he had decided to read up on this new world first before he started showing off his magical abilities, otherwise he might have been taken as the human incarnation of the god Hyne – i.e. the one who had gifted women with the ability of magic.
That Harry didn't have to transfer his power into someone else before he died would also, most likely, enforce that belief, and all in all it would bring far too much trouble and far too much attention. And since the reason Harry had left Hogwarts and the Wizarding World behind was in order to escape from all the stupid hero-worship and attention he was gifted with after Voldemort's fall, well, it didn't take a genius to realize that Harry was definitely not going to be showing off his powers if he didn't have to.
Nor did he want to suddenly have lots of people knocking on his door, insisting upon becoming his Sorceress Knight – the female title really was sexist in Harry's opinion, but that was another matter entirely.
But where was he going to settle down in this strange new world?
Harry wanted a place that would be big enough where the arrival of a slightly odd stranger wouldn't garner too much attention, but he also didn't want the place to be so big that there were suspicious police and government workers around every corner.
Timber had far too many warring factions and resistance groups to be safe. Dollet was too big and Deling City was even bigger. Shumi Village would have been fun but for the fact that it was located underground, and Esthar City was controlled and terrorized by the Sorceress Adel – definitely not a place that Harry wanted to settle down. In the end Harry decided on settling down on the island of Balamb, in Balamb Town. It was big enough but not too big, and it was full of tourists, and Harry's presence there wasn't going to mean anything.
So that is where Harry finally settled down. He rented a small apartment, made efforts to return his new neighbours' kindness and weathered their curiosity, and got himself a job in a local shop that was focused on selling weapons to the inhabitants and the cadets at the nearby SeeD training ground – Balamb Garden.
All in all it was a very good place to settle down if he did say so himself.
Harry saw the brunette a week after starting his job as the clerk in the weapons shop in Balamb Town. It was weekend and apparently the students from Balamb Garden got the time to come into town and relax a bit from the gruelling training they endured for the rest of the week.
The brunette in question came into the weapons shop and started browsing, and Harry couldn't help but stare at the black leather bomber jacket, the impressive gunblade and the leather pants. Definitely the leather pants and the attributes that they revealed and hugged tight. It was drool-worthy, and Harry was surprised that he didn't start drowning in his own drool when the unknown brunette turned around revealing the white shirt that was pulled tight over a firm, strong chest.
Harry had never considered himself to be obsessed with sex, but he was a normal male teenager and he would have been blind not to notice the other's attractiveness, and he couldn't help but fantasize about the SeeD cadet dressed in leather.
When Harry's green eyes met the cold ice-blue ones of the other, something seemed to happen between them. It wasn't a spark or a tingling feeling like one would read about in the cheap romance novels. It was an explosion of feelings that hit them both with the subtlety of a sledgehammer to the face, and Harry was glad that he was leaning against the counter otherwise he was certain that his legs would have given out on him a long time ago.
The blue-eyed male seemed equally affected, but he also seemed to be handling it and hiding it much better than Harry. The young man approached the counter with his purchase, Harry rang it up, and the other paid for it and then was off on his way. All without uttering a single word.
Harry was left feeling dazed and with plenty of material for late-night fantasies.
The next time they saw each other was a brief glimpse. Harry had been sitting in a small coffee shop near the harbour, enjoying a drink with a few of the friends that he had made in the time that he had been in Balamb Town. The two girls were chatting about the latest fashions and news and on, while Harry and the other boy were discussing the latest models of weapons, both of them hanging over a copy of a Weapons Monthly Magazine that was laid out on the table.
"Look at that shotgun!" the boy was saying and pointing at a picture while Harry nodded along. "Look how sleek it is! And so light! It weights practically nothing, see?" he pointed again.
"But you need more strength and energy to handle the recoil." Harry pointed out as he read through the description on the weapon and its attributes.
The other frowned. "Yeah, I see."
"And just look at the price." Harry continued. "400 Gil just for-" he broke off as a powerful shiver ran through him. It was sudden and unexpected and almost explosive in the way that it made Harry's body react, and the green-eyed teen looked up and out of the coffee shop in time to spot the still-nameless blue-eyed brunette SeeD cadet.
The young man was standing on the other side of the street, once again dressed in his bomber jacket and with the gunblade at his hip, and those ice-blue eyes were staring straight at Harry. The young man paid absolutely no attention to the people around him and his eyes never left Harry's green ones.
It was an intense look. More intense than anything before, even their first meeting.
Harry had developed tunnel vision for nothing else seemed to matter.
"Hey, hey, Harry! Are you listening to me?" Harry's companion snapped his fingers in front of Harry's face and made the green-eyed teen blink and look away from his staring contest with the SeeD cadet. He focused on his companion who was still bemoaning the price of the shotgun. "Only a bloody SeeD would have the money to buy something like that, and even they would have to save money!"
"Ah, yes," Harry replied, but he was distracted. His eyes went back to the window, but the blue-eyed brunette cadet was completely gone.
More and more often Harry ran into or saw the blue-eyed SeeD cadet with his trademark leather bomber jacket. Whenever they were in the vicinity of each other, a sort of electric feeling would take residence in Harry's body, making him feel restless and twitchy. He wanted to run his hands through the other's wild brown hair, wanted to trace the other's seemingly emotionless features, wanted so much that would probably never happen and he still didn't know the young man's name. Heck, they hadn't even talked to each other yet.
'This is getting way out of hand.' Harry sighed one day as he stood behind the counter in the shop. His obsession with the SeeD cadet was seriously getting annoying. His dreams were filled with hot wet fantasies with the blue-eyed brunette as the star, and Harry's heart started beating wildly whenever he even so much as thought about those intense blue eyes and their owner. If he didn't pull himself together soon then he would end up exhausted from a lack of sleep.
The owner of the shop came into the main room from the back, carrying with him several boxes of special ammunition, which he placed behind the counter before writing names on each one. "There."
"There what?" Harry asked curiously.
"This is ammunition for gunblades. Gunblades are hardly used since they are so difficult to use and master, but two of the cadets up at Balamb Garden use gunblades, so I need to order some ammunition every month." The owner explained.
"Ah, you mean the brunette who is always dressed in leather?" Harry's heart picked up speed at the mention of the SeeD cadet.
The older man nodded. "Him and another one. This box of ammunition is for the brunette," he pointed to the box labelled 'Squall Leonhart'. The other box was labelled 'Seifer Almasy'. "This one is for a blond cadet. He always wears a long beige coat. Their gunblades are different makes so they need different ammunition, so remember that. If you give the brunette's ammunition to the blond then not only will you have a very unhappy customer, but you could also possibly jam the gunblade mechanism. And that is very bad for business, understand?"
Harry nodded quickly. He wasn't about to go and make such a mistake but not for the reasons that the owner had mentioned.
Now that Harry finally knew Squall's name there was no way that the green-eyed teen could ever forget anything that had to do with the brunette.
It was kind of pathetic just how far gone he was.
"If you're so in love with him, why don't you simply go up to him and ask him out on a date?" one of the girls suggested as they watched Harry and Squall stare at each from opposite ends of the book shop.
"I can't do that!" Harry hissed. His one attempt at asking someone out – namely Cho Chang back in fourth year at Hogwarts – was a disaster that seemed to be ingrained in stone, and Harry simply couldn't bring himself to repeat such an embarrassing situation.
The girl rolled her eyes. "Honestly. What's so wrong about going up to him and asking him out?"
"He'd probably say no, for one."
She snorted. "Not with the way the two of you have been mooning over each other. With such intensity it's only a matter of time before the two of you snap and either end up beating each other up or fucking like rabbits right here in front of everyone."
The green-eyed teen flushed bright red and gaped at her.
"Oh, don't look at me like that, you know I am right. Everyone knows I am right." She suddenly seemed thoughtful and tapped her chin as she mused over something before suddenly grinning and snapping her fingers. "Perhaps he's one of those very shy people and that's why he hasn't approached you yet? You should give him a sign that you're open and available and very willing."
"Wh-wha-?" Harry croaked, partially in shock.
She didn't seem to notice at all being far too gone into her little fantasy world. "Yeah, you know, like, wink at him. Or ask him out. Or go over there and kiss him senseless."
Harry shook his head so hard he feared that it would fall off. "Hell no! You've been reading far too many trashy romance novels!"
The girl giggled. "Aww, you're so cute, Harry. To think that you would be shy as well." She sighed and patted his arm in a motherly fashion. "Don't worry, I will help you get the man of your dreams."
"Please, no!" the green-eyed teen protested, but it was far too late. She was fully determined and it was impossible to dissuade her now.
Harry could only stand by and watch as his doom loomed ever closer.
As had been pointed out it had only been a matter of time before the intense attraction between the two of them had turned into hate at which point they would have tried to kill each other, or into intense, hot sex. Personally Harry was rather glad that it had turned into sex, and not only because Squall was such a hunk of a young male (who promised to continue being a hunk for the rest of his life), but also because there was no way that Harry would be able to defeat someone who had been trained as a SeeD for who knew how many years. Not without revealing his magical powers, and that was a big no-no.
So here Harry was, completely naked and pinned to his bed, Writhing and panting and screaming as he ran his hands through Squall's wild brown hair like he had wanted to do since the first day Harry had seen the SeeD cadet. Squall was equally naked and panting and groaning, and he was currently in the process of fucking the green-eyed teen through the mattress, the bed and the floor all in one go.
Who would have thought that someone who seemed so cold and aloof could be so incredibly passionate?
Who would have thought that a few drinks (courtesy of Harry's friends) were just the thing to make Squall to lose enough of his iron control to grab Harry, find the closest private room and proceed to fuck him senseless?
Harry certainly wasn't complaining – not that he had much brain power to use on complaining. Most of his focus was on just how good he felt and the tightening in his loins that was building at a shocking pace before it sprung free, making Harry cum and triggering Squall's own release. Despite the post-orgasmic bliss all Harry could focus on was to get more. It was like a drug that he had suddenly gotten a taste of, and Squall didn't seem to mind at all as they went for another round. And a third one after that again.
Come morning Harry's hips and lower back were killing him; the green-eyed male could barely even shift in bed let alone actually get out of it. Squall didn't seem to have the same problem, but he did seem to be feeling a bit awkward now that the alcohol had left his system and he realized what had happened during the night. Hell, there was a teeny tiny flush on the serious young man's cheeks, and Harry enjoyed that immensely.
"Don't think about it," Harry finally said after watching in amusement as Squall dressed in an awkward silence. "We just had a one-night stand of the best sex I've ever had-" not to mention that it was the only sex Harry had ever had, "-and that's all. As soon as I can actually move again I'll be your everyday shop clerk and you'll be a SeeD cadet and that's it."
"Hn." Squall agreed before he left, and that was that.
Or, well, it was supposed to be the end of it. But it wasn't, far from it. In fact, that only seemed to be the beginning.
Three weeks later Harry found himself in the same position and with Squall fucking him again. And two weeks after that. And the week after that again. In the end it seemed like whenever Squall had the time to leave Balamb Garden he came to search for Harry and the two of them ended up having sex.
But things changed over time. The sex wasn't just sex anymore. Harry slowly noticed that it had gone from friends-with-benefits/one-night stand type of sex, to sex between real lovers. As in very serious boyfriends-lovers. The biggest clue was that the sex stopped being so impersonal. They spent more and more time on foreplay and cuddling both before and afterwards, and Squall became more possessive. First there was one small hickey on Harry's neck, and it went away before the day was over. Then came a few more, and a few more and they lasted longer and longer, and in the end it was a very common thing for Harry to have possessive hickeys on his neck that were visible around his clothes – and some hickeys that were hidden at private places on his body that only Squall had access to. More often than not perfect finger-shaped bruises adorned Harry's hips, and the green-eyed teen always flushed when he remembered exactly what had led to all the hickeys and bruises to adorn his body.
The final nail in the coffin – so to speak – was that Squall one day out of the blue actually asked Harry out on a date. Well, he didn't phrase it that way and it was only to the small coffee shop near the harbor – the same coffee shop that was full of tourists – but Harry wasn't about to complain because from that point on the two of them considered themselves a real couple.
No one was surprised, they had considered the two brunettes an item since the second time they had had a night together, but no one said anything. The teachers of Balamb Garden just seemed happy to have Squall open up (however minimally) and care about someone, and the people in Balamb Town just thought that Squall and Harry were a cute couple.
August 23rd might not seem like a special date to many people. It was like any other day in the aspect that it wasn't a national holiday, nor was it a day something big – like the marriage of a princess or peace on earth – happened. So most people simply went on their way, totally ignoring the date and considering it just another day in their lives.
But it was an important date to Harry: it was Squall's birthday, and the SeeD cadet was finally turning seventeen.
It also denoted the beginning of the end of Squall's time as a SeeD cadet. In a few short weeks the serious and seemingly cold young man would be taking the final exam and graduate from Balamb Garden. He would become a full-fledged SeeD operative, and Harry wasn't quite certain what he thought about that. SeeD would then send Squall all over the world and that was all nice and good, but what would happen to Harry during that time? What would happen to them? Would there still be a 'them'?
Harry shook his head so that his hair flew around his face. 'Think about such things when the time comes. Now I have to focus on getting through the forest and to Balamb Garden. Alive.'
That's right. Harry had gotten it into his head to surprise Squall with a visit at his school. It was a Friday and after school hours so Harry was certain that he wouldn't be disturbing the students at the school. And one more day without training wasn't going to kill Squall – the man could pass the final exam with his eyes closed! – but Harry might just kill the blue-eyed male if he continued being such a recluse. They hadn't seen each other in almost two weeks, and that was more than Harry was willing to take.
Heck, Harry wasn't even going to demand sex or a lot of Squall's time, he just wanted to see his boyfriend of almost a year, spend an hour or two with him, give him his present and he would be happy with that.
With such a goal in mind Harry had wrapped the gift he had gotten for Squall, put it in a hip-pouch along with a few specimens of the one sweet that he knew Squall liked, and had bravely walked to the edge of Balamb Town. He now stood at the road and stared at the winding earth path that led off into the forest. It was a wide path – wide enough for vehicles – and the trees were well cleared away, but it was still dangerous to travel that way without escort. Most of the monsters that lived in the forest may be easy to handle for the students at Balamb Garden, but they were just the opposite for a normal civilian.
Especially if said civilian wanted to keep it under wraps that he was, in fact, a Sorceress – a name that he still found to be rather sexist and biased.
"Well, there's nothing to it but to do it and hope that it all goes for the best." Harry muttered to himself, sent a quick prayer to whatever god was up there that he wouldn't be attacked and wouldn't have to use any magic while he travelled through the forest, and then took his first few steps along the road that connected Balamb Town with Balamb Garden.
Harry's hopes of getting to Balamb Garden without being attacked were dashed about a quarter of the way through the forest. Despite the fact that the green-eyed teen had kept to the very middle of the road and had been walking as fast as he could without actually being jogging or running, he was still discovered by the creatures of the forest. The first that came at him as an odd, large blue bug with pincers the size of a seven-year-old child. It buzzed around him and flew at him in an attempt to decapitate him, but Harry ducked out of the way, grabbed a sturdy branch and hit it as hard as he could when it came at him again. The Bite Bug fell to the ground helplessly and Harry proceeded to beat the stuffing out of it until it died. It left behind a Scan-spell which Harry had no use for, but he pocketed it and decided to give it to Squall who definitely had more use of it.
The blue Bite Bugs continued to attack at an alarmingly frequent rate, but they were rather easy enemies and there was only one at the time since Harry kept to the middle of the road. Not many of the annoying bugs seemed willing to brave the open space on the road, and the green-eyed teen counted himself blessed for that. He didn't think he would be able to beat a whole swarm of Bite Bugs if they decided to come at him, not without using magic at least and he didn't want to chance that.
Right before Harry reached the gates of Balamb Garden he was confronted with the biggest caterpillar he had ever seen, and the Caterchipiller didn't hesitate in attacking him. Harry ducked and avoided the attacks as best he could, but the damn thing was quicker than it seemed and a simple stick wasn't going to cut it this time around. In pure desperation Harry flung the lone Fira-spell he had gotten from the Bite Bugs at the Caterchipiller, and that seemed to work fine but it didn't work enough because the monster was still alive and wriggling and attacking.
In the end Harry had to take out his wand and use his magic in order to defeat the Caterchipiller. Magic danced under his skin, itched almost painfully along his back as if wanted to break free before a good Reducto-spell removed the obstacle in an embarrassingly easy way, but Harry didn't gloat over that. He looked around nervously and hoped that no one had seen him use magic, and ran the last distance to the Balamb Garden gates.
The entrance to the school was very nice. If Harry didn't know better he could swear that he had just entered some futuristic science-fiction high-tech park rather than a school for soldiers. To get into the school proper you had to pass through the reception and for that you needed a pass and, most likely, an appointment. But the young woman manning the reception booth seemed utterly taken in when Harry explained his reason for being there and exactly who he was visiting, and she eagerly granted him a pass and let him through into the school. The school itself was amazing. Not like Hogwarts with its old-fashioned castle and magic, but in a futuristic and high-tech way, and Harry spent a couple of minutes simply standing on the walkway of the lobby.
There was a computer terminal there in the large, open lobby, but Harry had absolutely no idea of how to use it, so he didn't even try. Instead he waited and looked around hoping that someone would help him. The students that passed him were either too busy or they didn't seem to care at all, and the teachers were nowhere to be seen. Harry might have ended up waiting until doomsday came if one girl hadn't taken pity on him.
Small, dressed in a yellow outfit and with her shoulder-long brown hair curving outwards at the ends, she seemed far too young and definitely far too kind to be a student here. "Hello!" she said just as cheerful as her yellow dress. "I'm Selphie Tilmitt and I'm a student here! May I help you?"
"Ah, uhm, I hope so," Harry replied and flushed slightly. "My name is Harry and I'm from the town and, uh, I'm looking for my boyfriend. I wanted to surprise him on his birthday."
"Awww," she nearly squealed, nearly jumping up and down at the cuteness of the situation. It was a typical female reaction. "And who's your boyfriend if I may ask? I can help you find him if you wish?"
"That would be wonderful, I'm afraid that I would get lost in this maze of yours that you call a school." Harry couldn't help but smile right back at her. She was so upbeat and happy that it was impossible not to be the same around her. "And I'm looking for Squall Leonhart. He has brown hair and blue eyes, and wears black leather. And he uses a gunblade."
Selphie seemed utterly shocked at that, practically gaping at Harry and continued gaping and staring until Harry felt rather awkward and finally asked her what was wrong. At that point she shook her brown head wildly in an attempt to wake herself up, and then she did some odd sort of jump-dance.
"I knew that Squall couldn't be as cold and heartless as he seemed! Ha!" she turned to Harry and grabbed his arm before she proceeded to drag him through the school at a rapid pace. "Come on, I know where Squall is! He got into a fight with another one of the students – Seifer – and he's in the Infirmary."
Harry's heart nearly leapt into his throat. "Seifer?" he inquired hopefully, praying that Squall was alright. Squall had never been very talkative, but Harry knew that he and Seifer had a rivalry going and a rather violent rivalry at that, too.
"No, Squall is. Seifer got out of there yesterday." Selphie replied cheerfully as she dragged him through the corridors, until they finally reached the doors to the Infirmary. "Don't worry about him, Harry, Squall is fine. He just took a bit of a hit to the head and the doc wanted to keep him there overnight. Doctor Kadowaki?" she called out as she entered the Infirmary.
A brown-haired woman in a white lab coat looked up from the papers she had been going through. "Yes? How can I help you, Miss Tilmitt?"
"Oh, it's not me who needs help! It's this guy here." She pushed Harry further into the Infirmary. "This is Harry and he's here to visit Squall."
The doctor raised an eyebrow. She was surprised that someone came to visit Squall, obviously, but she didn't seem too impressed.
Selphie grinned and leaned forwards as if to impart a great secret. "Harry is Squall's boyfriend."
That certainly had the doctor's attention and Harry flushed slightly under her surprised scrutiny. Then she nodded and pointed at a bed at the end of the room, a dividing screed having been placed around it to keep the occupant from being seen by the people who came into the Infirmary. "He's over there. He should be waking up soon, and I think he would be happier to see your face rather than mine."
"Ah, thank you." Harry muttered and flushed even more. Selphie bid him a cheery farewell before she left and the doctor retreated to her office to give them a little bit more privacy, while Harry headed towards the shielded bed and sat down on the edge, watching Squall's sleeping face.
He had a new scar on his face. It was rather long, starting at the middle of his forehead and running at an angle between his eyebrows and ending underneath the corner of his left eye. Squall was lucky that he hadn't lost that eye when he had gotten the scar, and for all he knew it could have damaged an optical nerve and give Squall reduced eyesight in that left eye. Harry really wanted to whack the brunette over the head a few times for being so stupid, but there was no point in doing that while the man was unconscious.
'As soon as he wakes up and it is proven that he hasn't got a concussion or any other wound, then I'll whack him a few good ones for worrying me like this.' The green-eyed teen grumbled silently as he reached out and carefully, gently brushed away some of the bangs that fell into Squall's face. Before Harry could pull his hand away a bigger one shot up and strong fingers wrapped around Harry's wrist and held it tightly in place. Ice-blue eyes slowly opened and focused on Harry, and the green-eyed teen was relieved to discover that Squall's left eye didn't seem impaired at all by the wound he had suffered.
"Good day, sleepy head," Harry smiled down at Squall, leaned over and placed a feathery kiss on the other's lips. "How are you feeling? Is the wound bothering you in any way?"
Squall didn't reply and instead sat up. "Harry? What are you doing here?" he asked. "Don't tell me you came here to the Garden all alone."
"Alright, I won't tell you, then."
Ice-blue eyes narrowed. "Harry, that was very dangerous! You should know better."
Harry snorted. "You should have known better too, but that didn't stop you, now did it?" he traced the new scar with a feather-light touch.
"Hn." Was Squall's response as he got off the bed slowly, testing his balance and making sure that he wasn't too muddled in the head from the ordeal or any drugs he might have been given. Finding everything to be fine, ice-blue eyes once again turned to look at Harry. Though he obviously still didn't like the fact that Harry had braved the dangerous road from the town to the school, it was equally as obvious that arguing about it wasn't going to do any good. They were both too stubborn.
Squall sighed. "What are you doing here, Harry?" he asked as he took Harry's hand and pulled the green-eyed teen off the bed and notified Doctor Kadowaki before they left the Infirmary.
Harry interlaced their fingers properly, and he smiled when Squall didn't pull away even though the cadet was clearly feeling uncomfortable with such a public show of affection. Squall was incredibly cute when he was feeling awkward, in Harry's opinion. "What I am doing here?" the green-eyed teen parroted and stepped closer to his boyfriend. "Well, it might have something to do with your birthday, you know."
"You came all the way here just for that?"
"It's not 'just for that'!" he whacked Squall's arm and frowned. "I think it to be a very important day, Squall, and I have a gift for you, too."
Squall blinked, the only sign of surprise he would allow himself. He had obviously not expected that. Harry sighed. Sometimes his boyfriend – who had spent his entire life being cold and pushing people away – could be incredibly dense.
"-and this cheerful girl named Selphie showed me to the Infirmary." Harry finished the tale of how he came to be at Balamb Garden. Squall was currently giving Harry a quick tour of the school and they were currently on their way to the Cafeteria. It was far into the day and they were both rather hungry. Besides, there were supposed to be hot dogs today, and the Garden's hot dogs were famous even amongst the civilians in town.
"Hn." Squall's reply wasn't much, but Harry didn't expect more from him – especially not when they were in public, and currently all people they passed turned around to stare in surprise and shock at their interlaced hands.
The Cafeteria was nicely designed. It was circular and the counter was in a crescent shape. Students were sitting around the room and occupying the round tables, and a great many of them were also standing around the counter, shouting and waving their arms and trying to get to a hot dog or two. Harry stared at the spectacle, blinking in surprise at the viciousness that went on and all for only one hot dog or two. It was insane.
"Uh, perhaps this wasn't such a good idea..." the green-eyed teen mumbled as the students continued to fight for the last hot dogs.
Squall sighed and he pushed Harry to sit at one of the free tables before he dove into the chaos around the counter and somehow managed to get two hot dogs for each of them. And Harry had to admit that the hot dogs deserved their reputation, they were damn good and they were filling. It had been such a long time since the green-eyed teen had eaten hot dogs like this, so he enjoyed it immensely. That he was eating with Squall was a great bonus, too.
"No! No! No! No! Let me through! Hot dogs!" someone suddenly shouted and a blond male ran into the Cafeteria, trying desperately to get to the counter and to the hot dogs he was, apparently, craving. But unless he wanted to beat the crap out of everyone there (something he was obviously not about to do) then he wasn't going to get any hot dogs. Hell, only three more people got hot dogs before the three women behind the counter declared that there were no more. Students all around groaned in thorough disappointment, and the blond newcomer fell to his knees, his face the perfect picture of utter horror.
Harry couldn't help but snicker slightly at what he had seen while Squall barely bothered to raise an eyebrow. Apparently it was a common sight to see the young blond male with the tattoo covering the left side of his face loudly making a fool of himself. Not only was the man's face tattooed, but his bangs weren't hanging down like with most people. Instead they were spiked and stood straight into the air in the weirdest way Harry had ever seen while the rest of the blond strands were slicked back. He was dressed in sturdy boots, with blue baggy jeans that barely reached past his knees, a black vest over a black beater and black finger-less gloves with metal knuckles covered his hands.
"Hey there!" Harry called out to get the newcomers attention and then held out his last hot dog. "Want it?" he asked, smiling at the utterly shocked look on the tattooed teen's face. Squall simply watched the interaction with interest, but he didn't offer his own hot dog and ate it himself.
The blond teen shook off his surprise and shock and threw himself on the offered hot dog as if it were life saving, gobbling it down like a maniacal black hole. The poor food disappeared almost faster than Harry could blink, and the green-eyed teen couldn't decide if he should be disgusted or amused by it all.
"Thanks, man! You really saved my life there!" he grinned widely.
"No problem!" Harry replied with a small giggle.
"My name is Zell Dincht, and it's very nice to meet you!" Zell pointed a thumb at himself when he declared who he was.
Harry continued smiling. This man seemed like a male version of Selphie. "Nice to meet you, I'm Harry."
"Great to meet you!" he turned to look at the calm Squall. "Hey, I know you, man! I've seen you around! You're that gunblade wielder! Squall, right?"
Squall simply gave a miniscule nod.
"It's great to meet you both!" Zell said as he sat down at their table without invitation.
The three of them talked together for a while – well, Zell and Harry talked while Squall stayed quiet unless he was asked a question – but in the end Zell had to leave citing that he had to get some homework done and do some reading for the exam. The blond gave a cheerful farewell before he left the Cafeteria, patting his stomach and moaning about just how good the hot dog had been. Harry had gained yet another friend that day and all over one single hot dog.
"I don't think your reputation of being cold and aloof will survive this day," the green-eyed teen teased his taller companion as they walked through the corridors and towards Squall's rooms in the Dormitory. It was getting late and dark outside, and Squall refused to let Harry trek all the way back to the town in the approaching darkness. Besides, students were allowed to have friends sleep over if it was a weekend so there was no problem there.
"I got those hot dogs for you." Squall's voice was quiet.
"I know, and I'm really grateful." Harry grinned and hugged Squall's arm. "But Zell looked so cutely pathetic back there, like a kicked puppy or something, and I just couldn't resist. Forgive me?" he looked up at those intense ice-blue eyes, battering his eyelashes like a girl and knowing he was overdoing it by far.
Squall snorted which was as near laughing as he would get without being totally drunk. "He did look like a kicked puppy," Squall agreed as he opened the door that led into the space he shared with another student. They shared a living room and a bathroom, but they had each their own room. The entire living arrangement was large enough for the two of them, but not too large, and it was very comfortable. The other student had left for the weekend which would give the two lovers all the privacy they might have wanted.
They had just sat down on the bed in Squall's bedroom when the green-eyed teen remembered something very important.
"Oh! Your gift! I almost forgot!" Harry exclaimed and reached into the hip-pouch and pulled it out. "It's not much, I know," he muttered, feeling a bit awkward, and handed it over to Squall. "But I hope you'll like it."
The taller brunette took the small gift and carelessly ripped the wrapping paper – it wasn't fancy or anything so it didn't matter anyway – before carefully opening the fabric that was the last layer of protection. In his palm lay two chain necklaces, the pendant shaped as a lion's head with the mane being blown backwards. The pendant flowed down into a partial cross while the other, the key chain, simply stayed as a lion's head.
"Uhm, I thought it would go well with the Griever-motif on your gunblade. I saw it in a Weapons Monthly Magazine and thought it fit you, but if you don't like it I am sure you can exchange it to something else. I made sure to get it so that it could be exchanged for something else." The former Boy Who Lived muttered when Squall didn't say anything. This was getting more and more awkward. Didn't Squall like it?
Squall was silent for another while, looking at the chain necklace and the key chain, studying and contemplating them thoroughly before he finally moved. Harry twitched a bit when the blue-eyed male got off the bed, certain that Squall was about to throw the pendants away, and it took a moment before Harry could gather up the courage to look up and see what was going on. Squall had taken out the case where he usually kept his gunblade when he didn't use it, and was attaching the key chain to the very end of the handle so that it dangled like a small charm. The chain necklace was already in place around Squall's neck, resting on the white shirt that covered his chest.
Harry flushed and looked away, feeling silly at just how glad and giddy he was when he saw Squall wearing that necklace. He had been certain that the serious teen would have declined such jewellery, but instead he was treating it on equal footing with his beloved and prized gunblade. It made Harry stupidly deliriously happy.
That night during the birthday-sex, Squall's new pendant hung between them and rested on Harry's chest. And later on, when they lay together in the bed that was a bit too small for two people forcing Harry to use Squall more or less like a mattress – not that either Harry or Squall complained – the pendant glittered faintly in the yellow light let in through the large window and the thin curtains.
After that one time when Harry had travelled alone from town to the Garden, Squall had absolutely refused to let him do it again and insisted on escorting the green-eyed teen both to and from the Garden. Not that they had the chance to see each other much now that Squall's final SeeD exams were approaching at the speed of light. In fact they barely managed to see each other twice in that time, and both times it was because Squall had to go to town in order to stock up on ammunition for his gunblade. One of the worst things that could happen was to run out of ammunition right in the middle of the exam. That was a guaranteed way to fail.
"I'm cheering for you." Harry said and let his fingers trace Squall's serious face.
The exam was two days away and this was Squall's last run into town for supplies.
"I don't want to find you waiting for me in the Garden when I get back," Squall said, his arms tightly wound around Harry's waist in a possessive hold. "We will be leaving and coming back from the harbour here in town, so there is no point to go to the school. Promise that you will stay in town?"
"Yes, yes, I'll be staying here. Don't worry about me, worry about yourself and stay focused during the exam." Harry smiled and pulled the taller male's head down so that he could kiss Squall's lips.
When the day for the exam came Harry kept away from the harbour. Squall needed to keep focused on what was about to happen and Harry didn't want to get in the way or distract his boyfriend. SeeD exams weren't like exams at Hogwarts, you could die during a SeeD exam.
Harry spent the entire day on pins and needles. The Balamb newspaper had that morning run a big article about how Galbadian forces had attacked Dollet, speculating if small Balamb was the next to fall to Galbadian forces, and Harry had a sneaking suspicion that that was where the SeeD exam was to take place and where Squall and the other cadets had been sent.
Time seemed to crawl by slower than a snail's pace, the day never seemed to end and the stupid customers seemed to need help with the most basic and stupidest of things, and it annoyed Harry to no end. Harry worried and fretted. Was Squall okay? Was he lying dead somewhere in Dollet's streets? Was he captured by the enemy? There were so many things that could happen and Harry kept on fearing every single one of them. Harry was suddenly understanding what Mrs Weasley must have felt every time her children were dragged into one of those wild adventures at Hogwarts and especially that last battle in the Ministry for Magic when they had been fifteen years old. It was a wonder that Mrs Weasley – with those wild children of hers – hadn't suffered a heart attack yet. Harry sure felt like suffering one himself right then, and he was only worrying about Squall who was one of the best cadets at Balamb Garden.
In the end it got so bad that the owner of the shop sent Harry into the back rooms to take stock and to write up what they had to order more of.
"You're scaring away the customers with the way you're fretting." The owner said as he pushed Harry into the back room. "Get your mind off of that handsome man of yours and focus on something else. Time will fly past."
"Easier said than done." Harry grumbled as he picked up the clipboard that held the list of wares in the store. The owner laughed and left him in the backroom. The green-eyed teen sighed heavily and started on his work. He was certain that it wouldn't help him much, was certain that time would continue to go backwards rather than forwards, but in the end he was shocked to notice that time had suddenly flown by and the people out in the shop were chatting excitedly about the return of the SeeD cadets.
Harry dropped the clipboard and the pen and jumped up, fully intent on simply running out of the store and to the harbour and make sure that his Squall was doing fine and that he wasn't wounded or dead. However, those plans were put to a very abrupt halt when the green-eyed teen collided with something hard and blue as strong, familiar arms wrapping around him to keep him from falling to the ground.
In the most embarrassing and cliché way, Harry had managed to be surprised by and run into Squall, and the green-eyed teen flushed at the situation. What made the flush even brighter was that Harry saw Squall in the SeeD uniform for the first time in his life, and damn, but Squall looked even more handsome in the blue uniform with the protective pauldrons on his shoulders and the black boots and belt and... well, Harry nearly drooled.
Deciding to make the best of the situation – and not wanting to suffer through an awkward silence – Harry wrapped his arms tightly around Squall's neck and pulled the taller male closer as Harry rose up on his toes and planted a great big kiss on the blue-eyed teen's lips. "Welcome back. How did the exam go?"
Squall actually groaned and instead of answering he tightened his grip on Harry and proceeded to kiss the green-eyed teen senseless. Obviously the blue-eyed male didn't want to talk about the exam, so Harry had a sneaking suspicion that something had happened. He wasn't going to ask about it again though, not unless Squall wanted to talk about it. For Harry it was more than enough that Squall was alive and well – though the man was definitely bruised and his clothes were smudged with dirt and something that looked suspiciously like blood.
Groaning happily when Squall deepened the kiss, Harry wouldn't have minded doing it right then – apart from the fact that they were in the shop, partly hidden in the entrance to the storage room, with the customers staring at them in complete amusement. It was amazing that Squall had actually showed this sort of physical affection in the middle of such a public place, but Harry wasn't protesting at all. He was thoroughly enjoying himself.
"Awww! That's so cute!" Selphie's recognisable voice squealed happily.
Harry and Squall pulled apart at once, the green-eyed teen flushing slightly while Squall glared at the interruption.
"Man, that's rather hot!" Zell grinned at them, wriggling his eyebrows suggestively.
"How did the exam go?" Harry asked in an attempt to divert the three cadets' attention before Selphie and Zell annoyed Squall enough for the ice-blue eyed male to pull out his gunblade and start using it.
Both Selphie and Zell turned a lot less cheerful. Selphie frowned a bit while Zell snorted. "Seifer, that bastard, made trouble for us all." The spiky-haired blond male muttered angrily, but neither he nor Selphie said anything else about what had happened, and it was already obvious that Squall wasn't going to talk anytime soon.
But Selphie and Zell couldn't stay serious or depressed or brooding for long – that was Squall's forte as Zell teasingly pointed out – so the four teens were soon seen relaxing around the town, stopping in one store or another to look at something or buy a snack. Harry was heading with them back to the Garden. They would be getting the results from their exam later that day and Harry wanted to be there when Squall got his results and, if he passed, his SeeD rank.
They had left the town and were about halfway on the road to the Garden when they were attacked. If it had simply been Bite Bugs or Caterchipillars then they wouldn't have had any trouble at all, but it was something much worse than that. Somehow a T-Rexaur had wandered from the depths of the forest and onto the road, and the red monster with the sharp teeth made Harry stumble backwards in horror and reach for his wand. Oh, he had read about the monsters and seen pictures, but there was a bit difference between seeing something in a book and coming face to face with it in real life.
Squall, Zell and Selphie all took up position in front of Harry, protecting the civilian in their midst, not that it helped much when a swarm of Bite Bugs and several Caterchipillars showed up on the path. The teens were now surrounded and their exits were blocked, so they would have to fight their way out of this situation.
"Are the monsters supposed to gather in such large groups and attack like this?" Harry asked as he retreated from the snapping jaws of a Bite Bug.
"Definitely not." Squall's voice was hard and serious, his attention fully focused on the T-Rexaur.
"How are we gonna do this, man?" Zell kept eying the monsters that had appeared on their right flank, trusting Squall to watch the T-Rexaur and Selphie to watch the left flank. Harry may be only a civilian, but apparently Zell trusted him enough to watch their backs and at least warn them of a possible attack. "We need at least two people to be able to take on that beast, and that leaves only one to take care of a horde of monsters and protect Harry. It spreads us kinda thin here."
But there was nothing they could do about it. Squall and Zell focused on the large dinosaur while Selphie helped Harry to beat the Bite Bugs and Caterchipillars into submission. Harry kept his wand at hand, but he used a normal branch as much as he could. He had once briefly wondered what would happen if he told Squall about his magical powers, but had quickly come to the conclusion that nothing good could come out of something like that. It was probably very selfish of Harry to think like that, especially in this life threatening situation, but he wanted to enjoy what he had with Squall as long as he could for Squall would probably leave Harry after learning about Harry's magic.
However, they were being totally overrun by the monsters around them – especially the three cadets who had just come back from an exhausting exam – and it was much better to have Squall alive even if the male did hate Harry's every molecule. And that went for Zell and Selphie too. Selphie was having trouble with the Bite Bugs and the Chaterchipillars, Zell was shifting his focus between the hordes of bugs and the red-skinned dinosaur and Squall was focused fully on the enormous beast.
'I can't let them die.' That was the prevailing thought in Harry's mind as he watched a Caterchipillar manage to get a good whack in on poor Selphie. Whipping out his wand, Harry pointed it at the enormous bug and threw a Bombarda at it. The thing blew up and gore and fleshy bits rained down around them. But Harry didn't stop to watch this macabre rain, he was already throwing hexes and curses and spells at the other bugs in the vicinity, and soon there was none of the pesky annoyances left. The only thing to deal with now was the T-Rexaur, and from the way that Squall and Zell had been going at it, it seemed that the enormous red dinosaur was weak to the element of ice. Harry threw all the ice-spells he knew at it and, coupled with the attacks from the three SeeD cadets, they managed to finally defeat the T-Rexaur.
Bloodied and weak the four teens simply collapsed right there on the road. They needed time and potions to recover from the fight, but that wasn't what was on the three SeeD cadets' mind at the moment. The three of them were staring wide-eyed at Harry and obviously trying to figure out what the hell was going on – or, rather, trying to figure out how it could be possible.
Harry ducked his head and stared at the ground where he was sitting. He bit his lip nervously and didn't dare to look up at the other three. He knew that they would be staring at him, but he didn't want to see Squall's betrayed expression. He was certain that there had to be betrayal in all their eyes and he didn't want to see that at all.
"Harry, you..." Zell trailed off, his voice still shocked.
"Why didn't you tell us?" Selphie sounded a bit calmer than Zell.
The green-eyed male winced. "Too much trouble," he muttered. "First male Sorceress since Hyne isn't going to go unnoticed."
Zell nodded slowly. "I... suppose I can understand that."
"But what about Knights?" Selphie bit her lip. "You need it, right?"
"That's just even more trouble. Become famous by being the Knight of the first male Sorceress, many would jump at the opportunity to brag. And I've done well without a Knight so far." Harry sighed. "Listen, I'm sorry that I didn't tell you, but I hope you can understand why."
None of them said anything else on their way to the Garden, but the worst thing was that Squall hadn't said a single thing at all in the first place. The young man walked next to Harry so Harry was pretty certain that Squall didn't feel disgusted, but – then again – Squall was too good at hiding his emotions and even after all this time the green-eyed male had some trouble reading them. And now was one of those times. Was Squall horrified at this discovery? Did he hate Harry for not telling him about the entire Sorceress-powers thing? Did he think that harry didn't trust him? Had Harry lost Squall's trust by not telling him? Did he think that Harry found him unworthy? Did he want to be Harry's Knight as cliché as that sounded? Did he think that this made Harry some sort of odd hermaphrodite and able to be impregnated?
Alright, that last one was way overboard, but Harry was panicking so he was entitled to a little bit of insanity.
Nothing was said even when they reached Balamb Garden. Zell and Selphie simply went to their own dorms to take showers and change into clean clothes while Harry followed Squall to his dorm room and simply sat on the bed while Squall got cleaned up and changed. Everything was done in silence, so when there came a knocking on the door Harry nearly jumped out of his skin. Selphie entered the room and a few minutes later Zell came too. The two newcomers settled in the room – Selphie on the bed beside Harry while Zell sat down on the floor – and then everyone turned their attention to Squall.
'Why does it feel as if Squall is the leader? What is going to happen now?' Harry wondered almost absentmindedly. He was almost certain that Squall would be breaking up with him now, or turning him over to the Headmaster at the Garden so that they could find appropriate Knights for Harry. Well, it wasn't as if Harry didn't deserve it after having lied to the three of them, but the thought of being parted from Selphie, Zell and especially Squall, hurt like hell.
Squall opened his mouth and Harry tensed, expecting the worst but praying that the brunette male would be kind when he broke up their relationship.
"As soon as the ceremony is over with and we know whether we passed the test, at least one of us will always go with you no matter where you are." The SeeD cadet said.
Harry blinked as his brain tried to shift gears. That... was not what he had been expecting, so all that came from him was a very confused "Er... huh?"
Selphie giggled. "We're going to be your Knights, silly!"
"Yeah, man. You don't think we'd actually do anythin' else now that we know?" Zell grinned. "Like hell we'd trust anyone else to take care of ya. Money- and attention-grabbing fools the whole lot of them!"
Harry and Selphie and even Squall stared at Zell for that comment. That was pretty harsh coming from the usually so good-natured Zell, but the tattooed male simply shrugged and didn't explain himself. Not that an explanation was needed because they all knew that most people would have taken this chance to exploit Harry to the fullest.
"B-but your SeeD careers?" Harry asked. He didn't want to part from his friends and lover, but if they did become his Knights then they would be dragged into the insanity that was Harry's life and after all this time something was bound to happen. Murphy's Law had been suspiciously absent ever since Harry came to Balamb Town, and it was about high time for some sort of disaster of epic proportions to happen.
"A SeeD can go freelance and hire himself out, our life is ours to do with as we wish." Squall said it in such a matter-of-fact voice that Harry was stumped on how to reply to that.
"And we want to be your Knights!" Selphie added. "And not only out of some odd sense of duty, but because we're your friends. So please accept us as your knights, Harry!" she did an odd sort of bow where she was sitting, and Zell's eyes were practically puppy-like and begging to be accepted, too. It was the oddest thing Harry had ever seen.
"But... well... I... uhmm!" Harry's stuttering was broken off as Squall leaned inn quickly and kissed him. That was apparently the man's way of telling Harry that he had no choice but to accept them and that the matter wasn't up for discussion for he went to the door and stepped outside.
"Let's go," he called back to them. "They will be announcing the results of the exam any moment now."
"Coming!" both Selphie and Zell called out, but they didn't follow until they had grabbed Harry by the arms and practically marched him out of the room too.
Squall looked at them all seriously before he opened the door and exited from his dorm and into the Garden proper. "After the ceremony we will sit down and discuss what happens next in further detail."
As the other two nodded to the order and the four of them exited the dorm room, Harry had to wonder if these three truly knew what they were getting themselves into by taking up the mantle of Sorceress' Knights'.
'Probably not, poor souls.' He nearly giggled at the thought. He had to admit that he was ecstatic that these three were going to be with him through whatever Murphy's Law decided to throw Harry's way.
There, please tell me what you think.
Not the best ending, but I couldn't figure out how to end it better and I didn't have any more ideas to write for this either. Think of it as a sort of prologue to the story that happens next – whatever that might be.
As to possible plot-holes in these stories: I don't care. They are plot bunnies – not even fully developed ones – and not real one-shot stories. I try to get the glaringly obvious holes and smooth them over, but I can't be bothered to do the detail work that I would with a real story. Accept it and move on, thank you. And if you really need to know why Harry and Hermione didn't simply apparate out of their cell in the last story (HPxOne Piece), then the Seastone prevented them from doing so. There. I have covered myself.
Kelana Fluteflower / MrAwesome: stop asking for updates on other stories, please! I will update them at some point, but when people continuously ask about it in reviews that have nothing to do with the story the review belongs to, I get annoyed and I start losing interest in updating. Especially if it's repeated over and over again in different story-reviews. If you review a story then comment on the story you review before asking for something else, it's only common courtesy! If you absolutely must contact me and ask about it, then my e-mail is there for everyone to use and not simply as decoration. Threats of stopping to read my stories unless I update don't work either.
Sorry about that rant.
xXxOtAkU-444xXx, The Honorable Incitatus, Dysgrammatophobia, Baughn, Zetsuki, Dragonmage182, Tharanee, Namesake, Lykanthrope, Firehedgehog, yumeniai, Sabishii Kage Tenshi, Chosha Kurenai, 917brat, Talia Gea, VigdisVale, and DeltaKyuubi.