Part 8.


Squall turned the page of the book that he was reading. A book on the various monsters around the world. Of course he had seen all of them, and beaten…. Most of them. He sat in the library, glancing at the door every few minutes. He had escaped from Irvine's dorm again, the cowboy seemed to expect it by now. This was his fourth escape counting the time with Seifer. All the other times Irvine had come looking for him, he was expecting the cowboy to walk in any time now. He looked back down at the book, he was looking at the different types of dragon when a pair of hands landed on the table above the book. He looked up into his friend's frowning face.

"You're late." He had written it in advance, knowing the cowboy would come for him eventually.

"Be glad I came at all, Quistis says you're well enough to go where you like as long as its inside garden." He kicked out a chair, stealing the book. "What are you reading?"

Squall shrugged.

"The monsters of the world?" He read off the front cover. "You're studying?"

Squall shook his head.

"I didn't realize you were that bored."

It had been a week since the accident and Squall had yet to find his voice. He had actually looked at the councillor card that the doctor had given him before he came to his senses and discarded it.

"Maybe you want to go back to your own rooms?" He suggested.

Squall's head snapped up from looking at the book. He hadn't expected Irvine to say that, he thought his friend liked having him around but maybe he was starting to be a burden.

When Squall just blinked at him Irvine added. "Do you want to?"

Squall shrugged. "Trying to get rid of me?" He joked.

The cowboy grinned at him "Well I thought I'd better let you know that I was willing to let you go again."

Squall looked back down at the book again. "Any chance of me being able to train again?"

Irvine scoffed. "I doubt the doctor and girls will ever say you're well enough for that."

"You could come with me?" He asked with a hopeful look.

Irvine shook his head, chuckling.

"We'll stick to Grats." He added.

"Oh I don't know Squall." He chuckled. "Maybe next week."

The brunette frowned at him and turned his head as if to sulk.

Irvine leaned over the table to look into Squall's eyes. "Are you sulking?"

He shook his head but looked down, trying not to meet his friend's eyes.

"If you're bored, you could help Selphie set up the quad for the spring festival."

Squall shot him a scared look.

Irvine laughed. "It's not that bad, a few tables and chairs to set up, some tablecloths and…. Stuff." He said. "It'll keep you busy."

Squall grimaced. "What are you doing?"

"Queen Quistis wanted me and Zell to go into Balamb to talk to the hotel manager about… something." He shrugged. "I told Seffie I'm help out as soon as I get back."

Squall hesitated. "Who else will be there?"

"Um…" He paused, looking skyward to think about it. "Xu, Nida and err I think Seifer's been blackmailed into helping…."

Squall scoffed at that.

"Selphie will obviously be there and Quistis, Zell and me will join in later and probably Rinoa, though I haven't heard from her but you know Rin she normally helps out."

Squall sighed and nodded in defeat.

"You'll go? For real?"

Again he nodded.

"Wow you never volunteer for festival duty, you must be dying to get back to work."

Squall half smiled and shrugged.

They walked down to the quad together.

"Irvy!" Selphie cheered as they walked in. "I thought you weren't going to be in for ages ye-" She then suddenly noticed Squall and grinned at him.

"SQUALL!!!!!" She yelled so loud he winced and took a couple of steps back. Irvine chuckled and placed a hand on his back, probably to stop him leaving.

She smiled at him in disbelief. "You know I think this is the first time I've seen you here when there's been festival preparations in…." She struggled for a minute. "In …. well ever."

Squall frowned at her. If everyone was going to tease him for actually showing up maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all.

"I'll be in later with Zell." Irvine was explaining to Selphie. "But I thought Squall here could do with something to keep him amused, Quistis isn't letting him work yet so…"

She grinned again. "No problem I have loads of jobs for you to do in here." She was practically wagging her tail if she had one. She soothed a hand down one of his leather clad arms and added. "Nothing too strenuous of course."

Squall rolled his eyes. He was not an invalid.

Irvine grinned and nodded. "See you later sweetheart." He said to both of them.

Squall just nodded while Selphie waved madly until he was gone from sight.

"Okay dokay then." She beamed at him, ignoring his almost frightened expression. "Let's find you something to do, I have several people hanging streamers and banners from poles and things maybe you can help them." They walked past a line of bushes that quivered when they neared.

Selphie paused and smiled at Squall. "Hang on a minute." She reached into the bush, fiddling around for a second before she found something to hold on to. She pulled and out came a scruffy looking Nida.

"Nida?" She hissed in her best intimidating voice. "What were you doing in there?"

He didn't say anything.

"I thought you were carrying tables with Seifer."

"I can't find Seifer." He said.

She rolled her eyes and quickly pointed out what she wanted Squall to do before running off again to look for the elusive blonde.

A cadet that Squall roughly recognized stood on a ladder next to him. "Hand me those please Squall."

The brunette picked up a box of streamers and things. He pulled out a banner that read: Balamb spring festival 2009. He handed it up to the guy on the ladder.

He gave a muffled reply of thanks around the ties he had in his mouth.

"Pss." Someone hissed at him from somewhere.

He turned around but there was no one there. He handed up another streamer.


He looked behind him and this time sighed and rolled his eyes when he spotted Seifer hiding under a table, the table cloth hung low enough to cover him.

He turned and gave the table an annoyed look.

"I'm hiding." The table hissed as if it wasn't obvious.

The guy that Squall was working with came down and moved his ladder to a different area. "Come on." He said.

The brunette glanced back at the table and then picked up his box and went to follow.

"Wait don't leave, don't-" He slid back under the table when someone else walked past giving Squall time to escape.

The brunette handed his work mate another streamer once he was on the ladder again.

"Was that the resistance?" He asked.

Squall blinked. "What?" He mouthed.

His new friend chuckled. "Seifer announced that he was here against his will, a prisoner so he set up a resistance for those who don't want to be here."

Squall rolled his eyes.

"So far I think all they do is hide under tables and in trees."

Squall nodded along with that. Right. Nida was in a tree.

Someone stopped next them with another ladder. "Right Tom I'm off, I have to go into town do you want the spare ladder?" A girl who Squall had seen also putting up streamers said.

"Urm…" The guy up the ladder 'Tom' paused. "I don't know if there's anyone to use it yet."

Squall put a hand on it trying to communicate that he would help. It was better than standing there not doing anything.

"Oh you want it?"

He nodded.

"Okay then." She left it with him and waved to her friend before leaving.


Irvine stretched as he walked into the quad with Zell who didn't look happy. "Thanks again for volunteering me to work with the devil Irvine."

The cowboy scoffed. "Selphie is not that bad."

Zell gave him a look.

"Well usually not that bad." He laughed. "Everyone else is here, Quistis, Selphie, Squall, Seifer…."

Zell frowned. "Seifer's here? Really? Why?"

"I think he was blackmailed." He said cheerfully.

"Oh." The blonde brightened suddenly.

Selphie skipped up to them as they approached. "Hello boys." She grinned. "I guess you're looking for Squall?"

"I'm not." Zell said.

She ignored him and looked at Irvine. "He was helping out with banners I'm go with you." She looped an arm through his.

She frowned at Zell. "Zell your boyfriend's been a nuisance."

"He is not my-"

"Oh whatever, you'll probably find him hiding around here somewhere."

The blonde looked confused. "Okay." He muttered, wandering off to look for Seifer.

Selphie lead Irvine through all the people walking around, some carrying things, some shouting orders to others.

"He was right- OH MY GOD!!" She yelled, almost causing Squall to fall off his ladder. He wobbled and had to hold on to avoid falling. He glared at her.

"Squall!" She shouted at him standing next to his ladder. "Come down here at once."

He pointed to his streamers. He wasn't finished yet.

"You're not supposed to do anything strenuous!"

Squall rolled his eyes.

Irvine glanced between the two. "Selphie honey he looks fine up there to me, let's just-"

"No!" She interrupted. "I promised the doctor I wouldn't let you do too much and she wouldn't want you falling off a ladder now come here."

Squall refused.

She walked forward and shook the ladder lightly just to scare him, it made Squall cling to it.

"Don't!" Irvine said, coming up to steady the ladder.

"See? You see how unsteady you are?" She said.

Squall came down shakily and into Irvine arms, partly to hold him back from killing Selphie.

He pointed a finger at her. "You!" He jerked his hand at her. "You…" He was unable to finish the sentence.

The brunette was red in the face and very annoyed. Everyone was staring at him and he tired of people treating him like a baby.

Everyone was staring at him again for another reason.

Irvine stared at him looking concerned again he had his hands on Squall's shoulders. The brunette blinked at him in silent confusion.

"You-You spoke." The cowboy blinked at him.

Squall blinked back in surprise and raised a hand to his throat. "Uh?" He made a sound with his throat, surprising himself. "Oh."

The cowboy grinned at him and Squall allowed himself a little smile forgetting about killing Selphie for a moment.

Selphie cheerfully. "I did it! I was me! Maybe I should be a councillor."

Squall rolled his eyes.

"Yes if anyone needs annoying they should come to you." Irvine said, laughing.

"You have to come to the festival now Squall, we have something to celebrate." She grinned.

He winced. "I…."

Irvine also seemed reluctant. "I don't know Selphie all this excitement in one day…"

Squall frowned and was about to point out that he was not an invalid but Irvine's hand on his waist gave a little squeeze he was given stopped him. He blinked at the cowboy who was still looking at Selphie.

She smiled in understanding. "That's okay Squall if you're feeling tired we'll save you some festival food."

She walked past and he just glared at the baby like treatment. He turned to frown at the cowboy.

"What's wrong? I got you out of a Selphie festival." He pointed out. "And…" He grinned. "I was thinking…."

Squall raised an eyebrow at the hopeful look.

"Maybe…. If you're recovered enough for talking and ladders then maybe we could have an evening in… alone." He stressed the last word with a silly grin.

Squall managed a small smile.

"Nothing too strenuous of course, wouldn't want to upset the doctor."

The brunette nodded his agreement.

"Is that a yes?" The cowboy asked, actually looking unsure of the answer.

"Yes…. it's a yes."

That silly grin was back in full force and he gave the brunette another squeeze.

They gazed around the quad again at all the people, some of them looked away quickly when the couple glanced up.

"Irvine!" Selphie called him.

The cowboy was reluctant to let go of Squall but he did. "You can go and escape." he winked at the brunette before hurrying over to see what Selphie wanted.

Squall watched him go with a smile before leaving and heading for Irvine's dorm before Selphie noticed he was missing.



End of the main story but I will do a little one-shot sequel thingy with some nice and fluffy Irv/Sq stuff in it. And there's probably a mistake or two in here as I only read it through once.