After a long spar with Seifer, the brunette sat head tipped up and his eyes closed as he caught his breath.
They had been out there for hours. The weather had been good when they started. After the war the two gunbladers had formed a truce and then even a sort of friendship, Squall needed a sparring partner and no one else was anywhere as good as Seifer and himself. All the time he spent holed up in his tiny office, which had started off as a closet before Cid had cleared it out for him, he needed some sort of release.
The thing he had had with Rinoa fizzled and died, Quistis had become more irritating lately and Zell was just as annoying as ever.
When his truce with Seifer grew to something resembling a friendship,it then spread to Seifer's friends.
Thunder rumbled over head and it had just started pouring down with rain.
When he opened his eyes Seifer was leaning over him, green eyes studying him closely, his blonde hair slicked to his head, a couple of longer strands stuck to his forehead.
"You have blood here." He pointed to his own forehead near his hairline.
Squall raised a hand and touched the spot and brought his fingers up in front of his eyes. On his black gloves the blood was not really visible but he took Seifer's word for it.
He then looked up at the blonde's face, which was wet and streaked with dirt. His hair was plastered to his head
"You have blood here." He repeated the older man's words and thumbed his own bottom lip.
The blonde pulled his lip in between his teeth and sucked on it, tasting the blood. He pushed himself up to his feet, Hyperion in one hand and he held the other out to Squall. He pulled the brunette to his feet.
"Rematch?" He asked, hopefully.
"Later." Squall replied.
"I'll beat you when the weather's better." Seifer said.
Squall just scoffed.
"Squall's been acting strange lately, don't you think?" Rinoa mused, blowing at her steaming cup of hot chocolate.
Quistis shrugged, taking a bite of her pudding. "He's always been a little strange."
"I know but stranger than usual these past few days." She looked over at the blonde. "You haven't noticed?"
Quistis swallowed her mouthful before answering. "I think he's been distant since Seifer got back, maybe it's all bringing back bad memories or something."
Rinoa nodded thoughtfully. "Do you…. Want to talk to him?"
Quistis quirked an eyebrow. "Well…." She squirmed a little. "I'm sure he'll work it out on his own."
Squall wasn't the easiest to approach lately and everyone felt better when they kept a distance from him.
"Oh, speak of the devil." Rinoa said, nodded towards the door.
Squall walked in looking fresh from the shower. He wore grey loose fitting pants for once and a plain white t shirt. His hair was wet and still dripping down his neck. He was gloveless and he went straight to the counter and got a cup of coffee and a pastry. When he turned, the girls waved him over. He hesitated and looked around at the other tables as if trying to think of a way to get out of going over there. Apparently he couldn't think of one because he reluctantly make his way over to them.
"Quistis." He nodded at the blonde. "Rinoa."
"Squall, you're not usually in here at this time of day." Qusitis said.
"You going to sit down?" Rinoa offered.
He glanced towards the door hopefully but then put his cup and plate on the table and took a seat.
They looked happy about this, both smiling encouragingly at him, which was actually a little creepy. The brunette took a bite of his pastry and tried to ignore them.
"Didn't you even dry your hair before you got here?" Quistis reached out to touch his wet hair, he tried to duck under the hand.
"You'll catch a cold."
"Yes mother." He said, earning a glare from his blonde friend.
Qusitis opened her mouth to comment but her gaze was drawn to someone standing behind the brunette. Squall noticed and almost turned to follow her gaze when the new comer spoke.
"Always the motherly figure of the group, aren't you Quistis?" Irvine said, walking around on Squall's right. Zell came around on the brunette's left.
The little blonde jerked a finger at the cowboy. "He's going to teach me about women." He said with grin.
"Yeah, it's about time Zell got himself a girlfriend, everyone else has had a boyfriend or girlfriend this year." Irvine said.
"What about Squall?" Quistis said, pointing at Squall who was trying his best to sink into his chair.
After the whole Squall and Rinoa thing hadn't gone according to plan Squall hadn't looked at anyone else and he wasn't interested in going out with the rest of the gang either.
"Oh err-" The cowboy blinked at Squall and then at the girls. "Um well… I would help of course err it's not like I forgot about Squall or anything it's just-"
"-He'll stick to attainable goals." Seifer's voice floated in to finish the sentence.
They all spun around, apart from Squall, to look at Seifer. The tall blonde also had wet hair but he had bothered to get dressed properly in dark jeans and button up blue shirt with the top two buttons open.
"Seifer!" They all hissed at him.
The arrogant blonde bowed his head in greeting. "I'm surprised you're even bothering to get the chicken a date, especially with a woman when I would have thought you were more into dudes." Seifer looked at the little blonde.
"WHAT?!" Zell fumed, having to be held back by Quistis and Irvine.
Seifer sidestepped them to get to their table.
"Get back here!" The little blonde fumed. "I'm gonna fucking…"
"Yeah, yeah." Seifer waved it all off and stopped in front of Squall who blinked up at him as if he hadn't noticed him before.
"You forgot this." He said holding out a closed fist.
Squall blinked in confusion and then held out his palm. His Griever pendent was dropped into it. "Oh." Was all he said, he had forgotten about that.
"Oh? That's all I get. You're supposed to say 'Thank you Seifer.'"
The brunette looked at him in way that probably counted as amusement for Squall. "Thank you Seifer." He repeated.
The blonde smirked. "And then you're supposed to say 'I'll give you a blow job to say thank you.'"
Squall raised an eyebrow. "I wouldn't go that far."
The little group behind Seifer were watching this whole exchange take place.
Seifer turned and almost walked into Quistis, having forgotten that they were there. "Bye kiddies." He waved at Zell in particular.
They mostly ignored him before crowding around Squall.
"What the hell was that?!" Zell asked.
"Was what?" Squall blinked in confusion.
"That, with you two being all matey."
"And what was with the blow job comment?"
Squall blinked at them, looking surprised. "He was joking."
Zell huffed. "Didn't look like it to me." He folded his arms. "That guy's bad news."
Rinoa smiled. "You just don't like him 'cause he's mean to you."
Zell opened his mouth to deny it but then changed his mind and instead plopped into the seat next to Squall. He propped his head on his folded arms on the table top.
Squall put the last of his pastry into his mouth, trying not to look at Zell who was studying him. The rest of their group were also taking seats at the table around him.
"What was Seifer doing with your pendent in the first place?" The blonde finally asked.
Squall shrugged. "I showered and probably left it behind."
"You showered with him?!"
Squall gave him a pointed look. "No. We were sparring, it was wet and muddy so then I came in and had a shower." He spoke slowly as if to point out the obvious.
"In the communal showers?"
Zell was still starring at him. "But you have your own shower, in your own dorm."
"But?" The blonde pushed.
Squall glanced up to see the rest of the table all starring at him just as intently. "Is this an interrogation?"
They all glanced at each other for a second.
"No, no we're just…. Worried that's all." Quistis said at last.
Qusitis wasn't sure how to answer that. Squall was being distant and standoffish but then hadn't he always been that way? She thought maybe he was getting to be more sociable until Seifer came back. The girls had managed to talk him into going places with them. Even though things hadn't worked out between Rinoa and Squall, the brunette still had trouble saying no to her.
"We just… worry about you." She repeated.
Squall shrugged and stood from the table. "Yeah, whatever. I have work to do." He drank the last of his coffee and walked away, ignoring the protests and half hearted apologises.
Squall sat in his office fully engrossed in his paperwork. That was the problem with being in charge, all that paperwork and he ended up stuck behind a desk instead of in on the action. The door opened silently, he didn't notice at first. He glanced up briefly at the door and then did a double take, not having expected anyone to be there. Seifer lounged in the door way, leaning on the frame.
"You looked so busy that I almost didn't want to interrupt."
"Almost?" Squall quirked an eyebrow.
The blonde pushed off the door and walked towards him. "What are you doing anyway? What the hell is all this stuff?" He picked up a piece of paper from Squall's desk just before the brunette could snatch it back.
"Reports." Squall said, raising from his seat to grab at the paper in Seifer's hand but the blonde turned with it in his grasp.
Seifer squinted at the inky writing on the report in front of him. "Who writes this stuff? It's unreadable."
"Zell wrote that one."
Seifer scoffed. "Well that explains it, that's what you get for having a chicken write things for you." He studied the writing. "It doesn't make any sense."
"You're one to talk."
Seifer raised an eyebrow.
"Quistis tells me that your work lately has been sloppy and badly written."
"Did she?" He shrugged and then grinned. "Maybe that's because you're been distracting me." He leered across the desk.
Squall leant further back in his chair to avoid the blonde but he did look faintly amused.
"And I just bet that your little group are just dying to bad mouth me at every opportunity right?"
"Actually I asked."
Seifer raised an eyebrow. "Really? Checking up on me are you?"
Squall shrugged. "Just making sure you don't fail this time."
Seifer winced. "Ouch." He rubbed at his chest as if the other man had actually wounded him and perched himself on the edge of the desk facing Squall.
The brunette half smirked at him. "You can take it."
Seifer put the report back on Squall's desk, soothing it out with his fingers.
"Did you come in here for a particular reason or just to aggravate me?" Squall asked.
"Ummm?" The blonde put his hand to his chin to think about it. "The second one." He answered with a smirk.
Squall sighed. "Right, well if you're finished you can-"
The brunette looked up at the door and Seifer glanced over his shoulder. Quistis stood cautiously in the doorway, looking inside like she was entering into the twilight zone.
"Quistis." Squall answered.
She glanced at Seifer again before walking in confidently, trying not to look at the smirking blonde perched on Squall's desk.
"Yes I err-" She looked at Seifer again. "Have that report you wanted." She handed it over.
"Thanks." Squall took it and then paused to read it.
She scowled at Seifer. "And what are you doing in here?"
He smirked. "Just visiting."
"This isn't the time or the place for visiting, the commander is working."
Seifer scoffed. "Commander?" He chuckled.
She stood straighter. "You should show more respect."
The brunette raised an eyebrow at the blonde. "Thank you." He said, rolling his eyes.
Seifer gave him a look. "You know what I mean."
Squall turned his attention back to the report with a roll of his eyes. Everyone seemed to take Seifer so seriously, when half of the things he only did to rile up the others and it worked all the time. His friends were infuriated by his friendship with Seifer, and the more annoyed they became the more Seifer liked to have fun with them.
"Well if you're done visiting you should leave." Quistis said. "Squall and I have things to discuss."
"Fine." He hopped off the desk, looking down at Squall with an mischievous look in his eyes. He glanced back to Quistis to make sure she was watching him.
"I'll see you later alright?" He said to Squall and then he bent down and kissed him lightly on the lips. He pulled back and paused to met Squall's eyes, they shared an amused look and then he quickly walked around the desk and out of the office.
Squall looked up at a gaping Quistis, she glanced between Squall and door several times.
"What-?" She started to say. "What? You two aren't… I mean that you're not… are you?"
"No." He said. "We're not."
She didn't seem to hear him. "I can't believe you're sleeping with him."
Squall rolled his eyes. "I'm not sleeping with anyone, he only did it to get under your skin."
"Then what was he doing in your office?"
"So… so you're really not… not…."
"No I'm not."
She nodded slowly, looking down at the report that she had handed Squall and then she suddenly jumped. "Right err that was all I wanted so I'll um… I'll go." She paused there for a second longer before quickly turning and leaving his office.
So much for those things she had to discuss with him either she forgot in her panic or she made it up to get rid of Seifer.
He sighed, leaning back in his chair. Maybe he could talk Seifer into playing nice for a while to try and get along with everyone else. He missed Selphie. He never thought he'd think that but he did. The petite brunette was off in Trabia helping with the rebuild. She was the only one of his little group who liked Seifer, in fact she liked everyone. She invited him to places with them, which the others had found horrifying, Squall had just been amused by it all.
The brunette pushed the thoughts out of his head and got on with some work for a few hours, the next time he looked up it was early evening. Dinner time. He thought he probably should make an appearance. It was easier that way, otherwise someone would come looking for him, asking if he was eating and sleeping and blah, blah, all that. It was someone different every day he was starting to think they drew straws.
When he finally did walk into the cafeteria Zell was staring at him, he even paused mid chew to watch him walk from the door to the counter. He didn't think anything could stop Zell from eating. The brunette glanced back over his shoulder at them. Irvine was trying to get the blonde's attention back. Someone else joined the queue behind him. He glanced over his shoulder, having to look up at the tall person behind him.
"Hey Squall." Raijin said cheerfully.
"Raijin." The brunette said with a nod, turning back to face the front.
"So is it true you and Seifer are shacking up together now, you know?"
Squall turned to him in surprise. "What? No. Who told you that?"
The taller man shrugged. "Everybody talking about it, you know."
Squall sighed. Great.
"I was kind of surprised, you know. I mean it's you guys." Raijin said. "Friends is one thing but this…" He trailed off.
"We're not." Squall said.
"See I knew it was all bullshit, I mean I know Seifer swings that way but didn't think that you guys would-"
"What?" Squall said, looking at him all confused again.
"What what?" He blinked.
The taller man scoffed. "No he…. You know…. Bats for the both teams, swings both ways he's… you know…"
Raijin frowned. "You did know, right?"
"No." He said quietly.
"Oh." He looked worried. "Well you didn't hear it from me, you know."
Squall nodded. The guy in front of him left with food and he took his turn at the counter, ordering a salad and some coffee. He walked past the table where Zell sat, still staring at him. As he past, a chair from their table slid out invitingly at him.
"Sit." Irvine said.
The brunette frowned at him.
"Do it." He gestured to the chair.
Squall set his food on the table and sat down, eying them both suspiciously.
"Have you lost your mind?!" Zell said, staring at him like he was a crazy person.
Irvine patted the blonde's wrist. "Now Zell you promised you wouldn't do that until we had heard Squall's side of it."
The brunette was eyeing the hand that the cowboy still had on Zell's wrist but he glanced up when the blonde leant in to get his attention.
"You're sleeping with that lunatic?!"
Squall blinked. "No I'm not."
Zell didn't look like he believed him.
"And he's not a lunatic." He added quietly, quickly wishing he hadn't said that when Zell pointed at him.
"Aha you defended him! You ARE sleeping with him."
The brunette rolled his eyes. "I always defend my friends."
"FRIEND?!" The little blonde cried.
Squall sighed. "Is this all because of the kiss in my office?"
Zell's eyes almost popped out of his head. "You KISSED him?!"
"He kissed me, which he only did to annoy Quistis." He said. "And if you didn't know about that, why do you think I'm sleeping with him?"
The two shared a quick look and Zell broke away first, maybe with a slight blush to his cheeks, or was it just the lighting in the room?
"You're always together, you shower… near to each other and these things happen." Irvine said.
"And Quistis make a comment about the two of you being 'close'." Zell added.
Squall nodded slowly, looking down at the cowboy's hand that had now moved up to Zell's forearm.
"I am not always with Seifer and if that were true about friends that are always together he'd be dating Raijin! Just because some guys do it…." He stared at the hand.
Irvine followed his gaze and promptly moved it, causing Zell to jump like he'd been burnt.
"….doesn't mean we all do it." Squall finished his sentence after watching Zell freak out.
The brunette got up from the table and walked off. "And you wonder why I never want to talk to you guys." He muttered.