Title: Not Yet Romance
Author: Traxits
Fandom: Final Fantasy VIII.
Pairing: Quistis Trepe/Selphie Tilmitt
Rating: T (teen).
Content Notes: Kissing.
Word Count: 1779 words.
Request: Quistis/Selphie post-game after everyone has tried to settle back into their normal lives. What brings these two together? Would prefer to see some reflection on the changes in the two characters, either as individuals or in their own growing relationship with each other. Bonus points if Quistis is the one who can't quite reciprocate romantic feelings.
Summary: After everything was all over, they had lives to get back to, things to do. As time wears on, Quistis and Selphie discover that perhaps their friendship was only the start of something new.
Author's Note(s): Written for adachikan of the Final Fantasy Exchange community on Livejournal/Dreamwidth/Archive of Our Own.

[[ … One-Shot … ]]

Quistis sighed as Rinoa giggled with another woman about her engagement ring. It wasn't that she resented Rinoa, exactly the opposite. She was genuinely happy for the girl and Squall for finally committing to one another. But she'd been engaged for almost a month now, and Quistis was sick of her shrill exclamations. Pointedly, she left the brunette with her new-found companion at the entrance to the cafeteria and headed on inside, seeking out a place to sit.

She dropped the stack of books and papers on the edge of the table, eyed the line for lunch, and rolled her eyes, deciding she'd be better off just getting a drink and ignoring her hunger. She only had the one class left, and she'd be able to grab an early dinner instead. Opening the first book, she pulled out the red pen- her instruction license had been restored since defeating Ultimecia- and started marking. She made it almost halfway through the stack before she smelled food, forcing her to look up.

Selphie grinned at her, holding a second lunch tray out to her. Quistis swept her papers to the side immediately and reached up to take it, settling it on the table and realizing that she was far hungrier than she had realized earlier.

"Really, Quisty. You shouldn't expect us to feed you all the time." Selphie giggled as she watched Quistis begin on her lunch, and Quistis only shot her look as she ate as efficiently as possible. She did still need to finish grading those papers before her next class, and now that she was eating, she'd have less time to do it in. "I mean, not that I mind, but I'm not one of your Trepies."

Quistis stilled, a piece of bread half-way to her mouth as she considered that statement. She cast a glance off to the side, where two of her groupies were sitting, trying their best to not openly stare. She frowned slightly as she looked back at Selphie. "For which I am grateful," she said softly, resuming eating with far less enthusiasm. She didn't like the adoration that the Trepies seemed to hold for her.

"You're coming to the festival though, right, Quisty?" Selphie tilted her head, arching one eyebrow as she reached over and opened Quistis's drink for her- apple juice, today. "You promised yesterday!"

Another moment of quiet, and Quistis studied the other woman before she smiled slightly. "Of course. After my class, Selphie." She pushed around some of what was left on her plate, tapping the fork lightly on the edge of the dinnerware. "Is Irvine helping out this time?"

"No." Selphie snorted, looking down at her own plate. Quistis reached out and touched her arm, surprised at the force behind the word. "No, he's in the garage with Zell again. Working on the cars, you know? Squall wants them ready for use when we land tomorrow." Selphie reached up and touched Quistis's hand, a smile on her face. "I'm okay; I've given up on him. He's never going to change."

Quistis nodded her understanding, squeezing Selphie's arm lightly before she leaned back and pushed her plate off to the side. Selphie reached over and snagged the last of her bread, having already polished off her own. Quistis managed a little smile. "So, what are you doing now as far as that goes?" Another squeal from the entrance-way, and Selphie rolled her eyes with Quistis, and then both women giggled, Quistis hurriedly hid her mouth behind her hand, alarmed at but unable to stop the noise from escaping. When had she last actually giggled?

"Well, I'm not in any hurry, that's for sure." Selphie recovered first, tilting her head toward Rinoa, who had only just managed to get into the line for lunch, and still had a small crowd around her. "I'm not rushing off to join Rinoa in sharing the hordes of admirers."

"Sometimes I wonder, are they admiring the ring itself, or the fact that our headmaster actually has feelings?" Quistis arched an eyebrow, and Selphie grinned at the thought. Suddenly, the redhead didn't feel so alone, knowing that she wasn't the only one who was tired of the circus that seemed to come with marriages. Selphie finished off Quistis's tray, and then she looked once more at the line, where Rinoa had her tray and was loading it up with all sorts of goodies.

She leaned over the table and asked conspiratorially, "Wanna get out of here?"

Quistis hesitated only a moment, but when Rinoa found another person to display the ring to, she nodded. "Let's." And Selphie jumped out of the chair, grabbed Quistis's wrist and all but dragged her out of the room, scarcely giving her time to gather her papers and books. Rinoa didn't even notice their escape.

They slowed their forced march to a walk in the hallway, and Quistis was laughing, exhilarated by the idea of actually doing something that she wanted to do. She blushed when she noticed Selphie looking up at her, and she hugged the papers closer to her. "Sorry," she managed as she got herself back under control. Selphie shook her head though, still giggling slightly herself.

"No, no. It's fun, isn't it?" She tugged Quistis on down the hallway, and Quistis let her, on too much of a high to even consider stopping yet. She still had almost an hour before her class, after all, and it took seven minutes tops to get to the classroom. She had time.

"It really is," she murmured as they entered the Quad. Strangely, she thought of it as Selphie's domain, as the little brunette was the only one ever regularly there. It was quiet, and it had survived the transition to mobility fairly well. Selphie sat down on a bench under one of the trees, folding her arms behind her head for a moment as she looked up at the sky. Quistis lightly perched on the edge of the seat just beside her as she settled her things on the ground by her feet, papers sandwiched between the books.

"Quistis?"

The redhead looked up, and Selphie stood once more, making her quirk an eyebrow. Then Selphie started pacing, and Quistis swallowed thickly. Pacing, no matter who was doing it, was never good. "Yes, Selphie?"

"Can I ask you something?"

"Of course."

Selphie squeezed her hands together in front of herself for a moment before she repositioned them behind her and leaned a little closer. "We've been spending a lot of time together recently," she started, and Quistis nodded in agreement. It had started as simple coincidence, meeting in the cafeteria with their lunches, but once they'd realized they ate at the same time, it became practically a daily occurrence. Not to mention the fact that Quistis and Selphie had agreed to be sparring partners; it was safer than trying to bring someone new up to their speeds.

"Sure," she said softly, uncertain of where this was going.

A little frown crossed Selphie's face, and then she asked, "And... and you're not seeing anyone." She looked up at Quistis, as though to make certain of the fact, as though it wasn't common knowledge that Quistis was still single. The instructor blushed just slightly, and she nodded. "Right, so," she smiled, more confident with herself now, "I was wondering if you would like to... I mean, I like you." When Quistis didn't move further, Selphie sighed and said, "I really like you, Quistis."

Quistis's eyes widened as she realized what Selphie was getting at. For a heartbeat, she was perfectly still, a million things in her head all at once. She was straight, wasn't she? Attracted to men? She mentally thumbed through images of men, trying to make certain that they still did it for her, not certain if her lack of response was actually from a lack of stimulation, or the overwhelming pressure suddenly on her. She glanced up at Selphie, trying to imagine what it would be like to kiss her- at the very least her lips would have to be softer, right?

Selphie reached out and took her hand, pulling it close to her even as she moved to sit beside Quistis once more, looking up at her, brows drawn. "Quistis?"

"I... I'm sorry," Quistis whispered, and she looked at Selphie a moment more, shocked to catch herself wetting her bottom lip with her tongue. She hesitated a moment more, and then asked softly, "May... I'm not sure what I'm feeling, Selphie. May I kiss you?" If there wasn't a reaction there, at the very least, she could use it as an easy out.

A small smile and Selphie leaned up, pressing a chaste kiss to Quistis's lips. The instructor remained still, trying to stay objective, trying to analyze it, but when Selphie tilted her head just a little and Quistis felt the slightest hint of tongue, she gave in. She pulled Selphie closer to her, savoring the closeness that such a sweet kiss left. By the time Selphie drew back, Quistis was flushed, but she wasn't entirely sure what from. Her hand remained in Selphie's though, and she didn't try to take it back.

Selphie waited for something, a response, Quistis supposed, but when Quistis could only manage a faint smile and a darker blush, the brunette nodded slowly. "Nothing then?"

Quistis realized in that moment that everything had already changed between them, that they had changed so much since they'd met, that this would never go away. Selphie wasn't the same bubbly person; she'd matured on their journey, even if she did still love trains and still carried a torch for President Loire. Quistis squeezed her hand a little, and when she got that smile as a reward, she felt a warmth inside of her. Perhaps it wasn't romantic between them yet, but affection was certainly there, and if they found company in one another, what was wrong with that?

She leaned over and kissed Selphie again, this time taking charge of the motion- she had always done that anyway, no matter who she'd kissed. It had been the bane of her romantic life, her take-charge personality, and now, for once, it was serving a purpose. When they pulled apart the second time, Quistis lifted her free hand to touch the side of Selphie's face. "I think we can do this," she murmured, and Selphie grinned at her.

"Of course we can."