Presents.

He walked around the shop filled with over sized teddy bears and annoying smelly bath sets. He looked around at all the gifts and stopped at a strange teddy bear with fangs. It had light blue fur and glowing yellow eyes.

"You like it?"

The brunette looked over his shoulder at Rinoa who was sucking on a red candy lolly pop.

"Why did you bring me in here?" He frowned at her.

She gave him an impatient look. "Squall it's Christmas eve and you have not brought one present."

He sighed. "Do I have to-"

"Yes you do!" She interrupted, giving him the look. "Everyone has brought presents for you."

He frowned. "They have?"

"Of course they have." She smiled. "They love you."

He grimaced a little and turned away from her.

She huffed a laugh, putting a hand on his shoulder. "I know, I know you don't like the L word but it's true so you have to get them nice presents too or do you want to hurt their feelings?" She smirked.

He sighed heavily. "No." Squall muttered sulkily.

She nodded with a little smile, knowing she was right. "So?" She looked back at the strange creature on the shelf. "Do you like it?"

The brunette frowned at it. "Kind of reminds me of Zell."

Rinoa removed the lolly from her mouth as she nodded. "You going to get it for him?"

"Should I?"

"Do you want to?" She pushed.

He picked up at the odd looking thing. "I don't know."

She rolled her eyes. "Oh for god's sake Squall."

He blinked at her, looking confused.

"Just get the Tyo for Zell and then we can go and-"

"The what?"

She picked up the tag and showed him. "They're called Tyos." Rinoa explained.

"Why?"

She sighed. "I don't know why, they just are." She steered him towards the cashier. "Buy that for Zell first and maybe we can find something in here for Quistis too or there's a bookstore next door she likes books right?"

He frowned. "I guess."

Rinoa hung back as Squall paid for his purchase, she picked some little trinkets, some bookmarks. She had had to force her friend to go shopping, Irvine had wanted to go too but how was she going to get Squall to buy Irvine's present with the cowboy hanging around? The three of them were hanging out a lot lately especially because Christmas was getting closer and Selphie was all crazy about her festival and everyone was busy avoiding her. Zell and Seifer were busy discovering all the different positions and places they could have sex in, Quistis was all crazy with work so that left the three of them. Squall was crazy with work too or he would be if Irvine and Rinoa let him go anyway near his office.

When Squall approached she picked up a simple gold necklace. "What about this for Quistis?"

The brunette stared at it. "Quistis doesn't wear jewellery."

"Yes she does, she always has a chain around her neck." She said. "It's usually hidden under her uniform." She said.

Squall shot her a funny look. "And you know this how?"

She shrugged. "I saw her getting changed once."

"Oh." He frowned in thought until Rinoa elbowed him.

"Stop that! I know what you're thinking, typical guy." She grinned at him.

Squall looked confused. "I wasn't thinking anything."

She gave him a disbelieving look. "Irvine got this silly grin when I told him."

Squall smiled slightly. "I bet he did." He looked away from the trinkets to met her eyes. "But I'm not straight, remember?"

"Neither is Irvine." She smirked.

"More so than I am."

Rinoa chuckled and handed him a simple gold chain with two crystals hanging from it. "For Quistis?" She asked.

The brunette shrugged and carried it to the till to pay.

When the brunette came back she fell into step with him, her hand on her lolly stick turning it in her mouth. "So speaking of Irvine…." She trailed off giving him a look.

Squall stopped walking and turned to her.

She grinned, waiting for his response.

"Porn?" He asked.

She started to laugh. "You can't get Irvine porn for Christmas."

"It's the only thing I know he likes."

"That's not true."

"Well guns are too expensive."

She rolled her eyes.

"You were with Irvine all yesterday when he did his Christmas shopping, you must have some ideas."

Squall gave her a blank look.

"What did you two talk about the whole time?"

The brunette paused in thought. "He wants to go and see some film that's coming out soon, some animated thing, I was surprised when he said it didn't have naked people it in."

She chuckled. "So?"

He shrugged. "That's not till January and I already said I'd go."

"But you could-" She stopped herself. "Wait! You said you'd go? What did he do? Blackmail you?"

Squall confused. "No he just asked me."

"When I asked you to go with me you acted like I was asking you for a kidney or something!"

He blinked at her. "That's different."

"How?"

He opened his mouth but no sound came out. "I don't know but it just is."

She grinned at him and put her hand up over her mouth to laugh behind it.

He frowned. "Stop that."

She looked at him.

"I know what you're thinking but it's not like that."

"Really? Then why are you blushing?"

He quickly put his hands to his cheeks as if to hold it in or something.

"Oh, in that case why don't you get him a picture of yourself in a compromising position?"

"What? Rinoa!" He looked horrified.

She let him off the hook. "Okay we won't worry about Irvine for the moment, what about Seifer?"

"Seifer? I have to get Seifer a present?"

"Well yes, he is one of the group now you know."

"Okay…. How about a hand grenade?" He joked.

She rolled her eyes. "That's not funny."

"I don't think I have to get a present for Seifer, I don't like him and he doesn't like me."

"You don't know that."

He nodded. "I do."

She sighed. "Fine what about Selphie?"

"A rocket launcher?"

She gave him her 'my patience is running out' look.

"What about a purple chocobo?"

She frowned. "What?"

"One of the only memories I have from the orphanage is of Selphie crying because she lost her stupid purple chocobo thing."

Rinoa grinned. "That's more like it! Don't you have any memories like that for Seifer or Irvine?"

The brunette frowned. "The only memories I have of Seifer are of him being an asshole."

She smiled. "Sounds about right." She pointed down off to the left. "There's a huge toy store down here there they used to do chocobos in all colours."

When they walked into the shop Rinoa left him to it and disappeared. Squall stood alone surrounded by annoying and loud children, staring up at the shelves full of stuffed toys. He pulled out one purple chocobo, a pink one coming along too. He tried to push the pink one back in amongst the others but it wouldn't go. He sighed and carefully sat it on the edge of the neighbouring shelf that had unicorns on it.

He jumped when someone bumped into him from behind and hand was placed on his shoulder.

"Here you go." Rinoa held something out for him.

When he held out his hand he saw it was bullet on a keyring.

"For Seifer." She added.

He held it up, looked at it and nodded at her in approval.

"And this." She handed him another bullet. "It's cigarette lighter." She explained.

"Seifer smokes?"

She stared at him. "Of course he does, how could you not notice?"

He just shook his head and carried his items off to the cashier desk.

Rinoa met him at the front entrance. "I know I shouldn't ask but have you got something for me?"

He nodded. "Irvine helped me with that yesterday."

She nodded. "Right, just Irvine left then."

He grimaced.

"I still think he'd like a Squall shaped present for Christmas."

He glared at her. "Stop it."

She shrugged. "What else does he like?"

"He likes Galbadian whiskey." Squall said.

Rinoa brightened. "There you go, see I didn't know that."

Squall shrugged. "We shared a bottle once."

Rinoa was smirking at him again.

"Would you stop looking at me like that?"

"Like what?" She asked.

"Like everything I do with Irvine is dirty."

She worked hard to squash her smirk and nodded. "Okay, we'll stop at the off licence on the way back to garden, anything else you want to get for him?"

Squall paused in thought for a moment and then shook his head. "No."

Rinoa sighed for the hundredth time. Getting Squall to shop was like pulling teeth.

"So we can head back now right?" He asked.

"I guess so." She agreed, watching the way Squall sped up knowing they were going home.

When they arrived back at garden Squall was holding his bottle of whiskey that was wrapped in a brown paper bag.

"You are coming tomorrow right Squall?"

"Where?"

She put a hand on her hip in an impatience pose. "The party in Quistis' dorm, because hers is the biggest…. Well except for your room."

"It's Christmas day tomorrow?" He asked.

"Yes, of course it is. Anyway just be there at 11 am so we can open our presents alright?" She started to leave.

"Eleven in the morning? We're doing it in the morning?"

"Yes, you remember last year when we tried to make Selphie and Zell wait for presents?"

"Oh yeah." He nodded. "Had to replace all the doors they smashed down."

"Exactly." She smiled. "Now I have a hot date to get ready for." She turned and left.

He walked in at a slower pace, his work was suspended over Christmas he had been locked out of his office so he really had nowhere to be.

"She has hot date huh? Nida again?"

Squall blinked and looked around at the empty court yard.

"Up here."

He turned and looked up, his hand shielding his eyes from the sun. A figure sat on top of the stone archway. The figure had a hat on.

"Irvine what are you doing up there?"

"Admiring the view." He swivelled round to face Squall. "Been shopping?" He asked, looking at the bags and obviously wrapped bottle in Squall's arms.

The brunette nodded. "Rinoa says I have to buy presents for everyone including Seifer." He made a face.

"Ah forced into shopping."

Squall nodded, watching Irvine start to climb down. "Can I see what you brought?"

Squall opened his mouth to reply but then looked down at the bottle. "No."

"No?" The cowboy jumped the last foot down to the ground. "Come on I'm curious, show me. I'll show you mine if you show me yours."

Squall frowned. "We're still talking about presents here aren't we?"

The cowboy smirked. "What would you rather I was talking about?"

Squall shook his head, feeling himself start to blush. "Never mind." He shifted the bottle into the crook of one arm and handed over the white bag. The cowboy opened it and looked inside. He looked up again and met Squall's eyes.

"The Tyo is for Zell right?"

Squall nodded.

"Yeah I got him one too, a blonde furred one with blue eyes."

"Oh." Squall looked at his bag.

"But that's okay." The cowboy added quickly. "I'm sure he won't mind getting two. We could put them together."

"I thought about drawing a tattoo on mine." Squall said.

The cowboy chuckled. "I've got a marker pen." He closed the bag but kept hold of it. "Come on, we'll go to my dorm and play with our stuffed animals." He grinned at Squall.

The brunette ran off to his dorm to drop off Irvine's bottle of whiskey before he arrived at the cowboy's room with the biggest picture of Zell he could find. They sat on Irvine's bedroom floor with their toys. The cowboy carefully drew a tattoo on his toy's head with the marker pen and then he handed it over to Squall. The brunette frowned as he jogged himself and one of his lines was ever so slightly crooked.

"There." Irvine announced, putting the two side by side. "Perfect."

Squall moved to his hands and knees from a crouched position to squint at the two designs. "Yours is better than mine."

Irvine rolled his eyes. "Don't be such a perfectionist, it's fine, now do you want to wrap them together or not?"

"I don't know, should we? Doesn't that look weird?"

"What? No, why is it weird?"

"Because it would have to say from Squall and Irvine and that looks like…. Like…"

"Like?"

"Like we're some sort of couple or something."

The cowboy grinned. "Would it bother you if people thought we were?"

The brunette sat back on his heels and paused. "I guess not."

"We'll wrap them together then." Irvine decided. He got up and when he came back he had wrapping paper. Irvine did the wrapping, Squall handed over tape and observed. The cowboy attached a tag and wrote his name and then handed Squall the pen. "You can add your own name."

Squall gave him a look.

The cowboy chuckled. "Don't worry Selphie and I used to do this all the time."

"But you used to be couple."

"True." He smiled. "You can keep it and give it to Zell if you like."

Squall nodded, taking the present back.

"And if it helps I don't mind making out with you at the party to make it look less strange about the present."

Squall rolled his eyes. "Horny cowboy." He muttered as he got to his feet.

The brunette picked up his bag of other presents that he still had to wrap and headed for the door.

"Now you are coming tomorrow?"

He nodded. "Yes, yes Rinoa's mentioned it."

"Eleven o'clock." Irvine reminded.

"Yes I know." He opened the door and stepped out of it.

"And Squall?"

"Yes?" He looked back.

The cowboy got in a quick kiss leaving Squall looking confused again.

"What was that for?"

He shrugged. "I felt like it."

Squall turned around to leave again.

"I'll see you tomorrow." Irvine said.

"Yeah, bye." He took two steps away before stopping to glare at two female cadets who had been standing there the whole time and were now giggling at him.

III

End

Conclusion: Squall is hopeless!