A Sunny encounter with Storm
Squall Leonhart cursed himself for not noticing it sooner, for not noticing the signs. After all, they weren't exactly secretive and inconspicuous. The stares and loud giggling from that mismatched crowd should've really alerted him that something was wrong.
Too bad for him, his mind refused to work until he had at least one cup of caffeine in the morning. Preferably three cups, but beggar can't be chooser. He only managed to sip one cup when he remembered the significance of the date. He had cursed, spitted his precious coffee, and break into a run for his dorm. Hopefully, the door will be strong enough to last the day.
The mob automatically chased him, running through the somewhat spacious hallway after him with such bloodlust that it scared him. The war should be over very quickly if they were this crazy for their enemies, Squall absent-mindedly thought as he dodged a particularly nasty curse from one of the black mage. He doesn't know which one throws the spell, but he doesn't intent to stop and find out. They'll capture him if he did.
"Oh, come on Squall! Don't be such a stiff bastard! It'll be painless and over before you know it!" One of mob shouted over the loud stomps of their feet. His words, Squall realized with disdain, was something a parent usually told their scared kids just before sending them into the dentist's office. A visit that would certainly be painful and takes a long time. Not that Squall would know what they said, since he had grown up without one. And whose fault was that?
"No! Over my dead body, Zell!" Desperation latched onto his voice like a leech, but he was more concerned about how childish it sounded. Did the man himself corrupt him? Or was it family curse to be this childish? No, no its not. There wasn't any family curse. There wasn't even a family in the first place. Damn the day, messing with his thought and sanity.
Moreover, he really shouldn't have said that. The mob looks to be quite happy to make those answer reality. Even Rinoa, who's supposed to be his girlfriend, but also more supportive to the other man than him, was now throwing some pretty damaging spell to realize his words. Hyne, how would Cosmos repair that meteor-sized hole in the wall?
After a while, his legs protested against the strain he was putting on them. He could also see the number of the mob had considerably thinned out, though stopping now was still not an option. Selphie, along with Zell and some other people he barely knew was still going strong, refusing to let him get away without doing what they wanted.
Suddenly, a hand shot out from one of the dorm rooms he passed by. It grabbed him and forcefully pulled him inside. Fear griped his mind that he has been captured by one of the mob, and he had to bit his lips to prevent himself from screaming in frustration. He had wasted several hours fighting the inevitable only to find himself captured because of his carelessness. He should've known they would put this kind of trap.
"They hunt you too?" Squall's blond capturer asked, his breath ragged and his hair messy. He looked like a stampede T-rexaurs had mauled him. The gunblader remembers him, Tidus or something, because Rinoa likes to spend some 'girl times' with his girlfriend, Yuna. By the looks of it, Tidus wasn't an enemy, but an ally in this time of distress.
"Yes. I suppose you also have a—" Tidus quickly nod, head bobbing up and down enthusiastically. He's probably relieved that the young man he recklessly saved was not a trap in disguise, though Squall doubted the mob could make such an elaborate plan. They were heroes after all, not villains like their enemies. It was in their job description to be very honest and glued to the rules, unlike their more sly and dirty counterparts.
Considering the massive power difference between them, Squall really had to consider their code of etiquettes. Rules could only get them so far in a war after all.
Anyway, the blond boy leaning on the wooden door shifted uncomfortably. He laughed nervously and rubbed his neck, feet tapping slightly onto the marble floor. He answered the question uncomfortably, as if unsure about what he wanted to say. He was silent for a while, thinking about his answer, before finally decided what he wanted to say in the first place.
"I do. You know, the tanned muscular guy with this symbol tattooed on his chest." He showed his necklace to Squall and he realized he knows the guy. Jecht. The one he's seen hanging out with Laguna yesterday, talking about something or another. Now he knows that he was Tidus' father, which means they were probably talking about today.
The mob passed the room loudly, their feet shaking the floor slightly. Tidus watched them walked away from the small keyhole and let out a sigh of relief. Then he dropped down next to Squall and crossed his legs, placing the blue ball he was holding onto his laps.
"So! I'm Tidus. What's your name? I haven't been able to go around to introduce myself to everyone yet, since this army is way too big to go through quickly and we spent most of our times fighting Chaos' army." He cheerfully said. It was strange that he was whispering with a small voice and yet managed to give out the impression of being very loud at the same time.
"Squall Leonhart. Rinoa already told me about you." He said curtly, finding the other young man too much like Zell to be comfortable. Not that he hated either of them, but their personalities contrasted too much with his own. His hands were full with one hyper blond, not to mention the strain it was putting on his mind, and surely two would only makes him far more stressed.
The cheerful blond look thoughtful for a moment before a (imaginary, hopefully) light bulb appeared above his head. "Ahh, you're that Squall! Your father talks about you a lot," He said and Squall suppressed a rather violent urge to strangle his old man right there and then. What could he possibly talk about anyway? It's not like he was present in most of his only son's life. Being Esthar's president had taken up most of his time. "He thought we would get along, being the same age and all. Personally, I think you're a little too much like Auron." He muttered the last part to himself, though the brunet could still hear it clearly.
Squall had met Auron. The man wasn't bad, though his cryptic way of talking grate on the younger male's nerve most of the time, and they somewhat get along. He was one of the few adults whose company he appreciated, especially for not being too noisy about his life. Unlike a certain annoying president...
"I mean, he raised me and all, but he is a bit too much to be with sometimes. I don't really like silence. " And it showed. A lot. Whoever said they'll get along obliviously doesn't know them very well, but that's to be expected from that man. Tidus wasn't such a bad character, but their personality simply contrasted too much to be comfortably. It was already a miracle Squall could call Zell his friend.
"If anything, I like Laguna more than the two of them." The boy said, standing up while gesturing for Squall to do the same. He led them into the living room, sitting on one of the sofas. He dropped the ball next to him and waited until the other boy sat across him before continuing their talk. Its funny how distress can caused somebody to do things they never thought of doing. At least to Squall. Tidus himself seemed set on getting to know everybody, unlike the scarred youth who was dead set on doing the opposite.
They really were too different. "He is not that great." Was the curt reply Tidus' remark got. It was the answer Squall had always said when somebody complimented the president in front of him. He knew how childish and pointless it was, not to mention somewhat untruthful, to answer every time, but his mind refused to stop. So he waited for the usual counter, the reply his friends always gave him when he said it.
Tidus never defended his father.
It baffled Squall, who thought the other boy was like his friends. The ones who always defended and choose the president's side rather than their own friend's. So his curiosity over the blonde's silence reared its head and persuaded him to ask about it.
"You're not going to defend him?" or scold him for bad mouthing his own father?
Surprising Squall, Tidus' answer to his question was to laugh. He wasn't laughing because he was amused, or because he was feeling any sort of happiness or glee. His laugh was slightly bitter and forced, like the question was tickling him and make him laugh despite not wanting to. "Of course not. I'm pretty sure you have a pretty good reason for not wanting anybody to praise him. 'else you won't be here hiding with me from people who stuck their noses into other's business too much." His words were a little more spiteful than he thought the blond could be.
You really can't judge people from their looks. Or first impression.
And suddenly, it all makes sense to Squall. The other boy was in the same trouble as he was. That means he also had issues with his own muscle-bound father who laugh to boisterously. The reason why he could understand his mind while his own friends hadn't was a very simple thing. One that couldn't be easily deduced from how different they were acting.
They both were in the same boat once.
It takes somebody who had experiences it also to understand one's misery and trouble. Squall girlfriend had a very loving father, who still cared for her even when she joined a rebellion group, and most of his friends also gained caring parents after being adopted. They grew up with parents, who loved them even when not being blood-related. Unlike him, the only one among the orphanage gang who has a living and breathing cloudcuckoolander of a father running a whole country. So they hadn't been able to really understand his trouble.
"…maybe it wouldn't be so far of a stretch if we…" before the usually quiet boy could finish his words, the front door was thrown open with such force that it was blown over the hinge. Splinters of wood and crushed ornamental brass flew into the living room in a torrent, attacking the two boys violently. They both were quick to evade the storm, but not quick enough to avoid being seen by the crazed mob leaded by one very mad nunchaku wielder and her red-headed, yellow-wearing side-kick.
"We won't let you two run away again!" Selphie and Wakka shouted over the sound of destruction and Zidane's frantic screech over his crumbling dorm. Bartz cheerfully slapped him one the back and offered to share his spacious room with the genome, saying that such a sacrifice wasn't so bad if done for the good.
The two pursued boy however refused to stay silent during their shocking attack. They summoned their weapons from whatever dimension Cosmos store them in and prepared for battle by getting into their battle stances. "I will never do it!" Tidus screamed, lugging for the leader while Squall went for the red-headed blitzballer without saying anything, though his glare changed from 'I-hate-the-world' type to his trademarked 'You-unhealable-idiot!' specialty death glare.
It was a momentary lapse of failed judgment on Squall's part and Tidus usual hot-headed decision. Unsurprisingly, they failed spectacularly against the combined force of most Cosmos Warriors. Surprisingly, the ones who subdued them in the end had been Squall's and Tidus' girlfriends. The mini-war caused a lot of pain to many of the mob's casualties and a sudden loss of pride for the two boys.
They were captured and tied up with the sacrifice of many heroes, which kinda had been the fault of those heroes themselves.
But that had been the story of another book. After all, this story revolves around two bratty children and their immense dislike of their fathers. Which was the faults of said fathers, but most couldn't seem to remember that little tidbit.
Now, back to the cafeta—er, torture chamber. Yeah, they had remodeled the cafeteria into something you wouldn't be able to eat anything in. In fact, you would lose your appetite just by standing in it.
A second there and Squall stomach already lurched. Not to reject its contend, mind you he hadn't eat anything since morning because of the craziness, but because being in the cafeteria even when it doesn't look anything like the one he remembered remind it that it was empty.
"Straight to business. It's Father's Day." Selphie twirled her nunchaku menacingly, smiling maniacally while she stands in front of the two weakened boys. There were only the four of them in the room, two battered boys, a mussed up man, and one very tidy girl. Not a hair was out on Selphie, even though dozens had lost their consciousnesses. That just showed how creepy the girl was.
"And you two are the only ones here who actually have a father, ya?" Her side-kick added as a possible reason for assembling more than half the Cosmos Warriors to attack them.
"So for the rest of us who aren't able to ignite the loving nature of Father's Day because we lack one here, we needed both of you to the least thing people usually do on this day. That means forgiving your father for the day and actually does something, preferably giving a gift, for them." She proceed to talk about the importance of father and love and other such crap for several hours, with added details about the greatness of family and power of forgiveness from Wakka, dwindling the last vestige of strength the victims had.
"Fine! I'll do it! Just release us and spare us from having to hear you guys again!" Tidus said desperately after five hours of lecturing. Squall was visibly weakened from lack of coffee, food, and over-exposure of the words Love and Family.
Then they found themselves standing in front of a large double door leading into the training center, as per Squall's request. If anything goes horribly wrong, or scarier, goes horribly RIGHT, they won't have to run here to vent the frustration off.
Or it had been another lie.
Just like the fact that they both hated their father so much that they refused to give them gift, even when they're chased by a mob of 'good-natured-people-you-shouldn't-run-away-from' that pointed pointy things at them. Of course, the two of them hadn't prepared any gift to secretly slip in the night, right?
The carefully wrapped orange box on Tidus' dead grip and a purple one on Squall's hand had been prove enough. The two boxes were hidden in their respective rooms and were retrieved after Selphie, with a bit of persuading from Rinoa and Yuna, released them from her torture chamber. Then rather than accompanying their boyfriends in this distressing time, they went back to the infirmary to try patching the rampage victims.
Now, standing in front of the double door seemed to be much harder than fighting a bunch of T-rexaurs and Cactuars combined. Reluctantly, Tidus pushed open the door and stepped inside, followed by an equally reluctant Squall. What awaits inside them had been the scariest thing they had ever seen.
"Squall!" The president of Esthar called his son, smiling so brightly that the sun seemed to lose its light. Of course, the fact that the sun was currently too nervous to shine, and it wasn't only about the sun in the sky either, helped the brightly shining man too. Next to him, the tanned tattooed man smirked tauntingly. It made a small part of the gunblader, only a really tiny part, glad that his father wasn't like that. But Laguna could be much worse than just taunting.
"Heh. Figured you'd come, crybaby." Scratch that. At least Laguna wasn't taunting and teasingly mocking. Next to him, Tidus was doing his best not to lash out at his old man. Must be pretty hard to do when the man's smirk was so infuriating.
Laguna Loire was embarrassing as a father most of the time, but this time takes the cake. He started crouching down with his arms thrown wide; waiting for a hug like Squall was a little kid that would carelessly give them.
Jecht, on the other hand, just crossed his arms and waited expectantly for his kid to come. The two fathers look ridiculous next to each other, so relaxed in a place filled with fiends, waiting patiently for their nervous and embarrassed kids to come.
Only they never did. The brunet never jumped onto his father's arms, while the blond only stood there, unsure of what to do. The sight of their fathers doing their usual antics had killed any self-reassurance they had built up prior to coming here. Suddenly, the idea of slipping the gifts secretly seemed to be so much better…
"…I can't do this." Squall whispered quietly, so dumbfounded by his father's action. He turned to leave, mad mobs be damned, but a hand grabbed his elbows and stopped him. He turned to look at his red-faced companion and glare at him, but the hand wouldn't let go.
Tidus answered his glare with a small voice, eyes downcast and cheeks as red as Firion's rose. "I can't do this alone. Beside, Selphie will kill you out there." He reasoned, eyes never leaving the dark soil of the training center.
It wasn't a strong enough reason for Squall to confront his father.
"Do it yourself. I want no part in this." He coldly said, trying, and failing, to get the sun-kissed boy to release his arm.
"Its your problem. I don't care about it."
"You should! It's as much your problem as it is mine!"
"I don't care about it."
"Yes, you do! 'else you won't prepare that thing so carefully!" Tidus pointed at the neatly wrapped box the taller of the two had prepared himself. The two had been bickering quietly, their voice barely heard by the other over the windy place, while their fathers continued to keep their stances. Squall continued to tug against the blonde's hold to no avail.
"… Can't we do something else instead? Something that does not include going over…there…" Squall resisted the urge to throw himself into a pit and die there as Laguna began to make strange noises. It sounded a lot like kissing noise.
Squall once again asked Hyne what he did in his past life to gain such a father.
"Er…" Even sunny boy was agape by that new level of strangeness his fellow warrior display.
"There's a really good reason I don't like him." Mostly, it was because he was embarrassing.
Tidus was quick to return to his sense, though his eyes refused to budge from the very unusual sight of some man crouching while making kissing noises at his own son.
"I guess we shouldn't go there…" Jecht decided sometime ago that he was also bored and had brandished his badass sword, swinging it carelessly over Laguna's bent form. Harmless as it was, that had not been the most pleasant sight for Tidus to see, though Laguna doesn't seem too bothered by the sword trying to chop his head off.
Squall sighed, feeling an incurable headache coming. Really, this day hadn't been anything but trouble. A good work out, maybe sparing and beating Seifer up, was very much needed after all was done and over.
"Taking your sweet time, huh? Guess we should come over there if you two refused to come here." Jecht said as he dispersed his weapon back to Cosmos' space. He yanked the pouting and whining Laguna, and then approached their son.
As the two older men slowly walked over them, the two boys panicked. Their panic-filled minds hadn't exactly clarified why they need to panic, but the emotion refused to release its two most interesting victims. Tidus' grip become harder as Squall struggled helplessly against it, desperate to get the hell away from them.
"Don't run! We haven't given them the gifts!" Tidus frantically whisper-shouted next to Squall's ear harshly. He yanked the arm he was holding so hard, almost like he wanted to tear it off.
Without thinking, Squall answered him with the brightest idea his befuddled mind could muster.
"Just throw it at them! They got the gifts, we got to not approach them. It's not like they wanted us to tearfully hand it to them!" So Squall had demonstrated it by throwing his gift to Laguna with as much force as he could summon. It went and hit the president precisely on the face, causing a trail of blood to fall down from his nose at the bone-crushing strength it had been thrown with.
Tidus, seeing the quite effective way of sending a gift, also throw his gift with surprising accuracy gained from years of practicing Blitzball. Jecht, unlike Laguna, had been a sports star and easily caught the airborne gift.
The two boys fled the scene immediately. Behind them, they could hear the loud wailing of a certain president over his son's 'wonderful gift that he was going to put in Esthar's national museum,' and the loud laughing of a certain bronze god.
They never turned back to investigate the commotion they left behind.
A/N : Aaand, finished! The longest one I've ever write and it was so strange too! Of course, this is a multi-chaptered fic, so the chaos (no pun intended) wasn't over yet!
Nowdays I'm obsessing over FFVIII despite never playing it myself. The only FF I've ever played are FFX and FFI, but the latter was so BLAND. Everything is so bland. From the characters, the place, the gameplay, even GAR-land (Heh, I love you TvTropes) is bland. This shows a lot in the fics I've made recently.
Pixiv also have a huge influence on my writings. Tidus and Squall's friendship takes root there, mainly because they're the only same-age characters in the Dissidia land. How that has anything to do with friendship, I have no idea. But this fic is born from several such drawings. A cute Father's Day themed picture and several Weather Trio pictures really pushed me to work on this.
One another note, I think Squall was kinda Tsundere toward his relationship with Laguna. It was cute. I saw a small panel manga about Squall getting jealous about all the attention Laguna gave his companion as Team Dad in Dissidia 012 without realizing it. It gave me the idea of Squall's pseudo-hate and bitterness toward Laguna comes from the man choosing to rule Esthar over raising him.
I couldn't think of any other way they would give their gifts. I don't think they could just give them peacefully.
And in case you hadn't figured it out by reading the story, this takes place during the very first cycle. That's why there are still so many people and they are happy enough to partake in such silly activities. None of them are feeling emo over a friend dead yet. Also, they live in a Garden-like building provided by Cosmos. That was erased during later cycles because it provided a safe sanctuary for them and thus prevented them from getting stronger.
By the way, this is the sister fic of Memories of Another Lifetime. Events here will sometime be featured there.
And now, OMAKE TIME!
Squall watched as Tidus reluctantly approached the Warrior of Chaos. In one of his hand was a neatly wrapped orange gift. Somehow the sunny boy was 'encouraged' to give his rather displeasing dad a gift. Encouraged was a stretch, as what the boy described to the gunblader was more like 'black-mailed' and 'forcefully bullied' into doing it.
Somehow, Squall was having the same forceful feeling in his mind. But it was useless; his 'father' was not here. He was probably still busy with his presidential works. Cosmos only summoned ten warriors to her side, despite what Ultimecia and some other Chaos Warriors liked to insist.
"Accompany me!" The blond boy had said this morning and Squall begrudgingly accepted even though he barely knows the other boy. Something strange in his mind, the same pull as the one which practically shouted in a voice similar to Selphie's for him to give his father a gift, made him walked across a plain just to accompany the agile ace.
After seeing the almost-naked man across the plains, Squall had turned to leave the father-son pair on their own. That was until he felt a tug on his elbow. The sunny boy was holding him back.
"Don't leave me!" Tidus said, but even when his mouth already stopped moving, Squall could hear his voice adding 'We're supposed to go through all this together,' in his mind. The words were never said and it was oblivious that the other boy never said it, but Squall could hear it as clear as the rustle of wind.
Hoping that he's not going crazy, he yanked his hand off the boy's hold, but not leaving his side. "Just throw it at him and get it over with." He said, not knowing where the strange idea had come from, but the feeling of 'rightness' also come with it. Maybe, just maybe, they had done this before? His heart, somewhere very deep down in his consciousness, he wanted to add always to his sentence, though he doesn't know why.
And seeing Tidus really throw the present, seeing it being airborne before the Chaos Warrior coughed it with practiced ease, made his heart ache. The lack of weight in his hand, of the strain on his arms from throwing, and the lack of somebody beside Jecht to throw the weight to.
Squall unknowingly had lost something and he didn't know how to get it back.