A/N: This takes place a few years after FF VIII. I imagined Squall to be 25, but looking the way he does in Kingdom Hearts 2, so with slightly longer hair and small changes of his attire. Mind you, though, that I've never played Final Fantasy, ever. So I might get some things wrong. Please tell me if I do so. Enjoy. :)
~ "I don't want to be your boyfriend anymore..." ~
The mighty lion that was known as Squall Leonhart paced through the room, his hands on his back and his blue-greyish eyes focused on the wooden floor in front of him. He was dressed in a very grave tuxedo that suited him very well, because the restaurant he was about to go to, had a dress code. He had informed his date for tonight (who else than Rinoa Heartilly), too.
But Hyne, how he hated tuxedos, and especially the stupid red bow tie that went along with it, even though Rinoa had said once that she thought it was cute... No, her exact words were that she thought he was cute, not the stupid bow tie.
However, he just wanted to rip this thing apart and shred it into a thousand pieces, because it made him feel like the thing was slowly trying to suffocate him. Besides, he felt kind of exposed and vulnerable, too, without his leather jacket, his gloves, his Gunblade, or even his many, many belts (he was a guy with a sense of fashion. So what?) Or maybe that was just because of the nerves.
Squall seemed to be in deep thought about one thing or another, but you couldn't blame him if you knew why. For one who did not know him, it was probably hard to tell that he was nervous. Well, nervous? It felt more like his insides were about to explode from all the stress he was feeling as of lately.
He tried to ignore that killing feeling by silently going through the list of things he had to do soon, in head head. He had memorized all of it: what he would do, what he would say, what he definitely would not do, nor say, what she would probably say as a reaction, etc.
However, instead of feeling calm and confident again, this made him only more uneasy. What if everything went wrong? And they probably would, because he was Squall. Lady Fortune hardly ever was on his side, unless it was about a war against some evil Sorceress, or something...
Taking a deep and rather shaky breath, his gaze traveled to the clock. With a start, he realized that it was time to go already, time to pick Rinoa up from her place. He had to hurry up, too, since it was never good to let the lady wait.
...And hopefully, everything would go well, you know, for a change. That would be nice...
"Wow, is it just me, or does this place really look beautiful today?" Rinoa said in awe, looking around her.
Squall grunted something unintelligible. Knowing him, it was probably something along the lines of, "No, that's just you."
It didn't matter much, anyway, because the only beautiful thing for him was Rinoa. (See how much of a sap she had made of him after all these years of Squall trying to be distant and as emotional as a rock?)
Squall had managed to convince Rinoa - without great effort, actually - to go to the restaurant where they had had dinner for the first time with each other, as a couple. He didn't know why, but he thought that it was just appropriate that way. It would only make this evening more special.
The restaurant was just lovely, with its soft yellow and ember-colored walls, and candle lights on ever table. It made everything look so much more romantic. Only the background music that barely came above the buzzing sound of people talking, the sweet and soft tinkling of glasses and the scraping of cutlery on plates, wasn't exactly Squall's taste.
And Rinoa... Squall's heart started beating faster and faster every time he looked at her, because Rinoa only looked more beautiful in her chique attire. The ivory dress - a long version of the one she had worn when they had first met - only made her look more like an angel and her big, dark and beautiful eyes only added more to it.
However, Squall was more than glad that the rather popular restaurant wasn't as crouded as it normally was. That would've made things only more difficult for him. Not that he thought it would be a piece of cake now.
He knew he was behaving kinda weird. That was hard to miss, even for him. That was what those damned nerves were still doing to him. He just hoped that Rinoa wouldn't see any difference. However, Squall's strange behavior - and the fact that he was even more silent than usual - didn't go unnoticed by Rinoa. At first, she thought that maybe he was a little stressed because he worked really hard. She knew everything about it. She had decided not to mention it, but by the time that the desserts showed up, Squall even looked a little on the pale side. And that was far from good.
"Hey, Squall, is everything alright?" Rinoa asked, worriedly.
She managed to touch his underarm lightly with her fingertips to get his attention. Well, it worked. Perhaps a little too much, because Squall felt like he just got an electric jolt where their skin had made contact with each other. It as almost as though his skin was burning red from her touch.
"Yes, I just... I actually uhm..." he started, as he rubbed his arm with his other hand.
Squall opened his mouth once again to speak, but when he found no words (what a surprise), he closed it again.
And that was when he realized with a shock that he had completely shut down. He couldn't come up with something to save his life. How could he forget what he was about to say to her? Heck, he hardly remembered what he was supposed to be doing here, either. The most frustrating thing about this was that he had practised this for a couple of days, maybe more than a week. And yet, it went all completely wrong. How sad was that?
So here he was, at a loss of words, completely shut down, all because of those damn nerves that didn't seem to want to leave him alone for the rest of the night. However, he knew that if he didn't do something right now, this whole evening would be ruined, by himself.
Gathering all the remaining courage he had (which, in retrospect, wasn't that much really, but it was still enough for him to continue. Seriously, why did he feel as if everyone in the restaurant was staring at him now?), Squall cleared his throat as he attempted to start the conversation according to plan, "Rinoa, I need to tell you something..."
He didn't know for sure whether it was his face or his voice (okay, he had to admit here that it did sound slightly like the "we need to talk, now/you're in deep trouble, so I'll give you three seconds to get the hell out of here, before I unleash my everlasting wrath upon you" sentence that most women would use against their beloved boyfriends or husbands, followed with a gulp from the poor victims), but Rinoa suddenly seemed very worried.
"Oh? What is it?" she asked softly, frowning.
From the solemn look on his face, she could tell that she was about to hear something terrible. Squall wasn't sick...was he?
Squall realized that it was now or never. He just had to give it a try.
He tried to ignore all the nasty thoughts like, what if she said no? as he told her, "...I don't want to be your boyfriend anymore..."
Hyne, it felt good to have said that. It relieved most of the tenstion (...or so he thought...). How funny was that? He had never said the word 'boyfriend' like this before. He had never even thought about the word...that much. It sounded almost foreign in a way. He set that last thought aside (for later, as always) and watched how Rinoa's expression changed (to his horror) drastically from utterly surprised, into shocked...and aghast.
"What?" The shock was definitely clearly heard in Rinoa's voice and seen on her pretty, angelic face.
Looking at her widened dark irises, Squall slowly went through every word he had said to her in his head, and mentally face-palmed at his stupid action.
Smooth, Squall. Very smooth. You nearly gave her a heartattack in your 'enthusiasm,' saying the weirdest things. Way to go, idiot, he thought.
After Rinoa had overcome the initial shock, she only felt sadness. Tears started to form into her eyes already, much to Squall's shock.
"I didn't mean it that way," he swiftly assured her, before she would start crying.
"So you still want to be my boyfriend?" she asked, a tad bit hopefully, and just to be sure (because honestly, by now she was confused as heck. What way would he mean it then? There actually was only one way you could mean that, right?)
"Yes. I mean, no! I mean..." he sighed, running a hand through his dark, silky smooth locks. For the first time in his life he was annoyed with none other than himself. This had sounded much, much better - and not to mention easier - in his head. He couldn't even find the right words to say to her. Why couldn't anything ever go according to plan? "...Look. What I mean is... I just want to say that..."
Rinoa was still looking at him, encouraging him with a nod to continue, even though she was fearing for the worst.
Oh, spit it out already, Squall! How hard can this be? he mentally berated himself.
Then he blurted out in one breath, "...I want to be your husband."
Almost immediately after Squall had said that, Rinoa's mouth dropped open, obviously because that was the last thing she had expected to hear from him now. Squall started searching into his pockets - where the hell was that little thing! - and pulled out a small, red-colored box. Rinoa's breath was caught in a (delighted) half-gasp as Squall got up and bowed in front of her on one knee.
Fiddling with the small box, he finally managed to open it, earning soft giggling from Rinoa and a some laughter of everyone who was looking at him now (which happened to be everyone that was currently present in the restaurant). He hated it how clumsy he became when he was nervous, and had at least twenty pairs of eyes on him.
After he had shown the contents of the box to her, - in this case, that gesture said more than a thousand words, because inside the box was a beautiful diamond ring that glistened brightly when it caught the light - Squall took her hand and looked up at her.
"Listen. I know that I'm not always good with words..." Not always? More like never, he thought, before continuing with, "...Or being more social, but I truly love you, more than you can ever imagine, and I really want you to be mine, always and forever. So...marry me?"
That was when Rinoa's world stopped turning. She was truly at a loss of words. Squall had never said this much before, and the thought that he was actually proposing to her made her deliriously numb, but happy.
Squall, however, had other things to worry about that moment. Wait...did that just sound as corny and awkward as he thought it did?
Nevertheless, Rinoa smiled, nodding, before throwing herself to him (without any warning) and hugging the living daylights out of him. Squall caught her, mildly surprised at the fact that she didn't stop grinning like that. Despite that he almost fell over from the sudden weight that was pressing on him, he did seem like he was the happiest man in the world...as far as he allowed himself to look happy from the outside. He really was in bliss, though.
"Honestly Squall, I thought you would never ask," she replied, jokingly.
Squall didn't reply to that and merely breathed deep in, smelling the intoxicatingly nice scent of her perfume and shampoo.
He decided that now would be a good time to slip the ring on her finger. The other people who had caught every word that had been exchanged between the two lovebirds, started applauding, some with a smile on their face. This wasn't heard by Squall and Rinoa, though, since they had only attention for each other.
"I love you, too, Squall. And I want to be yours, always and forever," Rinoa assured him, now giving him a loving look.
She brushed a stubborn strand of chestnut-colored hair out of his stormy blue eyes, before kissing him fully on the lips.
"Rin...I'm glad you do, but could you get up now? My knee is starting to hurt," he mumbled softly, so only she could hear.
(And why did everything that he said sound so sarcastic?)
"Sure," Rinoa replied, giggling.
She got up and offered Squall a hand to help him get up. Before she returned to her seat again she gave him another hug and a kiss on the cheek, causing him to stiffen slightly because of the preying eyes. He didn't know how Rinoa could still be herself, even after this.
When they sat down again, Squall suddenly had another idea, and he was sure that Rinoa would like this, too.
"You know what would make this evening complete?" he asked.
Slightly suspicious, Rinoa eyed him and then shook her head slowly. "No..."
Squall got up from his seat again, earning a surprised look from Rinoa as he held his hand out in front of his fiance.
"Would you like to dance, Miss Heartilly?" he asked, his voice deep.
Rinoa's grin couldn't have gotten any wider right that moment.
"I would love to, Mr. Leonhart."
She took his hand. It was warm to the touch. Squall lead her to the open space in the middle of the restaurant, where two couples were already swirling around. Squall and Rinoa started dancing, too. Squall was the one who took the lead.
"Wow, you've been practising, huh?" Rinoa noted, fairly impressed at how she seemed to be flying over the floor.
Every move they made couldn't be made any smoother, which was a great different if you compared this Squall with the Squall she had met almost eight years ago.
"Naturally," he replied, amused, as he managed to do a spin-out with her.
"Ah, pulling out the fancy moves, I see?" she said, laughing.
"Anything to impress you," he whispered in her ear, causing her to blush slightly.
They both knew that this perfect and unforgettable evening was a moment they would both cherish and neither of them would forget about it.
...And as to planning, if it didn't go according to plan, then one should just improvise...without giving the other a heart attack, of course.
A/N: Thanks for reading. Hope you liked it. Not my best work, but we can blame it on the exam stress, right? Reviews are very appreciated. They keep me motivated. Also, this is my 14th entry for Bookaholic711's Project PULL. :)