A/N: my main problem with this fic was deciding Yuna's character; whether to follow ffx or x-2. In the end, I decided to put those two into a blender and set it to max. Vermy, if you're reading this, here's the long-overdue story of our old Squall/Yuna dream!
My portrayal of Squall here is drastically different from how I normally write him; for humorous purposes. I'll see about a more serious Squall/Yuna when I get more inspiration. Thien, hope this lived up to your expectation (though I rather doubt it XD)!
Squall rubbed his eyes tiredly.
It had been quite some time since he last properly slept; choosing to be more than half-aware of his surroundings at all times. After waking up in this strange world, memories mangled and out of reach, he had kept up a paranoid air about him. He had decided to continue forward and he somehow (chance? Fate?) found himself in the middle of the Order's Sanctuary where he was unceremoniously dumped with a band of strangers of a wide personality spectrum and was told to fight a war.
A war whose cause was still unknown, he reminded himself. He was told by that oddly shining knight that they had to go off and do battle with the Warriors of Chaos and eventually, Chaos himself. Cliché naming system aside, Squall was worried about one thing and thusly voiced his query.
After being leveled with both amused and-or incredulous stares from his new comrades accompanied by bouts of laughter, the leather-clad gunblade user realized that this was one job he'd never get any payment for. That really annoyed him, considering the amount of weirdness that was currently shattering his perceptions on reality.
He blinked at the scene before him again and wondered if that little tailed blond added something to his drink. Again. He really should learn to be wary of that tailed thief.
He looked away and counted down from ten before looking back, hoping the hallucination would disappear.
There, on top of the water's glistening surface, was that brunette with the eye mutation, Yuna, dancing and twirling and still twirling on top of the water's surface, the water itself rising and falling as it followed her movements, creating a platform that she danced on. Little lights- pyreflies if he recalled correctly- swirled around the young woman.
Oh Hyne, what had he gotten himself into this time?
Had he been any other person, he would have been awed at the majestic sight in front of him. He would have been stunned into serenity at the grace the young woman exhibited and would proceed to poetically describe the way the moon's mysterious shine made both her and the water glow ethereally.
But he was Squall Leonhart, whose normally tight grip on reality was slowly drifting away.
"Sir Leonhart?" her curious voice called out, getting his attention.
Squall nodded at her with his poker face, acknowledging her presence as he tried to stop staring at how she just stood there, boots off, on top of the water's surface. He approached the lake's bank, meeting Yuna's wondering gaze coolly. "What are you doing out here?"
"Fresh air." He deadpanned, eyes briefly flickering to where her dainty feet met the water's surface. It probably was shallow, anyways. The moon's light wasn't enough for him to give an accurate estimate of the lake's depth.
Yuna stared at him before giggling behind her hand. Squall tilted his head questioningly. "What?"
"It's just, we're camping out." She pointed out and Squall realized how stupid his excuse sounded. "And you're here for fresh air."
"Why are you out here?" He decided to shift the focus of their conversation.
The brunette's smile softened as she gazed at the twinkling water. "I was performing a Sending." Squall continued to stare at her. After a moment, Yuna's hands suddenly flew to her mouth. "Oh! So sorry." She realized why he kept staring. "It's a ritual from my world where we- that is, summoners- send off the spirits of the departed to the Farplane so that they don't turn into fiends." Not missing a beat this time, she continued. "The Farplane is where the dead gather."
"I surmised that last part." Squall stated.
Yuna merely smiled back apologetically, thinking she offended him. "Sorry."
Squall raised a brow at the summoner. He decided not to pursue why she was apologizing. A moment of silence descended on the two before Yuna clapped her hands and made her way back to shore.
"Shall we head back?" She smiled at him.
The brunet regarded her coolly. "You can head back."
Yuna stared at him questioningly.
A brief moment of silence passed by them before the young woman realized Squall wouldn't say anything more unless she asked. Hands behind her back, she looked up at him, staring intently at his icy blue eyes. "Aren't you coming, Sir Leonhart?"
"I'll be alright here." He replied gruffly, looking away from her gaze. There was something unnerving with the way her eyes seemed to sparkle.
"Don't you want to be with the others?" She questioned him and once more received a blank stare as her reply.
"Hmmm..." Yuna hummed while she thought. She didn't really want to leave him; who knows what could attack him while he was alone? Then again, he was one of the more capable fighters she'd seen… but did that mean it was alright for him to be left all by himself?
"Alright." The summoner decided, nodding to herself. She walked passed him, gathering her boots, and approached a nearby tree before turning around, smiling when she realized his gaze followed her. "I'll sleep right here."
Squall quirked a brow at the short-haired brunette before shrugging. "Whatever."
He turned back to the water's surface, gazing at the lake as he tried to figure out how exactly Yuna managed to stand on water before sighing and chalked it up to the universal excuse; magick. He glanced back at her over his shoulder at the sound of shuffling fabric. Yuna was sprawled on the ground, using one arm as a make-shift pillow. Squall noted that she unclasped her left kimono sleeve from her arm, using it as a blanket.
Noticing his gaze, she smiled serenely at him, her emerald and sapphire eyes twinkling with what little moonlight struck them. "Good night."
Squall resisted the urge to smile back, keeping his face blank. He started walking towards her, making her pause in her attempt to get some rest.
"I'll start us a fire." He muttered as he walked past her and back into the forest. He noted that the young summoner sat back up, cloth still wrapped around her shoulders. "Stay here. I'll be within earshot."
Yuna's eyes followed the tall warrior. "Thank you, Sir Leonhart."
He stopped and threw her an annoyed glance. "It's Squall."
The young summoner watched as he disappeared into the woods. She laid her head back down on the ground, unable to suppress the contented smile that split her face.
He really wasn't as bad as he made himself out to be.
It would be a few days after their midnight meeting when they once more spoke. Of course, Squall was fully rested this time and no longer denied reality as vehemently as before.
Squall leaned back against the tree, hidden under its cool shade. He absently listened to the chatter his fellow Warriors of Cosmos made. He opened one eye at the sound of footsteps approaching and found himself face-to-face with the young summoner.
The brunette smiled at him before walking to his side and sat down, her back leaning against his same tree. Squall's eyes briefly glanced along the clearing, spotting Cecil as the only other remaining warrior.
"Treasure hunting must be fun, right?" Yuna spoke, her tone a bit lower than normal, looking forward at where the fun-seeking duo departed.
Squall sighed, silently wondering why she was talking to him.
Yuna continued on, not minding his silence. "I mean, Bartz and Zidane always seem to be doing enjoyable things and now they're off hunting for treasure. It would be nice to go on a treasure hunt, one of these days."
"Go join them." He told her dryly, not really understanding what her problem was.
The short-haired brunette smiled up at him and Squall cursed himself for replying. "I would love to." Her cheerful spirit darkened slightly. "But I'm afraid I'd only hold them back. It wouldn't be fair to intrude on their fun."
Squall pushed himself off from the tree and looked down on her. "They wouldn't mind." He turned around and walked into the clearing, leaving the young summoner to her thoughts.
There was still something about her smile that bothered him.
"Sir Squall?" she called out. He stopped in his steps and was slightly surprised when she appeared in front of him. Was she following him?
"Would… would you…" Yuna began unsurely before shaking her head in defeat. "Nevermind."
Squall shot her an annoyed glance, making her redden with an self-conscious blush. "Speak up." He ordered her.
The young summoner raised her head, looking at him determinedly. "Would you accompany me when I go on a treasure hunt?" she spoke. Squall was about to give her a stern 'no' when she continued onwards. "I can understand if you don't want to but it would be nice to have a neutral opinion and I really don't know much about treasure hunting. I know I'm imposing on your privacy but I would really feel safe if you're there."
Squall sighed exasperatedly at the pleading look Yuna was unconsciously giving him. He could tell she really wanted to go on a hunt for reasons he couldn't fathom. Then again, her clothes gave her the aura of a sheltered woman, so he figured she just wanted to explore?
"Sir Squall?" and there she goes cutting off his thoughts once more.
"It's Squall." He replied lowly. Yuna's determined spirit didn't waver despite his stern tone, continuing to gaze up at him expectantly. "…fine."
Yuna clasped her hands together, bowing down slightly before giving him a bright smile. "Thank you, Si-"
"It's Squall." He cut her off, suppressing a growl.
"Sorry." Her cheeks flushed again. "Old habits..." she trailed, hoping he would understand.
He nodded once before walking past her. He idly noted that, this time, her smile didn't bother him.
True enough, Yuna approached him one day. She had apparently been speaking with Bartz and Zidane as they went on about their exciting adventures and that the duo mentioned an alcove by the beach at Melmond that they haven't gotten around to venturing yet. Their next stop was, apparently, the Marsh Caves. They heard rumors about a 'mighty sword' resting there from the moogles and thus went to explore.
Yuna wanted to join them- she really did- but before she could mount her request, the duo had taken off, leaving a sullen summoner to gather her spirit and call upon the aid of the stoic Squall.
Naturally, Squall asked to be paid for his services, to which the young summoner gave him a questioning look before she smiled that unnerving smile and told him the adventure would pay for it. She moved along and he found himself following her. He idly wondered if she meant her statement literally or figuratively; he hoped it was the former so that he had a reason to self-justify the use of his services.
That and that smile she flashed him still continued to annoy him.
Squall Leonhart groaned when the sun's rays struck, squinting as his eyes focused on his surroundings. He took notice of the wooden ceiling (a cabin?) and the soft material cushioning him (a bed?).
"Oh good!" a cheerful voice cut off his musing. Had he had the energy, he would've chucked the pillow his head was resting on at the offender. Seeing as he had none (and really, the pillow was just too comfortable) he settled with a glare. Naturally, Yuna was all smiles (with that bothersome smile, too).
"You've been out for a day." The brunette informed him.
Squall sat up against her protests, wordlessly pushing her hands away when she tried to keep him on the bed. He felt dizzy all of a sudden, orthostatic hypotension kicking in from the abrupt change in position. He glanced over at the brunette, a small sense of satisfaction washing over him at seeing her smile turn into a frown.
"You really shouldn't be moving so soon." She advised softly, her hands gripping the fabric of her blue skirt.
The scarred burnet stared at the nervous woman. Yuna had her head bowed, trying her best not to look at the cool eyes of the gunblade user. Eventually gathering her courage, Yuna forced herself to smile. "I'm sorry."
Squall's only reply was a grunt. The brown-haired summoner finally met his gaze and Squall silently approved of the determination sparkling in her mutant eyes. The brunette continued. "I know you told me not to touch anything but I was really curious about that machina. I mean machine." She corrected herself.
"At least you know how to take responsibility." He spoke. He didn't show his surprise when Yuna's knuckles turned white as her grip on her skirt tightened, instead choosing to make a mental note of it.
"Well, it was my fault." She smiled apologetically at him with her eyes closed.
Squall decided not to press the matter. Her smile was increasingly making him uneasy. "There's always next time, I suppose."
Yuna opened her eyes, her emerald and sapphire eyes focusing on his storm blues. "About that… I think I'm satisfied for now. We don't need to go on another hunt."
Squall tilted his head to the side. That was a surprise. "You sure?"
"Yeah…" Squall wasn't convinced, especially with her hesitant tone. "I already had my fun." She stood up, patting her skirt, and flashed him another one of those annoying smiles. "And that's that." She bowed at him before straightening. "Thank you very much for all your help!"
As she turned around and prepared to walk out the door, Squall frowned, her smile still haunting his thoughts.
"You still haven't given me my payment." He called out.
Yuna stopped in her tracks and turned around, her expression showing her stunned bewilderment at the man's proclamation. "But we-"
"There's no helping it." He turned away, facing the open window. "We just need to go on another hunt."
The brunette summoner opened her mouth as if to decline when she realized what exactly the black-clad man wanted. Smiling genuinely, the young summoner replied. "Of course."
She gave another quick bow before she left with a small skip in her steps.
Squall turned back to face her exit door, hoping he wouldn't regret this decision.
The leather-clad brunet observed Yuna during the course of the following days, trying to piece out why her smile kept annoying him. They spoke on occasion, the young summoner ever-smiling and respectful with words while the SeeD gruffly replied.
They were now resting in a forest clearing, taking a breather from their traveling. Squall would have deviated from the group by now, normally. Sadly, the brown-haired summoner seemed to follow him wherever he went- or would follow him, eventually, and end up in trouble in the process.
He seriously wondered what was wrong with her. Couldn't she- and everyone else- take a hint that he wanted to be left alone?
"You should try smiling sometimes." And once more, the summoner cut off his inner musings. He raised a brow at the young woman. "You're always silent with your lips thinned like this." She gave him her best poker face.
Squall suppressed a snort at how the summoner's expression did not suit her at all. Her eyes twinkled too much. Yuna seemed to sense that his mood lightened as she broke out into her own smile.
Squall's eyes focused on her smile, wondering what was so different about this one and the one that annoyed him. He shook his head. The summoner sat down beside him, and for once Squall didn't have the urge to leave his spot. He decided to voice the question that lingered in his thoughts. "Why are you always following me?"
Yuna's gaze drifted towards the scene before them; Lightning, one hand on her hip, sternly scolding the kneeling trio of Vaan, Bartz, and Zidane, about their childish antics.
"You make me feel safe." She replied honestly. Squall tilted his head again and this time Yuna understood that it was his way of urging her to continue. "You remind me of one my father's friends. He never spoke much but he always had this protective aura about him." She attempted to describe to her companion. "He always looked so intimidating but he really has a kind heart." Her eyes glanced towards him after her last statement.
Squall's expression remained neutral as he digested her words. He turned away from her. "I'm not like that." He muttered.
Yuna laughed at how dishonest her companion was being. She smiled at him, not that he could see it. "You're so much like him yet so different."
Squall chose to remain silent, arms still crossed. He eventually turned back to look at her and found her gaze had dropped to a spot below his chin.
The sun's rays reflected off his pendant.
"That's a nice necklace you have." The summoner appraised. Squall could've sworn her eyes sparkled as her mutant eyes zeroed on the Griever insigne. She glanced briefly up at him before her eyes refocused on the shiny accessory. "I've realized that everyone's necklaces symbolize something."
The scarred brunet shrugged. "You're wearing one, too." He stated, trying to avert her attention from the inevitable question.
Yuna nodded her head, humming her agreement. "Yours is so…different, though."
Squall's raised a brow, not quite expecting that statement. Yuna continued to stare at the silver emblem. "Do you think I could…" she trailed off before she stared at his eyes determinedly. "I mean, can I try it on?"
There was a different glint in her eyes that rang alarm bells at the back of his head. Squall backed away slightly, making Yuna unconsciously lean forward as her earnest gaze remained fixed on his perplexed orbs.
Something exploded in the background coupled with more yelling. Yuna still hadn't averted her gaze.
"…" Squall felt a drop of sweat roll down his nape. "Do you want to go search for treasure again?"
Another smile blossomed across the young summoner's face as she nodded with enthusiasm.
Squall found that this smile didn't annoy him, either.
They once more failed to find anything meaningful from their newest excursion but at least Squall managed to stay awake until the very end.
The first time Squall approached her, she, along with Laguna, were bowing and apologizing (profusely, in the summoner's case) at the silver-haired dark knight sans helmet, Cecil Harvey, who smiled back reassuringly at the remorseful pair as he rubbed the back of his head.
Squall waited in the shadows for both Laguna and Cecil to leave, the former helping the latter get checked up, before walking up to the young summoner who had fallen to her knees from the stress of her ordeal. Her mutant eyes looked up at the sound of his footsteps and he recognized the look of defeat in them which she quickly washed away.
"Si-" He glared at her and she quickly corrected herself. "-Squall. How long were you standing there?"
"Long enough." He stated. He crouched down next to her, picking up one of the pistols on the ground as he tested its weight.
"I think…" the young summoner started, drawing his cool gaze. "I'll stick with what I know." She flashed him another smile- the kind that still continued to irritate him- and continued. "If Sir Cecil hadn't been wearing his armor, who knows what would have happened?"
"He'd be a red puddle on the ground." He told her dryly, making Yuna frown. Clearly the young woman was trying her best not to think of that 'what if' scenario. Squall momentarily paused, searching her gaze before sharply looking away. "But…" he began, wondering why he was speaking with the young woman. "That didn't happen so you can forget about it."
He stood up, handgun still in hand. He aimed at a tree and pulled the trigger, his arm minimally jerking as he was used to even more powerful recoil. He looked down at the summoner and gave his input. "It's a good gun."
"Sir Laguna gave me these two." She informed him with a weak smile. Squall resisted the urge to wince at the reckless man's name. "I was interested in trying them and he gave these to me, saying they were spares."
Squall frowned. "That was irresponsible of him." Yuna tilted her head to the side questioningly and he elaborated. "You clearly don't know how to use these."
Yuna hung her head, the earlier scare still fresh in her mind. She hadn't meant to pull the trigger; Laguna told her to unlock the safety and she accidentally squeezed, not realizing how much less resistance the trigger would provide. In the end, she managed to hit the back of Cecil's armored head.
"But…" she looked up, only to see him take aim at the same tree from earlier and fire; hitting the exact same spot as before. "I suppose you're not a horrible student."
The young summoner's mood seemed to brighten when she understood his words. She took hold of the remaining gun and stood up and brushed the dirt from her skirt.
"First thing." Yuna paid rapt attention at her new teacher. "Do not casually point your gun anywhere but downwards." The young summoner looked sheepish- her gun had been raised and tilted slightly towards her head- and she promptly lowered the Tiny Bee pistol.
"Next, grip your gun tightly but rest your index finger on the trigger when you aim." He instructed the short-haired brunette. Yuna did so, testing her grip to get a feel of the weapon.
"Now for the easy part: aim and fire." He lifted his gun again and fired at another tree to the left of his first target. "Shoot that tree."
Yuna fired and almost dropped her gun from the force of the recoil. Luckily, her grip was taut around the handle. The summoner frowned when she realized her bullet hit the wrong tree.
"Hold your gun with both hands for now." Squall ordered. "You'll get the hang of this, eventually. These pistols don't have a quarter of the recoil I'm used to."
Yuna chuckled, making Squall level her with a questioning gaze. "It's just… you sounded so proud, just now."
"…" Squall turned away sharply. "Get practicing."
Yuna fired once more, this time managing to hold the gun in place and hitting her target. She smiled joyously, turning to her companion, only to see him marching away from her.
"Squall?" she called out to him.
"Keep shooting." He replied, not turning back. She complied, unloading more shots at the hapless tree. Her hands trembled from the recoil but she steadied them, holding her gun firmly.
"Knowing how to shoot isn't enough." She heard him say. He had stopped walking when he was several feet in front of her. She saw him throw something at her and she instinctively caught it, recognizing the familiar weight of the second half of her twin pistols. She saw Squall smile, or what she thought was a smile as she couldn't be too sure from this distance, before he spoke again. "Good. This should come naturally then."
Squall Leonhart charged forward, rapidly closing the distance between them with his gunblade drawn.
Yuna had no time to get her staff and barely any time to react. Instinctively, she raised her twin pistols, managing to block the massive blade falling down on her. The force of the slash made her drop to her knees and she instinctively parried the blade to the side with one hand before she completely fell.
A dark blur was the only warning she had to raise her other arm just in time to buffer the full impact of the brunet's leg from bludgeoning her head. She rolled to the side, cushioning her fall, and raised both her guns and pulled their trigger.
The hollow bang of her guns made her realize that she just open fired at one of her friends. Her eyes widened until she felt the cold steel of the tip of his gunblade rest on her shoulders, making her sigh in relief.
"Your instincts are good." He acknowledged, withdrawing his gunblade before resting its flat side on his shoulder. Yuna stared up at him, puzzled, before she finally realized that her right arm was flexed, pointing the barrel of her blue Tiny Bee at the tall brunet's chest. She relaxed her stance. Yuna stood up and turned around, cheeks flushed from the exertion and heart running laps.
Squall turned around and started walking again. "Keep practicing."
"Th-thank you!" Yuna managed to stammer out. The scarred brunet continued walking and she hoped that he heard her.
The young summoner fell to her knees.
"One more thing." His voice suddenly called out, making her jump. Had Squall been facing her, she would've blushed more in embarrassment at his wry smirk. "That dress doesn't suit a gun."
Squall internally grinned, imagining the young summoner's mutant- that is, heterochromatic- eyes widen in shock. Silly conservative priestess.
He heard a shuffling of fabric and was mildly surprised that Yuna had jogged up to walk with him. He half expected her to talk and make more idle conversation and was instead treated to a comfortable silence as they made their way back to camp.
"I want to be less of a burden." She spoke softly just as they were about to exit the clearing. Squall glanced briefly at the summoner. Yuna had brought a fist up to her chest as her eyes shone with steadfast determination.
"I thought that, at the very least, I could do this." She turned fully to him, a small smile tugging at her lips. "And then that accident happened and I realized that was a stupid fantasy. I only have one role, back in my world, so I guess it's fitting that I couldn't do much else?" Squall disliked the darkness that seeped through her green and blue eyes. "But you've proven me otherwise. So…" she bowed down quickly and flashed him a bright smile. "Thanks."
Squall nodded, his eyes softer than any she had seen before (which wasn't really that unbelievable). In the end, Yuna let it go and walked ahead of the tall brunet.
"Yuna." She stopped and turned to face him. "… I'll be waiting." He finally spoke after a brief moment of tense silence. "Don't rush yourself."
Yuna stared at him blankly for a moment and Squall cursed his ineptitude for getting his point across. Understanding suddenly dawned in her eyes and she smiled beautifully at him.
The next time Squall met Yuna, it took all his willpower not to drop his jaw. It had been weeks since he gave her a crash course in the usage of firearms and, really, he was half-expecting her to drop the weapons despite showing so much promise. He wasn't expecting this.
Yuna had completely changed her attire. Gone was her long, flowing skirt and white cloth top. Gone were the two kimono sleeves adorning her arms. Gone was that silly yellow belt (an Obi, he was told once) that used to wrap around her waist, tied at the back with a silly complicated knot.
No. What Yuna was wearing now was considerably more provocative, especially around her breasts and thighs.
Squall wondered what caused the change in her attire, until he noticed the confidence at which she twirled her twin pistols before tucking them away.
"Squall!" She waved before running up to him, stopping just in front of the brunet as he sat on a white bench, cleaning his gunblade under the moonlight. "I was worried- you're still alive!"
"Yuna." Squall nodded in acknowledgement. He turned back to what he was previously doing. "Evidently."
Yuna crouched down in front of him, eyes intently watching the scarred brunet go about maintaining his weapon. She continued smiling at him and Squall noted that something seemed different with her- and it wasn't just her appearance.
Yuna just sat there, staring up at him with a serene smile on her face as if there was no place she'd rather be.
Eventually, Squall finished with his business and put down his gunblade then returned her stare. Yuna's smile widened as she stood up, stretching out her hand to him.
Squall stared at the outstretched limb before trailing it back up to the brunette's face. Yuna continued smiling, her sapphire and emerald eyes twinkling under the moonlight just like when he first met her, and Squall found that her smile never irritated him anymore and it was then he realized what bothered him all those weeks ago.
Something really did change in the summoner; she was now more honest with her own feelings instead of sacrificing them for the sake of others.
"Would you care to dance?" Her voice was considerably more confident now and yet still held a smidgen of hesitance.
The edges of Squall's lips quirked upwards as he stood up and took her hand, matching her newfound confidence with his own bravado, and led the slightly startled but happy woman to the lake. Squall silently casted his magick to keep both himself and his partner afloat above the glistening water's surface.
The two danced in comfortable silence under the music of their heart's orchestra, the midnight moon casting an ethereal glow on the brunettes.
It wasn't until several minutes later that Squall's float spell finally wore off and the brunet promptly dropped into the lake. As he emerged from under the cold water, he glared at the summoner's melodic laughter, her heterochromatic eyes shimmering in delight.
The fact that she was still standing on water just further added to his ire.
Seriously, reality blows.
Still, as Yuna crouched down and held his hand, helping him keep his head above the watery depths, he felt that he could finally tolerate all the weirdness around him. Especially now that the ever-optimistic summoner that clung onto him was more bearable.
A/N: I'd like to thank ficcan for his constant reviews and everyone else that bothered to leave one. Rest assured, I'm still a staunch Squall/Lightning shipper but I just decided to try my hand at an old dream. Oddly enough, I thought Yuna would be easier to write compared to Lightning :/ wow I was wrong…
On another note, I think I'll be adding Yuna to LTRA at some point, at least for an epic mounted battle. Imagine Lightning with Odin, Squall with a secret, Cloud and his bike, and add Yuna who could ride on all her summons (aerial superiority with Bahamut and Valefor and ground movement with Ixion) to couple her haxx gun skills! Or just make a plotless battle to make use their mounts.