"So I heard Squall was with you last night."
Turning, the Warrior of Light found himself in front of Cloud and Lightning, a tad more than curious as to why they approached him. Something was not quite right at the moment, not with the way the two candidly looked dead straight into his eyes without batting a single eyelid, and the step forward he took felt heavy in the strangest sorts. He surveyed the close proximity of the both of them, noted the tension in their frames that only spoke of confrontation: That inkling of unease nipped at the recesses of his mind as he nodded and gave the reply.
"Yes, he was."
"He wished to sleep—"
"So he was in your bed," Lightning cut in, crossing her arms against her chest, "wasn't he?"
" … I do not—"
The air had an acrid taste.
"Yes, he was."
"And you were in your bed, also." Cloud's words were a statement, not a question. "Last night."
" … Yes, I was."
"We're going to have a problem, Mr. Leader," the other stated, pressing her fingers into Lionheart's hilt. "Grab your weapon, and let's go."
This was definitely no game.
"Words will not be necessary."
Story time with Cloud, Lightning, and Squall is as follows:
Once upon a time, there was an evil monkey named Squall. He terrorized villages, stealing bananas from everyone's homes, and the royal guards from each country could not catch this little fiend. All was thought to be doomed.
However, one day, two brave warriors dared to take on the quest for the wicked creature's head—
" … why am I always the bad guy?"
Evil Squall is evil.
"So, Squall," Laguna refreshingly stated, grinning at the three of them with all the vigor in the world, "want to formally introduce me to your two friends?"
Cloud doesn't really remember what seventeen meant to him.
Seventeen was at that dumb age when he was marinating in a lab tank, thinking that he would grow gills in the goo, through all the irony and graveness of that situation. Seventeen was …
Well, just marinating.
Lightning had a vague idea of seventeen.
Seventeen meant that one had to work their hardest, to get through all trials and tribulations; it meant that one year before official adulthood, that one year that will push her into becoming a soldier. Seventeen equaled work, and trying to eliminate a potential idiot who pined for Serah.
Not that that was surprising in the least.
Now, Squall, on the other hand, truly experienced seventeen.
Because he watched Lightning and Cloud arch their brows as they pushed forward, twenty-one and persistent, twenty-one and adamant when it came to seventeen not admitting defeat. He let seventeen be the engine for that parry, for that block, that roll that saved him from a crushing blow. Seventeen over twenty-one was what lead the fight that held more than a reverie or two: There were differences in the way they fought, he realized, pressing ruthlessly as he made them slide back this time for a standstill, silently acknowledged victory warming his fingertips. Seventeen and twenty-one held a large difference.
But there was one thing they had in common:
"I don't think I have to answer that."
"Neither do I."
He didn't have to answer that, either.
"Pass me a napkin."
That's how it starts.
It's always Lightning who reaches for the napkin dispenser first. She sees everything, does everything, first: Squall's half-eaten plate that meant he was done, the way Squall sighs at getting potato salad on his fingers, the brief flicker of Squall's eyes at the napkins over there in the corner, the entire scene. It's Lightning who takes the initiative, even making the meal tonight.
But, somehow, it's Cloud who finishes the race above all. Like she couldn't see that faint flash of challenge in his eyes as he lets his hand turn into a blur; like she would miss that cynical quirk of his lips when the napkin is suddenly in front of Squall within a millisecond. It's Cloud who snags the kill.
"Dinner was good; it's been a while."
But it's invariably Lightning who captures the predator.
"Squall, I just wanted to remind you that Lightning and Cloud are expecting you right now, so if you would just … wake up and—"
" … All right, goodnight, then."
Warrior of Light and Squall had the best sleep of their lives.
"You're not bad for a minor," Lightning sardonically stated, scoffing as she tossed the PS3 controller to Squall once more.
"And you're not bad for an old-timer" was his reply, quickly playing through and completing level after level, making the next forty-five minutes become an intense silence that further thickened when he surpassed Cloud's record high score. An eerie sort of calm before the storm was locked into every ticking second, every breath, every flick of his fingers, before Lightning got up and left.
To kill the power supply and stalk in with Lionheart in tow.
"Let me show you just how bad this 'old-timer' really is."
Three heads pressed together as three pairs of eyes narrowed at the computer screen.
And, of course:
"It's … a kink meme."
Blankity blank blank.
"What are they … what are we—"
Five minutes later, after Squall abruptly got up and walked out of the room, Cloud turned to Lightning and sighed.
"How did they know?"