A/N: Edit: This story is dedicated to my best friend because in a way, she wrote this story too. I hope you enjoy reading this!
Another tired breath from Squall as he walked down the halls of his apartment complex. Hyne, I'm tired lately. All that paperwork just piling up at work. He mentally groaned as he thought of his paper demise.
As he neared the door of his apartment, his demeanor brightened up just a little as he thought about who was in there waiting for him. A nice dinner, time spent with Rinoa, and a good sleep would make him the happiest man on earth. Well, as happy as Squall Leonhart could be.
A sharp yapping noise startled him out of his reverie. Angelo never barked like this before… he thought. A slow feeling akin to dread started to seep into his body and he opened the door slowly.
What waited for him behind the wood was something he never wanted to see in a million years. A little puppy running around, chasing its own tail, was happily situated on the floor. It let out a sharp bark occasionally as it grew more frustrated in being unsuccesful in his current mission.
Upon the newest arrival to the apartment, the puppy stopped running and bounded towards him, happy to have someone else to play with. In a fit of surprise, Squall managed to catch him in his arms, where it continued to try and lick his face; much to his disgust. Following closely behind him came two more puppies from the hallway. Angelo sat in the corner, yet with another puppy next to it, looking at all of them run towards him.
Squall had finally come to a conclusion. An unreasonable one, but one that his mind could only think of at the moment.
Angelo had puppies.
This new revelation he had made him feel a bit better about the whole situation.
Wait. Angelo had puppies?!
This was not the person he wanted to see when he opened the door. Not even close.
Thanks to his tired mind, Squall never made the connection that the puppies weren't even the same breed as Angelo. So where did all these puppies come from?
"Squall! You're back!"
A delighted Rinoa came from the hallway and walked over to him, ignoring the glare that formed on his face.
The way he said her name was supposed to be a warning that clearly meant, "Explain. Now."
Leave it to Rinoa to happily skip over that little fact.
"Aren't they the cutest things you've ever seen?"
She continued to stop in front of him and petted the puppies that were currently trying to jump into his arms. In her mind, his glare wasn't as effective, especially since there was a puppy in his arms. The picture was really too cute. It was unfortunate timing, but she wished she had a camera to take a picture of Squall holding a puppy, with two more at his feet.
"What is this?" Squall menacingly said.
Rinoa giggled. She decided that Squall had suffered enough and took the puppy into her own arms.
"Well...as I was walking home from the groceries, there was a cardboard box on the sidewalk with these puppies outside. And I felt really bad for them since they looked so unwanted…"
Her face turned into a cute pout as she thought of the puppies in the harsh cold, trying to cuddle with each other for warmth.
"So, I just took them with me to stay here."
Her short story ended with her breaking into a smile again as she looked at him proudly for helping the unwanted furry animals. As for the other person in the room, Squall was not happy about his new roommates. Not at all.
Rinoa was used to the silence that came along with Squall, but not when he seemed to have a deadly aura emanating from him. After a few more moments of silence, he sighed heavily. A life living with Rinoa sure brings some big surprises once in a while.
Speaking of Rinoa, currently she was looking at him hopefully, looking at him with her deadly, amazingly cute puppy eyes. He wanted to be resolute with his decision to give them to someone else as soon as possible, even starting to list possible people that would be up for the job, but he didn't want to make Rinoa disappointed. He mentally groaned, he hated making these kinds of decisions. What he hated even more was making Rinoa sad. Squall couldn't look at her when he said his next words, his eyes closed as if he was embarrassed. Which couldn't be more true.
"Fine. They can stay."
"Really? Yay!" Rinoa hugged all of the puppies in joy with his words.
"...But only for tonight!"
And Rinoa's face dropped again with the new turn of events. It was obvious to Squall that she had taken a liking towards the fluffy animals.
"Rin...we don't have the finances to take care of these in the long term. And we can't be there for them all the time either since we're always at work."
The disappointed girl didn't want to admit it, but Squall was right. Even though she wanted to keep them, she knew that she wouldn't have the time to constantly keep watching them. And even if she managed to find a dog sitter, she wouldn't be able to pay them consistantly with the other supplies they would need to buy for them.
"But...where will we take them? We can't just throw them out onto the street like how I found them. It's too cruel!"
"The best place to take them is to an animal shelter. That way, they can be properly cared for. And they can find new homes to be in."
Plus, Squall just didn't want to take care of them. He was never one for cute animals like these, and he wasn't about to change that soon. Not that he was about to say that to Rinoa. Who knows what she would do to change his opinion about them.
Rinoa wanted to convince him to keep them forever, but she knew arguing with him was pointless. "Okay then. We'll go to the animal shelter tomorrow." She said sadly.
Squall sighed as he saw her saddened expression. He knew that it was a bad time to be thinking on a tangent, but he thought that Rinoa was just like the puppies in her arms in terms of cuteness and the way she acted.
"In the meantime. Let's get them something to eat. They must be hungry."
"Alright. I'll get them some of Angelo's food."
The girl continued to cuddle and coo at the puppy squirming in her arms, her mood brightening the longer she gave them attention.
Squall on the other hand, was not as graceful as Rinoa was with the puppies. He carefully set them down onto the floor as he tried to make his way to his bedroom, and eventually to the bathroom for a very needed shower.
He was about to shut the door of his and Rinoa's bedroom, but to his dismay, one of the puppies followed him and set itself right in front of his feet. It held a bone in its mouth as it looked up to him wanting him to play a nice game of fetch. As if to really guilt him into playing with him, he tilted his head cutely.
Again, he was reminded of Rinoa as he looked at him. Rinoa and the puppies really were similar to each other at times, even Squall could draw that conclusion from looking at them for a few minutes.
Squall let out another sigh as he thought begrudgingly, this is going to be a long night.
Squall sighed for the millionth time.
"Yes?" she replied sleepily.
"Stop trying to tickle my foot."
She turned around as he looked at her accusingly.
"I'm not doing anything."
Squall sighed again.
"Rin, I'm serious."
"I'm serious too."
What a day this was turning out to be. All he wanted to do was sleep, and he was so close to reaching his goal. If only it wasn't for the mystery thing cuddling uncomfortably against his foot. Aggravated, he sat up and pulled the blanket him and Rinoa were sharing and revealed the annoyance that was known as the puppies.
Squall could only stare at the squirming animals while Rinoa had a more verbal response. "Aw, they want to sleep with us!"
Squall couldn't believe this. His patience was really starting to wear thin.
"No." His annoyance was put into this one word that was said so forcefully.
Those puppy eyes again! It didn't help matters that she decided to hold one of the puppies to her face, doubling the intensity of what he thought was a cheap move.
"...Fine. Just keep them away from me."
"Yes!" Rinoa's victory was so apparent that even the puppies started to bark happily. Again, much to Squall's annoyance.
"Keep them quiet too."
"No problem! Guys, be quiet so Squall can sleep, please."
To Squall's surprise, they actually obeyed her command and lied down on top of their pillows, yawning sleepily. Satisfied, Rinoa lied down next to them, ending the whole experience with a tired, "Good night, Squall."
Squall finally lied down when he was sure there would be no more interruptions from the puppies and Rinoa.
What a day. He couldn't have thought that enough.
"I'm going to miss you guys so much!"
Squall looked down in embarrassment as Rinoa started to cuddle with the puppies for the thousandth time. He couldn't believe the sheer drama of the whole situation. But then again, it was Rinoa. What was more embarrassing was the fact that Rinoa was close to tears.
"Rin…" he said warningly. The secretary of the animal shelter was looking on in patient amusement at the duo, adding to his embarrassment even more.
"I know, I know." Rinoa sniffed. "At least you guys will be properly cared for here."
The puppies barked in reassurance. At this point, Squall started to wonder if the puppies and Rinoa shared a telepathic connection of some sort.
With a final dramatic goodbye, Rinoa handed the box containing the puppies to the amused secretary. Squall was relieved to finally have the puppies out of their care. Angelo wasn't really a handful to take care of with Rinoa's help, but with four puppies, he would have a whole new thing to worry about in addition to his paper demise.
As Rinoa and Squall walked out of the animal shelter, with the former still in tears, they started walking into a park. Squall led her to sit on a bench, since he was getting worried about her. He never knew how attached she was to the four furry animals, even though they were only in her care for a day.
Rinoa was still sniffing as she sat down, Squall sitting next to her. After a few moments of hearing her sniffle and wipe her eyes, he gathered her into his arms and kissed the top of her head.
"You know Rinoa, if you want, you could visit them again."
His words were met with silence. After a small eternity, with Squall's worry growing even more, she managed to finally form an explanation for her sadness.
"I don't think it was the puppies that I grew attached to."
Squall was somewhat perplexed. If it wasn't the puppies she was sad about, then what was it?
"Well, of course I'm sad about the puppies, but it was mostly the fact that they had to leave. I think I was more attached to the fact that new things were entering my life, and I held onto them too quickly."
It was with this that something clicked in his mind and Squall finally understood. It was sometimes hard to remember that Rinoa had an innate fear of people and loved ones leaving her life. Her always happy demeanor deludes people into thinking she is always a carefree girl. How wrong they all are.
In this case, Rinoa wasn't sad about the puppies leaving, but more about the fact that she was reminded of all the people that left her life at such an early age. After all, her mother, Julia Heartilly died in a car crash when Rinoa was only five. His bemused stare turned into a reassuring smile as she finally turned to look into his stormy eyes.
Squall wanted to get one thing into her pretty little head.
"Rin, people are going to enter and leave our lives. It's just something that happens. Sometimes, you can change it; sometimes, you can't."
Rinoa's sniffles started to diminish, but she still continued to sulk as his grip on her tightened.
Squall wanted her to hear his next words.
"But you have to remember, that no matter who leaves you, I'll always be here, with you, no matter what."
The girl in his arms turned to stare into his eyes, her face starting to break into a smile.
"Squall…" she started to say.
Squall started to smile in encouragement, which promptly turned into a frown as he saw her reaction. To his rapidly growing discomfort, she started to giggle uncontrollably.
"That was the most cliché statement I've ever heard you say." she said in between giggles.
Squall blushed and let his grip on her loosen while she continued to giggle. He was always getting embarrassed around her, but at least she was laughing now. And although she was teasing him about his words, what really mattered was that Squall meant every word he said. He would stay with her no matter who enters or leaves their lives.
This time, it was Rinoa who wound her arms around him with a smile, her expression slightly more serious as she started to say her next words.
"Squall, I'll be there for you too. No matter what."
It was hard not to start smiling at her words. No matter how hard Squall tried, he couldn't help but smile at the girl in his arms sometimes. When the heat in his cheeks finally cooled down, he turned to look at her. They both closed their eyes, their foreheads leaning until they touched.
They stayed like that for what seemed like a few minutes to them, but it was longer in reality. They never wanted this moment to end; it was one of the most perfect moments of their life.
The four puppies barked happily at them through the windows of the animal shelter, celebrating the fact that through this experience, they made them grow even closer.
It was that day, in the cold, cold November morning, Squall and Rinoa walked hand in hand towards the rising sun, assured that no matter who enters or leaves their lives, they would always be together.
E N D
A/N: So, this is my submission for the Where I Belong challenge, I feel like I took the title of the challenge too literally, but I couldn't help writing about a Squall with puppies! It was just way too cute not to write. xD
I hope you guys enjoyed reading this fanfic! And every view counts. :)