Author's Note: I was absolutely determined to finish something by the deadline for the "Where I Belong" challenge. And after about two months of coming up with ideas and then having writer's block and then college started again and then I wrote a full story, but my plotline went haywire and it accidentally killed someone off it wasn't supposed to kill, and so I had to start again. So anyway, I started this yesterday and I finished it at 11:50PM EST. Talk about late entries, but it is done.
Honestly, I don't entirely know what this story became. It was a mix of almost all the ideas I had over the past month, shoved into one one-shot. It doesn't help that this is my first time writing for Final Fantasy VIII. It was an adventure. I broke my fibula in March of this year, so that's where at least part of the plot came from...the rest I don't really know, but it's done. I will probably edit it later, but for now, I'm content-ish with this story.
Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy VIII.
"I cannot believe you seriously broke your leg," Rinoa said with a soft giggle as she moved swiftly around her significant other to balance him. She grabbed a hold of his arm and waited for a moment for him to steady before she continued to tease him. He shifted uncomfortably away from her, attempting to manage himself without her help, but ultimately only managed to wobble himself further into needing her assistance.
Catching him hastily before he fell towards the ground, she laughed again as she spoke. "Seriously, when Selphie called me to give her "Super-Special-Awesome-Squall Update," I was not expecting it to include a description of how you are required to have a cast and be on crutches for three weeks. How you managed to break your fibula running away from Selphie's super-duper-funtastic Garden Festival activities is beyond me."
"First of all," he motioned with not only his hand, but the crutch clenched in his fist as well, "I wasn't running. I was moving quickly and with purpose away from an unfavorable situation."
"Riiiight," Rinoa nodded with a bit of sarcasm lacing her reply.
He ignored her comment and continued, "And secondly, I wouldn't have been sucked into those ridiculous games if someone – otherwise known as you – didn't abandon me." He shifted again on his crutches, this time putting more weight on his uninjured, popping his hip out in the process.
"Okay, first things first, I'm absolutely, positively sure you were probably running…then again, it was Selphie, Irvine, Zell and Laguna, there is a chance you weren't running, but only because you were probably in an all-out sprint," she laughed at the imagine that appeared in her mind, doubling over for a second or two before returning to her original upright position with a smile never leaving her face. "And second, I didn't want to smother you. You needed space to be with your friends – and Dad—"
"Shut it," he cut her off with a growl. "We are not discussing that again…Frankly, let's never discuss that topic. Ever."
"Oh, come on," she reached towards him and gave him a light tap on the shoulder. "He means well, and he wants to at least give things a tr—"
Squall once more abruptly ended her chatter, but this time with a pivot of his entire body on his good leg. He was now standing with his back towards her with no indication that he intended on turning around anytime soon. "We are not discussing this and that is final."
With that said, he fell into a similar stance that he had prior to their brief discussion about his so-called "Father." With one hip popped out to the side and resting most of his weight on his good leg and the crutch that corresponded with that side.
"You know," Rinoa started slowly, knowing very well she was skating on thin ice with this next topic. "When you pop your hip out like that, you look kinda like Quistis when she's dealing with a difficult student."
She walked closer to him to mimic his position, grinning at the confused expression on his face. She popped out her hip and leaned into the hip jutting out until she was fully in his exact stance. He raised an eyebrow at her, watching her carefully. She placed her hand on her hip and held up her other arm as if preparing to scold a student for being late to class.
"If I told you once," she threw her voice to imitate Quistis' slightly lower pitched voice. "I've told you a million and a half times, no – and I seriously mean – no hoverboarding around campus, Zell. It's a danger to not only others, but yourself as well!"
Squall snorted, "For a second there I thought you were going to scold me for being "late to class" or "not wearing a school issued uniform" or some other such nonsense."
She smiled, breaking her position to lean forward towards him, squinting her eyes at him happily. "I thought you'd catch on, so I decided to add an element of surprise by changing it up a bit. Did it work?"
Balancing himself by holding one of his crutches under his armpit, he held one hand to his heart to mock her. "Oh, you surprised me alright."
She chuckled, "Good. Because if I weren't able to surprise you anymore with my excellent – and I do mean excellent – impressions of Quistis my entire life's work would be for not, and I would be forced to live in exile for the rest of my days." She placed the back of her hand against her head dramatically and pretended to faint.
"You'll probably end up in exile for other reasons," Squall stated bluntly, as he firmly placed the crutch he was once holding under his armpit back on the ground. She had stopped speaking and the silence was making him uncomfortable, but he dare not speak to make the whole situation even more awkward than it already was.
She took a deep breath and let it out before returning the conversation to its original origin. "So, about this broken leg, you're not planning on telling me exactly what happened, are you?"
"I hadn't planned on it, so no, probably not." He shrugged and proceeded to hobble away from her. She waved her arms furiously behind him, "chasing" – mostly walking – behind him, making sure that he didn't fall and injury himself further.
"Really!?" She called out from behind him. "You're really not going to give me all the nitty-gritty details about why you have a hot pink cast?"
Squall halted his hobble and turned around to meet her eyes. "It's white."
"I know," she motioned with her head to the cast on his left leg. "But it got your attention though."
He growled a sigh under his breath, not particularly fond of her manipulative ways. She was just about the only person, in more than likely, the entire universe who could make him say or do things he would otherwise never do or say. In some regards, he commended her ability to use her so-called "cuteness" to weasel her way into or out of – it worked either way – whatever she felt like weaseling her way into. The little weasel she was had weaseled and stealthy moved her way into his personal inner circle without him even knowing it, and it was for that very reason that he feared what she could do. Not just in terms of being a sorceress and all that nonsense, but because she was able to work her way into his life without him even realizing it – that was what scared him the most about her.
When he didn't immediately reply with some quick-witted retorted, Rinoa resigned herself into believing he was trapped in his own mind again – thinking about everything and nothing at all at the same time. That was just Squall. He was a thinker no matter which way you tried to slice it. The best thing to do in these situations, where he was lost in his own thought, was to either bring out a permanent marker and attempt to draw a mustache on him (Zell and Irvine had tried this tactic only once before both were almost split in two by a very angry gunblade wielder with only a half a mustache. Rinoa was never entirely sure if it was the fact they tried to draw a mustache on him that set him over the edge, or the fact that he didn't look good with a mustache and didn't want anyone to know it – either way, the two of them were all but toast.). Or snap him out of it with something obnoxious.
Since Rinoa was at a loss for permanent writing utensils, she chose to take the second route and held her hands extremely close to his right ear without him noticing. With one hard smack of her palms together, Squall's eyes widened in shock and instantly bolted to the source of the sound.
Rinoa smiled sheepishly, keeping her hands level with his ear. "Yo, Planet to Squall. Anybody listening? Hello?"
"You do that again, and I'm not telling you anything," he threatened.
Her grinned increased as she understood the meaning of his statement. "Oh! Yes! You're going to tell me that story of what happened! I promise I won't do that again." She held up three fingers pressed tightly together. "Timber Owl Honor."
"I highly doubt Timber Owl Honor exists," he said as he studied the salute she was performing.
"Oh, it exists alright." She let her saluting hand fall. "Why in the world would I lie about something as important as Timber Owl Honor?"
"Why do you take two hour baths?" he responded with a rhetorical question. "I don't know why you do the things you do. You just do them and I accept them as the norm for you. Like how Angelo seems to think that she owns your bed and you own the floor; another norm for you."
"Okay, okay," she held up her hands, waving off his comments. "I have some quirks and some "different" norms than most people, but back to you. Are you going to tell me or am I going to have to pry the story from Selphie when we get back to Garden."
He shook his head ahead of where they were standing, revealing a bench in their presence. "I will tell you as soon as we make it over to the bench. As much as I love standing for prolonged hours on these Hyne-forsaken things, I would much rather tell this story from a seated position."
"Fine," she held out a hand. "I agree to your terms."
He glanced at her hand prior to ignore it and hobbling his way over to the bench. With much caution, he lowered himself onto the bench, stretching his injured leg out in front of him and setting his crutches down on the ground next to the bench. He motioned with his hand for her to follow, waving her into sitting in the seat next to him.
Unlike his careful sit down technique, Rinoa unceremoniously plopped herself down next to him, placing her hands on her tights and gazing over in his direction.
On a normal occasion, she would have plopped herself right down in his lap and snuggled herself into his chest for "story time," but – under the circumstances – she decided to let him off easy today and merely sit next to him. However that did not mean that she was above wiggling herself into him until she was all but on top of him. This would have to be their compromise for the day in terms of sitting positions.
"I know you said standing on those crutches was making you tired, but it really was all that girly hip popping, wasn't it?" She laughed aloud, leaning herself closer to him. He shifted slightly before relaxing.
"Do you want to hear this story or not?"
"Okay, then, you're going to have to be quiet –"he stopped to make eye contact with her. " -the whole time because I don't particularly want to repeat myself. This wasn't exactly my crowning moment, and I'd rather not have to relive the memory multiple, multiple times."
She held her fingers up once more in the Timber Owl Honor salute, "Can do, Mr. Commander, sir."
"So it started when Selphie decided that we should all make dream catchers…"
Squall stood at the end of the wooden picnic table staring down at the supplies laid out for the participants. A glue gun, some feathers, dried grape vines, various beads, an array of different threads, scissors, among other varying items were scattered upon the table waiting for the first wave of dream catcher makers.
Whatever had possessed Selphie into thinking that Squall would need a custom made dream catcher was ridiculous and frankly, he wasn't going to just sit around and make dream catchers; he had paperwork that needed to be done.
Surveying the area swiftly for any witnesses, Squall took this lull in the action as a perfect opportunity to make his grand escape. Without making too much of a fuss, Squall began his all out, incognito power walk away from the picnic table, but before he could reach salvation (also known as his office), he heard a series of speeding footsteps coming for him.
"Squallllllll!" Selphie shouted as she rushed after him. "You can't leave yeeeettt! You're supposed to make dream catchers and help us make floral arrangements! I planned this part of the day special for you! Well, and Rinny too, but she had "other" things to do. "
Squall paused his escape mission to weigh his options. On one hand, it wouldn't be too horrible to sit down and weave together a stupid dream catcher if it got Selphie off his back about spending time with the group for awhile. As for the floral arrangements, he wasn't exactly sure why she had picked that activity especially for him, but it was Selphie, so who knows?
"Floral arrangements?" He questioned as he turned around. "Why floral arrangements?"
She grinned, jumping in delight that he was buying into the activities she had planned out for the day. "Oh! Oh! That was Sir Laguna's idea! He said that Raine really, really loved flowers and making flower arrangements, so I thought that you might be good at making them to—"
It was at the mention of Laguna's name – actually the mention of his mother's name – that Squall made a beeline away from Selphie and towards the doors back into Garden. There was no way in hell he was going to spend the day making some stupid flower arrangements because Laguna, of all the Hyne-damned people in the world, thought it might make them or him and his mother or someone – he wasn't sure – closer.
His pace increased as he heard the quickening footsteps of a petite, young girl behind him, yelling and shouting about him coming back this instant.
It was in that moment that if he had been paying more attention to where he was stepping rather than the obscenities Selphie was spewing, he probably wouldn't have ended up how he is today. With one misstep into a drainage ditch, Squall found himself with a low weight bearing bone snapped in half.
"So you were running from them," she nudged him with her elbow. "You probably should have just gone through with the floral arrangements; it would have been a nice touch to your hip popping. I wish I hadn't missed the floral arrangements though. You know how I love arranging carnations." She laughed.
"Don't worry," he replied smugly, pointing out in the direction of Garden. "Selphie has already told me she's planning on throwing me a "Get Well Soon" – quote, unquote – "bash." I've requested you make floral arrangements for me since you almost missed it at the Garden Festival."
"You know," she glared at him playfully. "It's times like this that I hate you."
"Yeah, but you'll like me again after I tell you the second part."
"Really?" She raised an eyebrow, "Do tell?"
"I was planning on letting a very limited number of people sign my cast," he paused. "And I wanted to know if you'd like to be first." He uncovered a permanent marker – the same one used in the mustache incident – from his pocket.
"I stole this off of Zell and Irvine. I hope they don't mind."
Rinoa's lip upturned as she accepted the marker and wrote her short message upon his fiberglass cast.
From hip popping to floral arrangements, you never cease to amaze me. Hugs and hearts, Rin.
P.S. You look horrible with a mustache, just saying.
Author's Note: Yup, can you see where I went a little crazy. Don't ask me where this takes place because I have no clue. Outside of Balamb, I guess.
So, this has been fun and a challenge at the same time! Thank you to everyone who planned and pulled through the challenge! I wish I had more to give.
Thank you for reading. :)