My last night here for you
Same old songs, just once more . . .
Squall could never forget that melody. Even with his Guardian Forces equipped, he had constantly heard it replaying in his mind over and over. It had even been more persistent than Selphie's Chicobo Anthem. But of course, to say that it had also been more annoying was beyond exaggeration. What could have been more irritating than hearing a bunch of "Chico! Chico!" and "Chicoo-booo!" sung repeatedly in an absurdly catchy auto-tune? It had stuck in his head for weeks. This one, on the contrary, had been a different case because it had never really bothered him, not even when it had kept for months. In fact, he had found it to be quite soothing, for it had always reminded him of her.
That had been until that evening. As he heard the same melody resounding all over Balamb Garden through BG Radio, he felt nothing but pure vexation and disgust. Exiting from the training center, he quickly made his way towards the audio room. He knew it was a bad idea to appoint Zell as the new DJ of their garden radio, but Nida was really adding up to the unnecessary piles of complaint letters on his desk for being an 'old-fashioned, pretentious disc jockey' as one of the students wrote.
His best friend couldn't help grinning upon his 'unexpected' intrusion. "And here we have a very special surprise guest for you guys tonight," Zell said over the microphone, cutting off the music, and Squall slapped his forehead over Zell's deliberate odiousness. "I bet you know who he is. Why, it's—"
He turned off the microphone before Zell could even finish, "—our student council president."
Squall managed to get a hold of his temper before he slowly shook his head. The words "Why are you doing this?" were all he could expel from his cold mouth. Ever since that last disagreement with Rinoa, he had been nothing but stone cold icy. The cause of the quarrel was nothing serious; a bit petty, actually, but both of them were so stubborn that it eventually became a big deal. They hadn't seen each other for a week now.
"Simple. I want you to feel bad about whatever happened between you and Rin-rin, not to mention forgive her," Zell replied rather warmly. "Don't tell me you don't remember all of those good times you two had when you hear her mom's song? It's pretty special. I know."
"You know what she did. It's nothing even that can remedy. Until she apologizes, you shouldn't expect anything from me."
"Squall, you fought over a donut! She only ate your share to divert your attention from all the work you were doing. I don't see how that should get on your nerves so badly."
"She of all people should know how busy I am every day. I was exhausted and hungry!"
"Then you shouldn't have run and become the student council president. I never should have voted for you."
"I had never wanted be president. You were the ones who campaigned for me behind my back."
They heard a long grumble from Squall's stomach. "I'm leaving," he said and turned around. "Don't you dare play that song again on air as long as I live." He headed off for the cafeteria as Zell cockily replaced Eyes on Me with Chicobo Anthem on his playlist.
"Sorry about that. I experienced a few tehcnical difficulties. Sadly, Eyes on Me has been banned from BG Station. What's that? Do I hear some complaints? Well, I know how you feel. This radio just keep getting worse, and I'm the DJ sayin' it. Feel free to switch over to Timber station."
Squall was half-listening as he walked around the circle. He didn't care. All he wanted was to look for food. Dr. Kadowaki had warned him before that if he kept up with his notorious diet, he would be in for a pretty bad GERD. According to her, it was nothing even magic could heal.
Little did he know that he would be seeing Rinoa in the cafeteria, and she was a complete mess. All their other friends whom he also hadn't talked to for days were there trying to help her. As he stepped inside, they all eyed on him abhorrently, as of he were some shameful culprit. Selphie stuck out her tongue at him, and the rest they paid him no heed any further.
But Quistis was an exception. In the history of Squall and Rinoa's quarrels, she never took sides—she and Seifer, actually. Seifer had always taught her never to pry in anyone's business especially Squall's and Rinoa's for the fact they each had a romantic record of each of them.
She approached him very casually and tossed him a sandwich. She was, after all, his assistant, and she knew very well load he had to work on which entitled him to eat just about two meals a day—breakfast and late dinner. "You owe me five hundred thousand Gil for that. That was the last one. I had to bribe the people in line to let me go first."
He mumbled thanks and bit it scrumptiously. "How lucky. Egg Sandwich has never tasted this sumptuous. The egg must have come from the Shumis. But I don't have five hundred thousand Gil. You'll have to cut down the price a little. Maybe to a hundred Gil?"
Quistis rolled her eyes. "You would be so lucky, you Ice Flan, but then again, maybe you are. You can have it for free if you do me a favour." When Squall nodded, she continued, "Get your sweetheart out of here before she humiliates herself in front of the school press." She pointed a finger at Rinoa who was now puking.
"What was she doing?"
"What do you think?"
He merely shrugged, still munching his sandwich. "It seems very unlikely that she would drink."
"That's where you're wrong."
"No, Squall, she didn't." She sighed. "But shouldn't be surprised if she did. She's not a kid, and she's certainly not, well, how you think she is—predictable."
He shot another glance at Rinoa, but it was too long for a glance. She had just finished puking. She was giggling endlessly like a lunatic. "So what did she do?" he asked again.
Quistis laughed upon seeing his alarm. "I know what you're thinking. Don't worry. She isn't high either. This is something worse than all those shenanigans you must be imagining." She lowered her voice. "Burgers," she said.
"What are you talking about? So she ate burgers. How could that be any worse?"
"She swore she'd kill me if she got fat."
"Too bad for you, then," he answered dryly this time.
"Are you telling me that you're fine to have a chubby wife? I know her more than you do. When she eats, she doesn't stop. You're going to have her that way for the rest of your life."
"Why do you all talk like we're already a married couple? Hyne, we're only Garden students."
"'I'll be your knight, Rinoa!' Don't be silly, Squall. We all know when you said that she had already meant everything to you," she said.
"Even if she does get fat, I'd still be her knight. We both know that," he grumbled.
"How very sweet, but really, Squall? Think about it very carefully. Imagine how things will be for the two of you together in battlefield, in car, on riding a chicobo, in bed?" she teased.
He shook his head once he finished his sandwich. Wiping his mouth, he strode his way to his moaning sorceress, and, ignorning the protests of his friends as well as Selphie's heavy stomp on his foot, he gently lifted her up in his arms.
"Being her knight is no longer a matter of choice for me since I've already pledged myself to her. Whatever happens to her and whatever I think of her, I will always be her knight," he told Quistis. "I guess I don't you five hundred thousand Gil now."
Rinoa was humming that melody on their way out. With her fingers, she playfully prodded the buttons on his shirt. "They're like dominoes," she mumbled. Then, wrapping her light arms around his neck, she huddled herself close to him. "You stink,"she murmured after a few sniffs.
When he didn't say anything in return, she went on with her complaints. "You're a jerk. You don't understand how a girl thinks. All you think about is yourself," she screamed. She paused for a moment to sniff again and groaned. "And now my breath smells terrible."
Everyone else around her dormitory was looking at them, and he still kept his silence. She scrutinized his face this time. He had a sullen countenance, but they did not so much affect his handsome features. He looked more tired than morosed with those heavy eyes. As she fixed her eyes upon them, her eyes met his, but he quickly looked away.
She bit her lip out of frustration. "Why are you like this?" she finally whispered to him. "There's something you're not telling me, isn't there? It can't be just because of some donuts."
He looked at her fretfully and was about to open his mouth to answer, but she had already fallen asleep. Entering her room, he sighed and laid her on her bed. For a minute, his eyes penetrated on her. "What are you talking about? Of course it's about the donut, you pig."
But it wasn't. And there he heard again that melody over his mind.
My last night here with you?
Maybe yes, maybe no . . .
He tried to brush it off, but it was no use. It only got louder.
I kind of liked it your way
How you shyly placed your eyes on me . . .
He squinted. The light was getting dimmer, and dimmer, and dimmer.
Oh, did you ever know?
That I had mine on you . . .
Finally, the music faded.
Everything else seemed to be shaking vehemently, but the tumult was too powerful to be true. He realized it was his Guardian Forces who were playing with his mind. He began feeling nauseaus. He was sweating really bad. Moreover, he could no longer see a thing. Panting, he unequipped them all, and as he did so, he collapsed right beside Rinoa.
"Darling, so there you are
With that look on your face
As if you're never hurt
As if you're never down . . . "
"Siren? What are you doing?"
"Why do you still call yourselves Garden students as if you're all still eighteen? You're twenty-eight, Hyne! Marriage is no big deal."
"Why do you keep singing that song in my mind?"
"You know why. Why are you being so foolish?"
"You know the answer to that too. Why did you bring me here?"
"Why, why, why?"
"Okay, if you just want me here to have some fun, then at least give me some food."
"You're being foolish, Squall, and we're getting impatient. We Guardians don't toy with your minds for no reason. That is, unless we just really don't fancy you, which reminds me. Do tell Zell that it seems Shiva has developed a distaste for his warmth. Putting her together with Ifrit is never a good thing. He's going to be in for some serious illness if he doesn't do something about it."
"All this time you were the one singing."
"Well you were never going to do any thing if I hadn't been there with that melody."
"It's a bother."
"You're bluffing. You know you long to hear it every day."
"Squall, you've misunderstood her. She doesn't known what you were planning. Hence, she must've eaten the entire thing. She laughed to make you laugh. It wasn't a mockery of any sort."
"If you don't do anything about it I will . . . I will . . . I will . . . I will."
Shall I be the one for you
Who pinches you softly but sure . . .
"Squall. Squall. Squall!"
He opened his eyes. There was light already. He groaned over the headache he anticipated. It always came after visit to Siren's arc. He had covered his face with his arms when he felt someone tugging his shirt, and he remembered he was in Rinoa's room.
"Hey," she called.
He looked to her direction. "Hey," he murmured in return.
"Oh, so you're talking to me now. My faithful knight is not mad at me anymore?"
"I don't know. You called me a jerk."
"I'm sorry, Squall," Rinoa croaked. She immediately clutched her stomach. "I know now that I was the one who was wrong. Ever since that donut, my stomach has been acting weird. I think it's karma, but maybe it isn't either. Because I've already apologized to you, and it still hurts."
Squall rolled himself sideways, so they could be vis-a-vis. His cold heart melted along with her last statement. He was now feeling guilty. "I don't know how to put this delicately for you, but I have a good and a bad news for you," he lied. There were only bad news for her.
"What's the good news?" she asked.
"Uh, maybe you'd like to hear the ba one first."
"What is it, Squall?"
"You may have eaten more than the donut I bought us for dinner."
"What do you mean?"
"That's where the good news comes in," he said. He combed his hair back with his fingers and stared up at the ceiling. "It was an engagement ring."
She gasped and slapped him on his arm. "Squall Leonhart! How could you? Whose was it for?"
His face was flushing. "It was for you. I was supposed to propose that night, but you ate the donut with the ring in it. It was supposed to be a surprise. I got furious with you because I thought you knew about it and pretended you didn't on purpose. You even laughed at me after," he said. He looked at her sincerely. "Sorry about that."
"I don't know what to say. I can't think straight because I think I'm coming up with LBM. What was supposed to turn out to be so sweet turned out to be quite, well, gasly."
He shrugged. He sat up and pulled her up too. Gently placing one of his hands somewhere around her belly, he said, "The ring must be somewhere here."
She nodded. Her lips were curving into a smile.
He took a deep breath. He was about to make a stupid move from one of the bizzare lessons Laguna taught him in case a fiancé eats the ring by accident. "Rinoa Heartilly," he said with one hand still on her belly and the other holding her hand. He bent down on one knee on her bed. "This ring inside your belly is my—" he paused for a moment to recall what Laguna had said. "—is the mark of my love to you which—erm, ugh! Whatever. Rinoa, you marry me?"
She crossed her arms and narrowed her eyes. "Squall Leonhart, you were a jerk, an insensitive fool, you even almost got me fat last night with all those burgers, and now you have the weirdest proposal ever. But I also have news for you . . . I'm carrying your child."
"Of course not, you idiot! Now bring me to Dr. Kadowaki, so we can get this ring out! I want my ring in my finger and not in my stomach!"
They smiled blissfully, and he kissed her on the lips.
As he carried her out, he heard that melody again over BG Radio, and Siren was singing along.
"I don't know what's happening. I've been perfectly healthy and following the right diet, but I think I'm coming up with a cold. Achoo! At times like this, I want to play a song that will soothe me. I don't care if it's banned. He's probably still asleep at this time of the day anyway. It'll be our secret."
If frown is shown then
I will know that you are no dreamer . . .
It was no longer just an ordinary melody anymore. It was no longer just his vexing or soothing reminder of her anymore. It was that melody that brought them together from the very beginning, and it was that melody that united them in the end. It was something more special.
It was that melody.
It was their melody.
A/N: This is written for the "Where I Belong" challenge. I hope I got this in time. It's still August in some parts of the world. I crammed this on the very last minute, so I apologize for any typos, grammatical errors and all that stuff. I would appreciate it should someone be so kind enough to point them out for me, especially my errors on the tenses of the verbs. I wrote this on instinct, and as cheesy and corny as it is, I hope you enjoyed it. I felt like I was a kid again while I was writing this. I would like to thank Eternal Tiet for the reminders for the challenge. I will try to read the other entries when I get the time. Thanks you for taking time to read this! Reviews are loved. :)