Magic of Christmas

BY : Zierra
Category: Final Fantasy VIII > Yaoi - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 430
Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy VIII, nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS



Would you believe it? I'm posting a NEW story! Not something that's been collecting dust on my harddrive. NEW!



Welcome old readers, and new! I appreciate you taking time to read this piece and I hope I'm not about to waste it.



I really do hope you'll like this, because this has been bugging me forever. The "Magic of -" arc is my baby, and I adore it. But as with all children, there's successes and disappointments, and while I love this piece to death, I respect that some of you have different oppinions. But even if you do, I wish you'd tell me, because this storyline is lightyears away from being finished. I still have some unexplored holidays left.



Some warnings; Romantic (duh), schmoopy (duh!) and angsty (dubble-duh!).




 


Squall turned the thing over and around in his hands, eyeing it from every possible angle. It wasn’t dissimilar to a pencil, a thick, red, squared pencil. A thick, red, squared pencil that didn’t work.


It had been lying on his desk when he came in that morning and since then he’d tried it, repeatedly, only to find himself half an hour late for lunch and still nowhere closer to figuring out what it was.


Once the pencil theory had been discarded, and the crayon after that, Squall had started to wander down uncharted territory. Flat out guessing.


He’d thought that maybe it could be some sort of secret message pen that wouldn’t be visible unless lit in certain light or whatever, but he didn’t have the means or the patience to go through the hassle.


He’d tried to chip of a bit, to see if it had just dried, but that only graced him with a carpet full of red flakes.


He still had Laguna’s enthusiastic tip from a teleconference an hour earlier; “Spit on it!” He’d have to be a whole lot more desperate before he started spitting on things. Although, it did tend to work for Zell…


The question had burned a whole in his tongue when Quistis had stopped by earlier, but Squall hated looking dumb and had therefore decided that he’d rather keep chipping away at the thing, until there was nothing left, than having to endure Quistis’ lecture that would undoubtedly be about something Squall had no interest in to begin with. So he might as well just forget about the whole thing.


Ok, so staring at it didn’t work either. Nor did cussing.


He ran out of patience and hurled the object at the door.


At the exact same moment, the door opened and Zell came through, dropping everything he was carrying in chock of being attacked and instinctively reached out to catch it.


“Fuck, Squall! You trying to give me a heart attack?”


He bent down to retrieve his lost items and proceeded to Squall’s desk. “I’m not sure how your sandwich looks now and you might wanna be a little careful when you open the soda.”


He placed the bags of food in front of Squall and leant down to give him a quick kiss on the lips.


The gesture still made Squall cringe of discomfort.


“Hey, babe? Where did you find this anyway? I’ve been looking everywhere.”


“On my desk.” He pointed at the spot where the mind-boggler had been located.


Zell nodded and bit his lip. “Right, Selphie borrowed it, she must have forgotten it.”

Wait, Selphie had been in his office? How? And why?


Zell seemed to read his mind as usual as he answered Squall’s silent questions.


“She couldn’t wrap her gifts in her room because Irvine’s so damn curious. She asked if she could hide them here, ’cause nobody goes looking for gifts in the lion’s den, not even Irvine. So I said ok.”


As Zell rummaged around in the bags, handing Squall his sandwich, muttering something about ketchup and wrapping paper, Squall mustered his courage.


“Zell?”

“Yeah, babe?”

“What is that?”


Zell looked up from where he was holding his lunch. “It’s a hotdog, Squall, you’ve seen them before.”


Squall snorted and shook his head as Zell grinned wickedly.


“I meant that thing”, he explained and pointed at the object in Zell’s other hand.


“It’s sealing wax”, Zell answered in his most ‘you should know, because it’s obvious’ tone of voice and Squall frowned.


“It can’t be.”


“What do you mean, it can’t be? Of course it is!”

Squall felt every bit of ridiculous he’d known he would, but when the explanation didn’t fit his expectations, he had to question it.


“Ok, look”, Zell put his hotdog down and went into a well-rehearsed instructor mode. Rehearsed, because Zell didn’t believe in force-feeding the cadets with information, and preferred the more controversial method of ‘show and tell’ for his classes, only being conventional around parents, prospective students and higher authority. “You know back in the day when people sent letters to each other that they didn’t want other people to read, they sealed them with wax, right?”


“I know that, but that thing is so… hard.”


Zell snickered, still not mature enough to not read puns into everything.


“Yeah, but you gotta melt it first, over a candle and drip it on.”


“Ok.” Squall eyed the wax critically. “So why is it in my office?”


“For Selphie’s gifts.” Zell was beginning to speak in that prolonged way that people do when they suspect that the one they’re talking to is a little bit slow on the uptake.


When the only response he got from Squall was blank look, he stood back and crossed his arms.


In the ten months of dating, Squall had become rather skilled at reading all of Zell’s different expressions and he still didn’t have them all separated. But this particular one meant ‘Seriously, Squall, don’t you know anything?’ and was especially disconcerting.


Apparent Zell came complete with a wide variety of more or less useful information, that Squall wasn’t even aware he needed to know.


“You’ve never melted wax on Christmas gifts.”


It was a statement, accompanied with a shrug that clearly said ‘we have to do something about that’.


“Maybe we could try it on you gifts to Laguna and Elle?”


Zell was the only one who called his sister Elle, strangely. Selphie had for a while, but no matter how hard they’d tried, they’d never really hit it off as friends. Quistis wasn’t keen on using nicknames, but didn’t mind being called a few. Seifer called her sis too, but only around Squall and only because he knew the brunet hated it.


And Zell was also the only one who managed to call his father Laguna, without any hesitation. In return, Zell’s name was the only one Laguna remembered without a brief pause.


As it happened, Laguna was also the only one who didn’t know the details about his and Zell’s relationship.


Squall doubted that his father would think less of him or disown him or anything like that, but he was sure that when Laguna would find out, he’d undoubtedly use Zell’s influence over Squall to get his will across.


Zell might argue that he was more loyal than that, but Laguna wasn’t just any father and no one simply turned him down. Not even Squall could do that. Wasn’t that why he had agreed to spend Christmas in Esthar?


“Spacing out on me?”


“I didn’t see a reason to wrap them to begin with”, he said sullenly, glaring a whole in the worn office carpet.


Zell, who was halfway through his hotdog, frowned and wiped ketchup off his chin.


“Seriously, Squall, don’t be a grinch.”


Honestly, he wasn’t trying to be, but old habits really do die hard. If it hadn’t been for his friends, he would probably have spent every Christmas alone since the age of thirteen, and not have missed anything. But as the situation was now, it was hard not to be taken with Zell’s excitement.


So he looked up and met Zell’s unnaturally blue eyes and smiled faintly, just a tug of his lips.


“Maybe sis would appreciate it.”


Smiling back, Zell bent down to rest his forehead against Squall’s.


“Merry Christmas, baby”, he said, slowly tracing a finger against Squall’s jaw, rubbing their noses together.


Squall swore he had a coherent thought just before Zell leaned in to kiss him, slow and sensual, making his toes curl.


“Gotta go help Selph prep for the party tonight”, the blond whispered against his lips and Squall was utterly disgusted with himself for how eagerly he sought out those soft lips again.


“You’re coming by tonight, right?”


Zell nodded, nipping at Squall’s lower lip. “You’ve changed to those red sheets, like I told you? They’re crucial for Christmas, you know?”


Squall sighed. “Yes.”

“Good.”


Zell moved back and let his fingers play with Squall’s hair. “See you at seven.”

The fighter gathered up his things and headed for the door. “Bye, baby.”


Squall looked down at the turkey sandwich on his desk, trying to estimate the level of starvation he was experiencing, and if he could squeeze in a phone call before eating.


“The Presidential Residence, how may I direct your call?”


Squall had always wondered why the secretary kept insisting on asking that. It was the private line, after all, and anyone calling it would undoubtedly want to speak to the president. There were only three ways to direct the call, Laguna’s office, his bedroom and, oddly, the wine cellar, and with the tight security around the president (at all times), she had to know where he was.


“It’s Squall”, was all he said, and waited impatiently for the secretary to forward his call.


Laguna answered almost immediately, nearly shouting in greeting.


“Squall, is that you?” For some reason he sounded breathless, but before Squall could say anything, Laguna continued. “I’m sending Kiros over with Ragnarok to pick you up tomorrow morning. It’s going to be rather early, son, but it’s a long ride. I’ve promised Ellie a Christmas lunch, so wear something nice.”


Laguna stopped, breathing heavily into the phone. “It is Squall, right?”

“Yes, dad.”

“Good, and? You can, uh, bring someone. I know you don’t like big to-do’s like this, so some company might be nice, yeah?”


Squall stared suspiciously at the phone, wondering how far Laguna’s informants could really reach.


“That’s kind of why I called”, he said slowly, steeling himself against the onslaught of doubt. “I was thinking… Zell’s gonna spend Christmas morning with his mother in Balamb, but he said it would just be a little while… and I thought maybe he could come so he wouldn’t have to spend it here. I mean, he’s got friends here, but they’re all… anyway, unless you have any objections?”


Hyne, was he babbling?! The compact silence on the other end, spoke a clear ‘yes’.


“Um, what was the question?”


“Can Zell come?”


“Of course! There’s a charity concert around six-ish, but he’s very welcome. Is he staying overnight?”

Squall coughed. “Yeah, probably.”


“Fabulous, I’ll tell Lina to set an extra room.”


Squall nearly bit his tongue in half, holding back the protest.


“Good. See you tomorrow.”


“Certainly! Merry Christmas, son!”


After hanging up, Squall tapped his pen against his forehead, wondering what the hell he was getting himself into.

“Maybe you should have thought about that ten months ago…”





§§§



 


Zell had never understood Squall’s reluctance for Christmas. He knew his boyfriend - it still made his stomach flutter when he thought that - was adverse to any kinds of tradition and only, and just barely, physically participated at their friend’s birthdays. Zell had been gone on his own this year, and the only thing he’d really gotten was celebratory sex and he didn’t complain, but was it so hard faking being nice? It had taken a lot to get him to go to Seifer’s just a few days before, and even the tall blond had managed hospitality. Or something vaguely alike.


He couldn’t help but wonder if it was because of the set up nearly a year ago that Squall was still reserved around the others. Even if Zell himself had practically forgiven them the moment he had Squall had made up, he could understand Squall’s bitterness. The Commander was very sensitive when it came to his personal life (only, Zell thought it was because he was surprised he even had one) and it had taken several months before Zell was allowed in to Squall inner sanctuaries. And there were still moments when the brunet took the easy way out and just closed off to brood instead of just telling Zell what the hell was bothering him, when it more often than not was something the fighter could help with.


But the worst part of Squall’s self-imposed isolation, was that even Zell was kept secret. He had respected the decision to keep the relationship quiet, on the grounds that the Faculty didn’t have the best track record when it came to tolerance. But anyone with an ounce of brain would know that something as trivial as sexual orientation wouldn’t keep Squall from running Balamb Garden efficiently, like had always done, and with the support of Laguna, and most likely Cid - Hyne knows Squall had always been his favourite - there was just no reason to keep treating Zell like a dirty little secret.

 


 


§§§



 


 


 


The eve of December 24th rolled around and as far as Squall was concerned, he wanted to kick Christmas spirits ass.


Zell had helped him pack a little before remembering he had promised Selphie to help her hide Quistis’ gift in her office, and now he had no idea what to pack for. This was the first time his father had decided to put on an enormous spectacle for Christmas and this year Squall wouldn’t be there simply as Laguna’s son, but as an Ambassador for Balamb Garden and apparently that qualified for a different wardrobe.


Zell had suggested the SeeD-uniform, or the black suit he’d worn at Matron’s funeral, but Squall still felt uncomfortable parading around in that uniform and the suit was both smelly and full of bad memories. In the end, he packed them both.

 


 


§§§



 


 


 


The room Squall was given was the same room he always stayed in when he came to the Presidential Palace. It contained a few scarce belongings that Squall had for various reasons left behind. Like the mog-shaped nightlight that Laguna had bought for him the first time he stayed over night, saying something about unfamiliar surroundings, like Squall hadn’t slept everywhere imaginable on missions. It produced a soft green light that had kept Squall up for hours. It also projected different shapes on the ceiling and Squall had been set on counting how many. He reached twenty-one before it started over, now in a different order.


There was also a stuffed Chocobo that Zell had won at a carnival they’d dragged Squall along to, where his friend’s excitement had rubbed off on him. He’d deny it, of course, but the Haunted House had given him chills down his spine and pink cotton candy was his favourite. The Chocobo had been named Buddy and Zell had insisted on Squall keeping it in Esthar, making jokes about bed partners and Squall had called him an idiot and refused to carry it, but later that night, he’d fallen asleep with it by the headboard.


The last thing was a picture of Laguna and his mother, much younger, with his father in a well-fitting uniform that looked torn and ragged, but his hair long and pitch-black, hanging straight down his back. Raine was beautiful in a yellow sundress, dark hair pulled back from her face by butterfly hairclips, smiling brightly at the camera. They were holding hands, fingers tightly interlaced and for the first time since he’d found the picture in one of Laguna’s old photo albums, he knew what they must have felt like when that photo was taken. He had always known what it was like taking responsibility of another person’s life, to care. But he had never before understood the desire to share someone’s life, to long for them.


He could catch himself some days, sitting on the sofa with Zell’s head in his lap, listening to him chat away about a student this, a student that and he would remember, almost word for word, what Zell had said. And it would unnerve him so bad that he’d rudely interrupt Zell by standing up and walking away.


He could feel it even now, that suffocating feeling he had come to associate with Zell that wasn’t entirely unpleasant. It made him antsy, and restless and so far he’d found no outlet for it, except that one time when Zell had barged into his office, given him an impressive scolding and then abruptly fallen to his knees and proceeded to blow Squall’s senses through is dick.


Understandably, Squall didn’t remember a word of that conversation.


He was beginning to realize that what was happening, and had kept happening for almost a year, between him and Zell wasn’t casual, or innocent and it scared him shitless.


Squall Leonhart wasn’t afraid of anything, except apparently, committing to Zell Dincht. Ten months of keeping it on the down low and Squall was just recently beginning to see them as a couple.


And it freaked him right the fuck out.

 


 


 


§§§



 


 


 


Zell arrived in Esthar fairly late. His celebration with his Ma had dragged out when a handful of his twenty-something cousins had showed up together with his Ma’s siblings as well as some of his Pa’s. They had somehow begun talking about Zell’s adoption and it had started a string of revelations.


Of course, he’d known he was adopted; he still had some vague memories in the back of his head where the GF’s hadn’t messed around yet. How scared he had been the first night without the other orphans there. And when he’d come home from school one day, with a grass-stain on his pants, petrified that his new parents would be angry and disappointed and send him back unwanted.


While he had remembered that, he had been told about the Dincht’s desperate wish for a child, how they’d visited several orphanages to find just the right child for them to love. They’d told him how heartbroken his Ma had been, every time they left after seeing all those abandoned children, so desperate to be loved and nurtured.


He hadn’t known that Matron’s orphanage was the last one they’d went to or that they had almost settled for a girl in Fisherman’s Horizon, when they had spotted him and Seifer fighting over a toy Soldier. He had reluctantly let go when it proved that Seifer was stronger and sat back to pout until Seifer had given it back.


His family hadn’t known it was Seifer, but it had made Zell laugh as he realized that even Seifer had succumbed to his patented Baby Blues.


But all that information and the impromptu memorial service for his Pa, had left him drained and in need of the kind of physical comfort his Ma couldn’t provide. He needed Squall, and he was nowhere to be seen.


He had been told upon arrival that President Loire and Commander Leonhart were currently entertaining guests in the large ballroom and that he was welcome to join them once he had been settled into his room.


Zell loved visiting Laguna, especially if he could pester Ward into a friendly fistfight, but he could do without the political correctness and forced politeness. Maybe it worked on those that didn’t know Laguna wore pink pyjama pants to bed.


He was led to the east wing where the guests usually stayed and he almost succeeded in not letting it bother him. He knew Squall’s room was some ways off, and that sneaking around after bedtime was frowned upon in the palace and maybe he had hoped that Squall would arrange from something a little closer. He threw his bag on the bed and told himself that it was at least a big step to be invited, even if no one knew he was there as Squall’s date.

 


 


§§§



 


 


Squall had tried - really, he had - to keep his face as blank he could possibly make it, but a bored scowl kept appearing and he quickly excused himself before he ruined Laguna’s trading deals with the Prime Minister of Deling. Under the pretext that his father needed to speak to him, Squall ducked away, feeling momentarily sorry for the young unfortunate girl who hadn’t been able to make a fast enough exit.


He was glancing around the ballroom for Ellone to see if she was interested in taking a walk away from all the people when his eyes caught on familiar navy blue and white.


Squall didn’t even realize he was moving until he was nearly standing on Zell’s toes. The blond smiled, nudging Squall’s side and whispered; “You should smile like that more often. That boring here, huh?”


Squall knew he probably should have said something, but Zell had probably let him off the hook too many times, because the words “I’m just happy to see you” died on his lips. His smile quickly faded when it realized it was true.


The tightness in his chest did little to hide the butterflies in his stomach whenever he would look at Zell, standing all confident and open, usually smiling, and how he had that uncanny ability to always look up and catch Squall watching him, giving him a wink that would send his heart thumping.


“Stay away from Minister Black”, was what he said instead. “He’s got grand-son stories.”


Zell chuckled and took a glass of champagne from a passing waiter, as he offered the man a bright, thankful smile. The waiter was probably at least ten years their senior, but he blushed anyway and hasted off. The blond didn’t notice, attention already elsewhere, but Squall glared at the quickly retreating man.


“Zell!” Laguna’s voice cut through the chatter of many different conversations and Squall turned in time to see Laguna pull Zell into a hug, clapping him playfully on his back. “Merry Christmas, son!”


Zell said something back, but was drowned out by a young women shrieking as a man hoisted her over his shoulder and carried her over to the mistletoe.


When Squall’s eyes returned to Zell, he was just putting Ellone down from apparently spinning her around, judging by the space the crowd had made around them and handed her a small gift.


“Oh, Zell, you didn’t have to”, and Squall was curiously walking closer.


“Like I’d dare show up here empty handed, with your hexing skills and all.”


Zell grinned as Ellone slapped him on the arm.


“It’s from all of us at Garden, but I was in charge of getting you something. I hope you like it.”


Ellone was usually very strict with traditions, another reason why she and Selphie not getting along had been such a chock, but when presented with gifts, all thoughts of propriety and ‘at the right time’ went out the window. She tore the paper off a flat red box and Squall heard her gasp as she opened it, even from several steps away.


“Oh Hyne! It’s gorgeous!”

She pulled out a thin golden chain, letting it catch in the light as she held it out for Squall too see, eyes glittering with tears. “Look, Squall!”


As he came closer, he saw that the links holding the chain together were shaped like dolphins, Ellone’s favourite animal.


“It belonged to my mother”, Zell explained. “She would wear it all the time, but she always said it was a young woman’s necklace so when she got older, she gave it to me to give to someone special. I doubt Squall would want to wear it”, he said with a chuckle, looking back at Squall. “So I thought I’d give it to you.”


Ellone choked back a sob and threw her arms around Zell’s neck, nearly knocking them both over while thanking him profusely, again and again.


Squall stood dumbstruck, eyes glued on the necklace with Zell’s words ringing in his ear.


In all honestly, the necklace itself was nothing special, though pretty. But with the sentimental story that came attached and the relationship between the giver and the receiver, it took on a completely different meaning.


And Squall reached a heartbreaking conclusion, watching his sister squeeze the life out of his boyfriend; he would never be able to make Zell look at him the way Ellone was looking at the blond now. Never make him feel that special or important and Zell deserved nothing less.


He didn’t want Zell to have to give up anything or to be forced to compromise something he wanted, or be treated like just another friend, because Squall couldn’t get his act together and start appreciating what he had.


What Zell wanted and needed was someone who wasn’t afraid to tell him how they feel about him, someone braver than Squall that wouldn’t hesitate to show him off at their side. Someone who wouldn’t love him in the dark and treat him like a shameful secret.


Someone who wasn’t Squall.

 


 


 


 


§§§



 


 


 


Zell had been looking everywhere for Squall and even with the help of Ellone and Ward, the brunet remained unfound. He’d given up on trying to find him now, knowing he wouldn’t if the Commander didn’t want him to, but he didn’t want to go back and face everyone alone.


So instead he was aimlessly walking through the maze-like garden under bright moonlight, accompanied by a rather large bottle of champagne, crossing and re-crossing his own steps.


It was during one of his many passes of the great Phoenix-statue in aged stone that he stumbled across Ellone. And Squall.


The nearly empty bottle landed with a dull thud in the dew-wet grass and he took a few steps back to walk away.

“No, Zell, come here. Sit down.”


Elle patted the low stone wall next to her, giving him what Zell thought she assumed was a reassuring smile. On her other side, Squall sat hunched over, head in his hands and not looking up. But Zell had seen his shoulders tense when Elle had called his name.


“Maybe I should just go.” He pointed with a thumb back over his shoulder, with a very bad feeling in his gut.


“Nonsense, you of all people should hear this.”


“Sis”. Squall’s voice was so flat that it was impossible to say if it was a threat or a plea. Elle didn’t seem to care either way.


“Sit, please.”


Zell did as told, jumping up to settle beside her. “What’s going on?” but the question tasted acrid coming out.


Elle turned her dusty blue eyes towards him, a determined hardness he was unfamiliar with, settled behind them.


“My dear brother here is being completely irrational”, she began, her voice harder than Zell had ever heard before. “If you ask me, I’d say he’s a fucking idiot.”


Zell’s eyes almost popped out of their sockets at the crude word. He had never heard Ellone cuss beyond the occasional, whispered ‘damn’.


“Elle?”


“He has gotten into his head that you deserve more than he can give you and that you therefore should cut your losses now. What he seems to have forgotten is that it takes two people to form a relationship and if those are reasons he wants to end it, you should damn well have something to say about it.”


Zell felt his jaw go slack as she spoke, eyes shifting between the two brunettes.


“Squall?” he asked, not even trying to hide the slight hitch in his voice. “You wanna end it?”

The Commander didn’t answer, but straightened up, staring into the dark.


“I should let the two of you sort this out on your own”, Elle said. “But I know you both. Squall, you always shut everyone out. And Zell, years of training have you backing off when Squall tells you to. But this is too important for you to just be like guys always is and walk away.”


She was sounding more like the good old Elle, voice softer, but this was a woman on a mission, and she wouldn’t let them off the hook. Zell wasn’t sure he appreciated that, or not.


“Squall”, she sighed. “I know you’re in love with Zell. I know, because it’s so obvious. Even he can see it!”


Zell could. There were little things, like tonight for example. Just how Squall’s face would light up, the smile he’d unleash. That happy, longing look in his eyes. No, Zell knew Squall cared, that wasn’t his issue.


“Zell”, Ellone continued. “I know it feels like Squall doesn’t take what you have together seriously enough to make it official. But that’s so not the case, it’s ridiculous. You guys are so in love it’s almost sickening at times, but while you have nothing to lose by making it known, Squall has. The entire reputation of Balamb Garden rests on his appearance.”


Zell thought he could here Squall mutter a ‘thanks for the reminder’, but he was so caught up in Elle and what she was saying he couldn’t be sure.


“Just think of all the ways they could use you against him, hurt him through you. But he’s right too, Squall. Dad should definitely know. He already loves Zell, and this sneaking around will only suffocate you.”


“I know already, sis.” Squall’s voice was so unexpected after Elle’s long diatribe and Zell leaned past her to look at his boyfriend. At least for the moment. “That’s not why I…”

“Then what?” He hadn’t meant to ask out loud, but Squall’s head bent slightly in his direction, eyes turned down somewhere in the vicinity of Zell’s feet.


Well, at least he was looking at him. Technically.


“You have these ideas about what a relationship should be. Like when you gave sis that necklace…. You know how to do things like that. I don’t.”


Zell smiled faintly, totally confused. “You don’t have to give me jewellery, Squall. I can’t wear them anyway.”


Necklaces, bracelets, piercings, rings, all could be used in battle as self-inflicting weapons. He’d learned that the hard way.


Squall huffed. “That’s not what I…. I mean the act itself. You knew exactly what she’d like, because you know how to think like that. I don’t.”

“I’m not expecting roses on our anniversaries, babe. I can’t really handle all that romantic, cheesy stuff. That’s more Selphie’s department. Possibly Seifer’s. But I can do feelings, ok? If you can just…. I don’t know, appreciate me? You don’t have to tell me, I know that’s not your thing. But show me?”


“Can you do that, Squall?”


Ellone had been sitting very still and quiet while they were talking, careful not to disturb them, but now she reached out to caress Squall’s hand, almost like Zell wanted to do himself.


“Yeah, I guess.” He cleared his throat, glancing at Zell. “Yeah, I can.”


“And are you ok that Squall isn’t shouting it from the rooftops, Zell?”


“Absolutely.”


“Great! Now, Kiros mentioned something about dad planning some ice-cream surprise-”


“Yes, I was.” Ellone, who had been halfway to jump down from the wall, landed ungracefully with a startled squeak. Squall shied back like he’d come face to face with a snake while Zell merely stared, wide-eyed, at Laguna as he came striding long limbed through the wet grass, Ward in tow. “It’s apparently not a surprise anymore, but it’s inside and melting so you better hurry. And you two.” He pointed at the SeeD-members on the wall. “I’ve known about you since before you got together. How do you think Ellie got her hands on a book on blood-magic? I just happened to have on lying around on my desk the day she came by? Zell, I have arranged for you things to be moved to Squall’s room, so if you don’t mind I’d like for all three of us to celebrate Christmas in private. Squall, I hereby order you not to avert from Zell’s company under any circumstanced during the night.”


A small smiled pulled on Squall’s lips as he nodded. “Yes, sir.” He winked at Zell and suddenly the air was easier the breathe.


“Terrific!” Laguna took lead back towards the palace, arm draped over Ellone’s shoulders. “Now, eggnog for everyone! Except Kiros. Do you remember last year when he did that dance on the table in the lobby? That was embarrassing! I thought Minister Redfield would….”


Zell let Laguna’s ramblings get a head start before he got down from the wall.


“You coming?”

He held a hand out to Squall, who looked down at it sadly. “I’m sorry.”


“For what?”


Squall struggled for a moment before he sighed and landed next to Zell, taking his hand.


“For being a fucking idiot.”


They laughed together, carefree for the first time in almost a year.


“You’re forgiven.” He pulled Squall flush against him, letting his hands rest lightly on Squall’s ass, making the brunet chuckle. “But you gotta make it up to me.”


Squall turned serious again, holding Zell’s eyes and his breath hitched as the weight of the gaze, the meaning of it, drew him in. Squall told him all he needed to know, with his fingertips in his hair and lips and tongue as he kissed him.


Zell pulled away, breathing ragged. “Yeah, me too.”


They walked, hand in hand, back inside; trading longing glanced between them and stealing kisses when Squall suddenly stopped.


“I thought you said you didn’t do cheesy romantic stuff.”

“Shut up, Squall.”

 


 


 


 


 


 


 


THE END!



 


Sort of, the End, because I'm thinking of a little epilogue, but that's still not a work in progress, and if it happens, it will be really short. Or, I'm planning to make it really short. I'm not so good with drabbles...

Anyway, again, pleading for reviews!

Hugs, Z

 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 



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