Disclaimer: None of the character in this fic is mine. They all belong to our beloved SquareSoft Co. I’m just a humble Final Fantasy VIII addict who are writing this for fun, so please don’t sue me since I’m making no profit out of this fic.
Irvine opened his eyes, and turned to look at the alarm clock on the night stand. 3 am. Gee, what a wonderful hour to wake up. He sure could lose time….
He moved slightly, trying to get off the bed, only to discover that he was trapped by his lover’s arm.
“He really has bad sleeping habits…” he muttered, carefully removing the tatooed martial artist’s arm, and left for the bathroom and the quick shower it promised.
When he got back, Zell was still sleeping. Irvine deliberately plopped down onthe mattress, to see if he could wake his lover up. Nope, he was still sleeping. Sometimes, Irvine envied Seifer about how he could always get Squall’s full attention, even if the Lion was sleeping. As for him, well, Zell seemed to like sleep and hot dogs more than he liked Irvine….
Sighing, Irvine laid down next to Zell, and stared at his lover’s childish face. He leaned in, and bit Zell on his shoulder just to make himself feel better. Zell squirmed, a little frown appeared on his face, and went right back to sleep.
::I’m pathetic…:: Irvine told himself before he drifted off to slumberland.
Life was quiet. Well, almost too quiet. The Elite SeeDs were the best of the best, yet to Irvine, it’ was the most boring job in the world. All they did was tmeet daily about an hour, listen to Quistis briefing about the events happening in the world that might concern the SeeDs, and then they were dismissed. The rest of the day would be free to all of them, unless they were assigned to do the world patrolling or their jobs needed their attention.
As for his job, Irvine was the instructor of both gun shooting and sneak attack tactics. Needless to say, he was one of the best instructors in Galbadia Garden. He and Selphie left Balamb Garden after the Ultimecia War, both contented to give back to the Garden that raised them. Last he heard, Selphie was still reconstructing Trabia Garden, and a rumor about her dream of building the biggest Quad was spread throughout the Gardens. Spooky, he thought.
Well, it didn’t sound like a rumor to him at all. He wouldn’t be surprised if Selphie actually made the whole Trabia Garden into a giant Quad, and every cadet in Trabia was required to join the festival committee.
Irvine would constantly travel back to Balamb Garden to visit his old friends, so he wasn’t too oblivious about the changes happening in Balamb. He was shocked though, when he found out about Seifer and Squall. But it came to realization that they have had ‘something’ going on back since childhood. Irvine was the only one who remembered it, but he kept his silence, hoping that his two friends would find the love that was lost because of the GF back again. However, Rinoa and Laguna were completely out of the blue, and his jaw dropped to the ground when the girl accepted the proposal. But then again, just like what Seifer said: If they’re happy, why not?
Seeing that his friends had all found their love, however, made Irvine felt extremely lonely for being the only one who didn’t have anybody to be with. He felt even more lonely when the coldest winter hit Galbadia, and he was shivering in the cold nights under the covers in his room, even when the room was well heated. Maybe he was just a romanticist, but he really hated the lonely feelings. That’s why he always dated girls, since they flocked to him and he was afraid of loneliness.
However, it really didn’t help since eventually, they would have left him, and he would be alone again.
Even though nobody realized, Irvine Kinneas was suffering from depression. Doctor Kadowaki had perscribed him lithium and some other milder medicines to help him go about his daily business, but it didn’t work very well. His refusal to take the drugs was one of the reasons. The only time he ever felt happy and back to his old cowboy-self was when he was back in Balamb Garden.
Back with his friends.
That’s why he always escaped to Balamb Garden whenever he felt the Galbadia Garden didn’t need him, including this fateful day.
The day he would finally be cured of his depression.
“IRVINE!!!!!!” the hyperactive voice roared as if Quetzecotl had been summoned to attack him. His eyes snapped open, and glared upwards at the blonde, who sat comfortablely at his stomach, grinning down at him.
“Alright, alright. I’m up…” Irvine grunted, flipping Zell onto the mattress before climbing out of bed. He yawned, and stretched like a cat before walking clumsily towards the bathroom, bumping his head into the wall during the trip, caused Zell to fall back onto the bed, laughing hysterically.
Irvine glared, picking up his toothbrush, “Shut up, Zell.”
“Love ya too, Irvy.”
Walking down the Balamb hallway, which always made Irvine always feel more joyful than walking down the Galbadia hallway, for some reason. ::Wonder why it makes such difference?:: thought Irvine, sitting down on the edge of the fountain, looking around mindlessly. Cadets and SeeDs walked by, nodding at him out of respect that he’was one of the Elite SeeDs, and girls giggled in the far corner, talking about his cuteness and the rumor of him being the “virgin killer”.
Heck, he only slept with those who were willing, and most of them were NOT virgins.
Wait, all of them were not virgins. What was he thinking?
The noise from the cafetaria, however, pulled him out of his thoughts a little too roughly. He turned around, and saw students surround the place where the commotion was. Getting up, he walked over to take a peek at what was going on.
A beautiful girl, who wore a SeeD uniform with a badge that indicated she worked in the library, was arguing with Zell Dincht, and the fight was getting hotter and hotter. She accused him of being a liar, and cheater, and a faggot. The last one really striked the blonde, and he blushed furiously, his hand lashed out and almost slapped the girl when he stopped abruptly, turning his heels to leave.
“We’re finished,” he said to the girl without turning.
Zell brushed through the crowd, and passed the watching Irvine. He was in such a fury that he didn’t even recognize his best friend, and stormed down to his dorm. The crowd dissassembled immediately, everyone went about their own business, and occasionally talking about the event. As for Irvine, he ran after his friend, knowing that Zell would be at his most vulnerable, depressed state after that fight, and he would need someone.
He arrived in front of Zell’s dorm room, and knocked three times, then two times. It was the “secret knock” between the Elite SeeDs, invented by Selphie Tilmitt, though only Zell and Selphie use them, and Irvine remembered it.
Moments later, the door was opened, revealing a red-eyed Zell with a box of tissues.
“Zell…..” Irvine stammered, not knowing what to say.
“Shut up and just come in.”
Well, ok….. he still hasn’t lost his sense of humor, it seemed….
Irvine entered the room, which to him was shockingly clean and neat, and filled with martial arts and anime posters. In his mind, he never pictured Zell to be a clean person, much less keeping his room in a neat fashion. He stood by the table, waiting for the shorter blonde to sit down on his mattress before sitting besides him.
After a long silence, Irvine asked, “Are you…. ok?”
“Hell no,” Zell responded with a glare, “Do I even LOOK like I’m ok!? How can you even ask that, Kinneas!?”
Irvine blushed slightly in embarrasement, cursing himself for being so insensitive. “Sorry.”
Zell sighed, and reached up to pat Irvine on his arms. “Nah, I’m sorry for taking my misery out on ya.”
Irvine shrugged, “Hey, that’s what friends are for, right?”
Such a statement earned Irvine a cute smile from Zell.
It was after such an encounter that Irvine and Zell became close friends, even closer than they were to others. They e-mailed each other daily, talking about random stuff between their friends and their interests. Surprisingly, at least to both of them, they both loved the Triple Triad with great enthusiasm. Their similar main goal was to beat Squall in a card game, since the brunette had been crowned the “King of the Cards” for the nth time.
The did try. They really did. First they teamed up against the Lion, yet they lost so miserably that Seifer laughed at them for weeks. Then they asked Squall to not use any high-level cards, yet they still lost because of Zell’s one careless move. Finally, they stole all his cards that were higher than level 6, yet because of their countless tries, the duo didn’t have any high level cards either. The result was, inevitably, a big failure.
Zell jumped up and tried to kill Seifer for laughing at him non-stop, but Irvine and Squall pulled the two apart. After the great “Card Battle of the century,” as Irvine liked to call it, the losing side buried themselves in the libraries of Balamb and Galbadia Garden to dig up any useful information regarding Triple Triads. They even went as far as to track the “Queen of Cards” down, and begged her to teach them some new tricks, only to be beaten by Squall yet again.
So it came to the fateful day where the duo went to a bar near Trabia, after they escaped from Selphie’s babbling regarding the new Quad and Festival Committee. The two started with beer, and about half an hour into the drinks, one of them suggested something harder, and they started trying Gin, then cocktails, and finally, straight dry Vodka.
Two, three hours later after Irvine and Zell walked into the bar, they were so drunk that the bartender had to call a cab and toss the two into the backseat before the poor driver could take them back to the hotel they were staying at. How they managed to get to Zell’s room was still a mystery that remains unsolved, but they did.
And the next thing Irvine remembered was waking up with Zell in his arms, both of them naked, and a severe headache that was even worse than Ultimecia’s Apocalypse.
After the event, Irvine went back to Galbadia and Zell returned to Balamb, both never exchanged a single word. When Quistis inquired, Zell just said he was busy when Irvine used the same excuse, which was why Selphie got very suspicious and decided to made it her business to see the two rebuild their friendship.
She put down her work on Trabia Garden and started stalking Irvine first, following the cowboy day and night (yes, she even slept in his dorm for the sake of it) and bombarded the poor man with questions regarding the awkwardness between him and Zell. By the fourth day (which was the world record for a man to stand against Selphie’s nagging) he caved in, confessed the drunken night to the Headmistress of Trabia.
Selphie was surprised at first, not because her friend was gay (since she’s a large yaoi fan and Seifer and Squall was not enough to satisfy her thirst) but how Irvine and Zell handled this matter in such insensitive way. She smacked Irvine for fleeing the scene, and yelled at him for hurting Zell even though the cowboy didn’t mean it. Then, a busybody that she was, Selphie arranged a meeting between the two boys in Balamb Garden’s cafetaria, after curfew, with hotdogs and coffee around.
Zell and Irvine sat down at the table in the middle of the empty cafetaria, neither of them looking at each other. Two plates of hotdogs set in front of Zell, and both of them had a cup of coffee to accompany the meal. Unlike the normal Zell Dincht, the hotdogs still remained in the plates, untouched, and the blonde didn’t seem to be focusing on how to eat the delicious treats.
It was after a full ten minutes before Irvine broke the silence, stirring his coffee absent-mindedly. “Um, Zell….. look…….”
“What?” the blonde interrupted, though he never looked up from his own black liquid.
Irvine scratched the back of his neck, “About that night……” he paused, finding himself tongue-tied.
The suffocating silence filled the cafetaria again, making the peeping tom Selphie almost died of worry when Zell got up from his seat abruptly, knocking the chair off in the process. “Look,” the blonde started, “It’s ok. It was nothing. We were both drunk. That was just casual sex.” Zell said, and started to leave.
His route was, however, stopped by Irvine’s firm grip on his wrist. The cowboy’s eyes were filled with sadness and terror, as he stuttered his next sentence. “Yo….. You’re not……. not serious, are……. are you? I— I mean, I…… It’s not…….. It’s not casual sex…….. not…… not for me…….”
“Then what is it!?” asked Zell impatiently, and when Irvine didn’t answer right away, he turned to leave again, trying his best to shake off the iron grip on his wrist.
“Earth to Irvine! Yo, man, Earth to Irvine!” Irvine jolted from his seat, turning his dazed eyes back to the beautiful man in front of him, whose clear blue eyes were staring at him teasingly, a hand waving in front of him to call to his attention. Irvine lifted his eyebrow, and downed his morning coffee with one gulp.
Zell literally jumped into the cowboy’s lap, and encircled his arms around his lover’s neck as Irvine wrapped his arms around Zell’s waist. “What were you thinking?” Zell asked curiously, snuggling closer to his love.
“Oh, nothing……” Irvine shrugged, “Just that night in the cafetaria, which later appeared on the ever-so-popular doujinshi—”
” ‘Men in Tights?’ ” Zell finished the sentence, making a face at the name of Selphie’s yaoi doujinshi that published all around the Planet, with manga, fanfics, discussions, and everything an otaku can think of regarding the men who saved the Planet from Ultimecia.
Zell rolled his eyes, and leaned in, his face stopping a few inches before Irvine’s. “Ne,” the blonde purred, “Tell me again….. What you said to me that night….”
“Do I have to!?”
A heavy sigh, “Alright………..”
“It’s because I love you……… and would you marry me, Zell Dincht…….? Though it may not be a legal marriage…. I still want you by my side, now and forever.”