July '03'

Disclaimer: Ah…the usual…all these beautiful characters from FF8 belong to Square and not me *sob*. This fic is a gift for Lipstickcat for her upcoming nuptials and while it may not have a wedding scene in it, I may be persuaded to do a sequel…my Zell muse would love me forever! Pairing: Squall & Zell. Squall POV for this ficlet. Only some kissing and lusting and many thoughts. ^_~ Enjoy!!!

This is YAOI - boys with boys, caring, desiring, kissing, hugging, groping…um, yeah…but that’s why you’re reading this, yes?

The Ring
By Garden’s Gnome

I would never have known if Irvine had not mentioned it.

It’s the night of our celebration of the end of the war. We won. We saved the world. We’re heroes.

I’ve been watching you watch me for some time now. Ever since Irvine mentioned that you always seemed to be studying me. It was just after our escape from the D District prison as he held Selphie’s trembling form, trying to comfort the girl who knew her own Garden had just been attacked. He spoke quickly in hushed tones, explaining why I should take you with me to Balamb instead of him.

“I need to stay with Selphie at the moment and I think Zell needs to go with you,” he told me.

“What do you mean?” I asked. He looked at me as if I’d grown an extra head.

“Are you blind or something? Zell’s been watching you for Hyne only knows how long. Probably way before I joined the group.” Irvine then went on to tell me that he saw you doing push-ups in the hall of his Garden with the other students and that your eyes always followed me when I went past. It wasn’t the girls and their skirts that caught your eye, just me.

It got me thinking about how you acted before and after then. Right from our first mission together, you tried to cheer me up. Telling me that Seifer was a pain in the ass, asking to see my gunblade…trying to draw me out of my icy shell.

You never did get along with the other blond. Was it just that he pissed you off or did you see him as competition? He always managed to push the right buttons and get you fired up, ready to battle. He did that to both of us. But he didn’t make SeeD, we did. He took the full blame and let us pass the test. Maybe not such a bad guy after all.

Then that night before our world was turned upside down you still tried to be my friend. But as I did with everyone else I kept quiet until you left. But now that I think about it, I felt eyes on me all night…was it you? Perhaps wondering at what could have been even as I danced with the stranger in our midst? Then after, you still came and made sure I knew where my rooms were, always looking out for me.

Rinoa came and we were all swept away for the ride that would change everything about the way we viewed things. Like instead of just being mercenary’s for hire to the highest bidder we became the ones chosen to fight the sorceress that threatened all. And fight we did. Against her, against Seifer and against others. But in the end it was us who were triumphant.

And so now I stand here, watching you with the library girl. Watch you eat as many hotdogs as they’ll let you, turning the small object in my hand over and over. My ring. Which I had given to you.

After Irvine told me I began to watch you too. I saw your will to live, your passion to fight and your spark of energy. I think it’s that spark and the fiery passion that I need to balance my coldness. We spoke only once of our time in the prison, once of what we felt as we dreamed of the past. You said that all Ward wanted was to be fighting alongside Laguna. What you didn’t tell the others but told me was that Laguna and Ward were lovers. Who would have thought? Maybe Ward needed Laguna’s joyful light like I need your fiery passion. That’s why I gave you my ring.

By the time you asked for it, I found that you had gotten through my shell, melted my defences with your intensity. I just didn’t know how to tell you. Did you ever begin to wonder why I kept you on my team and close to my side? And then there was Rinoa. Imagine my surprise when she tried to give me back the ring that I’d given to you, hoping that it would somehow keep you safe for me. I felt…I don’t really know what I felt. There were too many other things to deal with at the time so I told her to keep it and pushed the event into the back of my mind. Then she fell unconscious.

I didn’t have the heart to ask for it back after we were in space. And then later on it was just best to let her keep a little of me with her. The sorceress’ knight. Her knight. It made me feel strange things and I wanted to save her and be with her. If I find Seifer I think we’ll compare notes on a sorceress’ control over her chosen protector. What I felt then wasn’t real. But what I’m feeling now is.

When we were at the orphanage, Rinoa and I made a promise to each other. I remember that you were always nearby with her dog, watching us. What did you feel? Did you hear the words? What would your reaction be if I said that I was thinking of you when I said them?

For once I feel confident that what I’m about to do is the right thing. The best thing for the both of us. I’ve watched you for so long, we’ve travelled through time together and survived. I don’t want to ever wonder what could have been between us…I want to know.

Walking through the balcony archway I see that Rinoa is talking to Selphie and Quistis. Probably some sob story of me not loving her and it’s true, I don’t. Irvine catches my eye as I walk across the semi crowded room, heading in your direction, and gives me an encouraging smile. I’m getting closer to your table now but you still haven’t looked up. What I’m about to do will change everything for us but how could you know. I’ve never let on how I felt. Ever.

Stopping next to you, I look at your female companion, the librarian. She’s not good enough for you. I hope that I will be.

“Zell…” I say, finally gaining your attention as you look up at me with your bright blue eyes. You smile at me.

“Hiya Squall, whatcha doin’?” you ask.

I don’t reply, letting my actions speak for themselves. Leaning down I capture your lips with mine, evoking a soft gasp that becomes a sigh as I whisper my fingertips along your tattooed cheek in a feathery caress before taking your hand in mine. Surprisingly enough, with all the hotdogs you’ve breathed in, you taste nothing like them. Ignoring the startled gasps around me and the thump of a body hitting the floor, I draw you deeper into the kiss, weaving a thread of pleasure with our joined lips and tangling tongues. Finally drawing back as the need for air becomes too much, I smile softly down into your dazed eyes, a smile only for you, and hold up your own hand for you to see.

“I love you,” I say and enjoy the sight of your flushed cheeks as the declaration registers on your mind before then asking the most important question of my life. “Marry me?”

You look truly shocked and for once without words. All you can do is nod as you stare at our hands and the object now adorning yours.

My ring. On your hand. Where it belongs.

END

Notes from Gnome: Well, that was different. The first of hopefully many SxZ/ZxS fics and ficlets. Hope Squall wasn’t too OOC but with him it’s very hard to tell what he’s thinking at the best of times. Now back to the other bits and pieces of stories that like to float around in my mind. Oh yeah, reviews welcome and begging towards a sequel will be noted, catalogued and pondered over *laugh*. My arms won’t be that hard to twist. ^_^ Bye.

continued - The Wish