May ‘06’

Disclaimer: All the Final Fantasy characters in this fic belong to those talented people at Square. Lucky them.

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

As Days Go By
(Mistletoe Madness 3)
By Garden’s Gnome

“Has Irvine returned yet?”

“No, but he did say he’d be back New Years Eve at the latest. Guess he’s enjoying his visit to his old Garden.”

“Oh…okay then. We’re staying here tonight. Should be back some time late tomorrow. Sleep well, son. See you when we return.”

Squall stared at the blank screen, words of farewell dying on his lips as his father disconnected the call. From the scenery behind the other man, Squall knew they were staying at Raine’s old bar and not in the Ragnarok as originally planned. The change didn’t really surprise him though. Laguna and Ellone both would have insisted on staying in Winhill itself during their visit to the small Galbadian town, Kiros and Ward obviously not putting up much of an argument against the changes.

Exhaling loudly, Squall passed a hand over his tired blue eyes, both eyes and mind weary from the amount of work he’d completed during the day. There had been little else to do seeing as the two men he wished to talk to most had left the Garden.

When he’d awoken that morning from one of the best sleeps he’d had in a long time, Squall could have sworn he was not alone in his room. It was then that the brunette realised the scent he’d been breathing as he slept was coming from the shirt Laguna had left behind, wrapped around the pillow he was cuddling. It confused the brunette a little at first, wondering how he got from the sofa to his bed, Laguna somehow managing it without him waking. The scent of gunpowder and oil briefly flitted across Squall‘s senses and he vaguely recalled being lifted from one warmth and held against another.

Squall didn’t think it possible but somehow Irvine had been in his office and he had not fully woken up.

Going through his normal morning routine of coffee and a run through the training centre, Squall had slain the Grats with practised ease, his thoughts elsewhere. Irvine had been there, could that be why Laguna left? Had he left with Irvine after they’d made sure he wouldn’t wake? Squall knew that Irvine had planned to leave early for Galbadia and so doubted the cowboy was still within the Garden. If he wanted answers, the brunette figured that he’d have to ask his father.

After a brief wash in the training centre communal showers, Squall had headed towards the guest rooms set aside for the Estharian President and his entourage, only to run into Quistis along the way. Quistis had given him a message from Laguna, telling Squall that his father, Kiros, Ward and Ellone had gone to visit his mother’s grave and spend some time in Winhill. Squall’s first thought was that he would have liked to go with them. He next wondered if Laguna was avoiding him.

Squall spent the remainder of the day in his office buried in paperwork.

Resting his head against the back of his chair, Squall let out a frustrated sigh. It had been a long day of working hard to divert his attention from the growing emptiness he was feeling inside, the knowledge that the two men who could help it go away were on another continent didn’t help at all. His attempt at distracting himself had failed.

From what he recalled of the previous evening before his body succumbed to sleep, it seemed that the older man enjoyed their intimacy as much as Squall had. Then he had fallen asleep on his father to wake alone in his bed the following morning. Had Irvine seen them together? Squall remembered Laguna tidying up the evidence of what had happened on the sofa in his office before being pulled on top a warm body and held gently. Irvine must have found them that way. But what had he done? What had he and Laguna said to each other while Squall was unaware of them? Squall wanted to know if Irvine knew precisely what had happened between him and his father. Had Laguna told him? What had his reaction been?

Squall frowned at the thoughts circling around in his head. Too many questions with no answers for them. He admitted to himself that there was nothing he could do until Irvine and Laguna returned to Balamb Garden. Shutting down his terminal, Squall grabbed Lionheart and left his office. Another run through the training centre was needed to help clear his mind.

The following day was exactly the same. Morning run, breakfast, lots of paperwork and a wandering mind full of thoughts and questions. Squall avoided Rinoa knowing that she would be feeling his frustration through their link and would want to help him by talking about what was troubling him. Squall snorted to himself as he tried to think of what he would say to his mistress if she did ask what was wrong.

“Nothing’s wrong…I’m just in love with Irvine, lust after Laguna who happens to be my father, made out with my father on the sofa in my office and Irvine saw us. I know Irvine likes Laguna because I saw them kissing but I don’t know how Irvine feels about me. It’s a nice mess that I can do nothing about until they return.”

Squall tried to ignore the small voice in the back of him mind asking him the one question he didn’t want to face.

What if I end up alone?

A light knock at his door brought him out of his thoughts, blue eyes focusing on Rinoa as she entered the room.

“Squall?”

Saying nothing, Squall turned to his intercom to see if it was working and was told by his secretary that she had been trying to get his attention for the past five minutes and so Rinoa had decided to let herself in to determine if he was okay. Thanking the woman, Squall turned his attention to the young sorceress.

“What can I do for you, Rinoa?” he asked politely, shuffling the papers on his desk in an effort to appear busy.

“I should be asking you that question, Squall,” the dark-haired teen said as she walked across the room and sat on the sofa, patting the cushion next to her. “Can we talk?”

Dropping the paper to the desk, Squall stood and moved towards the door to the commander’s rooms.

“Want a drink?” he asked over his shoulder.

Rinoa nodded, Squall seeing in her eyes that she knew he was stalling. Quickly he went into the kitchen and made coffee for both of them, taking the time to examine what he was feeling at that moment. Mild apprehension at having to tell Rinoa what was going on, some annoyance that he’d been caught daydreaming and a bit of dread for what his mistress would say once he told her of what was going on.

Returning to his office, Squall found Rinoa where he’d left her, her dark eyes closed and a small frown marring her usually smooth features. He knew she was listening to his feelings.

“I won’t bite, Squall,” she said with a small smile, opening her eyes as he sat down near her. “Want to talk about it?” she asked, accepting the drink and taking a sip.

“Not particularly,” the brunette admitted, staring into his cup. “But you won’t leave until I do, will you?” he asked quietly.

Rinoa shook her head and placed a hand on his arm. “I won’t judge you, Squall. I might even be able to help. Sometimes things don’t seem so bad if you have a shoulder to lean on.”

“You won’t like it,” Squall said, gently removing Rinoa’s hand and curling up against the far side of the sofa.

“Tell me anyway,” Rinoa challenged. “Your emotions have been all over the place the past few days and I want to make sure you’re okay. Not just because you’re my knight but because you are my friend.”

Nodding his agreement, Squall drank deeply from his cup, hiding a small smirk as he thought of his original idea of how he was going to tell Rinoa about Irvine and Laguna. Lowering the cup, Squall took a deep breath.

“I…I think I’m in love with Irvine,” he said quietly.

“That’s okay, Squall. I think he likes you too.”

Squall almost dropped his cup at her words, his hand shaking enough for the dark liquid to slosh around some.

“There’s more, isn’t there?” she asked.

“Laguna.”

Rinoa sat watching her knight, feeling the turmoil rushing about along their bond. It would be the simplest thing to tell the brunette of her conversation with Irvine but she knew that was not for her to tell.

“So you like both Irvine and Laguna?”

“Laguna is also my father,” Squall said.

“He is?”

“Yeah, we had tests done while I was in Esthar getting to know everyone. You’re the only person outside of Kiros, Ward, Ellone and dad to know that it is definitely the truth and I am Laguna and Raine‘s child,” Squall said quietly, finishing off the last of his coffee and letting the cup dangle from almost limp fingers. “So what do you think now?” he asked, looking over at Rinoa.

“I’m not sure,” she said, quickly placing a hand on Squall as fear burst across her senses. “Not in a bad way, Squall. Your heart chooses who it will love and that you’ve found two men that you feel for is a good thing.”

“But?”

“But you need to talk to them about this and see how they feel about you.”

“I already know how Laguna feels,” Squall said with a snort. “Getting half naked with me leaves no doubt of his feelings.”

Rinoa could feel her cheeks heating at the thought of the two men getting intimate with each other.

“Yes…well,” she said with a small cough and a glare at the smile creeping onto Squall‘s face.

“You wanted to know,” he teased.

“There is such a thing as too much information,” Rinoa said, pressing her hand to her flushed cheeks, now understanding exactly the emotions that had flowed through their bond a couple of nights ago, the raven haired woman thankful she‘d kept Irvine away during that time. “Has this helped at all?” she asked.

Squall fell silent as he looked inward at the feelings that chatting with his mistress had affected. The situation he was dealing didn’t seem to be any clearer but he couldn’t deny he felt a little less frustrated about it.

“Yeah, I think it did,” he said with a nod. “Now what?”

“Now you talk to them when they get back,” Rinoa stated as if it would be the easiest thing in the world to do.

“Right…talk to them.”

“Are you coming down to dinner?” Rinoa asked, standing and handing Squall her empty mug.

“No,” he said, standing also. “I think I’ll have a light meal sent up and then turn in early.”

“Okay,” the dark-haired woman said, stepping forward to give her knight a brief hug. “You know where to find me if you need to talk more.”

Squall nodded and watched as the young sorceress moved towards the door. “Rin?” he called after her.

“Yeah?”

“Thanks.”

Rinoa smiled and Squall felt a wave of happiness brush over him. Then she was gone.

True to his word, Squall ordered dinner and went to bed early, once again burying his face into the pillow that was still covered by Laguna’s shirt. He was asleep two hours later when his father arrived back from Winhill, Laguna sneaking into the commander’s rooms to check up on the youth, leaving with a soft smile when he found Squall deep asleep.

The following morning Squall awoke to the sound of banging on his door. Looking at his clock, the brunette saw it was only a couple of minutes before he was due to get up. Staggering to the door still half-asleep, he winced as the hand about to knock again landed heavily on his shoulder.

“Oh, sorry about that, son,” Laguna said apologetically, rubbing the place he’d just hit.

“Why are you here?” Squall asked, turning and walking towards the kitchenette.

“Well, I thought I’d come for a run through the training center with you,” Laguna said brightly as Squall started up his coffee maker and leaned back against the counter with his eyes closed. “You’re not a morning person, are you?”

“Not really,” Squall said with a happy sigh as the rich smell of fresh coffee began to fill the room.

“Coffee first?” Laguna asked, getting cups ready when the brunette didn’t look like he was going to move.

“Yes.”

“Then a run?”

“Yeah, whatever,” Squall said, slitting an eye open and watching his father prepare coffee for them both.

“Go get dressed, Squall. Drinks will be ready in a moment,” Laguna said, shooing his son towards the bedroom.

Ten minutes later the two men exited the elevator and headed directly for the training center, Squall carrying his gunblade and Laguna jogging to keep up with his son.

“What do you want, Laguna?” Squall asked as he stepping into the locker room and headed for the weapons cabinet.

“Huh?”

“Machine gun or gunblade?” the younger brunette asked as he held up the two weapons.

“Well, it’s been quite a while since I held either,” Laguna said.

“Machine gun then,” Squall said, tossing the gun at his father and smiling slightly at the ease with which the other man caught it and checked the ammo. “Let’s go.”

Starting out at an easy jog, the two men made their first lap around the tropical greenery unchallenged by any of the creatures kept within the training center. On the second lap, Squall slowed to a walk.

“We need to have a talk, Laguna.”

Laguna sighed quietly. He knew this was coming and shouldered his machine gun. “What do you want to know?”

“How do you feel about Irvine?” Squall asked, eyes searching the forest around them so he wouldn’t have to look at his father.

“You and Irvine or me and Irvine?” Laguna asked quietly.

“Both,” Squall said, stopping as the man next to him also stopped walking.

“First and foremost Squall, you are my son and nothing will change that,” Laguna said, turning to face the younger man. “What I feel for you is more than I should but that won’t change either, no matter who you choose to be with. What I feel for Irvine is the same as what I feel for you. You are both extraordinary men and it is an honour to know you and be able to call you my friends. If something permanent was to happen between you and Irvine I would be happy for you both, just as I would be happy if either of you chose me. But it’s your choice to make and you shouldn’t make it until you’ve talked to Irvine.”

“You mean I’m going to be the one to choose who I want to be with?” Squall asked.

“I think so,” Laguna said as he patted his son’s shoulder. “I can’t do it for you.”

“You could,” Squall said quickly, grabbing Laguna’s hand. “You could just say ‘be with me’ and I would.”

“And what of Irvine? ‘Sorry but you took too long to make up your mind?’ What about his feelings?” Laguna asked as he released the brunette’s hand.

“It would serve him right,” Squall said angrily, turning to slash randomly at some grass near the path.

“That’s not like you Squall,” Laguna said, placing a hand on the brunette’s arm to halt his actions. “Give him a chance to explain. He’s the same you, afraid of being hurt and not entirely sure where he stands with others around him. Particularly us.”

“I guess you’re right,” Squall grumbled quietly.

“Good, now let’s go kill us some monsters,” Laguna said with a big grin.

He was still grinning a second later when he fell to the ground asleep from the attack of a Grat that had snuck up while they had been talking. Squall quickly dispatched the monster and looked down at the sleeping man covered in Grat guts.

“Laguna, wake up,” Squall said as he crouched next to the other man and lightly slapped his cheeks.

“Huh? Wha?”

“You need a shower. Can you walk?” Squall asked as he helped his father to his feet.

“Not really. Feeling woozy,” Laguna said, words a little slurred from the sleep toxins still in his bloodstream.

“Fine,” Squall said and easily scooped his father into his arms and carried him into the training center showers.

At this time of morning, the showers were empty. Squall carried his father to the large locker set aside for the commander and sat Laguna on the bench in front of it. Quickly stripping off, Squall let the older man lean sleepily against him as he helped him get out of his filthy clothing.

Moments later they stood under the hot water, Laguna leaning back against Squall as the brunette washed the flecks of Grat guts from his neck and chest where it had soaked through his shirt. The older man moaned softly in appreciation as Squall’s soapy hands massaged his chest, brushing over his nipples as they cleaned the smooth skin.

“So much better than a dream,” Laguna said with a sigh that hitched a little as the hands on him travelled lower. “Squall?”

“You could have this all the time, Laguna,” the younger man whispered as he took the hardening length of flesh in his hand and stroked it firmly. “Just say the word and I’m yours.”

“I can’t,” Laguna replied even as he thrust up into his son’s hand. “It wouldn’t be fair to Irvine.”

“Irvine’s not here,” Squall said, biting down on the fleshy part of the older man’s ear as his own cock slid between the firm cheeks of Laguna’s ass.

“Squall…”

“Fine, dad. I’ll wait,” Squall said as he began to move against his father, the soapy friction feeling very nice. “This is going to have to do for now.”

Wrapping his free arm around Laguna, Squall pulled them tightly together as he rocked against the flesh cradling his erection, hand still moving upon his father’s length as he dropped his lips to nibble on the older man’s neck and ear. Laguna shuddered in his arms as fingers tweaked a hardened nub, body caught up in what it was feeling; what he was making it feel. Squall smiled as the older man’s long-fingered hand moved back to pull him closer, the brunette letting out a little hiss as the fingers slid along his wet skin towards his entrance, teasing and circling the ring of muscle. Unable to help it, Squall pushed back against the touch, remembering how good it felt last time and moaned as a finger entered him, sliding deep. The moved together, panting as they gave the other pleasure, Laguna other arm looping around Squall’s neck to hold him as close as possible.

Squall couldn’t tell who came first. Body tensing towards release he’d pushed back harder against the finger within him, his own hand tightening its grip and taking Laguna with him.

“You sure you want me to talk to Irvine?” Squall asked, panting as they stood under the water and let it wash away the evidence of their mutual pleasure.

“Yes, Squall.,” Laguna said, lifting a hand to brush some of the wet hair out of his son’s face as he stepped forward to place a light kiss on the younger man’s lips. “Talk to him and see where it leads.”

“Will you tell me what happened the other night? I know he was there.”

“Nothing happened. I told him that he had to talk to you and he kissed me goodnight. Then we left and went back to our own rooms. Nothing to tell really. Now lets get out of here before Kiros or someone else comes looking for us,” Laguna said, leading the way out from under water.

*****

The first Squall knew of Irvine’s return to Balamb Garden was when he saw him with Selphie the next evening in the cafeteria, the pair talking and laughing while looking over Selphie’s plans for the New Years party.

“Please tell me I’m not the only one helping you decorate the ballroom,” Squall heard the Galbadian sniper say as he approached their table.

“Nah, everyone is going to help. Even Squall,” Selphie assured Irvine, smiling at Squall as he sat down. “Isn’t that right?”

“You need to work on your persuasion skills,” Squall said to the green-eyed woman. “And find a new secretary.”

“Selphie has persuasion skills?” Irvine asked.

“Yes,” Squall said with a rueful grin. “Ones that involve sitting on my desk and talking about the party until I agree to do whatever she wanted for some peace and quiet.”

“How long did you last before giving in?” Irvine couldn’t help but ask.

“Almost an hour.”

“But you finished making the phone calls? What did they say?” Selphie asked.

“Yes, I did,” Squall said as he pulled a piece of paper from his pants. “Afraid it’s bad news though.”

“Oh no,” Selphie exclaimed as she stood and quickly began packing up her lists for the party. “I have to go and find Seifer and Zell. I’ve got them changing all the flyers for the party. Can’t have a fancy dress costume theme if no one is able to hire out costumes to us.”

“Sorry.”

“It’s not your fault, Squall,” Selphie said. “I should have thought of this sooner. Here, watch my stuff while I go and start printing up new flyers.”

“But what about finding Seifer and Zell first?” Squall asked as Selphie dumped her things back on the table and raced out of the cafeteria.

“I’ll find them later,” the petite brunette called over her shoulder.

Squall sighed as he watched her go and then turned his attention to the other man at the table. “So…how was Galbadia?”

“Hot, dry…same as always. How were things here?”

“I’m not sure, I’ve been in my office the past few days.”

“I thought you were going to relax and spend some time with Laguna,” Irvine said quietly.

“I was until he went off to Winhill for two days. There was nothing for me to do but get some paperwork done,” Squall replied as he poked at the stuff left behind by Selphie. “About Laguna…”

“Hey Squall, you don’t have to tell me anything,” Irvine said, hurriedly standing up from the table.

“Yes I do.”

“What goes on between you and Laguna has nothing to do with me.”

“I know you were there, Irvine. Now sit down and let me talk with you about it,” Squall bit out, his tone of voice causing the sniper to quickly sit down again.

“You really don’t have to do this,” Irvine said as he leaned back in his chair.

“Don’t have to do what?” Seifer asked as he pulled on Irvine’s chair, almost upsetting the cowboy’s balance.

“Nothing, Seifer,” Squall answered quietly, sighing internally at the interruption. “Did Selphie catch up with either of you?” the brunette asked Zell as he plopped into a chair at the table.

“No. Haven’t seen her since she gave us those fliers this afternoon,” the tattooed blonde said. “Why?”

“Cause the fliers you just put up will need to be changed again,” Squall said, showing the two blondes the notes from his earlier phone calls.

“Damn,” Seifer said, falling into the seat next to Zell. “My fingers are already going numb. I’ll have no feeling at all in them if we have to go do that again,” he whined as he looked at his black tipped fingers. “They’re ink stained too.”

“I’ve got some stuff in my room that will clean that ink off in no time,” Zell said, taking one of Seifer’s hands and examining it. “This is no where near as bad as the stains I used to get.”

“What were you doing to get ink stains, Zell?” Irvine asked.

“I kept breaking pens in class. Not my fault my fingers are so strong ‘cause these are my weapon of choice,” the tattooed blonde said slapping a fist against his other hand.

“I’m surprised you weren’t banned from using pens when you got ink all over Quistis.”

“You’re the one who should have been banned. If you hadn’t kept throwing your pens at me…”

“Throwing pens?”

“Being the self proclaimed head of the ‘disciplinary committee’, Seifer always carried a notebook and pen so he could keep a record of names of the students he believe needed to be punished. In class, he would throw his pens at me from the other side of the room. Wasn’t enough that he stalked me outside of class, he had to hassle me in class too.”

“What happened?”

“Quistis would make me leave my notebook and pen on her desk,” Seifer said with an unconcerned shrug. “Didn’t stop me from annoying the chickenwuss though.”

“Yeah, he just found other things to throw at me. Usually whatever was on offer from the vending machines. I have had all sorts of things pelted at me.”

“My favourite was chocolate covered peanuts.”

“I went through so much shampoo until Quistis made Seifer remove everything from his pockets the moment he entered her classroom.”

“Quisty took all the fun out of going to class.”

“Don’t you have somewhere else to be?” Squall asked, glaring at both the blondes.

“Ah…now that you mention it we should go and look for Selphie,” Seifer said at his commander’s glare, recalling the looks the brunette had been giving the sniper before he and Zell had interrupted them. “C’mon Zell,” he said grabbing the tattooed man by the arm.

“But I wanted to get something to eat,” Zell protested as he was dragged away.

Squall and Irvine watched them until they passed through the cafeteria doors and out of sight.

“Squall,” Irvine said, turning the brunette’s attention back to him as he took a deep breath and gathered his thoughts. “You don’t have to explain yourself to me and you don’t have to tell me what happened between you and Laguna. It makes me happy that you’ve found someone to share yourself with. This is good for you after being alone for so long.”

“You sound just like him,” Squall growled, the self-sacrificing attitude of both Irvine and Laguna starting to annoy him.

“Irvine sounds like who?” Selphie asked as she returned, arms full of new flyers.

“No one in particular,” Squall said with a quiet sigh, looking away from the relieved expression on Irvine’s face at Selphie’s arrival.

“Find Seifer and Zell yet?” Irvine asked, feeling both relieved and annoyed at the interruption when he’d wanted to know what Squall had meant. “They were just here.”

“Really? Must’ve missed them out in the foyer or something,” Selphie with a pout before her face brightened and she smiled cheerily. “You can help me then,” she said as she placed most of the flyers in front of Irvine and collected up the books she had left behind earlier.

“Why me?”

“Um…’cause Squall’s already left.”

Looking quickly at Squall’s chair, Irvine turned from the empty seat in time to see the brunette walk through the doors. Frowning in thought, Irvine stood and followed Selphie out of the cafeteria, only half-listening as she chatted excitedly about the upcoming party.

Who does Squall think I sound like? Laguna? Irvine thought with a growing sense of dread as he replayed their conversation in his mind. All he had said was that he was happy for his friend. Did Laguna say the same thing? And if so…who was he referring to if not what had happened between them?

Irvine’s feeling of dread continued to grow, leaving the Galbadian wondering if he had just ruined any possible chance he might have had of something more than friendship with his commander.

*****

During the last couple of days of the year, Irvine only saw Squall in passing as they helped prepare the Garden for Selphie’s New Years party, Laguna not even there after returning to Esthar for a few days but promising to be back for the party. Whenever the paths of the two youths crossed, neither man spoke about personal things as they were rarely alone. The rest of the group noticed the strange tension growing between them. Rinoa remained silent when asked if she knew what was going on, the sorceress watching sadly as her knight slowly withdrew back into his shell and wondering if she should lock him and the cowboy in a room so they would finally figure things out.

Laguna missed the beginning of the party, almost missing the main event as well when he finally arrived an hour or so before midnight after staying long enough in Esthar to see in the start of his country’s New Year. Immediately he spotted Irvine in the crowd, the cowboy’s hat making him stand out as he talked to Rinoa, frowning down at the sorceress for some reason.

As if sensing him, coffee coloured eyes looked in his direction and even from across the room Laguna could see the relief in them at his presence. Before he could call out a greeting though, Rinoa’s eyes flicked towards the side of the ballroom and one of the sets of balcony doors. Nodding his understanding, the older man watched as Rinoa drew Irvine further away from the direction she was sending him. Casually weaving his way through partying students, Laguna slipped through the doors with a loud sigh, happy to be free of the press of bodies.

“Didn’t think you were going to make it,” Squall’s voice spoke from the darkness.

“It was close,” Laguna said as he stayed by the door, watching the party inside through the lacy curtains and not mentioning that Squall was out here hiding in the dark. “They’ll be doing the countdown soon.”

“Ah yes, the joy of seeing in a New Year,” Squall said as he stepped into the dim light that filtered through the curtains. “They are quite welcome to it.”

Laguna looked at his sone and carefully lifted a hand to a tired looking face. “Have you been sleeping?”

“Not really,” Squall admitted, raising a bottle to his lips and drinking its contents straight.

“Squall!” Laguna gasped as he snatched the bottle of Galbadian whiskey from the youth’s hand.

“Give it back,” Squall growled as he reached out to take the bottle.

“No,” Laguna said tossing the bottle over the side and listening to it shatter on the Garden’s flight mechanism.

“I’ll just get another,” Squall said, reaching out for the door handle, his hand intercepted by Laguna’s.

“What happened? Did you talk to Irvine?”

“…”

“Squall, please talk to me,” Laguna begged.

“You know he sounds exactly like you,” Squall said as glared at his father. “‘I’m happy that you’ve found someone’. Thing is I haven’t found anyone because both of you are determined to believe that I’ve chosen the other when I’ve not chosen yet at all.”

Tugging on the hand in his, Laguna pulled his son into his arms, Squall sighing as he laid his head on the other man’s shoulder. Long fingers carded through short, wind tousled hair, Laguna looking up at the stars above them as he silently berated himself for leaving Squall alone.

“What happened?” Laguna asked, repeating his earlier question.

“I tried to talk to Irvine but that didn’t go all that well and these past couple of days we have been too busy to chat.”

“Did you tell Irvine how you feel?” Laguna asked as he heard Selphie announce loudly that there were only a few minutes to go until midnight.

“Um…no,” Squall said.

“Why not?” Laguna asked, stepping back so he could see the brunette’s face better.

“We kept getting interrupted,” Squall growled in frustration, hands clenching at his sides.

“You shouldn’t right now,” Laguna said with a grin as he suddenly pushed Squall towards the door.

“But…”

“Tell him now before this year is over,” Laguna said as he opened the door and pushed the brunette through, quickly closing them again.

Damn, Squall thought as he surveyed the dancing and chatting crowd. Catching a glimpse of Rinoa, Squall started to head towards her as Selphie began her countdown.

“Five…”

Squall grimaced and tried to move faster as everyone stopped where they were and focused their attention on the clock above the stage where the band and Selphie stood. Briefly looking away from where he was walking, Squall bumped into another person.

“Four…Three…”

“Sorry,” both he and Irvine said at the same time.

“Two…One…”

Eyes widened as each man realised who they had run into. Squall reacted first by grabbing the collar of Irvine’s duster and pulling those smiling lips down against his.

“Happy New Year!”

Around them people cheered as the band started up again, hugs, kisses and well wishes shared between the partygoers. Irvine finally reacted to the body shifting closer to his own, arms moving to wrap around the leather clad form he’d dreamed of touching, lips moving against Squall’s as they simply stood still in the midst of the crowd as if they were alone. Squall’s hands slipped into the cowboy’s duster, shyly exploring. Someone stumbled into them and they broke apart, Irvine staring down at Squall’s lightly flushed face and wet lips.

“Happy New Year,” Squall said quietly with a small upward quirk of his lips, a smile if Irvine ever saw one.

“Same to you,” Irvine said as his hands flexed on Squall’s hips. “What’s say we blow this party and go talk,” he suggested when the brunette didn’t pull away.

At Squall’s nod, Irvine took his hand, weaving their fingers together as he led the way through the crowd as best he could. Their passage did not go unnoticed, the smiles and laughs of their friends unseen and unheard by the pair as they escaped.

Once outside the ballroom, Squall took the lead, not letting go of Irvine’s hand as he made his way to the elevator and pressed the button for the third floor. Turning back to Irvine, Squall leaned back against the wall near the panel and sighed quietly. “Now what?” he asked quietly, breaking the silence.

“That’s entirely up to you darlin’,” Irvine said, bracing his arm against the wall next to Squall’s head. Leaning closer he smiled. “I would like another kiss.”

Breath hitching at the request, the brunette could only stand there, fingers gripping Irvine’s a little tighter as the sniper leaned in and pressed his lips to Squall’s. This time there was no one around them, no residents of Garden to see, no friends to smile at their actions. Loosening their hands, Irvine brought his up to cup Squall’s face, tilting the chin up, tongue lightly touching normally frowning lips. He smiled as Squall’s lips opened hesitantly, the brunette’s tongue shyly touching his. Irvine kept the kiss like that, light and teasing, only pulling back when the elevator dinged at their arrival to the third floor.

Grabbing Irvine’s hand again, Squall led the way out of the lift and towards the Commander’s office and his rooms beyond. He pulled his lower lip into his mouth, sucking in the lingering taste of the cowboy, a light blush coloring his cheeks as he thought of how much better the kiss felt than what he’d remembered of Winhill.

“I…” he said, stopping at the door that lead from the office to his living quarters, frowning at himself as he decided how best to approach talking to the sniper.

“You what, Squall?” Irvine asked softly, fingers reaching out to ghost over the brunette’s cheek.

“I…felt you…in Winhill. It’s why I stayed in Laguna’s mind,” he admitted, the second sentence coming out in a rush. “Well not you precisely but your Guardians. I kind of hoped you were there too,” he added softly, leaning towards the touch as his eyes locked with Irvine’s.

“Did you know that Sis believes that Kiros and Laguna’s night together was greatly influenced by the presence of Laguna’s ‘faeries’? That it probably wouldn’t have happened had we not been there?” Irvine asked, stepping closer to the brunette.

“Yes,” Squall said quietly. “Dad and I talked about it once when I asked why he and Kiros were not together. Apparently you started it,” he said with a small smile.

“What can I say - your dad is hot, both then and now,” the cowboy said, a frown forming on his face. “How do you feel about Laguna?” Irvine asked seriously.

“I…I really like him…more than I should,” Squall admitted, face going red in embarrassment and blue eyes looking away from the sniper.

“Have you told him?”

“Um…well…he kind of told me…” Squall whispered, still not looking at Irvine.

“Told you what, Squall?” Irvine asked, voice equally as soft.

“That he likes me, really likes me,” Squall said, wondering if his face could get any redder.

“Then why are you here with me?” Irvine asked, pulling back from touching the brunette, wincing a little when the other whimpered softly at the loss of his touch. “What happened that night, Squall? What happened here while I was gone?”

“That night? Christmas?” Squall asked. Seeing Irvine’s nod, he thought about that night of Laguna coming to his office and the events that occurred, a small smile gracing his lips as he remembered. “We…we, ah…”

Looking at Squall’s face, Irvine’s heart pounded in his chest and his eyes began to burn hotly with forming tears. Turning on his heel, he strode towards the door.

“I am not the one you want here,” he said, hand moving to open the door, only to be pulled back to his side as arms wrapped about him.

“Where are you going?” Squall asked. “Why are you leaving? I thought this was my decision to make…why do I have to choose just one of you?” Squall asked aloud, arms tightening about the cowboy. “Why can’t we all be together?” he whispered against Irvine’s back, a silent tear sliding down over his cheek.

Irvine stood frozen within Squall’s hold, mind focusing on the last words spoken.

Together…all of us…is that possible?

“Do you know what you’re asking, love?” Irvine asked softly Squall, one arm moving awkwardly to rest over Squall’s. “Is it what you really want?”

Squall nodded against Irvine’s back, his eyes tightly shut to prevent more tears falling.

“Do you mean it?” he asked, voice a little thick.

“Yeah,” Irvine said, turning within Squall’s arms and gathering the brunette close. “I really think I do love you.”

“Irvine…” Squall whispered, burying his face into the sniper’s duster.

For several long seconds they stood near the door, Squall held to Irvine’s chest, the cowboy’s head bowed to rest on top of tousled hair.

“Squall, do you want to go get Laguna right now?” Irvine asked after a while, not moving or releasing the brunette from his hold.

“No, not yet. I want you,” Squall said, pulling back, blue eyes looking shyly up at lavender ones.

“You want me?” Irvine said, making sure he’d heard Squall right.

“Yes. I want to feel what we felt that night in Winhill…but just us…no one else.”

“Oh do you now,” Irvine asked teasingly.

“Yes, Irvine. I want you,” Squall repeated, watching those now smirking lips as he licked his own, anticipation curling inside him.

“You know what I heard the other day? I heard that Laguna kissed you under the mistletoe,” Irvine said, one hand sliding up along Squall’s spine to cup the back of his head, fingers buried in soft brown hair.

“Who told…mfft…”

Squall didn’t get to finish his sentence, Irvine moving swiftly to seal their mouths together, tongue sliding between Squall’s open lips to rub against his. Squall moaned in Irvine’s arms and stepped closer, all but collapsing against the sniper as he wrapped his arms about Irvine’s neck.

The journey from the door to the bedroom was a blur in Squall’s mind, as was the removal of all clothing in the way of curious hands. Where the cool gel on Irvine’s fingers had come from or when he’d had time to apply it Squall did not recall nor did he care as the sniper’s fingers moved within him, his cries of pleasure muffled by his own hand as Irvine’s hot mouth sucked on him.

It was all it had been that night in Winhill and more, their bodies directly involved and not just their minds experiencing an echo of another’s pleasure. Squall could feel his heart race as Irvine loomed above him, gun-calloused hands grasping legs and lifting them as hot slick velvet flesh pushed into him, the brunette’s arms reaching up to pull the cowboy down to him as their bodies adjusted and they simply basked in the moment of joining.

Then Irvine began to move, his cock sliding in and out of Squall’s heat, wanting to take it slow and make it last but too caught up in the moment, kissing his lover hard as he took the only innocence he had left. One hand wrapped itself about the brunette’s length, the cry from his lips swallowed by Irvine’s, his increasingly erratic movements causing Irvine to curse silently as muscles tightened about him, bringing him closer to release. Pulling back from the kiss, Irvine looked into pleasure hazed eyes of deep blue, holding them with his own as he thrust deep, grinning and panting as the brunette twisted beneath him, fingers biting into his arm as muscles fluttered about him and streams of white hot semen spurted onto his hand and Squall’s belly. Another few thrusts and he succumbed to his own release, his shout joining Squall’s cry that still echoed in the room, sated eyes staring up at him but possibly not seeing him as the brunette slowly came down from the ecstasy they had shared.

Squall didn’t push Irvine off when the sniper had collapsed on top of him, hands moving soothingly over the other’s sweat slick back as they worked to regain their breath. At some point he passed out as next he knew he was clean and tucked in bed, still naked and resting with his head on Irvine’s equally naked chest.

“Hey you,” Irvine drawled softly as Squall shifted against him, burrowing closer to the warm body in his bed.

“Hey,” Squall returned the greeting, arm sleepily squeezing the cowboy’s middle. “Did I pass out?”

“Yeah. You’ve been out of it for a couple of hours,” Irvine said, fingers stroking patterns over the arm wrapped around him. “You need to take better care of yourself. I could help with that…”

“You’re staying?” Squall asked, fighting to sit up only to be held down by the arm about him.

“Yeah, I’m stayin’, love. You won’t be getting rid of me anytime soon.”

“Good,” Squall whispered, placing a kiss to Irvine’s chest followed by a yawn he tried to hide in the blankets.

“You serious about what you said earlier…about Laguna?” Irvine asked after a moment of silence in which his commander and lover relaxed against him.

“About all of us?” Squall mumbled sleepily. “Yeah.”

Soft snores came from Squall after his answer and Irvine spent a long moment watching the other sleep in his arms. Reaching out he turned off the bedside lamp, plunging the room into darkness. One thought followed him down as his snuggled with Squall and drifted off to sleep.

Why couldn’t they all be together?

To Be Continued…