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Squall Leonhart glared angrily at his drink. All the victory had gone out of this victory party, and he was extremely pissed off.

It had gone so well, at first. He'd managed to hide in his room for the first hour, until Rinoa came and dragged him out. Even then it was tolerable; he muttered the pleasantries she'd made him practice, as befitted a hero and Commander of Balamb Garden and all, and then most people seemed to be happy to leave him alone.

He'd managed to avoid Selphie's damn video, too. She was like some kind of manic reality-TV documentary maker, intent on capturing the most embarrassing aspects of this godsforsaken occasion for prosperity.

It wasn't that he didn't see the point of celebrating the freedom of the world from sorceress-induced tyranny. It just didn't seem to have anything to do with him, was all. And yet people seemed to expect him to be ecstatically happy all of a sudden, full of victory and hope and some sense of satisfaction.

Killing things never left him full of hope. Not even evil things. And it had been too close, that final battle. Too fucking close…

He closed his eyes against the memory; of fighting on and on, with Selphie and Zell and Quistis gone, and Rinoa bleeding to death next to him, nearly unconscious. It was only Irvine's presence, steady and calm as ever, that had stopped him throwing his gunblade away and taking Rinoa in his arms, never mind that Ultimecia would have killed them both at a stroke…

But he didn't. He ignored the love of his life as she lay dying and carried on with the killing, shoulder to shoulder with the man who had become his friend.

And it was alright in the end; Ultimecia went down and Rinoa managed to cure herself, and rescue him from time compression with her sorceress powers, and now was the victory and the happy ending.

But he wasn't happy at all.

Rinoa didn't seem to understand why he wasn't. She kept saying he deserved to be thanked and that people would look up to him, and celebrate his success. The idea appalled him; he'd done nothing, worse than nothing, he'd nearly got all the people he loved most in the world killed. And himself.

He hadn't run into battle on a white charger and saved the day, he'd been pushed every inch of the way, by Rinoa, by Irvine, by Cid, by Seifer…

He wasn't a hero. He'd just been too afraid to say no.

He necked his beer and reached for another. Rinoa just didn't understand…

"Fuckin' slut!" Selphie slumped into the chair next to him, Irvine's hat crooked on her head, her vivid green eyes narrowed to slits. She reached for a beer from the collection Squall had lined up in front of him, and hooked the cap off with her teeth, making him wince.

"Who?" he asked, not thinking.

"Kinneas!" She waved her bottle vaguely in the direction of the throng of people mingling in front of them, spilling a little of her beer in the process. "Fuckin' slut!"

"Oh," said Squall. It didn't seem the right time to point out to Selphie that Irvine's sluttishness was established fact, and hadn't seemed to bother her before. Quite the opposite: she often seemed to encourage it.

"What he doesn't understand," Selphie explained intently, "is that he should share. He never shares."

"Oh?" This was all very new territory for Squall, and really he would rather it remained unexplored.

Selphie stabbed her forefinger at her chest. "I share," she said, emphatically. "I shared Quististis, you know. And Rinonanona. You know, your Rinonanona." She thought for a moment. "Fuck, but they have stupid names," she reflected. "Not like Squall. Or Selphie. They're sensible names." She giggled. "Together we make Squelphie," she added, with a hiccup.

"Mmm," agreed Squall, quite pleased that she'd got off the slut theme, but not entirely sure what to make of this new direction.

"I've had a bit to drink," Selphie confided.

"It's a party," said Squall. "It happens."

"Yeah! Woohoo!" yelled Selphie. "So, why are you sittin' here all alone? Rinonanona's not a slut. Well, not any more. She's your slut now." She prodded him in the chest.

Squall flinched violently, and glared at her, but she didn't seem to notice. "We had a row," he murmured, "and no, I don't want to talk about it."

"You never want to talk about anything," sighed Selphie. "Except to Irvine. No wonder Rinonanona's pissed off with you."

Squall didn't answer her, gulping beer instead.

Selphie sighed. "I wish he wasn't such a slut," she said.

"You don't mean that," said Squall, in a manner he hoped was vaguely reassuring. It was hard to stay mad at Selphie over anything, even being prodded.

"No," said Selphie. "But he never shares. I told you, didn't I? He never shares."

"I'm sure he doesn't mean not to," said Squall. "He's very generous, generally speaking."

"Yes," mused Selphie. Then her eyes narrowed again, and she regarded Squall critically. "He didn't share you," she said. "And he promised."

Squall spluttered, choking on his beer. Selphie patted him vigorously on the back.

"Promised?" He said, recovering quickly, mostly because there's only so much of Selphie's back-patting that a man can stand, however many sorceresses he may have defeated. "But there was that time… all four of us…"

"Oh yes," she said dismissively, waving her beer about again. "But that was n'acccident. He hadn't meant to share you. Kept you to himself, he did. Fuckin' slut. He said we could seduce you together, and share. It was my idea, really. But when it came to it, would he share?" Her eyes went wide, she shook her finger under Squall's nose. "Nonononono. He wouldn't," she said. "He's a bad, naughty slut. Bad slut. Hn."

Squall stared at her, hypnotised by the bizarre nature of this whole conversation.

"So," Selphie carried on, "what about you and Rinonanonana?"

"What about us?" Squall was relieved to be off the subject of his being a shared object of lust for Selphie and Irvine, but at the same time scared as to where she might be taking the conversation next. He'd had enough surreal visions lately, what with time compression and all.

"How's it goin'?"

"It's not." Squall looked hard at his beer, suddenly intent on picking the label off the bottle.

"What d'you mean?"

"We broke up," he said.

"When?" Selphie frowned at him, genuine concern showing through the veil of drunkenness.

"Tonight. About an hour ago. She dumped me."

"No! Really? Why the fuck did she do that?"

"She said I didn't really care about her. That I was… what were her exact words? Oh yeah. A typical male, a selfish, ungrateful fuckwit."

"Fuckwit?" repeated Selphie, incredulously.

"Yep. That was about it," he said. "She's right, I think," he added. "At least about the selfish fuckwitty part." He took another gulp of beer, vaguely aware that his lips were starting to tingle as the alcohol gathered pleasantly in his system. "Oh, and the male part," he added. "That's true as well. I am. Male."

"Too right," said Selphie enthusiastically, running her eyes swiftly down his lean, leather-clad body.

Squall blushed and concentrated once more on shredding the label of his beer bottle.

"What did ya do?" asked Selphie, trying to straighten Irvine's hat on her head, but only succeeding in making it fall further over one eye.

"I don't know," Squall frowned. "I think she was pissed because I said she was more powerful than me, and that she didn't need me. And she didn't like it when I said she wouldn't need a knight so much now Ultimecia was gone. Oh, and I got a bit mad when she told me she'd slept with Seifer."

"Oh. Well, yeah," said Selphie. "I told her not to tell you."

"You knew?!" Squall looked at her in appalled surprise. "You never told me!"

"Not my place," said Selphie. "So she's one after all. A slut."

"Well, it was before we'd even met," said Squall, "so not really."

"But she had me, after you'd met," said Selphie, following no readily discernible path of logic. "And Irvine. But then she never shared you, once we'd got you for her." Her pretty little mouth formed a sulky pout. "No-one ever shares but me," she huffed.

Squall's frown deepened. "That's right," he murmured. "If she liked me so much, how come she'd sleep with anyone but me?"

"Sluts, the pair of 'em," said Selphie, with another hiccup.

They fell silent for a minute.

"Hey, Squall," Selphie's head bumped onto his shoulder; she looked up at him with big green eyes.

"What, Selphie?" he couldn't help smiling at her; she looked so cute in that hat, all drunk and fluttering her eyelashes at him, her little nose wrinkled up as she smiled back.

"I really fancy you."

She felt very nice, pressing up against his unusually relaxed body.

She smelt good, too.

"Hey, Squall," she was running one finger up and down his bare arm.

"Yeah, Selphie?" He found his heart was pounding in his chest; he couldn't work out exactly how drunk he was, and he was frightened and excited all at once.

"Fancy goin' somewhere to make out?"


"Rinoa's all done with you," she pointed out, her little pink tongue flicking up to his ear, "an' Irvine never shared. Figure it's my turn. Oh, go on, Squall…" her finger left his arm and started to move up his thigh instead. "You know you wanna."

He looked at her, the skin on his arm tingling where she'd stroked him.

"Where?" he gasped, breathlessly.

Selphie's face broke into a broad grin.

"Follow me," she said.

* * * * * * *

"Oh gods, Quistis…"


"I really need to get you out of these clothes. Well, some of them, anyway. You are wearing knickers, right?"

"Yes, of course I am. Do you think I could shake hands with Cid and Edea if I wasn't wearing knickers?"

Irvine pondered that for a moment, before deciding it must be something to do with feminine logic that he didn't understand, and resuming his exploration of Quistis' breasts instead, softly kissing her neck.

"What about Selphie?" panted Quistis, rubbing the impressive bulge in the front of his jeans with the back of her hand.

"She went off somewhere," murmured Irvine, "she can join in later, Hun. She won't mind, you know Selph. S'long as I share."

"Okay." That was about all the reassurance Quistis needed, considering the way every fibre of her being was screaming 'fuck him! now!' at full volume. "Think she'll be able to find us here?"

"Oh yeah," said Irvine, sliding his hand up her leg underneath her skirt, pausing for just a moment to enjoy the kinky leather of her boots. "She knows I've always wanted to do you in Cid's office."

"Really?" She pulled back a little, pulling her hair slide out to release her silky blonde mane.

"Oh yeah," growled Irvine. "Haven't you?"

Quistis smirked at him.

He reached the scrap of fabric that formed her panties, and tugged them down to her knees. While she was busy shimmying them down the rest of the way, he slipped his fingers into her wetness and kissed her, bullying her lower lip with his teeth.

"Hyne, you're wet. You ready, hun?"

"Oh yeah," said Quistis. "Do me, Kinneas."

With a growl, Irvine lay her back onto Cid Kramer's long-deserted desk, and slid inside her with one smooth stroke.

"Fuck, Kinneas, that feels good."

"Too right," murmured Irvine, taking one hard, rosy nipple between his lips.

"Selphie'd better hurry up if she wants to share," muttered Quistis. "I might just try and keep you all for myself."

Irvine paused for a moment to look at her, sprawled wantonly on the desk beneath him, and grinned.

* * * * * * *

Squall let Selphie lead him by the hand down the corridor, pleased to find out that although he felt pleasantly tingly from the alcohol, he could manage to walk more or less in a straight line. Or at least, he would be able to, if only Selphie wasn't veering all over the place.

"Mmmm," she considered, "training centre… no, too many monsters. Had 'nuff monsters… library… too quiet… oooh, Cid's office!"

"No," said Squall. "That's going to be my office from Monday, don't forget. It would be… kinda weird."

"Oh. Sure? Okay…"

"Maybe this isn't such a good idea," said Squall. "You're a bit drunk and…"

"Oh no, Leonhart, no welching now. Look, empty classroom. That'll do."

Squall found himself dragged suddenly to his left, and into a dark classroom. Quistis' old classroom, as a matter of fact.

"Now then," Selphie carefully closed the door behind them, and backed him up against the wall. "Kiss me, Commander."

For a brief moment Squall wondered what on earth he was doing, escaping the party where he was supposedly guest of honour, no more than an hour or two after breaking up with the woman he'd been all but living with for over two months, to make out with his best friend's girlfriend in an empty classroom.

Then Selphie reached up and twined her fingers in his hair, tugging his head down towards hers, and he stopped wondering anything very much at all. Their lips met, soft at first, and everything seemed very, very quiet and still. After a few quite chaste kisses, she pulled back.

"Is that okay, Commander?" she whispered.

Squall nodded. "If it's just kissing," he said. "'S okay, just kissing."

"Good," said Selphie, and pulled his head down again, prying open his mouth with hers this time, slipping her pointy little tongue inside. He moaned enthusiastically and wrapped his arms around her body, holding her close as he ravished her mouth in return.

* * * * * * *

"That was as astounding as ever, Kinneas." Quistis sat on the edge of Cid Kramer's desk, swinging her legs, as she did up her top.

"Why, it's very kind of you to say so, Ma'am," Irvine went to take his hat off and bow, and remembered suddenly that in fact his hat had last been seen cutely askew on his Seffie's head.

"I suppose we ought to get back," said Quistis. "Before someone misses us."

"I guess," Irvine held out his hand; she took it and jumped neatly off the desk.

"Thanks, Irvy," she said, with a warm smile, stroking his cheek with soft fingertips. "Selphie's a lucky woman."

"Mmmm," said Irvine, "maybe you should tell her that. She was looking a bit pissed last I saw her."

"Well, you have been flirting with every woman in Garden ever since we got back from Ultimecia. And a fair proportion of the men," Quistis pointed out.

"Yeah, I know," Irvine shrugged. "It must be a reaction to the near-death and all. Suddenly I'm horny all the time and I just can't seem to say no…"

Quistis laughed, crossing to the door and punching the release code into the keypad.

"And tell me, Irvine, that is different from your usual self how, exactly?

He looked a little hurt. "Sometimes I can say no," he protested. "And I… sometimes I can say no," he repeated.

They paused at the opening door.

"When?" she asked. "When have you ever said no?"


"Oh Kinneas," Quistis took his lips for one final kiss, and stuffed her knickers in the back pocket of his jeans as she did so. "You're such a slut."

* * * * * * *

"Gods, but you're a good kisser."

"Thanks." Squall licked his lips, a little out of breath. "You too."

She traced her fingers along his finely-sculpted cheekbones, down the line of his perfect nose. "You're so, so pretty," she purred.

To her delight, a slight flush raced across his cheeks.

He dipped his head to kiss her again, his tongue running along the inside of her lower lip, over the edge of her sharp little teeth. She responded enthusiastically, moving her mouth softly against his and lashing at his tongue with her own.

She slid one hand down his back, just skimming for the briefest moment over his tight, leather-clad ass.

He pulled back with a start.

"Just kissing," he said. "Remember?"

She pouted, looking adorably cute. "Aw, come on," she said. "We could go as far as second, surely?"

"What?" The combination of her kisses and the beer had made his mind foggy; he couldn't think what she meant for a moment.

"Second base. Just a little touchy-feely. Just a bit. That would be okay, wouldn't it? I mean, we're friends and all, Hyne, we've been to hell and back. Literally. And it feels good, doesn't it? When I do this? Kind of like a massage, really."

She was stroking the big muscles in his thigh firmly with her clever fingers. It felt somehow innocuous and incredibly dangerous all at once. He was very aware of the constriction of leather over his already aching hard-on.

She was looking at him from under Irvine's hat, with big, round eyes and that tiny pout on her kiss-bruised lips.

"Well, I guess…"

She was happy to take this as a yes, kissing him again before he had a chance to reconsider.

She felt amazingly soft and warm in his arms, he reflected, letting one hand rest steadily just above her knee as he kissed her back, losing himself again in the soft velvet of her mouth.

"Hmmnn," she purred happily, "oh, Squall, you feel so good…"

* * * * * * *

Irvine was on his way back to the party when Rinoa raced past him. She didn't even pause to say hello, but he got enough of a glimpse of red-rimmed eyes and shaking shoulders to realise that something was wrong.

"Hey, Rin!"

She didn't turn back; in fact she broke into a run, and then he lost sight of her in a crowd of people near the elevator.

He followed at a jog, but by the time he caught up there was no sign of her. He looked around. Elevator, library, or training centre?

Well, she was unlikely to have gone to the training centre; they were all suffering from monster overload at the moment. So that meant either the elevator, or the library. There were still people waiting for the elevator, so…. He turned and headed into the library.

Only Balamb Garden would leave its library open during a party, he mused. He flashed a grin at the girl with the ponytail who stood behind the counter, stamping books with a certain amount of understandable bad temper.

"Hey, you haven't seen Rinoa Heartilly, have you?"

"She was in here earlier, looking at books on relationships," said the pony-tail girl.


"Yeah, you know. Women Who Love Too Much, How to Live with a Taciturn Man, Ten Ways to Cope with the World Not Ending. That kind of thing."

"Oh. But she's not here now?"

Pony-tail girl shook her head. "Nope," she said. "She got her books out and went off. Probably back to the party," she added, bitterly.

"And you have to work? That sucks. How long do you have to stay here?" asked Irvine sympathetically.

"'Til closing," she said. "Another whole sodding hour."

"That's too bad," said Irvine, and meant it. Apart from anything else, the poor girl had to put up with being stalked by a ridiculously shy Zell Dincht half the time. She clearly had a hard life.

She looked up at him. "Yeah, like you care," she said.

"Oh, but I do," said Irvine, his violet eyes warm with concern. "It's not fair, that you don't get to find the fun. And you work so hard, too. I've noticed that, you see. You're always behind that counter."

"Yeah. Well. I'm glad someone noticed," she said, collecting the newly-stamped books into a pile. "The head librarian's a psychopath. Seems to think we should always be open."

She ducked under the counter, heading for a stack towards the back of the library with her arms full of books.

Irvine followed her.

"But what would happen, if you just shut up shop and went to the party anyway?" he asked. "I mean, surely you wouldn't get fired for that. Not after all we've been through."

"Wanna bet? All the librarians drew straws, and I lost. I have to keep the library open as usual. That's how it goes." She was straining to place a book on the top of the stack.

"That's really not fair," Irvine smiled at her. "Here, let me." He took the book from her, and popped it onto its shelf.

"Thanks. These belong up there too, if you wouldn't mind…"

"My pleasure," beamed Irvine. This time their hands touched as he took the books from her, and there was a distinct spark of heat that ran from her fingers to his. He paused fractionally, prolonging the contact just a little.

She smiled back at him, with a little more than gratitude.

"I bet no-one said you couldn't have any fun, though," he observed, casually.

"How d'you mean?"

"Well," he took the last book from her hand, lingering a little longer this time. "You have to stay here, but they didn't say you couldn't party."

"Someone brought me a glass of wine a little while back," she said wistfully. "And I can hear the music if I listen real hard."

"There you are," Irvine said, reaching for another book, and on finding there to be none left, taking her hand instead, "you can still party."

"It's not the same all by myself," she said, looking him straight in the eyes, mischief playing in her smile.

"I could help," said Irvine.

"Could you?" she asked, a little breathless.

"Well, I could get you in the mood," he cupped the back of her head in one hand, splaying long fingers around her ponytail.

"That sounds good," she murmured.

He bent his head to kiss her, growling with pleasure at the enthusiasm of her response.

"How's that," he murmured, kissing her throat, nuzzling under one ear. "Feeling more in the party mood?"

"Oh yeah," she husked.

She was trembling slightly in his arms, hitching one knee up to his waist and running a hand under his top to tease his nipples.


"So, sexiest librarian in Balamb," he said, between kisses to her soft, cherry-flavoured lips, "is there anything…. else I can do to help you celebrate this auspicious occasion?"

She pulled back a little bit to twinkle her big brown eyes at him. "What d'you have in mind?" she panted.

"Nothing in particular," Irvine murmured running a hand up her stockinged thigh. "Are you wearing knickers?"

* * * * * * *

"Hey! That's not second base!"

Selphie pulled back, and gave him a particularly mischievous look.

"Is too!" she said.

"You're undoing my pants," he said, watching her busy fingers with some consternation.

"So? Just… looking," she said, unconvincingly. "Or at least, just playing. A bit. There, see? Just helpin' you out a bit there… easy does it. Now, isn't that more comfortable?"

Squall whimpered as her little fingers wrapped themselves around his cock, freeing it from his painfully constrictive clothing. It was hard as a rock, and her touch was making it swell even more.

"Well, in that case," he whispered hoarsely, feverishly pushing the straps of her canary-yellow dress over her shoulders, "I guess I can do this." He kissed her again, long and deep, as he freed one small, pert breast from her lacy bra and cupped it softly in his hand, rolling her nipple between index finger and thumb.

"Yeah, that's just fine," murmured Selphie. "We could maybe go to third, I mean it would still be making out, not actual fucking, right?"

"No," said Squall firmly.

"Oh, alright then," said Selphie, the wicked expression on her face hidden from him as she nuzzled into his neck. "Two and a half it is."

* * * * * * *

"Wow. That was… amazing." She adjusted her pony-tail, smoothing her skirt down over her hips. "You're just as good as they say you are, aren't you?"

Irvine smiled an implausibly coy smile. "I couldn't possibly comment," he said.

"Well, I'm certainly in more of a party mood," she said, brightly. "And less than an hour to go before I can join in the fun."

"Tell you what," said Irvine, feeling beneficent all of a sudden, "why don't you go ask Zell Dincht for a dance when you get there? He's been dyin' to get to know you."

"Nah," she said. "I've been trying to get in his uniform for months. He doesn't even notice me. He doesn't notice anything except hot dogs."

"He's just shy," smiled Irvine. "Trust me."

She smiled back, tucking her shirt back into her skirt and straightening her uniform tie. "Okay," she said. "I hope you find Rinoa," she added.

Fuck! Rinoa! He'd completely forgotten.

"Thanks," he said. "I'd best go look."

She gave him a little wave goodbye, and got back to her books, humming contentedly.

* * * * * * *

"Oh, Squall, you're so… horny…"

"Mmm.. you too…"

"Why didn't we do this ages ago?"

"Don't remember…. hey!"

"What's up, Squally-boy?"

He gave her a delicious lopsided grin.

"You're not wearing any knickers, are you?"

She grinned back.

* * * * * * *

Irvine felt unconscionably happy as he strode along the corridor. He was having a good night, although it was a shame Selphie was missing out on the fun. And he was worried about Rinoa, although it seemed as if she and Squall had just had a little tiff… still, he didn't like the idea of her being unhappy, and he knew how pigheadedly stubborn Squall could be sometimes. And Rinoa didn't always understand Squall as well as he, Irvine, did…

He hesitated by the elevator. There was no-one about: everyone was at the party of tucked up in their own beds by now. She'd probably gone to bed herself, either with Squall for some make-up sex, or on her own to sulk until he went and grovelled to her in the morning…

He was about to turn round and go back to the party, in the hope of finding Selphie, when he heard a little sobbing noise coming from the direction of the elevator.

He pressed the call button, and the door opened straight away.

Huddled in a little heap on the floor, hugging her knees and crying her heart out, was Rinoa.

* * * * * * *

Squall struggled to keep some kind of a hold on his rational thought processes. It was getting more difficult by the minute; Selphie's kisses were turning his brain to mush, never mind the way she was teasing his cock, not taking it completely in her hand but just palming the top and flirting with his shaft randomly with talented fingers.

He dabbled his own fingers in her wetness, seriously considering sliding one or two of them inside her, and wondering vaguely whereabouts on the virtual baseball diamond that might take them…

"Oh, Squall, I want you…"

"Hyne, Selphie…"

"Please, Squally, I want you…" she whined, "please…"

"We can't," he said, "not here." The alcohol had worn off a bit now; he was starting to feel just a little nervous that they might be discovered. On the other hand, Selphie felt unbelievably good in his arms, and increasingly it wasn't his mind that he was thinking with, drunk or otherwise.

"Then let's go somewhere else," said Selphie. "Anywhere. Where would be good?"

"The dorm," Squall heard himself say. "My old dorm's still empty. It's only just along the corridor."

Selphie grinned brightly at him, straight away turning her attention to carefully restoring his cock to his pants and zipping him up. "Come on then, commander," she said. "Follow me!"

Fighting a rising sense of panic, Squall absently licked her juices from his fingers and followed her.

* * * * * * *

"So you guys have actually broken up?"

Irvine sat opposite Rinoa in the elevator, watching as she sniffled into his handkerchief.

"Yes," she looked at him, her eyes brimming with fresh tears. "I dumped him. I really did."

Irvine's good mood had completely evaporated in the face of Rinoa's misery.

"You can make up again," he said, taking one of her hands in his, gently massaging her fingers and palm. "All lovers have tiffs from time to time."

"We don't… didn't," she said. "Ever. We just don't. I meant it, Irvine, I've had enough."

"But you love him, Princess."

"Yes, but… Irvine, he's so pigheaded. He won't admit that he feels insecure because of my power. He won't believe me when I tell him it's okay. And he just never fucking lightens up, it's always duty and responsibility and… he never talks to me anymore. Not since Ultimecia."

"It's only been a couple weeks, sweetheart. You've both got a lot of adjustin' to do. Hyne, we all have. None of us is actin' right sane just now."

"I just can't do it, Irvine," she said. "Not anymore. I think he used up all the understanding I had. When's it my turn, huh?"

"It'll come in time."

"I want it now. I need it now, not in six months time when he's got his fucking head sorted out. I need someone to hold, Irvy, someone to tell me it's all right and take my mind off the memories and the… oh, my, that feels nice."

He had moved his massage to her wrist. "You're very tense," he said. "Here, turn around. Let me do your shoulders."

"Would you? Oh, that would be so good… you're right, I've been finding it so hard to relax…"

She turned round and scooted backwards so she knelt between his legs, her back almost touching his front. He gently brushed her long raven locks out of the way, and started to knead the muscles at the base of her neck. He could smell her perfume, light and flowery, reminding him of the flower meadow at Winhill.

"Oh, Irvine, that's so good…"

He kissed her hair. "You want me to talk to Squall for you, Princess?"

"No," she said, firmly. "I've made my decision. We obviously needed to be together to save the world. Now is a different matter. If he can't get over that I have power, and be happy for me, rather than thinking I don't need him…"

"Hey, shhh, you're undoin' all my good work here, Hun."

"Sorry." She sank back into his touch. "Sorry. He just gets me so wound up."


They were quiet for a while as Irvine worked diligently on Rinoa's tense muscles, prodding and kneading her tired, anxious flesh.

He slipped the soft cream cardigan off her shoulders to give himself better access to the knots around her shoulder blades. The glimpse of bare skin it afforded him suddenly reminded him of a day many months ago, in Selphie's bathroom, when he'd drenched that fair skin in champagne and…

She giggled.

"What's funny?" he asked.

"Well," she said, "there's something pressing against my back, and I don't remember you having your gun with you."

"Sorry," he said. "Can't help it. You're just plain gorgeous, Princess. What's a guy to do?"

She wriggled a little further back, leaning into his chest.

"I could think of a thing or two," she said.

"But Rin, Squall…"

"We're history, Irvine. And I'm sad, and lonely..."

He stilled his hands.

"I'm sorry, Rinoa. I can't make love to you. I don't want to hurt Squall, or you."

She turned and stared at him, astounded.

"But Irvy…"

"I'm sorry, Princess. But no."

* * * * * * *

Selphie tumbled into Squall's old dorm, dragging him after her. "Hey, Commander," she said, "first thing Monday, you gotta do something about these Garden issue beds. They're so narrow. You've no idea the trouble me 'n' Irvy have in his… mind you he'll be a SeeD soon, so then he'll get a big comfy bed and…what's wrong?"

Squall slumped on his old bed, wrestling with far more feelings than he knew what to do with. It suddenly dawned on him, seeing this room, seeing where he'd come from, that he didn't know where he was going. He had no idea what happened next. For the first time in his life, there was no one to tell him what he was supposed to do.

He'd thought that Rinoa would be there after Ultimecia, to help. To tell him what to say to people. To make everything feel better. But here he was, alone again. He'd fucked it all up, just as soon as he possibly could. He was alone, and hurting more badly than he'd ever thought he could.

He could already feel the wall of ice going up, and he didn't want it to. He didn't want to be alone again.

"Squally, what's wrong?" Selphie had bounced onto the bed next to him, and was stroking his hair back from his eyes.

Selphie. His best friend's girlfriend. What on earth was he doing?

"I can't do this," he said.

"Why not?" She pouted, swaying a little tipsily. "We agreed, it was bad of Irvine not to share, and Rinonanona's all done with you. So I get a turn!"

However drunk she was, the pretty face smiling hopefully at him was Selphie through and through, always looking on the bright side, encouraging them all. Generous to a fault, and offering such simple, straightforward affection, without making any demands on anyone at all. Except, possibly, Irvine.

"You can't tell me Irvine wouldn't be pissed at me if he was here," said Squall.

"If Irvy was here he'd already have you stripped buck naked and begging for it," she said somewhat enviously. "I don't know what he's got that I haven't. Oh, crap, you're going to back out on me, aren't you? And I wanted you so much…"

"I'm sorry, Selph," said Squall. "I've just got so much on my mind…"

"Tell me," she said.

"No, I don't…"

Selphie sighed deeply, and snuggled up to his side, pulling his arm around her shoulders. "Come on, Commander," she said, "if you're not going to fuck me, you may as well talk."

"I don't do talk," he said. "But thanks."

"Oh, yes you do," she said. "We got over all that nonsense months ago, remember?"

He looked at her, her cute little upturned nose, Irvine's hat still, impossibly, perched on her head, threatening to fall in her eyes. There was just something about her that he found impossible to refuse. He saw a tiny shred of hope that maybe he didn't have to go back to the way he'd been before, after all.

"I don't know what to do," he said. "I'm all alone again, and I don't know what to do." He gasped, as if it had cost him more than just breath to say it.

"Oh, poor baby," whispered Selphie. "Dammit, how could Rinoa…"

"It's not her fault, Selphie. She doesn't owe me anything. Fuck, it's me who owes her. I owe her my life. I can't blame her for leaving me."

"Oh, baby…" she caught a tear rolling down his cheek with her fingertip. "It's okay, baby. It's okay. Let me look after you."

She started to gather his T-shirt, pushing it up his sleekly muscled chest.

He looked down at her busy fingers, startled.

"What are you doing?"

She gave him a little smile.

"I'm gonna make you feel better, baby. I'm gonna make you feel real good, and then we'll decide what to do about everything. Just let Selphie take care of you, huh?"

"But Irvine…"

"This is what Irvine did for you, didn't he? He just made you feel good?"


"Uncomplicated love," she whispered. "Comfort, to make the pain go away, huh?"

He looked helplessly at her for a moment, before she pulled his shirt over his head and threw it on the floor behind them.

"Just let it go, baby," she crooned. "Let Selphie make you feel better. Okay?"

She waited a moment, holding the gaze of his cloudy grey eyes in her vivid green. All the lust he'd felt for her back in Quistis' old classroom came back to him in a rush; he imagined how good it would feel to escape, just for a while, from his newly-rediscovered loneliness and confusion. To stop that wall from going up, to wrap himself up in her hot, willing body.

"Okay," he whispered.

She smiled, not triumph or victory, but genuine affection, and started to wriggle out of her own clothes. She took Irvine's hat off, and plonked it onto Squall's head, unzipping her dress and sliding it easily off her shoulders.

"Just one thing," said Squall, ignoring the hat for now.



"What was that for?"

"I want you sober. I need to know you… mean it."

She laughed. "You think I only wanted you because I was drunk?"

"I didn't want you to do something you'd regret later."

"Oh, you silly. I wasn't that drunk. Just playing around. I've wanted you since I first laid eyes on you." She reached behind her to undo her bra and slipped the straps off each shoulder before tossing it to the floor behind her, letting her pert little breasts bounce free.

"Oh, Selphie," he moaned softly, sliding his hands around the soft skin of her waist. "You sure this is okay?"

"Oh yeah," she said, as she set about divesting Squall of his leather pants, "this is just fine…"

* * * * * * *

"I can't believe I've been turned down by Irvine Kinneas." The tears were threatening to engulf Rinoa's puppy-dog eyes again.

"It happens," said Irvine. "It's because I care about you."

She looked forlornly at him.

"I've been turned down by the Sniper Slut of Galbadia," she said, her lower lip trembling slightly.

"Don't take it to heart, Rin," he soothed, stroking her inky-black hair. "It's my only rule. No-one gets hurt." He thought for a moment. "Oh, and no spanking," he said. "Never got into spanking, somehow."

Her eyes narrowed slightly.

"I'm tryin' to do the right thing here, darlin'," he said. "Work with me, huh?"

"I'm not with Squall any more," she said. "I'm a single girl. I can fuck who I like."

"But it's very… recent, this not being with Squall," he said. "You might change your mind. This is way too soon."

She huffed. "Squall didn't seem to think so," she muttered.


"Squall. You mean you didn't see him slobbering all over Selphie?"

"What?" he repeated, his brain suddenly not working terribly well.

"They left the party together, and I saw them staggering out of a classroom down the hall there a little while back. All over each other like a rash. So don't go telling me what's too soon and what isn't."

He stared at her.

"Selphie?" he said, weakly, "and Squall?"

"Yeah. You must have seen them at the party, she was all flirty and … oh, mind you, I didn't see you around. Where were you?"

"What?" he started to come to his senses. "Oh, it doesn't matter." I was fucking Quistis' brains out on Cid Kramer's desk. So who am I to complain if Selphie goes to find the fun? But Squall… why Squall?

"Oh well," Rinoa scrambled unsteadily to her feet. "I've dumped the man of my dreams, got turned down by the Sniper Slut of Galbadia, and seen my best friend run off with my ex-boyfriend of two hours. I think I'll head off to bed before things get any worse."

She was about to leave the elevator; Irvine barred her way with one long arm.

"No," he said.

She looked calmly at him.

"Stay," he said, hitting the 'close door' button. "I've changed my mind."

One corner of her mouth twitched into a little smile. "Why?"

Irvine set the elevator for the second floor; it lurched into life. "Because you don't deserve to be miserable, after all you've gone through," he said, and punched the stop button.

The lift screeched to a halt, half way between the first and second floors.

"Are you serious?" she whispered. She was breathing rapidly, and her heart was pounding so hard it was making her breasts quiver.

He pulled her to him, and kissed her deeply.

* * * * * * *

"Fuck, Squall, you really are a good kisser," Selphie murmured, running her hands smoothly over the sleek skin of his back, his hair falling into her face and tickling her nose.

"You too. So soft and … oh, Selph… you're so wet…"

"All your fault," she told him. "You're so damn gorgeous and good at everything…"

He captured her mouth again, and took a few moments to kiss her breathless. She groaned loudly, pressing her little breasts up against his chest and tangling her fingers in his hair.

It felt like heaven, her hot little body writhing under him, so full of life and energy. He slid two fingers easily inside her, gasping as she clutched at them with her muscles and started rolling her hips, pressing the hard nub of her clitoris against the palm of his hand. She was tormenting his cock again, grazing her fingertips steadily up and down its length, teasing his foreskin back and spreading his precome over the smooth head.

She was alive. For all his fears, for all the risks he'd taken, she was still alive, and soft, and Selphie, writhing here in his arms, warm and generous and wanting him. She was alive.

He'd got them through. Whatever might have nearly happened, didn't. This had happened. They had fought everything, and risked everything, and they had won.

He rolled her gently onto her back and knelt between her spread legs. He cupped her face in one hand, kissed her pink, swollen lips, and paused, supporting himself on one strong arm, while he rubbed the head of his cock back and forth over the plump folds of her vulva, lingering over her throbbing clitoris. He held her gaze all the while, watching the furnace of her lust turn white-hot, sinking slowly inside her at last with a low moan. She was so wet and tight, clutching at him with strong muscles and slender limbs, crying out her joy.

She was alive.

This was what victory tasted like.

* * * * * * *

A chrome-lacquered rail ran around the inside of the elevator at about head height; whether for purely aesthetic reasons or for some functional purpose wasn't entirely clear. But Rinoa found it very handy to hang on to as Irvine lifted her off the ground and held her against the wall; she curled her fingers around the cool metal, enjoying the stretch on her upper body, as he pushed the soft silk of her dress up her thighs. He found the elastic of her knickers and pulled them down, then set about kissing her senseless again. She wrapped her strong thighs around his waist, giving him just enough room to hitch his belt open and unzip his jeans, sucking her breath in sharply as she felt his cock spring free, every bit as big and hard as she'd remembered.

"Gods, you're beautiful, Rin," Irvine kissed her throat, barely resisting the temptation to leave a mark on her pale, creamy skin. He undid the laces at the bodice of her dress, and cupped one full breast in his hand, teasing her nipple with his thumb as he stroked her folds with expert fingers. He parted the swollen lips of her sex and lowered her carefully over his ever-ready cock, caressing her clitoris in lazy circles with one fingertip.

She moaned her way down onto him, gripping the bar tightly and clenching her thighs around his waist. He settled himself inside her and closed his eyes for a moment, savouring the tight hug of her entrance around the root of his cock, nudging her cervix with its head. He ran his tongue over one hard nipple, rolling it between gentle teeth, and then started, slowly, to thrust.

The pleasure engulfed him, blanked his mind of worry and nightmare, made it abundantly and incontrovertibly clear that he was not alone. That he could make Rinoa writhe in ecstasy in his arms, make her feel as if her skin were on fire and every part of her body was alive with desire. That he could make her feel loved, and wanted, and better.

She reached her first orgasm in moments, months of tension washing away in a pleasure so intense it made her bite down on her lower lip so hard the blood flowed.

Irvine kissed her tenderly as the echoes faded, and licked the coppery life force from her lips.

"So beautiful, Princess… you're so beautiful…"

* * * * * * *

Squall kept moving as Selphie came, long, slow thrusts, giving her something to come against, and watched her face, a picture of pure, flushed joy.

"Oh Squall… fuck you're good at this…" her eyes opened, sparkling at him, a grin spreading across her face. He felt her hands on his ass, fingers sliding down his crack, finding the soft dimple of his anus and teasing the delicate skin.

He plunged all the way inside her, and paused, not trusting his body for a moment.

"That feel good?"

"Uhuh," he nodded. "Oh, yeah."

"Is this what Irvine does to you?" she asked, applying just enough pressure to slide inside him a little bit, wriggling her finger as the tight ring of muscle contracted hard around the invasion.

"Not… no, he… I've been… I've never…" a mixture of embarrassment and fierce enjoyment of what she was doing to him rendered him completely inarticulate.

Her eyes widened. "You fucked Irvine?" she asked, "not the other way around?"

"Hn," he managed, grey eyes cloudy and rapidly losing focus. He didn't particularly want to talk about Irvine, for a whole host of reasons he didn't understand right now.

"Oh, hyne, Squall, you're just the hottest piece of ass I've ever come across."

"If you keep doing that I'm going to come," he said, somehow finding his voice, "and I don't want to, just yet."

She gently removed her finger, with a mischievous look. "Okay, Commander," she said. "Whatever you say. Just fuck me."

He groaned, and started to thrust again. He ran his long fingers over her slender body, pinching her nipples, licking the undersides of her breasts. He looked down at her, his eyes tinged with silver behind their curtain of hair. Selphie pondered for a moment how very, very good he looked in Irvine's hat, but before she managed to turn thought to compliment he was grinding his hips against hers, starting a satisfying friction that she knew would swiftly make her come again.

"Oh Selphie," he murmured, "oh, fuck, Selphie…oh gods…"

She ground her own body against his in counterpoint, feeling the pressure building fast.

He took one last look at her, flushed and wanton in his arms, her lips moving silently as she got closer to her pleasure; one last look as she clutched at his shoulders, growling deep in her throat; one last look as she arched her back and came all around him, every part of her body shuddering against him. One last look before he started to pump her full of his hot come, his joy, his life.

He kept thrusting, panting her name, until he was spent. His arms gave way and he collapsed on top of her; she gave a little squeak and a giggle. He murmured an apology and rolled off her, trailing his fingers through chestnut hair, pulling her into his side, smiling as she flung an arm and a leg around him, snuggling her pretty little face into his neck.

Selphie listened to his heartbeat under her cheek. She treasured the way he was stroking her hair, the rare contentment radiating from his usually fraught body, and waited.


"I know, Squall, hun." She swept the bangs back from his flushed cheeks. "We need to talk."

* * * * * * *

She was meeting his thrusts, using the rail for leverage, grinding herself hard against him. She yelled "fuck!" at the top of her voice as she came around him, banging her head against the side of the elevator, bucking and writhing in his arms like a demon.

It was too much, even for Irvine. He gave up any attempts at control over his body and spurted inside her, balls clenched tight, his head thrown back, holding her still now so he could feel the final thrusts more strongly, strong fingers almost bruising her hips.

His knees buckled, and he sank to the floor, sliding Rinoa's sweat-slicked back down the elevator wall to join him in a panting, gasping heap.

"Oh gods," she croaked happily. "Fuck. Oh gods."

"Right with you there, Princess. You okay?"

She nodded, a wide, sexy grin spreading across her face.

"You're a hot little minx, you know that?"

She giggled, wrinkling her pretty little nose. "I need a shower," she said.

"Yeah, me too," said Irvine.

"Oh no," she shook her finger at him. "Not that kind of shower. The kind where I get clean."

"Strangely enough," said Irvine, "you might actually be safe. I think you fucked my brains out."

"Really? You're still hard." She wriggled on him, to prove her point.

"That's not where I keep my brains," he said, "despite what everyone says about me."

She looked at him for a moment.

"Whatcha thinkin'?" he asked.

She smiled. "I was thinking how lovely you are," she said. "Not wanting to take advantage of me and… if it wasn't for you I wouldn't have got together with Squall in the first place."

He watched the shadow cross her face.

"Come on, Rin," he said, pushing her hair back over her shoulders, rubbing his thumb softly across her lower lip. "Let's go to your quarters and get cleaned up. Then we can sort this mess out, huh?"

She gave him a tiny smile, and nodded.

"Yes please," she whispered.

* * * * * * *

"You won't say anything about this, will you? To Irvine, or Rin?"

"No, Squall. It's just between you and me. I promise."

* * * * * * *

"Irvine, you won't tell Squall about this, will you?"

"Not if you don't mention it to Selphie. Not that she'd mind, just that… I've not been sharing much lately. She hates it when I don't share."

* * * * * * *

"Not that it matters, but…"

"You know you love her, Squall. All you have to do is tell her."

"She doesn't need me, Selph. She really…"

"Of course she does. Don't be silly. Who else is going to help her come to terms with all the scary power? Who else is going to help her through the ordinary, every day stuff, the SeeD exams and dealing with her father, and just being alive? Being a sorceress is easy, Squall. Being a woman is fucking difficult. Believe me, I know."

"I didn't mean it, you know. When I got mad about Seifer. I was just jealous. I didn't mean to hurt her. I know she never loved him."

"Tell her, Squall. Just be honest with her."

"I thought I'd lost, Selph," he said. "I thought that after all that, I'd lost. Lost Rin, lost you…"

"But you didn't," she said. "We're all still here."

"What next, though? What happens now?"

"Well," Selphie sat up and reclaimed Irvine's hat, plonking it on her head, "we get you all cleaned up and back to the party. And then we carry on. You'll learn how to be the best Commander Balamb's ever known, and Irvine will be the best slut to ever come out of Galbadia, and I'm going to rebuild Trabia Garden. Apart from that, Commander," she kissed the very tip of his nose, "we'll just have to wait and see."

"Oh," he said.

She appraised him critically, Irvine's hat slipping over one eye again.

"Come on, Commander," she said. "Time to party."

* * * * * * *

"Why doesn't he see that I love him? Why does he have to feel bad because I saved his life? Is it really that hard for him to think I have more power than he does?"

"I don't think it's that, Princess." Irvine rubbed her damp skin with a warm, fluffy towel. "I think it's more that he thinks he let you down."

"Oh, please. Not more macho crap…"

"No, sweetheart. It's not like that. It's more that he got a very clear view of what would have happened if he failed, and he didn't like it."

"What, dying in time compression?"

"No, Princess, losing you. He nearly lost you to Ultimecia, and I don't think he could have lived with himself."

"But he… I was fine."

"You nearly weren't. And he didn't save you. He chose not to save you."

"It was me or the rest of the world. Of course he couldn't have saved me."

"Tell him, Princess. He needs to hear it."


"Just tell him."

* * * * * * *

"Irvine! There you are! Come over here, look at this!"

Irvine felt his heart melt at the sight of his Seffie, frantically beckoning him over. She'd obviously forgotten completely about whatever she'd been pissed at him about.

He cuddled her with one arm, following the direction of her gaze, out to the balcony.

Rinoa stood, beautiful in the moonlight, a soft breeze ruffling her hair. She was smiling, eyes twinkling, one finger raised…

The camcorder beeped to tell them it had run out of battery, but they didn't notice.

Squall exchanged a long look with Rinoa, and he smiled. Then they were in each others' arms, and suddenly it didn't seem to be right to be watching anymore.

"Oh Seffie," Irvine hugged her close to him. "I'm sorry I've been behaving like a complete prick."

"We've all been a bit crazy," she whispered. "It doesn't matter. I love you."

"Love you too, babe."

"I don't suppose you feel like going somewhere and…"

Irvine felt his heart sink a little. "Thing about that is, I'm not sure I could…"

"No, I meant just to cuddle," she said, slipping her hands into the back pockets of his jeans. "I'm a bit beat myself."

"Oh, well, yeah." He kissed her forehead. "Then again who knows, maybe later…"

"Irvine, hun…."

"Yes, babe?"

"You have a pair of knickers in your pocket."

"Really?" His voice all innocence.

"Whose are they?"

"Um… well, I think they might be Quistis'."

"So that's where you've been all this time?"

He looked sheepishly at her. "Kinda," he said.

To his immense relief, her face broke out into a huge grin, her eyes sparkling at him.

"Honestly, Irvine," she grinned. "You are such a slut."

"I guess," he said, cheerfully. "But you know you wouldn't want me any other way."

"No," she said. "I wouldn't. But next time, make sure you share."

He grinned back at her. "Of course, Seffie. I promise."

He pulled her into his arms and held her, his body responding instantly to hers, despite the rigors of the evening.

"Hey, Seffie… you still want to go somewhere?"

She pulled back to give him a wicked look.

"Sure. Hey, how about the library?"

"It's shutting soon. Cid's office?

"It'll be Squall's on Monday. Not the same. Classroom?"

"Too tame. Training centre?"

"Had enough of monsters. One of the elevators?"

"Too cramped. Tell you what, Seffie, why don't we just go to your room?"

"Hmmm," she considered. "The one with the big, warm bed and CD player and the champagne in the fridge?"

"Yeah," said Irvine, with a grin. "And I've got a huge tub of ice cream and a fresh bottle of elixir."

She took the too-big hat off her head, stood on tiptoe and placed it carefully back in it's usual place on Irvine's.

"Lead the way, Cowboy," she said.