Heh, alrighty… The first page was ridiculously long… and that happens to be all I’ve written so far. I wanted to submit it to Weiila but it’s unfinished gulp and not likely to be done for some time, due to length, not lack of writing.
So… I’ll post a little bit. It’s a FFVIII fanfic… Oh, and the stuff written in italics is a flashback… but I don’t know if I’ll even get to that part yet. Wait, maybe I will.
Rinoa tossed in the hot bed, feeling sweat run into every crack and crevice. She couldn’t get comfortable; it felt like she was covered in a coating of grime. She ran a hand over the intruder in her body, feeling the moisture clinging to the downy hairs on her skin. She cursed herself in her mind for ever wanting this… this thing.
Her vehemence scared her, and she frantically cast her eyes about the room, to try and distract herself from her thoughts…
There, to her left.
The young woman felt her anger subside only slightly as she watched him. His chest rose and fell softly, and his dark hair was forever in his eyes. Part of her wanted to slap him for being so damn comfortable, and the other part wanted to take him in her arms and…
No! She couldn’t even do that! Oh how she wanted to… Oh…‘Wanted’ wasn’t nearly a strong enough word.
Rinoa rolled onto her back with a sound half-way between a groan and a sob.
Her small sound of distress woke up her lover. He reached a hand out into the air to comfort her, fingers sliding over the slick surface of her skin. He found her in the blackness by following the heat of her body and the smell of her hair.
She seemed to him to be glowing, as his eyes began to focus and he could make out her shape. It had to be the starlight reflecting off that alabaster skin of hers. He suddenly craved the weight of her, and large rounded shapes filled his hands and arms as he drew her near to him.
She acquiesced, but only for a moment until the heat became too much to bear. Then she pushed him away, wiping the salt from beneath her tired eyes. There was silence between them, but it wasn’t the awkward kind. They had gotten over that quickly, thank the Gods. She couldn’t stand anymore of the nervous shuffling and sideways glances from him. Granted, he’d had a reason at that point in time, but he had rallied smartly.
Squall stepped out of bed and pushed aside the netting that kept the bugs out. Not that the wide-open balcony door was helping any. It wasn’t helping him, so there was no way she felt any better. The weather hadn’t let up for near on a month, and the heat had been likened to waiting for a fever to reach its pitch and break in sweet rain, but there wasn’t a cloud in sight.
He walked around to Rinoa’s side of their bed, accidentally brushing by Angelo as he passed the foot. The dog stood up and whined nervously, wagging her tail, unsure of what to do. The past months had been confusing for the loyal animal, but she still slept at the foot of the bed every night. Squall gave her a quick scratch before continuing towards Rinoa and sitting gently beside her on the bed. The mattress sank slightly, and Rinoa leaned towards him almost automatically. He pushed her heavy ebony hair out of her face and off her temples, and smiled down at her, unsure of what to do.
[i]Rinoa was sitting at a grimy table in a grimy pub in a grimy town. She looked like she belonged there, but Squall would never say that to her. He was only safe thinking it. Not that she wasn’t still gorgeous… it was just that she was, well… dirty. Her white tank top was stained with blood and other substances, and her dark jeans were singed and torn, showing off altogether too much flesh for his liking. He frowned slightly at the stretch of beautifully tanned thigh showing through a precisely placed rip.
Not like he looked any better.
Covered in sweat and stubble, and overlayed with a fine coating of dirt, he certainly couldn’t criticize her. Also, he was sure he had more blood on his shirt than she did. He wiped the back of his hand across his jeans, making a face at the resulting smudge. Yes, regardless of splatter-placement, he definitely had more blood on him.
Eyes followed the tall young seeD as he slapped some money down on the counter and made his way back to the dimly lit corner table. Rinoa smiled at him, a little too brightly.
“Perhaps not the way we intended to spend the past couple of days,” she admitted, “but as long as the food isn’t poisonous, I’m not going to complain.” She adjusted the hot, heavy leather gauntlets that were laced to her forearms, and her hair fell limply over her face. She rolled her eyes and pulled it back into a loose ponytail with a leather strap that looked as though it had seen better days. Sweat shone on her skin in the light from the greasy lamps.
“I didn’t think it was possible to sweat through leather,” Rinoa continued, “but here I have. I feel disgusting.” She sighed. It was true. She really did. On the other hand, there wasn’t a hope in hell that she could actually clean herself up in this greasepit of a town, so she was going to have to live with it.
A high female voice called through the smoke, and Squall and Rinoa turned to see Selphie making her way towards the table. Saying the shorter SeeD looked ‘the worse for wear’ would be a gross understatement. What a wonderful trio they made.
Short hair pinned haphazardly back from her round face accompanied the rips and tears, spills, stains, and scorch marks in her top and skirt. She navigated her way around the tables carefully, avoiding both jagged splinters of broken wood, and amorous grabs from the local male population. Squall grinned as a comment from one of the regulars unleashed invective from Selphie that would make Zell blush on a good day. She turned with a toss of her head and continued towards them.
Her high boots were damp and sweaty and came away from the floor with a nasty sucking sound as she approached. She pulled up a rickety chair from a neighbouring table and sat down beside Rinoa, looking around with interest.
“You sure know how to pick 'em Commander,” Selphie joked. “Though I’d say we fit in pretty damn well in this shithole.” She waved almost rabidly at the barmaid for a drink, then tossed a grimy leather pouch on the table and rooted around in it.
“Thanks,” Squall’s sarcasm was fairly apparent. “Where’s everyone else?” He asked. Selphie pulled several gil and a worn metal case out of the pouch, then re-fastened it to her belt before answering.
“Quistis,” she started, flipping the metal case open and taking out a cigarette. “Quistis is somewhere along here trying to find a replacement bolt for Save the Queen. Everyone else… I have no idea where the hell they might be. Prowling?” Selphie suggested as she struck a match and lit it, simultaneously pulling a caked ashtray towards her. Rinoa looked mildly annoyed, but it was a habit that she and Squall had picked up recently. The exhausted sorceress sighed, shoving the case into the middle of the table.
“When you can’t beat 'em, join 'em,” Rinoa said with a shrug. Squall leaned over and helped himself.
Rinoa shifted how she was sitting, crossing one ankle over the other knee, contemplating what various substances she might be inhaling at this very moment. Each breath tasted like a damp boot. Oh, what glamorous work for a SeeD… for a Sorceress.
Selphie tapped the ash off her cigarette and stared absently over her shoulder towards the door. The barmaid arrived with her drink; a sinister looking concoction in a thick, greenish glass. The busty woman cleared her throat, bringing Selphie back to reality with a start.
“Oh sorry… I’m just so tired…” Selphie apologised, handing over payment for the drink. Rinoa could see the blood under her fingernails, and the welts left by the leather gloves she used to protect her hands.
They were all tired. It had been someone’s bright idea to send SeeD out to dispatch the remnants of the Lunar Cry, which were now happily settled in all over the world. It had been a tough job so far, and was still nowhere near done. Squall, Rinoa, and Zell, along with Quistis, Irvine, and Selphie were travelling throughout Centra and the ruins currently, flushing out anything dangrous that happened to reside there. Unfortunately travelling solely on foot had its disadvantages. This town was one of them.
Dinner arrived and Squall eyeballed his plate, wishing that he’d at least requested a clean set of dishes. Rinoa caught the look on his face and laughed, putting her head down on the rough wooden table. After some time, she sat up again, looking refreshed.
“I’m glad you find this so funny Heartilly,” Squall glanced at her. He was irritated that she would find his discomfort so humorous.
Rinoa looked at him, reading the tone of his voice. She sighed, watching him as he shelled himself up again. She turned from him to Selphie for the rest of the meal, ignoring him until he was ready to talk to her again. This was one of the many skills she had rapidly acquired for use in dealing with her boyfriend. She hated that term, but there wasn’t anything else to call him yet.
After dinner was complete, emerging from the damp atmosphere of the bar into the night air was like being thrown into a lake. Squall lifted his thick, damp hair off his neck, allowing the faint breeze to cool his skin. He stretched and turned to Rinoa, who was fanning herself dramatically with one hand, choosing the possibility of a cooling breeze to the surety of looking like a fool.
“We can camp for the night, or try to find an inn.” Squall said, peering up the street, determined to ignore the fact that she was ignoring him.
Rinoa looked around, and spotted Quistis walking towards them, tailed by Irvine and Zell.
“If we can find a clean one, I wouldn’t mind sleeping in a bed for the first time in weeks.” She said, waving an arm to attract their attemtion. She personally had her doubts about finding a clean bed, but the word bed just tempted her too much. “We may as well look. If not, we can set up camp outside town quickly enough.”
The other party members arrived, and nodded in agreeance to Rinoa’s suggestion. They started up the street in a group, but before they had gotten far, there was a commotion to the left. Through an open door that Squall was sure led into yet another grimy bar, a person came tumbling out head over heels, landing in a puddle of filth on the cobblestones. Squall stepped back from the door just in time to avoid the little man, and Quistis leaned down to help him up.
“Are you alright?” She asked the man automatically. In reality, she was far to tired to care. He pushed a tattered hat back down on his head and glared at her for a moment before scuttling off into the darkness. Quistis stood up and shrugged, looking into the pub through the doorway. Suddenly a familliar voice called out, and a tall man stepped through the door and into the street.
“Now there’s someone I haven’t heard in a long time,” Seifer’s eyes were blue creases of amusement. He stood in a t-shirt and grubby jeans, trademark white trenchcoat slung over one shoulder, and Hyperion within easy reach. Quistis’ cool blue eyes met his straight on.
“Seifer… always a pleasure.” Quistis put one hand on her hip and looked him over from hear to toe, her expression dripping with scorn. “May I ask what you’re doing in… these parts?” Her voice was like ice. Seifer looked hurt.
“Now now, is that any way to greet an old friend? I don’t need a hall pass to be here do I?” His voice was rough and gravelly, and his eyes were slightly unfocused. He smirked, staring at Quistis until her eyes dropped. She turned away abruptly and shrugged.
"No, I suppose you don’t, but I’m no “old friend.” The blond woman glanced sidelong at her former student. Seifer’s half-smile graduated into a grin, and he stared right into her eyes.
“Y’got that right.”
Squall stood up straight, intending to call this meeting to order. He was, as always, strongly annoyed at the fact that Seifer was much taller than he was. Unfortunately, there was nothing he could do about that. More unfortunately, there wasn’t much he could do here. Seifer had made a formal apology to Cid after the Sorceress War, but had vanished before any punishment had been decided. Squall was fairly sure, however, that the remorse Seifer had very eloquently professed was real. His courage to stand up to Military punishment wasn’t quite as strong.
“Take care,” Squall said in an off-hand manner, turning to walk down the street. He could, strictly speaking, strangle Seifer, knock him over the head with something, and drag him back to Garden to face the punishment he so richly deserved, but a confrontation in the street was the last thing he wanted at the moment. Besides, if the former Knight was truly sorry, he would eventually show up of his own accord.
Seifer was mildly surprised as Squall left, but merely raised one eyebrow, along with Hyperion, in a quick salute to the Lion before he stepped back into the bar. [/i]