Author's Note: Welcome to my first Final Fantasy VII fic. It will not be my only one, mind you. I have a whole mini-timeline set up for the game. My stories will actually vacillate between Seifer x Squall and Squall x Zell, depending on the time. This fic takes place the night of the dance, after Squall's talk with Quistis. My Seifer x Squall fics will occur before this story chronologically, so keep that in mind. Oh, and as in the game, thoughts are shown with parenthesis. (I hope they like this.) And I hope this sends ok - I've been having an annoying time with my outgoing mail ever since that damned yahoo/geocities thingy.

Spoiler warning for the middle of Disk 1. Actually, there's nothing much to spoil by that point, but, whatever. And a slight lime warning. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: Obviously, the gods at Squaresoft own these pixelized boys, and probably didn't intend them to be this way. Then again, I don't think they really mind, either.

A Careful Waltz

By Akane Saotome

Squall was exhausted. He shuffled down the hallway from the training center, sighing to himself. How much could happen to a guy in a single day? He ran his fingers through his hair and backtracked the last 24 hours. Let's see ... got permanently scarred by Seifer, found a new GF, trashed some Galbadian soldiers, secured Dollet, barely escaped from a psychotic mech from hell, became a SeeD, got hit on by Instructor Trepe (ex-Instructor? Whatever...), rescued that girl from the infirmary, and learned to dance. Not bad. Obviously being a SeeD was not a walk in the park. But, that's what he had trained for all this time. He felt ready to take on whatever happened next.

At least, he thought he was ready.


He looked ahead in the hallway, squinting in the dark. A familiar figure was waiting for him.

"Where the hell were you? I was lookin' all over the place." The blond put a hand on his hip, his impatience overcome by a barely kept excitement. Squall just shrugged as he approached. Zell smiled and straightened up.

"We're both now members of SeeD, right? Well, guess what!? We got our own rooms, baby! Your new room's right across the hall from your old one."

Squall tilted his head, too tired to really respond. Maybe that glass of champagne was getting to him...

"That's what I was asked to tell you," Zell continued, unfazed. "Man, it took me forever!"

Squall nodded and continued up the stairs. Zell stared after him, frowning.

"I wonder what's up with him," he mumbled, scratching the back of his head absently.

Squall slowly opened the door to his new room. His few outfits and precious gunblade were already there, waiting for him. He glanced around approvingly. Yeah, it was smaller than his old room, but at least he didn't have to share it with anyone.

A yawn caught up with him, creeping its way out of his mouth.

"I'll just go to sleep..." he murmured, moving to lay on his new bed. He rolled onto his side as visions of shooting stars and mysterious brunettes filled his mind. Who was that girl at the dance? She was pretty, and definitely persistent. Squall blushed as he thought about his brief waltz. He must've looked liked such a moron, and in front of all the other students! He hoped to god that Seifer hadn't seen him. Hed n'ever live it down.

He was about to drift off when a sharp knocked sounded on his door.

"If that's Quistis again, I swear I' something..." he mumbled, staggering out of bed. He pulled the door open, a scowl already formed on his handsome face, and found ...

A rather sheepish looking blond, still clad in his new SeeD uniform.

"Quis ... umm... oh, wrong blond... I... Zell? What do you want?"

"Umm... S'up, Squall?" he smiled, his voice trembling slightly.

"What? Zell, it's after midnight!"

"I know. I just... I dunno, you seemed really out of it back there. I was just wondering if you were ok, that's all."

"Yes, Zell, I'm fine. Goodnight," he started to shut the door, but Zell was too quick. He caught the door and held it open. He looked up at Squall and sighed.

"You're not fine. I mean, I haven't known you long ..."

"A day?"

" ... but you're not hard to read. Why don't you open up? It might make you feel better."

"Who are you, Instructor Trepe? Jeeze!"

"Huh? What's that supposed to mean?"

"Nothing. She's just like that sometimes. She... oh, nevermind. Just go to bed, Zell! We'll probably have a mission in the morning."

Zell blinked at him. "What? Already? Man, but we just graduated!"

"That's the life of a SeeD."

"I guess so..." he sighed, staring at the ground.

Maybe it was lack of sleep. Maybe it was his aching forehead. Maybe it was that damn drink. Whatever the cause, Squall's defenses were wearing down. He sighed, relenting.

"Ok, ok, you can come in, but just for a few minutes."

"You mean it?"

Squall nodded.

"Al-RIGHT!" Zell cheered, jumping up and punching the air a few times. He smiled and slipped into Squall's room.

(It's not that exciting. You're as easily amused as Selphie...)

Zell was already making himself comfortable on the bed by the time Squall closed the door and turned around. He smiled at the taller brunette and patted a space on the bed next to him. Squall carefully decided to stand.

"So what's on your mind, man?"

"Should I ask that of you?"

"Me? Hey, I'm fine! I was a little upset that they didn't have hotdogs at the party, though. What a waste," Zell shook his head sadly. Squall put his hand to his forehead, exasperated.

When he looked up, Zell was watching him intently. It unnerved him to no end.

"I..." he glanced around the room, then back at the boy on his bed. "Do you know who that girl was at the dance?"

"Umm... which girl, Squall? There were, like, a hundred girls there."

"The one with the dark hair... the one that danced with me..."

"Whoa! You danced with someone? Go, Squall!" he randomly punched the air again, for effect.

"Yeah, well..." Squall trailed off. (At least he didn't see me dance like an idiot. That's one small relief.) "I just wish I knew who she was. She just ... "

"Waltzed in and out of your life?" Zell grinned.

Squall glared at him. "You could say that."

"Man, Squall, what's up with you and all these mystery women? Who's the girl at the dance? Who's the girl in the infirmary?' I wish I had your problems. Next you'll be telling me Instructor Trepe's goin' after you."

Squall looked away, desperately trying to think of a way to change the subject. "Ex-Instructor Trepe, that is."


Squall nodded slowly. "They said she wasn't cut out to be a teacher. No leadership skills."

"Wow. That's... sad."

Squall shrugged. His body, young and strong as it seemed, was wearing down for the evening. Ever muscle in his body was pulled tight with tension, the stress of the day fraying more than his nerves. Without really thinking, he moved to the bed and sat a few inches from Zell. The blond smiled and shifted to face him.

"You really kicked ass today, Squall."

"... thanks."

"When that robot thing caught up to us on the beach? I didn't think you were gonna make it."

Squall turned his head and met Zell's eyes. They shown with pride and admiration, eliciting a slight blush from Squall. He'd never been looked at like that before. He was a loner; he didn't care about anyone's problems, and no one cared about his. He liked it that way ... no one got hurt. But something must have happened today in Dollet. Life and death situations can do that to a person, he supposed. He could feel it a bit, too. Way down deep inside him, like a lone firefly on a cloudy night. He was already becoming attached to Zell and Selphie, as strange as they were; hopefully, they wouldn't get too attached to him. He didn't want to be someone that others needed to depend on. It only caused problems.

Yet there was Zell, sky blue eyes warm and inviting. Was it so bad to depend on someone for just one night? If it didn't mean anything later?

Squall shook his head, as if trying to fling the thought from his mind.

"Hey, man, you ok?" Zell asked, putting a hand on his shoulder. Squall shrugged him away.

"I'm fine. Just tired."

"Yeah, I guess it's been a long day, huh?"

(That's an understatement.) "Yeah."

"Is there anything I can do for you? You won't talk to me. I'd like to help somehow."

The hint of suggestion in those words wrapped around Squall like a warm blanket. Memories of Seifer flooded his body, making him flush hotly. "No, really, I'm fine."

Zell laid his hand on the brunette's shoulder once more. "You're really tense. You need to learn to chill out. You'll stress yourself completely in no time like this. It's... un-SeeD-like!"

Squall rolled his eyes, but didn't push him away this time. Zell's touch was warm, tender in a way that Seifer's never was. Probably because Seifer thought of him as beneath him, while Zell treated him like... well, like a commander. The title Seifer had wanted.

While Squall was lost in thought, Zell had inched closer to him on the bed. He didn't quite understand what was going on. Here he was, sitting on some guy's bed, touching in shoulder! Well, not just some guy's bed ... it was Squall's bed. Squall, the gunblade expert, the guy all the girls harbored tiny crushes on. The guy who had saved his ass more than once today. The guy he wanted to be like, more than anyone else in the world.

"You know, Zell," Squall said softly, "I am pretty tense." He looked over at the shorter boy, cocking his head slightly. Zell couldn't help but blush. Squall really was the best looking guy in Balamb Garden. Zell smiled and reached over, quickly unhooking Squall's tight black pants. He was embarrassed and confused, but this felt so right. Zell bent over and took him in his mouth, gingerly. He paused, adjusting to this new sensation. He moved slowly up and down Squall's length, taking cues from the soft moans that escaped the brunette's mouth.

Squall closed his eyes and leaned back against the wall. Ripples of pleasure ran through his body, erasing the day's aches and pains. He let the feeling flow over him, around him, in him. This was different than Seifer, stronger. Zell didn't have the intense skill of Seifer's tongue, but he had something else. Seifer cared for him, but Squall couldn't shake the feeling that he'd wanted to own him somehow. Zell... Zell just wanted to please him. And that was well beyond enough.

Zell's rhythm increased, and the warmth in Squall began to focus, centering low in his body. His breath came more rapidly as he hit breaking point. His body tensed, locked completely as he released all his fears and worries into Zell's waiting mouth. Slowly, his muscles unwound, and he slumped back on his new bed. He couldn't help but smile slightly ... that was exactly what he had needed to relax. There was no way he couldn't sleep now.

Zell sat up, trying to gauge Squall's reaction. From the looks of it, he'd done a decent job. Good. Zell smiled, then pushed himself slowly off the bed. Squall was already curling up in deep slumber. The blond took one last look at his new comrade and slipped out to find his new dorm room.

"Our own rooms, baby, yeah!" he whispered, and practically danced his way down the hall.

And Squall slept soundly in his new single, his dreams peppered with faint waltzes and starlight.

Return to Archive