DISCLAIMER: Nope, don't own the characters. Try again next time. The song is 'The Man With The Golden Gun' by Lulu, and that's obviously not mine either. This fic is probably more AU, though it's set in Galbadia. Major OCC brought on by drunkenness and a bit of Rinoa bashing (such a shame.) Enjoy.

As Good As Gold

By almasy

Squall Leonhart put his head in his hands and sighed resignedly. Throwing a wry look at his three companions, he asked the same question one more time:

"Remind me again what we're doing here…?"

The location to which he so disgustedly he referred was a dark club in the centre of Galbadia , well known for its wild nights and sordid entertainment. Though its inside appearance, a bar top at the far end of the open hall, connected to a rough horseshoe shape of round tables, was innocent, it was its huge dancefloor that attracted many of the young people living in the town. It was not unheard of for guys to come to the club and sit on one of the tables in the outskirts of the hall, just watching the girls on the dancefloor in the centre. Ogling. Squall was aware of their lustful glances towards the dancing Selphie and Quistis , and it gave him prickles of discomfort. The relationship he'd developed with those within his group was more protective than anything else, and he disliked the way they were being stared at so shamelessly. His only consolation was the knowledge that Irvine was also on the dancefloor , and his awareness that nobody dared invade the cowboy's territory; such was his outward confidence. Even Squall was aware of the dangers that came with messing with Irvine . Protective relationship or not, though, it didn't stop him from feeling just a little bit annoyed that he'd been brought to this sin-bin on his birthday.

"Well…" Rinoa began, her dark eyes shifty. "Seifer thought…we all thought…that you should, you know, go to a club…because you've never been to one before, and it's your birthday and-"

"Hmn . Translation: Seifer wants to get laid." Squall muttered, casting a dark look at his smug rival. Seifer merely grinned back from the bar and raised his glass to him in a sardonic gesture. Squall growled irritably in his throat.

"Actually," Zell piped up from beside Rinoa . "He said he wanted you to get laid."


"Yep!" Rinoa squealed excitedly. "Though he kinda told us not to tell you that part…"

"Oh, yeah…" Zell's tone was downbeat for a second, but soon regained its chirpiness as he continued, "So, anyway, that's what he said, and it wouldn't be such a bad idea, would it?"

"Zell , we don't really have to discuss this now. Or at all. Ever. Please, don't do this to me…" Squall pleaded, looking at his friend with wide, puppy eyes.

"No, no…it's okay, Squall, I'm not going to embarrass you. I just think it would be…better for you, if you got your end in, somewhere…"

"Zell !"

" What?" Zell smirked, assuming an expression of innocence despite the twinkle in his mischievous blue eyes.

"We don't have to discuss this, really…" Squall began to look immensely pained, downing whisky from the one of the numerous shots that had been served to their table. "Not my end, or where I should be putting it…"

"Yeah, Zell …even I'm getting a bit queasy." Rinoa commented, pulling a face.

"Why? We're only discussing the small matter of Squall's-"

"Zeeeeelll !" Rinoa whined, glaring at her friend with a mixture of haughtiness and disgust.

"No worries, I've stopped. He's probably gay anyway. Wants to receive an end rather than…"

"Right, I'm going to the ladies' room." Rinoa retorted, her dark eyes flashing with queasiness, eyeing Zell in a fashion copied from the one Quistis used to intimidate her students.

"Was it something I said?" Zell smirked in response, glancing at Squall, who merely rolled his eyes in despair.

"Seriously, though, Squall…I think Rinoa really digs you."


"Well…haven't you ever thought about…?"

"Not with Rinoa . We're friends. That's it, end of story." The look in Squall's dark eyes was enough to convince Zell that continuation of the subject could be dangerous, but in the hope that the alcohol had had a pacifying effect, he pressed the matter a little further.

"Friends…yeah, but…sometimes friends do get into…they do sometimes have flings, Squall."

"Not us. End. Of. Story." More glaring. Zell shrank back into his seat a little.

"So…you wouldn't mind if…?"

"If what?" A look of intrigue appeared on the brooding man's face, and in an instant, the frown that usually made him look so stern was lifted as he glanced at Zell inquisitively.

"I went for Rinoa ?"

Squall shrugged. "Go for it." Sighing softly, he downed another shot as Zell rubbed his hands together purposefully, glancing at the door through which Rinoa had disappeared. He resumed watching the girls on the dancefloor , observed their unawareness of his observation. They seemed so happy, so carefree, content to move to the beat of the music and not have to think about their duties tomorrow, in a week, in a year…he watched Quistis raise her arms above her head, laughing as she whispered something to Selphie . Something hit his heart, a pang almost of envy, for the relaxed way in which they moved, the confidence they had around each other, the gentle way they were amused by each other, the way they smiled. Neither girl was an exquisite dancer, but each held enough of a comfortable rhythm to look good underneath the glittering of the disco lights. It was Irvine who really captivated Squall's attention, drowning out Zell's self-directed pep talks from across the table.

Whilst the girls seemed slightly uneasy, even as they joked around, Irvine had a confidence, an air of self-security that was obvious in every move he made. He was a natural dancer, not showy or pompous, but seeming as if the music was part of his body in the way he followed its beats exactly. He didn't even seem to be trying; always leaning over to catch snippets of the girls' conversation, but his movements retained a sensual fluidity that took Squall's breath away. He'd always found the cowboy moderately attractive, but as he watched his hair flying under the spinning lights, he felt something move in his stomach. He couldn't tear his eyes away from his friend, absorbing every inch of the chaps that skimmed his long legs, his tight t-shirt, the way his eyes seemed to gleam as he laughed. Squall wasn't even aware of staring, not until a sharp cough from Zell interrupted his delicious dreaming.

"Does our little Leonhart have a secret passion for a certain cowboy or something…?" Zell raised one eyebrow, and Squall tried desperately not to blush. Downing yet another shot, and fighting the wooziness in his head, he replied smartly,

"Don't you have a certain girl to go and chat up?"

"I'm going, I'm going…I'll leave you to your little Irvy -fantasies, don't you worry…"

Another growl. Next birthday, Squall vowed, I'm spending alone.

From across the dancefloor , Irvine watched the lone wolf with interest. Not that it was an unusual occurrence, he seemed to spend more and more time each day observing his mute friend. Though Squall had come out of his shell a bit, he was nowhere near warmed up enough for Irvine 's liking; the cowboy recognised something within Squall, a fire that was dormant, and he sensed that his passions could be aroused if given the right treatment. The only problem was melting the icy walls he held around his heart. It was something Irvine had spent far too much time considering, and yet he'd come to no solution as to how to free Squall from the cold prison he liked to lock himself in.

It was no secret to the girls that Irvine held a torch for Squall, and they were encouraging in their advice, each inwardly hoping that the two would get together, if only to provide them with eye candy for a good year or so. To Irvine , hopes of a relationship ever occurring were both slim and far deeper than that. Something inside him longed to wipe the sorrow for Squall's eyes, to make him smile again. Somehow the idea of emotional connection seemed more valuable than a physical bond, though both were far too appealing for the safety of Irvine 's health. But his interest in protecting Squall was why he tolerated being Squall's friend only, because it allowed him to care for the quieter man in a way that was unthreatening, whereas a closer relationship, to Irvine's mind, would just present problems. Not that he wasn't prepared to work those through, but…it all seemed somehow pointless to consider, as he'd already informed the girls, as he was convinced that Rinoa was inches from hooking Squall. It didn't stop him from watching Il Leonhart , though. Along with the current song, he murmured the words,

"God, but you're beautiful, aren't you…?"

Yet it saddened him to see the vacant, weary look in Squall's big eyes. The intoxicating way he looked up shyly through locks of chestnut hair that fell through his eyelashes, only to retract his gaze and down another shot. It made Irvine guilty to watch him; that Squall had been brought to a place he obviously wasn't comfortable in on a day when he should be celebrating. The fact that he was downing vast quantities of whiskey didn't escape the cowboy's concern either, and motioning Seifer over to him, he dragged the blonde's ear down to his mouth level and yelled over the noise. After receiving Seifer's agreement to watch over Quistis and Selphie , Irvine left the dancefloor and approached Squall, who by this time, was battling against serious internal fuzziness.

"Hey, stranger." He murmured softly. "You okay?"

Squall looked up with vulnerable eyes. "Yeah." His voice was gritty, alcohol sodden.

"Sure…? You look a bit out of it…"

"Mn . Whatever." Eyes glassy.

"How much have you had?" Irvine 's eyes searched Squall's face worriedly.

A shrug. "I was watching you out there…sexy, sexy Irvine …"


"Mm-hm ?"

" You're drunk. Don't say things like that."

"You were. I don't care what I'm saying. You were sexy, why shouldn't I say it?"

Getting drunkenly to his feet, Squall surveyed the crowded hall as Irvine blinked in confusion. The music was pounding, and preventing him from making any sense of the limited conversation that had passed between them. "He's drunk, fool…don't read anything into it…" his mind prodded, as his heart lifted in hope. If he could only believe that Squall meant his words, that they weren't just the products of his whiskey-drenched mind, if only they were real, if only…he looked up, moving his full lips to reply, but Squall was gone.

Seifer took Quistis ' hand in the darkness and began to lead her off the dancefloor , much to the disappointment of Selphie , whose never-ending supply of energy meant that dancing in her company was not an optional activity. The soft smirk that Seifer gave her was nothing to ease the insult of having to dance alone, and just as she was about to rant at him, Irvine arrived in a flurry of panic.

"Seen Squall?" He panted.

"I thought you had him." Seifer grinned. "Oh, yeah…nobody had Squall…I forgot…"

"Shut up, Almasy . I'm serious, where is he?"

Perturbed by the intense stare the cowboy fixed him with, Seifer blinked and shrugged.

"No idea. Try the bar, maybe. He's been downing shots like water tonight."

"I think I might have seen him talking to the DJ-guy, but I can't be sure…" Selphie added, frowning.

Putting a hand to his forehead in despair, Irvine spun around on the spot, eyes searching over the huge crowds that swarmed the place to try and locate the leather-clad man. The seemingly obvious notion that it would be easy to locate somebody who dressed as unusually as Squall did was unfounded, as Irvine could not see him anywhere. Hoping that he'd gotten bored with ambling and returned to the table and the glasses, Irvine made his way there, pushing his way through the dancing bodies as he did so. Sitting down in the vacant chair Squall had left with a sigh of exhaustion, the cowboy put his head back, letting his long, dark hair fall down his back loosely. It was only then that he noticed the whole hall had darkened, that a certain amount of quiet had fallen over all the dancers. Confused, he sat up in his chair and looked about, and then the song hit him. Infectious, driven by a powerful background drum, it began to lodge in his brain…and his heart, as a figure emerged from the darkness. Standing on the bartop, and making his way over to Irvine by standing on the tables, was Squall. Obviously completely smashed, as he held in his hand a microphone, and he appeared to be singing into it.

He has a powerful weapon
He charges a million a shot
An assassin that's second to none
The man with the golden gun…

For all Squall had protested about his lack of skill in the singing area, Irvine was impressed with the slightly breathless, sexed-up sound of his voice and enthralled by the way he swayed his hips, slowly strolling over the tabletops with a sensual air, bare feet splashing through the pools of spilt alcohol. His eyes, dark with lust, remained fixed on Irvine , as Squall continued in his descent towards him.

Lurking in some darkened doorway
Or crouched on a roof top somewhere
In the next room, of this very one
The man with the golden gun…

The meaning of the song was only just dawning on Irvine ; the parallel of the sniper…and while his mind fought against the notion, he couldn't help assuming that Squall was singing only for him. This was only confirmed by the way his friend reached Irvine 's table and circled his hips in a wide arc, tracing patterns over the surface with his toes. The cowboy gazed up at him in mixed disbelief and adoration as Squall slowly moved; slow licks of his hips and blazing, passionate eyes directed only for one person. He could not tear his eyes away as the older man tore his white t-shirt upwards, head back, totally unaware of his own presence, not in the least self-conscious, so uninhibited…so unSquall …he was aware of his own heavy breathing, his heart pounding, as Squall lowered down to his level, smoothly flicking his hips downwards so that he sat, resting on his knees, his face level with Irvine's. Stroking over the smooth planes of Irvine 's face , he sung the next words softer, directed right into the eyes of his friend.

Love is required whenever he's hired
It comes just before the kill
No one can catch him; no hit man can match him
For his million dollar skill

One golden shot means another poor victim
Has come to a glittering end
For a price, he'll erase anyone
The man with the golden gun…

Irvine could feel Squall's fingers softly toying with his long hair, and he began to drown in the depths of his oceanic eyes, eyes so vulnerable and yet powerful too; bold and brave. This was the Squall he'd dreamed of seeing, unlocked from his self-inflicted constraints and just…living a little. The fact that he was slowly removing his clothes just made it more appealing for Irvine , who watched him slowly remove the torn fabrics of his shirt, before lowering the waistband of his leather trousers slightly, slyly allowing Irvine a look at the narrow curves of his hips. Almost dreamlike, Irvine stroked the tender lines of his stomach, over his hips, his thumbs rotating in the hollows they made under Squall's navel. It was, naturally, at this point, that Rinoa chose to barge out of the toilet in a furious rage with the ambitious Zell , spluttering,

"How many more times? I'm not interested!! Stop pawing at meeee !"

"But…Rin …we'd make such beautiful music together…" Zell protested feebly, his lower lip quivering. "You could at least agree to give it a try…"

"No, Zell ! I'm holding out for-"

Zell rolled his eyes, knowing already what the end of her sentence would be. Casting his eyes over the tables, his jaw fell open. "Bloody hell!"

Rinoa turned her head over her shoulder to look at him, and glared. "What?"

"That Squall?" Zell squeaked, pointing over to the table where Irvine was sitting.
Rinoa , following his gaze, was treated to the sight of her crush, nose inches away from Irvine's whispering softly…

His eye may be on you or me...
Who will he bang?
We shall see…

She gaped in horror as Squall punctuated the words with a suggestive thrust of his hips, grinning wickedly at the amazed Irvine, who still held onto his friend with hot hands.

"Squall?!" She shrieked across the dancefloor , but nobody heard her high-pitched cries as Squall inched his way into Irvine's lap, wrapping his long legs around his waist and through the holes in the back of the chair and winding his arms around his friend's strong shoulders. Infuriated, she stormed through the crowd to the rest of her friends, screeching accusingly at Seifer ,

"What did you do to him?!"

"Hey, I'm not liking this anymore than you are!" He protested, hands held up in defense , and she directed her rage towards the two girls, who were unanimously cheering as Squall claimed Irvine's lips in a strong, passionate kiss, forgetting the rest of the song as Irvine curled into their embrace.

"You traitors!"

"What…? Oh, sorry, Rin …erm …yeah…" Selphie began. "Terrible…behaviour…"

"Oh, absolutely…" Quistis murmured, eyes still fixated on the pair. "I'll…erm …punish them, yes…"

"Tomorrow, perhaps…" Selphie advised, licking her lips hungrily.

"Good idea, Seffie …well done…you got the video camera, right?"

"Urghhh !" Rinoa screamed in frustration. "You two are no help at all!"

"Oh, look on the bright side." Seifer grinned. "You may have lost out to another brunette, but at least he doesn't have bigger tits than you…"

When Squall finally broke the kiss, and the song had drowned quietly out, he gazed almost weakly into Irvine's eyes, not daring to speak.

"Don't…" Irvine began, his voice shaking. "…don't tell me that didn't mean anything."

"No…never…I…I'm not going to explain it now, Kinneas . I can't. All I know is that I want you. Need you. All I'm asking you to do is not say 'no' to one night. After that, I won't ask anymore. Please."

It may not have been the promise of long-term, wonderful relationship, and it might have been all induced by alcohol rather than intense waves of emotion, but Irvine couldn't find it in him to resist. Much as he was aware that his heart would probably be bleeding tomorrow morning, should this all be just a one night stand, he couldn't turn down the chance that it might not; that he might, for once and for all, be able to bring Squall out of his cold prison. The chance to warm his heart. The chance to release the passion that slept somewhere inside him. He couldn't reject that small slice of a chance, no matter how it might tear him apart in the morning. That was a world away.

And that was how he came to be laying much later, in the midst of rumpled golden sheets of the nearby hotel bedroom, Squall's long legs wrapped around him as he took every treasure he'd ever dreamed of having. Drowning in the deep pools of lust that lay within Squall's eyes, he gently stroked the soft tips of his hair from his face; watching his bare chest heave as he tried to catch his breath, skin glowing with the slight tinge of sweat. He lowered his face to Squall's, noses brushing together, and kissed him tenderly, feeling Squall gasp against his lips, and everything apart from them ceased to exist. All that mattered was the duality of emotion, the joint feeling that was sweeping over both, and the way Squall's body shook with lust underneath him as he slowly brought him to an end, panting his name over and over. After that, the world was quiet, as he took the older man in his arms, cradling him in a tender embrace, and watched him fall asleep through soft, contented eyes.

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