DISCLAIMER: Squaresoft owns the characters and the towns, I own the Festival (yippee!) I would so love to own these hot bishies…cause then I could make lots of money renting them out *evil grin*

Rating: NC: 17, 'cause of language and adult situations, and cause this way I can do and say what I want and don't have to worry about it….I like this rating!!!

Carnival of Dreams

Chapter 1

By LaughingWolfGirl

"Dude, ya gotta go, we're all going. You haven't taken a vacation of any kind for the past year, hell you don't even take weekends off and you're starting to get wound really tight and ya know it! Ever since you and Rinoa broke up you've begun revertin' back to what you used to be and that ain't good man." Zell spoke to Squall, who was at his desk attempting to ignore the people in his office.


"Oh no you don't, Squall. Zell's right, you need to get out, see the sites, party, get laid, live a little,… did I mention get laid!" Irvine said jokingly, though both Squall and Quistis didn't look too impressed with his joke.

"Come on Squall, it'll be good for ya, and this way we all get to spend time together and have fun. We've already booked rooms at the finest hotel in Deling, all penthouse suites, and we each get our own rooms. Sir Laguna got us discounts on them, and he's gonna be there."

Zell mentally groaned, Selphie telling Squall that his dad was gonna be there wasn't helping their case any…actually it probably set them back further.

"I have work to do!" Squall replied in monotones

"Xu will be here. She and Piet just got back from their vacation together and she is more than competent with running the Garden Squall, besides this way you show her that you trust in her." Squall looked over towards Quistis and stared into her eyes, showing her with just his look that he did not like what she had just said.

"Come on Squall say you'll go, it won't be the same without you, you have ta come!" Zell said with hope in his voice. Zell wanted Squall to come badly; he was hoping that he would have a chance to finally let Squall know how he felt about him.

He'd been head over heels for the Stoic brunette as far back as he could remember, but had never come forth with his feelings, afraid of rejection, afraid of ridicule, oh Siren's sweet ass, who was he kidding, he had been mortally afraid of getting his ass kicked. But now, since they had all gotten closer during the whole Ultimecia affair and seeing Squall open up slightly to Rinoa gave him hope. He would finally get the courage to tell Squall how he felt; he just hoped he survived it.

Squall sat back in his black leather captain's chair, slouching slightly, and sighed while taking his hands and putting them on his face, rubbing at his eyes tiredly. He then took a deep breath and started to tell them no, but made the mistake of looking up into Zell's hopeful eyes and couldn't find it in himself to say no, so he heard himself, as if from a distance, agreeing.

Sitting alone in the passenger deck of the Ragnarok, Squall wondered how he got himself here. How could he have let them talk him into going to a Carnival, being around a bunch of drunken strangers all baring themselves and groping each other. This was not his idea of fun, though lately he really didn't have any ideas of fun.

When Rinoa left him, he thought, "great another one is leaving, everyone left him at some point or another", but it wasn't as hurtful as he had thought it would be. He had never quite clicked with Rinoa, she was too clingy, to whinny, always wanting attention. She was like a pretty butterfly, flittering here and there, but was shallow, had no substance, not in it for the long haul.

He couldn't see himself with her for the rest of his life and that's why he had not put forth the effort to work things out with her. He was basically killing time with her. Not liking being alone, he stayed with her, figuring she was better than nothing.

But lately he found himself remembering what might have been. He kept thinking about Seifer before the whole Ultimecia fiasco, before that fateful SeeD exam, his first kiss and what he had missed out on by not responding back; by not taking advantage of what had been in front of him.

There had been instances during their training practices, where Seifer had dropped hints of his interest in him, at first little glances, accidental touches, that he chose not to see, but then Seifer had become impatient with his feigned ignorance and quit being so subtle; finally cornering him in the lockers after a training session they had. He had walked up when Squall was taking his sweaty shirt off, the shirt just off of his head his arms still in it, when Seifer had grabbed them and imprisoned his arms in the shirt and dove in for the kiss.

At first Squall was shocked, not expecting it and not knowing what to do, but instinct soon set in and he was kissing Seifer back. When Seifer pulled back, both of them were breathless, and watched each other warily.

"Why did you do that?"

"What…kiss you? Because you kept ignoring me, so I took matters into my own hands."

"So what now?"

"Now you belong to me!"

"No I don't think so, I think you need to leave me alone, I'm not interested."

"That's not what your kiss implied, you liked it, you participated heatedly I might add."

"I was interested in why people kiss each other, that's all, but it meant nothing to me, now excuse me, I have to take a shower." Squall said coldly leaving an angry and hurt blonde behind him.

Squall could still remember Seifer's taste, it was funny, he had forgotten so many things, but that one moment was as clear as glass to him. Seifer's taste, the slight hint of peppermint, he knew Seifer liked to chew on those little peppermint red and white candies, always had some in the pocket of his trench coat.

There were so many details about Seifer he could remember, while he couldn't remember the important things. It always amazed him how this could be, and how he had been the coward there, afraid to take the risk, throw caution to the winds and just be with Seifer. Now that the time had passed he regretted the loss so much. He would never know what might have been.

He found himself constantly wondering where Seifer was, if he was alive, what was he doing, nearly once a day.

Zell walked in to the passenger deck and saw Squall sitting alone, deep in thought. He figured this might be a good time to let Squall know about his feelings and started to walk up to the brunette, feeling his stomach start to knot from nerves. His hands were beginning to sweat and he could feel his temperature rise. All this nerve racking agony because he was scared of rejection; he knew that if Squall rejected him, he would be devastated and wouldn't be able to face him again.

He found himself standing before Squall, with his mouth opening and closing repeatedly like a fish outta water.

"Um...Squall." Zell squeaked, then clearing his throat, tried again.


He could see Squall was lost in his head again, which meant that Zell was going to have to get his attention in another way. He reached over and placed his hand on Squall's shoulder, getting little tingly feelings in his hand.

/Sheesh I must have it really bad, can't even touch the guy without feeling my body responding, thank the gods that I have my baggy shorts on…it would be really embarrassing standing here with a huge tent in my shorts./

Squall felt the intrusion into his thoughts, and resented it, wanting to stay there in what little memories he still had. He looked up to see Zell standing before him, with his hand still on his shoulder. The blonde martial artist was biting his bottom lip with a frown in between his brows.

"What Zell?" he asked curtly.

"Huh, oh um…well see I wanted to talk to you..."

Squall nearly groaned out loud, not another lecture on having fun, and forgetting Rinoa again. Didn't any of them ever stop? After Rinoa left, they had all descended on him, each one separately, talking to him about relationships, making sure he was ok, that he wasn't going to do anything drastic. Each had their advices and theories on how to get over Rinoa. They refused to believe that he wasn't broken up about her leaving, seeing his silences and his immersion into his work as a way of denying his pain.

"Talk about what Zell?" He asked tiredly, knowing that if he let Zell talk it would be far easier than attempting to stop the flow of words.

Zell could feel sweat pouring in buckets down his shirt, between his shoulder blades, in fact his whole body temperature had risen drastically. Here it was, he had Squall all to himself; the perfect opportunity to spill his heart out to Squall, and he found that he couldn't get a coherent word out.

"Well, I wanted…that is….see um…" Damn this was so very hard, and it didn't help that Squall sat there with a bored look on his face.

"Spit it out Zell, what are you trying to say!"

"I…um…I've…always...wanted to…..tell...um...you….see…I've had this….eh…uh…I've…"

Quistis chose that moment to walk in and Zell felt his anger at himself take over, but also felt a kernel of relief that he had been spared yet again.

"Squall, Zell, we're about five minutes out of Deling, better come up to the front deck, and prepare yourselves, Laguna is going to meet us as soon as we land"

Squall did groan out loud that time, knowing that he was going to get hugged and fussed on by his lunatic father.

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