Another free chapter from me foully abusing Squaresoft’s property.
Not nearly enough yaoi going on. I’ll make it up to you all later.
Oh, and since I have almost no medical knowledge… if anything seems wildly incorrect to you, pretend it really works that way in a place with chocobos, Sorceresses, and Guardian Forces. Thanks!
Happily Ever After
Chapter Three - Finals and Beginnings
By Race Ulfson
I was not a nervous wreck. A little tense, maybe – you trying taking your graduation finals under armed guard – but not a wreck.
“Just leave all that crap in the apartment – the landlord can sell it to the ghouls.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Squall said, helping me on with my jacket. “Those are your things.”
“All I really need is Hyperion.”
Squall plucked a chocolate brown hair off the shoulder of my jacket and shook his head. “I already have your ‘blade safe.” He stacked my books, notes, laptop and lunch in my arms.
I was surprised he didn’t pin the bus fare to my shirt.
“After the exams Nida will take you to the rendezvous point and hand you over to Quistis who will drive you to Esthar.”
“And you will be where?”
“Zell, Irvine and I are taking the Ragnarok and the furniture. I’ll put it in storage at the palace.”
“It’s bad enough me taking money from your father to go to school, I don’t want to live with him, too.”
“We won’t! Day after tomorrow we’ll go apartment hunting, I promise.”
“What about tomorrow?”
Squall’s eyes gleamed silver at me, and he fluttered his lashes.
I had a lot on my mind, okay?
I clutched my stuff and backed out of the hotel room before Squall got me too heated up to think. Nida followed silently, although I caught a smirk.
Nida wasn’t so bad as a babysitter. He was so quiet you could forget he was there most of the time. Since one of Squall’s other choices was Selphie, I felt truly blessed.
The first exam went well and we were let out for 15, largely because the instructor was missing his nicotine fix.
I eyed Nida’s communicator. “Can I call Squall on that?”
He shrugged and handed it over.
“Leonhart.” He sounded a little breathless.
“Hey, don’t work too hard. You okay?”
“We had a little trouble with the entertainment center.”
“It comes apart.”
“I know that… now.” In the background I thought I heard Zell hollering something. “Zell says he’ll buy you a new one.”
“Fine by me.” I smiled into the com. “I thought I should tell you, I’m 20% closer to becoming an Estharian med student.”
“Only 4 to go… I know you will ace this.”
“Thanks for the vote of confidence. Watch your legs. Don’t do any heavy lifting, okay?”
“Yes, Mother. I’ll leave it all for Selphie.”
We were just getting settled in for the second exam when the com chirped, startling me and Nida both. After a cautious greeting, he handed the communicator to me.
“How fond are you of the couch?” Squall said quickly.
“It’s a pretty good couch, nice and long for snoozing on.”
“Because Selphie just pissed all over it.”
Selphie must have wrestled Squall’s com away from him, as her breathless, chirpy voice came over next. “Sorry, Sweetie. Irvy and I will buy you a new one… they had the waterbed parts blocking the -“
“No prob, Selph. Gotta go.”
The day ground on. I survived 2 more exams and lunch with Nida, who’s all right once you feed him and get him to talk to you a little. If I’d had more time I probably could have tamed him enough to have a real conversation.
In the middle of the lab practical the com chirped again. Nida moved off to the side, blushing under the hostile glares from the instructor and my fellow students.
I rushed through the last parts and cornered him. “Trouble?” I could tell there was.
“They were attacked by a dragon and had to make an emergency landing.”
“A dragon attacked the Rag? What was it, Bahamut on a toot?” I shook my head. “Never mind, I know, it’s their mating season. Was anyone hurt? Where are they?”
“They had to do some evasive maneuvers but Squall thinks they are on the northern coast of Centra. They are all okay but the Rag took some hits. Zell is checking out the damage now.”
“What’s the plan?”
“Squall said to stick to the itinerary. They will be just a little later getting to Esthar than he wanted, but even if it takes Zell the rest of the day to do the repairs they will still beat you and Quistis there.”
I took a deep breath and told myself Squall could take care of himself. Three SeeDs in good health could handle just about anything. Besides, I knew for a fact Squall was junctioned, even if the others were off duty.
I did not need this just before my Calculus final. Math is not my long suit.
Too soon after I was staring at the Calc test from hell.
I can do this. I have to do this. It’s not that hard, I told myself.
I looked around the room. Okay, if these losers can pass this, I can. My self just laughed, a shade hysterically. If anyone in this room passes this test, he’s a damn genius.
Determined not to look bad, I picked up my stylus and
Jumped a foot when the com chirped.
Nida listened and then passed the com to me. I shook my head, bugging my eyes at him, and handed it back.
‘Trying to take a test here’, I mouthed at Nida.
Nida frowned and forced the com on me.
“Selphie’s having a baby,” Squall’s voice said.
“You finally noticed?”
I could almost see him rolling his eyes. “Now. She’s having a baby, now.”
“Squall, I’m having a Calculus final that I need to pass to make the entrance requirements to Esthar.”
The instructor drifted over. “Using one of your lifelines, Almasy?”
Nida interrupted my pithy comment with, “Official SeeD business.”
The instructor looked skeptical but left when Nida patted the tiger claws at his belt.
“Seifer, “ Squall said, sounding a bit desperate, “What do I do?”
“Do? You mean she’s in Centra with you?”
“Seifer… why would I interrupt you if she wasn’t here?”
“Okay.” I fumbled around for something reassuring to say. “Unlike the movies, it takes a while usually for a woman to give birth. Make Selphie comfortable and take her to the closest hospital.”
“The closest hospital is over 4 hours away,” Squall growled.
“Let me talk to Selphie.”
Selphie sounded a bit more breathless than before. “Hi, Sweetie.”
And when did I become ‘Sweetie’? “Selphie, when are you due?”
“Thirteen days. And Irvine is never on time for anything and you know I’m always late so I figured-“
“Selphie, are you in labor?”
“Selphie, I’m no expert but I do not think you can be ‘kinda’ in labor. How long have you been having contractions?”
“Since… early this morning.”
I closed my eyes. “So it wasn’t pee on the couch, was it, Selph?”
“No… it was my bag of waters bursting.”
I managed to resist the urge to hit my head against the table. “Selphie, why are you not in Deling where your caregivers can help you?”
“Well… my doctor broke her silly arm and wrist in 3 places roller blading… and I hate her substitute… and if my baby has to be delivered by a stranger it may as well be in Esthar… and everyone else is going and I didn’t want to miss the party… oh, I wasn’t supposed to mention the party, it’s a surprise. Forget I said that.”
“Selphie, it was a bit irresponsible for you in your condition –“
“Don’t yell at me! It’s Squall’s dumb old ship that broke! We were supposed to have been in Esthar hours ago! Now Zell says it’s a least 3 more hours and I don’t think I can hold it, even though Squall told me to.”
I opened my eyes. I noticed the second question on the exam was just like the one on the practice test. It wasn’t hard at all, just a little tricky.
“Seifer…?” Squall must have taken the com unit from Selphie. “What should I do?”
“Deliver the baby. Better yet, make Irvine do it.”
“What,” Selphie said in the background, “he put it in so he has to get it out?”
“He’s outside covering Zell. There are still dragons around; Irvine has all the distance attacks. … Seifer, I can not deliver a baby.”
“Squall,” I said, writing rapidly, “Are you saying you want me to try to deliver it? Over the radio?”
“I wish I’d had mine that way,” the woman next to me muttered.
“Good, you’ve done this.” I tried to hand the com to her, but she gathered up her stuff and moved further down the table.
The instructor came back over. “Mr. Almasy…”
“She’s having a baby,” I explained.
“Yes, well, since your contribution is over with, why don’t you let her have the baby while you finish your exam?”
“It’s not my baby!”
“My condolences.” He pointed to the test papers.
Proving that I have matured over the years, I did not tell the old coot to kiss my ass. Instead, I ignored him and passed the com unit to Nida, who handed it right back.
“Not me, I’m gay.”
“You are not!”
“I’m willing to learn.” He folded his arms across his chest and looked at the radio as if it was going to spontaneously give birth, too.
“Squall, that baby is going to come whether you do anything or not. Just make Selphie as comfortable as possible, and get ready to catch.”
“They don’t shoot out like a watermelon seed!” my maternal test mate protested. She huffed and resolutely turned back to her exam, after getting glares from the instructor and me.
“Okay,” Squall said doubtfully. “Leave the speaker on in case I need you.”
I concentrated on the exam, which was turning out to be a piece of cake, and sorta half listened to Selphie groan and Squall curse. Sometimes Squall groaned and Selphie cursed. The entire classroom got to hear Selphie explain to Squall how she was going to tie a knot in Irvine’s dick if she survived this.
I was blazing through the exam and feeling mighty good about myself. I was considering a particularly annoying variable when all kinds of commotion blared out of the speaker.
“Squall… is everything okay?”
There was a long pause and I thought maybe the com was malfunctioning. “No, it is not okay. Everything is so far from O.K. that I need another alphabet entirely.”
“Give me a hint.”
“No hints, Mr. Almasy!” the Instructor said.
“This isn’t about calculus!”
He sniffed. “It’s supposed to be.”
Squall sighed. “Zell got the repairs done and we are charging up now. We should be in Esthar in two and one half hours.”
“Hey, that’s gr-“
“I informed Irvine about Selphie’s situation and he got so excited he fell off the gangway. Zell thinks his ankle is broken.”
Instinctively, I knew laughing was not my best choice. “Selphie is going to make this into a great story when it’s all over.”
“I don’t want to deal with this. I don’t want to be here. I want to be in Esthar, floating in my father’s pool. At this point, I don’t much care if it’s face up or face down.”
Squall is hard to cheer up but easy to piss off. “If you can’t handle it, Squirt, get Zell in there.”
“God, I’d forgotten how much I hated it when you called me that.”
“You gonna weenie out and let Zell have the glory?”
“Zell heard Selphie hollering and threatened to join a monastery. Besides, he’s taking care of Irvine.”
“Then run along, Squirt, you have a baby to deliver.”
I was left with only the first problem, which was the one that stood my hair on end when the exam was passed out. I tried a couple of approaches in the margins, trying to get a grip on it.
“Seifer.” Squall’s voice had gone flat and cold, a sure sign of trouble.
“Something’s not right.”
What is he, psychic? I erased a fair amount of work and chewed my stylus. “What makes you say that?”
“Selphie’s getting tired. I think she’s starting to doze off.”
I sat up so fast my chair slide back and hit the table behind me. “Women in labor do not doze off! Can you get her vitals?”
“Yeah, there’s a blood pressure and temperature thing in the med kit. Her temp is okay but her pressure is dropping slowly.”
“Not good, not good. Try Scan, first on Selphie and then see if you can target the baby. Meanwhile, let me talk to her.”
“Hi, Sweetie.” She did sound tired.
“Hey, Buttercup. Did your doctor mention anything about assisted delivery? Breeched position? Anything?”
“No… I asked ‘cuz Irvy’s so big, y’know, but she said I was perfectly healthy and it would be great. … Seifer, it hurts a lot more than they said it would.”
“I know, Babe, they lie to you about that. That’s why there are so many only children around.”
It was a pale shadow to her usual giggle, but at least she laughed.
And the instructor had to come put his two cents in. “Mr. Almasy.”
“Don’t start with me,” I growled. I was trying to think what Squall could do about Selphie. There was no way they could make it to Esthar in time.
“Start with you? I am finished with you, Mr. Almasy! You have disrupted –“
Squall’s voice, crisp with command. “Nida.”
“Yes, Sir?” Nida even stood up straighter.
“If that fuck says one more word, kill him on my authority.”
“Yes Sir.” Nida put on his tiger claws and the instructor ran out of the room, to the light applause of my fellow students.
“Squall, you are not allowed to talk to any of my instructors in Esthar. What do you have for me?”
“Some sort of toxicity between Selphie and the baby, like a strange sort of status effect. The baby is losing health levels.”
“Try Cura on the baby and Esuna on Selphie, then another scan.”
I could hear Irvine murmuring encouraging things to Selphie, and I caught Zell telling Squall that he’d cast the Heals while Squall did the Scans.
I knew Zell had to be junctioned, too. It didn’t make sense that he’d steal Shiva for Squall and let Quez rot.
“That helped but not for long.”
“Can you get an image of the baby? A sense of position?”
“Yes.” Squall whispered the scan spell again. “It’s upside down, head pointed at her, um, the exit, all wrapped up in its little cord.”
I went as cold as Shiva’s kiss. “Wrapped in the cord? The umbilical cord? Squall, the baby’s strangling. You have to move the cord.”
“How do I do that?”
“You’re going to wait until between contractions and then carefully slide your hand inside next to the baby and gently move the cord from around its neck.”
“…inside?” Squall said faintly.
“Yes. Keep casting Scan to guide you, and have Zell cast Cure and Esuna.”
“… inside of… Selphie?!”
“Yes, and be ready because the odds are the baby will come right out.”
There was a short silence during which I imagined Squall was either grossing out or steeling himself up. “Don’t leave me.”
“Never happen, Squirt.”
What could I do? I kept up a running monologue on how everything was gonna work out fine and what a great job he was doing and what a brave girl Selphie was and all that crap.
Selphie and Irvine were moaning together, I dunno if it was some new birthing technique or if Irvine was having sympathy pain, the pussy. Finally Squall was satisfied the baby was freed and Selphie’s next push brought the baby into Squall’s hands and the world.
A furious mewl of protest filled the air. The students around me cheered, even Nida clapped. The woman who wanted her kids phoned in blew her nose noisily. Over the speaker, I could hear Irvine and Selphie laughing and crying and Zell shouting “Booya!”
Softly, Squall whispered, “ Seifer… Seifer… it’s… hideous.”
Quistis insisted on a quick side trip to visit a beaming Selphie and Irvine. Since Papa was on crutches, it was Zell, proudly chewing a blue bubble gum cigar, who introduced me to Trabian Kinneas Tilmitt.
So it was 24 hours exactly from the last time I’d seen Squall when I found my way into our suite in the Presidential Palace. Squall had fallen asleep, fully dressed, on top of the bed.
I kissed him, and started peeling him out of his clothes.
Squall creaked open one eye. “How did you do?”
“I aced it, I’m in.” I could not help puffing up, and it only got worse when Squall shared his sweet smile with me. “We stopped by the hospital to get my student pass and to check on Selphie and Irvine. And drop off the enormous stuffed mog Quis made me sit with all the way from Fisherman’ Horizon. The kid cleaned up nice. He’s cute.”
Squall rolled over to let me undo his belts. “All I have to say is, thank Hyne we’re gay.”
“I thought you liked girls?”
I rubbed Squall’s belly and moved down to undo his zipper. “Was it that bad?”
“This was the move from Hell. Thank Hyne, I talked Laguna into waiting on the party. First the entertainment center came apart suddenly all over the parking lot. Then the couch incident. Then the dragon and Centra and Selphie and Irvine breaking his fool ankle in 3 places. Galbadia had a fit because I threatened that teacher and –“
“Other than that, Lady Deling, how’d you like the Sorceress’ speech?”
He blinked at me. “You telling Sorceress jokes?”
Since I had Squall undressed, I took my own clothes off. “Who better?”
“You know, Ultimecia was an evil whacked out bitch, but she had a sense of humor.” I crawled in bed next to my love. “An unfortunate fondness for knock knock jokes, but…”
“Oh, shut up!”
“Oh, shut up, who?”
Squall rolled his eyes. “Oh, shut up and kiss me.”
And ever obedient, I did.
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