Kiros rounded a corner leading to the front entrance to the palace with Squall right behind him. They walked right into a crowd of people mostly guards.
"What's going on?"
Laguna appeared out of the sea of guards. "It's okay false alarm."
A couple of guards parted and a woman stepped through. Squall's eyes widened.
She smiled at him. "Sorry about the magical barriers president Loire I didn't mean to cause any trouble."
"Its fine and its Laguna remember?"
Edea looked at Squall. "I have a surprise for you."
She moved to one side and gestured with her arms. "Ta-da."
Another girl stepped forward arms out stretched for the brunette.
She ran straight into his arms, catching Squall off guard so that he just stood there for a second before lightly putting his arms around her waist.
"I thought you were seeing friends."
She laughed. "I was but I managed to get back early, thought you'd be glad to see me." She teased.
"Oh- um- Well-I-err- I-I am."
"I know I'm teasing."
Moat of the guards had a dissipated now leaving Laguna, Kiros, Squall, Edea and Ellone left.
"Matron are you staying too?"
"Yes presiden- err- I mean Laguna has offered to let both of us stay for a while we can catch up."
"Yeah." Squall agreed. "Tomorrow maybe."
"Well why wait?" Ellone cheered.
"Well we're not doing anything now; the three of us could go out."
Squall hesitated, feeling his eyes get drawn towards Kiros who stood behind him. The dark man offered him a smile but it was a polite public use smile not the type of smile he received from him in private.
"Err- I don't know don't you guys need some time to settle in?"
Ellone scoffed. "I live here most of the time anyway."
"Plenty of time to settle in later."
"See? So, have you eaten?"
"Umm- no not really but-" He thought of the uneaten food in Kiros' apartment that he had been keen to eat mostly because it meant to got to be alone with the dark man.
"Great!" Ellone cheered. "Well the three of us can go out now, get some food and catch up."
Squall hesitated. "Three? Well why don't we all go out?" He suggested, at least then he'd get to be with Kiros even if they wouldn't be alone.
Laguna grinned. "No, you guys go you don't want us non orphanage gang hanging around."
"That's what I call us." Ellone explained.
"Selphie does too."
"Really? She remembered? That's so cool."
"Have a good time." Laguna urged.
The women tried to get Squall to leave with them.
"But-umm-we were watching a movie-"
"Yes right and-umm-it's in the middle." Kiros backed him up.
"That's okay you can watch it anytime or you can borrow it from Kiros, I'm sure he won't mind right?" He asked his friend.
"See? It's fine, go have fun."
Squall sighed in defeat, following the ladies to the door. He waved to the two men that were left behind.
When they were gone Kiros' heart sank, with them around Squall wouldn't need to hang around with him anymore. He'd find a lot more exciting things to do that share his boring paperwork or stay in and watch a random DVD.
Laguna shot his friend a concerned look. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah fine." He answered, his voice sounding dull even in his own ears.
Laguna frowned. "Maybe you should go out as well tonight."
"Trying to get rid of me?"
"No of course not, I meant go out and meet- people. You spend way too much time alone these days."
Kiros smiled. "Thanks but I'm fine."
"Yeah, think I'll just go home and have dinner."
"Okay, I'll see you tomorrow."
"Yeah bye." Kiros pushed open the front door, which he had left jarred in his haste to see to the 'emergency'.
He sat back down on the sofa and re-filled his glass, eyeing the now unused glass that sat further along the coffee table.
It was true that Squall had shocked him with the unexpected kiss, he had froze in fear of scaring him away if he made the wrong move, he had so wanted to touch Squall, kiss him, taste him and he would have done if not for that stupid alarm. He hoped Squall didn't think he didn't want him because he hadn't kissed him back he wanted to, he was going to but-
He sighed and downed the glass of wine he was holding, getting up to stick the now cooked chicken in the fridge at least it would last him for a few dinners, solo dinners now that Squall had Ellone to play with.
The thought sparked jealously, which was just ridiculous. For one Squall would never be interested in her and second she was like a sister to him and they should be spending time together it was natural, more natural that Squall hanging around with him. He doubted the brunette would be making anymore dinner plans now that he had better company, maybe Squall had kissed him but would he really have done if he wasn't practically forced into Kiros' arms. He was forced to be here with no friends with no escape, Laguna had chickened out of talking to the boy so many times that he was the one Squall ended up with for an evening or a morning or whatever.
Squall was Laguna's son and there was a 23 year age gap between them not to mention a million miles between Esthar and Balamb it was ridiculous really. Laguna would go nuts if he knew Squall had kissed him and even more so if he knew that Kiros wanted his son as a lover. Laguna was his best friend, his boss. He could stand to lose his job, his friends, his home, his family. Ward and Laguna were family. When Laguna said 'go out and meet people' Kiros knew he meant men but he hadn't meant Squall. Men not 17 year old boys. Even if it had happened differently and he had kissed Squall back it would hardly be the start of a long term relationship, Laguna would never allow that.
His eyes watched the spinning liquid as it went round and round in the cup like someone had pulled the plug on the coffee cup. He stirred it faster.
"Hmm?" He looked up at Sis and Matron who were looking at hi strangely.
"Have you been listening?"
"Then what did I say?"
"Umm- You were telling us about the party you had on the white Seed ship."
"Hmm well yes, lucky guess." She watched his eyes travel back to the coffee cup.
"Are you okay?"
"Hmm? Yeah, why should I be?"
"You have been acting strange since we left the palace." Matron said.
"Tired." This was not how he had wanted to spend his evening. When he had first arrived he had willed Ellone to arrive faster in Esthar and now that she was here he sort of wanted her to go away again. Maybe it was just the timing if she had arrived tomorrow he would have been glad to see her... unless Kiros had returned the kiss and his feelings then he would probably want to spend the next day, week, month with him.
He wondered if the other man was going to kiss him or just about to push him away and let him down easy and this time he didn't have the excuse of being drunk to fall back on.
"Are you going to eat that?"
"Huh?" Squall looked down at his untouched cheese salad. "Err-No you go ahead."
"Ellone! Don't eat his food out from under him, he didn't have enough to start with and a growing boy needs his food."
"Growing boy?" In truth Squall was starving but if he got his way he was hoping to sneak back to Kiros' room and help him eat their abandoned dinner.
"You're only 17, I'm sure you still have some growing left to do."
"Wait till you get into girls." Ellone winked at him.
"I thought you and that heartily girl were just perfect together." Edea said.
"Yeah you and everyone else."
"She wasn't my type."
"And it took you eight months of being with her to figure that out?" Ellone asked.
Squall sighed. "Look can we change the subject?"
"Umm- No!" Ellone grinned. "I like this subject, it's my job to embarrass you about girls remember? I am almost your sister."
"Fine I don't have a girlfriend, Rinoa was the only girl we didn't have a future so I ended it happy?" He sighed.
The ladies exchanged an amused look. "Okay so no dates here in Esthar?"
"No." Except Kiros and those weren't really dates and Kiros wasn't a woman and he probably wouldn't tell them anyway.
"No one catch your eye? Anyone you like?"
Ellone grinned a little evilly. "So no girls."
"No." Squall took a sip of his coffee.
"Really? What about boys then?"
Squall almost spat his drink out over the table. "What?!"
"Boys, men. Got a secret boyfriend that we don't know about?"
"Ellone! I really don't think Squall would-" Edea looked at Squall's embarrassed rather than appalled or annoyed face. "Oh." She cleared her throat. "So you're bi, big deal."
Squall fidgeted. "I'd rather not have this conversation in public."
"I just wouldn't."
"So you're bi, that's good right? More variety?"
"I'm not; can we talk about this later?"
"You're not? So you don't like men? Then why did you get so-"
"No I mean I don't-" He continued in hushed voice. "Like girls."
"Oh! But Rinoa-"
"Was a mistake."
"A clingy, giggly horrible mistake."
Ellone giggled. "I didn't like her either."
"Ellone! She wasn't that bad, I thought she was good for you thought before you were so- cold."
"Yeah before Selphie started dragging me to all the festivals, Irvine took me out bar hopping with him, Seifer started including me in the late night strip poker games, Quistis would bring me lunch in my office if I didn't get time to go to lunch and when I did Zell was always there to sit with me whether I wanted him to or not." He paused for breath. "All Rinoa ever did was get in my way."
"Oohh." Ellone cooed. "Imagine Seifer naked."
Edea rolled her eyes. "I don't have to imagine I've seen most of you running naked round the orphanage court yard."
"But that's different we were children."
"He's pretty good at poker too so he usually avoids getting naked."
"Ohhh." She said in disappointment.
"Unfortunately Zell is less good."
"Oh dear." Edea chuckled.
"Don't you think Zell reminds you of uncle Laguna?"
Squall gave her a funny look. "What?!"
"Well the energy, the ability to mean well and then ruin things like flooding or accidentally hitting someone in the head or blurting something out..."
"Don't say that! I've kissed Zell!"
Ellone and Edea's eyebrows rose. "You have?"
"Oh it was another of Seifer's stupid games."
"That's alright then as long as you haven't dated him or anything."
Squall grimaced. "Ugh no." He yawned. "I'm tired, it's getting late, would you mind if I went back to the palace?"
"No of course not we can talk tomorrow."
"Okay." He rose. "Night."
It was late by the time Squall got back to the palace, he remembered Kiros saying he had to get up early so he'd be in bed now right? He was supposed to go to his room and go to bed but his legs had other ideas and before he knew it he was standing outside Kiros' door.
He hesitated before knocking, he didn't expect an answer and almost gave up after a long moment of nothing happening when the door finally opened and a half asleep looking Kiros stood there he seemed to wake up more when he saw who it was.
"Sorry did I wake you?"
"It's okay I was only on the sofa anyway." He ran hand over his face. "Did you want to come in?"
"Yeah we- I mean- I- err- can we talk?"
"Yeah- of course come in." He stepped aside to let the other man in and shut the door behind him.
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