Author's Notes: Just a silly idea

Road Trip

By PrincessDesire

"Wow! It's awesome!" exclaimed Zell Dincht, rambunctiously showing his affection for Seifer's new car by hugging the front hood. "Oh, this car should be mine!"

"In your dreams Dincht," said Seifer, pushing Zell off his new prize. The glorious red Ferraro's sanctity was preserved. Seifer carefully rubbed off Zell's fingerprints with the sleeve of his coat. "What do you think Puberty Boy?"

Squall, who had been nearly smiling, returned to his usual near-scowl. His hand went to his side as it usually did before he was about to speak. 'I'm a little teapot' thought Seifer. He would have said it out loud but he was making a conscious effort to treat his friends a bit better. Still, in his defense, he wasn't used to the thought of Squall being a friend.

"It's nice."

The other three laughed. "You can see he's almost drooling!" pointed out Irvine. It was true that Squall's eyes seemed larger and maybe a bit softer. None of them knew that he was into cars. "Well, if I were you, I wouldn't let Squall anywhere near that car. Not after he crashed the garden!"

Irvine and Zell chuckled heartily while Squall blushed and Seifer looked confused. "Squall crashed the garden?"

"Sure." He had forgotten that Seifer hadn't been there when the sucker hit the ocean. If hadn't been helping the Sorceress he would have seen it. "If it hadn't been for the guys at FH, we would all be growing mold right now."

Seifer rubbed the back of his neck and tilted his face towards the sky. "And let me guess, that's how Puberty Boy impressed the Princess?" It was now common knowledge that he had dated Rinoa. What most people didn't understand was that he felt absolutely no hard feelings towards Squall for taking her on. She was a bitch, and Seifer was well rid of her.


Zell added, "Well, no one knew how to fly it."

"Regardless, I think I will take Irvine's advice and not let him anywhere near my baby." He stroked the driver window lovingly. It was kind of sick how much he cared about this car.

Zell stopped moving and put his head down dramatically. His body was perfectly still, in a totally un-Zell manner. The three watched him. "Zell?" asked Irvine.

Then Zell exploded. "ROAD TRIP!" His legs kicked and his hands chopped at the air. His grin was covering half his face.

Seifer with his back to the car, threw his arms out protectively. "Don't even think about it Chickenwuss!"

"Why not?" whined Zell. They were all at least 18 now. It was time to explore. Time to have some adventures that didn't involve hacking at some monsters or sorceresses.

"Not in my car! You want to take a road trip? Become an A-rank Seed, save for a long ass time, and buy YOUR OWN!"

"So what are you planning to do with it then?" asked Irvine softly. After all, nice cars were meant to be used. They had all been working hard establishing the new Garden in Esthar. In fact, this was the first time that Irvine had seen Squall out of his office in weeks. They deserved a bit of a break. He eyed Zell whose face perked up a bit realizing that he had someone else on his side.

"Whatever I want to do with it," he glared at Zell and Irvine suspiciously. He didn't want these three in his car. Squall's gunblade scratching at the interior, Zell pounding the roof with his fist because he was bored, Irvine... Irvine doing something else bad to it. No chance in hell he was letting them in HIS car.

Squall's mouth took on a sort of half grin. "It would be fun."

"Okay, no eating or drinking in this car! Do you hear me? If you get hungry, we will pull over and eat somewhere! No smoking..."

"None of us smoke Seifer," said Irvine.

"But you..." added Zell.

The two were situated happily in the back-seat, enjoying the air from the great outdoors. Zell's mom had supplied them with too many pillows and blankets. It looked like a harem. But what a way to travel! It was too bad that Seifer couldn't see the luxuries. He only saw the dangers. The dangers to his car. And that was why he was standing in his front seat staring back at the two of them like they were small children incapable of self-restraint.

"Yeah, well it's the Car's rules and even I am not allowed to smoke!" Zell giggled before he was shut up by Irvine's kicking his foot. "I'm serious Dincht! You so much as look at this car the wrong way..."

"Seifer you are turning into a mafia leader," Irvine smirked.

"Are you looking at my car? Are you looking car? Are you...?" joked Zell before he was hit on the head by the back of Seifer's hand. "Ow."

"Seifer, just relax. Let's get going," said Squall with a sigh. He had thought this was a good idea but now he wasn't sure why. Keeping Seifer and Zell in the same car was dangerous. Hyne only knew the things that these two were possible of doing to each other.

Since Squall was usually the voice of reason these days since he had become a headmaster, Seifer decided that he must have made his point. Still, if either of these knuckleheads did anything to his car, vengeance was his. He sat back down. After he put the key in the ignition he decided to run over a quick checklist of things that they were sure they had and things they were sure not to do. They had some snacks in the trunk along with Squall's gunblade and Irvine's gun which were unloaded to ensure they wouldn't go off. A map in the glove compartment which Zell insisted they didn't need. Ride with the wind. Okay, Seifer could handle that... not really though. He wanted to know where they were going and how long it would take. But, he was a control freak and was attempting to just "get over it".

He started the engine. The radio came to life. It was a beautiful moment. As the car was brought into motion by Seifer, Zell yelled loudly. It was hard not to be enthusiastic which such a spazz around. Irvine let out a hoot of his own. Squall actually smiled. So, this was the feeling of being on a road trip. Seifer laughed happily. Maybe this wouldn't be so bad after all.

"Oh man! I hear that there is this place over by Trabia that carries the best burritos! Yum!"

"They've set up this shooting range thing in the chocobo forest, with fake chocobos. I guess if you do really good, you get some really good prizes. And women really like a man that's good at a shooting gallery."

"There is a man who lives by the Sorceress Memorial who is supposedly the best gunblade specialist in the world."


They had to stop to eat often. None of them had realized just how much food Zell ate. Every time they passed an interesting looking restaurant or one that Zell had heard of, they had to stop and try it out. It didn't bother Seifer as much as he would have thought. It made Zell really happy and it gave him a break from driving.

Luckily everyone's music tastes seemed to be similar. Except Irvine of course, but the other three were not about to endure country music. Not even to save a small child's life.

"Is it a torama?"

"Way off! That's 18..."

"What the hell is this thing?" growled Seifer.

"Yes or no questions only," joked Zell. He stuck his tongue out at Seifer who was glaring at him from the rearview mirror.

"Okay, look, it can't exist Zell. There is no monster that can't fly, is relatively uncommon, under 10 feet, and silent. All animals make some sound!" insisted Irvine.

"Oh, it doesn't make a sound...Well, not really."

"Not really?"

Zell was irritated. It would have been funny if these guys weren't taking it so seriously! "It goes '...'"



Squall growled and slapped his forehead. "Zell, you can't use me as a monster in 20 questions!"

"Why not?" asked Zell, bugged. His joke hadn't gone over very well.


"He's not a monster shit for brains!" yelled Seifer. His eyes stayed focused on the road. Which was good, since they might have shot laser beams at Zell.

"Hey! Why are you yelling at me? It wasn't my idea to play this stupid game!" Zell glared at Irvine. He had simply been trying to lighten the mood. These guys took games way too seriously.

"Okay, maybe it's time to get a hotel. We've been on the road for two days and since tomorrow we'll actually be doing something, let's relax tonight." Irvine was trying to think rationally, even though now he was a little peeved at Zell.

Seifer just ignored Irvine's suggestion and kept driving. Squall thought it was a good idea and knew that Seifer would never listen now that he was angry. "I agree with Irvine," he said softly. He took a look over at the driver.

Seifer shook his head. "I swear, you are the most irritating asshole. Squall is not a monster. We were trying to guess that forever!"

"Look, I'm sorry. I just thought it would be funny."

"Well, you were wrong." The car sat in silence for a bit before Seifer finally said, "We are going to a hotel. I'm tired of driving."

"Don't let Squall take over," said Irvine smiling. Seifer's lips pursed together and then turned into a grin.

"I'm not THAT tired."

Due to the high emotions of the day, it was decided that Seifer and Squall would take one room while Zell and Irvine took another. This separated the worst of the combatants. And it was nicer than sticking Zell in his own room just cause they were all mad at him.

Now that Seifer was in a nice warm bed, he was ready to snore the roof off the room. He shed only his top half of clothing. Something didn't feel right about being in his boxers in front of Squall. There was some kind of line with Squall that Seifer didn't feel like crossing. He did not want to get close to Squall for reasons he couldn't explain. So, he lay in his pants on top of the blankets, since he was hot.

"So, how long did you and her date?" asked Squall from the other bed. Squall was fully dressed, so he must have had similar feelings on that subject.

Seifer was honestly startled. Squall hadn't even brought up the fact that he knew. Now, he wanted to talk about it? It had been over two years since Squall and Rinoa had become a couple. "Um, a few months. Not long. She was only 16 years old though, so it wasn't that short of a relationship."

"I see." For a few more seconds Squall was quiet and then he drew in another breath to ask another question. "Why did you breakup?"

Seifer rolled onto his side to look over at him. "What's with the bonding Puberty Boy?" Out came the insults. He always had to resort to that with Squall. There was something about him that got underneath the skin. Something that burrowed inside of Seifer, and to push it out, he had to force it to withdraw.

"Rinoa dumped me."

It was so sad. Squall's voice had nearly cracked. Seifer gaped. "What? Why?"

Squall chuckled slightly. "You mean who."

Seifer's eyebrows drew close together. "Who?"

"Zone, stomachache boy."

Seifer had met Zone before, though he wasn't quite sure why Squall would call him that. It wasn't like him to resort to petty insults though. "When?"

"Right after I told her I was going on this trip. She said, that it was good that I was taking a break and that it would help "ease her news."

Seifer swallowed hard. How terrible. Poor Squall was heartbroken. He could have kicked himself then. Why had he decided to call Squall Puberty Boy? "Squall..."

A hand raised in the air. "Forget it Seifer. I'm sorry. This isn't any of your business. I think I've just become sort of dependent."

The two lay on their beds, quiet, thinking. "I hadn't seen her in months and then, the next time that I saw her... Well, I wasn't on her side. It was obvious even in battle who her attentions had been focused on. I knew that you and her..." Seifer sighed. "It doesn't matter. She's always been a bitch to me. That was just one more thing."

"I'm sorry Seifer."

"Me too Squall. Me too. You deserve, well, someone human."

The harsh words hit Squall with the force of a caress. Yes, Seifer had been burned by her too and now he had one more thing in common with his enemy. The enemy that felt more like a best friend to him by now. If in no other subject, he could confide in Seifer about this.

"Now, I need to sleep. I've been driving your stick-ridden ass all over Esthar for two days."

"It's too bad that Esthar doesn't have the biggest ball of string."

Irvine was too busy aiming for his next shot to listen to Zell. Zell realized that but was talking anyway. He didn't have the slightest interest in guns, never had. Surely the feeling of shooting a monster wasn't nearly as exhilarating as bringing the thing down with your bare hands. So instead of joining the others, he had decided to eat at the "Chocobakery." Two custard buns, three sesame balls, and a small strawberry cake later, the guys were STILL shooting and he was bored. And full.

"Dammit! I don't want to shoot, but it's the only thing to do here!" he complained loudly over the firing sounds. It was completely lost on Irvine who was firing behind his back while simultaneously winking at a girl who was staring at him. Squall was the only one that responded.

"Why don't you go eat something?"

"I already did! Didn't you notice that I was gone?" He put his hands in his pockets and walked away, dejected. "Oh man." He decided to go eat some more. His stomach hated him.

"Oh no, someone has killed Chicken Wuss!" was what Seifer yelled that woke Zell up.

Zell opened one eye to look at his insulting friend. "Oh man, I go from having a dream about Tifa Lockheart to seeing your ugly face."

Squall and Seifer had come unbelievably close. He had shot 3 more targes than Squall. It was a good thing too, because if one of them had done much better than the other, they would have fought all the way back to Garden.

Seifer snorted before he sat down. "Tifa Lockheart huh? That does remind me of a question I have though."

"How come the guy that looks the most feminine gets the most women?"

Squall and Zell shook their heads. Sometimes, Seifer was just tacky. You don't call one of your friends feminine. "Maybe girls like feminine men," suggested Zell, going along with Seifer's comment.

"No way! No girl wants some gay guy!" Seifer had nothing against gay men, which was why he had intentionally not used the word "fag", but he knew that women liked men manly.

"Irvine is very much not gay Seifer," said Squall in a low voice.

"Well, sometimes he acts like it," responded Seifer. "I'm going to get a soda."

When he came back he surprised them by bringing back a soda for Squall as well. No one mentioned it though, cause it was weird. Seifer wasn't really the considerate type.

Irvine came in at that moment, women adorning his arms. He spotted them and yelled out to them. "So, here I am, the highest scoring gunman in the history of Chocobattlefield!"

"It's only been open a month," whispered Squall. The girls had the opposite reaction as Squall. They nearly swooned.

As he sat, it dislodged the girls, who had to sit in their own seats. "Guess what they gave me?" He asked bursting with happiness.

"A trophy for most testosterone shown in an afternoon?" asked Seifer unenthusiastically.

"A plaque for humbleness," suggested Zell.

Irvine frowned. "Fine guys, just fine."

They all sat in silence. There were some bad vibes. This is what happened when you got such strong-willed men in a car for three days.

"They gave me a GF."

"Really? A GF just for shooting some cardboard chocobos?" Zell nearly shouted. He was just so surprised. Hell, if he had known that he could have gotten a GF, he would have joined them. Goodness knows he had done harder things for a GF before. If he never saw a tonberry again he could die a happy man.

Irvine's fans decided to go sit with some other friends of theirs they had spotted. Irvine saw that it was in direct connection to what Zell had said. He sighed. They were lucky he wasn't a very easy man to set off. Seifer might have shot Zell if he had done that to him. Irvine just looked a little disappointed.

"So, what GF did you get?" asked Seifer. He and Squall had been good, but they weren't marksmen like Irvine. They had both known they would lose out to him.

"Alexander. It's neat, you should see the abilities this thing comes with!"

"Okay, I think it's time we head on to the Sorceress Memorial!"

"Isn't that tacky since we killed her?" whispered Zell.

"It feels weird being here."

"Do you want to ask Matron's permission first Chicken?"

"Kursed Seeds!" came Irvine's loud voice from the top of a flat topped sculpture.

Seifer grinned wider when Squall gestured for Irvine to get down. If he could remember much about his mother, he was sure she would have looked a bit like Squall at that moment.

Irvine stayed atop the monument though. He wasn't going to be bullied around by Squall. He may have been a easygoing guy but he wasn't a push over. "All of you fools will soon be in my klutches!"

"That's not f..." Squall was cut off by Zell's shout of triumph.

"I shall vanquish you evil Sorceress for I...I am Squall Leonhart!" Zell pushed Irvine, but not hard enough to topple him. Irvine teetered and then shoved at Zell with a grin.

"Kursed Squall, best looking of my foes!" Then, he puckered his lips dramatically. "Perhaps a kiss before I kill you."

Squall could feel the blush forming on his cheeks. He noticed that other tourists were becoming aware of his friends. He wished they weren't his friends.

Seifer watched smirking.

"Oh would that I could! But, my heart is Rinoa's!"

Seifer stopped smiling. He looked over at Squall. His head was low and his face was red. Oh man, this wasn't good.

"In that kase Seed, you shall die!"

The two exchanged fake blows. They had drawn a crowd who seemed in awe. Perhaps they realized that they were actually looking at the people who had destroyed the Sorceress. It probably wasn't the best place to be announcing that fact. Tourists were odd and there was no telling how they might react to that.

"But, I'm the good guy, so I win!" announced Zell as he lifted an imaginary sword and brought it down on Irvine's head. Irvine, very slowly, fell to the ground swearing revenge.

"You know, right now Fuujin would yell 'idiots' and throw down her fist angrily," said Seifer towards Squall. He wasn't quite sure how Squall was feeling and he wanted to show his support any way that he could.

"Oh yeah?" asked Squall casually. Then, with a loud voice that Seifer had never heard him use before, Squall bellowed, "IDIOTS!"

Irvine and Zell froze and stared down at Squall. They looked scared. Squall smiled at Seifer. "But, would they have stopped for Fuujin?"

Seifer felt his stomach quake with laughter before it hit his stomach. By the time that the two jokers had come down, he was nearly doubled over. Squall had been right. This was fun.

After the performance, it was group photo time (Zell's idea). Irvine and Zell posing as if they were fighting each other. Seifer giving Zell rabbit ears while receiving them from Irvine. Squall and Seifer looking not at all happy to having their pictures taken. Squall with his back to the camera while Zell pointed and laughed. Irvine just standing and being Irvine. They took nearly a whole reel. The backdrop of the sorceress memorial made the whole thing not seem as lame as it could have been. Afterall, they WERE tourists! They were meant to take pictures.

"So tomorrow we head to that gunblade guy and see which of us is better, eh Leonhart?"


Seifer snickered. He loved how predictable Squall was. It was so easy to push his buttons. So long as it didn't actually hurt his feelings like Zell and Irvine's teasings earlier. "I'm sorry about what they said earlier. You should probably tell them."

"Yeah." Both were trying to act comfortable with this new found friendship. It wasn't working very well. Seifer was fidgeting with his gloves and Squall's body language screamed out "Don't come near me!" They were progressing.

Irvine snored and Zell talked in his sleep. They made for terrible carmates when they were both asleep. It was almost hard to hear the radio over their sounds. Right now, it was kind of a blessing.

"They ARE idiots." Seifer shook his head. He had never heard such noise sleepers.

"...You snore in your sleep."

"What???" asked Seifer loudly. He didn't snore in his sleep. At least, no one had ever told him that he did. He hoped that Squall was making a joke.

"Not too loud. When we had just gotten to the Garden and were placing four of us in a room together, no one wanted the bunk next to you cause you snored."

The shocked look on his face displayed the fact that Seifer was completely oblivious to this. "Why didn't anyone tell me?"

Squall shrugged. "You were a bully. No one wanted to piss you off."

"You always tried."

Squall didn't feel that way. He always saw it as Seifer picking a fight with him. He was always trying to AVOID fights. He didn't like talking, he didn't like arguing, and he had never liked Seifer. "Seifer, you were always razzing ME."

A hand left the steering wheel to change the radio station. "Yeah, I guess I did, but dammit Lenonhart, you NEVER talk! The only way I can get you to open your mouth is to get you pissed at me."

Squall, uncharacteristically giggled. "Are you telling me that all those years of you teasing me and 'accidentally' hitting me, were all so that you could carry on a conversation with me?"

"..." Seifer focused on the road. So what if that was really why he did those things? Okay, so he wasn't the best student of human nature. He had ZERO social skills. It wasn't his fault, if anyone was to blame it was his absent parents.

"..." Squall would just let Seifer be a jackass then. It was bad enough he was trying to blame all that bullying on Squall. He was basically saying that it was Squall's fault for being abused. Well, screw him.

"Yeah, that's why Puberty Boy. So, just leave me alone."

"Yes Zell, we ARE there yet! In fact, right now, Squall and I are fighting the Gunblade guy and you and Irvine are frolicking through the damn woods!"

Zell brooded. Seifer didn't always have to be so mean.

"We're almost there," said Squall who was holding the map studiously.

"You hear that Chicken? So stop asking!"

They were back to their grumpy selves again. It seemed that their actual trip was the fighting and the touristing just breaks from it. They were all ready for some combat and looking forward to the next stop (and last) on their trip. Which was why they were in that much more sour of a mood when they arrived at the Gunblade Master's house to find him... away on vacation.

"Oh no way!" Zell assaulted the ground in frustration.

"Why didn't we check ahead of time?" asked Irvine, mostly to himself.

"Well, it wasn't like I had much warning. You all had to leave right away!" accused Seifer.

The four of them kicked at the ground in either anger or disappointment. "Don't blame us, you were the one who was in COMPLETE control!"

"Seifer always has to be in complete control," said Zell agreeing with Irvine.

"Yeah, well I wouldn't trust you BOYS to handle anything important. It's a miracle Zell can even tie his shoelaces."

Zell's fists were up and he was in Seifer's face in an instant. "What did you say?"

Seifer brought his nose to Zell's, which was hard due to their varying heights. "You are a freaking idiot."

Zell wasn't on orders this time. He wasn't prohibited by the Garden. So, he punched Seifer. It felt good. He enjoyed it, because he'd wanted to do it for years. Seifer who had been leaning nearly fell over, but recovered before he hit the ground. He pulled out his gunblade.

"You wanna fight me Dincht?" he yelled.

Irvine looked at Squall worriedly. They could kill each other. Squall didn't even seem interested at all. "Arent' you going to stop them?"

Squall shrugged and then faced Irvine. "Why should I stop them?"

That pissed Irvine off. There was a code among friends. You play your roles when it's important. And right now, Squall wasn't being the leader that he always had been. "Don't you care if they kill each other?"

The sound of Zell's fist colliding with Seifer's body almost covered Squall's answer. "No."

"Oh that's really nice Squall. So, we still mean NOTHING to you?" Irvine was finding his fingers drawing closer to his shotgun. They were tense and ready for action. This was ridiculous and he knew it, but the vibes that the two fighting blondes gave off was too strong. This wasn't a time for rational thought. "You can be such an asshole!"

>Tell him what I really think

"Better than a slut."

The fight was on! Suddenly the four friends were drawing magic and taking shots at each other. Zell was doing amazingly well for an unarmed man. Seifer was weakening. Irvine was no short range fighter which gave Squall quite an advantage. He would come in close, Irvine trying to shoot the long barrel, and slash underneath or overhead.

It seemed like hours that they battled. The four of them being as aggressive to each other as they would monsters. Finally, Zell who had been on one knee, fell to the ground. He groaned as he hit the ground. He wasn't there long before he heard a similar groan from Seifer.

"Dammit Squall," exclaimed Irvine before collapsing on the soft grass beneath him. Squall, leaned on his gunblade for support as he struggled to breathe.

All was quiet in the small field in front of the Gunblade Master's house. Three lumps on the grass and a saggy figure leaning on a gunblade, witnessed the great sunset in front of the tourist spot. It was a very pretty sunset. It had time to set completely before there was any movement.

That slight movement was Seifer's stomach jiggling. It was followed by a near-coughing sound that was a laugh. Irvine coughed, and that too turned into laughter. Finally they were all laughing pathetic, injured giggles.

"Okay Zell, damn, I get the point. I'm too controlling."

"Hey at least you aren't a slut!" pointed out Irvine with a mischievous grin.

Seifer made the thumbs up sign and said, "cool."

"I think you're a slut Seifer, I believe in you man!" joked Zell.

A cool wind blew over them. "Rinoa dumped me for Zone. Sorry I didn't tell you guys."

"That's alright Squall. I kissed her at the Garden's opening reception. I'm sorry," said Irvine. He felt sleepy and just before he closed his eyes, he saw Squall give him the okay sign with his fingers. Oh good, he wasn't mad.

"I'm in love with Squall, sorry I didn't tell you that like ten years ago," said Seifer.

"..." said Squall. Wait a minute? Had Seifer just confessed his love? Oh great. "Seifer, you aren't supposed to announce that."

They were all quiet. Squall's head was in a turmoil. Seifer and Irvine were feeling kind of cozy and Zell.. "I don't have anything to confess to any of you guys! You are all crazy!" just wanted to get back in the car.

"Thank God Quistis made me pack hi-potions," said Seifer passing the bottles around.

"We should have TP'd that guy's house," said Zell again. He had been making that suggestion for hundreds of miles and it was getting old. Even to him. He was just so disappointed.

"We have a decision to make gentleman. Tears' point or Garden?" asked Seifer in a lighthearted tone. He didn't feel very lighthearted about it. Sure they had all almost killed each other, he had admitted that he was in love with Squall, and Zell was already starting to piss him off again. But, he didn't want it to end.

His eyes glanced in the rear view mirror. Zell was laying down with his legs on top of Irvine's lap and Irvine seemed not really to be noticing. The cowboy was staring out the window. Seifer turned to Squall. No response but no big surprise from him.

"I don't wanna go home," whined Zell. Seifer saw Irvine grin. The mood in the car picked up at the same time the tempo in the car picked up.

"Onward!" announced Irvine.

With the music turned up a bit louder, the four happily set off for Tears' Point.

Apparently the fact that they sold cotton candy at tears' point was enough to warrant the funky chicken dance from Zell. The popcorn was also a hit since it made such a nice weapon.

"And as you can see here, this statue..."

"Dammit Zell, if you throw one more piece of popcorn at me...!"

"Excuse me," said the tour guide angrily. The crowd glared at them. Geesh, people couldn't even lighten up on vacation. "As I was saying, the statue to your right..."

"That's it!" roared Seifer swinging to see an innocent looking Zell.

"Hey, it wasn't me man!" he was ducking and backing away from the angry gunblader.

A small giggle from Irvine released Zell of blame. Seifer narrowed his eyebrows and in a swift movement, grabbed Zell's popcorn and tipped the rest of the tub onto Irvine's head. "This better Kinneas?" asked Seifer with a grin.

The crowd was seething. The tour guide was seething. And Squall and Irvine were laughing their heads off. Zell was morning the loss of his popcorn. "Oh, pop off Seifer!" joked Irvine.

"Pun tax!" shouted Zell, bounding over and slapping Irvine's hand.

The tour continued on without them. "I think they left us," whined Zell. He wanted more popcorn.

"I think they should have left us," said Squall. They were behaving like ten year olds. And damned if he wasn't having the time of his life doing it. "Hey, maybe there is something on top of that statue."

They all looked at the tremendously huge statue he was pointing at. Wow, that was quite a climb. Testosterone flowing, they all exchanged an excited look before tearing off to climb the thing.

It was difficult, being so smooth, but it was also old and had cracks. "Hey, Seifer, bet you can't beat me!" announced Zell happily.

"Oh he'll beat you all right, but you guys will still get there after I do!" gloated Irvine.

Squall smiled, grabbing another handhold. "If I let you guys onto the top of my statue."

They were all so damned competitive all the time. It was a curse of having the Y-chromosome. Being mercenaries didn't help that either.

Anyone from Esthar Garden would have passed out from the shock of seeing their headmaster competing in such a childish show of strength. Childish and Squall weren't words commonly used together. In fact, it would be amazing to them if he hadn't been born as an adult. Born with a stick up his ass, as Seifer would say. Of course, he'd also say what a nice ass it was.

"Hey Leonhart, nice ass!" he shouted, taking Squall's pause as an opportunity to gain a few feet on him. Squall looked down shocked...until he realized that Seifer had said it to slow him up. They raced on.

Seifer was now nearly even with Squall. Squall turned his head to his left and saw Seifer smiling back at him. "Can't stand the pressure?" he said in a raspy breath. It was getting tough, but they were almost to the top. Seifer was almost to the top actually. Squall could barely have grabbed his foot.

"Hey Seifer, nice ass." Seifer just grinned. Okay, he was thinking, he's just saying that to get me to slow down. Still, it had been Squall who had said it. His love. And maybe if it wasn't so hard to say, maybe it wasn't beyond thinking of. It meant that he could think of another man's body without revulsion. And if he could do that, maybe there was some hope for a relationship.

"Slowpoke!" came Squall's voice beside him. Damn, it had worked. Seifer laughed. He stopped laughing as he heard a victory cry above him.

"You guys suck! Zell Dincht is KING OF THE MOUNTAIN!"

Oh shit, they had allowed Zell to win. Irvine was next up, surprisingly. The two gunbladers tying. What was the point of racing anymore? They had let Zell win. All three worried they would never hear the end of it.

"My first rule as king is that you all must pay tribute to me! Bring on your gifts!"

Seifer flipped Zell off. How could the little guy have so much energy after climbing all that way? It was astounding.

"Be lucky...we...don't push," gasped Squall. All of them but Zell were desperately out of breath. Zell was bouncing. Oh yeah, the cotton candy. It works wonders on the body.

"How do we get down?" asked Irvine, peering off the side of the statue.

"So, I was lucky Quistis didn't rape me!"

Since humorous anecdotes weren't really something Squall was known for, it made them that much funnier. It also helped that the air was thinner on top of the statue. But they were laughing their asses off in the middle of the night at Tears' Point.

Seifer shook his head. "Man, I wouldn't come anywhere near her alone. Not with that whip..."

Zell grinned. "I would risk it!"

"You and Quistis...eeeew." Irvine mock-shuddered. She was all control and intelligence. Zell was...well...mentally a ten year old. "What about Rinoa?"

Zell shook his head. "Nah, I prefer less...well,"

Squall laughed heartily at that. "What about you Irvine? Would you go for Rinoa?"

Seifer interrupted Irvine's answer. "This IS Irvine we're talking about. He'd go for anything female."

More laughter, this time at Irvine's expense. He poked at the small lantern in the middle of their circle, to stop it from flickering. "You guys would be surprised actually."

"Surprised at how many women you'd fuck?" asked Seifer. Were the numbers really more countless than they suspected?

"I actually kind of... well..." Irvine pushed back his hat, forcing his head up as he tried to add confidence to his voice. "I run with Seifer."

Seifer jumped up. "I've never touched you!"

Irvine laughed and flailed his arms around. "No, I meant, you and me, we both like guys. I mean, I'm not gay, but I like guys too."

Seifer sat down quietly. Really, he had no follow up to that. The four watched the fire. That was interesting news. It was amazing how long you could know someone and still have no idea what they were really like inside.

"So, how long do you think it will take before Garden notices we are missing?"

Luckily they didn't have to wait for that, the Tears' Point maintenance workers heard them laughing and had decided to come back to "rescue" them in the morning.

After getting scolded, they were escorted back to Seifer's car and politely asked not to return there. It was intensely funny to all of them, and Seifer peeled out just out of defiance. He felt like a teenager. He didn't usually. The Ultimecia incident had aged him tremendously.

"Hey, what if we dressed up as other people and snuck back in?"

"This from the man who desperately wanted to TP the gunblade master," laughed Irvine. Still, all of them found the idea a little exciting. But, once they snuck in, what would they do? The place hadn't been fun enough the first time. "Hey, why don't we go eat somewhere?"

Good idea, thought four rumbling stomachs.

There was a restaurant on the way back to Garden that served the most delicious Tamago Nigiri. They held out for food until they got there. The customers had never seen four hungry warriors eating. Most of them hoped to never see it again. The waiter tried desperately to keep up with the dirty dishes. It was some good eating.

Seifer didn't feel up to driving after the meal, so rather than trust anyone else (especially Squall) with HIS car, they stopped at a hotel. This time one room for the four of them, since this time they weren't all out to murder each other. There were two beds which worked out really well since Irvine and Zell wanted to see a movie at the theater just down the street. Squall was given the choice to join them or sit and be bored with a sleeping Seifer. He stayed.

Seifer didn't sleep though. It would have been damn hard to what with Squall attacking him. The instant Zell and Irvine left the room, it was as if Squall became possessed. He nearly jumped onto the empty space near Seifer. He pressed his lips roughly against the sleepy man. It woke that man up completely.

His arms wrapped around Squall, not understanding but completely happy. He felt the hands at his clothes. He heard his name being whispered urgently. He saw Squall's beautiful eyes smoldering down at him. But it wasn't connecting. Not until Squall said, "I thought they'd never leave. Fuck me Seifer."

He did.

He did because not only did he love Squall as much as he could love another person, but he realized in the contented sighs and tiny licks that covered him, that Squall loved him back. He didn't even need to say so. Not after they were finished, too quickly, and holding onto each other tightly. Seifer knew by the way Squall nuzzled his neck. Knew by the way the last thing that Squall said before falling asleep was, "Seifer..."

Squall had already crawled into the other bed by the time that Irvine and Zell got back from the movie. Which was too bad cause Seifer really would have liked to have seen the looks on their faces. So how was your movie? He would have asked while stroking his sleeping lover's face. The thought was too funny. He laughed.

"What's so funny?" asked Irvine who was in the process of removing his boots.

"Afterglow..." declared Squall, rolling his body away from Irvine and facing the window.

The boot stayed halfway off Irvine's foot for a solid ten minutes.

"So, what is sex with Seifer like?" asked Irvine. He was smiling that devilish smile. He was trying to get a rise out of one of them. Afterall, they were almost back to Garden and they hadn't fought since before Tears' Point.

"Brief..." said Squall honestly.

"Hey, fuck off, Leonhart."

"But nice."


"Hey, I can't believe how long we were gone. Those last few days flew by!" said Zell. All of them were thinking about the fun times. They weren't thinking about the fights. "We should do this again sometime."

"Not a bad idea Zell," agreed Seifer. He would never have believed that he would want to do this all again.

When they returned to Garden, they had almost a whole roll of pictures to prove they had actually gone somewhere together and come back alive. Selphie covered them all with hugs, especially Irvine, who she had been trying to hook up with since the incident. And Irvine had been considering dating her, but now he had someone else in mind.

"Hey Zell, hit the cafeteria?" asked Irvine with a wink.

"Hell ya! I haven't had a hot dog in days!"

Selphie pouted after the two ran off. "I'm going to die single. What about you guys? Either of you want to date me?" Suddenly her arms were up in the air and her legs were kicking behind her. "Who wants a piece of this?"

Squall shook his head. "Sorry Selphie, I'm spoken for." Just the words made Seifer go weak in the knees. It was too much to ask for that Squall was all his.

Selphie looked confused. "I thought you and Rinoa broke up?" Girls always kept tabs on who was dating who. It was amazing, since Squall had told no one. Of course, knowing Rinoa, it was probably scrawled in permanent marker on the directory. She had to catch everyone's attention.

"..." Now was when he got tongue tied. It was easy. He just had to say that Seifer was his boyfriend. But it was difficult. It would take time to let himself come to trust another person as much as he had come to trust Rinoa.

But he didn't have to say anything because Seifer, sparkly-eyed, closed in and kissed him. And there in front of Esthar Garden, Selphie, and a whole bunch of nosy students, he held onto Seifer Almasy as if he were life support. The kiss wasn't about lust as it had been the previous day. It was about promises for more road trips. And maybe next time he could drive the car...


*Seifer pops his head up* Don't count on it Leonhart!

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