Disclaimer: Blah, I'm not repeating it every chapter so this is the LAST one. My last disclaimer-I don't own Final Fantasy VIII nor am I seeking to take it over. How's that?

Terminal Recovery

Chapter Five - Insanity

By Tori Singer

Morning couldn't come soon enough. I peek my eyes over the edge of the blanket. Good, the room's lit up with the sunrise. I glance at the door, nobody standing there and I don't hear any strange noises. I sigh in relief and look over at Squall. I almost purr at the sight.

The brunette was laying on his back, with his back twisted, so he was actually facing me. His hand was up to his lips, it looked almost like he was licking his fingers. His face showed nothing but calm serenity. I wanted to curl up next to him, steal some of that calmness. I probably didn't get a wink of sleep last night, what with being scared shitless and laying next to my commanding officer.

I dare to move, easing my way closer to my secret love. He was so beautiful, laying so innocent like that. But I knew better; he was a man full of muscles and wit. But, I wasn't run of the mill either. I could whip anybody when it came to fist fighting and martial arts. Swordplay, however wasn't my strong point at all. I hold my breath and lay within' an inch of his body. He never moves, I'm actually surprised.

Not knowing what else to do, I face him and I cuddle down into the blankets. I just watch his breathing, his breath smelled of peppermint and something not so pleasant. I didn't mind, I just watched the air come in and out. I was glad he was resting, it was what he needed. I felt my stomach grumble. Oh man, not now.....

I carefully edge away from my lion and my thoughts as I stand on the light blue carpet. I looked around. Now that it's over, I feel a little silly, running in here and jumping him like that.... I blush as I leave the room, remembering how I bounced on his hips and didn't even get an erection. I must've REALLY been freaked out. I try not to think about it as I walk down the stairs. I felt more secure in the day, almost as if the baddies couldn't get me. That's something Matron would tell us when we were little.

I shuffle into the kitchen, stopping short at the entrance. There, on the table, was the radio from yesterday. I stared, not knowing what else to do. I saw a red light on the front of it come on. I didn't dare move as a haunting melody started playing. I heard a squeak as the cabinets came open and cans started drifting out.

I watched as the cans seemed to pair up and float around the room, like a sick, twisted waltz. I watched, amazed and scared as the music seemed to come to a climax. The cains swirled faster, they all seemed to form a circle. As the song played the last loud note, the cans exploded in a fountain of sphaghetti and soup. I scream and run from the room, blindly charging up the stairs.

I waste no time in running to Squall's room. My heart thumped in my chest wildly. I hauled ass onto the bed and scrambled on top of my friend. I beat his shoulder, trying to get his attention. He never moves.

"Squall!" I call, rolling him over. My spit catches in my throat as I look at my friend. His eyes were gone, and blood oozed out the empty sockets, a mock form of tears. I force my fist in my mouth, screaming around my hand. Then, Squall opens his mouth, letting blood flow down his chin and onto his neck. I can't move as he reachs toward me, mouth gaping in a bloody mass of sharp teeth.

"GAAAAHHHH!!!" I roll away, landing on the floor. I breath deeply, taking in the situation. I was tangled in the blankets, unable to move. I wait for the pain, the pain when Squall bites me. It never comes. I roll further away from the bed. The sunlight glared through the window, showing it was well into the afternoon. What the hell?

I force my way out of the blankets. I stand, and find the bed empty. Was it a dream? Suddenly, a hand comes down on my shoulder.

"Wahh!" I scream and fall on the bed, landing on my back. I stare up at Squall, heaving like I'd run a million mile marathon. Squall's holding a cup of coffee, staring at me like I'd grown another head.

"Squall." I mutter out, feeling foolish. He takes a drink of his coffee before straighting his shirt.

"Zell? Are you ok?" He asked, shifting on his feet. I run a hand through my hair, feeling silly and relieved at the same time.

"Y-yeah, just..." I left it hanging. He seemed to understand because he left it lie.

"Bad dream?" He asks, turning to the door. I guess he expects me to follow. Which I do, not wanting to be alone all too much. I follow him down the stairs. My chest tightens as I turn the corner. I expected to see a mess of soup surrounding a strange radio but I don't. The kitchen is silent and clean. I sigh as I sit at the table. Squall sits a cup of coffee in front of me.

"Here, it helps." He said, sitting across from me. There were only two chairs so it's not like we had much of a choice as to where to sit. I was beginning to get into a routine in this house. I took a sip of the coffee, savoring the hot liquid as it ran down my throat. I leaned back, shifting in my seat. I still needed to change out of my pajamas, I felt silly in front of Squall, who was wearing black slacks and a grey, long sleeved shirt. He looked hot. I felt hot. Ohhh.

"Feeling better?" Squall asks me. I nod to him, looking at the clock. I almost spit out my coffee; it was after one in the afternoon.

"It's that late?!" I ask, disbelief all over my face. Squall looks at me with sympathy, I find that strange, but nice.

"Yeah, you didn't sleep much last night...." My eyes widen, how'd he know?

"How'd..?" I left it off. Squall smiled at me, a real smile. I grin in return, waiting.

"I felt you move throughout the night." I almost blushed, that sounded so sweet to MY ears, no matter how he meant it. Damn, I wanted this man. I just can't have him. That makes the occasional smiles and touches all the sweeter.

"What do you want to do today?" I ask, changing the subject. Squall shrugged.

"I guess we could explore the town." He suggested. I almost jumped in his arms. Anything was better than staying in this house. I stood and made my way to the door. I heard Squall clear his throat.

"What?" I asked innocently. He looked down toward my stomach. I frowned and looked down. I didn't see anything....

"You wanna walk around in chocobo printed jammies that's your business...." I feel the heat rise to my face as I run up the stairs. I felt like an idiot. I suddenly miss my punching bag, it was always there when I needed to let off steam. I felt like punching something, but restrained myself.

I rummaged through my closet, looking for something that was subtly sexy. I didn't know if that combination actually existed but, it did now. I didn't want to come on too strong but I wanted to get the hint across. I settled on a sleeveless light green shirt. I pulled on a pair of jean shorts, they came down to my knees and were a little baggy. I tucked the shirt in and put on a brown leather belt. I topped it off with my black and red sneakers. I fixed my hair, gelling it up in it's trademark 'do'. I grinned at my reflection; oh yeah, badass bitch.

I came down the stairs slowly, listening to the hacking in the kitchen below. I peeked my head around the corner and watched solemnly. Squall was leaning against the sink, coughing hard. His whole body was wracked in shakes. I watched him put an inhaler to his lips and administer it. I saw that the coughs slowed down. I was reminded of the reason we were even here.

I crept my way into the kitchen, not wanting to give him a heartattack and make him cough again. He put the inhaler away and turned to me, his eyes giving away his surprise.

"Zell." He stated, looking a little shocked. I offered an understanding smile, but didn't expect to get one in return. I grinned when he did, though. He looked at my outfit before smirking.

"You have the skater bitch look down, I see." I gasp indignantly as he walked past.

"Hey!" I call after him dejectedly. I follow him out the door.

"I didn't hear you complaining." I tried to counter, failing. Squall turns to me as I stride up next to him. He rolls his eyes ever slightly.

"Nothing to complain about, bitch." I gape at him as he chuckles. I never expected THAT. We walked the rest of the way down the driveway in silence. We stopped when we got to the townsquare. I put my arms behind my head.

"Now what?" I ask, sounding bored, which I was. Squall looked around us, seeing nothing exciting. I spot a path that lead to the woods outside of the town. I gestured to it with my hand.

"Wanna check it out?" I ask, gauging Squall's reaction. He looks to where I pointed and shrugged.

"Why not?" He replied before walking ahead. I keep up with him, and pretty soon we're walking down the dusty path. The trail didn't stay dusty long, it had more grass on it and was more like mud. I stepped in a particularly deep patch of mud and cursed, the mud covering my sneaker.

"Watch where you're going." I hear Squall retort. I ignore his insult and we continue on. We were getting deep in the forest now, the trees were thick and the birds sang loudly. It was very muddy though, a big contrast to the dusty, backwater town. It must be because of all the shade, it kept it cooler. I noticed that there was large mud puddles everywhere. I was beginning to get bored.

"Ack!" I holler as something pushes me in the side. I land with a splat in the mud. I roll over and glare at my offender. Squall is laughing at me. My frown fades at the sight; Squall, letting himself feel mirth. His laughing fades away as he stares at me. He offers me his hand. I smirk and take it, using all my strength to pull him down next to me. He squawked in an undignified manner as he hit the mud.

"Ha ha ha!" I laugh sarcastically. He raises up next to me, mud sticking to his face. It actually looked pretty erotic. I squeak when he grabs me, pushing me down into the mud, face first. I taste mud and grass and something nasty. I come up sputtering, trying to glare in Squall's direction but probably ending up looking like the Swamp Monster. His laughing proves it.

"Hey!" I yell, grabbing mud and slinging it at him. It hits him on the forehead, causing me to laugh harder. He lunges at me, wrestling me down onto the ground. He grabs my wrists and places them above my head. I laugh and try to get away. I finally force my way out and we start flipping and wrestling.

Eventually, though, I was in the same boat, him over me, triumphant. Squall smirks down at me, mud covering the two of us.

"Submit to me." He says in his most Seifer-like voice. We both bust out laughing.

"Nice impression!" I compliment him. His laughing slows down into a frown.

"Y-yeah." He says, looking away. I could tell I said something wrong. I lean up toward him, my face inches from his. He turns to look at me, our noses barely touching.

"What's wrong?" I ask softly, trying to stay calm. He stares at me for the longest time before he leans closer. I didn't move as he presses his muddy lips to my own. I close my eyes and I savor the touch, covered in mud as it was. It lasted but a few precious moments, but it seemed like forever to me. He pulls back, and I'm tempted to pull him against me. He looks at me and says nothing. We had a staring contest for a couple minutes before he doubled over.

"Squall?" I ask, playfulness gone. He starts coughing and breathing hard. I pat his back as he uses his inhaler. I watch and I say soothing words, trying to calm him down. I rub his back softly, not knowing what else to do. I look away as his coughing slows. It's my fault, I got him too excited and he has to pay for it.....

Neither of us said anything on the way back to the house. I didn't even look to see if he was watching me. I felt so ashamed. I was supposed to be helping him relax and what do I do? I get into a mud wrestling match and am kissed. Then he hacks up a lung. I sigh, life really sucks right about now.

I watched Squall head up to the bathroom, unfortunatly it was the only one in the house. I stood in the entryway, not wanting to track too much mud. I stood around, thinking about the afternoon, about how much fun it was. But I kept thinking about the kiss. Did Squall really mean it? I don't know, and that's what sucked.

I waited what seemed like forever before Squall finally came down the stairs. He looked tired and weary. He was wearing a loose pair of grey sweatpants, and that was it. I caught my breath and watched him walk past me to the kitchen. I tried to crush the hurt feeling that flooded in my chest. I walked up the stairs sadly.

I tore off my clothes and threw them in the hampter, I had some cleaning to do today. I grumbled, hoping there were no 'windows' that were very high up. I shuddered at the memory. I'm quickly under the spray of the shower, letting it ease the dirt and grime from our frisking around earlier. I almost didn't want the mud gone. It reminded me of the playfulness in my commander.

I almost didn't notice the change in temperature. The water turned slightly hotter. I frowned at the shower head. It kept getting hotter. I reached for the knob but it wouldn't turn off. I started to get mad when it got even hotter, it started to really burn my skin. I grabbed the handle of the showerdoor and pulled, but it didn't budge. I panicked, the water scaulding hot now.

"OWwwwwww!" I yell, my skin being punished. I banged on the door, but it was plexiglass and seemed to be tough as anything. I pushed myself against the wall, as far away from the water as possible, but it still touched my legs. I didn't know what else to do.

"Squall!" I holler, hoping he'd hear me. I started to shake, the burning becomming too much.

"SQUALL!" I shreak, unable to do much else. I hear the bathroom door swing open. I see Squall's sillouette through the plexiglass.

"Zell?!" I hear him shout over the water. I push against the door.

"Help!" I holler. He needed no further explanation. I see him pick up the barstool next to the sink. I get back at his warning and flinch as the stool connects with the door. It doesn't break or anything. I started losing hope, it was getting hard to breathe with all the hot water. I felt lightheaded. Squall continued to bang on the door with the stool.

I hear it crack before giving way. The door falls into the tub in front of me. Magically, the water shuts off. Squall looks at me through the doorway, panic in his eyes. I must've looked like a burnt lobster because he gasps. I practically jump into his arms, happy to be finally out.

He holds me without question as I shake all over in his embrace. I don't even care that I'm nude. He rubs my back, whispering soothing words. I pull back, feeling a little embarrased. My body stung from the hot water. I looked down at myself. My skin was a dark red. I wrapped my arms around my waist, but even that stung.

"Zell, what happened?" He asks me as I stumble out of the room. The cool air of the hallway slightly soothes my stinging skin. I walk into my room, collapsing onto the bed. It hurt my skin, but it was starting to go away. I feel Squall sit down next to me. I feel slightly embarrassed that he had a clear view of my backside. I didn't want to move, though. The sheets felt cool to my skin.

I laid there a bit before he got up. I listened as his footsteps sounded around the room. Soon, he was standing next to the bed. I feel something cool being laid on my body. It was another sheet.

"Thanks." I whisper, I'm still a little shook up over the situation. Squall mumbles 'your welcome' before leaving the room. I wanted to run after him and jump into his arms. I was grateful for his help. He saved my life, I suppose. I didn't know how long I would've lasted in that hot water. I closed my eyes and relaxed, stretching around a bit.

I must've fallen asleep, because I could see the sunlight coming into my window at a higher angle. I raised up, the sheet pooling at my lower back. I remembered what happened and shivered, but not from a cold chill. My skin felt better, it didn't burn anymore. I stood up, letting the sheet fall to the floor. So much for a day of cleaning. I'll do it later.

I padded down to the kitchen after I put on a pair of shorts. I felt too lazy to attempt anymore clothing. I rummaged around in the cabinets, I'd also forgotten to go shopping. I sigh before I turn around. Squall looked at me from his place on the couch. He stood and walked over.

"Are you alright, now?" He asked, his tone as gentle as he could manage. I wanted to beam up at him and reassure him, but I didn't feel like it. I smile slightly and nod.

"Thanks to you." I blurted out. He nods before returning to his spot on the couch. He resumes reading his book. I walk behind him toward the stairs.

"I'm gonna run to the store." I tell him, planning on putting on a shirt and a pair of sandals. I return soon with a white shirt on and my flipflops. I had my wallet in my shorts pocket. I walked out the door, telling Squall bye.

I strode down the driveway, running a grocery list through my mind. We needed so many groceries it wasn't even funny. I sighed as I walked onto the wooden planks in front of the store. I guess they were taking the place of a porch...

"Ding" The bell signals my entrance. Katy looks at me from behind the counter and grins widely. She looks really happy to see me. I felt sorry for her, being in this big store alone all day.

"Hey!" I wave, grabbing a shopping cart. I start down the canned food aisle. I grabbed a few cans of corn, it was one of my favorite side dishes. I followed that by snatching a few bags of instant mashed potatoes. I was getting hungry just thinking of all the food. It was never good to go shopping on an empty stomach. It took willpower to leave the Twinkies alone....

I found bags of long, wide noodles, perfect for making my favorite italian dish. Lasagna. It's so good just thinking about it....mmm. I picked up tomato sauce and other neccessities for my dinner. I also picked up eggs, butter, milk and cheese. After I had all my groceries, I headed to the front. I couldn't help picking up a tub of chocolate icecream and chocolate syrup. I guess chocolate reminded me of my favorite lion. I bit my lip, thinking about him and syrup in the same sentence...

I waited as Katy rang up all my items. She stopped when she grabbed the chocolate syrup. She looked at me with hooded eyes.

"Really." She winked and put it in a bag. I averted my attention, finding the bell over the door rather interesting at the moment. It didn't take long for her to get the items all bagged. She placed them on the table next to her register for me to lug home. I was tempted to call Squall and tell him to help me pack these bags. But I refrained, I didn't want to sound like a whiny housewife. Rinoa suddenly came to mind and I shivered.

"Bye K-Katy!" I heaved out, packing the bags out the door. It all must've weighed a hundred pounds. There were a couple of kids in the street, playing hide and seek. One would hide in the shadow next to the door and stick their tongue out at the other. I grinned at the sight, reminded me of my childhood.

I walked very slowly up the driveway, sweat running down my forehead. I reached the front porch and set down one armfull of the bags. I propped the door open with a bag and dragged the rest inside. I passed Squall on the couch, who looked like he was passed out. I set the bags on the table and went back to Squall. I pressed a hand to his forehead. He felt pretty hot. I went to the door and grabbed the last bag and put it on the table with the others. I found a dishcloth and wet it with cold water.

I folded it into a rectangle and placed it on Squall's hot forehead. He shifted in his sleep, sprawled on the couch. I hoped he felt better soon. It was hot in this house, there was no air conditioning at all. The only fans were in the bedrooms. I shrugged and took off my shirt, no sense burning to death.

I unpacked all the groceries rather quickly. When that was done, I checked on Squall again. He was wheezing rather loudly in his sleep. Sweat poured down his face. I took the lukewarm rag and rewetted it with cold water. I placed it back on his head and went upstairs to get the fan. I lugged it out of my room and down the stairs, an adventure and a half.

I set it next to the TV and plugged it in. I pushed the 'on' button and listened as the blades swirled around almost silently. I sighed in front of the cool air, rooted to the spot. I finally broke away from the tempting situation and returned to the kitchen. I pulled out pots and pans, getting ready to dazzle Squall with my cooking.

I was sweating pretty badly as I stirred the hamburger over the stove. It was so hot.... I wiped my forehead with my shoulder and continued stirring. I was almost done, I just had to add the sauce to the meat and then layer the noodles. I turn off the burner, relieved that the heat subsided a bit. I drained the grease out of the hamburger before setting it back on the stove. I poured the sauce in the pot with the hamburger and stirred. I sighed, I was starving.

About half an hour later, I had dinner on the table. The lasagna looked absolutely delectable. I kissed my fingers italian style. I would've added a word or two but I didn't know any words in Italian. I set out the plates and forks; pouring two glasses of water and setting them on the table. Now, to wake the grouchy lion...

"Squall?" I call, ever so gently touching his shoulder. He moans and turns his face away, his cloth falling to the floor. I bite my lip, that moan sounded so good...

"Squall." I shake his shoulder softly. His eyes crack open and he looks at me. His cheeks are flushed and his greyish eyes stared at me, unfocused. He sat up slowly, groaning in discomfort.

"Why didn't you wake me? I wanted to help with the groceries." He whined cutely, causing me to laugh and pat his shoulder.

"Come on, time to eat." He pouted at me slightly.

"I didn't get to help with dinner, either?" He glares playfully. I laughed and scratched the back of my neck. I didn't know he'd take it so hard. He stood like quicksilver, fast and graceful. He was only garbed in the grey sweatpants he had on earlier, giving me free shots of his bare chest. I looked down at myself, like I had room to talk, I was barechested too.

"What did you make?" I hear Squall ask as he walks into the kitchen. He was standing next to the table, how could he NOT see the lasagna? I walk around him and am taken aback. There was nothing on the kitchen table. I rubbed my eyes and looked again. Still, nothing. Squall chuckles.

"Sure you didn't take a nap, too?" He laughs again and opens the refrigerator. I sputter and groan.

"But I just made lasagna! It...I....What?!" I couldn't think well, I felt a strange anger. I'd worked hard on that food and it's gone! Or, was it ever there? I shook my head and looked around. This house was out to get me, I was sure.

"Zell, you have a thing with your dreams, don't you?" Squall teased me. It sounded strange coming from him. I put my hands on my hips.

"I DID make lasagna, I swear!" I walked over to the sink. There were no dishes in the sink. I was beginning to question my own sanity. Squall sat at the table, making himself a thin meat sandwich. I raced to the cabinet and pulled open the doors. There, on the shelf, was the sauce and box of noodles. There was no denying it, I didn't make that dinner.

"I don't believe this...." I mumble to myself, sitting at the table. I made a sandwich also, totally pissed off. I couldn't have been dreaming. We ate in silence, I was brooding pretty good. Squall just watched me. When we finished, I went to put the mayonaise back into the refrigerator. I spotted something on the stove. A spot of sauce I'd dripped from the jar.

"AH HA!" I holler, getting Squall's attention. He walked over. I pointed to the spot in triumph. He stared at it before turning away.

"Whatever, man." I was hurt by his actions. Was he mad at me? Did he think I was lying?

"I'm not lying, Squall!" I tried to explain. Squall looked over his shoulder.

"I didn't say you were, Zell, it's just that, well, it's a little hard to believe, you know?" I took in that unusually long sentence coming from him. I slumped my shoulders in defeat.

"Goodnight, Zell." He said before walking off. I sighed, this day absolutely sucked! All fell silent when Squall went upstairs. I looked around the empty kitchen nervously. Why was this house being so cruel to him.

"Why?" I whispered aloud. I heard a giggle behind me. The hair on the back of my neck stood up. I whirled around, but there was nothing there. It had been a teen's voice, that was for sure. It was definitely male. I heard it again to my right. I turned in time to see the silouhette disappear. I hesitated for two seconds before dashing out of there. I raced up the stairs. I wondered if Squall would let me sleep with him again.

"Squall!" I hollered pathetically....


End of chapter 5.



Notes: I love this chapter the most for some reason, I don't know. Please review!


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