Special thanks to Jenn for title idea.


By Lena ban Obsidian

If anyone had asked him what his plans were for the holidays, he would have told them 'I'll be in the training center', and that would have been his whole answer. But nobody asked him, and so he didn't have to waste the words, and that was fine by him anyways.

He actually made the effort to ask a few of his friends; he asked Selphie, and she was going to Trabia to make snow angels, play with children and eat cookies (though certainly not bake them, because the girl burned water). It was a given that Irvine went with her. Rinoa was going to Timber, to spend the day with her father; Seifer was, surprisingly enough, going to Edea's house down on Centra, along with Fuujin and Raijin, to spend the holidays with Matron and her husband. And Squall...

Well, Squall was in Esthar. So he was alone at Garden, except for Quistis who was up in the second floor classroom, working on a report that was long overdo and probably, if he knew her, checking the math on the accountant's report to make sure they had adequate funding for those few students who would be staying in Balamb at Garden's expense.

Zell could have. His Ma had asked him to come, and he'd promised to spend the solstice and the day after with her to exchange presents, help around the house, that sort of thing, but they'd had a strange, strange year so Zell wasn't staying at home over the break; he spent his nights sleeping on the deck of the harbor-bound Garden, watching the waves as they rocked the other ships docked here, watching the stars overhead. And during the days, he was in the training center, training for the next menace, whenever it might come, and thinking very hard about not thinking of the holidays.

He'd already given his presents. Rinoa'd loved the downy sweater, and even complimented the color choice, a soft mocha not far from the shade of her eyes. For Selphie and Irvine, matching coffee mugs; Quistis, some chocolate. Squall, some better protected gloves, as he'd been helping his Commander to learn the ways of fist-fighting, as a backup for when he was disarmed. Laguna, a pen; Kiros, assorted leather thongs for his hair. Ward, a story about their trip through time, and what he knew about Ward's life that only Ward and himself knew, and...yeah. He was waiting on the response to that one. For his Ma, new pots to cook with. For Seifer, nothing, but Fuujin and Raijin's present had been for all three of them really; a deck of cards to pass the hours with, when they were on watch duty together. (and they were always on duty together.)

Zell didn't expect much in return, so he wasn't very surprised not to receive it. It was hard to ration out one's paycheck for these things, and Zell had a habit of hiding in plain sight, so far as people's memory went. Not many had been dismayed at forgetting to get him a return gift either, and Selphie, while loud, hadn't been too sincere, if only because he'd brushed it off with the usual easy smile.

He killed with relentless violence in the training center, until he knew he had to stop, lest he empty it of all the monsters and force Quistis to have to ship in some new ones to breed the population back to something stable; he boxed the air and practiced flips until he could dodge anything almost faster than it came at him, except for bullets. And when that failed to keep his interest, he taught himself how to walk tightropes by walking along the edges of all the railings that kept students from falling off of Balamb Garden. He did it with his hands in his pockets and his eyes turned skyward, and if anyone had still been there to catch him at it, people would have stared.

But that was the point, really, that he did it when no one could see. So it kind of surprised him when late some night in the dead of winter, a voice called to him as he was pacing along the upper floor of the Garden from the outside. "Zell!"

Checking his balance before he looked, he answered with casual ease, "Yo, Quisty. What's up? I thought you'd be busy, this time of night." He spread his hands, grinning down at her. "Wanna join me?"

Quistis had this way of looking flustered that really didn't suit her, and he would have said so except that it'd be rude. But the expression cleared after a moment to gather herself, and she raised one eyebrow at him. "I'm wearing heels."

"Ah," He didn't look to confirm, remembering that she always did, even when she'd been a kid, and shrugged. "So what's goin' on?"

Her answer was slow in coming; the wind was tugging at her hair (and his, he hadn't been spiking it of late so it was all snaked into his eyes) and the waves were hissing under them, like soft, giant sighs. "I had to break for some coffee," was what Quistis finally said, and her words were light as though she'd made an effort to keep them that way. "Just happened to see you on my way out."

Zell raised an eyebrow back at her, but didn't deign to question that. "Where you buyin'? 'Cause if you'd rather save your gil I make a mean pot of coffee." Tossing his head to get his hair out of his eyes, he eyed her profile more carefully. She looked out of place, outdated there on the Garden walkway. Regal, more than Rinoa ever could have; and a lot less bratty, his mind supplied unasked-for. He silenced that thought carefully. Rinoa had saved Squall from erasure; from time compression, from non-existence. Zell respected that, regardless of her little quirks.

"Oh," Quistis breathed, looking a little bit taken-aback. Zell wasn't sure why, but the night was pretty. Maybe she'd just noticed the waning crescent of the moon; it kept slipping in and out of clouds, and had a way of looking brand new every time it reappeared. Curious, he turned to check. "That'd be lovely," her answer was rushed when it came. The moon was half-covered by the clouds, he took a moment to appreciate the color of the thread-thin rays of light that escaped the dark. "I didn't know you liked cooking at all," Quistis said, sounding about as awkward as he assumed she felt. They didn't talk much lately; not since the end of the world hadn't happened.

"Yeah," he hopped down, ran a hand through his hair. "Most people figure I don't, but it's actually kinda fun, when you know what you're cookin'."

"You look different in pants," she said softly, reaching out to ruffle his hair, now that he was in range. "Kind of cute."

Wrinkling his noise, he danced out of her reach after the initial ruffle, putting up his hands in mock-challenge. "Say that to my face, lady."

Her smile twinkled in the shadows, her eyes glinting over the edge of her glasses. "Just warning you. I'll have to keep the girls off of you if you look too cute." One step, two; they shivered almost in synch as the wind cut through the conversation with a chill winter howl, stirring the waves so that they snickered and roared beneath the Garden, tiny watery monsters that foamed at the mouth. "As your big sister and all."

"Riiiight. So let's go have coffee," he started for the door while he said it, hugging himself for warmth. "It's kinda chilly."

"You hadn't noticed?"

"Nah, paying attention to the weather is for wusses."

It was warm inside, enough that he had to slip off his jacket and she stepped out of her coat. Quistis with hair down was something of a novelty, but he didn't think about it long, draping his coat over the little table inside of the Cafeteria's kitchen and heading to the cupboards, rummaging about in search of the pot. Quistis stood by, rosy cheeked, her coat hanging from her crossed arms and her hair wreathing her face like ribbons, tangled here, mussed there, so that she looked more like the child he remembered than the teacher and fellow SeeD he knew now.

"You like your coffee black?"

She started, looking away from the stove and at the coffeepot in his arms, and then his face before remembering to answer the question. "Oh! Ah. Yes, black is fine." And before he could set down the pot: "I'd been meaning to ask if your mother is well."

"Ma?" Plugging in the pot and turning back to the cupboards to search for coffee beans and to set up the electric grinder, he shrugged, answering distractedly. "She's fine. Been datin' her new boyfriend. He's a pretty nice guy, they get along good. He an' I like to talk machines." Locating the beans with a little satisfied sound, he set them in the grinder and the room was silent for a few minutes, deafened by the white noise of the grinder as he turned the beans into fine black-brown powder. Quistis noticed that he was wearing his gloves and didn't comment, still standing as if frozen at the doorway, watching him move about the kitchen so easily, silent, watching him.

Once he'd set in the filter and the grounds and poured enough water for a couple cups of coffee each, he turned it on and turned to her and leaned back against the counter, hips cocked and arms crossed over his chest, grinning in that way he had.

"Why d'you ask?"

Mouth working silently for an instant or two, Quistis looked away, frowning a little. "Oh, no reason. I'd wondered why you hadn't gone home for the holidays." Taking courage from his endless smile, she tried to make one of her own. "I guess this feels more like home, doesn't it? We've already been here so long."

"Yeah," he said, even if that wasn't all that he meant, and watched the coffee pot as it silently set about its task. "You? I thought you'd go home with Xu, if she could drag ya along. But I guess she didn't, huh?" The edges of his smile were sharp.

"She tried."

They didn't say anything else until the coffee pot was holding its own mad-burbling conversation with itself, and then Zell served coffee and fished marshmallows out of another cupboard as an afterthought, which Quistis accepted laughingly when he offered to add them to her cup too. They stayed in the kitchen instead of heading out into the cafeteria proper, leaving the door closed and the lights low, leaning on the counter and cradling their mugs close and warm, and didn't talk much, except to say 'happy solstice' without much feeling.

Zell's cup was about half-full when he asked her, "So is this just the eye?", and he gulped down as much coffee as he could after he'd asked it to keep himself from asking more. Quistis admired the cobalt color of it, and the little design like smoke billowing over a night sky that had been engraved into the mug by some Shumi's artistic hand. Garden had interesting coffee mugs, for a military, mercenary school.

"...I'm not really sure," she said, spinning her mug slowly between her hands. "I thought it was, at first; but how long does that last? I don't know." Her quick smile was tired and restless at the same time, and Zell recognized it. "I guess I'm waiting for the next sorceress, in the back of my mind. I know I shouldn't, but I am."

But Zell nodded, as if he'd expected this, and his eyes narrowed until they looked almost as silver as Squall's in the dim light. "Even if it's Rinoa?"

"Especially if it's Rinoa." She sighed, and it was a heavy enough sound that he kind of regretted bringing it up. "...I don't know what we do if it's Rinoa. I don't know what Rinoa will do, but worse, I don't know if Squall..."

"He'd kill her if he had to," his voice was hard, but shrewd. "And then probably kill himself the first time it was reasonably safe to do it. But I don't think we'd have to kill her if she was the next one, and besides, it won't matter once we've freed Timber." Then Zell made one of those sounds that people make when they've gone too far and didn't mean to, and looked into his coffee cup, quietly hoping Quistis wouldn't ask what he'd meant.

But that would have been foolish of her. "Timber?"

"The contract." He tipped his head to the side. "Once we're done with Timber, she won't need him anymore." His lips pulled into a grimace, he drank the rest of his coffee and set his mug down a lot more carefully than he could have. "She doesn't really even need him now."

Quistis could have shrugged and pretended that she didn't care, but instead she nodded once, grimly, and set down her mug still sloshing with the dregs of her coffee. "He knows that, I think. And even if they really did need each other, it'd only make things harder."


"It'd make things harder if they had to break it off and they genuinely cared about each other, Zell, you know that's true."

"Do you know how many times the people he's trusted the most have given up on him?" Zell's eyes got a peculiar shade of unforgiving, and Quistis hesitated for a moment, considering her answer before she gave it, making it honest.


The cold receded from Zell's glare, and that painfully sharp smile returned as he chuckled to himself. "Trust me when I say it's a lot." His fist came down on the counter suddenly, loudly, making their mugs jump and Quistis's coffee spill the countertop. He cursed under his breath and went to the sink for a rag.

"How do you know?" She asked, not sounding shaken at all. It wouldn't have surprised him if she wasn't. "If it's not too personal."

He snorted. "When did it ever matter to you if it was too personal?" The question was rhetorical, and he pushed ahead to forestall her defensive answer. "Because he wouldn't ever trust me like that, Quisty, so I watch it happen all the time." Zell's hands were quick with the rag, and the counter was as clean as if it had never been sullied before in moments. He rinsed the rag out and hung it on the rim of the sink and growled to himself as he squeezed excess moisture out of his gloves, thinking that he should have taken them off but not really minding the damp. "I'm gettin' kinda sick of it, really. The way people use him when it's convenient and then toss him over their shoulder." He eyed her speculatively, and smirked. "You're about the only one who didn't, if only 'cause he's been fucked with so many times that he was afraid to let you get your chance."

Quistis frowned. "Thank you for the vote of confidence."

"Hey, if it'd been real love you'd still be hung up on him, wouldn't ya?" He spread his hands. "But you're not. You've got a guy you date when you feel like it and you like him just fine and your heart ain't breakin', so it's not like you would have been any different. You would have fallen out of love with him too." He sighed, deflating. His eyes flashed with regret and other emotions that Quistis didn't care to put names to, and then pulled that same blindingly cheerful smile out of his reserve, as if there had never been a reason for him to be angry.

"It must be hard," she said finally, trying to be gentle. "Having to watch him go through the same cycle over and over again."

"Just a little!" He laughed like it hurt. "Just a little. You want another cup of coffee?" She shook her head. "Me neither. I never sleep enough anyways." Unplugging the coffee pot and dumping the meager remnants into the sink, he cleaned as efficiently as he'd set everything up, putting all that could be returned to the cupboards where it went and leaving that which needed to cool or dry out on the rack for clean dishes. "Anyways, I guess it's dumb of me to watch it happen, but he wouldn't appreciate it if I stepped in, so what can I do, right? But I'm just hoping the next threat doesn't end up being her, because it'd be a damn shame for him to kill himself over someone who didn't love him."

Quistis shrugged, trying to arrange her hair so it wouldn't fall into her eyes. "Maybe it won't be her."

"Yeah, maybe. Maybe there's some sea monster that'll come up to the surface and start swallowing ships whole. That'd be kinda cool." He snagged his jacket and slipped it back on, the dim light making the glossy blue fire on his sleeves seem to dance as he moved. Quistis forgot for a second that she'd put her own coat on the counter behind her.

They left the kitchen as quietly as they'd come and hesitated in the hallway, Zell looking anxious the way that he always seemed to, lately. Quistis tried to think of what she could say to comfort him and didn't know what would be appropriate; worse yet, if it would actually make him feel any better. She didn't really know his situation, nor did she envy it.

He spoke first. "It sucks, you know?" He was wired, not capable of standing still and not even trying, pacing around her as she stood there buttoning up her coat. "It's like waiting for someone you care about to die. You don't want to talk about it because then you might make it happen sooner, but you have to talk to someone because if you don't you might as well just fucking bang your head against the wall. It sucks."

"I bet," she said softly, watching him, wondering if there was any way she could have comforted him, short of being Squall herself and offering him the acceptance he probably felt guilty for craving. "But you'll still be there for him even after they've freed Timber, right? It's not as bad as it could be."

"How many times do you think a person can take that, Quistis? Take being led on and then dumped for a new, shinier boyfriend, or a better fuck, or for the sake of responsibility? Because it's gotta hurt just as hard no matter how good the stupid reason is." He shook his head and didn't quite snarl, shoving his hands into his pockets and kicking at the ground, hopping up onto the nearest fence, balancing on the rail. "I'll be there, yeah, but it doesn't matter if it's too many times, does it? It doesn't matter if I'm not what he wants. Even if he did trust me..." He sighed and started pacing on the rail. "It doesn't matter. He doesn't, so why bother with the ifs, right?"

A gravelly voice that was neither his own nor Quistis's answered, and while Zell's balance had been perfect prior to the sound of it, he managed to slip and fall rather fantastically on his ass when he got his answer. "I wish I could pretend you weren't talking about me, but I'm really not that stupid."

"Squall?" Quistis peered down the dim corridor, ignoring Zell as he tried to right himself. "When did you get back?"

"Just a few minutes ago. I was going to visit Rinoa in Timber for Solstice, since Laguna and I already celebrated, but..." He eyed Zell with something between cold fury and hurt, and Zell looked even smaller than he usually did, shrinking under that glare until he couldn't shrink any further.

"Did you want any coffee? We just had a cup, but Zell could make more," Quistis offered solicitously, all business and perfectly content to continue ignoring the unpleasant tension in the air, as it didn't include her and she could therefore do nothing but make it worse. Squall looked tense and worn, his hair a mess and his eyes baleful in the dark; his expression was no different than the usual, but there was a subtle pain throbbing beneath, as though he was slowly bleeding to death on this chill winter night. She didn't want to have any part of that pain, and thought maybe for a moment that she understood how amazing Zell's dedication had to be to be willing to explore that, to try to ease it at its source instead of admiring it from afar.

Squall's voice was still gravelly; "No. Thank you." His eyes narrowed in the way that either meant he was smiling or about to become extraordinarily angry, and he opened his mouth, snapping it shut again hard enough that they could hear the crack of his teeth. His eyes didn't leave Zell as he glared, and then he turned on his heel and started stalking away, not a further word escaping his lips.

They watched him go.

"Aren't you going to follow him?"

Zell shook his head, all of his earlier energy seemingly fled, his posture defensive, as though he were trying to hide from himself. "Nah, I'd just make it worse again." He managed a weak laugh. "...I really didn't think it'd happen so soon, though."

She shoved his shoulder, her bare hands making a weird sticky sound on the leather of his jacket. "Follow him."

"He's angry," he muttered defensively, straightening his jacket. "There's no point. It'll just piss him off." His eyes were focused on the path that Squall had been taking away from them, and Quistis shoved him again, hard enough that he whipped his head around and glared at her. "Why? So he can give me that look again? I won't be helping him."

"You'll go or I'll cast Sleep on you and carry you there myself," she said, and looked like she meant it. Zell snarled and stormed off after his Commander, clenching and unclenching his fists so hard that the leather of his gloves squeaked in protest. Quistis watched him go and walked slowly in the opposite direction, back to her dorm room.

He caught up with Squall in the training center and wondered if he spent enough time in this damned place, to know exactly where Squall had to be without ever seeing him, despite the fact that the lights were all out and it was deadly silent with the stillness of deep night. Squall wasn't fighting anything; just sitting by the little stream where students sometimes got caught necking in broad daylight, apparently under the impression that the meager foliage was enough to cover their activity. Zell watched him in silence for several seconds before making himself known by stepping forward, and wished that he hadn't stepped when Squall looked up at him.

Squall's eyes were shattered, his lips pinched and tight with that ancient, ancient hurt that Zell knew, knew too damned well. His Commander always looked pale but in the dusky non-light of the training center he looked ghostly, a stray tear or two glistening treacherous on his face, his breath shaking with the effort to remain steady.

"Go the fuck away," Squall said, and Zell wasn't sure if he meant it or not, because his voice had that pleading tone that made it seem he'd said 'please don't go' instead. He waited where he was. "Why were you talking about me?" This question was easier for Squall, Zell could tell by the way he sounded suddenly tired, as if he was just going over another of those endless reports that he had to keep track of now that he was in charge of everything. So Zell answered, quite honestly, with a shrug. The conversation had just happened to wander that way. "'Like waiting for someone you care about to die,'" the words sounded like an accusation, dripping with so much more malicious intent than Zell had thought possible, showing him exactly what kind of sick promise Squall thought they meant. "That's what you said. What, you were just waiting for her to be finished with me? And then you'd swoop in while I was weak and take me? That it?" Maybe normally Squall would have said it and sounded hard and cold, but this was fresh pain, welling out of his heart and there was a lost quality to the way he spoke, as though everything, even the last little thing he'd been depending on had been pulled out of his hands.

Zell had only ever heard Squall sound like that once before, and he'd never told anyone about it. It'd lasted for a scant few moments anyway, while Zell was undoing the straps that had bound his fellow SeeD to the wall; then they'd both been acting their best like it was all routine, and Squall hadn't been vulnerable anymore. So Zell let Squall talk until he interrupted himself with a hurt sound and slammed a frustrated fist into the tree to his right, making the branches shake and the trunk shout dully, a low 'Knnk' kind of sound.

And then he said, after they were both silent long enough for the sound of running water to intrude on their world, "That's not it."

"What, then?" Squall's eyes burned, they were so cold, so close to dead already. "Are you going to tell me that I'm not alone?" His lip curled, almost sneering in distaste at the thought; but Zell just shook his head, and he asked again, voice softer, more exposed, "...what, then?"

"What happened with Rinoa?" Zell asked, instead of answering. "I thought you were staying with her until after the Solstice."

For a moment, it looked like Squall wanted to jump up and draw Lionheart, and maybe try to kill Zell; but he just leaned against the tree he'd struck before, and bowed his head, and sighed, long and slow, making himself relax a little. "...peace negotiations. Timber is free. Caraway has his daughter back. I have a job here and she's young. Younger than I am, apparently."

"That's stupid," Zell said listlessly, and didn't move from where he was standing, across the little river from Squall's chosen place to sit. Squall chuckled once, but the sound was rich with pain. "...that's really fucking stupid," Zell whispered, looking down at his hands and staying where he stood. Squall was a vision of sex, if you ignored the fact that he was hurting and had been crying enough to make his eyes red and his voice hoarse; but Zell wasn't really paying attention to that. He'd noticed more that Squall's jacket was slipping off of his shoulder and Squall hadn't done anything about it than the fact that it exposed some skin.

With a sound of frustration, Squall looked up, scowling at the blonde fiercely. "Why are you standing over there?"

"You'd kill me if I was in range," Zell said matter-of-factly. "And you /are/ armed."

"I won't."

"You will, and I don't really buy into that murder-suicide deal. No dice. Toss me Lionheart, and maybe I'll come over there."

"I don't want you to."

"Then don't give me Lionheart. "

"I want you to leave me alone."

Zell rolled his eyes and sighed and carefully hid his expression, crossing his arms over his chest. "You're lying."

A moment passed, two; heartbeats thundered in Zell's ears, passing the time in relaxed rhythm, until Squall finally admitted, "Yeah." Another beat, and then, with curiosity laced under the hurt, "So what do I want then?" Squall lifted his head, eyes gleaming. "You know me so well."

"You just wanted company," Zell said hesitantly, seeking the most honest way to answer that question. "But you think I was waiting for you to get hurt again so I could have my fun with you and then drop you when the time comes for me. You're wrong, because that's not what I want, and it's not what I meant when I was talking to Quistis. But you..." He sighed, shrugging and looking away. "...you don't have to believe me."

It was so still he suspected that he'd killed more monsters even than he'd thought; but then, perhaps the activity had migrated to the other side of the training center, for now, and that was why there were no other sounds of life than those of their own: his breathing, Squall's breathing, and the peculiar hitch that meant one of them was fighting not to cry. Squall's voice pierced the dark hesitantly. "...will you come over here?"

"You try to kill me and I swear I'll summon Quetz."

"I won't."

Zell hopped across the stream and stood awkwardly for a moment before settling down on the chill wet ground next to Squall, staring out at the chain link fence in silence, leaning back on his hands for balance, making no further moves.

After the silence grew to the point that Squall began fidgeting, he spoke, if only to ease the tension: "Happy Holidays, Squall. You have a good time with Laguna?"

"He's an idiot." And then, after Squall had a moment to sort through the habitual dislike that he harbored for his father, "...yeah. Ellone was there too. We took some pictures." Not that Zell would likely ever be allowed to see them, but he didn't mind that, and made a pleased sound at the news of Ellone. "...not very happy, though."

Then they didn't talk at all, and the seconds stretched from minutes to hours, pre-dawn creeping slowly out over them, making the training center that peculiar dark that seems more impenetrable than the clear chill of night. Zell was aware of goosebumps rising on his forearms, which were unprotected from the cold, and fought the urge to start hugging himself to try and warm up, weathering the discomfort in silence. It was at some point before light began breaking out over the Garden that someone's weight shifted or someone fell asleep, and Zell found himself with Squall's head on his shoulder and arm slung about his stomach, hand curled at his waist. He didn't complain, only snaked his arm out to pull Squall a little closer, his fingers slipping under the short black-leather jacket to toy with the soft cotton of a t-shirt for several distracted minutes.

Squall destroyed the illusion of seeming to be asleep by speaking, if somewhat drowsily. "...which room's closer?"

Shoving aside thoughts inspired by the smell of leather, the faint smell of gunsmoke and oil and Squall's surprising warmth, Zell blinked once or twice before concluding that he didn't know what to make of the question. "Huh?"

"Sleepy. Which room's closer?"

Oh. It took him a moment before he had the answer. "Mine." Then a couple more before he quite finished thinking that through. "Why y'asking?"

"Okay if I stay with you f'r t'night?" As he spoke, Squall shifted against Zell, pressing his face into the smaller SeeD's shoulder and letting his hair flop into his eyes, which were closed anyway. Zell didn't dare move, but he was tempted to reach up and start stroking the brunette's silk-soft hair.

He swallowed once or twice, wondering if Squall would be angry at him for agreeing when he woke up. "Yeah, I don't mind. Be warm, you know?"

"Mm," Squall answered, the affirmative answer making him lose interest. He could stay in Zell's room; now he would sleep.

"Hey, we gotta get there first, Squall. Come on, I'll carry you if you want. Quistis's the only other one here, so no one'd see ya." Squall made a disconsolate noise and tried to move closer. "Come on. My bed's big enough for two people. You can cling to me all you want when we get there." A little bit of cajoling got them to Zell's room, but left Zell trying to divest Squall of his jacket while Squall sleepily tried to lie down, regardless of how dressed he remained. "C'mon, it'll be too hot to wear that with both of us in th' bed. You gotta take the jacket off."

Squall relented at length and assisted in removing his jacket, deciding once the jacket was gone to remove his shirt as well; neither of them bothered even pretending to start removing Squall's pants, but Zell took off his Commander's boots before stripping himself down to pajama pants and joining him in the bed, close enough to be held but not so close that he was laying on top of Squall.

The brunette made an appreciative noise, and threw an arm over his bedmate.

These were the things that Zell noticed as he was going to sleep: a warm bed and bedmate, the peculiar smell of Squall's skin, musky and pleasant, like water and leather, and that his leg was hooked over one of Squall's. If anyone had later asked him what he did over the holidays, he wouldn't have thought to tell them 'sharing my bed with Squall Leonhart'.

It was probably best that nobody asked.

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