Disclaimer: You know the drill people. They're not mine and they probably aren't yours either...Are they?
Notes: This little chapter took so long to write! I blame it all on writer's block! I'd like to dedicate this little chapter to my Oniisan! You're so wonderful to me!

Time after Time

Chapter 6 - Bataa (butter)

By WanderingTonberry

Long fingers slowly traced a swirl in the dark mahogany desk, the owner of the hands deep within a spiral of thought. Had it been wise to send out two of his best SeeD's to the middle of nowhere with not another soul aside from Selphie to keep things in order? Surely it wasn't one of his more ingenious ideas...

Squall brushed his silky bangs away from his eyes, his face a mask of concentration and thought. "But who else would do it?" Exactly. The answer was right there, plain as day. Nobody in their right mind would take Seifer and Zell to a place alone to try and make them bond. Things just didn't work like that. He licked his dry lips slowly, soft blue eyes narrowing.

He reached for a stack of crisp papers, his grip shifting around his fountain pen. All he had to do was distract himself from all of these demons plaguing his mind. He'd do it with paperwork, need be. There was nothing wrong with being ahead of the game, giving one an advantageous position. Squall licked the metal tip of his pen and began to scribble his comments on a mission summary that had been lain before him just yesterday.

"I didn't think we offered services to protect beauty pageant contestants for the annual Dollet Dukedom's Housewives' Festival... What exactly...IS it? How is this festival efficient?"

The mostly anti-social commander straightened in his chair, rubbing his spine. Well, one job was the same as another. Perhaps he would send some of the younger SeeD's for this one. Terrorist acts were on the rise lately. This was just the thing that would help them get a taste what their work could be cut out to be.

Squall smiled to himself, signing the document with his signature smoothly. His fingers pressed the document against the blotter upon his desk then placed it neatly on top of a stack that looked suspiciously small. Okay...So maybe he wasn't getting as far as he may have wanted...Pushing papers didn't seems all that exciting anymore. What if he...

A slim finger pressed the button of the intercom that connected him with his secretary. Squall cleared his throat. "Rinoa? May I see you for a moment? I wish to discuss my schedule for this afternoon with you."

Through the crackling of the intercom, an overly sweet voice filtered through the speaker. "Of course, Squall! I'll be right in with your organizer!" The message cut off and Squall sighed softly to himself and nobody else. He opened the side drawer to his desk and selected a plain brown bottle.

"Mild painkillers...Aspirin for small headaches or those that one may anticipate. Perfect." The tawny-haired young man opened the childproofed lid with ease, well accustomed after taking the position of Headmaster and Commander. Several green tablets clattered onto the polished surface of his desk. Squall lifted a glass of water to his lips along with the pills and downed them quickly just as his flirtatious secretary barged into his spacious office.

Rinoa gave him a winning smile, sitting down on the corner of his messy desk. She nudged her rear farther onto the surface, pushing a pile of documents out of the way like a bulldozer. Her manicured fingers flipped through the pages of the plain leather planner, stopping on the most current set of entries. "Well, Squall...It seems that you have a lunch meeting with Instructors Trepe and Kinneas..." She frowned. Why did all the female instructors have to make lunch dates with HER Squall?? She shoved the thought from her mind, then continued. "Following that you have an assembly with the junior classmen...Levels 1-5, I believe. Say! It seems as if you're free after 5 pm...Would you like to--" Rinoa jumped as the large double doors to Squall's office were thrown open, two figures in the doorway.

Irvine strode in with long strides, quickly bringing him to his commander's side. "Sir, as important as this little meeting must be, I'm afraid I'm gonna have to mark you down for being late for a lunch date with this beautiful lady and myself." He tipped his hat slowly to Rinoa, a large smile pasted on his features. Quistis covered her mouth with her hand, hiding her own grin, which had begun to creep into being.

"I do agree. We were supposed to have left for the restaurant ten minutes ago." Quistis ran her pale hands over her skirt, smoothing out the cream-colored material. "I think it would be best if we left as soon as possible. Mr. Western here is getting impatient again."

"Yes I am~! Come on! Let's go already!" Irvine shoved his hands into the pockets of his leather duster, scuffing his feet on the carpet.

Squall took a moment to thank all the gods he had ever heard of, then replied with a steady monotone voice, "I suppose that means we'll be leaving then. Why don't you take an extra long lunch break, Rinoa? I'm sure you more than deserve it."

Rinoa flushed angrily. How dare this...this smooth talking cowboy steal away her Squallikins! She hoped to her feet in a cyclone of legal documents and tripped over her high heels.


"Oh my..."



Rinoa sat up slowly on her heels, rubbing her palm against her aching temples. She stood up carefully, dusting off her short black skirt. Rinoa took a breath, smiling to herself, then turned to face the rest of people in the room. They were already gone.

"I can't believe she wasn't wearing anything beneath her little scrap of material she calls a skirt!"

Irvine stretched in his seat across from Squall, smiling widely. His Squall was so beautiful when he was horrified or angry...Or when he was tired, horny, elated, pleasant, bored...Well, you get the idea. Irvine licked his lips and took a drink from his sweating water glass. His mouth was suddenly so dry...

"Irvine! You shouldn't use such things..." A small smile tugged on Quistis' lips. "Although...She does kind of dress like a slut, doesn't she?"

The cowboy gasped, acting as though he was completely horrified. "Our great and moral Quisty talking like the common bums she associates with??" He continued to grin even as a bread roll hit him in the head, knocking off his hat.

Squall groaned. "You got that right. You are so unbelievably lucky the woman hasn't decided to become a dyke and hound you...I seriously cannot go anywhere without getting a thorough look at her cleavage!"

Quistis lifted a delicate eyebrow. "Well, let us take some things into consideration. Point number one...If you were a normal guy, shouldn't you be drooling like that dog of hers at the sight of breasts? That is...If you didn't have first-hand experience with what she's really like...Second point..."

Irvine lifted a hand to stop her, his hat already perched on his head once more. "Wait, wait...What are ya aiming at?"

The tall blonde set her water glass down slowly, a smile on her soft lips. "Isn't if obvious?" She turned her gaze to the most often quiet commander. "She hasn't figured out that you're queer yet, has she?"

Seifer looked at the Tonberries trying to stack themselves on each other's shoulders. Was Selphie stringing a jump rope between them? Seifer covered his face with one hand, muttering and cursing to himself. Even throwing in a prayer here and there for just about anyone to come and save him from this impossible hell.

Zell whimpered softly. "Oh boy..."

Squall shifted uncomfortably, buttering his role for the fourth minute straight. He reached for another ball of butter, and much to his surprise, there was none. He looked down at roll and took a moment to blink. Was there even any bread there? It looked like it was completely made out of butter...

"I'm going to take that as a no..."

Quistis folded her pale hands neatly on the table, absently brushing a few crumbs off the smooth tablecloth. Her cool eyes watched Squall squirm a little, Irvine taking the roll from it.

"Well, you are gay, aren't you?"

Squall cleared his throat. "Yes, I suppose so..." He gave Irvine a thoughtful look, his eyes glittering playfully. "Of course I am...Haven't been making out with Irvine just because I was a confused boy whose dick can't decide where it wants to be!" He grinned widely, enjoying a moment of being vulgar.

Irvine smiled widely and took a hearty bite out of the roll he had taken from Squall. He grimaced, spitting it out. "UGH. That is a LOT of butter!! Nga!" He cast a dark glare at his dining companions as he wiped his tongue with his napkin.

Squall's shoulders were shaking violently due to his laughter. He fell back in his chair, motioning for Irvine to stop talking. Quistis was laughing as well, dabbing her eyes with a napkin to help suppress the tears that were escaping.

"O-Oh, stop!! You're killin' me..." Squall's palm hit the table once, the glasses and silverware shaking.

The cowboy flushed in embarrassment as other patrons of the Dollet Terrace began to stare. "I said shut up! Do you even KNOW how awful that tasted?? It was like wolfin' down a whole damn stick of butter! Or even eatin' that fake butter out of the carton with a spoon! That was disgusting! Do you hear me?? Disgusting!!"

After a long pause and a few snorts and giggles later, a waitress carrying a large tray arrived. "Alright! It's so nice to see patrons laughing again!" The young woman smiled, shifting the plates. "Anyway, who ordered the..." She checked her list, just to be sure. "The Balamb Fettuccini clams with roasted garlic and butter?"

Squall raised his hand, smirking at Irvine just a little. The tall auburn-haired cowboy glared back in earnest. The stormy-eyed young man took his plate gratefully, smoothing out the rumpled napkin on his lap.

"Alright! The Dollet Pheasant with sage and bay leaves?"

The elegant blonde raised her hand, softly thanking the waitress. She took a moment to admire the presentation of the meal upon her plate, then smiled. "I am now eternally glad that I didn't get anything cooked within a vat of butter."

"Geez, How many times are ya gonna bring that up??"

The waitress giggled a little and set Irvine's plate down before him. "Sir...I love your hair! It's just so smooth and silky looking...Hey, would you like to..."

Squall cleared his throat and shot her a protective lover look. "Sorry miss, but he's with me." He smiled in satisfaction as the young girl ran off hiding her crimson blush behind her tray. Happy, Squall scooped out the meat of one of his clams and sucked it off the end of his fork, giving Irvine a playful look. "You know Quisty, I should thank you for giving me this recommendation. It's delicious!"

Irvine purred and nodded in agreement, starting on his hamburger.

Quistis just rolled her eyes. Leave it to Irvine to order something like a hamburger when they attended a fancy restaurant. "You two are so immature."

Squall sat on the windowsill to his room, gazing out across the vast sea of stars above him. As he watched the stars twinkle like glass baubles, his mind wandered to the wellbeing of his comrades. How were they fairing? We they even close to cooperating? He smiled and shook his head. Probably not. He knew Seifer and Zell too well.

He turned and let his gaze fall to the figure lying in his bed. He felt a hint of a small tug on his lips and he gave in. His sweet lover...Squall turned back to gaze upon the heavens. Soon he closed his eyes, his back resting upon the metal frame of the window. He pressed his forehead to his knees, listening to the symphony of the night. Only the gentle caresses of the wind dared to disturb him, ruffling his hair.

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