Title: Whisky Sour
Description: Irvine tells Squall something he needed to hear.
Pairing: none really - may continue into irvine/squall
Rating: PG
Word count: 1240
Notes: Drabbles/ficlets tend to be written at work, so they're not as lucid as some of my writing. They're also completely unbeta'd unless otherwise stated, please forgive this.

Squall rubbed the small of his back and stretched awkwardly before tossing his pen down on the desk. Fuck work. He'd been at the desk for nearly twelve hours straight, not even taking a break to eat, he was going to go and collapse into his bed. He really wasn't cut out to be a desk jockey – the sooner that Cid came back the better.

He barely cast a glance back at the desk as he headed for the door. The secretary would already be gone, the front office would be dark and he would head right for the elevator.

As he opened the door, Squall paused. The lights were dimmed but the secretary's desk lamp was still on. And there were boots on the desk. More importantly, the boots were connected to chaps – and hopefully some legs inside them.

“Irvine,” he sighed, reaching over the desk to turn off the lamp. “What are you doing here?”

In the darkness, Irvine picked up something. Squall guessed it was a paper bag from the rustling and by the clink of glass on glass, there were bottles in the bag. “Made it back from the mission early, thought I'd grab something to drink since it's your birthday and all.”

He'd almost forgotten. Whether by design, or by the presence of a guardian force, the twenty-third of august had lost it's meaning years ago. Of course, Irvine would remember. Irvine had too clear a memory when it came to certain things. “I don't celebrate my birthday.”

Squall continued moving towards the faint glow of the lift controls, slowing when he heard Irvine move. By the time he reached the lift and pressed the call button, Irvine was at his side. “I did.”


“I celebrated. Everyone's birthday – even Seifer's. I always raised a glass to all of you, even though I didn't know where any of you were,” he gave a soft chuckle, almost lost to the sound of the lift arriving with a whirr and a ding. The doors opened and bathed the office in electric light, showing the somewhat wistful expression on Irvine's features. His hat was in his other hand, and for once his hair was down, framing his face. It made him look oddly softer, maybe even a little older. “Why it hurt so much to find I was forgotten, I guess.”

He watched Irvine for a moment, until the doors started to close on the lift again. Putting a hand out he caught it just in time and stepped inside with a sigh. “Fine. But only one drink, in my room. You're not supposed to have alcohol on the site unless it's for a sanctioned party.”

The corner of Irvine's mouth tipped up in a smile. “You're finally legal to drink – and I don't mean that gnat's piss they serve at SeeD functions – and you're poutin' over me bringin' somethin' better?”

“Whatever,” he shrugged and hit the button for the ground floor as soon as Irvine slipped in beside him.

“You're Galbadian darlin'. You're supposed to drink until you can't feel your legs anymore... and your dad told me you liked whiskey sours.”

The word 'dad' still didn't really apply to Laguna for him. The others were always willing him to get closer to his father, to be a better son. How was he supposed to know how to be a better son when he didn't even know how to be a son in the first place? “I didn't know you talked to Laguna.”

“Selphie's always talkin' to him. She's a real fangirl, even found a copy of that movie he was in. I asked him what you liked to drink last week,” Irvine lifted his hat to examine it, and deftly placed it on Squall's head as the door opened. “After you, darlin'.”

Squall stepped out of the lift and onto the stairs, shoving his hands into his pockets. There were few people around, and he didn't care enough about the hat to make a scene out of it. He was more concerned that his father was apparently using his friends to get close to him. Or to watch him. Was there no one he could trust?

“Squall. Stop thinkin'.”

“That's like asking Ifrit to chill,” he muttered, heading for the SeeD dorms.

“Did... did Squall Leonhart just make a joke?” Irvine had to jog to catch up with him. “Damn, what next? Low flyin' Torama? Watch the hat if that happens, I'm kinda fond of it.”

“That why you dump it on other people's heads at every opportunity?”

“Nah, It's a magic hat. Makes people talk to me,” Irvine gestured at him. “Or makes you make jokes. Gonna tell me what's wrong, darlin'?”

He paused, looking up at Irvine, one hand rising to the brim of the hat absently. It was ridiculous – he made jokes, it was just usually people didn't hear or didn't understand them enough to find them amusing. There was no such thing as a magical hat. “There's nothing wrong.”

“Well... are you gonna let us in or do I have to play guess Squall's passcode?”

Glancing around to see what Irvine was talking about, Squall realised they'd already reached the door of his dorm room. He'd barely noticed the walk which meant he was more out of it than he'd first thought after the long day, or he'd been thinking too much. There were nights when he'd made it almost all the way to the end of the dorms before he'd snapped out of whatever was consuming his thoughts and had to trek all the way back to his own room. Perhaps he did think too much.

Jabbing the keys in his anger at getting caught thinking or at being read so easily, or perhaps even at the Laguna thing, Squall barely waited for the door to hiss open before he stalked inside. Irvine slipped in close behind him and headed for the kitchenette to search for glasses. Squall slipped into the bedroom long enough to rid himself of the belts, jacket and gloves. As almost an after thought, he kicked off his boots and padded back to the small living room in just his socks. Sooner or later he'd have to give up the commander's quarters when Cid returned, but in the meantime he could enjoy the chance to collapse on the couch and ignore what Irvine was doing in the kitchen.

Eventually, Irvine bought two glasses to the couch, and held out the first one to Squall. “You know, you don't have to do this to yourself.”

“Do what?” Squall asked, taking the glass and wrapping both hands around it. A too red cherry bobbed between the ice cubes and he resisted the urge to pluck it out and suck it clean – people gave him odd looks when he did anything that could be viewed as remotely sexual. Irvine and Selphie especially. Occasionally Quistis would turn as red as that cherry and look uncomfortable. It wasn't worth the hassle and as long as he was reasonably vigilant about the things he did, it could be avoided easily.

“You don't have to be lonely.”

Squall stared up at him, almost letting the glass slip from his fingers.


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