Squall learns that Selphie and Irvine are about to have a baby. With two weeks before the wedding, how will the 'children of fate' cope with their personal convictions that threaten to break their ...
Rinoa tapped lightly on the already open door. A twilight hue from the not-too-bright desk lamp bathed the room in deep orange. It was barely light enough to read by. She poked her head in between the door and doorway. "Hello?"
Edea Kramer was almost invisible in the darkness, with her black clothes and long black hair. She was waiting with her hands clasped, sitting on the edge of the bed, a kind patient smile on her face.
"Hi, Mrs. Kramer," Rinoa said as she stepped into the room. Squall and the others called her Matron, the rest of the world called her Sorceress, Cid called her Edea. Rinoa had thought a long time about what to call her when they finally met.
Edea politely nodded in greeting. "Hi, Rinoa. It's good to see you again."
Rinoa looked around nervously at the guest room she was in, back and forth between the still life painting and the walnut desk at the other end of the room. Both were rather hard to see. "Boy, it sure is dark in here," Rinoa said apprehensively. "Do you mind if I turn on a light?" she pointed to the switch for the ceiling light, about to flip it.
"I'd prefer if you didn't," she said softly. Rinoa was a surprised that she refused her simple request. Why wouldn't she want more light? "You can turn on the desk lamp, though, if you want."
Rinoa figured her ability to see her face was a bit more important than Edea's comfort. It might have seemed selfish, but she couldn't take talking to a disembodied voice. It felt like an intimate restaurant in here. She walked over to the desk and turned on the reading lamp on top of the shelf. It added a bit more warm ginger light to the room, not much, but enough to be able to make out Edea's fine motherly features in her pale skin.
"Ah," Rinoa said with feigned relief, while Edea looked her warmly. "That's better." She paused, wondering what to do with her arms. She held them behind her back and rocked forward. "I just came down to say hi, while you were visiting." Edea slightly nodded. Rinoa scratched her temple. "Man, this is awkward," she said and let out an equally awkward laugh. They were two people that used to be so far apart in distance and in alignment, now brought together very close.
"Well, I'm glad you could make it down," Edea smiled.
"I really don't know you as well as I'd like to, given that I'm going out with Squall, and you're the closest thing to his mother there is. I figured I should take the opportunity, you know?"
Edea nodded. "I agree. I would like to get to know you better as well. I'd like to find out who was so able to tame the lion."
Rinoa let out a nervous laugh, "Yeah, so... but I was always afraid, because... you know... all the other stuff. Like trying to kill me and imbuing me with sorceress powers." She tried to say that as humorously as possible.
She returned a smile. "I understand. And how is your relationship with Squall?"
"Uhhhhh," she uttered as she rubbed the back of her head and looked away. "Stressed. I guess. But we've gone through plenty of rough times and managed to make it out, so I'm not too worried. This is just a dry spell."
"Is he treating you well?"
"Oh yeah, no complaints there. I'm not worried about that." Rinoa's tension was easing by the second. This was such a different woman than what she was used to, that veiny scary woman with the rising sun headdress. The real Edea was more likable.
"You seem like you have something on your mind," Edea said. She was even more perceptive.
"Well, who doesn't these days," she held her palm up like 'what can you do?'. "You know all of us. We're all concerned about Selphie and Irvine. The girls are especially worried about Selphie. And I figured since you were like a mother to her too, you'd know best. Do you think she's marrying him for the right reasons? Is she going to have a successful marriage with him? Because I'm afraid it's going to change her."
"Of course it's going to change her," Edea said gently. "Life is change. You can't help that."
"Well, yeah, but I mean, I'd rather her not marry Irvine and raise the baby alone, or single, than risk getting into a loveless marriage." Rinoa felt like she was taking a risk saying that, even though her words would never go beyond these walls. She'd grown up in such an environment and knew the devastation that occurred, so the last thing she wanted was to see it happen again. But she was sure that opinion wasn't going to be popular among her friends, so she kept it to herself until now.
Rinoa continued, "I think she'd go back and change it, if she could. If she knew this was going to happen, I don't think she would have gotten on the train. She would have changed it."
"Perhaps, but what's done is done. And we can't change what happened before."
"Yeah, that is true," Rinoa said, scratching her head, not really understanding the remark. "So you think Selphie's doing the right thing?"
"I didn't say that. But I trust Selphie's judgment to do what's best." She turned her tranquil gaze from Rinoa to the floor, with a slight smile on her face. "I took a risk too, you know. As a sorceress."
Rinoa nodded, feeling the light of insight flood her brain. She was talking to a former sorceress, a kindred spirit. "Yeah, you did."
"I knew the risk of being possessed by Ultimecia. I knew before I met Cid. I told him everything that could happen. And Cid loved me enough to destroy me if he needed to." She turned back up to Rinoa's face. "The best thing you can do right now is be there for her. Be supportive. Remember, she's the one at the center of all this. You're watching from the outside."
"Yeah, I guess," Rinoa nodded, genuinely understanding this time. "This is going to change her, isn't it?"
"A baby changes everything. But that's life."
A bright ring intoned, coming from the phone on the nightstand. Neither were startled. Edea reached over and picked it up. "Hello?... I don't know. Hang on, Rinoa's here." She turned to Rinoa. "Do you know where Squall is?"
Rinoa gave a shrug and a headshake.
She turned back to the phone. "No, she doesn't know either, why?... Irvine's looking for him? Why?"
"Tickets, have your tickets ready." The female train worker up ahead repeated her line again and again. Irvine and Selphie slowly shuffled ahead in the line, barely making any progress at all. This was probably the worst time of the year to get on a train, but Irvine only had so much leave, and less time to do it in. He didn't mind so much.
Selphie was looking down over the railing at the train tracks below. The strange detail of the rails from so far up was fascinating to her, analyzing the rusted girders mixed with white soda cups and papers people had thrown down there.
"You remembered your package, right?" Selphie asked.
"Yes. That's the third time you asked me that," Irvine smiled. "It's safe in my bag." He patted his luggage for emphasis.
Selphie laughed. "Just don't want you to forget it." She stood in between the metal rods of the railing and hung over the side. "It'll be nice to see Deling City again. All the pretty lights and arches, and the buses."
"Yeah, I figured I'd better take this opportunity to see my Galbadia friends before I ship out."
Irvine was delivering a necklace for his friends' mother's birthday. His friend had contacted Irvine some time ago, asking him to pick it up. Apparently its type was only made in Balamb.
"Where'd you find it?" Selphie asked. "The necklace, I mean."
"A junk shop, actually. It was a custom job."
"What's it look like?"
"Well, it's kind of a ... imagine one of those hollow heart-shaped loops with a sapphire pendant hanging down in it."
"Ooh, that'd be cool."
"I'll show it to you when we get on the train."
Selphie stuck her foot out through the bars, maintaining her balance. "It was real nice of you to get that for him. And then travel all the way to Galbadia to give it to him." Most people didn't understand why he was spending so much on this present, and then taking the time to travel all the way over there to deliver it.
"Yeah, it wasn't terribly convenient, but I haven't seen him for a long time. You didn't need to come along though. I don't have a problem with it, I mean. It's just, you don't know these people either."
"Well, it's not like I had anything to do. Otherwise, it'd just be another boring weekend correcting homework. Plus I've never met any of your friends."
"Okay, but if you hear anyone call me Irv the Perv, just let it slide."
"Oh, really?" she put her hands on her hips. "And how did you get that nickname?"
"No need to know - just let it slide."
She made a cocky smile at him. When Selphie had told others she'd be going on this trip, it met with less than stellar opinions: 'Why? Why would you go with him?', 'You don't even know these people', 'You're not dating Irvine anymore', 'I'm worried about what's going to happen'. Selphie wondered if they knew they were still sleeping together, despite not being committed in a relationship. She herself was worried about it, but she knew she liked it. Or rather she wouldn't like it if Irvine left her. That didn't make her a slut, she was still a one-man girl. Irvine was the first boy she'd been with, but he was good and she liked him by her side. She forgave him for not being able to commit. It was the sacrifice she had to make for them to be together. Maybe Irvine's lack of commitment was just a smokescreen he put up for himself, to make believe they really weren't going out so he could still keep his available reputation. If that was what it took to keep him, she could maintain that.
Her friends had to suspect them though, wonder about what their relationship was about, whether they were technically together or not. It undoubtedly made it back to the others that they were still sleeping together. But it was like nothing had changed really. And they were probably talking behind her back about a lot of things, but she didn't care. She just wanted to be with Irvine.
"You got your ticket ready?" she said as she noticed there were only two people ahead of them. Irvine dug into his long tan coat and found his permission to board the train just as he stepped up to the lady in the conductor's uniform.
"Here you go, ma'am." He handed her up the ticket, which she punched. "We're in the SeeD cabin, in case you need to check on us."
Selphie gave him a gentle whap on his head, nearly dislodging his hat. The woman smirked and handed back his ticket. Irvine boarded the train and Selphie followed soon after.
"Would you stop flirting for crying out loud," she said.
"Heh, I can't help it, it's my nature. The life of a SeeD is lonely. You gotta make friends in every town."
"You live here!"
"I know." Irvine shifted his eyebrows playfully. Selphie rolled her eyes and elbowed him. He inserted the ticket into the slot next to the door. The entry shifted open, allowing them access to the luxuriant SeeD car. Selphie bolted to the windows, while Irvine took his time and sauntered in. She looked back at him. Things between them were awkward since that one night... and yet they weren't. He treated her just the same as he did in the beginning. He was still the same smooth, funny, charming guy he always was. Despite the awkwardness, he was still casual around her. Everything just seemed to roll off him. She wished she could be like that, instead of stressed to the point of hyperactivity, strung out between all these activities she was doing.
"Hurry up, the train's about to start. I wanna see it pull out."
Irvine rolled his eyes at her train-o-philia. Just as he came up behind her the train started chugging along, slowly moving its great mass forward onto the rails. Selphie waved at all the anonymous faces seeing them off.
"Woo-hoo, here we go."
The train gathered up speed and emerged from the train station. The sunlight poured on them, contrasting with the dank, sheltered, industrialized station. The countryside of Balamb welcomed them, zipping past like a picture on a roll, ever-repeating. The natural repetition played itself over and over again, like the world's most boring movie.
"Man, if only cars could go this fast," Irvine commented idly, breaking the silence.
"I know. Think of how much power this train has to have to pull all this weight."
Silence again as they watched the dry landscape go past. The natural scenery was beautiful, albeit tedious and lackluster. It wasn't any different from what they could see at home, just moving. An occasional tree passed by. A forest slowly slunk along the horizon, towered over by the mountains. Hills rolled like a sine wave past them.
"I'm bored," Irvine said.
Squall walked out onto Balamb Harbor.
The air held the salty spray of the ocean in suspension. He could taste it when he licked his lips. The ocean was especially torrential today, probably an incoming front. Buildings lined him on the left, empty of the trucks that used to park there. All but one was stationed at the end of the pier. Very few people were on the harbor today. It was unusually vacant, almost eerie.
And there was Fujin and Raijin walking towards him, oblivious of his presence as of yet. They were each carrying a bucket of fish, swinging them back and forth as they walked with smiles on their faces. Fujin pushed Raijin aside playfully, assumably for something stupid he said. Seifer pulled up the rear, still wearing that old gray military trenchcoat he always wore. Except now he had replaced his black cross t-shirt for a white corduroy sleeveless smeared with dirt, and carried a fishing pole over his shoulder.
"Hey, Squall," Raijin said excitedly upon spotting him. "Squall, it's me, Raijin, ya know?" He held his hand to his chest, pointing himself out.
"Raijin, Fujin," he nodded to them courteously. They stood between him and the man he really wanted to see. They were the posse, just guardians of the one he came down here for. Seifer returned his gaze over the tops of their heads.
Raijin said, "Ain't seen you down on the docks much, ya know. You're missin' all the good times. Seifer caught an eel today."
"SCARE," Fujin said. She had a unique way of speaking that told more what she represented than coherent sentences. It was amazing. They were talking to him as if nothing had ever happened. Like they had forgotten all the battles, the attacks, the wars.
"Ya, it freaked Seifer out, ya know. Don't think he's ever seen one before."
"Boys," Seifer said, breaking up the conversation. He handed his bucket to Raijin, keeping his stare on Squall. "Why don't you take today's catch to the shop. I'll meet up with you later."
"Oh, okay," he said. Raijin grabbed his bucket and walked with Fujin down an alley in between the shacks.
"Well," Seifer said as he put his tackle box on the ground, "It's been about, what, a year?"
"Since a little after time compression."
"Really? The only time you've come down here to see me was to check up on me to see if I still had aspirations of world domination. Of my romantic dream." He looked down at his shirt stained with fish refuse. "Well, it's not exactly the glorious life, but this is what I need right now. I've traded in my gunblade for a fishing pole." He held it up. "It's a far cry from being the Sorceress' Knight. Yeah, like some famous person said, you never go out with a bang, only with a whimper."
"Ain't that the truth."
Seifer put a hand on his hip. "Well, listen to you. Making smart-alecky comments. I've always been curious about your opinion of me. Tell me, do you think I was reduced to a fisherman or was too high as a Sorceress' Knight."
Squall remained silent, reserving his judgment.
Seifer smirked. "We really are too much alike, you know that. We're two sides of the same coin." He pointed to the bridge of his nose. "You couldn't stand to be the only one with a scar so you gave me one of my own. Sometimes I wonder how you ever managed to beat me. Well, not sometimes. All the time."
"You're trying to goad me into a fight. It won't work."
"Squally," he raised his arms wide, "I've given up fighting. I'm only goading you cause I never get the chance anymore."
"I didn't come here to get a tongue-lashing."
"No? Then why did you come here? Not the Selphie thing, is it? I'd like to think you were made of sterner stuff than that."
"You know about Selphie?"
"Oh, yes, she came down here. Quite a surprise. Asked me for some advice about how to deal with all the whispers and sighs behind her back. I don't think she wanted a real answer though, I think she just needed to know there was someone out there who just didn't care what she did." He laughed at the irony. "I know why she came down here. But why you? Would you really come to me for advice?"
"What makes you think I came down here for advice?"
"What did I just say? We're two sides of the same coin. Didn't a famous strategist once say 'know thy enemy'? I know how you work, Squall. I've had a year to think about it. To think about you and why you're there," he pointed far off in the distance to the towering Garden. "And why I'm here. Selphie said I'm the person who wouldn't pull any punches when it came to counsel. That's the same reason you're here. I'm your only equal. We're rivals. We grew up in Garden together, we use the same weapon. We even had the same girlfriend." Squall scowled further at the mention of Rinoa. "Boy, this Selphie thing sure does have you tied in knots. You've got no one else to talk to, nowhere else to go but here."
Seifer flicked his gray sleeve out and put his fingers to his temple. "Well, let me use my psychic powers to divine what you want. Cause that's the only way to get anything out of those tight lips." He closed his eyes and hummed. "Ah yes, it's all coming clear. Hmm, you... want to know... what you should do because you're torn between being a commander of Garden and being a person." He put his fingers down and let his words stew in Squall for a moment. "Am I right? The commander in you needs to be impartial, to view them as soldiers, while the person inside you wants to rip their lungs out."
"I'm not angry with them."
"No? Then why did you blow up at Selphie in front of the entire quad? You used to love them, but they've gone and done something stupid, so now you don't know what to feel. You don't want to admit you're human like the rest of us. I bet you've thought over and over how much they've ruined their lives, their careers in SeeD. Jeez, I've never met anyone as career-oriented as you, except for myself."
"Does this have a point? Or do I need to go to Raijin for the short version?" Squall said acerbically.
"Listen up, Squally, you might learn something here. When are you gonna realize that not everyone lives their life like you want them to. Not everyone needs what you need. What, do you expect all your friends to become commanders same as you? Commanders of eight Gardens? Not everyone wants the life you have, Squall. They're not gonna be SeeDs for life, they have to grow into something."
"You can't tell me Selphie wanted this."
Seifer shrugged. "Not everyone's life plans are actually planned."
"Selphie had a future ahead of her. She wanted a life as a SeeD."
"Oh, come on, look at her. Does she really look like SeeD material? She's so little and hyper."
"No one worked harder than she did, no one cared more about the people around her. She was going to be a great SeeD. She could've gone into demolitions or mechanics-"
"She was a messenger girl! Squall, she was little, she was unpredictable. Was there ever a gap in something that she really filled?"
"Stop talking about her in the past tense like she's dead!"
"You were the one who was doing it!"
Squall clenched his fist as he returned himself to a calm state.
Seifer looked back at him. "Jeez, you really are upset about this, aren't you? You barely have control of your senses. Hah! If I'd only known Squall's weak spot was his friends." He shook his head with a strangely sadistic smile on his face. "What I don't understand is why you're so upset about this. You don't even know her that well. You've only known both of them for a year, even. Selphie's from Trabia, Irvine's from Galbadia. It's not like Zell or Quistis who you grew up with."
"We were all orphans together."
"Excluding that distant memory. But you never went to classes with them, you never bumped into them in the cafeteria, never saw them sneaking out after curfew, never learned with them, never fought with them. Still, all that aside, it's not your life, it's not your decision. You're not the one who's pregnant. You're not the one who's getting married and shipping out. This doesn't affect you or your life's path. They're your friends, can't you just let them live?"
"I still care about them. I'm still close to them. Their actions do affect all of us."
"Then what? Is it regret? Is it that you wished you could have done something to prevent this? Honestly, Squall, I'm doing all the work here. At least try a little."
"I knew everything that was going on, either through Rinoa or somebody else. I knew they were having sex, they weren't in a relationship, and I didn't think they were using protection. I knew, but I didn't say anything because it wasn't my business. It's not like I could force them to take the pill. It would have been..."
"Awkward. Ironically, they weren't using birth control, just the pull-out method. Irvine doesn't believe in it, apparently. So you were right about that."
Seifer didn't think it was possible, but Squall scowled even deeper and clenched his fists tighter. Despite his outward anger he quietly said, "It's not my place to get involved in their personal lives."
"And you were right. As a commander. But as a friend, you're torn. You had the power, but it wasn't your relationship. So you just watched them play with fire. You feel a sort of survivor's guilt."
"Don't dictate to me what I think and feel. You think you're like me, but you're not."
"Sorry, Squall. These aren't opinions, these are facts. Fishing gives you a lot of free time to think about people. You've always had a problem accepting the truth when it's right in front of your face. Sis leaving. Rinoa being a sorceress. Her loving you. You loving her. Your friends must be very loyal to put up with you for so long. Especially with the way you treat them in a delicate situation. Even after you tore Selphie to pieces. And your buddy Irvine-"
"Irvine is not my friend." He thought of what Seifer had said and put it up against everything else he knew - Irvine doesn't believe in birth control. "My friend wouldn't do what he did to someone, to another one of my friends."
"It takes two to tango, Squally."
"Their lack of responsibility is unbecoming of SeeDs."
"Hmm, you know what? I can't disagree with that. But people are people, and unfortunately, the stupid stuff they do, we really can't do anything about. We can't all be as good as you. Well, Squall," he picked up the tackle box he'd put on the ground. "I can't say I envy your role right now. But it should be interesting to see. My posse's waiting for me at the shop. Do tell me how the wedding goes."
Seifer gleefully turned around and walked down the alley in between two brown houses with a bridge overhead.
In spite of all the encounters they'd had, of all the victories, Squall felt like he had just lost to Seifer in the biggest battle of all. He had all the answers to all the questions before he himself did. That made him feel inferior, like dirt. Like he was all brawn and no brains, just a soldier not able to think for himself. Seifer was happy and Squall wasn't. He was in turmoil over this situation and Seifer shrugged it off like water. He still had his ego, but this time it felt like he'd earned it through his humble servitude, so it didn't matter. Anger seethed within him, flowing through his clenched veins, eager to get out.
Seifer had one-upped him all the time. He came here looking for answers, and he got them and more than he asked for. And finding out that Irvine didn't use birth control of his own volition was the icing on the cake. He really felt like kicking them out of SeeD now. But of course, that would just make it all the more worse for them, and it wasn't technically grounds for discharge.
Just as Squall turned around to go back to Garden he saw Irvine walking down the cobblestone ramp to the harbor, his fists swinging wildly. "Stay right there!" he called out.
Irvine looked angry. Something about the way he was walking told Squall that a fight was coming towards him. Enough conflicts and you start to grow an instinct for threats. Despite the cowboy hat shadowing his head, Squall could see his boyish face covered with an irate frown. His ponytail swung back and forth as he made giant steps, closing the gap between them. "I've got a bone to pick with you," he pointed and stood in something like a battle stance when he got there.
Squall brought himself up to his full height, ready to take anything he could dish out.
"Did you call my Selphie a whore?"
"What?" Squall's eyes went wide at this leftfield accusation. He'd apparently come all the way from Garden down here just to ask him that.
"Selphie just told me everything you did. You've got a lot of nerve Squall, humiliating her in front of the entire quad like that."
"I never called her a whore."
"But you meant everything you said there, didn't you?"
Squall thought about whether he did mean it. He meant it at the time, he might still mean it now, but he would never say it, especially like that. If he said he didn't mean it now, would that negate the message he had wanted to send?
None of this mattered. Irvine was antagonizing him, and the last thing he needed after Seifer dressed him down was someone below him dressing him down. He started walking back towards Garden, moving diagonally. Irvine quickly side-stepped in front of him, blocking his path.
"I'm not done with you yet," he yelled out.
Squall glowered at him. "I didn't call her a whore. I only said what everybody else is thinking."
"But you didn't have to do it in a way that made her cry in a corner of the training center. You never had any tact, did you?"
"I may not have tact, but at least I've got the intelligence to think ahead, you moron."
Irvine narrowed his eyes. "Say that again," he said slowly and menacingly.
"You think you're doing something noble by doing some romantic sorceress war shit by getting her pregnant and marrying her right before you go into battle where you might die. If you were a real man you'd quit the mission this second and start on a long, hard path to providing a future for your baby."
"I can't quit. Didn't Cid tell you that? The mission's too important."
"Bullshit. Everyone can quit. Fake a damn stomachache if you have to. But you could do something. You're going to be gone for eighteen months. You're going to miss almost all of the first year of your baby's life. What are you gonna do, parent by Polaroid? Christ, you knew, you knew you were getting shipped off before... You knew and you still couldn't control yourself. I can't even hope you die on the field because then Selphie won't have anyone to help her."
"That's enough. It was a mistake, all right? But this is the best thing we can do now. We've done it and we can't undo it. Like you're the perfect son. Remember all the controversy about letting you and Rinoa live together in the same room?"
"Yeah, I remember. I remember it was unfounded, because we actually loved each other and acted like it, and acted responsibly. There's a difference between us and you, and you know it. You were in support of Rinoa staying with me," Squall suddenly remembered. "It's a good thing we didn't make that a Garden-wide rule, otherwise who knows how many mothers Garden would have now."
"How dare you. You strut around Garden like you're perfect-"
"This isn't about me, this is about you. Nobody's perfect, but they don't make stupid decisions. Don't you realize you've disappointed everybody?"
"Hey, the last thing I need is you acting like my father."
"Don't you see? That's exactly the point. The last thing we need is another kid as screwed up as us. We didn't have parents growing up and look how messed up we are."
"I think you're the only one who's messed up, screaming at a girl who's in an extremely vulnerable state."
"Oh, yeah, let's talk about vulnerability. Let's talk about taking advantage of people. How Selphie was die-hard in love with you and you used it to get your way with her. At least that wouldn't have been so bad except for a little thing called birth control. It's a nice little thing we use when we don't want to get pregnant. And the pull-out method does not count. I don't care how it feels. You don't have a choice. You use the condom or you keep your goddamn dick in your pants."
"My god, Squall, you really don't have any boundaries, do you? Are you going to air out all our personal laundry?"
"Everyone already knows, like I said. I'm just the only one saying it. I'm only trying to get you to see the big picture. You're acting like you're a real couple, like you're supposed to be happy together in wedded bliss. It's obvious you don't love each other."
"Listen," Irvine said as he pointed in a threatening manner. "You can shit on me all you want, just stay away from Selphie. Hey, all right, maybe marrying her wasn't my first choice on my list of things to do, but I do care about her and I'm in love with this baby. I have been looking forward to being a father since I was ten."
"You didn't have long to wait."
"Maybe this is too fast, maybe this isn't the best thing for either of us, but it's what's best for the baby. That's all that matters now, that's the only thing I thought about when I decided to stay on the mission. It's the only thing on my mind and I'm not gonna let you destroy it."
Squall said, "I'm not trying to destroy it, I'm trying to get you to wake up and stop pretending. Both of you."
Irvine said, "Hey, I care about Selphie just as much as any of us. But I've lost all respect for you."
Squall said, "You're worthless. You think you're an evolved human, but you're no better than an animal. I don't even want to see you get married, it's too disgusting to think that this 'happy celebration' is the result of two horny kids. This is not a child out of love, but lust. That's the foundation for your family, I hope you realize that. What's gonna happen when your kid looks up at you with his innocent eyes and asks 'Mommy? Daddy? How was I born?' and you tell him he was conceived in a train car on the way to Galbadia from casual sex by a couple of people still working on their careers, not married, and too stupid to realize the consequences of their actions."
"You are one step away from becoming a floor stain!" Irvine yelled.
That didn't matter to Squall. He was not about to show mercy, now that he had come this far. "All right, then you can respond with the short version - you were an accident! You were never meant to be born. You weren't supposed to be here. And because of your existence, you've forever changed and ruined the lives of dozens of people and given your parents a living hell."
"That's it. I'm gonna shut your face for you." He reached into his coat pocket for his rifle.
Squall whipped out his gunblade and held it ready before Irvine had even pulled his gun out. "Don't even try it."
"Fine," Irvine said as he took off his long coat. "You want a piece of me, why don't you fight me like a real man." He held up his fists to his face.
Squall dropped his gunblade, which clattered on the ground, and unfastened his ammo belts from his waist. "Fine, but what does that make you?"
That was the last straw. Irvine lunged forward and jumped on Squall, losing his hat in the process. They fell and began grappling, tumbling end over end on the road, each trying to assert the other on the bottom. They were both using their SeeD training, but neither thought they'd ever have to use it on another SeeD. A crowd started gathering around them, watching the fight and calling others over.
Squall kicked Irvine off him and stood back up. Irvine did the same and they clashed like rams, interlocking arms and heads. They both gritted their teeth at each other and groaned, shoving each other back and forth. Squall managed to tear Irvine's arms away from his, but the cowboy headbutted him in the forehead. Squall staggered back, holding his hand to his face, as Irvine pulled his fist behind him to throw a haymaker punch. The commander bared his teeth like a lion as he ducked under the punch and swung back with a diagonal uppercut, then hit him in the stomach with his elbow. Irvine's eyes bulged from the blow. He took a step back and spun into a side kick to Squall's head.
The crowd now encircled them, making an arena for them to fight in. They started cheering, not for any particular winner, just for entertainment. The two traded punches back and forth, barely making a mark on their tough hides. Squall pushed Irvine back, he fell into the barrier of people, splayed out. The crowd shoved him back in, like rubber ropes.
"Eurugh!" Irvine grunted as he dived for Squall's shoulder. The commander easily stepped aside, but Irvine grabbed his arm and pulled it behind his back in a hold. Squall yelped in pain as Irvine twisted.
"Give up?" the cowboy said.
Squall's anger at this humiliation gave him strength. He twisted back, breaking out of the hold, and grabbed Irvine's head. He was about to make a point-blank blow when Irvine slipped out and tackled him around the waist. They flew backward and before they barreled through the crowd, Squall used his inertia to turn around, then fell backwards and flipped Irvine over him. He landed hard on the road, smacking his head on the stone ground.
"Uhhhhlll," Irvine moaned, prone on the rocks.
Squall made an attempt to stand but the core of his body was feeling the hard effects of Irvine's tackle. He collapsed to his hands and knees on the bumpy surface, behind Irvine's head and started making odd noises as he tried to get air back into his lungs, drooling.
"Oh, man, I'm seeing stars," Irvine said dazily.
"Aaacck," Squall uttered between breaths. "Me too." He spat out excess saliva. "Well... that's... one thing... we can... agree on..."