A/N: I have no idea where this idea came from! Like seriously!

I just started brainstorming this and, like four days later, it was done. Who knew? The title comes from the Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey song of the same name. For the record, I might use a variant of the title again somewhere down the line. We'll see.

Anyway, enjoy!


The Middle

Squall, Rinoa, and Quistis were headed toward the cafeteria, planning to meet up with the rest of the group. Along the way, Rinoa had a particular subject in mind, concerning a new man in Quistis's life.

"So, what's this guy like?" Rinoa asked Quistis. "I mean… you've been out with him five times, and twice just this week! That's a record."

"He's nice and…" Quistis shot her eyes over to Rinoa. "Wait, what do you mean 'record'?"

"I mean, you cut guys off before they get a compliment off the ground! Guys trying to even ask you out on a date is like pulling teeth with you." Rinoa looked at her boyfriend, "Right, Squall?"

Squall looked at her. "You expect me to comment on this?"

"Yes," Quistis said. "Be honest. Do I… cut guys off?"

"Hi. Squall Leonhart. Apparently, we haven't met."

"See?" Rinoa asked.

"Him not answering doesn't prove anything!" Quistis replied.

"Doesn't it?"

"I am not that difficult!" Quistis argued.

"You are too," Rinoa said.

"I am not!"

"Are too!"

Squall just groaned.

They all stopped when they heard a commotion coming from the cafeteria. They rushed in to see Zell and Irvine brawling with each other while Selphie was screaming at them to stop. Zell and Irvine had rolled over a table, punching one another.

"What the?!" Rinoa shouted.

Squall jumped in and got between them, "Guys! GUYS!" He managed to separate them, "KNOCK IT OFF!"

"Get out of the way, Squall!" Zell shouted.

"Yeah!" Irvine shouted. "Let him get his ass kicked!"

"Bring it, jackass!"

"HEY!" Squall yelled, pushing them back. His voice dropped to a menacing tone, "I said… knock it off."

Zell and Irvine calmed down, both still staring daggers at each other.

"Now, what the hell's going on?"

"These two were making out behind my back!" Irvine yelled, pointing at Selphie and Zell.

Squall looked at Irvine, stunned. "What?"

"Oh, crap," Rinoa whispered.

Quistis looked at Selphie, "Selphie? Is that true?"

Selphie looked away.

"Zell?" Quistis asked.

Zell avoided her eye contact as well and rubbed the back of his head.

"Oh, Hyne," Squall rubbed his face. He looked around at the bystanders observing the scene. "Let's go somewhere else and talk this out."

They went to Quistis's classroom, Squall locking the door behind them once they were all in. Irvine and Zell sat on opposite ends of the room at the desks, while Selphie sat directly behind Zell. Squall, Quistis, and Rinoa leaned against Quistis's desk.

"Okay," Squall said. "Now, what the hell is going on?"

"Ask those two!" Irvine pointed at Zell and Selphie.

Squall looked at them. "Well?"

"We didn't plan this, Squall," Selphie said. "It just… sort of happened.

"What sort of happened?" Rinoa asked.

"THEY HOOKED UP, THAT'S WHAT!" Irvine shouted.

"Oh, we did not!" Selphie argued.

"But did you kiss Zell?" Quistis asked.

Selphie opened her mouth but stopped. "We… kinda… kissed… each other."

Zell just scoffed.

"Okay," Squall said. He looked at Irvine, "But, what did you do first?"

Irvine's eyes widened. "What?!"

"Thank you!" Zell said.

"You know what I mean," Squall said to Irvine. "What did you do that started this in the first place?"

"I didn't do anything!" Irvine said.

"Yeah, uh-huh," Rinoa said. "But what did you actually do?"

Irvine groaned and looked away.

"I'll tell you what he did!" Selphie said.

"Oh, no, you won't!" Irvine yelled.

"Oh, yes, she will!" Zell argued.

"You know what…"

"HEY!" Squall shouted, causing them both to quiet down. "The only one out of three of you I want to hear right now is Selphie. Are we clear?"

Zell and Irvine just folded their arms and looked away.

Squall looked at Selphie, "Go ahead, Selphie."

"Well," Selphie began, "it all started when someone started talking to the new woman two weeks ago!"

"Oh, dammit, Irvine!" Squall threw his head back.

"Well…" Irvine said, his cheeks turning red.

"The new admin from Esthar," Quistis shook her head.

"Told you he'd talk to her," Rinoa said. "Called it the second she walked in with her A-plus recommendations and double-D chest size."

"Yeah and the only reason we know her cup size is because of you," Squall reminded.

"I'm inquisitive. It's part of my charm."

"She's actually very nice," Quistis defended. "Smart, articulate. Lovely woman."

"Totally," Rinoa agreed. "Yeah, she's great. But, like I said, knew Irvine wouldn't be able to help himself."

"So, what happened?" Squall asked, directing the question at Selphie again.

"Well, I find out that this jackass has been showing her around the Garden!" Selphie declared, again pointing at Irvine.

Quistis narrowed her eyes, "That was my job."

"Apparently, you weren't doing it well enough, Quisty. Because Irvine couldn't resist giving her several tours!"

"In my defense, you weren't talking to me!" Irvine said.

"Oh!" Selphie said. "And you saying over and over again 'we need to talk' was supposed to be my indicator of what?!"

Squall rubbed his face, "Alright, alright. What happened next?"

Selphie folded her arms, "Tell 'em, Zell."

"I caught Irvine and Madam Busty…" Zell said.

"Her name is Sierra," Quistis informed.

"…in the Secret Area of the Training Hall!"

"Clothed or not clothed?" Rinoa asked.

"Rinoa!" Squall, Quistis, and Selphie chided.

"What? Inquisitive!"

"At this point, it's called 'nosy'," Squall said. He paused. "But, for clarity's sake, Zell, answer her question."

"Clothed," Zell answered. "So far!"

"Nothing was gonna happen!" Irvine replied.

"Because Zell walked in?" Rinoa asked.

"Because Zell-SHUT UP!" Irvine shouted.

"They were making out!" Zell said.

"We were not!"

"What were you doing, then?" Squall asked.

Irvine paused, "I… maybe… possibly… might've… kinda… kissed… her."

Squall pinched the bridge of his nose. The headache this was creating was incredible.

"I'd call you an 'idiot', Irvine," Quistis said, "but I'm gonna wait until the story is over."

"Did she like it?" Rinoa asked.

"Rinoa!" Quistis and Selphie shouted.

Rinoa just shrugged.

"Alright, keep going," Squall said, still not looking up and not caring who answered.

"Well, that was last night!" Selphie said. "And I wasn't gonna talk to this idiot all day but… I ran into Zell."

"AND THEY STARTED MAKING OUT!" Irvine shouted.

Squall looked at him, "Scream one more time. I dare you."

Irvine just sat back and looked away.

"And, no, we didn't," Selphie said. "Zell took me into Balamb Town. To… ya know, get my mind off of things. We hung out for the day. It was nice. He took me around, I met a lot of his friends, and… we came back here. He'd been so sweet to me. He's always been sweet to me. I just couldn't stop myself."

Zell fought back a smile.

"Apparently, neither could Zell," Irvine grumbled.

"But why were you both fighting?" Quistis asked.

"Irvine accused me of cheating on him!" Selphie cried out.

"Wow, pot calling out the kettle," Rinoa said.

"Technically, does it count if he did it first?" Quistis asked.

Rinoa shrugged, "Good point."

"Let me guess what happened after that," Squall said. "So… Irvine accused Selphie, Selphie denied it. Irvine accused Zell, Zell denied it. Irvine said something uncalled for, Selphie got her feelings hurt, Zell got mad, got in Irvine's face, Irvine got angrier, didn't back down, and you two started throwing fists. That about sum it up?"

Zell stared at Squall, astonished. "Dude, were you there?"

"So, now, we know," Rinoa said.

Squall folded his arms, "So, what exactly is the problem, here?"

Everyone looked at Squall, confused.

"I mean… if I'm hearing this right, Irvine, you and Selphie broke up. If she wants to kiss Zell, why are you so pissed?"

"She got mad when I kissed Sierra!" Irvine said.

"Okay, first off, that's what?" Squall asked. "The eighth girl she's caught you talking to? Sounds like a personal problem."

"Only one I've kissed!"

"Yeah, that makes it better." Squall rolled his eyes. "Honestly, I saw this coming a mile away."

"You did?" Quistis asked.

Squall nodded. "Well… I'll admit the Zell and Selphie part was a surprise, but Selphie and Irvine breaking up? C'mon. Tell me you didn't see that coming."

Quistis thought about it and sighed, "Okay, yeah."

"I wondered how they ever made it work in the first place," Rinoa said.

"Gee, thanks, guys," Irvine groaned.

"Oh, get over yourself!" Squall said. "You know, good and well, the crap you pull! Anyone else would've dumped your ass and been done with you forever ago. Selphie's just a nice person."

Irvine looked down at the floor, not able to come up with a response.

Squall looked at Selphie and Zell, "And you two!"

They seized up.

"Really? The cafeteria? Where, literally, anyone and everyone can see you? Including him!" Squall pointed at Irvine. "Couldn't do it some place private?"

Selphie and Zell looked away, embarrassed.

Squall saw that this wasn't really resolved, just reported. But the last thing he wanted to do was deal with this for next week or how ever long it took to actually get this resolved. He also didn't want these three to take forever to deal with this and have it become an even bigger issue later.

This needed to stop now.

"Look, I'm gonna bottom line this," Squall said, getting everyone's attention. He was about to be harsh and he knew it. But he had no other choice.

Squall sighed. "Irvine and Selphie, you two are a lousy couple."

They jerked their heads back at hearing that.

"You two are either always mad at each other or… there is no 'or' to that. Either work this out or break up. You guys can't go on like this. Plus, it's getting on my nerves. And it'll only make things worse if you don't deal with it, once and for all. Selphie and Zell, you two can work but don't beat around the bush with it. Either decide you wanna be together and quit stalling it or let it go and stop playing around. Zell and Irvine, stop being a couple of morons. End this because, if I catch you two fighting over stupid crap again, you're fighting me next."

Zell and Irvine felt a chill go up their backs.

"And all three of you. Knock. It. Off! We're supposed to be friends. Have been since we were kids. Do not let the fact that Irvine acts like a jerk most of the time get in the way of this group."

"Why am I the jerk?" Irvine asked.

"I would list the number of reasons, but I'd also like to sleep sometime this year. I can't do both." Squall looked at the trio, "You know what? Screw it. We're not waiting. We're doing this now."

"Doing what now?" Quistis asked.

"Irvine and Selphie."

They looked at him.

"Do you want to be together?" Squall asked.

"Whoa, Squall!" Rinoa said.

"Do you?"

Rinoa, Quistis, and Zell were amazed at Squall being so blunt, but they couldn't help but notice that Selphie and Irvine had fallen very quiet. They weren't protesting or throwing fits. They were really thinking about it.

Selphie and Irvine looked at Squall then at each other. They knew what their answer would be in the past, but now, they were seeing it all in a different light.

"I…" Selphie said, "I don't."

Irvine scoffed. "Wow. Me, neither."

Quistis and Rinoa stared them, wide-eyed and mouths agape.

Squall took a deep breath. "Okay. With that in mind, can you two move past this? Stay friends? Not now but… at all?"

Selphie stared at Irvine and nodded. "I think so."

Irvine returned the nod, "Yeah, I think we can."

"Alright." Squall focused on the other major issue in the room, "Zell and Selphie. Do you two want to be together?"

"Oh, wow!" Rinoa said. "You're really making them do this now!"

"Yes, I am."

Zell, tentatively, looked at Selphie and she, meekly, looked back at him.

"I…" Zell said, "kinda… really… want to."

Selphie gave a small nod, "Me, too."

Squall looked at Irvine, "Can you live with that?"

Irvine regarded Zell and Selphie for a long time. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He looked at Squall and exhaled. "Yeah. Yeah, I can I live that."

"You sure?"

"Yeah."

"Fine," Squall said. "Now, all of you, apologize. And be sincere with it."

Selphie, Zell, and Irvine looked at each other, unsure about who should begin.

Squall slumped his shoulders. "Do I have to pick who goes first?"

"Yeah," Rinoa and Quistis said.

"Fine!" Squall looked at them. "Zell, you kick it off."

Zell looked up, surprised. "Oh! Uh… okay." He looked at Irvine, "Uh… alright. I, uh… I'm sorry, Irvine. I… do really like Selphie. Have for a while. I should've talked to you, first. Dating or not, you're one of my best friends and I never meant to go behind your back." He looked at Selphie then back at him, "It… just happened. Never wanted to hurt you, man. I'm sorry I did."

Irvine nodded. "It's okay."

"Selphie," Squall said.

Selphie sighed, "I'm sorry… to both of you. To all of you for the mess this caused." She looked at Zell, "Sorry for putting you between me and Irvine." She looked at Irvine, "And sorry for… not making it clear that I wanted to end this before I kissed Zell. I hurt you and that wasn't okay. I'm really sorry about that."

"Apology accepted," Zell said.

"Yeah," Irvine said. "It's cool, Selphie." He sighed then looked at Squall, "I guess you want me go last because I have the most to apologize for?"

"You would be right," Squall replied.

Irvine took a deep breath. "Alright. Here it goes." He looked Zell, "I'm sorry for starting a fight for something that was… actually my fault."

Zell nodded. "It's okay, man."

Irvine looked at Selphie. "I'm sorry… for everything. I screwed this up and that's on me. I just hope… one day… you can forgive me for that."

Selphie sniffed. "I will. I already do."

Irvine scanned the room, "I'm sorry to everyone… for what I did, how I acted, and the trouble it caused. I was a jerk and I… I'm really gonna work to not be that way anymore."

"That was a very mature thing to say, Irvine," Quistis said. "I'm proud of you."

Irvine gave a small smile.

"Now, hug!" Rinoa said.

Everyone looked at her, confused.

"Don't look at me like that! You guys are all friends! Let's start making moves to put this behind us! Now, hug it out!"

Nervous, Selphie, Zell, and Irvine looked at Squall.

"You might as well," Squall shrugged.

The three of them got up and shared a friendly group hug. They broke the embrace, regarding each other in a far more positive manner than when they first entered the classroom.

"And… if we're being honest," Selphie said, "Irvine, if you like Madam Busty…"

"Sierra," Quistis and Squall corrected.

"Don't jerk her around. She seems like she's nice."

Irvine looked down. "I dunno. I might need to… cool it on dating for a minute. Get my head right."

"That's gotta be the smartest thing you've said since I met you," Squall declared.

"Your decision," Selphie said. "Just… don't get too down. You're not a bad person. At all. I think you could… be a good match for her. When you're doing you're best. You're just a moron sometimes."

Irvine scoffed. "Can't deny that. Thanks, guys."

"Okay, are we good now?" Squall asked.

"We're good," Zell said.

"Thanks, Squall," Selphie said.

"Appreciate it, man," Irvine added.

"Whatever," Squall said. "All of you, get outta here. And no more fighting with each other!"

They nodded and they left the classroom, leaving Squall, Rinoa, and Quistis alone. Quistis and Rinoa blinked a few times, looked at each other, then regarded Squall in a contemplative silence.

Squall noticed them staring, "What?!"

"Squall?" Quistis asked, pointing at the door. "Did… did you just fix them, thereby giving Zell and Selphie a shot at a relationship and convincing Irvine to take a closer look at his behavior, by yourself?"

Squall thought about it for a few moments. "Uh… yeah. I think I did."

"Yeah, wow, okay," Rinoa said. "How'd… you do that?"

"I haven't the slightest idea."

Rinoa smiled and started singing, "You like them. You're they're friend! You care about them!"

"I do not!" Squall walked away from them and threw the door opened.

"Yes, you do," Quistis said.

Squall growled as he walked out of the classroom, leaving Quistis and Rinoa to laugh at him.

Quistis managed to stop her giggling and asked, "Think he'll be that caring if I ever get a boyfriend?"

"Five dates, Quis," Rinoa said, heading for the door. "You already have a boyfriend."

"I do not," Quistis replied, following after her.

"You do, too."

"Do not!"

"Do too!"

"Do not!"

"Do too!"


A/N: So, what did you guys think? Leave me some comments and hit those fav and follow buttons.

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