Disclaimer: This story is a work of fiction, I do not own Final Fantasy VIII. This happens post-canon and after everything in the game occurs.
Note: This is for the One Bed prompt for the FF8 Winter Festival Event 2020. I'm going to say this right now, it's probably slightly Zell/Squall if you squint. This almost became a poly-ship but... I am undecided. Fair warning, this is flashback heavy. So prepare for a lot of italics.
Also I honestly wrote this to make me and my friends laugh. So if you enjoy it, great. Otherwise, it's ok.
If someone told Squall Leonhart that he would be sharing a bed with two people—regardless of their relationship with him? He would have clenched his jaw in discomfort and probably walked away.
Yet, here he was in Deling City's cozy hotel room with Zell on his left and Selphie on his right. The blonde was a stubborn cuddler that did not want to admit it to anyone else but him and Selphie. Meanwhile, Selphie was a snuggler, always content with curling up on her side, head burrowed underneath the blankets and compacted against Squall's back. Or side, if he chose to lay on his back.
Sometimes, Squall reminisces about how this original inconvenience became an unexpected habit.
"We only have one room available." Timber hotel's attendant shrugged as she was typing on the computer screen.
You have got to be fucking kidding me, Squall thought before turning to Zell who seemed even more uncomfortable with the prospect of sharing his space. Selphie's expression was dubious.
"Fine, we'll take it." He begrudgingly conceded. Reaching for his wallet, he paid for the room as he received the keycard for it. With everything going on pertaining to the Galbadian Army taking up residence at Timber, and Seifer threatening to kill Vinzer Deling on national television, it was better to regroup on a clear mind. Might as well rest now and head to Galbadian Garden for further orders. Who knew what Seifer was up to or who that woman was?
They head to the back and followed the hallway towards their designated room. Pushing the keycard against the handle before turning it, Squall and his party were flabbergasted.
The attendant said there was one hotel room left, but they did not specify that included only having one bed.
One room, one bed, and three bodies.
Out of the three, Squall would have reasonably been the first to panic. In actuality, it was Zell. He looked around frantically to see if there were any day beds or even a couch to sleep on. Yet there was none.
"Well, this sucks," Selphie announced how everyone in the room felt.
Before their squad leader could rationalize a way to make use of the living space, Zell wasn't having it. "Of course, it does! How the hell are we all going to sleep? I'm not sleeping on the floor—"
"Zell," Squall started, but his voice was too quiet in comparison to the passionate tirade that belonged to the martial artist.
"I know for a fact I'm not sleeping on the floor!"
"Zell." The gunblade specialist's voice became louder, Selphie watched in amusement that Squall even had an octave higher than even and monotonous. By this point, his arms were crossed and his hip cocked to the side. While he was known for his patience, calming down someone panicking on this level wasn't within his training. Especially someone that was trained to be prepared for any sort of situation- insufficient lodgings being one of them.
He tapped his foot, waiting.
Zell was still babbling.
He closed his eyes, the animated talking turning into white noise for him as he almost effectively tuned the martial artist out.
Dincht was still talking. Doesn't he get exhausted?
By now, Squall had enough.
" Zell!" The increased volume of his voice echoed in the hotel room. Squall couldn't see it, but Selphie did jolt in surprise. That managed to get the blonde's attention as he was visibly showcasing a downhill spiral.
Panicked blue met steel grey at that moment before Squall cleared his throat to talk. "It's not ideal, but the circumstances in itself are not bad." Uncoiling one arm he gestured towards the bed itself. "It's a queen-size bed, it will be a tight fit but we can manage."
That did not make Zell any happier, Selphie walked towards the bed and sat on the edge looking at both of her comrades. "If you guys are weirded out by it, I can sleep in the middle." She shrugged. It pleased Squall to know that at least someone was prepared for the sleeping arrangement that was about to take place.
Squall couldn't even remember the last time he had to share anything that was personal to him, that included his space. Seeing he's been in worse situations like having to share a tent with Raijin or put up with sharing a bathroom with Seifer, this didn't seem bad. Yet.
"Fine by me." He consented, before turning his eyes back to the shorter male.
Zell worried his bottom lip while flitting his eyes from Selphie on the bed and Squall standing next to him. He was the last consenting body in the room, and he had to mentally psyche himself up for the unexpected. Sighing, he held his hands up in mock surrender.
"Fine," He yielded, but it felt the battle wasn't over yet. "But I have some rules and boundaries!" Zell said firmly.
Nothing prepared Squall Leonhart for the pettiness that was Zell Dincht. His rules were reasonable to abide by. Somehow, one thing led to another and now they were fighting over the plush pillow that was in the closet of the hotel room. An unexpected verbal warzone.
From "I found it first!" to "I'm paying for the room!" coupled with Selphie being on the phone with room service as an unamused expression settled on her face. This was how they were spending the past ten minutes. After ending the call with the front desk, Selphie just clapped her hands loudly enough before shouting, "HEY!" to the teenage boys before her. They were equally surprised by the tone of voice that belonged to 5'1" individual walking towards them with her hands on her hips.
"I ordered more pillows like that one from the front desk, will you please stop arguing?" Her eyes were glaring at both of them. Zell receded into himself slightly, a flushed expression on his face for losing his cool over something like a pillow. Squall couldn't remember the last time someone used a motherly tone of voice with him, so he felt just as sheepish.
Didn't stop Squall from feeling as though he was in the right, regardless of finding out that there were more pillows like that one. He nodded and appreciated how Tilmitt had the foresight to end this childish squabble.
Nightfall came with the group long adjusted to this sleeping arrangement. Squall offered to be in the center since he preferred sleeping that way. That and he did not want Selphie to feel uncomfortable for sleeping between two guys, even if she did volunteer.
Now Squall awoke to wonder why his feet were cold.
It was the middle of the night when he stirred awake for two reasons: The blanket that was covering all of them was gone and Zell was missing on his left. Placing his hand out to touch the spot where the blonde was and it felt warm. He had just left.
Turning his head, he noticed that the martial artist was shirtless and reaching for a blanket on the top shelf. While watching him stand on his tiptoes to reach it was amusing, it was wasting time.
And Squall was getting cold.
Carefully getting out of the bed as to not wake Selphie, he walked around to where Zell was and reached for the blanket he was reaching for. He didn't ask for help, but the shorter male did seem like he needed it. Surprised, Zell turned to notice it was Squall and he sighed in relief. Both walked back towards the bed and this was the first time the brunette had noticed that Selphie was the blanket stealer.
Her form was a small lump on the bed closest to the door, securely wrapped in the blanket they all shared.
Making a note of this, Squall returned to his original position in the middle of the bed. The new blanket was spread over the two of them as they returned to sleep to the best of their ability.
Aside from blanket snatching Selphie, the sleeping arrangement wasn't that bad. Even if he did wake up the next day wondering why Zell was cuddling him. Only inconvenienced by the fact it felt nice but he needed to use the bathroom.
As his mind relived that first night, he rolled over to glance at Selphie's sleeping form. She was wrapped tightly in her first blanket while part of the blanket Squall and Zell shared was covering her bundled form.
Smiling, he returned his original position of being curled on his side towards Zell's sleeping form. Hair usually styled up fell around his eyes as his body slept evenly.
The brunette wasn't sure why he was feeling nostalgic. It beat out him worrying about events that haven't happened or why he reacted to something different entirely.
After sharing a room with them, it wasn't that bad. Squall actually found it quite nice. The muscles of the group was still trying to warm up to the idea, but have yet to make any complaints past the first time. He mentioned that Zell cuddled and he deflected by saying it wasn't true. Rolling his eyes, he'll let Zell win that battle.
Going to Deling City would be the first time Squall had to order rooms for everyone. Three opposed to one. He wanted a space for himself, so he ordered himself one room and the other two rooms had beds to share.
He thought it was fine until he laid down in the bed himself and found himself thinking more about the upcoming mission in the morning when they had to meet Caraway. Irvine was a new recruit since they needed a sniper. Was it wise to have a cadet come? Closing his eyes, Squall just hoped the thoughts would stop. It was easier when there was a warm body or two to lull him to sleep. Hearing the soft breathing of someone else surely made falling asleep easier.
The abrupt knocking on the door temporarily halted his thoughts.
He forgone putting a shirt on as he rolled out of bed and strode towards the door. To say he was relieved to see Selphie and Zell was interesting. Zell looked irritated with his blonde hair down and in his eyes while Selphie was wrapped up in a blanket with an frustrated look on her features. Confused, he asked the obvious, "Is something wrong?"
"Irvine snores loud enough that I'm gonna go deaf, man." Zell said nonchalantly. Duly noted in the event Squall had to choose between his own space or share one with Irvine.
"Rin kicked me in my sleep!" Selphie pouted as she visibly shook underneath the blanket. "I told her that she should share a bed with Quistis, but she gave me some half-assed excuse." Her emerald eyes burned with sign of betrayal.
Unfortunate hotel mates would have made a well-rested night unlikely. They needed to be entirely focused on their upcoming mission. Shrugging, he allowed them to come in. Selphie rolled herself into place, in the center of the bed, tucking herself underneath the blanket Squall was laying under. Zell got on the left of Selphie while Squall got on Selphie's right. To say it shouldn't have felt as natural as it did was an understatement and yet… it was comforting to sleep next to them.
If explanations are needed, they can wait till the morning.
Though Squall found it interesting how Selphie chose to sleep in the center to have him waking up with Zell cuddling him again.
The tense moments during their journey were in abundance. From begrudging allowing their party to separate with one returning to Balamb Garden to warn everyone about the missiles and Selphie's group heading to the Missile Base. To say Squall was restless after that was an understatement.
At least he had Zell to talk to about it afterward, considering he got Zell to admit about his unknown cuddling habits. While the atmosphere was heavy, there was something to say about small victories.
Disclosing how he felt uncertain with this newfound authority given to him. Uncertain about the future and everything that's happened since the botched assassination attempt and his unpleasant meeting with Seifer. Luckily for him, Zell did more listening than talking until he was certain Squall had finished sharing his thoughts. Shrugging, Zell admitted that everything was intense, and they couldn't be certain about the events of the future and needed to focus on the present.
That's all Squall could do then.
When they docked at Fisherman's Horizon for repairs and explored the area, it was more than pleasant to see Selphie and her squad return. Unconventional choice of an entrance, but one that made Squall undoubtedly relaxed.
From Squall's promotion to traveling back to Balamb Town was more than enough to make anyone recede into their shell to not come out. Yet, he needed to commit and see everything through. He was slowly built confidence in his relationships with his teammates who he was finally seeing as friends.
Especially the ones he graduated with several months ago.
When the Galbadian Army taken up residence in Balamb Town, Zell thought it was prudent to head back to his Ma's place and wait it out. There was a fit thrown about Selphie being on his bed and them being up in his Sanctuary, but soon that all passed. Squall sat on Zell's bed with Selphie. As time progressed, so did their positions on the bed, with him on his back and Selphie draped over Squall's torso.
The silence eventually broke when Selphie asked a question that neither man wanted to vocalize: "Are we going to die at the end of this?" Her voice was quiet, despite the certainty of her words.
Squall couldn't help but tense underneath her while Zell in the chair across the way, flinched. There wasn't a sure answer for that either. They knew what they got into when they studied for being in SeeD but no one ever told them that not being a SeeD was an option. The choice was made before all of them knew what saying "no" meant.
Squall didn't want to answer it without sounding negative but he truly did not want to be the case. They just started this life and had much of the world to see. In Selphie's words: it'd be a total bummer if that was the case.
Luckily, Zell spoke up instead, "I'd rather not die, there's so much we have yet to experience!" Trying to keep the positivity and uplifting tone to his voice. His brows pinched themselves together before he added, "This type of work has a higher body count than some, but…" Shaking his head.
"I'm hopeful that we'll live to see this to the very end." He grinned.
It was infectious, that smile. He did feel the outer corner of his lips twitch to smile but settled on a smirk instead. That's the most he could offer.
Opening his eyes once again, he found that he was so busy reminiscing that he didn't notice that Zell's tired eyes were focused on his side profile. Turning his head towards the groggy blonde who blinked at having his eyes met.
"You're awake." Zell's unused voice was low and unlike what anyone would expect it to sound like. Boyish voice subdued heavily with scratchy bass.
"So are you." Squall's smart-ass remark got a glare out of the blonde. He couldn't help it, ruffling Zell's feathers was amusing to him, even within arm's reach.
One of Zell's rules from the very first time they all shared a bed was that everyone had to be asleep. Otherwise, he would randomly wake up because someone wasn't sleeping. He couldn't explain how he would know and it did startle Squall at first to see he wasn't bullshitting.
Now, Squall just found it humorous. Zell did mention once before how he could hear his thoughts keeping the both of them awake. He had to extend his condolences for the sheer reason he didn't want his thoughts to be that loud.
"Go to sleep." With that, Zell rolled back over onto his side, pulling the blanket over his shoulder. Rolling his eyes, Squall wrapped an arm around the stockier male and pulled him close underneath the covers.
"Since you asked so nicely." Squall said sarcastically as he buried his nose into Zell's neck, while the man below him grunted.
Who could blame Leonhart? He did have a fondness for the bossy types, friends or otherwise
A/N: Not gonna lie, I hate how I can't link my foolishness for an epilogue on my Twitter. You don't know how many of these for the stories I have that are posted at the very end.