A/N: Note: This story came as inspiration for Skrible's artwork (since links don't work here, the one where it was storming at Edea's Orphanage). This was originally in my outline for what to submit to The Successor, and I almost scrapped it. Now I gave it purpose.

I will preface this: This is my interpretation of the artwork. If you disagree with the literary interpretation of the work, leave Skrible alone.

Warning, this is building up to the point of that artwork. So if you don't like hurt without comfort of your favorite ship (namely: Squinoa), maybe... don't read it? This is your first warning to leave.

Head canons applied:
❀ - Rinoa is younger than Squall (sorry, it be like that).
❀ - Squall & Fujin smoke.
❀ - Fujin was Squall's first girlfriend and is older than Squall (yea yea this was before I knew she and him are technically the same age—still older than him by several months tho).
❀ - Zell knows things he probably shouldn't be knowing and can sometimes keep his mouth shut.
❀ - Native Balamb Islanders look exactly like Raijin does and they all have an accent from their respective dialect which could vary from real world's Tahitian, Maori, or Samoan. Makes me feel like all the characters that grew up in Balamb have these accents. Ever since I came up with this, I cannot unhear Zell, Seifer, Squall, and Quistis without them. I do feel Quistis suppresses her accent and chooses to speak it less.
❀ Windstorm is the ship name I came up with for Fujin and Squall.
❀ Romantic Dream is the ship name I came up with for Seifer and Rinoa.

Don't like it? The backspace/back button is your friend- your final warning.

This was posted on AO3 last year for the Successor Challenge, but I lazily decided to post it here.


Once upon a time ago, someone told Squall that puppy love wasn't love that lasts forever. Another individual told him that love was blind. At the time both of these statements were made, he didn't believe either one of them. He rolled his steel-blue grey eyes at the concept of puppy love to downplay his feelings for Rinoa. The love is blind comment didn't make sense to him. What does it mean: love is blind?

When he finally sat down and thought about it, he realized that in recent days that random individual was correct. Squall Leonhart had managed to get caught up in the romance and the feel-good sensations. Now that the rose-tinted lenses were cracked, he came back to reality with one hell of a rude awakening.

All he and Rinoa did lately was fight. The sweet perennial tale lasted from the celebratory eve signifying the end of the war till about three months afterward. Squall admitted to himself that he experienced the honeymoon period and it finally came to an end. Swept up in the saccharine romance and basking in a variety of afterglows, caused even his own friends to take note of how his relaxed spirits became tense. Ever since he chose to open himself up more, expressing his emotions intimately without judgment, the man figured nothing could go wrong with that.

Or, so he thought at first.

At present, he was stressed. Needing to sort this out before he found himself shutting people down and out of his life again. The switch to just turn off the emotions was tucked in the back of his mind, tempted to be flicked. The old Squall would have wanted this, called it a "defense mechanism" his old self would say. Current Squall desires to brave these uncharted waters. He found that he was having an easier time communicating and articulating his feelings better with his friends, considering they were patient with him. Unfortunately with Rinoa, he felt as though they hit the reset button to approximately weeks after they had first met; constantly butting heads and never seeing eye-to-eye on anything. She even called him a meanie the other day and he couldn't help but "Whatever" at it.

Squall realized, if Rinoa murdered someone during the euphoric height of their relationship, she would've gotten away with it too. All she had to do was bat those big brown eyes of hers; he would become flustered, and excuse it. Now being aware and discerning Rinoa's habits, he realized that it bothered him. Leaving food out in the kitchenette, not washing the dishes, how after a mission of any capacity he would return to the dorm a mess, or rather, what he deemed messy. The scented oils in the dorm did not remove the clothes on the floor or the overflowing trash that needed to be disposed. More recently, how her attempt of "re-organizing" Squall's—now their dorm, had accosted the Commander's morning routine. The bigger question came: When did he ever say it was ok for them to move in together?

Why did they agree to this so soon? He found his introverted alone time to recharge his social battery was simultaneously being drained when he was around Rinoa.

His meddling friends are one of the reasons the two were together, so he might as well consult one of them. Or preferably, one that knew about his previous relationship, Who surprisingly kept his mouth shut about it.

Upon sharing the surface problems when approaching the martial artist in the cafeteria, he wanted a method to navigate the proper conversation with his present significant other. He didn't want advice, because Squall takes advice from no one. He wanted to hear some suggestions from others. During this, Zell introduced him to the prospect of what defining boundaries were and how they applied to everything. To say the Commander was intrigued didn't scratch the surface. He realized that either he had a few boundaries or hundreds of them. No clue how they were all breached and he wanted to promptly sort them out.

The blonde male explained his example of when he invited Squall and Selphie to his room when Balamb Town was on lockdown. Zell was annoyed that Selphie was on his bed, but he appreciated that they both respected his boundaries when he laid them down for them. No touching or messing up anything. Simply put, anything to disturb his obsessive-compulsive neatness and germaphobe tendencies.

In all fairness, Squall used to room with Zell as cadets in a double dormitory. While the man was a loudmouth, his exceptional cleaning habits always put Squall at ease. He suffered his ire a few times when he forgot something was laying out on the floor or left something out himself. Yet, it wasn't to the amount of irritation he felt when he was repeating himself with Rinoa about the responsibilities of the dorm room they occupied together.

Squall nodded as he thought about this, however, he wasn't too sure about how that could spill itself into a romantic relationship. Zell gestured animatedly with his hands before definitely giving him a pointed look before blurting out, "Talk to your ex." The thought surprised and worried him internally.

Dincht was a big mouth sometimes, but the one thing Leonhart could be grateful for was that his relationship with Fujin didn't spread like a Malboro's Bad Breath. If it wasn't for the hushed-up nature, he knew that would've been the talk everywhere.

That's the level of privacy that Squall wished he had now.

Discussion of Rinoa and Squall dating spread like wildfire immediately after the party. Everyone in Balamb Garden knew. His friends were one thing, the students, other SeeDs, and the faculty was another. When Squall elected opening himself up, being more honest with others on the emotional front… he meant that for his close friends and prospective girlfriend. He did not mean for that to be Garden's gossip.

He knows it wasn't Rinoa's fault, that he is a hundred percent certain it wasn't her doing. The fact she fed into it was where the source of his pent annoyance started.

Young girls and women around their age were supportive of the young couple's relationship. They created a "ship" name for them, "Squinoa". When that reached his ears, he was disturbed. One, for the fact the name sounded awful and for two, why did they have to idealize their relationship based on limited knowledge the girls did know?

When he brought it up to Rinoa's attention, she admitted that it was excessive but did not seem put off by it. That made the hairs stand on the back of Squall's neck and he wanted to know why she wasn't deterred. She claimed it was cute and harmless. He said it was intrusive and drew more attention to them.

He admonished, "It's bad enough people aren't taking me seriously because I am dating a Sorceress, why make it worse with these… unrealistic projections of us?" Squall shook his head while shaking a piece of paper he confiscated from one of the female cadets.

"Squall just live a little—" Rinoa was trying to make the topic light-hearted.

"I am as," He brought the piece of paper into view, reading the questionable penmanship, "the loner with a brooding temperament who allows himself to be seduced by a charming woman. Who he later finds out to be a Sorceress." As he finished, said Sorceress was hiding her giggles behind her hand. His steel-grey eyes sharpened in irritation as he crumpled the piece of paper in one hand. Squall's flat expression showed he was not amused.

"Rinoa, they're writing fan fiction about us and you think this is funny?" The Commander crossed his arms, hips cocked in an annoyance. The young woman he was dating in question was observing his features and her reaction sobered up. She appeared remorseful with the way her brown eyes shifted downward before returning his intense gaze.

"I'm sorry Squall, I didn't know this would make you upset." Her voice dipped into sincerity. Squall was about to unfurl his arms until the next blow was delivered.

"You should lighten up a little, who cares what those people say?" Her comment was meant to tell Squall to brush it off, but considering he still battled with the insecurity of caring about what others thought of him, it only soured his mood.

Closing his eyes, he chucked the ball of paper into the waste bin nearest him. "If you don't talk to the group that are getting some sick enjoyment of fabricating this… love story we have? I will make an announcement banning this." Squall knew that was petty. Sure, he could talk to all the students involved. However, it was substantially easier to issue a ban on students writing about two real people they barely knew in Hyne knows what these stories are about. One of Balamb Garden's rules was that the SeeDs and cadets had to conduct themselves in a proper fashion, he overheard the criticism he is being faced with behind his back. None of it was good.

His younger partner straightened up and sighed, nodding. The Sorceress Knight let out a breath he hadn't realized he was holding in, allowing his shoulders to slouch briefly. "I want my privacy Rinoa, I figure that would be something you'd want to. Relationships are personal."

Anything I do with you is personal, this breach of privacy should be just as important to you as it is to me. The freshly eighteen-year-old male thought to himself as his eyes adjusting from its usual intensity. Turning in the direction of their shared bedroom, he rummaged underneath his folded clothes and dug out his preferred pack of cigarettes and lighter that was nestled in the transparent pouch. Putting them in the inner pocket of his jacket, he needed to get out of the dorm room and somewhere to clear his thoughts.