Pins & Needles Chapter 11
Tap. Tap. Tap.
Cid Kramer was not one to be so nervous. Usually, he could keep his cool. Especially, when it concerned talking to Squall Leonheart. But this time, it was different. This time, he had to lie.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
After that late night last evening in the infirmary, Cid had been worried. About Seifer. About Fujin and Raijin. About Quisty, Irvine, and Zell. About everything. This was not going to be easy. The Garden's first cover-up. First conspiracy.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
Cid was nervous, very nervous. He didn't want to do this. And yet, he wanted to get it over with. It was a bright morning and Squall, Selphie, and Rinoa were coming up to his office, as requested. You're just sending him on vacation. That's all. He needed one anyway. There's nothing to be nervous about.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
He wished Edea were with him. Things would be easier with her around. She could give them her assuring smile. Her trusting smile. But then she would have to lie as well. No, she could not lie to her children. She wouldn't.
Knock. Knock. Knock.
Cid snapped out of his revelry. "Come in."
The door was opened, and the three people he'd requested to see entered.
Squall saluted him. "You wanted to see us, sir?"
"Yes, yes. Have a seat." He told them. All of them sat before Cid's desk, waiting. Cid cleared his throat and handed a folder to Selphie. "This is a mission for you, Selphie. You are to take the Ragnarok to Trabia Garden. I want you to assess the damage and take inventory of what they'll need to rebuild." He said, smiling as Selphie's already cheery face lit up even more. "I figured you'd like this mission."
Selphie nodded. "I totally love it! Can I take Irvine with me?" She asked.
"Um, no." Cid said quickly. "He's already on a mission."
"Yes, he, Quistis, and Zell left very early this morning."
Selphie shrugged. "Bummer."
Cid rose from his chair. "Thank you, Selphie. Dismissed."
Selphie saluted him, and then turned to Rinoa. "Come see me before I leave, kay?"
"Okay." Rinoa responded.
Selphie left Cid's office for her dorm. One down Cid thought to himself. "Now, for the reason I called you, Squall." He said, sitting back down in his chair. "I'm giving you 2 weeks vacation."
Squall looked stunned. "What?"
Rinoa looked overjoyed. "Really!?"
"Yes," Cid replied, "You haven't had a break since Ultimecia. And since you're going to be keeping your position as Commander, you'll need vacations." He said, laughing slightly out of nervousness. "I suggest you and Ms. Heartilly go to Esthar."
"Why Esthar?" Squall asked immediately.
"Well, you didn't have much time for sight-seeing last time you were there. It really is a wonderful city. I'm sure Ellone would like to see you again, as well as President Loire." And just maybe he can finally tell Squall the truth! Cid thought.
Rinoa agreed happily. "I think that's a great idea, Squall!"
"Yeah " Squall said, sort of absent-mindedly.
Rinoa saw him about to slip into his own world, and shook her head. "Don't worry Headmaster, I'll get him on the next train out of Balamb."
Cid smiled and saluted her. "Good work, Rinoa. Dismissed."
Rinoa giggled and grabbed Squall's arm. "Come on! We have to pack!"
Cid nodded. "I don't wanna see you for two weeks, Leonheart. Have fun, that's an order!"
Squall gave a small smile. "Thank you, sir." He replied, getting up and leaving the office with Rinoa.
Cid breathed a sigh of relief. But to his dismay, he discovered that lying to people he thought of as his children, wasn't that difficult.
Squall walked down the halls to Selphie's dorm, holding Rinoa's hand. "That was weird."
"What was?" She asked him.
"Headmaster Cid was acting strange."
Rinoa peered at him. "What do you mean?"
Squall looked at her as well. "You didn't notice it?"
She shook her head. "Nope."
"He just seemed nervous, or something." He said.
"Squall, you're being paranoid." Rinoa told him, grinning widely.
Squall rolled his eyes. "No I'm not."
"Your boss just gave you two weeks off, and you're complaining!"
"I'm not complaining." Squall objected. "Just concerned."
Rinoa shrugged. "He was probably just tired. He did look like he didn't get a whole lot of sleep last night."
Rinoa groaned and lightly punched his shoulder. "Come on! We're gonna have fun!" She told him.
When they arrived at Selphie's dorm, she was almost done packing. "Hey, guys!" She said, "So what'd the Headmaster wanna see you about?"
Rinoa smiled brightly. "He gave Squall two weeks vacation!"
"Wow! That's sooo cool!" Selphie exclaimed. "Nobody desirves it more!"
Squall smiled a little. "Thanks Selphie."
"So, where are ya going?" She asked.
Selphie blushed and bit her lip. "Say hi to Sir Laguna for me!"
"Come on Selphie, he's like thirty years older than you." Rinoa voiced.
"Twenty seven years older!" Selphie corrected her, then grinned again. "And he's still a cutie."
"Hey Selphie," Squall spoke, interrupting the girls, "Did you notice the Headmaster acting weird?"
Selphie tilted her head to the side. "Acting weird? Yeah, he kinda was. But only when I asked about Irvine."
"And that's another thing! How come I wasn't told about their mission?" Squall wondered.
"I wanna know why Irvy didn't tell me he was leaving today!" Selphie added.
Squall nodded. "Quistis and Zell didn't say anything either."
Rinoa's face lit up and she smiled widely. "Oh my, I forgot!"
"What?" Squall and Selphie asked together.
Rinoa blushed a little. "You'll never guess who I saw kissing in the halls last night!"
Squall just rolled his eyes, uninterested. But Selphie got excited. "Ooohh! Who!?"
"Quisty and Zell!"
Squall suddenly became interested. "What!?"
"You're kidding!" Selphie asked.
Rinoa shook her head. "Nope. I saw them kissing by her dorm."
Selphie's mouth was dropped open. "Quisty and Zell kissing!?"
"Yup. And I mean really kissing!"
"Oh my gosh! That's sooooo cute!" Selphie chirped loudly.
Squall was still shocked. "But he's like a foot shorter than her!"
Selphie and Rinoa scowled at Squall. "That's so mean!" Selphie scolded him.
"Let's go, Rinoa. We've got packing to do." Squall said.
He'd been staring at him for hours. Just staring. Raijin had been waiting for Seifer to start yelling at him. Scolding him. Beating the shit out of him. But Seifer didn't move. He occasionally spoke, mostly incoherently. Dr. Kadowaki said that it was the drugs. They were making Seifer weird. Seifer wasn't himself. But Raijin knew that Seifer hadn't been himself for a long time. It was hard to remember what Seifer's real self was anymore.
Raijin could hear noises outside of the door. Students coming to see the doctor.
"You know," Seifer spoke quietly, dryly, "if I yelled right now, we'd all die. We'd get caught and they'd kill all of us."
Raijin noticed Seifer's body twitching again. It seemed to occur randomly as he sat there. Seifer was also fidgeting, his fingers needing to occupy themselves. The doctor said it was the drugs.
"That's why we gotta stay quiet, ya know."
Seifer didn't seem to like his response. He growled at Raijin, then went back to fidgeting. A few moments had passed, and they both heard the students leave. Raijin felt relieved.
"Raijin." Seifer spoke quietly.
"We we need to get out of here." Seifer said, unsteadily.
Raijin shook his head. "No, Seifer. We gotta stay till you and Fujin get better, ya know."
Seifer's body began to shake more. "The only w-w-way we can get better is to get o-out of h-here."
"No. You can't have anymore of that bad stuff, ya know. It could kill you!" Raijin objected.
"S-s-so could being here!" Seifer shot back.
Raijin bit his lip. "Seifer, you should get more sleep, ya know."
Both men looked over at the door when Dr. Kadowaki opened it. "Everything okay, Raijin?"
Raijin shook his head. "Seifer wants to leave, ya know."
Dr. Kadowaki sat down next to Seifer. "How do you feel right now?"
Seifer smirked at her. "Perfectly fucking fine!"
Tayle's eyes narrowed. "Seifer, I've got news for you. You are going to be fine. There's no reason I can't restrain you to this bed and put a gag in your mouth! That way, we wouldn't have to worry about you getting us caught!" She told him firmly, making Seifer's smirk disappear. "But I'm not restraining you because I would like you to have some comfort during this hard time. I'm trying to be nice. So please, let me help you."
Seifer's demeanor softened. "Cold."
Tayle smiled. "Would you like you're coat?"
He looked at her. "You guys brought it?"
"Yeah, we brought everything, ya know." Raijin added, "I didn't want people stealing our stuff while we're gone, ya know!"
Seifer looked at Raijin. "My gunblade?"
Raijin nodded. "Brought that too."
"But," Dr. Kadowaki said quickly, "you can't have that."
Seifer chuckled slightly. "Didn't think so."
Tayle put her hand on Seifer's arm, he tried to pull away, but she stopped him. "Let me see your arms." He complied and held his arm out. She turned it over and examined the track marks. "I should probably bandage those up. Anything else? Are you feeling sick?"
Seifer shook his head. "No, but my whole body hurts like I just worked out for three hours."
"Muscle cramps are very normal in withdrawal. Lay down and try to relax. You need more sleep. I'll bring you something to help that." She said. "Raijin, where's his coat?"
"Okay, I'll be back in a minute." The doctor told them, leaving the room.
A few moments later, Irvine walked in the room, carrying Seifer coat. "Here you go." He said, handing the coat to Seifer.
Seifer looked at his coat with disgust. "Damn, I need to wash this."
"You need to wash you too." Irvine said, chuckling.
"And a haircut, ya know."
Seifer sneered at them, putting on his coat. "Yeah, yeah "
"Hey Raijin," Irvine turned to him, "You wanna switch till the next shift?"
"Sure." Raijin said, taking his magazine and walking out of the room.
"How's Fujin?" Seifer asked.
"The same. She hasn't woke up yet." Irvine told him sadly. "Doc says if she doesn't wake up by tonight, she probably never will." Seifer didn't respond, he only stared at the floor.
Dr. Kadowaki came back with Seifer's medicine. "Here, take these." She held out two pills and a cup of water. He took them and washed them down. "Those will take about an hour to kick in. Then, you'll get some sleep. Zell should be in here by the time you wake up."
"Chicken-wuss!?" Seifer exclaimed. "He's watching me?"
Tayle put her hands on her hips. "You got a problem with that?"
"I'd rather have Quistis in here. She's much nicer to look at!" Seifer told them, adding a smirk at the end.
I hope he doesn't say that to Zell! Irvine thought. "Hey doc, Seifer here needs a shower and shave badly."
"Well, if he sleeps and doesn't have anymore outbursts until tonight, I'll allow it. But no sharp objects go near him."
"I got an electric razor." Irvine told her.
Seifer smirked again. "We can use that on my hair too." He said, trying to smooth back the long strands. "I look like Puberty-boy."
Irvine couldn't help but laugh, even if it was a shot against his friend.
"Alright, enough of that." Tayle said, exiting the room again.
Irvine sat down in the chair placed across from Seifer. "It's been a while, Seifer."
Seifer looked at him oddly. "What?"
"Do you even remember us? Before the war, before the Garden?" He asked.
"What are you talking about?"
"The orphanage? I was there with you guys."
Seifer shook his head. "I'm not exactly clear-headed right now."
"I understand." Irvine said. "But you remember being there, don't you?"
Irvine smiled. "You use to play 'Knights' with him, before Sis left."
"Yeah. Ellone was the Queen. Quistis and Selphie were the princesses. You and Squall were the knights."
Seifer smiled a little. "We would save them from the evil Warlord and a troll."
"Yeah, me and Zell."
"Tell me more." Seifer requested.
"About the orphanage?"
Seifer looked away, like he was looking off in the distance somewhere. "About the happy part of my past that I don't remember."
Notes: There you go! Another chapter done! Tell me what you think. I'm struggling but I'll finish it. But I need your feedback to continue.
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