Pins & Needles Chapter 6
Zell leafed through the book he'd got from the library with a skeptical mind. Why am I reading this? She'd never go out with me! He closed the book in frustration, gazing at the title again.
"'How to approach women.' Yeah right!" He said aloud to no one. This book doesn't help when you're the shyest guy and in love with the most unapproachable woman! He wondered why he continued to fantasize about her. It was hopeless. She was so high above him, a perfect being. At first he thought it was just her looks that had captivated him. But there were a lot of pretty girls. Rinoa and Selphie were pretty. But Quistis was different. She was beautiful. Not many girls in the Garden possessed such beauty. She wasn't a just a girl, she was a woman. A very intelligent woman. He'd lost count of how many times he'd grabbed a dictionary after she'd used some big word he didn't know. He'd tried so hard to get into her class when he was still a student. But, of course, it was full. Everyone in the Garden loved Instructor Trepe.
Zell broke out of his revelry when he heard knocking at the door. He quickly shoved his book in his desk and went to the door. His heart stopped when he opened it.
"Quistis!" He said a little too excited. Calming himself a little, he continued. "I didn't expect to see you tonight."
"I know, I'm sorry if I'm disturbing you." She told him.
"You're not disturbing me. I was just reading." Zell said, hoping she would not ask what he'd been reading.
Quistis looked down both ends of the dorm hall, then back at him. "May I come in?"
Zell immediately stepped out of her way. "Of course!" She nodded, quickly entering his room. Zell closed the door behind her and took a long glance at her. She seemed tired, stressed. Worry instantly invaded his mind. "Is something wrong? Are you okay, Quisty?"
She gave him a small smile and sat down in a chair. "I'm fine Zell. Thank you. But I need to speak with you."
Zell took the seat next to her. With a closer look, he could see she'd been crying. Crying!? "Have you been crying?"
Quistis looked at him, an expression ridden with guilt. "There's something I have to ask of you."
"It's a big favor, I hate myself for even coming to you "
Zell shook his head. "No, don't say that. I'll do anything for you." He paused, blushing slightly. "You're my friend, Quisty. No favor is too big!" He corrected himself.
She didn't say anything, seeming to be searching for the right words. "You're not going to like it."
Zell looked at her in disbelief and bewilderment. "How do you know?"
A laugh that sounded almost sadistic escaped her mouth. "Trust me, you won't like it."
He sighed and took a brave step by taking her hand in his. "Just tell me what's happening." He asked softly.
Quistis bit her lip. "First, I have to ask you to keep everything I'm going to tell you a secret."
"Yes, nobody must find out what I tell you. Not even our other friends." She paused, "Especially them."
"Why?" He asked.
Quistis eyes almost started flooding again, but he could see her fighting them back. "I can't tell you until you promise not to tell them. I know this is confusing, but it's necessary. Myself and some others could get in very serious trouble if you said anything."
Why is she in trouble? And who else is in on this, whatever it is? "Okay, Quisty. I promise I won't say anything to anyone. I swear." He told her.
She nodded, visibly relieved. "Some people are sick. Very sick. They need our help. Dr. Kadowaki and myself need help to watch over them until they get better " she stopped, "Oh Hyne, I'm talking to you like you're a child! I'm sorry Zell."
He didn't care, he was too worried about her to notice her way of speaking to him. "It's not you is it?"
"No." She assured him. "It's not any of our friends either."
Of course, stupid, he scolded himself. If it was, why would it need to be kept a secret from everyone? The preverbal light bulb appeared over his head. Wait a minute! If someone's sick, why would it need to be a secret? And why won't I like this? "Who's sick, Quistis?"
Quistis saw the suspicion creep on Zell's face. He was catching on, fast. Here goes. "Fujin and Seifer."
What happened next was a complete surprise to Quistis. She'd expected surprise, shock, and intense anger. She saw the surprise and the shock. But no anger. She wondered if it was just delayed.
Seifer She wants to help Seifer? Why? She hates him! Probably just as much as I do! He's our enemy, he betrayed us! Now she wants to help him? And hide it from everyone! "Quistis I'm confused. Why are you helping him?"
"I know you're confused. So was I. I couldn't believe I was going along with this. But then I saw him and Fujin It was horrible. They don't even look the same anymore."
"What's wrong with them?" He asked.
"They've been doing drugs. Heroin. Raijin came to Dr. Kadowaki for help. Raijin has been supporting them and their drug habit for six months." Quistis said to him. She begun telling the whole story for the second time that night.
"You mean they're already here in the Garden?" Zell asked after hearing her tale.
"Yes, in the infirmary. Dr. Kadowaki went to talk to Cid and Edea. Raijin is already there keeping an eye on Seifer. And Irvine's down there waiting for us." She said.
"Irvine knows?" She went to him first? Does she trust him more, he asked himself. No, she probably thought that Irvine wouldn't be as pissed as she thought I'd be.
"Yes, he suggested that I ask you instead of Selphie. He said you would be able to hide the secret better than she." Quistis admitted to him.
Zell nodded. "Yeah, I can see that. You can always tell when something is bothering Selphie by her attitude." He added. "So basically, he told you to come to me because there was nobody else."
Quistis shook her head. "No, that's not why." She told him. Well, it's not a lie. But I can't tell him why. "I could have probably convinced Xu."
Quistis looked at the ground. She hated having to lie to him. But it would be too embarrassing for him if he found out she knew about his affections for her. "Irvine told me that you two have been becoming good friends."
Then why didn't he come and tell me this? Why did he send her, his mind questioned. Then, it hit him all of a sudden. What else has he told her? He wouldn't tell her that I love her, would he? He looked over at her searching her face.
Quistis looked up from the floor to his face. He was staring at her, with a worried expression. Oh no! He's figuring it out! I didn't want this! Dammit it all! What do I do? Hyne, I hate myself for this! I don't want to use him! He'll hate me!
Zell swallowed hard. She didn't have to say anything. Irvine had told her. He could tell by her face. Her mind was panicking. "He told you, didn't he? He told you about me."
Her resolve could hold no longer. Quistis Trepe broken into tears right before his eyes. "I'm sorry! I wish he hadn't told me. I can't lie to you, you're my friend."
He could hear his heart breaking in his chest. "So, I guess you don't "
"No, that's not it!" She protested before he could finish. "I don't know how I feel yet. It's just that I only found out ten minutes ago."
A wave of relief and hope passed over him. "Then what is it?"
Quistis looked away. "I don't want to use your feelings to get my way. Irvine knew that you would help if I asked you to. I didn't want to, but I knew you'd help if I did. But either way you look at it, I'm using you."
Zell sighed heavily. She's only worried about my feelings. She probably thinks that I'll hate her because of this. Even in this strange situation they were in, he smiled. "Quistis " He said softly.
She started at him confused. "What?"
"You must have a heart of gold."
Quistis wiped the tears from her eyes. "No, I'm horrible."
"Bullshit!" He exclaimed. "Look at what you're doing. You're going against everything that SeeD is. Keeping some of your friends in the dark, and dragging the others down with you. Worried, frustrated, and crying over this! And for who? Seifer Almasy! A guy you don't even like! The traitor! You're doing all this to help him and Fujin. And on top of that, you didn't want to ask for my help because you feel that you'd be using me. All this shit just got thrown on your shoulders and you're worried about my feelings!?"
Quistis lowered her head. "Don't say these things! I'm not perfect."
Zell gently lifted her head and looked in her eyes. "I know that now. I thought you were. But there is no such thing as a perfect person. But the side of you, the imperfect side, that you've shown me tonight hasn't made me hate you." Infact, I think I've just fallen even more in love with you, he said to himself.
Quistis smiled warmly at him. "Thanks Zell. After after this is over "
Zell nodded. "Don't worry about it now. Let's just worry about the mission we have to do. For now, use me. Use me all you want."
Notes: Yet another chapter complete. Well kiddies, this is probably as romantic as it's going to get. The chapter after the next one, the crap is going to start hitting the fan. Naptime is over for a certain somebody! Review people.
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