Fire Petals Chapter 10
Il Mio Cielo Finale
The damp, hot, climate-controlled air in the jungle-like training center was all Zell Dincht needed to get in the mood for some ass-whoopin'. As he walked through the first area he let punches fly through the heavy air, periodically emitting a soft hiss, looking for any type of trouble he could find, begging a grat or a t-rexaur to come out and let him do his thing.
Just then, an oversized, uglier-than-usual grat dared to skitter into his path. He stared at it, smirked, and took off his jacket, tying it around his waist. "You want some?" he asked it, oblivious to the fact that it's intelligence was about nil and it wouldn't understand a word he said. Despite this, it must have gotten the jyst of his idea: it hisssed and chattered at him, waving its four long branch-tentacles in the air menacingly. It was ready to attack.
"You don't know what you're getting-" He dodged one of it's long arms by jumping to the side, "-yourself into-" and took the opportunity to throw a few punches into it's soft, leafy body, "-my flowered friend." The creature hissed at him in pain and anger.
"Oh, are we getting a little riled up now? I see. Givin' up?" He laughed at the thing. Grats really *were* stupid. It didn't back off. In fact, it tried to hit him again, and this time barely missed his left arm. "Ok." Zell cracked his nuckles and took his trademark defensive-offensive stance, "It's on now."
He jumped at the grat and began to ream on it pitilessly. After receiving several ruthless punches, it began to skitter backwards. "That's what I thought." Zell kicked it swiftly as a kind goodbye, when suddenly he began to see shimmery, white spots infront if his eyes. "You little bastard!" he exclaimed as it skittered off into the foliage, then hissed to himself, "The hell did these things start usin' blind spells!?"
He stumbled backwards in his quickly clouding vision until his back hit the trunk of a palm tree at the side of the path. "Hyne damn it." He groaned as he slid down to the dusty ground and blinked around blindly at his surroundings, the spell now having taken full effect.
"Esuna," he whispered, his hands covering his eyes, hoping he still had a few of the spell left. Nothing happened. He must have used them up in the battles at Galbadia garden. "Esuna!" he cried desperately. Still nothing. "Fuck."
He sighed and tried to think of what to do. He didn't know how long it would be before someone passed by to help him, and if he got up to *search* for help, he could get his defenseless ass whooped by even a little grat, or, in the worst case scenario, a t-rexaur.
Noticing he was sweating like a snow-lion in the tropics, he pulled off his tank top, used it to wipe the beads of sweat from his forehead, and shoved it in the big left pocket of his cargos. A second later he heard footsteps. Heavy, thudding, long-strided footsteps, not very far away. Then a low but screeching roar. The thudding steps of a t-rexaur were getting closer.
"Not good," Zell said shakily, the volume of his whisperes gradually intensifying, "This is definitely not good!" He stood, moving sideways a few steps to lean further backwards agianst the rusting, vine-covered chain-link fence. He blinked continuously, subconciously trying to clear the darkness from his eyes and remained perfectly still, his breaths shaky and shallow with fear.
*A defenseless meal. The best kind. "The chicken-wuss can't even defend himself."* The memory of Seifer's mean nickname flooded into his mind, his panicy brain adding more words, *"Can't even try to defend yourself. What a pity. Looks like we're having chicken for dinner tonght! Chic-ken-to-night! Chic-ken-to-night!!"*
"No! We ain't havin' no fuckin' chicken tonight!" He exclaimed, instantly regretting the outburst. It must have heard him. The footsteps were closer, and he could feel the ground shaking under his feet with every one. He gripped the chain-links on either side of him with white-nuckled fingers, back pressed hard against the fence, every muscle in his body tense with adrenalin, ready to run --
A hot breeze stinking of animal flesh and plain death blew onto his face, making him cringe. He knew that smell: t-rexaur breath. *It's - right - there - infront - of - my - face.* A scream lingered in the back of his throat, begging to be let out. But he refused to give in to the panic, refused to run. The monster would run right after him and promply bite his head off like an hors deurve.
It roared. Deafeningly. Zell didn't think as his right fist flew up, and punched it straight in the nose. There was another roar, and it reared backwards. Taking the opportunity, Zell ran with arms outstretched, thankful he hadn't completely lost his sense of direction, and scurried down the steel bridge and through a pair of heavy steel doors, into the safety of the side hallway. He fell to his knees, shaky legs unable to hold him up, plams on cool linoleum, and, unable to control himself, screamed his terrified heart out.
Irvine and Selphie couldn't find a damn thing at the spot where they'd found Squall. They searched through the grass for some sort of miniature, poisonous bite bug, for anything on which they could place the blame.
Making their way back to the infirmaty with heavy hearts, they heard a scream coming from the direction of the training centre. They looked at each other questioningly and without a word, made their way there.
"Zell??" Selphie hurried over to him as soon as she saw him, forgetting her grudge against him. He was shaking, on his hands and knees, now silent.
As she kneeled beside him, he said with a cracking voice, "Uh . . . hi."
"What happened to you? And what happened to your shirt!?"
Zell stood up and began to bounce on his toes, acting as normal as possible. *I'm not a chicken, I'm not a chicken . . .* "I almost got my head bit off by a t-rexaur, but don't sweat it. I'm okay."
Irvine noticed something strange about Zell's eyes. They . . . didn't move. He held up his fist. "Zell, how many fingers am I holding up?"
Zell stopped. He still couldn't see and was hoping he could hide it from them until he could find some Esuna spells or eye drops. *They can't know . . . can't know I'm a wuss.* He did his best to look over in Irvine's direction. "Uh . . . three?"
"You can't see, can you?" Selphie asked, looking at him oddly, "Why didn't you tell us?"
Zell just shrugged, "I figured it'd wear off sooner or later."
Selphie shook her head at him and placed a hand over his eyes. The soothing warmth of the esuna spell cascaded over his face like a warm blanket. His vision returned and he smiled at Selphie. "Thanks. Oh, I don't know if Irvine told you, but I'm real sorry about earlier this mornin'. Don't know what brought that on."
Selphie smile back, "Don't worry about it. I know."
"Be careful in there, ok man?" Irvine interrupted, "Don't get cocky just cuz you're a SeeD now." Selphie nodded in agreement.
"Yeah, yeah, whatever." Zell reached an arm around to scratch the back of his neck, "I'll remember that." His shakiness had subsided and the colour had returned to his face. *That's an experience I'll never forget.*
"Alright, well, we might as well head back to the infirmary," Irvine suggested, "See how the others are doin'."
They began to walk. "Oh! Rinoa woke up, by the way." Zell informed them, pulling his shirt back over his head.
"What!?" Selphie's face became one giant smile, "That's great!" She hopped a few excited steps before returning into step with the others. Irvine couldn't help but smile as well at the good news.
"Seifer?" Rinoa asked, "He's *here*?"
"No, no . . ." Squall closed his eyes and tried to think. *"If you tell anyone I'll kill you." He said you'd never wake up Rinoa, he scared me so much . . .* "Never mind. He's not here. A dream . . ."
"You dreamed he was here?"
"I don't know." Squall lied. He knew what had happened, but he couldn't explain it. It was almost like when Ellone communicated with him.
"Ellone! She's in the ocean! In a little boat. We have to find her!"
"What!?" Rinoa was becoming more confused by the second.
"I think he's dillusional." Kadowaki speculated.
"I'm not dillusional." Squall retorted.
"How do you know she's out there?" Rinoa asked.
"I just know. I don't want to take the chance . . . " He sat up and put his feet on the floor.
"Now just you wait a minute." Kadowaki put a firm hand on his shoulder, "You stay put. You've been through a lot, mister, and I don't want you hurting yourself."
Squall pushed her hand away, but before he could stand up it was replaced by Rinoa's. "Doctor Kadowaki's right. You should rest."
"No time. She could die . . . sis . . ." He stood and headed for the door. Rinoa trailed right after him.
As he left the room, Rinoa promised, "Doctor Kadowaki, I'll watch him."
"Alright; let me know if anything happens. Now go." Rinoa scurried out the door.
"Squall, I'm worried about you." She said as she caught up to him, "What's going on?"
"I can't tell you." *Oh, I wish I could . . . but I don't know what would happen.*
"Why not? Don't you trust me?" Rinoa was genuinely worried now.
"I - I trust you, it's not that." He replied as they headed into the main elevator.
"If you trust me, you'll tell me." Rinoa crossed her arms as Squall pushed the button for the third floor and leaned back against the wall. "I won't tell anyone else. . . "
"If you trust me you'll stop asking me to tell you. Let me use my own judgement." he retorted, "You'll undertand that this just isn't something you can know about right now."
Okay, he has a point . . . "Squall, you're scaring everyone." *Me, most of all.*
"That may be, but you'll just have to deal with it."
Rinoa was silent. Squall turned to her and brushed her hair behind her shoulder, "I'm sorry."
*He's talking about his feelings . . . slowly . . . I just have to support him.* "It's okay," She said reluctantly, "If you ever need to talk to someone, I'm here."
The elevator door opened and they stepped out. Rinoa followed Squall silently into the office and up the second elevator. "Nida, we're changing course."
Quistis turned around from the window, "Squall! You're okay?"
He nodded as a reply. Quistis couldn't hide the amazed expression on her face. This was wonderful!
The dark-haired young man at the controls turned around and nodded. "Where to, sir?"
Squall put a hand to his forehead, frustrated at himself, "I don't know. Just stay in the central sea and try to find a small boat. Like a row boat or something. Maybe a fishing boat."
"Pardon me, sir, but . . . that's like . . . a needle in a haystack."
"I know, just . . . just do what you can."
"Yes sir." Nida saluted and turned back to the controls. This was a near impossible task.
"Squall, you're being rediculous," Quistis interrputed, stepping up to him. "What on earth could you possibly be looking for?"
"Sis?" Quistis quieted her angered voice and asked, "But why would she be in the ocean?"
"I can't tell you. I just know."
"So you can't tell Quistis either?" Rinoa asked. Quistis was very surprised to hear that he wouldn't even tell Rinoa.
"No! I've told you a million times I-don't-want-to-talk-about-it!" Squall's hands balled into fists and his eyes narrowed. The only time Quistis has seen him this angry was around Seifer, and it made her feel quite alarmed. *Could ~he~ . . . have something to do with this?*
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