Hand of Ice Chapter 2
Tomes and Wills
By General Wyvern
The common room
A room where students could meet up after class to gossip, play marbles, finish up some homework, or watch TV. In other words a social haven where a bunch of idiots get together to exchange bathroom humor and useless information in front of a mind-numbing box.
But on Friday night, the atmosphere was different. On Fridays, Squall ruled the common room from twenty-three hours to three. Four, on an exceptionally good night. It used to be the absolute perfect time to be alone. It was he and only he. But lately, the promise of all night marathons on P.K.R. that season, and the lax on the lights out policy threatened his, once peaceful, Fridays. As the rabbit, he was constantly on the alert for hawks.
When the threat of the Sorceress had come, and he was put in charge of the Garden, all the students, and even some staff members, looked up to him. Even though he secretly resented all of it. Now that the threat was over, and he was stripped of his title, he was no more then a target of jealousy and bad gossip. The talk was atrocious. Students, both candidate and SeeD would call him names behind his back, calling him a has been and a washed up leader. The junior classmen would gawk at him, whispering amongst them selves.
His sanctuary had grown smaller and smaller since Ultimicias defeat. Even when he was in the sun, it burned. Now he was in the cold. With Rinoa back in Timber, and Selphie and Zell gone with her, his closest associates were such a smaller number.
Funny, that the death of the Galbadian president would normally mean that they would give up any country under their feet, but nooooo. Squall was originally part of the Timber group sent to assist the Forest Owls resistant group, in liberating their country from Galbadia. The loss of most of his blood, however, had made him too weak for the job, not that he would ever admit to it. It had been only a couple of days since his recuperation, and he was now, officially, awaiting a donor. His blood type just happened to be rare. It was ironic that whenever you needed blood, it always happened to be rare. He was informed that once he got the donor, he would be brought to Timber. Until then, Zell was put in charge. A very scary thought indeed.
The true story of what happened with the time compression and Ultimicia, even his attempted suicide, was not fully told. Regardless, the staff was taken aback by Squalls rational action in the end. He was given a stern lecture about how killing one self didnt work. Now, he was confined to the dormitories twenty-four-seven, unless he was told otherwise. His primary concern wasnt of how he would get his food, that problem had been worked out anyway, he was allowed to, at least, go to the cafeteria for about an hour for each meal. Giving a total of two hours out of the dorms.
The floorboards squealed with footsteps. Squall turned around to see who it was. Standing by the open corridor to the common room was a male candidate, about thirteen-ish. He was wearing a black robe with the Garden insignia on the left breast.
What are you doing here?" Squall growled in his heavy Alcauldian accent, turning his head only slightly towards the intruder. The candidate started to explain, but was hissed at rudely by the older SeeD. The younger student ran off with no further words.
Feeling more secure, now that the obstruction was gone, Squall turned back to the TV. A gory, mindless, murder movie with no plot, no good acting, and half naked women running into the dark woods to escape some cliché psycho was showing. But he was more intent on his reading of a large, and very old book. Besides, he had already seen the movie eleven times
Good riddens to bad stalkers. He thought bitterly. His trust and admiration for virtually every living thing in the Garden had been diminished to zero. Now he snapped at anybody and everybody with suspicion. Squall had denied it for the longest time, but he was now convinced that he was becoming more paranoid everyday, but he was too afraid to let it rest.
Since he was considered well enough to get out of the infirmary, which was only two days ago, he had been taking four kinds of drugs: One, a stimulant to give him more energy, a second, that was used to prolong the usefulness of the synthetic blood, a third to help his body temperature stabilize, and a fourth to prevent infection around Grievers bite. It was still a mystery of what Grievers poison even did. Even though he had created him, he had given no thought to what the poison would do. Only Ultimicias sick, twisted mind would know exactly how the toxin would work, and she was dead. Selphie was right, he would feel like a pile of crap.
Since his insomnia wouldnt let him sleep, he continued to read on into the gloomy nights. Searching for anything in his hoard of literature that would comfort him.
The next morning, the wake up alarm sounded. The wake up alarm was used to keep all the students lively and alert, both candidates and members used them. Split into their former classes, the students met at a set location every day.
Since most of the SeeDs were out, the parking lot (which virtually had no use) was not as immensely crowded. Thank goodness that the busy season was during the late summer and early fall. All students agreed that it would be complete hell hiking through the snow. Unless they were going to Trabia, where it was cold year round in its northernmost parts.
An instructor by the name of Instructor Repede was taking role call that morning. He was a small guy with dark hair, and most of the boys couldnt help a few snickers when he plodded by in his ample, but petite frame. The Instructor paid no attention to the unwanted chortles, but began to call out last names:
Here. Replied the cadet whose last name was Brochard.
Here. Sounded a very exasperated Cochrane, who probably just arrived.
Huh. The reply.
Here. She said after a few seconds where she probably was still asleep.
Hes away on a mission. Replied one of the students.
Repede murmured a uh huh under his breath before turning to the list again. Durward.
Also away on a mission.
No answer immediately replied, and Instructor Repede knew why. In the front of the few SeeDs and candidates was the seventeen-year-old student, Irvine Kinneas, whom had fallen asleep while still standing up, and was snoring away quiet noisily.
Kinneas! Repede repeated, being a little closer to the boy, looking up, and really annoyed at the sleeping student
He repeated again when he got no answer. Kinneas!
Irvine continued to snore away.
Some of the students backed up when they saw the Instructor turn ochre red.
KINNEAS! Yelled the instructor into his face. Irvine woke up with a start, and, as if trained, stood at attention as if he hadnt dozed off in the first place.
Explain why you fell asleep during role call, ON YOUR FEET? He pronounced in a Balambese accent, with his last few words being quite intense.
Well Started Irvine, looking as sheepish as he felt. Ysee, uh it was, uh no you see, it was uh hmm it was
Forget it. Jerked Repede, I havent time to wait for your excuse. He looked down at the clipboard he held, and continued to name off names.
Like Kinneas, no answer came from Leonhart.
Instructor Repede listened for any audible reply. When he got none, he ordered the crowd to part, hoping that Leonhart had missed his name, like he had often. When the students had obediently parted, though, no one was left in the middle, not even the student in question. The Instructor bared his teeth at the absence of the tardy student. The instructor knew quite well that Squall wasnt allowed outside the dormitories. But the wake up call was an exception that he had to, and always fallow. Also, it was a good way to find out if he was dead or not.
Kinneas! He yelled, pointing at Irvine.
I wasnt sleepin!
I know, and good for you. He scowled, not really liking how the day was starting off. But, for your carelessness, I want you to go find Leonhart. And afterwards, I want that explanation of why you fell asleep during role call.
Well, Okay. Irvine said, scratching his hatless, brown hair, looking down at the tiny man. But, what if hes sick?
Then refer to Dr. Kadowaki.
What if he refuses to come?
What if he
JUST GET HIM! Yelled the instructor. Irvine cringed, and then took off like his life was in danger.
The students looked back at the running kid with sympathy. Fetching Squall, they knew, had to be the worst punishment possible that could be done in less then five minutes.
Dead man runnin. One of the students responded, with the rest murmuring in agreement.
He searched all the possible places where he could find the missing student: the training center, the library, and the dorms, even the cafeterias kitchen. He didnt find him until he looked up in the second floor, and there he was, with his nose stuck in a very large, and ratty looking book.
Where you been man? Irvine called. Ive been, like, looking all over for you.
Squall looked up from his book. The scar on his face seemed to accent the annoyance on his face. Dark haired, and blue eyed, he was known for his eyes of ice, and a glance that could turn anyones blood to powder.
None of your business. Squall hissed sourly. He pertained the usual Alcauldian accent, which sounded quite Danish, or Icelandic. It was a heavy accent, but he had the amazing ability to drop it and use another. On the other hand, Irvine still pertained his New Galbadian accent, sounding something like a New Yorker-ish accent. One of the greatest mysteries of anthropology was how the continent of Balamb produced two, distinct languages, on a small patch of land, with so few people, and so few biological barriers. The most common language was Western Dialect, or Balambese, spoken by the majority, and getting its name from the continent itself. The second was Eastern Dialect, or Alcauldian, much less common, but was the chosen language of use at Balamb Garden. Many students at Garden could speak both languages, and quite fluently. Amazingly, Irvine was among those many, unlike most of the transferred students from Galbadia.
Cmon, Squall! Irvine piped urgently, grabbing hold of Squalls jacket sleeve.
Hands of the material!
Yo, dude, we gawda go. You arent supposed to be here, and I still have to give Repede an excuse for falling asleep during role call.
Well, maybe you wouldnt fall asleep if you had enough brain power too stay awake more than fifteen minutes!
Well, Im only human.
Squall rolled his eyes at the half-baked remark, and returned to his book.
Hey, watcha readn? Irvine asked, noticing his obvious distain for the present.
I dont discuss literature with air heads.
Hey! I went through all the trouble to find you. The least you could do is let me see what your reading.
As Irvine tried to get a closer look at the cover, Squall kept swerving the book out of view.
Say, Irvine, he started, with a hint of gloating in his voice, werent you here to tell me something?
To hell with that! Watcha readin?
Why dyou care?
Cmon man, dont be this way.
What way? Squall marked sarcastically.
Whats this all about? An angry feminine voice exclaimed. Both boys turned to see that Quistis had stumbled upon their argument. The woman spoke with a wild mix of both Alcauldian and Balambese accents, giving her that distinct voice.
Irvine started to speak first. He wont let me see what hes reading!
Squall, is this true? Quistis snapped, looking more at the book them him.
Give it up woman. His bitter thoughts maimed. Im not your student anymore. Go boss someone else around.
Squall, replied Quistis, I asked you a question! She sounded annoyed, but not much more then she usually was.
Speaking without taking his eyes off the book, he told her: You ask question? Good for you. Now go bug someone else.
Sarcasm will get you nowhere. She continued, You, out of everybody in this garden should know that. Evan more then that guy who has book on the subject. Youve been the king of sarcasm from the start, since wee got back, youve been the god of sarcasm.
Oh, I thought you were condemning me for my sarcastic ways.
Quistis gave him a stunned look, then her expression changed to annoyed, again, as she just realized what he was getting at. Dont change the subject! Then she stormed off down the hallway, mute and red.
Hey! Irvine announced, sounded rather happy. I just thought of a good excuse to give Repede! He started to run down the hallway towards the elevator with a huge smile of gratitude. See ya Squall! He called back as the elevator door closed, descending to the first floor.
Werent you supposed to tell me something? Thought Squall. Oh well, if it be important, I hear about it later.
Instructor Repede had not been happy with either Squall, or Irvine. Both of them ended up in the discipline room writing lines on the chalkboard.
While Irvine was busy writing a hundred lines of: I will not fall asleep in front of an instructor. Squall was writing a hundred lines of: The wake up call is not an annoying waste of five minutes. On top of that, he was also writing a hundred lines of: Pain is not the definition of another student coming to alert you. And a hundred lines of: No one expects you to be fashionably late. Right after he was told to write a whole other line, besides his first, he knew he should have shut up. But how could he when they were all out to get him? He was just lucky that he was only writing a hundred of each, and not two hundred of each.
Irvine had apparently become bored, and started talking.
Isnt it cool that we have detention together?
Squall refused to answer him, and continued to write.
The cowboy felt hurt that he didnt respond, but he continued to talk. Yknow, this is the first time I had to write lines.
No talking. Replied Squall inanely.
Hey, were not being supervised Instructor Leonhart!
It matters none! Squall snapped. Their omnipresent stance amongst us can visualise our very thoughts among their glass eyes.
Irvine looked dumbfounded at the dark lad. Translation?
The cameras! You dip! He yelled pointing towards the camera on the far left corner of the ceiling. They want us to write, continued Squall, So write, we will. He turned to his lines, which were already covering a chalkboard and a half, while Irvine was still only seven lines done.
Gosh, man, thought Irvine. It would help me a lot if you spoke a language I understood. As reluctant as he felt, Irvine took up the piece of chalk. The dry, gritty feel of its white exterior felt less then welcoming to his seemingly calloused fingers. A gross, unpleasant feel that surpassed the ugly touch of gravel by levels unmentioned. Yet Squall managed to puke out more then one line a minute from the smearing rock. How he managed to go through that every week was over Kinneass head.
Squall had finished his three hundred lines before Irvine was even half finished. Not that he was remotely done with his punishment. He still had to clean up the Headmasters office, and exterminate the rats that had gotten in there since last weeks bagel delivery.
He exited the elevator on the third floor with a wagon of cleaning supplies: mop, bucket, sponge, soap, duster, bleach, vacuum, hammer, and turpentine to clean up the blood of the rats. His game leg limped as he moved. When Ultimecia had sicked that GF, Griever, on them, it had taken a good-sized chunk out of his right calf with its maw. It was only a few days ago, and it still made walking a chore. It still smote his brain on how that broad had stolen his idea of a GF.
Headmaster Cid was sitting at his oaken desk, which was mostly hidden by the lift to the bridge. He poked his head over as far as he could to look past the huge tube of the old and rusting lift.
Ah, hello Squall. The Headmaster greeted cheerfully, putting his head back in its normal position. He got up off his chair and walked over to his student.
Well, The Headmaster chuckled, I see youre prepared.
Good. Then I want you to scrub floors, vacuum carpet, shine my desk, clean out cupboards, dispense the cobwebs, polish the lift, sweep up the bridge, remove hornets nest, dust the bookshelves, tidy up my pictures, and mop up that god awful ink stain you left behind last week. He said that as he pointed toward a big, dark blue stain on the left side of the lift tube, and he said it all with a smile and a chortle. And dont, I repeat, dont mess up the files again. Squall looked around the room. The weariness from his weakened limbs made the whole office look twice as big. The job of just hauling up the cleaning supplies took an hour, and had knocked most of the java out of him. Regardless, the Headmaster still insisted that he do it for the exercise.
But, sir, started Squall with a quizzical note, what about rats?
That, well, continued Cid, I didnt think Id have to remind you about that. I know how much you love killing things. He chuckled again, and Squall smiled weekly. Yes, he had been eager to get at those rats before he started his lines. The headmaster didnt even notice that he had tried to smile.
Cid Kramer became more serious with his next words. Now then, Im expecting someone at three hours ago. So I want your best cleaning chob, yah. That means I want to see my face in anything that can be reflective. He smiled after he said okay, then left, hoping his office was in good hands with Squall.
The door closed, and he was left alone to the cavernous office, with its reflective floors, rusted piece of junk in the middle, and a pilots station that was empty, since they had parked the floating Garden near the territories of the Dollet Dukedom, just above the shallows.
He got to work, by first, taking care of that ink stain he had left behind when he refused sign reports saying that he did indeed kill Sorceress Adel and Ultimicia (damn politics). He had to clean up the parking lot for that crime. He moped up the shining surface of the floor, and polished the lift until his arms and shoulders ached, which wasnt very long, so he used some of the turpentine. The rug took awhile as it got stuck in the vacuum several times. The cupboards were a nightmare. The crap that Cid Kramer had stored in there over the years was an unbelievable mess of papers, pop cans, ratty books, confiscated items (Squall helped himself to some of them, including those that were taken away from him), some string, and rat droppings that were probably the only new things in there. The cobwebs were everywhere: the cupboards, the bridge, the lift, the door, under the desk, around the chair, around the tapestries, by the giant bay window, under the bridge, and places he didnt even know were there. Getting rid of the hornet's nest that was stuck high up on the roof wasnt as easy as he thought. He couldnt swing a broom without getting stung, and when it did fall, the hornets were all over him, he only managed to squish them all with a big piece of plywood that had been resting in the back of the office. Next, he took the time to tidy up the Headmasters many pictures. He had a small-framed picture of him and his wife, Edea, whom had raised Squall, and several of his associates from childhood. There were a couple of pictures of some Garden events, and a few of Squalls misfortunate pranks. Out of curiosity, he dug through the desk drawers to see what else he could find.
There were some old photos, and many of them had captions written on the back. Squall found a real old one of a young Cid, no more then ten, enjoying a picnic with what he assumed were family members. A surprising shock, since he didnt think of the Headmasters family often; for the simple reasons that the thought made him gag. There was another old photo of a young man in some sort of uniform. The caption on the back read: My father in-law. Squall would have loved to know more, but that was all it said. Looking at those old photos was freaky, but at the same time, exciting. He had always been the one who wanted to know everything; his curiosity had the appetite of a healthy tiger, and twice the aggression. All training told him to hold his curiosity at bay whenever he was on missions. But, since he was in the Garden, that didnt count. He found some more photos of the Headmasters family, a few of Matrons relatives, some miscellaneous pictures of dogs, cats, and one of a badly painted car; for some reason. He came across a baby picture. There were two babies, one of them was wearing a cyan sleeper and crying, the other was crawling away, holding a rattle in its chubby hand. Squall checked the back. It read: Seifer steels little Zells rattle.
Awww. Seifer looks soooo cute in diaper. He thought with a smirk. I cant wait to show him this picture. Hell freak. Squall couldnt remember a lot about Seifer Almasy when he was just little, but he knew him now, and the two hated each others guts. A fickle hate-hate relationship, if you were to ask just why they hated each other, youd get no clear answer.
Another photo he found was that of an older kid. The child could have been no more then three or four, and already he had scruffy brown hair that hid his face. The kid was wearing dark green trousers and yellow T-shirt, looking rather happy as he swung a red, plastic crowbar over his head and sitting beside what looked like a fridge that had seen better days. The caption on the back read: After Squall destroyed the fridge (BOOM!).
He looked at the picture again, back at the caption, then back at the picture. Damn! I was nightmare before I entered Garden! He slipped both pictures into his pocket, and started to rummage through the other drawers. He found reports, records, personal notes that he hid under the desk so he could pick them up when he was finished, junk that he didnt recognize, and something that put his hungry curiosity into a rave. It was a pamphlet.
The title read: Psychology of Adolescents and Young Adults. Inside was information of certain diagnostics, neurosis, eating disorders, depression, and common problems of the teenage mind that parents seemed to run across often. Squall couldnt speak for them, the only parental figure he did have, were the Headmaster, Edea, and possibly Dr. Kadowaki.
On the very back was written the title of some institute, a phone number, and a name: Dr. Cathem.
He wants me to see a shrink! I dont know if I should be flattered or insulted.
He pocketed the pamphlet with the backwards assumption that maybe the Headmaster would forget the whole thing. There was no way he was going to see a shrink, especially when he didnt have a reason to see one.
The greasy little rodent looked at him in a glassy stare, twitching its nose in front of his. The rat was so close that Squall could tell that he would be able to identify what it just ate from the smell of its breath, if he had his sense of smell. When Seifer had given him his trademark scar across his face, it slashed the back of his nose. Never, did he know the science behind it, but after that, he had permanently lost his sense of taste and smell.
The two stared at each other. The rat was calculating if Squall was friend or foe, and Squall was lulling it into a sense of false security so that he could smash it with the hammer. He had found the rat in the heating vent over the hallway to the Headmasters office. Several furry bodies lay in a wastebasket beside the huge desk, and Squall was sure this was the last live one. Shooting the hammer forward, the rat evaded him, scuttling over his arm and away from him.
Clever pest aint you. He thought with admiration. Running past me instead of away from me, knowing damn well that its too frickn hard to turn around in here.
The elevator halted at the third floor. Out of it came Headmaster Cid and a lanky, copper headed and freckled instructor named Instructor Scrivens. Scrivens had been meeting a lot with the Headmaster to discuss the matters of his language department. He taught several languages. Being only one other instructor in the Garden that taught a foreign language, he was the busiest of all the mentors, and was always asking the Headmaster for more help. So far, his pleas were denied. But now, he was happy to hear that Cid was receiving applicants for foreign language instructors.
Im so glad your hiring applicants, Scrivens started, Panell is good, but he only teaches Galbadian. Scrivens spoke in a Trabian Nywell accent, which is similar to a Scottish accent. It wasnt as strong as Selphie Tilmitts, but still noticeable.
Well, is true what you have said before, the Headmaster spoke with his Alcauldian accent, to go around big world, the students cant rely on having someone else to translate. He stopped for a second, going over in his mind if what he just said made sense, then he put his hand on the golden handles on the double doors to his office, pausing, as a couple of loud clanging sounds sounded from above. The two men looked up to see the naked heat duct contract huge nicks all over its silvery underbelly.
Headmaster Cid looked back at Scrivens. I think you like her, yah. Shes straight from Esther. She can speak a few of the continents tongues, and some southern Trabian tongues. He stopped when he heard more clangs above him.
But, you have done remarkable job without help. I give you that. Continued Cid, looking back at instructor Scrivens.
Why thank you, sar. Scrivens replied happily. I just hope the lass can handle Mr. Leonhart. So far, hes managed to scare away three new applicants, and get two of them fired.
Cid laughed when Scrivens told him of his troubles. Oh, yes, those were amusing times alright.
Yes. Scrivens started bluntly, not at all agreeing with Cids statement, well, if I ever see the lad again today, Ill have too
Instructor Scrivens was cut off when the heating duct gave way from above, and out tumbled Squall, falling on his back. His white shirt was soiled in dust and smeared blood, and so was his face.
Sir, he started, still coughing from the flying dust, the rats are dead. To illustrate his point, he held up the smashed body of a rat by its tail.
Ahh! Here he is! The Headmaster spoke with excitement, looking at Scrivens, then back at Squall with his smile still visible. Now you can tell him what you were going to say.
Scrivens looked back at the young man, with his dirty clothes, and bloody kill, still gripped by the tail with his gloved fingers.
Squall, Instructor Scrivens started, just a little shakily, we we are getting a new um instructor. S-so Im hoping th-that you can ah, be (cough) just a bit uh not do anything that might scare normal people?
The boy looked absently at the red headed instructor. Okay, yah. I do that. He agreed with a little sarcasm in his voice.
See you later Leonhart. Scrivens quivered, running towards the elevator in a hurry. He had obviously been nervous enough when he talked to him.
Whats your problem, Scrivens? Squall thought. Just because I kill one rat, you run away like I killed human being!
Instructor Scrivens had been Squalls language instructor, and he had not been easy on the poor man. He couldnt get the kid to work with anybody, couldnt get him in front of the class, couldnt get him away from the meter sticks, couldnt get him to stay away from flammable objects. Squall had broken many good meter sticks over the years, along with so many other inanimate objects. Most of which were broken on people, and he didnt want to start with his obsession with fire. When he was younger, Scrivens would hide in a broom closet and cry before every class with him. Such, was the Leonhart charm.
He heard the Headmaster call from inside his office. Squall, a word with you.
Squall began to get up, when he realized he was missing something. Wheres my hammer? He asked himself out loud. With an ironic answer, the hammer fell out of the broken heating duct, hitting him on the head.
There it is.
Rubbing his head while picking up the instrument, along with muttering curses in Alcauldian, he got up obediently to answer the Headmasters call. He opened the door and limped in. The Headmaster was scrolling through his cupboards.
Squall, he began, looking at the dirty youth with a dead rat in his left hand, and a hammer in his right, do you know what happened with the stuff I put up here? His emphasis of stuff told Squall that he was referring to all that stuff he stole from him.
What makes you think I stole anything, sir? Squall asked, giving the best Im innocent look.
The Headmaster sighed with comical emphasis, holding out one hand towards the boy. Squall gave in by handing the man several spare keys, a couple of occult magazines he kept hidden under his jacket, a matchbox, and a Roman candle. Even when he did hand over these things, the headmaster still held out his hand. Squall should have known better then to use any innocent look on him. Again, he handed over a rubber dagger he kept behind his sleeve, a small canister of hydraulic acid he stuffed down his pants, a lighter he kept tucked in his boot, and the two pictures of him, Seifer, and Zell.
Headmaster Cid looked at the two pictures, and burst out laughing.
Wahzzo funny? Whats so funny sir? Asked Squall.
Is funny because you were only three and blowing up kitchen appliances.
Watch out world! I have record spanning over fourteen years.
The Headmaster laughed some more. Finally, he put the pictures back in Squalls hand. You keep them. The older man told the boy, to remember your childhood, at a humorous glance. He continued to chuckle some more as he walked over to the file cabinet.
Squall put the two pictures into his pocket, not forgetting to throw the body of the dead rat into the wastebasket with the others. Tying the plastic bag up, he limped back to the door, dead rats in hand. Just then, the Headmaster began to address him again.
Can you tell me why I found a D, in the Hs? Questioned the Headmaster, whom had opened one of the file cabinet drawers, and was now looking at Squall with his intimidating smile.
It was like that when I got here. Was his answer? It was one of his frequent lies.
A small meeting had congregated about on the balcony that overlooked the quad of the Balamb Garden. The quad was the next most popular place to hang out next to the cafeteria, and the dorms didnt count.
Sitting around in a circle were eight students: one SeeD, and seven candidates. Who would be considered the head of the circle was a dark haired SeeD named Nida. He was also the pilot of the airborne academy, and was one of the four students who took the last SeeD test, to became a SeeD, the other three being: Squall, Zell, and Selphie. At his right was a male candidate named Sindri, dark blonde and lanky, only reached five six. Beside Sindri was a newer, Galbadian candidate named Rick, short of Derick, and a short specimen himself, only reached five three, and wasnt too bright to boot. Beside Rick was a female candidate known as Kord. Dark haired and pale. Beside her was another female student, this one from Dollet. Her name was Dina. Sitting beside Dina, was another male student from Galbadia who knew more Balambese than Alcauldian. His name was Brokk. Then, there was Yuri, a male candidate, dyslexic by all means. The last one, sitting to the left of the only SeeD was Yagi, not to be confused with Yuri. Even though he looked nothing like him, what with being taller, darker in hair and skin, and had brown eyes instead of blue, he was still called Yuri by accident, and vice versa.
A garbage barrel had been set on fire down on the quad. Several garbage bags were placed by it, as Dina and Kord, being with their backs to the balcony edge, turned around often to see.
It was Nida who took them out of their speculating with a forceful cough. The girls both turned around surprised and embarrassed looks on both their faces.
Now, theres no need to look at a burning barrel. Is there? Spoke Nida with a definite tone of authority, and a light Alcauldian accent. Were here for a reason! Even though his tone was still forceful, he kept it as quiet as possible so he wouldnt be overheard.
No we aint, started Rick, in a heavy New Galbadian accent, were only here cause you called us.
Nida gave the bleached blond a funny look. Yes, that would be the reason were here.
Oh, okay. Rick accepted with a funny smile on his face as Nidas words sunk in.
Out of all the airheads in Garden, I have to be stuck with you. The SeeD thought bitterly. Well, it could be worse, I could be stuck with Zell. Secretly, he shuddered at the thought.
I still think its to early. Spoke Yagi with concern, and a thicker Alcauldian accent then Nidas. His please wouldnt have gotten far, Nida knew quite well that Yagi wasnt the most confident, and had to re-think every move he made.
You say that to everything! Nida found himself scolding the fourteen year old.
Regardless of what he thought, everyone else seamed to have the same feelings as Yagi, looking sheepishly about, as if trying to find an answer.
Realizing that if he didnt intervene, he would loose them all to rebellion, Nida spoke to them smoothly enough to ease their worries. Hey, hey. The timing couldnt be more perfect. Squall has no idea that he has paved the way for us to move. With the staff preoccupied with his mental state, they wont see what hit them.
How can you be so sure? Asked a skeptical Sindri.
Nida looked at the candidate. Because, he started, this has never happened before. Theyre convinced that only Squall will do something irrational. They are totally unprepared for such psychological emergencies.
Is that the Squall youre talking about? Asked Brokk with a Wayside Galbadain accent, pointing down towards the quad. All eight of them got up to look out towards the burning barrel.
A dark haired student appeared from bellow, wearing a leather jacket and black jeans. The collar of the jacket was ordained in a muff of white fur that seamed to pulse up and down as he limped into view. Even though he wasnt allowed to carry his gunblade around, he still wore the same, loose two belts around his waist.
He stopped beside the barrel, with his right side visible to the onlookers on the balcony. It was clear to anyone who saw him that he was doing all he could to keep his weight off of his maimed leg. Even when he tried to pick up one of the garbage bags up, he stumbled several times until he decided to turn around to face the bag head on. Easily picking up the black plastic, he turned around to his original position. Putting a dark gloved hand into the bag, he began to say in a sarcastic manner:
Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to witness the passing of Rat number one. From the plastic bag, he withdrew a bloody hulk of fur with a stringy tail swaying in the afternoon breeze. With no further words, he threw it into the ignited barrel.
Squall withdrew another dead rat from the bag. Rat number two, and threw it into the fire, rat number three rat number four rat number five rat number six rat number seven rat number eight rat number nine and the rest. With those last words, he threw the entire bag into the fire.
The seven candidates gagged, even muttered disgustingly.
Thats nothing, started Nida to the engrossed seven, you should see him with his gunblade!
Is that the student who was initiated with you? Inquired Dina.
It sure is.
Down below, Squall began hooting and hollering. BURN BABY! SEE YOU IN HELL!
Sindri, always the one to criticize, spoke next. I cant see how that whooping crane could become SeeD? Its hard enough to believe Zell made it!
That is just the drugs, yah Nida assured, he can be a real killing machine when hes sober.
All, still intent on the spectacle below, witnessed Squall picking up the second of the garbage bags and taking a handful of papers out. He chucked them into the flames carelessly. Then, he started to throw the papers in one at a time, naming them off as they entered the inferno.
I didnt know we got jury duty? Replied Kord as she heard Squall name off one of the papers as jury duty.
Whaz jury duty? Asked Rick.
Silently, Nida sighed at his comrades ignorance, but decided to answer. A jury is a group of people present at a court so they can judge the defendant innocent or guilty.
I thought the judge did that?
He does for small cases, for big cases, a jury decides.
Wow, the justice system is so complicated.
And thats just the tip of the iceberg.
Rick murmured more sighs of wow as he kept his eyes on the quad with the rest of the group.
A round little man by the title of Instructor Ambrus came waddling in through the front entrance. Which was just under, and to the immediate right of the balcony where Nida and his group were spying from, and only a few feat in front of Squalls Burning Barrel of Death and Junk Mail.
Silencing his drugged chanting, Squall turned his face away from the fire to look at the intruding teacher. The SeeD gave Ambrus a menacing sneer. One, which clearly told all onlookers that he was too doped up to care what was happening.
Hey there Instructor Butter Butt. He casually greeted as the older man walked towards him.
Instructor Ambrus didnt look phased in the least, mainly because Squall had possibly used every fat name in the Alcauldian language on him, long before he started taken medicinal drugs.
Ambrus spoke, calmly. Okay, Squall. Youve been out here long enough, is time to go back to the dorms.
Squall leaned his head on his right shoulder, looking dumbfounded at the idea, but perked up quickly. Okay! But first, you have to catch me! With no more words, he took off towards the back of the quad.
HEY! GET BACK HERE! Ambrus yelled, dashing off as fast as his fat little legs would manage it.
The eight students above tried in earnest to keep their laughter from being heard. Poor Ambrus had a hard time running, not alone running after a youth who was about twenty-five years younger and well over a hundred pounds thinner.
Hes more fun when hes high. Dina chortled, obviously referring to Squall.
And hes not like that when hes sober? Brokk asked quizzically. Since he was so new to the Garden, he didnt quite know a lot about Squall.
Nida chided in on the conversation. Hell no! On any other day, he would have just thrown that barrel at the instructor and walked back to the dorms himself!
Yuri contradicted the statement. Now that would defeat the purpose of throwing the barrel.
Maybe, concluded Nida, sounding quite rushed as he appeared to ponder with some recent thoughts, but listen up. Obediently, the seven candidates looked towards the SeeD.
This being our busy season, he continued, most of the good SeeDs are gone. The only ones who are worth the worry are Squall Leonhart and Quistis Trepe.
The candidates murmured for an explanation as to why this was so, even though Nida was quite content to finish his speech without their approval. Unlike the staff peoples, the student body isnt expected to give a damn about Leonhart. Quistis can become concerned, especially about someone she used to instruct, even though shes flaky. Still, undarestimating her actions could be fatal.
Whoa! Thought Rick. My head hurts.
So Leonhart is still a threat? Chided Kord.
Damn straight. If I know him, and I dont, hell probably be junctioned twenty-four-seven.
The candidates looked a tad bit worried at Nida. Slowly, they turned their heads around to see what was happening below.
Squall had come back, waving Instructor Ambruss shirt around wildly with a bare chested, fat man, trying to get close enough. Every time Ambrus had the chance to get close, Squall would nimbly dodge him.
Dina turned to Kord, who was beside her. If he really is as good as I have heard, hes not showing it.
Then again, started Nida, with a bit of an awkward face, he might be too doped up to give a damn about whats happening around him.
No kidding. Began Yagi, turning from the spectacle towards the SeeD. The other candidates fallowed in suit. But, I still have butterflies in my stomach.
Well, boo-hoo, Yuri Quipped Nida.
You sure are. The SeeD agreed with softened temperament. Dont you seven want a better chance?
All candidates nodded.
And dont you want the chance to make a difference?
The candidates nodded again.
Dont you want to step down from the rank of oppression that you had to suffer for years and years on end, only to be told that you will never be a SeeD.
Some of the candidates nodded, while some even applauded softly.
And dont you think its high time we got a cappuccino machine in the cafeteria?
The candidates all agreed with a round of applause, softened cheers, and agreeing mumbles.
Then its settled! Nida spoke with a vigor. Headmaster Cid must die!
The same round of enthusiasm fallowed, but was cut short when they heard a bunch of gruff pants coming from below.
All eight students looked down at the quad, nearly laughing out loud. Ambrus was still bare-chested. But, this time, Squall had managed to cling himself on the instructors back, with his arms wrapped around the older mans chubby neck. Ambrus was stumbling around, trying to get his attacker off him.
Am I going to fast for you? Squall asked with an exited voice.
Ambrus huffed a muffled answer, than collapsed face first on the floor.
Brokk nearly broke their cover by bursting out laughing, but was stifled by Yagi.
So, are we revved? Nida spoke to his group, more of an empowering remark for himself. He may have been the only SeeD there, but the oldest was Yagi at twenty, and would be leaving Garden very soon, which was the main reason he did join their group.
To Nidas latest remark, the candidates all agreed with enlightened hopes that they would finally be accepted.
Before we move, though, we need to think over our moves.
Think over what moves? Rick butted in, lets get this show on the road!
I agree with radical moves. Agreed Yuri, not sounding very sure.
Sindri moved in on conversation. Screw that, we need to take baby steps, or well be caught!
Baby steps my ass. Scoffed Yagi, Im outta hear in less then a month, and I aint leaving like that!
Then, if you have a plan, proposed Nida, Id like to hear it.
Yagi immediately became defensive. Plan, I was hoping you would come up with one!
Oh, so Im the brains of this outfit, is that it?
Yagi, Yuri, Brokk, Sindri, Kord, and especially Rick, agreed.
Nida, Dina started, sounding a bit startled and worried.
Hes looking at me.
Looking towards Dina, they were all shocked to see that Squall was clinging tightly to the balcony rail, looking at Dina without blinking.
Thats some stuff theyre givn him. Concluded Rick sarcastically.
Nida started to mumbled under his breath. Terrific, how much does that druggie know?
A broom and bucket were placed at the back of the balcony for maintenance purposes. Nida went over and grabbed the broom. Walking up to Squall, he started to poke him with the broom.
Beat it, get down, get down and similar phrases were repeated as Squall kept countering Nidas attacks by biting the broom handle.
Notes for Clarity: Some of you are probably wondering about Nidas motives. Just to let you know, this idea did not come out of the blue. If you recall, right after Squall receives his rank in the game, you descend to the second floor catwalk. When Nida is spoken to, he will stutter and ask what you want, talk to him again, and he will say Im goinna rule this Garden some day.
General Wyvern's Fanfiction