Hand of Ice Chapter 4

Around and About

By General Wyvern

As the floating behemoth of Balamb Garden hovered above the ocean between Dollet and Balamb, the afternoon sun had become masked in a light, but gray, vial of clouds, indicating a light shower.

Sindri had just completed one of his afternoon classes and had about a half hour until his next.

I don’t know why I bother? I’m not going to become a SeeD. His pessimistic side spoke.

No one had ever given him any credit for what he did. When he tried hard, he got a meter stick on the shoulder, if he paid attention in class, he got yelled at. And when he ever tried to show any promise, they would always proclaim he wasn’t good enough. That had been the reason he had joined up with Nida. The whole notion of changing the Garden paradigm had sounded farfetched at first, but if he could promise that he would be needed, Sindri was there. He just wasn’t sure he agreed with the whole ‘kill Headmaster Cid’ idea, but it was second nature to always rethink things, at least for him.

Speaking of whom, he was on his way to meet Yuri, who had stated earlier that he needed to talk to someone ‘in the circle’. Of coarse, Sindri was skeptical, but when wasn’t he? So he agreed.

Of all the places in the Garden that were remote, Yuri had to choose the most disgusting, vile, and barbaric place to meet: the boy’s washroom.

Since the basic sanitary conditions of the washrooms were left to the students, the walls were used as a free-for-all of tasteless bathroom humor and bad drawings, excluding the painting that was featured on the wall between the actual washroom, and the room with the showers. Besides that, the rules that applied to every student in Garden, apparently had no effect in that place. It was absolutely shocking how many curses the average male student actually gushed out when in there! Thank goodness that the junior classmen didn’t go near the place.

Passing the first few dorms, Sindri came to the middle of the dormitory where the older student’s washrooms were positioned. Pushing the heavy gray door open, he was greeted by the smell of urine and pine. No matter how many times the urinals were cleaned, they still reeked under the ‘pretty’ smells.

The room was covered with inked graffiti of bad jokes and dumb catchphrases. To his right were five urinals, and to his left, five stalls. Straight forwards, there was the door that led to the showers, and the sinks. The doorway also held that magnificent painting that dazzled absolutely everybody, not only because it was such a welcome change from the no-talent art and literature, but because it was mysterious. Appearing about five years ago in the space of one night, no one really knew how it got there, and no one was willing to wash it off.

The painting held a focus of two purple snakes entwining what looked like a gold and blue tiger with ram’s horns and vulture wings. The tiger had no stripes, but it did have spots positioned so it looked like it had stripes. It also had three, spaded, red tipped tails, and it’s wings were a brilliant mix of white, cyan, and pink, intermingled to give it a sparkling appearance. As for the background, it looked like a darkened side of rock, but arguments ranged from dragon skin, to the inside of a monster.

He walked in further, his sneakers squeaked over the brown and red tile of the floor. The walls were of large concrete bricks, painted white. The ceiling was also white, and glowed with a single neon light fixture that started at the top of the door, and went to the other end of the shower room. Yuri was waiting for him on the other side of the mural door, leaning against the sinks and looking blankly at the shower stalls.

When Sindri stepped in, he seamed immediately pleased, getting off the sink ledge and moving towards him.

“Hey.” Yuri addressed.

“Hey.” Was the response from Sindri.

Both of them paused for a while in the doorway, not really having much to say, until Sindri broke the ice.

“Do you think it’s okay to talk here, someone could come in any minute!”

“Relax,” the other assured. “I’m not here to talk about anything incriminating, I just need to vent some useless gossip.”

Sindri felt perplexed. “And you get me for that.”

“Of coarse, you’re the one I trust the most out of the group.”

“Even Nida?”

“Especially Nida! You don’t discuss useless gossip with the ring leader!”

“What about Rick?”

“Oh please! He couldn’t be interested in anything for more then five seconds.”

“What about Brokk?”

“I can’t stay interested in anything that guy says for more then three seconds!”

“What about Kord?”

“You kiddn’! I can’t talk to a girl!”

“What about Dina?”

“What did I just say?”

“Then what about Yagi?”

“I’ll let you know I have a personnel grudge against that name.”

“Then what about Yuri?”

“I am Yuri!”

Well, that shut him up.

“So,” began Sindri on a new topic, setting himself on the shelf that held the sinks, “what do you want to talk about?”

“Useless gossip, man.” Came the answer. “Hey, did you here that Quistis was making out with Squall?”

Sindri was giddy with excitement. “Really, where did you here that?”

“Some ex-Galbadian student in chaps and a felt cowboy hat. Brokk or Rick probably know him.”

“You mean that a Galb student actually talked too you! But they never wander out of their circle!”

“Yeah, well, this one did. And check this, he could speak Alcauldian!”

Yuri received a blank expression from the dark blond. “Boy, you can really kick start a conversation, can’t you?” Retorted Sindri.

“You heard nothing yet.” Yuri remarked. “Apparently, Quistis and Squall are suspected to have had some ‘personnel’ interactions while they were away on that Sorceress Skirmishy-thing.”

“What about that Sorceress they came back with?”

“Hey! This is just what I heard! The guy creamed two of the biggest, badest bitches in history! I’m not spreading any more dirt around his name. Hell! I’m just glad he’s on our side!”

No argument there. Headmaster Cid had been wise to put him in charge of the last crusade against the Sorceress. The clincher was that he had returned with a Sorceress. It would have been a fairy tale if they had accepted her, but, truth be told, life was no fairy tale, and that woman made waves. Lucky for her, she didn’t stick around too long, or her head would have been on a platter. There had been a small group who had been curious about this new mage, Sindri knew, and he had been one of them. It was only among those few people that any real truths were exchanged. For one, he had gotten her name, but had unfortunately forgotten it. Another was that he had witnessed her holding Squall up as he hobbled around the ballroom, mimicking a pathetic attempt to look healthy. It looked as if that Sorceress had an attachment to their ex-commander.

Since this woman wasn’t at all known, not alone liked, students were quick to throw Quistis and him together for more of a romantic twist. The teacher/student requiem of forbidden fruit was a delicious morsel for gossip all throughout the Garden, and was easily swallowed, even though Quistis was an ex-instructor. The Sorceress sympathizers, on the other hand, had paired him with the Sorceress for the shear love of irony. It was also rumored that the new Sorceress was responsible for his current ailment. Since many of the students, excluding the Galbadains, and the newest junior classmen, saw Squall as morbid, and somewhat depraved, they didn’t dismiss the fact of attempted suicide. So it was one of the smaller rumors surrounding the woman.

Sindri perked up, his long, bony face gave way to a smile. “Have you heard the stories about Ifrit’s Bane?”

“Now who’s making conversation?” Snickered Yuri.

“No, I’m serious. Some volcanologists who’ve been studying those cones have found rising activity that may, or may not, set the volcano of within the year.”

“You have a lot to learn about gossip,” Yuri started with an annoyed tone. “Number one: no exchange of facts, just unproved rumors.” He walked away a few steps, than leaned back against on of the yellow shower stalls.

“What’s number two?”

“What number two?”

“Number two of gossip!”

“I didn’t say there was a number two, now did I?”

“Then why did you say ‘number one’?”

“Because everything sounds better when they’re numbered.”

He was stuck, Sindri couldn’t carry that conversation on anymore, or he may have gotten criticized again. Both him and Yuri were a bit low on the self-confidence scale. They both loved to pick out other people’s faults and chew on them. It was the way with most of them, even Nida had a few of those bad qualities, even though he was more able to hide them then anyone else.

A saying that had been circulating around Garden since it’s establishment was that you could tell a lot about a person by their chosen weapon. It wasn’t a wide known fact, but Nida’s chosen weapon was the pike. Neither of them could make heads or tails of why he rarely brought it out. Maybe it was because he was rarely called away. The flimsy look of the pike gave way to the impression of aggression in weakness, but the blood gushing head of the weapon suggested cunning in force. Deciphering that knowledge, and the unspoken philosophy of weapons, that said that he could change from weakling to savage in the flick a tail. Yuri used a nunchaku, a common weapon of use in Garden. It’s apparent strength and added bonus of less learning time meant that the person wielding them has more gusto then meets the eye. So far, the philosophy was true, since most of the students using that weapon tended to be small and delicate looking. Yuri was small, fair skinned with a round face, he could certainly fool people into thinking he was a all-time wussamatic.

Sindri had the chosen weapon of the bow, and cross bow. He didn’t think much about what it said about him; neither did he really know what it said about any personality. He was a walking skeleton! What would any weapon say about him?

“Back to business,” Yuri started, still leaning on the shower door, “Nida’s suspicious of Leonhart.”

“You said we wouldn’t talk about anything incriminating!” A shocked Sindri gasped.

“Who said I am, I’m just saying that Nida doesn’t like Squall.”

Sindri kept motioning with his hands to keep it down.

“What are you so worried about, Sindri?” He asked.

“I’m worried that someone might hear you.”

“In this place!” Scoffed Yuri. “This isn’t the girl’s washroom. No one comes here twice in the same hour after lunch.”

To prove him wrong, someone rushed into the lavatory, and slammed the door to one of the toilet stalls. The sound of puking and gagging fallowed shortly after.

Both Yuri and Sindri looked, for a second, towards the source of this sound. Then, Yuri turned back to look at his conversationalist receiver.

“So are you ready for the Weekend?”

“What weakened?” Sindri started.

The intruder coaxed another suffering gag.

Yuri continued regardless. “You know. The Weekend.”

“Oh, that Weekend.”

The Weekend was the name coined to only a single day in the summer when everybody that wasn’t away on a mission had the day off. It was also known as a more spontaneous, less expensive form of the Garden Festival, only recognized by the staff as an official holiday after the Summer Riot that happened five years ago. To give everyone something to do, the staff allowed and extra holiday to lighten up boredom. For every year that they were there, they had always had the Weakend on the Alcauld plains, or the forest, regardless of the fact that it was swarming with dinosaurs, flesh eating caterpillars, and overgrown bugs. This year, however, there was word that they were going to spend it somewhere in Roshfall, Timber.

“Yeees, that Weakend.” Yuri repeated rather slyly.

The intruder gagged again. This time, Sindri felt the need to investigate.

Leaving the area with the showers, he came forward towards the sound, and knocked forcefully on the stall.

“Are you okay?” He asked a bit worried that he would have to resort to getting the doctor.

“BUZZ OFF!” Came the harsh reply.

I guess he’s okay. Thought Sindri, not daring to press the matter further. Yuri came up from behind him, not looking nearly as concerned.

He looked over towards the thin boy. “Let’s continue this conversation in the parking lot.”

Neither of them could withdraw that notion, so they left.

Outside the washroom, they were met up with an exasperated student. Yuri couldn’t miss that hat, or the rest of the attire. It was the same Galbadian student who badmouthed both Quistis’s, and Squall’s good name. Irvine, the Fanatical Matchmaker.

“Hey, I know you!” Began Yuri with wild astonishment on his face.

“And I know you to.” Pointed Irvine, huffing a puffing from running, looking down at the shorter blond. “You’re the one who, like, couldn’t open your own pudding can.” To the two candidates, he spoke in their native tongue for their benefit, but still kept his New Galbadian accent.

Sindri gave a slight chuckle. The thought of someone at the age of sixteen not being able to open their own pudding can was more then just hilarious.

“So,” began Sindri, “you’re the one spreading rumors about Quistis and Squall? I give you credit that your still alive.”

“You kidding me! I’m hoping I’ll still be alive by this evening!”

An exasperated and angry voice sounded from some way back in the dorms. “KINNEAS!”

Irvine jumped at the sudden mention of his name. “Oh, crud! It’s Quistis!” He turned to the two candidates. “Hide me! Hide me! Hide me! Hide me…”

“Well,” started Yuri, “you could hide in the boy’s washroom here.”

“Quistis has been a Seed for three years.” Complained Irvine, “a gender related place such as the boy’s washroom ain’t gonna keep her out!”

“Well, it’s either that, or the heating duct.”

A shadow became apparent from only a few feet away. Irvine looked at this moving specter and gasped in fright.

“I’ll take my chances.” He remarked, and ran into the washroom.

If the door weren’t so heavy, then he just may have slammed it shut behind him. He took in a few breaths to get his barring straight. From outside, he could here the footsteps of Quistis’s boots, but he did not stay to the door long to hear what she would say to the two candidates.

The washroom was a freakish nightmare as always. It was amazing that anyone could go pee in that place. He knew from experience that stuff you couldn’t see anywhere else in Garden, you could see here. In a way, the place was more wild then the training center. Where else could one write: ‘Normen! Kiss my ass!!!’ or ‘Braiden bitchn’ ROCKS!’

A sharp gagging, fallowed by what sounded like canned soup being dumped in a ceramic bowl, came from one of the stalls. Irvine looked towards the sound quizzically for a second before he neared.

The door to the stall was an impossible mess of lowbrow lines written in Balambese alphabet, almost illegible unless one wanted to look long and hard. But Irvine could make out the scrawled, and large lettering of: ‘Quistis is sexalicious. XXX Trepie No. 666’, ‘I KICK ASS AND PROUD OF IT!!!!!!’, and ‘porno is for desperate losers who can’t get some, (I’m one of them)’. That last one he read seamed familiar, and then he remembered that it was him who wrote it.

The gagging came again. Irvine would have just pushed the stall door open, but he had a better idea. In the open stall immediately to his left, he stood on top of the toilet and peered down over the dwarfed walls.

As soon as he saw who was in there, he felt obliged to say: “Shouldn’t you be in your lair, guarding your horde?”

Leaning over an open toilet bowl, with the upturned lid reading ‘I can see your bum’, and ‘say hi to Mr. P.P. Tinkler’, was Squall, who was busy hacking up his lunch.

Squall looked up from the toilet he was throwing up in. “Shouldn’t you be in class, getting on the instructor’s nerves?”

“Woah, easy there!” Compelled Irvine with a show of hands, seaming to push Squall away. “I ain’t no dragon slayer.”

“And I ain’t happy you showed up!” Hissed the receiving end.

“Do I sense sarcasm?”

“If you don’t leave,” growled Squall, “you’re going to sense a toilet seat lodged up your nose!”

Okay, Irvine thought to himself, he’s defiantly pissed. So this may be a good time to shut up.

It just so happened, that the candidates outside had squealed on him, and into the washroom barged Quistis.

Seeing this sight, Irvine felt the need to give another retort, instead of facing the Black Dragon’s fury, again. “Out of all the things I’ve seen in this place, this is the strangest.” Squall gave another coughing hack as a response.

“Stow it Kinneas.” Forcefully demanded Quistis. “You’ve been spreading worse rumors about me then that goddamn fan club of mine!” She pointed menacingly at him in accusation.

“Well, what did you expect,” stuttered Irvine, “I guy’s imagination can run away with him at times.”

Quistis look angrily at him. “That’s no reason why I shouldn’t skin you alive.”

Before Irvine could make another comeback, Squall vomited again.

“Who’s in there?” Asked Quistis, not loosing much of her angry look to curiosity.

“Why, I thought you’d never ask.” Irvine cooed, feeling relieved that the subject had been changed. “For behind this door, is none other then Balamb Garden’s most lovable ogre: Squall Leonhart!”

Squall was not in the least bit entertained, and he proved his point by managing to throw the toilet seat at him. His GF, Bahamut, fortunately gave him the quick strength to perform the feet. Irvine dogged by mere millimeters.

Laughing out loud, Quistis shouted towards Squall. “Now throw the whole toilet at him for me!”

“Not for awhile.” Came the response.

“That’s good news,” responded Irvine, looking down at an enraged Leonhart, “but if your can throw a toilet seat, how come you can’t use your gunblade?”

“I don’t throw my gunblade, you ass!”

Quistis looked away from the toilet stall, back to Irvine. “Now, back to business.”

“Chill, Trepe,” responded Irvine with a suave note, “It’s only a harmless rumor that’ll die off in about two days.”

“For your sake, it had better. Or else my whip will be around your neck for the next two months!”

“Hey, don’t take it too hard, Squall’s takin’ it fine. Ain’tcha Squall?” He looked down at the kneeling figure, leaning over the toilet.

“My philosophy is:” he started up at him, “don’t get mad, get even.”

Irvine gave a shocked look as he slowly got off the toilet seat and backed off, only turning his back as he ran out the door.

For a moment, Quistis looked towards the closed door where Irvine had just left, until she turned to the closed door of the stall.

“You have something nasty planned for him. Don’t you?” She asked matter-of-factly.

“Correction.” Stated Squall, “I had something planned for him.”

Quistis gave brief thought to what this meant before she continued. “You haven’t done anything. Have you?”

“Who says I haven’t?”

“Well, it’s good to see you didn’t forget to take your medication.” Replied Quistis, cunningly changing the subject.

“Not if you were the one taking them.” Indeed, one of the reasons he was throwing up constantly was the side effect of two of the four prescription drugs.

The door opened, allowing two candidates in: Sindri and Yuri. The two stopped when they saw Quistis, standing in the boy’s washroom.

In turn, Quistis gave the boys a nasty look. “There’s nothing in here I didn’t see when Squall blew the center wall into the parking lot.”

At the mention, of his name, Squall burst out of the stall, looking at the three before him as if they were plotting to kill him.

He spoke on behalf of a half-hearted defense. “If that wall didn’t want to be blown half way across the Garden, it shouldn’t have gotten in the way of advance chemistry!”

The three of them gazed upon his shabby form. His hair scuffed and tossed about, clear that he hadn’t brushed it at all. The fur on his collar was furled and out of place, as his white shirt was wrinkled and disheveled. And to those who were especially observant, which was everybody in the room, would have noticed his eyes were bloodshot.

“Uh, Squall.” started Sindri.

“Yes!” The SeeD snapped.

Sindri recoiled in surprise at the strength in his voice, but continued. “It’s twelve thirty in the afternoon. Why do you look like its seven thirty in the morning?”

“WHO TOLD YOU TO ASK QUESTIONS!” Shouted Squall, drool splattering out of his mouth as he did so. Sindri recoiled once again, this time in fear rather then surprise.

“It’s the drugs he’s on.” Quistis answered.

“Is that what’s making him cranky?” Yuri questioned.

“Possibly.” The answer came, “but I was referring to the blood shot eyes.” Quistis looked at the two candidates as they looked at each other, and then back at Squall. He looked like his eyes were ready to pop out of their sockets from anger.

Yuri looked back a Quistis. “Why did that student run out of here so fast? He looked as if he had forgotten something very important.”

Quistis gave the candidates a wry look. “You mean Irvine? Well, as yu know, there is this rumor spreading,” the candidates nodded slowly, careful not to meat Squall’s eyes. “Now,” continued Quistis, “I threatened him directly, while Squall threatened him indirectly.”

Both the candidates, with a stunned look each, dared a glance towards Squall. But he wasn’t there. The soft woosh of the heavy door indicated that he had left.

“Wait for it,” Quistis told them. “Irvine should be just running down the hall, now, he opens the door too his room, and…”

A loud cry of anguish came from the west wing on the dorms.



The Hutchin’s old living room was crowded with rebels and a couple of mercenaries. All, either sitting on the couch, or beside the centerfold of the coffee table.

A large blueprint was settled on top. As well as few other documents were positioned under it. Standing in front of the table was Zone, holding a willow branch in his right hand.

“Now,” started he in Mainstream, “I assume you all know why we are here?”

A few sarcastic murmurs arose, but Zone chose to ignore them. “I assume that is a ‘yes’.”

More sarcastic murmurs came.

“Terrific. Now, first of all, I’d like to thank Mordechai and Watts for obtaining this information.”

“Shut up and get to the point.” Someone shouted.

“In a sec, but first…Oh, my stomach!” He leaned over from the nagging pain of his ‘Ulcers’, running out of the room, dropping his willow branch as he dashed away.

Rinoa stepped forward as he left, taking up his willow stick.

“So, as you can see,” she began with her Aussie sounding Classic Galbadian accent, “the blueprints are of the main floor of the Domane house. The well-to-dos of Galbadia, and Timber, if any, are throwing a shindig for reasons we will assume, are to cover up the arrival of their delivery.”

The present Forest Owls nodded in agreement, but not the SeeDs, as they still couldn’t speak Mainstream.

“Now, from the convenience of side notes, we know that security is tight.” She continued, using the willow branch to point at specific spots on the blue print. “They’ve got motion sensors, trip lazars, a guard dog or two, and several dozen moskeetoes.”

“Moskeetoes!” Piped a member in astonishment. “Those ancient things?”

Moskeetoes, like their newer counterparts, wazps, were manufactured in Galbadia for security perposes. The wazps were a highly developed detection machine capable of signaling other wazps if needed, with light weaponry, and even a slight ability to learn. Although, they were heavy, and slow, and did not function well alone, so they had to be ordered by the dozen, which cost two arms and a leg, even in Galbadian gill, so they were rarely used for personal purposes. The moskeetoes, on the other hand, were an older model. They couldn’t multitask, call on other moskeetoes, or even shoot, but they were fast, cheap, and quite able to function in a unit of one or two. Even though they lacked the ability to call upon one another, they could still alert security, since they were designed to have their detection units upgraded and even changed for gill that a convenience store clerk could afford.

Rinoa answered the question bluntly, “yes.” Continuing thoroughly as before, she pointed towards a small square at the back of the house. “This is the security shack here in back. Three security guards will be there from the start of the party to twelve. After those hours, there will be a shift change with two others.

“Looking over the blueprints, we have found four entrances into the mansion. The first is the front entrance. The second, being the back door near the security shack. The third is any of the floor windows on the east side of the house. The fourth is a secret entrance that goes into the basement.

“We’ll split into four groups. The Viral team will be made up of Watts, Mordechai, Angelo, and myself. We’ll make the first move by taking control of the security shack. This will cut our detection in half with those moskeetoes, and also, disarm the lazars and motion sensors.

“The second team, the Decoy team, will be made up of Rind, Andy, Red Hawk, and Spikes.” She motioned towards the four young men she mentioned. Rind was a tall character in a dirty rawhide vest, a tattered old T-shirt that read ‘Bite Me, Government’, and a pair of rather large corduroys. He had dark hair that hung past his shoulders, as well as a pair of bifocals. Andy looked similar, as he was tall, with an oval shaped face and dark hair, but the hair was shorter, he didn’t wear glasses, and his clothes didn’t look as old. Red Hawk was the scrawny guy in a bunny hug that had spoken earlier. As his name suggested, he not only had the reddest hair to probably grace existence, but also had a tattoo of a red bird on his forehead, set in flight. It was hard to see how Spikes got his nick-name. The guy was a slim subject, light brown hair and dark green eyes. He wore a dark green bandana around his head, and both of his ears were pierced. Besides that, there was nothing spiky about him, not even his hair. He almost looked like the kind of pray a school bully would pick on.

“The Decoy team will be going into the party under cover.” Explained Rinoa, still speaking in Mainstream. “They will give us word about what’s going on inside. The Scavenger team will be made up of the SeeDs: Zell and Selphie.”

She turned to the two, who had taken up most of the couch, and spoke in Galbadian. “Zell, Selphie. You two will infiltrate in through the fourth entrance to the basement.

“Now, this is important, even though the lazars and sensors will be disabled, the moskeetoes will still be able to call for help, so if you see one, squash it before it gets away. In fact, doen’t let anythin’ get in your way.”

“So,” Began Zell, also in Galbadain, “does this mean we kill on site?”


The rest of the Forest Owls stared in shock at the two SeeDs, for they had understood everything Rinoa had said, as well as what Zell had asked.

“You didn’t say they could speak Galbadain.” Concluded Rind with skepticism. The rest of the group concurred, as they could all speak some form of Galbadian.

“Rind, they aren’t local bounty hunters,” reassured Rinoa, who was still using Galbadain, “these are SeeDs, and worth every gill.”

Selphie kicked into the conversation. “Damn straight!”

The Forest Owls looked at the two once more with aw, as they realized they could always communicate with them, and didn’t have to rely on constant translation.

Selphie and Zell took great humor out of this, laughing themselves silly while Rinoa just gave a wry smile and shrugged.

The meeting continued as soon as the two SeeDs stopped laughing, and the rebels stopped gawking.

“The fourth team, the Lookout, will be made of the rest of us. This group will surround the premises and ‘lookout’ for trouble. You will each be given one of the wakie-talkies we swiped from the Forest Rangers.” She held up one of the hand held machines to emphasize. “Now, of course, two of the members of the Lookout will be driving getaway vehicles. Luky will drive the beat up rental that will deliver the Decoy team, and Brine will drive are car that will be used by the Scavenger team. Be ready to run at any moment.

“That pretty well covers are basic plans, we’ll get into more detail later.”

Through the lentil-less door of the living room, plodded in Zone.

“Okay, I bet you are all waiting to hear the plan?” He asked contentedly in Mainstream.

“Too late.” Replied Rinoa.

“Oh,” he slouched his shoulders, realizing he had just missed another briefing.

Brine, tanned of skin and void of any hair, turned around from his seat in front of the coffee table. “You know Zone,” he stated in Mainstream, “you wouldn’t have this kind of trouble if you brought the flower with you.”

“What! With my black thumb?” Quipped Zone, holding his thumb up in front of him.


“’Tis beautiful.” Replied Selphie in awe as she was shown a red ceramic flowerpot, holding a dainty looking flower. It held eight petals, all of which were shimmering white, with the tips of the petals melting into a fluorescent pink. The pollen appeared as tiny golden flecks, while the stem beneath it was gray and prickly, with the only leaves, showing gray, then a sullen green, were right at the bottom with the dirt.

“It’s called a Pearl Lilly.” Rinoa told her, holding up the pot to show. “The leaves have special medicinal puhposes. It’s what Zone has been using to avoid going to the doctor. I don’t blame him, none of us can afford one any way. We all say that he should carry it around more often, but that just doesn’t happen.”

Both the girls were sitting in the kitchen. A single round table was set in the middle, with a classical red and white-checkered tablecloth that had several dozen stains, and several tears. Two chairs were placed nearby, Rinoa occupied one of them, and they were both made of birch. The cupboards were of spruce, and looking rather good for their years, even though most of the doors were broken off, revealing the Forest Owls’ stores of fruit baskets, canned goods, blue cheese, paper plates, and wooden cups. The counter top that was only positioned under the only window was covered in dull yellow tile, with several of the tiles pealing off near the edge of the sink, displaying a grid of dried glue. The curtains of the old window were yellow and floral, but, by the look of the blackness near their hems, they had been exposed to some heat. An old toaster was set in the corner. The shine from it was still there, but had been mulled by water stains. Beside the door that led into the hallway, was a green fridge with a silver ‘V’ on the freezer. The floor of the kitchen was made up of dark red and brown tile, finishing off the earthy tones of the room

Selphie continued to coo. “Its soooo pretty. Watchya pay to get a gemstick like this deary?”

“Absolutely jack. They grow in certain places in the woods. We rent a chocobo to get too them.”

“Chocobo.” Selphie started, looking up from the flower to Rinoa’s face. “There’s a place to rent chocobo’s?” Her face lit up at the mention. She loved the huge yellow birds, and was not shy too chocobo riding. She especially loved chocobo hatchlings, respectively called chicabos. Selphie knew that Squall had gotten one sometime after the Balamb Garden was found mobile, but she hadn’t a clue as to what happened to the little thing.

“There’s a farm fifty miles north west of Timber that raises them.” Continued Rinoa. “Zone was thinking about buying one, but then, you know, we have to feed it, and wash it, and house it, and take it too the vet. Etcetera, etcetera. So it’s easier to just rant one.”

“For how much?”

“Fifty gill a day.”

“Sweat! But wouldn’t the bill add up after awhile?”

“Well, you see, that’s what a lot of us thought, but we decided to take a seed and grow them. All we really need are the leaves, and they grow fast enough. They’re vary hardy plants, and are able to grow even in the dry season, but they have enough gusto too take the humidity of the forest during the summer.”

“Cool, I’m thinking I just found my new favorite flower.”

Rinoa looked at her friend with earnest enthusiasm, putting the flowerpot down on the kitchen counter. “Really, it’s bean mine since I started liking flowers.”

“That’s no fair, you got too it before me.” She whined playfully.

“It’s not my fault you don’t see a lot of flowers in Trabia.”

“Yeah, okay.” Selphie admitted cheaply, and a little giggly, setting herself on the counter and waving her legs around like a small girl would. “Hey! Do you know what Squall’s favorite flower is?”

“Selphie…” Rinoa snapped, then stopped. She had no idea how to continue that conversation, she had honestly hoped Selphie wouldn’t bring him up. But, Selphie couldn’t be counted on to not bring anything up. How was Rinoa to answer anyway? She had only known Squall for short time, and he didn’t strike Rinoa as the floral loving type. She decided to give a frank answer.

“You know,” Rinoa began, “I don’t think he likes flowers.”

“You don’t know that. You yourself happened to steel from another resistance group.”

“Say what?”

“You know. The Forest Rangers.”

“Oh, them. They aren’t a resistance group. They patrol the forest, watch out for fires, keep the ol’ cockatrice population down, and all that other forest stuff.”

“You are bad, you know that?”

“Why, thank you.”

“You know, I heard from Quistis that Squall is quit the pianist.”

“He plays the piano?”

“Aye, can you believe it, he told me he didn’t play an instrument. Lousy muzzler, he just didn’t wanna be on the Garden Festival Committee.”

Makes sense. I’d go nuts if I had to take orders from the Ultimate Flower Child. Rinoa thought. “What else do you know about him that I may find important?”

Awk! Easy girl. I don’t make a name of myself with goesip. That’s Zell’s forté.”

“Then why couldn’t you stop talking when Squall regained consciousness?”

“Heeey! I get excited easily.”

And Zell doesn’t?

She had to agree with that statement. Even though Selphie was always on the lighter note of conversation, she couldn’t beat Zell by a long shot.

Peering out of the kitchen door to the hallway with it’s pealing floral wallpaper, she could see him leaning on the yellowing wall, talking to Brine and Red Hawk.

“…That was why I was blamed for the missing library books.” Gabbled away Zell, in Galbadian. “By now, I’m in deep crap’o’la, so I go up to Squall and ask him: ‘Yo man, what d’you do if you accidentally ate a month old grilled cheese sandwich and threw up on your instructor?’ He tells me: ‘why should I care?’ and I say: ‘cuz I may have put your ass on the ‘que.’ Then, Squall throws a fit and yells: ‘only you could barf all over an instructor and drag someone else down the john!’ and I’m like: ‘gosh, you really think so?’ and he says: ‘hell yes!’ So I azk him again: ‘what do I do?’ and he says: ‘swipe his office supplies.’ but I’m like: ‘dude, you can’t do that!’ and he’s like: ‘yeah, I can.’ Then he gets in trouble and has to deal with the Discipline Committee. Now, the head of the Committee, Seifer, he hates this guy more then the sun, so Seifer he’s bossing Squall around, and Squall gets this idea he can pull the circuit breaker on him. So he cuts power to the whole Garden, but not before he crosses the wires. So the Garden was in perpetual darkness for three days while several of the students are busy trying to find out how he screwed the circuits up…”

While Zell was still yapping away, Brine turned to Red Hawk. “I think I liked him better when we could’t understand him.” Red Hawk nodded in approval.

Both of them noticed Rinoa come into the hall. She motioned both of them away. The two left, gladly, while Zell continued to babble.

“…Seifer gets mad because the Headmaster assumes, heaven forbid, that Squall was his responsibility at the time…” Oblivious of the abandonment of Red Hawk and Brine, Zell still continued to jaw away. It took Rinoa several snaps of her fingers, a whistle, and a shout for him to shut up, before he did.

“Yo, Rinoa. What’s happening?” Greeted Zell, slipping back to Balambese.

“A little of this, a little of that.” She began speaking in the same tongue. “I couldn’t help but hear you say that Squall hates the sun. Was that just a metaphor you used, or does he actually hate the sun?”

Not so oddly enough, Zell began to chuckle. “Now that’s a funny story. One time, the blinds in his room had been ripped off. How? I don’t know why. But he didn’t go back in there for a week, and he slept in the library the whole time. Now, the next week, he decides to get them up, ‘cause he got tired of getting kicked all the time early in the morning by someone who wants to use the study booths. But he doesn’t want to go in their, so he gets a meter stick from one of the classrooms, but the guy there, Scrivens, thought he was stealing. But, the guy’s a nervous wreck, so he approaches Squall like he’s some kind of rabid dragon. And do you know what he did next? Squall took it as a threat, and Scrivins…”

This is worse then talking to an old man reminiscing about his missing teeth. I shouldn’t have asked. A regretful Rinoa thought to herself as Zell continued to blab into next weak.


The forecast of rain proved true, for a light shower met the afternoon over the sea.

As Headmaster Cid conferred with his new language instructor, the double door to his office opened up. Irvine stepped onto the red throw rug.

The Headmaster and the language instructor looked towards him as he entered.

“Ah, Mrs. Dooglas,” started Headmaster Cid, “this is one of our students: Irvine Kinneas. Now, Irvine, why are you here?” He mused, having the underside of annoyance in his last sentence.

“Well, sir. I’m here because you called me, and…whoa MOMMA! YOUR HOT!” He exclaimed excitedly as he clapped eyes on the short, lean and dark haired language instructor. “Are you a relative of a student, or staff?”

“She’s your new Estherian language instructor.” The Headmaster answered.

Irvine looked bashfully back at Instructor Dooglas. “Well, I sure feel stupid. Is there any way I can take back what I said?”

The new instructor answered, “No, but thank you for noticing me.” Spoke Instructor Dooglas with an Estherian accent, somewhat Germanic in sounding, and quite hard to understand reasonably thick ones. She then left the office, turning her back away. Irvine couldn’t help but glance at her rear end as she left. Instructor or not, he was still seventeen with a strong sexual instinct.

“Now, Irvine,” started the Headmaster when Instructor Dooglas had left. “I understand that you’ve run into a bit of a scuffle with Mr. Leonhart.”

“Well, yeah. He, like, put a grat pie on my bed.”

“Your lucky it wasn’t a live grat. When one of the students started the rumor that it was four years bad luck to look him in the eye, that student found a living, breathing monster in her dorm that night.”

“A grat!” Irvine gaffed humorously. “She couldda taken that over grown eggplant on.”

“She was eight at the time.”

“Oh, I see, but you can’t blame Squall for pulling that at his age. It’s a kid’s way of getting attention.”

“He was fourteen.”

The student stopped his talking and looked concernedly at the Headmaster.

Not abaited, the Headmaster continued to speak. “Now, just how did you come too this little run in?”

“Well sir, it all started with a rumor.”

“You mean the one were Squall and Quistis were engaging in sexual activity in the back of the library?”

“Woah! Woah!” Quaffed Irvine. “I never got that graphic. Nor did I intend for this to get all the way too you sir. What is this? A school, or a fish tank!”

“A little from columb A, a little from columb B.” Answered the Headmaster. “I don’t believe the rumors myself. But I’ll tell you this: If Squall hears the version I have heard, you are going to wish you had that live grat!”

Irvine sulked to hear what the Headmaster just said. “Okay. But, aren’t you goinna, like, punish him or something?”

“Irvine, Irvine, you know I would. But, you see, there are, in my opinion, three types of pranksters. The first, will throw pranks for the attenssion. The second do it for kicks. The third do it as a way of saying something.”

The student looked dumbfounded at Headmaster Cid. “Come again.”

“What I’m trying to say is, that I have noticed Squall has a limited ability to express his emotions. Whether it be joy, sorrow, fear, or, in this case, anger.”

“So…are you goinna punish him?”

The Headmaster couldn’t stifle a chuckle at those words. “Believe me, its been done. But every time he was disciplined for his pranks, they would become stranger and stranger, until it was finally nicknamed, the Dragon’s Wrath.”

“I thought those guys were joking.” Referred Irvine to what several students had said the first day he arrived at the school. He had really thought they were just hazing him.

The two fell silent for a while, as neither had anything to say.

It was Irvine who broke the awkward silence. “So, you’re not going to do anything about it?”

“I didn’t say that.” Headmaster Cid conferred bluntly, leaning his elbows on his oak desk. “I believe Squall’s inability to express his emossions isn’t learned, but possibly, innate. He could have a social illness, or, quite possibly, be neurotic. So I’m sending him to a psychological clinic in Dollet to get a diagnosis, so we can better, um, handle him. Feel better?”

“I think so? You called me for this? To tell me that your sending Squall to a shrink.”

“No, I have mentioned that I wanted to talk to you about you rumor.”

“Cool. I’ve got to put that in my journal before I forget.”

“I don’t think that you would.”

“Why not?”

“Because you’ve got a good memory.”

“What about the GF’s?”

“What about them?”

“Well, they cause memory loss. Or, at least that is what I have come to learn.”

“That is merely tabloid fiction.”

“Then what, may I ask sir, happened to Quistis’s childhood memory, and Zell’s, and Selphie’s, and Squall’s. They’ve forgotten everything.”

“How many people do you know remember their early childhood?” Asked the Headmaster.

“Well, me, for one…”

“That’s because you have a good memory. Zell doesn’t have the mental capacity to even care about remembering his childhood. Selphie had said that she had truly enjoyed herself to the point of never minding if she didn’t remember if she came from another planet. If you had come from a family that Quistis came from, you wouldn’t care to remember those years. As for Squall, good heavens! He’s forgotten several of his time sceduals, and has even shown up in the wrong classroom from time to time.”

“Really, I’d thought that he’d be a bit more responsible then that.”

“That’s what everyone assumes. But he’s become very good at hiding the fact that he’s a scatterbrain.”

“So, GF’s don’t wipe out your memory?”

“GF’s are a new discovery, there are still many people who are very willing to condemn on the slightest of faults out of fear. Just because one forgetful person junctions a Guardian Force and continues to forget, they jump to conclusions. There is even a rumor in South Dollet that they can cause extreme deviant behavior. But the person who junctioned the GF, was an extreme deviant to begin with. What? Did you think I was carless enough to allow my students to use such a dangerous tool without they’re knowing?”

Holy hotroot! Thought Irvine, with the light of realization coming on. Quistis was on to something when she said there was no way Headmaster Cid would allow such a dangerous toy!

“Okay, as for Squall,” Began Irvine on a shakier note, “is there any way I can wake up alive tomorrow?”

The Headmaster answered him. “You may wand to ask Seifer about that. He’s had the most brush-ins with the ‘Dragon’s Wrath’.”

“But Seifer’s not here.”

“Then ask Mr. Dincht.”

“Zell’s away on a mission.”

“Then try Quistis, she’s had many complaints about Squall’s outbursts.”

Irvine looked at the older man with slow realization. He wasn’t at all ready to see her. Then again, she wasn’t the one who was notorious for the Dragon’s Wrath. Irvine backed out of the office with uneasy caution as he recited in his mind what Headmaster Cid had told him.

Dammit. Why couldn’t Leonhart beat someone up, like normal teenage hot heads?

Chapter 5

General Wyvern's Fanfiction