Hand of Ice Chapter 8

Second Dismissal

By General Wyvern

In back of the Hutchin’s old house, a twine basket had been hung up on the lentil of the back door.

Zell, along with several other members of the Forest Owls were playing a game of freestyle basketball with the ball Selphie had found. Zell was the one who had the ball at that moment. He nimbly dodged Brine, who was defending his team’s basket. Unfortunately, Zell was quicker, and in better shape then him, and managed a basket. He dunked the pale teal ball through, nearly ripping the basket off the lentil.

“Squish!” Remarked Cody, a teammate of Zell’s.

“No fair man.” Whined Brine. “You’ve got more gusto then me.”

“Not my problem.” He replied.

By a window up on the third floor, Selphie watched them. “I didn’t know Zell was so good at B-ball, did you?”

“Not that I was interested,” Rinoa sighed, sitting in the far left corner of the room on a wicker chair. “I can’t believe almost everyone is out there having fun. And, as usual, the girls have to do all the work.”

“Who are you calling a girl?” Corrected Zone, looking up from his paperback. He was sitting in the far right corner on the floor.

“You don’t count.”

“Hey! It’s not work!” Selphie started cheerfully. “All we have to do is watch Spikes.”

“Watch him for what? He’s asleep.”

“You weren’t to hung up to watch Squall when he was unconscious?”

“Yeah, well, I’m sorry, but you’re the one who peeked under his blanket and had the nerve to tell me that it was good.”

“Whoa!” Zone butted in. “I don’t think I need to hear anymore.”

“You sure?” Selphie asked innocently enough.


They had gotten Spikes back safely enough. Some debate had gone around about who would get his bloody clothes off him. The argument had gone on for the longest time, even when Spikes had become conscious. They finally decided with the aid of a Random Rhyme. Watts had been the unfortunate, but he had gotten him into a bed up on the third floor after falling down a couple of times. The rest had helped out with cleaning and mending wounds. His arm was broken in five places, three of his ribs were busted, he had gotten a massive concussion that made everyone paranoid, severe bruises, several missing teeth, a bloodied black eye, and one heck of a battered leg. Rinoa was skeptical if he would live without medical attention. Zone had made it clear that they could not afford such luxury as a doctor, then he had another stomach cramp.

From Watts, they had learned that the police, who had, unfortunately, Galbadian soldiers with them, apprehended the Forest Bears that remained at the Domane house. Their fate would not be pretty. There was no word about the large hit man. The damage to the house was a monumental cost in the affairs of house repair, not that that wasn’t expected. Zone and his team of Lookouts would have been caught if they hadn’t had gotten a ride with Cody just as soon as they heard the fight break out from inside the house. Many of them were interested in Zell’s telling of the GF that Ursula had. He was more then happy to tell them about it, even though he did embellish a little.

Rinoa had thrown a fit when she learned that all they got for their troubles was a ball, and a piece of crystallized rock. Everyone felt it was in the interest of her spoils to have a go at basketball. They took to it quite nicely, while Selphie, Rinoa, and Zone were left to keep an eye on Spikes.

Skulking in her wicker chair, Rinoa whined some more. “This place is so suffocating. Isn’t there anything exiting in this room that doesn’t require looking under blankets?” She raised a brow suspiciously at Selphie as she mentioned that.

“Well,” the SeeD started, placing her finger on the bottom of her lip. “Do you have a coupon for those chocobo rentals at that place you were talking about?”

“I said in this room, didn’t…” She stopped suddenly, seemingly to have spotted something hovering in the air. “Of coarse!”

“Of coarse what?”

“I’m goinna write Squall a letter.”

“But he doesn’t have a listed address.” Selphie stammered.

“That’s where the chocobos come in. I want you to deliver it.”

“Can’t you just transport yourself there?”

“You crazy! I’m not going to teleport into some place where everyone wants me dead!”

“Okay, so if the Garden wasn’t in Roshfall, how would I get to it otherwise?”

“You don’t need to worry about that, because you just said it yourself: the Garden’s in Roshfall. Now I’ve got a letter to write.”

Hurriedly and exited, Rinoa ran out or the room, her footsteps quite audible as she made her way down the stairs.

“Hey! Wait for me!” Selphie called, fallowing them out. Zone looked up from his paperback when he heard the girl fall down the stairs in her rush. A few seconds later when the sound of her crashing died out, he heard her reply: “Don’t worry! I’m okay!”

Zone got back to his book. “That was quite spur of the moment.”


Rinoa flung open the door to her room, grabbing a pen and paper as soon as she entered. From on her bed, Angelo woke up, she looked at her master curiously as she sat down at her desk and started writing.

     Dear Squall:

     I’ve been waiting so long to talk to you. By my account over here, you’re the only one I can say would have anything intelligent to say. I am also quite bored at the moment; I guess you know how that feels. You probably are, too, what with having to stay in the Garden twenty-four-seven. I would have used my own power to take me to Garden, I know I could, but I don’t think things would be very good if anyone else caught me there, so I’m sending Selphie. I have more faith in her then Zell; I can’t trust his mouth.

     I’m keeping this letter short and sweet for the sole purpose that I am low and paper, can’t afford much more, and I need most of it to continue my work. I am currently writing editorials for the local paper, I have yet to know if anybody reads them.

     Angelo is fine; she’s as lively as ever. I’m sure she misses you too. I know I would if you kept passing me food under the table and played fetch with a dead bird.

     I hope, that when you get this letter, if you get this letter, that you will write me back. I hope it would be better then just ten words or less. That reminds me, I’ve never seen your handwriting! I’d tell you more about what happened since I left, but I can honestly say not a lot has.

     How are you feeling? I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s no picnic living off half your blood supply. Hope you get better soon.


She finished her letter. Since it would be delivered personally, she had no need to use an envelope. A good thing, since she had not envelopes. She did, however, fold the letter into three, then tie it with a yellow ribbon she kept hidden away in her drawer of junk, stuffed somewhere in the back.

Exiting her room quickly, with Angelo fallowing and barking at her heals, she headed down the stairs to the back door. Selphie had caught up from around the corner, still a little shaky over falling down the stairs. The girl called for Rinoa to wait up, but to no avail.

Outside, the game of basketball continued. Brix was in front of Zell, trying to get the ball away from him. Taking a swift move, he swatted the dribbling ball away from him. No one caught it. The ball rolled away from the dirt patch they were playing on, all the way to Rinoa’s feet. She picked up the ball with delight, running back inside.

The boys all started to complain when they saw her leave with it, but none bothered to go after her, since none were up to running after her at all.

Back inside, Selphie was waiting for her, but she did not stop until she got to the kitchen.

“Whatcha looking for?” Asked Selphie, but she did not get an answer. Rinoa shuffled through the drawers situated on the counter. She rummaged through them, taking out a roll of tape, and the purple crystal.

She looked at each of them separately, turning, finally, toward Selphie.

“Help me out here Selphie.” She started, holding the two objects in front of her. “What should I give Squall? The crystal, or the ball?”

“Whatever’s prettier.” She replied.

“The ball.” Rinoa concluded. “This rock is hideous.” She threw the rock aside. Taking a string of tape, she shaped it into a loop, stuck it onto the bottom of the ball. Then, put the letter on top of the tape.

She handed the ball and letter to Selphie. “Let’s get in the car and head down to the chocobo rentals.”

“Oh, goody! Can we go in the good car?”

“Just as long as nobody’s using it.”

Selphie jumped with excitement some more. Rinoa had to drag her out of the house to make sure she fallowed.


Rinoa drove the burgundy car, with Selphie in the driver’s seat, and Angelo squeezed in the middle. Selphie talked about nothing but chocobos and how she liked them. Rinoa hoped she wouldn’t scare them all off.

She had given Selphie a hundred gill, and enough time to get a light pack of camping equipment, as it would take a couple of days to get to the Garden’s position.

The car skidded to a halt in the large dirt driveway by the ranch. It was a long drive, approximately five hours, and Rinoa was glad to have a reason to get out and walk before she had to drive the next five hours back. It was late in the evening, the same time Squall was having his conversation with Cloak back at Garden.

Selphie jumped out of the car with as much vigor as escaping gas. She ran immediately towards the pen where the chocobos were kept, with Angelo fallowing to see what she was doing. Rinoa headed towards the Head of the ranch, standing by the pen gate. She still held onto the ball and letter.

The rancher looked over towards her when he heard her coming. The guy was in his early fifties, with graying hair, Rinoa had come to know him well, much like the rest of the Owls, although, he was apart of the Forest Bats.

“Hello, Mr. Paries.” She greeted politely. “I’m here for another chocobo.”

Mr. Paries smiled at her fondly. “Well, you goin’ flower huntin’ again? A little late for that, isn’t it?”

“I know, but I’m not doing anything.” She called for Selphie. Mr. Paries looked curiously at the new girl, but was not agitated in the least; he knew when he saw a good customer.

“I have Selphie here to make a delivery.” Continued Rinoa. “Since vehicles aren’t very good with the forest terrain, we were both going for a chocobo. We’ll need one for about a week.”

“A week, ya say?” He asked her.

“Yeah, it’s a long distance delivery.”

Mr. Paries was curious about what it was she was doing without a member of her group, but decided against it. It was none of his business anyway. He opened the gate with the two girls fallowed him in. Angelo wanted to come, but Rinoa made sure to tell her to stay. Mr. Paries stopped at a slight specimen of a chocobo. Young too. Younger then the usual chocobos they were given.

“This is Sly.” He started, patting the back of the giant bird. Sly looked at the two new girls, rubbing his beak on Selphie’s cheek, making her giggle. “He’s my best delivery chocobo.” The rancher continued. “He’s not the fastest of the group, but he’s got the best stamina of any of ‘em.”

Rinoa looked away from the bird back to Mr. Paries. “Thank you sir, but I don’t think we can even afford to rent your prime birds.”

“Not a problem Miss Heartily, I can lend you this bird for the regular price.”

“Thank you Mr. Paries. Thank you so much.” She happily shook Selphie’s shoulder. “Selphie, han bik miama daigor.” [Selphie, you can use this bird.]

She cheered with her hands shooting up into the air, bouncing up and down.

Rinoa paid Mr. Paries upfront. He thanked her and left the pen to get the saddle and reins for Sly.

“Now Selphie,” Rinoa instructed. “Do you have room for this in your pack?” She held up the ball and letter combo.

Selphie looked at the pair of objects. “I think so.” Getting down on her knees, she opened her pack. A simple sleeping bag was hung in front, with dried food and some chocobo greens in the bag, she would have no need for cooking supplies or tinder with the distance she was traveling. When given the ball and letter, she made room by stuffing it in carelessly.

Rinoa looked at her carelessness with impatience. “Hey! Easy, don’t rip the letter.”

“Oh, don’t be so stiff.” Selphie assured, giving her an apathetic wave of her hand. She tied the bag up. “When can I leave?” She asked happily.

“As soon as Mr. Paries gets here with the saddle, you can leave right away. If you’re lucky, you can make it to Garden by early afternoon the day after tomorrow.”

“Just as long as the pilot doesn’t move it. But he shouldn’t, I heard they don’t do a lot of moving in the summer.”

“I wonder who the pilot of the Garden is anyway?” Rinoa asked, not aiming for any answer in particular.

“I think his name’s Nida.” Selphie answered anyway.

“Oh yeah, that dark haired guy.” She remembered him faintly. “I wonder what he’s doing now?”


Nida put the silencer on his gun. The moment had come. Yagi was getting more nervous, Kord was asking way too many questions, and Rick was telling him to get his gear in motion. It was time he accomplished what he promised, the death of Headmaster Cid.

It was 21:00 hours; curfew wasn’t in effect until 22:00 hours, which gave him one hour before his current alibi was useless. He knew that the Headmaster would be in the Library to go through the new books coming in. If asked, his excuse was that he wanted to get in last minute studying, an excuse not new to the students, but widely believed. Even as a SeeD, he still needed to do his homework. Lucky for him, witnesses would be nil, as nobody ventured into the library past 20:00 hours, not even the bookworms, as long as their was no test the next day. That was because much of the student body preferred to stay in their dorms after supper. Everyone else was either in the training center, or the quad.

When he made his way to the Library, the gun carefully concealed by his SeeD uniform, he was unfortunately surprised to see that someone else was there, also getting last minute studying. The Headmaster was not yet there.


Even though the second person was a problem, he had to be patient, hoping that the boy would leave soon. Nida took a book off the shelf, carefully, as not to get a book that would look suspicious. Taking a seat by one of the study booths, he began to look like he was studying.


Cloak had come back, and was becoming more of a pain then a horror.

“You’re boring. You let complete strangers step all over you. You have no sense of humor. You eat olives without any mustard…”

“Don’t you voices have anything better to do then annoy your host?” He interrupted. Lying on his back on the floor, he put his right hand over his eyes as if he had a migraine. “It’s just so dry, you’d choke on it! So choke on it already!”

“Hey, hey! I’m ranting here! Now where was I?”

“You were telling me how boring I was.”

“That’s boring! YOU’RE BORING!”

“Well, what do you want me to do? Jump out the window?” Squall scowled, sitting himself up.

“You know, that’s a good idea. But I have a bigger purpose then to watch you get your brains splattered on cement.”

“And what is your purpose?” He hissed with agitation.

“To protect you.” Cloak answered with solemn glee.

“How? By telling me I’m boring? Interrupting my dreams? Disturbing my memories? Telling me that jumping out the window is a good idea?”

“Did I mention I’m also here to criticize?”

“Some protector you are.”

“Well excuse ME! But I’m all you GOT, Appalling Pace.”

“You’re wrong Cloak! I have people! I’m not the self-reliant loner I once was! I never thought I’d say that!”

“Look alive Appalling Pace.” Screeched the voice. “Those PEOPLE you claim are with you will only be so as long as they fear you.”


Cloak seamed happy to explain herself. “All those people: Idiot Dincht, ‘Most Evil Woman Alive’ Tilmitt, Carrot Top, Mistress Trepestrophe, all of them, right down to the kid who picked his nose in the orphanage. They only stayed beside you because they were afraid of being your enemy.”

Squall swallowed her words easily. Reflecting on his own life. How he had come to know Zell, he had stuck by him without fail, not really wanting to get very close to their assigned captain, Seifer. How Quistis was intent on straightening out his emotional dysfunctionality. How Selphie had put her faith in him with blind obedience, especially when she trusted him to warn Balamb Garden about the Galbadian missile attack. How Irvine had been so eager to learn from him. And Rinoa…did she not want to fight him, now that she was a sorceress. He backed himself up against his bed, wrapping his arms around his knees like a frightened child in the dark.

He grabbed the courage to ask Cloak again: “what do you mean ‘kid who picked his nose in the orphanage’?”

The voice took a while to answer. To Squall, it was almost like she was enjoying his torment. “Seifer.” She finally replied. “Can you believe he used to pick his nose? What a gas!”

“What does that mean? Seifer’s been my enemy for as long as I can remember. He wouldn’t care if I burned in hell.”

“Key word: As long as I can remember. You may have a good memory for numbers, directions, sounds, and what not, but when it comes to faces and places, you suck eggs.”

“I think I’d remember if I ever liked Seifer!” Squall got to his feet angrily, yelling at the ceiling. His hands were put into tight fists. His eyes wavered with moister, spit started to run down his lower lip.

“So?! You also think you remember your life in the orphanage. Well let me tell you. You only remember what others have told you. You only FEEL what others have told you to FEEL. Everything in your life you had either to learn, or create! Nothing came to you for free. But, unfortunately, too much you want is too DAMN EXPENSIVE for your emotional income.”

“I never liked Seifer!” Squall continued to yell, not paying attention to Cloak’s cryptic message. “And Seifer never liked me! And I can prove it!”

Not knowing exactly what he was doing, he marched out of his room, the door opening automatically for him. Most students were in their dorm, but those that were out stayed far away from him, seeing his maniac face, the drool running down his mouth. Anyone who was fool enough to get in his way was rudely shoved aside, and some, were even yelled at.

He exited the dorms, entering the ring hallway that surrounded the directory. No one was about as he continued to march down the hall, still enraged. Cloak continued to taunt.

“Go ahead! Prove it! I know everything you know! And everything you’ve forgotten! Or have you forgotten already! Ha! SEE! I know that TOO!”

The Headmaster just exited the elevator, ready to look over the new library books. It was one of his duties to look over the new books that were coming into the library. For such a difference in age between his students, it was best that they were all looked over for censoring.

Making his way to the Library, whistling to himself, he noticed Squall limping forcefully down the hall, gruesome scowl and all.

Headmaster Cid waved to him. “Hello Squall.”

He did not reply back, just limped past the Headmaster.

Cid did not find the behavior odd, but he was not pleased either. He did, however, watch him go by, into the elevator as it ascended.

Poor boy. He thought. I’d be behaving like that if I were cooped up all day in my room. Or, just attempted suicide for the second time, as I have heard. I’m surprised he hasn’t killed anyone yet.

The elevator took Squall up, up to the third floor where the Headmaster’s office was. Since their were no more Garden Hands, and the Headmaster had no secretary, all students were held back from his office by word only, trusting that they would obey.

“Oh, the Headmaster’s office.” Cackled Cloak. “And without permission. Now, this ain’t boring.”

“Screw the word.” Squall quipped to himself. “I’ll prove that Seifer always hated me! It’s all in the permanent records!”

“Are you sure you want to see them? You know, you can’t unlearn anything you find out.”

“I thought you wanted me to prove mine and Seifer’s connection?!” He yelled back.

“Your right. I did. Continue.”

Squall opened the double doors with maddened force. The reflective floors glowed with the colors of the waning sunset outside. He stared at the file cabinet at the back for a while before he walked over towards it.

He opened the drawer with the label ‘S’. Sifting through the files. He came to learn soon enough that the files were sorted by last name. Enraged, he tore the metal drawer out of the cabinet, throwing it behind him without a care. The drawer crashed in back of the chair behind the Headmaster’s desk, spilling all the files over the reflective floor. Squall recklessly pulled open the drawer marked ‘A’. He found Seifer’s last name easily enough. Almasy.

Reading from the earliest notes, he learned that Seifer and himself were given at the same time. The Headmaster needed students for his fledgling Garden. In a side note, it was mentioned that he had asked Edea if he could take any children from her orphanage that would not be adopted. Reading on, it described Seifer of having nothing to do with him in the orphanage. Not the savage rivalry he knew at the present, he just stayed as far away from him as possible because he had been strange to him. As soon as he was put in Garden though, he and Seifer were inseparable.

“See! See! What did I tell you?!” Cheered Cloak.

Squall was in shocked awe, but still deep down, disbelieving. He opened up the drawer marked ‘L’. Finding his name, he took it out, surprised to see that it was so thick.

Putting down Seifer’s record, he began with his. The oldest records said the same thing as Seifer’s, that he entered Garden at the same time. This much, he had guessed already when Irvine had first talked about the orphanage. He read on to learn that his grades had been horrendous. He had been close to failing all classes. It seamed the Headmaster had put more in his folder then in Seifer’s.

What was shocking to learn, was that he was an all around problem child, worse then Seifer. Comparing with the other record, Seifer had been an average, well-behaved student. This was all in the first year they were in Garden. The Headmaster had been ready to expel Squall, several times. Then he started something.

He gave them their first GF’s. Squall received Shiva, and Seifer, a GF named Taiwath. It was written on a side note:

I will try to separate the two. If both Squall and Seifer have what Edea says they do, they will be affected by the GF’s full potential, but I am curious as to how the effect would work if these two were to suddenly be apart again.

Reading forward, his curiosity, the only thing driving him, what with Cloak becoming silent. The Headmaster wrote down his detailed plan.

Why my record? He thought. Why didn’t he write this in Seifer’s as well?

They Headmaster wrote how he had the Garden Hands hit them both with meter sticks when they saw each other. Had woken both of them up in the middle of the night to tell them how bad each other were. Even electrocuting them when they spoke each other’s name. The Headmaster, the man that Squall considered his only fatherly figure, had brainwashed him at a tender age.

A dramatic change had come between both of them. Even though it was written that Squall was introverted from day one, he had been seen frequently with Seifer, and was often seen about, although, not talking. But after the experiment, he had shut himself up completely, but his grades started to slowly climb. In the areas of math, science, and fighting skills, they changed for the better. His language and communicating skills collided, though. Writing in Seifer’s record, his grades started to slip. He became rambunctious, more like the Seifer Squall could recall, and hate. The Headmaster had regretted the experiment after he saw the results. He tried his best to get the two together, he even gave them both gunblades. But it was too late. This all happened in the span of one year.

Squall read the files over and over. Both his and Seifer’s. Each time, the lesser words became blurred, and the more important words: Failing, inseparable, experiment, GF’s potential, became more prominent, jumping out in front of him like bad omens. Though, there was nothing about the GF’s full potential he could find. >From what he learned, GF’s effected memory. But he was sure he was losing his just fine. Did that mean that he did not have what the Headmaster thought he had. Or was there something else.

He churned through the files more furiously. Eventually throwing them carelessly aside, he skimmed through several others, directionless. He finally came down to throwing files out at random. The floor of the office was covered with permanent records. Not finding what he wanted, he gave up, hissing at the file cabinet, storming out of the office even more aggravated then when he entered.

He opened the double doors by slamming his fists against them. He had become a raging beast, pressing forward in berserk rage. It wasn’t until he got to the main floor again did his appearance change. Not that it was any better. His raging self was replaced by emptiness. Squall had lost much of his former sense of self. His decency had been torn in half by mistrust. It was from this point forward, he was sure he could not go back. Urging him forward was the twisted voice of Cloak.

“Ashwa*'kni?g il(sillfi?d hg?ma(ka?k h?ae'n…!” The language was unknown, but Squall seamed to understand it. She was enraged, and loving it. “Everything is too damn expensive. Time to do a little shoplifting.”


Nida’s plan was not going very well. The student who was putting in some real studying, was still there. Now, Rick and Dina came in.

“What are you doing here?” He was more annoyed then nervous. His target had come in and was looking at the books, but the presence of Rick and Dina changed much more.

“Relax.” Reassured Rick coolly. “Curfew isn’t for another fifteen minutes.”

“That’s not what I mean.” He looked at the Headmaster and the other student, making sure they weren’t paying attention to him. Then he began to Dina and Rick in a whisper. “I’m here to take care of things.”

“You need studying too?”

“No! Things.” He pointed to where he kept the silenced gun hidden, in a holster under his uniform jacket.

“Dude, that’s deep.” Rick misunderstood.

Dina, on the other hand, had a good idea about what he was going to do. “Don’t worry Nida, we aren’t taddles. We want this as much as you.”

“That’s not what I mean!” He kept his vice down in spite of his anger. He was about to continue when he saw someone else come into the library. Squall.

The guy looked run down. His eyes were staring right out in front, just like a marionette. His mouth hung down absentmindedly. It looked to Nida as if he hadn’t slept in weeks.

Terrific. He sighed. Another witness.


A loud scream echoed throughout the Garden. All the students heard it from their dorms and came running, too the library.

A crowed was gathered by the middle of the floor. In the row up front was Quistis, looking down at the corpse of Headmaster Cid. Not shot, but stabbed, three times in the back.

“Make way, coming through.” Irvine called, trying to get to see what the hubbub was all about.

He broke free into the front of the line, and almost felt like puking. “Oh, Hyne! A dead body! Get it way! Get it away!”

“What’s up with you?” Snapped Quistis. “You’ve seen dead bodies before.”

“Yes, but not Headmaster Cid look-alikes.”

“That IS Headmaster Cid.”

“Headmaster Cid!” He shouted with disbelief. “Who the hell did this?”

From the back of the crowed, Dina spoke up: “Squall.”

The crowd parted as Quistis stepped forward. Dina was left when the crowed had subsided.

Quistis looked at the Dollet red head. “You saw this happen?”

“Yes.” She answered reluctantly. “And so did Rick and Nida here.” She motioned towards the two standing beside her. “Rick and I came down here to discuss quiz results, and Nida was here for some late night studying.”

“And so was I.” Someone spoke up.

The crowd, including Quistis, looked over towards the speaker, who was situated at the right of the crowd. “Hi,” he greeted awkwardly. “My names Dobe. I’m your biggest fan Ms. Trepe. Awkward situation to meet in, I know. But I saw Leonhart come in here. He looked like a zombie. When he got close enough to the Headmaster, he took off that pendent of his and stabbed him in the back as if no one was looking. When I saw what was happening, I charged at him with my book and he ran off.”

“You didn’t try to stop him?” Quistis asked sternly.

“It happened so fast.” Explained Dobe. “What was I supposed to do? Cuff him and give him his rights?”

“That would have helped, but I guess you have a point.”

Now the Instructors came in. Scrivens forced his way to the front. “Move aside! I’m an Instructor!” Remarkably, he fainted when he saw the corpse.

Repede came forward soon after. “Scrivens, you coot. What made you do that in front of the kids?” He looked disdainedly towards the rest of the students. “What the hell happened here?!”

“Squall croaked the Headmaster.” A student spoke from the back when no one else would.

“You’re telling me a student did this?”

Everyone shook their heads.

“Dammit! I knew that kid would snap. Now listen up!”

Everyone snapped into attention at his authority carrying words.

“I’ll offer any student a free lunch in the cafeteria for bringing Squall in alive and well!”

The students muttered in disappointment.

Scrivens came too when he heard this. He looked up at Repede. “That won’t do at all. Free hot dogs for anybody who just brings him back alive!”

In a change, the students all cheered, running out of the library on the man hunt while the instructors were left behind to deal with the body.

Quistis stopped suddenly outside the library. Catching a passing Irvine by the sleeve of his coat.

“Hey, girl. What gives?”

“Stop and think Irvine. The Headmaster was the only fatherly figure to a lot of people in this Garden, and Squall was probably one of them.”

“So? He probably wasn’t. Now let’s go! Those free hot dogs are waiting, and this time, there’s no Zell for competition!”

“Will you shut your stomach up and listen!” Quistis instructed impatiently. “He wouldn’t kill him, not alone stab him in cold blood with four witnesses!”

“So he’s careless. Let’s go!” He started to run off to continue the manhunt, but Quistis pulled him back again.

“As his only friends, I feel it best we find him first.”

He perked up when he heard this. “Now you’re talkin’. Let’s go.” He started to run off yet again, but Quistis was still holding on to him.

“I’m not finished. Scrivens said he wanted Squall alive. He said nothing about him not getting beat within an inch of his life! And I have a good idea where to look for him.”

“So let’s go already!”

“I’m way ahead of you.” Now, Quistis ran off too the manhunt, but was still dragging Irvine by the sleeve.


Squall couldn’t help shaking as he washed the blood off his gloves and pendent. As soon as he was chased away, he ran to the girl’s washroom. Not that he cared where he went, he just felt and incredible need to wash the Headmaster’s blood away. The girl’s washroom looked much like the boy’s, only constructed as a mirror image room, and much cleaner.

“How ironic,” Cloak started serenely. “When you try to take your own life, you fail. Yet, when you try to take someone else’s life, you succeed.”

“Shut up. It was your idea to do some ‘shoplifting’!”

“Yeah, and you ended up burglarizing the entire department store.” She laughed.

He was sure he had never been more annoyed at anyone or anything in his life, than Cloak. “Sure, laugh. You won’t be the one who will get caught!”

“Quite contrary. But you see, I am not afraid.”

“That’s ‘cause you won’t get in trouble!”

“And why are you afraid?” She taunted. “You took the first step towards a different, less expensive identity. Now you can take the next.”

“Next step! To where! The noose?!”

“It’s a goal. But don’t think that you’ll go down like that. Get out there, get in front of them all and pronounce that you’ve killed Headmaster Cid, and you’re not afraid!”

“Yeah, I’m sure that’ll go over in court!”

“So you’re going to run away?”

“Damn straight!”

His keen ears picked up the rapid footsteps of runners heading towards his location.

“Too late.” Cloak mocked. “There’s no place to run now.”

“That’s what you think.” He left the sinks, going into the room with the shower stalls. At the last stall, he opened the door and pulled away the curtain to reveal a large hole in the wall, big enough for him to crawl through.”

This washroom isn’t without its blemishes. The hole had been the product of poor planning. He had spied Selphie using it several times from the place it came out. The girls managed to keep the hole barred by putting cardboard over it, then making sure that someone was close enough to kick any Peeping Tom in the face. It ended in the parking lot, from there; he could make his way into the dorms. He still had a chance.

Before the knob turned on the door, Squall slithered into the hole, and was gone before a group of four girls entered and started searching the place. They would eventually think of the hole, but Squall would have made his escape from the parking lot long before that.


Quistis broke the lock to Squall’s dorm with the aid of her whip, the door opened with its mechanized whoosh. She turned on the lights to the room. Both her and Irvine could not see another living person.

“Well, guess he isn’t here.” Started Irvine with a thankful sigh.

“He would have been here if you hadn’t taken so much time getting your gun!” Snapped Quistis.

“Oh, I’m the only one who’s, like, guilty around here? You also wanted to get your whip.”

“Can I help it if I want to prepare! Squall’s probably scarred stiff with a dagger or some other weapon he can wield at his side, I have to prepare myself.”

“Well, so do I.” He held his shotgun up in front of him.

“Scrivens said ‘alive’, not ‘dead’. Besides, you got your GF’s.”

“Hey, I can always shoot him in the leg.”

“Well that’s nice, but our target isn’t here!” Quistis turned to leave, but Irvine didn’t fallow.

“Hold it there, Trepe. This is, like, the first time I’ve ever seen Squall’s room. It’s so…clean.”

“What are you getting at?”

“What I’m getting at is…” he stopped in mid sentence, wandering over towards Squall’s desk. He reached under and pulled out a large sketchbook. “Hello, what’s this?” He turned to the first page. “Awww, he actually drew flowers and birdies.”

“Kinneas! Put that down. As you continue to go through Squall’s preschool sketches, he’s probably being beaten to a bloody pulp by someone right now!”

“How can you be so sure it’s his preschool sketches?” Irvine asked with a note of challenge.

“The date’s written on the back. From the look of the writing, someone else probably wrote it down.”

Irvine turned the sketchbook over to see. “Well, waddya know, this bugger’s thirteen years old. Boy, he was really into drawing kittens and birds. Although, I’m not so sure, but I think this thing here is a fish.” He pointed at one of the pictures. Quistis looked at the picture he was pointing at. For a four year old, he was a very good sketcher.

“Truly amazing.” Ogled Quistis. “He must have done these before he came to Garden.”

“And that’s not all.” Irvine cheered. “That’s only half the book. There’s still more.” He began to progress through the drawings. The level of drawing wasn’t the only thing that changed, but the style as well. As Irvine came to the end, the happy little pictures of a carefree four year old became more and more gothic and morbid. The book was finally dropped with mock disgust. “Dear Hyne! What the hell happened?”

“Obviously, his childhood perceptions of life were altered dramatically over the years.” She stopped for a second, looking ahead in front of her. Then, she bent down to look under the bed. “Okay Squall, you can come out now.”

No answer.

“Quistis! Have you flipped?” Irvine questioned.

“No, he’s under the bed. Just see for yourself.”

Reluctantly, Irvine got on his knees, looking under the bed alongside Quistis. She was right; Squall was under the bed, sprawled out like a house cat, glassy eyes staring straight at them. There were still bloodstains on his shirt and jacket collar.

Irvine quipped with worry, “Damn, Squall! You know how risky it is to be hiding out here?!”

“Kinneas! This is not the place, nor the time!” Yelled Quistis. “Come on out Squall.” She spoke softly enough as if lulling a shy rabbit.

Squall did not respond, just continued to stare, his breathing very audible and shallow.

With concern of this behavior, Irvine looked on. “Dude, are you going into shock?”

“Quite, Irvine! Go wait outside and tell me if you see anyone coming.”

Not surprisingly, Irvine grumbled as he got up and left. Since the lock for the door was broken, the door did not completely close. Quistis looked back at Squall. He had not changed in position a bit.

His throat felt dry and itchy as he whispered. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s too late for that Squall!” Quistis scolded. In surprise, Squall backed himself further under the bed.

“I’m sorry.” He whispered again, his voice shaking dramatically. “I was mad at him. Very mad. I thought it was the only way.”

“Four finger discount baby!” Jeered Cloak.

Instantly, he snapped back at the voice. “Put a cork in it!”

Quistis was taken aback by the remark. She was smart enough to figure out that he was not talking to her, but not psychic enough to know whom, or what, he was talking too.

“Squall. Who are talking to you?” She asked.

Squall looked at her blankly, but surprised either way. He had not intended her to hear that. Because of that fact, he did not respond.

Quistis asked him more forcefully. “Who are you talking too?!”

He did not answer her question. “I had to steel something.”

“So you stole a life?” She snapped.

Backing up further, Quistis saw clearly that he was crying. She seriously doubted they were crocodile tears, as his acting skills were horrible. She also didn’t think that he was any artist, but she had just seen several of his drawings over the years. Still, she knew he wasn’t acting.

Quistis extended a hand towards him. “Come one Squall. You’re sick, I’ll take you to Dr. Kadowaki, and we’ll see what we can do for you.”

“I’m fine!” He barked, his head shooting forward as if he were going to bite her hand. His hands clawed at the linoleum floor as he moved forward in sudden rage.

“Squall, you just killed another human being in cold blood with four witnesses. That’s not like you at all. Now I know something’s wrong.”

“Four witnesses,” he began, a little disbelieving. “but there was none. She told me there was none!”

“Whose she?”

“I’m FINE!” He repeated with more anger then before. “I just took some unwanted advice. I’m sorry.”

Cloak started up her ranting. “I thought you said you were going to run away?”

“I told you to shut up!”

Quistis gave him another quizzical look.

Squall noticed this. “I said I’m fine!”


Outside of Squall’s dorm, Brokk showed up. Irvine greeted him as casually as if no one had been killed.

“Whatcha doing here? You’re not finding Leonhart?” Brokk asked.

“Quistis’s got him inside here.” He pointed to the door beside him. “She told me to leave, and so I did.”

“Damn! My double’s just next door!”

“Feel good to live next to a killer?”

He ignored Irvine’s question. “What’s she doing in there? That stuff you talked about…”

“Whoa, I hope not! Although…”

The door opened, Quistis stepped out with Squall not so far behind.

The killer took one look at Brokk and murmured: “You’re one of Nida’s thugs.”

Brokk stared at him and screamed. “It’s the offender!”

“Relax, he’s not going to do anything.” Quistis reassured hesitantly. “I promised him I’d take him to the infirmary, where he wouldn’t be confronted by a mob, and thus, keep whatever pride he has left.”

Irvine gave her suspicious look. “Why the infirmary?”

“Because I’ve already said he didn’t want to be confronted by everybody. He’s already confessed, and he even apologized. We can at least cut him that much slack.”

“It could be a forced apology.”

“Squall isn’t capable of forced apologies. Now let’s get him over to Dr. Kadowaki. Maybe we can do something about those blood stains as well, you smell like rotting meat.” Quistis started to walk out of the dorms with Squall walking close beside her. Irvine and Brokk fallowed hesitantly behind. It wasn’t until they were completely out of the dorms that anything was said at all.

Quistis spoke first, yelling out across the Garden. “HE’S OVER HERE!”

Footsteps were heard as the students were heading towards them. What sense of calmness Squall had once had took the downslide.

He snarled angrily at Quistis. “Bitch!” He raised his fist, punching her in the eye, taking off like a fearful gazelle, with a game leg of coarse.

Irvine stood flabbergasted beside Brokk. “Dude, you, like, hit a woman!”

“Forget that!” She ordered, rubbing her sore eye. “Get him before he hides again!”

“You got it.” Brandishing his gun, he cocked it once and aimed for him.

Quistis saw what he was planning. “Irvine, STOP!” She intervened.

He fired, and missed. Squall stumbled for a few seconds then kept on running. The gun didn’t make much of a sound when it was fired, nor did it create much of a dent in the wall it hit.

“Holy crap! For a guy with a limp, he can really move!” Commented Irvine.

Quistis pushed herself onto her feet, trying to shake off the shock from the blow. “He’s heading towards the training center!”

“Doesn’t he know that that place is dangerous without a weapon?”

“All the more reason to catch him!” She pulled Irvine along with her as she took off for the training center, but Brokk stayed behind.

The rest of the students started pouring out of the doors. They had heard what Quistis had said about Squall running into the training center, but most of the students held back for fear of what actually resided in there. Only a few SeeDs, and one brave candidate fallowed them inside.

The air inside was damp and thick, perfect for the aggressive plants and gigantic monsters within. In the middle of the grounds was a huge generator like pillar, surrounded by a ring of turf, surrounded by an electric fence. All over, were tropical ferns and trees, but Squall was nowhere among them.

The students grouped together, brandishing their weapons, standing back-to-back, wary that if they called out, they would attract unwanted company. Nothing could be heard though. Nothing, until a quiver of large steps were heard echoing towards them. The students held tight their breaths. The footsteps were recognized as the footfalls of the mighty T-rexaur. If they were to encounter one, they would not be so confident that they could fight it.

They would not have to find out, for the footsteps receded lightly away.

“Quistis,” Irvine spoke softly, and a bit shakily, “what are the odds that thing already ate Squall?”

Not good for Squall. She thought pessimistically. She began to sprint after the T-rexaur, turning around only to motion for the other students to fallow her. As expected, the rest of them were reluctant, but fallowed anyway.

The sounds of the monster became much clearer as they advanced. The creature let out its primitive roar, a good sign that it had found a meal, or a target. It was possible that it was picking on a small grat, or another T-rexaur.

Quistis stepped forward, getting the monster in her view. She saw the thing claw the ground as it prepared to gouge after a much smaller opponent, dark looking with a mane of white. His back was turned to the oncoming danger.

“Squall’s a T-rexaur munchie.” One of the SeeDs mentioned sadly.

Irvine aimed his gun forward. “Oh no he’s not!”

The gun fired again, but with no gunshot fallowing. Regardless, Squall did collapse.

The T-rexaur roared in surprise, then lowered its reptilic snout down to sniff him.

“Why’d you do that man?” The candidate asked impatiently.

“Relax,” answered Irvine, “he’ll be fine just as long as he doesn’t move.”

“But what if it smells him. Much like it’s doing now.”

“Squall’s not big enough to be that thing’s appetizer anyway.”

As they continued to watch, the T-rexaur stopped sniffing Squall’s still body. It let out another roar, then lumbered off away from what it suspected was a spoiled meal, and away from the students.

Quistis jumped out of her hiding position, running forward to help Squall. Irvine fallowed with the other students behind him. When reached, the first thing Quistis noticed was the bright green feather sticking out of Squall’s neck.

“A dart gun.” She started with disbelief, not taking her eyes off of it. “You have a dart gun?”

“Of coarse I do.” Irvine started proudly. “What, did you think I’d actually bring along a real gun? Now, I know the guy just killed someone, but I don’t believe in that kind of justice.”

“I see. But how did you know sedating him would ward off the T-rexaur?”

“Easy. T-rexaurs are dumb. I figured that the thing would mistake him for dead because he was immobile and still reeked of death.”


“I know, I know. But it’s true. He’s still got some blood on him. And you know that fighting an immobile corpse is without thrill and gain.”

The few students who had entered the training center, came out of the training center, carrying the sleeping form of their ex commander, setting him down just in front of the catwalk that led into the training center. All the other students and staff crowded around.

A silent awe befell the whole crowed. Nothing was said for a few long moments.

“Who shot the dart?” Scrivens spoke up, pointing to the green feather.

Irvine volunteered his name proudly.

“Good work, guy with gun and funny hat.”

“It’s Irvine Kinneas, sir. I came here from Galbadia.”

“And good work for learning Alcauldian. Now if only the other Galbadian students would do the same. I’d have a smaller class then!”

All the former Galbadian students looked guilty except for Irvine.

“KINNEAS!” Repede shouted, getting past the crowd of students. He looked funny trying to get past everyone’s legs. “Why do you have a shotgun?!”

“It’s not a gun sir.” He explained quickly. “It’s a tranquilizer. See.” To illustrate his point, he shot another student, this one in the thigh. The student went down face first, snoring away.

“I see.” He apologized. “But you could have just taken the dart out of the gun instead.”

“I could have done what now?”

Everyone noticed that Squall began to stir. “Hey, he’s waking up.” Someone called.

Irvine looked down at his victim with worry. “No way! I put enough juice in those darts to take down Instructor Ambrus!”

“I heard that.” A largely overweight Ambrus remarked from the back of the crowd.

The crowd stood hushed as he writhed slowly on the ground. His eyes opened sharply, those that saw it gasped, one student even screamed. Calm came soon when he did not get up, his staring eyes glared glassy and bloodshot, his pupils barely visible. Not that what they saw was remotely natural, the students did calm down anyway. The strange thing was, his eyes were orange.

Repede immediately took charge of the situation. “All right folks. Show’s over. Get back to your dorms. Right now!”

All students obliged to do so, and most, rather quickly, as not to anger Instructor Repede any further. Others lingered back to the dorms.

Brokk purposefully separated himself from Irvine and Quistis, joining Nida, Rick, and Dina who had gathered beside the cafeteria.

Nida gave him a suspicious look. “And what did you think you were doing?”

“Calm down Nida.” He defended. “I’ve known Irvine for years. We were just hanging. It’s not like you called us for anything.”

His reasoning proved stable enough for Nida. “Okay then. I’m just worried about slippage.”

“Uh, yeah, slippage.”

“You’re stammering. Why the stammering?” His features became suspicious once more.

“Maybe he’s still all nervous from being so close to a real live killer.” Rick suggested.

Dina corrected him with a shove in the elbow. “Shut up Rick!”

“…And about that killer…” Brokk stammered some more.

“What about him?”

“He, um, said to me: ‘you’re one of Nida’s thugs’.”

The face of suspicion became the face of panic very fast.


The staff had held an emergency meeting after that, with several of the SeeDs present. Any candidate or junior classman that wanted to know what they had talked about had to ask a SeeD member.

A funeral was planned for Cid Kramer the fallowing day just outside of Garden. Several rows of folding chairs, and a podium covered in black were set up. All relatives, which weren’t much, and all residents of Garden attended. All, except Squall.

The service was held outside. Since none of the staff wanted to go far, they had the late Headmaster cremated, ready for his widow to take back with her. Edea sat up in the front of the congregation, sobbing uncontrollably. Of coarse, one of her ‘children’, Quistis, tried her best to consol her. As much as Edea demanded to know how he died, the SeeD tried her best not to say anything, not alone that he was killed by someone she raised as her own. It would have been devastating knowledge for her.

With secret intentions, Nida sat with his group of seven candidates. Listening intently to the eulogy given by Quistis, Instructor Scrivens, and Edea, but hers was highly inaudible due to the fact she couldn’t stop crying. What they were really trying to do was catch any hint of suspicion. Clear to them was that Edea knew nothing of Squall, and Scrivens and Quistis did their best to keep from mentioning anything of murder.

“What are you going to do now that the Headmaster is dead?” Whispered Kord.

“What I was planning to do all along.” Nida whispered back, not taking his eyes off the podium. “Nobody saw that coming, and nobody will see me coming.”

“What about Leonhart? What’s the staff planning to do with him?” Yuri asked, whispering like the rest. “Word has it they have him locked up in one of the classrooms.”

“He won’t be there for long. Some of the instructors were voting on sending him to prison.”

“How did that go over?”

“The notion didn’t fly. It was agreed this was a SeeD matter, and that no court would convict a seventeen year old.”

Sitting behind him, Sindri asked with ill contempt. “So what are they going to do?”

“Quistis brought up a good notion, backed by Dr. Kadowaki. They both believe he may be struck with a mental illness due to drug withdrawal, they didn’t say what. But myself, and almost everyone else agreed he was sick. So we’re sending him to some hospital in Timber. He’ll like it there, it’s in the jungle.”

“But Nida,” Brokk started, “what if he tells someone about what we’re doing?”

“He’s going to a mental institute. They won’t believe him if he’s there!”

Now, Yuri asked again. “So, who’s taking over as Headmaster?”

“Haven’t decided.”

“So, are they going to do anything about Squall’s SeeD membership?”

“Oh no, he’s a SeeD till he dies.”

“Why? You think with what he did, they would get rid of him entirely.”

“See, I thought so, too, but, apparently, with his skill, he would become a dangerous adversary if he were to go nuts and kill someone again. So, instead of throwing him completely to the wind, possibly causing mass havoc. In all aspects, he would be completely out of our hands. We all agreed that he should remain a SeeD, so that if he does become uncontrollable, the new Headmaster could just say the word, and we would shoot him on sight.”

Rick asked, one eyebrow rose. “Meaning?”

“Politics, it’s all politics.”


Inside an empty classroom on the second floor, Squall huddled in a corner, undressed and chained by his ankle. The entire staff were afraid he was a danger to himself as much as others, so they made sure he would have nothing and no way to get hold of any weapons. The offered fact that he had killed the Headmaster with his pendent was highly spoken that he was able to use his own clothing in lethal ways. So it was decided, he would be stuck up in an empty classroom, naked and chained to a wall support, far enough away from any loose object. It was hoped he wouldn’t have been gone enough to knock his head against the wall.

“You know,” Cloak started with a soft tone, “we should talk more.”

Squall was not thankful for her company at all. “What do you mean, talk more? You can’t shut up!”

“And you’re just the opposite. Okay, let’s get a conversation rolling here.”

“Bite me!”

“See. That wasn’t so hard. Now, for a longer sentence.”

He said nothing in return. Only laid his head in the cradle of his arms.

Cloak began to mock him. “Aww, cheer up Sunshine. Everyone makes mistakes.”

“Where the hell’s your gratitude?! You self-righteous bitch! If you’re here to protect me, then why am I freezing my freakin’ ass off while everyone else is saying goodbye to the deceased, whom I deceased?!”

“So some people punish mistakes more severely then others.”

“Mistake?! Where the fuck were you when I killed the Headmaster?”

“Where the fuck were you when you killed the Headmaster?”

Squall reluctantly withdrew any answer.

“You see!” Cloak ranted. “You weren’t there either. HA! You were too busy concentrated on yourself! Why can’t you think of others for once in your life?”

The anger rose in his torn and misshapen heart. He wanted to say something, wanted to yell at Cloak to go back to whatever hell had let her loose. But there was something about the haunting presence of the voice that subdued him. With all that had happened in the day, he started to cry again, thinking of how he could have played things differently if he had paid attention to his surroundings. The thought was so great, that he did not feel the pang of hunger his body was feeling. It had been a day and a half since he had eaten anything.

In his mental anguish, Squall began to cry, his head in his hands. From that point on, his future was entirely out of his grasp. Since he was sedated, he had woken up where he was. He had no idea of what the staff and students had planned for him, or what they were saying. He was envisioning anger, vengeance. The eyes of his indifferent victims were glowing red, their tongues in mocking stance. He had proved he was too dangerous to keep around as an ally, now the fear that Cloak had told him about was finally working against him. She was right, so he was weak, but he still wasn’t ready to accept her help entirely.

“Live with it Appalling Pace.” Cloak hissed. “I’m not leaving anytime soon.”


“Irvine Kinneas!” Quistis scolded. “What made you tell her that?”

Quistis and Irvine were with Edea Kramer towards the back of the funeral congregation. The actual service was finished. Now, it was basically talk and deliver condolences, and Irvine had just spilled the beans about Squall. As predicted, Edea had gone into a deluge of crying.

“Well, she asked!” Irvine whined. “And quite politely I might add.”

“She didn’t ask! You told her flat out! I thought you said you were good at talking to women?”

“I am! I just don’t talk to a lot of middle aged widows.”

Edea began to cry harder when she heard the word ‘widows’. Much of the crowd was looking at them.

Irvine looked sheepishly back at Quistis. “Okay, let’s not use the ‘w’ word.”

Edea cried harder.

“Let’s just try talking to her.” Quistis suggested. “Matron, can we get a clear cut word from you?”

The former sorceress slowed her sobbing. “I-I’m sorry Quistis.” She wiped away her tears with her own hand. “I just wasn’t prepared for this, that’s all.”

“But Matron,” Irvine started, “everyone dies, it’s a natural thing in life.”

“I know, Cid is dead, but I’ll see him again, someday. I just can’t believe that Squall has gotten this bad. I always knew something was different about him, but…”

“Whoa there Matron.” Irvine started, putting his hands up in front of him. “You knew he was different?”

“Well, yes. He rarely looked anyone in the eye. He paid much more attention of specific detail then general shapes, not a usual trait in a child. He hated physical contact. In fact, I don’t recall holding him near as much as you and the rest. And he blew up the fridge when he was only three. As I recall, that was when he said his first word. I thought he was born a mute.” Edea smiled a bit as she reminisced. The memories of her earlier years brought her much comfort in that hour.

Quistis and Irvine looked at each other with the same curious expression. What they heard, they believed, but that didn’t make Squall dangerous enough to kill a human being on his own time.

“One thing I would have loved to see,” Edea continued in remembrance, “is the full potential of the GF Cid was always talking about.”

“Full potential?” Irvine asked, scratching his head in a show of not knowing-ness. “Don’t we do that on a daily basis?”

“I would have been told if that happened. Cid said that only Squall and Seifer would be able to do it throughout the whole Garden.”

“Cool.” Replied Irvine, though he still appeared a bit curious. “Why just Squall and Seifer?”

“Cid said they had, or lacked a special ‘something’ that allowed them to connect with the GF on deeper levels.”

Irvine was growing ever more exited with the new knowledge. “So spill Matron. What’s the GF’s full potential? Don’t keep us in suspense, I gawdda know, I gawdda know, I gawdda know!”

“Ease off Irvine.” Quistis intervened by putting her hand on his shoulder. “You’ve been around Selphie too long. You’re going to blow a fuse one of these days.”

Edea looked at them both solemnly. “I’m sorry, but beyond that, I haven’t a clue. I told Cid I’d wait to see it for myself, and I’m pretty sure I still will.” Her eyes started to water with knew tears as she thought of something else. “I just hope it isn’t what drove Squall mad and…killed my dear Cid.” Her tearing eyes started a new cycle of rush sobs, and she once again became inconsolable.

Quistis and Irvine were unsure as to whether they should help her out emotionally, or walk away.


The sun had set on that day. Much of the Garden was immobile. Students were left to contemplate on the new paradigm shift. Contrary to Squall’s own paranoid indulged accusations, the majority of students didn’t want to believe what he had done. As Commander, they had taken great pride in having such a unique leader. After he had lost his title as Commander, much of that feeling didn’t change, however, there was a bit of fear in his presence, but not as much a Cloak exaggerated. Now, many of them didn’t know what was to become of him, or them.

A classroom door opened on the second floor. Out stepped Scrivens, fallowed by an Instructor Aki, fallowed by two SeeDs and Dr. Kadowaki. One of the SeeDs was Nida. He looked with loathing contempt as Squall stepped out of the darkened classroom, clothed in some hand-me-down sweats Dr. Kadowaki had in the Infirmary. Most of the lights on the second floor were turned off. Only the main light by the catwalk was on. Scrivens held a kerosene lamp to give them some extra light.

The task to get Squall dressed was pressing to say the least. He held still only when Nida grabbed the back of his neck. He seamed to have hated that, and paid more attention to Nida then the rest, all the while, keeping a stance that looked like a viper getting ready to strike. The job just got more difficult when they tried getting him to stand up and come with the group of staff and SeeD. With an unmistakable feeling of doom, he had been highly reluctant. Being in a darkened classroom all day, he blinked when he saw the kerosene lamp, and the single light by the catwalk.

“Look at them all,” Cloak scowled, “all looking down at you like some kind of rambunctious house pet.” He looked at them, all standing around him. None seamed in the least bit pleased, as if they were already taking him to the gallows. Both Instructor Aki, and Scrivens had tasers, the two SeeDs had their weapons; Dr. Kadowaki seamed the only one unarmed.

Cloak stopped Squall when he looked down at the pike Nida carried. “Oooh. What a pretty trinket. Let’s examine it closer.” The weapon was a definite import, not anything like the other pikes at the Garden. Its shaft was as white ivory, the headpiece of the pike was long, double edged, and two pointed. It also appeared to be made of uranium metal, rather then the standard steel. All in all, it was pretty well white.

For the first time, Cloak screeched in agonizing anger. “GET IT! GET IT NOW!” It was as if she hated the color white.

Only wanting her to shut up, Squall reached for the pike. Just as Nida saw what he was doing, pulling the pike out of his immediate reach, the other SeeD clubbed him in the back with his staff. The SeeD hit him a few more times after he collapsed to his knees, then fell completely to the floor under the pressure of the blows.

Instructor Aki grabbed the head of the staff. “Okay, that’s enough Cameron. Once was fine!”

Squall managed to lift his upper body up off the floor, his arms were shaking with weakness and cold, he had neglected the used of blood thickener for the entire day. The SeeD known as Cameron grabbed his right shoulder, lifting him to his feet with little remorse. Nida took hold of his left shoulder. As they began to walk towards the elevator, Squall’s started to pant, his heart doubled it’s pounding, and he began to sweat. His own gaze shot from Nida, to Cameron, to Scrivens, to everyone with electric motion, he couldn’t remember the last time he was that scared.

Cloak hissed violent retribution. “I won’t let you go down like this!”

Still in the clutches of the two SeeDs, he began to struggle. Both Cameron and Nida responded by holding him with both hands. In response to this, Squall snapped at both of them, trying desperately to bite. Dr. Kadowaki moved forward to calm him down. From his peripheral vision, Squall could see the doctor reaching a hand out towards him. To him, he did not envision the hand as friendly. All he could care about was hate: hate he had, and hate he imagined them to have. So he snapped at the hand. In reflex, the doctor pulled her hand away. Now, Instructor Aki drove the end of his taser in between Squall’s shoulders, zapping him into momentary paralysis. His struggling ceased as he fell limp for a second. The SeeDs began too once again drag him towards the elevator. Dr. Kadowaki was still in front of them.

Squall cooperated with them reluctantly when they entered the elevator, and when they left it. He was just too weak to put up any decent fight with five other people, but he still didn’t stop his rapid breathing.

The initial entrance to the Garden was at least two stories off the ground, and no lift to take anyone down. A thick rope ladder was attached to the very front of the entrance. A candidate sat down on the Garden’s anti-gravity ring below the entrance, a car was parked out a ways. She looked up when she saw who was at the entrance.

It was a huge concern to get Squall down the ladder. Cameron went down first. Nida tried to threaten Squall to go down by digging the point of his pike into the small of his back. Squall’s mind snapped with panic, and Cloak began to scream. Unaware of his actions, he turned around and snarled at the Garden pilot. Nida withheld his pike quickly. He did not expect such a blatant display of rebellion. The staff members stood calmly by, not wanting to get any closer then they already were.

He eventually got Squall off the Garden by pushing him. Luckily, Cameron caught him. Squall began to struggle right away. He was easily subdued enough, since the SeeD, as well as the candidate were holding on to him.

The staff members watched as the students hauled Squall into the car over closer to the trees. The two SeeDs got in the back with him, and the candidate got in the driver’s seat, and sped off too the road that was located just a bit out of the woods. All three of them were thankful that they had gotten rid of his GF’s while he was still unconscious the day before. It would have been impossible to get him out of the Garden without causing a commotion. The outcome would have been a whole lot worse with an audience.

In the backseat of the car, Squall stared forward at the back of the front seat, while Cameron and Nida were at his right and left, making sure he did not all of a sudden get violent.

The feeling he had longed to abandon rose swiftly with a vengeance. He was, once again, alone, not by circumstances out of his control, but by something he could have prevented. It felt worse then if there was no way to prevent it in the first place.

“They’re all gone Appalling Pace. They’re not coming back.” Reminded Cloak, less then empathetic. Squall had no reason not to believe her. They were taking him away from Garden, away from his home that he would never see again. He had left once, thinking that he may not see it again, but that had been on circumstance of duty, now he knew he was never going to see the Garden again. He would never see Rinoa again. With all his good being, he wished that she would never find out about what had happened. He would die a happy man if Rinoa never knew the truth about him.

As he continued to reminisce about bent feelings and lost gold, he began to sing a soft, sad song, desperately trying not to cry.

The candidate at the wheal heard him. “Y’know,” she began in a Balambese accent, keeping her eyes on the road. “Maybe we should take him back. He obviously feels bad about what he did.”

Silently, Nida panicked, he did not want Squall to go back, for it had been his idea to dump him in an institute. “Don’t get those ideas! He’s dangerous and needs help.”

“He is low on blood and pumped up with drugs.”

“That just brought out his true intentions. What if he tries something like that again?”

From beneath his torment, Squall had heard Nida talk.

“Listen to that.” Ordered Cloak. “Thinks he knows what’s good for you. Put him in his place, NOW!”

Cloak’s voice startled him, and he felt complied to obey just to get her to be quiet. His head sprang upwards, and he hissed at Nida. Cameron moved fast to keep Squall from ripping his tongue out. After a few seconds of trying, Squall calmed down, Cameron was obviously the stronger, and all the previous struggling had worn him out. Would it have been so bad to use a GF, blow the car apart, and run away if he perchance survived. With audible reason, it was not a good idea. Both Nida and Cameron probably had theirs, and maybe even the candidate.

So he sat still, singing on and off to hide his tears for the next twelve hours.

By the time they reached their appointed destination, the sun was already up. It was hard to notice because a storm had come in. Thunder resonated itself out of the sky as the rain fell down heavily. Nida forced Squall out by the hand. Cameron fallowed, grabbing hold of Squall’s other hand.

The first thing to notice was the tropical foliage, and a big old building, about eight stories high from the front door, which stood almost four feet off the ground. The lightning illuminated the old bronze sign over the door: North Yaulny Hospital.

“NO!” Squall hurried to summon Shiva, to freeze everything in sight, but she would not respond.

Damn! I’ve been dejunctioned!

Cloak responded to his distress. “Well of coarse. Did you think that they would carry you all the way here with those three? It sounds very suicidal to me. And you should know a lot about suicide by now, or at least the part where you don’t die.”

A balding, gray haired doctor came out of the building holding an umbrella. Two large, male nurses fallowed.

The two SeeDs moved forward towards the hospital staff as Squall started to scream. With no real way to fight his way out, his reason had crumbled to hysteria. He did not want to accept his lunacy, or enter that hospital anyway.


The SeeDs let go of him, only to hand him over to the two nurses. Squall kept screaming his innocence and how it wasn’t his fault. “IT WAS CLOAK! SHE DID EVERYTHING! I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT I WAS DOING! SHE WAS BEHIND IT ALL! PLEASE DON’T TAKE ME IN! PLEASE NO!!”

Cloak found his ranting funny. “You really think they’re going to believe that now. This is a nut house, remember.”

The doctor approached the two SeeDs. “May I ask who you are?” The old man asked in New Galbadian.

Nida took over the answering. “We are the two SeeDs sent by Balamb Garden. One of our instructors called you earlier about Squall.”

“Ah, yes, the psychotic episode.”

Out of the pocket of his uniform, Nida brandished an extra three hundred gill. “Give him a nice cell. If possible, something with a view.”

The doctor accepted the money happily, stuffing it into the pocket of his smock. The old man then started back towards the hospital, the nurses fallowed. Squall still struggled as they walked up the steps to the huge double doors. “NO! NO! PLEASE NO! I’M NOT CRAZY. I’M NOT!! I DIDN’T MEAN TO DO ANYTHING!! DEAR GOD, IT WASN’T MY FAULT!!” He continued to scream even after they had gone inside and closed the doors behind them.

Thankful the whole ordeal was over, the two SeeDs got back into the car. The vehicle started and sped off down the muddy road back to Garden.

Cameron looked out the window at the passing trees. “How long till the next rest stop?”

“Oh, for crying out loud.” Nida sighed. “Just go behind one of the trees.”

“Out there. But there’s quicksand and snakes and suckers and…”

“You know damn well there’s nothing between here and Garden but trees and savannah.”

“Well, July might have to go. Don’t you?” The question was steered towards the candidate at the wheal.

“I went while they were hauling Squall away.” July answered.

“C’mon Cameron,” Nida tried to convince, “the worst thing that could happen is you getting a leach on your butt.”

“What about you, don’t you have to go?”

Nida took a few seconds to answer. “No.”

“Well, okay. But, you know, we did forget to give them the drugs.”

“What drugs?”

“You know. Squall’s need-to-take-drugs-because-of-loss-of-blood-and-other-complications medication.”

Nida didn’t respond. He had known someone would bring that up. He knew he had forgotten them. He had left them back at Garden on purpose.


To the south of Garden, Selphie was still coming.

“C’mon Sly boy.” She spurred lively to her chocobo. “Mush! Mush! Step on it! Make tracks! Wear that dirt down! Claw that soil baby! Ride like the wind! I can’t continue reciting spurring clichés!”

Notes for Clarity: As you might have noticed in ch 8, a garbled sentence that Cloak mutters may be somewhat unreadable by your computer, either by my mistake, or read as illegible by your browser. Either way, you know that what she is saying cannot be spelled within the our alphebet.

Chapter 9

General Wyvern's Fanfiction