A Mist Over Winhill Chapter 5
Of Guns and Butterflies
By Kate Lorraine
Zell felt the worry nagging at him all through the train ride to Galbadia Garden. When they came to the small forest on the way to East Academy, he could no longer repress his thoughts.
The group of four took a break and checked their junctions preparing for the worse should the forest be infested with hostile inhabitants.
"Squall," Zell asked turning his attention to the unspoken leader of the group, "do you think Garden is really in danger?"
Zell clenched his fists in frustration. The silence said more than words could. Selphie looked away, tucking her hands behind her back. Xu stood with here hands clasped in front of her, studying the ground in forged fascination.
"Squall," Zell implored once more, realizing that he was the only one capable of answering honestly. Itching to move, Zell walked over and grabbed Squall by his wrists and shook him.
"Squall," Zell whined once more.
Scowling furiously, Squall shoved Zell aside and crossed his arms over his chest.
"There is no telling now that may happen," Squall snapped.
Zell sighed and allowed his hands to dangle wearily at his side.
"It's all just too confusing," Xu admitted. "I don't know what we are doing anymore."
"Maybe they'll let Cid go," Selphie suggested. "Galbadians are mean but they're not evil."
"I don't want anything to happen to Garden," Zell admitted. "Especially not if it's because of me."
* * * * *
Squall Leonhart stood at the window in the reception room of Galbadia Garden. He looked down at the students training on the outskirts of the academy. Once upon a time he and Seifer had done the same. Now they were two bitter foes fighting a war with no purpose except to protect a sorceress bent on destruction. He remembered his wish for a new life and realized that this was not what he had hoped for. It was a mess of confusion, full of things that nipped at his mind like demons from a forgotten past. Looking about the room he saw Selphie catching a quick nap on the leather couch. Zell was staring into nothingness, lost in thought. He absently tightened his gloves once in a while, an old habit that he had since childhood.
The door to the reception room opened and Xu walked in followed by the headmaster of Galbadia Garden, Martine.
"They've taken Cid?" Martine asked in shock.
"Deling denied it." Xu said in confusion. "I don't understand."
"Deling didn't take the headmaster." Squall said, speaking slowly as if he was explaining matters to child. "It was the sorceress Edea."
Martine looked downcast. "Then there is only one course of action to take. I knew it would come down to this. You all know about the sorceress being appointed as the peace ambassador for the Galbadian government. However, this ambassador thing is just a cover up. There will be no peace talks, only threats."
Martine gestures to them. "Meet me at the entrance. I'll have your orders for you then."
* * * *
Irvine Kinneas watched the butterflies dancing in midair. Using his gunpowder stained fingers he tipped his cowboy hat further over his eyes. He hummed an old lullaby under his breath hearing the lyrics in his head.
'Sounds of the rude world, heard in the day'
His mind meandered over the peaceful landscape of his thoughts pausing now and then at an interesting sight. His mind lingered at a memory of a pretty face, a slender ankle, a soft waist under his fingers. He reached over and ran a finger over the smooth well oiled exterior of his gun.
' Led by moonlight, have all passed away'
A butterfly gingerly landed on his index finger.
"Kinneas! Irvine Kinneas!" Someone yelled out of nowhere.
A frown touched Irvine's lips as he made his finger into the shape of a gun and pretended to shoot the butterfly. Getting up from his comfortable place in the grass, Irvine laid his eyes on the small gathering of SeeDs.
"This is Irvine Kinneas. He will be your sharpshooter. Leave whenever you're ready." Martine advised as he left.
Irvine felt the hair in the back of his neck prick up as he recognized the small group in front of him. Squall, Zell, Selphie, it was the orphanage gang. He winked at the girl with the bouncing hair.
'Beautiful dreamer, Queen of my song '
The memories rushed back to him of Edea's orphanage, of running and squealing through the glorious meadow, collecting seashells near the light house, of being young. But the childhood days were gone and so were they. Looking at their blank faces, Irvine realized that they didn't even recognize him. With bitterness in his usual light heart, he smiled at them.
' List' while I woo thee, with soft melody.*
There was someone missing, however, and Irvine felt a degree of sadness as he remembered Quistis. Had he managed to protect her that winter morning ten years ago perhaps she would be here, a SeeD as well. But no one could have prevented her from leaving, no one except maybe Squall. Irvine drove the memories from his mind. He was not here to dole out blame as much as some deserved it. Let Squall live with his conscience, he should have known that some sacrifices just weren't meant to be accepted.
"Bang." Irvine said cheerfully as he aimed his mock gun at Martine's back. "Well well, look what we have here," Irvine said with a happy smirk as he eyed the two girls.
"Irvine Kinneas?" Xu ventured tentatively. "You will help us assassinate the sorceress."
Irvine waved his hand nonchalantly. "What else is new?"
"What's your problem?" Zell asked gruffly.
"Those are the silliest pants I've ever seen!" Irvine at Zell's jeans and bursted out laughing. Zell jumped up in fury.
"Whoa, guys!" Xu exclaimed stepping between them. "I better put the two of you on different teams."
Irvine rubbed his hands together.
"Can I choose the teams? I want to be on the same team with these two hottie girls."
Xu laughed nervously, slightly flattered.
"Good grief!" Zell yelled.
"Umm guys, maybe we should be going," Selphie ventured.
"Hey you're a pretty one. What's your name?" Irvine asked.
"Hmm sounds familiar."
"You're a psycho."
"Thanks," Irvine replied.
"Squall," Zell whined. "Aren't you going to yell at him?"
"Let's go," Squall replied tritely, ignoring Zell once more.
"Yeah," Xu said following up. "We need to be leaving. You too chicken wuss."
Irvine bent over laughing and pointed at Zell.
"Chicken wuss! Is that what they call you?"
"Shut up!!" Zell hollered.
*"Beautiful Dreamer," is a children's song found on KIDoodles. Words and music
by Stephen C. Foster. Copywrite unknown.
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