What If...? Quistis Failed at Becoming a SeeD?

By Malice Shaw

"Hey gorgeous, get over here!"

Useless drunk. I placed his cup down next to him and snapped "Here" and turned away.

His hand left an imprint on my butt.

Mine left an imprint on his cheek.

"Hey watch it sweet cheeks or I'll be damned sure to make sure you don't walk outta here again!"

I turned around and glared at him, throwing my tray on the table. "I'd like to see you try, jerk!"

To my surprise, he actually did. As he was standing up, I could tell that he had sure had his share of beers by the disgusting way his gut hung over his belt like a limp piece of rotten cheese. The celluilite in his overhanging stomach wrinkled the skin on his stomach sickened me, and the beer on his breath made me want to hurl. He was dirty, foul. Even the hair that trailed from his belly button down into his too tight jeans held small clumps of grime. The whole persona of the man disgusted me, and I let him know in my snarl. Cracking his knuckles, he advanced on me, and swore with his stinking breath about what he wanted to do to me. I never felt real fear until then.

It's those times during these days when I wished I had stayed in Balamb. But when I failed my SeeD exam, I left when I was fifteen back home, and started to make amends. My foster mother had just died and my foster father was a cripple from the car accident that killed her, so I took a job to take care of his young two kids. But when a fire burned down their house while I was at work, killing everyone inside, I flew from Balamb to here, in Deiling. The money from the insurance on the burned down shack was just a little over enough to pay for the funerals, and the burial plots, and whatever was left I invested into making a new life for myself here. It was hard at first, with me sleeping in my car for almost a month, but it was worth it, just to get away from that small town, the staring townspeople, and the beautiful beautiful Garden I gave up three years of my life to stay.

I say my foster family, because I'm adopted. I should say adopted family, but they almost never made me feel at home. Cook, clean, scrub, wash, make supper, everything that could possibly be spurred from their mouths except 'I love you' was. So I tried my best to earn my way into their home, but it wasn't enough. My mother was a drunk, my father, well, he was just completely different. Eccentric, even though he made quite a bit of money, he always wished to live in some man made chicken coop in the back yard, which surprised me. They were rich because of my mother's inheritance, and also, she was pregnant. Her drinking, as far as I'm concerned, possibly could have hurt those unborn children, but whenever I voiced my concerns I was slapped for thinking I knew more then my mother. I put to it that it was her dirnking that caused the car accident which killed her her and crippled her husband. I just thank the Hyne those two kids where at a babysitter, and they were able to live a few more years of uninterruptions while I cared for them until the fire from my crippled father's lit cigarette snuffed them out.

I am Quistis Trepe. I don't know my real last name, so I took my foster family's last name. All I do know is my name is Quistis. Adopted when I was five, I was sent to Galbadia Garden when I turned eight, the minimum age for Garden inductees. Over the course of four years, I had learned everything I needed at Galbadia, and I was transferred to Balamb Garden for my SeeD training there. They figured that since I had learned everything so fast and at such a young age, it would be best for me, and in a way I agreed. I didn't like Galbadia very much. It was boring! All I could do there with the older students was play cards, which I always kicked their butts in. Soon even they decided I was too good to play against them, and stopped playing me, even when I challenged them. It was after I had read about Balamb Garden that I brought my case up to the Headmasters, and they agreed to have me transferred with a high recommendation from them to the Headmaster of Balamb, Headmaster Cid Kramer.

He gave me a chance, and I blew it. We were on a field mission, and I led Squad B. Gnats and other assorted monsters where attacking the small town of Winhil, and we were to eliminate them, stay focused until we were sue there weren't anymore, and then return to base. I roped myself into thinking that this was going to be just an easy mission, but one of the Bombs shot fire and attempted to burn down the peaceful town in a blaze of flames. I underestimated that, and we helped the villagers out of their houses, evacuating one by one, while they burned to the ground. I didn't expect a young pair of twins to run into a shed for safety, but the Bomsb did. They ganged up on the shed and burned it to the ground, while the screaming children where inside. It wasn't until the clean up, when we found their charred and mangled corpses did I realize how badly I failed. The mother of the children sued, and the Garden lost a lot of money. It was then that I left. headmaster Cid told me may times that it was alright, it wasn't bad, that I could take the test again. But I felt too much guilt over it, and packed my bags for home. I remember who came into my room that night to wish me luck. One of them was Zell Dincht, an old friend of mine from way back. I always loved his company.

I was packing my underwear when he walked in. I turned to him and smiled as his face paled and he turned away, sheepishly. Even though he was well thirteen at the time, (I'm two years older then him) he always shied away from anything womanly. It made me laugh, and when I did, he loosened up. To make him feel a little at home I closed my suitcase and sat on top of it.

"Hi Zell." I rang out to him. He simply nodded and smiled, stil embarassed. "What can I help you with?"

Zell came over to me, and sat down on my bed. "I'm just here to say bye, Quisty."

He never could say my name right, but I did like the way he said it, it sounded.. magical. "Zell you don't have to. You know I'll visit."

Zell always acted nervous. But this time, he really relaxed finally. "I know, Quisty. But DAMN... I don't wanna see you leave!"

He actually started crying then. Crying! I never ever once in my life would think that Zell would cry. He really didn't want to see me leave. "Zell," I whsipered. "I don't want to go either."

"Then why don't you stay Quisty? We all love you and need you here."

This was going to be hard to explain. But a little white lie wouldn't be so bad now is it? "My..My family needs me. I'll come back and visit. I love this place, it's been so nice to me and like a second home, so I'll come by and visit. Every other weekend. Is that alright?"

Zell sniffled so much it almost broke my heart. His puberty years were almost done but he still acted like a needy child. I always loved his innocense, a quality in him that always made me feel a bit superior, but not in a bad way of course. Hugging him close, I murmered the words that my Matron of years ago said to me to comfort him, and he stayed with me for about a half hour before he realized he had some training to do.

"I'm updating my gloves today Quisty! You gotta see them!" He almost shouted at me in happiness. I merely nodded and scooted him out of my room, saying I had more to pack, and using the word 'unmentionables' to get rid of him. Again, his face paled and he nodded dumbly, and lef tmy room with a hastey good bye.

An hour passed, and I had only seemed to zip up on suit case and throw it in a corner. Sitting on my bed I sighed, and breathed in the clean scent of my room. I was going to miss this place. And I can't lie to myself as well as I could lie to Zell. I will always know the true reason behind me staying behind. Bcause I killed a little boy and a little girl with my negligence, and cost the Garden a lot of money, so much they might be in debt for years, and there was no way I could ever pay them back with out seling myself to the devil or Hyne himself. Again, I sighed, and looked at the gorund. Feeling was about to make me cry, until i heard a knock on my open door. Snapping my head up, I saw one of the new kids there, Squall Leonhart. His hand was still in the knocking position and the other one was stuff into his pocket. The lone wolf himself. I was shocked to actually see him there. He was the second to last person I expected to come see me.

"Squall?" I asked, not believing my eyes.

He nodded, and looked around. I got the drift. As much as a lone wolf the guy was, he sure as hell wasn't rude. "Come in, Squall."

Stepping inside, I noticed his walk. Somewhat sexy, but also looked painful to attempt to mimick. The walk of the Lone Wolf. I laughed at my joke. Squall looked at me funny, and I raced to explain.

"Just a joke I thought of. Come on, have a seat." I patted the place beside me and scooted farther away. I watched him as he sat down. he had gorgeous blue eyes, a color a few shades lighter then my own, and I envied him. I had always wished my eyes weren't so cyan, more blue, like his. Like a crashing ocean water, reflecting everything around him, mimicking it in the iris. I remember once he was practicing Fire magic, and he almost burned his hand, letting it aflame. but I watched his eyes when he did it, and what I saw was the exact same flame burning inside his eyes. It made me scared, for a moment, but it did deepen my feelings for him. I don't know what I felt for him anymore, whether it was love or admiration, but I do know one thing, that it wasn't mutual.

"So." He whispered. He was never one for talking.

"Yes?" I asked him. "Is there something you need?"

Squall just shrugged. "Just saying goodbye Quistis."

"Well say it." He may be a lone wolf, the silent type, but he sure is one to procrastinate.

"Just wanted to say goodbye. And good luck." He turned to me and held out his hand. "It was great working with you, Quistis."

"You too." I said. Not very emotional are you?

"Yeah. Well. Bye." He said, picking himself up and walking out of my dorm room with out letting me have a word in.

Some what of a jerk, isn't he?

I sighed and pulled out anothe empty suicase and waited for someone else to show up. About an hour went by and he didn't so I started packing the last things in my suitcase.

It wasn't until I had packed the very last things in my possesion did I hear heavy footsteps in the hall. I didn't know who they were, but I figured they'd be the headmaster's, reminding me when I was leaving. He didn't have to, since he was driving me to Balamb the hext day, early morning. Sudenly I felt scared. I was leaving this place after only one failure? Why? Because I am the failure? That's the only reason. Even the headmaster tried to convince me other wise. But he can't. He can't lie very well. I look out my window with my back to the doorway, which Squall was kind enough to leave open. Thanks Squall. Sarcasm.

"Huh. Just like a woman to not be ready for anything, eh Trepe?"

The first one who held the spot on my 'would never show' list. "Seifer Almasy?"

There he was in all his glory. What glory there was. The Instructors always yelled a him to get a decent hair cut, and some how lose the chin length cut he'd sometimes pull back into a stubby ponytail. Sometimes when I wanted to give him a little misery i'd yank the rubber band from his hair and watch it fall around his face. He would turn to me and glare, snatching the band from my hand. I don't know ifhe liked me very much, but since he was one major trouble maker, I don't think it was in his persona to attempt to like much of anyone. Except for his two constant companions, Fujin and Raijin, he never talked to anyone else unless he considered them at his level. Squall and him were like different sides of the same coin, Seifer, with his head full of himself and Squall, always having to watch his tail. It never fails to place those two in the same room and have them suddenly at each other's throats. But that wasn't the point now. I sighed and turned away from him, looking at my unpacked gear. Seifer Almasy. Just what was he doing here? And with out his little..Posse?

Seifer walked in, and closed the door behind him, slowly. I heard the click of a lock too. Why he would be locking my door was beyond me. When I looked back at him, he was leaning against the locked door, preventing any route of escape I could perform. That sort of annoyed me, so I pushed my glasses back on my nose and glared at him, with my fists on my hips.

"What do you need?" I asked. My voice betrayed an annoyance I didn't feel.

I don't know if I hit a cord or not, but his eye did twitch slightly. Shaking his head, he smirked. "I just don't believe the great Trepe of Galbadia Garden is taking off."

I sneered at him. "I'm not from Galbadia anymore, jerk."

Seifer feigned pain, by gripping his chest. "Oh no! Did the malacious Trepe fling an insult my way? Oh the pain!"

Growling I turned away from him and resumed my packing. Not that I had much anymore to pack. I heard him sigh, but also noticed he was closer to me. "Hey. I'm sorry Trepe. Sheesh, don't get emotional on me."

I groaned and sat down on my bed, still fuming at him. Pushing my glasses back up my nose I stared at the floor, and waited for him to say his piece.

"Look, Trepe. I didn't mean harm or nothing." He almost whispered. But with the silence of the room I could hear him perfectly.

"Then why are you here?" I asked. He seemed abit taken aback by my bluntness.

"I just wanted to say so long, Trepe, don't get so damned defensive."

I sighed, and looked at him now, shoving my glasses back up my nose. "Yeah, well.. I didn't expect you to come."

"Why not?"

"Just because it wouldn't seem to 'cool' of you to." I muttered, standing up. I picked up my suitcase and grunted, knowing that for the second time I over packed it, just like the last one. After I groaned again, I felt Seifer come around me to stand next to me silently, and moved my hands away from the handle. With some expertise, he groaned and lifted the suitcase himself, and looked at me, waiting for my next move. At first I admired the strength in his arms. Even with the black shirt he was wearing I could tell he was working to the max, with lifting my over stuffed luggage. I think black was his favorite color. He sure liked wearing it enough. Even now he wore black jeans with his shirt, and black tennis shoes that were worn in well. The only thing that even slightly had color on his body was the silver cross like necklace he wore. I pointed to the corner where my other case rested and he nodded, easing it over there and gently putting it down.

"What are you packing, Trepe?" he mumbled, wiping the sweat from his brow. "Half the Garden's rock collection?"

Even I had to laugh at that one. Seifer smiled at me and crossed his arms over his chest. I silenced myself and stared at him, and found myself really liking his smile, and his good natured looks. he was looking at the floor, smiling, and then he brought his green eyes to my blue ones and stopped smiling.

"Why are you really going, Quistis?" Quistis. That was the first time I had ever heard him use my name. Usually it's Trepe, or sometimes, Stupid Cow whenever I've ripped the band from his hair. But Quistis..? No. I never heard that from him before.

I turned away from him, pushing my glasses up my nose. I hated these stupid things, with their big ugly frames and stupid looking coke bottle lenses. They're designed to correct my vision for reading, but it would be a few months now before I could read with the nice pair I had already picked out, where the lenses weren't so damned thick. After trying them on for an hour, I knew that wearing these damned things would be worth the wait, at least. But I wasn't reading now. I took them off my nose and put them on my table. Sitting down I picked up a small figurine the Headmaster gave me on my birthday.

"I'm leaving because my family needs me." I lied again. He shouldn't care anyways. He's Seifer Almasy.

"You're lying Trepe." Back to Trepe again. I looked at him and frowned.

"And how would you know if I was?" I glared at him.

"Because I can tell when you lie."

"Why do you care?"

"Is there a reason I shouldn't?"

"Yes!" I shouted at him, throwing my figurine across the room. It shattered into few thousand pieces, the sound piercing my eardrums. I winced. "You've never cared before, Seifer."

Seifer, I noticed, flinches himself, his face growing dark. "I care."

"You never showed it before." I mumble, sitting down. It's true. All he cared about was he, himself, and him.

I felt him slither next to me in silence. I heard him reach up behind his neck and remove his necklace, unclipping the cross from it's chain. It was then I noticed that it wasn't one of those Hyne crosses, but a fire cross. I knew that those crosses were a rare find, and I envied him for a few moments. Sitting closer, he turned his upper body to face me and held the cross in his hand, shaking it gently. It wasn't very big, two inches from top to bottom at the most, but I loved it already.

"Now look." He stated gravely. "You tell me the truth about why you're taking off, and you can have this." He stroked the bottom of the cross with his thumb. "I don't know if you want one, but it's.. y'know, special to me." Then he held it up by it's chain. "And I just want you to know that I'd be willing to give it up if you'd talk to me."

I looked at the cross, and liked how the silver winked in the light. Taking a deep breath I pushed the pendant back to him, and stared at the ground. "I...don't need it."

"Then take it. Like a gift." He murmered, taking my hand and pressing the cross into it. "But you might as well tell me anyways. Cause I know your family doesn't really need you."

I frowned at him. "How do you know?"

That damned smirk again... "I called your house to see if everything was okay. Ya know, when I put my mind to it I can really sound like the Headmaster."

Scowling, I hit him over the head, and he sheilded himself from my blows. He was actually smiling and laughing now, which itself was a sight to see. At that moment, I realized neighter Squall or Zell had even bothered to ask me why I was leaving, or if they did they didn't bother to question my actions. That very thought made me freeze in mid punch and lower my arms, and face the floor once again. Seifer noticed, obviously, and asked me in a confused voice what was wrong with me ("Now?")

So I told him. The true reason I was leaving. Just like that he opened up my heart and dug out exactly why I was leaving this wonderful place to drudge home. I revealed my fears, my failures, my horrid home life and my foster parents. I even told him about how I never even had a boyfriend, but I needed someone to be close to, but they all seemed too damned intimidated by me for some reason or another. I als revealed that I was adopted, an orphan at first, an unwanted child. During my confession, I started to cry, and he actually held me. Seifer Almasy, being sincere? I wouldn't have believed it if I didn't feel his arms around me that night. While I was crying, practically soaking his shirt through, he lifted a hand to stroke my hair, and whisper to me that it would be alright, and eventually sifted his fingers through my ponytail and gently yank my hair down, like I used to do with him. Just that motion, just that simple touch made me weep, it was so tender and loving in a way. I didn't know how to reciprocate, so I did the only thing I felt the need to do at that moment.

I blew my nose in his shirt.

"Oh.. fuck.." I murmered, pulling away. "Damn.. I'm sorry, Seifer. I didn't mean to."

Seifer growled at me and pulled away, standing up. "...I guess it's alright. Are you going to be alright now?"

I nodded, wiping my nose with a kleenix from my dresser. Seifer nodded, staring at the darker spot on his shirt.

"Look, I'll see you off tomorrow okay? I have to get back to my dorm anyways, or the Instructor's will have my ass. Early turn in, they call it."

Sadly, I nodded up at him. I really didn't want him to leave. "Yeah. You're still on probation aren't you?"

Seifer pursed his lips together, and smiled. "Yeah. Take it from someone who knows. Never slip a deformed toad in your teacher's desk. What do they do? Always find out. I swear.." He ran a hand through his hair then. "I know damned well Zell told. Whatta chicken wuss."

I chuckled then and looked at my alarm clock. Seeing the time, I swore. "Damn it, Seifer wait."

He looked at me with his hand on the door knob. "What?"

Clearing my throat I looked at him. "What time are you supposed to be back to your dorm?"

"Nine. Why?"

I lifted my clock and showed him the red digital numbers. "It's ten thrity."

"Ahh FUCK." He almost shouted. "Are you sure? Positive? Your clock just doesn't happen to be an hour and a half fast?"

I shook my head sadly, and he swore and glared at the floor. With out looking at him I said in a voice that surely wasn't my own "Why don't you stay the night here?"

He turned to me in shock and confusion, and I hastily tried to explain myself. "Look, I don't want you getting in trouble for something as stupid as saying goodbye to me. It's just stupid. So stay the night here." I held out my hand to him. It was wrapped with the silver fire cross he had just given me. "If you do stay I'll give you back your necklace. How can you refuse an offer like that?" I silently pleaded he wouldn't.

I was right. Seifer let go of the knob and sat back down on my bed, breathing a sigh of relief. "Thanks Quistis."

Smiling I nodded. Then I twinged just slightly. The spot where I blew my nose on his shirt was soaking wet and to his skin. It had to be very uncomfertable, wearing a shirt full of snot. Seifer noticed my wince and looked down to the damp spot on his shirt and curled his lip in disgust.

"Thanks for the shower, Trepe." He snivvled playfully. "Just what I need."

"Hey," I barked at him. "You were the one comforting me, so there."

"Yeah." Seifer chuckled. "I'm gonna take this damned thing off before it gets stiff and I have a permanant reminder that you only prefer me as your handkerchief." He replied to me, and pushed two thumbs underneath his shirt.

I smiled and watched him undress. Sometimes I wish I didn't, turned my head somewhere else, my eyes elsewhere. But I couldn't actually. The only decent thing you COULD do was look away, but I was almost sixteen, and I had more then enough of the hormones to prove it. I eyed his chest. It wasn't totally well built, slightly flabby, but only noticable when he leaned over to pulled his shirt over his head. When he straightened up and cracked his neck (the sound made me twitch) his stomach and chest were taunt, muscular, with just the slightest tinge of hair in all the right places. He may have been half past fifteen, I pondered, but hell he's got the chest of a man. I mentally compared it to Squall's bony build, and Zell's over muscular abs and found that I actually preferred Seifer's body. I wanted to smack myself. Thinking of Seifer Almasy like that? How sick can I be? As sick as an up and coming sixteen year old can be. Still gazing at him, my eyes trailed down from his chest (which I might add was great on my eyes) to his navel, where a glinting diamond stud caught my attention. Frowning, I looked back up to his face regretfully and was surprised to see him smirking at me. Ignoring his leering gaze, I worked up the guts to ask him about the diamond stud in his stomach.

Pointing to it, I inquired "Seifer, when did you get that pierced?"

He looked down at his stomach and grinned, looking almost like one of those beef cake men in those calanders. "Oh this old thing? Remember when I got put on probation last year and the teachers wouldn't reveal why?"

I nodded. "Well, you're looking at it, Trepe." He said, and wiggled his stomach at me.

I couldn't help it. I started to laugh. The sight was hilarious, and Seifer started to think so too. he rubbed his temples and snickered, along with my howls of laughter, and suddenly I felt good. Happy. Wonderful. I never knew that Seifer Almasy could stroke these feelings in me. I never gave him the chance to. Silently, I promised myself to at least write him a letter a few times a month, like I had promised Zell, to let him know I was alive, and the Headmaster, just to inform Cid of how I was doing. But I think for Seifer I'd send him letters just to let him know that I still cared.

He looked at me while I was still laughing. He silenced his chuckles before speaking to me. "What are you laughing at?"

I pushed my hands to my mouth. "Nothing!" I mumbled, holding tight to my lips.

Seifer smirked at me and looked down to his pierced navel."Oh this?" he chanted, touching it with his finger. "What's so funny about it? Hmm?"

I resumed my stare, but this time I was smiling. "Did it hurt to get it pierced?"

"Nah." He said, shaking his head. "More like a dull ache. Hurt worse when I laid down though. Slept in a fetal position for a few weeks after that until it healed." He smiled. "Why? You interested in getting one done?"

I admit I had never thought of one, but his looked really nice. "Sure, maybe." I lied. "Well not really. I just wanted to know if it hurts is all. Does it feel weird when someone touchs it?"

He stepped closer to me now and took my hand, placing it on his belly. "Let's see, ummmm no."

I smiled, and trailed my fingers over his navel. I sure did like how the diamond glinted in the light, though, but I liked more at how his skin felt underneath my finger tips. It was slightly rough, like sanded wood, but I still liked the feel of it. Unknowingly, I grazed my nails over his toso and he hissed outloud. The sound made me snap out of my endeaver, and I removed my hand, only to have him take it in his own. Sitting next to me, he leaned leaned over and hugged me, hard again his form, and wouldn't let go until he felt my arms wrap around his neck. He held me there for a while, not saying a word until I tried to pull away, but his embrace kept me there.

"I don't want you to go, Quistis." He murmered sadly. I felt a double meaning in those words.

"I have to Seifer. I can't stay here." I whispered against his neck, feeling the water works were going to start again. "I don't have anything here anymore."

He pulled away from me then, keeping his face low for a few moments before tilting it upwards to stare at me. "You're serious? You have your friends here. Your life here. You can always take another SeeD test if you feel that was the problem."

I shook my head, and gritted my teeth. A bad habit I formed when I didn't want to cry. "No, I don't. Because of my mistake two innocent kids died..."

"Who didn't heed the warnings." He interrupted.

"..The Garden lost a lot of money to the mother.."

"Money doesn't mean a damned thing. Besides, Cid can earn twice the amount with one major SeeD mission." He continued. Using his finger to lift my chin to make me face him, he smiled weakly. "Are you going to start the water works again?"

I nodded slightly. "Maybe."

"You need to laugh, Trepe." He smirked, and I felt his hands trailing low from my abdomen to my ribs. "Let's see something.."

"What?" I asked. How stupid could that be? Where were his hands, Quistis? "Oh no, Seifer don't..!"

Before I knew it he was tickling me, using his hands on my sides to bring laughter from my throat loudly. I screached, falling sideways onto my bed, and soon he was on top of me, holding me down gently while still tickling me. He was laughing too, as I playfully slapped him and begged him to stop after each time I could catch my breath. Using what strenght I had left, I motioned my leg to his side and turned him over, enjoying hearing him yelp in suprise. Climbing ontop of him myelf, I started harassing his ribs with my hands, making him yelp the same way he made me just a few seconds ago. His cries for help went unheard by me or anyone, and I continued my assault on his body while he lost his breath again and again.

"S..STOP TREPE!" he squealed. I decided not to, instead went lower tickling his stomach.

"No way! You made me howl, so now I'm returning the favor!" I said to him, keeping up my riot act.

He shocked me then by biting down on his lip, and throwing me off guard, to his side and faced me, holding onto my wrists tightly in his hands. I was still trying to stifle my giggling, and he was smiling, staring at me with his beautiful emerald green eyes. We were both exhausted from our little tryst, and at the time it just felt right to lay there and stare into each other's eyes and not think about the future. Seifer lifted a hand again, and tenderly stroked my hair away from my face again, and letting out a breath, trailing his eyes over my face.

"I don't want you to go, Quistis.." Back to Quistis again. I loved how my name sounded on his tongue.

"I don't wanna go either.." I whispered back to him. "But I have to.."

I turned away from him then, staring at the ceiling. In the dim light of my room, where I had only lit one lamp, the shadows seemed to play tricks on the walls, enticing me into following the trails they led. Seifer stead still for a moment, not saying a word, until he suddenly, gently, came ontop of me, looking at me like a lost puppy, and stared into my eyes again. "Can I ask one ting of you, Quistis?" He murmered again. His hand cradled my face, not letting me look away.

"What is it..?" I asked, fully knowing what he wanted. I wanted it too.

He took a deep breath before answering, and inching his face to my own. "Give me tonight.." he whispered. Then he kissed me.

I gave him that night. And much much more. We lost eachother's innocense to one another in a matter of an hour or so, delving into eachother's solitude. We were both as unexperianced as anyone could be, which surprised me. I always figured him to be the male playboy of Balamb Garden, swooning, loving and leaving them. But when I felt him searching, I knew that he knew just as much about sex as I did. Which wasn't very much at all. Yet as inexperianced as he was, he made the moment pleasurable for himself as well as me, which was more then I could ever owe to any lover I had since then.

In those moments we shared I loved him like no other. I felt him love me too, but I could have been wrong. Either way, I don't want to think about it anymore, other then what it actually was. His last goodbye to me.

The next early morning I woke up at around six. His arms entangled around me, holding me close, made it difficult for me to move. So as easily as I could, I disengaged from his grasp and as quick as I could showered and dressed, taking my suitcases outside to where I saw the headmaster walking down the hallways. I looked back at his sleeping face, and no longer felt the emptiness I was feeling for a while. Softly, I gave him a last lingering kiss on his sleepy lips and escaped from my dorm fro the last time. I knew immediately that I would never get to write those letters to him now...

But back to the present now. The ogre had be cornered in the bar, sneering at me. At least he wasn't touching me, Hyne forbid, or I would have dearly thrown up. Closing my eyes and bracing myself for the blow the jerk would have definetely given me, I was shocked when all I felt was a spur of a breeze and heard the jerk groaning in pain. Cracking my lids open, I widened my stare when I saw the asshole on the ground, gripping his crotch as if in a flurry of pain. My savior, my hero as it were was standing above him, and, if my memory served me right, he was wearing a male SeeD uniform, the jacket covering a pair of large broad shoulders, and blonde hair sticking upwards, in a style that reminded me of..


The young man, short with a huge stocky build snapped around and looked at me. It was Zell alright, except now he had an interesting tribal tatoo on his face. Staring at me with his sky blue eyes he suddenly grinned, and I felt a sudden nostalgia wash over me. He didn't lose his hundred watt grin, when he had to be well over nineteen now, and it made me just glad to be in the same room as he was right now. Me, I was twenty one now. Going on Twenty two.

"Quisty? Oh geeze gal!" He nearly shouted, stepping over the red faced drunk to me. He used his large arms to hug me, hard, and pulled away. "Do you realize how long it's been?? Damn near six years woman!"

I had to laugh at that, and pulled him back to me, holding him. "It has, hasn't it?" I murmered.

Zell pulled away again and grinned, holding my hands in his own. "Damn straight woman! Geeze, what's wrong with you? Never called, never wrote, we were beggining to think you forgot all about us!"

I paled at the thought. "We...?"

"Yeah!" Zell whooped happily, dragging me to sit down. "Squall, the Headmaster, hell even Seifer wondered where you were! He was walking around like a zombie for a few months after you left, and checked the mail everyday for those letters you promised."

My heart sank when he said that, but I kept my stature. "Zell, I'm sorry.. it's just that..."

Zell's hand covered my own. "I know, Quisty. We read it in the papers about the Trepe family. Seifer was scared to death that you were one of the ones burned alive. We had to go to the cemetary afterwards to read the tombstones just to make sure your name wasn't on them." He sighed. "Only way to make him know that you were alive."

I nodded, wanting to change the subject. "Where is everyone? You're not here alone are you?"

He shook his head and grinned. "Hell no! I got a friend of mine Irvine, and his girlfriend Selphie with me. We're on a sorta vacation. Squall's here with his fiance Rinoa, since her dad lives here. You know, general Isaacariah Caraway?"

I nodded. The general was a famed person here, living in that mansion across town. But was more surprised to hear that Squall actually had a fiance. Who would have figured, that lone wolf, the cold soul?

"Yeah!" Zell chirped. "Also, Seifer's here too. He had a little fall out with Garden few years back, but.." he cleared his throat. "He's a late comer SeeD now. An Instructor. Teaches the students who are eighteen to twenrty five, prepping them. It was his idea to start a class like that, just to make the ones who didn't join until they were full adults feel remidial to the younger classmen."

I nodded, and motioned to my boss to let him know I was on my break, and listened as he spilled his story. I paled when he mentioned about Seifer's fall out with the Garden. I laughed when he spoke of Irvine Kinneas and Selphie Tillmit. And I smiled when he told me of Squall Leonhart and his fiance Rinoa Heartilly. He answered honestly when I asked him if he thought the last name was familiar, and he nodded, confirming that indeed Rinoa was Julia Heartilly's daughter. Squall marrying a singer's daughter? How profound. When I inquired about his romantic status, he indeed told me that he was dating a cute little librarian who loved reading and keeping her hair in a pigtail. He then told me that Seifer was still single, Raijin and Fujin were together, and Cid and his wife Edea where reknewing their vows in a few weeks, and would love for me to join the cerimony. I hastily agreed, reliving the beautiful nostalgia once again.

He was about to embark on another tale of the Garden when the door opened. Zell turned to face the figure who walked in, and smirked. Politely excusing himself from our table, he stood up and opened his arms, walking to the door. Curiosity overcame me, and I turned around to look. Zell was talking to an obvioulsy older man, taller, another SeeD I could tell from the outfit. I saw Zell whisper to him, and the older man stiffened, and turned to face me.

It was then when i saw those beautiful emerald eyes that I knew who he was.

He had cut his blonde hair into an army like buzz cut, except a little longer, and gained a little muscle, but it was still him. Even his face had matured, from when he had the boyish good looks and charm, to now, the chiseled features of a man. A strict man, but a man. As if in a dream, a sound escaped from my throat and I stood up, walking to him. He seemed scared at first, running his tongue over his lips and breathing in a shallow way, but I can't say I didn't feel the same. I still can't believe that after all these years I still felt the same. I thought I had buried those feelings along with the deaths of my family members but I guess I left them out in the old, unburied recess of my mind. As it were, I had no idea if I was going to explode, or not. Hell, I didn't even know how I was going to say hello. I mean, do I hug him or shyly smile? I'm not subtle, but just running up and wrapping my arms around his neck like a lifeline wasn't going to do either of us any good. I don't even know if he's angry or not. Either way I still felt the same fear I had when that pathetic drunk was after me.

It was strange, I admit that. He held out his hand and refused to look at me, instead trailing his eyes around the bar. Suddenly feeling self concious, I took his large hand (had he grown that much in six years?) in my own and shook it, whispering his name. It wasn't until I spoke did he finally look at me, but did a smile cross his lips? Barely. Not knowing what to do, I lifted my other hand to his cheek and made him look at me straight on in the eye. To my surprise he didn't struggle, and in the background, I heard Zell check his watch and mutter about having to go meet his Librarian honey for dinner. Well, I guess he felt the tention in the room as well.

After seeing him to the door, I turned back to Seifer and smiled. "Fancy seeing you again."

Instead of smiling, he just curtly nodded and asked for a drink.

Stepping behind the bar I picked up the hose and set a glass down, filling it with ice. Popping in a cherry, I made him a Shirly Temple, since I knew damned well he wasn't old enough to drink if I was twenty one. He was nearing the right age, but not yet. Placing the glass on the bar and popping a straw in it, I smiled as he lifted it to his lips and took the straw out, placing it on a napkin.

"How've you been?" I asked. I wish I didn't. He glared at me over the edge of his glass so harshly I knew I should have kept my mouth shut.

"Where the fuck have you been?" He hissed at me. His features didn't soften even when I winced.

"I've been busy." I replied curtly, lifting a glass to clean it. "I-"

"Don't. Don't even, Trepe. You said you'd visit. We haven't seen or heard from you since you took off." He snarled.

Sighing, I put down my glass and looked at him. "Look. I'm sorry. There isn't a damn way I can explain it. Alright? Except to say that.." I trailed off. Please don't make me finish, Seifer.

"Say what? You forgot? You didn't want to? Just spill it Trepe, I don't have all fucking day." Since when had you become so cruel?

I mumbled the answer so low he couldn't hear. Leaning over the bar slightly, he snivvled at me "Come again, Trepe? Will you talk normal for once?"

Taking a deep breath, I repeated myself. "Because I was ashamed."

He stopped then, silencing himself. It was uncomfortable with out any noise between us, and I thanked the Hyne when he spoke again, this time in a softer voice. "Why?"

So it was my turn to talk now. Instead of speaking directly to him, I spoke mostly to myself, just so I could convince myself I was alone. "My father was a cripple. My siblings where born addicted to booze. My mother was a drunk who killed herself and two others in a car accident. I came home to nothing. Instead of enjoying my youth, I had to get a job and support my welfare ridden crippled father and my younger siblings in our two bedroom shack. I couldn't finish school, I don't have a damned education, and most of my money went to support my father's cocaine addiction. He fell asleep with a cigarette in his mouth and burned down our house, killing my younger brother and sister. The insurance was barely enough to cover the funeral expenses, so I moved here, slept in my car, and got this charming job."

Waving my hand around the bar, I saw him out of the corner of my eye grow pale. "And that, Seifer my dear, is the story of my life. I lost most of my damned soul due to this whole mess, and my two roomates keep stealing from my jewelry box and pawning it for drugs. Most likely, I'll be strung up with them, even though the most dangerous thing that has ever gone through my system is the drink you're gulping down right now."

Seifer looked at his drink and sighed, setting it down. I saw him pick out a notepad from his pocket and scribble something on it, and then pull a few bills from his wallet and leave them on the bar. Staring at him, I tilted my head to the side and frowned.

"What's that?" I asked, taking the napkin in my hand.

"My hotel room number. And cellphone. Call me." He deadpanned. I stared at him


Shrugged, he pulled his eyes away from me again. "Just call me. I teach the late comer classes at Balamb Garden."

Oh, now I knew where he was getting at. "You want me to rejoin Garden? After six years?"

Now he looked at me, in slight frustration. "I wouldn't have mentioned it if I didn't. You had one fine hadn with a whip, Quistis Trepe. You were good. I don't know how good you are now, but if you want to get out of this over priced hell hole, then give me a call. I'll be staying in Deiling until Monday, and I'm betting you will have the weekend to think it over." He rubbed the back of his neck, suddenly growing red. "I have to get going. I'll be in the hotel by nine, and asleep by probably eleven, so you've got a two hour time span. Don't screw this chance up, Quistis."

With that, not even a goodbye escaping his lips, he stood up and headed to the door. I called after him, and ran from inside the bar to him. "Seifer, wait."

Stopping in his tracks, he turned to me. "Yeah?"

I tried not to pout. "You didn't even say good bye."

Seifer surprised me once again, this time by smiling. "Because I know damned sure, that fi you're the Quistis Trepe I remember from that night in your room.." He winked. "..This won't be the last time I see you."

He turned on his heel and walked out of my life.

When the time rolled around for me to go home, I was happy enough to know that my roomates were passed out on the couch with their usual highs. As I laid down in my rickety bed, I stared at the ceiling for almost an hour, wondering about Seifer's words. Rejoining the Garden. I would proobably be hereald as a newcomer again, and have to rework my credit status once more. But what if I didn't? What if i joined again and just went straight to the SeeD mission status? That would be a kick, wouldn't it?

I sighed again and looked to my bedside. Even if I wasn't going to rejoin the Garden, I wanted at least one decent conversation. I picked up the phone and dialed the numbers, and said the correct room number, and felt a chill go up my spine when he answered.



"Yeah.. I thought about your words.. and I want to take you up on it."

"...Alright. One question."


"What took you so long?"

Even I had to smile at that. "Don't know."

"Wish you called earlier. I was feeling lonely." That young fifteen year old was back in his voice. How I missed him..

"Doesn't matter Seifer." I breathed into the phone. I smiled, and knew full well he could feel it.

"Oh it doesn't?" He playfully chided.

"No.. It doesn't." I said, sitting up in my bed. "I'm coming home."


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