Desecration of Saints Chapter 1
By Paul J.
It has been a year since the Second Sorceress War . . .
Ma! Ma! Hey, ma!
Don't shout, Zell; what is it?
Hey, I'm goin` down to the store to get some food; you need anything?
No, dear, I'm fine. Don't stay out too long, though! Squall said he had something very important he wanted to talk to you about.
Gotcha. Be back in a flash.
Zell Dincht, the carefree, lovable, and sometimes bumbling SeeD, left his home in Balamb with high spirits. He had a reasonably good idea what Squall was coming to talk to him about, and he was going to the store to pick up flowers or some other token of congratulations, not milk or groceries.
Zell pushed his way through the glass door of the grocery store, searching his pockets for the extra gil he had. He pulled some out and began to count it when the store owner greeted him: Hey, Zell!
Zell looked up, startled, and dropped some of his gil to the floor. Laughing lightly, he knelt down and gathered it up, then hopped back up and grinned to the clerk. Yo, Mr. McAllister. Sup?
Ah, nothing new, Zell. What can I getcha?
Umm ... Say, you guys got any flowers?
Flowers .. Err .. No, Zell, not really, unless you want imported ones from Winhill, but those cost ... Quite a bit.
Zell grimaced. Okay .. How about cards? Like, congratulations cards?
Ah. Cards we can do! Here now ... Lemme see, here ... What's the occassion?
McAllister had disappeared into his storage room to grab a card, Zell called after him, suddenly unsure. I dunno .. Either a wedding or a pregnancy. Hasn't been announced yet.
Psh, not a chance .. Ma would drop dead if I was getting married or having a kid. Nah. It's Squall and Rinoa.
Oh! Really? Well now, that's just fantastic! Heh, Zell, I'm glad you came in, `cause I have the perfect card, the perfect card, for this couple! Yeah, heh heh .. Here we go. McAllister came tromping back to the counter, and passed Zell a card that had a dark gray cover. Normally, Zell would've paid this no mind; he had no particular love for the color gray, but it was figure on the card that caught his attention in a hurry.
Oh my ... God. It's Griever.
And it was. The Lion head emblem in its profiled position, a gleaming silver with dark onyx for its eye. Zell saw the card and fell in love with it immediately. I'll take it! He exclaimed, and eagerly handed over the seven gil for it. Oh, er, by the way ... You gotta pen? McAllister quickly handed a plain plastic pen over to Zell, who eagerly scribbled on the inside of the card. Outside, a light rain had started, with the promise of thunder and lightning in their soft patters.
Thanks, Mr. McAllister.
No sweat, Zell, and tell them I say congratulations!
You bet! Zell gave McAllister the thumbs up and triumphantly walked from the store. He was suddenly so absorbed with the prospect of Rinoa and Squall marrying or having a kid that he didn't even notice when he ran right into the cloaked man.
Zell went sprawling to the cobbled street, and cursed loudly as he rubbed his behind, ego more wounded than anything. Zell, never one for courtesy, leapt right up and got in the man's face, though, got in the man's hood probably would've been a better description. Despite the impending summer's heat, the man Zell had run into was wearing an entirely black cloak that covered nearly every inch of his body, including his head, which was hidden deep beneath the man's hood. It was in the middle of Zell's tirade that Squall Leonhart arrved at the Dinchts with Rinoa in tow, the two of them beaming like lightbulbs. Zell's mother was just inviting them in when they heard a scream pierce the increasingly heavy rains.
Zell had been lifted by the throat by the cloaked man, and was dangling a foot off the ground, hoisted easily by the man's amazing, if not superhuman, strength. It was then McAllister ran from his store, but it was not until the cloaked man used his free hand to remove a dagger from the depths of his cloak and ram it into Zell's chest that he screamed.
By the time Squall got there, the cloaked man was gone, and Zell was lying in a pool of his own blood.
Zell! No! Squall dived to his knees next to Dincht and took one of Zell's flailing hands. Zell, sensing Squall take hold, relaxed immediately. A crowd was beginning to draw, Rinoa and Mrs. Dincht in the lead, with other townspeople leaving their homes and businessess to witness what was happening.
Zell swallowed it was a great effort, but he managed it and spoke to Squall in a hushed tone. What .. What's the big ... Occassion?
Zell .. It's .. Oh ... Zell .. Rinoa. She's .. She's pregnant ...
The-martial-artist-formally-known-as-chicken-wuss smiled weakly, and used his other hand to gently remove the card, now bloodied around the crease, out to Squall. Squall took it and was surprised to realize tears, actual tears, were rolling down his cheeks.
Zell looked shocked. Squall .. You're crying ...
Squall sniffed back his tears and tried to sound strong, though in his mind he felt like weeping again. Not at all. It's just ... It's just the rain.
Zell laughed rustily. Whoo, still the same old Squall. Congratulations, man ... Your kid ... Is gonna ... Be ... A great ... A great ...
You bet. He's gonna be a great guy. Or girl.
Zell snorted again. Don't be too hard on him ... Commander.
Oh .. Zell .. No. No, please don't call me that, don't talk to me like that. Hey, you're gonna make sure I ease up, right? You're gonna make sure we all ease up, yeah? Right?
Zell's grip tightened around Squall's hand for a second, and then it loosened. Good-bye then, Squall Leonhart . . . And his hand fell from Squall's grip altogether, landing with a sickening crack on the dampened pavement. Above, thunder cracked ominously, and Zell's blood began to ran through the cracks in the cobbles, and down into the Balamb sewers . . .
. . . Dear Squall and Rinoa,
Congratulations, guys! You're either having a kid or getting married, and, knowing Squall, you guys are probably not getting married, so, hey! Congrats! I absolutely know your son or daughter will be a fantastic person. I mean, with the combonation of angel and lion, how the hell could you lose, right? Heh ... I've done a lot of killing in my time, so much, people might think I've lost all emotions or whatever. Nah. Nothing is gonna give me more joy than seeing your child grow into the powerful, intelligent, sometimes annoying adults we've all come to know and love.
Congratulations again, guys; we all love ya.
* * *
Seventeen years later . . .
Leonhart! Pay attention!
Y-Yes ma'mn, sorry.
Good. Now that Mr. Leonhart here has decided to wake up, perhaps we can continue on with this lesson. Now, stocking spells . . .
A young man with long, curly black hair and a cheerful face leaned over and punched the knee of the kid sitting next to him, a boy who was easily the tallest of all those present in the classroom, including the teacher. This boy had brown hair, luxurious, long, and halfway between straight and curled, something the boy often joked about to his friends, and increadibly piercing blue eyes. He was anything but delicate, but his personallity suggested a sensitvity that some of his friends couldn't comprehend, especially in this line of work.
The black haired boy punched the brown haired boy's knee again, then winked at him, nice going, Leonhart. It was meant as a whisper, but the teacher still heard them.
Leonhart! Siegel! That's quite enough! Get down here this instant!
Jason Siegel and Roland Leonhart, both looking suddenly very glum, rose from their seats and trumped down to the Instructor, to receive a tounge lashing in front of this class.
Your first damn class, your first. Damn. Class with me and you two have to act up! Jason, I could expect it from you . . . Oh, yes, don't you look at me like that! I know everything about you, but Roland! How could you even think of acting out of place, when your father is the damn Commander of the SeeD?! Huh? Huh?!
By the end of this tirade, both boys were very red-faced and looking down at their shoes. The instructor looked as though she wished to say more, but instead ordered them to return to their seats.
Sorry, Instructor Tilmitt.
That's quite alright, Siegel, thank you.
And both boys returned to their seats, and remained silent.
After class was a different story.
That high-and-mighty-bitch! Who does she think she is? `I know all about you, Jason.` Bah. Honestly. That was awfully unfair, the way she called us down like that!
Roland made a pouty face and weakly saluted. S-S-Sowwie, Instructor Tilmitt . . .
Both boys broke out into laughter, and Jason pounded on Roland's shoulder. Asshole! He commented, and they both began to laugh again.
I may be an asshole, but I'm no . . . Slowpoke! And Roland tore away towards the elevator. Jason taken aback momentarily, laughed and raced after Roland, oblivious to the Garden Faculty member who shouted at them as they passed. Roland barreled into the elevator just before Jason and tried to close the doors, but to no avail. Jason darted in just as they closed, and the two boys grappled, laughing merrily.
Ten bucks on the cute one.
Which one's the cute one?
The sound of giggles broke Jason and Roland up; their gazes snapped around to take in the lovely view of two female garden cadets, both of whom were giggling.
Roland and Jason broke apart immediately, smoothing out their shirts and trying to look suave beneath their suddenly bright pink faces.
Er, Ladies ... Began Jason, but the sound of the elevator reaching its desired floor cut him off. The girls giggled harder, and Jason and Roland made a hasty exit, sulking the rest of the way to their classroom.
Ach, women! Jason spat bitterly.
Roland imitated their giggle, and they both started laughing again.
We should probably go down to the training center later . . .
Ifrit. He needs some practice, and I'm sure the same could be said for Doomtrain.
Roland considered this as he walked. Yeah, I guess so.
Hey, when's your dad gonna let us borrow Eden?
Roland laughed bitterly; Jason knew the story of Eden. When Roland was seven years old, his father took him outside Garden to show him some of his Guardian Forces. Squall Leonhart made the large mistake of showing off Eden first. Roland shrieked and peed himself before fainting dead away.
Jason grinned. Kay, maybe not Eden . . . Hm. What're his favorites?
Shiva, Diablos, Eden, naturally, but that's just because there's only one Eden, and Cactuar.
Never liked Doomtrain, though?
Not really, no. I'm amazed he was able to find another one, but he did.
Well, we all know Ifrits are fairly common.
That's like saying clouds are fairly common.
Make me! And Roland tore off again towards his next class, with a laughing Jason close behind.
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