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Back to Balamb
Chapter 2 - A Phone Call
Seifer left all his stuff except Hyperion behind the couch and we walked around FH, talking. I studied his face and movements. He was still muscular and tanned, but he was skinnier. His eyes looked around as if he was expecting people to come jumping around corners. Being the blunt person that I am, I asked him about it.
"Oh, some people just don't appreciate that the Sorceress' Knight is still roaming around," He acted casual about it, but I noticed his wince before he managed to hide it.
I stopped. After a few steps Seifer paused and turned. I grabbed his arm and pulled him closer. "Have people tried to hurt you? Kill you?"
He loosened my grip. I guess I was holding on tightly. "Yeah," he said softly, looking me in the eyes. He gave a small shrug, and glanced away. "I expected that, once I came out of Ultimecia's control. By the way," he glared at me, "I was under her control."
I stood on my tippy-toes and gave him a kiss on his cheek. "We knew you were. Squall, Zell, Quistis, and the rest. We talked about it after the parade in Deling City. It was easy for those of us who knew you that you were acting different." I hugged him after seeing the relief in his eyes. "Uh oh." I said, spying a figure coming towards us from over his shoulder. Seifer jumped away, reaching for his gunblade. "It's okay," I told him.
Pol came striding over to me. "Who is this?" He glared at Seifer then at me.
"A friend I haven't seen in over three years, Pol." I kept cool. Pol and I had been going out for… five months now, I think.
"A friend?" Pol spat. "Your neighbor just told me a blond man is staying with you. I presume this is him, or do you have two other 'friends' from out of town?"
I rolled my eyes. "This is Seifer, my friend who's staying with me for a week. Then he'll be house-sitting while I go on a trip. Seifer, this is Pol, my current boyfriend. Now that you two have met, Pol, would you please leave us to our conversation?"
Grumpily, Pol muttered, "I have to be there in a couple minutes anyway." Raising his voice he said," Well, I would say it's been nice to meet you, but… Yeah. I'll talk to you later, Selph." He stomped away.
I giggled. "I didn't know he was the jealous type. Well, then again, considering how he is in bed-" Seifer looked shocked. I looked at him. "What?"
"I always had you pegged as someone guys would use in a relationship, but you seem to be the one doing the whipping." He grinned.
I batted my eyelashes innocently at him. "What, did you think I was just a cute little girl who doesn't know a thing about men?" He threw back his head and laughed.
"If I did, I don't now." He replied. We smiled and I linked arms with him. "Where to now, Miss Tour Guide?"
I removed my glasses and pinched the bridge of my nose. Being headmistress of Balamb Garden was a lot more boring than being an instructor. At first I was surprised that the thing I miss most is the interaction with students; I always thought of myself as a loner. I guess I matured and opened up while we went on our mission to defeat Ultimecia.
There was a knock at my door. "Come in," I said as I put my glasses back on my nose. Zell entered.
"Hey, Quis, I was wondering if you wanted to join Squall and me for dinner." He bounced on his toes as he spoke.
"Good mood, hmm?" I asked, raising an eyebrow at him. He stopped bouncing and blushed. "Were you busy this afternoon with that girl… what's her name… Neria?" His ears brightened. I decided to end his misery and changed the subject. "How's Squall doing?"
Zell shook his head. "Better, but Dr. Kadowaki released him from the infirmary, but wants him to move into my room. She wants me to 'keep an eye on him.' We move his stuff after dinner." The embarrassment was fading from his face, replaced by worry.
"Selph will be coming in a few days, remember?"
Zell nodded. "Oh, yeah, I forgot. It'll be nice to see her."
"Oh, I should call her tonight. Do you want to talk to her too?"
"Sure. You wanna hang out with me and Squall tonight? You can call her from my room."
"Alright," I agreed. "Let's go to dinner." I put my glasses back down on my desk and followed him out to the elevator. We spent the ride down in a comfortable silence. On the ground floor, walking towards the cafeteria I asked Zell about his mother. We chatted small talk until we got to the table where Squall was waiting. A loaded tray sat in front of him.
"Mind if we go straight to Zell's room to eat? I don't want to be around people now." I shot him a concerned look before saying that it was fine with me. Zell nodded, and we walked to the SeeD dormitories.
We sprawled and ate in Zell's room eating and watching an old vid. After finishing my salad I mentioned, "I should call Selphie before it gets too late in FH."
Zell nodded and paused the movie. "Sure, y'know where the vidphone is. Squall, wanna go get your stuff while the movie's paused?"
Squall stood. "We'll be back in a few, Quis. All my stuff's boxed already." The two men left the room.
I stood and brushed crouton crumbs of my uniform. I walked over to the videophone and rang up Selphie's apartment. I arranged my hair while I waited for the connection.
"Hold on!" Selphie's voice chirped. A couple seconds later, the screen displayed her grinning face. "Hi Quisty! Look who I've got here!" She went out of view for a second, coming back onscreen towing a tall blonde.
"Seifer!" I stood there, shocked. Seifer's alive! Thank God! I scrutinized what I could see of the man on the screen. He was tanned and smiling. His eyes held a hint of wariness. Probably a habit. I've heard of some "Sorceress' Knight sightings." Not many people are too happy seeing he's still alive.
"You look good, Quistis." He stood there smiling nervously, with Selphie clutching his arm.
"So do you. I'm so happy that you made it through time compression. You took your time about calling, though," I beamed happily. My smile seemed to relax him a bit. He's probably been thinking that we all hate him. I am so relieved that he's all right. "Are you staying with Selphie?" I asked.
"Yeah! I saw him hanging around in FH and dragged him up here. That was the day you called, when I got Juil." Selph answered. Hmm, so there is no telling how much longer he would have waited before contacting us. If ever. That made me really sad. Seifer is part of my family. Him, Selph, Squall, Irvine, and Zell are the closest to family I have.
"Got what?" What, or who, is Juil?
"Juil, my white choco."
"Oh." I turned back to Seifer. "Are you coming over to the Garden to visit with Selphie? I would love to see you again. I've been so worried about you. So have Squall and Zell."
Seifer shrugged and dropped his smile. "Selph told me about how Squall is. I figure that I should wait a few months so I don't push him totally over the edge."
Hmm… What would Squall's reaction to seeing Seifer be? They were rivals, but I know for a fact that Squall had hoped Seifer was okay after Time Compression. And I also have an inkling that they both care for the other deeply and need to see each other again. I sighed aloud. I just don't know if now is the time… Squall already has more than enough to deal with. "I don't want to wait longer to see you, but maybe it is a good idea," I said reluctantly. Right then I heard the sounds of laden footsteps coming down the hall. "Squall and Zell are returning, would you at least like to talk to them?"
Seifer hesitated. "I want to, do you think it's a good ide-" The door opened.
"We're back. Still on the phone, Quis?" Zell entered the room first. "Holy- Seifer!" He stopped suddenly, eyes widened over the cardboard box he had in his arms. Squall's box gently hit him from behind.
"What?" Squall's voice came out muffled from behind the box.
I noticed Seifer looked like a geezard in the headlights. Still, he laughed; albeit weakly. "So I'm holy now, Chicken?"
Zell just dropped his load on the bed and jogged up to the screen. "Don't call me that! I'm happy to see you, though."
Worried, I looked back to see how Squall was faring. He, too, had dropped his box on the bed. He stood, frozen, just out of view of the videophone's camera. I nudged Zell, and gave him a meaningful look back towards the brunette. I walked back to Squall, and touched his shoulder. "Seifer's alive," I said softly. Squall shrugged my hand off and walked toward the screen.
"Seifer?" He studied the man on the screen, "So. You're alive after all."
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