Author's Note: Squaresoft owns characters. Further disclaimers see previous sections. It's Four and I still haven't finish introducing all my main characters. Man. Hopefully I can get to the first major conflict this week. Don't you hate it when you know what will happen but to get there takes time and that fact is driving you nuts? My motto's quality over quantity, but sometimes that just takes so much work!
He pushed open the classroom door and stepped inside. Smell of paint and wood and Superglue filled his nostrils, as color-splotched walls, banisters, and cloths came into view. A room full of watchful eyes landed on him, some curious, some indifferent, some scrutinizing to the point of rudeness, and they all showed it on their faces.
"Is this Modern Art 101?" He asked aloud as he shifted his easel and canvas on his shoulder. The materials were quite heavy, even though he was used to it. It didn't lighten with routine.
"Yeah," somebody answered him from the mass. He shrugged, then walked his way through and dropped his burden on a clean table. The professor hadn't shown up yet; Squall came half an hour early. It's simply startling to find so many students already present. He became so absorbed into setting up and finding his brush that he didn't see a figure approach him from behind.
The figure was about to tap his shoulder before he suddenly sensed the presence and spun around, nearly knocking the intruder over a chair. "Jumpy much?" The figure asked.
Squall stared at the girl. She had on a light blue turtleneck vest, crocheted and zipped at the front, with navy colored cotton pants. Her hair was dyed pure platinum, as in silverish-grey colored, and was cut very short. There was a black patch covering her left eye. Her right eye glowed from garnet to ruby, depending on the reflection angle. Result of an expensive order of colored contacts, apparently. There's always a price on being unique.
"Have a habit of sneaking up on people?" Squall retorted.
The girl snickered. "You're in my spot."
He raised one delicately defined eyebrow. "First day of class and we're already claiming spots?"
The girl tilted her head. "What's your name?"
"Squall? As in a thunderstorm on the sea?"
"Fujin? As in Wind God?"
"Know your Japanese."
"I know a lot of things. And you aren't Japanese."
Fujin rolled her eye. "No shit. You going to move or not?"
For a moment they just stood there, staring at one another. Either side refused to back down. Then Fujin laughed.
"Cute," she commented. "Very cute."
Squall frowned. "What does *that* mean?"
"Nothing," she then grabbed her own materials and plopped them next to him. "I claim this spot."
Squall continued to stare at her. Then he shrugged again and resumed his search for his brush. I swear I packed it, he cursed himself. I swear. That's a good brush, too, had cost him 14 dollars. Where did it go?
"Looking for this, bitch?"
Squall twisted around and met the most intense pair of amber eyes he'd ever seen. Followed that was the spiked bracelets on both of the person's wrists, and the genuine leather jacket over a bulldog wife-beater. Combat boots and streaked-white black hair told Squall the speaker was from the New Haven streets. The gang behind him proved that.
And in this upperclassman's right hand was *his* paintbrush. Squall's eyes narrowed. He'd seen too much back home to be nervous. "Give it back."
"Sure, you can have this back," The leader circled him and stepped closer. "But you need to pay something first."
"What?" Squall answered coldly.
"Heh heh," the leader chuckled. His breath came close to Squall's ear. "Nothing you aren't already selling . . . slut."
As soon as Squall felt the lick in his ear and the hand on his belts, he brought his arms up and rammed into the other's chest. "Fuck off!" He pushed the boy away from his body. The boy laughed.
"Feisty. I like it." The boy stuck his hands inside his jeans' pockets. "Now I wonder ..."
"Just give him the damn brush and leave him the fuck alone." Fujin spoke up.
"The She-Devil speaks, oh good heavens!" The boy mockingly gasped. "Well, considering Your Darkness have spoken on his behalf, I'd have to concede for now. Catch."
Squall snatched the paintbrush as it sailed with an arc from the opposite direction. Look of disgust filled his face as the group sauntered to the other side of the room. "And that would be . . .?"
"Keith 'Ultima' Prishner." Fujin answered. "Him and his Castlerock Men. A legend. And the biggest bunch of assholes you could ever find. Well, except maybe Alex, but that's one exception."
"You seem to know them well."
"Hell, no." Fujin rolled her eye again. "They intimidate all freshmen and newbies, me included. But then they learned that I could kick. Very hard." She nodded with pride. "Learned that yesterday when they came over to play football and hit on my roommate."
"Who's your roommate?"
"Rinoa Heartilly. You know, the voice major who's kind of ditzy? Came from the Deep South. Can't stand her. But . . . the luck."
Squall smiled slightly. "Yeah, she's in my sister's sorority. I heard about her. So where you from?"
"Really?" He was glad there was another one from his area, albeit Fujin did not have a heavy accent. "Me, too."
"Figures. Fashion statement. If I didn't know any better I'd say you're a sure fag."
Squall's expression darkened. "Watch it there."
Fujin raised her eyebrows. "You mean . . . shit. Apologies offered. Then, uh, this probably is redundant, but, definitely stay as far away from Keith as possible. There's plenty of horror stories and none too pleasant to be false."
"Yeah," He agreed quietly. She didn't need to tell him that. There's one and *only* one emotion soaked in Keith's eyes toward him during that few previous moments of word exchange.
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