Disclaimer: Squaresoft owns characters and names. I own plot.


Chapter Fourteen

By Jamaica

*Snap. Snap. Click. Click.*

“God, do you ever quit?” asked the annoyed artist by the window.

“Nope,” replied the cheerful blonde girl, busily snapping away on her camera while sifting through Squall’s collection of assignments. “Aha, here we go!”

She picked up a stack of finished portraits and landscapes and started to lay them out on the attic floor. Humming to herself, she started to record the paintings down on her black box of memory.

Squall paused mid-stroke as his brush glided the current work. He alarmingly recognized the tune that Quistis was humming – Amazing Grace. How odd. He looked at her crouching figure, hearing sudden filtration of sadness in her voice.

It was December now. More than a month had passed since the run-in with a certain tall blond. Squall had managed to not utter a single word to Seifer ever since he came back, fully focusing on his work and class as to turn in the semester portfolio on time with quality. Seifer was furious and thoroughly irritated with Squall’s actions for the first two weeks, but now he finally quieted down and ignored Squall in return. He didn’t touch Squall since, though, so it wasn’t that bad.

Irvine, however, was a totally different problem. The misunderstanding among the three of them were cleared up, after some more quality yellfest between him and his girlfriend. But although he did not look it, Irvine Kinneas could hold a grudge. It wasn’t to the point of obtrusive arguments, but the loaded snide comments he had frequently thrown in Squall’s direction were enough to make Squall want to strangle the boy with his own hair. It was for Quistis’ sake he didn’t.

Quistis actually was the one suffering the most from all this. During this time, she and Squall had gotten close simply from the lack of competition. She put on a brave front and act like nothing was wrong, but Squall saw the pain whenever she was near her so-called boyfriend. Her schedule right now was equally demanding, which prevented her any extra time to carefully work out the issues in her

home.“Hey,” Squall put down his color palette and walked toward the singer. He wrapped her in a small hug. “I’m sorry.”

“Would you stop apologizing? It’s not your fault. Actually, it’s no one’s fault.” She turned to him. “It’s just a really big, major

–““Misunderstanding, yeah I know. But,” he let go of her, “*you* have to believe that.”

“Now, see, if I don’t know better I’d say there’s something going on here that unquestionably should not be going on.” A voice came from the doorway.

“Shut up, Seifer,” Squall rolled his eyes. “Why’re you up here?”

“I came to find Miss Trepe, not you. I need to talk to her about something.”

Squall reversed to the ignoring mode and concentrated back on his assignment. When he realized that Seifer was still looking at him, he eyed the blond. “You’re not talking.”

“No shit, Sherlock. Does ‘in private’ means anything to you?”

“I’m working here.”

“I don’t know what your definition of ‘working’ is, and I don’t give, but I do need to talk to her and you are still in the way. Now do you mind?”

He’s trying to pick a fight for some reason. Probably because Seifer could only go so long with the pretending-you-don’t-exist method. Squall glared at him. “It seems to me that you moving yourself is easier than me moving all these and myself from this room.”

“Well, it took me a bunch to get up here so I ain’t planning to go down any time soon. You need help going down?” Seifer rubbed his hands together and smirked.

“Wha – okay, you know what? I’m not going to get in a fight because of this.” Squall sighed exasperatedly, shook his head, and started to collect his tools and canvas.

Quistis stood quietly, looking slightly worried. Seifer crossed his arms and waited. Squall got everything together, except for the almost- finished painting, and stepped through the hole on the floor.

“You need some help getting this down?” Seifer pointed to the easel.

“Yeah. But if you ruin that in any way I’m going to kill you.”

Seifer snickered. “How? You’re gonna shoot me?”

Squall ignored the comment and reached his arms up. Seifer took the easel and handed to him, miraculously not disturbing a

thing.“Good, now leave!” As soon as Squall set the easel on the second floor hallway, Seifer started to slam the trapdoor. Squall held onto it for a second longer, warning,

“If I come back and see even a *single* splotch on *any* of my stuff, I *am* going to shoot you, *Almasy.*” Then he himself closed the trapdoor.

Squall grabbed all of his possessions and moved down to first floor. He stepped into the dining/study room and saw the leaking sunlight from the blinds. It reflected off the shiny wooden floor and focused on a spot on the brass lamp in the middle of the desk. The window’s open and a breeze traveled throughout the room.


Squall smiled to himself as he put the easel down. He sighed slightly, looking over his last assignment. The picture was a particular night he observed from his studio. The moon was present, but there was set to be strong wind the next day, there a circle of mist surrounded the glowing yellow sphere. The stars were shining dully on the background. The sky wasn’t pure black, but a hazy dark ebony mixed with greyness. The streets underneath were littered with bright artificial light. They seem to overpower the natural lighting above them.

Need something more. One more thing, Squall thought. What’s missing?

His eyes wondered to the vacant blocks of square among the buildings and homes. People. Needed people. No, more specifically, shadows. A ghost of a figure to operate the replacement of light.

He smiled once again. His hands moved automatically to the canvas, until he realized that the brush still had dots of yellow over it. I needed to rinse this. Squall shook his head. The cup of water was left in the attic with Seifer and Quistis.

Squall walked into the kitchen toward the cabinet. He reached up, retrieved a plastic cup from the shelf, and descended down on his full feet. The cup was a tad too small, but it’ll have to do. He filled it with water and walked back into his previous occupying

space.“What are you doing down here?”

The sudden voice startled Squall so much that he felt the cup slip from his fingers. It flipped over on its side, spilling all of its contents on the area below it.

And what lay direct underneath was Seifer’s expensive Alienware computer.

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