Author's Notes: I’ve written about assembly in school, I don’t know what you Americans/Canadians call it, so I hope you know what I mean. I keep getting confused with these word changes.

Disclaimer: Squaresoft owns all the characters. I don’t own anything.

Knowing Innocence

Chapter 11

By Purple Penguin

I sat in assembly listening to the same talk about Halloween that we had had every year. We still had three weeks until then, I swear they just run out of things to say so they repeated things. I used to skip it, but Ward turned me in to the commander and Laguna gave me the speech on rules and regulations and how if anyone else were in charge I would have been expelled by now. He was right, everyone knew our commander was a soft touch. I glanced at Zell he looked like a zombie just like everyone else did. We slept together last night in a non-sex way, of course I loved to hold him at night but we’d been together for a week that, for me, was a long time to go without sex.

Finally an instructor came onto the stage telling us messages and notices. We were told our class was to be given a talk by some guys who used to come here until they left to join the army. I bet this was the way they were hoping to put us off leaving this place. I can’t see myself leaving, where would I go? This is my only home and I’m not going to the army. You had to do work and you get shot for disrespect, I’d be a goner in the first week and once you’re in that place there’s no getting out.

Our talk was next lesson; all the classes would have a talk no after the other all day.

When assembly was over we all filed out for out 15-minute break full of chatting, smoking and late breakfast.

“Hey Seifer, are you going to ask them army guys to take you with them when them go?” Some guy asked me as he past.

“No way, I may hate this dump but at least you don’t get killed for the stuff I do on a regular basis.”

He shrugged. He looked slightly familiar but I can’t remember his name, he knew me only because everyone knows me, I’m the troublemaker of eight years. A kind of hero in this place, no one else managed to get away with as much shit as I had.

Three soldiers stood at the front of the classroom as we took our seats. One was a woman in her early twenties, her dark brown hair was tied back in a ponytail, and she wore the usual dull green uniform. The other two were male and they also wore the uniform. As I sat down I realized there were four soldiers. The other wasn’t in uniform he wore khaki trousers and a plain grey tee and he had short blonde hair. He sat in the corner by the window, his eyes stared out through the glass listlessly. He had a strange look in his eyes; he would turn from the window a few times to study each and every one of us carefully. He looked half fearful, half crazy.

As the teacher stood up at the front of the room to calm us and the noise level dropped, the sitting soldier visibly relaxed, his eyes resting in his lap.

One of the male soldiers introduced themselves to us then began their talk. I wasn’t really listening to what they said. My eyes were fixed on the strange guy in the corner and I wasn’t the only one, he was creepy. I didn’t really care about the stuff that the others said, about the early morning, the crap food, the jokes they made about the uniform. Somehow I didn’t think those things were responsible for what happened to that guy. He looked at the other soldiers a lot, I didn’t think he was one of them anymore.

“And finally...” The female soldier walked up to the guy. She smiled as she knelt down beside him. This freaked me out more; it was like everyone was taking to be extra nice to him, to keep him calm. Was he dangerous? Was it my imagination or did he look at me a lot? Was I being overly paranoid?

“This is Eric. He was a commander of a squadron that went off to fight. He was brought back early when he and others were hit by a grenade.” She patted his shoulder. “All the others died. He was the lucky one.”

I suddenly felt sorry for him, no wonder he was so jumpy.

“Unfortunately he suffers from post-traumatic-stress. He’s not dangerous, just a little jumpy sometimes.”

Even though she said he wasn’t a threat I still didn’t like him, I did feel sorry for him but I think I was allowed to fell a little afraid.


At the end of our talk I meet Xu, Quistis and Zell in the hallway.

“So, how’d the talk go?” Xu asked. They were in the next class for the talk.

I shrugged.

“What sort of answer is that? I want to know If I’m going to be asleep next lesson or not.”

Zell spoke up before I did. “There was this guy, I felt so sorry for him... suffered from Post-traumatic-stress.”

“What was he like?”



“What? He was. I know he can’t help it but he still freaked me out.”

“What else did they say?”

“Don’t now. I wasn’t listening.”

Xu gave me an upset look; the sort of look a mother would gave her son.

“Not much, just about how bad things are and they made things sound as horrid as possible.” Zell sighed. “I bet they just made half of it up to scare us, the commander probably paid them to put us off the army.”

I wasn’t so sure about that, Eric wasn’t faking it.

The girls stood in line waiting for the start of their talk; me and Zell had a free lesson next so I stood talking to the girls while he went to get a drink.

“So...” Xu started to say. “Have you fucked him yet?”

“Xu!” I glanced around quickly to see if anyone had noticed.

“What? No one care. They all know you’re a slut.”

I think she was kidding, she better be.

“I know you two are a couple, you’re constantly making googly eyes at him.”


The red head looked back at the blonde for back up. Quistis nodded. “Yeah, you do. I think it’s sweet.”

I gave her my best ‘you have got to be kidding me’ look. “I’m Seifer Almasy I don’t do sweet.”

“Are you sleeping with him yet?” Xu repeated.

“Only in a non-sex way.” I whispered not wanting to ruin my reputation.

“Really? That’s so unlike you.”

“I know. Half of me wants to rip his clothes off every time we’re alone, but the other half doesn’t want to push him into anything.”

Xu smiled at me as I buried my head in my hands and groaned. “Help me Xu! I’m turning into a nice guy; it’s my worst nightmare!”

The girls laughing and Xu patted me on the back. “There, there Seifer you’ll get used to it.”

“I don’t want to get used to it. The next thing you know I’ll be starting campaigns and giving money to charity.” I faked sobs and tears.

“Something wrong?”

I turned to see that Zell was back from getting his drink. I quickly cut the fake crying.

“Nothing. Let’s go Zell.” I hurriedly pushed him ahead of me as the girls burst out laughing.

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