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

Knowing Innocence

Chapter 12

By Purple Penguin

At lunchtime I ambled in the cafeteria with Zell at my side. My free period wasn’t as boring as I thought it would be, nothing like an hour long make-out session to really brighten the day, well except an hour’s worth of sex. I know you all think I’ve got a one-track mind and you’d be right.

All the usual people sat at the tables for lunch, but one person stood out to me, it was the guy from the talk with the soldiers. He looked normal enough now, queuing up of lunch like everyone else, the female soldier was with him, they were holding hands. I smiled, I guess that was pretty sweet.

I sat with my friends as usual, for a Tuesday the day had been good so far. The girls were chatting happily away, mainly to Zell cause I was busy thinking. I noticed Xu look over at Eric once or twice. He was glancing round the room at everyone, at one point his eyes locked with mine and I smiled at him he hesitantly smiled back.

I frowned. My own feelings confused me, his wasn’t dangerous but something about him was creepy. I couldn’t put my finger on it, so I tried to ignore it, no one else thought that way, they thought he was harmless so I shook the feeling off and told no one.

Quistis frowned at the female soldier that was with Eric.

“Problem?” I asked her, seeing her expression.

“She’s hot, shame she’s taken.”

I caught sight of Xu look of jealousy and I tried so hard not to laugh. I knew it wasn’t funny to her, I would like it if Zell were looking at another guy.

Quistis noticed me grinning at Xu and quickly amended. “Not as hot as you Xu.”

The red head raised a disbelieving eyebrow at the blonde and I couldn’t help but laugh. Xu gave me the look of death; she’s getting better at that look maybe Squall’s has been giving her lessons.

My eyes went back to watch the soldier couple as they sat at a table with their food. The guy jumped when someone dropped their tray without a bang, I guess that’s why I didn’t trust him. I’ve read about guys like that, they mistake loud noises for danger, I guess going into battle without constant gunfire can do that to you.

I looked away from them and forced myself to think of something else. Next class? No, boring. Didn’t want to think about algebra anyway more than I had to. Zell naked? I smirked. Now there’s a nice thought.

Quistis noticed my smirk. “What’s so funny?”

“Nothing, don’t worry about it.”

“AHH!” Zell jumped up from his seat suddenly, we all looked at him in surprise. “I forgot I needed to pee.” He ran from the table and out of the cafeteria.

I frowned. “How can someone FORGET something like that?”

The girls shrugged. “I don’t know but remember this is Zell we’re talking about, weird is his middle name.”

I frowned at the blonde.

“In a nice way.” She added.

I looked up again as I felt someone watching me and I looked straight into the eyes of Eric. He said something to his girlfriend; she smiled and nodded, pointed down the hall out of the cafeteria. The guy looked at me as he past. I stared at the empty doorway that he had gone through.

“Seifer? What is it?”

I knew the guy had probably only gone to the toilet but so had Zell and that scared me, although I didn’t know why. The guy was unarmed, and Zell was the best hand-to-hand fighter ever. My legs stood up without me knowing. I wanted to go check just in case, but then I’d look really stupid and I knew Zell wouldn’t like. I started to feel silly standing here like this.

“Seifer? Seifer!”

Until I heard the sound, everyone gasped in shock and terror as they realized they had heard a gunshot. The sound was followed by loads of people flowing into the cafeteria, they were scared, they had no idea what was happening or where but I did and I don’t know how I knew, I just did.

I bolted from the cafeteria with Xu and Quistis yelling for me to stop and go back. I pushed past all the people going in the other direction, I knew where I was going, and half of me didn’t want to go there, I was too afraid of what I might find.

There was a crowd in the hallway telling me it was over. Outside the men’s toilet I saw Eric, he was huddled in a corner, leaning on the wall with his knees drawn up to his chest, he looked terrified.

“Eric!” The female soldier pushed past me and hugged her boyfriend. He was unarmed, there wasn’t a weapon in sight near Eric, it didn’t make sense. What happened?

I spotted Ward holding another boy, I knew him he was in my class. Why was he here? How was he connected? Where was Zell? I slowly moved forward, it was strange like I was in a dream. I didn’t see the whole scene at once I saw little bits that I had to piece together. Another security guy held the gun in a gloved hand. The boy that Ward held was sobbing and shaking, he was close to being hysterical. He kept muttering things over and over. As I got closer I heard what I said.

“I d-didn’t m-mean it! I w-wasn’t meant to h-hurt him.....” He had a cut lip like someone had hit him.

“Seifer....” Someone whispered my name.

I slowly turned to my left and that’s when I saw him. Zell, my Zell propped up against the wall, tightly clutching his shoulder, blood leaking through his fingers, staining his clothes, dripping to the floor. I wanted to run to him, but I couldn’t. It was strange but I could only move in slow motion. He was breathing heavily; I was so focused on him that it was like there was no other sound in the building. All I could hear was Zell’s heavy pants for air. I finally made it to his side only to be pushed away but the doctor and several nurses. I felt numb at the scene like I wasn’t really there I was merely an observer. I stood frozen while Zell was taken away on a stretcher and Ward started to lead the gibbering boy away.

What happened? Why did he?

Eric and his girlfriend hugged each other on the floor, crying into each other’s shoulders. Was he involved?


I was still in the same position, mouth hanging open. It took me a while to realize that Xu and Quistis were by my side, calling me.

“Seifer! You need to go to the infirmary. Zell needs you!”

Yes Zell... of course. I tried to shake it off and go back to the real world; I stumbled down the corridor. At least I hope I can remember where the infirmary is.

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