Chapter 12 - Ju Te Veux
Quistis embraced Squall warmly as he entered her office. Squall winced in pain and groaned, "Careful, my back's not feeling great."
"Sorry," Quistis said. "What a surprise! Did you leave a message you were coming? I had no idea you were going to visit."
Squall shook his head. "I spent some time down at the house and decided to come visit when I left."
Tilting her head to the side, Quistis regarded him quizzically. They had known each other their entire lives. Quistis knew him too well to believe Squall would just visit spontaneously, even if they had grown closer over the past few years. "And?" she prompted.
Squall sighed, "Quisty, I found him."
She didn't need to ask who the him in question was. "Found him? Where? How? When?" A mixture of amazement and bewilderment registered on her classically beautiful features.
"Would you believe hitchhiking? His truck had broken down. I nearly ran him over I was so shocked. He's been living outside Iba this whole time."
"Iba?" Qusitis thought momentarily, "Oh! That town on the way south."
"So?" Quistis looked at Squall expectantly.
The look on Squall's face said it all. Qusitis knew something monumental had taken place and that Squall was having trouble finding the words to express it. He had to be very shaken up if he had come directly to Galbadia. He was running from something. She just didn't know what yet.
"Fine, I understand. We'll talk about it tonight. I've still got some work to do here in the office. Why don't you head on up to my rooms and put your things in the guest suite? Take it easy and I'll be up when I'm done. Sound all right?"
Squall nodded and turned wordlessly, shouldering his bag and heading to the elevator.
Quistis had redone the rooms to suit her tastes when she'd been appointed to Galbadia. They were richly decorated in tones of ivory, burgundy, and gold. They looked richly decadent and inviting, showing a classical flair in appearance. Tossing his bag on the four poster beds in the guest bedroom, Squall collapsed beside it and ran his hand through his hair. Staring up at the ceiling, his mind wandered over the events of the past week. He'd made the decision to come to visit about halfway to Fisherman's Horizon. He hadn't been this confused in he didn't know how long. Quisty was naturally the one to come talk to. He'd never been as close with Irvine and Selphie, Zell would overreact, Laguna and Elle didn't understand the bond the group shared, and he just couldn't open up about this to Matron.
Grunting, he sat up on the bed and opened his bag. He pulled out his clothes and frowned when he pulled out a wadded-up shirt from the corner. This wasn't his. It was the shirt he'd worn at Seifer's. How did it get in his bag? He put the shirt to his nose and inhaled deeply. It smelled like Seifer. Squall groaned as a feeling of longing hit him. Something heavy hit his lap as he lifted the shirt again. Something beautifully intricate in shades of blue and silver. Shiva. Squall gently picked up the figurine and turned it in his hands. It was more exquisite close up than he remembered. Seifer must have put it in his bag, but why? Why didn't he say anything about it? Squall was touched yet puzzled. This was the most incredible thing anyone had ever given him. He sat there for a long time, just simply gazing at the figurine. He wanted to call Seifer and ask why but he rationalized that it was too late in Iba. In reality he was just too afraid.
Hours later Squall had showered and was dressed comfortably in khakis and rust-colored long sleeved tee when Quistis came in. She watched him as he sat down on the couch in the living room.
"You don't look any better," she remarked dryly.
Squall's handsome features were darkened in depression. "I don't feel any better. If anything I'm more confused than I was."
Quistis held up a hand. "You're getting ahead of me. You're going to have to start from the beginning. But, " she paused, "before I came up I called down to the kitchen for some dinner. You can wait on the door while I get comfortable. That sound okay?"
Quistis disappeared into her room and after a moment Squall heard the shower running. He turned on the television and idly flipped through channels. After a while he heard the water shut off. A minute later, Squall heard the buzzer. Hefting himself off the couch he answered the door and took the bag from the student who been sent with the food. Making his way to the kitchen he took down plates and opened the packages to find shrimp curry and steaming rice. He had portioned out the food and was reaching in the refrigerator for the wine when Quistis emerged. Her hair was down, and still wet. She was wearing old gray sweat pants and a black tee with the Galbadia Garden logo on the front. Squall noted that even when she dressed down, Quistis always managed to look classy somehow. When she finally decided to settle down, that was going to be one amazingly lucky guy.
"Oh that smells so good," Quistis said. "My mouth is watering already. Come on, give, give," she held her hands out for a plate.
Squall obliged her with both plates and finished retrieving the wine and a couple glasses as Qusitis took the food to the table.
"Forks!" she called as Squall was heading to the table.
Squall gestured with his full hands, "Get some."
"Why do I do all the hard work?" Quistis griped playfully.
"I'm company," Squall said.
"Are not!" she protested.
They settled down to eat and the playful atmosphere dissipated. Quistis eyed Squall steadily. He was on his second glass of wine already. She set her fork beside her plate and sat quietly. She resumed eating only when Squall started talking.
Squall didn't tell Quistis everything. Some things, like what Seifer had told him about his experience with Ultimecia, he felt would be breaking confidence. Others, like waking up next to Seifer and the feelings it had invoked, he felt would be too embarrassing. He told her enough though. About the fight, and about what he'd remembered. They coveted those lost pieces of childhood, every one they recovered was like a small victory. He also felt that even though he didn't feel that Quistis put any blame on Seifer for what happened, that maybe she'd view him in the new light Squall did.
Quistis was nursing her third glass of wine by the time Squall finished. Squall was finishing his fourth. She sat in silence when he finished, her expression pensive. "So what did you mean earlier about being more confused?"
Squall stood up and walked to his room, bringing back the figurine of Shiva. "This," he stated, thrusting the figure into her hand, "was in my bag when I got here."
Quistis gasped, examining it carefully. "It's beautiful. I've seen similar things in Deling City but never of Shiva and never this well done. I don't get it though."
"Seifer put it in my bag, Quisty."
He shot her a look of pure desperation. "Why? He didn't give it to me or anything, didn't even tell me about it. I just showed up here and started unpacking and there it was." Squall neglected to mention that it had been wrapped in Seifer's shirt.
"Maybe he couldn't give it to you?" she asked.
"What kind of answer is that?" he retorted.
"I don't know, Squall. The only answer I can give? I don't know everything that went on. I wasn't there. You were."
"Yes, but I doubt my answer is even remotely the right one."
"Why?" she asked.
Squall didn't speak. He simply stared down at his empty plate and toyed with the stem of the wineglass.
"I see," Quistis said softly. "You're running."
Squall could sense Quistis mentally filling in the unspoken details. To her credit she didn't even seem remotely surprised.
"You two didn't?" she raised an eyebrow.
"Hell, Quistis, of course not," he said.
"Did something happen?"
"Nothing happened, and that's the way it's staying. I'm not going to jeopardize a friendship over something so base."
"Yes, that might be a bit unsettling given the circumstances. Did he give you any indication either way?"
"No. I think we were both just so relieved that we weren't trying to kill each other..." Squall trailed off.
"Did you call him and ask? That'd be the easiest..."
Squall cut her off. "Not going to happen."
"No Quisty. I'm going to call and thank him but I'm not going to ask anything."
"Fine," she shrugged, "your call."
"Actually, I figured I'd do it from here," Squall smirked. "It's going to be your call."
"Where's the fun in having power if I can't abuse it now and again?" Quistis smiled.
Squall took the dishes into the kitchen and then went to the living room and picked up the phone. Quistis politely stayed out of earshot.
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