Disclaimer: I don't own FF VIII or any characters. But, I'll take em' if you'd let me?

warning: Rinoa bashing, adult language and content. So there.

Zell's POV throughout the story except at some points. They will be 3rd person.

Terminal Recovery

Chapter Three - The Verdict

By Tori Singer

"Beep...beep...beep." What a strange sound.... I burrow deeper into my blanket.

"Beep...beep...beep." The hell?? I raise up and look around, my vision unfocused with sleep. My eyes stop to rest on the clock next to my bed. A little red light was blinking.

"Beep...beep...beep." Ugh, the damn alarm. It's too early for this shit. It's only seven. I groan and pull my blanket over my head, drowning out the sound. Just as I was drifting off, I heard a knock at my door.

"Zell?" It's Quistis' sweet voice. I shift but make no move to get up. I hear a few knocks.

"Zell? We have work to do. Besides, Squall wants to see you." I roll over quickly, running out of bed and hitting the floor. Pain shoots up my arm, which is caught between my hip and the floor. I hear my dear friend giggling outside the door as I curse.

"Y-yeah! I'll be right there." I tell her, fighting and rolling my way free of the blankets from hell. They just wouldn't...grrr.

"Gahh!" I kick them off my leg, finally free. I stand shakily and shuffle over to my bathroom, scratching my thigh. I can't bite back a yawn as I stare at myself in the mirror. I looked like a chocobo that got stuck in the dryer. I turn the shower on and started taking my clothes off. Squall wants to see me, it's exciting, but that could also be a very bad thing. Considering what happened yesterday.

My fantasy somehow comes to mind and I can't stop the blush on my cheeks. It was so real.... I just hope I can keep a straight face while the commander is reading me my rights in a hospital gown. I chuckle to myself, I hope it's the ones that are open in the front...

It didn't take long for me to get done with my shower and get dressed. Tugging at my shoes, I stand and look in the mirror. I liked the way the bluejeans fit across my hips, almost feminine but definitely male. I pull the mesh shirt over my head. It's Saturday, dress code isn't in effect today. I didn't gel my hair today, instead, letting it hang down loose. It looked kind of sexy if I do say so myself.

I wasted no more time in leaving the dorms. I made my way to the infirmary, scenarios running through my head, some ending in my death, others ending in me being very happy and sweaty. I grinned at some people walking by, if only they knew what I had been thinking about. That's the beauty of the mind, completely private.

I almost hesitate when I got to Squall's door. I glance back at the doctor before opening it quickly and shutting it just as fast. I hear a chuckle and then a few coughs. I look at Squall, who was sitting on the bed, in a hospital gown, looking at me in amusement.

"I can't move as fast as you, Dincht, there's no need to kill yourself getting the door shut." He coughs a few more times. At least he wasn't throwing the IV bag at me while cussing up a storm. I look at all the IVs, wires, and machines hooked up to my friend. He catches my stare and glares slightly.

"Happy? I'm hooked up like a Christmas Tree, isn't that what you wanted?" He asked me kind of coldly. I bit my lip, he did look a little pitiful, but I knew better than to say so. I dared my way closer, sitting in the chair next to the bed. I decided to get it over with.

"You....wanted to see me, sir?" I asked softly, trying not to laugh at the way Squall looked in that gown. I just loved the way his pale legs were curled up under him, almost looking like a lion, a hungry one. I gulped as he turned his preditory eyes on me. He crossed his arms over his chest.

"Actually, did Dr. Kadowaki say anything to you?" His question caught me off guard. I wracked my brain but didn't come up with anything important.

"Just to not let you out.." I murmured aloud. He frowned at me. He turned his face away from me, toward the window. I was afraid I'd really pissed him off before I felt something in my hand. I looked down, and Squall had laid his hand on mine. I heard him sigh.

"I want her to tell you." He looked at me sadly.

"But remember, whoever the poor son of a bitch is, they have a looong trip ahead of them." I didn't understand his words, but I flinched at his bitterness. I stood quickly, not knowing what else to do. I turned to the door.

"Umm, ok. I'll go ask the doctor what you're talking about..." I looked at him worriedly before leaving. I spotted the doctor behind her desk. Quistis and my other friends were standing around the office. I wondered what was up.

"Hey. 'Sup?" I asked, standing in front of the doctor's desk. Selphie looked excited and Irvine looked pale. Quistis kept figeting and Seifer looked pissed. I bit my lip, curious beyond believe. Finally, the doctor pulled something out of her drawer. It was a handful of straws. She held them out to us. I didn't understand.

"Umm, what are we doing?" I asked, pulling a straw like everyone else. I heard Seifer laugh.

"Signing a death warrant." He smirked at my pale look. I looked down at my straw before looking at everyone else. They were staring at me sympathetically. Seifer started laughing at me.

"What?!" I asked indignantly. I didn't know what the fuck his problem was until' I looked at his straw. It was at least six inches long. I looked at mine, it was barely three. I drew the short straw, I hope that didn't mean something incredibly bad. The doctor patted my shoulder before finally explaining to me what the Hell was going on.

"Mr. Leonhart did not tell you?" She asked me, turning toward the papers on her desk. I shook my head.

"N-no, he said he wanted you to tell me. Umm, what's this straw for?" I heard Irvine join in Seifer's laughter before Selphie punched him in the ribs. I savored the sound of Irvine gasping for air. Serves him right. I was getting more worried by the minute when nobody said anything. Finally, Quistis spoke.

"Zell, honey. Umm, the commander's lungs are very weak, this sea air is making it worse. He's been ordered by Dr. Kadowaki to retreat to Winhill for a few weeks, to strengthen his lungs." I listened. I got it so far...

"Yeah, I get that, but, what's this for?" I asked, holding up my short straw. She frowned at me before smiling.

"We know how Squall is, so somebody has to go with him to make sure he takes it easy and doesn't try to escape." My stomach sank into my shoes. That's what Squall meant. And I AM the poor son of a bitch...

"Oh, man." I slump my shoulders.

I cannot believe I'm packing shit to go to Winhill with my commander. I throw a few shirts in my duffel bag. How am I supposed to make him relax? What if he escapes or kills me? I shiver, this could be a good time to spend some quality time with the lion. But I still felt like a poor zebra or something caught in the sights of a very very hungry lion. Ugh.

I hear a knock at my door. I hope it's somebody important.

"It's me, chickie." Ugh, so much for being a VIP....

"It's open, Seifer." I call to him. I hear my door swish open. Something is thrown at me and it lands on the bed. It's a big bag.

"That's Leonhart's stuff. I was ordered to pack his clothes and things." He grinned when he said 'things'. Just what did he put in the bag? I heft my bag over my shoulder and look at Seifer.

"Aren't you gonna carry that?" I asked him, exasperated. He shook his head.

"Nope, I've gotta help Irvine with Leonhart. See you later, chicken-wuss." I growled at him as he left, the little bastard. I sigh before grabbing Squall's bag. I'm almost tempted to rummage through it out of curiosity but wanted to live longer than a day. I heave it over my other shoulder, amazed at how much this shit weighed.

"God.." I grumble as I leave my room, knowing I wouldn't be back for a few weeks. If, I even live that long. I had to admit though, I was a little excited about the whole thing. Being away from Garden, with nobody but Squall to make company with; I could show off my cooking skills. I laugh at that. Yes! Fear my omelet! Ha ha ha! I felt a little better as I walked toward the parking garage. I wonder if Squall's already there...

"Mr. Leonhart, it's time to go." Dr. Kadowaki told him for the last time. The commander just glared at her, not moving.

"I'm not going." He said for the hundredth time. The Doctor smiled at him secretly. Squall frowned, trying to read that look. She motioned for somebody to come in the room. Seifer and Irvine both entered, looking amused. Irvine looked at the doctor.

"So, it's the hard way, huh?" He asked, nudging Seifer, who grinned at Squall evilly. Squall sank into his sheets, getting extremely defensive. He had an idea what they were going to do. But, he could do nothing but struggle when the two boys grabbed him and tried to pick him up.

"Dammit, Squall! You're not making this easy!" Irvine bitched as he was punched and clawed. Seifer grabbed the commander's arms, forcing them behind his back. Irvine, thinking quickly, grabbed the soft rope that the doctor handed him. He had Squall's hands tied in a flash, trying to ignore all the insults the commander threw his way.

"Got a gag?" Seifer asked the doctor, earning a deathly glare from Squall.

"You assholes!" He wiggled again, trying to get free. A stretcher was waiting outside, to deliver the unwilling patient to the pick up truck, where Zell was waiting. Irvine grabbed Squall's ankles, tying them together, forcing Squall to halt his moves for a bit. He was breathing hard, sweat dripping down his forehead, he felt like crap. Irvine stood back taking in the commander's look.

"You look so cute!" He couldn't help himself. His body turned to stone at the look Squall sent his way. Irvine backed way off, causing Seifer to laugh.

"Oh come on, Kinneas! He's defenseless! We've just got to get him to the-ahh!" He jumped back rubbing his hand where Squall bit him. The commander just glared defiantly. Irvine doubled over in laughter.

"Defenseless, huh?!" He laughed harder. The doctor cleared her throat.

"Excuse me, but I'd like him out of here as soon as possible." Squall tried to roll off the bed, but was caught in mid air by a cursing Seifer. The blond hoisted Squall up, carrying him bridal style, much to Squall's extreme irritation. He never moved as he was layed on the stretcher, face down. He felt straps being pulled around him, ensuring his inability to escape. He glared and foamed and plotted. Whoever was picked to go with him was NOT gonna have a great time, he'd make sure of that!

Irvine felt like he was helping carrying a bound crocodile with the way Squall looked. He seemed to be ready to chomp off whoever's stupid enough to get their hand close. He shivered and walked down the hall, holding his side of the stretcher up. He could faintly hear Squall growling. He suddenly worried for Zell's safety and sanity.

I figeted, standing next to the red truck. Quistis patted my arm and tried to comfort me.

"It won't be that bad, I'm sure." I could hear the unsure tone in her voice. I sighed, leaning against the truck. We looked at the door when we heard a commotion. I bit my lip to keep from laughing as Irvine and Seifer came in packing Squall on a stretcher, still in his gown. His face was red and glaring. I wanted to hide under the truck.

Squall's eyes met mine and they narrowed on me. I gulped, apparentally he just figured out who was going to Winhill with him. I looked to Quistis for support. She bit her lip and walked toward the door, away from the danger.

"What's with his clothes, he's not going like that is he?" I asked, earning another glare from my commander. I flinched, even though I knew he couldn't break through his bonds. Irvine sighed, obviously tired.

"He wouldn't go down without a fight, I'm not stupid enough to try to change his clothes." I understood that, Squall would have our heads rolling down a hill in no time at all... I shivered and picked up the bags, throwing them in the back of the truck.

"Should he get dressed now?" I asked, still holding Squall's bag. Seifer shrugged.

"He could change behind the truck." He suggested, much to Squall's irritation. I noticed though, that a blush had crept up the commander's face. I grinned and scratched the back of my neck.

"Yeah, he can change behind the truck, but we're going to guard the door." I said, much to Squall's relief. There was no other way out besides the garage door, and it was shut right now. He couldn't get past us, could he? We all three looked at eachother.

"So? Who wants to untie him?" Irvine asked, trying to sound brave. I did NOT volunteer. We stood in silence before Seifer spoke. He rolled his eyes.

"Go watch the door, I'll do it." He tried to sound brave, but there was a hint of worry in his voice. I nodded and followed Irvine to the door, where Quistis was still standing. We watched Seifer lean down behind Squall, reaching for the straps. As soon as he touched a strap, Irvine hollered.

"LOOK OUT!" Seifer gasped and jumped back, falling on his ass. Irvine doubled over, laughing his ass off. I couldn't help but laugh, too, followed by Quistis. I quieted though, at Seifer's death glare. Irvine however, wasn't so smart.

"Oh god, Seifer, I can't belive! Ha ha ha! Ha ha-Wahh!" He yelped as Seifer grabbed him in a headlock. The blond rubbed the cowboy's head in a noogie when his hat fell off.

"Who's the bitch now!? Huh?!" Seifer laughed at Irvine, who was close to begging. I looked over at Squall, who was watching the spectacle with a slight smile. He caught me staring and looked away quickly. I felt ashamed, I felt like an accomplice in a kidnapping. Quistis spoke up.

"Um, we really need to get moving." She said, making the boys stop. Irvine was red faced as he picked up his hat. I watched Seifer walk over to Squall and start to undo his straps. I watched Squall's face turn to a complete poker face. I hated it when he did that, you couldn't tell what he was thinking. Seifer undid the ropes tying the commander down. We all expected him to jump and run, but, he didn't.

He stood slowly, rubbing his wrists and glaring at all of us. He reached down and grabbed his back, shuffling around behind the truck. Seifer looked at us and shrugged before walking over to us. We heard the sound of a zipper and clothes being rummaged through.

"What the fuck??" We heard come from behind the truck. I looked at Seifer, who was smirking. Just WHAT did Siefer pack? Just then, Squall's head poked over the side of the truck.

"I'm NOT wearing these." He said before throwing a pink belly shirt over the truck, followed by a skirt. I gaped at Seifer, who was laughing.

"I thought they'd look good on you! I'm sure Zell would have appreciated them!" He winked at me, making me blush all over, and a little tight in other places.

"Don't drag me into this!" I yelled at him, clearly embarrassed. I heard Squall mutter something before digging through the bag some more. I heard a few more curses before more clothes were thrown at us. I looked at the tight shorty shorts and other indecent and unSquall things. I rolled my eyes at Seifer.

"You didn't expect him to wear that shit, did you?" I asked. Seifer grinned at me.

"I was hoping he wouldn't look in the bag until' you were too far away from the garden to do anything about it." I couldn't believe this guy. His laughter was cut short when something smacked him in the face and landed on his shoulder. I couldn't believe it. Seifer held it up and whistled. It was a thong! I turned away, trying to get the image of Squall in that thong out of my head.

"Ohhh, Zelly! You're blushing!" Irvine winked at me, earning a glare. I heard Squall chuckle, making me want to sink into a hole. Finally, though, Squall walked around from behind the truck, the sound of his boots clicking on the floor. I could pick his walk out from a million people, the sound of pride, dignity, and sexiness. I gulped and looked at him, expecting the worst.

"Ohh! Squall!" Irvine mimicked, slapping me on the back. I ignored him and stared at my commander. He was wearing leather pants, the hip hugger kind. The only decent shirt he found was a small, tight white t-shirt, which showed just a hint of chisled belly. I could only stare. I did notice, however, that he was wearing Griever, that was kind of a relief. I don't know why, though.

Squall obviously looked uncomfortable. Quistis smacked Seifer's arm, who feigned hurt.

"Why instructer, I was only giving him a sense of fashion." His eyes twinkled with mirth.

"Whatever." We heard the famous reply. I looked up at Squall only to find an empty space.

"Wha?" I asked, getting the others' attention. We looked around the garage, but there was no sign of him. Quistis still stood by the door.

"He's in here, I've been standing in front of this door the whole time." We were a bit encouraged, as we looked behind and inside anything we could think of.

"But, he said 'whatever', he couldn't have just disappeared that fast!" I yelled, getting a little freaked. We heard a sound from behind the truck. We all three started slowly around it. Seifer jumped back there.

"Ah ha!" He yelled, before leaning down and looking between his legs.

"There he goes!" He hollered, standing up.

"What?" I asked, turning around. Squall had Quistis out of the way in no time. He picked her up and put her in the trash can.

"Squall!" She screeched, trying to get out. I ran toward Squall, who swung the door to the garage open, leading back into the garden. We all froze however, at the sight that met us. There was a line of infared sensors, lining the entrance to the hall way. There was no way to get past it. Squall looked back at us before frowning. Before I could say a word, Squall ran toward the sensors.

The commander amazed me as he jumped into the air, flipping sideways and swinging his legs just so. He landed on the other side of the sensors, on his feet. He smirked back at us before taking off toward the door. Seifer growled.

"This is getting ridiculous." I got an idea. I walked over in front of the sensors.

"Squall!" I called. He turned around, his hand on the doorknob at the end of the hall. He looked at me. I grinned and placed my hand through the sensor. An alarm sounded. The door at the end of the hall locked. Squall glared at me.

"You assholes." He spat, knowing he was caught.

The drive to Timber was very quick. We left the Garden, which was parked a few miles from the town. Squall just glared out the window, ignoring me. I concentrated on driving, and not on the coiled snake next to me. We made it to Timber in no time. There, we would catch the train to Winhill. I parked the truck and looked over at Squall, who had yet to say anything.

"Umm, we're here." I tried, opening the door to the truck. I grabbed the bags, noting that Squall's felt a lot lighter. We'd have to buy some clothes when we got to Winhill. I heard the truck door open, and Squall got out, looking a little tired. I bet he was, with all that struggling he did today.

I walked toward the train station, listening as Squall followed me. He didn't talk to me at all and kept his distance. I knew he wouldn't try to escape now, there were SeeDs around the town to make sure of that. I heard him sigh a few times. He probably felt like shit, so I hurried, wanting him to get settled in quickly.

"6,000 Gil please." I grimaced at the pricey tickets. I pulled the money out of my pocket, at least though, Quistis and Xu had given us 10,000 gil to pay for the train and all. I still had plenty left to buy Squall some clothes. I'd also taken my money along, and Seifer had told me he put some money in Squall's bag. Apparentally, Squall took his own money, because he suprised me by putting the money in the conducter's hand.

"All aboard!" He hollered before leaving. I stared at Squall who just walked past me and onto the train. I sighed and followed. This was going to be a fun trip, I was sure.


End of chapter three.

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