DISCLAIMER: Okay I want to say this now and get it over with. I got the story structure for this story from a book called Magic’s Pawn by Mercedes Lackey. She is my goddess author and I love her to death. While I was reading it one night, I got the idea for a prequel to the game and decided to write it because I wanted to give props to my fav author. There were 4 specific scenes that I needed from the book to make this story work.
The scenes are:
1. Savil teaching Tylendel about shielding and their conversation before he leaves.
2. Vanyel overhearing about Tylendel (if you read it you know what I’m talking about).
3. Vanyel seeing Tylendel read a book through the window.
4. Tylendel comforting Vanyel after his nightmare.
I’m really REALLY nervous about posting this because I don’t want flames about me ‘stealing’ Misty’s work. It’s hers, not mine! NEVER MINE! I just own the books and read them over and over cause I love them so much. I’m only doing this because they gave me an idea. All of the aforementioned scenes are hers that I have changed to fit the FF8 world, the rest is my own crappy writing ^_^ I hope you enjoy it all the same because it’s a fic, and I don’t get paid for this anyway. ^_~
Uncertain Memory: With You
Part Ten - After the Exam
By Elise Maxwell
I hate this most of all—the waiting. Squall followed Zell and Selphie up to the gate of Balamb Garden. When they’d arrived back at Balamb City, Seifer had left the three at the harbor by taking the car back to the Garden. Squall knew something was up. Seifer was an ass, but he was never be so rude as to desert them in the city. He had a feeling that the exam had not gone well at all.
Once he Seifer and Zell had secured the central square of Dollet, Seifer had played up his nasty attitude and wanted to go kill some more of the Galbadian army. Right after he’d spouted off about it, a dog near them got antsy and started to bark. The three of them hid and watched a group of Galbadians sneak through the square and then toward the Communications Tower of the city.
Being the leader—and his own arrogant self—Seifer wanted to follow them, even though they’d been ordered to stay put. Squall agreed with the blonde but Zell wanted to follow orders and stay in the square. In the end they’d won Zell over and followed the Galbadians.
Once they were actually at the Comm. Tower, Seifer ditched them to chase around and terrorize the poor Galbadians. Squall found it childish but still mildly amusing. Then Seifer said something about telling them about his romantic dream—something Squall was still thinking about as they were approaching the garden.
And Selphie—the little hyper girl—she’d called to them right after Seifer had run off. She’d distracted Squall from going after the blonde, which sort of annoyed him but she had been given an order to find Seifer so he helped her go after him.
Squall rubbed his forehead as he remembered the fights that ensued afterward. They’d had to fight two bumbling officers of the Galbadian before a monster they’d awoken blew them away. And lastly, that huge robot would have gotten him if Quistis hadn’t filled the stupid thing full of bullets.
“What’s the matter Squall?” Selphie turned to him.
“Nothing,” the brunette replied.
“Huuuwahaah!” Zell stretched his arms above his head. “Finally made it back…”
“Seriously…” the girl gave up to see Squall look away and Zell not even listening.
“Well, I guess we just wait for the test results.” The spiky blonde waved and walked through the gates. “'Til then. See ya, Squall.”
Selphie perked up and smiled at the brunette. “See ya!” She trotted through the gates and cast him a worried glance before disappearing behind the wall.
Squall shook his head and lost himself in his thoughts as he slowly walked through the grounds of Balamb G. He stopped suddenly when he found himself passing Quistis and Xu who were talking to the headmaster Cid. He snuck by them heading to the dorms so he could find Seifer. He incidentally ran into the blonde in front of the sign for the library.
“Squall!” Seifer called to the brunette who looked around then trotted closer. “D'you hear about the communication tower in Dollet?” He hesitated as he noticed Quistis coming toward them with Xu following. “We would've been heroes if it weren't for that withdraw order.”
“You were only looking for a fight.” Quistis crossed her arms and winked at him. Squall rolled his eyes, waiting for everyone to rip on Seifer just because he was being himself. He wondered if what they said hurt him.
“My dear instructor,” Seifer smirked at her, “I'm hurt. Those are rather cruel words for an aspiring student.” He shook his head mocking her. “A mediocre instructor like you will never understand.”
“Seifer, don't be so stuck up yourself,” Xu spoke up, surprising the blonde and his beau. She obviously didn’t know he was actually joking. Quistis pursed her lips not knowing what to do. Xu went on, “You'll take all responsibility for leaving the designated area.”
Seifer contained a sneer much to Squall’s chagrin. “Isn't it the captain's duty to take the best possible action?”
“Seifer, you'll never be a SeeD. Calling yourself a captain is a joke,” Xu spat before turning her heel and leaving.
The two left looked to Seifer who looked at the floor angrily. Squall was about to say something to him when Cid walked up to them.
The older man walked up to the blonde. “Seifer,” he put a hand on the young man’s shoulder, “you will be disciplined for your irresponsible behavior. You must follow orders exactly during combat.” He patted Seifer’s shoulder. “But I'm not entirely without sympathy for you.” The blonde looked up at his face. “I don't want you all to become machines. I want you all to be able to think and act for yourselves.”
A glimmer of understanding entered Seifer’s eyes and he nodded at the headmaster with a small smile.
Cid continued, “I am…”
“Headmaster Cid, you have some business in your office…” one of the Garden Faculty interrupted.
“There are so many issues at hand here.” Cid shook his head and walked away toward the elevator.
“Seifer,” Squall started and the blonde just stared at him for a moment, and then looked away. He wanted to hold his lover, tell him everything was all right. It hurt to have to stand there, even three feet away.
“All students who participated in today's field exam, report to the 2nd Floor Hallway.” a female voice announced on the PA. “I repeat, all students who took the field exam, report to the 2nd floor Hallway.”
“I’ll see you later,” he muttered and jogged away praying to Hyne that Seifer would be alright on his own.
Accepted, at a price:
Squall stared at the report in his hands as the elevator descended. It was still in the envelope Cid had given him—he hadn’t the nerve to open it. He shoved it in his pocket as he exited the elevator and found Zell and Selphie prancing around like morons. He shook his head as he passed them and the other boy who had graduated with them.
Gray eyes blinked in shock as he entered the hallway. Zell and Selphie had apparently followed him and stopped beside him. There waiting for them was Seifer, his posse and the rest of the cadets who hadn’t passed the exam. Oceanic eyes stared into his with a blankness that scared him. The blonde must have sensed it because his eyes turned a bit sad.
Seifer then began to clap, making the other new SeeDs smile in modesty. Squall covered his smile by rubbing his forehead and glancing at his rival. The blonde was smiling proudly. It made him feel a little better.
Squall nodded and left the other three to gloat. He wanted to be alone for once today, and maybe finally alone with Seifer, but he doubted it. The students would probably be harassing him or asking him why he failed for the third time. He didn’t want to listen to that, not when he knew Seifer was really hurting inside.
The brunette sighed as he punched the code in for his room and strolled it. He tossed the envelope he’d been carrying onto the desk as he flopped onto his bed. Time for a nice comfy nap…
Squall awoke with a start and glanced around the room. He heard retreating footsteps outside his door as his eyes caught on a piece of paper resting on his nightstand and a new SeeD uniform hanging above his bed.
I brought your uniform in. They hung it on the door. I won’t have time to spend with you this evening. I’m helping a friend with something and will be speaking with Cid most of the time. I might see you at the ball but I’m not sure. I think I’ll be in a meeting with the Headmaster by that time. Quisty will have a hasty exit from the ball for you so go along with her. She’s going to ‘confess’ things to you for gossip. Go along with it. I’ll see you sometime later tonight.
The brunette bit his lip, pondering what to do. He jumped as a resounding fist pounded on his door. He rubbed his eyes as he ambled to the door and hit the button for it to open.
“HAH! Found you!” Selphie bounced around outside the door. “Well? Well? What do you think!? My SeeD Uniform!” She turned around in it and smiled at him.
“You look nice,” Squall replied with a nod.
Selphie slipped past him and inspected his room. “Nice digs.” She winked. “You should get changed, too. We have that party to get to.”
Squall rolled his eyes up, hoping that Hyne would strike him down, but no, she didn’t like him today. “I don’t want to go Sel.”
“Pleeeeezzzze!?” She gave him puppy dog eyes, which incidentally didn’t work well because her eyes were green and not brown.
He smirked. “Fine. I’ll go. Just for you.” He tapped her nose with the tip of his finger and she smiled brightly.
“Thank you,” she replied sweetly before he shrugged and went back to his bedroom.
Squall stared at the SeeD uniform hanging above his bed. He sighed and reached for the hanger with a heavy heart. He wouldn’t be able to see Seifer wearing his uniform tonight. After he changed and took a moment to straighten the jacket in his mirror, he stepped out to a very spunky brunette.
“Heeey! Lookin' good!” She gave him two thumbs up before scampering over and grabbing his arm like a baby would a finger. “Alright! Let's hit that PAAH-TAY!” Selphie dragged the quiet boy out the door and to the ball.
Once inside the elaborately decorated ballroom, Selphie immediately deserted the awkward feeling Squall to recruit members to the Garden Festival Committee. He knew this because he heard her spouting off about it practically across the room.
The brunette took a moment to glance around. He realized why he didn’t come to functions like this—he didn’t have any friends. Well he had friends, but he hadn’t made very many. He knew people, but he didn’t consider them friends and conversation wasn’t his forte.
Squall stepped back when he noticed a pillar and leaned against it. He wasn’t particularly comfortable here. A woman carrying a tray of glasses stopped having just noticing him. It wasn’t like he stood out anyway. She smiled and handed him a glass of wine. He accepted it with a nod and she went about her business.
Squall blinked, recognizing the voice. Oh crap.
“S'up, Squall?” Zell ran up to him and grinned. “Heh-heh, I guess we're both SeeDs now, huh?” He extended his hand. “Put it there, man.”
The brunette eyed the hand. He never shook Zell’s hand. With the way the blonde always wiped his hand off before extending it, he had the feeling Zell had always been touching something he shouldn’t have. Squall also wondered why the blonde boy acted as if they were just meeting again. Maybe the GF’s were finally getting to his memory too. He pushed the thought away as he took a sip of the wine in his glass, ignoring Zell’s extended hand.
“Hah, even as a SeeD, you're still the same. That’s typical of you,” the blonde told him. He turned and waved. “See ya.” Zell didn’t get far before he encountered Selphie. Squall noted how Zell’s body went stiff with fear. What a moron.
“Oh...hey, Zell. Wanna join the Garden Festival committee and…” Selphie watched as Zell quickly passed her.
“Sorry, I...ah...Just remembered something! G-Gotta go. See ya!” The blonde boy scurried off like the rat he was. Squall contemplated actually helping Selphie. She didn’t seem as silly as she acted. Though she was quite the opposite of Quistis.
“Hmmmm…” Selphie murmured and turned. “Squall! Hi! Wanna join the Garden Festival committee? You can help out whenever you have the time.” She clasped her hands together and tried her puppy dog look again. It was getting a little better. “Please!?”
“Yeah, I guess so.” Squall shrugged and smiled.
“Really!? Whoo-hoo!” The short brunette jumped up and down happily. “I know we'll be busy with a lot of SeeD stuff, but let's work hard on the Garden Festival, too.” She patted his arm happily. “Bye,” Selphie said quickly as she traversed off to recruit more people.
Squall rolled his eyes amused and took another sip of his drink. He looked up at the glass ceiling as he did so and he noticed a shooting star. He watched in awe and followed it down the glass. His gaze finally ended up on the dance floor where he noticed a black haired girl in a cream-colored dress standing alone in the center, also gazing at the sky. The girl turned, almost as if she knew he was looking at her. She pointed up, gesturing to the sky as if asking if he’d seen it too. Squall cocked his head to the side a little confused.
The girl took it upon herself to walk over to Squall and he readied himself for some giggling and flirting. He rolled his eyes and noticed Seifer standing on one of the inner balconies above wearing his Cadet uniform. The blonde smiled at him mischievously. Jerk. Squall glared at the older boy, but turned his attention back to the girl who had just stopped in front of him.
“You're the best looking guy here,” she told him truthfully, which threw him off a bit. “Dance with me?”
Squall took a sip of his wine contemplating what he should say.
“Let me guess...You'll only dance with someone you like.” She bit her lip thoughtfully. “Ok then… Look into my eyes…”
He blinked as she twirled her hand in front of his face. What in the world does she think she’s doing?
“You're-going-to-like me...You're-going-to-like-me…” She leaned back as her hand stopped under his chin. “Did it work?”
Squall looked down and smiled, entertained by her antics. “…I can’t dance.” He shrugged.
“Oh, you'll be fine. Come on.” She grabbed his hand as he set his glass on a table. “I'm looking for someone. I can't be on the dance floor alone!” The girl dragged him away to the floor.
Squall let himself be hauled through the people and even let her place his hands on her body to dance. He’d totally forgotten about his etiquette class last year. It would take him a moment to remember the dances—but a moment was all it took for her to start them in on the song and for him to stumble along with her.
After a few mess-ups and stumbling over his own feet, Squall tried to bail. “I can’t do this,” he admitted but she caught his hand.
“I’m not going to give up on you just yet,” she told him and started to move to the next steps of the song. She was persistent, much like another little girl he knew…
Squall did his best to catch up and it seemed like he was getting the hang of it when they bumped into another couple. The couple gave the two younger dancers an angry look and his black haired partner stuck her tongue out at them. Squall absently thought of her as a female Seifer, young and brash, not about to take anyone’s guff. He smiled at her amazed that she fought back. She returned the smile as they went on to the rest of the routine of steps correctly this time.
The song slowed as the lights went down suddenly and fireworks exploded in the sky. The two stared at the shining sky of color before Squall felt the girl move.
“I’ll be right back. Just wait.” The girl hurried off to a group of people Squall didn’t recognize.
The brunette sighed realizing he’d been far too social tonight and decided to take his leave. He strolled out to one of the many balconies around the ballroom and tasted the fresh air. He rested his arms on the railing and leaned on it taking in the greenery around the area.
“You really are an excellent student. Even that dance was perfect.”
Squall jumped and sighed when he saw Quistis. “Thank you.” He turned his gaze back to the scenery. For a moment he still felt her presence and turned back wondering why she was still hanging near him. “Yes?”
“So you'll dance with someone you don't even know, but you can't stand being around me?” She crossed her arms with a distasteful look on her face.
The brunette stared at her incredulously. How could she say that? He saw her glance at a couple about to join them on the balcony and he remembered. His cold stoic face slipped into place as he crossed his arms. “…Whatever."
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