Author's Notes: Someone pointed out to me that Seifer was four when he went to the orphanage. How could he not remember his parents? Well, I don’t remember anything before the age of six O.O. Sorry, I just thought it applied to everyone. Heh, if you can remember anything before the age of four I respect you. You are wiser than I >.>...or you’re seven years old...one or the other.
Ellone groaned and shut the door behind her. Rinoa was almost unbearable these days. It was obvious that Squall wasn’t exactly as affectionate as he had been before...had he ever been affectionate...Ellone glanced back at the fading dorm room. Probably not, though he more than likely had never avoided her like this before. Now it seemed Rinoa was trying to prove to her friends that she and Squall were still very much in love by planning a dinner party. She had originally said that this was to make up for the last party thrown...which had been an ultimate failure...it was obvious however of her true goal.
Now Ellone was leaving the two be. She couldn’t take anymore of this one-sided romance and had offered to go to Balamb for supplies. Ellone had business to attend to before the errand. Counting doorways as she went, she finally came across the right one and gave a soft knock.
“Who is it?” came a distant and not exactly exuberant voice from within.
Ellone dropped her hand to her side “Not Squall,” she said distinctly.
The voice from inside obviously realized who stood on the other side of the door because almost immediately the frame was open.
Ellone smiled a bit weakly “Mind if I come in?”
Seifer rolled his eyes slightly. This wasn’t the first time she had asked this...he didn’t feel like being yelled at a second time...”Fine,” he sighed, stepping to the side and allowing her to enter before the door closed once more.
Ellone, came to a stop inside, clasping her hands in front of her legs and looking Seifer over “I haven’t seen you around lately.”
“That’s because the school’s still on high alert, you’re not seeing anyone around,” he grumbled, stretching a bit. Obviously he had just woken up from a long sleep. His hair was disheveled and though he still had on day clothes, they were quite wrinkled.
“That doesn’t mean you couldn’t come by every now and then,” Ellone spoke as her eyes darted around the room.
Seifer watched as she inspected the mess with some distaste and smiled slightly reminded of Squall. Of course this feeling didn’t last long as he remembered their last encounter “I never did before. Why would I start now?”
Ellone watched as the blonde sank down into the living room chair. Pink lips curled into a frown and she approached him wearing somewhat of a scowl “Look,” her hands settled upon the arms of the chair and she leaned over to speak to him “It’s not as though Squall is enjoying this.”
“He’s not doing anything to stop it,” Seifer snapped before she could say more. A hand had slipped against his forehead as he slumped forward, trying to get across the message that Ellone was not exactly welcome.
“True,” Ellone gave another sigh and lowered herself to her knees so that she could speak with him better. After a long, awkward silence, she spoke up “All right, how’s this? There’s a dinner party tonight. Rinoa is throwing it in that dining room reserved for guests, the one near the Headmaster’s office,” Ellone leaned forward, trying to see if he was listening or not as she still could not see his eyes “Anyway,” she began again “Why don’t you come?”
Seifer snorted “Why should I?” he looked back to Ellone, lowering his hand “It wasn’t as if I was actually invited.”
“I’m inviting you,” Ellone stood again “And if you’re not there I’ll be very offended.”
“I doubt that,” Seifer sat up in the chair and finally shrugged “Fine.”
Ellone smiled. She knew he was only hoping that Squall might finally show some sign that he in fact didn’t love Rinoa in the least “It’s tonight at eight...now...,” Ellone crossed behind the chair and rested her hands on his shoulders “Why don’t you come with me to Balamb. Hyne only knows how long you’ve been in this room.”
Squall helped Rinoa carry the platters to the table. Another dinner party. Life with Rinoa was full of these though he never got used to them. He didn’t even know who was invited to this part though he suspected only close friends. Probebly just Rinoa and the orphanage gang. Did that mean Seifer would come? Squall paused a moment, the plate slipping slightly in his grip.
“Watch it!” Rinoa rushed in front of the brunnete, allowing the platter to slide into her already full arms rather than crashing to the floor.
“Huh?” Squall snapped out of his daze and, exhaling slightly shook his head. No, he wouldn’t come. Squall took the platter back into his arms and began again towards the table. There was little chance Seifer would show up. Even if he was invited he probebly didn’t want to see Rinoa just now anyway....but what if he came for Squall?...Agh, Squall sat the platter down beside a few others and straightened “Rinoa, who’s coming?”
The female on the other side of the table looked up “Huh?” there was no answer to the question, she didn’t need it. At once her eyes rolled upwards in thought “Let’s see, Irvine, Selphie and Zell, oh-Petunia, Quistis and...James?...Ellone of course. I invited the Headmaster and Edea as well. It was the least I could do since they let me use their guest dining room,” with that she reached over to organize silverware “Why do you ask?”
“No reason,” Squall lied. So Seifer wasn’t invited. He almost felt relived. There was no telling what Rinoa might try to do tonight. He didn’t want Seifer to become angrier than he probably already was.
“Hey, do you know where Ellone is?” Rinoa was obviously satisfied with the table as it was. She had now busied herself pacing the room, checking clocks as though another might read differently.
"No," Squall answered lazily as Rinoa hurried into the storeroom to check for something along the lines of wine...or so Squall expected...At least his answer the truth. Squall hadn’t seen his sister since she had returned with supplies early that morning. He wished she hadn’t left again. Squall didn’t enjoy being left alone with Rinoa...especially in her current state...Luckily he didn’t have to wait long for the first guests. The door opened only moments later.
"Cid, Edea," Rinoa grinned and rushed to the doorway ushering the two in.
Almost everyone was here now. It was almost eight. Squall had taken his seat early. He didn’t feel like wandering about with Rinoa, speaking with random guests.
"Irvine! You’re here!"
Squall groaned, dropped his head onto his hands and beginning to feel his eyelids droop. These parties were always so boring. He wanted to just eat, watch Rinoa socialize, and go home. This was torture.
"Ellone, where were you? Oh and...hello...Seifer."
Squall jerked up at those last four hesitant words. Indeed Ellone had entered the room and behind her tailed Seifer. Blue eyes wide, Squall watched as Seifer came to a stop behind Ellone, looking around the room until his gaze settled upon him. Squall sat rigid in the chair now, tearing his eyes away and looking down at the table. It didn’t take long before the table was full.
"Wake up," Rinoa’s voice chimed at his ear and Squall looked up just in time to feel lips upon his cheek. Quickly his eyes moved across the table, finding Seifer and Ellone sitting near the opposite end of the oaken surface. Seifer it seemed was now trying to avert his gaze as well. He clearly disapproved at Rinoa’s affection.
"Hey, there’re no hotdogs," Zell grumbled, getting a firm kick from Selphie.
"Zell this is like a fancy dinner...kinda...get something else," she patted his shoulder apologetically and reached for something that looked to be a casserole. Licking her lips, grinned and spooned a bit onto her plate.
Squall looked down the table. It looked as though everyone else was doing the same, save Seifer who, in the circumstances, was a little slow on the uptake as well "Ah," doing his best to blend with the crowd, Squall reached for a dish himself.
Seifer groaned into the glass at his lips. Rinoa was showing no sign of slowing down over there. It was ten and ever since the “party” had finished dinner, Rinoa had had Squall aside, occasionally ushering him from group to group in order to kiss him publicly. It was almost like watching a nature documentary and Rinoa was doing an excellent job marking her territory.
“Will you slow down,” Ellone glared at the glass Seifer was holding. She had followed him over to the far corner of the room when the dinner had ended.- though a few people were still seated at the table chatting he hadn’t wished to...and with good reason...-Now Ellone was trying to keep him from drinking all of the whine brought to the dinner.
Seifer ignored her words of course and went ahead with refilling his glass, watching as Rinoa pulled Squall’s arm around her hips and snuggled up against his side “Agh,” Seifer looked towards a wall at his left.
“Seifer, I’m sorry,” Ellone sighed. She truly hadn’t expected Rinoa’s actions to come one after the other and Squall didn’t seem willing to throw her off. Settling down in her seat she watched the two as they made their way from Irvine and Petunia to the corner. From there it seemed Rinoa was going to make another move, settling herself in the corner and saying something in hushed tones to Squall who was being held in front of her.
It wasn’t as though Ellone had anything against Rinoa. In fact Rinoa was in her opinion a wonderful person...though at the moment she only wished the female gone from the room...Swallowing hard she watched as Rinoa pulled Squall in for a kiss, saying something with her lips hidden from view. Her fingers moved down his body, touch pausing last near his waist. Lips parting she moved her head to rest on his shoulder.
Ellone continued watching as she raised one hand to twirl in Squall’s hair, closing her eyes and smiling. Opening her mouth she whispered something in his ear. Something that was easy enough to gather from simple lip reading.
Ellone froze and saw Squall tense as well. However, he relaxed soon enough, leaned into her, and whispered something that made her smile widen. She said ‘I love you’, did he return the sentiment? Ellone looked from the pair in the corner to Seifer who was standing now, no longer facing Ellone “Wait, don’t leave yet,” Ellone followed Seifer a few steps before flinging the storeroom door open and pulling Seifer in behind her “Just wait a little longer, please?” Ellone closed the door behind them, then tilted her head to better see Seifer. He had obviously seen what she had. Though he was obviously intoxicated it would have taken a lot more wine to shield that sight from view.
“Why should I stick around? I wasn’t invited in the first place,” Seifer moved to the left so that he was leaning against the far wall, between two shadowed storage shelves.
Ellone was forced to think over her answer. She had hoped perhaps he and Squall would be able to talk...however...that didn’t seem likely to happen. Of course...she didn’t want him to give up so easily...
“See,” Seifer leaned further into the wall so that his face was completely hidden from view “Just let me leave.”
The girl in front of him frowned, tapping the ground nervously with her left foot. He sounded as he had when Ellone had entered his apartment that first day. Ellone could imagine, of course, that this was worse. She now wished she hadn’t invited him at all. This was her fault. “I’m sorry,” she sighed apologetically, taking a few steps towards Seifer and doing her best to give him a comforting hug.
The blonde didn’t make a move to show that he appreciated this but neither did he pull away. Ellone was about to suggest he go ahead home, as the sound of doors opening and closing was already sounding behind them, when she felt Seifer tense in her arms. She raised her hand to ask what was wrong when her parted lips were met with Seifer’s own. His arms wrapped around her waist pulling her against him. Ellone’s eyes opened wide as he pulled her to the side. In this position she was clearly the open door behind her and Squall now retreating quickly from the room. “Mmf!” Ellone moved her arms to his chest and pushed him off and back onto the wall “You idiot!” she hissed “What are you trying to do? Make things more complicated that they already are.” she looked up to see Seifer still looking out the door.
“Sorry,” he said in a mumbled tone though Ellone knew it was sincere.
Slowly she took his arms and pulled him toward the doorway and away from the wall “You need to sleep this off,” carefully she inspected the outside. The guests had all seemed to have left. She glanced back to Seifer. She had a feeling the guy was going to realize the full altercations of exactly what he’d done when he woke up “Go home. I’ll see you tomorrow...Rinoa asked me to help bring some of this back to her dorm...”
Squall hurried from his dorm, down the hallway. How could Seifer do that? Sure he had been with Rinoa all this while but Seifer knew well that he hadn’t asked her to be so affectionate. How could he go and - Squall squeezed his eyes shut. Why should he care. It wasn’t as if Seifer truly belonged to him. He could do what he wanted...no...Squall told himself. It’s only because it was your sister. Otherwise you wouldn’t care.
Squall was almost to Seifer’s dorm now. He had gone ahead and told Rinoa what Seifer had done. He decided this might be best, instead of putting on yet another lie as to why he was leaving in the middle of the night. Squall wiped his eyes absently with the back of his hand and cursed himself for doing so. He wished this stupid party had never occurred, that he might have had patrol duties tonight instead of having them put off until the next day. He wished he had never invited Seifer into his office, wished he had never kissed him. He almost wished Seifer had vanished after the showdown on Lunatic Pandora.
The brunette jumped slightly as words his name was shouted from behind him. Squall moved on his heel to see an older SeeD approaching him at a half job-half sprint. The dark haired male came to a stop, bending over to pant, hands settling upon his knees as he struggled to get breath.
“What is it?”
“T-there,” his eyes traveled up to the indifferent expression on Squall’s face “There was another attack, there’s another dead. Just now.”
“There’s nothing I can do about it,” Squall said in a cold tone “They’re not the first or last to die, why should it be such a state of emergency now?”
“’Cause,” the SeeD took a last deep breath and then kept his eyes locked with Squall’s “I think you knew em’”
A/N: Soooo, who do you think it is? Just so you know, I have no reservations when it comes to character death so it could be anyone. ::Cough:: Only Akai chan knows. ::Looks in her direction:: and she won’t tell...or shouldn’t...Heh, I suppose she’s been a beta reader...occasionally...though she helped me more with the stringing of the content than anything else. I hope this chapter was okay...and not too short...I just finished this up...sometime in the morning ::glances at the clock.:: Anyway, please review.
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