Rinoa sat at the edge of a cliff. Her legs dangled off the grassy side of the ledge and she let the wind play with her raven hair. It was a gorgeous day with the sun up high and then sky spotted with puffy white clouds.
“Elephant,” Irvine announced lazily.
Rinoa looked back and blinked in confusion. Irvine, Selphie and Zell were all on their backs staring up into the sky with wide eyes. Irvine was pointing up at the clouds and tracing the elephant he saw there while the other two were silent and nodding slowly.
“Nope,” Selphie finally said at last, “It’s totally an armadillo.”
“When will Squall get here?” Rinoa asked, a frown on her face,
“Only you could ruin a day by bringing up the Ice King’s name,” Zell groaned,
“He is not an ice king!” Rinoa pouted.
They all fell silent for a moment before Selphie finally replied, “Not all the time. I guess.”
Rinoa nodded sharply and looked back out over the ocean. No one understood Squall but her…
“You don’t understand,” Squall replied flatly.
“But Squall!” Rinoa pleaded, her brows drawn together and another pout working on her lips.
“Just go, I need to be alone,” Squall sighed, running his hand through his unkempt hair.
“Go!” Squall snapped.
Rinoa scurried out of his office and promptly burst into tears. Side-stepping someone in the hallway she ran to the elevator, ignoring the unknown person’s query as to why she was upset. Squall was so insensitive! How could he constantly ignore her needs? If she could only convince him that she knew the person he really was... her thoughts ran in dizzy circles, smashing into emotions and making her feel sick all the way to her dorm room.
Selphie stood, puzzled, in the hallway clutching a massive stack of papers. They felt like lead in her arms, and so she didn’t waste time trying to find Rinoa and calm her down, she simply marched into Squall’s office. Inside Squall was behind the large desk with his forehead resting on his clasped hands. He wasn’t looking at her. He didn’t even seem to know she was there. Selphie shrugged as much as she could and slid up to the desk.
“Squally! I had so, so, SO much work to do but I finally finished! Here are all 300 copies of the mission orders for the juniors. Watch out, I ran out of staples, so they’re loose-leaf and if they get out of order…well, they’re not even numbered,” Selphie bounced up to his desk.
“Give them to me some other time,” Squall said, his voice quiet.
“What? But you asked for them today. I gave up three rep meetings to get these done!” Selphie looked shocked, her green eyes widening.
“Selphie, I’m too tired to deal with this,” Squall muttered, his tone growing angry and his eyebrows drawing together in a scowl.
“Well can I at least keep them here? This pile is HUGE and if—”
“Selphie! Just take them somewhere! There’s no room on my desk!” Squall’s face snapped up and his stormy eyes glared at her.
Selphie’s breath caught in her throat. Her hard work, rejected to her face, now quivered in her arms as she trembled. Squall’s tone was deadly when mad. She turned around and began walking stiffly out of the room.
When she got to her dorm she enlisted the help of a random passer-by to open her door for her. Teetering in with the stack of papers that reached over her chin she kicked the contents of her bedside table on to the floor and then dropped the stack there. Sighing in disappointment she replayed the 34 messages on her answering machine that contained the details of the meetings she had missed.
Squall could be so inconsiderate. Selphie bit her lip against her frustration but let her anger seep away, since she couldn’t do anything about it. Quistis would expect her in class soon and Selphie knew that since the ex-instructor was feeling blue it was up to the brunette to plaster all the cheer she could on to her face.
“But sometimes, I just really don’t feel like being cheerful,” Selphie sighed softly, looking at her hard work neglected on her desk.
Class was how Selphie had expected it. Quistis watched the blackboard with glazed-over eyes and barely responded to anything Selphie said, but the emerald-eyed girl kept her babbling up long enough to crack a few smiles on her friend’s face. Their instructor kept glancing in their direction, likely wondering why Quistis wasn't answering any of the questions like she usually did. At the beginning of the term Quistis had been bouncing with excitement at the opening of new advanced course material and training booster modules for SeeDs to engage in, now she sat listlessly.
After their class, the two walked around Garden and to the cafeteria for a coffee and hot chocolate. Selphie smiled brightly at her friend as Quistis began to loosen up a little. They shared some laughs over their drinks before Quistis had to go to a meeting with Xu. Left alone, Selphie sighed and wondered if she should try Squall again. It was the evening, so she decided against it, not wanting to face his bad mood again.
Back in her dorm she blasted her favourite band, Playmates, and sang out as loud as she could, jumping on her bed and trying to ignore the papers that had taken her so long to complete. After three complaints for the loud noise she settled for singing with her headphones on. The hours floated past until she was tired, but feeling much better overall. A hot shower made her even sleepier than before. Changing into her light blue pyjamas decorated with bright yellow duckies, Selphie jumped into her bed and snuggled down to sleep. The covers fell over her face as her eyes fell shut and sleep enveloped her.
“You’re so cruel! You know that? Why am I wasting my time! You couldn’t be gentle if you tried!” Rinoa screeched.
“Get. Over. It.” Squall growled back at her.
“No! You said we could go out for coffee! You’re always breaking our plans!”
“I have a job Rinoa, I’m not a free-floater like you, I have classes, I have to be the commander, I don’t just sit around painting my nails!” Squall cried in his frustration.
“Oh! So you think my life is so simple compared to yours? Is that it? You don’t have time for me anymore?” Rinoa stamped her foot on the ground.
“I don’t have time for anything!” Squall yelled now, his temper reaching breaking point.
This was the precise moment that Selphie came in with her stack of papers. Rinoa, flying out in a similar fashion to the day before, this time rammed right into the small brunette and knocked her and the papers down. Rinoa shoved straight on, ignoring Selphie’s cry of surprise and horror.
When Rinoa left, Selphie was left in a sea of white paper. Squall was staring down at the quivering mass of Selphie, almost unsure of what to do. Finally he knelt down and began to pick the scattered sheets up. The order had been completely destroyed, so he didn’t bother finding matching pieces. Silence rang in the room. Squall's cheeks were flushed with anger but the lack of sound coming from Selphie was unnerving enough to cool his rage.
Selphie finally began to move again. Numbly, she sorted the papers into heaps and tried to keep her eyes from tearing up. When they had finished both of them held large stacks of the paper, and neither were quite certain about what to do with them.
“So... How long would it take you to re-organize these?” Squall asked in a weary voice, “I need them by toni—”
He got no further. Selphie punched him in the face and fled the room. The stack of papers falling again to the ground.