PuPu's Saga Chapter 5
by Jeremy Chapter
Setting 05: 2045 DAY 1, Balamb
"How dull it is to
pause, to make an end.
To rust unburnishd, not
to shine in use!"
-Tennyson, Alfred, Lord
"Ive never had yellowish wine cooler
before," Cid informed Quistis, holding up his glass.
Quistis laughed agreeably, and
then apologized for not being able to change before the banquet.
She looked around quickly at all the stately black suits and
skirts that adorned the Garden members in the ballroom.
understandable," Cid replied lightly, "to be running
late and not have time to change coming back through Time
"Nothing compared to what it
took to get past Gardens front gate with Rinoa. They still
dont believe shes a good sorceress," Quistis
Cid snickered accordingly, taking
another tentative sip of his wine cooler. He paused and unsure
how to proceed, redistributed his weight over his legs and
pretended to enjoy the Garden orchestra.
"So what is the real reason
for sending Matron and Irvine off to enjoy the rest of the
party?" Quistis asked, shifting her balance from her left
foot to her right. It was uncomfortable because she had been
careless to stomp the ground too hard with it after throwing
Irvines torso off her shoulder just minutes before. Always
trying to impress girls with that overly casual, occasionally too
carefree to be respectful, cowboy attitude. Nothing mysterious
She sighed, and thought to
herself, "If only Squall would do that."
Cid rubbed the back of his
brown-hair-matted head uneasily and forced a cheesy smile.
"This probably isnt the best time to ask this of you,
but I have another mission for you lined up tomorrow," he
Quistis blinked, and then nodded
"Youre the Headmaster,
whatever you say goes. That means you are resuming command,
Cid shifted his spectacles and
nodded in agreement.
"I am going to reassert my
authority here in Balamb Garden," he answered with finality.
Quistis held both hands behind her
back, not sure whether or not Squall would like that. While it
didnt seem like he liked overwhelming responsibility, he
didnt like being demoted either.
"But," Cid continued,
brushing some stray piece of hair off his best-looking red vest,
"I have something bigger planned for SeeD. I want Squall to
go supervise the new SeeDs and Garden trainees in Trabia
Quistis raised her eyebrows,
caught off guard. She hadnt even thought about the remnants
of Trabia since the missiles from Galbadia demolished it.
"Does Selphie know about
this?" Quistis asked, gathering her thoughts again.
Cid nodded and informed her that
Selphie would be overseeing the 12 construction teams. It was a
massive project trying to build a new Garden with brand new
designs in a matter of weeks. Luckily they had some funding from
some Shumi patrons.
"We were lucky to have Esthar
move all those energy cells that responded to the Lunatic Pandora
weapon into Trabia. It should save us a pretty Gil," Cid
"Why did you want to see me
about this?" Quistis asked, fidgeting in her tight, pink
"Youre still the most
experienced SeeD I have. I need you to keep an eye on Squall
because I wont be there. I have no doubt that he always
makes the best judgment, but he tends to respond better to an
environment more populated by his peers. I just dont want
him withdrawing deeper into his world of seclusion," Cid
Quistis gave a sign of
acknowledgement, and then asked if she should notify Zell and
Cid shook his head, saying,
"No, theyll be needed for a different mission.
Im sending them on diplomatic affairs in Shumi to make sure
the Gil flow continues, as well as check out four geographically
spread sites in relatively isolated areas and investigate some
atmospheric abnormalities that have been reported."
Quistis frowned, her training
unable to suppress her instinctive reaction. She didnt
think that diplomacy was the right task to ask of either
impulsive young men, and she told Cid that.
"Thats the funniest
part," Cid replied with his "Im proud of
Quistis noted that Headmaster
Kramer had a sick sense of humor and pitied his wife. Deciding
that the conversation was over, she nodded more artificially than
she needed to, excused herself, and then went off to find Squall.
"I still dont
understand why you were so adamant about putting your resignation
in," Cid sighed, even though Quistis was already out of
Not seeing Squall anywhere,
Quistis decided to walk past Irvine, wildly videotaping
everything, and towards the table where Zell was in a feeding
Surely he must know where
Squall is, she thought.
Stopping only to comment how
wonderful Edea looked tonight, she got to the table about the
same time as frolicking Selphie appeared out of nowhere. Somehow
she had wrenched away Irvines trademark hat and was wearing
it with his usual slim yellow outfit.
Zell was furiously cramming down
as many of the jealously coveted Garden hotdogs as he could. His
girlfriend was begging him to chew more and eat less but either
it seemed a good idea to pay attention to her later or try to
impress her by gorging himself even more, he continued his rare
feast. Quistis caught a bit of what Zells girlfriend went
on to tell him. Something about her having to leave for Galbadia
on an anti-Malboro campaign the following morning. Zell seemed
totally unaffected by her news, but he also must have completely
misunderstood her because he wished her good luck for her dance
competition. Yet, with all the hotdogs stuffed in his mouth,
which made him look like a moogle with hives, his words came out
as coherently as a moogle would have spoken them.
That's odd, Quistis
thought, frowning, I thought Zell's girlfriend was a blonde
Balamb girl. Who is this pig-tailed brunette in the Garden
"Hey, Zell," Quistis
called from across the table, "do you know where Squall
Zell had seen Quistis coming, and
whether he actually heard what she asked him and tried to say,
"With Rinoa," or he mistook her question for "Why
were you downloading Rinoa screen-savers from the Garden
tutorial?" and wanted to answer, "Not of Rinoa,"
his reply came out as "wruffa wuffferra." He found out
that more went in than came out, immediately choking and spewing
out bits of half-macerated hotdog all over. Some landed on his
girlfriends black Garden uniform, and even though she knew
that those hotdog bits were not juicy enough to stain her skirt,
even if it had been a color on which a stain would be noticeable,
she screamed and jumped out of her seat.
Quistis had already guessed that
answer, and was wondering why he even bothered to give such a
useless reply. She found it a good time to make some chit-chat
and get to know Zell's new companion while they were all huddled
around him. Selphie, in the meantime, after making fun of his
girlfriend's pigtail hair-style, possibly because she was jealous
of the hairs length, leaned down and with thick, artificial
tenderness, asked Zell if he was going to rechew the pieces of
food that he had spit out on the table. Zell was desperately
looking for a mouthful of milk, but his empty glass did not
refill itself and he had to force down the rest of his dry meal
by himself. Selphies comment didnt sit well with him
so he jumped up, knocking over his chair, and frightened all the
Irvine had zoomed in on these four
for awhile now, so he was quite surprised when Zell threw a
leftover hotdog at him. He wasnt use to handling laughing
and being startled at the same time so he dropped the camcorder.
The look on Selphies face was enough to make his heart sink
and his face apple red. He had already chaffed her by focusing on
those three underclasswomen, so he didnt think this was
helping his standing with her.
"T-theres no problem!
No problem," he stammered, picking it up and brushing it off
as quickly as possible. He took a cautious peek over at Selphie.
She had one of those
"There-had-better-not-be-a-problem" look on, with her
hands on her hips
Irvine lost his thought when he saw those
"Hey!" Selphie shouted
at him, bringing him back to reality with a jolt.
"Nothing wrong at all,"
he assured her, giving his best
"Smooth, real smooth,
Irvine," he muttered to himself.
Selphie was still glaring at him.
She suddenly made alternating circular motions with her hands,
shouting at him, "Well, keep it rolling!"
Embarrassed, Irvine fumbled about
with the controls, trying not to look at Selphies
half-exasperated, half-annoyed facial expression that he knew she
"That klutz," she
thought to herself critically. She turned away in disgust and
found herself looking through the archway leading to the open
balcony. Suddenly she noticed her dark-haired girl friend with
her usual blue skirt and black shorts on.
"How does Rinoa get
her skin to glisten like that?" she wondered enviously.
Catching a glimpse of Squall
around the corner, Selphie smiled at the thought that this might
be the perfect time for their diffident team leader to make a
move on Rinoa. Selphie caught Irvine aiming the video camera at
her again with her peripheral vision, and so turned and motioned
for him to zoom in on Rinoa shooting the breeze. Irvine adjusted
his view accordingly, but was at the wrong angle to catch any
part of Squall on tape.
"Whats up with
Selphie?" he thought to himself, feeling his hands almost
slip off the precious equipment before grumbling, "First she
chews me out for looking at girls, and now she wants me to get an
eyeful of Rinoa."
Quistis caught up with Selphie
just as Squall moved fully into view from where they were
standing. Rinoa had pointed at something outside and apparently
that was incentive enough for Squall to lean in, take her in his
arms and snatch a long kiss reserved for him. Not expecting to
find Squall in that position, Quistis held her breath as Selphie
cupped her hands over her mouth and squealed in delight.
"Long live the Tonberry
King!" she shouted, following it up with, "Squall
finally got on first base!"
Quistis remembered to inhale.
Irvine came up to them, asking
them what all the commotion was about.
Selphie just stared at him in
disbelief for a second, leaving just enough time for little
cowboy Kinneas to wonder what he had done wrong now.
"You didnt get any of
that?" Selphie shrieked.
Irvines surprise was turning
rapidly into fear.
"The batteries ran out,"
he appealed, figuring that the truth would save him.
Obviously Irvine had forgotten
that things work differently in Final Fantasy and as a result,
Quistis ended up catching the camcorder that he threw in the air
as he sped away from a charging Selphie, fork in hand and close
Quistis passed the camcorder
between her hands, wondering how to approach Squall now. It
seemed like she had definitely lost him now. After all, he and
Rinoa were still on the same kiss. Flustered, Quistis looked
away, her eyes finding their way back to Zells table. It
was empty now, his girlfriend having gone home early, and Zell
nowhere to be seen. Something caught her eye and she took a step
There was a piece of paper on the
seat. Quistis walked over and picked it up. "Silly girl, she
must have left it," Quistis thought, turning it over. What
was her name again? Mina*?
has a sequel to my saga and the idea of
Mina belongs to her.
It was a new photograph of Mina
and some guy who Quistis thought was pretty cute and had a face
that was awfully familiar. She dismissed it as one of those faces
that naturally just seemed that way, like the ones those two
brothers operating the elevators at Fishermans Horizon had.
Without giving the snapshot another thought, she looked around
She saw him saunter thoughtlessly
right into Squall and Rinoas kiss off. He caught himself
halfway through the act, and cupped his eyes with his palm in
dire embarrassment. Squall had pulled away just as Zell came up
to them and based on her facial expression, Rinoa was not going
to forgive the bumbling fool.
"Poor Zell," Quistis
thought, racing over next to Zell in a position optimal for
shielding him from any Gun-blade attacks.
The best line Zell could dish out
was, "Um, I hope Im not interrupting anything
Squall said that it was nothing.
The unfortunate response merited, in Zells opinion, one of
the dirtiest looks that a pretty Heartilly face could dish out, a
shove from Rinoa, and her storming away from the balcony back
into the party. Squall looked like someone caught with their
What? he shouted in his
head. Was it something I said?
Quistis having heard the
nauseating exchange, quickly handed the photograph to Zell, told
him about his coming ambassadorship, relayed Cids message
to Squall with a glare, and ran off to comfort Rinoa.
What did I do? he asked
after seeing Quistis look.
Zell, apparently very excited
about his new mission, raised his fist triumphantly in the air,
forgetting all about the embarrassing situation they were in. His
cheering and victory dance was compounded with some in-place
shadow-boxing. Still holding the picture as he wiggled through a
tight four-punch combination, it was perfectly visible after his
uppercut. Exactly what the picture meant took awhile to register.
Squall didnt notice Zells abrupt break in his sting
of war hoots and jabs.
"W-Where did Mina say she was
going?" Zell asked shakily.
Who? Squall asked silently,
barely listening to him. The only Mina in my recollection is
that exotic dancer from the club in Esthar.
supermodel (by Zen)
Zell saw his clueless face.
"The assistant librarian? You
know, my girlfriend?" Zell repeated, more frantically this
I thought your girlfriend was
that blonde chick in Balamb? Did you find yourself a SeeD, Zell? Squall
wondered, lifting his eyebrows and for a rare instant, betraying
his apathetic mold.
"S-she went home to pack,
didn't she?" Zell reasoned aloud, voice wavering.
How should I know? Squall
thought immediately, realizing that he had to verbalize it just
as he was about to look away.
"How should I know?"
Squall grumbled, disturbed more by Rinoas reaction to what
he said than how Zell had barged in. He would not notice Zell as
he scrambled off to catch his girlfriend.
Left alone, Squall rested his
elbows on the balcony railing. Closing his eyes, he tried to let
his mind go blank, and his spirit free from any anxiety. He was
bombarded by confusion, disgust, and resentment.
Why is this happening to me?
Why isnt Irvine or Zell out here with a migraine?
"Who could understand Rinoa
anyway?" he asked aloud accidentally.
He considered the facts. She
isnt even a SeeD. Why is she making me so nervous sometimes
and upset at other times? Tonight definitely qualifies as one of
those confounding second type of times.
It just didnt make sense to
him what exactly Rinoa wanted from him. Does she actually
expect me to say and do everything she wants? Does she want my
soul? Doesnt she like me because she understands me? And if
she does understand me, why does she want me to change? Why
doesnt she just excuse me for who I am?
It annoyed him to feel like he
needed an excuse to be himself. Squall went on to question
whether it was possible to give his soul out so simply. It
just doesnt seem worth it. I can save her from fire and
ice, but how much more am I expected to sacrifice? And why does
she need me to show her all these sacrifices? Its
irrational. Rinoa is irrational.
Squall considered Rinoas
bright, happy-go-lucky personality, and finally made the
connection between her person and her unreasonable demands. It
was just because she was that capricious. True, she is a
pleasure to be around sometimes, but if she is going to turn into
a Wendigo every few minutes and make everyone uncomfortable, then
she isnt worth it. Besides, she just given up on me.
If this is what you end up
raising with the best environment that Gil can buy and the most
orderly tutelage an army can provide, a spoiled, fickle brat who
hands out headaches to everyone in her path, then I want nothing
to do with it, he concluded decisively.
Just to bolster his reasoning, he
added, Its not like SHE jumped into space to save ME.
Squall looked at the moon for a
bit longer before reaching in his pocket and pulling out a rolled
baby Malboro tentacle from his cigarette case.
(marlboroman- by Malla Kelly Barrie Tobuck, an *ahem*
"die-hard loyalist to 'PuPu's Saga'".)
"Ifrit," he whispered.
The fiery, horned, dark-skinned
Guardian Force appeared beside his master before Squall could
finish pronouncing his name.
"Master?" he growled
Squall held out the Malboro
tentacle roll nonchalantly. Ifrit brushed the end of the roll
with his paw and watched it spark to life at the touch of his
"Do you want my
opinion?" the monstrous GF offered.
Youre still here? No, of
course I dont want your opinion. If I wanted your opinion,
dont you think I would have asked for it, you dumb ox?
"No," Squall answered
without taking his eyes off the moon.
"I didnt mean about the
girl," Ifrit corrected. "I meant about the cigarette.
Its not good for you."
I know what you meant.
Had Squall cared enough, he would
have shot back a look smacking of "I dont care."
Ill pretend I didnt
hear you. Maybe youll go away. Hopefully this time
youll take that sulfur stench away with you.
After a moment, when Ifrit was
still there, he said, "You can go now," waving the GF
Ifrit bowed and petered out in a
wisp of smoke as fast as he had come, leaving Squall to himself,
staring at the myriad of tiny waves, tugging against each other
to see who could steal a ray from the moon and shimmer for just
that one second.
I dont want to think
about anything now. Just rest here and pretend that none of this
ever happened. I wish it didnt. Id still be fencing
in the courtyard everyday, I wouldnt know some
irresponsible, indecisive loser who doesnt want me to be
his son, I wouldnt have raised everyones expectations
of my actions, and I wouldnt have to feel inadequate every
freaking five minutes around Rinoa.
From behind him, Selphies
upbeat voice broke the silence. Squall turned his gaze from the
giant kaleidoscope below them to the yellow sprite that had
thrown herself onto him. He threw her off and asked her what was
wrong with her.
Selphie was too hyped up to mind.
She just heard the news that she was the head of the construction
crews in Trabia. After adjusting how Irvines hat sat on her
head, she slapped Squall on the back for his promotion to
Headmaster and before he could turn and frown, slapped his arm
and asked him what he did to Rinoa. He shot her an annoyed but
"I didnt do
anything," he defended himself.
Selphie gave the ever omniscient
"Oh," she cooed,
"is THAT the problem?"
Squall scowled and told her that
she didnt know what she was talking about.
"Squalls so cute when
hes growing up," she continued to tease before he
decided it would waste less energy by quitting the view and
leaving the balcony to her.
"Oh, commander," she
added, knowing that the title would make him stiffen, "the
President of Esthar left a message for you earlier today."
Doing her best imitation of a
sonorous male voice Selphie grunted, "Squall, son, you might
want to check it out."
While making his exit, Squall did
stiffen at the title, but the hair on his neck bristled at the
mention of his father.
As seductively as possible, she
called after him, "Rinoas so cute when shes
asleep, Squall, but you wouldnt know that, would you?"
"No," he yelled back
flatly, "I wouldnt!"