What About Xu?
This is a companion story to "What About Nida?" It's not a sequel, though. It just tells the story from Xu's side. Anyway, again, Squaresoft owns all the characters and events and brief portions of the dialogue, though the majority is original. Hope ya'll enjoy!
Hi there. I guess it's my turn to talk. First of all, my name's Xu. I've been at Balamb Garden for I don't know how long...maybe 9 years? Something like that. I came here for training when I was a young girl, became a SeeD, and eventually decided to stay on as an instructor. You may notice me running around and doing things in the background. I'm not much for being in the limelight.
I remember running down the halls one day when I was a lot younger. I saw a blond girl a few years younger than me. She was crying. A boy had knocked her books down and pulled her hair. I ran over and threatened to tell Cid if the boy didn't leave her alone. Luckily, that worked and he ran away. "Are you ok?" I asked.
Sniffling, the girl nodded. Wiping tears from her eyes, she said timidly, "It's my f-first day h-here."
"What's your name? Mine's Xu."
"Quistis. Quistis Trepe."
"Well Quistis, I've been here a few years. Want me to show you around?"
The blond girl nodded vigorously. "Oh yes! I'd like that!"
That was the beginning of me & Quistis's friendship. In fact, she became my best friend. It didn't matter that she was 3 years younger. She was really mature for her age. That blond boy kept picking on her, though. I told her that boys that age do that to flirt.
"Oh yuk!" she cried. "I could never like Seifer Almasy! Not for a million gil!"
I just shrugged. "You'll see..." I predicted.
Anyways, as I said before, I became a SeeD, and shortly after that, an instructor. Cid had always said I was the brightest student there. But, after a year or so of going on SeeD missions, I decided that wasn't for me. I'd rather train others to do that and work on the betterment of Balamb Garden myself. That's not to say I couldn't fight. I promise you, anyone who crossed me, I kicked their butt!
As Quistis got older, the instructors noticed that she was incredibly intelligent too. And diligent as anything! She became a SeeD earlier than any of her peers. And it just so happened that there was an opening for a job as an instructor. Quistis jumped at the chance, though she was a bit apprehensive. Sure enough, she had reason. Seifer, the boy that always picked on her, turned out to be one of her pupils! Oh, he was difficult!
But I digress. I guess it's easier to tell you about my friends and what was going on with them, but you asked for my story, so let me continue...
Cid asked me to brief the new SeeD candidates on a mission. I had briefed all the squads except one. Squad B. They came running in after everyone. Quistis was the instructor that was working with the candidates. She looked winded and a little chagrinned that her squad was late. I looked at the three guys, all in their late teens. The first one was kind of short with spiky blond hair and a weird tattoo on his face. I recognized him immediately. After all, there weren't many guys with tattoos on their faces in Balamb. The next one was quiet looking. He kept looking down at the ground. He had brown hair and sad eyes. I couldn't really tell what color they were - blue? Grey? They changed with the light. He had a scar down the middle of his forehead. And the third guy...none other than Seifer Almasy. He had a scar just like the quiet guy. Hmmm...wonder how that happened? He looked up cockily and smirked at me.
"Seifer, how many times has it been?" I asked ironically. He had attempted to become a SeeD several times before, failing each time.
He rolled his eyes. "Oh I just love these exams," he said sarcastically.
I ordered them all to sit down and I briefed them on what was going on and what their part in the mission would be. The city of Dollett was under attack and the SeeD candidates were to go into the city and liberate it, eliminating the enemy forces. Seifer looked bored while the short blond guy was practically jumping up and down in excitement. The quiet one didn't really say anything.
I dropped them off and saluted Quistis before I left. I hoped for her sake that these young men would succeed. There was talk that her instructor's license was in danger of being revoked. I couldn't think of why that would happen. Many people felt she was too young.
Well, the mission was a success, needless to say. It turned out the Galbadian Army wanted to take control of the abandoned communication tower in Dollett. It came to my attention that Seifer, who was put in charge of his squad, disobeyed orders. Luckily, everything worked out, but his hot-headed act endangered everyone. He had the gall to say that if it wasn't for the withdrawal orders, they would have been heroes! I wanted to say if it wasn't for the withdrawal orders, they would have been DEAD, but I kept my mouth shut. Quistis, on the other hand, angrily snapped, "You were only looking for a fight."
He glared at her and then smiled cruelly. "My dear instructor," his voice dripped, "I'm hurt. Those are rather cruel words for an aspiring student. A mediocre instructor like you will never understand."
I could have socked him right there, especially when I saw the look on poor Quistis's face. He could have punched her in the stomach and it wouldn't have hurt her as much as his harsh words.
I chastised him and informed him that he would take full responsibility for disobeying orders.
"But isn't it the captain's duty to take the best possible action?"
"Seifer, you'll never be a SeeD," you jerk, I thought, "Calling yourself captain is a joke." I turned and walked out, nodding to Cid as he was coming in. Glancing back, I noticed Seifer seething. OK, I'm ordinarily not a vindictive person, but you don't know how satisfying it was to see him standing there, enraged. I permitted myself a little smile.
That night, Balamb Garden held a party for the new SeeDs. There were four of them, the quiet one, Squall, the one with the tattoo, Zell, a cheerful looking girl, Selphie, and another guy. I wasn't sure what his name was. Anyway, Quistis and I were talking. She was trying to stay cheerful even though her license had been revoked.
"Just think, Xu, I can go on more missions now. I'll find adventure, at least." I admired her attitude, but I knew that it was just a cover. I opened my mouth to respond when a dark haired man interrupted.
"Um...excuse me, Quistis...my name is..."
"Oh, Nida! I heard the good news! Congratulations on making SeeD! I don't know if you two have met, but Nida, this is my friend, Xu. Xu, this is Nida, one of my students."
I smiled at the young man. He looked enraptured. I would give anything to know what was on this boy's mind that night.
"Hi," he said.
"Hello, Nida. It's nice to meet you," I smiled.
He looked at Quistis once more and said, "Well, ok...umm...bye," and left! Quistis and I looked at eachother.
"What was that about?"
Quistis giggles, "I have no idea. He's one of my students. Always sits on the front row. He's always the first one to raise his hand. I get the feeling he has a little crush on me." Suddenly she sighed, "Well, now that I'm not an instructor anymore, maybe we'll be on missions together. He was one of the students that made SeeD."
"Oh, so HE'S the fourth one. None of us had been able to figure it out. Don't worry, Quis. Things will work out. I know they will. I believe that everything happens for a reason."
She looked at me ruefully. "You may be right, but I just can't see that reason right now. I'm gonna go ahead and take off now, so I'll talk to you later."
It wasn't long at all before she left on a SeeD mission. I'm not sure where she was going. I just kept on teaching and running around the Garden helping Cid whenever he needed.
One day, I was walking towards the elevator when someone came running out of it and ran me over. I had just come from a Card Club meeting and was organizing all the cards I had won, so when this body smashed into me, I dropped the cards.
"Oh, I'm terribly sorry...Xu, is it? Remember we met the night of the SeeD party? I'm Nida."
"Oh yes, I remember you," I replied, bending over to retrieve my cards. It was that funny, spaced out young man from the party.
"You play too?" he asked. Obviously, he had no idea what he was getting into. He challenged me to a game, not knowing that I was undefeated, and considered one of the best in the Card Club. I tried to show mercy, but wasn't about to give up my winning streak, so I beat him at six hands. Still, he did show promise.
"You're pretty good, you know that," I smiled at him.
"You've got to be kidding! You beat me every time!"
I just laughed. He would make a good addition to the Card Club. If I dropped Quistis's name, he wouldn't be able to resist. "I didn't say you were better than ME. I just said you were pretty good. Say, we have this card club. Would you be interested in it? There's a bunch of us that play...me, Quistis..."
I thought he'd jump out of his own skin, he was so excited! "Sure, I'd love to check it out!"
"Great," I said writing on a scrap of paper, "Meet us in room 202 at 2:30 tomorrow. See you then..." I smiled at him once more and took my winnings and walked towards the elevator.
So Nida started playing cards with us. You know, I wondered why he wasn't on any missions. It seemed that unless a SeeD became an instructor, he should be assigned to go different places. But I saw Nida all the time, reading books, playing cards, fighting in the training center. I even saw him feeding birds one day on the deck. This guy had way too much time on his hands.
Obviously, he thought so too. He asked where Quistis was one afternoon in Card Club and when I told him she was on a mission, he stood up, got this weird look on his face and marched out the door. Cid told me all about it later.
"This guy, Nathan, came in and you should have seen his face..."
"Nida?" I corrected.
"Oh yes, whatever. Anyway..." Cid began to tell of the encounter where poor Nida demanded a mission. Cid pacified him by telling him how he was needed here at the Garden. Normally when Cid does things like that, I don't approve too much. These kids work hard to achieve the rank of SeeD. They need to be rewarded with missions. This time, however, I was grateful.
You see, for a while, there had been hints of a conspiracy going around. We felt that it had something to do with NORG, but were unsure. Sure enough, the garden faculty all revolted one day under the leadership of Garden Master NORG. I made sure Cid was in his office and then decided to start a rumor that he was hiding out somewhere. The thing is, to add an extra measure of safety for Cid, I told some people that he really was there but that we were making it look like he was in hiding. The end result was different stories floating around adding to the confusion. I didn't know who I could trust and I had to keep Cid safe. After all, I've kind of been his right-hand girl for a long time. Needless to say, we needed all the help we could get. I ran to Nida's room and pounded on the door.
"NIDA! NIDA! Get up! We need you out here!"
I heard him shuffle around a few seconds and then he pulled the door open looking confused. His hair was all disheveled and he looked like a little boy. I grabbed his arm and pulled him out past the dorms. When he saw the fighting, he said, "What's going on?"
I explained how Garden Master NORG wanted Cid out and then I pushed him towards the infirmary. I knew they needed help over there. He asked, "What's a norg?"
I didn't feel like explaining something to him that he should have learned in his basic Balamb Garden History class, so I acted like I didn't hear him and rushed off to see how everyone was faring. I grouped SeeDs and students together in each section of the Garden to make it look like Cid was there. I even had a hologram set up in the car park. Finally I rushed back to the Emergency Exit when that quiet SeeD, Squall, stopped me.
"Whose side are you on?" I demanded.
Puzzled, he said, "Neither." He demanded to see Cid. He said it was urgent news, but I wasn't about to let down my guard. He said something about missiles headed towards the Garden. My head was spinning, so much was happening! But then I saw my best friend standing right beside him.
"Just trust him, Xu," Quistis pleaded. In all the insanity of what was happening, I completely overlooked her. So I took them to Cid and ran to tell everyone to evacuate. On the way, I ran into Fuujin & Raijin and told them to spread the word.
There were so many people wounded in those battles, but we came out on top. I helped Dr. Kadowaki a bit with the injured. Suddenly the ground shook. I heard someone shout, "We're flying!"
I didn't understand what they meant, so I ran back up to Cid's office and he was panicked! He couldn't control the ship and it was headed straight for Balamb! So I called Squall to get back up to the bridge. He seemed to have taken on the role of leader. Anyway, he pulled one of the levers and somehow we missed the town and landed straight in the water. We sailed a while.
I was standing on the 2nd level deck when I saw a ship approaching. I had to find Cid! This could mean trouble! I found Cid and we went to the platform where the ship had docked. These people from the ship were asking for a girl named Ellone, so I volunteered to help Squall find her. Squall actually found her, but I escorted her to the ship. I wasn't sure what her story was.
Well, we kept sailing after that encounter and we crashed into FH. Yes, you heard me right. We crashed. I think Cid was experimenting with all the levers and buttons up there, but he swears he had nothing to do with it! Luckily, the FH people didn't get upset. They like fixing things and with the Garden, there was a lot to be fixed! Cid approached me after we had been in FH for a bit.
"Your friend Nick wants to pilot Garden. I told him he could."
"Yeah, whatever. That's what I said. Keep an eye on him, ok?"
Good for Nida. I knew he was feeling left out of all the missions. At least he'd have a big responsibility now. Quistis & I were on the bridge chatting with Nida when Squall came in. Our hero! Quistis & I started clapping and I saw Nida roll his eyes, but he joined in. Quis & I decided Squall needed the title of commander. I think it embarassed him a little.
A major thing happened shortly after that. We were flying towards Centra when we spotted Galbadia Garden also flying. It attacked us! Nida did really well piloting the ship. He rammed Galbadia and both Gardens fell to the ground. I was downstairs when the Galbadians started attacking. At one point, I ran up to the bridge. Nida was sitting down, dazed, with his head bandaged up. Dr. Kadowaki whispered that he had fallen and hit it. I sat down next to him.
"Are you ok, Nida?" I asked.
"Xu! I'm fine. I don't know about the Garden, though."
"Well, the Garden can be fixed," I said, "I'm more concerned about the shape of my friends."
Dr. Kadowaki excused herself then saying she had to attend to other patients. Nida looked up at me, "Xu, can I tell you something?"
"Well, it's just that, you see, I've really enjoyed talking to you..." Uh oh, I thought...
"Me too, Nida. You're a good friend."
"What I'm trying to say is that, Xu, I li-"
"Nida, don't," I finally cut him off. "I value your friendship, but I just don't think of you that way. I'm sorry."
"Oh," he paused and looked confused again, "Don't worry Xu, what I was trying to say was I like piloting the Garden. I'd love to continue."
Poor guy. He really was sweet, but a bit of a goofball. And a little too young for me. I decided to humor him. "Oh! How embarrassing! Well then, never mind!" We both laughed and I patted him on the back before excusing myself to see if they needed me downstairs.
Everything was ok. I mean, there were many wounded, but we got them taken care of. The person I was most worried about was Cid. He seemed to brood a lot and I think it had to do with his wife, Edea. She was one of the sorceresses that we were trying to protect the world from. I really got caught up in my own little world, though. Cid wanted me to start teaching again so the younger students wouldn't miss out on their education nor would they be scared. I heard bits and pieces about Squall and Quistis and that cowboy from Galbadia and the others. Even Seifer. All I know is what Quistis told me after it was all over.
She told me a fantastic story about the girl Ellone and her amazing ability to send people through time, about Squall's girlfriend up in space, and about entering a time-compressed world and fighting a sorceress named Ultimecia. I had to admit, I wish I could have been along for the ride, but then again, like I said before, I enjoy being in the background because if you hadn't had anyone working in the background, it couldn't have all come together like it did. That's what I tell Nida when he starts whining about how Squall gets this or Squall gets that. We're all important in what we do.
That night, Garden had a celebration. I reminded Quistis about things happening for a reason and she smiled and said, "Yeah, I guess they do." We reminisced a lot that night. I told her about Nida's near-confession and she laughed. I also reminded her about Seifer's pulling her hair and throwing her books down that first day we became friends. She still swears it wasn't flirting, but I know the truth...
I wonder what happened to that guy. I wonder if he was able to control his emotions and would we ever see him again. I guess only time can tell.
Edea came to the Garden to be with Cid. She was so different than I had imagined, but very nice. Squall, Quistis and the other SeeDs, Zell, Selphie, Irvine, and that girl Rinoa were honored as heroes for everything they did. Quistis got her teaching license back, incidentally. Nida eventually hooked up with a girl I've never seen before. I think she made SeeD, but for the life of me, I can't remember her name.
And what's in store for me? I am always concerned about what happens to others, but what about me? What about Xu? I guess only time can tell!