Fire Petals Chapter 7


By Edenne

As soon a Selphie was past the swinging doors of the cafeteria, she began to cry. She made her way back to her dorm room, trying to hide her face as she rubbed her eyes with her palms. *What did I do to him? I was just kidding around. I didn't know that . . .that he hated me so much . . .*

From her right, she suddenly heard Squall's voice, "What?"

She stopped and looked over to where he lay under a crabapple tree, replying, "I didn't say anything." He ignored her.

*He must be talking in his sleep. Oh well.* She continued on her way, hearing Irvine's boots clicking on the floor behind her.

"Selphie, wait up!" he called. She didn't; just kept moving until she found her door and let it slam behind her. *Please don't let him bother me, please . . .* she prayed as she flopped onto her bed. *He'll probably just waltz right in here --*

She was interrupted by a soft knock at her door. "Can I come in?" Irvine, of course.

"I'm surprised you knocked." She squeaked.

"Well, you know," His voice was muffled by the dense wood, "I try to be a gentleman, and you won't even let me i-"

"It's unlocked." She mumbled.

"Is that an invitation?"

"I guess so." She buried her face in her pillow.

Irvine opened the door quietly. He was surprised at the strong pity he felt as soon as he saw her shaking shoulders and heard her little sniffles. Usually he would have been congratulating himself for managing to get into such a cutle girl's bedroom. And then he'd start getting pushy, hoping for a no-strings-attached lay.

He sat down on the edge of her bed, leaning on one hand, and tried to think of what to say.

"Um . . . don't ask me what's wrong with Zell. He's being a complete asshole."

"I . . . noticed." She turned her head the other way, staring at the wall, and broke out in another cluster of little sobs.

Irvine touched her back gingerly, afraid he might break her shuddering form, and whispered, "Don't think he hates you, though. He must just be in a bad mood."

"I think he's always hated me and he just let me know today cuz he's in a bad mood."

"Why don't I tell you a secret?"

"What kinda secret?" Selphie's quiet sobs began to subside as her attention peaked, just as Irvine had hoped. He knew she was a slave for gossip.

"I think Zell has a crush on Rinoa." He grinned as she turned her adorable tear-streaked face and brightening emerald eyes to him. Bingo.

"Are you serious?"

"It makes perfect sense. Cuz you know what?"


"I saw him go to the infirmary last night during my watch. And he didn't leave before I went to bed at two. That's why he's so tired and cranky today."

"Your watch?" Selphie propped herself up on an elbow, "What's that?"

"Oh, you know, I sit by the elevators, walk around the hallways, making sure everything's okay at night. I'm a night person. Trained myself that way. Only need four hours o' sleep a night."


"Well . . . sharpshooters usually do their thing at night, under the cover of darkness," he explained with exageratted coolness, making Selphie giggle, "So I gotta be alert when I'm shootin'. Can't be tired or else I might miss."

"Ah. I see."


There was an awkward silence, and then Selphie sat up on her knees. "I can't believe he likes Rinoa." It was obvious the new knowledge was making her quite giddy.

"Just don't tell anyone about my little theory, ok? Especially Squall."

"Secret's safe with me." She pretended to zip up her lips and then handed him an imaginary key.

He took it and dropped it in the inside left pocket of his overcoat. "Thanks." Damn she's cute.

~*"Squall, please report to the Infirmary immediately. Can you hear me? Wake up and get moving."*~ It was Quistis, speaking over the P. A.

Selphie smiled. "He's sleeping in the garden beside the hallway."

"I know; I saw him. Guess I should go wake him up." Irvine stood up and headed for the door.

"Can I come?"

"Of course, m'lady, right this way." He opened the door and held it for her, gesturing out into the hallway with his other arm.

"Why thank you." Selphie said demurely, prancing past him. He couldn't help but watch that little butt wiggle.

"What are you smiling about?" She asked as they began to walk.

"Absolutely nothing." He replied, trying to hide the smirk and sticking out his elbow. She hooked hers around it.

"No, really."

"You really want to know?"

Selphie nodded.

"Promise you won't get mad?"

"Irvine, what is it?"

"You have a really adorable behind."

"Of *course* I do!" She winked. "I already knew that!"

Irvine laughed, "I figured."

It was then that they came to where Squall lay, still asleep. Selphie leaned over the rail, her feet losing contact with the floor so she could reach far enough to tug on his sleeve.

"Squall, wake up!" He didn't move. She leaned a little further to tug harder, and Irvine placed a hand on her back to guard her from toppling over to the other side. "Squall, wake up!" Still, he didn't acknowledge her. "I didn't know he was such a sound sleeper."

"Neither did I." Irvine replied. Selphie lifted one leg over the edge, then another, and landed on her rear on the ground.

"That's the *third* time I've ended up on my bum because of you!" She exclaimed to Squall.

"You okay?" Irvine asked from above her.

"Yup." She replied. She crouched beside Squall and patted his face, "Hey, SQUALL, wake UP!" No response. They both began to worry.

Irvine climbed over the rail with one swift movement, and slapped him hard in the face. "Wake the hell up, man!"

"Okay, he's still not moving." Selphie said, panic rising in her throat. Irvine was feeling the same way, but kept it to himself. He lifted her up and sat her on the edge of the rail.

"Selphie, I want you to go to find Quistis or Dr. Kadowaki." He instructed seriously, "If the're not in the infirmary, check Cid's office. If you see anyone from our squad, tell them to look, too. Got it?"

"Um . . .yes . . .is he okay?"

"Probably. I just want you to do this as a precaution."

"Alright, I'm on it!" Selphie exclaimed enthusiastically, feeling very important. She swung her legs back over the rail and hurried down the hallway.

Irvine turned back to Squall. "What the hell is wrong with you?" he mumbled as he checked Squall's pulse, "You're scaring the shit outta Selphie." He had one, which was very, very good, but he was warm. Irvine took off his own gloves and felt his forehead. The guy was freakin' *burning!* "What the hell . . ."

Irvine turned around to see Zell running towards him.

"Hey! . . . Selphie told me about Squall." He leaned over the rail. "Look, man, I'm sorry about earlier. I don't know what got into-"

"I don't give a flying shit about that right now." Irvine interrupted, "Help me carry him to the Infirmary."

"What's wrong with him?"

"I don't know. He's got a killer fever though." Irvine got hold of Squall's arms, while Zell reached over and grabbed his feet.

As they hauled him over the rail, Zell asked, "Do you think it could be what Rinoa's got? Like a real bad flu or somethin'?"

"No." Irvine jumped back over the rail and put one of Squall's arms over his shoulders, while Zell took care of the other. "Rinoa's really cold." Irvine explained, "Squall's got a fever. Can't be the same thing."

"Guess not." Zell admitted as they started to make their way down the hall. He felt incredibly uncomfortable around Irvine after what he had said. He still couldn't understand what had posessed him to be such an asshole. "Mmph. Damn it Squall, you're heavy."

Along the way, the students the passed stopped to help them. They looked up to Squall, everyone did, and though they had no idea what was going on, they continued to support him. By the time they reached the infirmary, about ten other students were helping out.

"Thanks for all your help, guys." Zell said as they reached their destination, "I've gotta ask ya to leave now, and go back to what you were doin'. Can't have a crowd when Dr. Kadowaki's workin'." The others let go and began to leave.

"But we'll make sure (mmph) an announcement's made when we find out what's goin' on." Irvine added before they made their way through the Infirmary doors. His words were followed by understanding nods and footsteps.

"Good luck. Get well soon, mister Squall." Said one of the junior classmen, before he walked away.


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