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Chapter 15 - Vol 4: An Eventful Day

Within the halls of Dissidia Academy, life as a student is an adventure! Follow the Heroes of Final Fantasy as they fulfill the variety of challenges that lie before them, setting the path towards their future! However, underneath the depths of this highly established Academy ... lies a darkness that may throw the entire world into chaos.
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Chapter 15 - Vol 4: An Eventful Day

Chapter 15 - Vol 4: An Eventful Day
The Sun broke through the Horizon line, rising up above the grand city with a warm, golden, good morning glow. It was the perfect sunrise, allowing for the peaceful atmosphere to slowly dissipate. As a replacement, numerous tweeting and singing birds could be heard echoing in the vast distance. It was a brand new day, it was Sunday.
The fragrant scent of perfectly heated toast and grilled bacon was the first to greet the man who began to wake. Unlike other days where he would be in a huge rush to get to work, today was a day to take his time and act completely lazy. However, the toasty aroma was certainly inviting, pushing him the extra mile in order to exit the bed.
Still feeling like he was in a dreamlike state, the man was gleefully smiling as he stood up. Stretching out, he began to follow the aroma as though it was teasing him. His mind was in the clouds, imagining himself smothered in bread and bacon.
Suddenly, the moment he took one small step, his leg gave out. Before he knew it, he dropped to the floor with a massive thump. He laid on the floor still, unaware about what had just happened. His long, jet-black hair was somewhat tangled and covered his face almost entirely. He was clutching onto his leg, soothing what felt like a cramp.
“Squall! I’ve got another leg cramp!” The man called out in plea, hoping for a response. “Come help me up!”
However, after a small moment of silence, the response he got was not what had hoped to hear.
“Do it yourself, I’m busy!” Squall’s distinctive monotone voice echoed back, showing no mercy whatsoever.
“Aw, Squall, don’t be so harsh on your old man!” The man then decided to add, hoping to guilt trip him. “I’m helpless down here!”
“Cooking breakfast takes priority!” Squall then shut his father’s attempt within that instant, his words were final.
The man groaned out, acting as though he was imitating a lazy seal.  In his mind, he couldn’t help but feel betrayed that his own son refused to help him in his desperate time of need.
Man, where did I go wrong with him … He sighed out whilst wondering the thought, chuckling slightly however keeping it subtle and in non-serious fashion.
In the end, he gave up on persuading Squall to help him any further, feeling it was completely futile. Instead, he rolled to his front, his body flat against the carpet floor. With all the morning strength he could muster, the man used his arms to crawl towards the door, aiming for the kitchen with the use of the glorious smell of breakfast to guide him. His legs dragging from behind, the man refused to allow Squall’s stubbornness to bring him down.
… I am Laguna Loire, President of Esthar; and this heart of mine refuses to give in to such an obstacle!
Squall, having placed earphones in to drown out anymore of his father’s whines, finished up on both the toast and the bacon. The bacon was sizzled and crisped with perfection, allowing for the aroma to reach maximum without becoming overdone. The toast was also perfectly handled with care, reaching a golden-brown colouring.
Squall was satisfied, although this was impossible to notice due to the lack of emotion, he felt as though he was able to make an artistic masterpiece through such a simple concept known as breakfast. Adding a few final touches, Squall then split up the food into two dishes, one for himself and the other for his father. Balancing the dishes in his hands, Squall turned and began to make his way out of the kitchen and towards the dining room, eyes locked onto the sturdy table that was situated in the centre of the room. Squall was in his zone, music playing loud in his ears and not a care in the world towards his current surroundings. Nothing could distract him.
“Ah-HAH!” A voice suddenly bellowed out, whilst a hand grasped Squall’s ankle without any prior warning. “Fork over the food!”
“WHAT THE-!?” Squall leaped back in a gasp, stumbling in the instant his ankle was grabbed.
Just then, like a domino effect, Squall’s stumble caused the plate of breakfast in his right hand to slip. As if the world’s time fell into slow-motion, Squall could only watch as the bacon and toast fell towards the floor. Underneath the falling plate, Laguna’s expression slowly turned from a cheeky grin to a horrified gasp, noticing a moment too late as to what he had done. Eyes wide and mouth gaping open, Laguna’s arms hastily shifted his arms and took on a bracing guard … however his was a faction too slow.
SMASH!!!
Squall glared with a monotone combination of frustration and disgust, his earphones fallen from his ears and dangling from the V-neck of his t-shirt. Laguna, face completely covered up by food, groaned in emotional agony. Pushing the plate away from his face and wiping the large parts of toast and bacon, Laguna began to sulk.
“Karma … why do you do this to me?” Laguna sniffled out, pulling off the most forced sad-face he could generate on his food-covered mug. “First the leg cramp, now THIS!? The Goddess is too cruel…”
Squall rolled his eyes, releasing a whispered growl to vent his undying frustration. Returning the focus of his sight back towards his embarrassing case of a father, Squall could not cope with any more of constant whining being displayed. The time and care he had spent on breakfast and the watching it all go to waste caused immeasurable pain in his sub-consciousness. Ultimately, Squall refused to allow it all to go to waste.
“You better eat every last scrap of food that was on that plate …” Squall antagonistically warned, eyes burning like a raging fire whilst the rest of his expression remained emotionless. “… because I’m not making another.”
“Wha – HUUHH!?!?” Laguna blurted out in abrupt despair, his mouth gaping and eyes wide due to the unexpected horror. “Y-you’re kidding me, right!? I can’t eat this; I’ll be out of commission for the entirety of next week! Think about the 3 second rule! THE 3 SECOND RULE!”
“… So, you’re saying my cooking is now bad?” Squall growled in his monotone, eyes piercing the soul of his own father. “Is it not up to standard to what you expect?”
“N-no, that’s not what I …”Laguna stuttered hesitantly, realising what he had just said. “I-I mean … Y-you’re cooking is amazing, it’s just that … eh-heh … never mind.”
Attempting to scramble to his feet, Laguna gathered as much of the food from the floor as he possibly could. Wiping away the crumbs from his face, Laguna rose up and faced Squall with a guilt-ridden expression. Squall was completely uncaring; glaring back at his father like his was an annoying pest.
“Eat the food … it’s getting cold.” Squall then demanded, pointing out as he refused to let any piece of the breakfast he made go to waste.
Laguna attempted to grovel once again, however could not bring himself to do so as the guilt struck back at him. In the end he just gazed down at his plate and accepted for what it was. As Laguna took a seat on the dining table, Squall gave a satisfied nod. Perching himself on the opposite side of the dining table, Squall took no time to dig into his plate. Laguna on the other hand, was picking his food about with a pout, hoping to find any unspoiled parts of his food.
As time went on, there was total silence, only the natural noises echoing from the outside world could be heard. Eventually, Squall stood up from his seat, plate completely empty, and shifted over to the dishwasher. Laguna, head placed against the table surface, sulked in despair. The plate beside his head only half empty, Laguna could only resent on giving in to his son’s spiteful threats. His stomach churning, Laguna couldn’t even glance at his plate without feeling the need to throw up.
Squall, having returned from sorting out the dishwasher in the kitchen, glared down at his Father with his melancholic expression. Laguna could feel a sudden stab into his soul, having no choice but to lift his eyes to confront the inevitable.
“… You failed.” Squall murmured bitterly, throwing his final verdict as if this was some sort of competition.
What followed was the sound of a heart shatter. Laguna was frozen on the spot, eyes whited out and acting as though his entire soul just left his body. His entire existence was reduced to nothing within the instant, the story of his life and achievements flashing before him. Squall sighed out; dropping his head and crossing his arms in the continuous frustration took over his mind. After a low sigh, he decided enough was enough.
“Screw this … I’m heading out.” Squall then concluded, knowing his role was finished for the morning.
… What a pain. His mind added in a murmur.
“Ooh, who are you going to see?” His Father suddenly jumped up in eagerness, reviving from the dead. “You’re mates from the academy … or, maybe even a girl?”
Squall stumbled upon the question, just as he was about to walk through away. Glancing back, he had an exasperated expression, completely thrown off guard.
“Do you have to always ask about my personal affairs? If so, I’m not answering any questions you have.” Squall assured hastily, eyes piercing into the regained soul of his Father.
Laguna hesitated slightly, finding the gaze of his son’s as intimidating as ever. However, he then gave out a light chuckle.
“I’m just curious, Squall. Isn’t that part of the Old man’s role?” He questioned with a light-hearted grin.
“That has got nothing to do with anything.” Squall growled back, finding his Father’s priorities skewed. “You may need to work on those ‘father priorities’ of yours, Dad.”
“Is that so…” An idea then clicked in Laguna’s mind, “Ah, I know! I’ll go enrol myself into Dissidia, maybe a teacher or an undercover student, then I can be your all almighty wing-man.”
“Urk- NO! No no no! Don’t even joke about that, that idea is lethal.” Squall warned hastily, the thought of his Father being a classmate at the academy threw him completely off balance … even if he knew it was a joke.
“Aw, you don’t have to always shut me down.” Laguna continued to joke, beaming with amusement. “You never know, this idea of mine could do you some good.”
Squall swiftly placed his earphones in, drowning out any further unnecessary sound, including his Dad’s own voice. With that, he left the room and out of sight, the sound of the front door closing followed. Laguna watched him leave, unable to throw away his cheery smile. He found his son rather typical and predictable; the amusement of teasing him was never going to grow stale.
Picking up one last piece of breakfast that almost killed his spirit earlier, Laguna gave out another chuckle.
“Hah-haa, foreshadowing is such a delight …” Laguna breathed out, grinning to no end.
He took a bite and chewed on the piece of bacon … only to suddenly jerk forward with a sickly gulp.
 
A Moment Later …
 
Squall stepped through one of the peaceful streets, music blasting loudly in his ears and his mind off into the far distance of his mind. The bright Sun beating down, hiding the fact that it was in fact late Summer/early Autumn. The street was close to empty, a few kids running about with a foam-made Blitzball, a few adults here and there working on the Sunday lawn, and not much else. Squall felt that he was now in his comfort-zone, alone and free from unnecessary hassle.
It was then that he heard something attempting to break through his music, an irritating noise refusing to go away. What didn’t help was that the kids had all stopped as they watched what had been happening, their ball rolling as they stood in the middle of the road staring away.
Slowly, Squall pinched one of the buds and drew it away for his ear, the noise becoming clearer by the distance. He drew it back just enough to hear that the noise was in fact an argument, slowing the pace of his walk to a slowing stop.
“You ALWAYS do this, Old Man! I swear, there’s no end to your @$$-ery!” A familiar, yet in Squall’s mind ‘close-to-infuriating’ voice, bellowed out.
“Ah-hah-haa! Don’t be so sour, just because you couldn’t take a small loss.” Another familiar, this time more mature – in tone, not in mannerisms – voice, mocked in return.
Squall didn’t even need to wonder who the voices belonged to, not even with the glance of Déjà vu. He was about to place his earbud back in, but hesitated at the thought.
“Screw you! Those dirty tricks of yours were too far from fair!” The Soon’s voice argued, his voice echoing throughout the street. “I had barely any room to counterattack!”
“Any room!? Is that not the entire point!? Admit it! You were slaughtered!” The Father’s voice provoked, laughing away like a mad man. “… And you call yourself my son, you have a long way to go before I can consider you at such a level.”
What followed was a hard slam of a door, with someone storming out to the street. Squall crossed his arms, wondering what the origin behind this particular argument was. Then again, like previous arguments this pair has had, he couldn’t give any less of a damn.
“GO TO HELL, Old Fart!” The Son roared back at the house in fury; face all red and popping veins.
“Thanks for the reminder; I pay the place a visit at some point! Ah-hah-haa!” The Father’s voice, muffled by the walls of the house, joked about in a teasing manner, seemingly winning this round. “Oh, you better get back here on time this evening, Tidus! Any lateness and I’ll be sure to give you payback in your next P.E. lesion!”
Kicking the pavement in a sulk, Tidus took a deep breath to vent his emotions. He looked up towards the clear sky above, spacing out momentarily. The street residences stared silently for a moment longer, and then went on back to their activities. The kids playing around with the Blitzball whilst the adults continuing with the Sunday chores. It was as though they completely ignored the entire scenario. Squall, however, knew this current situation would cause some nuisance for him.
If he sees me, I’m going to get an earful… Squall’s thoughts began to warn, noticing he was in the open.
Swiftly spinning around and stepping off towards the opposite direction, Squall placed his earphones back in with haste. The one thing he did not need was Tidus’ keeping him company today, especially after what just happened. Just imagining him trailing off about how much he despises his Father, or getting overexcited about any spontaneous ideas he has would send Squall into the deep depth of hell. Right now, he felt as though he was able to escape without Tidus noticing him. However, his music only drowned out the truth.
“SquaaaAAAAAAAAALLLL!!!” A load roar rose up all of a sudden, closing in on Squall without any warning.
Slam!
“GACK!?!!” Squall lurched forward, his whole body leaving the floor without his command.
He fell, his whole body rolling and scraping across the concrete ground. In addition to this, he felt a body latch onto him upon impact, causing a larger momentum. Screeching to a full stop, Squall was lying on his side, eyes wide with shock and gasping for air due to the oxygen knocked out of him. Just then, a figure stood over him, blocking the blinding Sun as this figure leant over with curiosity.
“Squall, my man, you’ve just sparked up my day!” Tidus spoke out to his classmate, gleefully smiling. “You’re like a guardian angel, I don’t think I’ll be able to thank you enough!”
“R-right … happy to be … of help.” Squall reluctantly responded as his earphones slipped out of his ears, struggling to breath and body full of scrape marks.
Squall knew, from previous encounters with Tidus inside and outside of Dissidia, he should have been a lot more prepared for this.
 
After Squall recovered, the two began to head through the streets towards the City centre. As expected, Tidus took the opportunity to rant on about his father, much to Squall’s displeasure.
“That Old @$$ has no sympathy, all he cares about is himself and those who live up to his overbearing standards.” Tidus complained with a pout, allowing all of his thoughts known to the world – or Squall for that matter. “Also, the moment I screw up or do something that isn’t to his liking, I get schooled for it! Not only that, he never holds back when he gets competitive!”
“... Says the guy who not only damaged the Academy’s Blitzball Arena, but also refuses to take the blame by passing it off as a ‘minor accident’.” Squall commented as if to act as the straight man. “So … yeah, you may want to rethink your argument.”
“Huh!? Who told you about that!?” Tidus leapt back in sudden surprise, looking abruptly anxious.
“Cecil told me about it the other day.” Squall brushed off in return, shrugging as though he could not care any less.
“Tch! Damn you, Cecil …” Tidus growled under his breath, feeling betrayed by his close comrade. “I swear; if he is spreading rumours, I’ll be sure to pay him back tenfold.”
Squall raised an eyebrow, curious as to what Tidus had up his sleeve. Throwing away the thought, Squall began to sum up Tidus’ situation.
“So, you lost the game against your Dad and now you’ve decided you’re going to spend the entire day moaning about how much you hate his guts.” He summarized, holding nothing back. “… Seems legit.”
“Oi, don’t you go guilt tripping me!” Tidus accused all of a sudden as he threw out a finger, finally realising Squall’s intentions. “Besides, surely you can relate to me here, Squall. I mean, haven’t you said before how much you dislike your dad?”
It was then that the entire aura surrounding the two had changed, engulfing their bodies and causing the world to become heavier. Squall slowed down to a halt, glaring at Tidus with his piercing eyes as he gave off a horrific warning vibe. Tidus hesitate, gulping as he felt the pressure dawn upon him. 
“Err, heh-heh … Did I push the wrong button?” Tidus awkwardly questioned, bracing himself for the possibility of losing his life. “C-come on, Squall! You know I didn’t mean anything by such a level!”
Momentarily, Squall continued to glare down Tidus, no response out of him. However, the heavy aura began to cool down, returning back to the calm and peaceful atmosphere of before. Squall’s glare also lightened, giving out a small sigh as he shifted his sight away.
“Don’t get the wrong idea. I may find my Dad annoying, lazy, frustrating to deal with, and a complete pain in the neck … but he is still my Dad.” Squall answered out, any emotion in his tone and expression completely dissipated. “Maybe it would be a good idea for you to take on different approaches to the matter … especially with something as lame as losing in a stupid game.”
“R-right … I’ll keep that in mind.” Tidus nodded back, his body shaken up slightly. “… It’s not just something as simple as that though.”
“Oh don’t worry; I know exactly where you are getting at.” Squall brushed off instantly, beginning to tread forward once again. “My Dad can be that level of infuriating, I just don’t consider it a reason to ‘hate’.”
With that, Squall needn’t continue to speak, feeling he had said enough for the time being. Tidus followed, falling quiet as he began to wonder about what Squall had told him. Part of him could see what he meant, however he just didn’t see it for him and the Old Man (Jecht).
As they continued walking, Squall had placed one earphone in his ear, leaving one hanging so he was prepared for any unexpected glomps from Tidus. However, he noticed that Tidus was busy on his phone, attempting to call up someone. After a moment of ringing, no one seemed to have answered. Tidus began to chuckle, something crept up on his mind that made him eerily amused. Squall turned back to Tidus curiously, wondering what was so funny.
“What’s with the creepy laugh?” Squall questioned in an unamused tone, eyes squinting. “It doesn’t suit you.”
“Heh-hee, oh nothing much.” Tidus chuckled back, shrugging in amusement. “… Do you mind if we take a detour?”
“Huh?” Squall murmured our in an odd tone.
With that, Tidus stepped on ahead, not saying another word. With a shrug, Squall decided to follow, wondering as to where Tidus was leading.
 
After a fairly short ‘detour’, the two reached their destination. What stood before them was a small, seemingly comfortable home. Squall had no idea whose place this was, yet felt that he would know the moment the door would be answered. Without a moment to lose, Tidus rang the doorbell with his usual eagerness, although behind his grin was an oddly creepy aura. A fanfare-like tune rang out upon the press of the button. For some reason, this felt familiar to Squall, making him feel as if he heard of it before.
Just then, the door opened up, revealing a tall man with black, spiky hair, sky blue eyes, and casual attire with the ‘SOLDIER’ logo on his belt. He was none other than Zack Fair.
“Ah! Hey guys!” Zack greeted energetically, a large cheerful smile strapped across his face. “Are you here to see Cloud?”
“Yep!” Tidus enthusiastically answered back, giving an equally energetic grin. “I’m guessing he’s still in the middle of napping.”
“You got that right! That kid will sleep the entire day away if he could.” Zack commented cheekily, both joking and complaining all at once. “Do you mind assisting me in waking him up?”
“Hell Yeah! What have you got cooked up this time?” Tidus curiously wondered, eager to begin turmoil to his friend.
“Heh-heh-hee … oh, it’s going to be a good one.” Zack began to explain, stroking his chin as though he had a small beard … even though this was close to impossible. “It’ll involve a bucket of water, a few trip hazards, and …”
As the two discussed their plans, Squall stood watching silently. His mind blank, expression non-existent, eyes squinting slightly. The only thing he could think about was …
… I see, so now I’m stuck with a pair of over-excited lunatics …great, just great.
Squall sighed out, finding this all a royal pain. All he wanted to do today was to be on his own, away from the nuisances of other people. That now seems to be out the window.
“… So, everything is set up, now we just need someone to trigger the process.” Zack suggested, wondering who would take up the critical task.
Both Tidus and Zack then glanced over towards Squall, dark, creepy grins strapped across their faces. Squall groaned under his breath, knowing all too well that he would be involved in this.
“Fine, whatever … like I have much else going on today.” Squall shrugged in acceptance, giving up on finding a way to get out of this.
Zack and Tidus looked back towards each other gleefully, their excitement reaching the boiling point.
Eventually, the three entered the house, Zack leading the two upstairs and towards the room that held a soundly sleeping Cloud. Squall was given a summary of what he needed to do. In a basic sense, he was going to throw a bucket full of cold water onto the sleeping Cloud. Squall didn’t know how to feel about this. If he was in Cloud’s shoes, he would most likely have painted the house in their blood. But knowing Cloud, who was probably used to mayhem like this, would probably let things slide easily.
Finally, the three stood over Cloud’s bed, where the sleeping Cloud lay, unaware of what was about to occur. He seemed to be mumbling in his sleep, as though he was having one of his ‘Fan-girl’ nightmares once again, something both Squall and Tidus reluctantly related to.
“Right, time to get into position, Squall, get the bucket ready.” Zack pointed out in a whispering voice, nodding in confirmation. “Tidus, follow me … this is going to be epic.”
As the two left the room, Squall continued to stand over Cloud’s bed, emotionless and uncaring as can be. A bucket of freezing cold water by his side, Squall couldn’t help but wonder if he should purposely back fire this so called plan of theirs and wake Cloud up beforehand. However, another side of him had a sadistic motive of letting this plan run its course. It was mean … but amusing.
Squall took up the bucket and held it over Cloud, who had tossed over on his beard without any clue. A moment of silence followed, with the sounds of whispering in the background. Just at that moment, Zack voice could be heard from down the hallway. It was the signal.
“NOW!” Zack called out, breaking the peaceful silence abruptly.
“Zzzz … H-huh?” Cloud groggily snorted, clueless as he wondered why there was a sudden shout.
“… Sorry, Cloud.” Squall murmured, although he didn’t really care.
With a sudden haste, Squall threw the bucket over the unexpected Cloud.  The freezing cold water fell freely towards the victim, soaking his entire body and clothing. As the bucket engulfed his entire head, Cloud leapt up in abrupt shock, stumbling off of the bed. Wrapped in his bed sheets and bucket over his head, Cloud’s bearings were completely gone. He did not know where was up, down, left, right, forward, or backwards. In addition, he was shivering in both shack and the damp coldness of the water.
“Wha-!? What’s going on - WHOA!?” Cloud yelped as he stumbled over, throwing his arms about. 
Squall stepped out of the way, watching as Cloud scurried blindly past him. What happened next … was of Tidus’ doing. Standing on the other side of the door opening, Tidus casually held out his leg. Fated to occur, Cloud tripped and stumbled over the leg, causing him to lose balance. With the momentum of his body, Cloud flew across the hall. However, his feet continued to stumble across, stepping into what seems to be various shaped pots and pans from the kitchen downstairs. Loud, clanging noises could be heard echoing across the entirety of the house.
This was where the finale began … and Zack’s turn to cause havoc on Cloud. As Cloud stumbled towards the stairs that lead to the ground floor of the house, Zack leapt into action … literally. He threw himself forward as he appeared from his own room, and shoved Cloud towards the direction of the stairs.
“Wah-!? Woahwoahwoah … AAAAAHHHH!!” Cloud screamed out as he fell, losing control of his body entirely.
Bang, bang, bang … CRASH!!!
Squall, watching from the banister with Tidus and Zack, cringed as the three heard the sounds of the load collision. Cloud was spread out on the floor, motionless. The bucket on his head, bed sheets wrapped around his body, and body completely drenched in the freezing water. Swiftly, the three raced down the stairs, Tidus and Zack showing both concern and complete amusement whilst Squall showed nothing in terms of expression. As they surrounded him, Tidus took off the bucket from around Clouds head. This revealed a completely dazed out and close to unconscious Cloud, the world spinning around him. Slowly, his bearings and sight began to recover.
At that point, both Tidus and Zack could not hold themselves back. The two burst out into fits of laughter, rolling on the floor. Cloud groaned out in pain, his entire body sore and aching. Squall gazed as he watched the two rolling about, unable to find anything in his stack of emotions related to this scene.
“HAHAHAA … THAT WAS AWESOME!” Tidus roared out amongst the fits of his laughter, unable to control himself.
“W-We HAVE to do that again at some point!” Zack spoke out as he struggled to hold back his giggling. “W-wait, no! We have to TOP IT!”
“I’ll … kill you … all.” Cloud wheezed out, eyes raging as he began to move about.
“… I think we’re done here.” Squall murmured with boredom, crossing his arms as the amusement completely passes him.
 
After everything settled down and Cloud had recovered enough, Squall, Cloud and Tidus strolled through the city centre. Tidus chatting away as usual whilst Cloud held an ice pack on his head, groaning in pain, everything seemed the usual once again. Squall had an earphone back in his ear so he could keep his attention away from Tidus’ yapping.
The centre was full with locals and visitors; understandable considering it was a Sunday. The shops and restaurants that were open during this time took the opportunity to advertise their ‘special deals’ and promotions. The customers were, in Squall’s eyes, ‘suckered in’ to these like dogs noticing a new treat. In addition, street performers were showing off their usual routines, amazing the audiences that surrounded them.
Tidus and Cloud went ahead of Squall, Tidus seemingly catching something in the corner of his eye whilst Cloud was dragged against his own will. Squall took this opportunity to hang back, finally getting time to himself. As he treaded along, swerving in and out of crowds, Squall took his time to look around. However, he abruptly stopped upon catching a glimpse of the T.V. through the glass panel, showing a face he didn’t need to see for the rest of the day. A Female narration was playing in the background, celebrating a special announcement.
“Today marks the 17 year anniversary of Sir Laguna Loire’s reign as the president of Esthar. Yesterday, upon celebrating this occasion, Laguna had announced that a special play would be held in a year’s time.” The Anchor Lady described on the channel, her voice tone sounding completely professional … and also bored. “Tickets for the set dates had already been sold out and more dates are to be announced due to popular demand. Laguna Loire had gone on to state that those who were not able to buy tickets are able to view the play via live broadcast.”
Damn it, Dad, you just had to give out your empty promises again. Squall groaned in his mind, finding a face-palm to be the most appropriate action.
During that very moment, a light, feminine scream echoed across the centre, causing Squall to glance towards the direction. He caught sight of the girl who screamed in an instant … only to realise she was about to crash into him.
“AH! Watch out!”
… Too late.
CRASH!
The two collided into each other, falling to the ground with a large thumb. Crowds had watched the situation unfold curiously, following the girl as she collided into Squall. And yet no one helped stop her. What followed on from that was a load barking sound, causing children in the crowds to point out cheerfully. A large, brown, long furred dog was jumping and running around the two like a maniac, showing no signs of calming down. Squall eased himself up from the concrete floor, groaning out in pain.
Again!? Why did this have to happen to me AGAIN!? Squall’s mind bellowed in frustration.
Shaking his head, Squall gave out a sigh as he regained his own bearings. He attempted to stand himself up; however, he was held down. Lying on top of him was the girl, a dog lead wrapped around an arm of hers and whilst another was wrapped around Squall.
Squall didn’t know what to do in this situation, finding this all completely absurd. Upon a closer notice, the girl on top of him had jet black shoulder-length hair, areas seemingly highlighted with a fair caramel tone. She had soft, pale skin and – upon what Squall noticed before the collision – dark brown eyes. She seemed to be wearing some sort of blue dress with back, knee length tights.
“Nnn … Angelo.” The girl moaned out, slowly raising herself from on top of Squall, completely oblivious. “… Would you calm down … for once in your life.”
The dog barked in response to the name, assuming that was what the girl called it. It sat down as if to wait for further instructions by its master. As the girl sat up, she opened her eyes. In an instant, she gasped, moving herself away from Squall.
“I-I’m so sorry!” The girl apologised, grasping his hand instinctively. “Angelo gets excited a lot when she’s in a crowded place. Are you hurt?”
Squall felt a sudden relief, sitting up the moment she moved off of him. Squall sighed out, rubbing the areas of his torso that ached out.
“I’m fine …” Squall murmured back, his eyes glancing away from her. “… Nothing you should be concerned about.”
He instantly slid his hand from her grasp, showing signs of his awkwardness. The girl hesitated, not knowing how to respond. Squall rose to his feet, giving out his other hand to help the girl up. The moment the two stood up, Squall watched the dog, Angelo, jump around them eagerly.
“He’s very … jumpy.” Squall commented, not knowing what else to say.
“She.” The girl corrected somewhat sternly, as if to show some stubbornness towards Squall. “…  And yes, she’s a very excitable dog.”
Just then, something clicked in her mind, pointing towards him as if to recognise him. Squall leant back cautiously, aware about her being too close towards his personal space.
“Wait a minute, aren’t you Squall Leonhart?” The girl asked him curiously, certain she was right.
“Yeah … what about it?” Squall shrugged with his unamused tone.
“Oh, nothing much, I just see you about a lot at the Academy.” The girl cheerfully smiled, showing a kind expression. “I hear you’re one of the ‘Fangirls’’ prime targets.”
“You … you’re not one of them, are you?” Squall cautiously questioned, unsure whether it was wise to ask.
“Nope, I just hear rumours amongst my class a lot, that’s all.” The girl shrugged back, smiling towards him with amusement.
“I see …” Squall awkwardly murmured, unsure whether to trust her with that statement. “… See you at Dissidia.”
Instantly, Squall darted out of sight through the large crowds, startling the girl. Within a flash, he was gone.
“Ah! Wait, I … Ah, he’s gone.” The girl huffed in a disappointment, her hand grasping tightly on Angelo’s lead. “That guy needs to open up more. Isn’t that right, Angelo?”
The dog barked in agreement, as if in conversation with her. Just then another female voice could be heard calling out from the depths of the crowds.
“Rinoa, where have you gone?” The voice called out curiously, getting closer to the girl. “Rinoaaaa!”
“I’m right here, Selphie!” The girl called back, answering her call.
The girl glanced back towards where Squall ran off to, before giving a light sigh and leaving to meet up with her friend.
 
Finally back in the open, Squall took a moment to catch his breath back. Although he wasn’t running through the crowds, he wanted to keep his distance from that girl. Even though she was sweet and kind to him, he did not trust her. After cooling himself down, Squall took in the area surrounding him. He had left the city centre and was on one of the paths that lead towards Crescent Lake. The area was calm, open, peaceful, and full of natural scenery, it was a perfect place for him just to chill out alone.
He took a seat on a nearby bench, underneath a small yet sturdy tree. Placing his earphones back into his ears, Squall leaned back and watched the vast blue sky above. He was finally able to gain breathing space, and it was the most relieving feeling he has had all week.
Time passed on, the music in Squall’s ears shuffling through the random tracks on his playlist. People passed him, yet gave no notice as to what he was doing, keeping to their own matters. It was all Squall wanted; and yet deep down in the back of his mind, this would never last.
“BOO!” A creepy clown-like face appeared close above him, meeting eye to eye in the instant.
“GAH!” Squall jumped in fright, slipping off of his seat.
“Hohoo-hehee-AHAHAHAHAA!” The Clown-faced trickster began to bellow out, over exaggerating the laughter to what felt like a new level. “My lord, I can’t get enough of this! It’s all … exhilarating!”
Kefka Palazzo, Dissidia Academy’s Art Teacher, was floating in mid-air clutching his sides, manically laughing non-stop. Any visitors of the area watched him in fear, children clutching onto their parents, balling as they heard his laugh and saw his appearance. Squall’s heart was racing, unable to get used to Professor Palazzo’s jump-scares no matter how many times it happens. The question that came to mind was: Why was he here?
“Pr-Proffessor Palazzo, why are you here?” Squall echoed his mind, shaking far too much to be able to stand.
“It’s MASTER PALAZZO to dirt like you!” Kefka snarled abruptly with a menacing tone, scaring off everyone in sight. “… or Kefka, if you’re so inclined.”
“… Whatever.” Squall sighed, struggling to his feet as he tried to stop the shaking.
“How rude … I just so happen to be – umm – ‘strolling’ along, then along my travels, I just HAPPENED … to see one of my ‘prize’ students taking a daydream on the bench.” Kefka answered back as he circled around freely above Squall’s head, the tone of his voice all over the place.
Squall didn’t know how to respond, unable to predict Kefka’s mood. Squall stood cautiously, knowing that running would be useless to this madman.
“Hohoo … Giving me the silent treatment, I see?” Kefka giggled and he hung himself underneath the tree, crossing his arms. “Well, I guess there is … another reason for me to meet you here…”
Squall raised an eyebrow, slightly curious yet immensely unsure as to what he meant by this.
“What pitiful Kefka is trying to say, my dear Squall …” Another, seeming lustful voice, spoke up from directly behind Squall. “Is that you’re going to be an important player come tomorrow’s court trial.”
Squall, frozen on the spot, felt a stroke of a soft hand caressing his cheek. He wished he could move, but the eerie voice from behind was preventing him from doing so.
“WHO ARE YOU CALLING ‘PITIFUL’, YOU LONESOME HAG!?” Kefka spat out in fury, his menacing insane mind momentarily breaking through his trickster persona. “Hee-ahahahaa … I was just getting to the good part, my lovely Ultimecia.”
Just then, Squall broke through his frozen state, causing him to automatically stumble forward to gain distance. He turned, eyes locked onto the figure that stood close behind him.
Ultimecia, the History Teacher of Dissidia Academy, stood tall and gracefully. With long, silk-like silver hair, golden serpent eyes, and strong red-toned lips, she was like a corrupted angel.  Her attire consisting of a long, feathered blood-red robe, numerous uniquely shaped tattoos … and not much else. Her cleavage exposed and the complete lack of undergarments. Men – especially Squall’s Father – would struggle to resist eying her up. To Squall, however, she gave off the aura of a possessive witch.
“You’re being hunted down, Squall.” Ultimecia warned him lightly, giving a subtle smile underneath her makeup and face-paint. “A fellow classmate thinks you may have had involvement with the recent incident… and he’s not one to give up so easily.”
“Hohohoo … AHAHAHAHAA, it’s enlightening us with so much CHAOTIC drama!” Kefka called out energetically, dancing about in the air. “I can’t wait a day for more!”
“… And why should I care about how he feels?” Squall questioned with a snarl, his mind knowing exactly who it was. “The incident has nothing to do with me.”
“Hmhmhmm … Are you sure, boy?” Ultimecia questioned back, gazing into his eyes as she drew closer. “To me, you may be the closest thing to the case than what is lead to believe, it’s only a matter of time before they find out why.”
Squall stepped back cautiously, wary about this ‘witch’s’ approach.
“Why does it concern you?” He asked out, tensing himself up.
“We are merely SPECTATORS of the event … Heyahhahaa – all we want is to add a bit more ‘fun’ into the case!” Kefka reasoned with him, appearing close in front of Squall as if to plead. “Will you be so kind as to … create a bit more CHAOS for us, pretty pleeeeeaaaase?”
“We don’t mean ‘help us’, we mean ‘get involved’.” Ultimecia added on, giggling alongside Kefka.
Squall was silent for that moment, standing motionless. In his mind, his two closest friends were standing within the depths. Zidane, tied down to the chains of his fate, waiting for the verdict to fall upon him. Bartz, his emotions broken and full of despair as he watches his partner in crime, unable to cope with the questionings dawned upon him. As they disappeared into the darkness, Warrior of Light and Onion Knight stood in their place, glaring towards Squall with tense eyes; The Prosecutor offering a hand to strengthen the guilty verdict, whilst the Defence was ready to rip Squall apart to find the possible guilt lying within him.
Squall then shrugged, “Yeah, why not?”

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