A/N This is kind of a response to events occurring in my fic
Complete Me, Miserable, so I guess this is a sequel, written
before its prequel is even finished, and it won't be entirely
consistent, plot-wise. But hey, it'll give you some idea of how
bad things are going to get in Complete. Heh.

Disclaimer: I don't own any of this. Any resemblence to situations
real or imagined is less than coincidental, but names and even
universes have been changed to protect the innocent. Everything
I complain about involving mental wards, etc, is true, and in fact
toned down a bit so it will seem less fantastical.

Warning: R for language and eventual slash. Oh, and reference
to drug use and rape, as well as some gruesome descriptions
of various mental illness. Thank my Bio of the Mind course. Heh.

**********************
Balamb Blues
**********************
It all started with a phone call.

Such an innocent way to begin.

I was at work, idly flipping through a month-old Weapons Weekly,
when my comm went off -- always bad news on a Thursday. My hat
rested on the table by the sleek device; it was left behind as I fled
to a window hoping for better reception.

"Irvine here," I answered, cutting off the rising chirps before any
students were disturbed. They were testing on Sniping: Theory and
Reality in the next room.

"Irvine?" A small voice, somewhat scared. It took me a few moments
to identify the speaker.

"Squall?! What's going on?" I could hear wind in the background,
engines, perhaps breathing. "Where are you?"

"In the back of a patrol car," he answered. To anyone else he would've
sounded calm, but I could hear the rising panic in his voice.

"Military or civilian?" I barked. "What's going on?"

"Civilian," Squall said. "They're taking me to the Med."

Balamb Medical Center. Not a place you wanted to go.

"Why, was there an accident? Why aren't they bringing you to Doc
Kadowaki?" I was pacing now, trying to stay in the patch on sunlight
that represented good reception. Squall's breathing was a bit too
rapid for my peace of mind.

"No," he answered, voice going even lower. "I, ah . . . There're bringing
me in for a psych evaluation."

"To the MED?!" I yelled, feeling a fine sense of outrage curl from my gut.
My commander? To that soulless machine of a medical facility? I don't
think so!

"Emergency protocol," he near-whispered. I had to strain to hear him,
but didn't ask him to speak up. I understood his reticence. "They said . . ."

"Yes?" I prompted gently.

"Garden doesn't have the resources for suicide watch."

We were both silent for a few moments.

"Squall?"

"I didn't do anything," he said. His voice was closer to normal that it had
been for the rest of this conversation. "I was just talking."

"To *who*?!" I screamed in a whisper, clenching my free hand so tightly
that my knuckles ached.

"Kadowaki told me to see a therapist," he said, voice now its usual
monotone. Like he was reporting for a mission. "So I saw a therapist."

"And she . . .?"

"Panicked. Called the Balamb PD."

"Shit," I said, feeling helpless for a moment. "Are you okay?" I asked
inanely, not knowing what else to say. He breathed harshly, like a subdued
sob.

"No," he said once his voice was again under control. He dropped down
to a whisper again. "I'm scared, Irvine."

"Look, it'll be okay," I lied frantically. It had to be *horrible* for Squall to
show this much emotion in public. "They can't keep you for more than
seventy-two hours, right? I don't think longer than that is legal."

"Seventy-two hours?" he repeated. He sounded shell-shocked.

"And surely they'll let you go once you straighten all this out. You weren't
really going to try anything, right? You can just explain to them that you
didn't mean it, right?"

"But Irvine, I . . ." he trailed off into a humming silence. The patrol unit's
radio squawked. Squall breathed. I bit my lip.

"Well, who's in charge while you're . . ." I asked, hoping to distract him.

"Xu is next in command, then Quistis," he said, voice business-like again.

"Do they know?" I asked hesitantly. I student appeared in my office door,
test in hand. I waved him off impatiently. "Who should I tell?"

Squall was silent for a long moment.

"Just the Orphans," he said finally. "If it can be kept quiet . . ."

"Absolutely, yes," I agreed. If the world found out that its savior was in the
downtown Balamb psych ward . . . "But what about Rinoa? Should I tell her?"

"Hn," he snorted, not quite laughter. "She'd probably enjoy the news," he
said darkly.

"So this time was . . .?"

"Final," he confirmed wearily. The patrol car rattled over a set of train tracks,
into the newer industrial sector of Balamb. I could hear the ocean beneath
Squall's quiet voice. "She's with someone, a lawyer, I think."

"Ah," I said intelligently. She'd left him before, but they'd always made up
eventually. "Do you know why . . .?"

"Something I told her," he said flatly, obviously wanting to drop the subject.
I cursed the handheld for a moment, wishing we'd splurged on the video
kits at Selphie's request. If I could only *see* him . . . I might be able to
figure *something* out.

"Listen, I'll call your father," I said, suddenly energized. "He can sort this
out."

"*No*!" Squall said urgently, his voice filled with more emotion than I could
remember ever hearing from him. "I don't want him to find out."

"But --"

"No! I just found him," he continued, voice quiet again. "I don't want . . ."

"I know," I reassured him. And I did understand. If I ever find my father, I
want him to be proud of me, not . . . Why did this have to happen *now*?
"Okay, look, I'll come down there, make sure they look after you. Zell can
come, and maybe Selphie?"

"I don't really . . . I don't think they'll *let* you . . ."

"Let them try and stop us," I blustered, trying to laugh, concealing the very
real threat behind those words. If they hurt Squall . . .

"Irvine, I . . . thank you," he said, whispering the last so softly that I had to
strain to hear. I smiled gently, knowing he could hear it in my voice.

"That's what friends are for, right?" I said gamely, hoping that this if nothing
else would convince him of that fact. He seemed to sniffle, though that could
have been my imagination. "Let me just call everyone, and I'll call you right
back. I'm not leaving you alone for any of this," I promised.

"Okay," he said shakily, sounding relieved.

"See you in a bit," I said, waiting for his affirmative before cutting the connection.

Those mother-fucking bastards.

Zell was reached quickly enough; I wasted more time explaining the situation
to him than I had in tracking him down. His main argument seemed to be
"What?!" and "Is that legal?!", so I told him to meet me at the car in fifteen
just to shut him up.

Quistis was not so easy, but she'd already been informed by that fucking
'therapist', or whatever the bitch wanted to call herself. Quistis told me that
the bitch hadn't even bothered informing the Balamb PD of the *reason* for
Squall's incarceration, citing doctor-patient confidentiality or some such
bullshit.

"Now who knows what they think he's done," she said, frantic with worry.
I grimaced, hating that she had to stay behind to run the ship.

"So they'll just toss him in with the real crazies?" I asked, becoming more
and more worried as this conversation continued. My handset would probably
need replacing before the end.

"Yes," she ground out. "The idiot woman didn't even think of that. Just decides
that they can better handle suicide elsewhere and then doesn't even bother
telling the hospital staff about it."

"Wow," I breathed, a bit taken aback. "Angry, much?"

"I can't stand incompetence," she growled. "That Havelock woman has much
to answer for. She was probably the one feeding him that depression-
nonsense in the first place!"

"Nonsense?" I questioned.

"Yes! Squall was admittedly sad, Rinoa had left him again after all, but clinical
depression lasts for several weeks, if not months, and this by definition!"

"You *have* been doing your research," I muttered, but she just rolled right over
my interruption.

"And even if he was depressed, which I don't believe, he would be far better
off in an environment with friends, with a support group, with people he *trusts*
with his life, not those idiots down at the Med!"

"I agree," I broke in. "Which is why I'm rounding up Zell and Selphie to go down
there with me and keep an eye on him."

"Good plan," she sighed. "I wish I could go, but I'll need to squash any word of
this right now, before it gets out. And Selphie's still in Fisherman's Horizon,
remember?"

"Oh, right," I returned, glaring blankly at one wall. "Call her for me, okay? I should
get down there."

"Will do," she said snappily, our old game of military chain-of-command. I nearly
smiled.

"Irvine out." I responded in like vein, flipping the comm shut with something like
relief. We had a plan. Everything would be taken care of. We'd get Squall back.
***

A/N Well, I've set up some nice foreshadowing. This will be continued, if I get enough reviews.