Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy VIII, any characters within or placed involved.  Original characters and places are my own.

Warning: If you didn't bother to read the summery, this fanfic involves (but is not limited to) a serial killer.  Though the story does not completely revolve around the killer there will be tense parts.  And as anyone who has ever read about anything related to serial killers, they are not kind.  This story may disturb some, please use your own discretion.

For those that aren't scared: Thanks for reading my story.  Main character is Seifer and this is his life a year after the events of the game.

Jade_ice17@hotmail.com

Chapter I: A Second Chance

            The hansom blonde sat on his bar stool listening to the loud rambunctious sounds of the bar goers.  The mood was heavy with celebration and alcohol.  The celebration didn't stick with him but the alcohol sure did.  He stared at the bottom of his eighth beer; he had started to buzz at six.  Never mind the shots he had earlier.  The bartender at "Pirate's Cove" a small but happy bar in Deling City wondered why the blonde had been in so often.  Alone.

            He used to come in with two others, a silver haired girl and a large man.  After a while though, they stopped coming in with him.  She watched him as he stared at the bottom of his mug, looking for answers maybe? 

            "Want another round?"  The bartender asked.

            He looked startled for a second then answered, "Yeah, but gimme something hard."  A thoughtful look in his eyes, "Three shots of tequila."

            "Coming right up, sugar."  She winked and he looked amused for a moment.  Out of the corner of her eye she noticed two people leaving, a man and woman.

*          *            *

            "Oh man, I really got to pee!"  Selphie cried out anxiously to her two comrades.  Rinoa laughed and Quistis simply rolled her eyes.  "Can we please stop somewhere?!"

            "All right."  Quistis sighed.  "But let's not take too long."

            "See Selphie, I told you not to break the seal."  Rinoa laughed again.  "Since you've been drinking you'll have to go every ten minutes now."

            "Hey, there's a bar."  Selphie exclaimed, ignoring Rinoa.  Quickly Selphie rushed into the Pirate's Cove leaving Quistis and Rinoa outside to wait.  They leaned against the wall, taking in the air.  This was the first time in a month that they had the chance to get out.  Garden had been in a constant state of roaming since the events a year ago.  Garden was now receiving new students, that's what had brought them to Deling City in the first place.  Eleven new students boarded Garden, also seven new staff.  Sharing the silence in comfort, Rinoa and Quistis waited for Selphie.  After about five minutes they began to wonder what was taking Selphie so long.  A man and woman walked out, obviously the woman was quite drunk.

            "You figure she fell in."  Rinoa's voice broke the silence.  Quistis laughed.  When Selphie exited however, the laugh died.  Selphie was half-holding up a man.

            And they all knew exactly who it was: Seifer Almasy.  Selphie smiled meekly, "Look who I found."  Rinoa and Quistis were stunned, what the hell was Selphie doing?

            "I think he drank too much."  Selphie's eyes were shadowed with worry.  Seifer couldn't seem to stand that well on his own.  "We have to help him."

            "Selphie, this is the guy that caused us so much trouble last year.  How can you even think that?"  Snapped Quistis sourly.  Seifer's legs meanwhile looked like they were going to give out at any minute.  He was in shambles compared to when they had last seen him.  Then he had been so determined and courageous, even if he was on the wrong side.  Now, well he looked like a drunk.

            "This is also the guy we grew up with."  Selphie replied sternly.  "And I'm not going to abandon him.  Everyone needs a second chance."  The other two realized that they couldn't change her mind.  Even they had the same thoughts at one time.

            "All right, load him into the car."

*          *            *

            In his drunken blur Seifer vaguely recalled being put into a vehicle, must have been a cab.  Then he was all but poured into a building that seemed very familiar.  A cute brunette asked him to sign some papers, which he assumed to be for a hotel room.  The girl laughed a little when she looked at the papers, giving a secretive smile.  Seifer was holding himself up on a desk. 

            "You look really familiar."  He leaned across the table (or was it a desk?) and tried to get a better look at her.  Unfortunately his vision was too blurred to be able to figure out which one of the two girls in front of him was the familiar one.

            "You'll remember me tomorrow."  She smiled, and despite himself, Seifer smiled too.  A real smile, he hadn't done that in a long time.  "Let's take him to his room."  She motioned at four other girls and then he was 'helped' into his room.  It didn't look too bad, compared the places he had been living in the past year.  Seifer couldn't shake the feeling of familiarity though; even the smell reminded him of something.  When the two other girls (maybe two) left, he was alone with just the cute brunette.  He started to take off his trench coat but his hands felt numb.

            "Let me help you."  The brunette said as she pulled off his coat from behind.

            "Easy," Seifer attempted to say with grace, "I'd like to thank you and everything but I just met you."

            The only reply he got for a while was a bubbling giggle.  "Don't worry stud, I won't take advantage of you. And on an unrelated note, there's the bed."  Seifer didn't care at this point and happily crashed onto the bed face first.  "Just make sure you sleep on your side or your back, kay?"  Seifer who was already plummeting into sleep didn't hear her.

*          *            *

            "Squall's gonna have your head on a stick when he finds out about those papers, Selphie."  Worry lined Rinoa's eyes.  "I don't want you to get into trouble."

            "Don't worry, I know what I'm doing."

*          *            *

            Seifer woke the next morning with the worst hangover he had ever had.  He covered his eyes with his arm to block out the sun's stinging rays.  How much did I have to drink last night?  Seifer knew it was probably more then usual, he had spent most of the last month drunk and lately had been drinking until he blacked out.  I've only been drinking to drown out the pain.  I'm so weak.  He was all alone now, Raijin and Fujin were off with their own lives now, he made sure of that.  But I've been lost, I don't have a purpose anymore.  Look at the Sorceress' Knight now.  He thought bitterly.  The last year had been the worst time of his life.  He had been taking odd jobs to pay the rent on the little dives he had rented.  None of them were a chance to really make something of himself again.  Seifer hated the way his life had turned. 

            The scent of the room reminded him of when he was in Garden.  Painful memories stabbed at his heart.  How could I have betrayed them like that? Those people had been the people I grew up with.  However much I liked or disliked them.  They were my family, the only family I had.  Secretly he wished he could take it all back, make himself into something better than what he had become now.  A knock came at the door and broke his thoughts.  Slowly he moved his arms from his eyes.

            Then his whole world shattered.

            He was in Garden.  Garden!  How the hell did he get here? 

            "Hello?  Are you awake?"  Selphie Tilmitt.  He was sure of it.  No one else had that sickeningly cute voice.  "I'm coming in."  The door opened and Selphie stepped in wearing her SeeD uniform.  What disturbed him more was the second uniform she held under her arm.

            "How did I get here?"  Seifer asked cautiously, standing up from the bed.

            Selphie blushed a little, "I brought you here last night, and you were really drunk.  I thought you might die."  Seifer grunted indignantly.

            "It takes more than that to kill me."  Seifer's eyes ran over Selphie.  In the year that they had been apart she seemed to have gained more professional presence and a hell of a lot more confidence.  Now she didn't look so out of place in that uniform.

            "I was still worried."  She stated clearly.  "And now you have to go see Commander Leonhart.  About these papers."

            Commander Leonhart?  Squall?  Oh boy, what next?  "And why should I?  Why would Squall care if I got smashed last night?"  Seifer could feel his temperature raising.  "And what do those papers have to do with anything?  That's it, I'm leaving."  Seifer grabbed his coat and walked for the door.

            "You can't."  Selphie gave a mischievous smile.  "According to these papers, you a student in Garden again."

*          *            *

            "Did you just hear the sound of a man's soul being ripped in two?"  Zell asked as he munched on a hotdog. 

            Irvine raised his eyebrow at Zell, "You mean the scream?"

*          *            *

            Squall was sitting at his desk sipping black coffee.  The coffee was about as bright as his mood.  From what Rinoa had mumbled last night before falling asleep, Seifer was in Garden.  He brushed a strand of hair out of his eyes with exasperation.  This is just what he needed.

            He heard scuffling outside and a voice call quickly, "Commander Leonhart-stop that- requesting permission to enter."  It was Selphie.  Before he had the chance to grant permission a hard boot kicked in the door.

            Seifer, in what appeared to be hangover glory, barged in with Selphie hot on his trial.  He strode up to Squall and planted his hands firmly on his desk.  His eyes were burning with fury centered right at Squall.

            "What is the meaning of this?"  Seifer slammed his fist on Squall's desk in anger.

            "I'd like to ask you the same thing!"  Squall rose to his feet and imitated Seifer's pose on the desk.  He felt the same anger creep up on him.  "Why are you in my Garden?"

            "Commander," Selphie broke in looking distraught.  "I brought him here.  I thought he was in trouble."

            "And what's this about my being a student at Garden again?"  Seifer seethed. 

Squall was just as surprised as Seifer had been.  He's what?  Then the thought occurred to him, "Selphie."

            A quick and apologizing grin came over her face.  "Uh, I kinda thought it was a good idea at the time.  See, last night I got him to sign a few sheets that made him a student again.  You know, the admittance forms."  Again she smiled, weakly.  "And as the rules go in garden he's a student for at least one year."

            Squall felt a headache coming on and sat down.  "I know the rules."  He rubbed his temples with his right hand. 

            "Hey, I ain't any happier than you are.  What the hell am I going to do here?"  Seifer growled in the general direction of Squall.  "Besides, I already have all the training."

            "All the training."  Those words ran through Squall's head a few times then he got an evil grin on his face.  "Well then, maybe you can be of some use."  He glared at Selphie who gulped.  "But, you'll need a mentor.  Selphie, you're that mentor."  Squall began to laugh, eyes dancing with amusement.  "You're going to be a SeeD after all Seifer.  Under Selphie's command."

            Seifer looked as if he would pass out with humiliation.  Selphie beamed and paled with the promotion.  Seifer was about to voice his view on all this but Squall cut him off.

            "No."  He waved his gloved hand.  "I'm going to accept you as a SeeD but don't push your luck.  I know you used to be a good man, show me you can be one again."  Squall watched as Seifer got a sharp look of pain on his face.

            "All right."  Seifer said defeated.

            "Okay!"  Selphie cried out happily, she wasn't going to get discharged.  "Let me show you your permanent residence."

            "You realize that you'll be rooming together now?"  Squall said calmly.  Selphie's eyes rolled back and she hit the ground.

*          *            *

            Seifer dumped his duffle bag of stuff into the sleeping quarters on the right, closest to the door.  The only other belongings he had were his Hyperion and a box that he nearly took Selphie's head off when she tried to see what was in it.  He listened with annoyance as Selphie ordered a cadet where to put her fifth and final box of stuff.  Why do women have so many things anyway?  He thought as the cadet saluted her and left when his job was done.

            "All settled in Seifer?"  Selphie poked her head into his door.  Seifer took three steps and was an inch away from her.  He glared down at her.

            "Never come in here."  His sober look was busted when she poked him in the stomach. 

            "Don't get tough with me."  Her voice was full of authority.  "Remember, I own you."  Infuriated, Seifer slammed the door on her.  "Oh, well could have been worse."  Selphie hummed to herself as she set to work on putting her things away.

*          *            *

            On the way to the cafeteria Seifer overheard a group of girls talking about a murder in Deling City.  He managed to lose Selphie by 11:00.  For the better, he surmised, he had better things to think about.  What was Selphie pulling anyway?  Why would she want him in Garden again after… everything?  He had become a SeeD none-the-less.  This is what he had wanted so badly before.  All these thoughts screamed through his head as he got his food and sat down.  Seifer already accepted that he was here for a year.  He wouldn't back down from a contract, even if he was drunk beyond all hell last night.

A student sat at his table and Seifer looked up from his food and away from his thoughts.  The male student turned pale and mumbled something.

"What?"  Seifer said shortly.

"I'm sorry Sir, I didn't realize it was you."  With that the student picked up his food and fled to the other side of the cafeteria.   Seifer sat thinking about that for a minute.  He liked being called Sir it made him feel powerful.  Seifer realized that he hated authority unless it was his own.  And for once, Seifer didn't have to intimidate anyone for it.  The student freely gave it to him.  This was a definite first. 

But he turned his pondering back to Selphie, that odd little creature.  Why is she helping me out anyway?  I never asked her to.  Why is she giving me a chance when she knows I could wreak havoc in Garden?

He laughed a little at himself, just this morning he wished for a chance to take everything back.  Maybe this was his chance to take things back.

*          *            *

            Well, that's it for chapter one, sorry nothing romantic yet.  But wait, it will come.  The storyline will get rolling a little more smoothly in the next chapter.  That's when Garden finds it's first victim…