Zell Dincht looked at the ground. He stood on the stone railing of the second
floor terrace. He stared at the ground that was so far below him. He placed on
foot in front of the other, playfully walking along the narrow rail.
The night sky was blanketed with dark clouds in the distance, thriving with
testimony of the impending storm.
A long bolt of lightning struck the Alcauld Plains as Zell walked. There was
noone around to tell him to get down, that he would fall. Noone to pretend
whether or not they cared if he plunged to his death from this terrace.
(Why should anyone care, he thought. All I ever do is make trouble for everyone
else. I can't do anything right. I always find a way to screw up anything I try
to do. Why can't I be like Squall...? Or Selphie...? Anybody, but me. I'm always
in the way.... The only thing I could do right would be to step off this
He started to tremble and lost his balance. "Whoa...!"
He fell over the edge and reached for the rail wildly. He managed to grab hold
of it at the last second and pulled himself up. After climbing back over it, he
sat down, breathing hard. (Can't even do that right....)
Zell closed his eyes and removed his Ehrgeiz fighting gloves. He opened his eyes
and looked down at his hand. Dozens of small white scars marked his wrists and
palms, reminding him of just how weak he truly was. He stared at his hands.
There were so many of them.......
The sky let out a burst of thunder in the distance as tears started to pour down
Zell's cheeks. (No.....!!) his mind cried. He immediately wiped away the tears,
but to no avail. They rebelliously continued down his face until finally
dropping off his chin to his shirt. He kept wiping them away, and then stopped,
deciding it was no use anymore.
He moved over to the corner of the terrace so noone would see him. He pulled his
knees up to his chest and crossed his arms. He put his head down and sobbed
quietly, until finally falling asleep on the cold floor of the terrace.

Squall couldn't sleep. He'd lain in his bed for an hour, tossing and turning,
trying to get to sleep. (Might as well get up.....Won't ever get to sleep....)
He got up out of bed and put his pants and shirt back on. He picked up his boots
and pulled them on as well. Picking up a brush, he walked over to the mirror on
the back of his door. He combed his hair and pulled his jacket off the
coathanger to put it on.
Squall whipped around as a loud clap of thunder erupted outside his window. He
pulled back the curtains and looked outside. (Storm's coming.....) he thought.
(Nothing better to do than go watch it come.)
With that, he opened his door and proceeded down the hall.

Squall walked across the giant room. He'd never looked at it closely. The
ballroom was an enormous room with marble columns and a skylight in the ceiling.
It reminded him of when he and Rinoa first met. How silly he must have looked;
the ever-serious Squall Leonhart being led around the dance floor by his wrist
by a girl he'd never met. He could only imagine Zell and Selphie on the other
side of the room, pointing, laughing. Well, he couldn't change it now. But, that
didn't matter, because he didn't want to. He liked the way everything had turned
out. He wondered if the others felt the same way.....
A clap of thunder brought him back to the ballroom. He was already across the
room, at the entrance to the terrace. His eyes were fixed on the plains, as
lightning bolts danced across the sky between the clouds. He walked straight
ahead, not noticing the figure in the corner of the terrace.
Squall decided that there were two things in the world that amazed him: first:
Rinoa. She never ceased to fascinate him. And second: storms. He didn't know
why, but next to Rinoa, they were the most amazing things he had ever seen. He
looked on as the sky changed from black to blue to purple in a second.
"*cough, cough*,"
Squall's attention averted to the corner of the terrace. There sat Zell, asleep
on the cold tile floor. (What's he doing up here asleep.......?)
He started to walk over to him, when he stepped on something. He looked down.
(Zell's gloves. He never takes them off.) He picked them up and knelt down by
Zell. He put his hand on his shoulder. Squall watched him for a moment,
wondering why he was up here asleep in the cold. Zell's face was buried in his
arms. He shivered as a cold gust of wind came from the plains. He turned his
face toward Squall, quivering in the frigid air that surrounded them. Tear
streaks marred his face and his eyes were red.
Squall was stricken by this sight. He had never seen Zell like this. Zell's head
started to toss and turn. "....let 'em go.......hurt 'em, I'll kill you....." he
whispered. His hands began to twitch and move as Squall watched in trepidation.
"...let them....let them go....Squall....Rinoa.....Quistis.....Garden....I
can't.......save you......I'm--I'm sorry.....I'I'm sorry, Squall....I
couldn't.....couldn't save you," he breathed.
Squall couldn't watch this anymore. "Zell.....," he said softly, shaking him.
"Zell, wake up." He took him by the hand. His eyes looked down at Zell's wrist
and palm. He picked up his other hand and examined it. There were dozens of
thin, white scars on his hands. Squall held his wrist in his hand and traced the
largest mark with his fingers. (Zell, what is this.....? Why?) he thought,
disbelieving his own eyes.
He looked down at Zell, who was now sleeping peacefully. The tear streaks stood
out horribly on his pale face. He placed his hands on Zell's shoulders and shook
him once more. "Zell, wake up...."
He woke with a start. He looked around and finally up at Squall, who seemingly
towered above him. He breathed heavily, shuddering.
"Are you okay....?" Squall asked. "You just had a nightmare."
"....y'yeah....I'm okay....," he answered shakily. He shut his eyes a moment and
took a deep breath.
"You sure....?" Squall asked.
"Yeah, man.....said I'm okay, didn't I...?" he said. Squall stood and offered
Zell his hand. Zell looked at it a second and then took it. Squall helped him
stand and Zell leaned against the railing for support.
Zell tried to regain his cocky exterior, but couldn't. That dream had shaken him
too badly. The nightmares were coming more frequently now, since their first
trip to Timber to help Rinoa and the Forest Owls. Since that moment in the TV
Squall looked out onto the plains, not knowing what to say to him. He knew Zell
wasn't okay, but what was he going to say? Was it better just to leave him
alone? (That's what I'd want......) Squall thought. He glanced over at Zell out
of the corner of his eye. He was leaning over the rail with his eyes closed.
(C'mon, Squall......gotta say something......) he told himself.
Zell turned around and started to leave toward the ballroom. Squall grabbed him
by the arm. "What are you doing up here this time of night?" he asked. He let go
of his arm.
Zell halted and looked at him. "I could ask you the same thing."
Squall knew he wouldn't get him to answer truthfully. But, still.......
"Watching the storm. And you.....?" he asked again. They looked each other in
the eye and Zell realized that Squall knew something was wrong. But, that didn't
mean he was going to say anything. Squall was just curious. He didn't care about
him. No, he wouldn't say a word.
Zell lowered his head to look at the floor. "Nothin'," he mumbled, turning to
leave again. Squall didn't stop him this time. He watched as the blond youth
slowly walked into the ballroom and across the giant tile floor. He couldn't
help but wonder what was wrong. (None of my business......)he thought to
himself. Squall rolled his eyes and looked above his left shoulder.
"Shut up for once," he ordered.
(Why? It's true. It is none of your business. Don't start sticking your nose
where it doesn't belong,) Cerberus said.
(But, something's wrong,) Shiva said to him. (How can you ignore that? You saw
him dreaming. He was talking to you, Squall. He was saying he was sorry. Go talk
to him. Something's terribly wrong with him. You saw the marks on his wrists,)
Squall didn't know what to do. He was being pulled back and forth between lives.
He could be the same old noncaring Squall or he could go talk to Zell. He
remembered himself saying that he did care, but that there were just too many
things that couldn't be helped. (You'll never forgive yourself if something
happens to him and you didn't go to talk to him,) she said.
Squall hung his head low. It was true.
"Okay..... I'll do it in the morning, before breakfast. I'll talk to him," he
said to himself.

Zell tossed and turned in his bed. He couldn't stop thinking about what Squall
said. He sounded like he actually cared. But it wasn't true. It couldn't be
true. Squall didn't care. He was just curious. Nothing more than that. It had
been curiousity talking.
Zell knew that Squall thought something was wrong with him. That made him
nervous. (What if he tells someone.....? I'll get kicked out of SeeD......) What
could he do? He couldn't bear to be discharged from SeeD. What was he going to
do? He saw only one option.
Zell got up out of his bed and pulled out the bottom drawer on his bedside
table. He reached up inside the hole and pulled something off of the bottom of
the middle drawer. He brought his hand back out and looked at what it held.
A black film bottle.
He took the cap off and spilled the contents into his hand. Small red pills. He
picked out five of them and put them all in his mouth. He swallowed and put the
bottle back in its place under the middle drawer. He put the bottom drawer back
in, lied back down on his bed, and curled up with his knees to his chest. He
shut his eyes tight and looked at a picture of him and the others together that
was on his table. He reached out and touched it with two fingers.
"Forgive me, you guys......."