Author's Note: This is based on a scene you're tried to early on in the game if you visit the Cafeteria before meeting Quistis to go to the Fire Cave. This would never have been posted if not for the efforts of the one and only Squeemu, who corrects my grammar, lets me know when I'm being a huge unsubtle dork, and who is highly suspicious of the Trepies. Thanks, Squeem!

-----------------------------------

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

- Albert Einstein

-----------------------------------

The Disciplinary Committee stood keeping a stern watch over a mostly empty Cafeteria. The morning hotdog rush was already over, and only a few tables were still occupied by cadets with no classes to attend. The Caf was always a little less busy on exam days. People were either taking last-minute prerequisites, taking advantage of a day without class, or were too nervous to eat.

Seifer didn't have any reason to be nervous. The field exams were always ridiculously, boringly easy -- Hyne forbid they trust the SeeD candidates with something a little more important than the usual monster hunt. Seifer would've been a SeeD ages ago if the guys in charge weren't so bent on holding him back.

No, Seifer wasn't nervous at all, and to him an exam day was just like any other day at Garden. Boring.

Which was why the DC was here, keeping an eye on things and just daring anybody to start some trouble. Seifer eyed a group of giggling Trepies gathered around one of the tables; who knew what they were up to? The whole lot of them were, to use a bit of official DC terminology, "DISTURBED". They'd have to be to spend so much time blubbering over Trepe. The hell did she ever do to deserve a fanclub?

The longer he thought about it, the more he wished they would start something, just so he could --

"SEIFER. DRINK?"

He shook his head, surprised at her for offering. "......." Ever since this morning, Fujin'd been acting... almost nice -- well, nice for Fujin -- and Raijin hadn't stopped giving him these small, worried, probably-not-meant-to-be-so-damn-noticeable looks. He scowled a bit, about to ask what the hell was wrong with them, all of a sudden -- and remembered the little scratch Squall'd given him earlier that day. It stung when he glowered at them -- he'd won that one, what were they so damn worried about?

"...Can I drink somethin'? I'd like some water, ya know."

"...IGNORE."

He opened his mouth to tell them to quit being so damn twitchy about it -- he'd said he was fine, wasn't like he'd never been injured before -- then scowled again and went back to watching the Cafeteria. Hell with it. He didn't need to bring it up, repeat himself here. The scar was nothing, and they were just going to forget it. Leave it alone.

Raijin said something stupid -- Seifer wasn't really paying attention -- and got a kick in the shin for it. Seifer absently wondered if Raijin was ever going to learn to keep his mouth shut. It seemed like he'd been through this a thousand times before.

Felt like that, sometimes, at Garden -- deja vu. The days seemed to blur into each other when you'd been at Garden as long as Seifer and Squall had. Classes were boring, training was boring -- especially when you were the best fighter at Garden -- and hell, even fighting with Squall was starting to get old.

Part of the routine, just like --

There it was. Seifer suppressed the smirk that wanted to sneak onto his face -- after all, wouldn't want people thinking he enjoyed this part of his day. The DC had an image to keep up, and troublemakers to deal with.

And judging by the startled "Hey!"s and "Watch it!"s coming from just outside the doors -- hard to miss even if you weren't expecting 'em -- one of those troublemakers would be making his grand entrance any second now.

Right on schedule, Dincht burst through the Cafeteria doors, running like there was a legion of Geezards hot on his heels. Seifer watched him, watched carefully as the Chicken-wuss came that close to tripping over his own two feet -- and was, of course, terribly disappointed when he didn't.

Seifer smirked.

Forget the Trepies. If anyone here wasn't playing with a full deck, it was the Chicken-wuss, going through this whole damn routine every day like he really thought they'd have some hotdogs left over. Every. Single. Day. What an idiot.

Headed straight for the Cafeteria ladies, his sneakers pounding on the floor, looking like he was gonna crash right into the counter. But instead, he stopped right in front, his hands on his knees and his breath heaving.

Looked up at the Cafeteria lady and flashed her a bit of a grin. "...D-Do you..." And he was panting for Hyne's sake, always ran in here like if he was just a bit faster this time he'd make it -- didn't he know the hotdogs had sold out twenty minutes ago, while he was still sittin' in class? -- "...have..." And his voice was breathless, just like always, sounding all hopeful and optimistic, "...any..." and he must have crashed into at least three people on his way here, "...hotdogs..." -- he said "hotdogs" the way a thirsty man says water -- "...left?"

It was the same every single day, and Seifer wouldn't have tolerated it if it wasn't so damn amusing to see the Chicken-wuss so completely disappointed again and again.

"You're a bit late, I'm afraid. We're all sold out!"

"Damn!" He sounded completely crushed, and Seifer somehow always found it hard to believe how surprised the Chicken-wuss sounded, like he actually expected them to have some left. "Not again! It's hopeless if you don't get here early..." Hopeless. Could say that again. "Alright, I'll try again next time."

Next time. The Chicken-wuss just made it too damn easy.

With one last puppy-dog look at the Cafeteria ladies, Dincht turned and walked out -- a hell of a lot slower than he'd walked in. Looking all sad and dismayed, like someone'd just told him there were no such things as moogles. Moron.

Dincht walked out the same as he always did, without a single glance in the direction of the Disciplinary Committee, like he hadn't even noticed them standing there and watching him make an idiot out of himself. It was the same every day, and he never once looked over in their direction. Not once.

Seifer glared at him, wondering what the hell his problem was, why he did this every day.

If Dincht noticed the glare, he didn't react. Just walked out, hands shoved in his pockets.

Still

breathing

a little

bit

heavily.

Screw it.

Seifer shook it off, shook off the image and the sound and the feeling. Dincht had broken the rules.

Just like he always did.

Seifer scowled, and there was the scar again, hurting. Suddenly he was goddamn sick and tired of this, every day, chasing down Dincht, arresting him, getting him in trouble and telling him to quit running in the halls, dammit, and knowing he wouldn't listen.

How many times did they have to arrest him before he'd get it? How many times did they have to go through this before he got it through his head that he was breaking the rules and the DC wouldn't stand for it?

-- and all of it for some stupid hotdogs he'd probably never even tasted!

Seifer narrowed his eyes at the closed Cafeteria doors, his hands clenched into fists. He wasn't going to tolerate this anymore, wasn't going to just stand there and -- and watch --

No. This would be the last time he told that idiot Chicken-wuss not to run in the halls, and this time Dincht wasn't going to ignore him.

And this'd be the last time Seifer was gonna break the rules to chase after him.

"...Speeding. Let's go arrest that student for violation of academy regulations."