Disclaimer: I don't own final fantasy VIII, squaresoft does.

Author's Note: This fic isn't going to be an action fic despite the first chapter. Hopefully this story will have a bit more emotion in it. Also, this is the first story in a series of stories that I'm going to write. All the stories will deal with different characters while still conjoining with one another. Just so you know, in the later chapters of this fic there'll be references to other characters and events that may not be fully explained. This is because they're covered in one of the other stories that I'm posting. Enjoy.

Not an Ordinary Seed Exam

The dead silence was nearly maddening. Not even crickets dared to make a sound. Zell didn't blame them. All hell had broken loose here earlier, and it unfortunately didn't seem to be a over yet. Balamb Garden had been contacted by Timber officials concerning guerrilla attacks that had killed eleven civilians. Squall and Zell, along with two squads of SeeD candidates and a squad of SeeD soldiers had landed outside Timber this morning. They were suprised by the ferocity and tenacity their opponents possessed and thus had been fighting for nearly eighteen hours.

Night had set in, and everything had grown silent. A very weak breeze stirred the tips of the tall grass in the open fields, stirring up the smell of ash and gunpowder, while bringing with it the smell of a promised rain. Both Squall and Zell where out near the west-side railroad tracts. Neither had eaten nor slept in nearly twenty hours as they continued their search for their missing men wearily. A steady rain began to fall to further dampen their spirits.

Squall closed his eyes as Zell slid down the embankment and into the mud below. He used his already muddy hand to try and wipe away the mud Zell had splashed up onto his face.

"So much for SeeD protocol," Zell whispered as he crawled over to where Squall knelt. They both lay under the cover of the heavy brush as they watched for any enemy activity.

"When was our last contact with the second part of squad A?" Squall asked.

"Two hours ago. The remainder of group A made it back with some pretty intense injuries. Squads B and C are accounted for as well," Zell whispered. Both SeeDs crawled further from their cover as they started across the field. "Reinforcements won't be in for about another quarter hour. They're going to have to fly them in."

Squall nodded in reply and then nodded his head towards a parked train. "We'll take shelter over there," He whispered his response and began crawling in that direction. Zell followed him slowly, as he dragged himself through the accumulating mud and water. When they finally reached the train, they crawled underneath and lay resting on the wood planks between the tracks.

"Damn its coming down," Zell whispered. "I think I'm getting a sore throat."

"Me too. Just don't cough," Squall answered. "We're only a quarter of a mile away from their base. Assuming our source was telling the truth."

"He's been reliable in the past," Zell said quietly.

"True," Squall whispered. "Enough waiting around." Squall began crawling along the tracks, wincing at every splinter and sharp rock that stabbed into his palms. This was definitely a mission he wouldn't likely forget solely because of it's longevity. Nothing had worked out according to plan. At least not for his SeeDs. Their plan had fallen apart, they'd been separated, half severely wounded, and now three were unaccounted for. This was already beginning to shape up to be an even longer night.

"We need to get up on the other side of that loading platform," Zell responded.

"I know. Quiet," Squall hissed as he laid flat on the ground and watched an enemy soldier walk past. Once the man had entered the building they'd been watching, Squall and Zell crawled out from under the train and hurried across the opening to the edge of the platform. Using the moon- less night as a mask of darkness, they jumped to the other side of the tracks and ran up to the side of the building.

They both peered through a small opening to see a fight in progress. Squall noticed with some unease that the interior of the building was on fire.

"We need to get in there," Squall whispered to Zell. No sooner than he had spoken those words, the sound of rotors began to break through the steady rain. "Lets move before they realize what's going on!" Squall ordered as he kicked the door in and entered, wielding lionheart before him.

The scene before them was one for sore eyes. The three captured SeeDs had regained a somewhat control on the situation. Two of their enemies were unconscious in the corner and one was lying on the ground, his hands and ankles clasped tightly with a whip.

"Commander!" The female officer shouted. "Reed is down. Please tell me those choppers are for us."

"Go on ahead. I'll get him," Squall ordered as he ran over to where the fallen SeeD lay. Zell waited as the other two SeeDs ran out to the helicopters and watched the unconscious men in the corner.

"What do you want me to do with them?" Zell shouted over the sound of a growing flame. "We can't let them just burn." He looked at Squall, who was hoisting the injured SeeD over his shoulder and nearing the door.

"You'll do nothing! They have fought for and will die for their cause!" The third guerrilla fighter shouted from his position lying on the floor. Zell and Squall turned quickly having momentarily forgotten about the third, and conscious man.

"Oh shit!" Zell shouted as he watched the man kick over an oxygen tank. "Squall!" Squall realized what was going on with just enough time to turn and began to make a run for it. The building went up in a fireball, throwing Zell a few dozen feet through the air. He landed on the gravel next to a set of railway tracks and slid a few feet before he stopped moving. He sat up dazed and looked around. He could hear the shouts of fellow SeeDs as they came running towards him. "Squall!" He shouted as he began to panic. He jumped up and ran past his rescuers. "Where is he?" He shouted as he ran towards the building. He stopped short of where the flames burned and looked around. A horribly sick sensation began to fill the pit of his stomach as he looked around. "Oh no," He whispered. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw two forms. He ran as hard as he could to the other side of the loading platform and stopped quickly. He dropped to the ground and grasped Squall's limp form. "Someone get over here!" He screamed. Zell tried to wipe away the blood that was plastering Squall's hair to his face with no avail. He placed his right hand over the wide gash on the side of his friend's head.

Zell knew he should've checked the other SeeD as well, but he found he couldn't move. A SeeD is trained to be prepared to handle the deaths of those that they know, but it was completely different when the person who's dying is lying in your arms and nothing you do seems to be helping.

There's chapter one. I promise it'll get better. One warning though. This fic isn't going to have too much action in it. I hope you guys appreciate this. I'm taking time out of my study time to type this and my finals are tomorrow. Now that that's out of the way. Please review. It would really make my day. But no flames please.