Disclaimer: I don't own any of the Final Fantasy 8 characters.

Chapter 5: Start Over

The sound of Seifer's boots thudding on the marbled floor stops as he turns to meet the young Headmaster's steady gray blue eyes, and laughs, "I never knew you developed a sense of humor! But really – "

"Do think I'm joking?" Squall's voice cuts through. No longer was the brunette reaching out for forms; instead, he bore his eyes onto the older man, waiting for an answer. Seifer was used to Squall glares and his signature scowls. The indifferent gaze though was a different matter, as if the brunette was staring at someone insignificant. Seifer puts a hand on his hip and puts his weight on one foot while his free hand gestures in the air. "Oh don't look at me like that," he chimes as he looks away. "I think the commotion down at the lobby is enough of a reason for me to think that you're joking," he starts to roam around the office again, stopping near the corner of the room where the switch controlling the opacity of the windows is. He turns it and watches the windows become more transparent, making the room brighter from the sun outside. "You really outdid yourself. Halving this office into two*, changing the windows.** Perks of being a Headmaster huh?" Seifer comments mockingly as Squall squints at the sudden brightness and scowls at the blonde as he plays around with it. The blonde smirks and turns the windows into a more transparent setting than what was done previously. The room becomes a bit brighter and a shade of blue from the sky could be seen. "Are you planning to use your position to just convince people to accept me as a cadet here? Or maybe you're that dense?" he questions Squall and starts walking towards the desk.

"Besides," the blonde continues, no longer masking his annoyance as he stops and puts his hand on the desk to lean on, "what makes you think I'm going to accept your half-assed invitation?" The blonde raises an eyebrow and gives the younger man an indifferent stare. Both men look away; Squall with his eyes downward as a crinkle forms in between his temple while Seifer turns to the windows as he breathes in and removes his hand from the desk. Of course, why would he go back? Squall questions himself, reminded of the repercussions from the terror of Ultimecia. There was no doubt that Seifer had his share of hardship after the battle despite the fact that he was under the influence of the sorceress. He knew nothing about the blonde man standing in front of him now. Thankfully, Seifer knew nothing about him either. He breathes in audibly through his mouth, as if to suck in all his pride like he usually does during their younger days.

"Normally I wouldn't give a damn but you being here without reason is going to give me a headache explaining to the cadets and their parents," Squall says as he looks at Seifer going around the table and towards the back of Squall's chair, and continues. "If you don't have any plans to stay then leave." He doesn't turn around to see the blonde staring at the white, opaque windows. From what Seifer could see, the mid afternoon sky was spotted with wisps of clouds and birds occasionally flew by.

Meanwhile, the brunette goes back to working, the sound of the pen scratching paper occasionally filling up the silences. Squall gets another form, scans through, crumples. Another one, scans, reads again, signs. Another, scan, crumple. Whatever. Another. Another, signs. Just leave already. Another. Anything to get his mind off things. Another. He stops, feeling a headache coming on.

He doesn't notice Seifer from behind his chair until he feels the form slip upward from his fingertips as Seifer plucks it away from him as well as the pen from his other hand. He looks upward, scowling at the other man. "Wha – " Squall starts to speak, but stops to observe Seifer ignoring him by looking at the form as he walks to the side of the table. The use of Guardian Forces over the years, specially the time that lead up to defeating Ultimecia, took its toll on everyone's memories although they have regained most of it, or at least the memories that seemed important. However, the little things always caused memories to rise to the surface, just like how the figure of Seifer's tall body towered over Squall as he holds the paper in one hand and twirling the pen in the other reminds the brunette of days at the orphanage. Back then the older boy would always grab something away, always with a triumphant smile on his face as he towers over whoever his target was. Years later, that smile would have transformed into the smirk that irked Squall over the next few years while they were training together as young cadets, yet at that moment the expressionless face of Seifer unnerved the young man.

Seifer puts the paper on the table face down and bends over to write on it. "Hey! I'm not done with that," Squall protests. The blonde man looks at him and arches an eyebrow. "Yeah, well you were gonna throw it anyways, right?" he says with a small smirk on his lips and gets back to writing on the paper, his hair curtaining his emerald eyes as he does so. Squall doesn't reply to this and instead watches with his eyebrows slightly coming together and arms crossed over his chest as the other man writes at the back of the form.

The blonde finally finishes writing and grabs the form again before dropping it, letting it flutter in front of Squall. The young Headmaster catches it before it reaches the table and silently remarks the neat handwriting. "What's this supposed to be?" the young Headmaster asks, looking at him. Seifer turns around and waves a hand in the air. "Why don't you read it, oh great and mighty Headmaster?" he mockingly replies as he walks back to the couch.

Squall reads through the form, and reads it again. Meanwhile, Seifer lets himself fall on the four-piece couch, sprawling most of his body with one foot on the ground while one of his arms covers his eyes. Both men are silent. A ding could be heard from outside the office. A few moments later, a scribble on paper echoes the room. The blonde moves his arms away from his eyes and sits up just in time for Quistis to come into the room.

"Sorry about the crowd earlier," Quistis starts as she walks towards Squall's desk, her heels hitting the marble floor. "We kept it under control as much as possible but we might get some kind of repercussion later," she continues as she turns her head towards Seifer before looking at Squall place a form on top of the pile of finished work.

"Quistis, please process these as soon as possible," he gestures at the pile before leaning back and turning his chair around. He hears his secretary pick up the pile from the table and almost feeling her amused stare burning on his back, which is exactly what she is doing. She hasn't changed much after all these years; she always fancied herself to know what other people are up to specially when it came to these two men. She reads through the form on top of the pile again and briefly looks at Seifer who doesn't see this gesture. "Will do, Headmaster," she replies with a salute that the brunette doesn't turn to acknowledge.

Before she even leaves, Squall's voice echoes around the room once more, this time in a more personal tone. "I will deal with you later. For now, please escort Seifer to his quarters," he says with a chill that could send a shiver up one's spine if they were anybody less than Quistis Trepe. She turns around to look at the back of the Headmaster's chair still facing her. No doubt that the brunette was, at the very least, irritated at the sudden appearance of the former ex-Sorceress' knight without much warning. She shifts her eyesight to Seifer who shrugs and gives her the well-don't-look-at-me look. Honestly, these guys, she thinks to herself while shaking her head slightly before answering Squall. "Will do," she answers as she gestures to Seifer with a tilt of her head to follow her. The tall man stands up and walks towards where the secretary is while saluting to the brunette who still has his back turned. "Be seein' you Leonhart," he says in a cheery and teasing tone as Quistis opens the door. Squall has had his eyes closed for the duration of the time until he hears the door close. He opens his eyes, gray blue meeting translucent white windows showing a blue sky, and sighs, leaning further back into his office chair as much as it could allow.

Outside, the two blondes are standing in front of the Headmaster's office in silence until the secretary clears her throat. "Well, should we get going then?" she says without looking at Seifer as she makes a short stride towards her desk to put down the forms before making her way towards the elevator.

A/N: First off, Merry Christmas! Here's a chapter that may or may not annoy you. I've finally figured out what could go wrong with my story. Basically, I could just go ahead and combine everything into one or two chapters, but for now I'll just publish this moment by moment to leave something to be desired (if that makes any sense). For now, try to enjoy and I hope it's any good. If you have something constructive to say, please leave a comment.

*Unless my memory serves me wrong, the elevator was located at the center of the Headmaster's office. I'm trying to imagine that the office has been split into two to make room for a lobby where the Secretary's desk would be. Besides, I don't think Squall would like uninvited cadets or guests (even though they are his friends) to go in and out of his office. Obviously, the half with the elevator would be located outside Squall's office.

**Since the glass dome would encompass the whole floor, you might be wondering that the secretary's side of the floor would be affected when Squall changes the color scheme and opacity of the windows. Yes, it does to an extent but the glass on that side would be more opaque than the Headmaster's in order to differentiate the two offices from each other. Just imagine that even though the windows on Squall's side would be full-on transparent, Quistis' windows would be 50-75% opaque.