Disclaimer- Who am I kidding. You guys know I don't own Final Fantasy VIII.

Author's notes- This is the prologue to my Quistis/Nida fic. Although I'm assuming that if you read the summary you already know that. Just before this, I posted my other prologue, the one to Iris of Thorns. You guys may read both of them and then tell me which one you'd like to see continued first after I finish Leather-bound Secret. And just so those of you that are following my series of stories, this one takes place about a month after Tempest is born. If you're confused....read Darkened Ice.

For those of you new to my stories:

"..." spoken words

'...' thoughts

___ change in character pov/situation

~*~*~*~ - passing time

Prologue

Morning After

It was early. Well before dawn for sure. He groaned as he rolled over. What time was it? His eyes opened to see darkness. Maybe his last episode had been kind enough to kill him. A shrill and pulsating buzz rang in his ears. No, he wasn't dead. His eyes adjusted to show that he was very much alive, physically at least. The floor was cold. Why was he on the floor? He sat up uneasily and looked around. He'd been lying near his painting supplies, and the floor was stained red. Had he collapsed? Dazed, he looked around at the spilled cans and other supplies around him. His room was trashed. He shakily found his feet and stumbled to his bathroom. He needed a shower.

The water felt reviving. He loved water. Standing only a few inches from the shower head, he let the water cascade through his hair and down his body. When he opened his eyes he was surprised to find that the water running off of his body was red; blood red. He swallowed and looked at his arms. He had done it again. No big surprise. He turned off the water and dried off with a towel. Standing in front of the mirror he realized he was pale. He leaned forward on his elbows and ran his fingers through his raven hair. He glanced up an noticed the spikes he'd just created. They looked pretty cool, at least to him anyway. He was half tempted to wear his hair that way, but what was the point? No one noticed him anyway. Wrapping the towel around his slim waist he stepped back into his room and pulled out his uniform. Maybe today he would do things differently. He needed to. It was obvious his old ways weren't doing him much good.

Sitting on his bed, he began wrapping up his palms and wrists. He then proceeded to get dressed. With only his pants and boots on, he tried to lift himself up into a handstand. A sharp pain shot through both of his wrists. He fell miserably to the cold floor. He breathed heavily. This wasn't good. He'd never been this sore, and he'd probably caused the cuts to bleed again. He fingered his wraps and rolled onto his back. Things had to change. He could start small and work his way from here. Weakly, he found his feet and went into the bathroom. Wetting and gelling his hair, he ran his fingers through it until he had haphazardly placed short spikes.

~*~*~*~

He watched her over the rim of his coffee mug. How he loved to watch her. She was his beauty; at least he wished she were. He watched, fascinated by her proper and professional demeanor. Every movement; graceful and perfectly timed, her speech; soft and yet authoritative, her hair; restrained but flowing freely, and her eyes, just plain mesmerizing. Careful not to spill his untouched drink in his lap, he sat it aside and watched her stand up. She was preparing to leave, just like she'd done at the same time every day for the past two months.

He leaned back in his chair, draping one arm over the chair next to him. Through nearly closed eyes he watched her collect her things. It paid to be of an eastern decent at that moment. No one around him would be able to tell that his almond shaped, narrow eyes were still squinted open; especially her. The cracked windows of the cafeteria allowed a steady breeze to flow through his hair. He suppressed a smile as he watched her hair blow around her beautifully shaped face. How he wished he could run his fingers through it; just once.

He wasn't a treppie. He would never lower himself to that stature. Unlike them, he wasn't some mindless follower of her exquisite beauty or her seemingly perfect appearance. She was untouchable at first glance. But after a second glance it was obvious that she was lacking and wanting. He'd seen it in her eyes more and more often after Squall and Rinoa had married and had their first child.

Her eyes had changed. They now reflected a hollowness that even her reinstated instructor status couldn't fill. He could see she was beautiful; but he could also see that she was alone. He wanted to hold her and reassure her that she would always have his support. His hands ached to wipe away her insecurities. She didn't need to feel like he did everyday. The mere thought of it was enough to make him sick to his stomach.

Her figure approached him. He'd always feigned dozing whenever she walked by. It spared him the awkwardness and embarrassment his inability to form words in her presence would cause. He had to do something else different. He told himself he would. It didn't have to be drastic, just different. When she was a few feet away from him, he blinked his sore eyes open and looked up at her as if he'd just noticed she were there. He smiled sheepishly at her before he looked away.

"Good morning Nida," She said pleasantly as she allowed a hand to brush his shoulder.

"G-Good m-morning Quistis," He choked out in a response as he jumped up from his chair in astonishment that she knew his name. She paused as she looked him over. A grin spread across her thin lips making him want to melt. He cast her a hesitant lopsided grin in response. The two stood there quietly for a few magnificent seconds; at least to him anyway. She nodded her good-bye as she turned and left. He stood awestruck as she walked away from him. The few tables behind him had grown dead silent. He glanced over his shoulder to see a dozen or so treppies glaring at him. A smile graced his lips as he picked up his coffee and made his exit. Already this day was going better than any he'd had in months. He was able to walk confidently to the elevator for the first time ever as he reflected on the morning's events. She had no clue the influence she'd had on him. He pressed the up button and proceeded to stand next to the other man in the elevator. He sipped his coffee, oblivious to the fact that the blonde next to him was scowling as he shot him a disapproving look. Nothing would ruin this day. Thanks to her, nothing could.

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I'm not entirely for sure (although this story is already planned out to the end) but I just get the impression that this fic is going to be complicated. One thing is for sure, Nida will get the acknowledgment and notice he was neglected in the game, and Quistis will finally get what she deserves. (and I don't mean that in a bad way)

Please read and review. Let me know what you think. I really appreciate it.