Hello everyone. It came to my attention in a review that I should mention something to all over you. Yes, the writing style did make a rather drastic change from when they were 3/4 to now, when they are 4/5. But, their verbal speech has not actually improved that much. It's a literary device in which you use key words to indicate a speech pattern or accent instead of writing everything out, like in previous chapters. I started with the written out so you could all get a good feel of toddler-speech, then when the year passed, I converted to the key words used during the in-game flashbacks, such as 'yoo', 'Matwyn', and my self invented 'tocopaws'. So, yes, they do still sound pretty much the same as before. So reconnect to that chibi-speech center in your brain and continuing reading it like that.
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The children were all crowded around the toy chests, digging through them for props to use for their little game. Various things were being tossed out, discarded on the floor until later pickup.
Quistis grabbed a skipping rope, holding it at one end and tugging it free of the chest. She trotted into an open area and waved it a little. "I shall be the Crimson Lash!" she cried, trying to make the rope crack, but not quite creating enough snap.
Seifer pulled out a black cape and wrapped it around his neck. He struck a pose, hands held firmly against his hips.
Irvine snickers. "Who are you? Super Bully?"
"Or maybe… Bullyman!" Zell cried, giggling. "No, no! Meanieman!" he giggled harder and Seifer frowned at him.
"Bullyboy!" Selphie joined in.
"I am not any of those!" Seifer cried, stomping his foot on the ground.
I looked up from where I sat at the end of Zell's bed. "How about Mr. Ego?" I suggested before I could think better of it.
"What's ego?" Zell and Selphie asked in unison, the others nodding, wanting to know too.
"Ego is… something Seifer has a lot of," I replied, mentally chuckling. I was quite glad the children didn't know what ego was. Seifer didn't need another barb… that he understood.
"Okay. I can be Mr. Ego, like Matwyn said. Who else is gonna be a superhero?" he asked, looking to the remaining children.
"Squall, you could be Lionheart, after your ancestor. That would be a fun superhero," Ellone suggested.
Before Squall could say anything Zell clapped his hands together and smiled brightly. "And I can be his sidekick!"
"The Torama Kid!" Irvine cried excitedly. "Me and Selphie can be the bad guys! What should we call ourselves, Sefie?"
"Boom Girl and Bang Boy!" she shouted, throwing a fist in the air.
This was going to be the most insane game of superheroes and villains the world would ever see… for at least a decade.
Selphie and Irvine bolted out of the room, content with the little cowboy's gun and the little girl's… exuberance and loud, loud voice. They ran out of the house and out into the flower field, finally plunking down next to one of the few trees scattered about; their chosen "base".
Ellone had decided she would supervise today, so she followed the little justice league out once the rest of them had finished picking out accessories. Zell had wrapped a blue boa around Squall's neck several times, saying it was like a lion's ruff. He had then pulled leg warmers on his arms and legs, pretending they were fur.
Once the little blond was done dressing his friends and himself, they set off to locate their own base of operations. "How about the garden?" Squall suggested, looking over to where it sat. "Just behind it, between it and the house."
"I like it. It's pretty. It's good for the good guys," Quistis said, starting to walk in that direction with Squall; the others following. Seifer held back a moment, but continued walking when Ellone gently nudged him forward.
Zell trotted up to Squall, curling his hand around the brunet's and smiled brightly. Seifer made a face and crossed his arms over his chest. He mumbled something under his breath and Ellone looked over to him.
"What's the matter, Seifer?" she asked, but all he did was shake his head and keep walking forward towards where the others had stopped.
They all sat down in a little half circle next to the white picket fence around the garden. "What do you think they are going to do?" Zell asked, looking around at everyone else.
"Maybe they will kidnap Boco and Guna," Squall suggested.
"Or steal something. Like my ruby hair clips!" Quistis said, shaking her rope again. Still no snap.
Zell looked up at Seifer, noting his eyes were a little wider and his fingers were clenched. "Seifer." He reached up and patted the older blond's hand. "They won't take your Boco."
"Course not!" He crossed his arms again. "They'd be stupid to try to take my Boco. They know they still can't touch it unless I say so, and I'm here. And I'm not there so they can't touch it."
"Seifer," Squall said, looking up at the older boy. "Maybe yoo should be the scout and see if yoo can find out what they are doing."
"Let Zelly come with me," Seifer said, moving over to the little boy and setting his hand on top of his head. The younger blond giggled and swiveled around, the hand shifting over but never leaving his head, which caused much amusement for the boy under said hand.
"But Zell is Squall's sidekick," Quistis said, straightening out her skipping rope and looping it up to hold in her hand. "The sidekick has to stay with his hero."
"Well, then why can't Zelly be my sidekick?" Seifer asked, fingers gripping at blond hair a little too tightly, causing the younger boy to yelp. He let go immediately and looked down into big blue eyes.
"Yoo shouldn't squirm around so much when someone has their fingers in your hair…" He didn't apologize. There were too many people around for him to say something like that. His lips turned down in a frown and he spun around, walking away to go spy on the bad guys.
Selphie and Irvine sat behind the tree so that anyone looking from the orphanage wouldn't be able to see them as well. The tree was not actually large enough, or more precisely wide enough to completely block them at all. But in a child's imagination, the shadow cast by the leaves may have been an invisible barrier or defensive shield.
"What are we gonna do, Sefie? We need to think of something good." Irvine sat on the ground, back leaning against the tree.
"Hmm." Selphie paced back and forth. "Something that everybody would wanna come and get back or save. We could take all the pillows on the beds?" she suggested, looking down at Irvine.
"But I dunno if we could make it to the house and back here with all the pillows fast enough. They are big pillow and we have little arms. We could only carry one at a time eaches."
Selphie plunked down on the ground, bending her knees and resting her elbows on them, determined face set in her hands. "What else could be take?"
"Quistis has some pretty clips. They look like gems and treasure."
"Yeah. But Seifer and Squall wouldn't care if we took her barrettes. What is something you boys like?" she asked, tilting her head to the side.
"Well, Zelly likes everything. Seifer likes his Boco and Squall likes Sis. We can't take Boco or Sis cause then we would get killded." Irvine plucked a flower from the ground and started pulling out the petals.
"Um- Oh! I know! Let's steal the tocopaws! Everyone likes tocopaws," Selphie declared, jumping up in her exuberance.
"That is a good idea! Okay! How are we gonna do it?"
- - -
Seifer didn't like this super hero game. Selphie and Irvine got to be together, everyone else was playing back at the garden base, but he had to be all alone, trying to figure out what the "bad guys" were going to do. He didn't like it at all. Once he saw the evil duo "sneaking" back towards the house he made his way back to the good guys' headquarters.
"Mr. Ego! Did you find anything?" Quistis asked as he approached.
"They went into the house."
"Alright! It's time to catch the enemy. Let's go team!"
The others stood and followed after the Crimson Lash, Zell trailing along at the back. He paused when Seifer grabbed his arm and looked up at the taller blond.
"I don't like this game. Come play with me," Seifer said, but even though it wasn't really a question, there was still a feel of askance in it.
"But, I'm Squall's sidekick," Zell said, continuing to look up at his friend.
"But there are already two good guys, and they have Sis. And there are only two bad guys. It is more fair if you and me go play something else."
Zell thought about this for a minute before he nodded and curled his hand around one of Seifer's. "Okay. What do you want to play, Seif?"
"I don't know. We'll think of something. Come on." Seifer started to walk out into the flower field with his shorter comrade in tow.
Only a few minutes into their walk, the rest of the children came tumbling out of the house, giggling and squealing. Then Selphie jumped up and pointed dramatically at the pair. "Mr. Ego is kidnapping the Torama Kid!"
The blonds stopped and looked over at the mob of super children. Zell giggled and hugged tight to the taller boy. "Oh noes. Am I kidnapped?"
Seifer looked down at the boy hugging him tightly, then at the rest of his friends. A little grin spread across his lips before he nodded, took Zell by the hand again and started running, slow enough that his "hostage" could keep up.
Zell giggled as he trotted along, not exactly the poster boy for kidnapped sidekicks, but that didn't deter the "rescuers" in the least. The blonds did however manage to gain a decent lead when Irvine tripped over his own feet and the others stopped to help him.
Seifer stopped, causing Zell to bump into him and forcing the both of them tumbling down a slope no more than a couple of feet in height. The older boy landed on his back, and coughed when the smaller child landed on top of him. "Good job, chicken baby."
"I is not a chicken baby. Are yoo okay?" he asked, sitting up on his comrade's stomach and touching at his head and arms to see if he was alright.
"Yeah. I'm okay. This is a good hiding place if we stay down." Seifer reached up and nudged Zell off of him, then pulled him down and rested an arm flat out against the ground so the younger boy could use it as a pillow.
Zell giggled and squirmed up against the other blond, turning his head to look up at the clouds floating by over head. "Seif, how come yoo are so nice when no one else is around?"
"I'm not nice. I call yoo a chicken baby."
"I is not a chicken baby. Irvine says yoo are nice to him too, when no one else is there. And Sefie."
"They are just silly. A silly baby and a silly butterfly."
Zell giggled again and smiled. "Sefie is not a butterfly. Irvine is silly."
"I'm not silly!" the little cowboy cried as he popped his head over the top of the short drop.
"Found yoo, found yoo," Selphie sing-songed over head.
"Give back the sidekick!" Quistis declared, stomping her foot when Seifer shook his head and pulled Zell closer.
"It's okay if he wants to stay with Seifer..." Squall said quietly.
Quistis wheeled around and turned her attention on the brunet. "But he's your sidekick!"
Squall's eyes nearly doubled in size. He stared at the blonde, not saying a word.
Zell gave a little yawn and lifted one leg, only to drop it over top of Seifer's. "I'm sleepy of the hero game. Let's stop and look at the pretty clouds."
"The clouds?" Squall asked, tilting his head up, then shifted down to lie on his back and look up, the other's following suit, laying down in the flowers above the pair of blonds.
"Pretty shapes in the clouds..." Zell trailed off as he raised a hand to curl his fingers at the puffy whiteness in the sky, trying to grab them, trying to squish them in his fingers. "I can touch the sky." He smiled brightly.