I don't own the characters from FF8, please don't sue. I don't own the locations either. Comments welcome, but please try to be constructive. (It is a work in progress, after all.)

Spirits and Trees

Fujin was 9 when the spirits came to her. She was up in her tree house, snoozing in the sunlight, when the first one whispered her name. She opened her eyes and looked around, expecting to see her cousin, Raijin, ducking down and laughing. "Raijin, go away. I already told you to leave me alone." There was no response, so she closed her eyes again and went back to her daydreams.

She heard her name again, a little louder, and it wasn't Raijin's voice. "Whoever's there, go 'way." Then her name was whispered right into her left ear. Fujin jumped up and whirled around. "Who's there?" she demanded, certain that someone was playing games with her. She stalked around the edge of the platform, looking down to see if anyone was there – no one was. Fujin was alone in the back yard. "Must've been a dream," she thought. Then she turned around…

The … well … thing that she saw was HUGE and looked like a balloon animal gone wrong. "AAHHH! What ARE you?"

She felt the creature chuckling, and a slight breeze ruffled her dark hair. "A friend. Or at least I will be …" Fujin didn't like the spirit's tone of voice (it reminded her of her mother's 'but this is good for you' talks) and started moving towards the hatch of the tree house. "Child, wait…" the spirit started, but Fujin panicked and jumped through the hatch

She missed the first rung of the latter and fell all the way down, connecting with several branches. Mercifully, she was unconscious when the ground came up to meet her …