Sapphire Blues ______________________________

~*Sapphire Blues*~
______________________________

Quistis Trepe hated Balamb Town.

She had been quite neutral towards it before, but as she walked down it's streets, wearing a
rainproof coat yet feeling quite sodden in the pouring rain, she fervently hated it with all
her heart and soul. If it were all to spontaneously combust in front of her eyes, she would
dance and sing and praise the flames that consumed it.

She hated it because she was desperately lonely, and because being lonely at the moment was
more fun than being with her friends. And when you're that low, things get god-awful.

It could only have been eight o'clock in the evening, the sky darkened, the normally velvet blue throat of it
covered up in grey, sulky stormclouds that pissed on her. It was all very depressing, the situation,
everything; Quistis was damn tired of having things go to toilet on her, life, Garden, now the sky.

There was a party at Garden that night. A private party between their little group. Just a friendly little
gathering, that sort of thing, in Selphie's room. Small talk would last all of five minutes.
Squall would be latched on to Rinoa, although that wasn't quite as bad as Quistis thought it might be.
Zell would be bouncing up and down hyperactively, Selphie cartwheeling next to him for all it was worth
as they all chatted about stupid, inane things. And Irvine would get so drunk that he'd end up asking
the wall what a good-lookin' wall like that was doin' in a place like Garden, and Quistis was expected to
oversee it all and watch with the calm Quistis smile.

Sometimes she wished for a few machine guns. She'd planned it quite methodically in some of her more
rage-filled moments. First her Trepies. For all their slobbering wide-eyed admiration, they had to be shot
first.

She had declined going tonight, sure that she would end up going postal, and instead drove down to Balamb
to sulk around and see if there was anything she could binge on. At least here nobody would be expecting her
to use her good, well-balanced Quistis Trepe diet; she could eat,whatever the hell she wanted. Why did she
desire that so much lately? She felt like she was being slowly choked up in the image she had made for herself,
good ol' Instructor Trepe, good-lookin' but so blue-stocking that she'll end up as an instructor for
the rest of her life.

She was supposed to be happy that Cid had made her an instructor again.

Yay. Hooray.

As Quistis walked down the street, she heard the muffled refrains of music and saw the bright lights coming from
the building opposite Balamb Hotel. She blinked. Two weeks ago, that had been empty. And now...?

"A karoke bar?" she asked disbelievingly, looking at the sign.

A passerby heard her comment and smiled, standing next to her in the pouring rain. "Came in last Sunday.
It really livens up this place!"

Overcome with curiousity - and the urge to get out of the rain - she quickly looked down at her coat. Not
too shabby, and she was wearing that little peach number underneath it. Damn, did she have to be so
predictable? At least she'd left her whip in the car.

Quistis unbuttoned her coat and opened the door to go in. Immediately she was enveloped in warmth
and garish tinted light and a very familiar - oh, my - figure up at the stage.
She stood still as if stricken.

"...man, I feel like a woman!
(Ya know?)"

Abruptly, the song ended, and the part of Quistis' brain that was dying of laugher cursed at the fact
that she had not been there sooner to witness the ex-Disciplinary Committee's Raijin singing karoke up
on stage.

Disciplinary committee? That meant Seifer and Fujin, and Quistis hurriedly looked around. But surprisingly,
they were nowhere in sight.

Everyone in the bar clapped and cheered and hooted for the brown-skinned man, and he flushed
and exited the stage.

Quistis looked beside her as Raijin came thumping down the stairs and blinked at him.
"Hello?"

He blushed scarlet and scratched the back of his head. "Uhh... hi?" he offered shyly. "Didn't 'spect
to see ya here, Instructor Trepe."

"Quistis," she corrected, following him as he sidled over to a table, curiosity consuming her.
"And I've never been here before."

Raijin sat down. "I've been here two times, ya know," he said brightly. "You gonna sing?"

Quistis looked up at the stage and quickly sat down opposite Raijin in case somebody had that line of
thought as well. "Oh... no. Is Seifer here? And Fujin?" she asked suspiciously.
If they weren't in immediate sight, they were out in the bathrooms planting bombs in the toilets.
They travelled as a pack.

He shook his head. "Saturday night is movie night! Fu'n Seif don't like me there anymore.
They never get movies I like, ya know? I keep on saying, 'The Tonberry Movie' or 'The Little Chocobo
that Could' but they never listen, ya know? It's like they do it on purpose," he complained, then
blushed, having been caught badmouthing about his beloved posse. "Anyway, why're you here?"

She blinked with the sudden rush of information. "Oh, I just felt like having a night to myself," she said
offhandedly. Her eyes were fixated on Raijin as he traced a pattern on the tabletop, a sad droop to his
lips. "But why don't you like their movies?" she offered, the sensible part of her brain asking her
what she was doing in a karoke bar talking to Raijin about his and his posse's 'Movie Night'.

"They won't let me watch them." His voice was grumbly, obviously hurt and offended that his posse would not
share a cache of videos.

"Perhaps they're not good videos," Quistis said delicately, the word 'Porn' immediately popping into her
head.

But he shook his head, the hurt-puppylike droop still on his face. "S'just normal movies, ya know? Blood'n
death'n gore and stuff we all used to watch."

Maybe Fujin and Seifer were hatching plans to take over the world and didn't want their third member screwing
it up. As far as she knew, bubbly Raijin good at that.

Raijin looked at Quistis worriedly. "I better stop talkin', Seif's gonna rip my -"

She shook her head. "I'm not going to tell anyone."
Who'd believe me?... or care, for that matter? Nobody really cared about poor Raijin's worries, now not even
his obviously-beloved Fujin and Seifer.

Oh, no, she's getting all maternal again, yelled her common sense. Quick, hide. Look at what happened with
that leather-wearing git who kept on saying 'dotdotdot' all the time.

Shut up, you, she told it violently.

His face cleared. "Really? F'sure? Thanks, Instru... Quistis," he corrected himself and beamed.

She ordered them both some apple juice so that she had something to nurse that wouldn't make her drunk, because
the last thing she wanted to do was get drunk in a bar where there was a big stage to embarrass herself on.
Raijin tucked the little plastic monkey that came on the side of his glass into his pocket and began vacuuming
his down, resorting afterwards to sucking the ice.

Quistis sipped her juice and frowned suddenly. "Did you come here the other two nights with Seifer and
Fujin?"

He shook his head. "Nah, it was Headache Night and 'Rage' night. S'really good having this bar, I don't
like fishing in the rain."

"Has this been going on for a while?"

His brow furrowed. "Two weeks. It's weird, ya know? Seifer just says, 'It's 'something' night, go fishin' and
don't come back till one o'clock', then he locks the doors."

That was exceedingly strange, even for problem-child Seifer Almasy. "Are you sure they're both... okay?
Normal?"

Raijin's face grew comically grave and he leant in closer, a deadly secret twitching at his lips. "I
dunno if you should hear this, but I caught Seifer singin' in the bath..."

Quistis widened her eyes. Possibly the world was ending.

"And that's not all!" he hissed. "Fusama was biting Seifer!"

Quistis cocked a perfect blonde eyebrow.

"Honest," he almost wailed to her disbelieving look. "She was crawling all over him and biting his ear."

It hit her like a ton of bricks, or at least quite a few heavy bricks. "Raijin... was he trying to escape?"

"Nah, he was grippin' Fusama's sides real hard and makin' funny growly sounds - "

"When did you see this?" she interrupted before she got potential for nightmares.

He straightened and popped another piece of ice into his mouth. "Got back to the hotel early to show Seifer my
fish an' the door was unlocked and they were sittin' on Seifer's bed in the dark and I couldn't make it out
properly but -"

Oh dear. "Raijin," Quistis started slowly. "Did you go to fourth-year health?"

"Me'n Fu got to go to the library, ya know?"

Oh, poor Raijin.

For reasons unknown Seifer and Fujin were... well, busily exploring being 'Seifer and Fujin' and as of
all new couples, any other being alive was left out in the dark... she damn well knew that Squall and Rinoa couldn't
see a foot in front of them at the moment.

That was the trouble with having only three members in a rapidly-reaching-adulthood posse with a girl in
it. Not that she'd seen Fujin Kazeno about to cause that type of problem, Fujin being... Fujin. But
obviously she and Seifer weren't really wanting to have Raijin in the room as they got busy growing up.

Nobody was going to tell Raijin that. And there he was, looking at her sincerely for answers that he
knew she'd give.

It reminded her of when she was younger, when Seifer would take a perverse delight in yelling, 'Matron,
what're those two dogs doin'?' at every moment possible. His big green eyes would be opened innocently
wide as he waited for Matron or later, Quistis to explain. Quistis was one of his favourites; she'd fall
for a question about it each time. She still remembered the feeling of her cheeks going scarlet, looking down
as Seifer began his list of the 'How..?'s, 'But..?'s and 'Why..?'s.

But... what would she say, to a seventeen-year-old that didn't understand the nuances of romance, hadn't been
told anything about life by the inverted Seifer and certainly not by his one-eyed friend..? Could she bear
to lie?

'Well, when two people love/lust/are really desperate..."

'Fujin is a vampire and was feeding off Seifer.'

'You remember Irvine? The cowboy with that gun from Trabia? Well, Fujin and Seifer want to act like him..'

'Fujin was checking his ear for holes.'

'Seifer was playing 'horsie' with Fujin.'

"Fujin and Seifer were having sex!" she burst out desperately, the little fuse in her mind exploding.

Her fuse had exploded too loud and immediately, many people in the bar - including a lot of SeeDs who had
sneaked out - were staring at her. This would get back to Seifer. Uhoh. Time to change the locks, Quistis.

Raijin was looking at her with disbelieving eyes, mouth open to make a loud retort.

Quistis stood up. "Let's go for a walk," she hissed to Raijin. "Got a coat?"

__________________

"But.. but why Fujin and Seif?" he eventually asked, big chocolate eyes turned to her unhappily, dipping one
foot into the water. He didn't have a coat, but he didn't seem to mind. The rain was easing off a little,
anyway.

Quistis looked down at the water next to him, sitting on the pier. "Perhaps they've fallen in love, too,"
she suggested quietly. "A.. a lot of people seem to be doing that, nowadays." Oh, wow, Quistis. What an
intellectual comment.

But he nodded slowly. "Yeah. And when they do, things.. just go wham, ya know?"

"Yes, Raijin... I know."

They sat in silence for a few minutes, so much new knowledge sitting between them that it did not seem
uncompanionable.

"Quisty?"

"Mmmhmm?" She ignored the nickname.

"Squall and Rinoa... They're in love, right? Do they ignore everyone, too?"

She blinked. "Well... they are, now. But don't worry, Raijin, it'll go back to normal," she said comfortingly,
her words ringing hollow at her lips.

He shook his head, hands clasped over his thighs, looking over into the deep, dark water. Raijin's voice,
usually so boisterous, was now sad with newfound truth. "It won't, ya know? I'm... glad, but I feel... left
out," he said softly.

"Three's a crowd."

"It wasn't before. Used to be Seifer, Fujin and Raijin..." He looked up to the stars, the rain now
stopping it's torrential cry and mellowing down into a mere whisper of water. "Now? Now I guess it's gonna
be Seifer and Fujin, ya know, and Raijin's going to just be... left behind. I'm happy for 'em... but..."

Quistis felt a lump rise in her throat as the words struck deep within her, deep to her deepest whimpers
of sadness that she found in herself. She stood up abruptly. "It won't be like that, Raijin," she said
briskly. "It'll wear off quickly, and soon everything will just be normal. You'll just have to give Fujin
and Seifer their privacy."

He looked up at her slowly and nodded, then a small smile touched his face shyly. "Are you gonna come back
to the karoke bar again, Quisty?"

Quistis blushed. "I might... I suppose I'll see you then, if we meet?" What have I gotten myself in to?

"Yeh, if we meet, ya know. G'night, Quisty."

"Goodnight, Raijin."

And Quistis left, and quickly, because she knew that what Raijin was suffering was shadowed to what she
was suffering, only Fujin and Seifer were his whole life, and she wouldn't wish it on a dog.

Not even bloody Angelo.

__________________

Her eyes were sparkly.

Raijin had looked down in the water's clear depths and seen it shine and then looked back in her eyes and
seen that same, sparkly quality. He'd looked up into those sapphire blues and immediately he got this soft,
mushy feeling, as if his brain'd been hollowed out and filled with marshmallows. It was kinda nice.

But then she'd gotten up and walked away, leaving Raijin only the promise of seeing her again later.

Stupid, stupid Raijin.

He sighed and rested his head in his hands. It was the worst night of his life. Seifer - Fujin - in love?
Having... sex? Everything in Raijin's brain vehemently denied it. Didn't you have to be lying down for that
sort of thing? And Fusama had still had her shirt on, hadn't she?

But now that the idea was planted he couldn't deny it.

Fusama and Seif had been giving eachother strange looks, not angry, just kind of tender. And although Fujin
almost never kicked Seifer, they hadn't really argued for ages'n ages and his shins weren't even bruised,
'cept for the one Raijin had gotten a little while ago when he protested being shoved out of the hotel.

Feeling very sorry for himself, and guilty that he was being unhappy at Seifer and Fujin's happiness, Raijin
pulled his knees up to his chest and let a few slow, wet tears drip down his nose rebelliously. Everything
was changing.

Yes, the worst night of his life.

So why had he felt so happy when he had looked into those eyes?

__________________

Knock. Knock, knock.

Quistis rolled over in bed and groaned. No. Not on a Sunday morning. Not on this Sunday morning. Her head
was pounding and her eyes felt slightly gummed up; all that cold water and Raijin hadn't done her any
good.

The knocker immediately took the groan as a noise of approval and Selphie burst through the door, all
sparkles and neon lights. "So where were yoooou last night? Huh? We went to check in your room and you
weren't there, Quisty!"

Quistis whimpered and stuck her head under her pillow.

The redhead blinked at her and peeked under the pillow slightly. "Gee, you look really bad. Bummer! You must
really be sick now!"

She sniffled and coughed. "I think it's just a cold."

"How'd you catch a cold? You said you'd be reading all night!"

"It was raining all night," she supplied. "Cold air."

"Man, where did you go? D'you want me to take you to Doctor Kadowaki?"

Quistis shook her head and sneezed pathetically. "I went to do an errand in Balamb Town, okay? And no,
I'll be fine, I think. Just need to lie low, Selphie."

"Oooh! Balamb Town! Didja see anything about that new bar?"

She was glad she had her head safely tucked under the pillow so that her blush wasn't visible. "No, I didn't."

"Okay. I hear it's really neat! I'm sorry you're ill. You'd think that we could've moved out the rain,
wouldn't you? Well, go to the doctor if you feel worse! Bye!" She skipped out merrily.

Well, wasn't that heartening. Quistis snuggled closer into her blankets and decided moving would be a bad
idea.

__________________

"You were late last night," Seifer commented over breakfast the following morning, breakfast being a box
of donuts put in the middle of the bed so that they could all share them. "What'd you do?"

Raijin choked on his jelly-filled and went pale, then flushed. Really, he was about as transparent as
clingwrap. "Nuthin', really, ya know..."

The silver-haired woman at the top of the bed deftly grabbed another donut from the box, exchanging a
knowing look with Seifer. "VEHICLE, DESTROY?"

He shook his head, eyes wide in sincerity. "Nah! I just went fishin', ya know!" he lied.

Seifer sighed and swallowed his mouthful. "Look, if you broke that window again I'm sure as hell not
sticking up for -"

"I didn't break anythin'," Raijin protested. "Honest." He quickly changed the subject so that light would be
thrown off him. "So what did you two watch?"

"Blood, Guts and Mayhem VII," Seifer replied, also a little two quickly.

"Was'it good?"

Fujin mumbled something through a mouthful of cinnamon dough.

"Okay, I guess." Seifer took another donut and the room fell into silence.

Raijin looked at the other two suspiciously and stared at his food, idly squishing a crumb or two between
his fingers. "Seif?" he asked nervously.

"Mhmm?"

"If... if you and Fujin were... having sex, ya know, would you tell me?"

Fujin choked on her donut and her hand shot out to push Raijin violently off the bed. "RAGE!"

"Wait!" Seifer yanked Raijin off the carpet and sat him up, looking down at him. "Where would you get
an idea like that from?"

"Nowhere, ya know," Raijin muttered miserably to the bed.

"Have you been coming back early?"

"Quisty was right!" the dark-skinned man burst out. "You two ARE -"

"LIFE, DISCUSSING?" Fujin's face was bright strawberry red, and as amusing as this might have been, Raijin didn't
really see fit to comment.

"You've been talking to Trepe?"

"Well, uh, ya know -"

"IDIOT!" Seifer burst out. "Don't talk to any of them! They'll fill your head... with junk! Bastards, the lot
of 'em!"

"LIES, ALL," Fujin agreed hastily, sitting back on the bed.

"Yeah, all lies. If I ever catch you talking to Trepe, I'll rip her arms off, then throw YOU off the pier!"

"Yes, Seif," Raijin said, heartened. Quistis had been wrong; she MUST'VE lied. She might've been nice, but
she didn't like Seif or Fusama, so she'd lied, ya know? Everything was okay. His brain calmed down, relieved
at finding a suitable answer.

Relieved, he began chomping on another donut as Seifer and Fujin exchanged a small, doubtful look.

______________

Quistis stayed in bed all day, relatively undisturbed. She really did feel awful; all she could do was take
painkillers and drink water, because she was far too buggered to get up and make herself something better
or crawl off to the infirmary.

It must have been about midday - she didn't know, her eyes didn't feel like focusing on her clock - when a
large, dark-skinned man burst through her door and shut it behind him furtively.

"Raijin?" she rasped.

"Quisty, you look really awful, ya know?"

"Thank you." Quistis really wasn't in the mood.

Raijin pulled up a chair and looked at her sympathetically. "I jus' came here to give you a message, and
that weird-haired girl said you were sick! So I felt guilty, ya know, 'cause I had made you stay
out in the rain."

Quistis sat up slightly and smiled weakly, hoping in vain that her hair wasn't as messed up and she didn't
look as tired as she thought she would be. "That's nice of you, Raijin, but what was...?"

"Oh, yeah!" he said excitedly. "I talked to Seif and Fu, and Fu tried to beat me up, but then Seifer said
you were lyin' or something. But I know you wouldn't lie, really, 'cause you're nice - " Quistis actually
found herself blushing - " - an' so I just thought that you'd gotten it wrong."

"So they said they weren't?"

Raijin thought hard. "Well, the didn't, ya know, but Fu looked so mad that it couldn't have been right!"
He smiled, relieved.

The blonde sweatdropped internally and decided to say nothing more on the topic. "I hope that made you happy?"

"Yeah, no more worries. But thanks for talking to me, ya know?" Friendly chocolate brown smiled down into the
sapphire blues and suddenly Quistis felt a little bit better.

"Any time, Raijin. I'm just sure you don't want Seifer to catch you."

"He said he'd rip your legs off," he said conversationally.

"That's nice of him."

"Aw, I don't think Seif would really do it, ya know? He'd just beat me up instead. I don't think it'd be
nice to beat you up; ya shouldn't hit girls!"

"Fujin hits you all the time," Quistis pointed out.

"Yeh... but that's okay, ya know? It's Fusama."

Quistis grabbed at a pillow on the floor to place behind her head, but Raijin deftly grabbed it before her and
with utmost care placed it at the bedpost. Quistis leaned back into it just in time to have a spasm of
coughing, whereupon Raijin looked at her anxiously.

"Are you okay?"

"I'm... fine," she hacked out.

"D'you want tea? I make some mean tea, ya know." He seemed so sincere.

Oh, the horrors of being sick, not being well enough to stop from being charmed at someone offering you tea.
"That'd be.. nice, Raijin."

He lumbered over to the little desk with the electrical socket, kettle and sink - hey, instructors had to have
some priveleges - and began filling it up with water. "I never get sick," he said cheerfully. "Seif says
I'm so dumb I couldn't catch a cold."

"Do you really believe him about... the whole thing?" Oh, shit, Quistis. You promised yourself you would
drop the issue.

He looked at her with even bigger eyes than he'd given her the night before. "Quisty! He said he
hadn't!"

"Maybe he has something to hide." She trusted Seifer about as far as she could throw him,
and even if he did look lanky, he sure as hell wasn't as light as fairy.

"Quis-tis!" The look on his face could've been a pout, his eyes desperately begging her not
to dash his hopes.

She immediately went soft, because she was pathetic, and relaxed a little. "I suppose he
would trust you with that kind of thing."

"Course he would. You got milk?"

"Fridge over there, and sugar in the pot labelled 'Sugar', if you want it."

Tea was deftly brewed by calloused hands that didn't look capable of it, and soon Raijin was sitting next
to her bed with a cup of tea in his own hands, sipping and regaling her with tales about his favourite topics.

Fujin. Seifer. He really did love those two passionately. Fishing came second to those, especially fishing stories
with them involved, and she just istened and sipped and even laughed a little as he alked about a particularly
harrowing experience where Fujin had almost run him over.

With over fifty 'ya know?'s. She'd counted.

Why was she enjoying this?

Quistis only half-listened for a little while as her common sense laughed at her and compared her intellect
with that of garden tools. She really was desperate, wasn't she? Was she so lonely she was enjoying talking
to a man whose intellect was rivalled only by that of garden tools?

I like Raijin! she told her common sense defensively. I'm not desperate. He's sweet.

Seifer and Fujin like Raijin too, common sense retorted. And Seifer doesn't like you talking to Raijin. You're
caught, he will break your legs, I shit you not.

She almost choked on her tea at the 'caught' and looked up at Raijin worriedly. "Raijin, isn't Seifer going to
be looking for you?"

Raijin jumped off the bed. "Oh, no! Seif's gonna kill me, ya know! I said I'd only be five minutes, ya know?! I'm
sorry, Quisty!" He flashed out of the room like the bolt of lightning he was, thundering one moment and gone
the next.

Then he popped his head back in.

"Quisty?"

"Mmmhmm?"

"Do… do'ya wanna go… fishin'… with me some time?"

"…okay."

He raced out again.

"Goodbye, Raijin," she said, suddenly alone.

She finished her tea and stood up, dressed in the ratty white shirt she slept in, her cough gone.

You're such a moron, her common sense piped up. On the 'moron' scale, they have not invented a unit for the
immense amount of moron-ness you possess.

You do know that talking to yourself is the first sign of madness, don't you? Quistis told it cheerfully and
went off to get dressed.

______________

As unexpectedly as it had come, it became a ritual.

She'd go to Balamb Town. Or he'd come to her. Either way, they ended up seeing eachother more than twice a
week. Suddenly, she became awfully busy, with less time for Squall and the others, and her Trepies had
less stalking time. All suspected that she was seeing that new instructor with the black hair and the shirt that said 'I'm Only Here For The Beer'. Actually, only Zell suspected that, because he was Zell.

What was becoming of Quistis Trepe?

She was actually beginning to look forward to his insane visits. And he'd promised her he'd go fishing with her that night.

Have I told you you really suck? her common sense shouted. Do you even listen to me any more? Hey! Pay attention! I'm trying to tell you how much you suck!

"Psssssst!"

A pebble was thrown at her window. It was the middle of the night.

Quistis pulled the curtains aside and blinked up at the figure, then rolled her eyes. "Raijin, you don't have to make so much noise. My room's at ground level."

He blushed. He'd embarrassed his Quistis. "Sorry, Quisty."

She pried the window open and smiled at his red cheeks. "Don't get so flustered over it." Somehow she managed to fit her lanky frame through the window, prepared in her peach suit, and began sneaking through the bush area at the back of the dormitory to the passageway whilst Raijin tried not to stomp.

"Did you get away okay?"

"Yeah, they don't notice... weird, ya know?" He wielded his fishing rod like he did his staff.

Quistis rolled her eyes to herself and began quietly walking through Balamb Garden. Even with the artificial lights of the Garden, the moon still shone quietly down on them, bright and cheery as the sun as it sailed through wisps of clouds. "Full moon."

"Yeah! The fish're always jumpin' when it's a full moon."

"Does that mean you catch more?"

"Nah, it means they bite off the bait and try to drag you into the pier, ya know?"

"Sounds violent."

They shared a quiet chuckle.

Oh, she was beautiful. Beautiful in the sunlight, even more beautiful by moonlight 'cause it meant that they were going fishing, fishing together, just them. And that made Raijin feel so proud to be fishing with such a beautiful girl, that he thought he might explode then and there. But that would have been messy and moreover, then he wouldn't get to fish with Quisty. And he knew, just knew that no matter how fun it was to fish with Seifer and Fujin and be part of the posse, it would be diffferent and strangely wonderful to be fishing with someone who cared and didn't kick you at random intervals or talk you into holes. He loved Seifer and Fu, more than he loved his own life, but Quistis... she actually listened, and not just to wait for a chance to kick him.

The walk to Balamb Town was short and uneventful, save for one foolhardy monster who was systematically poked with Raijin's fishing pole, in the eye. Man, that taught that monster to try to ruin Raijin's quality time.

They settled down on the pier, Raijin chivalrously giving Quistis the first go with the fishing pole, himself trying out the complex system of paperclips, string and bits of bread. It was amazing what you could do with enough paperclips.

Raijin sat close enough to Quistis so that he could feel the warmth of her at his side and had to concentrate on the fish so that he didn't break out in hives, because he could smell her golden hair and it was like apples and honey and suddenly he had the biggest, goofiest grin ever and he couldn't stop it.

Quistis looked up at him and gave him a slight smile. "What're you so happy about?"

He hung his head a little, dreadfully ashamed of being caught out enjoying her. "Your hair smells... good, ya know," he murmured guiltily.

She opened her mouth to reply, her sapphire blues soft.

"What the hell are you doing here, Trepe?"

___________________

"Seifer?"

"Mmmhhmm?" If his reply was muffled, it was because his head was buried in her neck. He was comfortable and he was warm and he was achy in places that are fun to be achy. And there aren't many of those.

"Raijin... he's not back yet." Her voice was sleepy as well, but he could feel the worry just by holding her close. Damn telepathy, it was making him worry too.

"He'll be back later."

"Gone all day."

"Don't I know it."

She muffled a pleased chuckle.

With titanic effort Seifer managed to disentangle himself from his grey-haired Posse member - sans shirt, sans pants, sans boots, hell, sans everything; even the eyepatch was somewhere on the floor - and wrapped himself in a sheet, padding over to the window.

Fujin nuzzled down into the blankets and stretched. She hadn't seen the light of day for over twenty-four hours, but the light of day was overrated when it came to Seifer. "Fishing?"

He nodded and squinted, blinking. "Wait, shit! There's someone next to him!"

"Who?!" Fujin sat up in bed immediately, scrabbling for her eyepatch.

"Fuck, fuck, fuck, it's Trepe. I'd know those ugly blonde locks and chipmunk hairstyle anywhere. What the hell's he doing with her? Didn't I tell him to stay away?"

Fujin grinned enthusiastically, all sweet aches gone and forgotten. She was in the mood for a bit of violence. "ARMS, BREAK?"

"Good idea, Fuchan!" His smile was sadistic as he pulled on his shirt.

___________________

"I ask again: Why are you within a mile of my personal space?"

"Why is your fly undone?" Quistis asked innocently. "Why don't you tell Raijin the answer?"

"RAGE!" Fujin stalked forward, but Seifer grabbed her arm.

Raijin jumped up desperately, taking Fujin's aborted kick with barely a wince. "Please, guys, don't fight, ya know?"

Seifer's body swivelled around desperately as he tried to do up his pants surrepticiously. "I told you to stay away
from Trepe, Raijin! Can't you follow simple orders?"

"We were just fishin', ya know!" he complained. "S'not a crime to fish. And... what were you doin'?" He gathered up
his little bit of courage.

Fujin glared daggers at Quistis, who was calmly standing up and placing the fishing pole safely out of harm's way.
"STAY AWAY!"

"You two obviously don't have time to spend at the moment with Raijin, so why shouldn't I keep him company?"

"Because you're filling his head with bullshit!" Seifer took a step forward, and Raijin moved over Quistis protectively.

"So you two aren't in the sack?" Quistis shouted, losing her temper. "Fujin isn't currently in your trenchcoat and
hurting Raijin by not telling him what the hell's going on?"

Raijin's head was nodding back and forth like in a tennis match. "Quisty - "

"It's none of your damn business! Why don't you go back to Garden and poke your ugly fucking nose in there, instead of pretending to be Raijin's friend? We'll tell him when we're ready!"

"AFFIRMATIVE! TREPE, BUSYBODY!"

"I care about Raijin!" she finally howled. "I care about him a whole lot more than you two do!"

Raijin tore his gaze away from Seifer and looked back at his companion, his eyes shining. "You do, Quisty?!" he squeaked.

She couldn't help but blush and smile. "Yes, Raijin."

He grabbed her and swung her around in the air, then clasped her to his chest desperately, practically bouncing in excitement. "I'll be good to you, ya know?! And I'm not even gonna look at another woman, ya know, because you're the prettiest thing on two legs and I love you and - "

"CAUSE, LOST," Fujin said sadly. "INJURE, NOW?"

Seifer hmphed. He was cold and really wanted to get back to bed and if Raijin wanted to only jump Trepe, that was okay with him, but only if he got full conning rights and the ability to bring it up at least six times in every argument. Trepe was beholden to him now; she coveted something he owned.

And besides, he couldn't break her legs with Raijin looking like that. That was for later, when Raijin was dumped by the
conniving blonde and he got to pick up the pieces, making Raijin even more loyal than ever, what with a broken heart and all.

Besides, his brain was kind of soft and pink and mushy from being exposed to more Fujin than usual these past weeks.

"Let's just get back to bed," he muttered. "I'm buggered if I can watch any more of this."

Raijin and Quistis didn't even notice them leave.

"I can't breathe, Raijin," Quistis eventually spluttered.

Raijin looked shocked and set her down gently. "Are you okay? Did I hurt you, ya know? Man, am I dumb, I'm so sorry..."

"No, I'll be fine." Once she got her breath back, at least.

They looked at each other for a couple of minutes after that, not knowing what to say or do. Raijin's lips twitched, dying to spill everything to her immediately, but somehow held back by the look in her eyes.

"Raijin - " she began.

It flooded out immediately. "I really do love you, Quisty, honest and f'true, and you're the most beautiful girl I've ever seen and I don't mind that Seif'n Fusama are together because I'm not lonely with you and - "

She pressed a gentle finger to his lips and his eyes grew afraid as he abruptly stopped talking. Of course she didn't feel
the same way, she was a goddess. And he'd gone and blurted everything out like the idiot he was and she'd never
talk to him again.

Silence hung in the air, as thick and palpable as if Siren herself had placed it there.

Her smooth, elegant face broke into a small smile as she took her hand away from his face.
"I... love you too... ya know," she added mischieviously.

And the night air was filled with wild whoops and hollers as he let loose his joy, and kissed her all over her hair,
and generally woke up the population until a well-aimed shoe was thrown at them. Quistis swore later that it'd come from the balcony at Seifer's hotel room.

But she didn't care, she cared about nothing now except laughing because everything had fallen into place and was right and good.

He's a moron too, her common sense sulked.

I know, Quistis thought fondly.

And Raijin kissed her over her face and nose and lips and eyelids in his wonderful, clumsy way until she was sure she'd die from laughter.

And she was happy now, and no more lonely tears would ever fall from Quistis Trepe's sapphire blues.

~FIN~

And they all lived happily ever after, until the next day when Seifer and Fujin broke out in a sexually-transmitted rash.