Love Runs Deep

Quistis pushed back the long strand of hair that was playing in front of her face. A warm breeze tickled her cheeks and danced on her skin. Hyne, how she loved Balamb. Weightless clouds drifted across an empty sky, the sun shining down, making her golden locks shine.

She moved toward a patch of wildflowers, and began to gently lift them out of the dirt and into her half made bouquet. She sighed longingly. Would she ever find him? Mr. Right? She was beginning to think that he'd never been born. There was hope at one point when she thought that Squall was the one… but sister and brother love and real lovers are two very different things.

Quistis looked out across the fields. Thinking aloud she asked the wind… "Where are you? Will I ever find that one man I'm looking for?"

As she turned back to head for their floating Garden, Quistis had no idea that her life was about to change forever after she'd said those words.

Seifer slammed his glass of beer down on the table. Startled, Fujin and Raijin looked sharply over at him. Speaking in his usual deep voice, Raijin told his friend, "C'mon Seifer, lighten up ya know? We came here to have a good time ya know?"

Nodding, Fujin agreed, "WRONG, WHAT?"

"It's just, I feel left out kind of. It sounds like I'm 11 when I say that, but I do. You have Brian, and Raijin has Becca. Who do I have? No one. I thought it was promising with Rinoa, but look where she got me. I'm 25 and I'm still single. How pathetic is that?"

Obviously feeling a touch of sympathy for her friend, Fujin slipped out of her normal speech briefly to prove a point.

"Seifer, being 25 and single isn't all that horrible. I know some guys who are 50 and are still single. I also know plenty of girls who would love to go out with you."

"Oh yeah? Name one."

"Well… me if I wasn't already going with Brian," she replied quietly.

Seifer stared at her in shock, and then burst out laughing.

"I think you've had one too many drinks tonight Fuj. You can't be serious."

Angered by his reaction, her face began to turn a slight shade of red. But embarrassment won over and she backed down.

"Y- yeah, maybe that's it."

Seifer felt a twinge of regret that he had pushed Fujin away when she was probably serious. (Oh well, what's done is done,) he thought, but then decided that the least he could do was apologize.

"Sorry Fujin," he mumbled.

She was quiet, but then replied, "OFFENSE, NEGATIVE."

They went on with their drinks in silence for the rest of the evening.

"Squall, what's wrong?" Quistis asked, worried about her good friend. He had barely talked through the entire lunch hour, and the look on his face was one she'd never seen before.

"Nothing… I'm fine Quisty, really," he answered in his usual attitude. But Quistis wasn't giving up that easily.

"C'mon Squall… I've known you since you were five years old. Something is wrong and I'm not giving up until you tell me."

Deciding it was useless to hide his feelings, Squall spoke out.

"Rinoa is… pregnant Quistis."

Quistis's jaw dropped. Rinoa… pregnant!? That was great! That's what they'd always wanted hadn't they? Then why didn't Squall look ecstatic? He was happy… right?

"That's great! … Isn't it?"

"It… it isn't our baby Quistis."

"Rinoa… what is wrong for Hyne's sake?" Seifer asked the girl next to him.

"Oh Seifer, I just don't know what to do," she replied, her voice cracking slightly.

"About what?"

"I… I'm pregnant."

Having known too many girls who had gotten knocked up while they were with someone else before, Seifer decided to skip the crap and ask.

"Whose baby is it?"

She looked rather surprised at the blunt question, but answered anyway in an ashamed tone.

"I don't know. It's either Zell's or Irvine's."

Pure shock came over Seifer. Two of their best friends!

"Hyne, this is bad."

"No kidding! I think Squall just found out… and neither Irvine or Zell know."

"So Squall hasn't talked to you yet?"

"No, and I'm dreading the time that he will. I love him Seifer, really I do. But… I… I was confused. You know what happened… it was right after that."

Seifer knew exactly what she was talking about. Rinoa's father had died two months ago and it had been really rough on her. When the rest of the gang had been orphaned, it was when they were too young to remember it. Rinoa was 24… and the way she had treated her father in the past would leave a lifetime of guilt. Not much of an excuse for what she'd done… but he could understand.

"Rinoa, I don't think you realize the seriousness of all this. This puts 3 guys friendship's on the line! A nineteen year friendship! How are you planning on them not killing each other and ruining that friendship?"

"I don't know!" Tears started to form in her eyes now. "I came to you for support, Seifer. Not a lecture!"

"Well Rinoa, I don't think you're going to be getting much support from many people. Do you know how much Squall is respected at Garden? I understand why it happened, but this is bigger than just a lie or a rumor! Do you realize that?"

She was sobbing freely now, saying, "I know" over and over again.

He felt a slight ping of pity, watching Rinoa. But before he even had time to react, her head dropped onto his shoulder. Feeling an obligation to comfort her, he embraced her warmly and gave his shoulder to cry on.

Rinoa braced herself for the worst as she walked toward Squall. Anger was written all over his face, just as she expected there would be. She felt like turning back and running as fast as she could away from his stare, but then decided that there was no way around not having to face him. She might as well get it over with.

"So who is it?" he asked as she approached him, going straight to the point.

"Squall… I want you to know that… well, when all this happened… it was right after my Dad died… I … I didn't know what I was doing. So please… please understand that," she stammered.

"Cut the crap and spit it out Rinoa," Squall hissed.

"The father is… is Zell, Squall," she finished, holding her breath and closing her eyes.

She expected a blowup. When she didn't hear one, she opened her eyes.

He was backing away, a look of utter disbelief reflecting in his stormy blue green pools. The disbelief turned to anger, and she stretched out her hand as if to touch him, tears rolling down her cheeks. He turned around and ran, out of Rinoa's view.

He had to find Zell. That little… ugh, he couldn't even think of a name that described that little creep. Squall knocked furiously on Zell's dorm room door. When it was opened, Zell stood in the doorframe. Fear flickered in his eyes as he realized who it was.

"S- Squall… R- Rinoa just… Rinoa just told me. I- I'm sorry."

Squall stood, glaring viciously at Zell.

"Sorry?" he whispered harshly. "You got Rinoa pregnant… willingly got Rinoa pregnant… and all you can say is 'I'm sorry!?'"

"I- I didn't know what I was doing… Rinoa needed someone… I just happened to be there…"

"GOD Zell! What are you thinking!? You knew exactly what you were doing didn't you? Rinoa could've come to me! Why you!? What do you have that I don't!?"

Zell began to breathe harder now. He didn't know what to say. He'd never seen Squall like this before. He simply stood, unable to say anything and fearing what Squall was going to do.

"I- I don't know Squall…"

Squall let out a sort of snicker of disgust, and punched Zell as hard as he could in the stomach. Normally, Zell could've fought back, since fighting with his fists was what he was best at. But, the blow that Squall had delivered was simply too great. Zell doubled over in pain, clutching his stomach in agony. He looked up at Squall, a major error on his behalf. Squall punched him again in the side of the face and took off as fast as he could, never looking back, and not caring if he ever did come back.