Chapter 11- Back to Normal

"Seifer, wait," I heard a voice call from behind.

I gazed over my shoulder and saw that it was Cid. "What do you want?"

"Come with me please," he requested.

"Why? Do you wanna embarrass me in front of everyone before you kick me out?" I asked angrily.

Cid shook his head. "No, no. Just come with me."

"Wait here, guys," I told my posse and followed after the Garden Headmaster.

We stepped onto the elevator and we went up to the top floor. The office was empty, except for the two of us. "Listen, Seifer, even though you disobeyed orders once again, we never would've resolved this issue without casualty if it wasn't for your instincts. You saved many lives by stopping Odine, which certainly can't go without being rewarded. So, after a lot of discussion, we're making you a SeeD. Congratulations."

I smirked. "Thank you, sir," I said.

"I look forward to seeing you develop as a SeeD before our eyes. Have fun at the Graduation Ball tonight," Cid said.

I took the elevator back down to the first floor, where Fujin and Raijin met me immediately. "What he did want, Seifer?" he asked curiously.

"I'm a SeeD. He was only going to discipline me for being irrational during the field exam, but I talked him into making me a SeeD. I didn't give him any choice," I replied. I wasn't gonna make it seem like I was at Cid's mercy, because I wasn't.

Raijin began to laugh loudly, while Fujin simply smiled a little. "That's great! You're gonna be at the top of the SeeD ranks in no time, ya know!"

I grinned at them. "I know it."

That night, I actually decided to go to the party, even though I didn't want to. Raijin and Fujin accompanied me naturally, but we were the only ones who didn't dress up formally, and I was the only SeeD not wearing their uniform. I didn't care though. I hated formalities, and I wasn't gonna do that for anybody.

They were all there: Squall, Rinoa, Zell, Selphie, Irvine, and Quistis. Squall and Rinoa were making a scene on the dance floor, and I was surprised to see that the cowboy had actually gotten the little messenger to dance with him. A waitress came by us with drinks, and me and Raijin grabbed one. Fujin declined to get one. I stood around, sipping at my drink and observing the occurrences at the party.

Zell was sitting at a table, eating hot dogs one after another without hesitation like a pig. There was a girl with pigtails sitting at the table with him, who I recognized as one of the members of the Library Committee. I couldn't believe she was actually putting up with the guy.

Quistis was conversing with Cid and Matron. They noticed me and waved me over to them. I shook my head, and they decided to come to me. I rolled my eyes. (Can't they take a hint?)

"I just wanted to say congratulations, Seifer. I guess you've matured quite a bit in the past year," Quistis commented.

"No, it's not that, my dear instructor. They just finally realized how good I was and that they needed me here," I said confidently.

"I guess some things will never change. You'll always be the same arrogant Seifer, no matter what."

"I am just glad to see that all of my children are finally SeeDs. It is good to have you with us, Seifer. I know you will make us proud," Matron said kindly.

I smiled and said, "Thank you, Matron." She had always been like that. She was always so kind to everyone, regardless of who you were and what you had done.

"Don't get too comfortable. We might have to send you outta here tomorrow," Cid said with a chuckle. "I have a feeling that your first mission will be very soon."

Then the three of them left us, continuing to chatter among themselves. I scanned the room, and spotted the two presidential aides, Kiros and Ward, talking to another man. I assumed that he was the president of Esthar. (I guess they were invited here, too. They seem to be friends of Garden, since Irvine obviously knows them.) I thought. They must have seen me as well because they began to head my way. (I'm not gonna get a break tonight, am I?)

"You're Seifer, right? Kiros and Ward were tellin' me that you were the one who stopped Odine. I just wanna thank you personally for your hard work," Laguna said.

"No problem," I simply said.

"Aren't you gonna get out on the dance floor or anything? You've been standing here the entire time."

"Nah, I don't dance," I said.

"Oh, yeah, me neither," the president said.

"Well, there's a difference between don't and can't," Kiros commented, which brought a smile out of Ward.

"Not funny, guys!" he exclaimed. "Anyway, thanks again. I know you'll be a great SeeD."

There was a break in the music, and all of the couples walked off of the dance floor. I saw Squall and Rinoa walk to a spot not too far from us. I decided to go over and to speak to them. I had something I wanted to take care of.

When I approached them, the sorceress smiled kindly at me. "Congratulations, Seifer."

"Thanks." Squall and I exchanged silent glares. "I got somethin' to ask of you, Squall," I said.

"What?"

"How's about a duel, for old time's sakes? Nothing serious or anything. Just some sparring," I offered.

The SeeD Commander looked over at Rinoa expectantly. "It's up to you. If you want to, go on," she permitted.

He looked back at me. "I'll meet you in the Monster's Lair in ten minutes," he agreed, with the slightest hint of a smirk in the corner of his mouth. I could tell he was looking forward to it as much as I was. We were on the same side now, but that didn't mean we weren't rivals anymore. (I guess it'll have to be a "friendly" rivalry now.)

I stopped by my dorm room and grabbed my gunblade. Then I headed for the Training Center and waited for him. I didn't have to wait long. Squall entered with his gunblade dragging behind him. He lifted his weapon up and assumed his battle stance, and I looked directly at the lion embossed on the blade. I drew Hyperion and pointed it at him. "You ready, Squall?"

"Of course," he said with confidence.

We charged at each other and swung our gunblades. As they met with a loud clash and a few sparks, I smiled. (It's good to be back!)

Author's Notes: Well, that's the end of the story. What did you think of it? Let me know in a review along with some constructive criticism. It'll help me improve as a writer. God bless, and thanks for reading.