Disclaimer: I only own Jamaila and any other minor OCs that may be mentioned. The rest belongs to Squaresoft/Square-Enix.

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Chapter XIII: Savoir Faire

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His head had been occupied with what had just happened: his hands were still shaking from the sudden sensation that had overcome him, as he had advanced towards Raphael.

Just what had come over him?

The car window was down, causing the breeze to spill in and play with his chocolate-brown hair. He shook his head to rid himself of the strands that made their way to his face.

"-taking us to HQ?" Zell's voice shook him out of his thoughtful trance.

With a glance at Squall, Quistis nodded before answering. "Yes, Irvine's waiting for us there. With any luck, he should have obtained some more information about Raphael."

Squall turned to Quistis, a frown settled on his face. "And what will you do with the information obtained?"

Quistis's hands turned the steering wheel to the right, and the car entered the side road. "Well, we're actually planning to take him to court. However, because of the lack of evidence we have, there wouldn't be much of a chance of him actually serving time in prison."

Zell chose that time to intervene. "Or, we could tell Cid. After all, he's the boss – he deserves to know."

Squall turned his head to look back out the window. He already had a vague idea of where Cid's loyalties truly lay.

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The breeze ruffled their hair as the convertible sped towards its destination. The driver was simply focusing on getting to HQ as quickly as possible; it was the passenger who was attempting to assess the current situation.

For most of her comrades, Raphael was the biggest priority for them, and they were planning to silence him and put a stop to his 'power cruise'. For Jamaila, however, she had another demon she needed to fight, a monster planning to spread her influence inside the brunette's body.

Gehenna spread like a virus, her essence corrupting the normal activities of Jamaila's body; a poison slowly taking away the life-force of the brunette. It had taken both Jamaila's spirit and willpower to help push Gehenna's force back, and she was now contained in Jamaila's body, like a bird trapped in a cage. Jamaila assumed that because of the necklace, that now hung loosely around her neck, the 'spirit' was now forced to stay put, which had certainly helped Jamaila regain control of her body. The most that troubled her now was the occasional spasm of entering the haven of nothingness and peering through dormant, expressionless eyes …

Luckily, she'd go back to her right mind before anything too serious happens.

Seifer's mindset, meanwhile, focused on the people that usually gave him a hard time: in this case, it was Raphael 'Rat-Face' Beau-something-or-other.

With that sneaky scoundrel shuffling around the Department HQ, there was no way that Seifer would be able to bust in and crack the fucker's head open.

After all, who would believe that he was the innocent one?

Granted, he had never been a saint when he had first enrolled into the Balamb Police Department. His days had usually been filled with encounters with women, pudgy drunkards and a dog or two. His sense of purpose had been blurred: he felt that his goal was to become both feared and admired by men and women everywhere.

Admittedly, that was why he joined the BPD in the first place; he had wanted to use a gun, and the police department provided him with one. He had wanted to chase, hunt down and (sometimes) kill people, and the police department gave him that opportunity.

It was only after he had met Jamaila that he had wanted to gamble his chances.

Jamaila was beautiful, which was the primary reason he had been slightly attracted to her. However, in Jamaila, he had also seen a chance to reshape her; she was slightly headstrong, but had always openly displayed her defects and weaknesses.

And Seifer Almasy hated weakness.

He taught her stuff, too. Not academic-styled lessons, but lessons in fortitude, determination and dealing with hardships. In her, he saw a companion, someone who was, for once, trying to encourage him, to help him. He had never been motivated much to actually stand up for himself in life; that determination had stemmed from the abuse he had to face from his good-for-nothing father.

Glancing to the side, he noticed the way the breeze blew her hair behind her, so that it looked like a honey-blonde scarf. Looking back at the road, he noticed that they had almost arrived at their destination.

It had been a while he had stepped foot inside the building. Regardless of its absence for the last couple of months, he still reflected on the place as home; there were so many memories stored in his mind, of the adventures and the romance and the car chases and-

He had missed it.

He turned into the parking bay that had been reserved just for cops and parked the car in a vacant bay spot. Jamaila turned her head and looked uncertainly at him.

"Um, Seifer, are we allowed to park here?"

Seifer shrugged. "Sure, it's not like we weren't cops once upon a time."

Jamaila continued to frown at him when he exited the car, apparently satisfied with the parking spot. She rolled her eyes and exited the car when he looked at her expectantly.

It was typical of him to not follow the rules, as it had been a 'habit' of his since early childhood. Unfortunately, though, this 'habit' was not going to be broken.

Reluctantly, she followed her partner and the duo made their way towards the building. As they mounted the steps, Jamaila felt even more uneasy; was Seifer planning to bust in?

"Um, Seifer?"

The blond turned, his lips turned to a slight frown.

"Are we … going to bust in?"

Seifer grinned. "Ooh, rebellious. Whatever gave you that idea?"

The brunette frowned. "… Are we?"

Seifer shook his head. "Unfortunately, no. We're gonna sneak in the back way."

Jamaila raised an eyebrow. The safer, but longer, route … was this the Seifer she knew?

The blond, meanwhile, was planning to get a head-start. "Come on," he gestured with his hand, and then jogged towards the back of the building. Sighing, the brunette followed.

The bland hallway stretched out like a piece of rope, with no doors or windows. Paying this no mind, the two made their way past the hallway, and turned at the bend. However, the sight that next greeted them was no treat; there seemed to be an infinite block of stairs lined up, upon which the duo would have to climb in order to reach their destination.

"We have to climb … all these?" Jamaila gasped.

Seifer exhaled. "Yep."

"How can you be so calm about this?! It'll take us ages to get up there." Jamaila turned her head to look her comrade in the eye: this was definitely not the Seifer she knew.

Or rather, thought she knew.

Seifer decided to ignore her. "C'mon, the faster we get up there, the faster we'd be able to kick Rat-face outta here."

Jamaila sighed, as Seifer rushed up the stairs. Mumbling distastefully, she was soon forced to follow.

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Quistis exited the vehicle first, closely followed by Zell and then Squall. Looking back up at the building, the blonde female seemed to be weighing up their options.

There was no use in risking Squall, so it would be much better for him (not to mention, them) to stay in the vehicle, well-hidden and inconspicuous. Turning back to notify the two males of the plan, she saw nothing but the car standing there.

As she turned her head back towards the building, she noticed both Squall and Zell running towards the entrance. "Hey!" She called, alarmed.

The two males stopped and turned to look at her, the brunet looking slightly annoyed. Zell looked to Quistis and then Squall and then back to Quistis, obviously under the impression that another argument could be brewing.

"We can't just charge in – you especially, Squall!"

Squall's eyebrows creased together. "Why not? I want to get that man and-"

"That's not going to help you solve the issue, Squall!"

Zell placed both his hands up. "Guys-"

Squall glared. "Oh, so you have a better idea?"

Quistis resisted the urge to place her face in her hands. "Look, just wait inside the vehicle, all right?"

Zell stared off into a figure that was approaching them. "Um, guys-"

Squall raised his voice slightly. "Look, I'm not under your command anymore, so-"

"Guys!" Zell shouted over them. Squall and Quistis stopped their argument and noticed Taylor walking towards them, with a pistol in hand.

"Holy-!" Zell didn't have time to finish the curse, as the trio jumped out of the way of the bullet. Quistis ripped the stagnant pistol out of its holster, hoping to at least wound the man that had had a pre-emptive strike over her.

Taylor quickly switched targets, and began showering Squall with bullets. Luckily for the brunet, they all missed him, as he rolled out of the way of the impending bullets. Zell took out his own pistol from its holster, and began shooting Taylor.

The blond seemed to have underestimated Taylor, who was considerably fast and had dodged almost all of the bullets. However, one of Zell's later bullets penetrated his skin, causing him to double over in pain and grab his shoulder.

"You fucking-" Taylor exhaled for the last time as Quistis' bullet struck home, and he fell back, blood gushing out of his body like a river. His eyes seemed to be absorbing the shock for a few seconds, until his head tilted to the side, eyes deadly empty.

Quistis stared down at him with an expression akin to disgust, before looking back at Squall and Zell. "Let's go."

The two males had no choice but to comply.

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They had been going up … up … up …

… And yet, they still hadn't reached their destination.

They had both rested for a while, enough to help their legs resume their mantra of 'up, up, up …'

Inwardly cursing the amount of steps there were (despite the fact she didn't know how many there were), Jamaila began to push her legs forward, willing herself to follow Seifer's slightly larger leaps up the steps. Her trench coat whipped behind her, as if a breeze was blowing, and her sweaty hair clung to her face like seaweed; she had no idea why she had decided to adorn herself in the garment.

Then again, she wasn't exactly in her right mind then.

Seifer puffed. "Fucking … stairs are … killing me …"

Jamaila slowed down her pace, the necklace bouncing and hitting her neck after every step. "Yeah, I … can't wait for … us to-"

Some voices were heard towards the distance, which alerted Jamaila and Seifer at once. Looking at each other, the duo felt more motivated to climb all the steps, because they knew there were other people there.

Running nearer, they caught sight of the owners of the voices – Squall, Zell, Quistis … and was that Raphael and-?

Jamaila frowned. Great, now she'd be able to have that chat with him …

"Please, Squall …" Cid seemed to be pleading. "I can't let you-"

"Cid …"

"You guys should just give up," Raphael's voice blared out. "You already know whose side he's on!"

Quistis screamed. "Why, you-!"

"You're GOING DOWN!"

Jamaila's eyes widened before she looked back at Seifer. "We have to help them!"

Seifer nodded, thinking along the same line. "Yeah, let's go!"

The two rushed out of their hiding place, and absorbed the scene. Zell and Quistis were planning to rush Raphael, and Squall had got his pistol out, hoping to silence the sneak here and now …

He aimed … and fired.

Raphael, sensing the bullet coming his way, whipped around and placed himself behind Cid, who had just noticed the bullet …

Too late.

Jamaila screamed soundlessly, as she watched her father's body drop to the floor, his face drained of life … just like her soul.

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Author's Note: Okay, I know it's quite abrupt, but … I'm thinking of making this the penultimate chapter. Since I don't seem to have many people interested in this fic, I gathered there's not much point for me to type this out, apart from an excuse for me to – uh – 'express myself'. Yeah …

But, thanks for sticking with me this far!

Ash XX