the butterfly effect
(twenty mostly unrelated facts about the orphans. and rinoa. )

1. Selphie firmly, urgently, desperately believes that true love doesn't exist, because it's never happened to her and she doesn't want to think that the problem is with her and not the world. This becomes much harder to believe when she glances up and sees the way Squall looks at Rinoa and the way no one is looking at her.

When Zell asks her what's wrong, she smiles and says that she didn't get so much sleep last night, and not to worry.

2. Zell had a crush on Quistis until she told him off for punching Seifer. In retaliation (because he certainly didn't deserve a detention for it) he made up rumors about her, Seifer, and the "Secret Area" in the Training Center. What disturbed him was how quickly everyone believed them, and even started encouraging their "relationship." In fact, by the SeeD test, he was beginning to wonder if it wasn't true.

He really, really wanted to ask Quistis about it, but would rather shoot himself in the groin than admit who really started the rumor. Especially because of how furious she got every time someone asked her about it back at Garden, until rumors abounded (that he may have had something to do with as well) that she was secretly pregnant with Seifer's child.

He thought that Squall might know who started the rumors, but either because of some very well-hidden compassion or because of the fact that Quistis might actually decapitate him with her bare hands if she found out, he didn't mention it.

3. Seifer cried harder when his pet hamster died when he was thirteen than when his foster mother was murdered when he was fifteen.

4. Quistis thought Irvine was actually kind of cute, until he opened his mouth.

5. Rinoa loves her dog more than her only living relative, and really hates that fact. She even made a pact with herself before going to Deling City that she would bury the hatchet with her father, but it all went to hell when he sent them off to the Tomb of the Unknown King. By the time she got into her old house, she couldn't understand why she had ever wanted to make amends.

A tiny part of her wanted to hug him, though. Just a little bit.

6. Selphie is terrified of thunder, but would rather die than admit it.

7. The real reason Irvine never mentioned the Orphanage before they got to Trabia was because he was sure they wouldn't believe him - hell, he wouldn't have believed him - and they would think he was just begging for more attention.

8. Squall actually helped spread the rumor that Quistis was pregnant, just to see what Seifer would do about it. He didn't realize until later that most people believed it because of him - they knew that Squall didn't give a damn about spreading rumors and if he said it was true, then it must be. This kind of irritated him, but was also highly amusing.

9. The most pain Zell has ever been in was when he hit his punching bag and it swung back and crashed straight into his unprotected crotch. His suitemate found him on his floor, in the fetal position, fighting back tears. Dr Kadowaki almost had to carry him back to the infirmary, but he decided that he would rather make a fool of himself by crawling on his hands and knees than face the shame of being carried.

Seifer laughed at him when he passed him in the hallway.

In retaliation, Zell used some useful contacts to have Seifer's bed filled with snakes. The strangled yells from down the hall were more than enough to make it all worth it.

10. It bothered Selphie more than she would ever admit when Squall took Quistis to the Lunar Base instead of her, because Quistis never really cared about space, and Selphie had been in love with the night sky for as long as she could remember. And when she finally got the chance to go to space and actually be there... He took someone else and told her to help Zell and Irvine deal with things on the ground.

She nodded, and smiled, and did exactly as she was supposed to do, but then Zell and Irvine fought with Edea and she got left out again.

11. The first thing Rinoa thought when she woke up in the middle of space, all alone, surrounded by flying monsters and stars and black was that this was just a nightmare, and she would wake up any moment. But then the little mechanical voice told her how much air she had left, and the panic set in.

12. Seifer loathes hot dogs, but when he found himself in line right before Zell and the very last of them in front of him, he got all three and ate them obnoxiously while Zell glared at him. They tasted terrible, but were absolutely worth it.

13. Zell could not, even if threatened by death or dismemberment, remember what he made on his SeeD test.

14. Quistis tried very, very hard to convince herself that she wasn't lying when she said that she wasn't in love with Squall, and just wanted to be a mother figure to him. She almost succeeded, but then he went off into open space to save Rinoa, and she almost heard her heart break.

The hardest thing she ever did was tell him to save Rinoa at the Sorceress Memorial. Even though she knew it was selfish to hope that Rinoa couldn't be saved, especially because Rinoa did not, by any stretch of the imagination, deserve to be sealed up and rocketed into space, she kind of did. Because then Squall would have to turn to someone for consolation (even though she had never known Squall to need comfort), and there would be Quistis.

So she kind of resents Rinoa for being alive and well and safe. It makes her feel terrible when the younger woman smiles at her on the Ragnarok, though.

15. When Rinoa was watching Squall sleep, he was muttering something about a sister, looking lost and scared. It was the first time she could think of that he had ever seemed so vulnerable, so human. When he woke up, she refused to tell him what he'd been talking about, and made him give her a tour of the Garden.

16. Irvine hates dogs.

17. Once, Seifer was cleaning his gunblade (the days all mixed into one, but it must have been after Edea disappeared, because he was more tattered than usual) and he accidentally cut himself. It was a clean cut, right across his palm, blade so sharp he didn't feel it until it was already gone. He stared blankly at his weapon as his own blood spread across it, staining the handle and getting into all the little grooves. He had to physically make himself stand up and clean the wound before it got infected.

There was a bloodstain across his jacket as well as his blade, but no one noticed - or if they did, they chose not to ask.

He thought that he might have made a mistake. But he couldn't decide when, or why.

18. Selphie once went looking for her parents, to find out if they were alive and had given her up for adoption, or if they were dead - and if so, what had happened to them. She found out that they were dead, and she supposedly had a younger brother somewhere, but she didn't look for him, and she could never really explain why.

19. Squall once had a dream where he was drowning. He could see the surface of the water, could touch it with his fingertips, but something was holding him under, keeping him down. There were faces, shadows of people on the surface, but whether they were trying to save him or laughing as he struggled, he couldn't tell.

When he woke up, he was covered in a cold sweat, and had nearly suffocated himself in his own pillow. He told himself that that was why he had felt so short of breath, and the drowning was his brain's way of rationalizing everything, turning the effect into the cause.

He never told anyone about it.

20. Rinoa only remembers her mother's voice because people keep playing her song.
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(A/N: I've been dealing with serious writer's block lately, and someone suggested that I write drabbles. Well, I figure this is as good as anything, and I'm not so great at drabbles anyway, so... Review!)