It had been an exhausting couple of days and being in space was not exactly conductive to sleeping. With a last sigh he swung his legs over the side of his borrowed crew-bunk and dropped to the floor. Maybe if he just went and checked on her he'd feel better. Checking his ammunition and doing his best to unrumple his clothes, he quietly slid out of the small room. The number of people up and running around hadn't changed, though the faces had. Ignoring them all, he strode through the station, steps quickening as he got closer to his destination. As he got closer to the medic room, he was alarmed at seeing a light from under the door.

What if she'd gotten worse?

What if she'd woken up afraid?

Drawing his gunblade he threw open the door and charged into the room, promptly falling over a pair of boots left carelessly in the doorway. A feminine giggle reached his ears and he sighed, face still flat on the floor wishing it would just swallow him.

"It's passed, Commander, tee-hee!"

Glittering bare toes appeared in his narrow field of vision as little hands grasped his wrist and helped haul him to his feet. Releasing his hands quickly she skipped back to the chair she had dragged in from who knows where and flopped back down in it. A look of confusion flitted across his face as she pulled Rinoa's foot into her lap.

"What are you doing?"

"Painting her toes. See?" At this she held up a slim ankle and went back to it. He returned her words with a short nod as he walked to the head of the hospital cot. Yanking off one of her gloves, he put a bare hand to Rinoa's face; caressing the curve of a cheek, running a thumb over slightly pouty lips; fingers sliding in between locks of hair.

"Why is her hair wet?" Selphie just kept on painting as she replied, "I cleaned her up a little. There, what do you think?" The foot was once again raised in the air.

"Very pretty."

Smiling so faintly, she let the foot drop gently back to the sheets as Squall played with the unconscious girl's hair. "I –"as he looked up, she hesitated and changed what she had planned to say. "After the missile base, when I saw Trabia. I was really tired." An eyebrow was cocked, so she went on. "I know you know that. I remember you and everyone else checking up on me, of course, but Rinoa was different. I mean, I didn't know her that well and all, but she came anyways. She is different than the rest of us. I had plenty of shoulders to cry on, but Rin, she well, she cried with me." He looked back down at the sleeping girls as Selphie wiped a stray tear from her face. "And, and then we laughed; giggled like girls and painted our nails. She taught me this." A quick gesture to exposed feet. "I wondered then how she could be so normal after everything that happened to her and now this! I know Rinoa will be okay! She's got to be! But Squall, why did you bring me?! How can I honestly help!?"

He was watching her now, surprise frozen on his face as this time tears of frustration fell from her eyes. A few moments passed before he realized she wanted an answer. It was the first question she'd asked since Trabia.

Was she still feeling like she failed at the missile base? Rinoa and Quistis had told him some of it, but damned if he knew what to do about it.

……..I wish I could let Irvine deal with this.

Why did I bring Selphie?

I left Quistis at the moon base to coordinate everyone and if she has to override command there.

I let Irvine guard Matron because he shot at her knowing who she was. If something happened like last time, I know I can trust him to kill her in spite of it.

I left Zell to guard Matron for two reasons – back-up Kinneas and his knowledge. Of the group he knows the most about the Estharians, so he has the best chance of dealing with them.

That left Selphie. Honestly, though I chose her to come with me before I even thought about where the others should be.

-She led Missile Base successfully, never mind that the missiles still hit.

-It was her adaptation and quick wits that kept her, Quistis and Irvine alive in that machine. I'm still awed by it.

-She was the first to include Rinoa in our group. The most welcoming, even before she really knew her.

-but, honestly….it was more callous. She is a messenger SeeD. If something goes wrong here I know she'll get a message back and it will be word for word what I want it to be.

She was looking at back at him, now. As she opened her mouth to say something he interrupted, "I brought you for this." He gestured around the room. The torn look was still on his face, so she smiled to let him know he'd said the right thing. Reaching into her bag, she tossed a brush to him.

"Here, then, help. I hadn't figured out how I was going to brush her hair yet. Just lean her against your shoulder."

She watched him surreptitiously as she smoothed lotion over Rinoa's feet. His shoulder seemed to untense a little as ebony strands mixed with gold in the bristles of the brush. There was probably a lot more to the reason she was there, but right now, it didn't matter, she was just glad she was. Looking down at her own toes, she admired the stars below.