I don't want to be different.
When Selphie is thirteen, she meets a boy who's in her SeeD prep class and smiles with his eyes. Her heart goes tha-thump inside her chest and everything's dizzy when he asks if she's got a spare pen. The instructor is trying desperately to convey the meaning of Para-magic and she tries to listen, but it's only with one ear, because the boy keeps glancing at her and she's sure that it isn't normal.
She asks the doctor if she has high blood pressure later and the doctor just laughs and tells her there's such as thing as nervousness, although Selphie isn't so accustomed to it and perhaps she'd be best discussing it with her friends.
Selphie tries, but they don't understand.
Selph has a crush! So who's the lucky guy?
The boy's name is Hahn and he has white hair which frames purple-red eyes and the others tell her that he's albino and she shouldn't bother but she thinks he's positively the most beautiful person she's ever seen. The way he scratches sheepishly at a visible scalp whenever a question's answered wrong, and offers her an eye-smile of sunshine in winter.
He's shy and asks her if she'd like to be his sparring partner. Selphie thinks that it might not be the most romantic sort of date (she's read those Galbadian magazines for girls, but then again, those girls aren't in Garden) but it's still a date and she recently moved from crossbow to nunchaku so maybe the practice would help.
He asks her to lunch just after this, and she smiles.
Selphie feels dizzy with fright and wonder and laughter as he lunges at her with the sword again, and it zings off of the metal chains of her weapon, ringing in her ears and blinding her eyes.
When he moves with his sword, it's like a complex dance; a flurry of movement captured in an instant of time. Maybe, she thinks, being a SeeD is like being an artist––maybe it's why she's been failing her classes.
He is patient while she's learning, and he's fifteen and she's thirteen and she thinks that he's awesome, that he's the best person she's ever met. She trusts him with her life and glows with pride when some of the older cadets say she's dating the albino prodigy.
Not really dating so much as befriending, she concedes to herself.
Later, when they're walking back from the training grounds, she tells him about the GF she's got junctioned and how he still won.
It all starts when Hahn asks so, where were you before you came to Garden?
Selphie ascertains that she was an orphan and she didn't have parents, just a nice foster parent for awhile. Although she can't, for the life of her, remember what had happened before that.
"You were probably too young," Hahn concludes and that is that.
Selphie likes this about Hahn. He's dependable, practical, an all-A student and he has the most fluid and expert movements in sparring exercises. The only problem with Hahn is that he doesn't accept that there might be more to something than common sense. Selphie feels like something's missing, and when she mentions this, he laughs.
"I don't think there's any thieves in Trabia. They'd get caught eventually and there's not many places to hide."
Selphie giggles. "Not unless they want frostbite!"
Hahn seems to find this jibe perfectly acceptable, and changes the subject, but Selphie can feel something nagging at the back of her brain. Nag-nag-nag.
Probably nothing, she eventually decides, when Hahn says it's time for class.
When Selphie is fourteen, Hahn buys her a yellow stuffed Moogle for Valentine's Day and then a charm bracelet and some of Mrs. Moogle's cakes for her birthday. Selphie names the Moogle doll Splodge and never takes the bracelet off. It's a sort of dizzying feeling, liking someone. Of course, Hahn has only kissed her once, and she supposes it was a kind of accident. They were sparring and she kicked her foot out as he lunged. It ended up with him toppling on her and, for the briefest of moments, his lips had brushed hers.
Hahn had been so mortified and embarrassed about the whole ordeal that Selphie had neglected mentioning it again, but somewhere inside she wondered if that was the right decision.
Selphie also wonders how someone as collected as Hahn can possibly be tripped up by an accidental kick––even if she did pretend it was a stealth tactic.
Hahn goes down to Timber to see his parents for the summer break, and invites Selphie to go with him. He says this is because she hasn't seen anything but the snow in a long while, and he thinks she'd like the sunshine and the beach. He's still smiling with his eyes, but Selphie's noticed that it's more strained now, like he's repressing something that could change it.
On the train, Hahn glances across at her.
"Look at this," he fogs up the glass with his breath as they move out of Trabia, and then writes 'Selphie x Hahn' on the windowpane. Selphie holds her breath and doesn't realise how long she's been holding it, lacing her hand with his.
"Wow!" she's giddy, and has to sit down.
"Don't forget," he adds seriously. "They say GF's can make you forget."
"I don't forget anything," Selphie says next, and swears to Shiva and Ifrit and Quezacotl that if they make her forget, she will do something nasty. Something uncharacteristic.
Selphie hugs Splodge all the way, and commits the window-words to memory.
Hahn is still beautiful at sixteen. The slight acne has cleared up, but Selphie never noticed it anyway. He's still practical and graceful and lots of nice things bottled up, and Selphie feels heady just thinking about the chemicals floating around inside her body. Her SeeD prep instructor scolds her for being so scatter-brained, but she can't help it, she protests.
Hahn is way more interesting than SeeD work! Of course the stuffy instructor wouldn't know that!
She's noticed that he's stopped asking her to spar lately, and when she asks, he just says he's been immersed in theory. He asks her the next day.
When they spar, he flies at her with all he's got and she wakes up in the infirmary.
She's never seen Hahn cry before, but she thinks that he got pretty close that day.
When Selphie is fifteen, Hahn tells her that he's transferring to Galbadia Garden to take the SeeD exams. He's passed the written already, he tells her, and she wonders why he only tells her now.
She's so angry that she throws a shoe at him and slams the door in his face. She knew that he would eventually go to become a SeeD, but she thought he'd tell her at least a month beforehand, not a few days.
He leaves without saying goodbye, and Selphie has never felt more spiteful.
She rips Splodge into pieces and throws the charm bracelet into a snowdrift before she realises what she's done.
Then she breaks down and cries and keeps the GF permanently junctioned so that she might be able to forget him.
She gets a new toy, and names him Mr. Bear, because she's sick of being original.
Selphie works vigorously that year, and the year after that, and by the time her seventeenth's rolled around the instructor is recommending she take the SeeD written. She does, and she passes.
When choosing where she wants to transfer to, Selphie slowly and deliberately picks Balamb Garden, because she wants nothing to do with Hahn anymore. It still hurts, after two years, although some of it is fading.
When Selphie is eighteen, she finds herself curled up in bed next to one Irvine Kinneas, in tight-fitting pyjamas and with a silly smile on her face. She loves Irvine because he's unpredictable, charismatic, free, and flirty. She loves him because he's Irvine and she's his Sefie. He's a cowboy.
They go to visit Galbadia Garden as representatives the next day, and Selphie sings the train song over and over––
"You really like trains, don't you?" Irvine asks in amusement as he catches her while she dances. He spins her around and Eskimo-kisses her nose, eyes chanting with desire and flight and all things she doesn't understand.
"Yep!" she replies, smiling.
"So, like, why?"
"I don't know!" she announces cheerfully, and spins around some more. The other passengers are weary of a girl in SeeD uniform acting spastic, but Irvine silences them when they notice he's got a gun strapped to his belt and seems to be very friendly with the psychotic girl.
Selphie visits the gravesite in Galbadia out of interest, because it's more interesting than Martine being patronising and jumpy. She finds a gravestone for one Hahn Fernetta, and her heart twangs in a painful symphony, but she's not exactly sure why. She doesn't know a Hahn, does she?
"I knew him," Irvine says from behind her. "Albino kid, right? He was always the top of every class. Good with a sword. Said he had a girl back in Trabia Garden he was fighting for. Y'know, when the sorceress appeared. But, I guess…"
Selphie's fighting tears and she still doesn't know why. She mentions this to Irvine, and he speculates that she probably knew him, considering he was from Trabia.
"Bet you knew the girl, too, huh?"
"Maybe," she responds dubiously.
The GF's are shifting in her mind, changing, reforming. Selphie finds them uncomfortable but she's on a dangerous mission at the moment, and it's necessary. Quisty's with her, reeling off protocol and strategy. Selphie looks for the target.
The target finds Selphie first.
She wakes up in Balamb's infirmary to Irvine's eyes all red and puffy around the edges and feels like she's forgotten something important.
The heart never forgets, but the mind does. Selphie wonders.
But I am different.
A random idea I came up with. The inspiration was the GF's and memory loss and heartache.