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"Ahem!" A deep voice would break the concentration of someone standing on the beach shore. Dark brown orbs looked toward the one eyed female known as Fujin. "That time already?" Fujin would nod her head toward Squall who would set down his gunblade. "Thanks for coming to get me." Squall lifting up his jacket and beginning his trek back toward the Garden, Fujin in tow. Today's events marked the six year anniversary of the defeat of Ultemacia. The meeting place this year was at the old Caraway's mansion in Deling City.
It wasn't as much a dread as it was just becoming a routine. Almost everyone went their separate ways after the first year. Zel returned home and seemed to be happy settling down. Opening an actual hot dog restaurant in Balamb. Selphie and Irvine had gotten together and married just one year earlier. Squall honestly never expecting it to happen, Irvine acting just like he did on that roof six plus years ago unsure and scared. However the two of them finally got settled in. The biggest surprise the group had faced was the marriage of Seifer and Rinoa. It had honestly blindsided everyone including Squall.
It shouldn't have been a surprise, Seifer started courting the young former sorceress about a month when they arrived home. The got married in the following year and now had a five year old daughter. It actually mellowed Seifer out who was turning out to be a good dad and husband. Raijin followed his close friend and ended up taking a position of power in Deling City. Who could blame him, only Fujin returned to the garden, asking to work with Squall. To which he couldn't decide what her motives were. Quistis was the only friend left that stuck it out with him, Squall taking a role as an instructor and special forces leader during crucial missions.
A pat on his back brought Squall out of his daze, looking to Fujin who pointed ahead. The Ragnarok was sitting with it's back loading dock lowered. "You are going to be late Squall!" Quistis was standing on the gate itself holding up a SeeD's uniform on a hanger. Squall was sighing moving up the ramp, noticing Fujin in tow, "We won't be late." Taking the uniform moving toward one of the three private bed quarters. "You know you don't have to go if you don't want to Squall." Squall was sliding off his shirt, hearing Quistis through his closed door.
"Why wouldn't I?" He could almost here Quistis groan, hearing the tap of her heeled boot against the door. She must have been leaning on it, "Well I know you got kind of upset with the sudden marriage and you." "Stop. It's fine, been over five years now. I don't care and Seifer and Rinoa have done very well for themselves." Quistis would leave it at that hurrying to her quarters to get changed as well. The three had to get properly dressed, at least for such an anniversary it was a big deal, saving all of Eden.
Squall had felt the ship begin to move as he was loading the revolver in his gunblade. Lifting up he would walk out the door moving toward the bridge, noticing Fujin was driving. Quistis sitting in the navigator's chair, seeing them in full SeeD attire reminding him of the recent graduation they had for some of the lucky graduates. Plopping down in the center captain's chair Squall would glance over some papers. "Were these all of Xu's notes?" Quistis would look up, flicking her strawberry blonde hair. "Yeah those are some of the new class schedules and the new instructors. Xu also mentioned that Cid was seriously considering stepping down this year."
Squall found himself laughing, "We have been hearing that for years. I can't believe we promoted Naomi to instructor. I remember her just being able to pilot the Garden." "It's not like you to reminisce Squall, what is on your mind?" Even Fujin who usually kept a stoic expression looked back with concern. "It's nothing, maybe I am getting old Quistis." Quistis rubbed her wrist, "Are you having problems with the junction guardian forces?" Squall raising a brow, "Nothing more than normal, Dr. Kadowaki cleared me last week. She said the headaches were due to stress with just handeling the SeeD selection test and taking a few students through the Fire Cavern."
Quistis would turn in her chair to face him, "Maybe this break is what you needed." "Ahem!" Fujin's grunt would catch both their attentions, seeing they had arrived just outside Deling City, the Ragnarok coming to the designated landing spot. Squall stepping off the ship would raise his gunblade hooking it against the small hooks embedded in the back of his jacket to hold it firmly in place. "You two armed and primed?" Quistis looked up nodding her whip being coiled and placed on the hook that dangled from her belt. "I have Siren with me." Fujin would spin her bladed ring hooking it on her belt. Pointing to her bracelet, the blue gem lodged in the center let Squall know she was equipped with Sheva.
The town hadn't changed much, it was still busy, full of glamour and the rich. It was kind of ironic this place had so many good and bad memories in it. The site of the mansion gates would cause Squall to take in a breath before walking down the cobblestone walkway. The sounds of laughter and scent of food was a reminder that they were late. Stepping into the back of the courtyard he got to see old friends and enemies. Raising his hand he would wave, "Hey." His voice broke the laughter Zell looking toward the group, "Woohoo hey Squall! Quistis, you guys made it!"
He still had his hyper attitude, even after all these years. As he approached he noticed Fujin with them nearly falling over as he put on the breaks. "Oh hey there Fujin." The white haired female would just look away, moving to stand off to the side. Quistis helping Zell up and laughing, "You still scared of her huh?" Zell coughed, "You would be too, she chased me through the garden for an hour to get me to pay back my late dues." "So you finally made it huh Squall?" Seifer was standing by a grill, his young daughter sitting on his shoulders.
Squall moving over toward Seifer, "I wouldn't miss this anniversary you know me better than that. I see Ophelia is looking as beautiful as ever." The little blonde haired girl waved her little hands at Squall before hooking her hands back around the side of Seifer's head. "She is a handful, but she is getting strong, she is going to be beautiful just like her mother." "Flattery will get you everywhere Seifer." Rinoa had come out of the house catching the end of the conversation, giving him a kiss on the cheek before taking Ophelia from him. "I am glad you made it Squall." She offered that smile he received so many years ago on the dance floor.
"I wouldn't miss this, glad you are well Rinoa." He gave a bow lightly, before turning to greet the rest of the guys who were here. "Can't ever relax can you?" Seifer pointing to his back and the gunblade. "SeeD's are never off the clock." Seifer laughing at his smart ass comment, at least over the years he had to admit. Squall developed some backbone and at times quite the mouth on him. Irvine would wave, he was holding a glass, "So you never quit being the boss huh?" Squall laughed looking over at Selphie who was talking with Quistis, "So you two got kids yet?"
Irvine coughed and elbowed Squall in the abdomen, "No don't be saying that we just got married." Selphie was laughing looking over at Squall, "No not yet, we will soon enough. As soon as the final work and set up in the Trabia garden is finished we will definitely be looking into them." Irvine groaned looking down his face buried in his head, "See you got her started." Squall shook his head, almost for a second feeling bad for him. "Don't forget you need to send those numbers to Xu so I can go over them Selphie." She nodded, "Aww, but Squallie, we are having fun no work okay."
Squall blinked, "Fine, but don't ever call me Squallie again." Seifer would look over at Fujin, "You been doing well?" She nodded, leaving Seifer shaking his head, "Raijin was going to be here but he got caught up in work." She shrugged her shoulders with little concern, Rinoa noticing the reaction would bring her something to drink. To which Fujin grabbed it in her hand, "Happy working with Squall?" Rinoa asking something she had remembered her husband was worried about. "Yes!" Her sharp voice was quick to answer Seifer laughing, "I suppose that answers it."
"So did you open a new resteraunt yet Zell?" Quistis looking over to her friend, "Yeah it will be opening this month here in Deling City, I am looking forward to opening one in Fisherman Horizon as well." "Thats quite impressive, I would have never thought you were such a mogul for business." Zell couldn't hide his laugh leaning back against the wall of the mansion. "Well I wasn't cut out for SeeD, so I had to find my calling, being a millionaire beats almost getting killed everytime I turn around." Quistis found the insight quite intelligent, "I agree with you, it is less dangerous to make a fortune than to risk your life."
The air would fill with a hum, it would grow louder, everyone looking around. Squall and Seifer noticing above them that a helicopter was approaching, Before either could ask a questions several canisters would be tossed down toward the group. The explosion would cause large plumes of smoke to rise up. Squall beginning to choke, it seemed to be tear gas, "Everyone! Cak! Move!" There would be several men lowering down on rope, they were draped in military fatigues and gas masks.
"Get the girl!" A voice that sounded muffled behind a mask would grab Squalls attention. Trying to look through his fingers seeing someone approach right into his direct view. Right arm extending to wrap around his chest, stepping with his hip into his back. Using the momentum shift he threw the man over onto his face. Driving his boot down cracking the unknown assailant along the skull destroying the bone blood would leak out profusely from the ears. The sound of a whip had Squall turning to see where Quistis was.
The strawberry blonde had extended her whip catching a man around the throat, pulling him close. Raising her knee up she caught him in the chest sending him crashing into the ground, the eyes rolling to the back of his skull. Rinoa let out a sharp scream, Ophelia being jerked from her arms. Getting a mouthful of gas put her on her knees hacking and coughing. Seifer rushing to her side, being cut off by Squall, "See to Rinoa!" Seifer would push, "They have Ophelia!" "I said see to Rinoa, let me handle it!" Squall running after the male who clutched the little girl that left the sounds of hacking and crying in her wake..
Zell would uppercut one of the attackers knocking him out cold. The loud ding sound followed when Selphie slammed the side of her nunchuck into the skull sending the man crashing to the ground. A loud pop sound followed Irvine shooting a man who came out of the smoke with his shotgun. Seifer sneering as he rested a hand over Rinoa's shoulder. Raising up his right hand another attacker coming forward with a baton in hand. Seifer's hand engulfed into fire launching a firaga spell scorching the man in his suit as he collapsed in a loud scream.
Squall chased after the man who seemed to be quite fast even when he was lugging an uncooperative child in the arms. Catching up with the man the two would circle a large fountain. "Let the girl go and I will let you walk away." The man didn't seem nervous, he was probably a mercenary a well trained one. Even as the kid was biting his hand it didn't phaze him. This was something Squall took very serious, "Who are you?" Instead of an answer Squall received a flying child toward him.
"Shit!" Squall groaned catching Ophelia only to receive what he could describe as sharp dagger digging pain in his side. Upon throwing the child at Squall, the mercenary had drawn out his baton and struck Squall's side right when he caught the child. A rather smooth transition on the attackers position. Squall not bluckling would allow a second shot into his ribs, turning his back and throwing a kick to force the man back. "Grrreattt. I get the intelligent one." Squall spoke sarcastically between breaths his side was burning, and breathing was sparse he knew the wound wasn't a joke.
Mind racing with a way out of this, Squall unable to turn his back, but unable to proceed forward, Ophelia was clinging tightly to him and in midst her crying he couldn't hear anything else. The light from one of the lamps dimmed temporarily, it was enough to tell Squall the man was moving into his blindside. Attempting to adjust he saw he aimed the baton toward the child this time, this man was insane. Squall forced to lower and turn into the baton. The strike landed on his shoulder, a blinding pain that felt like he was struck with a bolt of lightning traveled down his spine.
The pain was tollerable but the effect wasn't, his shoulder was dislocated, nearly losing a grip on Ophelia in the moment. Squall's eyes squinted a bit when he looked up seeing the man come down with his baton. This was going to be bad. "Squall!" The sharp low voice caught his ear, a sound of shearing followed, Squall watching the man fall down the head rolling off to the side, leaving a pool of blood. Fujin had snuck up behind him and delivered a crucial killing blow, to which he was grateful. "Nice job Fujin, here take Ophelia back to Seifer."
Handing over the child, Fujin would nod, she had seen his arm slumped akwardly understanding why. Seifer would see Fujin come walking up with Ophelia quickly taking her into his arms. "Oh thank god, Ophelia. Are you okay?" Ophelia was rubbing her eyes, the tears had been falling and caused a bit of the tear gas to irritate them further. "Is Squall okay?" Fujin nodded, noticing Seifer take the child inside, seemed like Quistis, Zell, and Selphie had washed their hair and face in cold water to clean the tear gas off.
Quistis would sigh, "Where is Squall?" Fujin simply pointed at the road before dunking her head in the sink to rinse her hair and face. "Any of them alive?" Squall had finally caught up and everyone was looking at the rather unpleasant scowl on his features. It took not one, two, or three strikes against the lamp post to reset his shoulder. It took four and it hurt like hell each time. Quistis nodded, "Yeah the one Zell knocked out seems to be alive, why?" Squall dunked his head in the sink, the cold water on his face was a relief, a towel being rubbed over his face.
"Good." Squall moving out toward the patio area grabbing the man's collar and begun dragging him. "Lets go!" He bellowed an order both Quistis and Fujin following. Seifer running out the door, "Where are you going?!" Squall turned a moment, "Going to ask a few questions!" Seifer nodded, "You let me know the answers!" Squall would nod a bit turning and kneeing the guy in the face when he began to stir and speak. "Don't worry! I promise he will have a lot to say." Seifer would wave getting his answer watching Squall, Seifer, Fujin, and a very unfortunate mercenary be drug off into the distance. He couldn't wait to find out who would end up having a short life expectancy for this outrage.