Hi again! Heehee, please disregard that this hasn't been updated for… *counts* um, almost a year! Ahh well… let's all blame my computer, which works, but I've got no keyboard or mouse. So it really doesn't matter if it works or not. Kinda hard to type when there's no keyboard.

But HEY, chapter 2 is out. And I've got more actually written, so that might come out soonish.

Disclaimer: I own this. Ha ha ha.

Rating: PG.

Fight the future: Chapter 2

Squall was watching the Garden entrance through the front entrance window.  Although he wore his usual impassive expression, his clenched fists were a sure sign of his anxiety about his friends.

The other adults, Rinoa, Zell, Zoey, and also Nida were standing behind him, all in battle dress.  They watched their leader in silence, feeling his pain, and their own.

Rinoa finally stepped forward, laying a palm on her husband's arm. "You worry too much." She said simply.

Squall turned to embrace her, and then she realised the depth of his apprehension.

"There's no way that Galbadia can attack in two places at once," she said in a logical tone. "Which means that Seifer'll get here ok.  And Selph and Irvine... well..." she glanced down, a tear glistening as it rolled down an ivory cheek.

Squall wiped the tear away in a moment of concern; let her rest her forehead against the lapels of his uniform. "You're right.  It's just that… I don't know, what can we do?  Galbadia've made their intentions clear."

"War between the Gardens." Zoey said with a sigh. "Again."

"And this is the problem.  War… it couldn't be at a worse time.  The cities have already sided against each other.  They can't get involved.  I'll...have to talk to Nero..."

The room became silent again, with Squall turning back to the window, searching.

Seifer nodded in satisfaction, casting a pale green eye across the newly improved Balamb garden.  He hadn't been there for years.  Man, has this place grown some... he thought wistfully, leaving the helicopter for the stone pathway to the entrance. 

"Wow... It's soo pretty Daddy!" Shari squealed from her place beside him, her voice rising and falling in her excitement.

"It sure is kiddo."

"Hey, this is where mommy growed up, right?"

"Sure is." Seifer replied, absently patting his child on the head.

"And it's where yoo growed up too!" Shari beamed in the knowledge that she was in the know.

Seifer looked down at the skipping child with affection.  She's so bright, just like Quistis... he sighed.

Drawing near to the entrance, he noticed the SeeDs guarding the place extensively.  As they saw him approach, three of them ran up to him, weapons drawn.

"State your business." The leader demanded cooly.

Seifer showed his ID . "Seifer Almasy."  He replied in an equally cool voice.

The young man nodded. "The Commander is expecting you.  The child will have to go into the classroom where the other children are."

"Sure thing, boy." Seifer shrugged and continued on his way.

Using the Level 3 Elevator without notice, he watched his friends turn in surprise.

"Hey guys." He greeted simply, smirking at the brief expressions of shock on all of their faces.  Even Squall's.

"Yo man, 'sup?" Zell replied, giving him a slap on the back. 

Rinoa and Zoey hugged him warmly.

"Where's Shari?" Zoey asked him immediately.

"With the other kids in some classroom.  Typical of the women to think of the children first."

"So glad you're safe," Rinoa said. "With Irvine and Selphie missing..."

"What?" Seifer broke in with surprise.

Squall explained, Seifer joining him at the window, his face darkening.

"Trabia hmm?  This President Nero seems to know what he's doin'.

"Yeah, no shit dude." Zell grumbled. "In fact, maybe we should give him a call, blow the hell out of him or somethin'."

"Yeah maybe,  Zell." Squall replied, a smile fighting to break loose at Zell's ridiculous suggestion. "However, he's made his intentions clear.  Instead of wasting time, we have to figure a way to strike back in this situation."

There was a moment of silence.

"Hmm, well the best defence is a good offence!" Zoey supplied in a firm voice.  She no longer wore a ponytail, instead her hair was left to hang by her waist.  She wore tight blue pants and an oriental style shirt, which suggested that her and Rinoa had been shopping in Winhill again.

Zell laughed. "That's such a Selphie thing to say."

"Yeah, she's got a point though." Seifer pointed out. "It don't look too good letting them walk all over you."

"That's true, but we've gotta look like the goodies after the conflict is over." Rinoa said rationally. "I mean, if we just defend ourselves, we don't look like psycho killers, see?"

"Well, putting it that way…" Zell rolled his eyes. "Goodies and baddies…"

With their opinions voiced, they all turned to Squall.

"You're all right..." Squall said, and sighed, slowly. "I don't know what to think..."

The room was silent for a moment.

"Hey, has this President even communicated with you?" Seifer broke the silence.

"...Once.  Back when he told us he was planning to declare war."

"Well...that means that he'll probably call back, right?" Zell said logically. "Ya know, gloat over his victory and stuff?"

"And then he'll expect us to declare war on Galbadia." Rinoa added. "See?  He doesn't want to look like the bad guy."

"It's a little late for that." Seifer commented dryly.  Destroying a Garden didn't usually put you on the 'goodies' side, as Rinoa would put it.

Zell sighed loudly. "I'm hungry," he announced, "anyone want some food?"

Zoey and Rinoa immediately volunteered themselves to help.  The three left, leaving Siefer and Squall alone.

"So... is Leo around?" Seifer said, breaking the sudden empty silence.

"...With Sam, Ryan, Jade..." thinking of the auburn teenager, Squall sunk his head.  Where are her parents?

"Has he gotten into any fights yet?" Seifer continued, his eyes sharp.

Squall lifted his head, and even gave a wry grin. "Yeah.  With Sam, not that long ago."

Seifer broke into soft laughter. "That's the old family spirit thing again."

Squall gave a dry chuckle. "I guess they take after us." He agreed.

Seifer crossed over to the window, casting his pale green eyes over the scene of the Garden. "You, know, I should've come back here.  It's been about 17 years since..."

"...Yeah.  I understand why..."

"This place has so many memories.  Of Fuu',  Quistis... old stuff that I can't forget.  I've considered you a friend about the same length of time as when I hated you.  I would've shot myself in this position about 20 years ago."

Squall shrugged.  He knew, and understood to a certain extent. "Times change..." was all he could say.

"I haven't seen Raijin for years either.  The old posse's fallen apart." Seifer continued with a sigh.  "Probably for the best.  How is the big man doin' anyways?"

"Good.  Stays with... Laguna in Estar."

Seifer laughed. "That crazy old man?  I still can't believe his your dad.  You're total opposites."

"I know..." Squall muttered, running a hand through his hair.

Seifer's laughter increased. "That's it!  Hyne, that movement!  It's Laguna, right there."

Squall just glowered at him.  Seifer ignored it with the ease of one used to being glared at, and instead strolled over and slouched on the plush blue couch.

"Callin' in on a bad time?" Zell asked, having entered quietly from the doorway.

"You're always coming at a bad time…" Seifer muttered. Zell ignored him.

"What's going on down there?" Squall asked, turning towards the entrance.  He hadn't noticed his friend approach.

"Ah, not much.  All the SeeD's are on full alert, everything's ready in case of attack." Zell grinned and slumped into the couch beside Seifer. "Rin and Zoey have run off to help Nida on the front line somewhere..."

"When the cowboy and messenger girl finally turn up we'll have the full group." Seifer commented wryly.

"...Yeah..."

"Hey, is the cold an' unfriendly Squall actually worrying about other people? Sounds like a miracle..."

"Same goes for you, my man." Zell replied to Seifer's dry comment.

"Hey, since when do you have to protect the Commander here?"

"Since he can't defend himself!"

"You got that right..."

Squall tuned them out, and stared out the window again.  He was worried.  He only had a small group of friends, and since he saw so little of them anyway, the worry was made even greater.  They'll be fine. Squall reasoned with himself.  They've always been able to take care of themselves... beyond his thoughts, he heard snatches of the conversation.

"...Called my boy a chicken..."

"...Smart kid..."

War with Galbadia was a dangerous thing.  Squall had seen it coming, over the years.  But the Sorceress thing was a little unnerving. It was inconceivable that there was another Sorceress… or so he had thought.  I'll have to send some SeeDs out there.  I'd rather do it myself, like old times...

"..they fought just like..."

"...course they did..."

But they were, just old times.  Squall hardly thought he could go out there and sneak around Deling again.  He was a little old, and he was also the Commander of the Garden.  He'd have to bargain with this President anyways, he couldn't do that outside of Garden.  He had so much responsibility... he'd never wanted it.

Seifer got bored with arguing with Zell, and moved away to recline in Squall's desk chair, which was surprisingly comfortable.  Under the mass of papers, he spotted the framed photo.  Picking it up, he carefully examined it, absentmindedly wiping off the thin layer of dust from the glass.

"This is from about the end of the War, right?" he asked Zell.

Zell craned his neck to see the photo. "Yeah, that's right."

"She was beautiful."

Zell knew exactly who he was talking about, and didn't ask. "Yeah, but then again, so was Zoey.  Ya know, it was so lucky-"

"How romantic." Seifer snorted. "I used to see you hiding around the corner of the Library.  You were the joke of the Garden."

"I was not!" Zell defended himself furiously. "It was all fine after the War, see?"

"Yeah, I heard she had to save you from choking to death from eating too many hotdogs."

"Who told you that?!"

"Ahh, Kinneas also found it very amusing..." Seifer replied smugly.  Meanwhile, Zell's face was turning all sorts of amusing shades of red.

"I'm gonna..."

"Hey guys!  How ya doin?"

The three simultaneously turned towards the digital phone.  Irvine was grinning into it, tilting his face to give a better view, just like he always did.

"The Commander here was thinking you might not make it," Seifer commented offhand.  Squall sent a dark look his way.

"Nah, we're all cool here.  Managed to sneak off and take one of these little shuttles.  Cute hey?" Irvine nodded behind him, showing off the shiny new ship. "Almost nice like the old Ragnorak.  Not as old..." he mused of into thought. "But nice."

Zell leered threateningly over the speaker. "You hurry back Kinneas so I can kick your ass for tellin' Seifer about stuff."

Irvine noticed Seifer smirking, and merely shrugged. "Sure thing.  Although I've got idea what you're on about..."

Squall cracked a tiny smile. "Where's Selphie?" he asked, attempting to get some information out of the cowboy before an argument began.

Irvine gestured towards the cockpit. "Why, flyin' the plane of course.  All the pilots were dead." He looked down a little and sighed mournfully. "Yeap, Trabia's as good as gone now..."

Squall watched his friend sympathetically.  Trabia had been his and Selphie's home for years.  Squall knew it was hard to lose a Garden.  He then noticed Irvine's unkempt and bruised condition.

"Why don't you get yourself fixed up." Squall said. "Come straight to my office when you arrive."

"Awww, thanks Squall." Irvine said with a fake smile. "Glad to know ya care."

He shut down the simple communications device, and went back to the cockpit.  Selphie was manuvering the shuttle in silence.  Irvine sat beside her, kissed her palm.  She shot him a brief smile.

"Squall said, with most compassion I might add,  to meet him in his office." He said. "I'll bet he's already making plans to attack."

"Uh huh." Selphie replied, staring over the deep blue ocean.

"What's on your mind, butterfly?" Irvine lounged back on the chair.  It just wasn't like his Selph to be silent like this.  Far enough under the circumstances, but still…

"I wonder how many thousands of people died." She mused. "Lots, I reckon.  We should've triggered a self destruct, so at least the Galbadians would've gotten blown up too."

"I guess.  A blown up Garden would kinda be better than a Galbadian one."

Selphie sighed.

"I really don't wanna lose Trabia again.  It's my home!" her lower lip began to quiver.

"Hey Seph, don't be like that..." Irvine drew her against him, and they flew towards Balamb against the setting sun on the ocean.

Squall watched in silence as a plane landed on the plains near his Garden.  It was unmarked, but he recognised the plane's build as one of the Trabia Garden older models.  A group of SeeD rushed over, but backed off as Irvine leapt out.  He gave a hand to his wife, helping her out of the plane.  They waved at the SeeD and began to walk into the Garden.  Squall noticed again how little his friends had changed.  Irvine had abandoned his coat, but wore his chaps with an unbuttoned blue shirt.  The SeeDs swarmed the little jet, examining it before a pilot could be called to haul it away.

Selphie looked almost identical to the last time Squall had seen her in person.  Not very tall, skinny, almost a skip in her stride.  She had, thankfully, grown out of her tiny yellow dress, opting for a plain white tank-top and a blue skirt.  Still short, though... but then again, some things never change.

"My my, this place looks nice." Irvine nodded in approval towards the new improved Garden. Selphie grabbed his hand and tugged him towards the entrance.

"Look at all the SeeDs.  They're guarding this place like a fortress." She observed as they stood in the foyer.  Lines of armed SeeDs were running backwards and forwards, on errands that only they knew.

"Yeah, a whole lotta nice kids.  Nice uniforms." Irvine commented as he glanced around.  He noticed a familiar figure. "Jade's getting along nicely."

Selphie looked over to where her daughter was talking merrily with a group of SeeDs and giggled. "Aww, that's so cute!" she waved at Jade, who ran over and hugged her mom.

"Hey!  They weren't sure if you were comin' back!" she grinned at her dad. "Hey dad.  You okay?"

Irvine surreptitiously closed his shirt, which hid darkening buises.  He'd ever admit it, but everyone knew that Galbadian soldiers were tough. "Nah, don't worry 'bout me.  Your mother is the one you should worry about."

"I'm fine.  Dya know where Rinoa is?" Selphie changed the subject.

"In that room upstairs, I guess." Jade shrugged, her eyes drifting back to her friends.

"Great then." Selphie began to tug Irvine to the elevator. "Should you be somewhere?"

"Teehee... yeah." Jade gave her parents a sheepish grin, the image of her dad. "It's just that Leo's always so...mean, and Sam just sits there..."

"Hey, still, if that's your post..." Irvine smirked. "Squall'd bite your head off if he saw you...distracting other SeeDs."

Jade giggled. "Okay, I'll see you later then?"

"Uh huh! Bye!" the elevator door closed.

Yeah, review! I might just get inspired!! Heehee, see ya.