Disclaimer: I don't own anything besides my own ideas.

A/N: This story will use the some ideas from altol (with consent from said author). For now it has only Quistis but this will be a Seiftis.

Remember to review! =)

Beta: Arisa K

Chapter 1

Everything was white around her and for a few seconds she thought she was alone. Suddenly, a figure made itself known at her side and she turned abruptly to face it. The figure was completely black but not unrecognizable; she could identify the long coat and gunblade anywhere but why couldn't she see him? Everytime her mind clung to a detail about him the darkness seemed to drip off his body to tease her only to appear mere seconds later.

The figure gestured her to follow, and she complied. Soon the white seemed to fade from around her only to be replaced by a beach covered in the warmest sun...but something felt wrong. The scenery flashed around her, dousing it with crimson red before returning to it's normal blue and sandy hues. The black figure made its way to the sea extending it's hand towards her and for some reason her hand made it's way to it. It felt cold and warm at the same time and she thought that maybe she was going crazy.

The presence pulled her hand as it made its way deeper into the sea. When the water reached her chest she tried to swim but it felt like she was trying to swim on air. The figure pulled her again and she started to panic. The black presence was completely submerged by now and she kept fighting it with only her head above water. Panic turned to terror when the figure started pulling harder. He was going to drown her. Her arm felt ready to rip off its hinges everytime she pulled it trying to get away from him.

"No. No!" She screamed, her voice breaking as terror took over.

She turned her head to the beach and screamed trying to get away from the figure and the suddenly freezing blue water. There was a flash of light and a few seconds later the sound of thunder. The beautiful warm sun transformed into a storm and she could already feel the pull of the sea. Her head turned towards the sea again and she froze. A wave made its way towards her so fast that even if she could get out of the water and to the sand it would still engulf her. The figure was still now and a few moments later she was thrown by the sheer force of the wave, the icy water lapping at her whole body, pushing and pulling in every direction. At that moment the figure's hand was her anchor.

Darkness consumed her.

Her eyes opened but sleep still caressed her mind. Turning to the side, she looked to see bright red numbers staring at her. Sleep was a rarity, and despite the desire to go back to it, she'd have to be content with the idea that her wish may come true - in a few more years.

She was so tired all the time, so sick of everything; of them, of this place, of him. She was tired of the mind numbing guilt but most of all she was sick of the nightmares... Or were they memories?

She pushed the sheets off her naked legs as she scanned her ceiling for the last time. Her eyes caught her forearms and as pain made itself known in her chest she looked away quickly. There were scars like veins all the way to her elbows. She remembered the pain like it was yesterday. Maybe it was yesterday – The nightmares never did let her forget. Her feet touched the ground and she made her way through her bedroom to the bathroom.

She was leaving today. Finally. The feelings of inadequacy would, hopefully, be left here. She knew they would be furious at her for what she was doing but she could handle fury much better than she could hate and she knew that if she opened up and said what it was she felt... Her hands made her way to her head as she washed her hair. She could feel her blond tresses touching the small of her back and thought that maybe that her hair needed a little trimming. She grabbed a bar of Garden standard soap and started washing her body. In less than six minutes she had finished her shower but maybe because it was the last shower in her bathroom she stood under the water for another ten minutes thinking of her new house and of the new life that she was going to start.

After her shower she grabbed some jeans and a salmon long-sleeved shirt and dressed mechanically. She took a final look around her room before slinging a bag filled with clothing and toiletries across her shoulder. Burning an image of each piece of furniture into her mind, she turned toward the door to leave it all behind.

She left her room and made her way to the cafeteria, her boots click-clacking their way down the dormitory corridor. She enjoyed Balamb Garden so early in the morning. The only traffic within the halls were that of the staff who passed her by with a smile and in turn she gave a cordial verbal greeting.

As she reached the cafeteria the smell of fresh fruit and pancake batter filled her nose. She approached the kitchen door calmly and knocked softly. A few seconds later the door opened revealing a short elderly lady with friendly features.

"Quistis, suga'. What can Ah do fer yah this early in the mornin'?"

A tired smile made it's way to Quistis' face.

"Good morning. I'm sorry to bother you ladies. But is there something I can have for breakfast?"

"Sure honey! D'ya wan' the usual? Ah can have it in five minutes."

"If it's not a bo-"

"No bother, suga'. Grab a seat."

Quistis nodded her head and turned to find a seat as the door closed behind her. She dropped her bag on a chair and sat in the chair across from it. She checked the cafeteria clock. Oh five hundred.

Maybe she should wait for them to wake up... but no, that wasn't such a good idea. As soon as she gave her new place the sprucing up it needed she would be back for her things and maybe then when she was more calm and collected she could speak with them, tell them why, what and how... She could imagine their faces and what they would think of her.

She was a farce.

"Quistis, here's yer food."

Her head turned to the woman, an easy smile in her lips.

" Thank you so much."

With a matching smile the older woman returned to the kitchen.

She was going to miss the pancakes, the freshly squeezed orange juice, the students running through the corridors everyday... Even the damn Grats. She didn't feel right here anymore, she felt out of place especially in the midst of her friends... Did it make her a despicable person for not feeling like she was going to miss her friends? Yes; but no more loathsome than she was before. Not after everything...

She never was very good at relating to others, her shyness and inability to connect were often confused with arrogance and so the moniker Ice Queen came to be. Some saw through her: Xu did, as did the Trepies and later even Seifer. Xu became her first friend and Seifer tormented her. He chose to pick at her wounds... with Hyperion... but he never was a subtle man. He did help her to some degree; he taught her to let the insults and poisonous jabs roll off her back with ease and grace. Even after all he said and did she could not hate him. She never quite understood why until their days at the orphanage came rushing back.

They always had a strange relationship. They would jab each other until they bled dry but they would not allow others to do so, at least back at the orphanage... That didn't mean they had been best friends back then; they had gotten into fights more times than they could count and had, consequently, been punished by Matron. Many afternoons they had sat alone together in Edea's bedroom, their breathing the only sound that emitted from their tiny bodies. They never talked or apologized to each other but if they felt the need they would fight no holds barred for each other. She could remember getting into an awful fight with Selphie because she'd dared to eat Seifer's cookie. She hardly thinks, now anyway, that fighting over a cookie like that was necessary but back then cookies were the highlight of their weeks.

She finished her breakfast and slung her bag across her shoulder again already on her way out of the cafeteria. Her eyes took in the morning light coming in through the Quad; hues of blue, orange and pink splashed across the sky.

Passing the Infirmary, she found herself finally at the front gate.

She was going to need to buy sheets, curtains, the works. She didn't remember seeing a store that sold those in Balamb. Maybe she'd have to go to Timber... She'll waste half a day on the trip alone and she wouldn't have time to clean anything... But she was excited. About sheets... Maybe it was the fact that she wasn't planing a SeeD mission as soon as she finished her breakfast or that, today or any other day for that matter, she wouldn't have other Seeds lives weighing heavily on her back.

As soon as her feet touched the grass outside of Balamb her face contorted into the first real smile in weeks. She took a last look at the Garden as it stood near it's initial location.

She kept herself to the road as the sound of the waves calmed her mind. As soon as she started getting near Balamb she could hear the fisherman already starting their day; laughter and good-natured bellows filling the air. Going through the main road she headed to the docks. Passing the Inn she set her eyes on her new home. It was the only house in the docks and it had once belonged to a fishmonger, the store was the first thing you saw when you looked at the house. The building was in dire need of repairs but it had a roof, walls, running water, electricity, gas and it was all hers.

She opened her bag and took out her key. Hyne, an actual key. She'd never had an real key, for anything. Back at Garden everything was opened with prints and ID numbers.

Quistis inserted the key in the lock, turned it and the door opened with a few grinding sounds.

She was home.