In the halls of
a very busy Garden, a girl was in a rush. It was her first day in Balamb and she wanted to make a good impression. She also
wanted to be on time for her classes. Unfortunately every other student on campus seemed to want the same thing, so she was
forced to push through the mob. Eventually this got tiring, so she stopped to catch her breath and wonder what the big hurry
was this girl?
Her name was Yolei Alcher. She was a seventeen year old from central Timber. She was
about 5’4”, had light brown eyes and blonde hair. The hair was the strangest part about her. It had been streaked
half-violet a few years ago when she had accidentally gotten a swarm of Glacial Eye very angry. This same hair had earned
her the label of Freak for the last three years.
But things were going to be different at Balamb Garden,
oh yes, Yolei was
oh-so-sure of it. Besides, they couldn't have been trying to get away
-her-, since she had been
pushed,shoved, and rammed into more times than she
could count. It had to be something else, but..what?
a collective sigh, and began walking again, still wondering what
could possibly be going on. The thoughts were swimming
through her head so
quickly that she barely noticed the mob-like crowd dissipate, and was
brought crashing back to
earth with the sounding of a very loud bell.
"Oh dammit!" The unexpected oath slipped easily through her lips, adding
to her aggravation. But,strangely enough, instead of racing off, Yolei
just stood there, shocked and dismayed beyond
belief. That was her standard
reaction to any crisis, simply standing dumbstruck for a while, then
freaking out when
it hit her.
Only this time, "it" hit her a lot faster than usual.
At first, Yolei had no idea what had happened exactly,
only knowing that she
had been pushed flat on her butt by something and was now dazed. After
about half a second,
her senses seemed to function properly again. The
scent of soft leather wafted into her nostrils, and she heard the "squeak,
squeak" of sneakers, and when the blur left her eyes, she saw a gloved hand
being waved in front of her face. The
hand was attached to a young man
with oddly spiked blonde hair, a facial tattoo reminiscent of lightning,
eyes filled with a look of concern. Kinda cute,no, really cute,
Yolei thought, her head still spinning, and she wondered
if she was
The simple question succeeded in causing the poor girl a great deal of
and she slowly got back on her feet.
"Uh..Y-yeah. I'm.. fine, th-thanks.." She emphasized this by brushing
off and flashing a sweet smile. "I was just..trying to get to class." The blonde boy chuckled.
"You're new here, huh?"
When Yolei nodded, he quirked his head, the light
sapphires of his eyes shining.
"I..I just got here yesterday." In
an instant, Yolei's paranoid side came
out. "You..You're not gonna get me in trouble, are ya?" He shook his head,
amused grin playing his face.
"Nah. But wait.. New student..just arrived yesterday.. Yolei Alcher, right?"
How'd you know?" Her face was displaying a look of embarrased shock.
Her eyes went wide and traces of a light blush began
to show themselves.
"Oops. Forgot to introduce myself. It's only fair, I -did- bump into you
and end up pushing you
about two feet away." Again a grin splashed across
his face. "Name's Dincht. Zell Dincht, SeeD rank 30 and lover of hotdogs."
"Uhhmm..And how should that explain why you know my name?" With that, Zell
"Oh, sorry. It's a
SeeD requirement that we all have to be familiar with
every single student in this Garden. And yes, that really -is- boring."
caught the look of confusion on her face. "Something wrong?" At first, she
shook her head, then nodded.
I was wondering.."
"Do you know why everyone's in such a hurry today?"
As if the answer was the most obvious
thing ever, Zell nodded.
"Of course I do! Today's the annual SeeD test, and everyone's edgy and
excited about that.
And at that precise moment, the bell marking the end of homeroom went off,
making Yolei jump yet again.
Zell sweatdropped, looking nervously at the
clock that hung nearby.
"Damn! I gotta go. Cid's probably going to kill
me.." The look on his face
was clear, he didn't want to discuss why the headmaster was out for his
blood. "Well, Yolei,
it's been nice running into you. Hey, since you're a
trainee, I'll see you later for the exam, huh?"
Not another word was exchanged between the two. Zell ran down the hallway
leading to the SeeD meeting room while
Yolei concluded her walk to class.
From what she had heard, Garden's instructors were pretty lenient about
being late, but she wasn't particularily interested in seeing
Disclaimer: I don't
own Dr. Pepper. All I own in this is Yolei. Don't steal her!
Balamb Garden - SeeD Lounge, Noon-ish
passed since the unfortunate, or perhaps fortunate, accident in the hallway, and Yolei's meeting with her Homeroom teacher
had gone rather well, although her head was still spinning. However, Zell hadn't fared as well. Having missed part of a very
important SeeD meeting meant being assigned to Instructor duty in the SeeD test later on, which was the absolute last thing
the blonde fighter wanted, or needed. The decision had been made over two hours ago, and Zell was still depressed about it
as he lay on one of the Lounge's many sofas and sipping a Dr. Pepper, tapping his foot.
Suddenly the glass door swung
open, and Seifer sauntered in, swaggering about like he owned the place as usual. Zell didn't even bother to tell the intruder
that he wasn't allowed or wanted in the SeeD Lounge, mostly because of sheer fear. True, the younger blonde had more authority
and say in things than more than a few people at Garden, but he didn't really want to use his authority near Seifer and get
his ass kicked into next year for it!
"Yo, Dincht. What squad you in charge of?"
"....." Zell wasn't really
willing to answer, for fear that he might accidentally say the wrong thing, and thus have his rear kicked ahead in time. This
made Seifer glare at him.
"Answer me, Chicken-wuss. What fucking squad are you in charge of!?" He grabbed Zell by
the collar, threatening to give him a well-deserved (in his mind anyway) punch in the face.
The tall blonde muttered to himself, and swaggered right back out the door.
Zell couldn't help but grin at Seifer,
who obviously didn't realize that only actual Instructors could deduct marks from Exam participants. This wouldn't be so bad
The afternoon passed quickly after that. Soon the time for the SeeD recruits to take their exam had arrived.
Naturally, all the hopefuls had arrived promptly in the front hall. Except for one.
A certain blonde chick was late.
Again. After nearly ten minutes, Cid had an announcement made.
"Would Yolei Alcher PLEASE report to the front hall
"Oh -shit!- Late again.. Not good.." Something told the girl that being late for the biggest exam she
would ever take wasn't exactly a good thing. Not willing to be any later, Yolei just grabbed her Garden uniform top, which
she had already declared annoying, and tied it about her waist. She smirked, really pleased with herself for sidestepping
Garden's strict dress code. From what she had heard, tying part of one's uniform around the waist didn't qualify as "defacing".
Satisfied with her new "look", Yolei sprinted from her room down to the Hall.
Time waited for noone, and she was fairly
sure the Instructors wouldn't either.
She just hoped they wouldn't notice..Wait, they already had. A knot of fear
had tied up in her stomach, growing huge by the time she passed the last fish fountain. Already students were leaving, heading
for the large vessels parked outside of Garden. She tried to follow, but was stopped abruptly.
"Hey! Yolei! Wait a
minute!" The voice,which she recognized instantly, almost made her heart stop. She didn't dare turn to look at him, for fear
that he just may notice the slightest hint of a blush on her cheeks. The fact that she was blushing confused the shit out
It just didn't make sense.
Zell Dincht was older. He was a SeeD, her superior.
But he was
Cute or not, it still didn't make sense. They had just met!
She turned to face him, arching a pale
"You're in Squad B, with me."
"Yup! You're lucky too." The blonde
boy had a wide smirk on his face.
"I'm nice to trainees. Especially the ones I'm in charge of."
The smile widened, and so did poor Yolei's eyes. "Somethin' wrong?"
The moment he asked, she began to wonder if Zell
Dincht was a mind reader. She didn't want to show her true thoughts yet, mostly because she herself didn't understand them
yet. So, she shook her head.
"Nah. Just nervous, I guess." Yolei smiled, shrugging it off as if her nerves were nothing.
"Nothing wrong with bein' nervous. It's your first real battle, right?"
"Yeah." She felt her smile fade as
her nerves gave her a kick in the stomach. He noticed this, and quirked his head.
"Well, don't let it get to you."
He put his hand on her shoulder, making any blush that was starting to form become ridiculously obvious. "Just stay focused
and you'll be fine." Zell grinned again. If he noticed the deep red of her cheeks, or the fact that her heart was pounding
like a bass drum, he didn't show it, just squeezed her shoulder. "Oh, and remember, I'm lookin' out for ya. Okay?"
In reality, she was anything but okay. How could she stay focused when he was watching out for her if she was sent into a
confused blushing frenzy when he innocently touched her shoulder? She would try. She had to try her hardest to pass this exam,
and wasn't about to let such a trivial thing as what felt like a developing major crush interfere with her success. Zell lifted
his hand from Yolei's shoulder, and began walking to the gate. Having no other options, she followed him timidly, eyes watching
his shadow and nothing else. She didn't dare look at him, afraid that she'd lose what little focus she had.
could just last long enough to pass, she would be fine...
Nearly twenty minutes later, on a Garden vessel
Esthar, Yolei was still focused, but barely. She was sitting between
Seifer and Zell, and from
the nauseated look on Seifer's face, he was
about as happy about the seating arrangement as she was.
was busy looking over the clipboard containing the
mission briefing, which had just been explained in almost complete
gibberish. Yolei tapped him on the shoulder timidly.
"Zell?" The blonde looked up at her with curiosity.
"Um, what exactly is out mission?" He grinned at her, causing a bit
of a blush on her cheeks.
didn't understand Commander Slur-a-lot either, huh? Don't worry,
I'll tell you."
"Then what're you waiting
"...He's probably waiting for you to shut up." Seifer muttered, eyes
gazing up at the ceiling.
points will be deducted from your mark. Keep your opinion to
yourself." Zell said, trying to hide the satisfaction
voice. The taller man didn't say anything else, and Zell turned
back to Yolei.
our mission is to curb Esthar's monster population.
Apparently, President Loire's sick of waking up and seeing an
Elnoyle outside his window every morning." He chuckled at the
thought. "Any other questions?"
when do we land?"
"Um, should be any minute now." He grinned cutely at her. "You ready?"
Raw nerves set in,
and she gulped, then nodded, nervous fingers
fiddling with her crossbow. Poor thing, Zell thought, she's
never killed anything bigger than a Bomb..
He put his hand on her shoulder again.
"Don't worry, YoYo. Like
I said, I'm watching after you." She looked
up from the weapon, smiled weakly, and nodded.
"Yeah. You're right.
Thanks, Zell." It was getting easier to focus
now, she thought, despite the fact that she still blushed a bit, and
her heart was set aflutter at the moment. If she ignored it, the
feeling would go away.
Yolei didn't have time to ponder her feelings before the Garden vessel docked and everyone quickly stood up,
filing out much like ants in line.
The first thing that the girl noticed was the view of the city before her. Esthar
was big, that much she knew, but she never would have imagined just how big. Just going by first glance, Yolei thought that
there was enough room in this wonderland of brightness and technology to fit at least three towns the size of her beloved
Timber within its borders.
Zell noticed her reaction, wide eyes and gaping mouth, and chuckled.
She jumped at his voice, blushed nervously, and nodded. "Wait till ya see the whole thing."
"It's like, bigger than
"Aah, not quite. But it ~is~ a cool city. You should have seen it before the Lunar Cry, back before the
President knew what a Real monster was." The blonde chuckled again, clearly amused. "Anyway, we should really get to Camp
before all the action starts. "
At this moment, a question began to plague Yolei's mind, and she hesitated.
Zell? What exactly is an Elnoyle?"
"You'll see!" His voice was too cheerful to be allowed, especially under the circumstances.
He was obviously not too happy about whatever this Elnoyle thing was.
Nothing else was said until the pair reached
the camp where the trainees would be staying. It was gloomy, with several tents displaying the Balamb Garden emblem, which
made the place look more like a military barrack than a campsite. To make matters worse, the sound of monsters shrieking could
be heard. After dropping off the gear he was carrying outside of a tent, Zell turned to Yolei.
"Look over there."
He pointed his gloved hand to the south. "See that big thing?"
"Umm, the big, black thing with the fangs?"
That, my dear, is an Elnoyle. You stay away from that unless you want to die!"
It took a few seconds for this to register
into her mind, and her face went paper-white.
"A…Aren't we uh, supposed to fight that?!"
Unfortunately. I just meant that you should stay away from it when you're alone." If Zell had been a little bit more open
with his feelings, he would've hugged her. Hyne only knew that girl needed a hug more than anything. Zell Dincht was not one
to go around hugging girls he hardly knew, mostly because he was unsure about how the girl in question would react. Besides,
now was not the time for such insignificant actions as hugging. "Hey, want to bunk with me?"
"I meant, uh, wanna share a tent? I won't like, bite ya or anything. Besides, it's better than bunking with Seifer."
He wasn't flirting with her. In his mind, the man was just keeping his promise to watch out for the girl. She seemed to agree
"Uh, Sure!" The gear she carried was dropped to the ground by the tent, except for her crossbow. "When do
A huge grin spread across Zell's face.
"We've already started, YoYo. As soon as we leave, we're
probably gonna get attacked by an Imp or something. Don't worry. You'll be fine. Just make sure your GFs are equipped!"
Guardian forces were the one thing Yolei was sure about. She always had them equipped, and spent quite a bit of time engaging
in conversation with the spirits. They were always talking, especially after battle. Only one thing about them really bothered
her, and that was the fact that they were just…there.
Noone had given them to her, except for Ifrit, and
she had fought long and hard for control of the Fire monster. In truth, her Guardian Forces seemed to have been born with
her, or just recently in some cases.
It wasn't natural, and she knew it, choosing to keep her mouth shut for that
"Okay then!" Zell bounced, throwing a couple of air punches. Of course, Yolei thought that this was
plain cute, and almost giggled. "Let's go!"
With a wave, he took off, going in the opposite direction of the cruel
Elnoyle. The girl had no intention of getting eaten, and therefore had no choice but to follow him. In the process of catching
up, she realized something. Zell Dincht was one hell of a fast runner, and it was no wonder that his legs were so muscular.
Not that Yolei had looked. Well, not very much, anyway..
The only time that she had ever looked was right when they
had first met, and she didn't really have a say in the matter. He had been wearing shorts, and was kneeling when he checked
to see if she was all right. How could she NOT have noticed? It wasn't like she was hitting on him by quietly noticing his
legs, so the thought slipped from her mind.
Zell was right. Roughly a minute after the little journey began, the deafening
roar of a Torama made Yolei jump. The cat leapt, and knocked the girl down with its massives paws. Stifling a moan of pain,
she pulled out her trusty crossbow and started firing at the beast. It screamed, and lunged forward again, claws scratching
her cheek. Seconds later, she felt what seemed to be a cool breeze blowing over her, and immediately felt some of the sting
fade away. Right off, she knew that Zell had given her a cure spell. He wasn't exactly being inactive. Between curing, he
was making fast work of beating the Torama senseless. It roared weakly, and kneeled down. Zell knew from experience that Toramas,
like most other monsters, tended to save their most aggressive attacks for the very end of the battle.
out!" The cat opened its mouth, and some sort of fire magick slipped from its lips. She dove to the side, barely missing being
burned. It was unusual. Toramas certainly weren't fire elemental. Zell knew that for a fact. Some sort of mutation must have
occured in the two years since the Cry, but no mutation could possibly change a creature's element. That didn't change the
fact that the air still smelled of smoke, and certainly didn't make the battle any easier. Suddenly, the air turned chilly,
and an unmistakable blast of ice magick struck the Torama. That was no mere blizzard spell, he realized, and respect bordering
on admiration for the girl welled up inside him. But Zell Dincht admired noone, regardless of how attractive, female, and
skilled with magick the person was. The poor boy's heart had already been crushed once before, and he had no intention of
going through ~that~ again, regardless of how tempting the idea of love was.
No. Never. He couldn't waste his time
thinking about this, especially in the middle of a rather difficult battle.
The Torama fell then, letting out a strangled
cry as it hit the ground. The battle had been won. When Zell finally got up the courage to look Yolei in the eye, his face
reflected absolute shock and amazement.
"What the hell did you DO?" Yolei blushed, and tried to stammer out an apology.
"Er, oops. I meant, how did you do that? Whoa! When I took my SeeD test, I didn't even have a Blizzard spell!"
have an Ice element. Is that..wrong?"
"Nah. Don't worry about it. I think it's cool!"
"So..The element thing...?"
She was confused. He saw that, and was determined not to confuse her any more.
"Like I said, don't worry about it.
I have an element too, see?" He pointed a finger and grinned as a spark flew from his fingertip to the ground. "Lightning.
Cool, huh?" She nodded, smiling from both relief and amusement, and got up, making sure her crossbow was secured on her arm.
In a split second, they moved on. A series of long, grueling battles followed as the pair travelled into the heart of Esthar.
Little did they know that the roughest battle was yet to come.
An ordinary battle with an ordinary Elnoyle was what
Zell had in mind when they approached the creature. When he saw the Elnoyle that they were supposed to fight, he almost fainted.
This was no ordinary Elnoyle! It had blood red eyes, was nearly twice the size it should have been, and had dark green
veinlike patterns on its body. What Zell and Yolei noticed first, however, were its fangs. Like freshly sharpened daggers,
they shone in the late afternoon sunlight, showing the blood of whatever poor creature it had chosen for its last meal. Judging
by the clutch of monster eggshells nearby, it was the mother and cause of all the mutation, and therefore had to be stopped.
After it devoured several arrows and dodged dozens of Zell's best punches, it was clear that physical attacks were
pretty much useless. Zell solved this problem by summoning Quezacotl, the legendary Thunder bird that Yolei had only heard
of, and never seen. The bird flapped its wings, sending jolts of lightning into the Elnoyle's body. Damage had finally been
done to the creature, judging by the roars of pain echoing through the air. It roared again, and decided to vent its rage
on Yolei. Before she had a chance to escape, Freak Elnoyle was closing his fangs on her knee. Its claws struck her across
the face, and Zell, who was in the middle of a limit break, stepped back in shock. Little did he know that in the process
of being bitten, the girl's crossbow had gotten unstrapped from her arm, and was now right behind the boy's feet. When he
stepped back, he consequentially stepped on the weapon, creating a loud crunch. Yolei looked up, her face pale and her eyes
violently glaring at Zell.
"YOU FU-Uugh.." Whatever she was calling him was forgotten as the creature swiped at her
again, not clawing her but knocking her to the ground.
"A...An...Angelina..." Her voice was horribly weak, but the
Guardian Force heard its mistress's voice. Holy white light flooded the area, and Zell felt all pain fade from his body. What
looked like a legendary angel appeared, with long hair the colour of the sun, and vast wings. If he had been thinking clearly,
Zell would have seen a slight resemblance between Angelina and Yolei. As it was, he was too preoccupied with watching the
Elnoyle being slaughtered.
The last thing Yolei saw before she blacked out was Zell's sneakers.
A while later, when Yolei finally opened her eyes, she had no idea where she was. All she was aware of was
the throbbing pain in her leg, and a feeling that something was wrong. A voice brought her mind back into focus.
Zell. His foot. Her crossbow. Anger flooded her mind, and she did the first thing she could think of. She reached
over and slapped him. Zell flinched, and blinked at her.
"Oh, so you're finally awake."
"Shut up! Weapon breaking
"What!? If it's about your crossbow, I fixed it, and I'm sorry, okay?" He handed her the weapon, and gave
a cute, apologetic smile, but she was stil visibly annoyed. "..It doesn't matter now anyway."
"What DOES matter? Huh?"
"Your leg, for one."
"It's Fine! It's just a little scrape!" She tried moving her leg, and winced. "...Shit.."
If Yolei was "fine", Zell was a giant turkey. He wasn't gobbling and sprouting feathers, either.
"No I'm not!" She crossed her arms, and pouted in protest.
"Yes you are!!!"
"I'm fine! Listen,
you doof!" Yolei's protests went unnoticed by Zell. He immediately picked her up, slung her over his shoulder, and hauled
her off to the Medical Tent. Once there, he plopped her on the cot, and began examining her leg. No matter what she said,
no matter how much she protested, any leg with a gash that big was in desperate need of medical attention. He told her this,
and was promptly glared at.
"Well, it's true!"
"Fine then!" He lifted her leg up, careful
not to glance down her skirt, and showed her the "little scrape". She paled to the point that she started to turn green, then
stopped struggling. "See!? I may be blond, but I'm NOT stupid!" To this Yolei could not comment out of fear that she would
get sick. Blood was certainly not one of her favorite things to look at, especially not coming out of an injurt like that
"..Okay...Do whatever you have to.." She gave a sigh of resignation, and pulled her boot off. "God, this is gross.."
She made a face.
"Good. Next time, be more careful, okay?"
"...Speak for yourself! You're the klutz who stepped
on my weapon!" Zell mimicked the last three words, and was slapped again. "Smart ass!"
"Predictable bitch.." Zell
muttered as he rubbed his cheek.
He didn't mean that as a compliment and she knew it. The throbbing
pain in his cheek currently disabled most of his logical thinking, so he just shut his mouth and concentrated on dressing
her wound. Yolei merely sat there pouting. She was thinking, but wouldn't reveal her thoughts for all the snow in Trabia.
Whether she wanted to admit it or not, her crush was blossoming into an obsession. She would never admit it publicly, but
part of her didn't mind.The only thing she DID mind was the crossbow incident, but, like Zell said, that didn't really matter.
She was worried that she had ruined a good opportunity for a relationship over a weapon.
By the time Zell was halfway
done with her leg, his thoughts were just about as jumbled as Yolei's were. He was now willing to admit to himself that yes,
the girl was attractive, but would NEVER say it out loud. In this case, that was a problem, considering that they were acting
like worst enemies. Zell suddenly wanted to change this, but how could he possibly have predicted what she was going to say
"Umm...Sorry for yelling. And for slapping you." Sincere apology was reflected in her voice and her eyes. It
was at that moment that he realized how pretty those eyes were.
"Ah, it's allright. I um, did kinda deserve it."
you didn't." He might have misheard, but he thought he heard a slight note of soft affection in her voice. Just in case he
didn't mishear, he didn't, and couldn't, respond.
He didn't have to. As he wrapped the bandage around her leg, the
girl tried to start a casual conversation.
"So, um, Zell..How long have you been in SeeD?"
"Couple years now.
I joined when I was 17. I gotta admit,this test is a LOT harder than mine was."
Strangely, she found this fascinating.
"Really? No Elnoyles, huh?"
"Nope. But there -was- an Elvoret! And a huge crab monster. Wait, that was worse.
"It's okay..." Her voice trailed off, and she struggled to end an awkward moment. "Almost done?"
Definately done, in fact." He patted her leg, and she winced. "Sorry...Again."
"It's alright." She pulled herself
back up. "Thanks." The smallest trace of a blush could be seen on cher cheek, but he wasn't really looking. He glanced at
her face, caught himself, flushed a little, and turned his eyes to her shoulder. "You're...um...welcome."
"I was um, going to ask you, what kind of girls you like. I mean, uh, specifics."
and still looking at something on the wall, Zell started to speak.
"W...Well, for starters, she has to be smart. I
mean, speaks her mind and all that." Every word he said made Yolei blush more.
um, has to be pretty. Well, all girls are pretty, but I mean in a unique way." Poor Zell gulped nervously before going on.
"like, I dunno. There's gotta be somethin' about her, like the way she does her hair.." His hand lifted to the odd curl of
her bangs, and twirled it gently. Her eyes went huge, and her blush deepened. "Aa, Sorry." He tried moving his hand, but it
seemed to be controlled by his rebelling heart. Yolei tried not to notice what was going on.
else?" The hand slipped down to her cheek, and both blushes deepened. Zell was now convinced his heart was leading a mutiny
against him, but couldn't really stop it. He leaned closer to her, close enough to hear her heart pounding like a bass drum
on the rampage. Or maybe he was hearing his own heart, pounding affectionately for the first time since the Library girl had
rejected him, smashing his heart into pieces. But this time was different. His mind knew that, but his heart wanted to know
"...Initials. She's gotta have cute initials. And..."
"...And she's gotta be sittin'
right in front of me.." A gasp. By now they were close enough for Zell to smell the sweetness of her breath, but he couldn't
"Zell...I...think I'm falling for you..."
"That's good, YoYo...I already have." He smiled softly
at her for a moment, then kissed her. At that precise moment, his heart knew the answer.
Because she feels the same