AUTHOR'S NOTES: Yeah! I thank you ALL for those who have reviewed and read. I had NO idea that I was going to get that many in just one day. Anyways, lots of people pointed out in the last chapter that it was just tooo short. I didn't realize that until I saw the actual fic itself on FF.net. You see, I write my stories alllll out on paper first, so I didn't know that 1 1/2 pages were going to be that short! This chapter's longer than the first one so thank you all! ~me
Phoenix stretched her slender arms up high. It had been two weeks since she was released fro mthe Infirmary and she was glad. After the first week in bed, it was driving Phoenix insane. She wanted to go outside, explore the Garden, and get the hell back home. But nooo, Dr. Kadowaki insisted that she stay until full recovery. So, all she could do was agree and look out the window, thinking about her sister, little brother, and all the childhood friends she left behind in battle. And the frustrating thing about all this was that she couldn't remember a damn thing on what happened to her to be injured so badly. All she could remember was falling, falling deep into the void of emptiness...
Phoenix shook her head at the thought, continuing to walk but at a much faster pace. It wasn't your fault, it isn't your falut, it's that freakin' hell of a sorceress's fault for getting you into this mess...
Something caught her eye and she turned her head.
"Training Center?" she asked herself and then paused. The people around her, both SeeD and cadets alike, looked at the sheathed sword around her hip and began whispering to one another, still staring. She frowned slightly and they disperesed in different directions. Phoenix gave a small sigh and headed towards the entrance of the center.
"Why do they keep on staring at me like that?" she murmured softly to herself. "It's as if I did something wrong..."
Dr. Kadowaki sat at her desk, examining the results of the blood tests. She had been asked by Cid and Edea to take a blood sample from their unexpected visitor and compare them to the DNA of everybody in the Garden. Kadowaki had asked why; Phoenix seemed to be a very amiable young girl, although a bit distant at times and didn't seem to be a threat to anyone.
"It's just that there's something odd about her," Edea had answered. "Yes, you're right, she doesn't seem to be a threat, but she looks so much like Rinoa. Don't you remember? When Squall and Zell had found her, they had mistaken her as Rinoa but she was right here talking to me the time they found her washed ashore. I just want to make sure..."
Dr. Kadowaki had almost finished through the list of comparison DNA and was about to toss the whole thing after not finding anything whatsoever until she passed Rinoa's and Squall's DNA. The two were right next to each other, one on top of the other. Coincidence, but that wasn't why Kadowaki had stopped. After taking another look at Phoenix's sample and back at Rinoa's and Squall's, she discovered something awfully strange.
She reached for the phone and quickly began to dial the Headmaster's office.
Phoenix took down a T-Rexaur with ease. She gazed down at its mutilated carcass in frustration. Geez, and those guys at the front said that THIS dino was the toughest monster to beat? I'd take Behemoth than this thing any day. She saw something shimmering out of its body and bent down to pick it up. It was a screw. Not to mention that I didn't even have to use my magic to kill it...
"You fight pretty well for beating a T-Rexaur with only your weapon," a voice said from behind.
Phoenix freaked out a bit, still not used to being not the only person around. And she still didn't trust anybody except for Dr. Kadowaki. She turned around, her blue katana still in her hand, to her addressor.
It was Squall, leaning against a railing, his arms folded across his chest, similar sapphire eyes looking at her straight in the eye, and the Lionheart at his waist in the same position as Phoenix's sheath was. She looked away from him for a moment to sheath her katana away, its blue ember fading as it slid into the sheath.
"Well, I practiced a lot without using my magic ever since I learned how to hold a sword," she said quietly and looking back up at him to return the gaze.
She had learned from Dr. Kadowaki that Squall was one of the men who found her washed ashore, the Commander of Balamb Garden, and had the same last name as she did. The doctor also said to her that Squall had a cold and intimidating attitude that made others respect him yet be feared by him as well, but for some odd reason, Phoenix didn't feel intimidated nor feared. She felt as if she met him before...known him longer than she should have.
Squall only arched an eyebrow at her response, his eyes clearly seen to be thinking. Their staredown was interrupted by yet another voice.
"Hey, Squall, did you find her yet?" Rinoa's voice called out as she ran in.
Phoenix had to blink a few times in bewilderment. Luna? No, it isn't her; she doesn't wear blue.
Rinoa greeted Squall with a big hug and kiss on the cheek. Phoenix couldn't help but be amused by Squall's reaction, who was trying not to grin or blush. Her thoughts were interrupted again when Rinoa turned around and called her name.
"Phoenix, isn't it? You've been in here since this morning, so would you like to join us for lunch?"
Rinoa's invitation was so warm and inviting that it flustered Phoenix a bit out of her shell that she so well kept closed.
She felt a bit out of place. Maybe a bit TOO out of place that Phoenix forgot to stop the spinning of the straw in her cup of hot chocolate. Zell, of course, was stuffing his face full of hot dogs and talking nonstop at the same time. Selphie sat on Irvine's lap, the two grinning like goofballs and barely touching their food as they gazed lovingly into each other's eyes. Quistis and Rinoa were deep in conversation about Quistis' return as an Instructor. And Squall was, well, Squall was Squall. Sure, he said something once in a while, but most of the time he observed. And he didn't seem the type to talk openly, so Phoenix just tuned into Rinoa and Quistis' conversation.
"Hey Phoenix!" Zell's voice snapped her out of her daydreaming.
Phoenix turned her head to look at Zell who had finished his lunch now and his tray was squeaky clean. He grinned his usual way of gretting people.
"You're new here, right? Why don't you tell us something about yourself? You've been so quiet that I could've mistaken you for a female version of Squall." He ignored the dirty look that Squall gave him and continued on. "So, do ya have any family or anything?"
She didn't know where to start and paused for a moment. Then she realized that Squall was staring at the spinning straw in her cup of hot chocolate and immediately put her hand over the cup to make it stop. "Um...well..."
But before Phoenix could answer, the PA system announced Cid's voice. "Would Squall, Rinoa, Zell, Quistis, Irvine, Selphie, and Phoenix come to the Headmaster's office? This is urgent. Thank you."
"I wonder what that was all about?" Quistis asked to nobody in particular.
Zell grinned again. "Maybe he's got a mission booked for us. It's been a while."
"But why would Phoenix be called up as well?" Rinoa asked, concerned.
"It's probably 'cuz she can kick some serious ass," Zell suggested and then looked at Phoenix. "I saw you at the Training Center. You were so fast, I wouldn't even see you if it weren't for those streaks in your hair."
Phoenix took that as a compliment. "Thanks."
"Look, why don't we just take a looksee and go upstairs?" Irvine drifted back to the subject. "Cid's voice seemed desparate."
The feeling of cold metal against her throat was nothing new to Phoenix. Even if it was one of the people who befriended her, she wasn't scared. Actually she was pretty much used to that as she stared back at eyes a simliar shade to hers that were now flaming in anger and being held back by Zell.
"Matron, Headmaster, just what the HELL is going on?" Squall shouted. His outburst of emotion was very rare but known well among his friends. "Are you saying that Phoenix is related to BOTH Rinoa and me? How can that be possible?"
Edea didn't say anything, but Cid got up from his seat. "Squall, maybe Phoenix can explain. We got a call from Esthar and all parts of the world about strange occurences happening in the cities and surrounding areas. Even the monsters are different. They are all asking us and Galbadia for help."
Silence. Then Phoenix broke it, looking down at the floor.
"How in Hyne's name am I supposed to know what's going on?" she asked softly. Everybody turned in her direction. "I mean, I just got here. First thing I'm with my friends fighting Ultimecia and the next thing I find myself here. Personally, I didn't even KNOW that Garden still existed."
"Wait a second," Quistis spoke up, trying to figure things out. "What do you mean by that you and your friends were fighting Ultimecia? She's still alive? And what do you mean that Garden still existed?"
Phoenix looked up from the floor, a puzzled look on her face. "What do you mean by 'still alive'? Of course she's still alive. Been alive ever since I could remember." She refused to answer the second part of the question.
"Hold on a sec, Phoenix," Irvine intervened. "Are you fighting SORCERESS Ultimecia?"
A very frightening look came to his face. "It's because WE killed her two years ago."
AUTHOR'S NOTE (once again): Okay, okay, very STRANGE, isn't it? You'll get to understand what's going on later on...that is if you still want me to continue. R/R plz!