Community Service Well Spent

BY : Redrum
Category: Final Fantasy VIII > General
Dragon prints: 525
Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy VIII, nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Chapter 9: Group Therapy

He looked even paler when he finally came back. His head was bent, thick chestnut hair hanging in his face. The blonde nurse from before was wheeling him in. She must be off duty now or something.

Her eyes widen when she looks up at me. "You must have been waiting here for at least an hour!" I nod. It felt like longer. Squall's head snaps up when he finally sees my boot clad feet in front of him. He gives a weak smile.

The nurse unlocks the hand cuffs and helps him to maneuver to the bed. Squall gently pushes her away and walks for himself. I chuckle and stand up slightly to slide my chair closer to the bed. The blonde gently holds Squall's wrist and chains him back to the bed. I notice a glint in her eyes that almost looks like regret. I give a small smile. At least one of the nurses is against the bonds.

She pulls the blanket over and turns to me, sticking her hand out. I follow the gesture and shake her hand, a surprisingly firm hold. "I'm Quistis." I nod.

"Seifer." She releases my hand and heads towards the door. Before leaving she turns her head to the side, speaking to me over her shoulder. "You take good care of him now, ya hear?" I chuckle and nod. She smiles and drops the accent. "Bye. I hope to see you back again soon. You're a real help to him." I grin and wave.

The sound of her heels slapping the floor echoes until I only hear the faint clicking. I turn away from the door, and back to the man lying in the bed. He's facing me, body curled up in a fetal position, unmoving.

You'd think he was asleep until you looked at his open eyes. He gives a small smile when he sees me watching him. His whole frame seems to radiate frailty. He looks tired again too.

I get up from the chair, and placing my hands on either side of my waist, I bend backward until I hear a satisfying crack. I feel the brunette's eyes running along my body. I smirk and bend forward, wrapping my hands around my ankles. He coughs lightly, and I straighten.

Turning to the bed, I kneel down and place my chin on the railing. A small bit of heat radiates from the pale hand resting near my face. I smile when I feel soft fingers brushing along my shaven cheek. When I speak I try not to dislodge his caresses. "You feel like talking?" He sighs and runs a finger reverently down my cheek. I give him a small smile and grab his bounded hand, letting my warmth seep into his cold flesh.

"Dad came." I press his hand to my cheek, just holding it there.

"I heard. How did it go?" He gives another sigh.

"He seems to know you." What? Squall sees my frown and decides to elaborate. "He said that you met Raine, my mom, when you were younger at the park, and you talked to her almost every day for three years. She said that when she told you about me, you wanted to meet me. But since I was anti-social even then, mom didn't want to intrude. She passed away when you were 15, you never saw her again. And since you didn't know were we lived you didn't come to see where she went." Huh... so I knew Squall's mother? Wow... it's a small world after all. It's a shame I didn't meet him when he was younger. Maybe I would have been able to open him up when he was younger, and he would have lived a happier life. Oh well. The past is the past, and you can't change it.

"So... can I ask how she died?" He winces.

"I... don't know."

"What?!" I yell, not being able to control my surprise or disbelief. His gaze flickers downwards.

"I don't remember. I haven't been able to remember for a long time."

"Couldn't you ask your dad?" He frowns and looks up at me. I raise my eyebrows in surprise at the steely gaze directed at me.

"He's the one that put me in here."

"Yes, but... I'm sure he had a reason." Squall shakes his bound hand from my grip. His dark blue eyes hold mine.

"So, now I'm crazy?"

"No! I didn't say that! I just -" He shakes his head.

"Who else is put into this kind of hospital? Certainly not sane people. So I must be crazy." I shake my head furiously. Shocks of blonde hair fall into my face, escaping the gel that holds it in place.

"I know your not crazy Squall. I didn't say that. It's just... maybe he thinks he has a good reason to put you in here. But maybe he's mistaken? You certainly don't seem crazy to me. Hell, you're saner then I am." He gives a small smile at that. I breathe a silent sigh in relief at the obvious display of forgiveness.

"So, does your dad plan on visiting again?" The brunette sighs and nods. "Hmm. Anytime soon?" He appears to think for a second before replying.

"He said sometime this week, he wants to meet you too."

"Oh." Squall looks up at me from beneath thick lashes. Is his dad going to be expecting something from me? I'm not the little kid that Raine told him about before she died. I'm not even sure if I want to meet the man who put Squall in here. Then again, I never would have met Squall if it hadn't been for his being here.

"You don't have to meet him if you don't want to." I shake my head.

"No, it's okay. I just don't want to end up causing a scene if my temper goes." Squall frowns in confusion. "He put you in here. He made you suffer all of this. I don't know if I want to be all that nice to him." He grins at me.

"Just act like you normally do. And everything should be okay." I nod at his optimism. I hope so. I don't want his dad to hate me and try to make Squall give up on our friendship.

We both turn to the door when Quistis suddenly pops her head in. We were so caught up we didn't even hear her foot steps. "It's time to go to your group therapy Squall." The brunette nods and sighs. Quistis smiles at his antics and quickly moves to unlock Squall and let him get into his wheelchair. She locks both his hands up this time and looks over at me.

"If he doesn't mind, you can go to therapy with him if you want." I frown and look at Squall in question. He nods. The young nurse sees this and smiles. "I'll just show you the way then."

I follow behind the pair and try to memorize the route taken. When we finally get to the door Quistis takes a step back from the chair. "Just walk right in. Alex won't mind you being there." I nod and take the chair's handles, wheeling Squall into the medium sized room.

The walls were painted a bright blue, odd colorful paintings hung on every wall. The navy blue carpeted floor was a little hard to roll Squall in, but it felt nice underneath my feet. Approaching the small circle of people, I push Squall just a little out of the circle, as I figured he'd normally do, and grabbed a near by chair to sit beside him.

Looking around the circle I spot the cowboy and the twins that I saw on my first day here. Zell also happens to be sitting diagonal from me. I notice the group suddenly started chatting again, as though there were no interruptions. They must still be curious, or nervous, either or, about Squall.

The doors bang open and a tall red head strides in. His dark brown eyes scan the room until they land on Squall I. I. He breaks out into a large smile, and I notice the bright freckles dotting his cheeks. "Squall! It's been a long time!" He smiles brighter. "Looks like we have some new faces here." His gaze sweeps over Zell and I. This must be Zell's first time in this group.

The gangly man sits on a free chair. "Do you want to introduce yourselves?" Zell bounces in his seat. I smirk and cross my ankle over my leg.

"Not particularly." The man frowns at me. But Zell's loud voice breaking the silence stops him from scrutinizing me further.

"I'm Zell Dincht!" Alex (I notice his name tag for the first time) smiles brightly at the smaller blonde.

"That's great! I'm Alex, as you probably already know. I haven't seen you in this group before." Zell continues to bounce in his chair. Does this boy ever stop going? He's like a damn bunny on drugs. No, a chicken on drugs. Heh.

"I used to be in Cid's group, but he decided to change my time. So now I get to be in this group!" He exclaims. Obviously happy about the fact. He suddenly turns to the brunette sitting beside me. "I didn't know your name was Squall! It's a nice name, where'd ya get it?" Squall looks over at him, a scowl on his face. I smirk when I see his dark blue eyes. He must be pissed off. Who wouldn't be in Zell's hyper presence?

"His parents obviously." I snarl, trying to get his attention off of Squall. The small blonde's eyebrows shoot up.

"I thought he was an orphan? That's what all the other people say."

"It's called 'rumors'. Or do you not know what that word means chicken?" Zell frowns and stands up. For some reason, his hands curl into fists and he assumes a martial artist pose.

"Whoa! Zell, calm down! He didn't mean anything by it." Zell huffs, but sits down. His eyes still narrowed at me. Looks like chicken has a temper. I smirk and slouch farther into my chair. Alex turns to me.

"What's your name?" I smirk.

"Almasy." He frowns.

"We go by first names here." I sigh, but decide to play along.


"Ahh, you must be the volunteer. I hear you've been making progress with Squall." He looks over at said brunette. "He doesn't look as pale as he was, nor as skinny."

"Your point?" I raise an eyebrow. I try not to smile when I hear Squall give a small huff in laughter. I still haven't been able to fully hear him laugh yet. At least I've gotten him to give me a smile. Even if it is rather small.

"My point." He drawls. Heh. I can tell he's getting pissed off. Looks like his little cheery attitude is just a facade. "My point is that Squall needed friends and you gave him that. We've talked about it in group therapy, but he never..."

"Talked back?" Alex nods.

"We used to think he was a mute and couldn't understand us, but it's obvious that he understands what we're saying. He just doesn'tt tot to say anything." I scowl.

"You do realize that Squall, along with other people are in the room right now, right?" His red brows raise.

"Of course. We keep no secrets in here." I sigh and shake my head.

"Why don't you just continue on with what you normally do and leave Squall out of this. I'm sure he doesn't appreciate people hounding on him everyday to talk." I sneak a glance over at the man beside me and see his lips curl upwards. I resist a smile in response. I can tell the brunette's glad that I seem to be ato uto understand him. I'm just glad that I'm able to read him.

Alex huffs but decides to leave us alone. He turns to the small black haired man beside him. "How are you feeling today Kouji?" Kouji tilts his head forward.

"Fine." Alex shakes his head.

"Now, what did we say about giving one word replies? You have to talk more Kouji." The black haired man scowls. Heh, he must hate it here as much as Squall does.

"I am doing better then I was yesterday." He pronounces slowly, as if speaking to an idiot. Which --in theory-- he is.

"That's better. So, why are you doing better?" Kouji tilts his head up and crosses his arms behind his head, tilting his chair back.

"Because my brother visited."

"That's good! What did you two discuss?" Kouji frowns.

"That's not any of your business." Alex looks taken aback for a second, before he moves on.

"Okay. I can respect that. Takuya, who visited you today?" The brown mop of hair is all I can see of the guys face, as he stares intently at the ground. He mumbles something. "What? Speak up please Takuya. You want everyone to hear what you have to say, don't you? Everyone's words deserve to be heard." He smiles. God, this guy makes me want to gag. Where does he come up with this bullshit?

"My boyfriend visited today." Alex claps his hands once.

"That's good! What did you two discuss?" Takuya's head goes further down. Jeez, you'd think this guy would get the hint.

"He dumped me." The red head gives him a concerned look.

"That's too bad. Did he say why?" Takuya's head shoots up. His eyes, which almost look like ruby, seem to give off flames. His tanned face goes red in anger.

"Why do you think? Who the fuck would want to go out with someone who's in a fucking mental institution?! If it weren't for my fucking mother putting me in here because she thinks I'm depressive, I'd still have him. A whole fucking four year romance, gone down the drain because of me being in here." Alex raises his hands in a calming motion. Either that or just trying to make sure the fiery brunette doesn't go after him.

"He couldn't have been a very nice boyfriend to dump you in your time of need." Takuya suddenly slumps back down into his chair, all the fire gone from him. That's too bad. His fiery temper made him sexy. "Wasn't he the one that beat you?" Takuya shoulders shake. Loud sobs suddenly wrack his slender frame. Fuck. What kind of guy brings that up? And with a temper like that, you'd think that someone could beat him up?

I glance over at Squall and notice his tense posture. I lean over and whisper in his ears, making sure no one else hears. "What's wrong?" I don't even know why I bothered asking, it's not like he's going to answer me. There are other people in the room. But my thoughts are broken when Squall glances around the room hesitantly, before leaning over to make sure he's not over heard. I smile and turn my head so he can whisper in my ear.

"I don't like seeing people cry." I nod, but can't surpass the shiver his lips brushing my ear cause.

"Did you ever have a boyfriend?" His eyes widen, and then he frowns. Thinking it over; probably wondering if he can tell me. He finally nods. I hide the smile at finally knowing that he's gay. Or at least bi. He suddenly looks at me. His voice is quiet when he asks the same question.

"Yeah. I've had a few. But I never wanted to settle down back then. Now I can't find anyone that wants only one boyfriend at a time. You'd be surprised at how many boy sluts there are." Squall chuckles. I smile; glad I could make him laugh. Or at least give something close to a laugh.

"What are you two boys laughing about?" Alex's voice suddenly breaks our quiet conversation. I smirk over at him.

"Just your non-subtle way of trying to get someone to open up. Ya ever think that maybe, just maybe, he doesn't want to talk about it? Or do you not care?" I say, frowning.

"Of course I care! That's why we're all here. We care."

"Riiiight. You mean you get paid, so that's why you care?" He frowns at me.

"We may get paid, but that's because it's a job. People usually do get paid when they have a job."

"That's great, but what about the people here that waste their time coming to you? They think they're going to get helped, and there going to have a shoulder to cry on. Yet, how nice of an environment is that if you're the one that's fucking causing it?!" I yell. This stupid asshole is pissing me off.

Alex stands up quickly. "Both of you get out. We don't stand that kind of negative attitude around here." I shrug and smirk, quickly regaining my composer again.

"Fine. We'd be happy too. Right, Squall?" Squall gives a small smirk and nods. We both make our way out of there. Sighing simultaneously when we're on the other side of the doors. I look down at the brunette.

"You want to go back to your room?" He nods.

"I'm feeling tired." I give a small smile, and push his chair back to his rooms.

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