An Unlikely Match

[02.16.00] » by Kristina Delgado

It was an ordinary, idle Wednesday afternoon in Balamb Garden. Selphie was walking down the hall to her dorm room, having just gotten her mail. There were two things for herself—a magazine subscription invoice, and an on-campus letter from Irvine. Rinoa, her roommate, had a letter from her father. Selphie knew that these letters always made Rinoa's day.

She came across Zell walking down the hall and noticed that he was slumped over, shaking his head and frowning.

"Hey, Zell," said Selphie. "Whatcha so bummed about?"

Zell sighed and leaned against the wall. "Well, you know me and Lily have been fighting the past few days, right?"

"Yeah," said Selphie, becoming very concerned.

"Well… we just decided things aren't going to work out anymore. Actually, she decided that. I just kinda said okay. I mean, I knew it was going to happen eventually, but…."

"You didn't want it to."

"Right. Well, that's about it. I don't want to go into too much detail… maybe later."

"Aww, poor Zell," said Selphie, giving Zell's arm a little squeeze. "I don't know how I can help you, but I hope you feel better."

"Thanks for listening, Sefie," said Zell. "I'm gonna go try to study now. See you later."

Selphie looked back as Zell continued down the hall. She almost felt tears coming to her eyes, she felt so bad for him. Then she straightened up and said to herself, "He'll get over it soon enough."



Rinoa gritted her teeth, realizing her loss. "Well, Quistis, you win again. Is there anyone that can match you in chess?"

"Seifer," Quistis said quickly. "He was a formidable opponent."

"Not just in chess," said Rinoa, clearing the chess board.

"Rinoa, do you mind if I ask you a personal question? I've been meaning to ask you for a while."

"Is it about me and Seifer?"


Rinoa grinned and said, "I did not have sexual relations with that man, Seifer Almasy."

Quistis chuckled and said, "Well, you guessed my question."

"That depends on what you mean by sexual relations, though."


"Yeah. He was an 'everything-but' kind of person, you know?" Rinoa was glad that, for now, she and Quistis were alone in the cafeteria.

"I know how that goes. That little one-night thing I had with Irvine…."

"Hi, guys!" Selphie's cheerful voice echoed through the cafeteria.

Rinoa and Quistis quickly looked at each other, then at Selphie and said, "Hi!" in unison.

"Did you hear the bad news about Zell and Lily?"

"Bad news?" said Rinoa. "They must have broke it off, then."

"Yeah. I just saw him in the hall. He was really bummed out. Poor Zell."

"He probably just wants to be left alone for a while," said Quistis. "I'll talk to him later if I see him."

Selphie looked at her watch and said, "Hey, it's time for Who Wants To Be A Gillionaire! I got up to 125,000 Gil last time. You guys wanna come watch it with me?"

"Actually, I think I'll go watch it with Squall," said Rinoa. "He's hooked on this whole quiz show thing, too. It's so weird. It's not like him to get hooked on something like that."

"Quistis?" Selphie begged.

"Well, okay," said Quistis. "I have nothing better to do tonight."

"Yay!" Selphie cheered as they began walking away. "Two heads are better than one. Someday I want to be on that show. Hey, Quistis, if I'm ever on that show and I get stuck, can I call you? You're so smart."

"Only if you give me some of the money you win."

"How much?"


"No way!"


"Rinoa, I was just thinking of something," said Selphie.

"What's that?" Rinoa asked lazily, not looking up from her book. She was clad in sweats and sprawled out on the floor.

"Well, it's been a couple weeks since Zell and Lily broke up. You've got Squall, and I've got Irvine, so…"

Rinoa looked up and asked, "Zell and Quistis?"

"Yeah!" said Selphie.

"No way," said Rinoa. "They're too different. They'd kill each other before they'd go out on a date."

"No, they wouldn't!" Selphie pleaded. "They get along just fine."

"I don't think Quistis has any feelings for Zell. Or vice-versa."

"They don't have to. Let's send them out on a blind date with each other. They might not hook up, but at least they might have some fun!"

"Selphie, I don't know…."

"Please, Rinoa? Will you help me? It might make poor Zell feel better."

"He's fine now."

"Aww, come on."

"Okay, okay! But if anything happens, the blame is entirely on you."

"No problem. You take care of Quistis, and I'll get Zell. Dinner and a movie, Friday night at seven. How does that sound?"

"Sounds good to—wait, aren't you going to Trabia this week?"

"Yeah. That's why I needed your help. Friday night would be the perfect time, but I'm not coming back from Trabia until Saturday afternoon."

"Well… I'm feeling really reluctant about this, but I guess I can help."

"Great!" said Selphie. She sat down on the floor with Rinoa, and they began making plans for Zell and Quistis.


"I can't believe you actually let Selphie set me up with someone," said Quistis as she brushed her hair. Rinoa was sitting nearby, listening and watching. It was a rare treat to see Quistis' long, gorgeous blonde hair let down. She could not think of anything to wear, so she had simply thrown on her SeeD formal wear. "It's not that I really need it, but… it would be nice."

"It's not like you two have to hook up or anything," said Rinoa. She flopped back on the bed and said, "Squall's not as romantic as he used to be. I wish he was, sometimes. But not all the time. I'd get sick of it eventually."

Quistis continued brushing her hair. "What do you think? Leave it down tonight? I mean, after all, this guy might actually be pretty nice."

"You have such beautiful hair," said Rinoa. She stood up behind Quistis and played with her hair. "Leave it down. Any guy would love that."

"I've never seen your hair up," said Quistis.

"It looks really bad."

"No, let's try." Quistis took a hair clip from her dresser and pulled back as much of Rinoa's thick hair that she could, and pinned it up. They both took a look in the mirror, shook their heads and said, "Nope." Rinoa took the clip out of her hair.

There was a knock on the door. Quistis made sure she looked alright, while Rinoa went to the door. Standing there were Squall and Zell.

When Quistis saw Zell, she laughed a little and said, "Oh, my! I would have never thought…."

"You set me up with her?" Zell demanded.

"Is that bad?" Rinoa asked quickly.

"No, not at all!" Zell exclaimed. "It's just that… wow." He turned to Quistis and said, "I never would have guessed it was you. You look great!"

"Thanks," said Quistis, blushing a little. "Now, don't we have dinner reservations waiting for us?"

"We certainly do," said Zell. He held his arm out for Quistis, and they walked down the hall together. Quistis looked back and said, "Rinoa, make sure to turn off the lights before you leave!"

They took a car to Balamb and went to Salvatore's, an informal Old Italian restaurant. Zell was disappointed that there were no hot dogs, but he was quite happy when he got a plate full of spaghetti. Quistis was amused by how much Zell ate.

"Your stomach is a bottomless pit, I swear," said Quistis, when Zell had finished his plate long before she did.

"This stuff is good," Zell said enthusiastically. He waited patiently while Quistis finished her meal, and then they went to the theater. The movie was a light-hearted comedy that they both enjoyed—but during the movie, Zell inconspicuously and gently took Quistis' hand and held onto it.

After the movie, they took a walk through Balamb, although Zell was afraid that he might see his mother while they walked down the streets. They stopped at the harbor, sat down and talked.

"This is still kind of weird to me," said Quistis. "I mean, we're friends and everything… I never thought twice about getting together with you."

"Me neither," said Zell. "Not to say that I would have eventually, though. I mean, look at you! You're the most beautiful woman I've ever seen. I worship you." He got on his knees and bowed down to Quistis, as though he really was worshipping her.

Quistis laughed and said, "Oh, you don't need to say that. I mean—I don't know…."

Zell sat back down next to Quistis and took her hand again. "Nice night, huh?"

"Yeah," said Quistis. She looked up at the sky and suddenly saw a shooting star. She felt Zell's hand tighten around hers. She felt better sitting down with Zell—she was somewhat taller than he was, and with her heels on, she felt like she overpowered him. She had unconsciously been swinging her long legs over the edge of the dock—and suddenly, one of her black heels came loose and flew into the water.

"Oh, no!" Quistis cried.

"Don't worry, I'll get it!" Zell said enthusiastically.

"Zell, no!"

Before Quistis could stop him, he jumped into the water. She watched as he began swimming under, but the darkness made it difficult to see. She worried when, after a few long moments, he did not come back up.


Suddenly, she heard a splash behind her and felt water splash on her back. Zell had swam around the dock to surprise Quistis from behind. Soaked and dripping, he tried to pull himself back onto the dock. Quistis ran to help—she put her arms around Zell and pulled with all her might to get him back onto the dock. He flopped down, panting for breath, bringing Quistis down with him.

"Looking for this?" Zell grinned, holding up Quistis' dripping shoe.

Quistis laughed and took her shoe, then set it behind her and kept looking at Zell. "You're the craziest boy I've ever met."

"I'm about to get even more crazy," said Zell. He put his wet arms around Quistis, drew her close and gave her a long, warm kiss. Quistis happily embraced him, ignoring the water seeping through her dress, and kissed him back.

Soaked but happy, Zell and Quistis began walking hand in hand back to the car—but on the way, they were stopped by Mrs. Dincht.

"Zell, you're soaking wet!" Ma Dincht exclaimed. "You get in this house right now, before you catch your death of cold! The young lady, too!"

They went into the house. Ma Dincht covered Quistis in a blanket and sent Zell upstairs to change his clothes. While they were waiting, Ma Dincht asked, "Haven't you been here before? You look really familiar."

"Yes, I have," said Quistis. "I'm Quistis Trepe. I used to be Zell's instructor, but now I'm just a SeeD, like him."

"I see. How old are you?"

"I'll be nineteen in a few weeks."

Ma Dincht nodded, then asked, "Can you explain to me why you brought my son back, all cold and dripping wet?"

Quistis laughed and said, "Well, it's kind of funny." She told the story, and was delighted to see Ma Dincht finally laughing with her.

"That's Zell for you. He'll do anything for a lady."

"Aww, Ma!" Zell said as he came down the stairs. "Are you two making fun of me?"

"Not really," Quistis smiled.

Ma Dincht served them some hot tea, and they had a lively conversation in the living room. On the way out the door, Ma Dincht stopped Zell on the way out, while Quistis walked ahead.

"I'm glad that you're feeling better, and that you've moved on," said Ma Dincht. "She's a real pretty girl, a real nice girl. Hold onto this one."

"Thanks, Ma," said Zell. He gave his mother a hug, then walked quickly to catch up with Quistis. They found their car and went back to the Garden.


"Hey, Heidi, how's it going?" Selphie asked teasingly as she walked into the cafeteria, seeing Quistis and Rinoa. Quistis had braided her hair and wrapped the braids around her head—a very old but classic hairstyle.

"Just perfect, thank you," said Quistis. "I was just telling Rinoa about my wonderful date with Zell. Care to hear about it?"

"Ooh, goody!" Selphie squealed, tumbling happily into a chair beside Rinoa. "Tell me, tell me!"

Quistis sighed, took off her glasses and rubbed her nose where her glasses had been. Then she began to tell her story again, so the hyperactive Selphie could hear it. Just as she was finishing, Squall and Zell came over to their table, hot dogs in hand.

"Why, hello, my lady," Zell said romantically, kissing Quistis on the cheek from behind. Then he asked, not as romantically, "Want a hot dog?"

"Nah, I'm fine," said Quistis.

"I'm gonna go find Irvine!" Selphie announced to absolutely nobody as she left the table.

"What's with her today?" Squall asked, scratching his head and looking concerned, watching Selphie leave the cafeteria.

"I don't know," Rinoa shrugged. "I don't feel too good. I have a headache. I'm gonna go take a nap before class."

Squall left with Rinoa, putting his arm around her as they left the cafeteria. Zell and Quistis were alone.

"My mom likes you," said Zell.

"That's good," said Quistis. "So, what are you doing today?"

Zell reached across the table and took Quistis' hand, and said, "Well, after my next two classes, I'm gonna head down to the training center for a little while, and do some studying, and I believe tonight is a Who Wants To Be A Gillionaire night. Care to watch it with me?"

"I'd love to."

"How about kicking some monster butt with me?"

Quistis laughed a little and said, "Sure. I haven't trained in a while. It'd be nice to have you with me when I go."

"Can I walk you to class?"

Quistis looked at the clock and said, "You'll have to run me to class! I'm going to be late!"

"Well, let's go!"

Quistis took Zell's hand, and together they bolted out of the cafeteria, laughing along the way.


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