A Garden Variety Story

[12.22.99] » by Bryan A. English

"Hey guys, mind if I shut your door? It is after Quiet Hours…" The two students inside the room nodded at Quitis before she shut their door. She was On Call… making her rounds of the Northern Wing of Balamb Garden.

"Um, Quitis…?" Rinoa's head peeked out of her room. As a underclassman at Garden, she still had to live with another student. Her roommate was notorious throughout the Garden.

"Need the on call RA? Or a friendly face to talk to?" Quitis normally would not have made the offer. She was on call and had an early exam in the morning in the Training Facility. But Rinoa was a friend and her roommate really was atrocious.

"Both! Thank you so much Quitis! I'll bring some ice cream to your room when you finish rounds. Bye!" Rinoa spun back into the room to get ready. She was in her pajamas, but would put on more normal clothes if she was going to be walking around the dormitory.

Quitis looked over at her fellow RA. "Guys are so much easier than girls. You don't have all these girly talks at midnight!"

Cedar chuckled but didn't say anything. It would do much good to explain to Quitis that male residents might not get overly emotional as much, they did have other problems. The funk that permeated the male wings was only one such problem.

The night was relatively quiet, particularly for a Thursday. Many of the students in Quitis's wing had no classes until later in the afternoon, so many of them would be up partying all night. The Garden was docked near Trabia, so most of the hard core partiers were enjoying the rebuilt city.

Rinoa arrived at Quitis's room shortly after Quitis herself returned home. Once again, Quitis was surprised at how easily she got along with the other girl. Most of the time she preferred the company of men to silly girls, but she enjoyed being around Rinoa and Selphie, and would even get girly with them. The fact that they fought for their lives together played only a minor role in Quitis's mind.

"So… I'm guessing that Fujin did something bad. You got chocolate chocolate chip. And unless you open that ice cream soon, you are going to feel what my Blue Magic can do!"

"Here's your spoon! And you wouldn't believe what Fujin did!" The two friends sat on the floor, gossiping about Fujin and the other students when Selphie arrived, just as they expected her to. She saw the ice cream and jumped in, dying to tell Rinoa and Quitis what she heard in the cafeteria.

"But Quitis, he likes you! And he is so hot! If I wasn't busy keeping Irvine under control, I might go after Ryon myself."

"You would not Selphie! He isn't your type at all. Too serious." Rinoa talked more to her spoon than to her friend. Chocolate was a weakness that Squall had learned to exploit early into their relationship.

"But Quitis… yum… why won't you even consider Ryon? You still don't have feelings for…?" Selphie cut the question off almost in time. She hadn't thought about what she was saying. Irvine told her all the time that she cast Haste on her tongue and Slow on her brain. Right now she believed him.

"For Squall? To some degree I do… and I always will. But he is more like a brother to me now than anything else. I had a crush on him… Rinoa loves him. It doesn't compare."

"Quitis… I'm sorry. I wasn't thinking." Selphie looked on the verge of tears. She was a high ranking cadet at a major military academy, yet still remained a soft hearted child.

"I forgive you Selph… but what I can't forgive is Rinoa for eating the last of the ice cream! I think I've learned a new Blue Magic… I keep eating ice cream until I explode and scare off the monsters!"

"But what is wrong with Ryon? He just made SeeD, and received high marks on his mission to the Shumi Village. And that Moomba that came back with him is adorable." Rinoa waited to say more until Quitis looked thoughtful. "And he's cute. Damn, the boy is a hottie! Quitis, you'd be insane not to go for him."

Selphie chimed in with a helpful, "And he likes you!" Quitis said nothing but her sudden blush spoke volumes. "Make ya a deal… you ask him to go with the rest of us to Trabia this weekend and Rinoa and I will get your SeeD uniform ready for the next month! If you chicken out… you… have to help with the Garden Festival next month! And oil Rinoa's Blaster Edge for two weeks!"

Quitis looked at Rinoa and knew that she would receive no help from her. "Fine… it's a deal. Next time I see Ryon. But he doesn't have to say yes… if I ask and he says no, then you two still have to take care of my uniform!"

Selphie suddenly got an impish grin. "You know… RAs have keys to almost the entire Garden right?"

Quitis looked suspicious but said nothing. Selphie rushed ahead. "Zell told me that the cafeteria has a new shipment of ice cream in! Cookie dough!"

Quitis was on her feet in an instant. Her keys were in her hand before the other two were standing. "Well… get up! Cookie dough waits for no woman!"

Meanwhile, in the cafeteria itself, Squall, Zell, Irvine, and Ryon were violating a few Garden rules. There were no hot dogs allowed after 10pm. They seemed to have forgotten that rule during their clandestine poker game.

"Damn Zell… you done stole everything I own."

"Not quite… you still got that hat and your rifle."

"You'll have to shoot me with my own gun before you get this hat! And I'll see your five Dragon Skins and raise you two Fury Fragments!"

Squall made a soft whistling as the bet was made. "Too rich for me… I fold."

"Pansy." Ryon dropped down the Dragon Skins and Fury Fragments and added one Energy Crystal. "Come on Zell… show me what you got."

"What I got is…three Pulse Ammos saying that you're bluffing." Irvine nearly choked on his hot dog, but managed to fold before he got dragged deeper into debt.

"And I have a Malboro Tentacle that says otherwise."

Zell laid his hand out, and it was a decent hand. Shiva, Ifrit, Quetzacotl, and the Brothers. "Beat that!"

Ryon said nothing, but laid his cards down. Quitis, Selphie, Rinoa, and Edea.

"Four Queens! Holy cow! You have one helluva poker face."

Irvine immediately saw the potential of the situation and jumped on it. "Interesting choice of cards…"

Ryon looked at the sharp shooter out of the corner of his eye. "Four Queens… nothing special about it."

"But Quitis is on top…"

"So… Edea is on the bottom."

Squall finally caught on to what Irvine was aiming at. "Cut the crap Ryon. We all know you like Quitis. You took her class three times back when she was still a teacher. You tried to live on her wing, even though she has all first year students and you qualify for a single room like all the other SeeDs. And you brought her components for her Blue Magic."

"I wanted her class because she taught Tactics much better than Caudill ever did. I wanted her wing because it is much closer to the Training Facility than the SeeD wing. And I found those components and thought she might be able to use them."

"You brought her the components for Ray Bomb! I know how hard it is to track down a Blitz and to kill one. Admit it, you like the blond bombshell."

"She's… cute." Ryon was staring intently at his cards, trying to will away his sudden blush.

"Dude, you gonna ask her out or not? I hear Raijin has fallen in love with her again…"

"He better not go near her again!" Ryon was on his feet, brandishing his staff without even thinking about it.

"I knew you liked her! Ask her out! I've seen you tackle T-Rexuars solo. Quitis isn't that scary." Zell ducked as he said it, knowing that Ryon would toss the hot dog in his hand at him.

"Make ya a deal Ryon," Irvine ambled towards the fellow SeeD. "You ask ol Quitis out and me and Zell and Squall 'll do your laundry for a month each."

"And shine my shoes. If I'm gonna get shot down, I need to get something out of it."

Irvine nodded. "And if you wuss out on us… you take all our shifts teaching the underclassmen how to draw magic for the rest of the semester."


The card game had barely restarted when the girls, accompanied by Zell's girlfriend Lilly exploded into the cafeteria. They saw the boys and started giggling like twelve year olds. Except for Quitis who stood behind the others and turning a deep red.

Irvine patted his lap and Selphie skipped over to him. Zell leaped towards Lilly and carried her back to the table. Squall rose and held his hand out for Rinoa. They were all seated around the table, except for a very red Quitis and a nervous Ryon.

"Um… hi Quitis."

"Hi Ryon."

Rinoa whispered into Squall's ear, making him chuckle. "Hey Quitis… since you're up, can you get the ice cream? I'd hate to let Squall get cold by getting up."

"Yeah, and Ryon… we're almost out of hot dogs. Snag us some more. I'd hate to deprive Rinoa of a place to sit."

The two simply nodded and walked off towards the kitchen, trying to look at everything but each other. They were in the kitchen for a very long time, and they never did tell the others what happened in the kitchen.

But Ryon did go with the others to Trabia.

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