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Unfinished Business

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Sep. 20th, 2015 | 06:07 pm
posted by: zellie_kinneas in seiferzell

Title: Unfinished Business, Chapter 2
Rating: Still pretty PG, fighting, insults, etc
Words: 3485
Summary: With their new SeeD backup, the Forest Owls infiltrate a Galbadian military base
Notes: Trying not to flood the page by posting these TOO rapidly. Only four chapters done so far, so not too much left to post, at least!
Chapter One

The next morning, Seifer reluctantly dragged himself out of bed.  He never really was a morning person to begin with, and now he was stuck working with Zell, who had always been way too loud and energetic at all hours of the day. But the Owls had a big mission today, which took priority over Seifer's feelings about working with Zell. He slowly made his way to the wash basin and started cleaning himself up.

Unexpectedly running into one of his old classmates was particularly unpleasant for Seifer, since it opened up old wounds he thought he had overcome long ago.  That loudmouth chicken wuss nearly ruined everything for Seifer.  Thank Hyne he had built up a decent enough rapport with Zone and Watts this past year that they weren’t overly alarmed by Zell bringing up his past mistakes.

It felt like a kick in the teeth, but Seifer managed to keep his cool, as always.  Though, he was somewhat wary of SeeD’s presence here with the Forest Owls.  For once, Seifer had something he actually cared about.  If he were to be completely honest, the politics behind all this hardly mattered to him, and he absolutely wasn’t doing this for Rinoa’s sake, as Zell so tactlessly accused.  Rather, he saw it as a means of redemption.  Seifer deeply regretted the damage he caused, though he would never openly admit that. Helping the Owls liberate Timber was finally something good he could fight for.  He really didn’t care what Zell, or anyone at Garden thought of him.  This was all for his own sake.  Selfish, maybe, but Seifer needed to prove to himself that he was more than just a traitorous bully.

If this were to be taken away from him, he didn’t know where else he could go.  There was always Fujin and Raijin, but they decided to continue pursuing careers as respectable Garden mercenaries.  They were reluctant to go on without Seifer, of course, but he insisted.  He refused to drag them down with him more than he already had.  That look on Zell’s face yesterday reminded Seifer why he could never return to Garden.  Whenever someone looked at him, that’s all they’d ever see - the sorceress’ Knight.

A traitor.

For a moment, he wondered if maybe having Zell here could be a good thing, in a way.  Maybe he could prove his good intentions, after all.

Seifer squashed that train of thought as soon as it entered his head.  “To hell with what they think,” he snarled aloud at his own reflection as he finished washing up.

Once he was finished getting dressed and ready, he made his way over to their command room.  Just as expected, Zell was already there with Zone and Watts.  They had been going through the loot from the previous raid as they waited for Seifer.

“Looks like the princess is finally up!“  Zell .grinned at Seifer, looking quite pleased with himself.

What was that about?  Probably a reference to Rinoa’s old room, if Seifer had to guess.  He simply raised an eyebrow at Zell with an unamused expression on his face.  “Just get your equipment ready.”

The team slipped into their Galbadian soldier uniforms.  There were extra weapons for Zone and Watts, and Zell, of course, preferred to remain unarmed.  When Seifer holstered Hyperion to his belt, however, the SeeD decided to speak up again.

“Yo!  You can’t take that with us!"  Zell frowned, gesturing to the gunblade.

Seifer just rolled his eyes.  "I’ll do whatever I want, chicken wuss.”

“You an’ Squall were the ONLY gunblade specialists in Garden!  If someone sees that, our cover’s blown!”

“Thank you, Dincht, for volunteering."  Before Zell could question what that was supposed to mean, Seifer yanked him by the jacket to stand beside him.  Positioned like this, the gun-shaped handle was blocked enough to make it appear like an ordinary sword.  "You get to be my shield. Better make sure nobody notices.”

“AW, C'MON!!"  Zell whined.  "Make Zone do it, or Watts!”

“Zone and Watts have guns.  I need them to hang back and provide cover fire, if we need it."  In truth, Seifer mostly just enjoyed antagonizing Zell and he knew the mercenary would hate this.  "Believe me, you’re the last person I’d want to be stuck with.”

Once everyone was equipped and ready, Seifer gave Zell a smack on the shoulder and led the way out of their base.  The helmets covered most of their faces, but Zell’s disgruntled frown was left uncovered, much to Seifer’s amusement.

The group arrived at the station and easily fell in line with the soldiers waiting to board the train.  They filed into the car, so crowded that it would be difficult for anyone to notice the weapon in Seifer’s holster, but he still kept his teammates close at hand.  It was an uncomfortable ride, being packed so closely together.  Seifer was jabbed several times by Zell, who found it impossible to sit still, as usual.  Other than that, the little chicken wuss actually managed to behave himself and not draw any attention.  Impressive.

The train finally came to a stop and the soldiers disembarked to go about their duties.  The Forest Owls regrouped and slipped away into the base.

After following Seifer around for a moment, Zell spoke up once there wasn’t anyone around to hear.  "Do you even know where you’re going?”

“Does it matter?"  Seifer snorted.  "Find someone who looks important and take ‘em out.”

“Yeah, it matters!"  Zell was hushed by all three of his companions.  He concentrated on speaking more softly as he continued, clearly agitated.  "It matters, ‘cause if this place is anything like the missile base we hit, they might have a self-destruct button!”

Seifer came to a halt, folding his arms over his chest as he loomed over Zell.  “If they decide to blow themselves up, I fail to see how that’s a problem.”

Before Zell could answer, a commanding voice interrupted.  “You four!  No loitering in the halls."  A red-suited elite soldier stood in front of them, looking quite displeased.  "What’s your assignment?”

Seifer clapped Zell on the back, causing him to stumble a couple steps ahead from the rest of their group.  “I think you were just about to relay our orders.  Why don’t you explain to all of us?”

Zell visibly tensed as he was put on the spot.  Stunned, he looked between Seifer and the soldier.  “I– We were just–” he stammered.  Out of their little group, Zell was probably the worst liar.  He couldn’t believe Seifer put this on him so suddenly.  “Control room!  We’re headed to the control room!”

“For what business?"  The soldier skeptically folded his arms over his chest.  "Control shift change isn’t for another three hours.”

“O-oh!  Yeah!  I know that!"  Zell struggles, rambling along.  "We’re just going to, ah… well there’s this calibration… thing…”

While Zell continues babbling to the soldier, very easily blowing their cover, Seifer uses the distraction to move behind the soldier.  He unsheathed Hyperion and used the butt of the gun to whack the soldier on the back of the head, knocking him unconscious.  Zell jumped and gasped sharply as the soldier suddenly crumpled to the floor.

“That’ll do, chicken wuss,” Seifer smirked as he condescendingly patted the top of Zell’s helmet.

Zell couldn’t frown any harder if he tried.  “Geez, ya could’ve warned me!”

Seifer didn't care to explain how warning Zell – in front of the soldier, no less – would entirely defeat the purpose, so he just rolled his eyes and grabbed the soldier by the arms.  “Zone, Watts, find an empty room where we can hide him.”

“Yes, Sir!"  The two quickly jumped into action and didn’t take long to find an isolated corner where they could dump the unconscious body.

For a moment, Zell thought to make Seifer carry the soldier all by himself, but he knew the faster they finished this, the better.  He didn’t want to get caught again, so he grabbed the man’s feet and together they dumped him in a supply closet.

"So now what?"  Zell huffed, putting his hands on his hips.

"No more arguing.  We do what I say,” Seifer ordered and motioned for the others to follow.  He knew Zone and Watts would do as they were told.  It was Zell he had to worry about.  Their arguing already got them caught once.  Thankfully, it was against just one soldier, but it could have been much worse.  Seifer didn’t care to risk blowing their cover further, so he turned his back before Zell could complain and continued down the hall.

He kept his eyes forward as he led the way, looking for any key locations in the base that might be useful to sabotage.  As he walked, he noticed a pleasant silence following him.  He idly wondered if Zell got left behind.  If the little chicken wuss wanted to get himself caught, it was nothing for Seifer to worry about.

At least, that’s what Seifer wanted to think.  Sure, Zell was often annoying, but that didn’t mean he deserved anything bad happening to him.  If he did get caught, it increased Seifer’s risk as well, so he spared a glance over his shoulder and counted three blue uniforms following him, just as expected.  Zell was easily identified by the very obvious pout beneath his helmet.  Seifer couldn’t hold back a little smirk at that grumpy expression.

"What?” Zell snapped.

Seifer shrugged and continued forward.  “Nothing.”

“You gave me a look!"  Zell insisted.

"I was surprised that you’re actually capable of shutting up, for once,” Seifer replied.  “But apparently good things can’t last forever.”

Zell simply huffed and continued sulking silently as they passed another small group of soldiers.  There seemed to be even more people in the area as they continued forward.  More soldiers meant more danger, but Seifer liked it that way.  Safe was boring.

They finally reached what appeared to be some sort of main operations center with desks and computers throughout the room.  The Galbadians were all busy at work, but as Seifer’s group strode through the area, they began to look up, sensing that something was off.  Some noticed the gunblade holstered at Seifer’s hip, but before they could do more than point, the Owls reached the front of the room.

“Okay, everybody,” Seifer announced as he removed his helmet and unsheathed Hyperion.  “This is our base now."  Zone and Watts followed suit, also revealing their identities, though they were nowhere near as notorious.

"It’s Almasy!"  One of the soldiers cried out as they all scrambled to battle-ready positions.

"Are you CRAZY?!"  Zell shouted, also throwing off his own helmet.  If they were going to fight, he didn’t need anything obstructing his vision.  However, as one of the few who saved the world, Zell’s tattoo made him easily identifiable as well.

"SeeD is here too!  Get the Commander!!”

“Now we’re talking!"  Seifer held his gunblade at the ready.  "Go bring your Commander over!  And send for backup while you’re at it.  You’re gonna need it.”

The attack suddenly began without further delay.  Zone and Watts took cover, firing at the Galbadians while Seifer and Zell jumped into the heat of the battle.  Seifer easily took down a handful of grunts before a larger group attempted to gang up on him.  Even as a Cadet, Seifer had always shown an impressive aptitude for combat.  After his time serving as the sorceress’ knight, it was easy to see that he had only grown much stronger and had no trouble facing opponents while he was greatly outnumbered.

It was somewhat of an odd feeling, fighting against the Galbadian army.  He was once their Commander, but now he was their feared enemy.  At least it made fighting them easier, since they hadn’t changed their tactics very much in the last few years.

During the battle, Seifer took every opportunity to smash and wreck every piece of equipment in the room.  A quick glance in Zell’s direction showed that the SeeD was doing the same, though likely not on purpose.  Zell liked to act like a boy scout, but Seifer could already see it in his face that he was having just as much fun in this battle.

Before long, they managed to clear the room of enemies, and new arrivals were bottlenecked at the door.  Only a few soldiers could enter the room at a time, which made it much easier for the Owls to take on a significantly larger force.  Zone and Watts kept most of them at bay, firing through the door.  The ones that did make it through were quickly greeted by the flash of Hyperion’s blade or a fist cracking them in the jaw.

However, a fully-equipped army had plenty more tactics than fruitlessly sending wave after wave of soldiers to their doom.  The flow of battle was suddenly disrupted by a heavy metallic-sounding THUNK in the middle of the room.

"Grenade!"  Seifer called out in warning and immediately dove for cover.

Zell, on the other hand, impulsively ran towards the explosive and chucked it right back at the enemy.  The grenade exploded just as it passed through the doorway.  Seifer would never openly admit it, but that was surprisingly impressive.

"Everyone, move!"  He commanded, charging forward before the dust could settle and the soldiers could gather themselves back together.

The hall just outside of the room was cleared out by the blast, but as they pressed on, more soldiers filed in.  Being in such a narrow space made it much more difficult to fight their way out, but at least it prevented the soldiers from completely surrounding them.  Zone and Watts provided what cover fire they could in such a confined area, so it was up to Seifer and Zell to clear the path to their exit.

If anyone had told Seifer that one day, he'd be fighting an entire garrison of soldiers side by side with the chicken wuss, of all people, he would have laughed in their face. But as they continued to fight their way past wave after wave of soldiers, Seifer couldn't help but feel an odd sense of camaraderie with Zell. Perhaps it was just the adrenaline pumping through his body, but he was starting to enjoy having a little sidekick around. Their height difference even worked perfectly for combat. Seifer slashed widely with his blade while Zell ducked under his arm, sweeping his leg beneath soldiers coming at them from behind.

Zell popped back up with an uppercut to one of the soldiers, but got caught up in a one-on-one fight with another. It was the perfect opportunity for one of the Galbadians to attack him from behind. An enemy sword came right down towards Zell, but instead of flesh, the blade met the harsh clang of steel as Seifer stepped in the way with Hyperion.

“Left yourself open, chicken wuss,” Seifer smirked as he held his ground against the Galbadian, shoving the soldier backwards.

“Shut up!” Zell snapped, yet remained standing at the ready, back-to-back with Seifer. “I knew that guy was there!”

“So your plan was to get stabbed in the back? Interesting strategy.” He smirked as he parried a few more incoming attacks.

Instead of shouting back, Zell was oddly silent in response. Curious as to what was going on behind him, Seifer found a moment to quickly glance over his shoulder just in time to see the body of one of the Galbadian soldiers flying through the air. The man sailed past Seifer and knocked right into a cluster of his own comrades, knocking over the entire group.

“HAH!!” Zell grinned with a triumphant fist pump. “How's THAT?!”

Seifer merely shrugged it off with an unimpressed snort. “Showoff.”

The Forest Owls finally managed to fight their way to the exit. Just as they thought they were home free, they ran out to the motor pool to be greeted by another entire garrison and a gigantic armored tank, led by the base commander and a handful of other elite soldiers.

“Well, ya DID tell 'em to get reinforcements...” Zell groaned.

“First to take down that tank wins.” Without batting an eye, Seifer welcomed the fight, rushing headlong into battle.

Zone and Watts found cover, just as they did before, firing at the soldiers from a distance. Zell, however, held back for a moment. Seifer was as reckless as always. Four men against a tank? It was a wonder Seifer hadn't caused Zone or Watts serious injury by now. Though Zell tended to prefer an up-close fight, he knew they were going to need heavier firepower to take on that tank. He clenched his fists in concentration and summoned forth the Guardian Force he had brought for this mission.

A fiery vortex materialized in front of the Galbadians to reveal Ifrit, who unleashed a deafening roar at the enemies. With one swipe of his claws, he nearly took down an entire row of soldiers. The tank fired at the GF, but it barely made the creature flinch. Ifrit simply responded with some fire of his own. He generated a searing hot ball of flame and launched it at the soldiers before disappearing again in another wisp of fire.

“W-wow...!! That was amazing, Sir!” Watts called out to Zell.

Seifer glanced back at them specifically so they could see him rolling his eyes. “Cute. I remember my first GF.”

The blow didn't completely eliminate all the soldiers or the tank, but at least it was enough to make this much easier on the Forest Owls. The remaining enemies were seriously weakened and easily dealt with. Seifer managed to cut the tracks on the tank while Zell even managed to kick a dent into the main gun. The machine wasn't destroyed by any means, but it was at least damaged enough to allow the four to make a quick getaway.

They ran to a military vehicle that was far enough away from combat to remain in tact. Seifer hopped behind the steering wheel while the others piled in, but he quickly noticed something very crucial was missing.

“Keys. Someone find the keys. Quick!”

Zone and Watts looked dumbfounded. They had no idea where the military would keep their keys to a vehicle like this. Zell checked the glove box and found nothing, but he had a better idea. The martial artist gave Seifer a little shove and reached over his lap. “Outta the way!”

“Watch it, chicken wuss...” Seifer snapped, swatting his hand away.

“We don't need keys, but I gotta get down there!”

Seifer skeptically eyed Zell for a moment, thinking how ridiculous this idea was, but he didn't have any other ideas. “Fine,” he agreed with a sigh as he removed himself from the driver's seat. “But hurry up.”

Zell leaned over, reaching beneath the steering wheel. After a moment of fiddling around with the wires, there was a brief spark and the vehicle whirred to life. “Done!” He sat up, grinning proudly at Seifer.

“How does a goody two-shoes chicken wuss like you know how to steal a car?” Seifer raised an eyebrow back him as he sat down again behind the wheel.

“I used to help work on cars back in Balamb, sometimes,” Zell explained. “If I didn't join Garden, the mechanic was gonna take me on full time. I'm real good with machines!”

Seifer simply made a soft noise of approval as he drove off the base. It was funny to think how the two of them had grown up together – all those years of picking on Zell – yet there was still so much he didn't know about the guy. Maybe Zell wasn't just a crybaby chicken wuss like he always thought. The SeeD did prove himself to be more than capable during their assault. Seifer hated to admit it, but having Zell around was turning out to be a good thing.

Once they were far enough from the base, Seifer momentarily idled the car to allow them to shed their Galbadian military gear, revealing the plain clothes they had all worn underneath the uniforms. The evidence was abandoned in the middle of nowhere, and they continued the rest of their trip back to Timber.

After an attack like that, Seifer knew they would have to lie low for a while. They left the car a few miles out from the town and walked the rest of the way to the train yard where their base of operations remained parked. They boarded their little train and rode it north to the station just outside of Dollet. With their base parked safely away from Timber, the rebels left the train and made their way into town, eager to relax and celebrate their victory.

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