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Unfinished Business

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Sep. 18th, 2015 | 11:41 pm
posted by: zellie_kinneas in seiferzell

Title: Unfinished Business, Chapter 1
Rating: PG, for now
Words: 2217
Summary: Years after the Second Sorceress War, Zell returns to Timber to fulfill Garden's contract with the Forest Owls, only to find that the resistance has gained an unlikely new member.
Notes: Whoa I just realized this community is still active, which is so super awesome omg. So I just thought I'd start sharing the fic I've been working on. (btw I was that flaming Elmo person from Tumblr)
(Link to AO3)

As soon as Zell heard that the Headmaster had a mission for him, he dashed to the elevator. Everything had been so boring since they defeated the sorceress. The world was finally at peace, which was good, but as a mercenary, finding good work was difficult when there were no warring nations who needed military support.

He entered the office and gave Cid the usual salute. "Heard ya got somethin' for me!" Zell said with a bright grin.

"Yes, it has been brought to my attention that we have a contract that has been left unfulfilled," Cid explained. "Three years ago, the Timber Forest Owls hired SeeD to aid their resistance, I'm sure you remember. The contract states that it shall remain in effect until Timber gains its independence. However, that goal has yet to be achieved."

Zell's expression immediately faded into a frown. He had a very good guess as to who decided to bring up this old contract, which left him to wonder why they didn't just finish the job on their own. "So just send Squall and Rinoa!"

"Squall is busy with his leadership duties here in Garden, and Rinoa, of course, is the client. You understand how poorly that would reflect on SeeD's reputation if we instructed a client to handle her own contract."

Zell couldn't argue that, but he wasn't about to give up just yet. "What about Quistis, or Selphie, or... or ANY o' the new graduates?! I was new when ya sent me!"

If someone spoke this way to a superior in any other military establishment, he would be severely disciplined. Headmaster Cid, however, had always been a little too soft on his students, especially the ones who were raised in his wife's orphanage. They had reached a sense of familiarity over the years, so he didn't mind as Zell took such a casual tone.

"I would prefer to send someone from the original squad. The contract does also specify that no replacement of any SeeD can be made. However, Selphie and Irvine are occupied with their work at the new Trabia Garden, and Quistis has taken on instructor duties once again, so that leaves you. I believe your status was, as you said, 'bored'?" Cid smiled politely at Zell and continued, "There is a farmer in Winhill who has complained of Bite Bugs destroying his crop. I planned on sending the new recruits, but if you'd rather I reassign them to Timber--"

"NO!!" Zell immediately cut in. "Er, no, Sir! I'll go to Timber!" Even if the Forest Owls were disorganized and unprofessional, Zell would take that option over swatting bugs off some corn any day.

It was strange, he realized as he sat alone on the train ride across the ocean. The way Cid presented the mission, it sounded like Rinoa just happened to remember the contract, rather than the Owls reaching out to SeeD for support. Zell figured that such a small group would eagerly remind SeeD of their contract as soon as the war was over. Maybe they disbanded? That theory made much more sense than imagining Zone and Watts holding the resistance together all on their own.

As Zell approached their headquarters - a generous term for their run-down little train car - he quickly found that their operation was, in fact, still alive and well. He had expected to be greeted with relief or joy at having a SeeD finally return to support their efforts, but instead, Zone greeted the mercenary with confusion as he welcomed Zell onto the train.

"Zell? It's good to see you, but what brings you all the way out to Timber?"

Zell cocked his head to the side, thrown off by the greeting. Did they already forget about the contract? "I'm here to fight with you guys! You're still our client, remember?"

"Of course! It's just we weren't expeting Garden to send any backup, but hey! Two SeeDs are better than one, right?"

Two SeeDs? What was Zone talking about? Zell arrived alone. Before he could question it, a familiar voice spoke up from the stairwell.

"I thought I heard clucking out here."

Zell's head snapped up, eyes widening in shock. "SEIFER?!!" He hadn't seen his old classmate since the war. Not sure what to expect, Zell took a defensive stance. "The hell're YOU doin' here?!"

Zone looked between the two in confusion. "Isn't he with you?"

"Such a shame," Seifer continued, "that SeeD would just abandon a client like this. I thought they could use my help instead."

Zell could feel the heat rising to his face. "You can't trust this guy! He's with Galbadia!!"

"Old news, chicken wuss. I'm a Forest Owl now." A smirk slowly spread over Seifer's face as he casually leaned against the wall. "Guess that makes me your boss."

"NO WAY!!!" Zell shouted and turned back to Zone. "I'm NOT workin' with this guy!" And then to Seifer again, "If you think this is gonna win Rinoa back, it's too late! She's with SQUALL!!"

Unamused, Seifer just looked at Zell with a raised eyebrow. "Please. I was over that years ago."

Zell was running out of accusations. Clenching his fists, he glared angrily at Seifer. "I'm callin' Squall and tellin' him you're here!"

Suddenly, Zone cried out with a pained shout. He winced, gripping his stomach as he crouched on the ground. Seifer used the opportunity to get in the last word and end the argument.

"Do what you want, chicken wuss," he sighed and gave a nonchalant wave as he turned to leave.

This was too unreal. Zell could hardly believe it was actually happening, that Seifer, of all people, would volunteer to help a ragtag group of rebels out of the kindness of his heart. "Kind" and "generous" were not words that Zell would ever use to describe Seifer.

Zone's stomach pains conveniently alleviated as Seifer left the room. Hoping to make the situation somewhat less stressful, he attempted a topic change. "So, uh, some things have changed since you were last here! How about I show you around?"

As much as Zell hated the fact that he had to work with Seifer, of all people, there wasn't much he could do at the moment except deal with it and do his job like a good, professional mercenary. Even if he did go crying to Squall, Zell knew it wouldn't matter. Garden had plenty of resources to hunt him down on their own, if they really cared to.

With a sigh, Zell resigned himself to this fate and followed Zone through the door just to the left. The last time Zell was here, it was a mostly empty room, except for a table with a very shoddy model train set. Now, the walls were covered in news articles and notifications. There was a dry erase board covered with arrows and various other illustrations - some sort of plan, no doubt. The table still sat in the middle of the room, but it was covered with a large map of the Galbadia region. It was stuck with pins to mark various locations, while other spots were marked off with red X's. It was surprisingly more professional than Zell remembered.

"Welcome to our command center!" Zone beamed, gesturing widely throughout the room.

"Whoa, cool!" Zell grinned. He paused to study the map, impressed by their organization.

"That was Seifer's idea, actually," Zone said, nodding to the table.

Zell looked up with a frown, regretting that he unknowingly gave his approval to something Seifer had done.

"A-actually, most of this is 'cause of him!" Zone stammered, hesitant to mention their newest member around Zell, considering they didn't appear to be on the best of terms. However, he hoped that he could somehow prove to the SeeD that Seifer really did mean well. “We hit a Galbadian supply caravan last week. Got some good equipment from them! I don't think we could've done it without Seifer.”

“It's all right, I guess,” Zell replied with a casual shrug, not wanting to show too much enthusiasm for Seifer's achievements. Though, he never was good at hiding his emotions, and it was already quite obvious that he was impressed.

Zone led him out of the room and up the stairs into the back of the train. The first room on the left was about the same as he remembered, with a couch for resistance members to relax and various control panels lining the room. Watts stood from where he was sitting and gave the two newcomers an enthusiastic salute. “Sir, welcome back, Sir!!”

“Yo!” Zell grinned, responding with a friendly wave. “So what's next? What happened to Rinoa's room?” It's been so long, he wondered if they bothered to keep any of her belongings in hopes that she would return someday.

"You, uh, probably don't want to go in there,” Zone replied. “It's Seifer's room now."

Well, wasn't that nice. Not only did Seifer join the Forest Owls, he had apparently been given the "Princess" room. Zell snickered quietly to himself at the idea of making Seifer into a princess. He'd have to remember that comeback for the future.

They barely had a moment to relax when Seifer appeared in the open doorway, rapping lightly on the wall to get their attention. “Command center,” he ordered and proceeded down the stairs to the indicated room.

Reluctantly, Zell followd the others back to the command room. Seifer leaned forward against the head of the table while Zone and Watts gathered around, attentively waiting for instruction. Zell crossed his arms, leaning against the wall in the back of the room as Seifer began to speak.

“Now that SeeD has been so gracious as to uphold their contract, I think it's time we get our next operation under way.” Seifer paused to spare Zell a little smirk, letting the jab at SeeD sink in. Zell defiantly stuck his tongue out at Seifer.

“In our last mission, we picked up some decent gear, including uniforms. I say it's time we disguise ourselves and hit one of their military bases. Here.” He pointed to one of the pins stuck into the map. Glancing up towards Zell again, he added, “Don't worry, chicken wuss. Turns out one of the uniforms we picked up is a women's small. That should fit, right?”

Zell pushed off the wall, jumping upright. “You... ASSHOLE!!”

“Zone?” Seifer straightened up, folding his arms as he maintained eye contact with Zell. “I need you to get on the radio with Balamb Garden. The SeeD they've sent us is extremely unprofessional.”

“OWWWWW! Ow ow owwww!” Zone cried out, gripping his stomach again.

“Sir!” Watts called out in concern as he hurried to tend to Zone.

Meanwhile, Zell continued to glare angrily at Seifer, yet remained silent for now. He was fairly certain that Seifer was only bluffing about calling Garden, but he didn't want to take that risk.

“That's what I thought.” Seifer cocked his head back, looking down his nose at Zell. “Zone, how's that stomach?”

With a deep breath, Zone slowly nodded as he stood up straight once again. “Fine. I'm fine,” he replied, steadying himself against Watts.

“So here's the plan,” Seifer returned attention back to their mission. “A garrison of soldiers ship out tomorrow morning. We put on the uniforms, slip onto the train, and they'll take us right into their base. Once we're in...” He gave a casual shrug. “Just take 'em out.”

“What for?” Zell piped up.

Seifer snorted derisively. “Have you been asleep this whole time? We're the resistance. We're fighting Galbadia for Timber's independence. So, we hit their base.”

“Winning your independence is more than just pickin' fights!” Zell finally stepped forward, joining the others at the table. “Trash one army base, so what? They're just gonna send in more guys to replace whatever they lost.”

“Guerilla warfare, chicken wuss,” Seifer explained. “We hit when and where we can, and exhaust the Galbadians until they're tired of us. Should be easy for you. Being a pain in the ass is your specialty.”

At this rate, Zell wasn't sure how much longer he could keep himself from sucker-punching Seifer. “I AM NOT!!”

“You're doing it right now, actually.”

“That's just 'cause you--!!” Zell huffed, throwing his hands up in defeat. “Augh, FINE!! Whatever! We'll do your stupid plan. Are ya done?”

“Meeting dismissed,” Seifer replied, giving Zell a condescending wave goodbye. “See you in the morning, chickie.”

“Jerk,” Zell grumbled under his breath as he followed Zone and Watts out of the room.

While he was working for the Forest Owls, Zell was to share quarters with Zone and Watts in their safe house. It was all so unfair. How did he get crammed together with two other guys while that asshole scored his own private room on the train car?

Zone helped set Zell up with his own bedroll, and he tried his best to get enough rest for tomorrow's mission, but he couldn't help tossing and turning throughout the night. He hadn't even been in Timber for a full day and was already wishing for this mission to just end. At least with Seifer on their side, maybe Zell could fulfill the contract and finally return home sooner than originally expected.

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Comments {3}

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زالي ألمسي

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from: zellie_kinneas
date: Sep. 19th, 2015 04:17 pm (UTC)

Ohyaayyyy, thanks!! Yeah I have no idea how many people are on AO3, or still on ff.net, or wherever, so I figured eh, may ass well cross-post or something.

Especially since this is like, the one time ever I actually have planned ahead for a fic, like whaaaaaat, I usually wing it and then get stuck and never finish. SO YEYYY 8)

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from: perkyandproud
date: Sep. 27th, 2015 11:43 am (UTC)


Yes, we're not dead yet! :)

Thank you for posting!

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