Chapter 1

First came the pain, then the realization that she was awake and that something was wrong. She was lying down, uncomfortably, on something that felt like a rocky beach. Her feet were wet.

'Already morning? No.. wait, wasn't I just sitting in front...'

The world blanked out again, but she thought she heard footsteps nearby.

**

Pain, and she was aware of it. That must mean that she was conscious.

She seemed to be lying on a bed now, tucked snugly under a blanket. The light that fell on her face shone upon her heavy eyelids, coloring her world orange-red. Her head was aching, the pain pulsating in rhythm with her heartbeats. Maybe if she could rest just a little longer...

"You seem to be feeling better now, " a female voice said from somewhere to the right of and above her head. "I'll give you some pain-killers, and you'll be as good as new."

She felt the stick as the needle pierced the skin of her right arm and then the bliss when her headache slowly melted away, leaving no trace of its presence.

"Now that's better, isn't it?" Expecting no answer and receiving none, the woman continued. "You were found down on the beach. You were poisoned and unconscious. Do you remember what happened to you?"

"Uh.. N-no, I.." 'Poisoned?' She opened her eyes to a blinding light and quickly closed them again to avoid getting her headache back. "Where am I?"

"You're in the infirmary. I'll turn down the lights for you."

A click, and Cecilia's eyelids relaxed as the room darkened.

The woman spoke again. "Do you remember what happened to you?"

Cecilia opened her eyes again, and this time managed to keep them open. Her dizziness and the absence of light made it impossible for her to see any details of her surroundings. There was a woman in the room with her, that much she could see. A woman of stocky build, wearing a white lab coat.

Cecilia squeezed her arms out from underneath the cover, and pushed herself up to a sitting position. She concentrated heard to try to remember what had happened. It didn't make any sense, though. 'I was sitting in front of my computer, then suddenly I woke up on a beach feeling like someone had just carved my brain out with a wooden spoon. Yeah, right. Who'd believe that? They'd think I was an alcoholic. I'd better make something up. Think. Think.'

"I... uh.. no, I don't remember anything, " she said at last. Then, in a rush of words she continued "I was sitting in front of my computer, then suddenly I woke up on a beach feeling like someone had just carved my brain out with a wooden spoon."

'Uh, wait a minute now. That wasn't what I was supposed to say'. She frowned. Obviously her brain wasn't totally cured from that poison yet.

The doctor laughed, emitting a sharp barking sound that echoed through the small room. "Nice description. I know that feeling. I guess the guys were right then; it must have been a Malboro that attacked you. Though I didn't know those creatures were active around here, and I sure haven't heard about them just letting someone go like they did you. You should count yourself lucky, young lady."

"Cecilia. My name is Cecilia," she replied weakly. 'Malboro?' Nah, that must've been her mind playing tricks on her.

"Well, Cecilia, is it all right with you if I turn on the light again? It's hard for me to work when I don't see what I'm doing."

When Cecilia accepted, the doctor tapped a switch next to something that appeared to be a door. As the light filled the room, she got a good look at the woman treating her, and had to lie down again, her breathing rapid and shallow.

What was happening?

'Malboro?'

She must've fallen from her chair and hit her head in the floor. Hard.

'That woman.. I've seen her before...' Breathe in.

"Maybe I should introduce myself, too."

'This is just a weird dream. It must be.' Breathe out.

"You can call me..."

'Doctor.. Kadowaki. No, it can't be.' Breathe...

"... Dr. Kadowaki."

Cecilia fainted again. This time, she thought she heard a giggling female voice in the back of her head.

**

"Hello, Dr Kadowaki."

"Oh, hi Quistis, Rinoa. Come in. Is anything wrong?" The doctor looked up from her desk, smiling at her visitors.

"No, there's no problem," the blond woman answered with a smile. "Or well, actually.. I was wondering... Do you know much about GFs? You see, I've had some trouble locating Shiva, and.. "

"It's probably that lecher Diablos that scared her away, " Rinoa said, giggling at the concept of Guardian Forces flirting with each other. "Hyne knows he's been after her. If I were her, I'd get as far away from him as possible."

Dr. Kadowaki shook her head as she answered. "I'm sorry, girls, but you know my expertise lies in other areas. You should go talk to the Headmistress about it."

"Oh." Quistis pondered this for a while. "Yes, you're probably right. Thank you, doc."

**

Feigned exasperation. 'I am not lecherous!'

'Hush, Diablos, and yes, you are. Do you really think I haven't noticed you looking me over all the time?'

'Aw, don't try to tell me you're not flattered.'

'Am not.' The tone of Shiva's voice suggested that she would have put her hands to her sides and stuck her tongue out, had she been corporeal.

'Are too.' Two could play that game.

'Oh, shut up. I don't want Quistis to find me inside the girl's brain.'

Since Diablos was in pretty much the same situation hiding from Squall, he reluctantly agreed. 'Spoil-sport.'

**

With a troubled frown, Quistis dropped the subject as she remembered the other thing she wanted to know. "Oh, how's that girl doing? The one they found on the beach?"

"She has recovered from her poisoning, though she's still weak."

The doctor glanced towards the small cubicle where Cecilia was resting.

"She should be pretty much alright now. She was awake for a while, just long enough to tell me that her name is Cecilia, and that she doesn't remember what happened. I'd attribute her amnesia to the Malboro attack."

Crossing her arms over her chest, the physician grimaced as she continued. "It was stupid of her to walk around in monster country completely unarmed."

Quistis and Rinoa both agreed to that, Rinoa with a shudder since she herself had done the same mistake not long ago. A fresh scar on her right thigh would forever remind her of her stupidity.

"I'll go talk to Squall about borrowing the Ragnarok, " the dark-haired girl stated. "We've got to help.. Cecilia was it? She has to get home one way or another, and I'd hate it if anything happened her again if she were to travel on her own."

Quistis nodded slowly. "Dr Kadowaki, could you call me the next time Cecilia wakes up? I'll see if I can get any information out of her. Rinoa and I will go talk to Squall."

**

'Get her home?' Diablos snorted. 'I'd like to see them try.'

Shiva seemed to be worried. 'I thought I told you to shut up.'

**

'Shiva? Hello? Are you here?' Quistis looked around, confounded, and tapped her cheek with a well-manicured peach-colored nail. 'I thought I felt something. Oh well. As Squall would put it: Whatever. I'll deal with that later.'

"What?" Rinoa wondered, trying to follow Quistis gaze.

"Oh, nothing. I thought I heard something, but I guess it was just my imagination. Let's go." She quickly followed her own command.

**

'How did you get Gilgamesh to help you, anyway? I thought he didn't like anyone but himself.'

'Wouldn't you like to know.' Once again, Shiva seemed to be sticking out her tongue. This time the action would have been accompanied by a very smug smile.

**

"Alright."

"I know that it strictly speaking isn't our responsibility, but I still think that we should.."

"Rinoa, stop, please. I said it's alright. Yes, you can borrow the Ragnarok."

"Oh. Well then, thanks!" Rinoa gave her boyfriend a quick kiss on his right cheek, and were pleased to note that his face quickly turned into a more rose-tinted nuance. "You're so cute when you do that," she giggled and patted Squall on the head.

Squall flashed Rinoa a quick smile and tried to drag her down into his lap, but apparently his girlfriend wasn't really interested in that right now.

"I thought I'd go see Cecilia again, " she said as she gently broke free from his embrace. "Maybe she remembers something more now. You wanna come with me?"

Squall shrugged. The he surprisingly followed up with a very uncharacteristic smile and answered. "Sure. Could be interesting."

**

Cellia,
The following review has been submitted to: Together Forever Chapter: 32

From: RavenBlade17 (misterios_stranger_87@angelfire.com)

LOL!!11! siefer singin karoke was the best part!!!1!

i luvd they're wedding to, espcialy when squal cryed in secrtly so that Celila wuldnt notice. plz wrt more.