what if i quit?

Now, there are a lot of characters who make bad life decisions in FFVIII, but out of everyone I have to say that Cid is the most egregious. After all, this is a guy who's been put in charge of a whole school full of kids, and who proves himself to be completely incapable of such a task in what little screentime he gets. Sure, it's a stressful situation and he's at his limit, but that doesn't give him any right to pull half the shit he does.

Naturally, I'm talking about the fact that he turns command of Garden over to Squall over the fucking loudspeaker.

There are dick moves, and then there are dick moves, and this one is very much the latter.

There's really no excusing Cid's actions here. He's basing his decision on the fact that a future!Squall visited his wife and told her to start up Garden and SeeD. Squall didn't tell her he was the goddamn commander. Sure, you could make the argument that there was more to their conversation than was shown on screen, but even if there was, that doesn't put Cid in the right. He just turns over command to Squall like "lol k i'm out good luck with the whole sorceress thing l8r."

We never even see anyone protest the decision aside from Squall — and that's the weird thing, honestly. FFVIII is something of a surreal game in general, but this is one of those things that's just accepted and the plot moves on. Like okay, the main character is put in charge of his giant floating school even though he's a 17-year-old kid who's been a SeeD for like a week and has one mission's worth of command experience under his belt. Okay. Sure.

Seriously, this game makes no fucking sense.

Unfortunately for Squall, he's a video game character and he's stuck living this life, so he actually has to deal with this shit. And yet again he heads to his room to monologue, because what the hell else do you do when someone throws you for a loop like that.

Squall: I don't mind fighting the sorceress. It's unavoidable as long as I'm a SeeD member. What? As long as I'm a SeeD member? What if I quit? Quit... Then what? What do I have left? Don't even want to think about it. Just stop thinking...
[Scene shifts from text on a black background to Squall on his bed]
Squall: I'll just have to do as I was told... Command the Garden and kill the sorceress. How does Headmaster Cid expect me to take care of everyone? It'd be best to fight the sorceress soon, and end this nonsense. ......!? But isn't she the headmaster's wife? He wants us to kill his wife? What does it feel like to give an order like that?

Again: no, Cid, it is not okay to dump all of this on Squall just because you can't face going up against your wife, come back here and deal with it. Sigh. Still, even to himself, Squall defers to Cid. Like I keep saying, he's just not ready for all this.

For the first time, Squall contemplates, however briefly, leaving SeeD. But he can’t comprehend a life beyond Garden. It’s all he’s ever known. That’s due to the GFs, of course, but the fact remains that Garden is his touchstone. It’s the most important thing in his life. It’s a terrifying responsibility, being in charge, and he doesn’t even want to think about what it would be like to order the death of someone close to him, but he doesn’t leave, either.

He’s scared. He’s hesitant. He doesn’t like the idea that this is fate. But he doesn’t turn away from it. Squall might not admit it out loud, but he needs Garden as much as it needs him. He frames it as doing as he was told rather than taking initiative of his own, which I think is really important to note. Many characters would leap at the chance to have this much power, but Squall sees it as the heavy responsibility it really is. It's not something he accepts lightly, and in the end he only does it because it has to be done. That's the kind of person Squall is.

And it makes him a better leader than Cid ever could have been.

nine: maybe i'm this way because i'm scared

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