Anything & Everything
By Elise Maxwell
“How’s my mother?” Seifer asked as he situated himself on a rock.
“She’s doing fine.” Rinoa smiled as she lay basking in the sun. “My father didn’t even know what you’d done. No one ever mentioned it. He was livid when he found out, but when I told him you’d found Kaeli, he didn’t know how to feel.” She giggled. “I guess anger and joy cancel each other out. Anyway, when we got her to the palace, my father welcomed her with open arms. I think he cried, but you know, you can’t quite tell underwater.”
Seifer snorted and smirked. Just seeing his mother had him quite emotional—albeit angry, but emotional. He figured the merfolk had been welcomed her back with open arms.
“We had a huge celebration the next day. You mother has been teaching me some of my powers since.” Rinoa turned to the human. “I’m sorry I missed you the last few days.”
The blonde shrugged. “It’s alright. I’ve been getting to know everyone up here.”
“So what is it like?” Rinoa sat up eager to learn. She certainly could change a subject quickly.
Seifer laughed. “It’s very different, yet still the same. Do you understand that at all?”
She nodded. “What is the boy like?”
She nodded again and a smile crept onto her face as a silly grin took over Seifer’s. “I see.”
“Shut up.” He blushed and pushed her gently.
“What’s it like?”
“Being in love?”
Seifer just stared out at the ocean content, trying to find an ephemeral meaning. It wasn’t working.
“Or can it be described?” Rinoa asked.
“I think not,” he replied thoughtfully as he watched the waves roll onto the shore over and over. “Well, it’s like… I feel complete—that no matter what, I’ll never be alone again.”
“I certainly know you wont.” Rinoa grinned at him, her face shining in the midday sun.
“I hope you’re right.” Seifer turned his gaze to the sea wondering if this would last forever or just the few weeks he’d been given.
“Is he a good kisser?” Rinoa interrupted his distressing thoughts.
He blinked for a moment. “Excuse me?” he asked as a crimson tide swept over his face leaving Rinoa to giggle. “Shut up!”
“Well then, there’s my answer.”
Seifer set a stack of books down on a table in the library of Squall’s home. He smiled and plopped down in one of the chairs opposite the table of Quistis. Another week had passed and the two living in the mansion had been teaching Seifer to read. He was an exceptional intellectual. Well, that and he’d seen human writing before, and merfolk had started to translate it to their own written language, so it didn’t take him long before he was reading English with amazing accuracy.
Of course, that wasn’t the only thing he did all week. He helped Quistis around the mansion as she cleaned or cooked. It was a lot of fun getting to know his ‘cousin.’ Quistis had a no nonsense attitude about her when she was doing her job, but he could tell that she liked to have fun just as much as the next person and she tended to show it in her lively, and snappy little quips every so often.
She often mentioned that she stole them from books. He’d stopped to ask about them one day after she was done making lunch, because they’d finished cleaning Laguna’s study in record time. She’d mentioned one book in particular and Seifer’s curiosity was bound.
She took him to the library that very day and began to teach him everything he could soak up—and Seifer was like a sponge, he soaked up everything he could learn. This reading thing was a lot of fun. Not to mention he’d liked to read when he was still living underwater, but the human world opened up so many more paths for literature to follow.
At this very moment, Quistis had him take the classics down from the shelves, and she was going to teach him all about them. Funny, he’d never taken to learning anything like this before. Fiction had opened up a whole new world to him. Under the sea, the rarely had fiction writings, mainly because they didn’t have anything like paper down there. These new stories were a wonder to Seifer. When he read them, he felt like he was being swallowed up into his imagination and experiencing another world, which in theory, he was.
But he hadn’t been just studying all week; he’d also been getting to know Quistis, Irvine and especially Squall, a little bit better than before. Quistis had been gushing all sorts of information to him and he’d been soaking it up eagerly.
Quistis was an amazing dancer. Seifer had found this out when he saw her floating across the floor of the atrium one day. She’d been a bit embarrassed when she realized he was watching, but was willing to show him again when he’d asked what she was doing. It turned out that Quistis was one of the most promising dancers in the village. When she was a child, parents let her take dance lessons, even on their low pay. When Laguna had hired them, he helped to pay for the lessons. He’d grown fond of the little girl who played with his son and thought of her like another child of his own. He still paid for her lessons after her parents died and she became a teacher soon after. Seifer found it nice to know that she was passing on her knowledge to those who loved to do the same as she.
Then Quistis started to tell him about Squall. She’d said something to the effect of Squall hating a certain type of vegetable while they were cooking in the kitchen. Seifer asked what he did like. Quistis gave him this look as if to say, ‘I know what you have planned.’ She began to giggle and Seifer just stared in shock, disbelieving that she knew exactly what he was thinking.
“I told you she’s evil.” Squall had walked in on their little conversation. He grabbed an apple and left Quistis to giggle on her knees and Seifer’s heart to pound in horrible embarrassment. He’d gotten back at her before anyway. His first quip about her and Irvine was enough to keep him quiet until he thought of something much more interesting to use.
Through all the learning and fun, Seifer learned quite a bit about Squall. He realized that Quistis knew a great deal. He was sure that Squall didn’t even know that she knew certain things about him, but there were other obvious things that no one could miss.
Squall hated people—in general. There were people he loved but he hated to be the center of a majority or even in a crowd. It unnerved him. He could read people like Quistis—and often better. He normally knew what a person would do before they did it. She joked about the brunette having foresight but Seifer didn’t dismiss this so readily. There was something about Squall he could sense. Maybe Squall had some kind of powers too. Who knew?
Squall loved apples, but he hated tomatoes. Seifer actually didn’t care. All of these new vegetables and fruits had such different tastes so he loved the new flavors he got to try. He found out that Squall’s favorite food was chicken curry on rice. The blonde had never tried this meal himself, but he had a feeling he would soon enough.
You could always trust Squall to be there for you. He was always on time, and listened to every little detail, no matter how useless or minute. He could always use the information sometime down the road. Squall had that innate sense of how to read people, but also knew when they would bother him. He could avoid so many things with an ease that even Quistis found odd.
Quistis told him that Squall was often depressed, which in turn lowered her spirits. She noticed now that Seifer was there; Squall was more often in a good mood and was able to dispel his worse moods faster. Seifer smiled to himself, just thinking about Squall.
“Hello!” Quistis rapped her knuckles on the table to bring Seifer out of his reverie of the last week. “I’m not as bad as you.” She smiled.
“When you don’t have to hide your love, it tends to have a mind of its own.” Seifer returned the smile upon her blush. “I don’t know why you get embarrassed. Love is beautiful. You should show it.”
She closed her eyes, amused. “Maybe it’s because love scares me.” Her sky blue eyes glanced up at him. “Like I don’t know what will happen next.”
“That’s the fun about it.” Seifer winked.
Quistis blushed for a moment before the door to the library rang out with a knock. “Yes?” she called to receive a silver head pop through the cracked door.
“Visitor,” a low female voice replied.
“Who?” Quistis frowned as Seifer wondered who this small girl was.
“Kinneas,” was the reply.
“Oh!” The blonde girl grinned. “Let him in!”
The silver haired girl nodded and let the door shut behind her.
“Quistis.” Seifer waved at the girl to get her attention back from the clouds. “Who was that?”
“What?” She frowned. “You mean you’ve been here for two weeks and you haven’t seen her?”
Seifer nodded. “Who is she?”
“That’s Fuujin. She’s another servant here,” Quistis explained. “Didn’t you ever meet her?”
The former merman shook his head wondering why he’d never seen this little Fuujin girl. “Is she shy?”
“Extremely. She trusts Squall the most out of anyone. He treats her like a person more than anyone else in the town will.”
“Why is that?” he asked confused. What was so wrong with the girl?
The door opened as if to answer him. Fuujin led the taller man in but kept her head down. Irvine leaned over and put a finger to her chin and pulled it up. Her hair blocked most of her face and he gave her a kiss on the cheek with a quiet thank you.
“Fuujin?” the blonde girl asked as Irvine approached her.
“Yes?” The silver haired girl bowed to Quistis.
“Have you met Seifer?”
“No.” She was still bowing. Seifer had a feeling she was ashamed of something on her face—some disfigurement or that of the like.
“Come here.” Quistis stood and moved the shorter girl closer to Seifer. “Fuujin, this is Seifer. Seifer, this is my second Fuujin.”
When Fuujin looked up, Seifer’s frowned a bit. She wore a patch over one eye and an innocent look on her face. She looked a little scared but kept it hidden good enough to give her a little courage.
“Trust?” she asked curiously.
“Did Squall mention him?”
“Then trust in Seifer and you also place your trust in Squall.” Quistis stepped back.
Seifer put a hand on Fuujin’s shoulder. “May I?” he asked to receive a hesitant nod. The blonde slipped off of his chair to kneel in front of her. His fingers carefully pulled the patch away from Fuujin’s face and pulled it up. He revealed a pure white, blind eye accented by a deep scar across it.
“This happened how?” Seifer asked quietly.
“Rocks,” she stated simply.
Seifer stopped and realized that Fuujin had received her scar very like Squall had received his, but the blonde had a feeling that this wound could be healed. As he reached up to touch it, Fuujin stepped back involuntarily.
“I’m not going to hurt you.” He took her hands and looked in her one good eye—blood red, which made Seifer suppress a shiver. “Would you be willing to part with the pain?”
“I thought you couldn’t heal anything that deep,” Quistis broke in.
“I said I couldn’t heal Squall’s scar because it connected to something special,” Seifer replied as he carefully inspected Fuujin’s wound. “This one is quite different and has nothing to stop me from taking it away.” He looked in her good eye again. “You are willing to part with it?”
“Yes,” the short girl said breathlessly.
“It will cause some pain, but in the end, it will be worth the wait.” Seifer smiled at her and she nodded, ready.
He closed his eyes and called up his sleeping power. A cool force ran through him and he manipulated the power to his will. A gasp hit Seifer’s ears as he pushed the power into Fuujin. You can’t really explain what it feels to heal someone. At first everything seems all wrong and the power just takes the initiative and rights the wrong. There is a change and sometime along the way, everything becomes right again. Finally, in the end you feel a sense of perfection—that everything will be fine and you’ve done something useful with your life.
When Seifer opened his eyes, he watched as Fuujin opened her new eye—blood red to match the other. Tears streamed down her cheeks as her hand came up to feel the right side of her face. Seifer’s chest tingled as a smile crept onto her face.
Fuujin jumped at the blonde man wrapping her arms around his midsection. “Thank you!” she said muffled into his shirt.
Seifer wrapped his arms around her and smiled. “It’s the least that I can do for someone who loves Squall.” He pulled back and now looked into both eyes. “Go show him.”
Fuujin nodded vigorously and trotted over to Quistis and Irvine to bow and show them her restored face. When she reached the door, she stopped in the doorway and turned. “Seifer.”
“I plan on it.” He grinned.
“Good.” With that she left, a smile gracing her face.
“I agree,” Quistis said. “I want you to stay too. Don’t go running back to the sea!”
Seifer scoffed and looked down. “I want to.”
“Please Seifer.” Quistis grinned and led Irvine to the door. “Squall wants you to stay.” After a moment she added, “Forever.”
“Then I’ll stay… Forever."
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