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Chapter 3 - Talking to Seifer
I looked at Squall's image on the vidscreen. He looked like hell; he was thin, pale, and had dark circles under his eyes. It's almost… sad… how he's standing there, trying to look all imposing. "Yeah, I'm still alive," I said neutrally.
Seifer's alive. I felt a change in my emotions. It's like I'm getting back something I've needed since time compression that I never knew I was missing until now, when it appears. Did that make sense? I know how I feel; I just can't describe it. I stood there, looking my longtime rival whom I had actually missed. All the depression and guilt I had been feeling from my past four serious relationships kind of floated away. My eyes took in all the minor details of Seifer's face; the new wrinkles, cuts from shaving, his longer hairstyle, the lighter streaks in his hair. I studied the scar I had made. My matching scar tingled as I thought about it. Damn, he looks good. Better than good.
When I finally got the nerve to look straight into his eyes, I stared. Trying to get to the mind behind them, maybe. I visibly saw his guards go down, the shields keeping true feelings hidden. I was caught in a swirl of the emotions he had endured since Ultimecia. Relief, pain, sadness, hunger, fear, FEAR, contentment, satisfaction, surprise, relief, pain… the speed of them grew faster until I didn't have time to put the feelings into words. I just felt the blurred pangs go by without labeling them.
Then they stopped. The shields were back up. I shook my head to rid myself of the lingering essence. It was kind of like knowing what it was like to have been Seifer these past few years, only at high speed.
The whole… communion must have lasted only a moment, because the next thing I heard was Selphie saying "Yup, he's alive!" and seeing her squeeze Seifer. She softened and said to me, "Do you want Seifer to come to the Garden with me this week?" Quistis had probably asked Selphie to come up because of my breakup with Rian.
"Whatever." I shrugged, trying to keep my voice as even as Seifer's had been.
Zell had raised his fists. "I would like to see you, Seifer, but if you call me chicken-wuss while you're here, I'll beat you into a bloody pulp!" Seifer just grinned evilly. Selphie did her little 'tee-hee' thing, Quistis and I just smiled a little bit. Zell grinned a little bit, too, trying not to let his expression cancel out his threat.
"I guess it's up to you, Miss Headmistress." Seifer said. I could feel Quistis looking at the back of my head. She worries about me too much. Getting no response from me, Quistis agreed.
"It's fine with me. I'll just have to fill out a couple extra forms. Um… do you want to visit under an alias? Some SeeDs and cadets may not be happy with you here."
"Sure," Seifer slouched in the trenchcoat he was wearing. Black and unmarked. Very unlike his traditional gray one. "How about I pose as your cousin, Quis? We look alike enough. How 'bout… Kevin Trepe?"
Quistis giggled. Unusual. She must really be happy that Seifer's finally contacted us. "Okay, Kevin." She looked at her watch. "Oops, I gotta run."
"Going to see Nida, huh?" Selphie teased. Quistis' cheeks turned a light pink. "Give him my regards." Selph tee-heed again, as Quistis waved and left Zell's room. She looked at me, sympathy in her brown eyes. "Squall, you doing okay, buddy?"
I ignored her question. "It'll be nice to see you guys. I gotta pick up more of my stuff." Raising a hand over my shoulder, I turned and walked out the door.
"Is he okay, Zell?" Selphie asked the tattooed blonde. Zell shrugged.
"Dr. Kadowaki ordered him to move in with me. She wants someone to make sure he isn't gonna slit his fuckin' wrists again." Wow. If Zell's this upset, Squall must really be bad, I thought. Wait… slit his wrists again?! I felt a stab of something in my chest. Pity? Guilt? Sadness? Maybe a mingling of those feelings and more. I shook my head and sighed. "What?" Zell asked me.
My shoulders jerked a little. "Poor Squall. He's so… fragile, emotionally."
Selphie nodded slowly, sadly. So did Zell as he commented "You better not let him hear you say that. He'd try to prove you wrong."
"Yeah." Was all I said. Selph gave me another squeeze.
"We'll be over there in a few days. Keep him alive 'til then, 'kay?"
Zell mockingly saluted Selphie. "Aye, aye, cap'n!" He sobered. "Seifer, I'm glad that you're okay. Quis and Squall are, too." He began to bounce on his toes, "I can't wait to see ya!"
"You, too, Zell." I replied.
"Yeah, so see ya later!" Selphie chirped. Zell nodded, and turned off the vidphone. "Poor Squall," she said, turning away from the phone unit. I put an arm around her shoulders.
"Zell'll take care of him till we get there." She nodded. I looked around for something to cheer her up. "Juil looks a little hungry, Selph."
"Oooh!" She leapt over to the couch where the white bird was standing. "She's standing up!" She squealed. I winced. Nice choice of a distraction. Selphie fussed over her pet.
"Can I get ready for bed, Selph?"
"Sure," she lifted the choco off the couch and cuddled it to her chest. "Night, Seifer."
"Good night, Sel." I planted a brotherly kiss on the top of her head. She walked to her bedroom, pausing to retrieve some greens from the cooler.
I got ready for bed, made up the couch, and turned off the light. Laying down in my boxers I thought about that instant of silent communication with Squall. Why did I let my barriers down? I closed my eyes, remembering what I was thinking and feeling at the time. Shocked at how awful my rival had looked. Wanting to share my pain with him. You are not alone. I am not alone. We are alike, two of a kind. Letting my mind wonder, I fell asleep.
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