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Chapter 9 - Seifer confronts Squall
"What do you have to do today, Quistis?" I asked. Our group from last night was sitting at the table eating breakfast.
She set down her fork and finished chewing. "Paperwork. Then I have to supervise a weapon training class."
"Will that take all day?" Selphie asked. Quistis shrugged. "I was hoping to go to the beach today," Selphie added. "Who wants to come with me? Kevin?"
"Sounds good to me," I said as I leaned back in my chair.
"Who else?" When nobody responded right away, she put her hands on her hips and glared at everyone.
Zell bounded up, "I was gonna visit my ma today. I'll come with you and hang out for a little bit." He sat back down.
"Anyone else? No? Okay, I'm gonna have two cute guys all to myself!" Selphie grinned triumphantly.
"I'll come," Squall said quietly. I cocked an eyebrow at him, surprised, but didn't say anything.
"Goodie!" Selph squealed, oblivious, "Three!"
"I would," Neria said, "but it's my turn to give a lecture in Wilderness Survival."
Selphie looked at Nida. He shrugged. "Sorry, got work to do down in the lab."
"Can I have a tour in the lab while I'm here?" Selphie asked.
"Sure. Tomorrow shouldn't be a problem." Nida replied.
""Kay! Guys, let's meet in the garage at ten. Alright?" Squall, Zell and I nodded. "Cool!" She stood. "I gotta run and feed you-know-who! See ya!" I waved, while the others struck up a chorus of 'Byes.'
I stood, holding my empty plate and mug. "Anyone else have empty dishes I can take back while I'm up?" I collected all the offered plates and cups then went to the dishroom to drop them off. I returned to the table a moment later. Squall was standing, getting ready to leave.
"Hey, Squall, where're you off to?"
He shrugged. "I'm just going to go collect my mail and watch the screen in Zell's room."
"Mind if I walk with you?" I asked, knowing the answer. He probably wouldn't say no in front of the gang. He shrugged. "Ready?" he asked.
"Yup." He grabbed his jacket and left the table. Outside the cafeteria was a wall of mailboxes for the cadets and SeeDs. He pulled a short stack from the pigeonhole labeled "S. Leonhart." I walked with him toward the dormitory wing. At Zell's door he turned around, expecting me to either talk or leave. "Um, can we talk?" I said. Squall didn't say anything, just unlocked the door and held it open.
I walked in and took a seat on the sofa. Squall threw his mail down on the coffee table. He sat in an armchair, looking at me and waiting. He never makes this easy. I sighed. "First, I want to apologize for last night."
"What about last night?" Behold, it speaks. I fought down a smirk. These comments always make me smirk. That's why people think I'm always being sarcastic and mean.
"For hurting your arms last night." My eyes went down to the bruises only half-covered by the bracelets. He nodded, following my gaze down to his wrists. "It's fine." He kept himself from hiding his arms. Thinking of his scars my frustration grew. He has everything that's important in life; anything he actually doesn't have, he can get! Why can't he see that and be satisfied with his life?
"No it's not," I said, meaning his scars. Squall knew what I meant. "Look, man," Squall started to get up and move away. "Listen, you've got friends who want you to talk to them. Quistis was nearly in tears when you walked in on our call. She worries about you. So do Zell and Selph." He looked down at me while he stood with his arms crossed. His position plainly stated he was listening politely, but disinterested.
"Fuck man!" In frustration I also stood. "At least you've fuckin' got people who want to help you. You think you're the only one feeling like shit after the whole sorceress thing? Goddammit, you think no one understands YOUR pain?! You think you're the most screwed up person in the world?!" Angrily, I pushed up my sleeves to show him my own scars, most of which were deeper and longer than his. Squall winced when he saw the angry red scars bisecting half of my forearms. "Those were from just four weeks ago. If some dumb fuck hadn't picked up me from the gutter, I wouldn't be anything but rat shit right now!" By this time Squall was staring at me horrified. I knew tears were running down my face, but couldn't feel them with the anger that filled me. It wasn't anger at the brunette, precisely, just at his goddamn ego and pride. Anger for the nameless, faceless stranger that had retrieved me from the alley while I was unconscious. Anger at myself. I couldn't help him because we had stopped being friends for some reason. It was probably my fault, it's always my fault.
"I have more scars. Scars from a bullet-removal surgery. Cuts on my chest, legs, stomach…" Squall's face looked slightly gray. I took a deep breath and calmed myself. "Look. You may not have it easy, but you have friends. You have a home, you have respect, fame, a family." And what the hell do I have? A bad rep, no place to settle down and live, no one who really cares if I fade away. Forcing aside those self-pitying thoughts, I softly made my closing statement. "So stop your self-pity and open up to them, Squall." I went out the door.
I stared at the closed door. God. That's all I could think of to say. God, poor Seifer. Every time I closed my eyes I saw his arms, crossed with scars. They were longer, more serious and angry-looking than mine. I felt tears collecting in my own eyes. "If some dumb fuck hadn't picked up me from the gutter, I wouldn't be anything but rat shit right now!" I silently thanked that "dumb fuck," that angel, who had saved Seifer. My Seifer. I unbuckled the cuffs to expose my own scars. How… meaningless they look after his. I do have things to keep me going. Friends to keep me alive. He doesn't have anything. Hot tears fell on my wrists. I wish I could tell him that he does have something. He has ME. Not that he would ever take me seriously. And it's not like he'd ever be interested anyway. Besides, I never will be able to tell him that I love him. God. My stupid ego and pride. My fucking fear. I've always been a coward when it comes to feelings.
Should I go find him? Should I? I looked at the clock. Oh-eight-hundred. Two more hours until we go to the beach. I really don't feel like going anymore. I wiped the tears from my cheeks and decided I should take a shower first and decide what to do later.
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