The Bleakest Silence

Part 5

By fyre byrd

"It's not pity, Seifer," Squall said, his fists clenched and his head lowered, ashamed of his desires for a man who was obviously in a great deal of emotional and physical pain. "I just want you back. The way you used to be when we trained together all the time. The way we used to be when we respected and understood each other even when no one else could. I miss that." Squall would gladly suffer Seifer's indifference and scorn if it meant that he was a whole person again, not a stretched out shadow of what he'd been before.

"I wish I could believe you," Seifer said, fierce green eyes lighting on Squall's closed in posture. "I'd be glad if you'd try and help me though. I think I need that. I'll talk to Kadowaki, see if I can get myself back together. It would be good to have someone to listen I think, but I'll only do it on one condition." Here Squall raised his head and watched while Seifer nervously smoothed the edge of his sheet between his fingers. "I want you to sit in on these counselling sessions. I want one of my friends," the word fell stiffly from Seifer's tongue, as though it had grown rusty with disuse, "to know how I feel, what I went through. I've been too long with no one to give a fuck about me, not for real. I'll only go through with this if you think that you can."

Squall's lips twisted upwards in an ironic grin as he said, "That I can, what? Give a fuck about you? Oh, I already do, Seifer, I always have." He stood up and began shifting his boxes across the room. Seifer got dressed slowly, dreading the beginning of his ordeal at Kadowaki's hands. Of course it would all be for the best, but talking about what he'd been through was going to be like taking a trip through Hades.

Seifer had helped Squall to move his single bed into the room, they'd agreed to share the dresser and the rest of the furniture. Then Seifer began the march to Dr. Kadowaki's office, looking like a man condemned to death. His steps slowed as they neared the infirmary, as though he were parched with thirst and barely had the energy to continue.

Squall was there, however, a reassuring presence at Seifer's back who now placed a firm hand on his shoulder which gave him the courage to open the door of the infirmary and step inside. Seifer didn't feel infirm, but he knew that there was something broken within him and he wanted it fixed. Seifer smiled weakly at the doctor. She'd been waiting for him though she seemed surprised to see Squall there.

"He wanted me to come," the blue-eyed SeeD said calmly and Seifer began to realize that Squall's various attitudes of calm and complacency had subtle nuances to them. This quiet countenance was charged with hidden concern and something else, darker and softer, as yet unnamed. Seifer was determined to stick around at least long enough to name all of Squall's silences.

Dr. Kadowaki urged Seifer to sit down on the bed while she took a chair. Squall sat beside Seifer, once again resting his hand on the taller man's shoulder, lightly and without expectation. It was a comfortable touch.

"Tell me Seifer, in the best way you can," the Doctor said, "how did your problem begin?"

Seifer took a deep breath and glanced over at Squall for reassurance even though he knew by the steady gentle touch on his shoulder that the SeeD was still there. "It was a feeling that built in me, slowly and steadily. I didn't notice it at first, but by the time Squall and the others were dispatched to Timber it had become a strong desire to follow them. I certainly was concerned about Rinoa and her ridiculous resistance movement. Cid had no business risking the lives of his students on such a foolish venture, but it went beyond that. I couldn't have stayed away from Timber even if I hadn't cared at all what happened to Squall . . . and Rinoa," Seifer added quickly. "Then when I got there, to Timber, I got a hold of the President before he could finish his speech. I was going to I don't know, hold him for ransom until he promised to free Timber, kill him, take the blame rather than let my fellow SeeDs get hurt. I was confused, not thinking clearly. The strange emotions were getting too firm of a grip on me. Then Edea was there and with her she brought Ultimecia. Suddenly, my mind wasn't my own any more. You can't imagine what that feels like, to hear a voice in your head and question if it is yourself going insane or if it really is this terrifying sorceress seizing your thoughts. I didn't really want either one to be true. She kept whispering to me and I was forced to listen while she called me a little boy and talked about dreams fulfilled and revenge exacted. I tried to fight it for awhile, but in the end, I was a fool. I went with her and I let her convince me. It was really only my pride that had been holding me back and fear that she was talking in my head." The painful words poured, a flood of stagnant fears and memories, from Seifer's lips. He seemed to be trying to purge himself from an illness in the only way he knew how, by expelling violently the thoughts and actions that led to his gradual, but complete subjugation by the sorceress.

"In the end I no longer knew what was real and what was an illusion. At night reality and memory seem to kind of bleed together in the same way. I'm scared because I can't control my thoughts even now and the fear makes me lose control of my body. I shake and I get scared that I am so afraid. The fear feeds on itself until I collapse. I don't know what else to say." By the time Seifer had finished several hours had gone by. The Doctor had been unable to interrupt him and had luckily had a pitcher of water and a glass conveniently placed on the table when the session began.

"You did well Seifer," she said, squeezing his hand where it lay limply beside him on the bed. "I'm going to step out and have a word with Squall briefly and then I want you two to go get something to eat." Squall got up silently and followed her out of the little room. "He's holding something back I think," Doctor Kadowaki said, frowning so that her forehead was creased with worry lines. "I know that he didn't have time to relate everything, but I feel like he's holding something significant back from us." Squall stood, appearing thoughtful and introspective as he often did, his blue eyes seeming to peer inward.

"Yes, he did seem to be holding something back about the things Ultimecia did to him. He also didn't use anyone else's name very much, maybe there's some person involved he's trying not to implicate."

"Very insightful Squall. I'll watch for that next time. For tonight I want you to see if you can get him to take any of those sleeping pills and if you need anything, don't hesitate to call, no matter what the time." Placing a hand on Squall's shoulder she led him back into Seifer's room.

"I'd like you to come back here tomorrow at about noon, all right Seifer?" Doctor Kadowaki said and leaning down her iron gray head towards Seifer's she took his pulse. "Perfectly normal," she observed aloud. "Very good, Seifer, thank you for coming." He nodded and stood up, leaving the room quietly with Squall.

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