The Bleakest Silence

Part 6

By fyre byrd

They went to the cafeteria and ate some dinner together. Seifer was very quiet, but that suited Squall fairly well, since he was usually all but silent himself.

"I want to go train for a bit," Seifer said, after they'd deposited their trays at the counter.

"Hadn't you better get some rest?" Squall asked, looking concerned.

"I'm not going to pass out from the fucking strain, okay? All I did this afternoon was sit on my ass and talk. Besides," Seifer said a bit less heatedly, " I'm hoping to wear myself out a bit so when I sleep maybe . . ." He looked down and rubbed his forehead , ashamed.

"Okay, let's go," Squall said. "No weapons though, just hand to hand. I don't want either of us to have to go back to Kadowaki tonight."

"Don't you mean to say that you're scared of me, Squall?" Seifer asked with a practiced curl of his lip.

"I've heard it all before, let's just go Seifer," Squall said wearily, pushing past the green-eyed man impatiently on his way out the cafeteria door. Seifer only paused for a moment, surprised at Squall's sudden lack of tolerance. In all the years he'd tried to get through to the shorter brunette with threats and taunts, he'd never gotten this much of a rise out of the icy Squall.

The new room mates struggled together wholeheartedly in the training centre, but Seifer's usual anger and sneers were noticeably absent from their fighting. In the locker room afterwards, few words were exchanged of course, but it got to the point where Squall began to wonder if his silence wasn't wearing off on the usually brash and loud-mouthed blonde. Back in the room Squall was the one who finally crumbled beneath the weight of the quiet and spoke.

"Seifer, Dr. Kadowaki told me to get you to take some sleeping pills tonight. She said it'd help you remember how to sleep normally."

Seifer wrenched his shirt off rather violently, but kept an iron grip on his voice as he replied evenly, "You're not making me take any fucking pills." He pulled off his blue jeans and stood beside his turned down bed, looking directly into Squall's eyes with determination. "I don't rely on pills to live my life, ever and I'm barely getting used to relying on people. So lay off."

Squall sucked in his breath and forgot for a moment to let it out. He had barely been resisting the urge to stare too noticeably at the sight of Seifer in only a pair of soft looking black boxers, when suddenly the blonde haired man came out with a speech that sounded remarkably cold. In fact it reminded Squall of some of the things he'd said to Seifer himself while he was the enemy of Garden.

"I'm sorry," Squall said and undressed and climbed into bed himself. He could feel Seifer's eyes on him even after he'd turned out the light. Squall didn't know how he could ever make it up to Seifer, the coldness and the apathy he'd expressed towards the man he'd exchanged scars with once. They seemed to be inextricably bound in one another's lives, but there were so many misunderstandings along the way that were just waiting to trip them up. Squall wondered, as he lay there if those differences could ever be resolved or made up for. He knew that his lame apology, attached to nothing, had been a poor excuse for a start at retrieving his past mistakes.

Squall's mind stopped it's aimless drifting when he realized that Seifer' breaths had grown harsh. Now he was getting up from his bed, the blankets making restless slithering noises as they were pushed hastily aside. Squall tried to peer through the thick darkness to discern the planes of Seifer's face.

"Hey, you okay?" Squall asked, sitting up in bed.

"I can't do it," Seifer replied, breathing heavily and unevenly. The sobbing catch in his voice tore at Squall's defenses of seeming indifference. "I thought I'd be okay, but it didn't work." Squall could just discern that the taller man's hands were clenched into fists as he began to pace back and forth between their beds. "She's still got control of me, Squall, or as good as, even now."

Squall got up from his bed watching Seifer pace nervously in the faint moon light and feeling an ache deep inside of himself. Carefully, he approached shape of his room mate and gently laid a hand on his shoulder, only to have it quickly and violently shrugged off.

"Calm down Seifer," Squall implored, his hand now fallen limp at his side as though it had been wounded by Seifer's brushing off of comfort. "You're going to be fine. Ultimecia is gone. It's only your memories of her that are hurting you." Seifer stopped his frantic movements and stood facing Squall in the soft enveloping blackness. Squall could feel the tension in his body even across several feet of intervening space.

"You can't understand it," Seifer said tightly. "You can't even imagine what it's like."Squall wished he could see Seifer's face so badly that he hurt.

"No, I can't," Squall finally admitted slamming his fist into the palm of his hand. "I can' even imagine what you're going through, but I can try and do you know that t hurts to see you like this and I really want to help."

It wasn't Squalls words that finally calmed Seifer down a little, it was the tone of his voice perhaps, the emotion behind the choked down words. Seifer had always had a good imagination and he could almost imagine a pair of loving, shining blue eyes to go with that tone. Seifer sat down on his bed, still breathing unevenly in the stillness of the room. Squall sat carefully beside him and put a hand on his shoulder again. It was the same touch that he'd offered to Seifer so many times already. It was at once intimate and undemanding, the touch of someone who really cared maybe. This time Seifer found he could not refuse the gesture. Seifer felt his body loosening up slightly at the solicitous touch.

"Seifer, do you mind if I sleep here beside you? There's room for both of us and I would feel better knowing as soon as you start to feel bad." Squall said, soundng a bit breathless and afraid himself.

"If you wouldn't mind," Seifer replied enigmatically, not wanting to sound too needy. Truthfully, it was only Squall's presence that had prevented Seifer from having a terrible attack after having relived some of his worst memories for the Doctor. Squall swung his legs up and lay down beside Seifer beneath the blankets. The warm press of Squall's body against Seifer's side was reassuring. He reached out a tentative hand for further proof that there was really someone beside him in the darkness and Squall gasped at his touch. Seifer was about to withdraw his hand from Squall's chest for fear of having offended when he felt Squall grasp his hand in return and squeeze gently.

"Good night, Seifer," Squall whispered, turning to face him. Even more cautiously, Seifer wrapped an arm around Squall's body. He was surprised when Squall responded by nestling his face against Seifer's neck where the blonde-haired man could feel the warmth of Squall's breath against his skin. All of it felt so good that Seifer almost didn't notice that his shudders had subsided awhile ago and his breathing had evened out to leave him feeling strangely light and unburdened, almost giddy with relief from the press of fear and memory. Before long he drifted off to sleep.

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