The Bleakest Silence
By fyre byrd
Squall sat anxiously and quietly by Seifer's bed for most of that night. If only he had been there, none of this would have happened. If he hadn't run away after Seifer hit him, then the tall blonde- haired man wouldn't be lying so unnaturally still and pale on this bed. Squall felt his eyes burning as he thought about Seifer never getting up from his sick bed. What if Seifer's green eyes never burned into Squall's again, what if they never trained together or ate dinner together and fell asleep in each other's arms. Squall realized with an unwelcome shock that his relationship with Seifer had become a great deal more than friendship or a passing infatuation. If Seifer never woke up from this sleep, if his eyelids remained firmly closed and his face which was often as charged with emotion as a thunder storm remained as immobile and smooth as a marble effigy then Squall knew he'd never get over it. Perhaps Squall would go on living, maybe he'd even fall in love again, but he'd always be looking for something that he could never find again. Squall stood up and leaned over Seifer's bed so that he could feel the still man's breath caress his cheek. Closing his eyes, Squall gently kissed the slightly parted lips and surprised himself by shedding a few warm tears. He could feel them drip down his cheeks so that they fell on Seifer's face. Squall kissed the tears from Seifer's nose, his eyes and the curve of his brow, but Seifer did not wake, nor did he stir at all. The brown-haired SeeD felt his weariness strike him then and he crawled over into the cot and slept fitfully.
For two days Seifer lay unconscious, barely moving at all, but mercifully still taking in air in long, life giving gulps. During this time Squall only left the infirmary to eat or shower ad these things he did as swiftly as he could. Squall spent the rest of this time speaking softly to Seifer. In those two days he spoke to Seifer's unconscious body more than he ever had to anyone before. Squall sat on the edge of Seifer's bed, stroking his face or his hand and talked to him about everything. He told Seifer his fears and his longings, he even confessed his feelings for Seifer when it began to look like he might never wake. Squall found himself weeping quietly several times as he watched the rise and fall of Seifer's broad chest and every time he marveled at the fall of crystalline droplets from his eyes. Squall spoke to no one else. He was barely even civil to Zell and Quistis when they came to visit the second day. They could get nothing but monosyllables from the silent blue- eyed vigil over Seifer's bed and so Dr. Kadowaki had to reassure the two SeeDs that Seifer would be waking up soon, in fact, any time now. Squall began to doubt this and suspected the doctor of embellishing the hopeless situation for his sake. Unspoken between them was the knowledge that Squall had failed in his task of helping Seifer, but in his vigilance over Seifer's sick bed Squall would not fail.
The afternoon of the third day, Seifer' beautiful eyes suddenly and inexplicably fluttered open while Squall held his pale hand and told him stories. Seifer sucked in his breath as though he were afraid and started up,
"Squall?" he asked, his gaze focusing on Squall's face, his voice rusty with disuse. "What, what happened?"
The brunette's eyes were wide and slightly moist and he smiled tentatively, although what he had to tell Seifer was far from pleasant. "You took a lot of pills after our disagreement. I found you laying on the floor. I thought you were dead."
Seifer's brow knit and he frowned. "I remember," he said then cleared his throat and grimaced. "Could you get me a glass of water?"
Dr. Kadowaki was in the room then, motioning for Squall to go ahead and get Seifer some water, while she asked Seifer urgent questions in a low tone and checked his temperature and pulse and shone a light in his eye. Squall returned quickly and helped Seifer sit up to take his glass, holding it with him while he drank.
"I'm not that weak," Seifer protested with some of his usual arrogance, but his hands were trembling from lack of nourishment or some after affect of the drugs he'd so recklessly consumed.
Only after the doctor had watched Seifer eat some soup and apple sauce did she question him again, first closing the door and sitting down beside Squall on his cot. Leaning over towards Seifer she opened her mouth as if to speak then sat back and seemed to think on it for a moment, the began again, "Seifer, I know you've been keeping something important back from me during our discussions. You're still weak and perhaps I shouldn't be confronting you about it now, but I have a feeling that it was something you've held back that caused you to react the way you did. I don't want you to hurt yourself again because you feel you can't trust me. Now, if you like Squall can leave. He doesn't have to go far even, just out of the room where we can call him back at any time."
Seifer, who had paled a bit at her words, shook his head and closed his eyes. The doctor leaned over and gripped his hand firmly.
"Seifer I need you to tell me all of it. Believe it or not, both Squall and I care about you and we won't judge you for anything you say, nor will this conversation go beyond this room."
Seifer's voice managed to be cool and sharp even though it was still slightly raw from his illness as his words sliced off the end of the doctor's sentence, "it may be unavoidable that you judge me for what I say, but I see it's best out in the open." Then, in a calm and detached voice Seifer told them a nightmare.
"When the Sorceress stole my mind, she did it piece by piece, not all at once. For awhile there was hope, she had promised me dreams, but she was mocking me. She violated every dream I ever possessed systematically. Perhaps she began with the simple things like love and trust and left me with only dreams that would suit her purposes like the desire for honor and glory, I don't really know. All I do recall is that I held onto my best dream for quite some time before she ripped it away from me. When I needed respite from the terrible deeds she made me commit I thought of someone I held very dear, I thought of you, Squall." Seifer said, finally opening his eyes which looked like two green glittering wounds in his face. Squall moved to touch or comfort Seifer, but the doctor held his arm in an iron grip, her eyes warning him that Seifer had to be allowed to finish.
"They weren't clean thoughts," Seifer continued feverishly. "I was . . . touching myself when she caught me thinking about you. Ultimecia turned my fantasy into a black pit of terror." Seifer said, choking on his words as he spoke on, painfully. "She changed a dream of lust to a nightmare. She'd have me embracing your corpse. She'd make me kill you in a million ways with my own hands, oh and worse, much worse," he said seeing Squall's horrified look. "Once, she forced me to tear pieces of your flesh off with my teeth." Seifer's eyes were staring vacantly at Squall's face as he delivered the horrific litany in a strangled voice. "She made me imagine that you raped me. She had me rape you, violently. There was blood, lots of blood. Sometimes she'd just show you laughing at me, scorning my feelings for you. It was disgusting what she did to me and it made me see that what I had wanted to do to you was disgusting. It was sick, the way I wanted to use your body, a perversion. I'm sorry, Squall . . ." Seifer was weeping openly now, his face streaming with tears. Squall tried again to go to him, but the doctor held him back again, her eyes full of compassion, but also caution. Seifer wasn't finished yet.
"There's nothing to be sorry for," Squall said vehemently.
"Isn't there?" Seifer asked, his voice coloured with self- loathing. "In my mind I used your body for my depraved pleasure, it may have made me happy for a time, but it was wrong. It was the same as Ultimecia using my mind for her pleasure, she made me realize that. And if not . . . didn't she force me to hurt you? Didn't I torture you, nearly rupture our body with electricity as I questioned you futilely in the prison? I was her slave and I nearly killed you. I left you to be killed."
"But it wasn't you, Seifer." Squall insisted, shaking off the doctor's grip at last. "Ultimecia was behind it all and you're not sick or perverted. Don't you see that she wanted to take away all of your pleasures by twisting and blackening them. Your intentions were pure and she broke them or diverted them to her ends." Squall sat on Seifer's bed and held Seifer's hands in his. "Could you leave us for a moment?" Squall asked the doctor. She searched Squall's face with her keen gray eyes and seeming to find what she had been looking for, she nodded and stood up. With her hand on the door, she said, "just see that he gets some rest soon, Squall. We can all talk later."
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