DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters or FF8. They are used without permission. >.<

Author's Note: It's um.... well, er.... just read. *sigh* And tell me what you think. ^-^ I think.. next time I write Irvine I'll try to lighten him up a little. o.O


By Sniffles

Dull red, with twinges of orange and just a hint of blue.

I stare into the fire, completely fascinated. I've always loved fire. In fact, my love for fire is part of the reason I started smoking. When I hold a cigarette it's like holding a little bit of fire in my hands. It's a wonderful feeling.

With fingers that tremble, I reach out and slowly ease the tip of my finger over the flame. It burns, but strangely enough it doesn't really hurt. I watch as the flame wraps itself around my finger. I do love fire. It's fascinating, and beautiful. It jumps and plays, enticing me. Begging me to touch and when I do... I get burned.

In a way, Seifer is like that. He entices me, plays his little mind games before me. His sexy body just begs to be touched but when I reach out to act on the feeling... I get burned. Every time, without fail. And yet I keep coming back. I know I'll be hurt, but I don't care. I don't feel the pain anymore. I want him to wrap around me and burn every bit of my skin. I don't care if it hurts, I need to be with him. Pain, or no.

Pain is precious.

Pain is fleeting.

I wonder if maybe I'm not a little masochistic. I pull my finger out of the flame and stare at my hands. Delicate hands. Smooth. Not a scar to be seen. What did Rinoa call them? Oh yes, she said I had the hands of a pianist. Hm. I can't even play the piano.

I pull my sleeve down and stare at my wrists.

I always wear long sleeve shirts. When I was dating Selphie it used to drive her mad. I would never take off my shirt and never, under any circumstances expose my arm from the wrist down. I knew that if she saw the slashes on my arms she would have been horrified. Hell, they horrify me sometimes. Sometimes I just stare at them and wonder; Where did these come from? When... and then I remember.

When I was younger I couldn't deal with pain, and it seemed I was being hurt all the time. Especially when I came to the Garden's. I just never fit in. I tried so hard to make them accept me, but they just wouldn't. So I was left... alone. I hate being alone. I would rather die than be alone.

And that's why I have the scars on my arms. I did try to kill myself. Countless times.

I don't do it anymore. Now the scars sicken me. I drop my hands into my lap and stretch my legs out before me. I slouch in the chair and chew on the end of the cigarette in my mouth. I haven't lit it yet. I've been too busy staring at the candles. I suppose I should light it, but I just don't have the energy. 'Those damn things are going to kill you some day.' Quistis told me once. The comment had shocked me so bad I didn't smoke for days after. I had never heard Quistis speak like that before.

I look up as I hear the door opening. He enters the room and his eyes travel directly to me. I grin at him crookedly. He looks at the candles, his brows draw together in a frown. "What's this?" He asks, his voice deep and tinged with bitterness. He always sounds bitter. It doesn't matter what he's talking about, there's always that twinge of bitterness in his voice. I suppose he feels life has been cruel to him. I suppose he feels he has a right to be bitter.

Bastard. Life hasn't been easy on any of us.

"Hm." I shrug, "Just felt like lighting some candles."

"You're a moron." He mutters, stepping further into the room.

I just grin crookedly, masking the pain his comment arouses in my heart. "That's what you love about me." I respond easily, "I'm not an intellectual challenge."

He just snorts and walks across the room to the shelves. He kneels down. "Did the librarian tell you that you could light candles in her library?" He asks, voice sharp.

"I'm the librarian today, luv." I respond, idly running one hand up to my stomach and leaving it there.

He looks over his shoulder. His eyes narrow on my hands, then move up to my face. "They left you in charge of the library?" His voice contains just the right amount of disbelief... just the right amount to rip apart every bit of pride I have.

He has that ability. That's why it's so dangerous for me to be near him. He tears away my pride with the simplest comments. I don't think he even realizes that he does it. I reach up with trembling hands to light the cigarette. "Are you ill?" he asks gruffly.

I watch as the flame from the match sets the end of the cigarette on fire. "Hm? What do you mean?" I question, shaking the match and dropping it into the ashtray on the table beside where I'm sitting.

"You're shaking." He nods at my hands.

I look at my hands, watch the trembling with a sort of detached interest. Hm. He's right. I am trembling. I shrug, "So?" I drop my hand back into my lap and suck in. The nicatine fills my lungs and it comforts me... if only just a little.

"So.. why are you shaking?"

I roll my eyes with a little sigh, "Why do you care?"

He growls angrily and gets to his feet. "Fine." He mutters, "Act like the brainless fuck you are."

Outside, I laugh at him as he walks away. Inside, I die just a little.

I look at the flames.

Dancing, and enticing me with their beauty. 'Come touch me.' They seem to beg. Just like him. I know that if I reach out and try to touch, I'll be burned and yet...

I find myself reaching.

One day, maybe, the flame will go out and it won't hurt so much to be near him, but until then....

I'm going to burn.

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