Dedicated to: Reia.

Notes: Sorry it took so long. I've been swamped. >.< Sooo... was it funny? Even a little? *looks hopeful*

Don't Make Him Cry

Chapter Seven - Sleep Now

By Sniffles

7.1 "Shinra."

Rufus' head jerked up. He glowered at Seifer, "Don't call me that, soldier." He snapped.

"Your name isn't Ruf Ra, is it?" Seifer asked quietly, "That guy, Tseng, he keeps calling you Shinra."

"Little shit." Rufus grumbled, Seifer wasn't sure if the insult was directed towards him, or Tseng. "My name is Rufus, all right? But don't ever call me that." /What the hell am I doing?/ Rufus wondered, closing his eyes briefly. /Why am I telling him my real name?/

Seifer nodded. He looked past Rufus at the shadowed trees. "Why did you join this army?" He asked quietly.

"Not because of some misguided sense of duty, that's for sure. Tsui pisses me off. People who think they're God normally do. A few years ago I wouldn't have cared... but now... Now I can't stand to watch him kill so many souls. I can't stand the pain he's causing. If Avalanche wasn't around I'd be fighting him anyway." Rufus stopped, heat flushing his cheeks. He viciously threw a stick into the fire. /Why did I just tell him all that?/

"I think I understand." Seifer nodded, his eyes darkening with some undefinable emotion.

"Don't start thinking I'm noble and shit." Rufus grumbled, picking up a rock and rolling it in his hands. "I'm not..."

"They could have been my brother, or cousin..." Seifer said quietly, his eyes resting on Rufus' face, "It has nothing to do with being noble, or self-sacrificing. It has everything to do with honor... and ..."

"Love." Rufus finished. "Love for life."


Their eyes met. Rufus shifted uncomfortably. Something inside of him was burning. He had never felt like this before. It was like everytime part of his body was tingling, and waiting. Waiting for what though?

/What is this? What is he doing to me?/

"I want to join your fight." Seifer said, breaking the odd silence that had fallen over them.

Rufus couldn't help but smile ruefully, "You're already part of the army Almasy."

"Yes. By force. Now I choose to join you."

/Join... me./ Rufus' eyes narrowed, he looked away. /Not Avalanche. He wants to join me... or is that what he really meant?/

"We leave in the morning..." Tseng walked over to them, "Reno is going to keep watch. You two better get some sleep."

"Right." Rufus nodded. He laid down, on his back. The ground was cold, and hard, but he knew that he would sleep regardless. A few years ago he wouldn't have been able to. But now, he'd been hardened by the war.

He didn't need feather pillows and warm bathes.

Not anymore.

He turned his head and watched as Seifer also lay down. Those beautiful blue eyes slid closed and Rufus found himself staring. The firelight gave Seifer's skin an almost goldish hue. /He's beautiful./ Rufus gasped softly at the thought, /What am I thinking? Beautiful! He's a guy!/

"Shinra, you're drooling." Tseng commented quietly as he walked past.

"Shut up Turk."


"Shut up Turk."

/Drooling?/ Seifer fought back the frown that wanted to crease his brow. He listened to Tseng's footsteps fading in the night. The fire crackled, it's warmth washing over him and making him feel tired. /Drooling over me?/

He let the heaviness of sleep take him into the world of dreams. Dreams of glowing blue eyes, and strangely enough, puppy dog ears.


"All right... summon Ifrit."

Squall nodded, his face tense with determination. He raised the gunblade, shifting his grip. Seifer's gunblade had a slightly different balance than his own. It was also a tad lighter. "I call upon you, Ifrit." He murmured. The words were unnecesaary, but he'd gotten used to calling upon his GF's mentally as well as vocally.

The world dimmed as Ifrit's magic faded him out of the physical realm. As fast as it happened, it was over. He opened his eyes and met the gaze of his friends. "Nothing." Quistis said with a little sigh. "Why did Seifer disappear, and you remain?"

"We're missing something." Squall lowered the gunblade.

"But what? What did Seifer do different?" With another sigh Quistis reached up to rub at her temples. She was getting such a headache.

"Too bad we couldn't ask that... thing in my room." Zell commented quietly.

All eyes focused on him. He shifted nervously, "Wh-what?"

"Let's go ask it." Quistis said quietly.

"Right!" Selphie agreed eagerly. She hadn't seen it yet and she was quite eager to.

"You guys are insane." Zell moaned.


Reno ran his tongue across his teeth as he edged closer to the shadows. Something had moved in there just moments before. He gripped his stun rod tightly. Tseng didn't like him to use it anymore, but when Tseng wasn't around he tossed the gun in favor for his rod. As he crept closer he could hear fevered breathing. Someone, or something was hiding in the shadows of the trees. His lips tilted up in a ferile grin. Whoever it was, they hadn't noticed him.

When he was close enough he pushed the stun rod into the trees. The resulting snap and scream was enough to wake up everyone in a five mile radius.



Rubbing her aching rear Elena burst out of the shadows, Rude hot on her heels. "Rude?!" Reno couldn't help the disbelieving laugh that sputtered from his lips as he stumbled back.

He took one look at their ruffled clothing and Elena's flushed cheeks and he burst into uncontrolled laughter. "Oh. My. God." He gasped, grabbing his sides and falling to the ground. He kicked his heels into the dirt, laughing harder at their half-embarassed, half-angry expressions.

"What's going on?" Tseng burst onto the scene, his gun in hand and ready.

"Nothing!" Elena cried quickly.

"They... They...!" Reno was laughing too hard to complete his sentence.

"Dammit Reno!" Elena lashed out, kicking Reno's leg with her bare foot. unfortunately that hurt her more than it hurt him.

Rude took her arm as she cried out and reached down to grab her now aching toes.

This whole scene just made Reno laugh harder. So hard his ribs were aching and tears of mirth were flowing unchecked down his cheeks. Tseng looked down at him as if he'd just sprouted horns and Rude glowered at him. "Oh, I hate you sometimes!" Elena cried, stamping her foot and wincing at the pain that produced.

Reno just continued laughing.

"Reno, get back to your watch. Rude, Elena, get back to your sleeping bags." Tseng turned to leave but stopped when Reno's laughter continued unchecked. With a little sigh he glanced over his shoulder at the untidy ex-Turk, "Stop that."

Almost immediately Reno's laughter died down. He watched with amusement glinting in his eyes as Elena and Rude skulked off after Tseng.

"I love night watch." He murmured with a little giggle as he reached up to wipe his eyes.


"All right... I'm going to talk to it." Quistis whispered as she stepped warily into the room.

The creature's eyes turned to her. Such sad eyes. So full of... grief and pain. She felt herself shuddering in sympathy. "Hello." She said gently, "My name is Quistis.. I need to ask you a few questions. Can you speak?"

The creature shifted it's long limbs. It looked ill. She stepped closer. "It's all right. We're not going to hurt you."

The creature made a soft mewling sound, and then opened it's mouth.


The voice sent shivers up her spine. "Oh my buddha! Did it just speak!?" Selphie cried, her eyes wide.

"Oh my buddha? Who says that?" Zell snorted.

"Shut up Zell."

"Sleep? Are you tired?" Quistis reached out with a shaking hand and very timidly touched one of the creature's long, spidery legs.

"Sleep." The creature looked her square in the eye and repeated it's little plea.

"All right." Quistis nodded, "All right."

"What does that mean? Why doesn't it just sleep if it's tired?" Selphie pushed past Zell so she could peek into the room.

"Maybe it can't... Or maybe it's trying to tell us something..." Irvine murmured, staring at the creature over Selphie's head.

The creature trembled and slowly it's eyes slid shut. With a shudder...

It stopped breathing.

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