A/N: I’m so sorry this took so long. There were SATs to study for and competitions to practice for and school and -gasp-the dreaded writer’s block. I hope this isn’t too bad for such a wait. I must give you a warning though. I let someone read this ahead of time and it made them a little sick because of some description within. I don’t think it’s too bad but I thought it wise to give you fair warning.
There was a creak as the compartment door slid open. The silver haired young woman didn’t bother looking to the entrance. They had just made another stop and the new passenger would more than likely only linger a moment before realizing that this compartment was occupied and move on to another one. Of course no sign of a closing door sounded and by the time she glanced over her the new passenger had already embraced her. One eye widened in surprise “WHO”.
Suddenly the figure upon her pulled back, grinning “Fujin! You couldn’t have forgotten me, ya know.”
A pale hand went to straighten her eye patch and she looked upon the man before her in shock. His muscular physic and tanned skin did indeed look familiar “RAJIN”. Suddenly the stoic young woman smiled and stood, throwing her arms around Rajin’s neck.
Rajin, a bit surprised, managed to hug her back “Whoa, Fujin, I wish you were in such a good mood all the time, ya know?”
As though she’d done nothing, Fujin sat back down “DOOR” she nodded towards the still open passageway, which Rajin moved obediently to close.
“You going to Winhill to Fuj? Ellone died ya know,” though he hadn’t been that close to Ellone he said these last words with a bit of respect.
Fujin nodded ”FUNERAL”.
Sitting down, Rajin took a seat across from her, slouching slightly and putting his elbows onto his knees “Why are you going? You didn’t really know Ellone either, ya know?”
Folding her arms over her chest, she crossed her legs then stated firmly, “SEIFER”
Rajin‘s grin surfaced once more “You think he’ll be there too? They were in that orphanage together, I think he’ll wanna be there, ya know?”
Again Fujin nodded “BE THERE” Her one eye focused on a point on the wall as she spoke, she clearly had no doubt in her mind that they’d be reunited at the funeral.
“I’ve missed Fu, ya know?” It was just like Rajin to change subjects so quickly, Fujin wasn’t surprised at all and didn’t bother responding. Rajin didn’t mind so much “I’ve missed Seifer too, ya know? Things are boring alone, ya know?”
Fujin nodded, her eye going to watch the man across from her “Changing soon.”
“I didn’t think this thing had a kitchen,”
“It didn’t” Squall took the tuper-ware container from the microwave and slid it to the other side of the bar, crossing around to take a seat.
“Well I’m glad he remodeled this place,” Seifer followed Squall, tossing him a canned soft drink “From what I’d heard this place’s interior sounded a bit like the D-district prison.”
Squall frowned “I liked it,” he said defensively, taking a bite of leftover pasta they’d found in the fridge.
Seifer only smiled at his words “You always were the strict, low-key, sterile room sort,” he took a bite of pasta himself “Hm, this is good. Cooking run in your family or something?”
“How would I-wait, I’m not sterile...I mean...”
Seifer laughed but quickly recovered “I know what you mean and yes you are. Not a single decoration in your room...or your office...”
“There are pictures,” Squall said almost under his breath.
“Baskets of flowers and cherubs?” Seifer rolled his eyes “Yeah, sure those were your decorative choices.”
“Fine, Rinoa did all the decorating but hey, your room isn’t exactly colorful either...just a mess...”
“My room’s fine, don’t change the subject.”
“I didn’t...I just shifted it slightly....” he grumbled though a faint smile showed as he spoke “Well...if I did have a say in decorations I might decorate...”
“Oh yeah?” Seifer swallowed the bite in his mouth “With what?”
Squall paused then shrugged “I don’t know, maybe some photographs, darker pictures, not those happy bright, cheap love hotel prints.” Seifer only rolled his eyes causing Squall to do the same “And what would you have me decorate it with? A pinup of you?”
Seifer grinned “Now that would be tasteful.”
“Whatever,” Squall quickly ate the last few bites of dinner and finished off the canned drink before going to clean up.
Seifer soon followed “When do you think they’ll be back?” he asked almost lazily, tossing a can into the garbage and looking back to the brunette.
Squall shrugged “Probably a few hours if they get into conversation...and Rinoa’s with them so...longer than that,” he suddenly stopped cleaning, meeting Seifer’s eyes
That look could mean no good. Seifer immediately frowned “What?”
“I’m going to go see Ellone’s body.” he answered in an almost deadpan tone, causing Seifer to throw him a startled look.
“I’m serious,” he frowned, moving past Seifer and starting towards the hallway “I want to see what this thing does to people. Maybe it’ll give me some clues as to what’s killing them.”
“But-aw hell,” Seifer hurried around the counter as well, moving after Squall quickly “I’m coming with you,” he groaned. The other male actually seemed relived “Where are they keeping her?”
“In the back I’m sure, where meat and the like would normally be stored...it would be the wisest way to keep a body fresh...” he had a bit of trouble getting that out but moved to the meat locker soon enough, opening the door “Keep it open, I’m not sure it can be opened from the inside or not.”
“Fine,” Seifer certainly wasn’t thrilled with this idea but he stood, leaning against the freezer door just the same. Nervously he watched as Squall approached what seemed to be a body bag. The Ragnarok could travel a great deal faster than an ambulance and seeing as immediate family had asked, Ellone had been taken along. Of course no mortician had seen her yet but as Squall unzipped the plastic, bag he doubted anything would restore her to her old self. A thin layer of frost fell away as metal released, the zipper moving down completely before Squall released it.
Though any blood had long been cleaned away, this didn’t change the level of dismay that came over Squall. Long scratches covered his big sister’s hands and arms, though these seemed to be from the glass she had been carrying. Any other lesions in the skin looked as if she had been boiled or set on fire. Large, circular gashes, as if the skin had bubbled and burst. Her eyes, as any corpse's were open, however no vacant, faded hues stared back him. The eyeball’s themselves were gone, the face almost completely hallowed out. Squall took all this in without breathing, managing to stumble back outside the freezer before falling to his knees and vomiting.
“Shit,” Seifer winced and released the door before dropping down beside Squall “I told you not to look-” he took Squall’s shoulders, trying to calm him down.
Squall didn’t calm but at last the stomach contractions were forced to cease as only bile came to his throat “She-she was-” Squall put a sleeve to his mouth, suddenly feeling weak on top of everything else.
“Come on,” Seifer looked away, pulling Squall into his arms and taking him into the bathroom “Here,” he sighed, setting the brunette down in front of the toilet should he suddenly feel sick again. Quickly wetting a washcloth, he pressed it against Squall’s forehead “Are you all right?”
Squall took a few deep breaths, slowly opening his eyes “Yes,” he said weakly, wiping a few tears from his cheeks as he noted Seifer’s worried expression
Seifer watched him a moment longer then left the rag in Squall’s hands before standing and leaving the bathroom “I’ll be right back.” He assured though it took him a while to get back.
“Did you see her?” Squall had closed his eyes once more, now leaning against the shower as he sat there.
“Yeah,” Seifer was pale himself and went to sit next to Squall as the younger man looked up to him “I put everything back in order though so-”
“Do you know what happened to her?”
Seifer swallowed, looking back to Squall as he chose to press on the subject. He had been afraid of this “...Yeah...”
Squall grabbed the other man’s arm, his breathing quickening a second time “Well-” he urged. He had to know. Ellone had to be the last.
Seifer shook his head reluctantly “I don’t know what’s doing it, not really. It’s just that when I was unconscious...I ah-...Hell, Squall, I don’t know what I saw,” he suddenly appeared to be quit annoyed, standing and moving towards the door “Just, go to bed, you need to get some rest. The funeral’s tomorrow and you’re already in bad shape.”
“Seifer!” Squall was furious. He knew what was going on and didn’t even have the decency to tell him? Quickly he rose, grabbing Seifer’s arm as the man started walking off towards the room he was staying in “Tell me!”
“There’s nothing you could do, even if I did,” Seifer yanked his arm away violently. This only angered Squall further, the smaller man throwing a punch that caught Seifer in the jaw “Hyne, Squall!” Seifer, stumbled a few steps back on impact and now had a hand to his mouth. The sight of blood on his fingertips reminded him that Squall was no weakling.
“My sister just died and you can’t even tell me who it was!” Squall closed the distance between them once more
“Well, I definitely won’t now,” Seifer glared at him , straightening but not before provoking a shove from Squall, one that caused him to hit the steel wall at his back. With a second punch it was clear Seifer wasn’t going to fight back. It was as if he felt guilty for keeping what he knew from Squall.
“Why won’t you tell me!” another shove forced Seifer to slide to the floor, Squall quickly followed “If you don’t tell me more people will die! Or some other idiot I know might figure this out and get himself killed!” He couldn’t stand the thought of someone else he was close to dying...but...”Oh-” Squall pulled away slowly, dropping back on his knees “...You’re afraid I’ll get myself killed aren’t you?...”
“Congratulations,” Seifer muttered in a deadpan tone. He stood from the floor, wiping the excess blood from his face and making his way to the bedrooms.
Squall sat where he was for a moment longer. Hesitating, he went back to the bathroom, rinsing out his mouth, then washing off his face. He didn’t know what to do. Sure he still wanted to know but...Seifer had only been concerned and...Squall got to his feet and made his way to the bedrooms. “Seifer-”
The blond looked up but didn‘t face him. Clearly he had just finished feeding the kitten because the purring feline was delicately placed back on the table as Squall spoke. Seifer however didn’t respond, making his way to his bed and switching off the lamp.
“Seifer,” he repeated, switching the overhead light on and going to take a seat on the other side of the bed. Seifer was on his side now, back to Squall, and his eyes closed. Squall only sighed, putting a hand onto the other man’s shoulder and tugging as he pulled his own legs onto the bed. “I shouldn’t have-” Squall stopped speaking as Seifer responded to the tug by going onto his back. Squall winced as he saw what he had down. Quickly he leaned to one side, grabbing a few tissue before saying anything more “I’m really sorry,” he said a bit lamely, dabbing at the blood from a split lip “I just...I mean...she was my sister-and-I want her to be the last. No one else should die...I suppose I want revenge as well...”
“I know,” Seifer raised a hand to take the Squall’s wrist.
Squall crumpled the blood-stained tissue in his hand and averted his eyes “I didn’t mean to...well, I suppose I did-but I shouldn’t have...” his words trailed off again.
Squall sighed at the tone of his voice. It clearly wasn’t ‘fine’ “No...it isn’t...” Tears came to his eyes again as he was suddenly overwhelmed with events.
The brunette looked back to Seifer in surprise as the other man wrapped his arms around him.
“It’s fine,” he repeated, pulling Squall down on top of him. The smaller man’s arms wrapped around Seifer’s neck and his head rested on the other’s chest.
“Squall!” Rinoa’s voice echoed down the metallic hallways, resonating over the bed and through their ears.
“Rinoa!” Squall hissed, climbing from Seifer quickly and rushing into the next room without hesitation.
Seifer winced, though it wasn’t due to his split lip or bruised eye. He didn’t move, listening as in the next room one greeted the other several pauses allowed for reasons Seifer was all too aware of.
Zell hurried up the stairs, the door opening and allowing him to enter as he approached. Quickly he scanned the room for any sign of Rinoa, quickly finding her seated at the bar with Squall. She clearly hadn’t hesitated to make sure what had once been hers still was. Her lips were pressed to Squall’s, her arms around his neck. She had every intention of taking this one step further, lips slipping down to his neck every now and then.
Zell looked away. Neither had noticed him enter...he saw little point in calling forth their attention...He knew Seifer was here, somewhere. The blond, young man, made his way down the hallway, to the first place that came to mind. Sure enough Seifer was lying on the bed. The light was on, as Squall had left it and Seifer was still watching the ceiling, listening to happenings in the next room. Zell sighed. The entire ship was like a megaphone, he could hear the two himself with the door open. Swallowing he closed the door after entering, blocking out the noises “Seifer?”
Seifer didn’t answer immediately, waiting a minute or so before speaking “Yeah?”
Zell swallowed, suddenly feeling very awkward “You all right man?” his back was against the wall, as if he was still toying with the concept of leaving.
Again Seifer paused, at last sitting up a bit so that he leaned against the headboard though he still didn’t look to Zell. He clearly felt a bit awkward himself, looking away even if there was obviously nothing to look at on the other side of the room “...Not really...”
Zell was struggling to find something to say when he noticed Seifer tense, a hand going to press against his eyes. He’d never seen Seifer like this. Hell, he never though he would! He hated the guy, right? Biting his lower lip for a moment he made his way over, taking a seat on the end of the bed “You...gonna be okay?...”
Seifer looked back Zell, lowering his hand. He had won for the moment though tears were still in his eyes “I-I guess...he really does love...her,” his voice was strained, shaking a bit more with each word.
Zell met Seifer’s eyes and shook his head quickly “I know he doesn’t love her,” there was confidence in his voice. He wasn’t saying this simply to put Seifer at ease. He knew Squall didn’t love Rinoa.
“...But he doesn’t love me either..” Seifer’s eyes lowered again, waiting for Zell’s input.
Again the shorter man swallowed, thinking over the question before answering him “I...don’t know...”
Seifer nodded then slowly raised his head again, a weak, sad smile coming to his lips “I’m never going to live this down am I chicken-wuss?”
Zell shook his head “Don’t worry about it...I just can’t believe it’s come to this...Even if Squall doesn’t love you. He doesn’t have the right to treat you like this.” Seifer’s eyes rose to meet Zell’s, surprised that he was the one saying this “I’m going to bed,” Zell said casually, sliding off the end of the bed and going to shut off the lights. He was going back to the bed when the door opened again. Zell switched on the lamp.
“Hey,” Selphie yawned, trudging towards the bed sleepily. She didn’t bother to change in to pajamas, simply kicking off her boots and dropping onto the bed.
Following her lead, Zell only removed his shirt and shoes, pulling back the covers. Before he climbed into bed, Zell looked back to Seifer who was still sitting up “Try to get some rest, all right?” he offered, putting a friendly hand on his shoulder, going back to his bed and Seifer finally leaned back
The lamp went off once more and Seifer glanced to one side, watching as Selphie wrapped her arms around Zell’s neck. Her head went to rest against his bare chest as she muttered a drowsy ‘I love you’. Seifer squeezed his eyes shut and faced the opposite wall. He still couldn’t sleep.
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