By llamajoy

floating in a summer daydream
we are flying, we are blue
nothing that I can't hold on to
or return to--
even you
--"where you are," october project

Seifer, sitting with his boots half-dangling over the edge of the dock, peered irritably at the perfect tropical blue off the Balamb coast. Hmph, he decided. Not a fish for miles.

"Look, boss! Fuu-sama!" Raijin broke the sunny silence, yanking at the big balambfish at the end of his pole. "Look!"

Seifer looked over his shoulder, his eyebrow twitching. "Nothing ever goes right for me," he stood, hurling his ineffective fishing pole to the dock with a theatrical flourish. "Even my subordinates can catch a fucking fish, and I can't."

Raijin was doing a little victory boogie, his old boots a hollow clamor on the wobbly dock. Damn but it felt good to be done fighting. And he'd caught a fish!-- no one had had to show him how-- and he'd impressed his boss.

Fuujin, silent all this while, narrowed her eye at Raijin's excessive display. "Showoff," she said, and kicked him.

She had only meant to make him lose his footing, shake him up a little. But he was so gleeful and off balance that he toppled off the dock entirely.

Fuujin barely had time to blink when Seifer laughed.

God. He laughed, and she'd have pushed Raijin off a hundred docks to hear that sound earlier. Her smile was slow, as if afraid the moment would not last--

But Seifer had thrown his head back, arms wrapped around his sides, laughing so hard he closed his eyes.

It was like the day had gotten brighter.

All suddenly, the Garden flew over them on its way back to its Balamb origins, catching them by surprise. "Whoa," Raijin murmured, as they tilted their heads in mute uplifted homage. "Never thought to see our old school flying by, ya know?"

And Fuujin looked a little awed as the shadow of Balamb Garden moved over Seifer's face, his mouth half-open as if there was something he wanted to say-- as if there were any words left at all.

In mutual silence, the three of them watched their past wheeling windlessly through the crystal sky overhead.

Raijin was the first to speak again, floating up to his chin in the water, looking expectantly at his boss and his best friend. "Um, Seifer? Fuu-sama? Can you... help me up?"

Seifer chuckled, but there was depth in his gaze now, that meant he was thinking. "Fuck, Fuujin. You sure showed him." His eyes shone at her.

Belatedly sheepish, she glanced down at Raijin's half-submerged drippy head. If she hadn't been wondering about the odd angle of Seifer's smile behind her, she certainly would have caught the look in Raijin's dark eyes as she lowered a hand to help him up--

Boots over eyepatch she tumbled after him, one stiff tug on her hand all it took. She quelled the reflexive panic, forcing herself to relax. To her surprise, she found it wasn't hard. This was not combat, and the water was cool, deliciously so. She found her bearings and surfaced, tossing her silver hair out of her eyes.

Raijin was spluttering with laughter, barely able to stay afloat in his mirth. "Gotcha! You should be more careful, ya know?"

Happier than she had been in a long time, she advanced on him and splashed him mercilessly. Not one to let the opportunity pass, he splashed her back, his big hands causing miniature tidal waves. But she was quicker than he was, narrow hands finding openings left in the wake of his broad arm-swings.

The water was so summery blue, floating felt a little bit like flying.

When she fumbled, too giddy to tread water properly, Raijin was there in an instant, arm circling around her, looking worried. "You okay, Fuu-sama?"

She opened her mouth to insist that she was, in fact, fine, but someone cleared his throat above them and they looked up to see Seifer standing over them, the mended edges of his well-loved trenchcoat soaking wet. Apparently their waterfight had been a bit... enthusiastic. He had a look on his face, and Fuujin and Raijin both dipped their heads-- to avoid his censure-- and to hide the fact that they were still smiling like idiots.

"Come on, men! If there HAD been any fish within a league, they're surely gone NOW," Seifer admonished, but his scowl wobbled. "Hell, you guys look ridiculous."

Fuujin, leaning against Raijin's chest for flotation support, tilted her head up and looked at Seifer, trenchcoat dripping, fishing pole in his gunblade hand, golden head framed against the jewel Balamb sky.

Raijin elbowed Fuujin, thinking he understood the suddenly thoughtful look in her eye. "Nahhh, boss. So do you." Seifer opened his mouth to protest but Raijin didn't back down. "Ya know?"

Exasperated, Seifer knelt and reached out his hands to them. "Well, get up then."

Fuujin and Raijin didn't even have to exchange glances to be of one mind. They nodded assent and moved to clamber back up onto the dock--

And, one to each hand, hauled Seifer Almasy head over heels into the drink.

Some part of him must have seen it coming, for he didn't let go their hands, kicking further underwater and dragging them with him. When they broke the surface all three were gasping with laughter.

"I should have you both DEMOTED," he spluttered, his trenchcoat floating out around his waist as he tread water. "Fucking irresponsible, disrespectful, unacceptab--" but Raijin splashed him hugely and he couldn’t go on, coughing and laughing both.

After a while, Fuujin held out her hand to him, helping him get his wind back.

He clutched her shoulder for balance, and Fuujin realized he was warm, sopping as he was. He saw her looking, he raised an eyebrow at her. "YOU tell the ingrate to behave, you're my Number One." As if she hadn't been equally responsible for dunking him underwater. She floated low, up to her nose in the water, watching that strange smile return to Seifer's face.

Exaggeratedly he sank down to her level, swimming near like some sort of ominous fish, nose to nose with her. "Nee, Fuu?" Quick as an expert fishing rod cast, he hooked a hand around her middle, drawing her closer. Raijin got it, clapping Seifer on the back. "Oh, Boss, you got one! Reel 'er in, ya know!"

Fuujin struggled dramatically, till she had to be still lest her kicking interrupt his. For a silent panting moment, she let him buoy them both, daring to slip an arm around his chest, holding him underneath the trenchcoat--

Somewhere she had never been.

Seifer looked damnably smug, as if examining his trophy. "Look, Raijin, isn't she a beauty."

His prize catch made a face, wresting herself free and levering herself back up to the dock boards. She kicked water at them both, without any real aim. "Shower," she said, and headed back to their hotel to get clean and dry and-- and do anything but think.


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