Chapter Sixteen

By Scarlet Fever

When I woke up, there was a horrible crick in my neck, probably from sleeping funny. And I felt totally gross because I slept in my clothes. I looked out the window, seeing that the sky was a deep crimson and mauve. I wondered if I had only fallen asleep for a moment, but realized that it was the sunset. I had slept right through the day, like Seifer…….

"Seifer….." I whispered painfully. It hurt to think about him. I wondered what he was thinking, wondered if he thought that I had run away for good, if I had left Trabia entirely…. I sighed, getting up. I quickly showered, not wanting to be out of my coat for very long….. After my shower, I felt refreshed, a little. There was still a hollow pit in my chest that water wouldn’t wash away. Blood, maybe…….. I shook my head, leaving. At least I still had my gunblade with me, so I wasn’t totally helpless, even though I felt it…..

As soon as I stepped outside, an ominous feeling hit me like a train. It was worse than the feeling I had gotten in the woods behind Seifer’s house. As I walked back in the direction of last night’s nightmare, the feeling got worse, heavier. I was now finding it difficult to breathe, and actually had to stop. What was causing this? Once I got on the path to the house, I saw someone running towards me. I hesitated, my hand hovering over the hilt of my gunblade.

"Squall!" Zell cried, running towards me. "Thank God! Are you okay?"

I sighed. "Fine. What’s going on?"

"I’m not sure. Something bad is going on, though….."

I waved my hand to silence him. "How’s Selphie?"

"She seems better…."

"I bet."

"What does that mean?"

"Nothing, nothing," I muttered as we entered the house. As soon as I walked through the door, a servant was buzzing around me, wanting my coat. I noticed that Seifer was standing at the other end of the foyer, watching me. I looked at him, reluctantly giving my coat to the servant. Seifer sighed, disappearing down the hall. I followed him, motioning for Zell to let me go alone. He obliged, going up the stairs.

"Seifer," I said, entering the room he had gone into. It was a billiards room, complete with a full bar that housed bottles that I knew weren’t alcohol.

He took a slow drink out of a crystal goblet, the red fluid swishing in the glass. "La Mer….. Where did you go?"


"Because I was worried about you." His voice sounded sincere.

I snorted. "Whatever. Isn’t it actually because you couldn’t dismember me like you did to those other guys?"

Seifer heavily brought the glass down on the counter. I flinched. "Why would you even suggest that?!"

"What’s the difference between me and them? We’re all cattle to you!"

Seifer frowned sadly. "The difference is that I love you. They meant nothing to me. They were faceless, and you are the center of my universe…."

"Just save it!" I spat. "You know what? Last night, I realized that I don’t know you at all, at least not this you. Maybe I’m just seeing what I want to see….."

"Squall…." Seifer began to protest, but I held up a hand to silence him.

"Stop lying to me!!" I screamed. "You only brought us here to use us!! What’s the point of bringing us here to destroy Esemono when you’ve been in league with him the whole time?"

"What are you talking about?" Seifer sounded outraged. I was afraid that he would jump me, and I wouldn’t be able to defend myself, but was almost disappointed when he didn’t.

"I saw you at the church yesterday….."

"Church?! Squall, don’t be an idiot! How the fuck could I go into a church?" His voice was beginning to take on a different tone, and I could tell that his fangs were fully unsheathed.

"I saw you there! I saw your coat! Maybe Esemono was right about you. Maybe you only brought me here to kill me!"

Seifer sucked in his breath like I had slapped him. He let it out again, shaky. "You really believe that I would kill you?"

I glared at him. "Well, you’re not the same man that you were….."

"No, I’m not. But I would never hurt you……"

I laughed cruelly. "Seifer, you already have." Before he could retort I left, slamming the door behind me. I walked towards the front door. A servant looked at me.

"I want my coat," I commanded lowly. He bowed at the waist, going to fetch it.


I turned. Selphie was looking at me. Her emerald eyes now had a curious light to them. "Selphie."

"Where did you go?"


"Are you alright?"

I laughed again. "No, Selphie. I’m not alright. I don’t think I’ll be alright again."

"Seifer was worried about you…."

I snorted. "Did he tell you this while you were all feasting on those carcasses?"

She lowered her head, almost ashamed. I scoffed, spinning on my heel as the servant gave me my coat.

"Don’t pretend like you care about them, Squall," Selphie called, following me.

"Selphie, please. I just want to go…."

"What? Running away? You’re such a coward, Squall!!"

I stopped, not facing her.

"Fighting amongst yourselves? This can’t be good…."

We both looked up the path. Irvine was standing in a ray of moonlight, his hat obscuring his features.

"Irvine?" Selphie asked. "You scared the shit out of me….."

"And you fooled the shit out of me, my dear," He pulled out his shotgun. "You see, I actually thought that you wanted my help, but, in truth, you’re working for those monsters, those murderers…."

"Irvine…." I stepped forward.

"Squall, I know that you and I never got along, and I don’t want you to think I hate you just because I have to get rid of you…."

Selphie growled low in her throat, stopping beside me. "Irvine, just go….."

"I’m afraid I can’t do that."

I looked down at my arms. I could feel the cool glow. I looked around. Tifa was standing a few meters away from me.

"Mister Kinneas, I suggest that you leave, and not be a puppet to Esemono’s greed."

Irvine chuckled. "Normally, I would listen to such a lovely lady, but you see, I can’t let you continue to murder people. And Squall, Selphie, I can’t believe that you would just stand by and let it happen…."

"Irvine," I heard Seifer lowly call.

I saw Irvine visibly flinch. He began to wildly look over my shoulder.

"My God, my God," He whispered, over and over again. "You’re dead."

"Exactly." Seifer stopped beside Selphie. "Please leave. Go back to Balamb."

He snorted. "I have a job to do…." His voice still sounded shaky from the shock of seeing Seifer. He raised his gun, firing into the darkness. I heard Tifa cry out. He pointed his gun at Seifer.

"Seifer!" Tifa cried weakly. "Be careful. He’s using special bullets. They burn like the…."

Before Tifa could finish what she was saying, another shot rang out. Seifer cried out lowly, falling to the ground.

"Are you alright?" I asked quietly.

Seifer snarled. "What do you care?" He was holding his shoulder.

"Irvine, STOP!!" Selphie screamed angrily.

"Selphie, you’re just as bad as they are….."

She growled again, sounding more like an animal than a human. I felt like I was glued to the ground again, unable to move, unable to speak. I felt motion beside me as Selphie quickly moved towards Irvine. She possessed the same speed that Tifa and Seifer had used on those unfortunate men. Irvine seemed to be caught off guard, which gave Selphie the advantage. She pounced on him, sending his rangy body flying, her limbs tangled with his. I heard Irvine growl low in his chest as Selphie’s fist made contact with his jaw, splattering blood across the gravel walkway. He retaliated by smashing Selphie in the nose with the barrel of his gun. She jumped off of him, an enraged moan emitting from her chest.

"What the fuck?" I heard Zell exclaim. He rushed up beside Seifer, kneeling down. "What’s going on? Shouldn’t we stop Selphie?"

Seifer winced. "You can’t stop her, even if you want to." He held his shoulder, which was bleeding a deep crimson. His blood seemed so much darker than what blood should have been. Seifer made a small wheezing noise, eyeing the crosses at my arms.

Zell wrapped his arm around Seifer gingerly, supporting the vampire’s weight, watching his girlfriend warily. "What’s Irvine doing here?"

"Trying to get rid of us….." Tifa spat angrily. There was a dark stain spreading over the front of her ivory dress. Irvine had gotten her in the stomach.

I looked back over to Selphie and Irvine. She was now on her knees in front of the cowboy, mewing lowly in her throat. She was holding her chin. There was blood pouring from her nose, which was probably broken. Irvine cocked the hammer, lowering the barrel so that Selphie was staring it down.

"Selphie, we’ve been through a lot together, and I’m sorry, but you’ll thank me later…."

The small Succubus snorted. "I bet Irvine, I bet……" Her hand moved too quickly for me to see exactly what she was doing. When the motion stopped, it looked like she was pointing at his chest. I raised my eyebrows, wondering what she was doing.

Irvine looked down at his abdomen. That’s when I noticed that one of Selphie’s fingernails was digging into his flesh. I could see a small trickle of blood against his white dress shirt.

Irvine laughed. "What do you think you’re doing?" He couldn’t keep the smile off his face. "Do you think that poking me to death will really work?"

I heard Selphie laugh lowly in her throat. It sounded so unlike her, but more like her than she had ever been at the same time. "No, no, no, Irvine. If I thought that, I’d be a moron, now wouldn’t I?"

Irvine’s smile fell slightly in confusion as Selphie continued to laugh. Then, in one fluid motion, she swung her arm upwards, towards Irvine’s face. He made a small gurgling noise, his face contorted in surprise. He didn’t look like he was in any pain, because he was too shocked. I narrowed my eyes, noticing a small ribbon of blood cutting Irvine’s body in half. His knees began to buckle as the small gurgle became louder. He fell to his knees, his body making a horrible suction noise. It sounded like someone was ripping apart a piece of fruit, the hard exterior making a ripping sound, while the juicy insides squished in a sickening echo. As Irvine pitched forward, his torso split in two, his face and body coming apart in two bloodied mirror images of each other. I gaped as the two equal parts flapped apart, swaying on their bloodied root, still attached to the lower portion of Irvine’s torso. When he hit the ground, it reminded me of a dead fish hitting the deck of a boat, a sick flapping noise, then silence.

"Fuck….." Zell whispered. I looked over. I wasn’t sure now who was holding whom up anymore.

Selphie stood over her victim, her fingernail long, standing hard away from her hand, slowly dripping small orbs of Irvine’s blood onto her shoe. She just looked down at him, forgetting that we were there, forgetting everything. After a few agonizingly silent moments, she turned to face us. "Tifa, Seifer… You guys should go inside and get fixed up." She moved over to Tifa, helping her up with friendliness that I found odd.

Tifa groaned in pain. "Selphie, I never knew you had it in you……"

Selphie chuckled at this, her nail slowly morphing back to its original size. "Come on, dear. Let’s go. Zell, can you help Seifer?"

"What happened? Why are you so injured from a gunshot wound? I thought you’d be more immune to that kind of thing….." He gently helped Seifer to his feet.

"They were special bullets. He did something to them. It burns like I went out in the sun. But it will heal." Seifer smiled at Zell wearily, then looked over at me. His eyes looked so sad. "La Mer, are you coming….?"

I had to look away, the imploring look in his eyes and the soft way he used my pet name cutting to my heart. I focused my gaze on Irvine, or what was left of him. His blood was pouring dark onto the ground, which probably was driving Tifa and Seifer crazy. I slowly walked over to the body, standing over it, inspecting it.

"Squall?" Selphie asked as she helped Tifa towards the house, her hand provocatively under Tifa’s round breasts.

"Leave me alone….." I whispered quietly, but I knew that they heard me.

"Squall….." Seifer began to protest, but I held up a hand, not even turning to look at him.

"Just go."

I heard Seifer sigh in defeat before following the others into the house. I waited a few more moments, until I was sure that they were gone. I kneeled beside Irvine’s body, making sure to avoid the spreading pool of blood. I couldn’t believe that he was dead. I may have grown to detest him somewhat, but this isn’t something that I actually wanted for him. There was so much blood, so much blood….. And it was so dark, so liquidy, running so slowly. I stared at it for a long time, just watching it run. I gasped in surprise when I felt it hit my hand, cool and wet. I pulled my hand away from the ground, looking at my fingertips. The blood slowly ran down my fingers, hitting my knuckles, then running crooked trails down the back of my hand. Without thinking about it, I brought my hand up to my lips, gently suckling upon my red fingertips. The sweet metallic tinge exploded against my tongue, causing my body to actually shudder in delight. It was so sweet, so tasty. I pulled my hand away, looking at my fingers again, which were now wet from my own saliva. I blinked a few times in disbelief.

"What am I doing?!" I whispered, outraged. I stood up quickly, almost losing my balance. Now, the crimson metal was all I could smell, all I could taste. It was assaulting all my senses. I looked back at the house, walking backwards away from it. What was going on with me? What was I doing? I spun around, almost tripping over my own feet, my legs becoming tangled in the soft fabric of my trenchcoat. I broke into a run, sprinting down the walkway, away from the sweet smell, the wonderful taste of all the blood. So much blood…. I didn’t know where I was going, but I knew I had to get away, while I still could, before I wouldn’t be able to, before I wouldn’t want to…….

By the time I actually figured out where I was going, I was already in town. I slowed to a jog, looking around, trying to find my bearings. I stopped, noticing that I was in front of Esemono’s church. I wondered if he thought that Irvine was taking care of Seifer and the rest. I remained stationary, my feet almost melting into the concrete. Should I go in? After all, Esemono was trying to kill my lover, but then again, I was running away from him. I slowly, wearily climbed the stairs. It seemed like such a daunting task, and by the time I made it to the top, I felt exhausted. Inside the church was cool compared to the almost feverish heat of my face.

I sank into the nearest pew, glad that the church was almost empty. I didn’t even acknowledge the existence of the other people around me. Irvine was dead….. Selphie is a monster, Seifer’s alive…… So many things had changed in such a short amount of time. I wondered if Zell felt as overwhelmed as I did, or if I was just being a coward. The hurt in Seifer's eyes was burned into my mind, the sadness when I pushed him away. I felt terrible about it, but he wasn’t the same Seifer anymore…..

I sighed heavily, letting all my frustration out in that one whoosh of breath. I cradled my head in my hands, emotions coming over me. I sighed again, shaky this time. I knew if I let go, all my emotions would flood out. I didn’t really want to let go here. When I felt tears prick at the corner of my eyes, I let out a small moan of defeat. What was I doing? I needed Seifer, and I knew it. I wanted him to make me feel better, like he had done so many times before…

"But things aren’t like they were before," I whispered to myself. If I did try to stay with Seifer, would I always have these nagging doubts, would I always be wary? Would these fears always be in the back of my mind?

"You have come to your impasse, haven’t you?"

I looked up through bleary eyes. Esemono was standing over me, looking at me with kind eyes, which made me shudder internally.

"What are you talking about?" I blinked my tears away.

"You don’t know what to do, correct? What I’ve been saying is true…."

I snorted. "That’s like predicting that the sun will come up…."

The Reverend just folded his hands in front of him. "Maybe we should talk somewhere more private…"

I was about to refuse, but remembered the pale dragons against flowing black, and decided to follow him. I walked slowly, feeling tired, wiped out. Esemono led me into the room that he had been meeting with Seifer in. I practically fell into one of the overstuffed chairs.

"Now, you are running away. You don’t know what to do about the current situation."

I just nodded, not really paying attention.

"It must be hard to be so attached to such a creature….."

I jerked my head up. "What?"

"I can tell that you have deep feelings for one of them. And you don’t know what to do about said feelings. They will kill you if you stay….."

I frowned. "You said that before, and nothing’s happened to me, yet…"

"But, that doesn’t mean that it won’t."

I frowned further. "I think you’re just pretending to be all psychic and shit, Reverend….."

"What are you implying, Mr. Almasy?"

I sighed as he used my surrogate surname. Why was I running? Would I rather be alive or be with Seifer? I brushed away my thoughts, continuing. "That you know more than you’re letting on."

He was silent, waiting for me to elaborate.

"You were meeting with one of them. And don’t deny it…." I was interrupted by a knock on the door. Esemono got up to answer.

He turned back to me. "Mr. Almasy, will you excuse me?"

I sighed, nodding absently. I settled in the chair, figuring that it would take a while. I began to lose myself in my thoughts again. All I could think about was the pain in Seifer's eyes and in his voice. It physically hurt me to think about causing him pain, but he had caused me pain, too. He had betrayed me to Esemono, he had betrayed me…….. By dying. But, had I betrayed him, by running away, by treating him like a leper? I sighed, gripping the armrests.

"Seifer," I whispered, standing. That was it, I had to go back. Even just to talk to him. Esemono wasn’t the one I had to talk to, Seifer was. Before I could turn to the door, I felt something heavy come in contact with the base of my skull. I pitched forward, falling into blackness.

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