Disclaimer: I do not own anything related to the Final Fantasy series. They belong to Squaresoft.
Let Me Make It Alright
Chapter 20: Blackmail
By Angry Angel
"Seeeeeeeeei-feeeeeeer! Wait up!!"
Seifer Almasy almost tripped over his own feet at the sound of Selphie Tilmitt's high voice squealing his name all across Balamb Garden's main hall. It was late in the afternoon and he had just decided to go for a run in the school yard, but somehow he already knew that his plans were going to be cut short.
Selphie came running towards him, a flash of curled brown hair and a scarily baby pink dress. He cocked an eyebrow at the sight of her panting heavily once she had caught up to him, hands resting on her knees.
"I kinda figured SeeDs were more athletic than this," he sneered in amusement.
She looked up at his smirking face and shook a little fist in anger.
"Don't make fun of me, Seifer! What are you running for soooooo fast anyway?"
"This is supposed to be a jog, and aside from that, I don't like to put myself on public display here."
He randomly jabbed his finger at a group of girls standing nearby, who were watching them and whispering in commotion. Selphie rolled her eyes and stuck out her tongue at both Seifer and the girls, before she grabbed his arm.
"You have to come with me!"
Frowning, he tried to shrug her arm off, but her grasp was surprisingly firm.
"Why?" he asked reluctantly.
"We're having a m-e-e-t-i-n-g! Duh!"
She sighed in exasperation, as if that was something he should have known all along.
"Well, excuse me," he hissed sarcastically, "and what do you need me for there, anyway?"
"It's about Squall."
He stopped in his pace, ignoring her desperate attemtps of dragging him onwards.
"What's with him?"
"I don't know," she shrugged, "Quistis told me to get you for the meeting about Squally, so that's what I am doing!"
To emphasize her point, she gave his arm another fierce tug.
Growling, he eventually complied and followed her to the elevator, up to the second floor where, he vaguely remembered, the headmaster's office was. His mind was already working at full speed, worrying about whatever could have been wrong with Squall that time. He hadn't seen him since their little dinner in the infirmary the evening before, and originally, he had planned on paying the brunet a visit after his run.
When Selphie pushed him into the large office that had lately been occupied by Cid and Quistis, he gasped in surprise. Flopped onto tables or into chairs sat Quistis, Edea, Irvine, Zell, Cid and Doc Kadowaki. Their eyes turned towards them, and Cid stood up in satisfaction.
"Ah, you found him. Thank you, Selphie."
The girl at his side beamed and bounced to Irvine to jump into his lap. The cowboy groaned at the force of her leap, but under a lot of effort, he managed not to drop her. Selphie merely grinned happily, her green eyes now locked onto Seifer.
"Soooo, what now?"
"Ah, yes," Cid started, "Well since we are all here now, we can get started. Seifer, do you want to have a seat?"
The blond shook his head, a glint of mistrust in his eyes. He didn't like assemblies like that. At all.
"Well, okay. Sybil, would you like to start?"
Doc Kadowaki nodded at the mentioning of her first name, her wise grey eyes looking around the room, her gaze lingering particularly long at Seifer, before she cleared her throat.
"Yes, thank you. As you all know, Squall has been in my infirmary for over a week now, and his condition is improving. He doesn't need the IV anymore and his bones have healed almost completely."
Seifer heaved the tiniest of sighs unnoticed by everyone else.
'So he is okay.'
"This morning he asked me when he could leave and go back to his room, and I said I would talk to Cid about it. After a long discussion, Cid and I came to the conclusion that at this rate, it would probably be best to grant Squall's wish. He has been behaving well, and I fear that if we keep him strung to his bed and the infirmary any longer, he is going to withdraw again, and maybe even quit eating."
"Yes, and we wouldn't want that to happen, of course," Cid interrupted her. "So, we decided to release him from the sickbed and let him return to his room."
Seifer scratched his head, a little unsure of where the whole situation was headed.
'And what the hell do they need me for? Looks like everything is already decided.'
"However," Cid suddenly drawled, "we also figure that we can't leave him all alone just yet. Therefore, we think it would be best if someone was to room with him."
Seifer's jaw locked tightly in place. They couldn't be serious. Someone rooming with the ice prince himself? Squall Leonhart would rather jump off a cliff in Esthar than share his personal space with anyone. Just how exactly they were going to force a roommate onto the brunet was beyond him.
'I feel for the person that has to put up with his hissy fits already.'
"And after talking to Quistis, it seems as if the best person for the job is you, Seifer."
Seifer wasn't the only one gaping in surprise at the statement. Across from him, Zell and Irvine exchanged thunderstruck glances.
"ME?!" Seifer bellowed in disbelief. "Why me of all people?!"
Quistis shifted uneasily under his virulent green glare that could have surpassed one of Squall's deathglares on a bad day.
"Well," she started hesitantly, subconsciously withdrawing towards Zell, "first of all, you're a guy, and..."
"SO?!" Seifer snapped, his breath tumbling out of his throat, "so are they!"
He jerked his finger in the general direction of Irvine and Zell, before his eyes slitted dangerously.
"Or is there anything wrong with your anatomy that I should know about?"
Irvine jumped in his seat, causing Selphie to yelp and almost fall. She glomped her boyfriend's neck tightly, though, pulling him back into his chair. Zell made a furious attempt at lungeing for Seifer's throat, but Quistis held him back.
"Seifer, stop!" she pleaded, "Will you just listen to me before you randomly insult people?"
Seifer folded his arms in front of his chest, determined to object to whatever grand idea the instructor might come up with. He was so sick of people just ruling over him and his will as if it didn't even matter.
"Look, Selphie and I can't room with Squall, for obvious reasons. And out of all the guys, you have gotten along the best with Squall in the past week. He started to eat because of something you said, and you found his gunblade for him! You can't make me believe that you don't give a damn about him!"
"The point is not what I give or don't give about him," Seifer hissed, "I am not going to room with him! He'd slice my throat before I even set foot in his apartment!"
"No, he wouldn't!"
"Hell yeah, he would! Leonhart wouldn't share as much as a bag of chips with anyone, let alone his fucking room! How thick are you?"
Quistis looked slightly hurt at the comment, but Cid rushed to her aid.
"Now, now," he said soothingly, "we are quite aware of the fact that he won't exactly be gleaming with joy, but I think he would rather put up with a roommate than stay strapped to the bed in the infirmary."
"Even so, what is it to me?"
"You aren't here on your own free will, are you, Seifer?"
He did have a point there.
"If you agree into rooming with him for a few weeks, just until he is doing better and safe on his own, then you are free to go wherever you want."
Seifer slapped his head in exasperation. He couldn't believe that they were pulling that bait on him again.
"I thought I'd only have to visit him a couple of times and get him to talk!" he growled hotly.
"We never said that," Quistis said defensively, "we brought you here so you'd break through to him and help him get better!"
"And I have, haven't I?"
"Yes, you have," Kadowaki suddenly cut in, "he has been doing much better, but he is not back to normal by any means. Squall needs help, Seifer. His condition is very fragile right now, he could slip over the edge again any time if we just leave him to himself. A couple of weeks, that is all we are asking."
As many times as he turned the idea over in his head, it didn't appeal to him any more. It wasn't even so much the plain idea of sharing a room with Squall that bothered him, but the way he was being ruled over and the way he could already picture Squall himself reacting to the idea. The brunet would never give in, and Seifer didn't care to listen to the puberty boy refusing him like a piece of scum.
He looked up and into Edea's glowing amber eyes. Her face still crept him out every now and then, memories of mental torture and oppression washing through his mind. She was radiating sincerity though, her hand warm as she touched his cheek.
"You and Squall liked each other as children, and you still do now. You..." she hesitated suddenly, "you even liked him while Ultimecia controlled us. I remember feeling your conscience fight against her presence, against the things she made you do to him. You are strong, Seifer, and Squall needs your strength now."
He swallowed hard, moved by her words. He wasn't the only one. Zell stood perfectly still, something rather unusual for him, his light green eyes fixed on his arch nemesis. Suddenly, he recalled something that Quistis had told him a couple of days earlier.
:::"Seifer cares a lot more for Squall than he admits. He is not the same guy he used to be, Zell. He has been through pain, too. He really cares, and there is something between him and Squall that neither of them understands yet.":::
He had protested heavily that night, but maybe his girlfriend had been right after all. The touched and insecure expression on the usually so cocky man's face sure looked it.
"Fine," Seifer finally grunted, "I'll do it. Don't ever try to blackmail me into something like this again, though, or you'll be sorry."
Edea smiled back at him warmly.
Quistis let out a quiet sigh of relief and Cid grinned in satisfaction.
"Thank you, Seifer, this means a lot to us. I promise that you will only have to stay for a couple of weeks longer. Zell and Irvine will help move your belongings and your bed into Squall's apartment. Sybil is going to release Squall tomorrow after you boys are done."
Seifer nodded quietly, but suddenly, jade green narrowed to slits.
"When are you going to tell him?"
"He will find out tonight. Maybe you should be there, too."
"Yes, that's a good idea," Kadowaki agreed.
"Yeah, whatever..." he slumped his shoulders in defeat.
"Okay, well, that's it for the meeting, kids. Zell, Irvine, you two are going to help Seifer tomorrow, okay?"
"Roger," Zell complied, much to Seifer's surprise. He would have expected a tantrum of some sorts.
"Good. Have a good night then. Seifer, are you coming along?"
The tall blond nodded grudgingly and followed the happily beaming Quistis, Cid and Kadowaki into the lift. Somehow, he couldn't shake off the feeling that by admitting into rooming with Squall, he was in for more trouble than he had bargained for.
=To be continued!=
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