Disclaimer: I do not own anything related to the Final Fantasy series. They belong to Squaresoft.
Let Me Make It Alright
Chapter 34: To Be Able to Love
By Angry Angel
They hadn't been sleeping for long before their slumber was once again interrupted. Semi-somnolent, Seifer could feel the body in his arms stir, and soon thereafter he heard the soft buzzing of the doorbell.
Sluggishly, he peeled one eyelid open, quickly catching onto the sight of a softly moving Squall.
His tongue seemed to be moving more subconsciously than not, but it did settle the brunette figure in his embrace. Unfortunately, Seifer had to break free, as another buzz from the door painfully reminded him.
Growling, he removed his arm from Squall's side and scrambled into a seating position. Blinking, he sat still for a moment, looking down upon the SeeD whose back he had been spooning. Squall didn't turn around, and the blonde started to wonder whether he had already gone back to sleep.
Seifer had already forgotten all about the door, when another buzz, probably the fifteenth in a row, called him to attention again. He didn't know what time it was, and frankly he didn't care, but the prospect of another visitor didn't exactly raise his spirits. Then again, the possible chance of getting to whack the living daylights out of Laguna Loire once more, granted that he was actually stupid enough to return, made the entire concept of dragging himself out of bed a lot more appealing.
Thus, he lifted himself up and even remembered to slip into his boots, which were still resting at the foot of the bed. He couldn't be found smacking the hell out of the world's most powerful politician being barefoot, that just wouldn't work.
After casting a last, longing look at the motionless body draped beautifully into the covers, he tore himself away and slumped towards the door. Luckily, the way was just long enough for him to wake just a few more of his senses and actually gain some control over his tongue. With a menacing frown plastered across his face, he hit the door button and carefully positioned himself right in the center of the opening.
"Didn't think I'd get another face remodelling request so..."
As the door hissed open, his languid green eyes fell onto the least wanted and expected sight of a slender, long haired brunette in a pair of white pants, a white shirt and a floor length blue wool cardigan. The girl was looking at him cautiously out of velvety brown eyes, and she immediately raised one arm in a calming and defensive gesture.
He didn't let her finish.
"What do you think you are doing here?" he hissed, still slightly taken aback by the unexpectedness of laying eyes upon Squall's and his ex-girlfriend, Rinoa Heartilly.
'To punch or not to punch, that is the question...'
As he was still coldly musing over whether it was appropriate or not to hit a girl, though obviously a pretty stupid one at that, she had already grabbed his arm and pulled him out of the room with the advantage of surprise. Startled, his head flung around, only to watch the door close behind himself, as he had left the laser checked field that was responsible for keeping it from shutting automatically.
"What the fuck!"
She let go off him immediately, retreating ever so slightly before she scrunched her eyebrows and folded one finger in front of her mouth in a silencing gesture.
"Don't be so loud!"
Enraged, he almost slammed his hand into the nearest wall, but fortunately refrained from doing so as he recalled his earlier and rather painful injury. Instead, he glared at Rinoa with the most virulent green gaze that he could conjure up.
"That's great, guess who's gonna have to get up and open the door now to let me back in!"
She removed the finger from her mouth, looking somewhat contrite as she did so.
"I know, sorry. I need to talk to you, though."
"Well guess what, I ain't interested in talking to you though!"
"Will you just listen to me for a moment? It's really important, you know!"
Placing her hands on her hips, she almost reminded him of Squall when he was frustrated, but he pushed that thought away quickly, as it did nothing to keep up his personification of pure menace.
"What you consider important or not frankly concerns me even less than a wart on Loire's ass!"
Rinoa frowned, and for a girl she did manage to actually look somewhat threatening, but after a few seconds of glaring at her bulky blonde opposite, she merely sighed and lowered her head.
"Look, I know you're mad, okay? You really have all reason to be."
"No shit, Sherlock."
"But... please, just talk to me, okay? I'm not here to yell at you for punching Laguna, I need to talk to you about Squall."
He crossed his arms in front of his chest, trying to conceal as much of his interest as he could.
"What could you possibly have to say that I would give more than a flying fuck about?"
"Just... walk with me for a bit, this isn't the best spot to be having a talk."
She pointed down the hallway, to a set of tables and chairs that had been arranged in the dormitory's common room.
"How about over there?"
Scowling at the idea of being in closer proximity than a mile to the girl that he despised so much, it took quite a bit for Seifer to finally nod and follow Rinoa down to a secluded corner in the empty hall. They sat down across from each other at a table, just staring at each other in silence before the brunette female crossed her arms and lowered her head.
"I'm really sorry."
Seifer arched an eyebrow, surprised by her open display of regret, but that didn't smother his anger the least bit.
"Don't tell me, tell Squall. He's the one you almost drove over the edge."
"I know, and I... I wish things would have been different, you see... I really made a mistake."
"No shit, you dumped him to take off with me and then you have the guts to date his fucking father, like hell Rinoa, I know you ain't the brightest chicken in the flock, but what the fuck were you thinking showing up here?" he snapped, being deliberately offensive.
She looked slightly hurt, of course, but to the blonde's surprise she managed to swallow her pride and smiled sadly.
"It's more complicated than that," she whispered.
"I doubt that."
"What I did to Squall was a mistake, I realize that now, but you don't understand what I was coming from back then. Of course... that doesn't justify my actions, either."
Rinoa started to play with her hair, obviously embarrassed, and maybe even slightly ashamed of herself. Seifer, however, felt no compassion for her whatsoever. Seeing her suffer almost raised his spirits to a new level of blissfulness.
"I should have never lied to him and hooked up with you," she continued.
"Then why did you do it anyway?"
"Because I was frustrated, and I was hurt."
"Well isn't that a bitch, see what I care," he snorted.
She sighed again.
"I understand that you're upset, I really do. Just let me explain please, okay?"
The blonde shrugged. He really couldn't care less what the girl had to say, and he had no interest in lighting her guilty conscience or listening to her whining either, but maybe he'd find out something new after all. Even for someone like her, her actions seemed exceptionally ruthless and stupid.
"When I met you in Timber that day, I really was in a bad state of mind. I wasn't there to visit my old friends like I had told you, I had been on my way to my father's in Deling City. Squall was supposed to follow me a few days later, but... I had realized that things between him and I would never work out."
"So you lied to him and dumped him."
Her face contorted painfully, but she nodded, which resulted in Seifer snorting disdainfully.
"I was really hurt, Seifer. Maybe you don't believe me, but I really did love Squall. I was crazy about him, but he was always so... cold."
She waved her hand through the air in a vague gesture, and for a moment, Seifer found himself understanding what she was saying, before calling himself to mind what Rinoa had done.
"He was trying, I know that. For a while, I thought it was going to work, but somehow he never really seemed happy around me."
"Geez, I wonder why."
Rinoa did a tremendous job at sucking up Seifer's sarcasm, he had to give her that. The fact that she didn't really react to his insults somehow made the whole concept seem superfluous.
"He never... not once... told me that he loved me."
Now that did surprise Seifer. Sure, Squall wasn't exactly known to wear his heart on his sleeve, but he had expected a little more emotion than that, particularly considering how happy he had seemed on their parting day in Esthar.
"At first it didn't bother me so much, but after a few months it was starting to eat away on my confidence into our relationship. He was always busy and seemed to avoid me, and when he did spend time with me I felt like he was just fulfilling a mission or a chore. It... didn't make me feel very good."
"Then why didn't you tell him?"
"I couldn't, I didn't have the guts to. I was hoping that somehow... everything would turn out alright. But it didn't."
Her face darkened, and her lips grew thinner, but she smiled, sadly somehow.
"One night, I couldn't sleep, so I went into his room. I crawled into bed with him and tried to, you know, curl up to him. He must have been dreaming, or something, because he was talking in his sleep..."
'This might be interesting after all...'
Seifer tried to look indifferent, but there was a glint of curiosity that lit up in his eyes nonetheless, and Rinoa tilted her head.
"He was whimpering somebody's name... it didn't really catch me by surprise, but it really hurt nonetheless."
"Yes... somebody else's name," she whispered after a pregnant pause.
"You left him because he was mumbling someone's name in his sleep? Hyne, you're fucked up."
"That's not really it. I had seen signs before that should have told me that his heart was really with somebody else, but I didn't want to acknowledge them. After that night, though, it had all become impossible to ignore."
Seifer started to chew on the bottom of his lip. He was dying to ask whose name Squall had been saying, but an open display of interest just didn't seem too wise to him at that point. For some reason, he had the feeling that Rinoa wasn't going to tell him either way.
"That was a few days before I left for Deling City. I asked Squall to come with me, but he said he couldn't. He said he'd follow me later. Then... when he took me to the train in Balamb... I told him again that I loved him, but he just didn't say anything. He looked so... uncomfortable and embarrassed... it made me sick."
A frown slanted her delicate features at the memory, but she managed to shake it off quickly.
"I was crying all the way from Balamb to Timber, I was so hurt and upset. I really, really did love him, and I just wanted him to love me, too!"
Her eyes looked sincere as she was gluing her gaze to Seifer's, and the blonde gulped dryly. He couldn't deny that he understood how she felt, as much as that thought bugged him.
"By the time I arrived in Timber, I was really more angry than hurt. Then... when I saw you there... I did something I shouldn't have. I took revenge..."
"Yes. You see... I had wanted something for so long... I had wanted him to love me... but I just couldn't have it. I never even came close to getting it, I think. Then, when I saw you, I knew that you were the only person I could use to have the perfect revenge. The only person."
There was a certain gravity in her voice and an urgency in her eyes, but Seifer didn't notice it. He was too busy fuming over the fact that he had, once again, served as somebody's tool.
"You used me for your revenge on Squall?!"
"Yes, and it was wrong, I know that! But... it was all a chain of unfortunate coincidences... I never thought that I would..."
"You were there, and you were perfect for making Squall feel miserable. I knew somebody would see me with you and he would find out, so I didn't even have to tell him. I just lied."
Her eyes widened, and she looked at him quietly for a moment.
"You really don't know, do you?" she asked gently.
"Know what? What are you talking about?"
"You see, I wanted Squall so badly, but I couldn't have him. I knew that by being with you, I would have something that... that Squall..."
Seifer waited impatiently while she was desperately searching for words to say, but in the end, she remained silent.
"That what???" he hissed with annoyance, rolling his eyes and jamming his fist onto the table.
Rinoa flinched, and bit her lip. Suddenly, her gaze drifted off into the distance.
"Seifer, why did you hook up with me back then?"
"I don't know," he lied, frustrated over the fact that she was changing the subject.
Of course, he knew exactly why he had started to date the girl back then. He had known only too well that he would never be able to have Squall, so the idea of having his ex-girlfriend instead didn't seem so entirely bad. In some sick and twisted way, it made him feel closer to Squall than anything else he had ever been able to think of.
"You know very well," she stated plainly, "I think we both kind of used each other."
"Bullshit," he snarled.
"Either way... I used my knowledge of Squall and his one vulnerable spot against him, and I feel sorry for it now. I should have never done that. I was hurting him in more ways than just one. I was just... so bitter... because I loved him and his heart was not with me, no matter how hard I tried."
"He loved you," Seifer said reluctantly, "Why else would he have been so devastated?"
"If you can't figure that out for your own, then it's not my place to tell you. I do know that Squall cared for me, but he never loved me. It made me bitter, and I hurt him, but I'm not going to hurt him any further."
"Fuck, you're seeing his fucking father!"
"I know, and I really didn't mean to hurt his feelings by doing so, but there was no way around it. I truly love Laguna, he's everything I ever desired in a man, and I know that he loves me back because he shows me in everything that he does and says."
"He's old enough to be your father, too, ya know."
"That's irrelevant. He makes me happy. That's what really matters. You should know that you can't always stick to conformities if you want to find happiness."
"What are you saying?" he asked, shadowing his voice with a mute threat.
"I know more about you than you might think."
"You don't know jack shit!"
"It's fine with me, anyway. I'm happy with Laguna."
"He doesn't exactly seem to be very bright, considering he brought you along when his son is feeling happily suicidal."
"Well, he wanted to leave me in Esthar, but I can't stay behind when I know that Squall is feeling the way he is because of me. It really is mostly my fault. You're right though, we shouldn't have put up such a public display of affection, I wasn't thinking."
'Ain't that a surprise.'
Biting down the sarcastic comment on his tongue without really knowing why, he watched how Rinoa suddenly retrieved something from the pocket of her cardigan. Extending her slender arm, she carefully placed it in front of Seifer in her open palm.
It was a ring.
"Here, I want you to give that back to him."
The blonde took it from her and examined it more closely. It was Squall's ring, the gleaming silver one with the lion's emblem that he had owned for quite a few years already. Somehow, Seifer had never noticed that the brunette hadn't been wearing it anymore.
"Why don't you give it to him yourself?"
"I don't think that that would be a good idea."
'Wow, maybe she has a brain somewhere in there after all.' He thought, studying Rinoa's skull with interest.
"Aside from that... I think there is no better fit person to give that to him than you."
Seifer looked at her wryly.
"What makes ya say that?"
"You'll find out eventually... I hope."
"Why'd ya bring me out here when you're only talking in fucking riddles anyway?" he growled in exasperation.
"I'm really not."
She giggled light-heartedly at the trademark Squall Leonhart comment that left Seifer's lips, before she ultimately grew serious again.
"Seifer, whatever you think Squall feels towards you, you're wrong. Trust me on that."
Suddenly, she stood up from her seat, still slightly smiling, and for some reason there was wisdom in her deep brown eyes that Seifer had never noticed before. Her smile broadened, and she smoothed back her long, sleek hair.
"I will always care for you and Squall. I really hope that you can turn things around... somehow..."
"What do you mean?" he sighed again.
"You know exactly what I mean. Maybe Squall doesn't know yet, or more likely, he is denying it... but you know."
"I swear you aren't making any sense."
"I think you're making it more complicated than it really is. Just look at him. If I noticed it, then so should you. You'll understand everything eventually, Seifer. At least I hope so. For your sake... and for Squall's."
She walked around the table and stopped next to Seifer, who was still sitting in his chair, clasping Squall's ring with one hand and looking more than just slightly confused. Bending forward, she placed a tiny kiss on the blonde's cheek and smiled.
"Bye Seifer... and good luck."
He was still sitting in that chair even long after she had waved good bye and her shadow had melted with the distance, leaving him with nothing but questions, memories and vague assumptions, and maybe... just maybe... the knowledge of finally having understood.
=To be continued!=
Return to Archive | next | previous