Disclaimer: I do not own anything related to the Final Fantasy series. They belong to Squaresoft.
Let Me Make It Alright
Chapter 42: "Decisions"
By Angry Angel
Light. Cold. Pain.
Shocked awake by a forceful shudder that seared through his body with the acute speed of lightning, Seifer snapped out of his dream world and rocked into a harsh seating position. Like a victim to suffocation, he was gasping for air, both of his hands wrenched firmly into the bed sheet beneath him as his green eyes stared warily into nothingness.
How very unusual...
It was bright around him; rays of the early morning sun were etching into his eyes, causing him to groan under the sudden sensational overload. Involuntarily, he broke into a fit of tremors, his skin breaking into goose bumps at the sharp chill of the air that was surrounding him. He had grown too accustomed to waking up with a warm body wrapped around his own, too accustomed to feeling a gentle tingle of breath brushing his chest and easing him awake.
He trembled yet again.
His head was aching in an echo of the previous night's events and the thoroughly miserable sleep that he had gotten. This, Seifer decided immediately, was worse than any hang-over he had ever had the pleasure to experience.
As feeble, painful memories hesitantly came seeping back to him with the annoying viscosity of melting tar or thick honey, he he gently rotated his upper body and turned his head aside.
Squall's bed was empty.
Sitting on his rear and with his legs crossed loosely before him on the mattress, he couldn't tear his gaze away from Squall's neatly folded covers and the carefully arranged pillows. If he hadn't known better, and Seifer firmly believed that he did, he would have thought that nobody had slept in that bed.
Shaking his head, he adjusted his focus to a vague spot between his legs. His own sheets were white, probably made of linen or cotton and soft to the touch. On the plain surface, which was dipped slightly by his weight, he could make out every single thread and even a few tiny breadcrumbs from when he had served Squall breakfast in bed.
Why was he even paying attention to that?
When he glanced back at the deserted bed, he understood only too well.
Slouching over, he pressed the heels of his hands into his closed eyes in the vain hope of easing the tension behind his forehead. It really was hopeless. He couldn't force the image of Squall out of his mind, particularly not the one of Squall abandoning him in the Garden hallway. He had spent hours brooding over that incident the night before, his tongue threatening to voice his thoughts more than once, threatening to apologize for his deliberate rudeness and the apparent pain that he had caused. Every time, though, his pride had gotten the better of him, until he had eventually drifted off into a restless, shallow slumber that had offered little comfort.
Now, bathed into the pale golden light of a new morning, Seifer decided that speaking up or not probably wouldn't have made a difference either way. Squall was obviously not interested in neither him nor his explanations, and as much as that newly acquired knowledge angered and pained him, maybe it would also bring him some closure. Granted, he had hoped for a different response to the silent revelation of his long-hidden feelings, but it was likely better to know the answer for sure than to always remain wondering.
And Squall's answer had been clear enough.
Still, there was that pang of doubt inside his mind that Seifer just couldn't chase away. Maybe Squall's reaction hadn't been as clear-cut as he liked to think. After all, the younger had reciprocated his kiss, if only for a while. Seifer could not figure out what had gone wrong. Perhaps he had tried a little too hard, or perhaps he hadn't tried hard enough?
Did it even matter?
He could find no shelter in the wordless banter of his disarrayed thoughts. Ultimately, Squall had rejected him. The exact circumstances were of no importance. The other boy had made his decision, and Seifer would have to accept it.
He was too much a man not to.
While he was constantly trying to ease those frail and insanely proud beliefs into his intractable mind, Seifer spun around and flung his legs out of the bed. Somehow though, he was feeling hollow and spiritless, and he couldn't force himself to stand up completely. He was still sitting almost doubled over, his eyes now studying the floor instead of the bed sheet, as he was listening to the rough chiding of his own conscience.
You're giving up.
Grimly, he fisted his hands atop his thighs and narrowed his sight.
Heh. Whatever. You're still giving up. Chickenwuss.
Sometimes, Seifer found himself wishing for the ability to shut off his thoughts like you would turn off a radio or a lawn mower; either could be equally annoying. Thinking was good and all, but brooding most certainly wasn't. So what if part of him thought that he was making a mistake? He knew better than to listen to silly little voices inside his head.
Is that so?
Grunting, he struggled onto his feet. Life was difficult enough without arguing with one's own mind. He had already made his decision the night before, and he was going to pull through with it. He wasn't mad at Squall anymore, maybe he never had been. That bitterness inside his heart was still there, though, and he wanted to efface it as quickly as even possible.
He cast a wary look at the dining table, finding something about it strangely odd, but he couldn't quite put his finger on the impression and decided to shrug it off altogether. It wasn't like he didn't have enough crap on the silver platter of his mind to finish off as it was.
Mechanically, he trotted into the bathroom, finding it untouched. Apparently, Squall hadn't even bothered to take a shower before he had taken off to Hyne only knew where.
"Your flight instincts are still working flawlessly, I see," he snarled, deliberately curling his lips in vain nonchalance.
His typical sense of irony brought no joy to his heart, though. As much as he tried to take the entire issue lightly and file it away as a valuable lesson in the entire fucked up story that was life, he just couldn't bring himself to.
In fact, it hurt more than any open wound that had ever been inflicted upon him, and Seifer had always been rather careless.
You love him.
Shaking his head violently, he wrenched his hands around the rim of the sink and leaned down upon it for support, his face obscured by a thick veil of unruly blonde hair.
"Doesn't matter," he ground through painfully clenched teeth.
That's bullshit, and you know it.
Seifer raised his head and gazed at his own reflection in the mirror. He definitely had seen better days. Dark shadows had discolored the tender skin below his eyes, the latter looking back at him dully and devoid of even the slightest sign of volition. His scar was actually sticking out more clearly those days, maybe because his complexion had paled a shade or two.
Sighing, the blonde tried to search for a helpful answer in his stark features and the blankness of his gaze, but salvation was not granted to him. He just could not understand why Squall had flipped so abruptly the night before.
"What was he so scared of...?"
Why don't you go ahead and find out?
Again, Seifer's eyebrows converged to a dark frown. True, he could probably do that, but what for? Squall wouldn't open up to him anyway, and in the end, it would always come down to the simple fact that the brunette carried no romantic feelings towards him. Squall would turn him down, and one way or another, Seifer definitely did not feel game for a lap of honor in the rejection pool. Being denied always ended up hurting him in more ways than he would ever allow himself to admit, and he wasn't going to go searching for humiliation if he could in any way avoid it.
At this point, he had been rejected enough to last him for two lifetimes.
"I'm doing the right thing," he huffed, waving one hand dismissively.
He almost expected to see his reflection laugh at him and his pathetic display of faith, but the empty and somehow pained expression of his face did not change.
Really, Seifer had no idea whether or not he was doing the right thing, but he had always been pretty skilled at lying to himself.
"Squall doesn't love me, so there is nothing I can do."
You're giving up.
"Call it whatever you want! It's for the best."
Tearing his gaze away from the mirror with a defiant grunt, he peeled off his clothes and stepped into the shower, pulling the curtain close behind himself with much more force than was necessary. All the while, he kept telling himself that it was fine, that the world would go on turning eventually, that there was enough strength bound in him to live through all of it.
That everything would be... alright.
And though strong as he was, he could not quench the pain in his heart as he started the hot water and leaned his forehead against the tiled walls in a quiet gesture of defeat.
You're making a mistake.
=To be continued!=
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