By Kursed SeeD

If you were to tell me happiness was eternal, I would call you a liar.

Happiness is just one of life's many distractions. It comes and it goes. (Always it goes.) There's only one thing in this life that you can rely on, and that is the sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach that just screams, 'Something's not right!'

Something has not been right with me for as long as I can remember. When I was younger, it was easier, because I had something to blame. When I was little, it was the lack of my parents, the lack of Ellone. When I got older, it was the stress, the fact that everyone seemed to need and depend on me. Now? There's not a single thing nor person who I can point to and say "It's all their fault".

Which means, it might be mine.

I don't want to hear the bullshit about how depression can be a chemical imbalance, because I don't believe it. I'm just not buying into it. It sounds like, "Aw, don't blame yourself, don't blame your situation! Blame the chemicals in your brain, 'coz they're fucked up!"

Don't get me wrong, scientists have done plenty of studies that have proven a chemical imbalance just might be the cause, I just don't believe it. I don't think a couple of lousy pills can change my life for the better and stabilize me, because you know what? I can't do it. No one else can seem to do those things, either. So I'm supposed to believe that tiny little pills can do what full-grown capable people can't? Again, I'm just not buying it.

If you ask me, the medicine works only if you want it to. The doctors tell you, "Hey, this medication is going to make you feel better/do better/ be better." and so you think it will. It's a complete issue of mind over matter.

Which I suppose is why the medicine does absolutely shit for me. I never thought they would work, so they don't. Sure, I could put on a happy face and say "The pills will work, the pills will work." But... what if I don't want them to? What if I like myself just the way I am?

Everyone's supposed to be happy or want to be happy, but I'm not and I don't. Happiness is too unstable, too quick to turn and leave. Isn't it better to be comfortable in your little pit of despair then try to crawl out of it only to be thrown three hundred feet back down below? At least, I think it is. It's definitely safer.

I just wish someone would understand that. No thank you, I don't want your help. I like it just fine down here.

I have searched time and time again for that person. The one that would just let me be myself and not try to drag me out into the light. Someone who could understand that the darkness is a much safer place, a much better place.

At first I had thought I found what I was looking for in Rinoa. Sure, she tried to 'cheer me up' quite a lot and all that, but there were also the times she just left me to my own devices. Rinoa never asked very much of me, except for a smile now and then. The thing I liked best about her was that she knew. She knew when to give up and stop hassling me, where other people just kept pushing and pushing until I was ready to scream.

Our downfall was her need for reassurances and my inability to give them. Rinoa has never been the self-confident creature she sometimes likes to portray. The girl needs to be told things like, "I love you.", "I need you." and "You are beautiful." all the time. Otherwise she begins to doubt and question both herself and said person. I don't blame her for it, because it's just who she is, like I am the bastard who would like to remain buried in the snow.

However, our differences in that area were enough to crumble the foundation that had been decayed to begin with. Rinoa never really felt secure with me, because I wasn't telling her what she needed to hear, doing what she needed to have done and I never really felt comfortable with her, because, as nice as she was, I knew I wasn't exactly what she was seeking. Yes, she liked me, but as someone to spend the rest of your life with? It's a completely different ball game in that aspect.

And so, Rinoa and I went our separate ways. It was a friendly parting, and I still consider her to be one of my only real friends. The girl might have a great tendency to be annoying as hell, but she'll also be one of the first ones there were I ever to go crazy and say "I need someone."

After Rinoa, there was Quistis. Quistis was obviously the next person to be with. (Not in the sense that 'Since I can't have Rinoa, I'll just take her instead.', mind you.) Quistis had always had a crush on me, (We all knew her declaration that it was just 'brotherly love' was full of shit.) and she had always been there when I needed her, and even when I didn't.

Our entire relationship was a bit... well, awkward. It was like trying to walk carefully, so that you wouldn't destroy the delicate lilies that lie scattered amongst the path. You suddenly feel like one big klutz, and you're not sure what in the hell it is you're trying to do in the first place. You get so concerned with not smashing anything you forget your real purpose. Yes, that's definitely how it was with us.

I was feeling afraid that Quistis would try to butt into my life, as she always did. Quistis always had the ability to notice things about me that no one else did. She was always the one who understood me the best. That was all good, but there were things I didn't want her to pick up on. I didn't want her to know that I wanted to die, I didn't want her to see the scars that covered my body. I just wanted her to accept me and not to try to press deeper when I didn't want to be pressed. So I walked carefully around her, as if to try to keep suspicion from arising.

Quistis, on the other hand, was terrified of being too nosy. She knew there was a lot going on that I didn't care to share with anyone and she, while desperately wanting to know, didn't want to upset me by asking. Instead, she spent most of her time quietly studying me, trying to figure out the big mystery that she knew lied within. But she always studied at a distance, as if not to alert me, which only made me feel more constricted and increase the urge to be discreet.

After a while we both realised that our relationship was not going to go anywhere. We were both almost too afraid to breathe. Hold a decent relationship? Now, that was definitely out of our range during that time.

We went our separate ways almost as quietly as we had come together. I think we were both relieved. No more tiptoeing, no more hushed whispered and silent thoughts. It was almost like we could breathe again, without having to worry about upsetting the other.

After Quistis, there was the unlikely pairing of Selphie. My reasoning was this; she was a bright, beautiful young lady who was too involved with the Garden Festival and everything else to ever notice what I didn't want her to see. Her reasoning was; I was cute and could use a good dose of fun. Seems pretty simple, huh?

Then again, if I told you anything in my life had ever been simple, I would have then asked you to shoot me for telling such a blatant lie.

Everyone was surprised when we started dating. The Lion and the Messenger Girl? Not in this lifetime, right? Well, when you're searching for an answer, even the strangest choices can end up being the best ones.

For a while, as is the case with all of my relationships it seems, things were pretty good. Selphie had more depth to her than I ever could have imagined. When we found time to spend together, she didn't speak of parties or fun or anything else I would have expected her to chatter on mindlessly about. Selphie wanted to talk about life, knowledge, the meaning of the sun and the sky. Selphie wanted to know and question everything. You could say I was pleasantly shocked to find out that some of the most interesting and intelligent conversations I ever had were with Selphie Tilmitt. I got to know a side of Selphie that no one else had possibly ever seen before and, I must admit, it was quite nice.

We talked a lot about death and dying. We talked about how meaningful things were actually meaningless and how ugliness could be found even in the stars. In short, we depressed each other further. Never before I had ever considered the possibility that Selphie wasn't all smiles and bubbles. I had always thought her to be ditzy and hopped up on crank. In reality, she was just as human as everyone else was. She too suffered from stress and disappointments. Everyone expected her to smile and shine. Selphie Tilmitt was never allowed a moment to be sad or to just scream. When I realised that, I felt overwhelmed with a sense of understanding. Everyone expected me to be stoic and cold. I was always supposed to be brooding and moping about. But sometimes, Selphie and I, we didn't want to act our roles. Sometimes she felt sad and sometimes I actually felt human. People were always shocked when we acted out of character, making it seem like a deadly sin or something. 'Oh no, he smiled! The world is ending!' or 'Oh my Hyne, did she just snap at me?! We must be doomed!'

However, for all the good points Selphie and I had, we also had the fact that we reveled together in our agony. While misery might like company, it's not always the best idea. Naturally someone wants another to hold them up, to keep them afloat. We just kept sinking each other further and further until finally we had to say "Enough. This isn't going to work."

Our parting was the most tranquil of them all, because then we knew that if we ever wanted to fall further, there was someone who would be there for us, someone who would hold our hand along the way. That was one of the most comforting things I had ever known in my entire life.

After Selphie and I went our separate ways I spent some time to myself, just thinking and wondering. By then I was beginning to doubt the existance of the person I longed for, the person who would just accept me and let me be. I was beginning to think it was all a figment of my imagination.

Then came Zell. The hyperactive, quick-to-react martial artist. I hadn't really considered guys an option before, but I had never marked them off of the list, either. Plus, Zell seemed like a good choice. He was kind, caring and passionate. Hyne, that boy had passion. When he wanted something, he gave his all. When he believed in something, he'd stand by that belief even if it cost him his life. It was, to me, the most beautiful aspect of human life. And he just radiated it.

If I could put one word to our relationship, it would be just that. Passion. Whatever we said, we said meaningfully. Whatever we did, we did it whole-heartedly. Whatever we felt, we felt it vehemently. For once I felt like I could just scream and it would be okay. I could over-react and it would be fine. While I had to somewhat keep a lid on my emotions with the others, I didn't with Zell. Anything was fair game, as long as it was done and said truthfully.

And that was our major flaw. Zell required nothing but honesty and honesty was one thing I wasn't ready to give yet. I didn't want to tell him about how I cut myself just to show myself that there was something within myself I could control. I didn't want to tell him just how truly helpless and hopeless I felt. I didn't want him to know my despair, my pain. That was mine.

It didn't take long for Zell to realise that I wasn't being completely honest with him, that I was purposely dodging his questions one after the other. It also didn't take long for our passion, which had been so strong and so overwhelming, to just fizzle and fade away. In the end, we were even more ackward than Quistis and I had been. We didn't know why it left, but it did. Well, I guess we did know why. It was because I was a selfish bastard unwilling to open up and just share myself completely. We never said that, though. We just went our different ways, never saying anything about it, never confronting it. I think I was too scared... Zell was just too kind to rip open any wounds I might have.

Now, if I ever had to name my most interesting relationship, it would have had to been with Irvine Kinneas. Irvine was one of the most laid-back people I had ever encountered. Irvine didn't care about the mind or answers or anything else someone had always wanted from me. Irvine was only interested in one thing - the pleasures of the body.

At first, it was nice... no, it was wonderful. One sensation after another. Irvine was always looking for that 'higher level' and I often got to accompany him on his journey. I didn't have time to worry or fret or brood or anything else I usually did. I was too wrapped up in just feeling good, in bringing pleasure and giving pleasure. For a while, I lost myself in that. I'd wake up and wonder, 'What are we going to try next?' and go to sleep wondering of the same thing.

After a while though, such adventures begin to become... well, draining. We were always hunting, always sifting through, always searching for something that I began to think just didn't exist. The pleasures were never enough, could never hold us over. It was always more, more, more. And after a while, your body and mind began to grow weary of such adventures. You begin to crave peace, quiet and fulfillment. The best I could describe it to you is being like a junkie. You need your high, you need the needle in your arm. But, when you get it, you just want more. Your body begins to protest, your mind is just screaming, "THIS IS WRONG!" but you keep going and going until one day you wake up and there's nothing left. You're just an empty shell still wishing for more, but receiving nothing. I didn't want to end up like that. And I told him so to.

And that, was the end of my journey. After that experience, I just wanted myself. I didn't want to search for anything anymore. I just wanted to exist. I'd dealt by myself so far, I'd be damned if I couldn't do it forever.

And that is when I finally said fuck it. No more needing, no more wanting, no more anything. I resigned from my position at Balamb Garden and withdrew into myself, running back to the place I was born.

I was happy in Winhill. (Well, as happy as one such as I can be.) No one asked any questions, no one bothered me. I wondered if this town was what I had been searching for all along.

And so I spent what I then considered to be the best five years of my life. I fell into a dismal schedule, which was never altered. Get up, go to work, come home, go to sleep. Over and over again, until it became second nature to me. I felt lost if I got a day off of work or if I couldn't sleep. It became all I knew, what I needed. Ironically, I was the junkie I didn't want to be. I was addicted to the safety and comfort that the lifestyle offered me, and I'd kill to protect it.

Five years passed and then Spring came. But it wasn't the green leaves or the blooming flowers that stuck in my mind, it was the appearance of someone I had thought long ago dead.

"I was looking for work. They don't ask, don't tell, so I figured it'd be the perfect place."

Perfect place, indeed. I paid my lip service, saying all the things I should. "It's so nice to see you again." "I hope everything works out for you." "We should get together sometime." But I went home and I cried. I spread out on the bed and sobbed like a child who has just found out that mommy went away and she's never coming back. Like a teenager who just got caught playing with himself in the middle of school. Like the fucking apocalypse was coming. Quick, run! The world must be ending with the way that man is crying!

I was more upset than I had been since I had left Garden all those years ago. I felt like I was absolutely dying. Why'd he have to show up and ruin everything? All of my hard work, gone!, in fifteen minutes' time. All because of him. He showed up and there went my schedule. There went my comfort and my security and my sense of well being. There went everything.

I think I felt even worse when he actually took me up on my offer to get together sometime. I had said it hoping he would understand it was just lip service, nothing more. But then again, he was never the brightest of the bunch. Or maybe he was. He just liked pissing me off, making things difficult for me. He always had.

So we got together. I showed him a nice little restaurant that wasn't too far away from my house, in case I felt the need to bolt. I didn't eat much, as I spent most of the meal feeling sick to my stomach. I kept fighting down the urge to just get up and run. To go home, pack all of my stuff, and move to some remote location where no form of life ever hoped to grow.

He seemed to sense this. "You're not having fun." Well, obviously. How could anyone be having fun in a situation like this? The man just fucking walks into my life after so many years and acts like it's nothing. He completely throws off my life and doesn't say a word about it.

"Do you wanna take a walk or something?" Yes, I would like to take a long walk off of a short pier right about now. Thankyouverymuch.

But, I just nodded, keeping silent about my ever-present death wish. So we walked. And walked and walked. But not a word was spoken. He didn't say anything, I didn't want to say anything. And so it went.

Until... "Look, Squall... I know I just came rushing back in like this... and I'm sorry... but I couldn't take it anymore... I've been struggling with myself over this for a long time and it got to be just too much... I know you're hurting... you don't have to say anything, because your eyes do... you're silently screaming for someone to be there for you, but no one seems to get it... you don't want to actually have to say anything about it and you shouldn't have to... the people who claim to know you should know you well enough to understand that you're in pain... that you're suffering... Squall, I... I know I'm the last person you want to be there for you, but I want to be... I would give my left arm if you'd just let me... all I'm asking for is a chance..."

His words left me more shocked than I had ever been. More shocked than when I found out about my father, more shocked than when we saved the world. Too shocked to answer him, to even form a single syllable.

"You... you don't have to answer right now... I'll just leave you alone and give you some time to think, okay?... but if you ever decide that you want to be with me, you know where to find me..."

I lied in my bed that night, unable to sleep. His words played over and over in my mind until they created a symphonic melody. I couldn't make any sense of it. He had known. He had known. No one had ever been able to figure it out, to understand, but he had.






He had always known. He had always been aware of my problems and he had tried to bring me out of them. Not with comforting words or reassurances, as everyone else had done, but with anger, with passion, with hate. He had said things deliberately to piss me off just so that for a moment I wouldn't be wallowing in self-pity, I wouldn't be wishing for my demise. I would be too wrapped up in the moment to notice it.

I rose from my bed, slipping on my clothes and only barely glancing at the clock. Four in the morning or not, he said to come to him.

He opened his door, rubbing his eyes and yawning. Interest, hope and curiosity peeked through the golden hair that had fallen in his face during sleep.

"I've made up my mind... Seifer... I... I want to stay with you..."

He led me inside, to a new beginning and finally, a new hope. So many years spent wasted, because I was too blind to see. It wasn't that we fought because we loved each other, but it was because he understood and I didn't want him to. I wanted to be by myself even while I was searching. I didn't want to give up that final aspect of myself. And it turns out, I didn't have to, because he gave it back to me. He might have taken it to look at it, but he returned it to me and didn't threaten it. I knew he would never ask me about the gashes, the tears and the unanswered death wishes. I knew he'd never ask me to be happy or ask me to smile. He had always accepted me for what I was and I knew he wouldn't change that. He'd love me for me, no more, no less.

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