By Scarlet Fever
Seifer woke up with a start, some already forgotten dream waking him. The clock on his bedroom wall said that it was three in the morning.
"Well, good to see that youíre getting a good nightís sleep," he told himself, getting out of bed. He knew he probably wouldnít be able to fall asleep.
It was cold, the December chill going to his bones. He wasnít as cold as he would have been a few months ago, when he hadnít had any body fat left. Seifer now was almost back to his original form, thanks to Raijin, who would drag him to the gym every day.
Raijin had said, "Come on, ya know?! Youíre starting to look gross. Iím taking you to the gym with me, ya know?!"
Seiferís reply was, "Why do I want to look like a muscle bound idiot?"
"Shut up, ya know?! Youíve been getting worse since you came back from Timber, ya know?!"
It had been three months since his trip to Timber. It had only been one day, but that one day had severely taken its toll on Seifer. He felt emotionally drained and physically tired. He also was losing sleep. His dreams were always about Squall, and it was torturing him to want something so badly that he couldnít have. He did have to admit that he felt better about being healthy again. He didnít cringe when he saw his reflection, now. Not at his appearance, anyway.
Seifer wrapped his blankets around him and went out to the living room. He was in the mood for Christmas shopping, and cursed the gods for not having the stores open now. He pulled out his laptop, turning it on. He figured he may as well do something productive, like download porn. He never actually use the porn for sexual gratification, mainly because there wasnít any porn out there that could fulfill his one desire. Unless Squall had done something naughty. He would just send it to Raijin and laugh when he would get in trouble for opening it in the public library on seniorsí day without knowing what it was. This had happened on more than one occasion. It figured that Raijin wouldnít learn from his mistakes.
He opened his email, and felt warmth among the cold as he noticed that Squall had written him. He decided to save that for last, opening one from Quistis first. Emails between Seifer and his former Balamb friends were always just pages of one-line replies. He opened her email, smiling.
Quistis: Hi Seifer. Hopefully you get this. Squall forgot to take the piece of paper with your stuff out of his pocket, and it got messed up in the wash.
Seifer: Well, I obviously got the message.
Quistis: I see that.
Seifer: Iím glad to see that we can have such a stimulating conversation.
Quistis: You have to be part of our gang.
Seifer: What gang is this? Will it require some sort of violent rites of passage?
Seifer: Damn. No paddling?
Quistis: I could see how Zell feels about it.
Seifer: Zellís in it? Wow, this gang must be desperate for members.
Quistis: LOL! Zellís telling you to fuck yourself.
Seifer: Okay. Tell him Iím doing it now. So, what is this gang thing anyway?
Quistis: Weíre the new Village of the Damned.
Quistis: Nice reply. Man, the worst thing just happened. Zellís mother died. She had a heart attack. The funeralís tomorrow.
Seifer: Shit. Thatís awful. Tell Zell Iím sorry. Anyway, why me?
Quistis: Itís a long story. And it starts with Zell being an idiot, and I was shitting on him, and he said you and I must be related, and it kind of snowballed from there.
Seifer: Doesnít every story start out with Zell being and idiot?
Quistis: Pretty much. Anyway, since weíre blonde and blue eyed, weíre the Village of the Damned.
Seifer: Thatís only three of us, though. Pretty crappy club. It sounds like the starts of a KKK thing. Only blonde and blue eyes allowed.
Quistis: Itís not like that.
Seifer: White power!
Quistis: Stop that!
Seifer: Whatís the point of being in this club?
Seifer: Ahhh, the ability to make all my co-workers jealous, eh?
Seifer: Count me in, but only if I get to beat up Zell.
Quistis: Deal. Heís telling you to fuck yourself again.
Seifer: Iím way ahead of him. Is he always there when youíre reading your mail?
Quistis: Pretty much. He thrives on making himself a nuisance. Well, I guess itís more productive than him scratching his ass all day.
Seifer: Oh, come on. Thatís the most productive thing anyone can do.
Quistis: What about building bridges and stuff?
Seifer: What, engineering? Damn, how did you become a teacher??
Quistis: Shut up.
Seifer: Ah, I see. You did it the old fashioned way.
Quistis: You are terrible! I can just picture you with that damn grin on your face.
Seifer: Iím grinning now. And anyway, back on topic. Every engineer would rather be scratching themselves than building bridges and such.
Quistis: This is the strangest topic Iíve ever heard.
Seifer: And our master race gang isnít?
Quistis: Shut up.
Seifer: Besides, it wouldnít be a good master race if they were all like Zell.
Quistis: Ha, ha. Everyone would eat hot dogs.
Seifer smiled and thought for a second of a reply. He then wrote: ĎSo, thatís what happened to all the pigeons and the old shoes that people leave in the gutterÖ.í
He smirked and sent it. Next, he opened his letter from Zell.
Zell: You suck.
Seifer: Thank you so much.
Zell: Youíre welcome.
Seifer: Is that all you have to say, pussy boy?
Zell: Donít call me that.
Zell: From what I hear.. youíre the cocksucker.
Seifer: Whatís that supposed to mean?
Seifer: Whoa. Thatís hitting a little low, isnít it?
Seifer: Was that supposed to be insulting? Man, I just heard about your mom. Iím really sorry, Zell.
Zell: Yeah, sure you are.
Seifer: You doubt my sincerity? I may be emotionally dead, but Iím not that dead.
Zell: Thanks, asshole.
Seifer: Iím trying to be sympathetic, and youíre spewing insultsÖ
Zell: I appreciate it.
Seifer: Good. Whatís with the Village of the Damned thing?
Zell: Ah! Itís just one of those things that started off as an amusingly stupid point of conversation, and itís totally gotten out of hand. Are you in?
Seifer: Can we make up logos and shit?
Zell: Sure. We should have golf shirts.
Seifer: I donít golf.
Zell: Neither do we. Whatís your point, you blob of refuse.
Seifer: Ooooh, a blob, am I?
Zell: Yeah, fatty.
Seifer: Fat? Youíre the one who fucking eats hot dogs constantly!
Zell: Your point being?
Seifer: Youíre fatter than I am. Iím the anorexic looking one, remember. Well, thatís not really true any more.
Zell: See? Youíre fat.
Seifer: Shut up.
Zell: Child molester.
Seifer: ??? Okay. I donít even know how to respond to that.
Zell: Because you are one.
Seifer: This is getting really childish. Oh, yeah. Takes one to know one! And you broke my GI Joe!
Zell: Fine. Iíll take the little girls, you can have the little boys.
Seifer: Huh? Fuck, I hope you donít reproduce.
Zell: My kids would be great!
Seifer then responded by writing: ĎYeah, and ugly, too.í
Seifer sent that one, and then decided to check what Squall had written. He almost didnít like to read mail from Squall. It brought up feelings that he was now trying to bury again. Since his trip to Timber, he had tried not to think about Squall, tried to move on, but it wasnít really working that well. He sighed and blinked, the screen becoming blurry for a moment as he read.
Squall: Hi. I donít know if this is the right email address. If youíre Siefer, this is to you.
Seifer: Iím Seifer. I donít know who this ĎSieferí person is.
Squall: Oh, good. Now Iím being belittled.
Seifer: Well, the least you could do is spell my name right!
Squall: It was a typo!!!!
Seifer: How would you feel if I wrote you as Sqaulll?
Squall: I wouldnít be jumping down your throat, if thatís what you mean.
Seifer: Iím just teasing you. Did you lose your sense of humour?
Squall: Did you hear about Zellís mother?
Seifer: Yeah. He didnít believe me when I told him I was sorry.
Squall: Heís just being an idiot. But this whole thing has made me thinkÖ you know, about my own life and whatnot.
Seifer: Yeah, that whatnot can be a bitch. Well, Iím always thinking about mortality and all that shit, so now you know how I feel.
Squall: But I value my life. You donít seem to.
Seifer: What, value your life?
Squall: No, your own.
Seifer: I guess I donít. I wonder what the point is.
Squall: Youíre so depressing.
Seifer: You were the one that brought it up! How are Öthings?
Squall: ..things? you sound so cloak and dagger. If you mean how are things between myself and RinoaÖ.itís been better. But itís been worse, too.
Seifer: Worse as in when I was around?
Squall: Donít. I know where youíre going with this.
Seifer: Well, I have this feeling that Rinoa is glad that Iím not in Balamb anymore.
Squall: Why would you think that? Maybe she thinks youíre still in love with her.
Seifer: I was never in love with her. I liked her, but I never loved her.
Squall: Maybe a pretty face brought you in. Iím starting to think that thatís what happened to me, too. Things arenít what they used to be, you know? All we do is fight. And it sometimes seems like itís getting better, but thatís all a veneerÖ the whole thing makes me tired.
Seifer: Relationships have those moments. But they work themselves out. What am I talking about? I donít know anything about relationships. All of mine are meaningless.
Squall: Not all of them.
Seifer: All the sexual ones are. But sex isnít everythingÖ.. (making face right now)
Squall: How would I know? (glaring at Rinoa right now)
Seifer: She still wonít sleep with you? Maybe she wants to wait until youíre married or something.
Squall: Did you ever get anywhere with her?
Seifer: That was different. You guys have a long-term relationship. I touched her tit once and she hit me. Hmmm, itís been a long time since Iíve touched any tits.
Squall: Me, too. And thereís a pair right there!!! So, what are you doing for Christmas? I donít want to talk about Rinoa any more.
Seifer: Nothing. I will be spending the commercial excuse to buy gifts alone. Raijin and Fujin are going to his familyís in Dollet. Are you going to Esthar to spend it with Laguna? I canít imagine Rinoa coming here to see her father.
Squall: Yeah, sheís coming with me. Hopefully things arenít so tense by then.
Seifer: Itís only a week away. By the way, I got your present today.
Squall: What is it?
Seifer: A teapot.
Squall: I donít like tea.
Seifer: I know. Man, I kinda just want this whole season to end. Itís totally depressing, especially when I have no family or friends to spend it with. Iíll just be sitting at home sneering at the sappiness of holiday cheer and mocking the falseness of its kindness.
Squall: Sounds like a full schedule. You sound so cynical.
Seifer: Maybe I am. Being cynical is better than being lonely, which I am anyway. Fuck, Iíve dug quite the emotional hole for myself.
Squall: Why do you do this to yourself? You sound like an add for psychiatric help.
Seifer sighed. He did sound pathetic and neurotic. But thatís how he felt. Maybe it was just when he was talking to Squall. Seifer was letting things consume him again, and the loneliness he felt only intensified it. He paused, not sure of how to reply to Squall. He couldnít just write ĎI can love you so much better than Rinoa ever could.í It might sound a tad needy and strange.
He responded by writing; ĎIíve always been a walking psyche case. But at least I donít have bugs on me.í
That wasnít anything close to what Seifer had wanted to say, but this way, he could stay in his shell and try to pretend that it didnít hurt. That he didnít hurt, that he wasnít suffering. A flash of words passed through his mind, the words of Ultimecia. Her hypnotic voice still had its vice-like control over him, still held power, exploited Seiferís weaknesses. His problems with Squall were only a stretched skin over the real problems, the problems that were killing him.
Seifer sighed, ready to turn off the laptop when the beep went off, declaring he had just gotten another email. It was from Zell. He opened it, curious as to what it was. It was only midnight in Balamb.
Zell: My children would not be ugly. Anyway, what are you still doing up? Isnít it like 3 am in Deling? Go to sleep, young man. Look at your phone.
Seifer furrowed his brow in confusion. It rang, causing him to jump out of his chair in surprise. He closed his laptop and answered the phone.
"Why are you calling? Itís three in the morning!"
Zell laughed. "Did I get you out of bed?"
"Whatever. Look, Quistis wanted me to call you."
"Do you do everything she asks?" Seiferís voice had a teasing note to it.
"Shut up! She wanted me to call to see if you still are going to be sitting at home on Christmas."
"As a matter of fact, I will be. Why?"
"Look, can Quistis tell you? I have to go to the bathroom."
"Why didnít you go before you called me, stupid?"
Zell sighed. "Shut up!"
There was a pause before Quistis answered on the other end. "Seifer?"
"Yes. Who else would it be?"
Quistis made a rude noise. "Listen. I was wondering how you would feel about us coming to see you for the holidays?"
"Well, I hate to think of you rotting there by yourself, getting lost in depression. And donít deny it. Youíll do it, too. Besides, this is the first Christmas where Zell doesnít have his mother. It could be a Children of the Corn Christmas."
"That sounds like a bad horror movie."
"Come on! We could even stay at a hotel if you donít want us at your apartmentÖ We donít have anywhere to go, either."
"So, Iím a last resort?"
"Thatís not what I meant, and you know it."
Seifer sighed. "Yeah, I know. I donít have a choice in this, do I?"
"Fine. But youíll have to stay at my house. The hotel is a fucking rip-off."
"Great! When should we come?"
"Well, tomorrow is my last day at work, and then I get vacation. So you can come after that. How about Wednesday?"
"That sounds good. Iíll have to get a train and stuffÖ"
"So, call me when you get all the details."
"Fine. See ya. And go to bed!"
"Yes, mother." He hung up, feeling surprisingly happy. He felt better when he was around the old Balamb crew, but Seifer knew deep within that this happiness would be fleeting. Having a few laughs at Zellís expense and talking about nothing could only be comforting for a short time, and his original problems would rear their ugly heads, ruining him as they did.
A part of him was actually glad that Squall wasnít coming. It would be too painful, being around him and not being able to have him. He shuffled to his room, knowing that he had to get at least a little sleep. He did have to work the next day, and he still had to find presents for people. He curled up in his bed, the sheets cold, as cold as Seiferís soul. He closed his eyes, drifting into restless sleep.
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