Stitch In Time

Chapter Sixteen

By Scarlet Fever

:Edea’s Orphanage:

"I have been possessed all this time," Edea began lowly. She sounded ashamed of herself. They were at the Orphanage that they grew up in. It had crumbled from lack of care, but it looked the same. They were standing on the rocky path that led down to the beach that they had played on so many years ago.

A lifetime ago…. Zell mused to himself. Everyone was there, the entire ‘gang’, but they were missing one person. The one person that Zell wanted to see.

"I was at the mercy of Sorceress Ultimecia…."

So, Ultimecia is her name. Our real enemy. If we beat her, Seifer will come back, come back to me. Zell turned away, facing the ocean. He didn’t want anyone to see the saddened tears that were forming at the corners of his eyes.

"Ultimecia is a Sorceress from the future, a Sorceress many generations ahead of our time. Her objective is to find Ellone. She’s after Ellone’s mysterious power." Edea smiled, a wistful look lighting up her face. "I knew Ellone well." Her face darkened again. "Ultimecia is a fearful Sorceress, whose heart is filled with anger and hate. There was no way I was going to let Ultimecia get a hold of Ellone, so the only thing I could do was… Surrender my soul to Ultimecia and lose control of my mind.

Surrender your soul and lose control of your mind…. God, Seifer, what’s she going to do to you? I hope I can bring your body back before it’s too late to lose your mind…. Zell bit his lip, determined to kill Ultimecia at any cost.

"That was the only way I could save Ellone," Edea continued, her voice soft. "And, the end result… Well, you all know. The Sorceress that appeared in Galbadia was in fact Ultimecia.. inside my shell…." Edea paused for a few moments, gathering her thoughts. "Ultimecia has yet to achieve her goal. I believe she may use my body again to achieve her goals." Edea frowned, knowing that Seifer didn’t have exactly what Ultimecia was looking for. Witchcraft was Edea’s department, and Seifer didn’t possess Sorcery powers, but…. She shook her head, returning to current thoughts. "I plan to make a stand this time, but…." She looked at all of them, her eyes stopping sadly on both Squall and Zell. Both men looked so forlorn. She wondered if he felt the same way that Seifer did…. "If that does not work… I may have to face you in battle once again. I ask for your support, young SeeDs."

Zell nodded immediately, but remained silent. The others nodded as well, their minds also distracted with all this new information, this new enemy.

"Have you heard of Sorceress Adel?" Edea asked.

"She was the ruler of Esthar during the Sorceress War," Zell answered immediately, his voice subdued. "No one knows of her whereabouts…. That’s what I learned."

"The Galbadians must have thought that I was the one who received Sorceress Adel’s powers. However, that is not the case. I received the powers of a previous Sorceress at the age of five."

"I don’t quite understand," Irvine muttered, his mind working through all this new information.

"I believe Sorceress Adel is still alive, and that Ultimecia released my body in order to…." She trailed off. If Ultimecia wanted Adel, she feared greatly for Seifer, for Adel never had a caring disposition, and wouldn’t spare him, as Edea had. "To use the body of Sorceress Adel. Adel is the type who will not hesitate to use her powers for her own selfish desires. Should Ultimecia from the future bequeath her anger and hatred unto Adel, their power would be unimaginable."

Squall sighed angrily. I’ve heard enough. I understand that listening to what Matron has to say is important, but Rinoa…. "Matron, do you know what’s wrong with Rinoa?"

Edea thought for a moment. This Rinoa girl must have been the reason Squall seemed so distant. "Rinoa is the girl in light blue? I remember vaguely…. What happened to her?"

"She was with us when we fought you…" Squall murmured, his voice sounding small and frightened. "After the battle… Her body was so cold… She didn’t move…."

"Did Rinoa die?!" Cid asked. He had been so quiet through his wife’s confession that they had forgotten that he was there, too.

"No!!" Squall exclaimed angrily.

Edea sighed, feeling as useless to help with Rinoa as she did with Seifer. "Forgive me, Squall. I don’t think I can be of much help." She turned to them again. "We should devise a plan to protect Ellone at all costs…"

Zell nodded. He was paying attention, but he just felt so weary. Would Ultimecia use Seifer to find Adel? And what would happened to the scarred blonde if Adel was found? She wouldn’t think twice about killing Seifer. Zell didn’t think that he could go through Seifer's death again. He looked over to Squall, who wasn’t even pretending to listen to Edea. "Yo, Squall?!"

"You’re not even listening!" Selphie replied angrily. They were all worried about Rinoa, but Squall should have been paying attention.

"So, basically, all we have to do is prevent Ultimecia from getting a hold of Ellone?" Squall asked tersely.

"Yes, but…" Quistis began.

"We’re going to the Garden. We have to let everyone know…." Squall shook his head.

"Hey, we’re worried about Rinoa, too, you know?" He crossed his arms over his chest.

"Then why don’t you…?!" Squall began, but decided to calm himself down. "Forget it." He motioned to the others. "Come on."

"Oh, Zell, just a moment!" Edea called. The blonde stopped, turning around. She pulled him off to the side so nobody could hear them. "Don’t give up on him."

Zell blinked a couple of times. "Huh?"

"Please don’t give up on Seifer. You’re all he has left."

Zell’s lips parted in surprise. "How do you….?!"

Edea frowned, tears pricking at her eyes. "While myself and Ultimecia were controlling him, we entered his mind numerous times. He can’t hide feelings like that."

"Feelings like what?" Zell asked quietly.

"He’s in love with you. I sense some sort of mutual response…?"

Zell blushed, the tinge on his cheeks answer enough.

"I’ve done so many terrible things to him, and I know that it won’t get better. When everyone else has abandoned him, I hope that you haven’t as well."

"He’s going to be okay, though… Right?" Zell asked hopefully, feeling a wet trail across his cheek. He couldn’t believe that he was crying. Seifer was in love with him. Zell should have felt overwhelming joy, but it was soured by utter fear. What would happen to Seifer? What terrible things had Edea done under Ultimecia’s control?

"No, he’s not."

Seifer turned when he heard someone behind him. He was on a Galbadian Army ship, bound for Esthar. Supposedly, the Lunatic Pandora was a huge receptor for the Moon, which could call Lunar Cry. Seifer didn’t know exactly what it did, but all he knew was that he had to find it for his Mistress. He also had to find Adel, and Lunatic Pandora was the key.

It hadn’t even been a day since the fateful battle against Zell and the others in Galbadia Garden, but Seifer already felt so distanced from it all. Being Ultimecia’s Knight was slowly isolating him, even from the Army forces, which she controlled, as well. It hadn’t taken him long to realize that things would never be the same, that he was worlds away from where he had been only twenty-four hours earlier.

"What is it?" Seifer asked lazily.

"This is for you, Sir Seifer." The Soldier sounded about as young as Seifer. He handed the blonde a folded up sheet of paper.

"What is it?" Seifer looked at the sheet of yellow paper he held in his gloved hand.

"Your punishment."

"For what?" Seifer asked, his eyebrows raised in surprise.

The Soldier looked at his toes. "For failing at Galbadia Garden. From your true Mistress."

Seifer blinked a few times. He nodded for the young Soldier to leave.

"What is it?" Fujin asked. She was sitting near the small window in the room. For an army ship, this was actually a very nice conference room.

Seifer looked up at the silver-haired woman, shrugging. "I don’t know."

"It looks like a delivery slip, ya know?! How could delivering a package be punishment?"

Seifer shook his head, a feeling of dread passing over him. He had expected some sort of punishment for not living up to standards in his fight with Squall, Zell and Selphie. But, when none had come, he had relaxed. It was so like Ultimecia to lull him into calm. He read the slip, confused at first.

"WELL?" Fujin asked, feeling worried.

"It says that a package was sent to Zell….." The paper fell out of his hands, fluttering to the ground when he realized what had been sent.

"What’s so bad about a package?" Raijin asked, looking at their female companion.

She shrugged in response, and they both looked at Seifer. He was staring into space, his breathing becoming shallow and quick.

"Seifer?!" Raijin kneeled in front of his friend, waving his hand before Seifer's eyes. "What is it?"

Seifer didn’t respond. Only a small whimper escaped his lips. "No…." He didn’t want Zell to see him that way, in such a degrading position. "No," he repeated.

Fujin picked up the piece of paper. "It says it was a video. What was it?"

Raijin gently touched Seifer's shoulder. "Seifer….?"

The blonde flinched, getting out of his chair. He immediately picked it up and flung it against the wall, creating a cracked dent in the plaster. He then slumped against the abused wall in defeat, a wail of protest escaping his lips.

"Seifer….?" Raijin just stood there, utterly confused. He looked to Fujin for some sort of answer, but she was just as confused as he was.

"Please…. Leave…..please….." Seifer whispered.

Fujin nodded reluctantly, leading Raijin out by the hand.

Alone in the room, Seifer felt a chill of disgust crawl across his flesh. It was one thing for Seifer to carry that memory around, but to know that Zell would see him like that, like a common slut, made him feel dirty, dirtier than he had felt during the horrid event. "Why are you doing this to me?" Seifer whispered.

It’s far less than you deserve, little kitten.

Seifer shuddered, thinking of when Edea had called him that, when the dogs had attacked him. Seifer felt as cold as a Trabian snowfield, but he was sweating. He whimpered again, curling up in a ball on the floor. He prayed that Zell wouldn’t watch it, for if the only person he had ever really loved saw him that way, Seifer would never be able to face him again. Seifer heaved greatly, broken sobs coming from his chest, echoing the shattering of his heart.

Zell absently twirled the package he had just received, rolling it between his hands. He wondered what it was. Had his mother sent him something? The others were busy with briefings, or resting, so Zell decided to go to his room and discover what mystery was in the parcel. There was no return address, and the delivery person didn’t know whom it was from.

"If it was Ma, she would have at least put return address." He hoped that it was something good, for he needed cheering up. Once safely in his dorm room, he tore open the plain brown package. There was no note of explanation, and only a videotape.

"Well, what are you?" Zell asked the unmarked cassette blandly. It would have been putting it mildly to say that his curiosity was peaked. He sat on the floor in front of his television, turning it on. "I wonder why it isn’t marked." He shrugged, popping it in the VCR.

For a few moments, the screen was black. The first thing Zell could hear was a cackling laughter, which grated on Zell’s nerves, sending an unwanted chill up his spine. When the picture faded in, Zell furrowed his brow in confusion. There was a group of ten men standing around. They were surrounding a man who was being held down to the ground by his wrists and legs, totally naked. Why the fuck would someone send him a gay porn movie? Especially one with what looked like rape tendencies. Zell was about to turn it off in disgust, but his hand hovered in midair when he saw the face of the victim, laying prone on the ground.

Zell gasped, leaning in to get a better look, to make sure he wasn’t just seeing things. "Seifer….." Seifer was lying unconscious, his face looking wan and pale. There was blood splattered all over his fair skin, mixed with another fluid that Zell knew was the semen of the men around his unconscious lover. Zell raised his hand to his mouth, suppressing a gasp as he noticed the amount of blood coming out from between Seifer’s thighs. "Oh, God….."

Sadness turned to rage when one of the men swiftly and viscously entered Seifer’s still body. Zell’s whole body shook with anger. How could they stoop so low as to rape someone who was passed out? The noises on the tape sounded muffled to Zell, for he could only hear his anger rushing in his ears. The sound of Seifer whimpering in agony cut through the muffled rage throbbing in Zell’s head. The broken man on the video was tossing slightly in his unconscious state, whimpering against the violation to his body. "Zell…." Seifer whispered. "Help me….."

As the men on the video laughed, Zell let out a shaky gasp. He looked down at the fingers against his mouth as he felt something wet splash against his knuckle. He only realized then that he had been crying. How could someone do this to Seifer? How on earth could he possibly deserve this? Zell tried to look at the surroundings of the scene, wondering where it was. It was a room that could have been anywhere in the world. The men looked like they were wearing Galbadian Army uniforms, but their faces were obscured or out of the picture. They had planned ahead. Was this some sort of punishment for Seifer? Did he disobey the Sorceress at one point?

"How could Matron have let this happen?" Zell asked the television, his voice choked. No, it wasn’t Edea who orchestrated it. It must have been Ultimecia. His anger for the future Sorceress had never reached that much of a pinnacle, but when he looked at Seifer’s broken, bleeding body, he wanted nothing more than to break her, watch her bleed for destroying Seifer this way. He sharply looked up when he heard the sound of slapping. One of the Soldiers was roughly slapping Seifer’s flushed cheeks.

"Wakey, wakey, sunshine," one of them cackled.

Seifer moaned in response, a look of shame and agony crossing his beautiful face.

"We don’t want you to fall asleep just yet… The show must go on." Zell’s heart beat faster with wrath as the man gestured towards the video camera.

"What are you….?" Seifer looked at the camera, and on the screen, his eyes met Zell’s, whose own vision was blurry with heartbroken tears. The look of shame and guilt passing across Seifer’s features tore Zell’s heart in two. How could this be happening? Why wasn’t somebody stopping it? What broke Zell’s heart further was the look in Seifer’s eyes that showed he thought that it was his fault. Oh, Seifer… You don’t deserve this, my darling. If only I had known……

"Shhh, Princess. It’s my turn now…." Another Soldier took position over Seifer’s body. That’s when Zell shut off the VCR, slamming his palm against it. He had seen enough, and felt that watching the tape was putting Seifer through more punishment than he had already endured. Is that why it was sent to him? It had been obvious that Seifer knew that the tape existed, and would it be further punishment to know that Zell had seen him in such a position?

"Damn you, Ultimecia…" Zell cursed, hitting his thighs with tightly balled fists. "Seifer, I’m so sorry….." He curled up in fetal position, his back against his bed, and wept, mourning for the death of something in Seifer that he would never be able to get back, mourning for both of them.

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