The Devil's Own
Chapter 5: Whatever
By Angry Angel
Timber was as happily unassuming as Seifer had remembered it to be from his last visit, which was respectively a thing of a past that had come to pass long ago. He hadn't travelled through Timber and actually lingered in well over two or three years. Essentially, he was nineteen years old now, and ever since his inauguration as a SeeD at age sixteen he had paid Timber such a small number of visits that he could have counted them off using only one hand.
Anyone who had never troubled themselves with the studies of politics and military history would have laughed at the idea of resistance factions operating in this small, rural town, but it was indeed quite so. The members of said terrorist groups were not to take lightly either, and despite countless attempts of excavating or infiltrating them, few of the rebels were actually ever caught.
They operated from the shadows, raising bane and fear all over the Galbadian empire. Some of their acts were less bloody than others, and though they generally refrained from plotting evil that would overly endanger innocent bystanders, there was still a large number of politicians, military officers and civilians alike that had fallen victim to the underground resistance of little postcard town Timber.
If there was one thing that Seifer had learned well throughout the length of his career, it was to never trust the outward appearance of anything or anyone.
Yet, as he paced evenly through the steadily depleting streets in the gentle glow of the settling dusk, he found himself unwilling to tread the topic any further, and be it only in his head.
Lightly, he jumped down the narrow stone stairway that led to the only bar that Timber had to its name, and he rejoiced in the idea of a warm dinner to stuff the uncomfortable hole in his stomach. It had begun to growl rather loudly, too – his stomach, not the hole.
Pushing the door to the gin palace ajar, he turned up his nose at the stale whiff of air that hit him in the face. Really, whenever would these cave dwellers comprehend the usage of air conditioners, or plain old windows for that matter?
But hell with it.
He took a couple of steps inside, halting only to allow his eyes to adjust to the different lighting in the establishment. The bar smelled of fried food and cheap wine, but quite honestly, Seifer had visited much worse establishments and eaten there all the same. As a matter of fact, they served fairly decent meals at this place, and that was pretty much all that he cared for.
Screening his smoke-laden surrounding for a sign of his friends, Seifer's fleeting gaze came to an abrupt halt when his eyes locked with the shadowed outline of a figure in a faraway corner. Hadn't it been for the flickering light of a laptop screen granting wry and random glimpses of the person's face, Seifer wouldn't even have bothered to waste a second glance. However, with a certain man's reflection still fiercely imprinted into his memory, the SeeD's attention was only too easily snared.
The moment that Seifer had recognized the lonely brunette that was irritably typing away on the keyboard in front of him, there was no holding the blonde back. Sure enough, he even stormed straight past the table occupied by his friends Irvine and Quistis, not even acknowledging their presence.
Quistis and Irvine, on the other hand, had spotted Seifer the moment he had set foot into the bar, but before either could have called out his name, he had already charged past them with the disturbing determination of a raging boar. Quistis' head whipped around immediately, following Seifer's trail and estimating his destination. When her cobalt blue eyes fell on the figure in the back, she cringed.
"Oh no. Oh no, no no."
With interest, Irvine tipped his cowboy hat into his neck and canted his chair to be able to look past his female companion. Quistis had lowered her face into her hand by then, groaning as if under the influence of a terrible migraine. About a split second later, Irvine had dug up the root of her dismay.
"He's gonna kill him," Quistis sighed.
"Shall we stop him? Think that was blood thirst I saw in his eyes, or madness, not sure. Whaddaya say?"
"... I'm going."
While Quistis leaped onto her feet, Seifer had reached the back of the bar. He stood tall and menacing like a rider of the Apocalypse before a four-seat table, glowering at the dark haired young man that had assumed a comfortable position behind his laptop and a large bowl of soup and bread. Said youth was now snapping a gaze of pure annoyance to the man at his side, slanting his fine features with entirely unconcealed hostility.
They were measuring their strength silently, a mute duel of death-glares that was unexpectedly interrupted by someone yanking at Seifer's arm rather violently.
There was only one person in all of Galbadia (and probably beyond) that managed to grind out Seifer's name with such frightening venom soaking their voice. It was as unpleasant as fingernails on a chalk board, and there was no doubt concerning as to who it belonged to.
The female had clawed her slender fingers into his biceps, determined to pull her friend away by pure force and under the curious stares of all other guests in the bar if need be. Meanwhile, Seifer's new and current arch nemesis, the brunette named Squall Leonhart, had already returned his attention to his laptop.
"Come on," Quistis hissed, scowling at her taller friend. "We're back there. Leave him alone."
"I'll be there in a minute," Seifer replied with a growl and swiping his arm out of Quistis' keep effortlessly. "Don't fucking worry, I ain't gonna kill him. So go ahead, you can leave."
"Goddamn Quisty, what part of 'leave' didn't you understand?!"
Her frown only gained in strength at his rudeness, but she was also hurt in her pride, as usual. He would apologize later, he always did, but that never stopped him from being mean to her again if he felt the need to.
It was upsetting, really, and it made being friends with Seifer not any easier.
"You're such an idiot, Seifer," she snapped, not without an insulted tone to her voice, before whisking around and striding back to her table.
Seifer had crossed his arms before his chest, shifting his weight onto his left foot and resuming to glare down upon his 'enemy'. The brunette, however, seemed rather versed at ignoring his environment, and he continued typing away on his laptop and sipping faintly crimson liquid out of a glass bottle without acknowledging Seifer with a single glance.
"What the fuck is your problem?" Seifer tried to catch the youth's attention. "I mean who are you, the Ice Prince of Timber or something?"
Squall Leonhart's storm blue irises finally did narrow and turned to bore into Seifer's green ones. The comparison of the brunette to royal frostiness really hadn't been too far fetched – his gaze held enough chill to freeze fire over.
Seifer merely snorted. The first time around, Squall had caught him by surprise with those cold blue eyes, this time the blonde SeeD wouldn't do as much as blink under their hard stare.
The brunette turned in his seat, bringing one arm up on the back of his bench with a sigh and cocking his head ever so softly.
"What is this supposed to be?" he asked, frigidly so. "You trying to apologize again? I'm not holding a grudge, so don't waste your time or mine."
With that, he resumed his original position and the work he had been doing, also returning his eyes to the flickering light of the screen. For a second, Seifer had to bite down the urge to hurt this dumb little fuck, and to hurt him badly at that, but as he cracked his knuckles in the creation of two rock-hard fists, he drew his lips into an arrogant smirk, chuckling with greatest self-assurance.
"You're really something, flapping your mouth like that," he sneered. "You probably have no idea who you're talking to."
"SeeD," Squall observed nonchalantly. "Only SeeDs strut around like that, thinking the world's always at their service."
One way or another, this kid was certainly stringing what little patience Seifer possessed. Usually, people would pay at least some respect to his trade, and be it simply out of fear due to SeeD's collaboration with the government.
Something about this Leonhart guy sure was odd.
"I could arrest you for your insolence."
Those words seemed to exercise little threat on the brunette, though. Squall shrugged coolly, his eyes still glued to the object in front of him instead of the man at his side. His slender fingers danced across the keyboard with swift elegance, causing Seifer's head to spin merely from watching. As the young journalist finally vocalized his opinion, he did so rather callously.
Very slowly, Seifer's dangerous frown smoothed out.
Yeah, actually 'whatever' summed this up pretty well.
To hell and back with that hick. He wasn't even worth a minute of Seifer's time. In fact, the blonde found himself wondering why he had even bothered to approach Squall Leonhart again in the first place. Must have been the aftershock of his earlier anger, he decided. Either way, that guy certainly possessed no common sense or manners, and Seifer wouldn't be able to talk them into him either, he understood that much. Perhaps, if the brunette had actually shown some form of remorse over his behaviour, perhaps Seifer would have taken the trouble of maybe getting to know him a little bit better; after all, he was sort of intriguing - in a stubborn, irritating kind of way.
But not like this. Nuh-uh. Seifer most certainly had more interesting things to do than argue with a Timber punk that was feeling lucky.
That said, he gave a low grunt and turned on the spot, inwardly laughing at the brunette hillbilly with all the careless arrogance that he could muster.
"Nah," he said abjectly. "You ain't worth it."
And as he walked away with a powerful stride to retreat to Irvine's and Quistis' table, he didn't even see how the brunette's gaze flicked up silently, staring at the back of the disappearing SeeD with an air that was entirely implacable. Then, Squall took two harsh gulps of his cranberry juice, setting the bottle down upon the table with more force than was necessary.
When he erased everything he had been typing since Seifer's arrival, his hands trembled only slightly.
=To be continued!=
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