Author's Notes: First part of Kiriban 4,000 for Taija Blair. Its sequel Take It All Away is coming along. Apologies for angst!Seifer, he's horribly OOC in my opinion. But I wrote it anyway ::laughs:: Then again, people do the weirdest things when they're in love.

Feedback: But of course! 'Tis my staple diet in college.

DISCLAIMER: Square owns the characters depicted within, pas moi. I just borrow and practice some counter-conditioning. Observe.

They always ask Ďwhyí

By Koorime

I never should have left.

Maybe if I had stayed... If I had stopped and maybe thought. Thinking, ha. They all think I'm mentally challenged anyway. If I wasnít so weak I could have had a chance. Maybe you could have been mine.

But it doesnít matter now. I couldnít change the past, but maybe thatís why I joined her. If there was a chance in hell that she would succeed, I had to take it. In a world where time was compressed, I could go back and fix everything. I wanted to so badly. I would achieve my goal by any means, I didnít even realise that I was hurting the very people I was trying to save.

I canít ask for your forgiveness; I donít have that right. Sheís right, I donít deserve it. Though, I am sorry. I made you what you are and it pains me to see the "new and improved". Youíre lying. No matter how much you glare or ignore others, even if you pretend not to see me, I know you do. Iíve made you angry, so angry...

Why was I the only one who saw it?

Why would you turn away when I looked at you?

It was I who said no. Even though I didnít look at you then, your silence said it all. And you held it. You donít speak much anymore, but I found a remedy. Though I wish I didnít have to make you angry to hear you speak - seething with rage.

I didnít dare look at you when you asked, your warm hand on my arm. I knew that if I looked at you, I couldnít refuse. But I had to, and did. Iíve hurt you, I know. I had no idea that it would mean so much to you. You always had such energy and strength. I thought you could take it, that you would forget in no time and find a new interest.

I would do anything to go back and change my answer. Iíd spill my blood and sell my soul to dark powers if it meant even one more day with you. Only now you wouldnít want it.

The first time I saw you with Rinoa, I thought little of it. She was an old friend and one of the friendliest of spirits, so I wasnít surprised to see the two of you on the dance floor. And when she held your gaze and dealt her award-winning smile, I saw your mask falter. You never saw me, but I watched you all night from a safe distance. I think I knew what was happening, but it seemed so implausible. You and Rinoa...? To this day, the relationship still confuses me, I canít understand the chemistry; but while I watched you stumble after her all flustered and beautiful, there was evidently something there. You lessened your glare for her; I think that you even smiled. Iíd almost forgotten how you looked when happy, my actions had ensured for the longest time - your bitterness.

You would stalk the halls wearing only your frown and leather, and ensemble you only embraced after your rejection. Did you want to make me feel guilty? Remorseful? Did you think that Iíd come crawling if you changed your wardrobe? Every day you became more and more like me and I hated it. That was the last thing I wanted you to be.

In the beginning when I spoke to you, you wouldnít answer. I knew full well what Iíd done. When you thought you were far from prying eyes, I would see that veneer crumble and bear witness to the pain that lay beneath. So now I know what look you wore when I refused to face you that night, not so long ago. I hated the way you lied to the world, feigning ignorance whenever I approached. It was so fake. I had to make you see. I had to make you stop.

I never meant to hurt you, though it was obviously too late for that. But you wouldnít listen to reason. No matter what I said, you just withdrew more and refused to move on. You had a life and it was passing you by, I couldnít let you sit back on my account. It was only me you hated, no one else. I had to make you realise that, but I never forgave myself for my course of action.

Even as you kneeled before me, blood coursing down your brow, Hyperion sang in my grasp. I think it finally worked; you looked to me, tears stained garnet and I felt something in my gut wrench. But your decision was still to be set, and so I plastered the smirk, baiting you one final time. The next moment passed with the roar of thunder overhead, the flash of lightning on steel and then nothing. But even in the darkness, there was still the pain throbbing in my head. Far not enough of it, for I could still feel the phantom needles of agony in my chest, making my stomach knot. The painís become chronic and Iíve woken more than once to a damp pillow, the tear tracks still drying on my cheeks. Itís harder to control now, but at least the goal was achieved: you hate me more than life itself, the latter being the lesser evil and so you embrace it; secondly, the world loves you, but more importantly you have someone to love.

I thought that you could love her; the two of you were to live happily ever after. I never knew it would bother me so much. When you came to me in the prison, barely alive, I asked Matron to save you. Matron with the golden gaze and voice of a foreign Sorceress. Yes, I was stupid enough to wear my heart on my sleeve and Ultimecia then realised that there was one other who wielded power over me, though unbeknownst to himself.

She made me watch. Sitting backseat to my own mind, she took the reins, wielding me like a puppet. I wish that I was stronger. That I could have freed you from the restraints and me from my own. Instead of watching the electricity wash over your convulsing form in crackling waves. Listening to the screams that made me shudder and sob. Feeling Ultimeciaís sadistic pleasure and wanting to retch, unable to do even that.

Now there was no going back. I had nothing left. I didnít even bother trying when I faced you all at Galbadia Garden. So as you can imagine, when you showed up at the Lunatic Pandora, we were beyond laments. Gilgamesh almost granted my secret wish, but the wound wasnít fatal. That would have been too kind, but I still yearned for oblivion. I didnít have the courage or power to do it myself, my Mistressís hold on me was still too strong.

And Rinoa...

Dear, sweet Rinoa of whom I could have also called my own. Two refused, now united against me. How sickeningly poetic. Needless to say, I was jealous. Jealous and angry and tired. Iíd been fighting for so long... I could see what passed between the two of you, what we might have had.

Iíd finally pushed you far enough and youíd found comfort elsewhere - so why did you still come to me? Why did you seek me out now that Ultimecia is gone, I, her broken knight? After Iíd worked so hard... After everything thatís happened, how could you still look at me and show such pain? Why show me now? I thought that with the crimson-clad Sorceress died the last of my hopes. But here comes the cold fear again. The white hot-agony in my heart that attests to something having survived. If I donít look in your eyes, itís not so bad.

The shallow throb now dulls to a warm pulse, coursing over my exhausted frame. Closing my eyes, I lean against the wall and listen to your voice more than the words. No contempt, not even a trace of the venom you once spat when we were SeeD candidates. It was as if you had forgiven me.

Maybe itís because Iím a retarded emotional masochist, I dunno. But I didnít want your pardon. My tears spill nonetheless. And as I kneel on the floor of the dark, cold hotel room, I find myself wishing that Ultimecia had forged some kind of death link with me. It would have been easier than this. Than trying to forget the memories of midnight trysts and the feelings that rose with them. Than having to ignore the strong, lithe arms being placed on my shoulders in a wordless offer of comfort. No, I wonít let myself...

I shake my head, but the hands donít leave this time. Iíve learned the lesson of time: it escapes you. You could be dead tomorrow; I know this and still lack the courage to even look at you. You do what I cannot. With the murmured comfort of tomorrow and solace of dark blue eyes, Iím lulled to sleep in your embrace, staining your shoulder with my sorrow. And in the distant reaches of the Dreamscape, I hear your gentle murmur,

"Iím here now."

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