the movement above him that had caught his attention. But there was nothing to see, only the swirling of mist around him.
Another wave of her mad joy
(they're coming, time to die)
swept though him, and he couldn't have stopped the cry that escaped him if he'd wanted to.
He was in the dream now, her promises fulfilled. Revenge and glory. Her massive presence in his mind darkly ecstatic now, not brooding.
He could feel her lips curling up to smile, and felt his own follow suit. He marveled- he didn't know where he began and she ended. He could almost feel the throne digging into the back of her thighs, her fingernail tapping the armrest idly, her heart beating, her lungs taking in air.
He fell to his knees in nothingness, touching his face to see exactly whose features he would find. No, the scar, it was there. His fingers were wet though.
Was it raining?
She laughed in his mind, and he found himself echoing it.
Her words poured from his mouth like vomit.
"You were such a little boy, Seifer. Are you a man now?"
You made me a man.
Her chuckle fell out of his mouth, contemptuous, and he felt a stretching in his mind.
He was still laughing, unable to stop despite the panic in his mind. He felt her pulling away, ripping herself from his mind, carelessly taking parts of him with her as she discarded him like trash and turned her attention to other things.
The chuckle evolved into a scream. He fell back
onto the sand, head buzzing strangely. He looked down at his hand in surprise; it was bleeding. He dropped the piece of wood, and saw that there were several large ugly splinters driven into the flesh.
He looked up at the other boy and snarled.
Squall looked back, his own branch wavering uncertainly in one hand.
"Are you okay, Seifer? I didn't mean to hit your hand."
He stood up gingerly, careful of his hand, and threw himself on the other boy in response. They tumbled
to the sand, and he felt Squall pushing with his hands, trying to get him away.
He kicked, and heard the spray of sand as someone else descended the beach.
"Oh! Stop it!" Selphie.
He ignored her and continued trying to hit Squall. The other boy wasn't retaliating, only blocking blows and trying to get away. It just made him angrier.
"C'mon, can't you fight?"
"Seifer!" And he stopped, bleeding hand on Squall's face suddenly starting to hurt.
Matron was there, scooping him up easily with a hand under his arm and setting him on his feet. Beyond her, he saw Selphie and Ellone standing hand in hand. Selphie was crying; she must have gone and fetched Matron. What a tattletale.
"Fighting," Matron scolded them, and he saw that Squall's nose was bleeding.
"Sorry, Matron," said Squall, "We were playing knights and I hurt his hand." Seifer wanted to kick him all over again. Squall was always just aching to take the blame.
"Are you hurt, Seifer?"
He extended his hand reluctantly, angry tears threatening to spill down his cheeks. She took it, and he watched her frown as she murmured, "Cure."
The splinters jumped out of his hand as flesh knitted together, and he snatched his hand back quickly.
He shook his head roughly, and raised a hand to his temple. His ears were ringing, a discordant whine that seemed to get louder and
louder as he hefted his brand new gunblade. He shook his head, annoyed. Was this fear? He didn't know, he'd never actually been afraid before. It was entirely possible that fear manifested itself as an annoying buzz between his ears.
But he wasn't afraid of this Grat, even though it was his first time in the Training Center.
The buzzing faded, so he stopped wondering about it. He waited for his Instructor's signal.
"Okay, go ahead. Let's see what you can do. And I'm right here if you need me."
Yeah right, he thought, and attacked.
The Grat squealed as Hyperion bit into one of its appendages. It shuddered as he retreated to a safe distance, then waved its pods in outrage.
He rocked on the balls of his feet, pointing Hyperion at the monster
(swarming like lokusts across generations)
as he waited for a good opening. But before he saw one, it slid up to him and thumped him twice in the head faster than he could dodge.
Enraged, he raced up to it and sliced it across the midsection before it could strike again.
It extended its appendages to their fullest length, shaking. And then it wilted. He watched, intrigued as one pod at a time fell limply to the ground.
"Very good!" he heard, and wanted to snort. His first battle hadn't been a battle at all- more like a massacre. Still, what else would one expect from Seifer Almasy? He smiled, pleased, and turned to his Instructor, waiting
for hours. When can we see her?" He tapped his foot pointedly and scowled at Dr. Kadowaki.
She smiled coolly and he wanted to kill her then and there.
"She's still sleeping. Why don't you check back in a few hours?"
He started to speak but Raijin interrupted him. "Please, Dr. K, can't we just go and sit there with her? We're really worried, ya know?"
He expected the doctor to shake her head again, but she didn't.
"Well, I suppose it would be all right. But you have to be quiet! She needs rest." Seifer felt his mouth drop open- the doctor had succumbed to Raijin's...charm?
Raijin bounced up out of his chair. He looked like he wanted to hug her. "Thanks! We'll be extra quiet!"
Seifer shook his head, disgusted, but followed Raijin into the room where Fujin lay.
She was asleep, her face almost transparent, and he sank into a chair as Raijin knelt by the bed and took her hand.
Dr. Kadowaki had said that she hadn't been able to save her eye. He knew that she'd have to wear an eye patch now, and wondered how she would deal with the inevitable stares. She didn't like attention at the best of times.
He pulled Hyperion out and settled her across his lap for inspection. Well, there were ways
(griever! make them bleed!)
to keep people from staring.
He heard the rumble of Raijin's whisper, and shook his head. Raijin couldn't be quiet even if he tried. He'd wake her up for sure.
But he heard her reply, higher pitched, and stood up to pad over to the bed and sit by her feet.
"How you doin', Fuu?"
She looked at him with her red-rimmed good eye, and for once her glance was not filled with dislike.
She yawned, and slipped her hand out of Raijin's to cover her mouth.
"Sleepy. You carried me?"
He grinned at her. "What are
friends for, ya know?" Raijin had somehow tucked his huge frame into one of the tiny infirmary chairs.
Seifer closed his eyes and tapped gloved fingers on his leg. He was not in a good mood.
"Rage," he heard, and then the sound of her kicking him in the shin, and then Raijin's yelp. On any other day it would have made him smile, but not today. His blood seemed to hum in his veins, furious. Leonhart had marked him and he hated it. Never mind that the other wore his mark. That Leonhart had been able to touch him at all made him want to destroy something.
Tap tap. He'd get him.
tap. His gunblade on his shoulder, staring at his boots. Boring here, they'd cleared everything out of the square. Nothing left to do. Tap tap.
Even that wuss Zell hadn't had a problem
(i shall junction myself unto)
with the Galbadian soldiers. He looked up at the sky, and sighed,
disgusted. They'd passed Leonhart and failed him. Again. Fujin said it best when she said, "Rage."
Nonetheless, people already said bad enough things about him. He didn't need 'sore loser' floating around, no matter how he felt about the situation. He stood there in the hallway, furious, and clapped for his
sorceress, they screamed her name into the night, sent off fireworks in honor of her glory. Her glory and his.
He smiled benevolently at the screaming crowd. This was so right it was almost
frightening, the way he seemed to doze off on his feet lately. Did he sleepwalk? He stalked the halls of Galbadia Garden restlessly. It was the deepest part of the night, no one was awake. Except for her, but he wasn't about to go anywhere near her
(i am ultimecia)
"No!" he shouted. He stopped, breath harsh in his throat. What the hell had that been?
Was he going crazy? Talking to himself now, not good. He shook his head, unsettled, and continued
to grip her shoulder, ignoring her struggles to break free mercilessly.
"I know you're not like that!"
"Can't go back
(time shall compress)
now! Can't go anywhere!" How he wished there was a way he
could just make it stop. He clutched his head.
The mist swirled madly.
He feared what it might show him next. The past had met
(all existence denied)
with the present, and he knew it would rush into the future, carrying
Fujin in his arms, her white dress
(reflect on your childhood)
his hand down her cheek, glorious golden hair cascading
down the rocks, the water burbled and sang cheerfully. He sat back and glanced at his posse, at
peace at last. They carried his coffin in the rain, careful not to slip in the mud but it wasn't so hard because it was
empty, his soul was empty, he
A single breath.
His exhale the only sound in the universe. Just need to catch my breath, just a few seconds, please. Please.
He took another breath, desperately pushing the past and the future away from him. Please.
But the dam broke
(it will not wait)
(no matter how hard you hold on)
(i love you, seifer. even though you're a meanie!)
(it escapes you)
(what are friends for, ya know?)
and he was helpless.
His mind was splintering, he could not stop it. Pieces of him whirled away, snatched by the mist and carried off gleefully.
He felt something latch onto his arm. Would the mist take his body, too? He struggled.
Something grabbed his other arm. And then he was being held tightly, two bodies protecting him against time. Raijin and Fujin.
His body arched and he stuttered in his scream.
They held him fiercely, not letting him shake them off, and finally it ended and he slumped in their arms.
"Raijin. Fujin." His voice was hoarse. He didn't even recognize it.
And the world seemed to buck. The mist melted away, and they were falling through space, falling out of Time Compression.
Raijin whispered into his back, "They beat her."
Fujin giggled hysterically into his chest. "Yeah. Heh heh."
He closed his eyes, exhausted, and they fell.