The Bleakest Silence
By fyre byrd
"Seifer, can we talk?"
"No, we can't fucking talk," Seifer said, slamming his fist into the wall beside the door. More blood slid down his arm as he aggravated the wound, and Squall's eyes grew wide as he watched the display. Seifer stood there, in his boxers his green eyes nearly black with despair, his hand bleeding, gunblade thrown haphazardly across the floor. The proud blonde was shaking. He was convulsed with shivers as though he was feverish. Squall laid a hand on his forehead and got punched in the stomach for his pains.
Seifer stepped back, horrified and sat down on his bed, head in his hands, trembling. "God, Squall, didn't mean to . . . Go away, damn you before I do something else. I'm a worthless bastard. Don't worry about me."
Squall, groaned and got up slowly with a hand over his stomach. "You're bleeding Seifer, and you're shaking like a leaf. Does this have anything to do with your temper and the fights we've been getting into? It's been different than it was before. You've been different."
"I can't sleep." Seifer's voice started up from the bed, sounding completely devoid of emotion. "I start thinking about things and I go into shock. The only way I can fall asleep is when the shaking tires me out."
"Do you think about suicide?" Squall asked pointedly, sitting down beside him on the bed and grabbing his hand.
"Yeah, but I won't do it. It wouldn't solve anything and no one would come to my funeral."
"Is that what you think?" Squall held Seifer's wrist hard, trying to slow the flow of blood to his hand.
"You might as well hear it all now," Seifer said, his leaden gaze fixed on the wall. "I'm a fucking faggot. I'm disgusting I know. I used to jerk off constantly and think of men, but Ultimecia cured me of that habit. Oh, she showed him what a disgusting worm I am and punished me. You can't imagine how she punished me" Seifer's voice trailed of into a colourless whisper. "You might as well know, you've seen how weak I am. My soul is so black, Squall. I've killed people, I've tortured people. I've never done a single thing in my life that was any good. I'm scared to live. I'm scared to die. I'm scared to be alone and no one wants to come anywhere near me. The only way I can forget for even a second that there is nothing in the world I have left to live for is by constantly doing something. Even then it will hit me, this feeling, like I'm floating above everything that happens, alone, and no one else can see me. I haven't felt normal for almost a year now. The last time I remember not hating everything is right before I gave you that scar." The blonde continued to shudder, even after the words had poured out of him like a mass of clotted blood had been freed up when Squall caught him in the midst of his terrible pain.
"Seifer, being gay doesn't make you dirty. The things you did were the result of the Sorceress taking over your mind. Before that, sure, you were no sweetheart, but neither was I. We've both had a tough life, a tough childhood. Anyway, I punched you this afternoon because what you said came too close to the truth, Rinoa found out I was bisexual, that's why she left me." Squall knew that Seifer was bad when the green-eyed man didn't have a single snide comment to add to that statement. He sat with Seifer until he stopped shuddering helplessly and collapsed slowly, against Squall's side, asleep. Squall gently wrapped his arms around Seifer's tense, hard body, and settled the man more comfortably in his bed. He searched the room till he found some gauze to wrap around Seifer's finger and stood up. Squall would have rather stayed with him, but he knew that he had to go and get Seifer some help and if that meant waking half of the Garden, he'd do it.
Dr. Kadowaki was asleep, at least, she was until Squall came pounding on her door at 1:30 in the morning anyway, but she was used to these sorts of things and was brisk and efficient when she opened her door and let Squall in.
"What's the trouble?" she asked, and listened carefully to everything that Squall had to tell her about Seifer's condition.
"Serious depression," she concluded "and possibly some problems with anxiety."
"What can you do?" Squall asked anxiously, his gray-blue eyes clouded with concern.
"Well, there are drugs I can put him on, but they all have a lot of bad side effects. I'd rather I got him into some counselling. I'd also like to have him placed with a room mate and taken off of active duty until he is better."
"I can room with him," Squall offered.
"Are you sure?" she asked. "You and he never got along very well."
"I've always respected him and I don't think there are many other people here who care enough about him to help him to recover."
"All right," Dr. Kadowaki agreed. "That way we can be sure that he doesn't hurt himself. Thank you for coming to me Squall. I'm glad that someone is looking out for that boy, he's always been troubled." she squeezed his shoulder lightly and thought for a minute. "There is one thing I want to give you though. Sleeping pills. He shouldn't overuse them, but it might help if he remembered how to get to sleep without wearing himself to exhaustion." Squall followed her to the infirmary and grasped the little bottle of capsules like it was his gunblade. He felt sick inside at the thought that someone as strong as Seifer could be hurting this much and for so long without help. If anyone should have seen it, it ought to have been Squall. He had his reasons though. Perhaps the secret attraction that he sometimes felt for the tall blonde man blinded him to the indications that Seifer was reacting in a more volatile way to him than before. If Seifer felt the way he claimed to, then Squall reasoned that anything could make him angry. So maybe there was some hope. Maybe Seifer didn't hate him as much as it seemed that he did.
Seifer woke up alone, but he felt weird. It was as if a bubble that had surrounded him had suddenly popped. It was a tentative, but peaceful lightness, completely unlike the floating feeling of separation he'd been feeling for about a year now. His door opened and Squall walked in, then Seifer remembered what had happened and the feeling of panic started to rise up again. There must have been an awfully strange look in his eyes because Squall was wary when he came over and sat down on the bed clutching a bottle of pills. "Seifer?" he said.
"What's up, Leonhart?" Seifer asked.
"I went to Doctor Kadowaki. She says that this isn't an uncommon condition to have, especially after all of the trauma you went through during the last year. She's made a few suggestions over how we can make things better for you and one of them is that we room together. So you don't have to be alone."
Seifer thought he'd fall over in shock. He'd rarely ever heard Squall say anything like this long of a speech in his life. Then he realized what Squall had been saying and he grew angry.
"Dammit, so now they're going to have me hopped up on pills and locked away in an institution, is that what you've got in your hand, you bastard? I trust you, for a minute I trust you when I am weaker than hell and you just betrayed me like that." Seifer snapped his fingers under Squall's nose and the pretty brunette blinked, actually looking slightly hurt, as though he might even cry. That was the second shock of the evening. Seifer had made Squall Leonhart, closest human kin to Shiva, upset.
"I'm trying to help you. These are only sleeping pills. The doc says she wants to do some counselling with you and take you off active duty for awhile. She wants to help you too." Squall said all of this with an air of injury, looking worse than he ever had when Seifer'd punched him in the gut or slashed a gaping cut in his arm and Seifer had done that plenty enough times to know.
"Why should you care about me? Why should anyone?"
"I don't know. I do care and no one who has a fucking clue about what actually went on with the sorceress blames you. Why do you think Cid let you come back here to begin with? Why do you think that Zell and Quistis and I asked to have rooms near you? Why do you think I've been talking to you so much? I thought you hated me." Squall finished, still looking as close as he ever had to crying.
"I didn't see it that way,"Seifer said, rather softly, realizing , maybe for the first time, that Squall was as human as everyone else and not some god to be put up on a pedestal. "I thought that all of you hated me and who wouldn't after all? I'm an absolute bastard."
"You're not any better or worse than I am," Squall's expression hardened and he caught Seifer's gaze with his steely blue eyes. "So does that make me a bastard too?"
"Maybe," Seifer said roughly, realizing how foolish this conversation was becoming. To an outside observer they may have looked like lovers, leaning so closely together in Seifer's bed. Seifer refused to settle for the mere appearance however and this seeming intimacy was too cruel for him. So, the only thing for it was to push Squall away. He'd fold easily enough, crumple in on himself, like a thrown out paper doll.
"Who says I want you in my room Squall? What if I tell you that I can't stand the sight of you?"
Squall just smiled grimly, and Seifer vowed that one day he'd get the same sort of smiles out of the stoic boy as Rinoa used to, but these thoughts were quickly scattered at Squall's next words. Squall leaned his face in closely, so that his blue eyes were mere inches from Seifer's.
"I don't give a fuck what you think about me, Seifer. I'm staying here with you whether you like it or not because you need me to, even though you'll never admit it. Just think, if you really hate me that much then it will be incentive for you to get better because you will be seeing a heck of a lot of me until I am completely convinced that you're well again." With that, Squall stood up and left the room. Seifer lay back on his bed, feeling a bit frightened and rather certain that the man with the tousled brown hair had only left him to himself temporarily.
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