Author's Notes: Slight AU, set before the seed exam but Selphie and Irvine are there and Quistis is still an instructor.

Chained to you

Chapter Five

By Purple Penguin

I stared around the empty space where the camp had stood, only a few things were left disregarded by the group. Broken, unwanted equipment. Seifer set me down on my feet. Still steadying me from behind.

"Weíre so screwed." He whispered.

I was thinking the same. He lifted me back into his arms. "Come on we might be able to use some of this stuff."

"They wouldnít have let anything go that worked or wasnít of use to them."

"Síokay Iíve always been good at fixing things like this." He sat me back on a patch of grass near to what looked like the remains of my tent after Seifer had put his foot through it. I watched him set it up, all the pegs going back in the ground, tent standing except for the big hole in the side. The sun was up and shone down on us, the light hit something shiny in the far corner of the site hitting me in a the face. I squinted against the bright reflected light. I leaned to the right to try to and get out of the way of it.

"Seifer?"

"Hmm?" He was trying to fold the material to try and fix it but it didnít work, the wind always undid his work again.

"Whatís that?" He turned to look over his shoulder at me then to look at where I pointed. He winced as it shone in his eyes too.

He got up slowly. "Stay here." He told me not that I had a choice.

I watched him get closer to the shining object, pulling it out of the ground and lifting it above his head, the light catching it at another angle letting it change shape intoÖ Hyperion.

I heard Seifer laugh.

"What is it?" I asked. "They left Hyperion?"

The blonde walked back a few steps towards me, now wearing his trench coat over his bare torso, gunblade in hand. He threw me a card. "Here read this."

"This was with your stuff?"

"Our stuff." He corrected and threw me my gloves a picture that Selphie had taken of me and Seifer fighting over food. I studied the card, it was one of those official seed things. In memory of: typed neatly on the top and our names scribbled under it.

"They think weíre dead."

Seifer sleuthed his gun blade. "Not everyone." He reached into his pocket and pulled out a potion. "Dead people donít need these."

He knelt beside me and held it out. "Now open wide chickie."

"You take it."

He paused. "What?"

"Thereís not enough to cure me completely, not enough to get me walking but itíll cure you and then I wonít feel so guilty for you carrying me."

He hesitated, I pushed the hand holding the bottle away from me.

"Be selfish, youíve had the practice you know what to do, drink it."

He gave me a look but he uncorked the vial and downed it. I nodded, pleased when he threw it away. "Better?" I asked.

He nodded. "Much."

Seifer helped me closer to the tent. "Here you canÖtry to fix this."

I gave him a doubtful look "Did I mention that Iím really terrible at this stuff?"

He chuckled. "Yeah I saw what you did to your tent remember?" He laughed.

I frowned. "Hey it wasnít that funny." I think I pouted for a second time and I quickly got rid of it for a scowl directed at Seifer.

He smiled as he stood, moving his shoulders and touching his chest to check if the potion worked. "Youíre cute chickie." He smirked as he left me.

"Hey, where are you going?"

"To get some food and something I left in the woods."

I frowned in confusion, starting work on playing with the tent hole. I glanced down at my aching leg to check on it, I had had to put it on the ground a lot so bit soil and twig and leaves got into it. I winced as I picked the bits out of it. I thought of Seifer going off like that, honestly the guy getting better and suddenly he thinks heís in charge and can do whatever he likes. I was glad to have my gloves back, hands felt naked without them. I slipped them on and flexed me fingers to get used to them again. I was just looking at the holey tent again when a ground dwelling monster landed at my feet, dead and leaking green blood. I looked up at the sky where it had come from and wrinkled my nose, pushing it away from me with a shoed- foot.

Seifer jumped down for the grass hill behind me. "Breakfast is here!"

"What? You want to eat this thing?"

"Yeah, why not?"

"It might be poisonous." I studied it. "And it doesnít look very tasty."

"Donít be such a chicken."

"Iím not!" I yelled at him. "But look at it." I gave it a little shove.

Itís skin was rubbery grey with strange red markings on it, itís face was all scrunched up in death, eyes tightly shut and legs curled up into itís body.

"Donít judge on appearance, if I had done that Iíd say you were a little blonde runt." He smirked and I glared at him, making a noise in disgust.

"I donít get you." This was the Seifer of many faces, maybe it was the turn of arse-hole to make an appearance, hopefully not here to stay.

I watched him skewer the thing on a long stick and gather up the rest of the left-over firewood into a pile. "You junctioned?"

I nodded.

"What spells you got?"

"1 scan, 2 blizzards and 3 fires." I cast one of the fires on the pile of wood, he held the monster kebab over the flames and knelt down beside it. "Tasty BBQ monster." He said, licking his lips.

I looked at him doubtfully. "Uh huh." I sighed. "What are we going to do now?"

"Well-" He sat down probably, making himself comfortable on the hard ground, holding the monster on a stick in one hand. "Weíre about 10- maybe 15 miles from Timber, thatís not so far."

"But I canít walk, youíll have to carry me and thatíll take ages."

"Then youíd better get used to the food chickie." He handed me the Ďfoodí. "Hold this."

"What are you doing now?"

He moved towards a bit of material that had been flapping around the camp in the wind, probably half a tent or something. I watched him cut it into lengths with his blade. "Here." He knelt beside me and started to dress my wound as best he could with the bits of material.

"Whereíd you learn to do all these secret things?"

He smiled. "Well unlike you chickie I have this thing itís called a brain and it lives inside my head, it can be quite usefully sometimes."

I frowned. "Arse-hole."

"Would you believe me if I said I was a boy scout?"

"No, I would have remembered, we all grew up together remember?"

He nodded. "How can I forgot?"

"Whatís that supposed to mean?"

He chuckled. "Nothing." He pulled the make-shift bandages tight.

"Ow! Tight!"

"Itís supposed to be."

"But youíll cut off my blood circulation."

He gave me a look.

"But then my leg will drop off."

"It wonít, itís just to stop the bleeding, you can loosen them in a while."

"How long is that?"

"What?"

"How long does it take?"

He bit his lip. "I think I was sleeping in class that day."

"You donít know?!"

"Well I knew more than you did."

I frowned. "If my leg falls off, Iím suing you Almasy!"

"You do that but remember who carried you all the way to Timber instead of leaving you to die."

"I wouldnít die, Iím not some girl!"

He didnít say anything, taking the food for me. "I think this is done."

"What should we call it?"

"Call it? Itís not a pet chickie, itís breakfast."

"I know but itís a new species of monster so shouldnít we give it a name?"

"Maybe." He put the cooked monster on the grass and used the stick and his gun blade to cut it open.

"Thatís not very hygiene." I muttered.

He rolled his eyes. "This is the wilderness chickie, besides I thought youíd be used to food that could give you food poisoning after all those hotdogs you eat."

I gave Seifer the finger. "My hotdogs are great!"

"Then you should like this then." He grinned. "How about we name it Hotslug? Looks like a slug tastes like hotdogs."

I rolled my eyes.

He pulled off a piece of the dark meat and handed it to me. "Take a bite."

I gingerly took it and sniffed at it.

"Come on chickie it wonít bite you."

I slowly bit into it and chewed gingerly. Not as bad as I thought, tasted a little like rabbit except for the odd after taste.

"Well?"

"Itís okay, sort of."

He grinned in victory and ripped off a piece for himself, taking a bit. "Tastes better than it looks."

"And smells." I added.

Seifer cocked his head. "You know it looks a little like Squall."

"I does not!" I chuckled.

"I does, you know when he scrunches up his face in a scowl, thatís what this thing looks like."

"Oh yeah." I chuckled.

"Think we should call it the Squall-slug." He grinned mischievously at me and handed me another piece of meat.

"Yeah heíll love that."

I watched him start to fix the ripped side of tent again, while chewing on his breakfast. I frowned as he took out a tiny roll of what looked like sticky tape. "Whereíd you get that?"

"Before the two groups split up, Raijin and Fujin were here and Raijin had this stuff, he kept ranting about fixing Fujinís weapon after he broke it." I smiled. "But she wouldnít have it, she said it would look tacky."

"Theyíll miss you." I said.

He nodded. "And your mother, sheíll think youíre dead."

I looked up quickly. "MA! I didnít realize-"

"They think weíre dead chickie, if we donít get back in time they will probably sell our stuff and cross us off the garden register."

I jumped up, or tried to. "Then letís go then!"

I instantly wished I hadnít jumped up, my bad leg crumpled beneath me, pain shot up my spine and I fell- into Seiferís arms.

I frowned in confusion, my head throbbed as I looked up into a pair of green orbs above me.

"Letís hold off on the charge just now okay?" He said.

I groaned in pain as in set me back on the ground and offering me more meat.

Great, ma thinks Iím dead, sheíll probably loan my room out to a travelling bum and Iím stuck here with Seifer.

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