Thanks again to Jade Maxwell for beta reading this. Especially since I forgot to look over this chapter myself *sheepish grin*

Notes: ** -A few minutes pass

Community Service Well Spent

Chapter 11 - Getting Closer

By Redrum

"A colon is used to introduce a series of items after a full sentence. Do not use a colon when the series follows a verb or a preposition. An example would be; we have four travel destinations: Pittsburgh, Aruba, White-"

Can this get any more boring? We did all this stuff in primary school. And I know it inside and out. I did get top marks in English after all, among other classes. I glance out the window. The smell of freshly mowed grass flows in through the open pane. I sigh and wish I were back at the hospital with Squall. Crossing my arms, I recline back in my uncomfortable plastic chair.

It's kind of weird how I started volunteering at the hospital just to get community hours and I saw it as a chore. Now I can't wait to go back. I guess because Squall is there. I have around twenty-four hours now. But I think I'll continue to go back even after I've finished all forty hours. But maybe Squall will get out by then? Who knows?

I wonder what his old house used to look like. I vaguely remember Raine talking about it to me when I was younger. But I've never had too good of a memory, so I can't really remember her descriptions of it.

"Mr. Almasy!" Fuck! I suddenly find myself flat on my back with my legs in the air. Shit, that hurt. Getting up slowly I rub the back of my head, feeling a small bump there it makes me groan. "Mr. Almasy, if you'd like to pay attention now maybe you could come up here and write-"

"Seifer Almasy, please come down to the office. Mr. Almasy, please come down to the office."

Yes! Saved by the P.A. system. Giving a mock salute to the teacher I run out the door.

**

"I'll be right there!" I hang up the phone quickly. When I turn to run the secretary's voice stops me.

"Mr. Almasy. You're not allowed to leave the school grounds without a parent or guardian's note."

"Screw you!" I yell, running through the open door. Squall needs me. As if I'm going to wait around here until she lets me leave.

[Squall]

So cold. Warm hands all over me. Small hands. Stop. Please. Stop touching me, I can't... No!

I wrap my arms tighter around myself, hoping to warm myself and hold off the demons. No...the hands. I can't do this anymore. I can't put up with the memories.

My eyes shoot open. Taking a glance around the room, I frown when I don't see anything sharp. I shudder and close my eyes again. Tiny droplets squeeze past my tightly closed lids to trail down my pale cheeks.

I shudder violently when a calloused thumb gently wipes my tears. "Squall, your safe now." I shake my head. Why is her voice so deep? I don't remember her having any calluses either. Mom never worked at all. She doesn't even do dishes. "Squall. Open your eyes. It's me, Seifer." What?

Frowning, I peer out from beneath a thick curtain of lashes. Seeing short blonde hair, tanned skin and bright jade green eyes. I open my eyes further. It takes an embarrassing minute or two to realize that it really is him.

"Seifer." I feel my lips curve in a small smile. A sudden shiver whacks my body. The blonde's knees crack as he stands up. I can't stop the embarrassing whimper that escapes my lips and the reflex of my free hand shooting out to grab his wrist.

"I'm not going anywhere Squall." He smiles and gently unwraps my fingers from their tight hold. He lifts the thick comforter away from my still skinny frame and motions for me to shuffle over. Hovering near the edge of the narrow bed, I wait for Seifer to slip in before shifting over and wrapping an arm around his waist while resting my head in the crook of his arm. A large hand rubs small circles on my back. I sigh and find that I can't keep my eyes open any longer. Closing them gently, I move as close as I can to Seifer. Maybe staying close to Seifer will keep the demons at bay so I can sleep.

[Seifer]

What the hell just happened? All I know is that Squall was dreaming and when he woke up he was still confusing reality with his dream. I wonder if it was a flashback. Quistis didn't tell me anything when she called. She just said that I should get my ass over here if I want to help Squall. What else was I going to do? I hate seeing Squall like this. I wish I knew why he was in here. There has to be some reason as to why he would be in a place like this. Sure he doesn't act as crazy as the others, but then he has moments like this... and I wonder.

Something had to have happened to him when he was 16 for him to be here. Or maybe he was younger?

I sigh and decide to try to follow Squall's example. Closing my eyes, I pull the slender brunette tighter against me.

[Quistis]

I smile when I walk into his room. I don't know if it's just me, or what, but I find the picture of two guys cuddling incredibly cute. It's almost funny how angelic Seifer looks when he sleeps. Especially after I witnesses his rather extensive...vocabulary. And the man next to him always seems like he needs comfort. I'm glad Squall can finally turn to someone for once.

I tried offering my assistance when he first came here (I could tell how scared he was), but I had to take care of the other patient in the room at the time. We're not allowed to be personal nurses for more than one person. So I'm lucky now that I'm allowed to take care of Squall. I think, no, I know he's glad. No one deserves to have Selphie as their nurse.

She's incredibly nice and hyperactive outside of work, but when she comes in... It's like her whole personality does a hasty 180. She was especially cruel to Squall. I think she was the one that reinforced the idea that he needed those hand cuffs. The only time he truly needed them was in the beginning when he was thrashing around. We didn't want him to hurt himself. But that changed when Selphie insisted he needed the binds to keep the rest of us sage.

I personally think that when she read Squall's report that she skipped over the important details and only saw: 'killed his mother.' Raine may have been drunk all those times, but to do that to a kid... it's just wrong! She deserved to die or at least get locked away. I just wish Squall wasn't the one to do it. He's blamed himself all this time for a death that was deserved.

He was pretty young at the time, so it's understandable that he would feel like that back then. But I would have thought that as the years passed, he would have realized that it wasn't his fault. Unfortunately he never did, and his family was forced to put him in this hospital as their last resort.

The staff is supposed to be helping him get better, but maybe we were just making it worse? Nothing we did worked. Then all of a sudden we have some high school kid offering to help out for community hours. We don't usually have volunteers here (considering the environment), so I was really surprised that Seifer came.

After only a week, he accomplished more than the entire staff was able to do in a year. He got Squall to eat, to actually get outside more, and to talk! After a week in the beginning, Squall clammed up. I heard from the other nurses (the ones who brought him to the room at the time) that he yelled for a week straight. Telling them he didn't deserve to be there, that he just wanted to go home. When the nurses ignored him, he just stopped talking. I'm assuming he's going by the idea; 'if no one's going to listen, why bother talking?'

It does make sense in a way. But I'm glad he found someone that actually listens to him in the end.

"Quistis?" The sudden voice jolts me out of thought. Looking at the bed, I find Seifer and Squall both awake. The former look at me, while the latter stares at the wall. The whole indifferent act is kind of ruined when he moves back farther to snuggle closer into Seifer's broad chest. The blonde's arms tighten around his waist in response.

I smile and walk closer to the bed. Placing myself in Squall's line of sight. He glances up, only for a second, before returning his gaze to the wall. Well, as much as he can when I'm standing right in front of him.

I crouch down, making sure to keep enough distance between us so he doesn't feel overcrowded. I glance at the railing and give a small smile when I notice the cuffs undone. I slip a hand into my skirt pocket and pull out a small brass key.

"Here, this is my extra copy. There's no need to be carrying your belt every where now." I smile and hand Seifer the key. I chuckle when I see both their eyes widen. "What, you think I like seeing you in that contraption Squall? If it was up to me, you'd be out of that wheelchair too."

He finally meets my eyes and gives a tiny smile. My own smile broadens. At least one of the nurses has finally gotten through. The next step is to get him talking. Then I can try to help him through his mother's death. With Seifer's help of course. Since he's the closest to him.

Maybe Squall will finally be able to accept it and then he can leave. I'm going to miss him though. I wonder if Seifer will continue to see him when he's done his community hours. If it wasn't for him, Squall would have continued to slowly deteriorate. Not eating or no sleep isn't good for anyone. No matter how indifferent they act, everyone has needs.

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