Dedicated to: Reia. *chanting softly* Turkie! Turkie! We want Turkie! ~_^*
Notes: >.< I have a feeling this chapter is sucky. I've said it before, I'll say it again. I hate plot building. I just wish I could be better at it. But I guess practice makes perfect. *sigh* Please forgive the suckiness of this chapter.
Disclaimers: Hey! I forgot these at the beginning of the fic. >.< I don't own FF8 or it's characters!
Don't Make Him Cry
Chapter Three - The Recruit
/I've been kidnapped./ Seifer glowered at his 'instructor'. The strange soldier had still not felt the need to tell Seifer what his name was. The man was irritating. He spoke very little, and when he did speak it was to belittle or to throw around orders. And he spoke with such a haughty, I'm-so-fucking-better-than-you tone that the more he spoke, the angrier Seifer got.
He understood now that he had been unwillingly 'recruited' into the Avalanche army, whatever the hell that was. He hadn't been able to figure out where exactly he was. He'd been too busy putting up tents and cleaning up the mess that was General Calmay's camp. True, he didn't have to, he could have made a fuss and attempted to leave. But, trying that would have got him killed, he was sure of it.
His gunblade. He would sure like to know where it was. When he summoned Ifrit he'd been holding it, but when he ... 'woke' in that bar it was gone, replaced by a cheap buster sword. He couldn't make head or tail of it all. It just didn't make sense. None of this situation did. He tugged at the collar of the too tight uniform they'd pulled him into after knocking him out. It was hot out. The sun burned brilliantly in the sky.
He tied the last rope and straightened, looking to the south where he knew his 'instructor' was sitting. The man hadn't moved a muscle since Seifer had woken up hours ago with a huge bump on the back of his head. "That's enough Almasy!"
Seifer stiffened as the 'instructor' yelled at him. He glowered at the man, even though from this distance that man wouldn't be able to see the glare. "Get over here!"
Seifer growled low in his throat. He was feeling very strong homicidal urges, but he resisted them and made his way over to the 'instructor'. "Sit down and eat." The instructor didn't even look up as Seifer approached. His strange, glowing blue eyes remained focused on the book he held open in his lap.
Seifer walked around the fire and sat down. /Eat what?/ He wondered. He was hungry. Very hungry in truth. His stomach was making loud noises of protest. But he couldn't see anything to eat. "Eat what?" He snapped.
The instructor looked up briefly, "The rations. I took the liberty of slipping a few into your pocket while you were.." a very small smirk curved his lips, "resting."
/Resting my ass./ Seifer thought darkly. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the first thing his fingers touched. He studied the silver packaging for a moment then opened it to reveal a brown bar. Shrugging he began to chew on it. It tasted a lot like.. chicken?
/Gawd.../ he thought with a mental sigh, /Does everything taste like chicken?/
"What's your name?" The instructor asked suddenly.
Seifer paused in eating his chicken-rations to look at the instructor. "Almasy."
The instructor sighed, his eyes narrowing. He looked at Seifer with a irritated expression on his pretty face, "Your whole name Almasy? What is it?"
"What's yours!?" Seifer responded immediately, his irritation coming to a boil.
They glowered at each other. After a moment the instructor muttered, "Ruf."
Seifer blinked, unsure if he'd heard correctly. "What?"
"I said my name is Ruf!" The instructor barked angrily, "Ruf Ra!"
He glowered at Seifer, daring the taller man to laugh. Seifer didn't. It was a surprising name, but he didn't find it amusing. /Either his parents were very cruel, very dumb or it's not his real name./ He decided. "Seifer Almasy."
"Seifer?" Rinoa whispered as Squall stepped into the room. She was still unable to move without much pain, so she had been confined to the infirmary until her injuries healed completely.
Squall shook his head mutely. He sat on the bed beside her, careful not to jolt her body in any way. His hand moved towards hers, hesitantly. He paused, then took her hand in his own. He met her worried gaze. She, more than the others, was concerned for Seifer's saftely. Squall didn't entirely understand her feelings. Seifer had, just a few scant weeks ago tried to kill them all. How could she forgive that so easily, even if Seifer had helped her, that didn't rectify his sins.
"We found his gunblade." He told her quietly, watching her face closely.
Her entire body trembled, "His.. his gunblade?" she gasped, her heart constricting with fear, "Squall.. Squall he would.. never, never let go of his-"
"I know." He interrupted softly, "I know."
She shook her head, tears rising in her eyes. "Squall! I know you don't care for him but.. but please... please... we have to find him."
Squall sighed, nodding his head. He would do his best, for her. Only for her.
"Seifer Almasy." Rufus repeated, he closed his book and placed it on the ground beside him.
Seifer nodded, once, then he focused on his rations. Rufus knew they tasted like shit. Rations always tasted like crap. He was pretty sure it was a law or something. Military rations must taste like shit, or the soldiers will get to comfortable and forget they're at war. Rufus snorted, amused at the thought.
/Like we could forget we're at war./ He leaned over, grabbed a log and threw it into the fire. The resulting shower of sparks burned at his face, but he didn't care. "I don't imagine you joined this army willingly," He said, choosing his words carefully, "But now that you're here there's not much you can do about it. If you try to leave you will be taken for a deserter and shot."
Seifer's eyes narrowed, but he didn't speak. "Oh, and another thing. Your name? Forget it. It doesn't mean anything here. You're a soldier, and that's how you'll be addressed. Unless you go up in rank you will be nothing, and you will be treated like nothing." /I should know./ Rufus added mentally. He shook his head, "The only way to go up in rank is time, or extraordinary skill on the battlefield. Don't hope for the latter. You're no Sephiroth. Few are."
Seifer finished his ration and tucked the empty wrapper into his pocket. He met Rufus' gaze steadily. He didn't look the least bit interested. Rufus was intriqued by that cocky attitude but irritated also. Pride and confidence were all well and good, but they had no place in a war. Sometimes the stronger man was the man who knew when to run.
Rufus had not run from a battle yet. But that was besides the point. He was good enough that he didn't need to run. He wasn't exactly a normal soldier. He'd been trained from a very young age in the art of killing. He had been taught by the strongest and best Turks. He had even had a session with Sephiroth. Not many men could claim the same.
"You'll sleep in my tent." Rufus cursed himself silently as soon as the words came out of his mouth. /You idiot!/, but he knew that if the newest member of the Avalanche didn't sleep in his tent that man was likely to make a run for it. And for some odd reason he didn't want to see the man killed. "If you try to run, I'll shoot you before the general gets the chance."
"Where are we?" Seifer asked suddenly.
Rufus shrugged, "Near the Midgar ruins. Where did you think you were?"
Seifer just shrugged, any emotion he might be feeling hidden by an impenetrable mask. Rufus stared at that static face. /Curiouser and curiouser./ He thought with a smirk.
Seifer lay on the cold, hard ground, as far from sleep as a man could be. He knew he should sleep, he had a feeling the day to come would not be easy. He glanced to his left where Rufus lay on a small cot. The cot was not long enough and Rufus' legs hung over the edge. The pretty young man was snoring softly in his sleep. Seifer smirked, amused at the sight. The boy was cocky, and irritating, but Seifer found himself... attracted. Very attracted to the stoic youth.
Child. Boy. Youth. He'd come to think of Rufus in those terms since he got the opportunity to speak to him. It wasn't that Rufus acted young, on the contrary, he acted much too old for his age. But his face, and his size reminded Seifer of a child. Seifer wouldn't be in the least surprised if he found out Rufus was just reaching puberty.
He snickered to himself and looked away.
Where the hell was that? He'd never heard of such a place. Things just got more and more complicated the more time passed. He glanced at Rufus, then at the tent flap. After a moment's hesitation he carefully got to his feet. Being sure not to make too much noise he made his way across the tent to the flap.
"Don't try it." A voice murmured sleepily from the cot.
Seifer froze. He glanced back to find glowing blue eyes fixed on him. He considered his options. It wouldn't take much to knock the small man down, he was sure, but he wasn't sure that he wanted to. He chewed on it in his mind, then made his way back to the collection of blankets that was to be his bed for the night. He lay back down and in moments Rufus was once again snoring.
He would stick around, but only so he could exact revenge on these bastards. Besides, somewhere in this camp someone had his clothes and his gunblade and he needed to find that before he left.
As he drifted into sleep he realized, belatedly, that for the first time in months... today.. he'd been treated like a human being.
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