Dedicated to: Reia! ^-^ Hope you like this chap Reia.
Notes: You'll notice that pretty much every Irvine fic I've written has Irvine smoking. *snickering* I'm really sorry about that. It just seems to me that... well, he'd be the type to smoke. *shrugs*
Don't Make Him Cry
Chapter Four - Creatures of the Night
Quistis gazed out at the horizon. The gentle breeze brushed against her cheek, as soft a butterfly kisses. She sighed, resting her arms against the railing of the balcony. "Hey babe, what are you doing out here?"
She turned, smiling easily at Irvine. He was a shameless flirt, but she'd grown used to him. He wasn't a playboy, despite his continuous flirtations. He just.. it was just part of who he is. She looked back at the horizon, her smile fading. "I'm worried about him."
Irvine nodded, placing a cigarette in his mouth and lighting it. He threw the match away and moved to her side. He leaned against the railing, their elbows touching. "Yeah. I think we all are... except maybe Zell." He added with a smile.
Quistis reached over and grabbed the cigarette. She plucked it from his lips and tossed it over the side of the balcony. It dropped into the ocean below, so small it didn't even make a ripple. "He cares too." She said softly, "We haven't had much time to really... fix things with Seifer, but I think we all care about him. He was one of us too when we were kids."
"He was a bastard." Irvine pulled another cigarette out of his pocket. Before he could even get it to his mouth Quistis had grabbed it and tossed it.
"Yes. He was. But he was our friend too. I remember once... I was.. I was outside on the beach. I was crying. I was just.. I missed my parents so much." Quistis propped her chin up with her hand, gazing out at the setting sun. The brilliant display of color did little to calm her heart. "Do you know.. he came outside. At first he teased me, like he always did. But when he saw how upset I was..."
Irvine turned his head, staring at her with fascination. Her face was so soft in the light gold of the sunset. He reached out and tucked a stray piece of hair behind her ear. She didn't notice the light touch, she was too lost in her memories. A soft smile curved her lips, "He sat beside me. At first he was quiet, he just listened to me cry. And then.. he took me in his arms and he held me." She dropped her arms and wrapped them around her waist. Her eyes slid shut, "He held me so tight. He whispered in my ear that he missed his parents too."
She turned to Irvine, opening her eyes. They were bright with emotion and tears. "You hide behind your smile. Zell hides behind his fists. Squall hides behind his apathy. I... I hide behind.. my.."
"Intelligence." Irvine offered.
Quistis nodded, wiping her cheek with her knuckle. She felt the tears and shuddered. "Selphie hides behind her laughter. And Seifer... Seifer hid behind his anger. Can you blame him for that Irvine? He was just trying to protect himself. He was just trying... to stay together."
Irvine sighed and held out his arms. Without a word Quistis moved into his embrace and wrapped her arms around his waist. He pressed his cheek against her hair. "We'll find him Quistis." He whispered.
"I just... I wish he could be happy. That's all. He's the only one... who's never been... happy."
Rufus lay quietly, listening to the sounds. He turned on his side, a little frown on his brow. The sounds had woken him. He gazed at the floor, seeing the lump there but not remembering what it was. After staring for a few moments it dawned on him just what that lump was... Almasy. He sighed and rubbed his eyes. So what was that noise?
He sat up and swung his legs off the cot. He wouldn't be able to sleep if he didn't find the source of the noise that had woken him. He walked to the tent flap and flung it open. The cool night air bit at his skin, but he ignored it as he listened intently. /There it is again./ It was faint, distant, but it was so out of place that he had picked up on it, even asleep.
He moved back into the tent and pulled on his boots and jacket. He slept in his clothes, just in case he'd be needed for battle late in the night. Or early in the morning for that matter. He knelt beside the recruit, then reached out and lightly touched the sleeping man's shoulder.
Seifer's eyes snapped open. He stared at Rufus, his gaze clear and wide awake. Rufus inclined his head, not bothering to speak. He got to his feet and gestured that Seifer should do the same.
In moments they were both standing outside. Rufus handed Seifer a pistol, after stuffing one under his own jacket. He headed south, where the sound was coming from. Seifer followed him silently, not once asking where they were going. They walked for what may have been minutes, or hours, neither were sure. At night time seems to almost stretch. Finally the noise was loud enough that Seifer could also hear it.
Rufus paused once, a strange sick feeling making his stomach roll. But he pushed the sensation aside and kept walking. "Smell that?" he whispered as the noise grew louder and louder. Now he could distinguish it. A soft clicking, moan. It was.. bizarre and it sent shivers down his spine.
Seifer sniffed the air, coughing as he did. "Smells like..." He couldn't find a word to accurately describe the horrible scent.
"Rotted flesh." Rufus offered.
Seifer nodded, his hand gripping the pistol so tightly that his knuckles turned white. "You can go back if you want." Rufus offered, feeling sorry for the newest Avalanche recruit. First official day on the job and here Rufus is dragging him into a potential life-threatening encounter with lord-knows-what kind of twisted, fucked up creature.
"I'm no coward." Seifer said darkly, his eyes flashing with anger.
Rufus smiled, "Good. I don't abide cowards." He pulled out his own weapon and checked to be sure it was loaded. "These are mako bullets. With Tsui's creatures you need to shoot for the brain, but these things are fucked up. Some brains are in their asses. Kind of like some people I know." He flipped off the safety and looked at Seifer, "Hit them anywhere but in the brain and you'll only serve to piss them off. Generally if it's taller than you it's brain is in whatever passes for it's head, but the little ones.. you never know. Ass, chest, anywhere that looks bulky enough to support a brain. Course some of these shits have brains the size of peanuts so.." Rufus shrugged, "Just keep your eyes open. Trust your instinct."
"Don't worry about me." Seifer said with a short nod.
He pushed past Rufus and made his way through the trees. Rufus chuckled, shaking his head as he followed the confident man. "You'll learn soon enough Almasy. You'll learn soon enough."
"My god.." Seifer gasped as they approached a clearing.
There, in all it's glory, was the source of the noise that had woken Rufus. A huge, spider like creature, with a body as big as Rufus and Seifer put together. It wasn't the body, or the six-spider like legs that bothered Seifer. It was the head. A mutated human eyes with dead... human eyes. Seifer shuddered and raised his pistol.
"Wait." Rufus stepped around Seifer, putting himself between the creature and the upraised pistol. "Just wait."
Seifer lowered the weapon, watching with narrowed eyes as Rufus slowly walked closer and closer to the creature. The creature hissed softly, the clicking, moaning sound slowing and stopping completely as it inclined it's head and fixed it's dead eyes on Rufus. "Poor chap." Seifer could hear Rufus speaking gently to the creature, "Just relax. I'm not going to hurt you. You know you woke me up? From a really good dream too."
Rufus was now standing directly before the creature. The creature was a good three heads taller than Rufus. Seifer watched, his entire body tensed, as the creature lowered it's head so it could look Rufus in the face. Those long, thing legs folded, lowering the creature to the ground. It's purple body clashed with the green of the grass. Now Rufus was looking down on the creature. It didn't last long though, Seifer watched with shock as Rufus knelt, placing his arms on his legs and letting his hands dangle between his thighs as he spoke to the creature.
"So what are you, hm? I haven't seen your breed before. You don't seem hostile, but maybe that's because you're sick... are you sick? I can't tell. Sure sounds like it... come to think of it, it smells like it to. Is that stench you?"
/Oh great.. he's going to have a conversation with a sick, rotting, ... monster. Is this guy insane, or what?/ Seifer thought irritably as he watched. Carefully he began to move forward.
/Oh gawd. I can't believe this. I should have stayed in bed./ Seifer thought as he stepped up to Rufus' side.
"They all used to be human you know." Rufus commented quietly, hearing Seifer's breath near his side. "I just keep thinking... this could have been my cousin. My aunt. My... my mother even." he shrugged. He looked up, meeting Seifer's gaze. His eyes were glowing. With hatred, anger.. and hurt. "These creatures are the victims Almasy. They are the ones we should be fighting to save. Not this fucking planet."
Seifer nodded. He wasn't sure what to say. He looked at the creature. At it's human head, human eyes... "These were created." He realized, his jaw dropping.
"That's right." Rufus looked at Seifer oddly, "Created by that bastard Tsui. His father was screwed in the head, but he's worse."
"That's who you're fighting?" Seifer couldn't look at the creature anymore. Now that he knew it had been a human.. he just.. he felt ill.
Suddenly the creature rose, standing high above both Rufus and Seifer. Seifer bent down and grabbed Rufus' arm. He pulled the blond to his feet and stepped back, dragging Rufus with him. "No sudden movements." Rufus hissed, then to the creature he said softly, "It's all right bud."
The creature hissed, sounding like a snake about to attack. Seifer tensed, hand tightening on the pistol. "Something's coming." Rufus whispered, just before the night exploded.
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