A/N: I'm so sorry that I didn't update sooner but my internet connection has quite literally died and left me without any way to conveniently continue. I'll do my best to keep this going though so don't worry...if you cared to begin with... . ;;.
Chapter Twenty - Tragedy
"How is he?" Squall closed his eyes as he heard a new voice from the next room. He didn't feel like joining them. He felt more like disapearing. Life had become so complicated, not to mention painful. He couldn't bring himself to leave the apartment just yet...not when only last night...Squall closed his eyes and dug his fingers into the pillow just beneath his head. After Edea had made sure he was escorted back to his room he had been left with the bed to himself. The voice he heard now he recognized as Selphie's. He hoped Zell wasn't with her. He couldn't take anything from Zell right now. Not about Seifer.
"He's still asleep," Rinoa answered, a pause before her words "Who told you?"
"It's all over the school," Selphie said, her voice low, trying to be respectful in light of these recent events "At least among the SeeDs. Zell told me just this morning...he looked sick..." Selphie paused then and when she spoke once more Squall noted that she sounded close to tears "I want to leave the garden Rini...people are dying...it just isn't worth it!"
"There isn't anything we can do!" Her voice was raised and Squall visualized Selphie standing, hugging herself in a frantic manor "It's killed so many students! I don't want to die! I don't want anyone else to die!"
"There's nothing else keeping that thing here," Rinoa began, her tone soft, as if she were trying to calm Selphie "We have to keep until we figure something out."
"So we're just here for it to feed off of then? What kind of plan is that!" She sounded as if she were crying but managed to recover soon enough "...I don't know why I'm getting so worked up about all this...It's not as if I can leave anyway...Zell won't leave...He told me I could go if I wanted but-"
"We'll figure something out. We defeated Ultimacia, right? This should be child's play compared to that."
"You're right," Her voice wavered and Squall felt his resolve slip even more "Do you know why...Fujin and Raijin came here...? They knew it was dangerous, right?"
Another pause "I don't see how they couldn't."
"I guess they were worried about Seifer huh? I wasn't here for long before they all left the Garden but I heard they were close."
"They were," Rinoa murmured wearily.
"...But you still think Seifer's the one to blame? Even after...I mean...his friends..."
Squall watched the door carefully and sat up as he heard mention of Seifer.
"I don't think he's the one who killed everyone per say...but I believe he's in league with whatever this thing is, yes..."
"He was probably after Squall. He sent whatever it was after him...Fujin and Raijin just got in the way...Do we even know if those two are really dead?"
Selphie didn't respond and Squall stared wide-eyed. What Rinoa had suggested. Could that be a possibility? Surely not...right...?
"I have to go Rini," Selphie said at last and her voice became softer as if she were moving towards the front door "You take care of yourself...and Squall..." another pause for whispered goodbyes and hugs between fatigued friends then the door closed.
Squall relaxed and allowed himself to lie back on the bed again. Rest was what he needed right now. Though he had been lying down since he had gotten back he hadn't actually managed to sleep yet. There was too much to worry about for that. Now he did his best to keep his eyes closed. Once he had succeeded in shutting them sleep came quickly. He was on the edge of consciousness when a string of thoughts ran through his mind, stimulating it back into the waking world. Did Seifer know that his friends were dead?
Seifer hadn't slept either. At the moment he was lying on his bed, the kitten leaping peacefully in the crook of his arm. Seifer felt too sick to sleep. He wiped tears from his eyes, almost angrily and buried his face into a pillow. So Squall didn't love him. So what? That wasn't it...Many people didn't love him...Many people actually hated him but Squall actually saying that he felt the same way as everyone else had crushed him. Was there anyone left who cared if he lived or died?
The cat at his side felt Seifer tense and raised her head. She yawned and snuggled closer. Seifer found himself smiling weakly though not for long "I have Fujin and Raijin right?" The cat raised her head again "And Ellone did care, right?" The cat mewed in response to being spoken to and then purred as Seifer absently scratched the top of her head "Ellone," He repeated, this time addressing the cat "You care," he stood and the cat again mewed "I guess caring and dependent are two different things," He went to bring the cat something to eat, his spirits lifted ever-so-slightly. He still looked terrible and felt even worse.
Once he left the room he looked around "Fujin, Raijin?" He was disappointed when no response came. Had they gone back home? Surely not. They had come because they were worried about him. They certainly wouldn't have left now. Secretly he didn't want them to. Those two were really all he had left anymore. He could leave the garden with them. He could get over Squall. The latter wasn't true though the idea kept his going, as did the fact that two people left in this world still cared about him. Fujin and Raijin had each other, Seifer had the both of them.
At the moment he needed to get himself together. This mood didn't suit him at all. A knock on the door caused Seifer to look up, startled. He didn't rush himself. If it had been Fujin or Raijin they would have let themselves in and he knew that Squall wouldn't be knocking on his door. This meant that this person was probably an administrator. With a sigh Seifer put a saucer on the floor. The kitten, or Ellone, trotted up to it unaffected by the new noise.
Seifer knew he must look horrible right now. He'd taken a long shower though that certainly hadn't changed his miserable appearance "Coming!" He called weakly, going back to his bedroom for a moment and snatching a new shirt. He unlocked the door as he pulled it on, doing his best to look presentable. But...it was only Zell...Seifer frowned. "What are you doing here?" He tried to close the door again but Zell caught it.
"I take it no one's been here since last night huh?" He invited himself in and Seifer couldn't help but notice the troubled expression upon his face.
"Does that concern you?" Seifer moved back some, allowing Zell to enter completely as it didn't appear that he was going to leave without saying what he had come to tell him.
"No, but I thought you deserved to at least be told," It was as if he were making a point to be kind.
Being unusually polite to Seifer didn't fit his personality. Now he was sure that something was wrong. Seifer's own face mirrored the concern upon Zell's "Did something happen?" Zell looked away and opened his mouth to speak though he couldn't seem to find the right words "What happened?" Seifer demanded now, putting a hand to Zell's chin and forcing the other to face him "Is it Squall?"
Zell shook his head and Seifer breathed a sigh of relief, releasing him for now. Of course the next words spoken made the ease that came over him short-lived. It must have taken Zell several minutes to explain. He broke the news slowly and as gently as possible though, as he looked back on it, the only words Seifer Almasy could recall were "-they're dead.-" It hit him like a tidal wave and he stumbled back before loosing his balance completely and moving to the ground for support. They weren't dead. He'd heard it wrong. There was no way that...Reality forced its way in and Seifer doubled over. He had lost everything. Now the only two people he had left had been taken away...It wasn't fucking fair! "It's not fair!" He punched the floor and then Zell as the other attempted to stop him. He couldn't think straight, though it was amazing he was even remotely coherent "Bring Squall here, bring Squall here now."
"Bring him here, now!" He demanded, holding his head in his hands. He couldn't even bring himself to cry now. It was as if his sanity was ebbing away, in pain beyond the point of tears.
Zell wiped blood from his face and nodded though he knew Seifer didn't see this. Quickly he ran from the room, hurrying towards the room Squall shared with his fiance‘.
Rinoa jumped as a sudden pounding on the door woke her from the lull of reading. She recognized the voice as Zell's and rushed top the door in concern "Zell?" She quickly ushered him in "What happened to you?"
Zell ignored her completely, looking around. He assumed Squall to be in another room and opened the bedroom door this time.
Squall woke with a start, just as the door swung open and saw Zell enter "Z-Zell?"
"Seifer wants to see you Squall," He said, panting slightly "I think you need to Squall, please go."
"You told him?" Squall looked almost frightened and rushed to the door, slamming in shut in Rinoa's face "Is he all right?"
"I wouldn't be here if he was!" Zell appeared frustrated now "He wants you Squall. He told me to bring you there."
He was about to say something along the lines of 'Why didn't he come himself?' but couldn't bring himself to. Terror was welling up within him. He was actually scared to see Seifer right now. What if he blamed Squall for Fujin and Raijin's deaths "Now," He said, shaking his head several times and repeating himself "I can't go."
Zell had expected as much. He didn't bother getting angry "C'mon Squall...please...Don't do this man."
"I'm sorry Zell, I can't," Was all he said before lying back down on the bed, facing the wall. In defeat Zell left the room, slowly making his way back to where he had left Seifer.
"He won't come."
There was no response.
Hours became days, days became weeks, and Seifer still refused to leave his apartment. There were no classes to be bothered by and it wasn't as if anyone had tried to coax him to come out. Occasionally he heard a patrol outside or the screams of an attack. Talk among the SeeDs. When not about the creature, was generally based on a certain wedding to come. At least Squall hadn't been killed.
Seifer was asleep at the moment. Drinking certainly hadn't helped though sleep was a comforting escape. Perhaps it wasn't healthy but neither was facing life alone and the thought of that was unbearable.
Ellone's cries woke him up. She was bored and hungry and somewhat worried about her master, at least for a cat.
Seifer stood in response "I should give you to Zell," He said, moving to the kitchen, his voice hoarse from lack of use. His eyes were tired and dull, his movements a bit shaky, and his clothes barely fit him anymore as he had lost a great deal of weight. He put tuna down for the kitten and was heading back to his room when he caught a glimpse of white from the corner of his eye. Looking to the door he realized someone had slid a letter beneath it. Not another one.
Not enough nerve to knock? He went to take the envelope, sitting down beside the door as he did so. He had almost no energy anymore, not that he cared. The envelope itself was unmarked but he didn't hesitate to open it.
This Garden is for putting an end to evils like this.
You make that impossible. You may fool the administrators
but you don't fool us. Students and SeeDs alike all know the
truth and in the end you'll get your just rewards. You should
never have come back. This world doesn't need people like
you. Give it up. Leave or confess.
Short but sweet. No signature, neat, printed handwriting. It was mild compared to the others he had received. It still stung though he had to admit that their words were beginning to sound appealing. This world doesn't need people like you. Seifer tossed the letter to one side and leaned back against the wall. He smirked and hunched his shoulders forward, tilting his head back as he began to laugh. It was all so easy. Surely he still had the nerve.
A slight pressure against Seifer's leg stirred him. "We certainly don't need anyone like you around to talk me out of it," A pale hand scooped up Ellone as Seifer stood and left his dorm room completely.
Squall had been keeping mostly to himself. He still had no classes and only left when he had meetings with Cid to attend or patrols to run. Rinoa hadn't bothered him. She reasoned that he needed a rest. Zell wasn't so easily convinced. He closed the door behind himself, crossed the room, and took a seat at the end of Squall's bed "Stop feeling so sorry for yourself. It doesn't suit you."
Squall looked up angrily "I'm not-"
"So prove it. Go check on Seifer man. Come on," Zell went to his knees, pulling Squall into a sitting position.
He was sick of Zell trying to force him to see someone he had no intention of socializing with ever again. Of course he wasn't himself right now. He hadn't been himself since this whole damn affair began. Squall didn't know who he was anymore "Go yourself if you're so concerned."
"I've already seen him. He doesn't look good," Zell noted how Squall's expression saddened if for only a moment. He continued, hoping to strike some nerve in the other "He dropped the cat off with Selphie and me not too long ago," Zell didn't ask if Squall wanted her but it was just as well. Squall said nothing. After a long, infuriating silence, Zell stood "I thought you were better than this!" He hissed, so as not to disturb Rinoa "What happened to you man! You're a coward now! You can face that...thing out there...but you can't so much a say Seifer's name! You're going to loose more than him if you keep this up."
There are two kinds of suicidal people. Those who want attention. The idiots who want a better way to say ‘I told you so' to friends, old teachers, or lovers. They want someone to blame themselves. Generally they don't fully realize what they're doing. They don't realize that they won't get to savor their victory, that there might not be anything waiting for them on the other side. The other sort were those who truly had nothing to live for. If grief could kill it would. These poor souls truly wished to die. They had searched every other option and found no escape. They could admit aloud that they were cowards and afraid of life. Everyone harbors fear for life but most are aware that the bitter comes with the sweet. You simply have to ride the pain out. Seifer knew that this bitterness would be lasting. When the good did come it would be marred with memories of the past. Ultimacia would haunt him, blame for these deaths would haunt him. Students and teachers alike would never let him forget. No one would. He certainly wouldn't let himself forget Squall.
There was no other way out for Seifer and this certainly disappointed him. Suicide was overdone. He wished he could die naturally. People would think he was running. "Well you are," Seifer put the note he had written aside after reading it over yet again. Laying it on his mattress he headed into the bathroom, contemplating what the best way to off oneself might be.
His Hyperion was out of the question. He certainly wasn't going insult such a fine weapon with a menial job like the one he was planning. Hanging himself would involve rope and though a sheet would do he didn't know how to tie a noose. Ingesting something fatal was tricky and took much to long if not done properly. He didn't feel much life suffering more than need be. A razor seemed the only option left and that had failed him one already. Of course the likely hood of Laguna or anyone else for that matter intervening this time were slim. Two deep gouges downwards should do the trick. This would be painful for a minute at the most. After that his arms would become numb and his eyelids and body heavy.
Seifer broke the razor on his sink, sliding the new blade from the plastic and holding it in his palm. It was too small. An exacto knife would work better but he didn't own any and waiting any longer to acquire one was out of the question. The most successful way to die in this manor would probably be done by starting at the wrist and going right along to the elbow, severing every major vein and artery along the way. That was out of the question with something so small.
Seifer took a seat on the cold linoleum and rested his upper arm on the side of the bathtub. He didn't want anyone to have to spend too much time cleaning up the mess he was about to make. He knew he wouldn't want that job. Seifer wasted no more time. Placing the sharp edge of the razor to his wrist he pressed down and in one quick, yet slightly stuttering motion he dragged it as far as it would go. Hastily he switched hands and bore down again and made a long slash on his other arm. It didn't go as far as he would have liked. The bloodstained instrument soon fell from his grasp.
Seifer leaned over his extended arms, watching as the blood splashed and pooled against the white, textured bottom on the tub. "I didn't want to die," He murmured, not minding that he was crying now. He had been sure he could have lived with Squall. He had wanted to live with Squall "But it's one hell of a fitting end," He flexed his fingers, willing himself to die faster.
A familiar dizzying feeling came over him. He could feel his vision becoming blurry and then black...But the darkness wasn't right...It came all at once...much too sudden...Seifer's body slumped over and his eyes closed. It wasn't his own hand that claimed him.
Squall and Zell left his home together but wordlessly parted ways once in the hall. Squall was relieved to be alone. He wanted to be alone and didn't bother to join a group on this patrol. Gunblade in hand Squall moved without much motivation.
Rinoa. That was who he was supposed to love. Squall tried to picture her smiling face, the way she embraced and kissed him. He couldn't stir any emotion but indifference, maybe even a slight twinge of disgust at the thought of marrying her. Seifer had been right. He didn't love Rinoa. Squall tightened his grip upon his weapon. So what! He felt nothing for Seifer either. The way Seifer had kissed him, held him, loved him, made him moan then question everything he had once known was true. Squall stopped. Nothing, right?
Shaking slightly, Squall looked up. He had been so deep in thought that he hadn't realized where he was going. The rooms here were student's rooms and just ahead was Seifer's. "You idiot," He muttered "Watch where you're going," Squall was about to do an about face, head in the opposite direction but something caught his eye. Something came from the doorway, a dark outline phasing out of Seifer's room. It paused, apparently sensing Squall but seemingly sated for the night went the other way. Squall already knew what it had done and ran towards the creature faster than he would have dreamed possible "Come back!" He caught up easily and slid to a stop, swinging his gunblade though it sliced through with no visible affect. The creature kept moving along, closing in on another wall. Once it phased through this Squall wouldn't be able to reach it. Seifer would be gone.
He swung several more times, fiercely, desperately. Still nothing. Not like this. Swallowing, Squall stepping forward, pressing himself up against the wall as the creature passed through them both. He felt his breath catch and his head grow light. He slid to the ground, gunblade clutched to his chest.
A/N: Don't flame me but please review! There isn't much more of this fic to go. Now that I've found somewhere to access the internet my updates should be coming a bit more regularly. Perhaps I'll begin another fic or two in my downtime without the internet.
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