Author's Note: This was written specifically for Esse's contest. I'm archiving it in a few places aside from my site and her own site. If you want, ASK ME FIRST. (And show me the page.)
Find Me, Bind Me
~No, no, no, no, no, no!!~
He ran, not caring where he was going, not caring if he ran into a dragon, not caring if he ran straight off a cliff. Rain was falling hard all around, making the ground slippery and making it difficult for him to keep his footing.
~Not true. Not true. Not true!~
It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t fair! He stopped, dropping to his knees, ignoring the sharp pain in his side from running. He was shaking uncontrollably, partially from exhaustion and partially from shock. “It’s not fair,” he whispered to no one.
“Are you the Dincht boy? Elsie’s son?”
“It’s not fair,” he said once more, louder. He felt wetness on his face, and he couldn’t tell if it was because of the rain or if he was crying. Curling up, he stared straight ahead, but not seeing anything in front of him. “Not fair.”
“Zell, was it? I think you may want to sit down, sir.”
He felt his body begin to shake. He was freezing. Mud was all over him, probably on his face and in his hair. He pulled himself into a tighter ball, trying to keep the outside cold from freezing him to death, but he still felt cold inside. There was a pit in his stomach that felt like it kept growing. It would soon eat him alive, even though he didn’t feel much alive...
“About four hours ago, your mother was in a two-vehicle car crash. It’s still unclear as to who was at fault. The other driver died on impact.”
“I hate you,” he whispered at the ground. “I hate. Hate.” He moaned, shivering violently. One hand reached out and began grasping at the earth, coming back with mud. “Bind me, find me, send me away...” he croaked out, rolling over onto his back. “Give me something to feed on...” He dropped the mud he had in his hand onto his chest, not caring how dirty he already was.
“What are you doing to her?”
“Your mother has written up a DNR for herself. Once... if her heart stops, we don’t have the authority to bring her back.”
“Do Not Resuscitate.”
“Why would she do that... don’t I have that authority? I’m her son!”
“I’m afraid not. I’m sorry.”
“Everything’s taken away, and I want to be taken away,” he said in a sing-song voice. He was delirious; that much was obvious. He needed someone to be with him. He wanted someone... someone...
He couldn’t remember who. Everything in his mind was blurred together. “Who are you?” he said to the sky.
“What’s going on?!”
“Stay out of this room, please.”
“What’s going on?! What’s happening to my mom?”
“She’s... her heart has stopped beating.”
“Fix it! Fix it! Bring her back! Ma!!”
“I’m sorry. We can’t.”
“Please, sir, you have to leave the room.”
“Let me be with her! Get the hell outta my way!!”
“You can’t be in here!!”
So cold... he was so cold. He was flat on his back, staring at the sky, noticing that the rain looked dangerous when it was coming head on. They looked like spikes falling from the sky.
He wanted to be gone, too.
He let his eyes close. Silence.
“Sir, we have a grief counselor on staff here. Would you like to-“
”Shut up. Get out of my way.”
“We can’t let you leave the hospital in this condition.”
“I want to be by myself. Let me out.”
“We really shouldn’t leave you alone in a time like this-“
”And I really don’t care what you should or shouldn’t do. Leave me alone.”
Something was lifting him, wrapping something around him, holding him. “Zell, come on. Don’t do this to me.” Someone was shaking him, and all he wanted to do was sleep. “Zell!”
He forced his eyes open. A face, a familiar one, was looking at him with worry. He knew this person, but a name... he couldn’t grasp it. He couldn’t grasp anything. Oh, but he knew this person. He loved him. He smiled and buried his face in whoever’s chest it was.
“Zell!! It’s me, Seifer!”
Oh... Seifer. He knew Seifer. He looked up at Seifer’s face, his face finally cracking, sobs rolling through his body. The hold around his body tightened. “I’m so sorry, Zell.”
“Ma... mama.” Zell sniffed. “Ma’s... Ma is...”
Seifer closed his eyes. “I know, Zell. I’m sorry.”
“You said that already,” Zell said, shivering.
Seifer pulled away from Zell and took off his trench coat, helped Zell into it, and then bent over and picked him up. “I’m going to get you someplace warm.” Zell whimpered, and Seifer looked at him in worry. “Are you okay? What’s wrong?” He caught himself and winced. “Aside from the obvious. Are you in pain? Physical pain, I mean. God, I’m making an ass of myself,” he finished, trailing off.
“You’re carrying me. The last person who carried me was Ma... but that was when I was little.”
“Am I hurting you?”
“No. You’re... comfy.” Zell gave a tiny smile and rested his head on Seifer’s chest. He lifted an arm up to look at the coat he was wearing. The sleeves were too long, and his fingers were barely peeking over the cuffs. “Your coat.” Zell looked up at Seifer with an incredulous expression on his face. “You let me wear your coat?”
“My coat is now your coat.”
“Mi casa es su casa,” Zell added, giggling.
Seifer bit his lip. “I really need to get you inside.”
The lid snapped shut, and Zell closed his eyes. He’d barely been able to look at his mother’s face throughout the ceremony. It had been too painful. Her body would be cremated the next morning. She was gone.
The only people remaining in the room were his friends from Garden and his uncle - his mother’s brother. His uncle turned towards Zell and offered him a tight smile. As he walked out, he paused and gave Zell a squeeze on the shoulder. He left.
“Zell.” He turned and saw Seifer looking at him in sympathy and worry. Standing behind him were four others - Squall, Selphie, Quistis, and Irvine, all who had similar looks on their faces.
Zell closed his eyes again. This was too difficult. He had remained calm for the duration of the entire memorial ceremony, but he couldn’t deal with this. He turned his back and let himself sink to his knees. He finally let himself cry, barely acknowledging someone walking up behind him... he already knew it was Seifer.
His lover gathered him up in his arms. Zell turned and buried his face in Seifer’s chest. Seifer tightened his hold and put his chin on Zell’s head.
“Everyone always leaves,” Zell mumbled into Seifer’s shirt. “My real parents left me with Matron... Pa left, and now Ma... Ma...” He trailed off, pulling away from Seifer and putting a hand over his eyes.
“They didn’t leave you, Zell,” Quistis offered, coming away from the group.
Zell looked at everyone through his fingers and sighed. “As much as I appreciate you guys being here, I’d like to be by myself.”
Seifer looked hurt, but appeared to be trying to hide it. “Are you sure, Zell? I don’t know if we should leave you by yourself.”
Zell glared at Seifer. “I’m not suicidal, and I’m not a child.”
“But-“ Seifer stopped as Quistis walked towards him and put a hand on his shoulder. When he looked up, she shook her head at him. Seifer sighed, kissed Zell’s forehead, and stood up.
As everyone filed out of the house, Seifer turned back to Zell once more. “I’ll be at my house. Call me if you need me...” He pause, pausing and grinning a little. “...chicken.”
Zell grinned back. He knew Seifer meant in good nature. “You’re an ass. Get out.”
“Love you.” The door slammed. Zell winced. Seifer rarely said the “l” word to him, and it seemed a shame to waste the novelty in this situation.
Zell swallowed, and glanced around the room, as if checking to see if anyone else had stayed. He walked towards the door, locked it, and turned back to the box that sat towards the front. Walking towards it, he kneeled in front.
“Ma.” He couldn’t say anything else for a moment. Sitting back on his heels, he chewed on the inside of his cheek, thinking carefully about what to say.
“I know you’ll be ashamed of me, and I know I have other choices, but...” Zell reached into his pocket and pulled out a package that contained something that looked like a pill. “I remember when you found out before about me and all the drugs I was into. You were mad at me, and that made me mad at myself. I hated making you mad. It made me feel like you weren’t proud of me anymore.” He paused, gripping the small package in his hand. “I stopped after you found out. I knew you didn’t like it, and I knew you wouldn’t want me to do it. But... this... you being gone is too painful for me. Seifer helps me a lot, but I just need something to help me get through this.” Tears were running down Zell’s face as he reached out and touched the side of the box that contained his mother’s body. “This is only one time. I’m not going to keep on doing it - it’s just this once.” Zell bowed his head, and then turned and leaned against the box. Looking down at the pill in his hand, he closed his eyes and flashed a tight smile at no one.
He didn’t know what kind it was, and he didn’t really care. He unwrapped it and set it on his tongue.
Within a few minutes, Zell’s pain wasn’t gone, but he found all sorts of different ways to deal with it. He sighed blissfully, and turned his head towards the ceiling.
“Love ya, mama.”
What a lovely way to wake up in the morning.
He stared at the prone figure next to him on his bed. He didn’t mind that Zell stayed at his house, but he’d prefer it if the chicken would just wake him up and TELL him he was staying. Crawling into bed with him when they didn’t even live together would probably result in a big “no- no-no” response with the community.
Seifer smiled and reached out to brush Zell’s bangs away from his closed eyes. He probably wouldn’t have minded if Zell DID live with him. Seifer had actually asked the shorter blond if he wanted to, and Zell simply told him that he wasn’t ready for that.
“I don’t want to take that step yet. I’ll take it eventually, but not now.”
As Seifer reviewed that conversation in his mind, he suddenly began to feel slightly angry. Zell crawled into his bed almost every night anyway. He spent all of his time there, and he had Seifer’s spare key. What was the difference? They certainly were serious enough to “take that step,” and Zell acted as if he lived there already.
Seifer’s upper lip curled back as he got angrier. He put his feet against Zell’s stomach and pushed him off the side of the bed. Zell landed with a thump and a string of explicit words that were rarely used in one sentence.
“Rise and shine, chicken,” Seifer said, not bothering to hide the mirth in his voice. He saw Zell’s head peek out from the edge of the bed. The tattooed blond looked ruffled and not totally awake.
“What was that for?” Zell asked in surprise. He peered at Seifer’s face for a moment. “You’re pissed at me, aren’t you?”
Zell was silent for a moment. He stood up and kneeled on the bed, crouching down to face Seifer. “Are you going to tell me why?”
Seifer rolled his eyes. “Do you live here or not?”
Zell blinked. “I don’t. You know that.”
“You act like it.”
Zell’s bottom lip stuck out in a pout. Seifer doubted he even realized he was doing it - the boy did it so often. His face always betrayed his emotions. “You... you told me to treat this as my home.”
Seifer sighed; Zell had a point. He had said that. “Zell, you crawl into my bed at god knows what time. I go to bed at 3 in the morning, and my bed had no one but me in it. When I wake up, you’re there. Why? What do you do every night?” Seifer looked Zell in the eyes, and nearly gasped at what he saw.
Zell’s pupils were almost completely dilated. He could barely see a ring of the usual icy blue color around the circle of black. Seifer sat up and grabbed Zell by the shoulders. “Zell, what did you do? Did you take something last night?”
“Take something?” Zell blinked once more and narrowed his eyes at Seifer. The taller blond saw his lover’s pupils retract just a tiny bit and then return to what they had been a moment ago. “Take something like what?”
“Do you feel okay?” Seifer pulled Zell closer to him and felt his forehead.
“Seifer!” Zell pulled away from Seifer’s touch. “Don’t baby me. What do you mean?”
Seifer studied Zell’s face. “I remember... when we were in Garden together, you would always sneak in at early hours of the morning. You had been at parties - raves, really. You stopped doing that about a half a year before you got into SeeD.”
“You knew I was sneaking back in there... and you didn’t tell anyone?” Zell smiled and leaned towards his lover, reaching out to brush his face.
Seifer ignored his touch. “Zell, are you getting into that shit again?”
Zell jerked away, his eyes turning hateful. “What do you care?”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Seifer bared his teeth. “Do you think I don’t care about you? Do you think I don’t care what happens to you?”
“That’s not what I meant,” Zell said, shaking his head. Seifer noticed that Zell’s movements seemed uneven, uncontrolled.
“What did you mean, then?” Seifer growled, turning away from his lover. “It sure sounded like you don’t think I care about you.” He glanced at Zell through the corner of his eye. “Should I, then? Should I care about you?”
Zell bit his lower lip, squeezing his eyes shut. He turned away from Seifer, pulling his knees up to his chest and hugging them. He didn’t say anything.
Seifer chose not to say anything, either. He closed his eyes, thinking carefully about his choice of words. “Zell, I want you to give me my key back.”
Zell whipped around, his eyes widening. “Wh-what? You’re... are you breaking up with me?”
Seifer sucked in a sharp breath. ~Apparently that was the WRONG choice of words, Almasy,~ he thought. He turned around to face Zell. “That’s not what I meant.” Seifer winced, realizing he had just unintentionally repeated Zell’s earlier reasoning. Seifer tried to give his lover a warming smile. “I love you, chicken. Don’t forget that.”
”I can’t have this anymore. I love you, and that’s why I’m doing this. I don’t want you destroying your body.”
Zell’s eyes flashed in anger. “I’m not destroying my body. I’m not doing anything horribly awful. I’ve stayed away from all the baddies - heroin, cocaine, angel dust. I know when to stop-“
”Shut up, Zell.” Seifer put his hand up and glared. “What HAVE you done? Tell me that.”
Zell looked away. “Why do you want to know?” he said in a quiet voice.
“Because I don’t think you would be this defensive if you were just smoking weed.”
“I’m not being defensive.”
Seifer rolled his eyes. “What you just SAID was defensive.”
“Fuck you, Seifer.” The smaller blond stood. “I’m leaving.”
Seifer’s mouth fell open, and he made a few noises before finally managing to string together actual words. “You’re... leaving?”
“As pissed as I am right now, I could never LEAVE you. Not permanently.” He sat on his knees on the bed, leaning forward with a small smile. “I love you too much for that.” After kissing his lover, he sat back. “I just need some time away from you.”
”And don’t lecture me about my party habits. I know what I’m doing.” He said this with a bit more bite in his voice.
Seifer reached forward and grabbed Zell by the arm once more. “Zell, you’re being an idiot! What would Ma think of you if she knew?”
Snarling, Zell drew his fist back and punched his lover in the jaw. Seifer released Zell and fell back, letting his chin sink into his chest. “You...” He looked up at Zell in minor shock. “You hit me.”
Zell’s eyes widened, as if he was shocked he had done such a thing. “Seif... love, I’m-“
”Zell, if you’re leaving, you should leave.” Seifer stood and walked towards the door. “You’re not in your own mind right now.”
Zell closed his eyes. “You’re right.” He walked towards the taller blond and gave him a weak smile. “I’m sorry, Seifer.”
“I know.” Seifer watched Zell put his head down again, and a wave of sorrow went through him. He put his arms around the shorter man, kissing his head. “I’m sorry, too. I know that you’ve been through a lot in the past few months.” He let his fingers comb through the blond hair, enjoying the feel of Zell’s soft spikes all over again. “I should be more sympathetic. But... I care about you. And I’m...” He stopped and bit his lip.
Zell looked up. “You’re what?”
“I’m scared of losing you.”
Zell didn’t say anything. He merely stood on his tiptoes and gave a kiss to his lover, which wasn’t returned. “I should go,” he whispered. He turned to leave.“Goodbye, Seifer.” With that, Zell opened the door to the bedroom and walked out. Seifer heard footsteps going down the hall, and finally the door opened and shut.
Seifer closed his eyes and sank into a chair behind him. “I love you, Zell,” he whispered.
Seifer rolled over as he was pulled out of a pleasant dream involving himself, Zell, and an illustrated version of the Kama Sutra. He glared at the clock. The glowing red numbers read “4:35.” The blond groaned, covering his face with his pillow, wondering what woke him up.
Seifer narrowed his eyes at the ceiling. Something didn’t feel right. Zell wasn’t next to him in bed, but that was about as normal as him actually being in bed. Seifer puzzled for a few moments, and then closed his eyes.
A few minutes later, he sat straight up, gasping. Something was definitely wrong. “Zell?” he whispered. Seifer took in a few deep breaths, got out of bed, and began heading towards his front door. As he walked down the hallway, the feeling got worse and worse. He stared running, skidding to a stop in front of the door. He undid the bolt and yanked the door open.
The words were slurred, and the voice sounded weak and somewhat nauseated. A chocking noise forced it’s way out of Seifer’s throat. “Zell!!” The shorter blond literally fell into Seifer’s arms. “What - what? Zell, what happened to you?”
Zell moaned and covered his eyes with his hands, and Seifer noticed his fingernails were painted black. Seifer looked Zell over, taking in certain differences in appearance that certainly had not been there yesterday. Zell’s hair was spiked as usual, but instead of just the front, his entire head of hair was standing up. He had a pair of blue pants on that looked like plastic. He was also wearing a black leather jacket. Seifer didn’t even know that Zell had OWNED leather. Underneath the jacket he was wearing his usual black wife-beater tank.
“Zell?” Seifer questioned, more uncertainly.
“I’m seeing things, Seif.”
“Zell, what did you take tonight?”
Zell giggled. “Nothing unusual for me. Acid - green, really.”
Seifer’s eyes widened. “Acid?” he said faintly.
“I think somebody laced it with something. I don’t feel good at all.”
“Zell, hang on. Let me call a hospital.”
Zell reached out and grabbed at Seifer’s arm. “No!!” he shouted. “I’ll get kicked out of SeeD!”
Seifer paused. He knew how much SeeD meant to Zell. But Zell meant more to Seifer than SeeD meant to Zell...
“Please, Seifer,” Zell whispered. “I’ll be fine. I just need time... to let it run through my system.”
“Zell...” Seifer let his eyes slide shut. He didn’t want Zell to die, or be in pain, or...
But he also didn’t want him to be unhappy. SeeD meant too much to Zell. He had worked so hard to be in it, and Seifer couldn’t disagree that Zell WOULD be kicked out of SeeD if they found he had been taking... acid.
Acid. On a regular basis. The very thought of something like that running through the body of the young martial artist made Seifer want to puke.
“Can you walk?”
“Not very well.”
“You are going to take a bath.” Seifer picked up the smaller blond in his arms.
Seifer could be so hard. Not in the literal sense... Zell giggled at that. But Seifer had a shell around him that he hardly ever let down. Zell saw it more than anyone else.
But Seifer was being gentle with him. Seifer loved him.
Why was Seifer being so delicate?
Seifer was worried.
Seifer was scared.
A scared Seifer scared Zell, as well. And Seifer was scared for him.
Too many... Seifer was scared.
Seifer was scared!!
Too many ways.
~I could have died tonight.~
Seifer was washing his back with gentle hands. It was relaxing, and it was making the visions Zell was having lessen. He could have died. Seifer would have lost him.
Zell looked up at the wall, tears welling up. No more Seifer...
~No, no, no, no, no, no!!~
“NO!” Zell jerked back, splashing water all over Seifer. “S-seif...” He stared at the wall in horror. It was bleeding. There was blood coming out of the wall.
Zell squeezed his eyes shut. ~It’s not real.~
~Not true. Not true. Not true!~
“Ma...” Zell croaked. Zell turned and buried his face into Seifer’s chest.
“Ssh.” Seifer stroked Zell’s hair. “It’s okay, Zell. You tried... you tried to escape from it.”
“Escape?” Zell pushed Seifer away from him in one swift motion. “I wouldn’t try to escape from my mother!”
“Zell!” Seifer reached out for his lover, but Zell knocked his hand away.
“I HATE YOU!” he screamed. He stood up in the bath, trying to disappear into the wall. “Stay... stay away. I hate. Hate.”
“Zell, please... tell me what’s wrong!” Seifer watched as Zell collapsed back into the water and put his hands over his ears.
“Find me,” Seifer heard Zell whispering. “Bind me, send me away. Find me something to feed on...” Seifer , ignoring the fact that he was still fully dressed, climbed into the bathtub with his lover. He crouched in the water and put his arms around Zell. “Find me something to feed on...”
Zell leaned into Seifer. “Zell, what are you talking about?”
“Bind me... bind me to my lover.” Zell clenched a fist around Seifer’s shirt, sniffling.
“Send me away...” Seifer whispered. “Zell, don’t leave.”
“Send me away... to my mother.” Zell’s voice was barely audible. “I don’t want to leave, Seifer.”
Seifer sat down in the bath, drawing Zell into his lap. “Don’t hurt yourself like this.”
They simply sat for several minutes. Finally, Zell made a noise.
Zell fell asleep in Seifer’s arms, seemingly at peace.
“I’ll pull you through this. I promise.” Seifer gently rocked his lover back and forth, a small smile coming to his lips.
“I love you.”
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