Author's Notes: My first ever SeiferxSquall. I'm more of a SeiferxZell shipper, but for some reason a Squall-voice found it's way into my head and refused to leave until I wrote this. *shrugs* Just tell me whatcha think,'kay?

Fragments

Part 1

By RagnarokSkurai

I thought Iíd never see you again. Or I never thought Iíd see you again. Huh. Is that the same thing, or different, I wonder? Cynical or just pathetic? I suppose itís both. But I justÖ I never even knew if you were alive, and I wasnít sure if I wanted you to be. Thatís a lie. I wanted you to be butÖ was that just too stupid for words?

But here. Even if I ever expected to see you again, in the farthest stretches of my imagination I couldnít ever have imagined it would be here. Some little diner in Winhill. I mean, maybe pushing through a crowd in Esthar, or hiding with one of the resistance groups in Timber. Not here. In some small town like this. I thought youíd go underground, become part of the crowd.

But you are here. And so am I, and frankly, I donít know what to do. Pretend I never saw you? Turn you in to the Galbadian Government or half a dozen other agencies who want their hands on you? Go and talk? Hyne, none of the three really make any sense. For one, youíre almost impossible to ignore, and two, I canít just hand you off like that. And we were never very good at talking.

I see the old woman in the corner eyeing me thoughtfully. Like she knows who I am and who you are, and expects me to pull out my gunblade and lop off your head. Canít blame her for that. Itís almost been a reflex this past year, just opening up fire whenever you popped into view. But Ultimaciaís dead. And that changes everything.

If you were some random guy whoíd been sucked into her scheme, yeah, maybe youíre head would be rolling on the floor right now. But youíre Seifer Almasy. Seifer fucking Almasy, as you used to say. My rival from day one. The scar on my face? You gave that to me. You spurred me on no matter what. You were the one who made me strong. As pitiful as it is, I wouldnít be me if you hadnít been there. Iíd probably be a third rate gunblader, the quiet one that makes conversation screech to a halt whenever he walks in the room. Instead Iím the Commander of the fucking Garden. A world-class hero. A valiant and Byronic figure, Hyne help me. And like so many other mentors you got left behind. I went up and if anythingÖ you went down. Worse, you got thrown out like yesterdayís garbage. There are so many versions of you that I donít know who you are anymore. Iím not sure which Ďyouí is sitting at that table right now.

And I donítÖ I donít think Iím up to confronting most of them right now. I donít know if I can take any more. As strong as everyone thinks I am, in many waysÖ Iím fragile. You knew that. You always knew that. Way back before all this. You used to take care of me when it became too much, and once I was myself again youíd put the distance back between us. Pick up where the insults and wisecracks had let off. I didnít understand at first. I didnít know why you switched back and forth so readily. How sometimes you hated me and sometimes you didnít.

At some point down the road I did figure it out. Finally. You thought I didnít want anything more than comfort. That I couldnít handle anything more. And maybe you were right. Maybe, at first, I couldnít have. But I was ready for you then. I was ready. So I went to your room, and asked you to let me in. You did. And that room became a sanctuary for me, a place where I could do what I wanted and say what I felt. You laughed sometimes. Said I had a weird sense of humor. Most of what we did there wasnít funny. It was serious. About as serious as anything can get. But for the first time in my life I realized that serious didnít necessarily have to be depressing as well. It was justÖ something not to be taken lightly. Not that I ever took you lightly. Some people did. Thought you were a big hotshot, all talk and attitude. Well, you had the talk, and the attitude, but you could follow it up with the real deal as well.

What am I thinking about? How did I start at point A and wind up digging so deep? I was trying to decide about you.

Rinoa is the one who saves me now. Saves me from myself. Knows when my moods are just a shade too dark and snaps me out of them. That used to be your job. But where you used sex and violence she uses chatter and laughter. On the surface, it works, yeah, but itís nowhere near as gratifying. She canít wind me up the way you could. Selphie and her drive me half out my mind sometimes, with their talking and giggling, their conversations about the latest pop stars and fashions and other crap like that that. It makes me want to put Lionheart to my head and pull the trigger.

Quistis knows when Iíve reached that particular brink, thank Hyne, and gently interrupts, claiming thereís work for me in my office. Donít know what Iíd do without her. Probably go through with that aforementioned suicide. Though she can go overboard too, telling me Iím working too hard. And she still flirts. But I can act as oblivious as ever.

Zell and Irvine areÖ theyíre my friends. Zell was before, sort of, but now we actually do things together. We do Ďguy thingsí together, the three of us. Watch movies, raid Irvineís whiskey stash, play poker. Itís fun. And Hyne, but isnít the idea of me finding anything fun ludicrous?

I see Ellone from time to time as well. ItísÖ nice. Weird, but nice. Sheís changed but still the same. Kind of like all of us, I suppose. And LagunaÖ heís my father, did you hear about that? Heís insane, by the way. But in as nice as way as that could be taken.

So thatís all of us, really. But I donít know whatís going on with you, whatís going through your head. I used to be able to tell. Oh, there were blips on the radar screen sometimes, where I wasnít totally certain. But most of the time, I knew. And a lot of things I still know. Things like that spot behind your right ear. Or the way your eyes were always drawn to the wildflowers on the side of the road whenever we went on SeeD training. Youíd stare at them, inexplicably drawn, and you were never quite sure why. Memories are a funny thing. Memories youíd all but forgotten. I canít even blame you for that. You had used GFís far longer than any other one of us. Truthfully, Iím doubtful you remember we were ever together at all.

But the way your eyes falter when they meet mine just nowÖ Is that what you would have done if the wildflowers had looked back?

Is that all thatís left of me? A tentative feeling, a Ďmaybeí? NowÖ now Iím just a few fragments of remembrance that flit through your dreams. Something you canít even remember once you wake up. If I went over to you, Iím sure you would know my face. And my name. But would you know my name if it fell from your lips? Would you remember all the different ways it could fall, desperate or angry or needy or amused, always full of some sort of emotion? What I loved most about you, Seifer, was that you were never cold like me. Youíve been pissed off at me before, or angry, or hurt at something I did, but you would never shut down. You wore your pain where everyone could see it, even if they didnít understand exactly what it was.

I see you sitting there, and the only thing I want to do is walk over. Get a closer look. Have you kiss me. Have you insult me. Have you fight me. Just let you have me. Let me have you.

But back to the original question. What to do with you. Whether there was still room for you in my life. I guess I answered that pretty damn neatly, didnít I? Thereís still room. Because no one could ever possibly take your place.

This means breaking the tentative hold Rinoa still hopes to have on me. This means putting up with Zellís protests, Quistisí quiet questions, Irvineís skeptical looks. Selphie would probably be happy to see you back, actually. Even after you blew up her precious Garden. Sheís a forgive and forget kind of girl. But it wouldnít matter if they all disapproved, if they gave ultimatums. Because there is only one Seifer in this world. If I had too, I could find another Quistis. A Zell, an Irvine, a Selphie. I could find another sassy, intelligent girl to keep me from committing occupational suicide. A hyperactive guy who tends to annoy me and a womanizer who can drink me under the table. I can find another teenager hyped up on soda and rave music. I can find a Rinoa too. I could find their twins, their triplets. Or you could say I donít really need them at all. As long as I have you.

You see what you do to me? In the space of five minutes Iíve gone from wondering whether I should pretend I ever saw you to running away with you, from everything and everyone I know. You always had that dizzying affect.

Iím yours, Seifer. I have been. But now Iíve got to convince you of it.

I walk over to the table, closing the distance between us and running one gloved thumb over your bottom lip. Youíre confused; I can see it your eyes. One part of you is screaming ĎWhy is he doing this?í and the other part knows exactly why. Part of you recognizes it, doesnít it? Some part of you recognizes the feel of my glove across your face, the smell of leather and the gunpowder I put in Lionheart. But I donít think you like to listen to that part.

For now though, I can wait. Iím pretty patient. You arenít though, and soon enough youíll want answers to your questions. Iíll explain as best I can. Iíll tell you about the few memories I have still intact, and share the fragments and pieces as well. Iíll tell you about that scar on your back that you wouldnít let Dr. Kadowaki heal, and not because you got it in some illicit barroom brawl like rumor says. Because it was the first day I ever put a mark on you, the first day anyone ever put a mark on you. You left it to remind you. You always liked reminders. Physical, tangible things. Like those wildflowers.

Iíve bet you noticed by now that you canít keep your hands still. So you draw instead. On whatever is around. You used to sketch all over you homework and then not turn it in, because you didnít want anyone to see the faces you sketched and ask about them, because you didnít know who they were either. Are you still like that, Seifer? Do you catch someoneís eye in a crowd, see a girl flip her hair over her shoulder, and your mouth starts to form a nameÖ but then it is gone. Because those eyes are in the wrong face, or the girlís hair is too long or too short. And you donít remember what you were going to say.

But you remember my name, donít you? Tell me, please tell me you remember that much.

ďSquall?Ē

Yeah. Thatís my name. And the way you said it tells me things. Tells me more than you know right now.

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