Author's Note:Seifer on campus. Seifer learning stuff. Learn, Seifer, learn!
Ward makes an appearance, as does Fujin! The songs that Seifer attempts to sing are "Mr. Roboto" by Styx and "Simple and Clean" by Utada Hikaru
High 'n Low Beginnings
Chapter Six - Winhill, Sweet Winhill
The thing that Seifer loved the most about Winhill University was its campus. The place was huge, spread out over several square miles, with wide green lawns, immaculate gardens, and spread out buildings. Of course, the distance between the buildings could often be inconvenient when one was late to class, like Seifer was now.
The tall young man sprinted across one of the lawns, beige trench coat flapping behind him ridiculously, his blond hair askew and not at all like its usual gelled arrangement. Profanities spewed from his mouth and his green eyes flashed with fury. Damn Raijin and his rambling monologues about fish!
As he ran, Seifer struggled to think of a valid excuse to give his teacher. Mr. Duboise was notorious for being extremely inflexible when it came to tardiness. His most famous answer was “well,I don’t care if you fail this class.” Seifer swore that he had already heard it five million times. Bloody hell if he’d hear it again.
“Uh, well, Mr. Duboise,” he mumbled to himself as he entered the building, “You see, I went to have lunch with this old pal of mine, and we kind of got carried away talking about fish- you know how it goes- and I lost track of time. Fish? Hyne, he’ll never take that, even though it’s true…”
What was worse, Mr. Duboise ran Seifer’s favorite class. It was Ceramics, an all-inclusive course that basically wassupposed to allow students to explore the subject and have free rein over their own projects and ideas. The unmovable, close-minded Mr. Duboise ruled like a dictator over the class. When things didn’t go his way, he smugly waved the fact that he had control over the students’ grades in their faces. What’s more, he was short. Barely five and a half feet tall, he was incredibly self-conscious and low in self-confidence, which meant that he hated any challenge to his power. Seifer happened to be one of those people that rubbed Mr. Duboise wrong no matter what he did. First, Seifer towered more than half a foot over Mr. Duboise at six feet two inches. Second, he had an attitude and a tongue to match his height. Whereas Mr. Duboise ran extremely short of self-confidence, Seifer practically burst at the seams with it. He was confident and wasn’t afraid to say anything. It was a bad habit that had gotten him into trouble many times before. Ceramics wasn’t an exception.
Seifer burst through the door of room 318, panting, out of breath, and looking as if he had just run in a marathon.
“Mr. Duboise, I’m sorry, I lost track of time-“ he stopped and blinked. The man standing at the head of the class was most definitelynot Mr. Duboise. A tall, hulking man with a navy bandanna tied around his head was looking at him strangely, one shaggy eyebrow raised. Piercing blue eyes narrowed in amusement and the scar along his face crinkled as one corner of his mouth lifted slightly in a smile.
“Hello. I would assume that you are Seifer Almasy?” his voice was deep, rumbling from his barrel-like chest. Seifer closed his mouth after he realized that he was staring with it hanging open and straightened, running a hand through his hair to compose himself. A smirk made its way onto his face.
“Yeah, I’m Seifer. Apologies for being late, Mister…” he raised an eyebrow in question. The man smiled again.
“Zabac. Ward Zabac. Please, take a seat.” He motioned at the various desks scattered around the room. Seifer nodded arrogantly and automatically made way for the silver-haired girl sitting near the back. Seifer smirked at her slightly amused expression and sat down, leaning back against the wall and putting his feet on the desk. The girl smacked him lightly, glaring at him with a single red eye.
“FEET. OFF.” She commanded, her voice firm.
“Yeah, yeah.” Seifer grumbled and grumpily complied with her order. At the front of the class, Mr. Zabac- Ward- began to speak.
“Greetings, Ceramics,” he said, “As most of you have heard, I am Mr. Zabac. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Mr. Duboise is unable to make it to class today.” There were mixed cheers and whistles at this bit of news, “What’s more, he most likely will not be able to return for the rest of this year.” This time, the cheering was overwhelming. Mr. Zabac looked like he was trying not to smile. “So, I’m afraid that you have me for the rest of the school year.”
Seifer was one of the ones who applauded the most, his large hands coming together in slow, but loud beats. The silver-haired girl rolled her eye and crossed her arms across her chest. Seifer poked her playfully in the arm.
“Hey, lighten up, Fujin.” He grinned, “Don’t tell me you miss Mr. I-have-a-stick-up-my-ass.”
Fujin smacked him again, this time with a bit more force. Seifer rubbed his arm where she had hit him and pretended to pout.
“Aw, Fu. I almost think you don’t love me anymore.”
“IDIOT.” She pronounced loudly and began to pull out her supplies. Seifer lazily strolled over to one of the tall cabinets lining the walls and pushed aside various items to get to his project. Fujin set her current piece of work on the table carefully, lifting the dampened cloth from it slowly. The blond eyed the bowl she was making and smirked, shaking his head.
“Fu, do you ever make anything other than pottery?” he inquired sarcastically. Fujin ignored him. He grumbled and cautiously began pulling his own project from the back of the cabinet. Lifting the wet weight easily, he set the project down on the table with care. Fujin looked at the huge mound and raised a silver eyebrow.
“Huh, far from it.” Seifer snorted, “This baby’s going to keep me busy for the rest of the semester.”
He removed the cloth covering it carefully and flourished the rag triumphantly, nearly smacking Mr. Zabac in the face as he came up to look at Seifer’s project. Obliviously, Seifer grinned foolishly at Fujin, who rolled her eye again at his childish antics.
“Behold! The mighty Ifrit, god of Fire and Brimstone!” he intoned. Mr. Zabac leaned down to look at the clay sculpture more closely. Ifrit reared on his clay pedestal, his body arched back with his hands clenched together behind his head, as if he was about to hurl some sort of burning, heavy object at someone far below him. The look of animalistic rage on his face had been lovingly portrayed by his blond creator, a round globe of unshaped clay before him waiting to be transformed into a huge flaming fireball. Seifer waited for Mr. Zabac to finish examining his work impatiently, his hands set on his hips and his foot tapping.
“Impressive.” Mr. Zabac finally said, “Good form. Might want to work on the legs a bit, though.”
Without another word, he walked away. Seifer glowered at his retreating back.
“'Work on the legs a bit,'” he muttered indignantly, “What’s wrong with them? I spent four hours trying to get them right…”
“RIGHT LEG.” Fujin said, pointing to said limb, “TOO SKINNY.”
Seifer scowled at the Ifrit statue, which, due to his careful carving, scowled right back at him. With a heavy sigh, Seifer plopped himself down in his seat and picked up his tools, staring at his work morosely.
“This thing is such a fucking pain in the butt.” Seifer growled, “Why the hell did Ifrit need to have so much fur?”
Fujin ignored him as he continued to grouse and complain about his project, paying more attention to the bright, vivid colors she was painting across the surface of her bowl than to his ceaseless ranting. Meanwhile, Seifer’s large hands were carefully working on his project, his trained eyes seeking out flaws and correcting them. Within twenty minutes, he had managed to fix Ifrit’s legs so that they looked relatively good and moved on to the fire god’s hulking torso.
“Domo arigatou, Mr. Roboto,” Seifer sang tunelessly under his breath. Seifer grinned when he saw Fujin winced. Seifer might be able to sculpt clay with amazing skill, but a singer he was not. Not able to remember the rest of the words to the Styx song, Seifer switched songs. The tune was nearly unrecognizable when he sang it.
“When you walk away, you don’t hear me say,” he sang, “Please, oh baby! Don’t go…”
Fujin cringed at his terrible falsetto and scowled at him.
“STOP.” She growled. Seifer grinned at her and continued to sing.
“Simple and clean is the way that you’re making me feel tonight,” he crooned. Fujin attempted to block him out, but his wavering falsetto was too piercing, “It’s hard to let it go…”
Threateningly, Fujin held up her clay knife.
“CASTRATION.” She warned. Seifer instinctively moved his legs together.
“You wouldn’t, Fu. You wouldn’t really try to take away my most prized body part, would you?” he wheedled. Fujin continued to glare at him. “Oh, alright…geez, you’d think you’d be able to appreciate some music…”
Fujin shook her head wearily. He knew that she was curious about his behavior; after all, he had been acting crazier than usual in the past couple of days, reverting more to the days when he had been so arrogant that it had been all Fujin could do to stop herself from punching him.
“What? Oh, you mean my new apartment…it’s pretty cool.” Seifer shrugged, his eyes riveted on his work. Fujin looked at him. There was something he wasn’t telling her. He knew she could hear it, the underlying tension in his voice.
“Their names are Laguna and Squall. Laguna’s the dad. Squall’s the introverted, anti-social, typical moody teenager son.” Fujin wondered if Seifer knew he had a huge scowl on his face.
“What, you want to know more about the kid? Alright, I’ll give you the full report,” Seifer snorted, “He’s anti-social, moody, and loves to dress in white and black. Mostly black, but he usually wears a white T-shirt. He’s always wearing this necklace around his neck- it’s silver, like my choker, and it’s like a y-shaped chain. The pendent is this lion’s head. He loves brownies, apparently, or any other form of chocolate, loves having scrambled eggs and pancakes for breakfast, and hates me. Anything else you want to know?"
“Well, he certainly doesn’t take to me.” Seifer felt his face turn uncharacteristically gloomy, “I mean…get this. Yesterday, I was baking, y’know, cause I was seeing Raijin today and he always wants sweets. Ice Prince comes home and eats one of my brownies. He looks as if he’s about to die of pleasure, then I give him a cookie. Hyne, when he was licking his fingers…” Seifer trailed off. Oh, yes. Seifer was gay and quite proud of it. While Fujin had known about his sexuality for years and usually supported him, he knew that she was slightly uncomfortable when it came to matters of sex. It came from her traumatic childhood, as did her peculiarly abrupt mode of speech.
However, Seifer was quite happily thinking of yesterday afternoon, before Squall’s unexpected outburst. The sight of Squall’s pink tongue flickering out to lick the dark chocolate from his pouting lips and slender fingers had aroused Seifer beyond belief. It had taken three cold showers before Seifer had deemed himself presentable in public again.
Fujin sighed as his eyes glazed over and poked him in the arm.
“Right, anyway.” Seifer came back to the present abruptly and found himself scowling again, “Next thing I know, he’s demanding that I take off this apron I found in a drawer in my room. When I don’t take it off fast enough, he fucking nearly strangles me trying to take it off before he storms into his room. I was like, what the fuck?”
“WEIRD.” Fujin agreed. Seifer snorted.
“Weird doesn’t begin to describe it. His dad, Laguna, is completely different.” Seifer squinted at Ifrit. Was it just him, or was one of Ifrit’s eyebrows higher than the other? Fujin poked him again. “Oh, right. Laguna. He’s optimistic, unlike pessimistic Puberty Boy-“ Fujin rolled his eyes at his new nickname for Squall. Puberty Boy. Seifer liked it; it fit the hairless, smooth-faced Squall perfectly. “And unbelievably cheerful. Unfortunately, he’s also forgetful and rather clumsy. He broke this priceless vase by accident when I first arrived at the apartment and waved it off like it was nothing. I mean, you’d think the guy was rich or something, the way he was carrying on about how it didn’t matter and it was just a ‘little trinket’ he picked up while he was in Dollet.”
“LAGUNA?” she said in disbelief, “LAGUNA LOIRE?”
“Yeah, I think that’s his name.” Seifer frowned, “It sounds familiar for some reason…”
“IDIOT!” Fujin raged, “ESTHAR!”
“What? The big technology company? What does that have anything to do with him?” Seifer said, confused.
“PRESIDENT.” Fujin rolled her eye for the umpteenth time that day. Green eyes stared at her in shock.
“You mean, that bumbling fool is the President of Esthar?” Seifer gaped, “You’ve got to be kidding me!”
“Don’t watch TV, Fu. You know that!”
“Uh…well…usually, I skip stuff about finances, business, et cetera. They bore me.”
“HOPELESS.” Fujin shook her head. Mr. Zabac chose that time to come over. He grunted approvingly at the improvements Seifer had made on Ifrit’s legs.
“Much better,” he rumbled. Seifer appealed to Mr. Zabac.
“Didyou know that Laguna Loire was the President of Esthar?” Ward blinked at him and frowned.
“Of course. He’s one of my oldest friends.” Mr. Zabac rumbled, “I have lunch with him and Kiros every week. Sometimes I work as his bodyguard.”
Once again, Seifer found himself gaping at Mr. Zabac. He closed his mouth with an audible snap. The bit about being Laguna’s bodyguard wasn’t so hard to believe. Seifer couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to tangle with the huge man. But the fact that he had known Laguna for a long time and was a close friend of his was a stunning revelation to Seifer.
“What-“ he managed to say through his shock, “How?”
“We used to be in the Galbadian army together,” Zabac said, “He’s a good friend, even though he can be a bumbling idiot at times. Why?”
Seifer groaned and dropped his head onto the desk, just barely managing to stop himself before he buried his clay-covered hands in his hair. Fujin looked extremely amused.
“RENTER.” Fujin explained to Mr. Zabac. A look of realization came over his broad, scarred face.
“You’re the new renter that Laguna was telling us about,” Ward stated. Unexpectedly, he grinned, “I take it you’ve met Squall already?”
“Ice Prince?” Seifer’s voice was muffled by his arms, “Yeah, of course.”
“What do you think of him?” Ward’s tone was almost jovial. Seifer raised his head to glare at him.
“He’s young, he’s gorgeous, and also unbelievably sexy.” He smirked. Ward blinked at that. Fujin sighed.
“GAY.” She informed him. Zabac blinked several times at her abruptness before he shrugged.
“Okay, I can accept that. But I have to warn you, Squall’s not homosexual.” He said, “And, if you haven’t noticed, he’s not too fond of strangers.”
“Tell me about it,” Seifer sighed, “Besides, I don’t go for the cold and heartless type.”
“Squall isn’t heartless.” Ward suddenly sounded stern, “Squall is far from it. He’s just had a hard life.”
“A hard life?” Now green eyes looked at him in disbelief, “He’s the son of the fucking President of Esthar! How hard of a life could that be?”
“You wouldn’t understand.” Ward sighed, “And it’s not my place to tell you. You’ll have to ask Squall or his father if you want to know.”
“Fine, fine, whatever.” Seifer grumbled. Mr. Zabac shook his head in amusement.
“You almost sounded like Squall when you said that,” he chuckled. Seifer made a face. “That’s one of Squall’s favorite words- ‘whatever’. I can’t remember the number of times he's driven Kiros insane by saying that.”
“KIROS SEAGIL?” Fujin asked, “PRESIDENT’S AIDE?”
“Yeah, Kiros Seagil. Also a good friend of mine.” Mr. Zabac looked at the clock, “You guys only have five minutes left. Better clean up. Tell Laguna I said hi.”
Seifer nodded absently, his expression thoughtful. So, Squall had had a hard life? The blond found this somewhat hard to believe, but at the same time it made sense. Seifer had been writing off his attitude to typical teenage angst, but Squall's erratic behavior had had him wondering about that more than once. He stroked his jaw thoughtfully.
Perhaps it was time to find out more about his mysterious housemate. A grin spread across his face.
They said that the best way to a man's heart was through his stomach. Seifer was just going to have to test that theory. Whistling jauntily to himself, and ignoring Fujin's questioning stare, Seifer strolled out of the classroom. Looked like it was time to pull out the old recipe books.
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