Disclaimer: I, unfortunately, do not own anything related to the Final Fantasy series. It's all property of Squaresoft, or Sqare Enix if you prefer. So please, be kind and don't sue me
Important Note: I am yet again working on reposting this story. I found several mistakes in the first chapters, and some things I simply wasn't too happy with. I hope you can forgive the mayhem that this story will be until I actually manage to repost all the chapters I found to be erroneous. Unfortunately, I'm sure that there will still be plenty of mistakes to be found -- Blame it on English not being my first language if you're feeling kind, or blame it on me being a lazy bum and horrible speller if not.
Reposted chapters will be marked by two quotation marks ("). I know that reposting will go slow, but hopefully I'll be finished before the revelation of the very last chapter of "Let Me Make It Alright".
Now, on with the story!
Let Me Make It Alright
Chapter 14: "Cherished Moments"
By Angry Angel
They had asked him lots of questions that night, but he had refused them all. Eventually, they had just given up on him and taken him to a room that he could call his own while he was staying at Balamb Garden. He had been surprised that they hadn't locked his door and left a guard, but he blamed it on Cid's trustworthy nature. Of course, it wasn't like he would go anywhere without Hyperion, and it wasn't like they didn't know that, either.
He had fallen asleep surprisingly fast, too, but his slumber had been uneasy. Haunted by nightmares during which he would wake, he'd glance restlessly around the room, wary and confused.
Hours later, he awoke lying sprawled out on his covers, still fully dressed except for his heavy boots and his trench coat, which he had lazily strung over the back of a chair. Sighing, he rolled on his side and let his languid jade green eyes travel around the room. It was small, furnished with a single bed, chair and desk as well as a dresser. A door led to the bathroom which he had already examined earlier that night. A clock on his wall read the digits "8:25 a.m.".
Suddenly, his gaze shot back to the dresser.
It wasn't until then that he realized that he had arrived at Balamb without any clothes except for the ones that he was wearing on his very body. He had absolutely no idea where his duffel bag was, or if the SeeDs had even bothered to pick it up. For the life of him, he could not remember.
'That's just excellent. So much for my morning shower.'
He arched his back, flexing and stretching his arms thoroughly, before he swiveled around in his bed and jumped to his feet in one fluid motion. A deep sigh heaved his chest. He needed clothes, that much was for sure. Of course, he couldn't just conjure them up out of nowhere. He had no choice but to ask someone for help.
Bending down to slip into his boots and loosely tie the laces, he decided that Quistis Trepe was probably the one to talk to. She seemed to have taken some sort of substitute commander role, now that puberty boy was lying in his sickbed.
'Squall...' His body shot upright immediately, and he shook his head.
'For Hyne's sake, isn't there anything but puberty boy you can think of?'
Rolling his eyes at himself, he stepped into the small, brightly tiled bathroom. He turned the faucet and let cold water wash over his hands. Quietly, he marveled at the scars and calluses on his skin. He had stopped wearing gloves a while back, for whatever reason, he couldn't even remember. Hence, of course, his skin had suffered accordingly. Suddenly, it occurred to him that he had never seen Squall Leonhart's hands up until the previous day. Ever since he had hit puberty, Squall had always worn gloves, matching the black of his outfit and his temper.
Quickly, he shoved the thought aside and ran his wet fingers through his golden blonde hair, slicking it back smoothly. Of course, looking into the mirror in front of him, his eyes couldn't help but linger at the scar slanted wryly across the bridge of his nose. He tilted his head ever so slightly, jade green focusing intently on the image. His skin was a good bit more tan than Squall's, hence his scar wouldn't stand out quite as harshly. Softly, he ran a finger across the rough skin, remembering the day him and the brunette had fought so fiercely. Now, it all seemed so very far away. They had scarred each other for life, and these marks that they would carry forever were like an unspoken bond between them. A bond between him, the outcast former sorceress knight, and the ever sullen lone wolf, the "Lion of Balamb."
'Fuck this, I give up. I just can't get him out of my head.'
Admitting defeat to himself, he trudged out of the bathroom and shrugged on his trench coat before he stepped outside. The hallway stretched out in front of him and was fairly quiet since classes had already started. Only very few students were scattered in the distance, none of them really close enough to realize who had just left the room. In the hopes of keeping it that way, Seifer decided to go looking for Quistis quickly. There were only so many places were the strict instructor could be, and his first guess was the infirmary.
Seifer Almasy mentally patted his own back for his wise decision. After a brief jog through the main hall and past two thunderstruck underclassmen, he found himself facing an irritated Quistis Trepe who was just about to leave the infirmary's waiting room.
"Yo, instructor," he leered.
"The name is Quistis, you know."
"Oh, I do know," he stated simply. "Listen though, I need to talk to you about something."
"And what would that be?"
Seifer wasn't sure whether he liked the way Quistis' eyebrow was arching towards her hairline in a gesture of silent and rather snobbish disapproval, but he continued all the same.
"You have any idea what happened to my duffel bag?"
"My bag. The one I had with me in Deling City."
"Nobody mentioned anything to me about a bag when we picked you up. Didn't you take it with you when they caught you in Deling City?"
"Fuck," Seifer snarled with a sour voice, "Those knuckleheads must have left it there."
"What was in it?"
"All my clothes. I don't have anything to wear except for these things on my body. And I'm kinda starting to stink."
The tall blonde woman brought a finger to her jaw in deep thought. Suddenly, her cobalt blue eyes lit up with bright satisfaction.
"You didn't grow much since you left here last year, did you?"
"I'm not twelve anymore, Quistis. No, I didn't."
"Well, it shouldn't be a problem, then. We still have all your old clothes and belongings stored away somewhere."
Now it was Seifer's turn to arch his eyebrows, though his gesture spoke of disbelief rather than disapproval. His hand found the back of his head to scratch it and complete the picture of an utterly dumbfounded blonde gunblader.
"You still have all my things? Why? The last time I was here was when I ditched custody and went to Timber."
"That's correct. I guess not many here really expected you to come back after everything that happened. Squall said you talked to him briefly before you left on your journey with Fujin and Raijin. He told us that you'd probably go and travel around, but that he didn't ask any details of you."
Caught up in the memories, Seifer didn't realize how he was spacing out. He remembered that particular conversation only too well; he had re-played them countless times in his mind. Squall had met him at the shores of Esthar that day, one year ago, when the blonde had been ready to take on any punishment. Squall however hadn't punished him.
He had set him free...
"What do you mean, I am 'free to go wherever I want'?"
Disbelief and mistrust overshadowed the blonde man's voice as his jade green eyes slitted dangerously at the calm brunette figure next to him. The ocean was crashing against the rocks below them, breaking into white foam that oddly reminded Seifer of the fur lacing Squall Leonhart's collar. Seifer had seen it blood-stained before, tinged in the red of Squall's life, spilled by the blonde gunblader himself. He shuddered involuntarily at the memory.
"Exactly what I said. You can go or stay wherever you want, Seifer," the boy next to him said evenly, his storm cloud eyes locked upon the sea.
"Don't bullshit me, Leonhart. I committed just about every crime listed in the laws of Garden, and probably a few extra ones, too. I know I am going to be called over the coals."
"What you did wasn't by choice. You were controlled by Ultimecia, just like Edea was. You were merely Ultimecia's tool. We already punished her, no need to take it any further, neither on you, nor on matron."
"I don't believe you."
Incredibly intense eyes slowly zeroed in on Seifer, holding his mistrusting gaze. The blonde was surprised by the change that Squall had undergone. His features seemed less rash, and the iciness had yielded from his beautiful dust grey oculates. Somehow, somewhere, Squall Leonhart must have found his inner peace. With a slight and bitter jolt of his heart, Seifer could only guess the cause for that change to be Rinoa Heartilly.
"I'm leaving today. I'm going back to Balamb with the others. I only wanted to meet you here to wish you good luck and tell you that you're all set. And if you ever want to come back to Garden, you'll always be welcome."
Those words struck Seifer, and they struck hard. His eyes widened to large pools of emerald green, but Squall Leonhart's face radiated nothing but utter seriousness. There was no mock there, no hidden catch. And to make matters even more surreal, the brunette's lips curled into a tiny smile, which was more than Seifer could recall to ever have graced the younger man's ethereal features.
"Why don't you hate me...?" Seifer finally asked, lowering his head and his voice in now throbbing shame.
"I've never hated you, Seifer. I have known you almost my entire life, though the past really just came back to me a few weeks ago. I recall you being quite the jerk most of the time, but no matter what, you always respected me. And I always respected you. That hasn't changed, and it never will."
If Seifer would have trusted the moment and wouldn't have still been suspicious of talking to a clone instead of the actual Squall Leonhart he was used to, he would have allowed himself to tear up over the brunette's plain but genuinely beautiful statement. He made sure not to raise his head, just in case a tear might slip its way up after all.
"I..." he stuttered, voice coarse from the strain in his throat.
He couldn't bring himself to go on.
"I really do wish you all the best. Come visit us sometime, Seifer. And take care of yourself."
The slender figure clad in black turned away, velvet brown hair ruffled by the brisk ocean breeze. Seifer felt his presence disappearing, but he didn't dare to look up and raise his voice to a whisper for a very long time.
"You too... Squall."
"... Huh? What?"
Quistis' impatient and harsh voice tore him out of his stupor. Quickly, he re-adjusted his focus to the blonde woman who was studying his features apprehensively.
"I said that's why we still have your clothes."
"Have my clothes why?" Seifer asked blankly.
"Oh my..." Quistis sighed. "You really weren't paying attention, were you?"
"Squall told us to keep them. I actually remember when I cleared your apartment with him. He insisted on being the one to do it instead of some cadet. Frankly, I was just going to toss your clothes and your other things, but Squall forbid it. He said that some day, you'd come back, and then he wanted to hand your stuff back to you."
As much as he tried, Seifer Almasy couldn't swallow the lump caught painfully in his throat. Squall had kept all his belongings in the trust that Seifer would return some day. In his wildest dreams, the blonde hadn't imagined the stoic gunblader to do anything of the likes. For a while, he had figured that Squall Leonhart would be the first to set fire to anything that was in any way related to Seifer Almasy.
Apparently, he had been seriously mistaken.
"Anyway, come with me, I'll take you to storage and we can get your stuff."
Still fazed, he nodded blearily as she walked past him. Luckily, his long legs had no trouble keeping up with her sharp stride despite his confusion.
"Did you see him this morning?" he finally brought himself to ask, if only to cut the thick silence that was only interrupted by the sound of their boots on the marble floor.
She stopped abruptly, looking at Seifer with a meticulous eye.
"He's better, actually. Doc Kadowaki said that he had a small breakfast this morning, mumbling something about bar chants and looking like he was plotting a murder."
Seifer had to try dearly to suppress a triumphant smirk.
"What is that all about?" she asked curiously.
"Nothing. Just something I told him to make him eat."
Quistis paused for another moment, studying him with an expression that he could not place, before she nodded and continued walking.
"Whatever it was, looks like it worked," she added. "I'm impressed, Seifer. I wasn't entirely convinced that your presence would have a positive effect on Squall, but apparently it does."
"Aw, that hurts, instructor," Seifer sneered. "What kind of monster do you think I am?"
"You don't want to know," Quistis retaliated coolly.
They arrived at the Garden storage section at last. Behind a counter, a young cadet was offering Quistis a crisp salute and a slight blush that immediately revealed him as a "Trepie".
"Instructor Trepe," he stuttered in open agitation, "What can I do for you?"
For a moment, Seifer actually expected the nervous young man to recognize him and drop dead or at least unconscious, but he was disappointed. He couldn't know that Jordan Beel hadn't been admitted until much after Almasy's time, and obviously the young cadet had never taken a close look at Edea's sorceress knight during his prime.
"Yes, I need something out of storage, Jordan. The boxes of Almasy, Seifer."
Finally, Seifer received the expected reaction. The young boy's eyes widened to the size of dinner plates and the blush faded from his face, leaving it pale and bleached of any sign of life. Immediately, Seifer's lips curled into a deliberately evil smirk that was oozing with satisfaction.
"Al...al..." the boy stuttered.
"That's right, Almasy, former sorceress knight and SeeD slayer, pleased to meet you!" Seifer exclaimed sarcastically, even going so far as taking a slight bow.
Even if it hadn't seemed possible, Jordan's face grew distinctly whiter, now being devoid of all color. Quistis snarled angrily at Seifer's side.
"That's enough, Seifer! Don't mind him, Jordan, he's an idiot. Could you bring me those boxes, please?" she said with the sweetest of smiles.
Still slightly shook up, the boy nodded and retreated into the storage hall behind his desk. Quistis seized the chance to glare up at ever-smirking Seifer Almasy.
"That wasn't very sensible."
"Sorry, was just too tempting. I've had this happen to me for almost a year now, it gets old."
For once, his words made sense to her, and she refrained from scolding him any further. She wouldn't have had much of a chance, anyway, since Jordan returned balancing two huge boxes stacked high in his arms. He dropped them onto the counter, desperately avoiding Seifer's sharp gaze.
"This is all I could find."
"That looks right to me. It was only two boxes, from what I remember. Thanks, Jordan."
The frail boy nodded eagerly, while at the same time pulling back to escape into the storage hall and out of Seifer Almasy's reach. The blonde merely chuckled.
"Well, I'll leave you to your things," Quistis said finally.
"Where are ya going?" he inquired, for a lack of more interesting things to do.
"To the training hall. I have to look for something."
"Oh yeah, like what?"
"Squall's gunblade. It got lost during his fight with the T-rex. We haven't been able to find it yet."
"You can't find his LionHeart? Are you kidding? No wonder he's suicidal, that sword means his life to him."
"Don't be ridiculous, he just lost it a few days ago. Aside from that, we're going to find it again."
Seifer merely shrugged and pulled the boxes off the counter smoothly.
"Right, if you say so. I'm gonna take these to my room."
"Okay. Are you going to visit Squall again?"
"Yeah, I suppose. I'll check on him after breakfast."
"Okay," she nodded, "I'll see you later, then."
He watched her disappear, his face slanted to a dark frown.
'Those fucking retards. Can't find his damn gunblade, how stupid do you have to be?'
Though he tried to squash it ruthlessly, a thought slowly rose in the midst of his mind. Even the fact that he almost tripped with his arms full of boxes and landed square on his face couldn't stop an idea from steadily forming in his head. He sighed deeply at the realization, something he had done strangely often ever since he had arrived at Balamb Garden.
'Almasy, you are becoming too damn soft for your own good.'
=To be continued!=
Return to Archive | next | previous