Disclaimer: I do not own anything related to the Final Fantasy series. They belong to Squaresoft.
Before you read on, I would like to point you to my site www.cross-roads.de/sxs.html because you will find a wonderful piece of art there made by the ever so talented artist K. K painted the scene of Squall and Seifer in chapter 29!!! Yes, it's chapter 29 visualized, so to say! And it's SO damn good! I have K's permission to share this with all of you, and I am sure you will like it as much as I do, because it is simply amazing. I teared up when I saw it.
K, thank you so much!
Let Me Make It Alright
Chapter 30: One Wish
By Angry Angel
Laden with shock, Quistis Trepe's voice quivered through the main hall of Balamb Garden. As she clutched both of her hands in front of her mouth, the two security officers at her side snapped their sights to the blonde instructor in confusion. Rinoa, Laguna, Zell and Cid however, had followed Quistis' wide-eyed cobalt gaze to the entrance. Admitted through electronically hissing doors that had been closed to ward off the thunderstorm, stepped a gloomy figure that they didn't even recognize at first sight. He was tall, his golden hair dark, wet and glued to his skin, his green eyes grave and distant as he stopped short in his pace, causing the two huge swords at his sides to thud softly against his thighs. He looked as if he had just fought off death and demons, with every fibre of his being a knight and anchor to the frail figure he was cradling in his arms so protectively. His watchful emerald gaze lifted from the motionless body in his embrace and connected with the people staring at him.
The uniformed men at Quistis' side flipped their weapons up immediately and cocked their fingers around the triggers, but the instructor extended an arm in a sharp halting gesture. The tirade of reprehension, condemnation and discomposure she had originally prepared for Seifer died clean on her tongue at the sight of Squall Leonhart's limp body.
"No, leave him! He... he has..."
The spiky-haired martial artist at her side lunged forward, closely followed by Rinoa, Laguna and the director of Balamb Garden himself. Not a single word escaped Seifer Almasy's lips at their approach, but his eyes bore like lucid flames into the sea green depths of Laguna Loire. For the first time in his life, Seifer truly, and bare of any mind control, wanted to kill for the mere purpose of ruining somebody's life and seeing them suffer. The muscles of his hands contracted, and only the lifeless body they were so carefully holding, restrained him from snapping the president of Esthar's neck that very moment.
"Oh Hyne, is he... please tell me he's not..."
Arduously, Seifer managed to funnel his attention towards Quistis, who still held the fingers of one hand in front of her mouth as she shakingly pushed past her friends and visitors and stopped before him. Her face was as white as Squall's.
"No," the brawny male finally managed to press through gritted teeth, "he's alive."
Again, his gaze found Laguna's, and he was sickened to his core by the relief he could read in them. He didn't even want to look at Rinoa, who appeared to be crying at his side. Instead, he watched how Quistis closed in on him and leaned over Squall's unconscious frame.
"He's only passed out," she sighed softly when her experienced eye had taken in every detail of her commander's body, "thank Hyne... Seifer, what happened? Where did you find him? And what... happened to his hands?"
He looked at Squall. The brunette was slack in his arms, pale lids closed over his beautiful eyes, looking more vulnerable than ever. There was no way he was going to tell them what exactly had happened. It was none of their business.
"I found him in the fire grotto forest. I took him back here and he passed out in the car. He's hypothermic and he's going to catch pneumonia if he doesn't get out of these wet clothes immediately."
Seifer kept his voice blank and matter-of-factly, summoning all his remaining bits of strength to mask his own emotions. He was overflowing with hate, anger, love, despair and nausea at the sight of Laguna and his new love. Despite the cold, he felt contemptuous heat rising in his body. He had to get away from those people as quickly as possible, for his own sake and for Squall's.
They turned at the sound of Sybil Kadowaki's voice, who came running towards them as quickly as she could. Seifer's grasp tightened around Squall's body, as if that was to save them both from the things that were to come. Deep down, he knew what was going to happen. They were going to take Squall away from him and then he would be locked up in a cell again for what he had done. He'd be alone as he had always been, an outcast and a mischief. Only barely, he managed to suppress a shiver that threatened to errupt and rock his body.
"Let me see," Kadowaki said sternly, already standing before him.
Her hands grasped Squall's and she took a closer look at the deep flesh wounds, which were still oozing blood. Instantaneously, her face changed and she cast a wry look at Seifer. She stared at him intently for a moment, but said nothing. There was no accusation or chastisement in her eyes, which surprised Seifer.
Eventually, she broke their eye contact and quietly curled her fingers around Squall's narrow wrist to take his pulse.
"He's alright," she summed up sternly as she placed Squall's hand back in his lap, "but he needs to be warmed up quickly, he's cold as ice. He has been out there for way too long, and you too, Seifer, you are wet to the bone."
Everybody there saw how Seifer suddenly clutched Squall's frail frame even tighter, not giving a damn anymore about what everyone else thought. Something inside of him was crying out for them not to take Squall away. The SeeD's cold and lifeless body was the only comfort Seifer had left. He wanted to protect that small guy and be something for him that neither of them had ever thought possible. That was all he wanted.
"Please," he finally whispered croakily, "I know I'll get locked up in a cell for what I did... but let me take care of him first... please."
Kadowaki and Cid exchanged thunderstruck glances at the pleading and miserable look in Seifer's eyes. Neither of them knew what had come to pass in the fire grotto forest and how Squall had ended up hurt, but neither of them had also ever seen Seifer Almasy begging for anything in his entire life. He was not the same man that had left Balamb Garden to become a hero and had ended up as the world's greatest outlaw. Many would have said that Seifer himself had proved their point that evening, that he had acted coldly and mercilessly and that he ought to be locked away, but the blonde's eyes belied his actions. Whatever he had done had obviously happened for the sake of the shattered brunette figure in his arms, and after all, Cid's top priority had always been rehabilitation, never punishment.
"As you wish," the director finally answered the heartwarming plea.
"Take him to your room," the doctor added, "Squall has all necessary first aid equipment. I trust you with his wounds, I know you have grown to be quite a skilled healer."
Breathing a sigh of relief, Seifer nodded. He couldn't care less what they would do to him later on, as long as they wouldn't take Squall from him. He could even shut out the incoherent mumbles of the security officers, who were obviously outraged at the idea of a maniac such as Seifer Almasy running loose after he had broken a man's nose and stolen expensive Garden property. Fact was, the blonde hadn't stolen anything. The jeep was parked outside the front gate. Not that he really fooled himself into believing that it would make any difference. It didn't even matter. He had saved Squall, and he would gladly pay the price for that rescue.
"Come on," Cid said, jabbing his chin in the general directions of the dormitories. "Sybil and I will take you there."
He threw Quistis a meaningful look, who understood immediately and started to whisper to Laguna and Rinoa as she placed her arms around both of them and tried to usher them away. Neither of them looked very pleased, and Laguna started into a loud and angry tirade that the younger woman at his side only too willingly joined.
Seifer didn't notice any of it; he was already too busy carrying Squall to their apartment with the utmost care that his freezing and tired muscles could gather. Cid and Kadowaki walked by his side all the while without saying a word. The blonde figured that they were probably just accompanying him for the possibility that he'd simply crumple under the burden of Squall's body in his momentary feeble condition. If he wouldn't have been so cold, he probably would have laughed bitterly. Exhausted, hypothermic and burned out or not, as long as there was still a spark of life in him he would have never dropped Squall. Ever.
He was thankful nonetheless when they finally reached their room and Cid opened the door by punching a generic security code into the locking device. Under Kadowaki's watchful gaze, Seifer stepped inside and carefully placed Squall's limp frame onto the bed. When the younger man's weight left his arms, Seifer had difficulties unclenching his muscles that had cramped painfully under the cold and the strain. Still, he managed not to crack the smallest of frowns.
"Are you going to be alright alone?"
He turned to look at the Garden's physician and nodded edgily, trying to summon a self-assured smile. He failed.
"Make sure to keep both of you warm, Seifer."
Seifer nodded again, not trusting his voice to answer. Even in the warmth of the school building, he was still freezing and had to try hard to suppress the shudders that threatened to wreck his body.
"Call me if anything is wrong," she continued, then turned to Cid. "He can handle it. This isn't the first time he has done this. Let's leave them alone."
Cid seemed slightly unconvinced, but the resolute woman managed to usher him outside with decisive gentleness, letting the door hiss closed behind them. Seifer sighed and dropped his head and his flamingly aching arms, finally allowing himself to wince slightly at the pain. He knew that if he had shown only the slighest sign of weakness, somebody else would be taking care of Squall now, and that awareness alone was worth all the effort.
He unfastened LionHeart and Hyperion to drop them onto a dresser away from the bed, and then slowly peeled his wet shirt from his rain slicked upper body, shuddering immediately as the freezing fabric left his skin. He had never been that cold in his entire life; the chill had taken possession of his inside as well as his out. Millions of needles were piercing his skin, and he couldn't fight the need to hug himself anymore. Trembling, his hands rubbed his upper arms and he breathed sharply through bluish lips. Before he was even able to turn his attention back to Squall, a wanly voice cut the silence that had only been interrupted by the shattering of his teeth.
=To be continued!=
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