Stitch In Time
By Scarlet Fever
So much had happened since Squall, Rinoa and Zell had arrived at Balamb to warn the students about the missiles that Seifer and Edea had launched. The Garden could fly, the students and faculty had been at war because of Headmaster NORG, Edea and Cid were husband and wife, Edea was searching for someone named Ellone, and they were floating in the middle of the ocean because they didn’t know how to pilot the Garden.
Edea and Cid? Zell asked himself, staring up at the ceiling. He had been sullen since their battle with NORG, a Shumi who’s evolved state looked like Jabba the Hutt. He didn’t really have anything to do, and felt lonely. He had wandered around aimlessly, chit-chatting with students, but he knew that they couldn’t fill the empty ache in his stomach. Only Seifer could do that. Now, Zell was in Seifer's room, laying on the bed. It was the closest thing to being around the tall blonde, and being surrounded by Seifer's possessions made Zell feel better.
"Come and yell at me for laying on your bed, Seifer…." Zell whispered, closing his eyes. The smell of Seifer's shampoo, and the base smell of his soft flesh, still hung on the sheets. Zell rolled over, burying his face in the pillow. Seifer had always been around, as long as Zell could remember, like a nasty virus that wouldn’t go away, that hovered in your bloodstream, and just like a virus, Seifer had begun to take over Zell’s body, invading his cells. And now that Seifer was gone, Zell would have given anything to be infected again, to have every cell in his body be possessed by Seifer. "I miss you…."
That was the first time that Zell had actually admitted that he missed Seifer. The time lapse hadn’t actually been that long, but it seemed like an eternity, a span of time that could never be breached. And, emotionally, the time was immeasurable. They had all gone through so many life changes, and so many things had changed around them. Nothing would ever be the same again. Zell looked over at the clock on the nightstand. He had lost track of time, but didn’t really care. It felt right somehow to be in Seifer's bed. He closed his eyes, curling up. He was totally oblivious to someone entering the room.
He sat up, hearing his name. He found himself looking into one red eye, and the darkness of an eyepatch. "Fujin?"
He sighed. "I know that."
She crossed her bare, muscular arms over her chest. Zell was surprised at how lean the seemingly diminutive, silver-haired woman was. Her muscles were always hidden under that blue coat she always wore. Now, she had taken it off, and was wearing a black tank top. A frown creased her pale forehead as she tried to read Zell’s expression. "WHAT?"
"Oh……" A sad, lonely look passed through Zell’s eyes. He turned away from Fujin’s laser glare, a blush coloring his cheeks. It reminded Fujin of the sad looks that she would sometimes catch in Seifer's icy eyes. She sat on the edge of the bed beside Zell.
"It’s okay. I miss him, too."
Zell looked over at her, surprised. "Uh…"
She cocked her head, her shaggy hair falling over one pale cheek. Zell never noticed it before, but Fujin was actually quite lovely. Her features were sharp and aquiline, while her skin was smooth marble. Her eye was a deep Garnet colour that looked like a precious gem. Zell wondered why she didn’t have more men after her. Maybe because of Raijin….
"I can see it on your face, Zell. Besides, your laying in Seifer's bed."
Zell sighed, only now realizing that Fujin wasn’t using her typical broken way of speaking. "I do miss him. I never thought I’d say that about Seifer. What are you doing in here?"
"Looking for my watch. Have you seen it?"
"No, but I can’t say I’ve been looking for it…"
"I must have left it in Raijin’s room…."
Zell smirked. "So, what’s up with you two?"
"What do you mean?" Fujin raised her eyebrow over the patch over her eye.
"I don’t know. I guess I kinda got the vibe that you two were together."
Fujin flushed. "WHAT?!" She settled down. "Well, I like him. A lot. I keep trying to give him signals, but he’s too stupid to notice." She said this with affection in her commanding voice.
"I guess you should be more direct…." Zell trailed off, thinking that Seifer and he sure as hell had been direct. He sighed sadly.
"I have to say that I’m surprised at you, Zell."
"Well, that you care about Seifer. I didn’t know you two had finally gotten together."
Zell’s ears perked up. "Finally? What do you mean?"
She narrowed her crimson eye. "That Seifer's been pining over you for as long as I can remember, and you actually feel the same way, that you’re finally together…."
A wave of affection washed over Zell. To hear that Seifer had wanted him for so long made his heart melt. But then the sadness that had been plaguing him all day set in. "We’re not together…."
"Why not? If you didn’t care, you sure as hell wouldn’t be in here."
"So much has happened. Seifer's working for the Sorceress."
"I know," Fujin answered, her tone darkening. She couldn’t say that she was surprised, but it had surprised her greatly when she had heard that Seifer was the one who had launched missiles at the Garden. The Sorceress must have done something to him…. "Look, Zell… Raijin and I are leaving Garden as soon as it lands. We’re going to find Seifer. He needs us. He needs you……"
"I have duties already. I have to stop the Sorceress."
"With Squall, you mean. Yes, I know. Hopefully Raijin and I can convince him to stop this retardedness."
"I hope you can, too. Seifer may have been a real prick, but he’s done so many things in the name of being Edea’s ‘Knight’ that I know he would never normally do…. I guess this was his ‘romantic’ dream, or whatever…."
Fujin sighed quietly. "No, I don’t think it was. You know, Seifer always puts up a defensive wall around himself, and I think that his real dream was to be able to tear it down and let someone in. All Seifer really wants is to be needed, to be wanted."
"Rinoa needed him…." Zell muttered, jealousy coated his words.
"Ah, yes, Rinoa. She may have needed him, but she didn’t really. Someone who needs a bodyguard isn’t the same thing. Plus, she’s a woman…. Seifer never actually said that he wanted you to me, you know."
"Then how do you know?"
"Because you told me."
Zell flushed. "Then, why did you say it?!"
"I may only have one eye, but I can see. Seifer could try to hide his love for you all he wanted, but I knew, deep down, I knew. You only verbally confirmed it."
"Love?" Zell asked, more to himself. "Seifer actually does love me?"
"That’s something you should ask him, don’t you think?"
Zell nodded dully, remaining silent.
Fujin stood, reaching out to pat Zell’s shoulder. Her touch was surprisingly gentle and warm. "Don’t give up on him. Life can be a bitch and blah, blah, blah. I’m not good at being warm and fuzzy…"
Zell smiled at her. "Actually, you’ve cheered me up."
"Glad I could help. But, let’s keep this between us… I have a reputation to live up to, ya know?!" Fujin muttered, making her voice sound like Raijin’s.
Zell laughed. "Don’t worry. You’ll be a bitch in everyone’s eyes but mine…"
"RAGE," she answered gently before leaving.
So, Seifer's in love with you? Maybe he is. Both Rinoa and Fujin seem to think so. Zell looked down at his feet sadly, his gaze caught by a black and white clipping, which was sticking out of a hard covered, black book. What caught Zell’s attention was that it was him. He felt sort of bad for snooping in Seifer's stuff, but his curiosity won out. The book was slightly worn at the edges from use. At first, Zell thought that it was a novel, but realized it was a sketchbook. The grainy photograph of himself was acting as a bookmark. Zell opened the book carefully, not wanting to lose the page. The image itself was a newspaper clipping. It must have been recent, because it was talking about Zell’s SeeD graduation. It touched Zell to know that Seifer had cut it out.
He was about to put the book down when he looked at one of the pages. It was a drawing, which had been done in red pencil, and it was of Zell. It looked like he was in Quistis’s classroom, and he was staring ahead, bored. Zell’s lips parted in surprise, for it looked like a sketchy photograph. It looked just like him. Had Seifer drawn this?
"I didn’t know you could draw…." Zell murmured, flipping through the book. Actually, half the drawings were of Zell, depicting moments in time that Zell could actually remember only happening for mere moments, and yet Seifer had drawn them. There was a really nice picture of him, Squall and Quistis, talking about something in the quad. Zell could remember it happening, but his memory was bad. There was one drawing that made Zell stop completely. It was of a woman, fantastical and dark looking, with pale hair, strange markings on her face, and black angel wings. There was something about her that made Zell narrow his eyes, like he had seen her before, which was sort of dumb, because he would have remembered someone who looked like that. He looked closer, and noticed that her pupils were in the shape of hourglasses, like Edea’s had been. The date on the drawing was from a couple of months ago, so it seemed odd that he would capture what Edea’s eyes had looked like.
He flipped the page again. It was an image of Seifer and himself. Seifer was sitting, his trenchcoat spread around him, slumped against Zell’s leg. He had a bloodied hole in his chest where his heart was supposed to be. Zell was standing beside Seifer, smiling down at him, Seifer's arm wound around his leg, the bloody heart in the small blonde’s hand, blood pouring down his wrist. The image itself was dark in mood, but the look that Seifer had drawn on his own face was one of pure happiness, looking up at Zell with endless devotion. Zell quickly replaced the clipping, snapping the book shut. He felt like he was invading Seifer's innermost soul, all his most private feelings. He gently put the book back where he found it, curling up on the bed again.
You have to come and yell at me for looking through your stuff…. Zell mentally challenged. Despite the fact that the book only contained pencil lines on paper, he felt like he had actually seen what Seifer was for the first time… Well, the second time. Zell closed his eyes as the few lucid flashes of his night in Seifer's arms passed through his mind. This ‘Sorceress’s Knight’, Edea’s lackey, the cruel person Seifer had seemed to become couldn’t be the real Seifer. He wouldn’t believe that the man who had so willingly given himself to Zell could actually want to destroy Garden, kill all SeeDs, and torture Squall. He wouldn’t believe it.
Zell sighed, staring up at the ceiling again. Seifer's bed felt warm, the sheets around him a ghostly reminder of Seifer himself. Zell wanted to share this bed with Seifer, share the bed in his dorm room, share his bed in Balamb with Seifer, just feeling the other’s warm flesh against his as even the mere presence of each other lulled them into content sleep. The small blonde felt a tugging at his heart, a small pain that was the epicenter of a tremor of warmth, rushing across Zell’s body. He felt unshed tears pricking at the corners of his eyes. He sighed again, whispering to nobody in particular:
"Seifer, I think I just fell in love with you…."
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