He was warm and cold. But mostly warm. He didn’t see to well, it was to light. His mouth tasted of dust. It was something he missed, wasn’t it? He couldn’t figure it out, but it was something… He whimpered and rubbed his forehead. Where was he? Where was Master? No! Seifer! Seifer. He wanted to be named Seifer. Important. Of course he wanted to be named Seifer! His name was Seifer. Squall whimpered again. Hurt. He couldn’t focus. Everything was a swirling mass he couldn’t form. He whined. Something was missing. Warmth! Warmth, where was warmth! “’eifer!” he cried and reached for the tall man. Seifer halted and looked back, not smiling. Squall whined and clutched hard at the gray clothed arm. He sobbed when all whirling thoughts and the mass inside of him hurt. Confused. “Master, don’t leave,” he could feel how Master got angry by the way his body froze. Why? What had he done? Squall whimpered and started crying. He didn’t want Master to be angry. It hurt. He yelped when the man stroked a hand through his hair, expecting pain. “No, not ‘Master’, Squall. Seifer. Remember?” The man murmured and Squall blinked a little. Then he nodded. “Seifer,” important. Seifer wanted to be called “Seifer”. He nodded again and they soon started walking yet again, Squall clutching to Seifers side. [Seifer]
It didn’t take more than a few steps until Squall slowly let go of him and drifted away. He stayed close, just a few steps beside or behind Seifer. He was soon whimpering and muttering things Seifer couldn’t hear. Seifer only sighed when Squall made a shrieking noise and yet again clutched hard at Seifers arm. It was worse, much worse. What had happened? Yesterday, Squall had seemed fine. Today, he was all… weird. Squall had started this… the moment they had wakened. Seifer couldn’t even see any pattern in this behavior. Except that Squall slowly drifted away only to somehow return. Seifer didn’t know how many times he had to remind the boy about Seifer’s name. Squall let go of him again. Seifer stretched after him to take him back, needing to somehow breaking the pattern. : : No! : : The order made black sports blink in front of his eyes and he had to stop to hang his head and rest his hands at his knees. Shiva swirled in his head like some icy wind. : : Fuck! Bitch! : : He panted, but couldn’t form more coherent sentences. She got the point anyway. : : Leave him be : : She said in a very steady voice. Nothing of that purring or murmuring she so loved could be found in her voice. Seifer gritted his teeth and straightened. : : What about you leaving me the fuck alone! : : He growled back. He was still spooked when she, out of the blue, would speak to him. She looked at him and he could almost see, and definitely feel, her piercing, icy eyes. : : Child need time alone : : Her only answer was. Seifer was about to growl something back. “Seifer!” Squall again clutched his arm in a death grip. But this time he was sobbing violently and trembling all over. Seifer embraced the shaking form. “Hush. It’s alright, Squall,” he murmured, believing it was just an ordinary sob attack. Squall whimpered and sobbed and buried his face against the hollow of Seifer's throat. : : Need time alone, huh? You think he looks like he need time alone? : : He sneered at the Guardian Force. She only swirled around without answering. She studied them both, but kept swirling around and saying nothing. Suddenly Squall shrieked and clutched his head. He was tossing his head from side to side and clawing at his hair. Seifer didn’t have the time to catch him when his legs went out under him. They both kneeled at the ground. “Squall?” he asked but the brunet wouldn’t answer. He only kept weeping and screaming, trembling like a leaf in the wind. Nothing Seifer said or did seemed to get through to the panicked boy. Panic started to rose inside of Seifer. What was happening? What made Squall snap like this? What was Seifer to do? “Shit!” he swore to himself as Squall violently twisted and cried like he was being beaten. “Squall. Easy. It’s all right, nothing’s gonna hurt you,” he tried, but Squall seemed to be off in some daytime nightmare. : : Help me! : : He begged the Guardian Force swirling inside his head. Shiva kept floating around. Seifer cursed again when the GF didn’t seem to want to help him. He sat down at the ground and tried capturing Squall in his arms. He could always hope that whatever attack this was, soon would be over. If he only were patient. : : Stroke the small of his back : : Shiva whispered. Seifer was breaths away from sneering her off, but caught himself. To steady the brunet he caught Squall’s shoulders with one hand and pressed the agitated body against him. When he started stroking the back, Shiva started humming in his head. It was a soft melody that he somehow recognized. A lullaby of some sort. Seifer found himself soon humming with her. In a long time Squall didn’t seem to change. But then he slowly stopped thrashing and then stopped screaming. He was soon only sobbing, trembling, and rocking in Seifer’s embrace. Squall snuggled in under Seifer’s chin and whined loudly. Seifer’s other hand, that now didn’t need to hold the brunet, started stroking and massaging the brown hair and delicate neck. Slowly the agitated sobs started to subside. They both rocked slowly, like you would a baby. Squall kept whining, but it was getting fainter by the second. Seifer didn’t know how long he sat there humming and stroking. Oddly enough, it didn’t feel very long. He sort of swayed away, just like Squall seemed to do. Shiva’s lullaby felt so familiar and calm. It felt as if nothing in the entire world could harm anyone of them. He wondered, in some part of his brain that wasn’t dazed, if this was why Squall loved her so. If it was like this the GF had calmed her child and given him strength where everyone else were failing. Then he wondered if it was like this she had dazed him and made him forget what had happened. Seifer opened eyes he hadn’t realized closing. Squall was breathing evenly against his throat. Dried tears making his cheeks rough and cold in the gentle wind. Shiva was silent in his head, as he was, but he kept to gently rock Squall. Shiva was still present, like she knew he wanted to ask. He wondered how he hadn’t come to think of it before. : : Were you with him? : : He asked, faint even in his own head. If she had, she could tell him what had happened. Shiva kept swirling around, but she didn’t need to vocalize the answer. He knew she had been. Seifer swallowed and rubbed his cheek against soft, brown hair. : : Did you sing that for him? : : He was glad he could have this conversation in his head, his voice hadn’t worked too well. : : Child was hurting. Our Lion needed comfort : : She whispered back and the hurt and sadness in her made him want to cry. : : What… What happened? : : He wondered in a whisper. A part of him really didn’t want to know. Another part wanted to know so he could find someone to blame and hunt down. Maybe cut the head off someone and show it to Squall. Show him he didn’t need to be afraid anymore. Shiva was silent but he could somehow feel she wanted to say something. Maybe she didn’t know how? He could feel her agitation and how she twisted in frustration inside his head. Heh. Maybe Squall had gotten his more than less social skills from the Ice Queen? : : Ifrit Child good for Lion Cub. Stay : : She hummed and Seifer sighed. Give it to a GF to talk in riddles. He nodded out of reflex. The Galbadian wind stirred a cloud of dust. ****** It was past midnight when he walked into the town of Dollet. The sky was clear and the stars shone beside the bright moon. It took a longer amount of time to find Raijin and Fuujin’s house than he first had thought it would take. Squall was sleeping in his hold and Seifer was carrying him like a child. A leg at each side, an arm at each shoulder and his head resting at one shoulder with his face snuggled against Seifer’s throat. At first he had been terrified at Squall’s lightness, but had then reminded himself that he was GF enchanted. And Squall had been lying in bed for a long time and before that he had been tricky with food. He knocked at the wooden door three times. A little bronze sign stated that Raijin and Fuujin lived there. He knocked again, a little harder. Squall whined and curled up more against him when the warmth of Seifer’s arm left him. He hushed out of instinct, but Squall only kept sleeping. A light was lit on the second floor. Soon light flooded the hallway. “It better be somethin’ important, or I’ll knock yer ass halfway to Deling!” Seifer actually smiled at the gruff voice that could be heard through the thick door. The door was yanked open and if Seifer hadn’t been Seifer, the look on Raijin’s face would have scared him off. Instead he smiled up at the baffled face. Waite a moment. Up? “Hyne, Raijin. If you don’t stop growing someone will mistake you for a ogre.” “Seifer? What in Hyne’s arse are ya doin’ here?” Raijin barked with his baritone voice, face lightening up in a bright smile. “I was kinda in the neighborhood, thought I could come visit,” he answered as Raijin eyed his burden. Something in the almost black eyes sifted and Seifer swallowed. It was a look he hadn’t seen in Raijin’s face before and he couldn’t place it. The cheerful face also tightened, getting stern and hard. “You going to let me inside?” Seifer said sharp and he could have kicked himself. That had been the “Knight’s” voice, but Raijin shortly nodded and stepped out of the way. The hallway was narrow and packed with things from clothes to fishing things and weapons. There were an open space in the left wall that lead to the kitchen, Seifer assumed. Then there were two doors more, one at the right side and one further down the left. Furthest away there was a stair. At the second step Fuujin stood with weapon in hand. “Hello, Fu,” he greeted and she only nodded, red eye glowing. Swallowing he turned to Raijin, who had closed and locked the door again. The dark eyes were studying him and he still couldn’t place that look in the man’s face. He tried smiling, but felt it was only a grimace. Hyne. What was this? He felt so wrong and… guilty all of a sudden. And tired. Bone tired. “I know I haven’t kept in touch that much…” he tried and heard he didn’t sound as sure as he wanted to. “We’ve heard things, ya know,” Raijin said shortly and Seifer snapped his mouth shut. Of course. Stupid Seifer. Of course they would contact his former posse. He could have beaten himself up that moment, but he was too tired to even get indignant at himself. He closed his eyes. Maybe he couldn’t trust his formed posse anymore? After all, they tried to live a normal life. He’d heard it went well for them and they were liked in the town. They couldn’t mingle with people like him, especially not if he just had kidnapped a president’s son. “Look, I can explain…” he started only to get cut off by Fuujin coming up by him and placing a hand at Squall’s exposed neck. “BED.” She had the same stern voice as always. Seifer only nodded. The second floor was so low in the ceiling Seifer had to bend sometimes. He wondered how Raijin could live like that. It seemed to have been an attic they had rebuilt to accommodate a couple of rooms. Most likely some bedrooms and storerooms. The guestroom was very simple. A narrow bed and one small drawer. Guessed they didn’t have many guests. But it was more than enough for one sleeping Squall. When he put Squall down the brunet whined in his sleep and succeeded with grabbing Seifer’s trenchcoat in a baby grip. Seifer only slipped it off and wrapped Squall in it before wrapping the bed cover around the bundle. He stroked a couple of bangs out of the pale face. What if he really had been wrong? What if he had destroyed Squall forever with his own strong beliefs? Should he just give it up and see to that Squall got back to Esthar? : : And lock him in the machine? : : Shiva suddenly growled. Seifer held himself from jumping, but hissed in breath through clenched teeth. It was like icicles gritting against each other, what with her angry swirling and growling. It subsided quickly but she was still angrily flying around. Glowering at him, hissing and flapping around. : : No. Guess you’re right : : He answered to calm her. She drew back with a growl. And here he thought he was protective. “Changed,” Fuujin suddenly said and actually held a normal conversation tone. He looked at Squall before standing up. “Yeah, you two too,” he replied. He followed her down. In the kitchen Raijin already had tea on the table. Something that smelled and looked like whiskey was poured in the cups. His two friends had really changed. Raijin hadn’t only grown as tall as Ward, if not taller, he was sure the man weighed as much as a bull, too. His attitude seemed different too, calmer. Matured. Fuujin also. She was smoother in her movements. Calm and more confident in her body that hadn’t grown at the length but her forms had been sculpted a bit more. She too had the air of being matured and… calm. With a sting he wondered if he had been the one making them so… immature and unsecured. He hesitated in the doorway. What right had he to ask anything of them? He had already inflicted so much damage and pain to them both. “What’s ya standin’ there for? Place yer ass down,” Raijin suddenly said and Seifer felt himself following the order. His cup was being filled with hot tea and the sheer smell of it made some knot in his neck loosen. How could one be so utter tired? He hadn’t done something! Just walked all day carrying a dead weight. And that was nothing to a SeeD. It was a difference when you had to walk seven miles in less than two hours, fighting off monsters on your way and carrying all those healing equipment and stuff. Of course you were GF enchanted then but so was he now. “Is it true ya kidnapped tha’ kid?” Raijin asked and Seifer snapped out of his thoughts. “No,” he answered sure, but hesitated the second after. Had he? Squall wasn’t capable to make decisions. He was foolishly trusting Seifer because they had a past behind them, surely. He sighed heavily and told them the story. From the day Irvine and Selphie had told him he had to do something about Squall, because they couldn’t. ***** A can of tea and a couple of sandwiches later, Seifer went silent. He felt drained. So much had happened. Somewhere in the middle of his story, Shiva had crept up in his consciousness again. Maybe she, too, listened to the story? He hadn’t told them about the junction yet. That… they really didn’t need to know, right? Shiva snorted at him, but said nothing. The two others were silent. Looking at each other and off in the distance. Almost as if they could speak to each other like GFs and their caretakers. Fuujin looked at him, her red eye eyeing him like he was transparent. “What will you do?” Seifer actually blinked at that. He had never heard her talk… normally. But he was more shocked at that he was surprised by hearing her voice, than she actually talking normally. He had never really heard her talking like that. That felt… sad. “I… sort of hoped you two could give us a ride to Shumi village,” he answered lowly. They both looked at him. Raijin sighed. “Seifer, buddy, our boat is quite small. Cramped space, ya know?” He said slowly and Seifer nodded, half expecting somewhere that they couldn’t help him. “Could Squall manage that? We are talking about a week’s sailing, if the weather is good,” Fuujin continued and Seifer brightened up before getting dark thoughts again. What if Squall got an attack like that again? He hadn’t thought that far. Crap! : : Lion will manage : : Shiva murmured. : : How can you be so sure? And who said you have any say in this matter? : : He grumbled, but knew he was just whiny. And Shiva knew that because she snickered in his head. “He can,” he answered and Fuujin nodded. “It will take a day for us to gather supplies and weather calculations… and we ought to rebuild the boat,” she said in a voice that reminded him much about Quistis when she held a briefing. “Ya just lay low and take care of tha’ kid,” Raijin said with a smile. Seifer was about to tell him Squall wasn’t a kid when a muffled wailing could be heard. He sighed. Shiva started to tingle in his head, but he didn’t need her to tell him that it was Squall that had woken. The wail rose again together with what Seifer thought was his name. “Excuse me,” he said lowly. Raijin only waved him away. “G’night,” he said after him when Seifer took the stair two steps at a time.
Continue ~ Reveiw