The past four hours had been a blur. He’d contacted the medics of the Royal Hospital of Esthar. When he’d tried to explain the situation it had felt surreal to say, “Squall Leonhart had a kind of mental breakdown”. That, he thought, had been the beginning of this nightmare. Somehow, he’d untangled himself from Squall, who that had whimpered and pleaded for him to not go and in the next breath not to hurt him. Somehow, he’d gotten them both clothed before the doctors got up there. A nice, blue-haired woman had said she was the nice little psychologist there. While the four other doctors only scared the shit out of Squall she was able to at least sit beside them. Squall had clung to him like a child and shyly glanced at the friendly smiling woman. Seifer had felt like a spectator when he answered questions about Squall that Squall himself couldn’t answer. It wasn’t real. Squall Leonhart wasn’t one to have a breakdown. Even if the blue-haired lady was very nice and patient she declared that Squall wasn’t responsive enough to help right now. That he was in some kind of “post-traumatic shock” and that he very well didn’t know where he was, who he was, who they were or why any of them was there. Shortly put it, it was better to put Squall to sleep. So while Seifer held a wildly kicking and screaming Squall the nurses shot him full with sedatives and whatever else. Then Squall, whimpering and twitching, slowly dropped down to sleep in Seifer’s arms. When they wanted to take him from Seifer, Seifer had refused. Instead he carried the deadweight down to the hospital in the palace. The blue-haired lady was with them all the time and kept asking questions and silently explaining things. Somewhere in Seifer’s brain, he registered the information and he answered and asked questions himself. But the important and vital part of him was a spectator up in the ceiling. Reluctantly he’d, let the medics take over once they were down in the hospital. They had put Squall in some brain-scanning machine of some kind. He stood outside and looked into the room as they did whatever doctors and nurses do to a mentally ill, unconscious person. Later Irvine and Selphie joined him, the cheerful girl silent. After an hour, the blue-hair woman was finished with whatever she did and Squall was moved to a silent, white hospital room. Nobody was allowed in. Some time later than that Laguna came down, a worried blur to Seifer. Now, four hours later, Seifer still couldn’t grasp what was happening. How much pain had Squall kept inside of himself for it to… explode like this? What had he endured that had made him like this? Why hadn’t it happened sooner? Was any of it Seifer’s fault? Had he pushed to hard? Had he triggered something too early, before Squall was ready to handle it? “I’ll have to talk to him once he wakes up.” Seifer jerked back to reality and turned around. They were all gathered around a table. Laguna, Kiros, Ward, Irvine, Selphie and the blue-haired woman Seifer couldn’t remember the name of. He slowly stepped closer. “What exactly happened?” Laguna wondered in a surprising steady voice. The woman opened her mouth but shut it and looked at Seifer. “Well… You ought to know that better than me,” she said quietly. Seifer could only shrug. “I don’t know… We were talking and he sort of snapped.” He said low. So it wasn’t the whole truth, big deal? He didn’t think Laguna could take hearing what Seifer had tried to do to his son. She studied him like she was trying to figure out why he was lying. She probably knew it took a little more than casual talking for someone to snap like that. Seifer looked away at Squall again. He jumped when thin arms circled his waist. Selphie rested her head against his chest in an attempt to comfort him. He put a arm around her. ***** The sedatives didn’t last longer than six hours. But when his lover started waking up they were all ushered away so Squall couldn’t see them. Seifer cursed it and paced like some beast outside the doors. He wanted to talk to Squall. He wanted to apologize, he wanted to know what the fuck was happening. Laguna had to return to his work but Seifer heard Selphie promise that they would tell him what was happening. Like they themselves knew that. The damn “doctors” weren’t telling them anything! Selphie stepped up to him with Irvine’s gentle warning. “What did you two do? Really?” She wondered and not with the cute, innocent quirk at her lips, but with a grown up woman’s piercing eyes. He looked away from those brown eyes and shrugged. She punched him on his arm when he didn’t say something. “Come on, Seifer. We all know that it takes more than talking for Squall, we’re talking about Mr. Control here, to flip,” she demanded and he grimaced. “You so sure about that?” He said instead. When he didn’t looked away, her gaze started to waver in uncertainty. Irvine stepped up to them and put a arm around Selphie and a hand at Seifer’s shoulder. “Ease down, Sunshine. We all also knew Squall needed help.” He said in a calming voice. Seifer breathed out in an uneasy breath. Maybe they had, but to what extent? Could anyone turn like that from… so to speak, normal abuse or rape? Squall was silent and cold but as long Seifer could remember he had been strong. Always. He’d always been the strong one when others was not. When the girls had been crying their eyes out during a thunderstorm at the orphanage and the boys had been just as scared, it had been Squall that suddenly had told them a story. He thought it had been about Quezacotl. That the Guardian Force was singing, that’s why it was thundering and flashing. A silly story but it had calmed them. Ultimecia had told Seifer that Squall was a even better Knight, but the boy hadn’t bent to her will. Not even in his dreams. It took more to break such a spirit. More than torture, nightmares formed by a sorceress and a war. It didn’t, however, matter what they believed. They weren’t able to see their friend and no one was telling them anything. So, they resigned themselves to their fate and had something to eat. Seifer didn’t have much of an appetite but told himself that he was starting to act ridiculous. It wasn’t like Squall was deathly ill or anything. He’d probably be well after a long vacation and some serious therapy. “Shouldn’t we tell the others?” Selphie asked all of a sudden. “Yeah… Can you handle that yourself?” Irvine smiled but it was strained. Selphie smiled back. “Of course. I need a girl-to-girl talk anyway.” She said and Seifer arched an eyebrow. But he was the only one that reacted to it, Zell was, what he knew, not a girl. Selphie hadn’t even disappeared around the corner until Irvine was on him. He didn’t say anything. Just took of his hat and rested his elbows at the table, staring at Seifer. He snorted. “Do you two always work in a pair?” He growled. Irvine didn’t even humor him. “You okay?” He wondered instead and it surprised Seifer somewhat. Not enough for it to show, though. “Yeah.” He answered low and Irvine looked away, like he was readying himself for something. “When we got to that place Rinoa had already lost contact with him, weeks ago.” At first, Seifer didn’t understand what the sniper was talking about. Then it hit him that he had never heard any details about Squall’s rescue, only the others’. “We found him in this really creepy… chamber. Only Zell and I went in while the girls kept the guards at bay.” Irvine’s eyes were distant and his voice was so low Seifer had to shift closer to hear. “He was naked and chained to a giant bed, unconscious. I thought it went too easy to get him out of there to start with. When he woke up at the Infirmity at B-Garden it was like nothing special had happened to him. He’d been drugged he said and that was that. Overall they had treated him nicely.” Seifer doubted it just as Irvine obviously did. He met Seifer’s eyes and slowly shook his head to show just how much he had doubted it. “You think we could have done something earlier if we only had wanted to accept what we all saw?” He wondered very silent. Seifer rested his own elbows at the table and searched those violet eyes. “Saw what?” He wondered and Irvine was silent a long time before he looked away. “Well… He wasn’t himself. He was too… perfect. He said the right things, acted as he should. In the beginning he was healing, like a ordinary person. He wasn’t letting anyone help him and he didn’t tell anyone what had happened but obviously nothing bad because he was functioning, but too perfectly,” Irvine said, slightly incoherent. “Irv, buddy, you’re not making much sense,” he said quietly and Irvine glanced at him. “What do you mean with ‘perfect’?” He wondered and Irvine shrugged. “It was just… Like he said exactly what we wanted to hear or like he had been trained for it. I swear, I’ve never heard him talk that much in our entire life!” Irvine looked at him again and Seifer frowned. “You think… What do you think?” Seifer corrected and arched an eyebrow. “Well… the books say that if someone acts out of person, or if she or he suddenly becomes left handed from having been right handed, and it occurred after captivity, she or he may have been brainwashed.” He said slowly, somewhat guarded. Seifer could only stare at him. Then he snorted. “Be serious Irvine. We are talking about Squall here and they only had him for… what, a few weeks?” He said, expecting Irvine to nod his agreement but the sniper only looked at him. Something curled in Seifer’s stomach. Something to the beginning of an ill feeling. “Right?” He wondered again. “Seifer… Squall was gone almost one and a half months…” He said slowly and carefully. Seifer could only star at him. One and a half months? But he’d heard it only had taken them a few weeks! One and a half months were enough to break someone with the right method. One and a half months? He looked the sniper over. “You sure?” He said, hearing how silly it sounded. They looked away from each other. Brainwash. In the books it stood about it. All SeeD got to learn how to distinguish the signs and what to do. Even how to brainwash someone… A person that was brainwashed wasn’t himself anymore. He was to be treated as carefully as a spy. Seifer sighed. Squall was no traitor. He was not brainwashed! “No… You said “in the beginning”, right?” He asked. Irvine nodded, but didn’t look that certain. “Then… he may have… I don’t know, become his old self again? Except a few things, right?” He tried, but Irvine didn’t look convinced. “Seifer… We have to consider the possibility…” Seifer waved for him to shut up. “It doesn’t matter. The sorceress is dead,” he said. Irvine wanted to add something but the doors from the hospital opened and the blue-haired woman entered. They both stood. She looked tired and didn’t have the happy face Seifer wanted her to have. Because he wanted her to said that it was fine. Squall had only had a little nervous breakdown but would be fine with rest and therapy. She looked up at them both but settled at Seifer. “Seifer Almasy, right?” He nodded and some of the worry wrinkles in her face deepened. “He wants to see you… but!” Seifer halted in his movement. The doctor rubbed her forehead.
“You are both friends to him?” She wondered and it occurred to Seifer that she maybe didn’t know he and Squall were… fuck buddies at least. Irvine had to have nodded or something because she sighed. “Your friend… is very sick. Right now, he’s calm, but we can’t speak with him. He keeps asking about you.” She looked up at Seifer. “Well, I better go see him then,” he muttered but was stopped again. “What is your relationship to each other?” She wondered and Seifer sighed. “We’re… lovers.” He said lowly. Why had it been so hard to say? She nodded like she got the answer to something she already knew. “You can see him but I want you to be very, very careful. Do not ask him something out of the ordinary. Do not get angry. If you become angry, leave. But if he starts to tell you something, I want you to listen to him but do not ask things. Do not push him for anything.” She went silent, like she was trying to remember if she had forgotten something. Seifer softened somewhat for her. She was caring for her patient. She looked up at him again. “I can’t tell you yet what his problem is but right now we need him to keep together and not fall apart, if he do we may not be able to help him.” She said low and looked at him. Seifer slowly nodded. Both scared and calmed he walked inside the hospital again.
Continue ~ Reveiw