The corridor was in light blue and silent. Along the right side there were rooms and more rooms with sick beds and hospital stuff. Seifer stopped outside Squall’s room. He was dressed in the lonely hospital dress and had a white-plastic bracelet around his right wrist. He sat with his legs crossed and his arms around him, staring straight ahead and slowly rocking. Seifer swallowed hard and slowly went inside. Squall stilled and stared at him. He was still wide-eyed, but his pupils were small. His bottom lip quivered and his knuckles were white because of his hard grip around his upper arms. Nearly physical pain stabbed Seifer somewhere in his chest when Squall made a whining, dry noise like he was to exited, but too scared to know how to express himself. It pained Seifer to see him like this. To be able to read the otherwise unreadable face. Squall was scared. And confused. It was written all over his face like black ink on white paper. Squall made that pained sound again and managed to let go of his own arms to reach for Seifer. “Seifer?” He whined in that scared voice he’d used before. Like in trance Seifer approached the bed and sat down at the side. Squall whimpered in sobbing sounds and curled up in his arms. Seifer hushed like he would do to a scared child and held the trembling body. Squall seemed to calm down somewhat. The trembling subsided and his breath became more even. It was still not Squall’s regular calm breathing, but it was okay. Then he clenched his hands in Seifer’s shirt hard. “You… angry at me?” He asked in such a faint voice that Seifer hardly heard him. “Why do you believe that?” He replied, calm and low with the doctor’s words ringing in his ears. Squall made a sobbing sound and curled around him harder, like he was trying to melt together with Seifer. “I… I’ve been bad, haven’t I?” Squall wondered in the slightest of confused tones. Seifer started to stroke his back. “No.” This was starting to feel frustrating. It was like they were back in their room. Squall whined and tried to rock slowly but he couldn’t curl up in Seifer’s arms and rock at the same time so he subsided again. “But… Why am I here? Please… I’ll be good, I’ll love you?” He whined and held tighter. Seifer closed his eyes when confusion and frustration started to heat up his temper. He didn’t understand this. What did Squall mean by “I’ll love you”? What was whit this “I will”? He almost had to use force to make Squall lean away and look up at him. Squall protested in the form of whimpers. Blue more than blue-gray eyes looked up at him. He stroked a tear-dampened chin. “Why do you think I would… hurt you for anything?” He asked softly. Yes, she said he wasn’t to ask anything but… Squall searched his eyes with confusion clear in his eyes. “I… I’ve been bad?” Squall questioned, and Seifer had to swallow down a sudden lump in his throat. “Why? What do you think you’ve done?” Seifer replied. Squall was silent for a long time while feelings and thoughts passed in his eyes like ghosts. “I… I…” He stammered and his grip around Seifer’s arm tightened and tightened until Seifer had to clench his teeth against the pain. “You haven’t been bad Squall. You’ve had a nervous breakdown or something,” he stated slowly and gently tried to pry Squall’s hand loose. Something shifted in the too blue eyes and Squall slowly let up at his grip. “Nervous… breakdown?” He echoed. Seifer searched those eyes. Brainwash? He couldn’t believe in that. He’d read about the progress and… participated in breaking humans in that way. Squall started to shake his head. “No… no… hurts…” He whined, yet again hugging himself and starting to rock back and forth. He squeezed his eyes shut and moaned faintly like in pain. “Squall! Hey, love?” Seifer gripped the trembling shoulders and lightly shook the other youth. Squall was crying more again. “Hurts… Why? I don’t understand.” Squall whispered, more to himself than to Seifer. Seifer shook him again. “Squall? Look at me.” He begged and blank eyes meet his. Squall slowly calmed down again. While Seifer was looking blue became more blue-gray and some… features changed. He couldn’t explain it but it was like Squall suddenly had regained some control. “I… Love you Seifer.” He whispered. It was such a low, faint whisper Seifer had to read his lips to really believe he’d heard something. He was paralyzed. He didn’t believe what his brain just had registered. Squall… Had Squall said he loved Seifer? He had never said that before. Seifer had never heard him say that and had been too afraid to say it himself. His silence, however, didn’t go well with Squall. Squall’s eyes started to waver again and that change disappeared. He was saying sorry like a mantra before Seifer could get his functions back on again. “No. Stop saying that.” He said with a waver in his voice. Squall stopped abruptly but kept to slowly sway where he sat. He embraced the rocking youth tight against his chest. He felt hot tears damp his shirt but didn’t care. The shock started to transform to euphoria. Squall had said he loved him. He hushed when Squall made that moan like he was in pain. “It’ll be alright, love.” He hushed, Squall only whimpered. “Why does it hurt so much?” Squall whined and Seifer started to feel worried. But before he could say anything, Squall continued. “I don’t want to be hurt again. I don’t want pain. Please Seifer, don’t hurt me.” He sobbed and it sounded like he already was in pain. Somehow Seifer guessed that the “pain” Squall was mentioning wasn’t the sort you got through the rough sex they’d had. Seifer continued to hush him and started to feel that panic again. “Of course I won’t hurt you. You only have to tell me.” He tried to calm and that made Squall break away and look at him big eyed. “But… love hurts. It’s so it is.” He said like a matter of fact.
“But I can’t take it anymore. I don’t want it. I don’t want to love you but I can’t stop. I don’t want to. Can’t stop.” Squall started rocking and he got something distant in his eyes as he continued repeating those phrases like he was stuck at repeat. Nothing Seifer said or did could make him even acknowledge his presence. When Seifer rose from the bed to get out for help the doctor stepped in. In her hand she held a syringe. Seifer stepped away without a sound even if he flinched on the inside. Squall reacted when half of the syringe’s contents were in him. He wailed and patted at the woman like a child not wanting to have that but too scared to protest more than symbolically. Seifer was surprised at how fast it went for Squall to fall asleep. The doctor almost didn’t have the time to steer him down at his side and get the cover above him. Squall curled up at his side the second before he was soundly sleeping. He braced himself for the doctor’s glaring, scolding eye but she just looked him up and down and sighed before she shoved him out and followed. He was still waiting for some sort of reprimand when the door closed behind them. She looked up at him. “Well… that went well after all,” she said in a low voice and Seifer arched an eyebrow. “You know what’s wrong with him?” He asked. The doctor was silent a long time. “Maybe… Your friend talked about brainwashing because Young Loire had been a prisoner for a long amount of time, but I don’t think I buy that one.” She said with a casual wave of her hand. While one part both agreed with her and let out a breath of relief, another part wondered why. He himself didn’t believe in it but he had no clue as to what else it could be. Lone abuse and torture didn’t make a human like this. Not Squall anyway, he knew that. Even before, Squall could take huge amounts of bodily damage and pain, but to break him, to make him like this, it took mind games. “Why? What else could it be?” he asked. “Torture of some form.” She said it, but she didn’t believe it he could tell. Just as he didn’t, but she didn’t know Squall. After a while she looked up at him. “You… were his lover?” She asked quietly and he nodded once and didn’t correct her to “are”. “It would make things easier if you could be present when I try talking to him. In the worse scenario you may have to talk with him alone with my instructions.” She said quietly and Seifer only nodded and sighed. He rubbed his eyes and cursed Ultimecia for giving them trouble beyond the grave. Hyne knew he was deadly tired of the bitch and her associates. ***** Two weeks of talks, medications, and Hyne knew everything, and Seifer didn’t think they had gotten anywhere. Not that Lauriell, as the blue-haired doctor’s name was, told him her suspicions and thoughts. He was just used as a link or something to make Squall open up. Personally, Seifer thought he made more bad than good. Sooner or later, Squall would shut down and warp away to his own worlds or he would break down, tears streaming, wailing, clutching his head like something was trying to hammer its way out. He didn’t want to admit it, but it was starting to wear him down. Seifer had never thought seeing Squall like this would hurt him so much. Guess you knew if you loved someone when the loved one was unreachable. It was raining, no storming, outside. Selphie and Irvine had to return to Balamb Garden a week ago. Both Squall and Seifer were said to be on a well-earned vacation. Seifer sighed and glared out the rain-blurred windows. It was something that had nudged his senses for a while now. After he’d accepted the fact that Squall could be mentally ill and that his lion wasn’t more than human, he’d settled down a bit and started thinking instead of locking in panic. If he thought it over, there were certain patterns in Squall’s behavior. Some days he was better and Seifer thought he was all well again. If it wasn’t for his… open face, like he didn’t know how to shield of his emotions anymore. And some days it was worse than terrible. Those days he was clinging to Seifer like a terrified child and was both screaming and crying when Seifer was supposed to go. And he said the most disturbing things. Like this “I will love you” or “Don’t hurt me, I’ll be good.” It didn’t sound like he was meaning the “hurting” like in bondage, but real hurt and pain. In the middle of those outbursts he could start tearing at his own hair and wailing about how it hurt and that he didn’t understand. When Lauriell came to put him to sleep he’d just explode. Screaming and fighting like his life depended on it. A flash struck the sky and Seifer got to his feet. Just thinking about I made him want to see his lion again. Even if Squall probably was sleeping now. The guards standing at the doors in to the secluded hospital area knew him by now and he didn’t even have to flash an ID to get past. When he got to the waiting area he stopped by voices. Instinct told him to not make his presence known just yet so he stayed behind the corner. “Wait, take it from the beginning, and make it in a language ordinary people may understand,” the President of Esthar begged. “By my research and observations, I draw the conclusion that young Loire has been used in experiments with a new theory about the mind and its functions.” Lauriell explained and Seifer guessed Laguna was as confused as Seifer was now. “Used in experiment? What do you mean? When and how?” Laguna wondered in a tone that made Seifer to believe he wasn’t convinced. “Mr. Kinneas told me that during their stay in D-District Prison, young Loire was moved to another location. It took them almost a month and a half to find him and get him home again, once they themselves had gotten free. That is enough time to, put it nicely, fuck one’s mind up.” She said and both Seifer and Laguna were taken by surprise. “So… What does it mean?” Laguna wondered and Seifer noticed he’d clenched his fist so hard that his nails bit into his palm. Seifer opened his hands and crossed his arms instead, wishing he had Hyperion here so he could tick her at his shoulder. A childish habit he couldn’t stop with. “Well… the theory was first designed by Sorceress Adel under her reign. By using certain chemicals that causes hallucinations and other chemicals that causes either happiness or sadness you can make a human either like or dislike something only at the mention of this specific thing. The methods was supposed to be used in Adel’s interrogation program but she was defeated before the method was fully finished.” Lauriell let the information sink into the president’s head and Seifer guessed Laguna soon nodded for her to continue. “Apparently someone, possibly Ultimecia, continued the research and experiments. Young Loire is a result after such a session. However, I don’t know if he was finished.” She said and Seifer thought he heard a proud tone in her voice. It was silent for a long while and Seifer contemplated moving in. “Finished? You mean… it was supposed to be worse than this?” Laguna asked very softly, like he had a hard time controlling his voice and choose to keep it low. “Yes and no. I need more time to more deeply check him. But I think that… if we don’t find a way to help him soon he might be lost forever.” She ended with a sad voice. Something clenched hard in the middle of Seifer’s body. His head was reeling and nausea lurked in his throat. He knew what she was talking about. He’d heard others talking about it. Those who were Ultimecia’s/Edea’s most trusted men and women. When he got his body under control he had missed the part where Laguna asked what to do.
“…take him to the Sorceress Memorial. We have the best soul/mind/GF/sorceress searcher there.” Lauriell said. “The Memorial? You mean, you want to lock Squall in the machine? But he’s a human. He won’t sleep like the sorceresses,” Laguna said in a high-pitched tone. Seifer didn’t like this. Were they out of their fucking minds? Squall would be a doll, unable to say anything or protest. Locked in a motionless body but with a clear head. He’d be feed through needles and… Seifer didn’t even want to think about how they were going to do about the rest. “It’s only for a while and we can keep him dazed without loosing any affects with the search.” Lauriell’s argued. He heard Laguna make a frustrated noise. “Is there really no other way to help the boy?” Seifer guessed that was Kiros. He hadn’t heard the slender man speak that often but he could guess. “Can… can it wait a couple of days. I don’t know, I want to think it over.” Laguna said in a defeated tone of voice and Seifer guessed Lauriell had to had shook her head. “Please, decide quickly. The sooner we can start testing him, the better.” She begged. It was silent for a while again. “Just for a while? A couple of days?” Laguna asked uncertainly and Seifer was shocked he was even contemplating it. “Just as long as it necessary needs,” she assured. It was quiet once more until that frustrated noise came from Laguna again. “Okay,” he said. Seifer snapped. He stomped up from behind the corner and startled everyone into jumping. He glared first at Lauriell, who only blinked at him, and then at a red-eyed Laguna. “Are you out of your fucking mind?” He growled and Laguna tried to form some kind of sentence. “Mr. Almasy!” Lauriell almost yelled and a blush stained her cheek.
“That is no way of talking to the President,” she said angrily, certainly angrier at his eavesdropping than anything else. Seifer only snorted and continued staring down at Laguna. “You are not seriously going to put him… in there?” He continued growling and Laguna straightened his back. “Seifer… It seems to be the only way right now and it’s only for a couple of days.” Laguna said calmly, but Seifer saw his uncertainty. He clenched his fists. Didn’t they understand that a human wasn’t supposed to be in that… machine, if just for a couple of minutes!? “There are other ways.” He growled and it was Lauriell’s turn to snort.
“And what would that be? Do you want us to experiment and maybe do even more damage?” She sneered and he glared down at her. He must have had have some of his Knight’s features because she paled and backed down. He looked at Laguna again. “It’s the worst thing you can do,” Seifer said, just a bit calmer. Laguna looked at him and then at Lauriell and then out in space. After a silent time of thinking he sighed but seemed somehow relieved.
“Give it four days. If he doesn’t show any sign of recovery we will… take him to The Sorceress Memorial.” Laguna said and nodded. Seifer only clenched his fist. Well, it was a part victory and he was going to make it a whole.
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